Key Lime Pie and Custard
By Drew Hunt email@example.com
And Tim Mead firstname.lastname@example.org
The following fictional narrative involves sexually-explicit erotic events between men. If you shouldn't be reading this, please move on.
The authors retain all rights. No reproductions or links to other sites are allowed without the authors' consent.
Chapter 4 by Drew Hunt.
"They're red like the buses at home, but they're still a lot different. Ours have got windows in 'em for a start."
While we'd been getting ready that morning, I'd asked Will what was on the agenda for the day. I was interested to know, but I'd really asked because things had got a bit quiet in the room as we both got dressed. I didn't mind getting changed in front of another bloke. Funny, I wasn't even bothered that Will was gay. Though maybe it bothered him. So I'd tried to get him talking. Will told me that we'd been booked to have a ride on Key West's famous trolley buses. I bit back the comment that they couldn't be that famous cause I'd never heard of them. But the name rang a distant bell somewhere in the back of my mind. When I actually came face to face with one of them, I realised where I'd seen 'em before.
Most of the oldies decided to stay at the front, but without thinking I walked toward the back seat. I'd always travelled at the back of the bus when I was at school, less chance of the bus driver finding out what me and my mates were getting up to.
As I walked down the centre of the bus with Will following, I got an idea. I know it was sort of wrong, but I gave my arse an extra couple of wiggles as I walked. Reaching the seat I'd picked out, I sneaked a peek at Will. He looked flushed.
Still feeling playful, once we'd sat down, I said, "You gotta promise me something."
"What?" He looked at me, a question in his eyes.
"I don't want you singing that Judy Garland song about being on a trolley."
His eyes widened, and his mouth opened in shock. "Um, how did you know about that?"
"My gran's got loads of old films on video. I used to watch 'em as a kid. I knew I'd heard of trolley busses before, and when I saw this one, it was like those on that film."
I settled down to try and enjoy the tour. The bus driver had a microphone and kept telling us what we were passing, but my mind was elsewhere. I was telling myself off for behaving like a tease when I'd walked down the bus. It wasn't right to tease Will like that, He was a really decent bloke, he'd broken the stupid laws they've got here by buying me some beer last night, and he wouldn't even let me pay when it was my round.
Will had been telling me bits of information about some of the things the driver hadn't mentioned. "Sorry, dude, I'm boring you," he said when I'd stayed quiet for a few minutes. "The driver knows more than I do anyway."
I wasn't sure about that, the bloke had a flat voice, sort of like he'd said the same thing tonnes of times before, and he was bored with it. "No, mate, you're a lot more interesting than him," I said pointing to the driver. I turned to look at Will. "Listen, um, I want to say sorry for me behaving like a prat, um, when. . ." I could feel my cheeks going red, I hoped he knew what I was on about, I didn't think I could actually come out and tell him.
Will smiled. "You don't need to apologise."
"I do, it's not right to tease you like that. You're a nice bloke, Will. I promise I won't do owt like that again."
Will shrugged. "I, well, I liked it."
Sort of without saying anything, we agreed to drop the subject. I went back to listening to the driver droning on about how historic the place was. Though I didn't know much about history, I knew we had plenty of stuff back at home that was loads older than the things here.
I was getting bored. Will must have noticed cause he said, "Would you like to get off for a while?"
"Sure, we can rejoin the tour at any of the nine stops on the route."
"Yeah, thanks, that geezer's really getting on my nerves."
Will smiled again. He had such a nice smile. I. . . I realised I shouldn't be thinking of stuff like that.
The bus dropped us off at the harbour. There were a couple of cruise ships moored or whatever they call it, there. They looked massive.
"Just think of them as floating hotels," Will told me. He'd really gotten good at being able to read my mind. That kind of bothered me in a way.
"Yeah. I've wondered what it'd be like on one of them cruises."
"Well perhaps you ought to enter another competition that has a cruise as the top prize."
"Daft bugger." I punched him lightly on the shoulder.
Smiling he asked, "You hungry yet?"
"Nope, we only finished breakfast a couple of hours ago."
"I didn't want you to starve, you being a growing boy," he said trying to sound like one of the old ladies. He was a good mimic.
"You should eat up all your veggies, they're good for you." I said trying to put on a voice myself, but I wasn't as good as Will.
Will asked if I fancied a walk round the sea front. As I couldn't think of anything else, I agreed. The breeze coming off the sea was great, but kind of damp, much more than walking on the sea front back home. I supposed that was cause it was a lot more tropical here.
"Didn't the bus driver say this was the southern most point of the USA?" I asked looking out to sea.
"So why'd they call it Key West, then?"
"This area used to be inhabited by the Calusa Indians. They are supposed to have been rather fierce. They're purported to have left the dead bodies of their victims on the beaches"
"So this place became known as Cayo Hueso, which means Island Of Bones."
"What? You're beginning to sound like an American teenager already."
"Well, maybe not," Will giggled. His whole face lit up when he laughed, made me feel great that I'd managed to cheer him up a bit. I thought back to last night when me and Will first started to really talk. He'd mentioned his ex-boyfriend, Sean. 'That bloke must be a right twit to want to dump someone as nice as Will.' I thought. 'Shit.' I shook my head, I shouldn't be thinking stuff like that.
Just then, Will's pocket began to ring. He pulled out a mobile phone and looked at the display. Frowning, he said "It's my mother." Sticking the phone to his ear, he said, "Mom?"
I remembered Will telling me that ever since he'd come out his family didn't have that much to do with him. Feeling awkward, I turned the corner into a dim narrow alley. Leaning against a wall, I was grateful for the shade.
My ears pricked up when I heard a moaning sound coming from further down the alley. My mum always told me I was much too nosey for my own good. Which is why I decided to go and see what was going on. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I walked past a doorway and found two blokes sucking face.
"Fuck!" I'd seen blokes holding hands the night before, though it didn't really bother me. These two were going a lot further than just holding hands, or at least they were until they spotted me. I almost laughed when they sprung apart, spit dribbling from their mouths.
The bigger of the two, who had short hair, shaved on the sides, was wearing an olive green uniform. Almost all the buttons on his shirt were undone as was his fly, his hard dick was sticking out from the opening. The second bloke was a lot smaller than his friend, at first I thought he was only a kid. Wasn't until I got a good look at his face that I realised he was, well I suppose in his mid-forties, I'd never been any good at guessing ages.
I tried not to stare, Will had told me that Key West was a gay resort, but. . . "Erm, sorry." Backing away, feeling embarrassed I turned to leave.
"Sor-right, honey," the little bloke said. "Just me and ole Hank here."
"Um, yeah." I took another step backwards only to come up against the far wall. I couldn't take my eyes off it, um, I mean them. The little bloke reached up and put his arms under Hank's shirt and was cuddling up to him. He even stuck his tongue out and licked one of Hank's nipples. 'Fuck, it was so. . . and in public, too.
Finally realising I was staring, I forced myself to move and walked quickly back down the alley feeling, shit, I didn't know what I felt.
"Graham?" Will said, making me jump.
"You okay, bud? You look like you've, well, um." He looked down at my crotch, I realised I was sporting wood. I could feel my cheeks heating up.
"I. . ." My mouth worked, but I couldn't form any words.
"Buddy?" Will' put his hand on my arm. It seemed to calm me down.
"Down there." I pointed to the alley. "Two blokes, they were." I could feel my cheeks getting even hotter. "They were just about having sex with each other, And in broad daylight, well in a doorway at any rate."'
"Oh?" Did Will look excited?
"One of 'em, the bigger one, was in uniform, dark green I think."
"Ah," Will smiled. "He's probably a marine, there's a naval base here."
"If a marine or anyone in the US military is found to be gay, they get an immediate dishonourable discharge."
Will pulled a face. "Our government's full of right wing conservatives, and they say you can't be gay and serve your country."
I was probably still shocked by what I'd seen, but it seemed like a daft rule to me. But then I didn't know much about politics.
"Come on, bud, let's find a bar. You look like you could use a beer." Will briefly took my elbow and steered me away. I didn't put up any resistance, glad that Will didn't make any mention of the lump in my shorts which thankfully was going down.
* * * * * *
Sitting in the open fronted café, both of us were quiet. Feeling I ought to say something, I asked, "Was everything all right, with your mum I mean?"
Will pulled a face, making me wish I'd kept my mouth shut. "Oh she couldn't get hold of me at my condo, so she tried ringing my cell."
I guessed that a cell was a phone, but I wasn't sure what a condo was.
"My aunt Louise has been taken to the hospital. She's broken her hip."
"Oh I'm sorry, Um. . ." I didn't know what else to say.
"It's all right, we aren't close. I'll arrange to send her some flowers. That ought to satisfy mom." Shaking his head, he tried to put on a smile.. "But, you don't want to hear about my family troubles. Count yourself lucky that you get on well with your folks."
"Yeah. Wish I could give my mum a ring."
An idea seemed to strike Will. "I just might be able to help you out, there."
"You could use my cell."
"No way, it'd cost an arm and a leg." I know Will still felt as though he had to pay me back for bunking in with me. He didn't, and me using his phone to ring home was much too much.
"I'd have to do some checking on the Internet when we get back to the hotel, but I think there's a way we can do it without having to take on the national debt of a third world nation."
"Oh right, thanks." I wasn't sure what he was going on about, I knew he was an accountant and knew loads of stuff about money.
"You ready to get back on the trolley? We've got to finish the tour and be back at the hotel for lunch in," he looked at his watch, "just over an hour."
"Lead on MacDuff," I said, bowing graciously.
* * * * *
At lunch, Will tried to get me to eat something called conch chowder. I told him that I didn't like fish unless it was served in batter and came with chips, but he still said I ought to have a taste. Not wanting to look like a total wuss, I had some of Will's. Fuck, it was bloody awful. I thought I was gonna throw up.
"Okay, not to worry," Will said, "At least you had the balls to try it."
"Yeah." I said, still feeling queasy. "I think I'll go and get a burger and fries."
"Are you sure you're not an American teenager hiding in the guise of an Englishman?"
Leaning into his ear, I whispered, "Piss off, Yank," I had to be quiet because we were sitting with George and Elma Peachtree. They'd managed to wrestle me away from Dorothy and Mamie, telling me that it was their turn. I did my best not to pull a face at being treated like a toy. Though I managed to get my own back on them when I asked Will to sit next to me. Old George didn't look best pleased at having to share a table with a gay man. 'Serves 'em right.' I thought smugly.
After dinner we went to our room and Will got out his laptop and went on the Internet.
"Here we are. Look," He pointed to the screen. "I can get a phone card that will let me make calls to the UK for," he scrolled down the screen, 3 cents a minute."
"Oh, right." Once I'd done a quick bit of calculating, I found it hard to believe that I'd be able to call home for less than 2 pence a minute.
Will typed and clicked away for a few seconds before leaning away from his laptop and telling me that we'd have to wait a short while for someone to call his mobile phone.
I gotta admit the Yanks are really good with customer service, back at home I'd probably have had to wait hours for something like that to get sorted. But Will had been right, within a couple of minutes his phone rang, and after he'd confirmed who he was, he ended the call.
"Okay, my English friend, what's you're mother's phone number?" I told him, he punched it into his phone before handing it to me. "I'll be down in the lobby. Take as long as you need."
"Thanks, mate," I said to his retreating back.
The phone kept on ringing, I was about to hang up when it was picked up at the other end.
"Hello?" Mum said.
I got a lump in my throat, I'd missed her. "Mum, mum it's me, Graham."
"Graham? How, I mean, aren't you supposed to be in America?"
"Yes, mum, I am, that's where I'm ringing from."
"What's wrong? Are you hurt, you've not been arrested or anything. . ."
"Mum, no, nothing's wrong, I'm fine."
Then she started going on about how much it was costing me to ring her. It took me a while to persuade her that I hadn't robbed a bank or nothing.
"Are you enjoying yourself? What you been up to? I hope you're behaving, I know what you're like when . . ."
"Mum, slow down. I'm fine, it's great here, really hot, I'm wearing T-shirts all the time."
"Did you pack enough? You'll have to find a laundrette if you run out, I told you that you should have. . ."
"Mum, it's fine, honest."
"Okay, love, if you say so. You're eating all right? I know how funny you are with your food."
"Yeah, mum, there's loads of different stuff to eat. They've even got a digestive biscuit type thing that they call a Graham cracker."
The conversation seemed to slow down then. I didn't know what else to say. I couldn't come out and tell mum that I missed home and her and. . ."
"I, well," she cleared her throat, "I was down the Red Lion last night, and Amy was there."
"Oh?" I didn't know what else to say. Mum already knew that we'd split up.
"She was hanging all over that Ross Holland making a right spectacle of herself she was."
"What!" Ross was meant to be my best mate, what was he doing stealing my girlfriend?
"Sorry, love, I didn't know whether to tell you or not, but I thought I should. Then you wouldn't be surprised when you came home."
"Err, yeah. Suppose so." I closed my eyes. 'Shit, she didn't hang about, the slag.'
"You all right, love?" Mum said sounding concerned.
"Yeah. I, well we'd finished, so I suppose she can go out with who she wants." I didn't know who I was madder at, Amy for jumping into bed with somebody else just as soon as my back was turned, or Ross for moving in so bloody quick. "Listen, mum, um, I gotta go, I've got another visit to go on and the bus will be leaving in a minute." I'd actually got plenty of time, but, well I needed to sit and think.
"Okay, love. You sure you'll be all right? I, well, I shouldn't say this, but a lovely lad like you can do a lot better than the likes of Amy Mortimer."
"It's true. I love you, Graham, please look after yourself."
"Love you too, mum. Bye." I switched off Will's phone, and hid my head in my hands. "Shit, fuck, damn." I could feel my eyes burning.
* * * * *
"Graham?" I jolted when I felt someone touch me on the shoulder. Looking up I saw Will's concerned face. "We're about to leave for President Truman's vacation house. Hey, what's wrong?"
"I. . . Oh it's nothing."
"Not bad news, you're mother's okay isn't she?"
"She's fine, it's not that. I'll tell you all about it later. Didn't you say the bus was waiting?"
"Um, yeah. But we don't have to go if you. . . Or I could go and leave you here if. . ."
"Nope, it's okay, Thanks." I gave Will's arm a squeeze before I stood up ready to face the afternoon.
* * * * *
Trudging up the stairs in this dead blokes summer house, I was starting to wish I'd taken Will's suggestion about staying back at the hotel. I was glad though that Will seemed to be enjoying himself. Seems the house used to be owned by one of their presidents yonks ago, and Will sort of admired him. I did my best to look interested, but I had all the crap about Amy and Ross, as well as what I'd seen in the alley earlier, running round in my head.
After we'd finished gorping at the stuff at Truman's summer place, we went to Hemingway's house. Seems the bloke used to be a writer, though I don't think I'd ever read any of his stuff. I had to admit I sort of liked his place. To get to the bloke's study you had to go to the upstairs floor and then into the bedroom. Then we had to walk along this little bridge to another little building before finally getting to his study. Seemed he got bothered by tourists a lot when he was alive, so he'd come up to his little hide away when he was feeling creative.
When we were back outside, Will pointed to a cat that was stretched out in the sun. Going over to it he picked it up and showed me that it had five claws on each foot.
"It's all right, Graham, he won't bite," Will said holding the cat out to me. I wasn't sure, rabies and all that, but the cat was purring away, so I took a chance and started to stroke it.
Elma Peachtree took a picture of me holding the cat, she told me that if I gave her my address she'd send a copy to me.
"Thanks, I didn't remember to bring a camera on holiday with me."
"Oh, honey, you should get a disposable one at the drug store. I'm sure you'll be able to get it developed when you get home."
"I hadn't thought of that, thanks."
I asked Will later if a drug store was what we call a chemist, he smiled and said it was.
* * * * * *
"Everybody, if I could have your attention please," Jim said when we'd all got back on the coach. "Our last stop of the day is Mallory Square where you'll be able to experience the wonderful sunset ceremony. Then it'll be back to the hotel where you'll have a chance to freshen up before dinner."
I groaned, I'd much rather have gone straight back to the hotel. I wasn't interested in any poxy ceremony.
The sun was low in the sky by the time the bus had dropped us off. All the old dears were a twitter at getting to see the sun going down. God, as if none of them had ever seen a sunset before.
I had to admit the locals were going all out to make the whole thing seem as jolly as they could. Some of 'em were busking, playing musical instruments while others danced or sang along. A few were selling food. Some were dressed in what I took to be native costumes as they flogged jewellery, sandals, clothes and other touristy stuff. I also saw groups of dancers, acrobats, and sword swallowers. There was even a couple of blokes fire eating. I'd seen stuff like that on the telly, but I'd never seen it done live in front of me.
Walking over to the jewellery sellers, I saw that a lot of it was made out of shells. I thought I'd buy mum something. She liked jewellery, but she could never afford to get anything nice for herself. Not that I knew much about bracelets, necklaces and stuff, but I think I managed to pick out a couple of things that I hoped she'd like. The stuff wasn't all that cheap, but, well, she's my mum.
Just as I'd finished buying my gifts everyone started clapping. Took me a minute to work out why, then I saw that the sun was sinking over the horizon. The rich red gold of the sun and surrounding sky slowly getting darker was nothing like the sunsets I'd seen at home. It was really beautiful. The cruise ships had left the harbour and in their place were loads of boats, some with sails. The people on the boats seemed to be partying and having a good time. Despite my bad mood, I had to admit that I got caught up in all the celebrating, making me feel a lot better.
After the applause had died down, all the dancers, food and jewellery sellers seemed to pack up and go home. I was kind of surprised at how quickly everything stopped. The happy feelings I'd had seemed to disappear with the sunshine, leaving me feeling flat.
"Graham, you okay?"
"Hi, Will. Yeah, not bad. But I'm glad everything's over for the day."
"Nah, just got stuff on my mind."
Will seemed to hesitate. "Look, I know we don't really know one another, but I'm a good listener, if. . . Well I'm here if you want someone to talk to."
Will wasn't like anybody else I knew. He was sort of quiet, sensitive, caring. I really felt comfortable around him. "Thanks, mate, but it's probably best if I try and sort it out myself."
"Sure, but the offer's always open."
We walked back to the bus in silence, Will being kind enough to leave me alone with my thoughts of Amy, and that marine in the alley. I couldn't get rid of the picture of him standing there with his erect dick sticking out of his trousers.
It was only a short journey back to the hotel. I was one of the first off the bus, almost running up the stairs to the room. I didn't bother putting the lights on, the darkness somehow matching my mood. Closing the door, I collapsed face down on my bed. What was wrong with me? Why was I feeling like this?
* * * * *
It must have been about half an hour later when I heard a gentle tapping on the door. I was about to get up to answer it, when Will came in. "Sorry, I didn't want to disturb you."
"That's okay, it's as much your room as mine." I sat up and swung my legs over the side of the bed. Rubbing my eyes, I asked, "Is it dinner time yet?"
"Not sure I'm all that hungry."
Will smiled sympathetically.
I don't know what made me do it. I hardly knew Will. Maybe that made it easier in some ways. But I opened my mouth and found myself asking, "What's it like, um, to be, um, gay?"
He came further into the room and closed the door. "You don't start with the easy ones, do you?"
I was kind of expecting him to reply with something like 'What's it like to be straight?' but I was glad he didn't.
"Well, um, some people, like me, find men attractive, they light my fire, if you see what I mean. Oh dear," Will sounded flustered, "I'm not putting this well. "I don't find all men attractive, just a certain type. These men give me the sort of reaction inside that a straight man would get when he sees a desirable woman." He walked to his bed and sat on the edge facing me across the gap between the beds. "I guess, when it really comes down to it, there's not that many differences between gay and straight. Only I have to face a lot more abuse and ridicule for pursuing the sort of relationship that makes me feel complete."
"Could you, um, could you ever be with a woman?" I wasn't sure why I'd asked that, but I had.
"I wouldn't want to. I suppose I could go through the motions, but I wouldn't feel satisfied, complete. There'd always be something missing."
"Shit." Will's words had hit something deep inside of me. I started to shake and though I tried to stop it, I began whimpering.
"Graham?" Will was instantly on his feet and put a hand on my shoulder. I tried to turn away, shrug him off, but I couldn't.
I felt this overwhelming need to be held, to feel safely wrapped around something, someone solid. I needed to let go, allow someone else to be the strong one. With dad buggering off, I'd had to become the man of the house. I'd brought myself up to not show my emotions, just be strong for mum's sake. But I couldn't do it any more. I felt so lost, scared and alone. Everything I'd tried to believe in, make myself believe in was crumbling away.
I stood up, opened my arms and grabbed Will, squeezing him tight. Burying my head in his shoulder I just lost it.
I couldn't remember ever hugging another bloke before. Well, apart from the pats on the back and stuff after rugby games.
As we stood there, it struck me that holding a man was a lot different than holding a girl. There wasn't any of the familiar bumps and curves, Will's body was firmer, less padded. Though it felt strange, it didn't feel wrong. In fact it felt nice. I could tell my dick liked what I was doing because it started to get hard.
I was glad that it was dark in the room, cause I'd have died if Will could have seen my boner. But then I realised he could feel it cause we were pressed together. I could feel the hardness in his crotch pressed up against my leg. I wanted, felt I had to pull away, this was wrong. But I couldn't release him. Will was safe. Will was strong. Holding him I didn't feel alone or scared.
Turning my head I saw how near Will's face was. I don't know why I did it, acting on impulse, I don't know, but I moved my lips closer to his. A voice somewhere was telling me that I shouldn't be doing this, but I wasn't listening. Our lips met. We kissed. God, it was so different, more firm, more strong, than kissing a woman. I felt Will's lips open and his tongue touched my closed lips.
"No!" I sprang from Will, pushing him away. The force of my actions sent him toppling onto his bed. I had to get out of there. This wasn't right. I couldn't, mustn't kiss a guy, that was queer, I was no poof.
I tried to catch my breath, my heart was thudding so hard in my chest I thought it was going to explode. In the dark I headed in the direction of the door, bouncing off the wall. But I didn't feel the impact.
I re-doubled my efforts to escape. I couldn't stay there, I had to get away. Finding the door I fumbled with the handle, I could hear Will getting off his bed coming closer. I couldn't breathe
Yanking open the door I was blinded by the bright lights in the hallway. But I didn't have time to let my eyes adjust, I had to get away. Stumbling blindly into the corridor, almost tripping over my feet, I turned right for the stairs.
"Graham, hon, what's the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost."
"I. . ." My teeth had begun to chatter, I couldn't get any words out, not that I'd tell her what had happened anyway.
"Graham, honey." Mamie was now at my other side.
"We better get him back to his room, I think, then we should call. . ."
"No. I can't go back in there." I almost shouted.
"Okay, dear." Dorothy seemed so calm. "Let's get you into ours then." She took hold of my arm and led me down the corridor. If I'd have had more of my wits about me I'd no doubt think that it was funny that the two were finally getting me in their room.
Passing my room, I was relieved to see the door was closed, Will being nowhere in sight.
"Graham, sit here, sweetie." Mamie indicated the settee. I sat on it and began to space out.
Why had I given Will a hug, and what the hell was I doing kissing him? I wasn't a poof, I had a girlfriend. 'Had, being the operative word,' a voice said in my head. I closed my eyes, and shook my head to try and clear it.
"Here, drink this. You look like you need it." I opened my eyes to see Mamie holding a glass with a brownish liquid in it.
"What is it?"
I pushed it away, "I don't need brandy."
"Please, Graham, you've had a shock. It will help to settle you down."
I didn't have any fight left in me, so I just swallowed the stuff, coughing as it went down. I began to feel warm, and a bit woozy.
Sitting down beside me, Dorothy asked, "What happened?"
"I can't, I don't want to talk about it." I looked down at my hands. They were still shaking, though not as much.
"Did someone do or say something that upset you?"
"No!" Why wouldn't they just leave it alone?
"Sorry. I know you think we're pushing you, it's just that Mamie and I care about you."
"I'm sorry, Miss Dorothy. I just. . .I, I did something stupid, and. . . I'm sorry, I don't want to talk about it any more."
"Did whatever it was have anything to do with Will?" Dorothy asked softly.
I stiffened. Could they have guessed? I suddenly thought about what Will would be making of all this. He'd done nothing wrong, I'd been the one who'd started it. Me running out like that must have scared him. "Please," I said to Mamie, "Would you go and find Will and tell him I'm sorry, it was all my fault, and. . ."
"Honey, whatever's going on between you and Will, shouldn't you tell him yourself?"
I shook my head, "I can't. Sorry, I just can't." I'd begun to shake again at the thought of coming face to face with him. The shame, the embarrassment.
"Okay, sweetheart, calm down. Mamie will find him and pass on what you said."
"Thanks." I suddenly realised how odd all of this must seem to the two widows.
"They'll be serving supper about now, do you want to come down and eat with us?" Mamie asked.
"I'm not hungry."
"Okay, Mamie, you go down and eat, and I'll stay with Graham, then we'll swap places."
"Oh, I can't put you out like this. Look, I'll go and have a walk round or something so you both can eat and. . ."
"Nonsense, you'll stay here for as long as you need to." Dorothy told me, putting a hand on my shoulder.
I actually ended up spending the night on their sofa. I know I was a chicken for not being able to face Will, but I was just too embarrassed.
Mamie told me after they'd returned from dinner that they'd seen Will and told him that I was staying with them. Apparently Will had been upset at my leaving so suddenly, but Dorothy managed to reassure him that I was okay.
I can't say I slept a whole lot that night. The sofa was comfortable enough, but I had way too much crap running round in my head to let me rest. When I saw the first light of morning, I knew I couldn't hide any longer. I'd have to go and see Will and try and explain what had happened, even though I didn't fully understand it myself.
The old ladies were still asleep when I left. I could hear them snoring softly as I tip-toed past their beds. Letting myself out, I walked slowly along the corridor, feeling like the condemned man about to be hanged.
Fortunately I had my key-card in my pocket, so I was able to get in without waking Will. The noise of the door unlocking sounded so loud in the hall. I closed the door quietly behind me, and crept into the room. Will hadn't fully drawn the curtains, so there was plenty of light to see by. Sitting on my bed, I looked over at a still sleeping Will. His bedclothes were a mess, it looked like he'd had a restless night. My heart ached for causing him so much worry.
I took the opportunity to really study my room-mate. I don't think you could call him handsome, his hair was sort of a medium brown, not too long, but I thought he'd need a hair cut quite soon. His button nose suited his round face. His lips were maybe a bit on the thick side, but not as much as say Mick Jagger. The phrase, 'boy next door' seemed to fit Will I supposed.
A snuffle from the bed brought me out of my daydream. This was it, the time I'd been preparing myself to face during the long sleepless night. Will was waking up, it was time to say sorry and to try and explain.
"Hi," I said, my voice sounding scratchy and more than a bit nervous.
"Graham," Will cleared his throat, "I'm sorry for what I did last. . ."
"No, mate, it's me who needs to say sorry. You did nothing wrong, you were there for me when I needed a friend, and. . ." I felt myself starting to babble, so I shut up.
"Do you feel okay now? Are you, I mean, have you sorted out whatever was wrong?"
I was so grateful that Will wasn't pushing for answers, he was just giving me the space I needed to explain.
"I'm getting there. A lot is still sort of confusing, you know?"
"I. . . Well last night, something you said really struck a chord with me. It kind of shook me, and. . ." I ground to a halt. The little speech I'd been preparing all night went clear out of my head.
"It's okay, Graham, just take a deep breath and tell me whatever you're comfortable about telling me." Will pushed himself up in the bed and rested against the headboard. His gentle encouraging smile helped calm me down.
"You remember when you said that you could probably live with a woman and all that if you had to, but that it wouldn't feel right for you?"
Will nodded Again.
"Well, being with women, kissing them, holding them, fucking them. I did all that, but it just didn't feel, oh I don't know, it was like there was always something missing, you know?"
"Amy wasn't my first girlfriend, I've not had a lot, but, well she wasn't my first." My palms were starting to sweat, so I rubbed them on my shorts. "It got to the point where I could only perform after I'd had a few beers. If I tried to sleep with her sober, I, well, I couldn't get it up." I knew my cheeks had gone red, God. I'd never told this to anyone. I'd barely admitted it even to myself. But something about Will, how calm and accepting he was, allowed me to get it all off my chest. "Do you think," I looked at him, "Do you think I might be, urm, like you?" I couldn't face using the 'G' word.
Will let out a breath. "I can't tell you that, Graham, that's something only you can decide."
"But, I, I'm so confused."
"I can understand that. Realising your sexuality takes some people longer than others. I was lucky I guess in that I knew I was gay from an early age, thirteen or fourteen maybe. But it takes different people different amounts of time. I know of some men who don't realise that they're gay until after they've been married and had kids. Admittedly that doesn't happen often, but it does happen."
"What I'm saying is, don't feel pressured to put a label on yourself. Just do what feels good for you, and let the chips fall where they may."
I don't know if it was Will's gentle words, or the fact that at long last I'd finally told someone my deepest darkest secret, but I suddenly felt so alive, so free. It was like a huge weight had been lifted from me.
"Feel better now?" Will asked.
"Yeah, loads. Thanks Will, you're a real pal."
"Glad to have been able to help." His face lit up in a wide smile. Will looked so different, handsome even when he smiled.
I started to feel uncomfortable at what I'd just thought, but then I remembered what Will had said about just letting things happen and doing what felt good. "Um, Will, when we hugged last night."
"I'm sorry about that, I shouldn't have. . .
"No, no. It was lovely. You said I should do things that feel right to me, so, um, could I, um." The face was heating up again. "Would you mind giving me another hug?"