Key Lime Pie and Custard

By Tim Mead

And Drew Hunt

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 5


Graham's and my relationship changed drastically in about twenty four hours, and as a result I didn't know quite how to deal with him.  It started the night we got slightly buzzed on Duval Street.  He seemed to relax with me, and I know I felt more comfortable with him.  He was young, yes, but he was a decent guy, and I found myself beginning to like him.  He wasn't at all the insincere suck-up I'd thought he was.  And he'd been cool with my having to bunk in with him in Key West and Miami.

The next morning we were scheduled for a full day of sight-seeing, though we were always free to drop out of the organized activities and explore on our own if we preferred.  

"They're red like some of the buses at home, but they're a lot different.  Ours have got glass in the windows, for a start."

Graham was talking about the Old Town Trolley that was taking our group around the island of Key West for a kind of overview of what the place had to offer.

"Yeah, and yours are double-deckers, aren't they?"

"Some of `em are."

We were among the last to get on the trolley, since we didn't want to push ahead of the oldsters.  Mamie wanted to be near a window to take pictures, so she and Dorothy were among the first to get on.  They were followed by a gaggle of others who seemed to want seats near the front of the trolley.  Graham headed for the back, which suited me just fine. As he preceded me down the aisle, though, he very deliberately wiggled his butt, causing my dick to begin to chub immediately.    

Then he made some sort of crack about my not singing the "Trolley Song" from "Meet Me in St. Louis."  I was surprised he even knew about that movie.  If being a fan of Judy Garland hadn't been a standing joke about gay men, I probably wouldn't have known about it either, though I confess I did watch the film very late one night just to see what it was all about.  

Anyway, Graham seemed to be going out of his way to be provocative, though I couldn't quite tell whether he was trying to make fun of me or was just teasing.  I couldn't be too hard on him since he'd been so cool about having to share his room with me.  And we really had had a pleasant evening drinking and getting to know each other at the bar the night before.

As the trolley tour progressed, Graham seemed bored, so I suggested we get off.  He jumped at the idea of walking around the harbor.  I could remember being his age and being so full of energy that sitting still was an agony.  I thought perhaps that was his problem.  Or maybe he just wasn't interested in the history of Key West.  After all, the tour had chosen him, so to speak, rather than the more usual way.  

Graham was impressed with the size of the cruise liners in the harbor.  Apparently he'd never had an up-close look at an ocean-going ship before.  Then I remembered he was from Yorkshire, and unless he'd been to Liverpool or Portsmouth or one of the other big English ports, he wouldn't have.  

My mother had one of her infrequent maternal urges about that time and decided to call me.  I hadn't told my parents about this enforced trip, so she expected to find me in Cleveland.  I don't know why it didn't occur to her that I'd be at work on a weekday, but that apparently hadn't crossed her mind.

At any rate, as I was trying to explain to her why I was on a bus tour of Florida and was in fact in Key West as we spoke, Graham wandered off.  Just after I got off the phone with Mother, Graham reappeared, looking shaken.  When I asked him what was wrong, he told me he'd seen a Marine and another guy making out in a doorway down an alley from where we'd been standing.  What an innocent!  It was sweet, really, that he was so naïve.  I took him by the arm and led him to a sidewalk restaurant.  He gradually calmed down and then said he wished he could talk with his "mum" but that it would cost too much.  I knew of an online phone card service with really cheap overseas rates, so I told him after we got back to the hotel we'd look into it.  That seemed to perk him up.

At lunch I tried the island specialty, conch chowder, which I discovered I loved, but my young English friend took a taste and almost spat it out.  You'd think denizens of an island nation would be more knowledgeable about fish and seafood, but he said the only kind of food from the sea he wanted was fish and chips.  Grease heaven!

In the room I fixed him up with a phone card which would allow him to use my cell, or "mobile," as he called it, to phone home.  I left while he was talking with his mother.  When I got back to the room, he was off the phone but in a real funk.  When I touched him on the shoulder and asked what was wrong, he jumped.  I asked if he wanted to talk but he only said he'd tell me about it later.  That was a good sign.  If he had a problem, he seemed to feel as if he could talk to me about it at some point.  I realized that Graham and I were becoming friends despite ourselves.

I was fascinated by the Truman vacation White House and especially the Hemingway House, which were the main items on the group's agenda for the afternoon.  I'd read The Old Man and the Sea in high school (who didn't?) and later most of the rest of his novels.  I especially liked The Sun Also Rises.  Everybody raves about A Farewell to Arms, but I thought that was a little mushy.  I liked Hemingway better when he kept his upper lip stiff.

Graham, who didn't know anything about either Truman or Hemingway, was bored by the whole thing.  He didn't really come back to life until we got to the sunset celebration that evening.  I think all the entertainers and vendors captured his attention, though he was puzzled by the admittedly silly custom of applauding the sunset.  It was an old tradition on Key West, though, one the tourists and Chamber of Commerce were happy to perpetuate.

Still, he had something on his mind.  I offered to listen if he felt like talking, but he politely refused.  I grew even more concerned when, as we entered the hotel, Graham ran away from me and headed for our room.  When I got there he was lying face down on his bed.  I backed out quietly and sat outside by the pool for a while.  

When I returned to the room later, I tapped on the door and then went inside.  He sat up, swung his legs off the bed, and then floored me with a question:  "What's it like, um, to be, um, gay?"

Wow!  What was I supposed to say to that?  And where in hell did that question come from, anyway?  Was it because of seeing those two guys making out in the alley earlier?  I would have expected him to be repulsed by that, straight jock boy that he apparently was.  We talked about it for a while, about how I just couldn't feel for any woman what I felt when I saw a man who looked good to me, especially a man I thought I might really like.

The fact that something was bothering him became even clearer by what he did next.  

"Shit!" he said.  He started to shake and then to make little crying sounds.  I went to him and put a hand on his shoulder.  


I couldn't believe what happened next.  He stood up, grabbed me into a bear hug, put his head on my shoulder and began to sob.  

What was I going to do?  It was nice to be squeezed by this hunky young jock, though I was concerned about what had upset him.  So I simply put my arms around him and held on until he was ready.  

I got my first clue to what this was all about when he started springing a woodie.  So, of course, I did, too.  Again, what he did surprised the hell out of me.  He kissed me.  It was all going well until I gave in to my feelings.  I really couldn't help opening my lips and touching his with my tongue.  That was a mistake, and if my head had been in charge, I'd have known that.  But I hadn't kissed anybody since Sean left, and here was this young hunk holding me for dear life and, if the truth be known, shoving his hard dick up against mine.  What was I supposed to do?

What I was supposed to do was think, not feel.

He ran out of the room.  I didn't follow him.  It was my fault that he'd been spooked.  Instead of helping him, I'd come on to him.  And he obviously wasn't ready for that.  Damn!  

He didn't return to the room.  I waited for a while and then began to worry.  I thought I should go after him, but I didn't know how he'd react.  Maybe he'd accuse me of taking advantage of him in a moment of weakness, even denounce me to Jim or the hotel management for coming on to him.  So I stayed put.

Eventually, there was a knock on the door.


"No, dear, it's Mamie."

I opened the door.  

"Will, Graham's a little upset.  I think he's going to sleep on the sofa in our room tonight."

"What's wrong, did he say?"

"No, dear.  I don't know what it is, but he seems pretty emotional just now.  I'm sure he'll feel better in the morning."

"Look, Mamie, he could come back here and I'll go.  It's his room, after all.  And I think what he's upset about is something I did."

"Now, now, Will."  She put her hand on my face.  "I have a feeling that whatever it is that's bothering Graham isn't your fault.  Just let him sleep on it.  As I said, he'll probably feel better tomorrow."

"Okay, if you think that's best."

Graham obviously had questions about his sexuality.  He was in a strange country, far from home.  And given the first opportunity, I'd gone too far.  I vowed that if he could forgive me, I'd keep my distance, I'd try to be there if he needed me, but that I'd give him lots of space.

As I tried to get to sleep, I thought how strange it was that he was sleeping in a room with two old women, women he hadn't met until a few days earlier.  But it had been their idea, obviously, and for whatever reason he'd agreed to it.  I hoped he got some rest.  I was pretty sure I wasn't going to.  I couldn't help feeling I'd let this kid down.  He was evidently having an emotional crisis.  He wanted a little reassurance from me, so we hugged.  No problem so far.  But then he kissed me.  Why would he do that?  Some questions about his own sexuality?  Probably, though I'd never have guessed it until that very moment.  What seemed to drive him away was that I responded too much to his kiss.  

When I woke up the next morning after a night of tossing and turning, Graham was there.  I began to apologize as soon as I saw him, but he cut me off, saying he wanted to apologize to me.  

As we talked, I realized he was coming out to me.  Whatever had been going on in his life before this tour, whatever his mother had said to him during yesterday's phone call, something had made him suspect he might be gay.  Poor kid!  That's a hard realization whenever it comes.  

After we'd talked a while and I'd tried to be as encouraging as I could, he told me I was a "great pal."  For some reason, that made me feel wonderful.  Graham and I hadn't gotten off to a good start, but events in the last few days had thrown us together, and I was really beginning to like him.  Moreover, he'd just said he'd liked me.  Suddenly the rest of the trip seemed much more promising.  If nothing else, I'd have a nice, hunky guy to share it with.  And then he asked me for another hug.  How sweet was that!

Our group was scheduled to take a boat trip around the island, and we were going to get back on the bus to go to Miami that afternoon.  I'd had some experience on those sightseeing boats on Lake Erie, and I knew I tended to get seasick, so I told Graham I thought I'd stay at the hotel and lie in the sun for a while and swim in the pool.

"Brilliant, mate.  I brought my trunks.  I'll stay with you.   Unless you don't, um, want me around."

"Sounds good to me, G.  We'll soak up some rays, swim a little and just hang, okay?"

"You Yanks have reinvented the Queen's English, haven't you?" he asked, grinning at me.

"There are lots more of us than there are of you, Limey.  Besides, you guys get around to using our slang eventually."

"'You guys.'  That sounds like something out of a gangster flick.  You lot have your own way of talkin', and that's no lie."

Grinning at him to show I'd been paying attention, I said, "I've got to shave and get a shower.  You want to use the bathroom first?"

He blushed.  "Why don't you shave while I'm showerin'?  That way we'll get to breakfast quicker."

"If you don't mind."

"Nah, `s okay with me, mate."

I remembered that the shower had a glass door.  It was that wavy glass, but I'd still be treated to the sight of a naked Graham while he was in there.  I couldn't wait, but I tried very hard to be nonchalant, for I didn't want to make him self-conscious.

I shouldn't have worried.  He shucked off his clothes and headed for the shower.  I studiously looked out the window while he was doing that, but I turned in time to see a fantastic butt go into the bathroom and turn toward the shower enclosure.  I left on my boxers as I followed him into the bathroom to shave.

I had my electric shaver, so I could have stayed out in the bedroom to use it, but I hoped that wouldn't occur to Graham.  As I was standing there running it over my face, Graham said, "No fair peeking."  

I had been peeking, too, but I couldn't tell much about his bod because of the way the rippled glass distorted the view.  I saw just enough to be tantalized.  

I finished shaving and went back to the bedroom so he could get out of the shower in privacy.  I was so good!  I was looking out the window again when he came into the room.  

"Your turn," he said.

He was standing there naked, the towel around his shoulders!  I suppose he'd had plenty of experience being around his fellow rugby players in the locker rooms and showers.  And he had nothing to be ashamed of, Lord knows!  His body was lean but well defined.  He had no hair on his chest, a light coating on his calves and forearms, and a treasure trail leading down to a nice bush.  The "treasure" itself was ample.  I'd always taken some consolation in the fact that I didn't have to be embarrassed about the size of my dick, but Graham's uncut tool was both longer and fatter than mine.  

Realizing what I was doing, I made myself look away.  He chuckled.  "No worries.  We all do it.  Don't we?  I mean, it's not just something you, uh, gays do, is it?"

I laughed.  "No, I think everyone does it, but the more homophobic part of the male population won't admit it.  Now, I'd better get into the shower."  I headed for the bathroom.

"Oy, no fair!  I didn't get to see your tackle!"  

"Well," I said from the bathroom, "some of us aren't exhibitionists."  I heard him chuckle as I stepped into the shower.

When I had finished showering and had dried off, I deliberately walked back into the bedroom naked.  

He just grinned and said, "Nice, Will."  And that was that.  He seemed relaxed, as if he'd crossed some sort of divide, while we finished dressing and headed downstairs for the dining room.  We saw Jolly Jim, as Graham called him, and told him we were going to skip the island cruise.  He reminded us that the tour group was having lunch together at the hotel later and the bus would leave for Miami at 2:00.

After breakfast we got ourselves packed up so we'd be ready to go when the bus arrived.  Then we put on our board shorts (no speedos for either of us).  I pulled on a tee, Graham a wife beater.  Sandals completed our outfits as we went to the pool.  The temperature was already in the low seventies, and the water in the pool looked inviting.  Kicking off my sandals and pulling off my shirt, I dived in.  I had barely surfaced when I was pulled back under water by my companion, who'd dived in right behind me.  We spent a while dunking each other and generally horsing around.  There was no grab-ass going on, though.  I made a point not to do that, tempted as I was.  I knew I had to go slow with him.  After all, I didn't want him to think I was coming on to him.  I knew what he needed was a friend.  And being a friend meant worrying about his needs and desires, not mine.

After a while we climbed out and sat on a couple of loungers.  Later, we decided we'd better put on some sunscreen.  I had to go into the hotel's pool shop and buy some.  Then came the high point of the morning.  We obviously couldn't put the lotion on our own backs, so we did each other's.  God, was it fun rubbing my hands over that hard, smoothly-muscled back, with its broad shoulders, tapering torso, and narrow waist!  Graham had about the same waist size as I did, 30, though he was considerably broader in the shoulders.  

We spent the morning alternately horsing around in the pool and lying beside it.  As the sun got higher, we moved to loungers in the shade.  There were red, pink, and orange hibiscus blooming around the pool, and a huge bougainvillea on an arbor by the patio.  It was warm and beautiful.  I felt truly relaxed for the first time in months.  We lay there making small talk with no references to what had happened the night before.  We were just comfortable together, two new friends asking questions about what it was like growing up, about our families, about our favorite music.  

When I looked at my watch and discovered it was 11:30, I was surprised at how quickly the morning had gone.  We went back to the room and showered off the chlorine (no, not together!)  Now we were faced with the problem of what to do with our two wet bathing suits.  We found a plastic laundry bag in the closet, so we put them in it.  They could hang to dry in the bathroom at the hotel in Miami.  

On the trip to the mainland Graham and I sat together in the back of the bus, just in front of the "loo," as he called it.  It was good because we could talk without being overheard by the oldies.  We didn't talk about anything having to do with being gay, but we still didn't want to have the others eavesdropping on our conversation.  It was a bad place to sit because we could hear what was going on in the loo.  We couldn't help chuckling sometimes.

We rode in silence for a while.  Then Graham, who'd been looking out the window, turned to me.

"I never told you what upset me about that phone call to me mum, did I?

"Well, it had something to do with your girlfriend, I gathered.  But it's none of my business."

"Does that mean you aren't interested?"

"Of course I'm interested, silly.  You're my friend.  I was sorry to see you so upset.  Do you want to tell me about it?"

He gave me a wry smile and said, "You sound like one of them shrinks on the telly."

I sighed.  "Okay, Graham.  I'm not trying to pry.  You brought it up.  Tell me if you want to.  Don't if it's hard to talk about."

He put his hand on mine briefly and then took it away.   "Sorry mate.  I do want to tell you."

I didn't say anything, waiting for him to continue

"I got fed up with Amy being such a bitch about me spending time with my rugby mates, so I dumped her.  But her dad was my boss, and he made me redundant.  So what was supposed to be a trip around sunny Florida with me bird turned out to be a way to forget all about her."

"Yeah, that much I either knew or had guessed.  But what about your talk with your mom?"

"She told me she'd seen Amy and my best friend down at the local, and they were pretty friendly.  She didn't waste any time, did she?  And with me best mate."

"Shit, man!  That sucks!"

"Too right."

I put my hand on his.  

He didn't pull his hand away until Mamie came back and sat in the seat in front of us.  She turned around and faced us over the back of the seat.

"I'm so happy to see you two young men together.  And from your faces I'd guess that whatever happened last night has been smoothed over.  Is that right?"

We assured her that everything was good.  She smiled and stood.  Saying she hoped we'd sit with her and Dorothy at dinner that evening, she made her way toward her seat near the front of the bus.

When the bus stopped at Marathon Key so we could visit a gift shop and stretch our legs, we found ourselves next to Marvin and Wilma again.  We were looking at some of the touristy items at a counter in the shop.  Without turning his head, Marvin hissed, "Faggots!  You should burn in hell!"

I could feel Graham tense up next to me, even though we weren't touching.  Before he could say anything, however, Wilma elbowed him so hard in the ribs he grunted.

"Marvin Comstock!  You remember what I told you the other day.  I want to enjoy this trip.  So you keep your opinions to yourself.  God will reward those two.  He doesn't need your help."

She pulled him down the counter to look at Marathon Key tee shirts.

Graham looked blank for a minute.  Then he smiled.  "Oh, so she agrees with him.  She just doesn't want him to call attention to them?"

"Yeah, that seems to be the case.  But look, G, if you didn't hang out with me, you wouldn't have to put up with that shit.  Maybe we'd better not sit together the rest of the way."

He put his arm over my shoulder and leaned down to speak softly in my ear.  "Fuck `em!"

I laughed.  "Language, Graham!  What would your Mum say?"

He grinned.  "That's not pleasant to think about, mate.  But don't worry about old Marv.   You and me, we're gonna be sharin' a room for the next few nights in Miami.  He's gonna think what he wants to, right?  So don't let him spoil things for us."

Damn, he was cute!  I couldn't think of anything to say, so I just smiled and nodded.

It turned out that our hotel was in South Beach, at the southern end of Miami Beach. This place was a little larger than the Key Breeze and a little more pretentious.    

One of the amenities was a concierge, and we discovered that we had a mini-fridge in the room.  That gave me an idea, so I told Graham I'd forgotten something and went back downstairs to see the concierge.  He was a gorgeous hunk named John, according to his gleaming brass name tag.

"Hi, John.  I'm Will Thomson, in 403.  With the tour group.  I wonder if it would be possible to have some cold six packs and some wine put in the fridge in my room while we're at dinner?'

He sparkled at me.  "Sure, Mr. Thomson.  What would you like?"

"How about some Guinness and some Heinekens?  Oh, and maybe a couple of bottles of Kendall Jackson chardonnay?"

"No problem.  I'll see that it's done."

"How do I pay for those?"

"It's like being on a cruise liner.  Your room and some of your meals come with the tour. We'll run a tab for any extras, and you can pay up when you check out."

I handed him a ten, thanked him, and went back upstairs.

Graham had been unpacking, putting things from his bag into dresser drawers. He didn't seem suspicious about my brief absence.

At dinner, G and I wound up, of course, with the old ladies and with the couple I'd sat with from Pittsburgh.  They had never had a chance to talk with my roommate, so they'd decided to get to know him that evening.

Throughout what was an excellent dinner, probably the best we'd had so far, I chatted most of the time with Mamie and Dorothy while Graham fielded questions from Bert and Linda.

"Will, dear, Graham seems to be his old self.  Are things really all right with him?  And you?"  That was Dorothy asking.  Mamie sat there looking sympathetic – and expectant.

"Yes, ma'am, he was pretty upset by something he'd heard from home about his girl friend, I think, but he seems okay now."

"His girl friend?" Mamie piped up, looking surprised.

"I'm afraid so."

After that we talked about the next day's agenda and the beautiful Florida weather and other unimportant things while Graham answered questions about Yorkshire.  Then we all had to listen to Linda's account of their trip to England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland in 7 days back in the 60's.

While we were having our dessert, which was a magnificent bread pudding with key lime sauce and whipped cream, Jolly Jim announced that we were on our own for the evening.  He said most of the shops in the area were open if we wanted to explore.  He had maps for those who needed them.  Then he announced that at 9:00 the next morning we'd get on the bus for visits to the Holocaust Memorial, the Miami Seaquarium, and, after lunch in the Seaquarium's café, an afternoon at the Parrot Jungle and Gardens.

As we were all leaving the dining room, Marvin came up to us.  Wilma wasn't with him.  She'd stayed behind in the restaurant to visit with someone.  

"Jesus Christ!  From one faggoty place to another.  You two queers must be in fairy heaven.  First Key West, and now here.  There's just one thing I want to know.  When you two get it on, which one of you is the woman?"

Graham had the guy by the shirt collar before I could move.   He put his face close to Marv's and spat at him, "Now listen to me, you piece of shit.  If you can't keep your bloody gob shut, I'm gonna take you someplace and beat the fuck out of you."

I grabbed his arm.  "Graham, please, just drop it.  No sense making matters worse.  He's a sorry piece of shit, as you said, but we don't want to cause any trouble here."

We'd begun to attract a crowd.  Mamie and Dorothy were there, as was Jim the tour guide.  He had heard the whole thing, and for once he wasn't smiling.  There were also a couple of hotel staffers, big guys with brass name plates like John, the concierge.

"Gentlemen," Jim said, "we expect our guests to behave in a civilized manner.  Mr. Comstock, what you said was out of line.  And Mr. Knight, we just can't allow guests being violent with one another."  The two big guys from the hotel were nodding their heads.

"It's okay, guys," I said.  "He didn't mean it."  I took Graham's arm and pulled him away.  "Come on, G, let's go back to the room."

"No, I don't want to go back to the bloody room, Will.  Let's take a walk and get away from this twat."

"Okay, man, let's go."  

We went out the main entrance of the hotel and turned left.  We walked along the sidewalk while Graham silently fumed.  I knew enough not to say anything until he'd calmed down.  I didn't know whether he was angry because Comstock had accused us both of being gay or whether it was the attack on gays in general that set him off.  But I didn't think this was the time to ask.

Comstock had obviously done it in the wrong place.  If my gaydar was worth anything at all, both of the big guys from the hotel staff were gay.  

"You know," I mused as we walked, "Marv and his wife must have known this tour was going to visit both Key West and South Beach.  I wonder why they signed up for it.  You don't suppose old Marv's a closet case, do you? "

He looked at me seriously and said, "I guess you never know."

And as we walked, we passed several restaurants, some upscale shops, and a couple of gay art galleries.  Or at least art galleries that seemed to have lots of paintings and statuary of male nudes.

After walking for several blocks, we came to a less posh section.  I spotted a shop that sold magazines, newspapers, post cards, and souvenirs.  To try to get his mind off the incident at the hotel, I practically pulled him inside.  And the place did indeed distract him.

Along one side was a ten-foot row of black and white postcards, all of male nudes.  Very naked male nudes, in fact.  Nothing pornographic, in that there were no stiffies involved, but there were all sorts of pictures of well-built guys with big schlongs.  

"I can't believe this," he said.  He stopped and was actually taking some out of their slots and examining them.  `Yes,' I said to myself, `the boy is definitely curious and probably gay.'  

While he was examining the postcards, I looked around the rest of the store.  Seeing something that didn't seem to fit into this kind of establishment, I moved closer.  It was two bins of pasta under glass covers.  Pasta in a tourist trap?  Then I saw the explanation.  One bin had pasta in the shape of women's boobs.  The other had pasta shaped like men's cocks and balls.  I was standing there trying to imagine what they'd look like when cooked.  And then I thought of serving Marv Comstock a plate of cooked genitals with alfredo sauce, and I chuckled.  Graham heard me and came to see what I was laughing at.  I merely pointed to them.

"Oh, Christ," he said, and burst out laughing.  "If me mum knew they had such things here, she'd never have let me come."  

I bought a couple of pounds of the "male" pasta to take back to Cleveland.  I couldn't wait to have a dinner party for a few well-chosen friends, with pasta as the main course.

Graham and I walked around for another hour, looking in lots of shop windows, occasionally going into a shop to look around.

As we were walking back to the hotel, Graham nudged me.  "Will?"

"Yeah, G?"

"Look at all the gay and lezzie couples holding hands.  Some of them are almost makin' out on the pavement."

"Dude, you're a little like Alice in Wonderland here.  The rules are different."

"Are there lots of places like this over here?"

"Depends on what you mean by `lots.'  Most big cities have their gay neighborhoods, but this is one of the best known.  The Village in New York and the Castro District in San Francisco are also pretty famous.  But unfortunately most places aren't so open and accepting."

"You know, Will, I wouldn't have said this a week ago, but this is, um, nice.  Why shouldn't people be able to show affection to someone they care for?"

"Well, I'm not too sure I agree with too much physical affection being shown in public, whether it's between straight couples or same-sex couples.  But I can't see why anyone would object to holding hands."

He seemed to be thinking about that.  

"You ready to start back to the hotel?" I asked.

"Um, yeah."

It was a mild evening, so totally unlike Cleveland in January that I wondered why I stayed in that snow-bound place.  I was relaxed, enjoying being where I was.  Enjoying being with this nice guy walking beside me.  And then he took my hand.  He never looked at me, but he held my hand until we arrived back at the entrance of the hotel when, apparently realizing where we were, he hastily dropped it.

Dorothy and Mamie were sitting in the lobby talking with another couple from the tour.  As we passed, Mamie looked at me and winked.  I think she'd seen Graham let go of my hand.

Up in the room, he excused himself to use the bathroom.  I flopped into one of the chairs and grabbed the TV remote.  When he came out, still studying the remote, I said to him, "Why don't you look in the fridge?"

"Why, do you think there'll be something in there?"

"Might be."

He opened it up.  And then, after a moment, "Awesome!  Beer!  And Guinness!  Oh, and there's some wine, here, too.  How did they know to do that?"  A pause.  "You clever bugger!  When did you arrange this?  This is brilliant!"  There was a cabinet next to the fridge with pilsner glasses and stemmed wine glasses.  He took the top off of one of the bottles and drank from it.  

"Oh, sorry.  I'll bet you'd like some wine.  Can I do it for you?"

"Is there a corkscrew in sight?"

"Oh, I dunno."

I went over and began to look in the drawers near the fridge.  We found one in the second drawer.  I opened the bottle and poured myself a glass of the chilled chardonnay.

We sat together on the sofa facing the television.  

We clinked glasses and he said, "Cheers, mate."

"Cheers, mate," I answered.

We sat there facing the blank TV screen, sipping our drinks in silence.

Finally he said, "Will."

"Yeah, bud?"

"You're a pretty nice bloke.  You've looked after me.  Arranging for the beer was another . . . um . . . very kind thing for you to do."

Recklessly, I put my hand on his arm.  "G, you're my friend.  I want you to enjoy this visit to our country.  So when I can do little things like that, I'm happy to."

"Willie, you're the best."

"Uh, Graham . . . "


"I don't want to spoil the moment, but please don't call me Willie."

"Oh, sorry mate.  Didn't mean to offend."

"I'm not offended.  I just hate to be called Willie.  It reminds me of when I was a kid and bigger kids at school called me `Little Willie," being sure that I understood they meant `little penis.'  It's no fun going through your childhood with a name that's synonymous with prick."

"Sorry.  I just noticed that you've been calling me `G,' and I wanted to have a special name for my new American mate."

"Do you mind being called `G'?"

"No.  I've never been called that before, but I think I like it."

"Hope you don't think I'm being a shit to object to you calling me Willie."

"Think nothing of it."

We still hadn't turned on the TV.  When I set down my empty wine glass, he put down his beer bottle and heaved a sigh.

I turned toward him to see if anything was the matter.

"I think I fancy being held again.  Would you mind?"

"I'd like that if you're sure you want to."

Even though he's a couple of inches taller than me, I put my arm around his shoulders.  He leaned over and put his head on my chest.  He sighed again.

He smelled wonderful.  He wasn't wearing aftershave or cologne or anything. It was just him.  I had the strong urge to stick my nose in his hair, but I didn't want to spook him again, so I just sat there with my arm around him.  His eyes were closed, and he looked so peaceful.  For an instant I thought I might love him.  But then I told myself it was just the tenderness of the moment.  I sat and watched his head rise and fall slowly from my breathing.  

Love?  Graham?  No way!  No doubt he was attractive.  With his handsome, boyish face and rugby player's body, he was a hunk.  He had a sunny disposition and enough charm to captivate a busload of people (well, except for the vile Comstocks).  He had guts, too, as he'd shown when he'd confronted Marv about his homophobic remarks.  Yet he was vulnerable.  For whatever reason, he'd begun to have doubts about his sexual orientation.

Yeah, I'd like to have sex with him.  Top, bottom, suck, whatever, I'd love to do it with this stud I was hugging.  But I wouldn't take advantage of his vulnerability.  I'd be his friend.  I'd be supportive.  If he wanted more, however, he'd have to tell me what he wanted.  And I'd make sure he knew what he was doing, that he really wanted it.

Inevitably I began to get an erection.  Oh shit!

He apparently had his eyes open and he saw the growing bulge in the khakis I'd changed into before dinner.  He chuckled.

"Do I do that to you, Will?"

"Well, uh, yeah."  I took my arm from his shoulder.  "Sorry."

"Don't be sorry, mate.  I think I like having that effect on you."

I stood.  "I think I'll have another glass of wine.  Can I bring you another beer?"

"Yeah, a Guinness, please."

We watched CNN for a while.  Then I found an episode of "Queer as Folk" on Showtime.  I told him briefly what it was about.

"Oh, right.  We had that show back home, but I never saw any of it.  Not in Mum's house!"  And of course, I wouldn't have watched a program about poofs."  He blushed.  "Sorry, Will, but, well, you know . . ."

I grinned and lifted my glass to him.  "G, it's okay."

He seemed to be fascinated by the program.  He was turned off by Emmett's nellyness, but as I made the occasional explanatory comment about the relationships between the others, he seemed to get into it.  And when there was a scene set in Babylon his eyes bugged out.  

"Are there really places like that?"

"Yeah.  Most of them aren't that big, but they're fairly common."

"Bloody hell!'

We went to bed after QAF finished.  Although neither of us said anything about it, I could feel his boner through the cotton of our pants as we hugged goodnight.

The next morning we were shaved, showered, and dressed for a day of sightseeing in and around Miami.  But it didn't quite turn out that way.

On the way to breakfast, I managed somehow to trip stepping off the elevator.  I twisted, trying to grab the elevator door and wound up on the floor with an ankle that hurt like hell.

I was surrounded at once by a crowd of concerned people, including several from our group and John the concierge.

"Are you okay?  Should we call 911?"

"It's my ankle.  I've twisted it."

Graham knelt at my feet.  "Which ankle, mate?"

"The right one."

He pulled off my right sneaker and began to feel my ankle.  He rubbed his hands up and down it.  If I hadn't been in so much pain, I might have enjoyed that.  Then he lightly moved my foot from side to side, up and down.  It hurt, but it wasn't excruciating.

"It's not broken," he said.  "If it had been, he'd be screaming."

There was a collective release of air from the curious crowd.

He turned to the concierge and said, "This is going to need ice and some strong pain killers.  Oh, and would you have a crape bandage we could use?"

I had my eyes closed, so I couldn't see John, but I could hear the puzzlement in his voice.  "A crape bandage?"

"I think he means an Ace bandage," I said through gritted teeth.

"Oh, certainly, no problem.  If you'd like to return to your room, I'll have everything sent up."

While he was gone, Graham and one of the hotel staffers helped me back onto the elevator and to our room.

Very quickly a different staffer knocked on the door.  When Graham opened it, the guy said, "The bag is full of ice.  If you need more, there's an ice machine in the vending room at the end of the hall."

Graham had me put my foot on the coffee table and he rested the ice bag on it.  I asked, "G, how come you know so much about all this?"

He grinned up at me and, so help me, pain and all, I did feel my dick begin to plump up.

"I've played rugby all me life, mate.  Sprained ankles are common.  I've had my share, so it's only natural I'd know how to take care of `em."  

The guy from the hotel had also brought a bottle of extra-strength Tylenol.  Graham had me take a couple of those.

"Now, Will, if you'll stay put there for a few minutes, I'll go get us some breakfast."

Like I was going anywhere.

Soon he was back carrying a tray with more food than I'd have eaten in three breakfasts.  Elevating the foot, using the ice, and taking the Tylenol had begun to lessen the pain.  I found I could eat a little.  What I didn't eat, Graham did.

When we'd finished, he helped me to the bathroom so I could brush my teeth.

When I was once more ensconced on the sofa with my foot on the coffee table, I said, "Damn, Graham, I'm sorry about all this.  But look, bud, you've done everything you could do, and I'm set.  Now you'd better go, or you'll miss the bus."

"Oh, I think I should stay here with you.  I can't just leave you like this, can I?"

"Yes, you can.  I can order room service for lunch, and I don't want you to miss out on the day's sightseeing.  Just hand me the remote and fetch that book on the bedside table.  I'll be fine."

He stuck his hands in his pockets and looked down at me, smiling.  "No, mate.  I can live without seeing a parrot jungle and those other places.  But how are you going to get to the loo when you have to pee?"

To be continued.