Let The World Go By
This is a story that involves sex between males. If such a story is offensive, or illegal for you to read where you live, then do not continue, go and surf elsewhere.
This is a work of fiction and in no way draws on the lives of any specific person or persons. If there is any similarity to any real persons or events it is entirely coincidental.
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Another chapter in James life comes to an end, and another begins.
Fire In Winter
The fall of 1973 ended early with a heavy, wet snowfall.
James dreaded the coming winter. had had stayed in a cheap hotel close to where he worked until he was able to find an apartment he could afford.
had had gathered all his clothes and what personal things he felt that he could handle, and moved into the apartment just before the first snows came. It wasn't large, but it served his needs for now, even though he suspected that had had have to move within a few months, since it was expensive that he have no money left over to do anything. But the rush to find something forced him to take it, even if it was just for now.
Every weekend had had get the paper and look for another place, nothing seemed to be available at the price that he could afford, and in a location that remotely convenient for him.
Elaine had filed for separation, and a court appearance was required to set up the legal paperwork. He had hoped that they could get through all this without both of them getting an attorney. Her attorney contacted him and strongly suggested that he retain one also. He also suggested that he begin thinking about some sort of settlement. James did write of a proposal of what he felt might be a fair settlement of the property and the money which they had, and sent it to her attorney.
At the urging of her parent, Elaine took a vacation. They stayed with the children while she was away. James visited both of the weekends that she was gone.
Tommy, now sixteen, was dating a girl had had met at a church related function. Neither Elaine nor James had met her.
"Hello, James," it was Elaine's mother.
"Yes? Is something wrong with the children?" James quickly asked. It was the middle of the workday, and Elaine wasn't due back from Spain until the end of the week.
"Not, really. I just got a call from a Mrs. Holton. She says that she's the mother of Tommy's girl friend, Jeanne. It seems that Jeanne is pregnant."
"And she thinks that Tommy's the father?" James asked.
"Yes, from what she's said, it's quite likely. And she would like to get together with you and Elaine and talk about it."
"What did you tell her?" James asked.
"I told her that Elaine would be back this weekend. She asked if I would leave the message for Elaine and get in touch with you."
"Well, I'm not sure what can be done about it, but I'm glad that you called. Thank you."
The following Monday, he found a message on his desk after lunch. It was from Elaine asking him to call.
The conversation was very brief, if not very cordial. She asked him not to attend the meeting with the Holton girl's parents. At first he was surprised, but then he realized that Elaine felt that if he attended, he would somehow be able to use the situation to his advantage, and she would be found to be at fault. But if he wasn't there, then the blame could be placed on him. Oh well, he thought, why not, everything else is?
Wednesday night the phone rang. James picked it up, "Hello?" he said.
"Hello, Dad. This is Tommy."
"Hi, Tommy. How are you doing?" James asked, knew from the sound of his voice, that some was definitely wrong.
"Not too good. Can we meet somewhere to talk?"
"Sure," James looked at his watch, "Where?"
"How about across from the bank on Broadway and Rocky Road?"
"Okay," James said and calculated how long it would take him to get there. "It's eight-thirty now, say about nine o'clock?"
"Great, Dad. See you then!" Tommy sounded better already.
James put on his shoes and grabbed a sweater. He put it on and then his jacket. He turned out the lights, and hurried out the door, locking it behind him.
The drive was filled with questions, which James tried to anticipate. He really couldn't see answers to most of them.
Tommy was standing on the corner with his hands in his pockets, huddled against the cold wind that was blowing snow in swirling patterns in the street.
"Hi Dad, thanks for coming." Tommy climbed in and shut the door.
"Hi there. Boy you look cold. I'll turn up the heat for a minute while you warm up."
"Dad, they won't let us get married!" Tommy started with the big one. The one problem that James hadn't really considered.
"Well," James said, "Frankly I hadn't thought about that possibility." He paused and then said, "You tell me a little about what you think."
"That's the whole thing!" Tommy was close to tears, "Nobody's even going to listen to what I have to say!" He was angry.
"I'm listening, Tommy. Doesn't that count?" James drove slowly looking for someplace where they could get inside to talk. He spotted a restaurant and pulled in.
"Jeanne and I both want to get married. She's through with high school, and I've got just one more year. We figured that she could work until she had the baby.
"In the meantime, I'd a part time job. See the baby's due in July, and everything would work out just right."
"Where would you live?" James began playing the devil's advocate.
"Well, I'd live at home until school was out, to save money, and Jeanne would too. Then we'd get an apartment together."
"Well, that sounds okay," James said. "What's the problem?"
"Well, Mom won't hear of it. She doesn't like Jeanne. She won't sign the papers so we can get married. And I won't be eighteen until January next year, after the baby's born."
"Maybe things will change between now and then. Maybe she'll change her mind. I mean, it's a whole year away."
"But, Mom says that if I move in with Jeanne before I'm eighteen, she won't sign the papers!"
"I see," James said. That was a problem. She had all the cards it seemed. "What do Jeanne's parents think of all this?"
"They agree with Mom, about us being too young to get married. They want Jeanne to give up the baby, and won't let me see her again, until after the baby's born."
"That doesn't seem right to me." James said. "How are they going to prevent it?"
"They're getting a court order saying that I have to pay for the cost of the baby, and one that says I can't see Jeanne at all until I'm eighteen."
"That's pretty terrible!"
"Yeah, and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it!" Tommy pounded his fist on the table.
"Easy, Tommy," James cautioned. "I agree, it is pretty awful. And I think your plan could work, if everything went the way you wanted it to.
"But there is the matter of the law. I'm not saying that I agree with all of it, but there are reasons why it is the way it is." James hesitated. He had to say it in a way that wouldn't hurt Tommy's feelings.
"Let me tell you why I think it's good for you.
"First of all, you're still sixteen, and still in school. Technically you are dependent on your parents until you're eighteen. And the law protects those rights for you. You see once you're married, you don't have those rights, and this would include, just living with Jeanne, even if you're not married.
"You see, Jeanne is already eighteen, she's got different responsibilities, she can get married anytime she wants to now, and her parents can't force her to live at home. But as long as she does, they can prevent you from seeing her. Does that make sense?" James asked.
"You mean, that if she didn't live with them, they couldn't prevent me from seeing her?" Tommy asked.
"No, there's nothing they could do. But what they're trying to do is to keep you from having to marry her, when you're not ready to. I really don't think they care if she gets married or not, they just don't want you to suffer as a result of her bad mistake."
"You mean, they think that she's just trying to get at them, through me?"
"Yes, that's probably what they think. And as long as she remains living with them, they'll be right in thinking that way, and right now I'd say that I agree with them on that. Otherwise she would have moved out."
"But she says that she really loves me," Tommy protested.
"Well maybe, maybe not," James hesitated.
"How can I know for sure?" Tommy asked.
"You can't, Tommy, you really can't. But you can use what you know to help you find out."
"If you're right about this, then she may just be using me to hurt her parents."
"You see, Tommy, if she really loved you and wanted to get married, all she would have to is move out and live on her own, and then you could do whatever you wanted to, live together and go on seeing her, and eventually get married when you're eighteen. And nobody could say anything about it.
"But as long as she lives at home, they can prevent all of this."
"So," Tommy said, "It looks like I have to talk to Jeanne then, doesn't it?"
"It surely does, Tommy."
"Wow! Thanks, Dad." Tommy smiled, "I'm glad I called you. For a while today, I was just going to run away and take Jeanne with me. We'd go to some state where we could get married in January, and just leave all this garbage behind.
"But now it looks like that would have been a bad plan, especially if what everyone thinks about Jeanne is true."
"That wouldn't have been the worst thing you could have done, but it certainly would have been the best, either."
"I'll talk to Jeanne tomorrow and see what she has to say about it," Tommy smiled. They got up after they finished their coffees, and James drove Tommy back to the house where they'd lived for so many years. The lights were still on in the bedroom that he and Elaine had shared, and the porch light was still on.
Somehow the house looked different now, now that he wasn't living there. It sat in the shadows of several large trees huddled against the cold winds and snow. Tommy got out and ran up the walk. He turned around and waved to James. Then Tommy did something had had never done before, he blew James a kiss. He hoped that his dad had seen it, and would understand that he loved him very much, even though he couldn't say it. Then he turned and went inside.
James did see it, and indeed he did understand what it meant. He wished that so many things were different. But they weren't and no amount of wishing would make it so. The past was gone, and no matter what the future brought, it could take away the good times that he and Elaine had shared together. Maybe someday she would see that what she was doing now, was not the best that she could have done. Maybe somehow, they could have worked out things, so that they could have remained together. But James was glad in many ways, to be free of the past, free to live as he probably should have always lived, without the burdens of having to pretend that he was something that he was not, to pretend that what he was, and what he felt was not true.
To be continued
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