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.
The work is copyrighted by the author and may not be reproduced in any form without the specific written permission of the author. It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.
Once again I want to thank all of you who have sent me comments about the story.
Fire In Winter
Randy and James spent the whole weekend together celebrating their reunion. They vowed they'd keep in touch this time. But each knew that it would only be for a short time, a few months at best. It was difficult, unless one saw the other person, to keep a friendship going through the mail. Randy would be coming back to Minneapolis again, though most likely, Linda would be coming with him, and he and James would have no chance to get together. Still they could promise, and it would hurt no one to do so.
James drove Randy to the airport on Friday evening, and they had a cocktail in the lounge before he got on his plane. It had been an enjoyable week for both men. Each with his own set of problems, a short diversion from the day-to-day existence they shared in common.
James was relaxed when he drove back to the city. He felt comforted by the experience. None of the urgent need he'd previously felt was with him. He could be alone now, for a while, and not have the pangs of the hunger that would not die, at least for a while.
He did stop at the bar after driving around for several minutes to find a spot to park. For a Friday it was not a busy as it usually was. Then he looked at his watch, it was early. He bought his drink and went back to the booth to relax. Soon enough, he would have to give it up, or share it with strangers.
"Hello," a voice said.
James looked up. A short stocky man was standing near by the booth.
"Hello," James smiled back.
"Are you alone?" the man asked.
"Yes, won't you join me?" James asked.
"Thank you, I'd like that," extending his hand he said, "My name's James Hydon Bacon, my friends call me Jim."
"I'm James," he responded as they shook hands.
"Pleased to meet you, James," Jim said sitting down.
James was studying the man sitting opposite him. He wore a hat, which he took off when he sat down, revealing gray hair, thinning at the front and a little more at the center of the back. Wire rim glasses perched on the end of his nose obviously used for reading, James thought, as situated where they were, did little to improve his vision. >From the look of his clothes, he was a man used to the finer things in life, but who had a year or more ago, had his financial situation take a downturn.
"I've seen you in here several time," Jim said, "And always wanted to talk with you. But each time I got ready to introduce myself, either you were busy, or on your way out."
"I'm sorry," James said, "That it's been that way. I don't recall having seen you here before."
"Of course," Jim said. "I don't expect that most people your age would." Jim was blunt to a fault perhaps.
"I'm sorry," James said, "It's got nothing to do with your age, Sir."
"I see," Jim said, his eyes twinkled as he found he'd rankled James' ire a bit.
"It's just you look so dignified," James caught the twinkle and understood its meaning, and so continued the game.
"Ah hah! You don't like successful people then?"
"No, that's not it at all! I just don't enjoy people throwing their money at me, I guess." James smiled, just a bit.
"Well, James, that you won't have to worry yourself any when you're with me," Jim chortled, "I never throw my money around," he paused, "At least not until I get to know you."
"I glad of that!" James was smiling fully now. He was enjoying his conversation with this man, he thought, He has a sense of humor that I can deal with.
"I'd offer to buy you a drink," Jim said, "But you'd be offended!"
James looked at his glass tipping it slightly, "Thank you, I'd like that."
"It's a screwdriver, isn't it?"
"That's right," James smiled.
Jim got up and went to the bar. He returned a few minutes later carrying two glasses.
"Thank you, Jim," James said taking the glass held out to him.
"You're most welcome," Jim answered setting his own on the table before returning to his seat.
"So, James, tell me about yourself," Jim said when he'd taken a sip of his fresh drink.
"Nothing much to tell," James said. I hate it when someone says that to me, he thought.
"I'm sure there is much to tell from what I've seen." Jim laughed.
"Well, that you'll have to find out some other way," James retorted.
"I'll do that indeed, some time," Jim returned.
"Well," James began, "I'm recently separated, have four children, and basically that's it. I work for a computer company in St. Paul, and I live over on La Salle."
"I see," Jim paused as he digested what James had told him. "You're not one of those people who constantly talks about themselves."
"Well, not usually." James was puzzled as to where this conversation was leading. "Occasionally, I get into that kind of mood."
"Good! I hate people whom I call the I-My." Jim said.
"I-My? Hmmm," James said. "I never heard that description before, but I guess it's accurate."
"You must be the patient listener type," Jim said.
"Most of the time, I guess," James said, "But not always. Sometimes I get bored with just listening, and still don't to talk about myself."
"How do you handle that situation, then?" Jim asked.
"Well," James thought, "You see that man over there, the one in the blue sweater?"
Jim looked, which took James out of his field of vision.
James quickly stood up and started to leave.
Jim looked back and James was walking away. He smiled and took a sip of his drink.
James turned around and walked back to where Jim was still seated.
"May I join you?" James asked.
"But, of course," Jim said.
"I don't very often use that technique, but when all else fails, it works."
"I'll have to remember that, although I can't move as fast as you do, it'll still probably work." Jim was pleased. James was just the sort of person he liked, direct and honest, open, but not too expansive.
"What is it, Jim?" James asked, "That made you want to talk to me?"
Jim laughed, "You're too much! That's a very direct question, which if I answered the same way would embarrass both of us.
"Let's just say the I like the way you look. Now that doesn't make it a lie and it doesn't make me feel uncomfortable either." Jim answered.
"You'd be embarrassed to tell me that you wanted to have sex with me?" James asked.
"I would," Jim answered truthfully, "But I suppose some people wouldn't be."
"You're wrong, Jim," James said, "Most people would be, at least that's been my observation.
"However, if the question were rephrased, let's say," James paused, "To 'Are you with someone?' or 'Are you alone?' or 'What are you up to?' or some such less direct question, people will answer it the same way that they would if the question were 'Are you interested in me?'"
"I suppose you're right, James," Jim said, "But the result is not as awkward, or at least, not usually."
"Yes, unless the person answering doesn't really understand the question, then you can have a problem."
"Suppose you asked me if I were alone, and I said yes," James said, "Would you understand that to mean that I was willing to have sex with you?"
"Not hardly," Jim said. "But then I never mean that when I ask that question."
"But," James said looking directly, smiling, "Your eyes said that."
"Did they indeed!" Jim laughed, "Well, then, did you answer the question honestly?"
"Maybe," James said. They both laughed. The conversation was going nowhere in particular, but they were both enjoying the jousting. As the evening progressed they both learned a little more about each other, slowly and easily, without either of them feeling that the other was prying, or that the other was being evasive either. It was just the sort of information one friend was telling another without worrying about whether or not it was to be used for some purpose or other.
Jim was, James learned, retirement age, but didn't want to retire, as he couldn't really afford to. He owned a house in Minneapolis, which wasn't paid for, and which needed to be refinanced next year. He worked for the county as the Senior Jury Clerk. He'd been to England two times in the last ten years. He'd dabbled in the over-the-counter stock market, made quite a lot of money, and then lost most of it when one of the companies he'd invested in went bankrupt. He rented rooms in his house occasionally to help with the payments. He'd had a boyfriend for several years, who got married and left him. He loved dogs and for some time had owned several different animals, but didn't right now.
Jim learned an equally interesting amount of information about James. He liked what he'd learned, and hoped that a friendship might develop. Yes, he'd like to sleep with him, but no, he wasn't going to ask.
James, on the other hand, hadn't decided yet whether or not he wanted to. And he knew that was his decision, and he would have to make the move on that question too.
The time arrived when Jim decided that he would go home. He wanted to invite James to his house, but couldn't do that directly. Perhaps another time.
"Well, James," he said. "I've thoroughly enjoyed our conversation tonight."
"I have too," James said. "You're going to leave?"
"Yes, it's been a long day. I have to catch the bus home, before the last one leaves." Jim said.
"I see," James said, then added, "If you wanted to stay longer, I could drop you off. I don't live far from where you do."
"That's very kind of you," Jim smiled, "But I should be getting home anyway."
"You're sure?" James asked.
"Yes, thank you, perhaps another time," Jim stood up and extended his hand to James. James stood up and they shook hands.
Jim left and walked to the bus-stop.
James waited around awhile, and finding nothing of interest decided to go home too.
The next evening James returned to The Hour at nine o'clock. He looked to see if Jim were there. He wasn't and James felt letdown, as if Jim had promised to be there and wasn't. He tried to get the feeling out of his mind. He didn't quite know why Jim interested him so much. Certainly it wasn't because his was the kind he'd like to carry-on with, or that he had money. Jim wasn't his type, and didn't have money either. He just was interesting to him, and that was something that James hadn't encountered before.
James was well into his second drink before he was interrupted from his depression.
"You're looking mighty depressed tonight," A voice from behind him said. James looked to see Jim standing just behind him.
"Good evening, Jim," he said.
"Good evening to you, James."
"I was hoping that you come here tonight," James beamed. "I thought you might be here too,"
Jim said, "I usually don't come here on Saturdays, it's too ... whatever it is."
They laughed and tried to find somewhere to sit and talk, but all the booths were taken, as well as the bar stools. They were going to have to stand.
"If you don't mind," Jim said, "We can go somewhere else and talk."
"I'd like that," James said.
"Good," Jim said. "You're driving?"
"Very well," Jim smiled, "If you don't think that I'm trying to lure you to my bedroom, we can go to my place. It's much more comfortable than here."
"I'll worry about that later," James answered lightheartedly.
"Good, let's go." They left the bar and went to where James had parked his car. The short drive to Jim's house was over before they realized it.
"Just drive around the back and you can park in the drive," Jim said as they pulled up in front of his house and found there wasn't a parking spot there.
"Okay," James said. He went up to the end of the block, turned right, and then right again into the alley. Slowly he drove through the alley until he found the correct driveway.
"Okay," Jim said. "Let me get my keys." Jim got out his key holder and climbed out of the car. James went around the car and followed Jim up the steps and the walk to the house.
The white story and a half sat just off the front sidewalk, leaving most of the land in back of the house. The lawn slopped to the back, and ended at the garage. A stone retaining wall had steps going up to the lawn from both the drive and the garage. Lights were on inside, both upstairs and down.
Jim unlocked the back door and went inside. A half bath was to the right hand side as they came in. A stairway led to the basement directly inside the door. Just to the left was the kitchen. A light hung over the kitchen table and was the light that they saw from the outside.
Jim led James from the kitchen through the dining room to the living room, passing the front entrance and the stairway going to the second floor. Standing just inside the living room was a black grand piano. To the right of the piano was a stone-mantled fireplace. At the end of the living room were doors leading to another room. A lamp in that room was the other light they'd seen from the outside. In the far end of the room a stereo softly played music.
"I always leave these lights on, and the music too. That way it doesn't seem so empty when I come home," Jim explained.
"It's lovely," James said, "Very nice indeed."
"Thank you, I'm glad you like it." Jim took off his coat and went back to the hall closet and hung it up.
James waited and when Jim came back asked, "You play?"
"A little," Jim answered.
"With a piano like that, I'm sure it's more than a little." James said.
"Well, not really. I saw it, and I wanted it. And at the time, money wasn't a problem for me. The woman who owned it, needed the money, so I bought it from her."
"It's very nice." James said.
"You play, don't you?" Jim asked.
"Yes, but only a little too." James smiled.
"What would you like? I'm afraid I don't have vodka right at the moment. May I offer you some wine?" Jim asked.
"That would be fine."
"Okay." Jim started to leave, "Oh, make yourself comfortable. We'll sit in the sun-porch." James walked through the living room to the sun-porch. He took off his jacket and laid it across a chair that stood inside the room. Then he sat down on the sofa.
Jim returned with two glasses filled with wine. He handed one to James, who stood up when he came in.
"Please, don't do that," Jim said. "I'm not the Pope or anything!" his eyes sparkled.
"Thank you," James said taking a glass from his hand.
They sat down and Jim said, "To friends." He lifted his glass and touched James'.
"Yes, to friends." James returned.
The conversation was slow and easy, as they explored each other. This time it was Jim who learned more about James. He was pleased that he was much older than he looked. Younger men, he thought, are so frivolous.
James relaxed as began to feel more at ease, and he told Jim about all the things that were bothering him, and the things that he'd tried to understand about himself, now that he was on the verge of being divorced. The things he wanted to do with his life, of how he hoped he'd find someone to share his life with, and all the trivial things he thought of as they talked.
Jim refilled their glasses, and suggested that he show James the upstairs as long as there was a lull in the conversation. They walked up the carpeted stairway and James saw that there were three bedrooms. Two smaller ones on the right and one larger room on the left, with a bath at the opposite end from the stairway between them. Only the door to the large room was open.
"That room's Lyle's, and we can't look inside just now, he may be home," Jim said as they went passed it. "The large room here is mine." Inside James saw two single beds, with a desk, a dresser, and a chest of drawers, all matching pieces. Several odd pieces, tables and small chairs also were in the room.
"The other room," Jim said as they walked back through the hallway, "Is empty now, since Charles moved to California." He opened the door and turned on the light. The smallest of the three bedrooms had a slightly larger than a single bed, and both a dresser and chest as well of dark oak wood.
"It's very nice." James said. "Do you plan on renting it again?" he asked.
"Perhaps," Jim said, "I'd like to, but it's so hard to find someone you can depend on, also someone you can trust, as there's only one way in here."
"I suppose it is," James said.
"What I'd like to do," Jim said, "Is find someone, like yourself perhaps, who's stable and just wants a place to stay, and doesn't need to be in-and-out all the time, with tricks, and all that."
"I worry, even with Lyle about that. He brings home the damnedest people sometimes."
They went back downstairs again and sat in the living room. James looked at his watch, it was eleven-forty-five.
"I should be getting back," James said.
Jim looked at his watch, "I suppose. It is getting late."
He paused, moment thinking. "Do you like going to brunch?"
"I haven't been in a while," James answered.
"How about joining me tomorrow then, say about twelve or so?" Jim asked.
"I'd like that," James answered.
"It's settled then," Jim smiled. "You can pick me up here about twelve and we'll go to my favorite place."
"It's a deal," James said, "But only if we go Dutch."
"If you insist," Jim answered.
"Good night then," Jim got up and picked up James jacket handing it to him.
"Good night, Jim. I've enjoyed this very much." James said. He leaned over and kissed Jim on the cheek lightly. Jim responded doing the same, only he had to stand up on tiptoes to accomplish it.
To be continued
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