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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Once again I want to thank all of you who have sent me comments about the story. I know that I have not answered all of the e-mails — please forgive me.
Fire In Winter
James walked slowly down the walk from the entrance to the Mortuary. He was glad that that task was done. All day he'd been dreading it. He never done anything like it before, and hadn't the vaguest idea of how it was done. But now that it was over, he realized how simple it was.
First the director had talked to him, and asked him some questions about when and where the service was to be held, then he showed him the selection of caskets, carefully pointing out the features of each. Then he asked about a service at the mortuary and visitation. Since Jim was a Mason, they'd have that service, and visitation following. The announcement would be printed in the paper. Visitation and service would be Friday evening. It was all arranged.
It was cloudy now, and a light snowfall had begun. James turned on the radio as he drove back to the house. The weather forecast was not good. But nothing could be done about it, so he wouldn't worry too much about it.
When he got to the house, Ben was carrying the last of the groceries in from his car. James surveyed the bags of groceries standing in the kitchen. He'd done a good job. Everything that was needed was there. Even wine and liquor.
They put the things away. The doorbell chimed and James went to the door. It was the girls. God, he thought, Just what I need, a couple of weepy women on my hands!
He opened the door and let them in. He could see that they'd been crying, but now there were no tears. They were polite, offering condolences, all the while looking around. What's this all about, he wondered?
He explained about the services, both mortuary and church, and said he hoped that they could attend. They told him that they would bring food for the day of the funeral. James had forgotten about that! Well, he figured, the neighbors would help with that no doubt.
He and Ben discussed the situation and then Ben made a phone call down to the girls. He knew them, and asked them to coordinate what was going to be brought. They were pleased, and told him not to worry, they'd handle it.
James decided that he'd call his mother. She'd met Jim one Sunday afternoon when James' father was out of town. She was shocked, of course, and told him that she'd come and make sure the kitchen ran smoothly, whatever the crowd turned out to be. James had no idea. On a Saturday, who could even imagine.
It grew dark and snow began to accumulate. Ben went out and shoveled the sidewalk. The phone rang occasionally with someone calling to offer condolences. Sparkle called crying and she that she'd come and clean if he needed it. He thanked her and asked to wait, told her that she could come after the guests had left.
Steve drove up and parked several houses down the block. He greeted Ben on the sidewalk, but didn't stop to talk, he only knew of Ben, but have never been introduced. James let him in.
"I'm so sorry to hear of Jim's passing," he said. "If there's anything that I can do...."
"Thanks, Steve. I appreciate you dropping by, and I will be calling you if I need anything," James said.
Steve hugged him warmly. "Even if it's just to talk."
"Thanks, Steve." They shook hands and Steve left.
Charles' wife called, and said that Charles would stop by later, but he couldn't even talk about it right now.
Ben came in from shoveling.
"Was that Steve?" Ben asked.
"Yes, wasn't that nice of him to come by?" James smiled.
"What's he up to? He have the hots for you or what?"
"Ben!" James was shocked.
"I'm sorry, but it seems so strange that he'd make a special trip on a day like today."
James had thought so too, but it didn't mean anything like that! Surely!
"I'm going to run over to my apartment and get some clothes and stuff. I need to get my mail too," Ben said. I'll be gone a couple of hours what with this weather, so don't worry, I will be back."
"Okay, Ben," James said.
"Oh, and eat something. I'll get a bite on my way."
"Sure, I'll do that," James said, "Be careful on the highway."
"I will," Ben said and left. James looked at his watch, it was seven o'clock. He wasn't hungry but he fixed a sandwich and drank a glass of milk.
He was rinsing out the glass at the sink, when there was a knock at the back door.
It was Steve.
"Is he gone?" Steve asked.
"Come on it, you're soaked." James stepped aside and let him in. Steve stomped his feet and walked in.
"I didn't want to stay too long with him here. I know that Jim liked him, but I never cared for him." Steve said taking off his shoes.
"Why's that?" James asked. I might as well find out now, as later, he thought to himself.
"He was always after Jim's money, that's why." Steve sounded angry.
"But Jim didn't have any money?" James protested.
"Not now, maybe," Steve said, "He sure was when Jim had a few dollars. Wanted to move in with him, he did. And would have too if Charles hadn't put a stop to it. He came on to me once, too!"
"I'm surprised," James said. "Would you like something to drink?"
"Sure, anything strong!" Steve said. James fixed Steve a bourbon and they went into the living room and sat down.
"Jim ever tell you that we carried on?" Steve asked.
"No, not really. I sort of guessed that it might have happened, though," James said lighting a cigarette.
"Well, we did. It was right after he bought the house. I used to do work for the people he bought it from, so when Jim moved in, I came over one day, and he hired me. Paid me well too, he did," Steve to a sip of his drink.
"I see," James said.
"How come you and Jim never got together then?" James asked.
"He wanted me to, but I was already engaged to get married, so I couldn't. But we surely had a good time the few times we got a chance. He liked to suck my cock something fierce, he did."
"Really?" James said, and asked himself, so where's this going?
"Yeah. But he couldn't take it the other way, too tight, but he wanted to."
James nodded, that he knew about, but it was possible, they'd proved that just a few days ago.
Steve took another sip of liquor; he was groping himself now, and getting a hard-on. James felt strange.
"So, Steve," he asked, "Why'd you come back here tonight?"
"Oh, I just came back to warn you about Ben. I didn't want him to do anything to hurt you or Jim's memory."
"I appreciate it, Steve," James said, "I really do." James stood up. Maybe he'd get the idea, James thought.
"And, please, Steve, do come back real soon, and we can talk again."
"Oh, I will, James, I surely will." Steve stood up and walked over to him. He hugged him tightly, pressing his cock against James' leg. James felt a little uncomfortable about the situation and was glad when Steve left.
James sat down in the sun-porch after making up the bed into a sofa. He'd forgotten about it, and was glad that he had come out and discovered it before Ben returned.
The phone rang. "I wish it would stop!" he said getting up to answer it. He looked at the time, it was eight o'clock. "Hello."
"Yes, James is that you?"
"This is Charles, are you alone?"
"Yes, I am, Charles. How are you doing?"
"I'm better thank you. May I come up?"
"Sure, I should be alone for an hour or so yet."
"I'll be right up. I'm at a phone booth a couple of blocks away." Charles hung up, and James went back to the sofa.
"What is it with these people?" He said out loud.
The doorbell sounded and he went and let Charles in.
"I feel awful," Charles said. "You don't know badly I feel for you."
"Thank you, Charles," James said. Charles' eyes were still red and puffy from crying.
"I hope you don't think I'm terrible coming over like this. But I didn't want to run into anyone, least of all, Ben."
"He seems to be real popular among Jim's friends, you're the second one in an hour, who's not a friend of his."
"Oh," Charles said, sounding a little taken-aback, "Who was that?"
"It doesn't really matter," James said. "Come in, Charles and have a seat. Can I get you something to drink?"
"Yeah," Charles smiled a little, "I could use a bourbon."
"With water, isn't it?" James said.
"That's right, how did you know?"
"I lived with Jim, remember?"
"Here you are, Charles," James said handing Charles a glass. "Let's go in the living room and sit a while."
The two men walked into the living room of their recently deceased friend.
"I remember how he liked to sit in front of the fireplace," Charles said, "and watch the flames and listen to the sound of wood crackling."
"But he hated the mess it made," James said quickly.
They both laughed softly and were silent.
"James?" Charles asked, "You know that Jim had a will, don't you?"
"Did he ever talk about it? I mean tell you what all was in it?"
"Oh," James said, "Yes, we told in general terms about it, but he never mentioned anything specific, like who was to get what, if that's what you're asking."
"It's none my business, you understand," Charles explained, "But if the will wasn't up to date, you would stand to be the big looser in all this."
"What are you saying, Charles."
"I mean, if Jim's will wasn't updated after you came to live with him, you would probably fair better if there were no will found."
"Really?" James didn't know about such things, but in any case, there was a will, and nothing was going to change that.
"What I'm saying, James is this. And I don't want to know anything about it. If there is a will, and you have access to it, read it and see if you're in it. If you're not, destroy it. If someone else produces a will, contest it. In other words, James, fight for it. You're entitled.
"Jim loved you very much. And I know that he would want you to have what he had to give you. Don't let it all go for nothing." Charles put his hand on James' arm was he talked. "Don't give it up without a fight."
"Don't worry, Charles. Jim took care of everything, I'm sure." James said. He wished he could be so sure, however. "But whatever happens, Charles, everyone will get what they've got coming to them, in the end."
"I hope you're right, James. Some people are not going to be too happy with the outcome, especially if it goes your way."
"I know, Charles, I know. I'm the new kid, just after the old man's money. I know that's how some people see me. And I can't help that, Charles, it wasn't true, and it isn't true now." James paused a moment, "Besides, Charles, you know Jim. He had more debts than money anyway."
"Oh," Charles said smiling a little, "You did know him, didn't you."
"Yes," James said, "I knew him, probably better than most."
"I guess that I better get out of here," Charles said.
"Do come back again, Charles," James said. "That short visit we had this fall was fun. I'd like to hear more about your trips to Europe with Jim."
"I'll do that, James." Charles got up and walked toward the door. James opened it. "Take care of yourself, James. And remember, watch'em."
"Thanks, Charles. I will." They shook hands and Charles walked down the steps to his car. The snowing had stopped now, and it was warm out. James was glad. He closed the door and walked back into the living room.
He sat on the sofa and starred into the empty fireplace. He remembered something that Jim had told him shortly after he'd moved in.
"James, I wish that I had known you when I was younger. You've come to me when my fire is almost out. But, James, remember, fire is warmest in winter when you need it that most."
And now, he thought, The fire is out. He's gone, and no matter what anyone does or says, he's gone forever, just like the fire we had in the fireplace at Christmas, just a memory.
James got up and walked into the kitchen. He looked at the kitchen table where they had begun their last meal together. He recalled how Jim loved to joke and laugh, how he enjoyed eating. It he had one passion, it was food, James thought, and then as soon as he'd thought it, he changed it. His passion, his only real passion was people. He loved getting together with people, all kinds of people and having a good time with them.
That surely was evidenced tonight by the variety who had stopped by for whatever their reasons. Some to be nosy, some to do good, some to stir up trouble, some to take advantage. All kinds.
James smiled as he recalled Jim at the table at Christmas. Lifting his glass high in a toast. "To my friends," he said, "All my friends, some who are not here today to help us celebrate with this bountiful meal. But especially my dear friend, James. Without him I'd be just an old fuddy-duddy sitting alone in this house." Jim's eyes glistened, James remembered, as he continued, "And who do you suppose created this meal? Merry Christmas," he had said with a twinkle in his eye, "Merry Christmas to all my friends."
James turned and walked out to the kitchen.
The End Part 3
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