Smile Upon Me...
I slowly returned to the conscious world when I felt the bed move next to me. In the half-daze of waking up, I asked myself if I'd invited someone in, and wondered if she was a cutie. Then I opened my eyes, wincing at the early morning light, and I could make out Nate's silhouette against the window. Memories flooded back, and I knew exactly where I was, and who was with me. Nate was moving out of bed slowly, gently, doing his best not to wake me up. Well up on his feet, he made a dash for the door, and as his body was bathed in the greyish morning light, I saw the reason for his haste. Bad case of morning wood, straining to lift the tight briefs away from his crotch. Yawning, I rolled over to lie on my side, and closed my eyes again. I felt a weak urge to use the bathroom myself, but it wasn't enough to get me hard. Thoughts returned to the sight of the near-naked Nate. He had been what, fifteen cm? Sixteen? Less than me, I thought, grinning as I returned to a light snooze. I dreamt of my first girlfriend, Jenny. We were inside a huge barn, kissing and cuddling, generally making out. I heard cows mooing below us, and I could even feel the hay that rubbed against my back. The only problem was that I had never even been inside a barn like that. Aware of this, I slipped into some weird kind of lucid dreaming, knowing fully well that nothing was real. Still, I kept fondling Jenny, rubbing her soft breasts and feeling her inexperienced hands run down my chest, my stomach, and into my trousers. I nuzzled her cheeks as she stroked me, and I could feel my orgasm rising. I was so close, it was only a matter of seconds. Then my dream-self caught on, realising that whatever he did would affect the real world, as well, and I felt a cold wave of dread surge through me, at the same time as a jolt of electricity emanated from my groin. My dream-self pushed Jenny away, and I forced myself to wake up as quickly as possible. To no avail. As I sat up, the first throes of passion racked me, and I knew I was making a mess in my boxers. Muttering curses, I sat up in the bed, tossing the bed cover aside. Yup, true enough, I was soaked. Any moment now, it would seep through the cotton fabric and into the sheets. I looked around, but Nate wasn't there, to my great relief. Through the open bedroom door came the smells of breakfast; coffee, eggs and bacon, and crisp-burnt toast, all mixing now with the scent of my own semen. Hoping that Nate would keep busy for another couple of seconds, I sprinted towards the bathroom, naturally colliding with my new-found friend in the hall. We met chest to chest, both losing breath. I managed to grab his arm before he fell over, but as a result I lost balance, too, and ended up on my back, with him on top of me. His elbow struck me in the ribs, and I grunted with pain. At the same time, I felt his thigh against my still-sensitive groin, and my penis immediately went back to full attention. Nate rolled off me with a worried look on his face. He helped me sit up, and laid his hand on my shoulder.
"Damn, Chris, are you all right?"
"Fine," I managed. "Just lost a bit of wind."
"What were you going in such a hurry?" he asked, unconsciously wiping at the wet spot on his trousers. Then he looked at his fingers, and at my tented crotch, and a wicked grin spread on his lips. "Or were you coming...?"
"I had an accident, Nate," I stammered, blushing feverishly. "A dream turned awry. Can I go to the bathroom now, please?"
"Sure." He removed his hand, as if he'd forgotten it was there. "Breakfast is ready, that's why I was coming to get you."
"I'll be right there."
My boxers were beyond rescue, and would need a good cleaning before I could wear them again. After a very quick shower, washing myself where needed, I looked around for a towel, and something to wear. To my dread, I saw that the towel rack was empty, and I realised that my terry robe was still in the bedroom. There was a hint of trepidation as I called for Nate to save me, explaining my situation through the locked door.
"Are you sure there are no more towels?" he asked. "I could've sworn..."
"Nothing better than toilet paper."
"Did you consider...?"
"Dressing up as the Mummy? No way!"
"Might be fun," he laughed. "Well, there are clean towels in the bedroom closet."
"Nate, you're not saying I should..."
"Don't fret if you drip on the floor, it's due for a good cleaning, anyway."
"Nate, I won't run naked through your apartment!"
"But you'll need your robe..."
"Please, Nate, won't you get it for me? Pretty please?"
"Nope, this is far too much fun."
"I'll get back at you, even if it kills me! Nate, I won't go into the bedroom like this!"
"Then you'll break your fast in the buff? Just don't spill bacon fat in that lovely chest hair of yours."
It was no use, he just wouldn't give in. To him, it was all a joke, a way to catch a glimpse of my naked body, but I felt thoroughly embarrassed. Cupping my family jewels, I unlocked the door, and stepped out into the hall. Of course, he was there, waiting for me. His grin turned disappointed as I didn't show anything, but as he got a good look at my butt, it returned. I made my way to the bedroom as quickly as I could, trying to walk sideways to keep my exposed behind to a wall at all time, and of course failing miserably. Nate trotted along, and to my horror, I found the chair I'd left the robe in empty. As I turned to Nate, he dangled the robe from his hand, backing away as I made a grab for it.
"Dry yourself first."
"Towels are in the second closet, top shelf."
"Yes. You might have to reach for them."
"Nate, please help me get a towel down."
"All right. I've teased you long enough."
He opened a closet door, and stood on his toe to bring down a towel for me. When I reached out to take it, he suddenly tossed it at me, along with the robe. Reflexively, I caught them both, then my brain caught up, and my cheeks turned a dark crimson. Nate giggled, and danced nimbly out of reach as I tried to swat him with the towel. Infuriated, I threw the robe onto the bed, then started towelling myself. I was drying my hair when his grinning face appeared around the doorpost again. I quickly covered myself up, blushing again.
"Will you stop doing that!?"
"Chris, please! You've got nothing to be ashamed of, you look great!"
"Thanks, but I'd prefer to keep that to myself."
"Really, I mean it! You're not this fidgety in the gym showers, are you?"
"There's got to be other guys checking you out, am I right?"
"Maybe, I still don't feel comfortable with it."
"Because you know your looks attract me?"
"Yeah, that may be it. I just feel like crawling in under the bed."
"Don't, you'll come out all fuzzy. I don't clean this place as often as I should." We both laughed at this. "Seriously, Chris, you've got nothing to fear from me. True, I like looking at you, but I won't do anything against your will. Promise!"
"I believe you. Maybe it's silly of me, being all this embarrassed for nothing."
"Oh, I wouldn't call it nothing. You're quite packed, Chris."
"Give it a rest, will you!"
"All right, I will." He leaned up to whisper in my ear. "But you know I'd rather give it some exercise..."
Blushing again, I made a point to start drying myself off again. I thought that maybe he'd lay it off if I acted as if it was nothing to me, like it should be. Nate was right; I took a shower every time I was at the gym, and was never bothered by the fact that hundreds of guys had seen me naked. Surely, some of them would be gay, and looking with interest. Still, that thought wasn't as disturbing as being naked in front of Nate. Somehow, he made me shy in a way I'd never been before, with men or women. He winked at me, catching a last glance as I ran the towel over my body before he left the room. I heard him setting the table, so I hurriedly finished, then slipped back into the terry robe and headed for the kitchen.
After we'd finished a meal that was nothing short of heavenly, I gave Nate the keys to my apartment, and he set off to fetch me a change of clothes. In the meantime, I rummaged through his CD collection, almost drooling as I found a box crammed with Judas Priest reissues. I selected Stained Class, keeping the volume low so as not to disturb the neighbours' peaceful Saturday morning. I let the familiar heavy riffs and high-pitched vocals accompany me as I loaded the dishwasher and turned it on. After that, I settled down in the Pit, leaning back on the sofa to enjoy the music. Nate was taking his time, and I began to worry that he might have settled in for good.
"No problem," I told myself. "If he does, I'll take this little place in exchange."
Nate had been right; even if the place looked boisterously luxurious, it had a certain charm, and the comfy furniture were certainly something one could get used to. The record stopped, and I got up to change it to my all-time Priest favourite, Defenders of the Faith. Losing myself in this the ultimate heavy metal experience, I hardly even noticed as the door opened.
"Found the classics, did you," Nate said, grinning as he handed me a bagful of clothes, setting another bag down on the coffee table. Had he been shopping? "This one's great, isn't it?"
"It sure is." Eat Me Alive came on, and Nate walked over to the stereo, turning the volume so loud it was almost deafening. I had to shout to make him hear me. "Your neighbours are gonna call the cops, you know!"
"Oh no, they won't! This is an office building, Chris! I'm the only one who lives in this entire house!"
I nodded to myself. If I lived like that, I'd play my music this loud, as well. The song entered the guitar solo, and the two of us played along on air guitars. Eventually, it ended, and Nate turned the CD off, putting it back in its case.
"You know Rob Halford's gay, don't you?" he asked, and I nodded. "Even before I found out, I still thought that was the sexiest song I'd ever heard."
"Well, it is kind of suggestive."
"Suggestive? Chris, it reeks of sex! That song's just one long orgasm."
"Yeah. I can't help but picturing him with a girl, though."
"I knew he was with a guy, even before he came out of the proverbial closet."
"How could you know that?" I asked.
"Well, maybe it tells more about me than about the song. I was eight years old when I got the album for christmas. I'd added it to my wish list because of the cool cover. At first, it was just a great song, but then I tried to understand the lyrics, and it dawned upon me that he was doing something sexy."
"That's pretty much how I felt, too. In some way, it touched me deeply."
"Yeah, me too." Nate got a dreamy look to his face. "That was years before I knew things like homosexuality existed, but I still thought he must've done it with a guy. It seemed so natural to me, so doubtless."
"Well," I said, "my mental image was firmly set when he dropped the bomb, and it just didn't change. I remember being totally shocked when I read he'd come out, like it was just not possible. The toughest band alive, and they had a gay vocalist."
"But you stuck to them?"
"Like everybody else. No one I know of stopped buying the records. It just didn't matter, I mean, he sang just as well after he came out as he did before."
"Chris, I found your video stash, I hope you don't mind that I borrowed a couple." He patted the plastic bag on the table. "You've got some good ones."
"A couple? A score, more likely! Which ones did you take?"
"Well, I nicked Armageddon, Poltergeist, The Princess Bride. Then I stole Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Then I took..."
"Nate, no! I forbid you to take my Lock, Stock!"
"Why? It's supposed to be good."
"It is. I need that movie, Nate."
"You haven't seen it?"
"A dozen times. Give it here."
"Then you can spare it for a couple of days."
"No, I can't, I need it there, so I can watch it when I need to."
"Chris, that's an obsession. Not healthy."
"Healthy or not, hand it over before I break your thumbs."
"Tell you what, let's watch it together some time, okay?"
"Chris, you're not acting very sanely, you know that, right?"
"I know, just give me my video tape."
"Only if you promise to watch it with me!"
"But you said you'd buy me lunch!"
"It's just ten-thirty, Chris. Plenty of time to watch it."
"All right, I promise we'll watch it, now hand it over before you break it."
"Nate, what are you saying...?"
"Promise me you'll cuddle with me while we watch it."
"Please, don't do this. I'll do anything!"
"Then cuddle with me, Chris."
"Oh, all right!" He tossed me the tape, and I hugged it to my chest. "You insufferable bore!"
"You relentless pervert!"
Still bickering, we went into the bedroom, where Nate kept a close watch on me as I changed. He claimed that he was keeping an eye on me so I wouldn't steal his furniture, while I debated that he was just drooling over the sight of my butt. This time, I felt more confident; it hardly bothered me at all to have him watching me. He had brought a pair of clean underwear, a red t-shirt I'd forgot ever buying, and a pair of my tightest jeans. According to him, I looked swell, but I had a hard time moving about comfortably. Anyway, Nate made us some popcorn and brought a bottle of cola, then we settled in to watch the film. Luckily, he didn't force me into cuddling, but he sat close to me, touching my arm every time he laughed. Lock, Stock is one of my all-time favourite movies. It has a black sense of humour that totally appeals to me, and a dialogue from beyond this world, and it didn't take long before Nate was as hooked as I'd ever been. We devoured the popcorn, and finished off the drink. I noticed that we were drinking from the same bottle, but after an initial queasy feeling, like it was some kind of indirect kissing, I decided not to let it bother me. Without the bowl between us, Nate actually did cuddle up to me, but that meant crossing a boundary that shouldn't be crossed. I gently pushed him back, and after a few more attempts, he seemed to get the hint. To my surprise, I was actually mildly disappointed when he sat back, keeping to his side of the sofa. Still, I let it rest. He'd caught a few sneak peeks at me before, that would just have to do.
As the tape rewound, the hitherto steady curtain of clouds was pulled aside, and suddenly the living room was bathed in sunlight. Nate bounded over to the window, opening it and taking lungfuls of air. I joined him, hesitantly. From his window, cars and people looked like miniatures, spread out from a kid's toybox, and it was giving me a slight case of vertigo. I told him so, but he said not to worry, laying his arm around my shoulder.
"I won't let you fall, Chris."
"Thanks." With difficulty, I tore my gaze away from the street far below. "Wow, I never thought I'd see the sun again."
"Heh. It is a pretty sight. Makes a perfect setting for our first date."
"You just won't give up, will you?"
"Nope, I'm sure you'll come around, in time."
"Boy, you're in for a disappointment."
"So you say, Chris, but you don't know just how persistent I can be."
"I'm beginning to find out. Where are we going?"
"The Eagle's Nest. Classiest place in town."
"Dressed like this?" I pulled at my t-shirt. "We'll get thrown out!"
"Don't you worry, Chris. Don't you worry."
I shouldn't have worried. The head waiter pulled Nate into a tight hug, with lots of how've-you-beens and good-to-see-yous, and before I knew it, I received a crushing bear hug, as well. I had no time to react, let alone say anything, before we were ushered into a booth in the back of the restaurant. A menu was stuck up into my face, and I took one look at the prices before my wallet started crying. As if he'd heard its silent pleas, Nate winked at me.
"Don't worry, this is all on me."
"You sure you can afford it?"
"Chris, chill! It's okay."
He recommended that I'd try the horseradish pike, but I was also tempted by duck á l'orange, as well as roast venison and a dozen other tasty-looking dishes. In the end, I let Nate place our orders, which set us both up for the pike, with a light salad for starters and crème de caramel for desert. Quite a heavy lunch, in my opinion, but I agreed to it, nevertheless. As the head waiter returned to take our orders, he leaned down to whisper into Nate's ear, deliberately keeping his voice loud enough for me to hear.
"That's quite a catch you've got there..."
"Yeah," Nate whispered back, also for my ears. "All I've got to do is reel him in."
"Lucky guys, both of you."
Grinning and winking at me, the head waiter left us, and I once more felt my cheeks burn. Being with Nate did that a lot to me. My friends didn't seem to mind, though, as he just chuckled at my discomfort.
"Relax, Chris, don't be so uptight. We're just teasing you a little."
"Reel him in...?"
"Just a friendly tease. Mick knows you're straight."
"How could he? I just met him." My puzzlement must have shown, because Nate just sniggered louder. "Or did you phone ahead. Hello Mick, I'll be bringing in a straight guy today, won't you tease him a little for me?"
"That was a good impersonation. Chris, you reek straight. When you're with me, you try even harder to be macho, it shows a hundred metres away."
"I'm not trying to be macho!"
"Yes, you are!" He was trying his best not to laugh out loud, now. "Your entire body screams `I'm not dating this guy!'. It's really funny."
"Hmph!" I snorted. So much for leaving a tip! "So he decided all on his own to make fun of me? What's the big deal? Can't I go out with a friend without being harassed?"
"Yes, Chris, you can. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Actually, I've never had a straight friend before. It feels kind of weird."
"In what way?"
"Well, when I date a guy, there's always this sexual tension, like either of us, or both, just can't wait to go home and hit the sack."
"Oh, please... Spare me the details!"
"And when I'm with straight guys, I mean ordinary straight guys, they all tense up, too. Keep weighing every word of our conversation, just to see if something suggestive was said, something that could lead to embarrassment."
"That's idiotic!" Just then, the salad arrived, and I caught a subtle gesture from Nate, telling the head waiter to can the jokes. There was a wonderful Thousand Island dressing with the salads, and I took a mouthful before I continued. "I know who I am, and I know who you are, and I think I can trust you not to do any deliberate misunderstandings."
"My point exactly."
"So why are they acting weird, then?"
"Uncertainty? Afraid they might be thought of as gay because they're with me? I don't know, I'd hoped you might shed some light to the mystery of straight men."
"Sorry, Nate." I laughed, and he joined me. "How `bout the reverse? Why do you prefer men over women? That's a mystery to me."
"Well, I guess I can't help you out, either, Chris. That's just the way it is."
"So, we agree the other's weird. Right. But we're still friends, aren't we?"
"I wouldn't have it any other way."
Just as he'd said, the head waiter, Mick, returned to clear away their table, and shortly thereafter, the main course arrived. The fish had a strong scent, yet not unpleasant, and I carefully tasted it. To my surprise, the taste was actually quite mild, the sauce accentuating the taste of the fish instead of, as I'd feared, drowning it out. Since I had let Nate order, we were drinking mineral water, although I would have preferred a nicely chilled white wine. Then again, it was just lunchtime, a bit too early in the day for alcohol. We kept on talking throughout the meal, about work, about friends, about what made our lives tick. I found myself growing very fond of my new-found friend; losing a set of clothes was a small price to pay for making such a good friend. We had a whole lot in common, and what differences there were, apart from the obvious, only gave us things to talk about. In fact, as the dessert arrived, I was feeling so relaxed and at ease, that his next question took me completely by surprise.
"So tell me, Chris, what was it you were dreaming this morning?"
"Th-this morning?" I felt my face burn red, and I couldn't really find my voice. "Y-you mean...?"
"You know what I mean. What made you run down the hall with your boxers full of jizz?"
"Erh, I can't really remember..." I mumbled. "But that was just before you made me run the other way stark naked."
"No changing subject, Chris! If you don't tell me, I'll just assume you dreamed about me."
"I did not!"
"What was it, then?"
Relenting, I told him about the dream. Even though the setting had been wrong, I had relived one of my very first sexual contacts, and the memory of the erotic tension had been more vivid than I could have thought. Nate listened with interest, then put his spoon down, a look of some kind of mischievous disappointment crawling into his features.
"Well, I should've guessed it was something like that. Still, I had hoped it would have been me you were dreaming about." He grinned. "Whatever did she have that I don't, that made you dream about her instead?"
"A nice set of hooters, to start with," I retorted, watching him wince. "You're telling me you've never looked at a woman's breasts?"
"Someone actually ever used the word hooters? I thought that was just one of those movie words, you know, when the word breasts was censored."
"That's avoiding the question, Nate."
"Well, I have. I think a lot of women are pretty, even beautiful. Even sexy, some times. But that doesn't mean I'd like to fondle them. Have you never thought a man was sexy?"
"Nope," I answered honestly. "Handsome, yes, beautiful, yes. Sexy, no."
"What do you think of me? I mean, my looks."
"Well," I said, frowning as I looked him over. "You are certainly handsome. You've got a pretty face, and then there's your eyes..."
"What about them?"
"They're too large for your face. Makes you seem... I don't know, you look younger than you are."
"Thanks. Chris, are you absolutely sure you're straight?"
"All the straight men I ever knew would rather die than describe a gay man as handsome and pretty."
"Well, I believe in being honest. You asked, so I answered."
"If I were a woman, would you consider me dating material?"
"Yes, I think so. But that's in the realm of the hypothetical."
"What if you were gay?"
"I don't know. Maybe my tastes would be different then."
"Chris, thank you so much for being honest. It means a lot to me."
"You're welcome. Just don't see this as encouragement, I won't be your boyfriend."
"Damn, what a pity."
That's the end of chapter 3. Lots of dialogue, but that's so fun to write. I'll be busy for the next week-and-a-half, so don't worry if ch 4 takes its time.