The following fictional narrative involves sexually-explicit erotic events between men. If you shouldn't be reading this, please move on.
In the world of this story, the characters don't always use condoms. In the real world, you should care enough about yourself and others to always practice safe sex.
The author retains all rights. No reproductions or links to other sites are allowed without the author's consent.
The town of Stafford, the Sunrise Arts Center, and all the characters in this story are fictitious.
Special thanks to Mickey and Drew, who have provided inspiration, advice, and encouragement throughout the writing of this series.
When I knelt on the floor beside the bed so I could look into his face, he turned his head away from me.
"Judson Thomas, what the fuck do you mean, you can't talk to me?"
He sighed. "Man, you wouldn't want me to talk to you anymore if you knew what I've done."
I didn't know what to do. I wanted to reassure him that I loved him. We never talked about love much, but I think we both knew how we felt. At that moment, though, I wanted to give him the physical comfort he needed. Whatever had happened with the Albright boys, it couldn't have been so bad that I'd not want to talk to him. I wanted to comfort him, but I couldn't just pick him up, especially since he was lying on his stomach.
"Come on, babe. Sit up. Let me hold you until you feel like talking."
He surprised me. He rolled over, got out of bed, and walked to the window. As he looked out, his fists were balled up. He'd gone from being limp and despondent to rigid and angry. I went over and put my arms around him.
"No, Louis. Please don't."
"What's happened to you? What did they do to you? Why did you avoid me at school? Why didn't you call me last night?"
He pulled out of my arms and turned around to face me.
"Because I'm so friggin' ashamed, that's why."
"What did those bastards do to you?
Another deep sigh. "It's more what I did. You don't want to know. And when I tell you, you'll leave and never come back. That's why I didn't call you. It's why I avoided you at school today. I just couldn't face you, couldn't face having this scene."
I put my arms around him and rubbed his back as I nuzzled his neck. He was very tense at first, but as I held him he relaxed enough to tilt his head sideways so it rested on mine.
"You're an amazing dude, ya know?"
"What do you mean?"
"I've told you I've done something bad, but you haven't left or yelled or anything. Instead you're holding me."
"Yeah, and I don't plan to let loose until you promise to tell me about whatever it is that's got you so upset."
A third deep sigh.
"Okay, let's sit over here on the bed."
We sat side by side. I had an arm around his shoulders.
Looking at the floor, he said, "It's okay. I know why they did what they did. And they're not gonna hassle you or me any more."
"That's good, isn't it?"
"Yeah, that part's good, I guess."
He pulled away and turned so he could look me in the eye.
"Louis, I had sex with them. That's why you should just leave right now."
I tried to put my arms around him, but he stood up and went back to the window. I didn't suppose there was anything outside to look at. It was pitch dark, after all. I think he just wanted to get away from me, but I wasn't going to let that happen. I went to the window, stood behind him, and wrapped my arms around him, pinning his arms to his sides.
"Sheesh!" he said. "You just won't listen, will you?"
"I'll listen to anything you want to tell me. Did they hurt you? What did they make you do? Did they drug you or something?"
He turned quickly toward me. I'd never seen him look that way. He looked sad, guilty awful.
"No, babe. None of the above. That's what's so hard to tell you. I did it voluntarily. At the time. That is, I, oh, Louis, I feel like such a shit! I had this great thing going with you, and now I've ruined everything." He stopped, squared his shoulders, looked me straight in the eye, and continued, "Okay. I've told you. You can go now. I just hope you won't, like, hate me."
Voluntarily? That was a blow, I admit, but I wasn't going anywhere until I knew more. I took a deep breath, grabbed his hand, and led him back to the bed. I sat down cross-legged and motioned for him to do the same, facing me.
Taking both his hands, which were surprisingly cold, I asked, "How do you feel about me right now?"
He thought about that. "I'm so ashamed I don't know what to say."
"That isn't what I asked. How do you feel about me?"
"Like you should be yelling at me. Or hitting me. Or leaving."
I sighed. "Let's try one more time. How do you feel about me?"
"Louis, if I haven't told you before, I should have. I've never felt like this about anybody before. It's all new and strange, but I'm pretty sure I Iove you. And now I've gone and screwed everything up."
"You did just say you think you love me, right?"
"Do you love me any less because of what happened last night?"
"No way! But "
I put my finger on his lips. "So whatever happened, you have feelings for me you never had for anybody else?"
"Oh, God, yes, but "
"Judd, if you love me, whatever happened at the Albrights' doesn't matter."
"Look, we've never actually said we were a monogamous couple, have we?"
"No," he said as he grabbed my hand to keep me from putting it on his lips, "but I've just been assuming we were. I don't want to be with anybody else, and I thought you felt that way, too."
"So now I've broken that understanding. And you should feel like I've betrayed you."
"I think we've had enough guilt. Whatever happened, you still love me, we're together, and I love you. If it'll make you feel any better, I forgive you."
"Without even knowing what they did? What I did?"
"Yeah, babe. You're forgiven. I admit I'm curious about what went on there, but I'm gonna leave it up to you what you tell me."
Suddenly he leaned forward, put his arms around me, and kissed me like never before.
A while later, breathless, I asked, "What brought that on? Not that I'm objecting."
"You're too much, Lefevre! I don't deserve you."
I grinned. "You're right, Thomas. Just don't you forget it."
He smiled for the first time since I'd gotten there. "Okay. Now, do you feel like listening to what happened? I still don't want to talk about some of it, but I'll at least give you the outline. Okay?"
"Whatever you want."
Instead of starting to explain, he said, "Man, I'm hungry. Could you eat?"
"Yeah, I didn't eat much supper. I was too busy worrying about your sorry ass. Let's go."
We jumped into the Sebring, since it was the last car in the drive, and headed for the BK. It occurred to us at some point that we wouldn't want to sit inside while he told me about his visit with Jamie and Phil. We used the drive-through and then, since it was a mild evening, I parked in the BK parking lot. We were both too hungry to talk much while we were having our burgers and fries.
When we finished, he said, "Shit, man, we may as well go back to my place now."
As I started the motor, I said, "Okay, but are you sure you're not just trying to put off telling me? Cause if you are, it's all right."
He reached over and ran his knuckles down my cheek. "You're being way too understanding, babe. I hope you won't go home and stick pins in dolls or something."
"I promise, no voodoo."
He grinned and said, "Whew! That's a relief!"
"It's good to see you're back to your normal self, Judd."
Back in his room, he told me the story.
"When I got to Phil's house, he and Jamie were the only ones there. Phil's parents were out somewhere. Both guys seemed a little edgy, probably `cause I hadn't given them any idea why I wanted to see them. They were drinking what looked like cola, and they asked if I wanted one. They have a big rec room in their basement with a pingpong table and a wet bar and a fireplace. They took me down there, where they had a fire going. One of them handed me a drink.
"We all sat and they looked at me, waiting to find out why I'd insisted on seeing them. I'd made a 4"x6" print of that picture Tom sent me and I just took it out of my shirt pocket and handed it to them. While they looked at it, I took a sip of my cola. Except it wasn't just cola. It was a rum and Coke.
"They weren't happy about the picture, to say the least. They knew right away Tom had taken it.
`So what do you want from us, Judd?' Phil asked.
`Just some answers.' They didn't say anything. I took a gulp of my cola and went on. `You guys are obviously gay. And that's fine. As I guess you've known for a long time, I am, too. What I don't understand is why you pulled all that shit. Warning me to stay away from Louis, and that nasty stunt at the last match. What's all that about?'
"What they said sounded pretty much like what Tom told me in the email. They said their families were aggressively homophobic and that they were obsessed with their social position. The two guys said they'd been fooling around since they were ten or so, but that they knew enough to be really careful. What they didn't want to happen was for anyone to get the idea that the soccer team had any gay players on it. They were trying to protect themselves and their families' reputation by making it seem as if the soccer team was super-straight, anti-gay, and they figured they could bully me into playing along.
"When I more or less ignored them and kept on being seen around the school and around town with you, they said all they could think of to do was to disassociate the team from me, and that's why they froze me out that night."
"Sheesh! What selfish bastards!"
"So, what happened next?"
"Well, this is the part I'm ashamed to tell you about."
"You don't have to, you know."
"Yeah, I do. At least the gist of it. You know I'm not much of a drinker. Those rum and Cokes go down pretty easy, though, and I was through the first one by the time they'd explained all that to me. Then they both apologized. They admitted they'd been real shits. I agreed that they had and was ready to leave. Then they begged me to forgive them. There was another drink beside me, and I guess I kept sipping from it.
"Then we got to talking about how shitty it is that gay guys have to hide what they are and what they do. After that we talked about good times we'd had on the team, some of the big games we'd played in, and the victory parties we'd attended. I suppose the drinks helped, but we all got pretty mellow, and I forgot what they'd done to me. As we reminisced and drank, they just seemed to be two buddies, teammates I'd played soccer with for three seasons."
I thought I could see where this was going, but I just waited, trying to look encouraging. Judd sat there picking at his thumbnail for a minute before he went on.
"Here's the part I don't want to admit to. But you deserve to know. The next thing I knew, they were coming on to me and I let them."
"Judd," I said, "I can figure out what happened, babe. You don't have to tell me any more."
"Yeah, I think I do. You may as well know it all. Then if you want to take back your forgiveness, I'll understand. And if you are willing to keep on with me, then you need to know the worst."
`Okay, go ahead. But only if you're sure you want to."
He put the thumb to his mouth and bit off a piece of nail. "I guess they tried on me what they'd done to Tommy. And it worked. Sort of."
I wanted to know and I didn't want to know what he meant, so I just waited.
"Okay, imagine two hunky guys doing their best to make you feel good. Kissing your neck, licking your ears, rubbing your nipples through your shirt. Then they were both on their knees, one of them nuzzling my dick through my jeans, and the other with his nose in my crack."
"Yeah. Before I knew it, my jeans and boxers were down around my ankles and those two great-looking studs were kneeling in front of me. They were both licking my pecker and balls. Sometimes they'd give each other a quick kiss and then go back to slurping on me."
The image was so hot I had to adjust my hard cock in my jeans.
"So, what happened next?"
"I was standing there with my eyes closed, just enjoying the feelings. But then I thought of you and I realized what was happening. I knocked both of them back on their butts, pulled up my pants, told them to stay the hell away from you and me, and left."
I began to laugh, which, of course, puzzled Judd.
"What the fuck is so funny?"
"Oh, baby, tell me this. Did you at least get to come?"
He grinned. "No, but I sure was leaking in my shorts all the way home, and I had such blue balls I had to whack off as soon as I got to my room. It was after that I realized what I'd done to you and got all depressed and feeling guilty."
I pushed him back on the bed and stretched out on top of him. Resting on my forearms so I could look down at his beautiful face, with those amazing blue eyes and that gorgeous dark gold hair, I said, "Here I was thinking that they'd made you suck dick or maybe even fucked you."
"Nope. Thank God I came to my senses before anything like that happened."
I kissed him for an hour or two. "Judson, I admire you, my man. I don't know whether I could have made those two stop if they were sucking me. They're sleaze-balls, but they are both very hunky dudes."
"You aren't mad at me then?"
"Oh, man, I'm so relieved. You really are too much!"
"I love you, Judd."
"I love you, Louis."
Unfortunately it was near my curfew, so I had to go home and we had to put off the sex we both needed so much after that session. As I left, I pointed out the envelope on his desk and asked him to look at what was inside.
In one of my few quiet moments during that busy season, I took time to think about the gay men I'd come to know in Stafford.
There was sweet, hunky Jerome. I was very fond of him. He was my subordinate in the structure of things at Sunrise, but he was also a friend. I enjoyed working with him because he was a very nice man. With his café au lait skin, sparkling dark eyes, slow but sweet smile, shaved head, and gold ear loops, he was sexy as the devil. I didn't know what had happened between him and Gary Stoner, the curate at Holy Trinity, because I didn't want to pry. I figured if anything was going on there, I'd learn of it eventually. If Jerome didn't work at Sunrise, I would have been tempted to go after him myself. Certainly I would have liked to explore his big package and great butt.
Father Gary was a great guy, too. I found him sexy, I admired him for the work he was doing in the parish, and I enjoyed his company. I wasn't attracted to him in "that" way but I wished him well. I just wasn't sure how I felt about him or anyone grabbing up Jerome.
Jon was another gay man I liked but wasn't interested in as a sex partner. He was 30 years older than me, for one thing. Besides, he and Frank Cummings seemed to be more and more involved with each other. In fact, Jon had hinted to me that something significant was going to happen between them during the holidays. I felt a lot of affection for Jon. I'd enjoyed having him around Sunrise, I'd looked forward to our occasional lunches together, and I'd decided to take a suggestion from my predecessor and give Jon what could be a major project if he was willing.
Chave MacPherson was slowly overcoming my initial negative reaction to him. Granted he was well off. Granted he was a lawyer. Granted he came from a family in the tidewater too much like the Pells. But he had been relaxed and unpretentious with me. He'd engineered a substantial donation to the Alliance from his law firm. And he had, informally at least, commissioned a piece from me. He was, of course, dammit, very good looking. I remembered what he'd looked like that day in the shower at the gym. I could still picture how he looked with the water shining on his taut body, the blond pubes and the hair on his head darkened by their wetness.
It occurred to me that I'd met several gay men since I'd moved to Stafford. I'd never have expected to run into so many here in the South. Things had changed a bit since I went north. There were still homophobes, of course, especially from the religious right, but it seemed that if we were discreet, most people were willing to live and let live. The secret seemed to be to avoid egregious manifestations such as one sees in larger cities. You know, flamers, guys in drag, pink hair, and all that. I don't mean those guys are wrong to do what they do. It's their right. But they do tend to make the straight world think all gays are like that, and we aren't. We just want to live our lives, love whom we like, and not make a fuss about it.
I invited Stuart to dinner at my house the Friday before Christmas. I had a number of unanswered questions left over from my visit to his studio. I was very strongly attracted to the hot Scot, as I had come to think of him. Although I wasn't 100% sure he was gay, I strongly suspected he was. I hoped I wasn't mistaking his friendliness for subtle overtures, but I was willing to risk finding out. So, I suggested he get there early enough to see my studio, or more properly the things in it. Then I thought we could drink some wine and talk while I finished getting the supper ready
He arrived promptly at 5:00. When I opened the door, he stood there with a huge peach-colored poinsettia.
"Merry Christmas, Whitney," he said, his face ruddy from the cold.
"Stuart, come in! Merry Christmas to you. What a gorgeous plant! I've never seen that color before." I took the poinsettia and set it in front of the window that paralleled the door. Then after helping him with his coat and putting it in the foyer closet I hugged him. He hugged back. I felt small when he put his arms around me, but it was so good I didn't want him to let go. Not wanting to push things too much, however, I stood back.
"It's good to have you here, my friend. The roast will come out in about forty-five minutes, and it will need to set a while before we carve it. I've got broccoli which I'll zap, the gravy won't take a moment, and I have potatoes to mash at the last minute. Let me get us some drinks, and we can take them over to the studio."
"Wow! It all sounds great, but you've gone to too much trouble. I wasn't expecting such a fancy meal."
"No problem. It's fun to cook for someone once in a while. I've almost gotten out of the habit since Kyle and I broke up. So. I'm going to have some of the cabernet we'll have with supper, but I've got other stuff, too."
"No, the wine sounds great."
I poured some of the cab into two big balloon wine glasses. We decided since it was just a short distance to the studio in my garage that we wouldn't put on jackets again.
Stuart was very complimentary about my pieces. He, of course, knew all about the process so I didn't have to explain it to him as I'd had to with Chave. He was more concerned about the temperatures at which I fired the pieces, the source of my glass, and things like that.
After we were back at the house, I brought out a piece of Stilton and some crackers. We sat in front of the fire and nibbled, sipping our wine from time to time.
"Whitney, I'll bet there aren't a dozen people in Stafford who've seen your work."
I thought about that for a minute. "Actually, not quite that many," I said with a smile.
"That's a damned shame. And you need to do something about it. Why don't you display it at Sunrise.?"
"You're the second person who's suggested that. You really think I should?"
"Damn straight. I'm really excited that you're going to have an exhibit of my things there. Why don't you show yours at the same time? You could bill it as `Two Stafford Artists,' or something like that."
"That reminds me of something I've wanted to ask you."
"You teach photography, don't you?"
"Yeah," he said, looking puzzled.
"I didn't see any of your work when I was at your place the other day. Do you have a darkroom? Why didn't you show me any of your photographs?"
"I'm technically proficient with photography, enough to teach it to the high school kids anyway. But I've never felt I had a real talent for it. Take Louis Lefevre, for example. Now there's a true talent. He's better than I'll ever be."
"Yeah, I've seen some of his things, and he's remarkable." I was wondering if Stuart had ever seen any of Louis's nude shots of himself.
"What has he shown you?"
"Oh, a little bit of everything. He uses a wide range of subjects. It's his black and white things that I find most arresting."
"Have you seen the nudes?"
"Uh huh. They're elegant and sensuous. He has a beautiful body, and he's managed to make it into something very well -- artistic in that series of shots." I wasn't going to mention the ones that were pure porn. Apparently I was wise, for Stuart went on to talk about the pictures I'd mentioned.
"Yes, he has an excellent eye. And the way he's used light in that series is quite different from the way he uses it in his nature shots. He's amazing."
Stuart looked at me and the skin around his eyes crinkled. "And like you said, he's got a fantastic body."
I just grinned, raised an eyebrow, and said, "Uh huh."
I stood up. "Stuart, bring your glass and the crackers and come sit on a bar stool while I work in the kitchen." I grabbed the cheese and he followed me to the kitchen.
We chatted about this and that while I nuked the broccoli, made the gravy, and mashed the potatoes. I'd made my grandmother Collins' cloverleaf dinner rolls just before my guest came and put them in the holding oven to stay warm.
Stuart helped me get everything to the table. We sat, and I said a brief grace from the Book of Common Prayer.
Again the conversation was light. Stuart, a big man, ate heartily, complimenting me on everything. When the meal was finished, he helped take the leftovers back to the kitchen and put them away. Then we loaded the dishwasher. We worked well together. I wondered if he and his wife had enjoyed cooking together or if his kitchen skills had developed after she died.
I'd baked an apple pie, but we both decided we'd wait until later to have it. I fixed coffee, and we took our mugs back to the fireplace. I sat on the sofa which faces the fire, thinking he'd take one of the chairs at right angles to it. He surprised me by sitting next to me on the sofa.
`Okay Whitney,' I thought, `Now's the time.'
"Stuart, I'm about to ask you a question that's absolutely none of my business. If I'm out of line, please say so."
"Yeah what? Yeah I'm out of line? How do you know if I haven't asked the question yet?"
"Yeah, I'm gay. That was your question, wasn't it?"
"Well, yes, it was, but --- "
"I've been trying to figure out how to tell you without just blurting it out."
"As I said, it really isn't any of my business unless . . . "
"Look, first of all, it's very lonely being gay in Stafford. And I have to be especially careful because I teach at the high school. There aren't all that many gay men in town that I know of."
`Maybe more than you suspect,' I thought.
"You said `first of all.' Was there another reason?" I could feel my heart racing. I'd been fantasizing about this big red-headed hunk for weeks. At first I believed him to be straight. He'd been married, after all. Then recently I'd thought I'd been getting signals that he liked me. There was also what he'd told me about Jack, his late brother-in-law, and the portrait he'd painted of him.
"Yeah. I thought you'd probably figured it all out by the time you left my place the other day. But I just had to make sure. Jack and I were lovers. I was devastated when he died. Maggie was almost as torn up as I was. We were together a lot after that and we became very close. It seemed the natural thing to do to start dating, and eventually to get married. I think maybe she always suspected that what I felt for Jack was more than just friendship, but she never let on. And I did love her. We had good sex and we had it often, but, Whitney, it was never as good for me as it had been when I was making love with Jack."
I had swiveled around to face him while he was telling me all that. I took his hands in mine. "I'm touched that you'd share all of that with me. It must be hard for you now. I'm sure you're grieving for both of them."
"Yeah, Maggie and I were really happy and comfortable together. I miss her a lot. And Jack, too. I think I miss him even more even though it's been longer since he died."
I didn't know what to say. I'd never lost anyone I cared about to death except my grandparents. I was still trying to think of something consoling when he spoke again.
"Whitney, the reason I'm bringing this up is that I am really attracted to you. You're the first guy I've met since Jack died that I've felt this way about. You are so easy to be with, we have so many interests in common, and you're such a sexy man. Is there any chance you could come to like me?"
"I already like you! I don't know anyone I enjoy being with more. And now that we're sharing secrets, I'll tell you that you've featured in most of my jack off fantasies recently." I chuckled. We were still holding hands and looking at each other. "Well, I guess it won't hurt now to tell you. I've fantasized about you carrying me off to your Viking ship and having your way with me."
He laughed. "I'm not a Viking. The Blounts are English originally."
"So much for another fantasy, then."
"I've also thought of you as my `hot Scot.'"
Grinning, he said, "Well, you're a little closer there. My mother was a Brodie, and that family was from Scotland originally. I get my coloring from her. And my size from my dad."
"It's a great combination," I said.
He grinned and then sighed. "Can I ask a favor? I hope I'm not rushing things."
"Would you just hold me for a while?"
I was surprised, but I wasn't about to refuse. I held my arms open, and he sort of slumped sideways into them, so that his head was on my chest. He had his right arm around my waist, and I had both arms around his chest. I felt like purring. I needed that sort of warm, affectionate physical contact. Kyle had never been much of a hugger, not even in the early, more romantic days of our relationship, and there'd been no one since. I nuzzled Stuart's hair, enjoying the smell, a mixture of shampoo and his own unique scent. The warmth of his big body next to mine made me feel relaxed, secure for the first time, truly at home in my new house and in Stafford.
Neither of us was in any hurry to change positions, but after perhaps ten minutes, he sat up. "I've always wanted to do something."
He reached behind my head and untied the leather thong that secured my pony tail.
"I've always wanted to see you with your hair down."
I pulled him back to me, and as I leaned down to kiss him, my hair fell around our faces, so we were in our own private world. When we finally came up for air, he was grinning.
"That's two firsts for me. I've always wanted to undo your pony tail."
"And I've never kissed anyone with a mustache or a beard before."
"So," I asked, grinning back, "how was it?"
"Once I got over the initial surprise, it was fantastic."
Stuart spent the night, but we never got around to the pie. Despite his liking to be cuddled, I'm happy to say that night he was a take-charge though very gentle and caring top.
The first thing I was aware of the next morning was the tenderness of my behind, reminding me it had been three months since anyone had visited there. When I opened my eyes I saw Stuart lying on his side, smiling at me.
He reached over and stroked the hair off my forehead. "Good morning. I love watching you sleep."
"Sounds pretty dull to me."
"No, honestly! You're such an impressive guy. A local celebrity. The gay guy who's earned the respect of the community because of the way he's reenergized things at Sunrise. But when you're asleep, despite the `stache and goatee, you're like a boy. A golden boy. You're beautiful with your hair down, by the way."
Even though we'd been as intimate as two people can be the night before, I'm sure I blushed. I wasn't used to people saying that kind of thing about me. Kyle certainly never did. And with Stan Klusza, the artist I'd had sex with earlier that fall, it had just been a hot coupling and then goodbye.
After quick trips to the bathroom, we got back in bed and I showed him just how attractive I found him.
An hour or so later, we cleaned up and went to the kitchen, where we had apple pie and coffee. That makes a pretty damn fine breakfast.
To be continued.