Warning! This is a tale about men loving men. If you find this disturbing - click off. If it's unlawful for you to read this - click off. If you under age - good luck if you can get away with it.
This is not a story for getting your rocks off. Just thought I'd let you know, so you won't waste your time if that's what your looking for. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy my writing.
I appreciate feedback and do my best to respond to it all. I may be contacted at: J S.Collection@Verizon.Net
-=[I don't usually use this site a forum, but this time's the exception. I appreciate the time and effort you guys take to write
to me, but realize it takes the same from me to respond. If you have blockers on your e-mail, PLEASE be considerate
enough to say so in advance so I don't waste my time responding to a note from you and have thrown right back at me.
Thank you, Jack]=-
Those Golden Eyes
Charley had decided, on awaking, that he was going to see Jake even if he had to force his way into the room. Knowing that the guys that Dave had drawn into his family had the privilege of visiting Jake almost anytime, he still waited until nine o'clock to head to the hospital.
When he stepped into the hospital lobby he got cold feet. He pulled out his cell phone and checked it. He hadn't missed any calls. Jake still hadn't wanted to talk to him. He changed his mind and went back outside and walked across the street to the campus. As he stepped onto the curb he turned around and looked back at the Hospital wondering which room might be Jake's, or if Jake's window was even on this side of the building.
He sighed and decided to get a cup of coffee and headed for the bookstore coffee shop. After getting a cup he found a table on the sidewalk to sit. From where sat he could look across the quad to the hospital. He sat back and watched the swarms of students rush from one building to another.
As the crowd thinned he saw Dave enter the quad from the direction of the Tower and head toward the hospital. He carried a book in his hand. Charley fantasized that it was a copy of Jake's novel. He wondered where Dave was headed, as he watched another fellow follow along behind him. He noticed how the man seemed to study every person that got anywhere near Dave, and realized that even though he looked like everyone around him, he was Dave's body guard. 'That will soon be me going there. I wish Jake would hurry up and get well so I can get to work. How selfish is that thought?' Mentally shrugging, he settled back to enjoy the cappuccino while he watched Dave and his guard enter the hospital.
Twenty minutes later he saw Dave reappear and walk toward him. When he crossed the street and stepped on to the sidewalk Charley stood up smiling. Dave hadn't seen him until he stood. "Charley." he said as Charley offered his hand. Dave ignored his hand and hugged him. Charley was a little stiff at first not being accustomed to hugging other men in public, but Dave was the kind of guy that one couldn't help but hug in return.
Charley stood a good six inches taller than Dave. He wrapped his arms around his shoulders and patted him on the back an let go. "Dave, it's nice to see you. Can I buy you a cup of coffee?"
Dave laughed. "In my own bookstore? Let me treat you to another one. What are you drinking."
"Sit tight. I'll be right back." He laid his book down and turned to his bodyguard. "Regular with one packet of sugar?" He asked. The guard nodded. "Oh. Charley this is Roger. Roger this is Charley. You two will be working together soon."
As Charley and Roger shook hands Dave said he'd be right back with coffee, and left the two men looking at each other. Charley motioned for him to sit and sat down himself.
"So you're going to work for Mr. Gates, too?" Roger asked.
Charley nodded as he turned the book over to look at Jake's photo on the back. "Yeah, as soon as I get my life straightened out."
Charley looked away. "Something like that."
"Women. Cant' live with them, Cant live without them. What's a guy to do? You know I kind of envy these fags they don't seem to have any of the problems we do."
"Who are you talking about?" Charley asked.
"Gates and his lover. They're like regular guys, but they don't bitch at each other like women do at us. You know what I mean?"
"Does Mr. Hansen know you refer to Mr. Gates and Mr. Paolini that way?"
"What? I just call it the way I see it. But I'm not dumb. I know not to use the term in front of them or our boss."
Charley's hackles were rising. "How do you feel about them being homosexual lovers?"
"Don't bother me as long as they keep there hands to themselves. Does it bother you?"
"I'm okay with it. So do you know who Mr. Gates was visiting in the hospital?" Charley ask offhanded as though he were curious but not really interested.
"Just some other fag that had tried to off himself." He reached across the table pointing at the book cover. "That's him."
"Do you know who that guy is?"
"He wrote that fag book. "
Charley was getting more angry by the second, but he didn't let it show. "Were you in the service, Roger?"
"Nah, I became a sheriff's deputy back home right after I got of high school."
"Bet there weren't any fags back there, was there?"
Roger grinned, thinking he's found a compatriot.
"I'd bet you'd string him up to a fence to die if your found one back there, just like those guys back in Montana did, huh?" Charley continued.
"Damned right, wouldn't you?"
Charley sat back and shook his head. "No, Roger. I wouldn't. Even though I'm from a small town, I wouldn't." He was having difficulty not jumping up and slamming his fist in the straight bigot's face. "You see, that man that Dave went up to visit is my lover."
Shock, horror and the realization that he'd just royally fucked up registered on Roger's face. "Oh shit, Man, I am sorry. I didn't know....
"You were just being yourself Roger." Charley's calm unemotional voice scared Roger more than if Charley had been yelling and beating him. "You were only showing your true colors. I'm sure that there are places that would be eager to hire the likes of you. Don't sweat it."
"You don't understand," Roger couldn't stop his voice from quavering. He was almost whining. "I like this job. I like Dave and Joe. They are the best. Please, Charley. I apologize."
Charley sat back and studied the handsome young man. "Are you Gay, Roger?"
"No. No, why would you ask that?" He looked around nervously to make sure no one had overheard.
Charley grinned. He'd expected a macho bullshit reaction.
"It just a feeling. I tell you what, Rog. I'll make you a deal."
"Anything Charley, I really don't want to lose this job."
At that moment Dave came out with three cups of coffee. Roger gave Charley a pleading look. Charley smiled at him. "Thanks, Dave," he said as he stood up to relieve Dave of two of the cups. One had no foam on the top of it. He handed it to Roger as they all sat back down. "Roger just agreed to have dinner with me tonight. Since we're going to be working together we thought it would be good to become better acquainted."
Dave felt the tension between the two men, but figured it was just male rivalry and ignored it. But Roger was looking a little insecure. And was the kind of person to try to make everyone feel good about themselves. "That's great. Roger has done a good job so far. I'm sure he could give you some pointers."
"Oh, he already has." Charley said, grinning at the young man. "I think we're going to learn a lot from each other."
Dave missed the frightened look that Roger shot at Charley. Charley's calm cool demeanor scared Roger. He had no idea what Charley had in mind. But he just nodded agreement took his coffee and moved a table away explaining that he could do a better job having a little distance. Dave smiled his appreciation and Charley gave him a grin that didn't reach his eyes.
"I stopped up to see Jake this morning," Dave said as a way to start a conversation.
"How is he, Dave?"
"Physically, he's doing great. I talked to Allen for a minute this morning and he's of the opinion Jake will be ready for outpatient sessions with him in another day or so."
Charley nodded and stared at the book cover.
Dave studied him a moment. "Hang in there, my friend. He's going to come around soon and start asking for you. He does love you, you know."
"Yeah, Dave, I have no doubt about his love. The question is: can it be enough to get him over the guilt he's feeling?"
"I don't understand this guilt thing totally. I know a rape victim often feels like he deserved what happened, but they also usually want their loved ones close by for reassurance."
"I've come to know Jake quite well in the few months we've been together. I know how he thinks. You see he feels he broke his word to me by having sex with Jim after promising he wouldn't. Even if it was under protest and the fact that he was paralyzed , he still feels he broke his promise. Therefore, he's feeling unworthy of my love."
"Oh, that does explain it. He told me to tell you that he's sorry. He almost let it slip out that he loves you, but he cut the word off before he got it all out."
"I was sitting here considering breaking his door down if I have to, to get to see him."
"I don't think you'll have to get that drastic. Why don't you call him. I saw a cell phone laying next to he is head on his pillow."
"Yeah, I sent it up to him. Allen said it would be best if I waited for him to make the first move."
"For once I disagree with my shrink friend. I think the best thing for Jake would be a big hug and reassurance from you."
Fifteen minutes later Charley was back in the hospital lobby after telling Roger that he'd meet him at the Tower at six-thirty. He'd approached the elevator several times and turned away before pushing the button to Jake's floor. The lady at the reception desk smiled at him every time he turned in her direction. He nodded to her the first couple of times and then ignored her as he battled with himself.
What if Jake really didn't want to see him again? Could he accept that? What would he do it Jake did reject him. Finally he told himself he'd never know if he didn't go up there and confront him. As he headed back to the elevator again, he pulled his phone out to call Jake and tell him he was coming up and his cell phone rang before he could dial. He almost dropped it. He pushed the elevator button as he pushed 'talk.' He was so jubilant that he couldn't stop talking, telling Jake how much he loved and missed him. He asked when he could come see him and when Jake said "Now," he snapped the phone closed and did a little jig while waiting for the elevator to stop at the right floor. When the doors opened, he trotted down the hall to Jake's room. He didn't notice the nurse smiling at him as he rushed by them.
He said "Hi" to Allen as he rushed to the bed and scooped Jake into his arms.
Teddy Edwards shuffled up the street, depressed and not paying attention to where he was going. Four weeks ago he'd been on top of the world. He'd been an Airman 1st Class with less than one more year to go, then he was planning on getting out and going to college on the GI Bill.
But one handsome debonair Lieutenant had put an end to that. Not only had he been kicked out for being gay, he'd also consorted with an officer. The only consolation he had was the officer had been kicked out, too. Now he was going to have to work and go to school part time. But he was determined that he would do it.
The Air Force had wasted no time in court marshaling him and kicking him out of the service. He'd gotten on a bus two days ago in Myrtle Beach and headed for University City. His determination to get an education was the only thing that kept him going.
He'd gotten off the bus downtown, asked which way to the university and headed out for it. He had no plan other than to find a place to live and start looking for a job. School would come after that.
He'd been walking for over an hour without paying much attention to his surroundings when he got a whiff of garlic and Italian herbs. Teddy lifted his head and sniffed the air. 'Damn, that smells like good Italian food.' he thought. Looking around to see where the delicious smells were coming from he spied Gio Gio's. 'I wonder if they have any job openings, I'd like working in a place like that.'
He stepped through the door holding his duffle with both hands. A young man dressed as a waiter was setting up tables in preparation for lunch. He looked up at Teddy and smiled. "I'm sorry. we're not open for another hour," he said.
"Thank you, but I would like to speak to the owner or manager please."
"If your looking for a job I doubt there is an opening, but I'll get him for you." The waiter turned and went into the kitchen leaving Teddy standing in the doorway.
Moments later a man dressed as a chef came bustling out. From the look on his face Teddy knew that he would be turned away. And then the man looked at him. His whole demeanor changed as he walked up to him. "Come. Come sit down and tell me what you can do. Just drop your bag by the door. There, sit, please."
Teddy's head was in a whirl. Not only was he not shown the door he was being treated like a guest by this handsome blond Italian.
"Would you like something to drink?" Gio offered.
"No sir, I'm fine."
The Chef turned to the waiter who had gone back to his table settings. "Jim, would you get us two coffees, please?" He turned back to Teddy. "I need a coffee break. I'm Gio. Gio Paolini."
Teddy stood up. "It's nice to meet you sir. I'm Ted Edwards."
The shook hands and both sat down.
"So Ted what kind of work are you looking for? Waiter? Dishwasher? What?"
"I am a cook, Mr. Paolini."
"Call me Gio. And what kind of recommendations have you?"
"The Air Force sent me to a chefs school in Paris and I spent the last two years cooking in the Officers Mess at Myrtle Beach AFB."
Gio looked impressed although he didn't understand why one would want to work in some else's mess, nor did he have any idea where Myrtle Beach was nor what an AFB was. "What is your specialty?"
"I learned to cook French, but I like Italian better. To me it is an honest cuisine. French I find to be ......... complicated, saucy."
"An honest Cuisine? I have never heard Italian food call that before. Just what do you mean, by honest?"
"The food is not covered or hidden in sauces. And the sauces that the Italians use are neat, clean, simple."
"It appears you do understand our way of cooking." Gio was fascinated, not so much by what Teddy was say but more by the sparkle in his green eyes and the play of a smile in the corners of his full luscious lips.
When Jim informed Gio that there was a young man looking for work out front, he was irritated to be interrupted. He wiped his hands and headed into the dining room with the intent of giving the man his boot. But when he saw Teddy standing there his heart pumped faster, his blood rushed to places hidden under his apron. The tall, barrel-chested young man looked so unassuming. 'Angelic,' Gio thought. His head was bowed, his stance defeated as he stood in the doorway holding his duffle with both hands.
Gio wanted to hug him and assure him that things were going to be good for him, but business and appearances came first. He had to first find out what the handsome auburn-headed young man could do.
When Teddy told him he was an educated chef his spirits soared. Maybe this was the one he was looking for to become his partner in life as well as in the restaurant.
"Well, this is a surprise. I could use the relief in the kitchen. You can start when?"
Teddy looked up with his soulful green eyes full of gratitude. "Right now, if you want me to."
Gio glanced over at the duffle laying by the door. "You have no where yet to live, but you are willing to go right to work?"
"To work in a restaurant like this I would do almost any thing."
Gio gulped. "Come into my office. I will make a telephone call. First we find you a place to live."
Teddy followed behind Gio through the modern stainless steel kitchen to the small office. He couldn't help, but admire
Gio's back side as he walked behind him, and feel guilty for ogling his new employer.
Gio sat down at his cluttered desk and scrolled through a well used Rolodex until he found the number he was looking for. He dialed the number and waited for an answer. "Jason, my little friend. How are you?"
The phone was turned up loud enough that Teddy could hear the reply. "Gio. I'm fine. What can I do for you?"
"Jason, I remember you had told me that you had three bedrooms that you and Pete were thinking of renting to students. I know Charley Hill is staying with you, but do you have another one still?"
"Yes, Gio, we still have one, but we haven't discussed with Dave about renting them out. Charley is a guest."
"Can you do me a favor? I have, standing here, a young man that needs a place to stay. Maybe I can talk to Dave for you and he can pay rent to you or to Dave, which ever."
"Well it's Dave's house so the rent would go to him. But Pete and I would have to meet him and agree on him staying."
"Well, for a day or two could you put him up?"
"For you, Gio, of course, we could. I don't even have to discuss it with Pete. I know he would do it as a favor to you."
"Jason, you are a darling. Thank you."
"Does he know how to find the house?"
"No he just came into town."
"Gio? Do you even know this fellow?"
Teddy blushed as Gio looked up at him.
"He is starting to work for me tomorrow."
"Well, if you vouch for him I guess that is good enough."
"He is blushing as he listens to us talk about him. I say that he must be a good guy." Gio said, smiling at Teddy.
"Gio, you are so bad."
"You don't really think that do you, Jason?" Gio worried.
"That was just an expression." Jason remembered that Gio didn't comprehend many American colloquialisms. "It means the opposite of what it says."
"English! I will never learn to understand it." Gio exclaimed.
Jason laughed. "So, I'm now on the Quad. Send him over and I'll take him to the house. Oh. How will I know him?"
"He is big like Tim. Dark red hair. Oh, and he'll be carrying a big canvas bag. And he is very handsome." Gio grinned as Teddy again blushed.
"I'll be looking for him." Jason closed his phone, shaking his head at Gio's blatant flirting with his new employee.
Teddy couldn't believe that things were suddenly looking up for him. When Gio stood up, Teddy embraced him. "Thank you, Gio."
Gio hugged him back and then pushed him away before Teddy could feel his excitement rising under his apron. "I did nothing. A simple telephone call."
"Yeah, a simple telephone call and I have a place to live and I have a job where half an hour ago I had nothing."
Gio smiled and gave him a description of Jason and directions on how to get to the quad. Patting him on his back. Teddy picked up his duffle as he headed out the door. He started paying attention to things around him. He hadn't realized that he was just a block and a half off campus.
He turned the corner and as he passed the tables in front of the bookstore he noticed a handsome blond fellow sitting alone, looking very depressed. 'He looks like a cop or a marine. I wonder what his problem is.' he thought as he walked by him. 'Damn, there are some handsome dudes around here,' he thought as he passed an older man dressed like he was right off the ranch, cowboy boots, Levi's, and a plaid flannel shirt. He crossed the street and entered the campus. The broad walk led him right into the Quad.
Jason saw him coming and gasped at the sight of this big Irish man with a duffle slung on his shoulder striding toward him. 'Damn, Gio really knows how to pick them.' he thought as he stepped out to greet him. "Ted?"
"Hi, you must be Jason."
As they shook, Jason's hand disappeared in Ted's.
Pete trudged up the steps to the front door, tired and glad that the school day was over. He couldn't wait to get a hug from his baby. He didn't use that term out loud to Jason having learned early on that Jason strongly objected to any thing that reflected on his diminutive size. But still in his mind Pete always thought of him that way. He dropped his books on the hall table and headed for the kitchen following his nose toward dinner and Jason.
Teddy was perched on a chair with the back of it turned so he could rest his arms on it as he talked and watched Jason cooking dinner. Jason had informed him that if he became a permanent resident that he could share cooking detail, but tonight he was a guest.
Pete stepped through the door unnoticed. His heart had jumped to his throat seeing the handsome young redhead. He hadn't completely recovered from the episode of Jason's reaction to Arlen and the infamous kiss.
He watched a moment to see what the relationship between the two was, and not seeing any hint of familiarity between the two he said, "Hi, Honey, I'm home." From the look on Jason's face he knew that his suspicion was unfounded.
Jason laid the spoon he'd been stirring with, and approached the love of his life. "You just outed us to our guest." he grinned and stepped into Pete's arms.
Pete looked at Teddy and shrugged. "You're going to find out sooner or later. So it may as well be now." He ducked his head and took his time kissing Jason who showed no hesitation in returning it.
Jason let go and turned in Pete's arms. "This is Ted Edwards. Gio asked us to be his host until he finds a place to live. He's starting to work for Gio tomorrow. Kenny this is my Pete."
The two young men shook hands. "I am envious of you two. It's good to meet you, Pete. And thank you in advance for your hospitality."
"Nice to meet you, Ted. How did you come to work for Gio?"
As Jason when back to making his own version of Chicken Paprikash Pete and Teddy sat down at the kitchen table and Teddy told him of his serendipitous discovery of the restaurant.
Jason checked the pan of water to see if it was boiling yet, and then stood behind Pete with his arms draped over his shoulders and his chin resting on onto of Pete's head. Pete automatically reach for Jason's hand and clasped them against his chest.
"You just got out of the service two days ago? I would think that you'd have gone home for a visit before starting college." Pete commented.
"I can't go home." Teddy lowered his head in shame.
"Why not?" Jason asked.
"I'm gay. I got caught and kicked out of the service."
"And your parents don't know this?" Jason asked.
Teddy shook his head.
"They won't accept you?" Pete asked.
"I can't tell them."
Jason pulled loose form Pete and turned back to stir the chicken pieces. He hadn't yet gotten the courage to talk to his own parents even though he was sure they knew he was gay. He sprinkled a little more Paprika over the chicken and added the onions that he'd very carefully sliced on the vertical. After putting a lid on the pan he turned back to see Pete holding Teddy's hand as he sniffled. "My oldest brother is a career Marine. He ridiculed me for joining the Air Force from the beginning. My dad was a Marine in the Viet Nam war. How can I tell them?"
Pete patted the back of the hand he held. ""Don't worry about for now. It'll happen someday. Until then don't sweat it."
Jason wondered where Charley could be and thought about his conversation with Jake earlier in the day. 'It's funny how
money affects our lives. Charley will come around. Those two guys love each other too much for something like that to
affect them.' he thought.
Charley wasn't quite sure what he'd expected when he saw Jake. Some how he had thought that everything would be okay, But he found that not only did Jake have issues that still needed working through, so did he.
While talking to Jake, he'd discovered a deep seated anger at Jim that he hadn't realized that he felt. How he had sublimated such strong anger he didn't understand. But as he visited with Jake he felt the anger begin to flame.
And then Jake had shown him the little bank book with the seven digit deposit. A new door in Charley's psyche creaked open. A door into a room filled with doubt. Self doubt. Jake had been a struggling writer a few months ago and then over night he was an acclaimed best selling author. Now Dave had made Jake very wealthy. Jake wouldn't need him anymore. He wouldn't want a lowly policeman turned bodyguard as his mate. He had to get away and think this all through.
He'd handed the little booklet back to Jake inquiring if he was going to accept the money. Jake had shrugged and told him that Dave had given him no choice. When Charley had asked what else he and Dave had talk about Jake had told him about Jim. That swung Charley's thought full circle.
He wanted to blame Jim for everything. And of course Jim was basically accountable for nearly all of the problems Jake and Charley were having. But the question still lingered of whether Dave Gates would have bestowed such a large endowment on Jake if he hadn't been hospitalized.
Charley was in no mood to deal with Roger, Dave's homophobic body guard, that evening. He called Paul and asked him to relay a message of postponement to the bodyguard. With a promise that they would have their dinner soon.
Charley didn't feel like seeing or dealing with anyone. He wandered across the campus and down the street, and when he came to the quiet little bar where Joe and Dave had met, he wandered in, ordered a beer and glumly contemplated what had happened and how to deal with it.
Alcohol never really solves any problem, but it lowered Charley inhibitions enough that when a stranger sat down next to him and offered him his ear, Charley told him all of his problems.
He was well into his fourth beer when the older man sat down next to him and ordered a neat scotch. Charley could feel the man watching him as he sipped his drink, and ignored him for a while, but his presence kept pushing on Charley's awareness. Finally, he glared at the man. "What?" he grunted.
The man smiled. "The way I see it ,you can sit there and drink until you fall off the stool and then wake up tomorrow and still have the same trouble that brought you in here. Or you can talk it out and maybe find a solution."
"Why would you be interested in my problems? You don't know me." Charley snarled.
"No, but you look like you just lost you best friend. I would like to offer my friendship."
"Why? Are you trying to put the make on me?"
"You're a very handsome virile young man. But I'm not interested in your body. I have a life partner and I have no need of looking for sex anywhere else."
"So why aren't you at home with him?"Charley asked.
"He's in Denver on a business trip. I can't sleep well when he's gone. I abhor television. So I go out in search of someone like you. You see, I collect people. I feel that you belong in my collection."
"What the fuck are you talking about? You can't just go around collecting people like butterflies."
The man laughed. "No, not like butterflies. I get a kick out of helping others like yourself. Befriending them. Helping them to see a solution to their problems."
"You're weird." Charley stated.
"Maybe I am. I'm Jerry Wilson, by the way." He offered his hand to Charley. Charley looked at the hand and then up into the man's sincere eyes. He shook it.
They nursed their drinks and talked into the wee hours of the morning. Charley ended up telling Jerry the whole story, from the moment he first saw Jake until earlier when he'd walked out of Jake's hospital room.
Jerry asked questions, probing questions, questions that directed Charley's thought into productive channels.
When the bar closed Jerry gave him his business a card in case he wanted to talk some more and then suggested that
Charley go home and get some sleep. He headed for Pete and Jason's. But when he got there he couldn't go in. He spurned
the thought of that bed without Jake in it with him. He sat on the porch and thought. When the sky began to lighten He
stood and stretched and walked around the university grounds and watched the sunrise, and then went to the Campus
Coffee Shop and drank coffee until I figured Jake'd had his breakfast. He then headed up to see him.
I enjoy getting feed back on my chapters. So if you liked it or hated it, won't you take the time to tell me why? I can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Money only makes you more of what you already are.