Those Golden Eyes
Joe walked through Dave's house looking at the furnishings. They were all well appointed, all masculine, but he still couldn't stop the shudder that coursed though his body at the thought of having to live with it all. It reminded him too much of his mother's house.
Dave called from the kitchen.
"Joe, if there's anything here that you want in the eyrie tell me. I think that what I'll do is clean all of my personal stuff out of here and rent it to some students."
He entered the room wiping his hands on a paper towel.
"If we can find room for it, the only thing I'd like to take with me is my desk."
Joe turned and looked at the cabinet that Dave pointed to. He hadn't seen it open and didn't realize that it was a desk. He had to admit it was a beautiful piece of furniture. It was an old Biedemeier piece.
"That is a beautiful piece of furniture." Joe said. "It will look great anywhere we decide to put it. And there's the paintings we really should take, too."
"OH. I forgot about my paintings. Do you think they will fit into the decor?"
"You know the long empty wall in the foyer?"
"I love that wall it makes such a strong statement without a thing on it."
Joe chuckled at Dave in his decorator mode.
"Well--- it does."
"Hey, my man, I wasn't disputing you."
"So what are you laughing about."
Joe walked over and folded Dave into his arms.
"I love you, Dave, even as a decorator."
Dave pushed away.
"Fuck you and decorator."
"I love it when you talk dirty to me, too." Joe said, not letting go of him. "Do ya wanna right now?"
Dave laid back into the hug.
"You've got a one track and its set on horny."
"You're wrong, Dave. I've got two tracks and the other one is set on loving you."
"You know I love you, too."
They just held each other for a few minutes, basking in the joy and wonder of holding each other.
"So that long beautiful wall is going to turn into a gallery for your paintings."
"That will make a so much stronger statement." Dave's voice muffled in Joe plaid flannel shirt. Joe started chuckling again. Dave poked him in the ribs and broke away. He grinned at Joe.
"Are there any that you don't like?"
"No, I like them all. Especially this one."
Joe turned to the nearest wall and lifted the framed oil off of the wall. There was a bright clean rectangle where it had hung.
"Damn. I'm going to have to paint this place before I rent it."Dave commented.
Joe leaned the painting against the wall and walked to the center of the room. He studied the painting for a moment and then glanced down at the floor.
"Dave you'll need to replace this rug, too."
"No way, Dave. That's a handwoven Tabriz it's over a hundred years old."
"That's why it has to go in the living room in the eyrie. Also let's take the one under the dining table."
"Check out the Chinese in the spare room. It's my favorite."
"That's a strange expression. Everyone has an extra bedroom just for the occasional guest. So why not guest room."
"Never thought about it. That's what Mom always called it. Alright, guest bedroom. That does sound better, Mr. Semantician."
"Hey, you don't call me that and I won't call you a decorator."
Dave grinned at him.
Dave stood in the foyer of the penthouse leaning back into Joe who had his arms around him. They were admiring the new gallery wall.
"Decorator aside. It looks fantastic. The rugs really warmed up the place, too. And that alcove by the fireplace was the perfect place for your desk."
"Thanks, Babe, for letting bring them with me."
"Hey, this is your home too. It needed you input to bring the place together."
"Well, thanks anyway. And I just want to add that I sure am glad you insisted on movers. I was dreading having to haul all that stuff up here.
"Hey, we have to keep up appearances you know."
"Yeah, like you really give a hoot about what anyone thinks. You know, I think one has to learn to spend money. I would never have thought of hiring movers or painters. I'd have done it all myself, just save the expense."
"Well, money is made for spending."
"Oh, hey. I forgot with all this move thing. I have a couple of signature cards that you need to sign. And you need to stop in the bank to meet the manager."
"What are you talking about, Dave?"Joe growled
Dave turned in Joe's arms and looked up at him.
"We have committed our lives to each other, Joe. That means, in my book, that we are married. As a married couple, what's mine is yours and vice versa. The bank needs your signature if your going to be writing any checks."
Joe's arms dropped away from Dave. He strode across the room and stared out the glass wall.
Dave looked at him, bewildered.
"What?" His voice was flat.
"What is this reaction about?"
Joe turned and glared at Dave.
"I've got money. Maybe not nearly as much as you, but I don't need to be your charity case."
Dave looked at him for a moment and then started laughing.
"This is too funny. I never even thought about that money until the other day, when Mrs. Way appeared on my front porch. Joe this is not my money. Well, it is, but-- it was Bill's father that made it. What is the big deal? It is now yours as much as it is mine."
"I still feel strange taking your money."
"Joe, it is our-OUR money. You're not taking it, it's simply is our money."
"Alright, I get it. Stop yelling."
He tromped off towards the bedroom.
"It will just take some getting used to that's all." He muttered.
Dave watched him leave. Sighed, and then wandered out on to the terrace. He slumped into a chaise. Life was so much more simple before that damned money became an issue. The sun was warm, he dozed off.
His nose tickled. He rubbed it without waking. It tickled again. Damned fly. How the hell did it get clear up here? He slapped at it. His nose tickled again. He opened his eyes, glaring at the end of his nose. He heard a chuckle and focused his eyes. Joe was sitting beside him, with a leaf in his fingers, twirling it above his nose. Dave batted it away. Joe leaned down and kissed him on the tip of his nose.
"You're cute when you cross your eyes."
Dave just looked at him. He hated cute at his age, but he'd put up with it for his man. He crossed his eyes and stuck out his tongue. Joe laughed, and then turned serious.
" Dave. I'm sorry. It's just that I didn't marry you for your money. I---"
"Joe shut up about the money. It can sit in the bank and rot for all I care. It's simply there to use if either or both of us decides to spend some of it."
"How about if I spent all of it?"
"It's your to spend, Babe." Dave thought for a moment. "Do you really think you could spend that much money in your lifetime?"
"Just how much money are we talking about."
"A hell of a lot more than I can comprehend."
Joe thought for a moment and then shook his head.
"And you live like you have to work for a living. When was the last time you took a vacation?"
"Well-- about six years ago Bill and I took a couple of days off and went camping out at the lake."
"And that's a vacation?"
"It was very relaxing and restful."
"Have you ever been to Hawaii, or Europe?"
"Ever dream about it. Like going to the Riviera or Capri or the Greek Isles? How about visiting the great museums of the world?"
"Sure, who hasn't dreamed about such things."
"So why haven't you?"
"I have a store to run. I can't just up and traipse off like that."
"Of course you can. Leave it to Sue to take care of. She acts like it's her store anyway."
Dave cocked an eyebrow at Joe. He had never thought about doing such a thing.
"You are amazing, sweetheart." Joe continued. "I've never known anyone like you. The first time I ever laid eyes on you, I knew you were something special."
Dave was floating in the golden flicker of Joe's eyes.
"Yeah, you, too." He murmured as Joe's lips lightly grazed his. His hands moved to pull Joe down onto him. 'Is there any thing better than making love to Joe out in the open air?' He thought as their lips met.
Joe yelled from the living room.
"Hurry up, Dave, We're going to be late."
"I'm coming" Dave rushed into the room,"I had to change my shirt."
"What was wrong with the one you had on?"
"It just wasn't right."
Joe grinned. Dave's little eccentricities tickled him.
He wandered onto the patio.
"Well, come on. Let's go meet the Paolini clan." Dave said, looking impatient.
In the car Dave fidgeted while Joe drove.
"Be calm, Babe, they already love you."
"They haven't even met me yet."
"Well, you met Johnny."
"Yeah, I left a nice impression there. Your mother probably thinks I run around kissing all the men."
"I seriously think that Johnny has not told Mom." Joe laughed. "God I wish I could have been there to see the expression on your faces."
"Well, Johnny's was pure shock. And I know I was red as your car here, when I realized that he wasn't you. And that damned Paul, his partner. He was falling all over the place, he was laughing so hard. He knew immediately what was happening and why. And Sue! She was horrified that I would throw myself into a police detectives arms and plant a big juicy kiss on him. She didn't see Johnny until I backed off. Then she realized the why of my mistake.
They both were wiping tears out of their eyes from laughing.
"I thought I would pee my pants," Dave continued,"when Detective Paul Varner managed to straighten out his face and say, "Mr. Gates I'm going to have to arrest you for assaulting a police officer." And then he did collapse onto the floor. And poor Johnny. He only came in to meet his new brother-in law. Little did he know he'd get nearly raped in the process. It's all your fault, Joe. You could have told me that Johnny is your twin."
"He's two years younger than me."
"Well, fool the world. You are identical. He even says my name like you."
Joe finally calmed down enough to speak.
"I wish I could have been a fly on the wall." He looked at Dave who was doing his best to look offended.
" I'm sorry, Sweetheart, really I am."Joe said as he pulled the car into the drive at his parent's house.
Dave gave up trying as he continued to snicker.
"Don't give me that jive. The only thing you're sorry about is not having been there, you-you jokester."
They looked at one another and had another fit of laughing.
They fell out of the car and leaned on each other for support as they went up the walk. The door flew open and out came Joe's mother, Angie.
"My God you're drunk." She said for all to hear. She was followed by her husband, Joseph, and two of Joe's three siblings. Johnny the police detective and Eve, the baby of the family, four years younger than Johnny. Dave looked at them. They were all blonde. They were all beautiful. They all looked shocked.
"Joe, what do you think you are doing? Bringing your friend to my house when you've been drinking. The rules have not changed since you left."
"Joe quickly sobered and straightened up, although he continued to grin.
"No, Mom, we have not had a drop of liquor. Dave was telling me about meeting Johnny."
All eyes turned to Johnny. He looked back at them.
"What? I didn't do anything." He turned red and went back into the house.
All eyes turned back to Joe for an explanation. He side stepped it.
"Mom, Dad, this Dave Gates. He is my partner."
Joe was crimson with embarrassment.
"David, it is very nice to meet you." Joseph senior said.
"Yes." his mom said. "Won't you please come be welcome in our home. This is my youngest daughter, Evelyn. She took his hand and grinned at him.
"And I am Dave. Nice to finally meet you all. Joe has told me so much about you that I feel like I know you already."
He glared at Joe who burst out laughing again. Joe had told him very little about his family. He thought it best for Dave to experience them first hand and form his own impressions.
"Come. Come. Lets all get into the house. I'm sure all the neighbors are watching through their drawn curtains." Angie said making shooing motions with her apron.
Dave glanced at the surrounding houses as he allowed himself to be shooed in ahead of the rest of them. They were very much like his neighborhood in that each large two story house sat in the center of a large lot. He saw no drawn curtains in the windows nor any neighbors.
Stepping through the door he were assailed with delicious smells from the kitchen.
"Joe. I cooked your favorite meal. Bolliti Misti."
"Ah, Mom you're just showing off for Dave."
"Well of course I am. Dave needs to know these things. Just what my Joey likes to eat." She tweaked his cheek.
"And what makes you think he even knows how to cook?"
"Of course he knows how to cook. You picked him, didn't you?"
"I married him before I even knew if he could find the kitchen."
Dave stood there grinning. He didn't know what to make of being talked around. Joe's family was sitting or standing around the huge kitchen watching this play between Joe and his mother. They were all enjoying it, especially not being the center of her attention. Angie turned her eye on Dave.
" What are you doing standing? Sit down make yourself at home. You are a part of this crazy family now." She pulled a chair out from the huge kitchen table and pushed it toward him. "You are the first man Joe has brought to meet the family in I don't know how many years. Too many. Since that terrible but beautiful Alex."
"His name was Eric, Mom" Joe injected.
Angie turned to him.
"I don't care what his name was. He was a putani." She made a rude gesture with her hand and turned back to Dave. "He should burn in hell for what he did to my son, David." She shook her wooden spoon at him for emphasis.
"So I know you are special to my Joey. You need to know how to keep him happy. Here." She handed Dave a loose leaf note book. "I wrote out recipes for you. All his favorite foods. Of course, they are for a family not just two people. So maybe you can invite us to dinner sometime."
Dave's eyes got big as he scanned through it.
"Angie to you." She had taken a large platter and was filling it with the different meats she lifted out of the heavenly smelling sauce.
"Angie, I think you have a treasury here. If you let me publish this, it could make you a good sum of money."
"You think so?" She stopped and looked around at her family. "Hey, I would be famous. Why not? It is yours, do with it as you please. Go ahead. Make your mother-in-law famous."
She filled a big gravy boat with sauce. Eve was quietly taking each dish to the dining room table. Next Angie took a large wooden plank. She covered it with a smooth golden steaming polenta. Eve decorated the top with several sprigs of Sage.
Angie wiped her hands on her apron, and then took it off.
"Dinner is on the table. Let's go eat."
In the dining room Joe's dad took charge.
"Dave as the guest of honor you sit next to me. My oldest son sits on my right."
Everyone else took there customary seats. Angie sat at the opposite end of the table from her husband. Eve sat next to Dave, leaving Johnny to sit next to Joe.
Everyone waited for Joe Senior to pray over the food and then waited for him to pickup the first dish. At that point it was controlled mayhem as everyone filled their plates. Between Joe's dad and Eve, Dave's plate was heaped with some of everything on the table.
As soon as everyone was eating Joe senior started the conversation.
"I think that we should hear first hand this meeting that is so hilarious between Johnny and David."
"I'm not telling anything." Johnny stated.
All eyes turned to Dave. He blushed and looked across the table at Joe. Joe grinned.
"This is your initiation into the Paolini Family. I can't help you, Dave."
"Well, I knew Joe had a brother. I didn't know he was a twin."
"They are two years apart."Everyone said simultaneously.
"I know that, now. Anyway Joe hadn't told me that Johnny and he look like identical twins. Johnny and his partner, Det. Varner came up behind me in my office. I turned thinking he was Joe and attacked him."
"What do you mean attacked him?" Angie asked.
"He hugged him and kissed him on his mouth." Joe said, being as helpful as possible. Dave and Johnny turned a deeper shade of red.
"So Johnny, what did you do?"His dad asked.
"I'm not saying a word."Johnny replied paying close attention to his food. Dave was grinning and Joe was laughing. Angie and Eve were tittering. Joe senior was smiling, but something was disturbing him as he watched his son the detective.
"What happened then?" Angie asked.
"Well, I was mortified when I realized he wasn't Joe. I backed off and apologized."
"Paul pulled his badge out and told Dave he was under arrest for molesting an innocent police officer." Joe said, leering at his younger brother.
"He didn't say that. He said he had to arrest him for assaulting an officer of the law." Johnny said, as he glared angrily at Joe. Joe just grinned back.
"And then what happened?" Angie prompted.
"Well, after I apologized ten more times, we all introduced our selves. Everything would have been okay except Sue, my store manager had to tell Mr. Big Mouth here about it."
"I'm sorry, Dave, it's just so damned funny."
Johnny was still glaring daggers at his older brother.
"Didn't you find it funny, Johnny? Joe senior asked.
"Yes, sir, it was really funny." He mumbled into his plate.
"So why aren't you laughing, too?"
Johnny pushed back from the table, wiped his mouth and stood up.
"Excuse me, I've got to get back to the precinct. Mom dinner was delicious."
He kissed her cheek, grabbed his jacket of the back of the sofa and fled.
"What's got into him" Joe asked.
"Leave him be, Joe. The boy has got some unresolved issues." his dad said.
On the way back home Dave was quiet. Joe watched him out of the corner of his eye.
"Wanna tell me what's bothering you, Love?"
Dave glanced up at Joe.
"I'm just feeling bad for Johnny. We shouldn't have told that story in front of him."
"Why not? It was funny."
"Yeah, but it was really embarrassing for Johnny."
"Why would it be so embarrassing for him? You're the one who made the mistake."
Dave studied Joe for several moments without answering.
"Johnny was kissing me back. When he realized it, it really shook him up."
Joe stared at Dave and then turned his attention back to the traffic.
"Holy Shit." he whispered as he thought about his younger brother.