by Tim Mead
A week after Jeff and Sam's "date" Jeff ran his usual Saturday errands in the morning and was sorting through some of Phil's papers that afternoon, mostly to keep himself busy until a football game he wanted to watch came on. He ran across a file that contained a sealed manila envelope marked "Jeff – Confidential – Ex Cathedra." He put it aside to investigate later and was about to continue sorting when his phone rang.
"Jeff, how's it going, man? It's Sam."
Like I don't recognize that voice.
"Hey, how are you? Business good?"
"Yes, I'm happy to say. So I'll make this quick. I see you haven't decorated your house for the holidays."
"It seems kind of pointless, since I'm gonna be here alone. I don't plan to have an open house or throw a party. I don't really know very many people yet. At least not well enough to invite to a Christmas bash. The neighbors, I know them to say hello to. But people usually spend the holidays with family." He wondered whether Stan and Doug would be going to Cincinnati. Maybe he could ask them over.
There was a pause.
"Okay, I'll buy that. So you don't need to do much decorating inside, though it seems sad to me that you wouldn't have a tree. But everybody in your part of town will expect to see the outside of the house decorated. Buddy and Phil didn't go in for lots of lights, but they always put wreaths on the door and the front windows. And some garlanding around the door."
"Jeez, Sam. I don't know where that stuff is."
"Look, I can't get away from work today, but what if I come over there right after lunch tomorrow? You can probably figure out where the stuff is, can't you? And I'll show you how they always used to hang it."
"Well, I don't want to be Scrooge. So, sure. But you'll have to stay for supper. Suppose I put on a pot of spaghetti sauce to simmer while we're working?"
"Sounds like a great Sunday evening supper to me! See ya about two?"
Jeff was glad Sam couldn't detect the increase in his heart rate. "Lookin' forward to it!"
He hadn't seen any boxes labeled as Christmas decorations, so he headed for the attic. He remembered being up there when he was a teen, but he hadn't gone there since he'd moved back to Lake Polk.
He made the climb. Although the house had no dormers and there were no windows in the attic, there were more electric lights than one might have expected. He flipped a switch and the place became bright. He was surprised to find how neatly organized and clean everything was. Or maybe not so surprised. Attics were traditionally dark and dusty. He was pretty sure Etta never went up there. She couldn't have reached the handle on the cord, for one thing. But it was typical of Phil and Buddy to have things shipshape, as Buddy would have said.
There were odds and ends of discarded furniture that, because of their age and poor quality, Jeff suspected pre-dated Phil and Buddy's tenure in the house. There were also boxes with labels listing their contents. And a plywood wardrobe which wasn't labeled.
Jeff opened it cautiously and immediately smelled mothballs. Inside were several U.S. Navy uniforms in plastic bags: navy blue, white, and khaki. Jeff knew nothing about the Navy's insignia of rank. The boards on the shoulders of the whites and the sleeves of the blue uniform had four equal-width gold stripes. On the collar of the khakis was an eagle that, Jeff knew, in the Army designated what a friend of his called a "full bird colonel." Obviously these were Buddy's uniforms, but they were made for a younger or at least thinner Buddy than the man Jeff remembered.
Eventually Jeff found a large box containing a ten-foot artificial Christmas tree which would work fine since the downstairs ceilings were twelve feet from the floor. Next to the box with the tree were stacks of ornaments and other inside decorations. But nothing for the outside.
So, he thought, that leaves the garage attic.
Sure enough, he found boxes with the wreaths, bows, and garlanding Sam had mentioned in the storage space above the garage. Logical. Inside decorations in the attic, outside stuff over the garage. He carried them all downstairs and set them behind his Subaru, since it was the smallest car in the garage.
* * *
Sunday dawned bright, about 60 by the time Jeff got to the late service, with a predicted high of near 70. The church was nearly full, but then Advent was a season that tended to pull in even faint-hearted Christians. Like me, Jeff thought. The tradition at St. John's was to add a few more decorations each Sunday of Advent. This morning there was garlanding with huge red bows on the pillars that ran down either side of the main aisle. There were wreaths on either side of the stained glass window above the altar. And Christmas trees had been added in the corners behind the altar, though they had no decorations yet.
The augmented choir sang well. Father Pete's homily was seasonal and not overlong. By the time the service concluded, Jeff felt his spirits buoyed. He opted to stay for punch and cookies in the parish hall, surprised at how many people he knew. And several more introduced themselves, telling him much they had liked Buddy and Phil.
As he was leaving, he ran into the last person he had expected to see. Paul Moretti was chatting with the rector's wife. Determined to ignore him, Jeff headed for the nearest door. Assuming the Morettis were Catholic and knowing there was an Episcopal church in Sebring, he could think of no reason why Paul would be visiting St. John's.
As he stepped into the cloistered garden, he heard Paul say, "Jeff, hold up!" Common courtesy, especially since he was still on church property, dictated that he wait.
Paul closed the door and walked up to him. Perhaps just a little too close, invading ever so slightly Jeff's personal space.
"What are you doing here?"
"Jeff, Jeff. I'm a guest in your church. Shouldn't you be welcoming me?"
"Depends on why you're here."
"That really isn't any of your business, is it? And I'm disappointed that in this season of brotherly love, you aren't willing to give me the benefit of the doubt."
Jeff sighed. "Yeah, okay. So what do you want?"
"You asked me to wait for you."
"Oh, I just wanted to say good morning and wish you a Merry Christmas if I don't see you again."
"Oh! Well, then, the same to you."
Paul held out his hand and Jeff couldn't avoid shaking it without looking completely churlish.
Paul winked at him. "Who knows, though? We may bump into each other again before the holidays. And bumping sounds good. Take care!"
With that he turned and strode off toward the parking lot. He wore a navy blazer, a light blue shirt open at the collar, and expensive khakis. Jeff felt a momentary disappointment that the jacket covered Paul's butt and then felt ashamed of being attracted to someone he so disliked.
Not wishing to overtake Paul, Jeff walked slowly toward his own car. He'd brought the BMW since his Subaru was literally boxed in. Checking to see there was no one looking, he adjusted the growing lump in his trousers. The Beemer was a nice car, he thought during the short drive home. But he felt he was being ostentatious whenever he drove it.
When he got home he changed into jeans and an old, soft denim shirt. He grabbed an apple for lunch and munched it while he checked his email. Then he read new chapters of two stories he was following on line.
He was downstairs, browning ground beef with chopped onions when there was a tap at the back door. Sam had remembered that the family seldom used the front door.
Jeff opened the door and took a moment to admire his friend: hair pulled back in its usual ponytail, almost chilling gray eyes, high cheekbones, broad shoulders tapering to an impossibly thin waist. Flat chest, nice mound in the front of the jeans.
He was pleased when Sam hugged him. He was seldom hugged. And this, he hoped, could be the prelude . . . .
"It smells good."
"Oh, God, I don't want to burn the meat. `Scuse me a minute."
"Can I help?"
"Nope. Just take a chair while I get all this together."
He drained the grease off the meat and put the meat/onion mixture in a large saucepan, to which he added diced green bell peppers, mushrooms, crushed garlic, canned diced tomatoes, tomato puree and some water. Then he added bay leaf, basil, oregano, a shake of nutmeg, salt and pepper, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
"There, that should hold it for a while. Remind me to check the seasonings in an hour or so."
"If I'm not too distracted." Sam's face was absolutely expressionless, which was sexier than if he'd winked or raised an eyebrow.
"How are your folks?"
"They're both great. And they say hello." He grinned.
"They asked if I'd be home tonight."
"Is there some doubt about that?"
"Well, you have to be at work about nine tomorrow, I imagine. And I open the store at 8:30."
"Yeah. I usually do my run at 6:30." He returned the grin. "I could cancel it, though."
Sam stood. "Let's sort that out later. Now, where's the stuff?"
The house was asymmetrical as viewed from the street in that the door stood at the apex of the semicircular drive. To its right was a large window. To the left was a wing set back about ten or twelve feet. It had two large windows.
It was symmetrical, however, in the sense that the downstairs windows were matched by windows on the second floor, with a window over the door as well.
The boxes Jeff had brought down from the garage attic contained larger wreaths for the ground floor and slightly smaller ones for the upper floor. There were hangers and red velvet bows for each wreath.
There was also garlanding to go around the front door. Large cup hooks painted to match the door frame held the garland in place.
They had to fetch an extension ladder from the garage to install the upstairs wreaths and bows.
So, despite the fact it was only 72 degrees when they finished, both men were sweating a little by the time they were done. They stood on the sidewalk admiring their work.
Sam casually placed an arm over Jeff's shoulder. "That's just the way Phil and Buddy always had it."
"Thanks, man. I'd never have known if you hadn't suggested it. Ready for a beer?"
"That'd be good about now," his friend agreed, "but I could do with a shower and a change of clothes."
"I can supply the shower, and I can come up with socks, shirt, and tee-shirt, but no way will my drawers or jeans fit you."
"Not a problem. I just happen to have clean stuff in the car."
Jeff had noticed earlier that Sam's Olds was parked in the straight driveway back near the garage next to a large bougainvillea. It occurred to him that it was less likely to be noticed there than if Sam had left it in the circle drive.
"All righty, then. Go get your stuff while I check on the sauce. I'll have a cold one ready for you when you're done."
"Where is the bathroom?"
"Second on the right upstairs."
After he had sampled the sauce and added a half-teaspoon of sugar, he took a wedge of parmesan, grated a small bowl full of it, covered the bowl with cling wrap, and left it on the counter.
He was setting the kitchen table when Sam came back downstairs, looking delectable in a worn pair of khakis and a long-sleeved polo shirt. His damp hair hung loose. Jeff didn't remember ever seeing Sam without his pony tail. It gave him an entirely different look. He smelled of Jeff's shower gel.
"I think I can find a hair dryer if you'd like to use it."
"Thanks, but if you don't mind, I'll just let it air dry."
"Your call. Looks, um, sexy, that way."
"I'm glad you think so. That was the general idea."
"Well, sexy, here's the TV remote and a Sam Adams. Sorry I didn't ask if that's okay. Why don't you find a football game while I clean up? The Bucs may be on, but I don't know who they're playing."
Taking the proffered items, Sam replied, "Doesn't much matter, does it? They'll probably lose."
"Then find a game that interests you. Be back soon."
Jeff hurried through his shower, pulled on clean clothes, and went back downstairs. He grabbed a beer from the fridge and joined Sam in front of the large flat-screen. Talking heads were . . . talking.
"Halftime's almost over. It's the Saints playing the Bengals in New Orleans. Is that okay?"
They each drank a second beer as the second half went on. Eventually the Saints won by a comfortable margin. Jeff was about to pick up the empties and take them to the kitchen when a loud rumble emanated from Sam's stomach.
"Hungry, guy? You should have said something."
Sam grinned. "Sorry `bout that. Mom and Dad went to Brandon for Sunday dinner with my uncle and aunt. So I just grabbed a couple of handsful of trail mix. Guess that didn't stick with me."
"Then let's get you fed. The sauce is ready anytime. Come on. You can get the pasta on while I fix a salad. I can pop some rolls in the oven if you'd like."
Sam stood. "Let's pass on the rolls. There's enough carbs in the pasta for me."
In the kitchen, Sam asked, "You sure you trust me to boil water?"
Jeff grinned. "Yeah. I've got plenty of water." He took a large pot from underneath the counter and handed it to his friend. "There's linguini or spaghetti in those jars over there. Your call."
He couldn't help tingling as he combined the torn lettuce and the cut-up veggies for the salad because he was so aware of the man working alongside him. Aware, too, of what he hoped they'd be doing later.
Once the salad was tossed and the pasta cooking, he asked, "Would you like to switch to wine? I have a nice pinot, but it might need a few minutes to breathe."
"Let's just stay with the beer. That is, if you have plenty."
"Never a shortage of that around here."
As they sat to eat, Jeff thought how domestic this was. He could stand a lot more of it. But then he reminded himself this was only their second "date" and that he shouldn't expect anything. He could hope, but to do more would be to let himself in for the possibility of great disappointment.
Their dinner-table conversation ranged wide, part of the continuing process of getting to know each other.
"What do you like to read, Jeff?" Sam asked.
"I've never been much of a reader. A Grisham once in a while."
"You know there are a lot of good crime stories with gay detectives?"
"Oh, I suppose there would be. Like I said, I don't read a lot."
Sam twisted linguini expertly around his fork. "Did you ever read anything in school that had a real impact?"
Jeff thought about that. "Yeah, there was this play once. About a guy named Willie Loman. I sort of related to that. Even though I'm not his age and don't have a wife and kids."
"Yeah, that's a powerful play. Death of a Salesman. Lots of good actors have played the lead. You know, Willie. Lee J. Cobb. Hal Holbrook. But the best, I think, and maybe you'd never guess this, was Dustin Hoffman. I've seen a filmed version of him doing it. And he's really good. Maybe you'd like to watch it with me some time."
"I would, yeah."
After a pause, Jeff asked, "How come you know so much about this stuff? Did you learn about it in your . . . what was it? . . . humanities major?"
Sam gave a rueful smile. "Mostly."
"What kind of courses did you take?"
"Oh, English, history, art, music, theater."
"Did you enjoy it?"
"A lot. But when I graduated I found out Dad was right and I'd picked up no `marketable skills.' That's why I'm in Lake Polk selling ten-penny nails two at a time."
"But you told me you liked running the store."
"The strange thing is, I do like it. Like dealing with folks every day. Like helping `em with advice. And we make a decent living. The big DIY stores put a lot of little, independent hardware stores out of business. But we're doin' okay. People come in and need three of something, we don't make `em buy a package of two dozen. They want to know how to fix a widget or install a framis and we tell `em how to do it. They appreciate that. We've got customers from Parkerville to Sebring."
"Well, it's good to be content with what you do. Now, tell me something. You asked me about something I'd read that made a big impression. You've read a lot more than me. So what's yours?"
"Oh, shit, Jeff. There's so much. But suppose I pick out another play, another tragedy. As trite as it seems, I think it's Hamlet. Have you ever read it?
"Yeah, back in high school. It's about this dude whose mother is sleeping with his uncle, isn't it? What's so great about it?
"Hamlet's world is just falling in on him. Like you said, his mother's sleeping with Claudius, who's slime. Hamlet's pretty sure that Claudius killed his father. He doesn't know whether his mama was involved with the murder or not. He knows some heavy shit's coming down and even though he loves his girlfriend he has to drive her away from him so she won't be hurt."
"Man, that's heavy. That's even more depressing than Willie Loman's problems."
"Yeah, but Willie just suffers through his. He maintains some dignity, but that's about it. Hamlet manages to look really noble. He dies, but you can't help admiring and respecting him."
"Do you relate to that somehow?"
"Not in a personal way, but I can imagine being in his situation, you know? It makes being gay in Lake Polk seem like a minor problem."
Jeff thought being gay in Lake Polk at that moment was an exciting situation, but he nodded in response to what Jeff had said.
"No, thanks. To be honest, I'm just about full up."
I'd like to fill you up, Jeff thought.
They cleared the table, put away the leftover food, and loaded the dishwasher. Jeff tried not to reveal how excited he was, but he couldn't help remembering what had been said about their second date.
Not much later, they were lying on the big leather sofa in the TV room, Sam on top. His hair fell down around Jeff's face, smelling lightly of Jeff's shampoo. Jeff twitched when Sam licked his ear.
"Do you know I've had the hots for you ever since I saw you in the shop ten years ago? I think you'd just graduated from high school and were visiting your uncles."
The tongue sent waves of electricity throughout Jeff's body. He giggled. "Does that mean you've been so nice to me since Phil died just so you could stick your tongue in my ear?"
"No. I want to stick other things in other places, too."
He demonstrated his intentions by licking across Jeff's lips.
Jeff responded by opening his mouth, and soon the two were involved in full-scale exploration.
Jeff could feel Sam's hard cock pressing against his own, and he involuntarily began humping up against that hardness. He grabbed a firm little buttock with each hand to pull Sam even closer.
Sam broke the lip-lock and panted, "Hey! I'm about to come in my pants. Should we slow this down a little bit?"
Jeff grinned. "What's the matter, old man, you can't come again later?"
Sam, two years older, pretended to take umbrage. "Old man!? You show me to your bed and I'll show you who's an old man! But there's no need to mess my pants."
"That'd be our pants." He reluctantly let go of Sam's solid glutes.
On the way up the stairs, Sam, who was behind, fondled Jeff's . . . behind.
"We'll be there in a matter of seconds," Jeff said, chuckling.
"Hey, you're the one who was playing grab-ass downstairs."
In the bedroom, Sam said, "Let's take a deep breath and then proceed slowly. I'm still ready to blow."
Passing up a chance to make a pun on blow, Jeff agreed. He sat down on the edge of his bed. "Okay. How about you strip for me? Slowly. Let me see how close my fantasies have come to the real thing."
Although Sam didn't object to Jeff's suggestion, he didn't really take long to get out of his clothes. And there he stood, lean, muscular, erect.
"Ohmygod! Turn around, please."
When Sam complied, Jeff's cock, already near bursting, tried to push its way out of its cotton prison. He stood, put his hands on Sam's shoulders, and pushed him not too gently toward the bed. Sam fell forward. In an instant Jeff had his mouth on one of those perfect glutes. But he didn't feel like foreplay. No gentle nibbling or licking of the buns. Instead, he pulled them apart and began making long laps of Sam's crack.
"Um, Jeff? That feels fantastic, but you're still dressed. I'd be happier if I'd at least seen you naked before you eat my ass."
"Oh! Okay." Jeff stood up and backed away from the bed.
Sam turned over on his back, cock lying parallel to but not touching his belly. "You don't have to do it slowly."
Jeff, out of his clothes quickly, practically jumped on top of Sam. It occurred to him briefly that they were acting like a couple of teens, but he figured from Sam's actions a ton of desire reciprocated his own feelings.
They kissed and ground their cocks together as they had downstairs. But this time it was skin on skin, and both were leaking copiously. As their cocks and tongues slithered around one another, both men reached the point of no return. It was Jeff who came first, but only by seconds. Both men cried out as they came, the sounds gradually subsiding into groans and gasps. Jeff wiggled around, smearing the double load of cum between them. And then he lay still, his nose and mouth against the side of Sam's neck.
God! It's been so long, he thought. Then he remembered to his dismay that it had only been a couple of weeks since he'd been fucked downstairs in the kitchen by Paul Moretti. But that wasn't like this. It's never been like this.
Sam had his arms around Jeff, holding him down. Jeff could still smell the shower gel, but added to that were the fragrances of shampoo and cum. And Sam. He might have been tempted to just lie there, but the mixed aromas were an aphrodisiac.
He ran his tongue across the lips of Sam, who opened them to receive it. And they lay there a while, snogging.
But desire persisted. Despite the pleasure of sucking face, Jeff couldn't forget that he'd recently had his tongue in Sam's crack.
"This is our second date, isn't it?"
Sam chuckled. "Let's agree to call it that."
"Well, then, we can't quit yet, can we?"
Another chuckle. "Nope."
Jeff pushed up, slid backward, and stood up.
"Turn over and stick that gorgeous ass in the air. Unless you're too tired, that is."
Sam did as he was told. And then, smirking over his shoulder, he said, "Eat me!"
Jeff smacked the right cheek smartly and began to do as he was told. He used everything he'd learned. First he grabbed Sam's beautiful hard, thick cock and licked up it, over Sam's balls, up the lightly hairy crack, to the pucker. There he teased it with the tip of his tongue a moment or so and then began his downward progress. He repeated the process as Sam groaned and wiggled his hard little butt.
Jeff loved rimming. It seemed gross in theory, of course, but if the guy was clean, inside and out, it was a turn-on to have his face buried between ass cheeks. An even greater turn-on was knowing how he was pleasuring the other guy, feeling and hearing his delight.
"¡Ay carramba! Where'd you learn how to do that?"
Jeff chuckled. "I don't think you want to know right now. Are you in the habit of yelling in Spanish when you get your hole eaten?"
Sam repeated Jeff's words: "I don't think you want to know that right now. And so far, you haven't actually penetrated anything. Thus, technically, no eating."
Jeff fixed that, stabbing with his tongue. Sam, who was never, ever girly, shrieked.
"Oh, you like that, do you?"
"No, I hate you! But I think you'd better fuck me."
"Don't you want me to loosen you up a bit?"
"Well, that does sound nice, but don't take too long."
Although he'd heard often enough that spit don't do shit and believed it, he put a finger against Sam's lips. Sam obligingly sucked it in, as if it were a cock. When Jeff removed it and began to wiggle it against Sam's pucker, however, Sam said, "I think it's time for lube."
Jeff pulled open the drawer of the nightstand, a drawer which had held condoms and lube for many, many years, he figured. But in anticipation of this evening he'd restocked the supply. He couldn't help being reminded, though, that this was Phil and Buddy's bed. And nightstand. And house.
Sam yelped when Jeff carefully inserted a finger, found the nut, and began to stroke. Then he purred. He yelped again when Jeff introduced the second finger.
"I don't think you need to use any more fingers. I'm ready."
"I'm goddamned friggin' sure! Fuck me with that fat cock, Elder!"
It was intense, and Jeff took things slow and easy, stretching out the experience as much as he could. But he'd been dreaming of this moment since Phil's funeral. And then he felt a moment of shame for thinking of it that way. But the climax inevitably came. For him, at least. And Sam seemed happy, though he didn't come.
After Jeff had peeled off the condom, taken it to the bathroom, and returned to the bed, Sam was lying on his back, an arm across his eyes, taking deep breaths. Jeff spread Sam's legs apart and began to suck on his still-hard cock.
Sam, who obviously hadn't been expecting that, gasped. "Oh, Jesus, Jeff! You don't have to do that."
"Course I do. I'm not gonna leave you unsatisfied."
"Babe, if you don't know how satisfying a good fuckin' is, I'm gonna have to show you."
Jeff grinned. "I'd love for you to show me. But right now don't you want me to suck you off?"
Returning the grin, Sam said, "Nope. I'd rather demonstrate."
"You're on, stud!"
Jeff rolled over onto his side next to Sam. "How do you want me?"
"On your back. Pull your knees up!"
When Jeff obliged, Sam pushed up on Jeff's thighs and attacked Jeff's balls with his tongue.
Jeff had a fleeting thought of the event in the kitchen with Paul. And of how different this was.
Later, they lay side by side. Drained. Stretched. Satisfied.
In his years in college and later in Illinois, Jeff had had a series of fuck buddies. One of them even lived with him for a year and a half. But they were only that. Fuck partners, friends with benefits.
But this was different. Sam wasn't like anyone he'd had sex with before. Sam was beautiful, not that some of the other guys hadn't been good looking. Sam was not only comfortable to be with, he was interesting. No, that was too weak a word. He was the best company Jeff had ever had. Intelligent. Clever. Fun. Caring.
But, he warned himself, you need to be careful. Don't jump the gun. Sam may not feel the same way.
He wasn't sure what to say. Should he ask if Sam would spend the night? Would that be premature? Would asking him to stay put Sam in an awkward position? What if Sam didn't like sleeping with other guys? One of Jeff's casual sex partners in Illinois had been like that. Enthusiastic during sex, but then out the door.
Jeff's dilemma was resolved when Sam rolled onto his side and, putting his mouth close to Jeff's ear, said, "You never told me what was for dessert."
Jeff shivered and then managed to say, "I have tiramisu from Publix."
"Sounds good. Do we need to put on clothes?"
Jeff really hadn't thought about being naked downstairs. But what the hell! "Not really. I keep the lower half of the plantation shutters closed all the time for privacy. But the house could be chilly. I have the thermostat turned off."
Sam got out of bed and held his hand out to Jeff. Jeff took Sam's hand and was pulled up.
Sam grinned. "When my dick begins to shrivel, I'll let you know."
"I'll put on the heat. Wouldn't want Sam Jr. to lose any of his, uh, stature."
Downstairs Jeff served up hefty portions of the tiramisu. He offered Sam something to drink, and Sam chose milk.
They took their desserts to the big leather couch they had made out on earlier. The leather was cold on their bare butts, but only for a moment. Still, there was something weird about being naked on the leather. Jeff gestured for Sam to get up. Then he took a throw that was draped over the back of the couch and spread it out. When they sat down this time it felt much cozier.
Around a mouthful of tiramisu, Sam asked, "Have you been following Downton Abbey on Masterpiece?"
Jeff smiled in amusement as Sam's eyes closed in obvious bliss. He looked down at his dessert. Someone who appreciated it that much, and who made love the way Sam did . . . maybe he would stay the night.
"Hmmm? Oh, no, I haven't. But if you want to watch it, I wouldn't mind."
It turned out to be about a big country home somewhere in England. Jeff explained from time to time the basic situation. The current earl or duke or whatever he was didn't have a direct male heir and the nephew or whatever had gone down with the Titanic. So the story was all about who would inherit the title and the house and how they could keep it in the family if they married their oldest daughter off to the heir.
Jeff had occasionally enjoyed watching Masterpiece Mystery on Sunday nights, but the "Classic" dramas usually left him bored or confused. He had trouble understanding the local dialects if the plays were set in rural Britain.
But after they had finished their dessert, Sam put an arm around Jeff's shoulder, and Jeff was content to snuggle close to Sam and follow the drama as best he could, aided by Sam's occasional comments.
When the program concluded, Sam, again putting his mouth close to Jeff's ear, said, "I could get dressed and go home now. But you wouldn't send a guy out on a December night like this would you?"
Jeff laughed. The temperature outside was probably fifty. That was a cold December night only by Florida standards. But he was happy Sam wanted to stay.
"I'm not as heartless as that." Then he added with a straight face, "Let me show you the guest room."
Sam ran a hand through his long, ashy-blond hair, stuck out his lower lip, and cocked his head to one side. "Aw, can't I sleep with you?"
Jeff pulled him close and kissed the pout away. "Of course you can. But maybe we'd better change the bottom sheet first."
"Oh, let's not. We might get the fresh one sticky before morning."
And they did.
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