Welcome to the fifth installment of Joe, The Man. It is the sequel series to Dan, The Man. And if you haven't read Dan, The Man yet, I would recommend you do that first. At any rate, this series was called Starting Over Again in its original posting. But I have made some changes, editing out some parts, fixing grammatical mistakes, and adding some scenes as well. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks to all who have responded in the past. I enjoy hearing what the reader has to say.

By the way, the series Joe, the Man is copyrighted material. All rights reserved. No reproduction, in part or whole, is permitted without the consent of the author, Joey E. Also, if you are under 18 (or 21 in some areas), please don't read this. (Don't ask me why? It makes no sense to me). And lastly, if the subject of gay college guys just isn't your thing, then exit now.

Joe, The Man, Part V
"The Letter"
By Joey E

The next morning came around and I went to my 9AM class (where I should be now, but I cut it this morning...:) ). It dragged on forever it seemed, but then again, it was a Lit class that I had no interest in whatsoever. Luckily, it only lasted an hour. I saw Sean in it, we sat next to each other.

"Joe, what are you doing this weekend?" He asked, as we left the classroom.

"I'm going on a get-away-vacation," I said.

"No, seriously..." he said, thinking I was kidding.

"Yeah, seriously, I'm going out of town," I said. "I'm going up to my old hometown in PA, visiting some old high school friends."

"Oh, cool!" he remarked. "Well, then, have fun man! "

"I intend to!"

"By the way," he said. "How is Paul?"

"He's doin' all right, considering the circumstances. My guess is that you should try to call him or something," I said, trying not to make it a long conversation.

"I've been thinking about doin' that," Sean said. "Well, I'll talk to you later!"

Sean and I parted ways. Just then, I turned around to go back to my apartment and BAM!!! I was greeted with a very big chest in my face. I backed up and looked up to his face.

"Little Bud!" the jock named Matt said.

I smiled, blushed, and apologized. "Sorry, man!"

"That's okay," Matt said, softly. He then leaned down to my ear and said, "I rather enjoyed it." I looked back up at him and he was grinning.

"Uh…" was all I could say. I felt like an idiot. I couldn't help looking at him. His body was a magnet. It was unfair! He had a t-shirt on and was wearing jeans. His pecs were very noticeable and his arms were humongous. I sighed out loud.

"Uh, bud, stop looking, you might cause a scene.." he said softly in my ear.

"Uh," I started to talk, remembering where I was and slightly embarrassed. "I gotta go, man."

I turned around and started walking very quickly back to my apartment.

"Keep running, bud. I'll catch you sooner or later…" I heard him yell in his deep seductive voice.

I looked back and saw him grinning. On my way back to the apartment, I lit up a cigarette and reviewed in my mind what just happened. I couldn't believe I ran into Matt, who had been a rising star in my jerk off fantasies of recent times. And I couldn't believe I didn't have the balls to do anything about it. And when I did, I ran from him. It made no sense to me. I mean, he was hot!!

I went briefly to work, only because I had to, and Jason wasn't there today (which in my opinion was a good thing). Finally, at noon, I went back to the apartment and packed my shit up, loaded the car, checked the oil in the car, and was off on an hour and a half trip to my old home city.

The drive wasn't a bad drive as long as you didn't do it during rush hour and I made it in the usual hour and half, listening to the cast recording of Les Miserables. For the first time in a while, I actually felt good. I cleared my mind of all the things happening in Jersey and felt re-energized and full of life. Yes, my old friends didn't know about my preference, but that's the way I prefer to keep it. If they find out, they do, but I'm not going to tell them.

I knocked on Eric's door.

"Hey, man!" Eric said, shaking my hand. "What's up?"

Eric was somewhat of a lower status than my other friends, because he never made it to college. But I didn't care. He was 21, about 5'11", a little heavy 200lbs, blonde/brown hair, and decent looking. I was never attracted to him, because I never let myself think that way about him. He and I had a record of getting into trouble when we were younger. Put our two heads together and we can create some major trouble. We never got arrested, but we sure as hell did get caught by our parents every now and then.

"I'm glad you came up, man. All the others are either at college or working," he said, referring to the people he usually hangs out with. "Even my fiancee is out of town this weekend!"

"Aw, that sucks, man," I said. "Well, I'm glad I came up when I did."

"Yeah, you can say that again! So tell me what's new? I haven't seen you before the end of the summer man!"

"Really?" I honestly asked. "I've been up here in the summer!"

"Yeah, but I think I was away."

"Oh, that's right. I didn't use your place by the way," I said.

"Yeah, that's cool, though. So, what did you do all summer?"

At that moment, it hit me what I did all summer, and I was hesitant to go further. I thought fast.

"Well, man, my summer started off with a shock, which left me in total shock for a while," I said, seriously.

"What happened? Did you crack up the car again?" He joked.

"No!" I said defensively. "Of course not. You weren't around!" To make a long story short, we took out his car and my parent's new car for a race around a two lane industrial park road, and I cracked up my car around a bend.

"But," I continued," It is sort of related. My, uh, roommate and my good friend were killed in a car accident."

"Oh, man," he said, his excitement vanishing. "That sucks!"

"Yeah tell me about it. What made it worse, was I was there and saw the whole thing happen in my rear view mirror," I said, trying desperately not to have a flashback of it.

"Damn, Joe. I'm really sorry to hear that," he said.

"Yeah, I'm still trying to get over it," I said, truthfully. "But anyway!"

"So, what do you want to do tonight?"

"I don't know. I don't care actually. I'm just happy to be away from college, man."

"Too rough for you?"

"Yeah, it was really getting to me. Not just the classes, but my friends too."

"Ah, I see. Well, do you want to hit a movie?"

"Nah, man. Hey," I said, suddenly getting an idea.

"NO! We are not racing again," he shouted as he jumped out of his seat.

I laughed. "No, no, nothing like that. Why don't we go bowling and then catch a movie?"

We agreed and I bowled one of my best games (which isn't too great for some). I beat him two out of three games, and we spent a good two hours there. We had a fun night, going out to dinner, seeing a movie, and then coming home to get a little toasted on his beer. I didn't say anything, nor did I want to say anything, that was going on in my life to him, which was a good thing. Eric's a great person, but he's a homophobic piece of shit. (Sorry).

"So you run away from New Jersey?"

"Hell yeah! I would do it more often if I could," I said, smiling at my late boyfriend standing before me in front of bright light.

"Funny, you never took me up here," he said, looking a little offended.

"I'm sorry. I was planning to, but unfortunately the plans fell through, along with other things," I said with a straight face.

"Yeah, I know, I know. But I've been watching you, man. Trust me, the love of your life is already in your life."

"Yeah? Who is it?"

"I can't tell you that!"

"Well, then tell me if I'm at least close," I said.

"I can't tell you that either, babe," He said, smiling. "Don't worry, Joe, it'll work out in the end. So, anyway, are you enjoying your visit?"

I smiled at him, and looked into his adorable blue eyes. I ran my fingers through his soft, loose curly hair. I touched his face.

"I love you, Daniel. I love you so much," I said.

"I know, Joe. But, my time here is limited. I'm not supposed to say this, but you are close to finding someone really special, Joe. I love you, too. Even if you don't see me ever again in your dreams, know that I'll always be there for you. You can talk to me whenever you want, and you can even compose another piece for me. I'd like that," He said smiling.

I laughed. "Good night, Joe," he said, turning around.

"Good night, Dan."

I woke up from the dream, suddenly with tears running down my face. For the first time in a while, I cried myself back to sleep. Luckily, Eric was in his bedroom, and I was on the couch in the living room, so he didn't hear me.

The next morning, I was the first one up, which isn't say much being that it was 11AM, and I fixed myself breakfast. When he still didn't wake up, I helped my self to the shower facilities. He was up when I got out of the bathroom and waved hi to me. Eric was never a morning person (though he had a morning paper route for six years...figure that one out).

"So, what are you up to today?" he asked.

"Well, I'd thought I'd go out and visit some of my other friends," I said. That was the usual for me. I would spend time with Eric, but I also would go out and see my other friends (the one's that were still in town).

"Cool, man! I might be out when you get back, but you've got a key, right?"

"Yep!" I answered.

"Are you planning to stay another night?"

"No, probably not. But, I'll stay around until about eight probably," I said, guessing.

"Cool, well, come back here around 5 and maybe we can do dinner," he said.

I agreed and was off on the roads of my old home town. Actually, it was a small city. Sometimes I just like to drive around and see the old roads and shit. I did that today, and got to thinking on things. I pulled over and stopped for a cigarette break (because I can't drive and smoke at the same time...don't ask...)

Dan said love is close to me. Well, in my head, I narrowed it down to two options. It could be Lou or it could be Jason. For some reason, and I couldn't quite figure it out, I was hoping it was Jason. I could really fall for that guy, if I only knew I had a chance. In fact, when we played the piano the other night, I could sense I was. But, if Jason wasn't gay, then I can't just go to Lou acting like he's second fiddle. I wouldn't imagine he would like it that much. I'd have to plan my moves very carefully when I got back.

I got back into the car and visited various people, neighbors, old friends, and had a great time. I went back to Eric's apartment and we went out to eat. I was having such a good time that I stayed an extra night, and left on Sunday morning, knowing I had some work to finish for school when I got home.

When I got back to the apartment at about 1PM on Sunday afternoon, I was surprised to see all three roommates sitting on the couch, laughing up a storm.

"Hey Joe!" Justin said, looking up at me. The other two also said hi.

"Hey, men! What's up?"

"Not much," Kev said. "You missed a helluva good weekend, Joe."

For the next hour or so, we talked about our weekends. I didn't think I really missed much, though I did miss a good frat party. But I could've cared less.

"By the way, Lou says to call him when you got back," Paul said.

I knew that was coming. "Okay, thanks," I said.

"Oh, and, Jason called," Kev said. "He left a message on your PhoneMail."

"Oh, cool, thanks!" I said, happy that he called over the weekend.

I grabbed the phone and checked my Voice Mail messages.

"Joe, this is Jay, man. What's up? I was wondering what you were doing tonight because I'm bored out of my mind."

Damn, I thought. He called yesterday, I missed my chance. Oh, well. I dialed his extension.

"Hello, is Jay there?" I asked.

"Yeah, hold on," the male voice said.


"Hi, Jay?"

"Yeah," he said.

"This is Joe, man. I just got your message," I said, hoping not to sound too excited to be talking to him.

"Yeah, it's a little late now," he said, laughing. "But that's cool. So, what are you up to? Are you free tonight?"

YES YES YES! My mind was screaming. But I gained control, and said, "Sure. What did you have in mind?"

"Well, I'm not doing anything that I know of. My roommate's going out with his friends. So, maybe we could get together this evening and just you know hang out."

He sounded so confident and natural and most of all, so cute! "Cool man," I answered. "When did you want to get together?"

"Well, I was thinkin' maybe we could maybe get something to eat, and then hang out at either one of our places."

Perfect opportunity to tell him, I thought to myself. "Okay man, how about I come by your place around sixish?"

"Sounds good to me! See you then!"


I smiled to myself and hung up the phone. Just then the phone started ringing. I must've been slightly dazed because Kevin yelled at me, "Answer the phone, asshole!"

I wasn't offended. Kevin is just like that. I smiled and said, "Shut the fuck up."


"Hey, is Joe there?"

"Yeah this him....HEY ED!" I screamed into the phone. It was my best friend from high school. "What's up?" I said, sitting down on the couch again, making myself very comfortable.

"Not much! What's going on?" He asked.

We got to talking as we usually did. Finally, we got to the point of the phone call.

"So, you are going to come down for the Wedding right?

"Hell yeah!"

"Oh good," Ed said. "You can be in it!"

"Awesome! I've never been in one before. I've played at five of them, but never was in one."

"Cool. And you can bring someone with you if you want. Male or female," Ed said laughing.

I laughed too. Ed was the first guy I ever came out to. He still is the best friend that I ever had.

"Cool, man. I can't wait."

We talked for about an hour more. Finally, I walked out to the living room, after saying good bye to Ed.

"What?" I asked, setting down the phone.

"What's up?" Kev asked. "You look happy. That's not your usual status anymore, though it used to be."

"My best friend from high school is getting married, and he asked me to be in his wedding! And it's down in Florida too!"

"Cool, man!"

"Yeah, I can't wait to go down there and see him again."

"A little vacation eh?"

"Yeah, man," I answered.

So, I was over at Jason's promptly at 6PM. He was outside his dorm, waiting for me, looking cute as ever, blonde hair lightly waving in the small breeze. I smiled a big smile when I made eye contact with him. He smiled back.

"Hey, study," he said, as he got into the front passenger's seat of my car.

"Hey, yourself," I countered. "How are you?"

We decided to go to McDonald's, being that both of us were on a college budget and neither of us were in the mood for anything fancy. We ate inside. I desperately wanted to tell him about myself, but I told him about Ed instead.

"Yeah, Ed and I were buddies in high school. We were in band together, had a couple of classes together, it was awesome. You know, he's my friend that I told you about who I could jam along with for hours on end. He also writes and arranges music, just like I do. But I have the better keyboard now," I joked.

"Ah, a little competition," he said.

"Yeah, there always was that underlying competition that none of us said anything about, but each of us always knew it was there. That's why I liked being with him. He gave me a challenge every time," I said, reminiscing.

"Cool, yeah, I like a good challenge, too."

"Yeah, I've been noticing that with your work, which by the way, you've been doing very well with."

"Thanks man, I'm glad you noticed."

"No prob."

The conversation fell quiet for the first time in the evening. I looked at his beautiful eyes and lost myself for a moment.

"So, Joe, how about that Matt guy? Did he want you to come over again to fix his phone?" he asked, smiling.

I blushed, and replied, "Nope. And what makes you so sure he wants me?"

He still was smiling, "Don't you see the way he looks at you?"

I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Not really."

"Dude, man. He wants you," he said, as if to say there is no doubt about it.

"Why? How does he look at me?" I asked, trying to be innocent and naive.

Jay giggled. "Well, uh, hmm...he just looks at you in the eye, with that look, you know what I mean?"

I looked into his eye, not trying to do what he told me Matt does to me, but I couldn't help it. "What do you mean?"

"Uh, well....sort of like you are looking at me right now," Jason said, his smile growing wider.

I quickly took my eyes off him, and ate some food. I'm sure I was bright red of embarrassment. But nevertheless, I tried to recover.

"What did you say?"

Jason looked at me in the eye. "You heard me," He said, taking a bite out of his Big Mac.

It was really getting awkward. I quickly thought in my head. Normal guys don't notice other guys checking out other guys first of all. Either that or they have gay friends who have told them to look for it. So, I guess he was okay with it, even if he wasn't gay. I know that wasn't too logical, but it seemed logical at the time. So I fessed up.

"Yeah, I did hear you," I said, softly. I took a sip of my coke.

"So, it's true then?"

"True about what?"

"True that you like guys?" he asked, lowering his voice.

I didn't say anything. I closed my eyes and nodded my head yes very slowly.

"I knew it, man!"

I opened my eyes and started glaring at him, wondering what he meant by that last statement.

"I might as well confess. I have a gay friend from back home who, over the years, I have learned a lot from. He's always wanting me to look out for him."

I felt my heart crumble, as he didn't tell me what I wanted to hear. He certainly observed that too.

"What? Did you think I was?" he asked, surprised.

"Yeah," I said softly, looking down at the table.

"Aw, man, I'm sorry dude. I'm not, and I know I'm not. I've already been through that test with my friend from high school," he said, grinning.

I looked up at his adorable face and saw nothing but honesty. I shook my head in understanding of his situation.

"Well, you just broke my heart, but I'll get over it, man," I said, sighing.

"I'm sorry, Joe. I knew you liked me, but I didn't know that it ran that deep."

"Ah, it's not your fault. It's mine. I should've known not to fall for you," I explained.

"Well, come on, let's get out of this joint," he said, picking up his tray as he stood up.

I followed him, and we made it back to the apartment We had a fun night that night. We talked about my coming out stories, about his friend's coming out stories, about his sexual experiences, about mine. It was clear that he was very comfortable and used to talking to a gay friend, and I was very glad to be able to talk to him like this. He was sort of a replacement for Roland in a way. I don't like to think of people in that regard, but it was so true. After that evening, I felt like I could Jason anything and everything that was on my mind. It was incredible. Even though I couldn't have him, I knew I had a wonderful friendship.

Monday Morning! UGH! That's all I have to say about that. I saw Sean in my 9AM literature class as usual. He still looked like his brother, cute as can be. I couldn't take my eyes off of him, and he didn't seem to be having any luck either with his eyes on me. I was so horny by the end of the class period.

"Yo, Sean," I said, as we got up to leave.

"Yeah?" he asked, grinning.

"What are you doing after class?"

"Uh, nothing, why?"

"I was wondering if you wanted to hang out at the apartment for a little while."


"Paul won't be there," I said, knowing he'd probably be uncomfortable if Paul was there.

"Cool, sure. I would love to," he said, excitedly as we walked out together.

We made it back to my apartment, me telling him about all the events that happened over the weekend. No one was home, just as I said. We sat down on the couch, next to one another, and I smiled at him, looking right into his eyes.

"Joe, I'm slowly coming to realize, that I may be more like my brother than I thought I was." he finally said.

"What do you mean?" I asked, wondering what he meant by that.

"Well, there are two points in particular. One, I don't think I am attracted to women. I came to that conclusion after spending a couple of nights with that girl I met at the frat party."

"Wow," I said. That's all I could manage to say. I couldn't do anything else, except stare into his eyes.

"And the second thing is, my brother and I have another thing in common," he said, pausing, looking like he wanted to continue, but couldn't.

I smiled at him, looking him right in the eyes. I held his hand to give him comfort.

"I...think...we...both...uh...liked....you," he said.

I took back my hand in reflex and said, "What?"

He looked at me. "Joe, I really like you man. I don't know what it is about you, but every minute it seems lately that I cannot get you out of my head.

"What?" I said, again, still not fully comprehending. I broke eye-contact with him.

"I know it sounds crazy, Joe. I didn't know what I was doing. But, the few times that I've been with you in the last week, I really felt something strong. I just had to tell you before it was too late."

"Damn," was all I could say. I got up and walked to the balcony door. Sean followed me, and we both went out for a smoke. We stood out there in silence.

"Sean," I finally said. "Man, I don't know what to say. I really don't know what to say. I mean, I do like you a lot, and you remind me a lot of your brother. But, see, that's just it. I realize you are two different people, and I don't want to intertwine the feelings I have for Dan and you together."

"I understand that Joe," Sean said, exhaling the smoke. "I know I look a lot like my brother and all. I even act like him sometimes. God, I miss him so much."

"So do I," I agreed. "Listen, Sean, I'm not sure if I'll be able to sort out my feelings."

"Aw, man, Joe, come on. Give me a chance, dude," Sean said, looking into my eyes.

I looked into his beautiful blue eyes and smiled. "Okay, Sean. I'll give you a chance, man."

"But, once you commit to this chance, I don't want to hear about you and Lou screwing around," he said, smiling.

"I understand that. And I also happen to know that you are in love with Paul," I started.

"Paul doesn't mean much to me anymore. I mean, the guy has been avoiding me. I've tried so hard with him. I've run out of energy to pursue him."

"Oh, so I'm the leftovers?" I asked smiling.

"No, Joe. You're a better person than he is, and you're cuter."

"Oh am I?" I asked, feeling playful.

"Yes, you are. Remember, you are Joe, The Man!"

I smiled and blushed at that last comment.

"I can see why my brother called you that. You are, man, you are." he said, putting his cigarette out. I did the same and followed him inside the apartment again.

"So, you want to make a date?" I asked him.

"I thought you would never ask," Sean said, turning around with a big grin on his face.


"How about tonight at 8PM?"

"Okay," I said, grinning. "Your place or mine?"

"Well, your place would be better since my roommate has no clue about me," he said.

"Sounds good to me," I answered. I looked at my watch. "Well, I'm gonna have to go soon."

"Yeah, I should be heading out too," he said, grabbing his back pack. "See you at 8 tonight?"

"Sure!" I said, walking him down the steps. He kissed me on the cheek before I opened the front door to let him out. I grinned and blushed again.

"See ya later, Joe," he said, smiling. With that, he turned and left.

The rest of that morning I just hung out at the apartment, thinking of things little by little. I couldn't believe I actually said yes to my boyfriend's brother. I didn't know how Paul would take this. I didn't know how Lou would take it either. However, the overpowering feeling was joy and happiness. I did like Sean a lot. So cute, about 5'10, brown short hair, piercing blue eyes, the same eyes Dan had. But Sean's were his own too.

Jason seemed to notice my mood change even at work that afternoon.

"Okay, Joe, what's up?" He finally asked me after we completed our job for the afternoon.

"What do you mean?" I asked, smiling.

"Well, for one thing, you're happier than usual," he started.

"I'm always happy!"

Jay laughed. "Well, okay. I think I can guess what happened. Either you got some, or your going to get some."

It was my turn to laugh now. "Maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong," I said.

"Well, good luck, anyway."

I left work at about 4:30 in the afternoon. I came home to an apartment full of Paul, Kevin, and Justin.

"Hey, Joe," Paul said, smiling as I came into the living room from the stairway.

"Hey Paul, what's up?" I asked, nervously wondering what he would think of me if I told him I had a date with his object of affection.

"Not much, what are you doing tonight?"

"Uh..."I stumbled over the words. "Uh, well...why do you want to know?"

Think quick, Joe, think quick!

"No particular reason, I was just curious," he said, giving me a suspicious look.

"Oh, okay. Well, I'm going out with a friend," I said, looking away from him.

"Ah, going out on a date?" Justin added.

"Uh, yeah," I said.

"Gettin' some tonight, Joe?" Kevin chimed in.

"No!" I said, a little too defensively.

"Damn," Kev said, in surprise. "All right, just chill."

"No, I'm not," I said, in a lower tone of voice. "This could be something serious," I said.

I went into my bedroom after that, setting my books down on my bed. Paul followed me.

"Wanna go for a smoke?" he asked, smiling.

"Sure, why not?" I said, grabbing my pack of Marlboro Menthol Lights off my desk.

We were out on the balcony, smoking away in no time.

"So, have you talked to Sean lately?" he asked out of the blue.

"Yeah, I saw him in class today," I said, not sure of what to do, and feeling very awkward because of it. "Have you?"

"Nope, we really haven't talked since this weekend. I saw him with his chick again," he said, with a sad look on his face. "But, who cares?"

"Obviously, you do," I said, without thinking.

"He really didn't mean much to me. I mean, it's his fault."

I honestly didn't want to go into this again with Paul. "Paul, please. I don't want to hear it, man."

Kev came out then. "You guys could've asked me, you know."

"Oh, sorry," I said, as he lit up his cigarette.

"So, who's this big date with tonight?" Kev asked, looking at me.

I glared at Kev. I tried to tell him with my eyes not to pursue anything further.

"Talk to me later, Kev," I said, evenly.

"Oh, okay."

Paul gave Kev and me weird looks as he should have, but didn't say anything.

Soon we were all back inside the apartment. I had to study some things, so I went into my room. I heard the phone ring, and heard Paul answer it.

Oh, please, I thought to myself, please don't make it Sean. I heard him talking to someone for a brief period and then he knocked on my door. I answered the door and took the phone away from him.


"Yeah, Joe, this is Sean."

"Hey, Sean, what's up?"

"We still on for tonight?" he asked.

"Sure. Still on for eight?" I asked.

"How about seven?"

"Okay, Seven it is!" I said, smiling. We ended the conversation soon after. Paul was still standing in the doorway listening to the whole thing. He put two and two together and got four.

I looked up at him when I hung up the phone. He had a very hurt look on his face. I saw him turn away real fast.

"Shit," I said under my breath. I ran after him into the living room. "Paul!"

He turned around and looked at me. "Well, isn't that swell?" he said. "My friend is going out with my boyfriend." Kev and Justin were in the living room watching the scene.

"He isn't your boyfriend, man. You didn't commit to anything. And you just said yourself you don't have feelings for him!" I said, my blood pressure rising slowly.

"Joe, I would still hope you would have the decency to not date him. After all, you are supposedly my friend. At least I thought you were."

I just couldn't deal with Paul's shit anymore. Something inside me snapped. I was going through my mind on how I've helped Paul in the past. I was there to listen to him complain, to comfort him, to ease him, to aid him in anyway I could. Now, he was saying that I wasn't acting like a friend.

"Fuck you, Paul. I'm sick of your shit, man!" I said, going down the steps and leaving the apartment.

I was determined not to worry about him. Kev and Justin were with him, and would I hope take care of him if needed. But I for one couldn't deal with it anymore. I looked at my watch, it only said 6:00. Well, I guess it wouldn't be too bad if I showed up an hour early over at Sean's. I started walking across the campus to where Sean's dorm is. I was amazingly let in by someone and I walked right up to his door.

"HEY!" Sean yelled, obviously happy to see me after he opened the door. "What are you doing here so early?"

"I'm not early, you're late," I said, pretending to be annoyed. "I've been waiting in the car for fifteen minutes."

"What?" he asked, confused. "I thought we said seven."

I just looked at his handsome, rugged yet innocent face and couldn't contain the laughter anymore.

He took a few seconds to realize that it was a joke, but then smiled and punched me lightly in the shoulder. "I'll get you back for that one," He said.

"Oo, baby, when?" I asked, in a low voice.

Sean just blushed and smiled. He held his arms out for a hug, which I gladly accepted.

"So what ARE you doing here so early then?" he asked, sitting down at his desk. I sat on his bed. Damn the dorm rooms were small.

"Well, I just had to get out of the apartment. But it doesn't matter now. I want to forget about it."

"Was it Paul?" he asked, softly.

"It doesn't matter, man. I don't want to spoil this evening," I said, trying to cover up for something I had no idea if I could or not.

"Well, okay, we'll talk later, then," he said. "In the meantime, what would you like to do?"

We agreed on going out to eat at the local diner, and had a wonderful time there exchanging stories about our pasts, having great laughs together. I had decided that Sean, despite being much like his brother, was different as well. He seemed to be less sure of himself than Dan was. In this situation, I was the stronger one than Sean. Dan was stronger than I. But the evening turned out to be a success. Not once did we bring up Paul, Lou or even Dan! We managed to keep it to ourselves. I was happy.

However, I didn't feel the same click that Dan and I had. I liked Sean and thought he was cute, but it stilled bothered me deep inside that this was my boyfriend's brother. I think Sean could sense that as well.

"Well, you're welcome to come up to my apartment and hang out for a while, but I'm not sure it would be best if Paul is there," I said on the car ride back to campus.

"Ah, fuck him," Sean said. "He's caused me enough shit, man. I don't care what he thinks anymore."

"Okay..." I said, not sure of what the outcome of this might be.

We arrived at my apartment complex, parked, and walked to the door.

"Ready to face the music?" I asked, unlocking the door to the apartment.

"No, but we're going to have to do it sometime," he said.

"I don't want to lie to him, you know. I would feel awful if I did," I said, pausing to make that clear.

"I understand. It's just gonna be hard, man," he said, as I opened up the door.

I was the first one up. Justin was on the couch, watching the baseball playoffs. I was reminded of Roland, since he always used to watch them. Sean appeared up right behind me.

"You a Yankees fan?" I asked Justin.

"Yep! And right, now, they're beating the other team," he said, smiling.

I personally could care less, but knew some bits and pieces about sports of which I've picked up from my bro and Ro.

"Hey," Justin said to Sean.

"Hey, Justin."

"Where's Paul?" I asked, closing the door to the stairway.

"He and Kevin went out somewhere. I don't know where they went though," Justin said.

"Oh, good," I said, think it was best if Paul had someone with him. I looked at Sean.

"You wanna go to my room?" I asked Sean.

He smiled and said, "Sure."

At that moment, when he said Sure and smiled, I just about went out of mind, in a bad way, though. He reminded me so much of Dan. I didn't know what the hell I was doing.

I looked away from him, and walked passed him to go to my room.

"Oh Joe!" yelled Justin, startling me.

"Yeah?" I asked, stopping my travel and turning to look at Justin. Sean bumped into my back.

"You got some mail, today. It's here on the coffee table," he said, pointing down to a letter.

"Oh really?" I asked, walking back over and picking it up from the table. No one ever wrote to me here on campus. I always went home regularly, so I didn't have to give anyone a new address. It was a normal sized envelope, with no return address. My address was written in a very neat printing. I opened it up. It was one page long, hand written.

"I wonder who it's from?" I asked, no one in particular.

I opened the folded page, and began reading it to myself.


I know that I started out the wrong way. I want to apologize for that, bud. However, every time I try to pick up the phone, I can't do it. I can't even leave you a message. I just get all nervous inside. I'm not used to being this way, usually I don't get nervous and all. But when it comes to you, I just can't help it. So, I decided to write you a letter.

By the time you finish this, you'll probably even hate me more. But, I had to tell you how I feel about you. I've been watching you for three years, Joe. I've thought about you time and time again, every time I see you. I'm not a mental case, though, so get that thought out of your head.

I just wanted to know if I could have a chance with you. I want to ask you out on a date, but I have no balls to do that. Please give me a chance. Call me. My phone works fine.


I immediately turned my eyes toward Sean for some reason.

"What?" he asked.

"I don't believe this," I said to myself. "I just don't believe this."

"What's it about?" Sean asked.

"Uh," I said, looking at him. I didn't know whether to tell Sean the truth or not. I mean, to be honest with you, I was willing to try Matt, but I didn't want Sean to know at the same time. Man, I was fucked up.

"Uh, nothin. Just a letter from one of my Bethlehem friends," I said, folding it back up and putting it back into the envelope. I continued my walk to my room, and Sean followed, looking suspicious.

"Joe, what's up?" He asked.

"Nothing. It's not something urgent. At least related to me."

He came over to me and gave me a hug. I put my arms around him too. Damn, he gave good hugs. He kissed me lightly on the cheek. Smiled, and then he kissed me again on the lips. I smiled back at him, and kissed his lips.

Then on the next kiss I felt his lips part, and I parted mine. His tongue came into mine immediately. I kissed him passionately for a few seconds and then drew back, suddenly and forcefully.

"What's wrong, Joe?" he asked, scared.

I looked into his eyes, I was shaking, and I was sweating. "Sean, I don't know if I'm ready for this. I mean, you remind me so much of your brother. Damn, you even kiss like him!" I turned away from him.

"Aw, Joe, come on...."

"Maybe it's just too soon for me to start this with you. I mean, you talk like him, you act like him, you sound like him, and you kiss like him! I would be driving myself crazy if I stayed in that trying to differentiate you two!"

Why is it that when Sean and I get into these situations, they all end bad? I asked myself.

Sean just stared at me, looking very unhappy. "Come on, Joe. Give me a chance."

"I'm sorry, Sean, I don't think I'm ready for that right now," I said, looking into his eyes. I knew I was being unfair to him. I knew I was being a dick about this, but I ultimately knew it was what I had to do.

Sean sadly smiled. "I know Joe. I really don't want you to like me, think I'm your brother. I can understand where you're coming from."

I took his hands in mine. "Do you?"

"Yeah, I mean, I want you to like me for me. Not because I remind you of someone else. Even though we are alike, we do have our differences. I don't think I could live with that thought looming over my head," Sean said.

"Wow, man. You really do understand," I said, smiling at him. "I thank you for that."

"Besides, I don't want to jeopardize your friendship with Paul," he added.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you two are such good friends and I wouldn't want to be the person that became between you two."

"Well, Paul can take care of his own problems. I wouldn't have let you come between us if I thought you were," I said.

"So, I guess, we're still friends?" Sean asked.

"Yeah," I said, giving him a hug.


We both walked out of my room, only to find Kev and Paul there with Justin. Paul gave us a glare.

"So, feel free to drop by anytime, man. We're gonna have to go out to Woody's on Kiddie Night," I said to Sean.

"Yeah, being that I am under 21, and all," Sean said. He walked over to Paul.

"Paul, we need to talk," Sean said.

"Yeah, yeah, no we don't. We have nothing to discuss. I hope you have a nice life with Joe," Paul said, quickly.

"Well, okay, man. The ball is in your court man. I'll see you all later," Sean said, turning to leave the apartment.

I walked Sean to the door. We said our goodbyes and I walked back up the steps. I had felt like an enormous weight had been lifted off me, that I didn't even know existed. I looked up to the ceiling and said, "Dan, I know I did the right thing."

I went back into my room and saw the note on my desk. "Shit," I said. "What the hell am I supposed to do now?"

I decided that my options were open. If he went to all that trouble to try to get my attention, I at least ought to call him. I reached for the cordless phone in the room, and dialed in the student directory and entered his name in.


"Is Matt there?"

"Yeah, uh, I think so. Hold on," The male voice said. There was a loud bang as the person put down the receiver.

"Yeah?" said the voice.

"Matt?" I asked.

"Yeah, who is this?" he asked.

"This is Joe. I, uh, got your letter, man."

Matt chuckled. "Cool, I'm glad you called, bud."

"So, would you like to meet somewhere so we can talk?" I asked him.

"Sure, bro. When?"

"How about now?"

"Okay, the student center?" He asked.

"Yeah, sounds good!"

"Cool. See you there in ten minutes," he said.

"Okay. See you then!" I said.

As I hung up the phone, I thought to myself, what the hell did I just do?

I grabbed my jacket, since it was a little cold outside and headed out the door, making a short foot trip to the Student Center (or as my boss Dave calls it, the Stud Center). I assumed he meant "the pit" which is the central spot in the building, and I waited there.

I saw him coming down the steps, looking very masculine (which is a good thing in this case), dressed in a white t-shirt which showed off his muscles very well and tight jeans. His green eyes, searching the area for me. I smiled at him, and he spotted me, smiled back, and walked over to me. He extended his hand. I shook it.

"Hey, little bud," he said, in his deep voice.

"Hey, Matt," I said. "What's up?"

"Ah, nothin' much, man. So, where do you wanna go?"

"I don't know. Doesn't really matter much to me."

"Why don't we go for a walk around campus, then?" he asked.

"Okay," I said, following his lead.

We were out of the building in no time, and I started the conversation.

"So, Matt," I started to say.

"Joe, bud, I can't stop thinking about you. I mean, I know I'm crazy, but..."

"No, you aren't crazy, dude. I know what you mean. I must admit, though, that letter was pretty surprising to me."

"I didn't know what else to do," he said, looking a little nervous.

"Well, I'm sort of glad you did," I answered.

He stopped and put his hand on my arm. "You are?"

I smiled and looked at his cute face (I should say I looked up at his cute face, being that the kid is 6'2"). "Yes, I'm glad you did."

"Cool," he said, before continuing his walk.

I looked at him, and he noticed me checking him out. He grinned.

"Like what you see?"

"Oh, hell yeah," I answered, sighing at the same time.

"Good. So, do you want to start off on the right foot?"

I looked at him for a few seconds. "Sure."

"Cool. What are you doing this weekend?" he asked.

"Nothing that I know of, man."

"Okay, how about Friday night? You and me go out to Shampoo?"

I immediately broke into a big grin. "I'd like that a lot."

So, that concludes part 5 of Joe, The Man. I hope you are still enjoying the series. Please send all comments to SNJBoy76@aol.com I enjoy the feedback. More will be posted soon!