by Tim Mead
Oh, Adam, Adam, be careful!
He and Tony had talked, which led to making out on the sofa. Adam, who had had no sexual release for a week, became noticeably aroused.
"I think I can fix that without hurting your tender ribs," Tony said with a leer.
Looking at the tent in his friend's pants, Adam replied, "Let's see if we can't find a way to take care of your problem, too.
They wound up in the bedroom doing a 69 with Tony on top. When they were both satisfied, it seemed natural to lie there and snuggle, but Adam couldn't find a comfortable position. So they dressed and went back to the sofa. They spent the rest of the day alternately talking and making out, with a break at 6:00 for more of the food Tony had brought.
When it was time for Tony to leave, Adam said, "Thanks for coming, Tony. Thanks for bringing the food. And, well, for getting me off. I needed that."
Tony grinned. "The pleasure was mine, Red."
Adam sighed. This didn't seem like the time to tell him he hated that nickname.
"Drive carefully on the way back, please. Don't want anything to happen to you."
"Are you going to be nervous about driving again, Adam?"
"I don't think so. Well, maybe a little. Anyway, send me an email when you get home, please."
Tony hugged him gently. "Yes, yes. I will. Now, you relax. I'm sure you'll be glad to be back at work tomorrow. Just don't try to do too much too soon. And if Blake wants to do things for you, I think you should let him."
Adam didn't tell Tony what Blake wanted most to do for him.
Blake didn't get back to the condo until about 10:30. Since he was no longer taking prescription pain killers, Adam had gone back to having Jack Daniels at bedtime. As he'd told Blake several times, it helped him sleep.
Blake had milk and Oreos. Adam resisted the urge to comment on how boyish that seemed.
"So what did you do today?" he asked instead.
"I went to my place and did some laundry, cleaned up, answered the mail, stuff like that. Then I went to Fridays, where I met a guy. We got to talking and wound up going to the movies. Afterwards we stopped by Nellie's for a drink. And here I am."
"Had you met the guy before?"
"So you, um, picked him up?"
Blake frowned. "Not exactly. We were both waiting to be seated at the restaurant. The place was pretty crowded. He suggested we share a table. So we did."
"You must have hit it off. Want to tell me about him?"
"He's a few years older than me. He's a detective in the Colby Police Department."
"A gay cop? "
"Who said he was gay?"
"Woops! I just assumed. So, was he?"
Blake nodded. "Yeah, he was telling me they used to have a real homophobe as chief, but there was some sort of upheaval and now things are cool."
"Interesting. I know an ex-cop from that department. He was the chief for a while. But he couldn't be the guy your friend was telling you about, because he's gay."
"What's his name?"
"Jim Grant. He's teaching criminal justice now at the University."
"Oh, Ray told me all about him. He's the one who helped get rid of the gay-bashing chief. He's a real hero in Ray's book."
"Wait a minute. This guy's tall, well-built, with blue eyes and red hair?"
"That's him! His hair's the same color as yours. Do you know him?"
"I was introduced to him once, but we never got a chance to talk. So you enjoyed your evening with Ray, then?"
Blake gave him a searching look. "Yeah. Did you enjoy your afternoon with Tony?"
"Yes, though he left not long after we'd had supper."
Soon after that Adam and Blake turned in for the night. Though, of course, not together.
The next morning Blake took Adam to campus.
"I'll go back to the condo and clear out my stuff. And I'll leave the key on the kitchen counter."
"Yeah. Okay. And, Blake, I don't know how to thank you for all you've done this past week."
"You know . . . . Well, never mind. You're welcome."
Later that morning Adam was sitting at his desk, thinking about Blake. And Tony. And the strange emotion he'd felt when he'd learned about Blake spending the evening with the young detective, Ray.
That wreck did more than bruise your ribs and cut your head. It's put your life out of kilter! You're actually dreading going back to the empty condo this afternoon, aren't you? Why is that? You were doing fine on your own until then. But having Blake there for a week . . . . It's changed things, hasn't it? And were those pangs of jealousy you felt when he told you about his evening with Stonesifer? Stonesifer with the young, toned body. Stonesifer who isn't much older than Blake. Who's a good three inches taller than you are. Not jealous, you say? Are you sure?
But then, was Blake just making conversation, or did he tell you about the young cop purposely to make you jealous? Was he cruising at the time? He said they were both waiting for a table. Besides, despite what he says he feels about you, he never did anything to come on to you in the week he was living at the condo. He's smart, but he's not devious.
"Adam, you busy?"
He looked up to see Nigel Brewster in the doorway.
"Not really. I was woolgathering, as a matter of fact. Come on in, please." He stood and the two shook hands. When they were seated, Adam continued, "Even though you're in the next office, we haven't had a chance to chat for a while. How've you been?"
"That was to have been my question. I heard about your accident and that you were back at work this morning. I wanted to see how you are doing. All recuperated?"
"I still have a few twinges, but I'm functioning, thanks."
"That's good news." Nigel was fishing around in the pocket of his jacket. Then he abruptly withdrew his hand. "Sorry. You'd think after all this time I'd know I can't smoke my pipe inside the building."
Adam, who hated the smell of cigarette smoke, said, "I wouldn't mind. My dad smokes a pipe. But, as you said, it's against the rules."
"I really must apologize to you," Nigel said, recrossing his legs.
"For what, having an urge to smoke?"
Nigel smiled. "No, not that. I recall saying something the first time we met about having you to our place for supper. And, obviously, we haven't done so."
"That's all right. I know how busy things are at the beginning of the semester."
"I should tell you what's been going on. Better you hear it from me than from the department grapevine."
"I was offered a position at the University of Hull. I really wanted to go. That's in Yorkshire and not the South of England where I'm from, but it's England, and I liked the people I met. From what I could gather, it's an up and coming place."
"You were there for an interview, I take it."
"But you didn't accept their offer?"
"Yes. Don't want to make too much of it, but my wife simply dug in her heels and said she wouldn't go. My sons were quite upset about leaving their school and their friends here. So it came to a choice between the Hull position and my family, really."
"I can imagine that was a tough decision."
"Well, I admit I wanted to go back to England. But, hostages to fortune, you know. I wasn't about to leave Kate and the boys."
"I must say, I admire you. Is there any chance that you and Mrs. Brewster could move to England after your sons are in college?"
The skin around Nigel's eyes crinkled. "I had thought I might raise that possibility when the time comes. Assuming, of course, that anyone back home would want me by then."
They chatted a while longer before Nigel left, saying that perhaps after the upcoming holidays Adam would come for supper. Adam noted that Nigel, after nearly twenty years or however long it had been, was sufficiently Americanized not to call it "tea."
Are straights more loyal to their partners than gays? The legend is that gays are notorious for their unwillingness or inability to stay with one partner. But how true is the legend? Tony still mourns Harry, who died back in `02. But look at you and Brian. Fifteen years together and the relationship had been dying for several years before you woke up to the fact. Or summoned the will to do anything about it. So what about you, Adam? Do you think you and Tony could make a go of it? And how strong are your feelings for Tony when you can be so attracted to Blake?
But Blake is just a kid!
Yeah, he's twenty-three going on thirty! He's a very intelligent, very sexy man with more than a modicum of integrity, given his irreproachable behavior while he was taking care of you.
Shouldn't you call the insurance guy about a loaner car? And find out from him when you'll have a check? You shouldn't forget that Blake wants to go with you when you shop for a new car. Are you offended by that? Is he treating you as if you can't be trusted to choose something sensible?
No, he's just a young guy who likes to look at cars. Nothing presumptuous about that.
Or maybe, Adam, as he's told you, he just likes being with you and car-shopping is an excuse to spend time together.
# # #
The insurance company provided Adam with wheels in the form of a Malibu. It seemed big compared to his two-seater. Not a bad car, he thought as he drove it home.
# # #
At the end of class, Adam said, "Blake, I'd like to see you if you have a moment."
When the others were gone, Blake asked, "What's up?"
"Walk back to the office with me?"
When they were seated, Adam said, "I've never really thanked you for what you did for me last week. I mean, you gave up your life for a week and devoted yourself to me."
"You're welcome. But you know –"
"You don't need to say what I think you're about to say. Let me go on, please. There's no way I can ever pay you back for becoming my nurse and companion. So, not as repayment but as, perhaps, a thank-you, I wondered if you'd be free to have dinner with me Friday or Saturday evening. I've never been to Adrian's, and I thought we might try it out. Have you been there?"
"Yes. The atmosphere's kind of stuffy, but the food's good. Of course we'd both have to wear jackets and ties."
"Is that a problem?"
Blake grinned. "No, I'd do that for a date with you any time."
A date? Hadn't thought of it as a date.
Returning his grin, Adam said, "If we did it Friday evening, you'd still be free to pursue your usual Saturday night activities."
"Bastard! That's cold! You make me sound like a whore." He clasped his hands behind his head, slouched down in his seat, causing his package to be a bit more prominent. "Which, I suppose I am in a way. Except I never accept money."
"I'm not sure I want to continue this line of conversation, but did you email your father about your evening with Ray Stonesifer?"
"And that is your business . . . how?"
Adam had to force himself not to look at the prominent bulge in Blake's jeans.
"It's absolutely none of my business. I'm sorry I asked."
"Well, since you admit that, I'll tell you I only email the old man about guys I've been in bed with. And, so you'll know, Ray and I had a purely platonic evening, just two gay guys hangin' out."
Rather than consider the startling little leap his heart had given on learning that nothing had happened between Blake and the hunky young cop, Adam said, "We're both within walking distance of Adrian's. Suppose we meet there at 7:00 on Friday evening?" That was good, that sounded as if he had everything under control. "And I'll take care of the reservations."
They were working on their entrees when Adrian Lynch came to their table.
"Dr. Craig, it's good to see you again."
"Call me Adam, please. And it's good to see you. I very much enjoyed the, um gathering, you and Tom hosted a while back."
"We got your thank-you note. Very old school, but appreciated."
"Adrian, let me introduce Blake Bellamy."
Blake half rose, and the two shook hands.
"I've seen you around, I think." Adrian smiled. "At Nellie's, maybe."
"That's possible." Blake didn't return his smile, Adam was interested to note. "Good to meet you."
Wonder what it is about Lynch Blake doesn't like.
"Well, gentlemen, I just wanted to welcome you. I hope everything is to your satisfaction."
"Everything's wonderful," Adam said.
"Yeah," Blake added, loosening up a little. "You must have a great chef."
"I do. And I'll tell Albert you said so. He'll be pleased." Adrian smiled again and moved on.
"So you got invited to the Queers' affair?"
"Yeah. I live in the same building, remember? He and Tom Nielsen are both on the top floor."
"What do you think of our host?"
"Not to be superficial, but for starters he's gorgeous."
"Yeah, I'd do `im. Except I hear he's strictly a top."
"Surely Tom doesn't talk about things like that."
"No, but there was a time not so long ago when those two weren't together."
"I thought they'd been friends for ages."
"I think they were school buds. But they didn't become lovers until fairly recently. Before that, or so I've been told, Adrian had one good looking young college stud after another at intervals of a few months to a year."