by Tim Mead
Justin found himself in a different world. Although he didn't spend as much time in class as he had in high school, he spent much more time studying. Besides that, it seemed everyone was making demands on his time.
When he called his mother with his first progress report, she wanted to know all about Bailey. Then she insisted that he should bring him for dinner that Saturday. Not knowing whether he would want to be presented to his roommate's mother, Justin suggested that maybe Bailey would have a date that night.
"Well, check with him and let me know. I'll expect you unless I hear from you, sweetie."
Later, when Bailey returned to the room from the library, Justin tentatively asked him about going to Higgins for dinner with his mother.
Bailey smiled and said, "Sure, Jus. That'd be great. I'd love to meet your mom."
"Uh, you don't have a date or anything?"
"Nope. Haven't found anybody yet."
Supper at the Quinns' went well. Bailey charmed Moira. It was as simple as that. The young men stayed around until 8:30 and then excused themselves to go to the mall to catch a movie they both wanted to see. Bailey gave Moira a kiss on the cheek when he thanked her for supper. They loaded Justin's stereo into the Rav 4 along with some other things to take back to the room.
The next afternoon Justin's cell phone rang.
"Justin, it's Mom."
"Hi, dear! Thanks for supper last night."
"Oh, I really enjoyed meeting Bailey. He's so sexy!"
"Mom!" He elongated and diphthongized the vowel as teens are wont to do when in a plaintive mood.
She laughed. "Well, he is. He isn't as handsome as Brody or your father. Or you, for that matter, dear. But he's a real charmer! And, as I said, he's sexy."
Justin took a look at Bailey, who was sitting at his computer working on a paper. Yeah, he was sexy.
"You said he was straight, didn't you?"
"Yeah, Mom. `Fraid so."
"Well, I hope you two will become good friends."
"Oh, I think that's very possible. Even if he is straight."
Bailey turned and stared at Justin. Then, with just a hint of a grin, he turned back to his computer.
"Woops! He knows we're talking about him!"
"Well, just tell him he's welcome back anytime."
"Are you sure you're not smitten with my roomie?"
Moira gasped, and Bailey chuckled.
"Bye, Mom. See you soon!"
* * *
Justin was also invited to have dinner with Brody and Dave early in the fall term.
At the dinner table he was surprised that two such macho guys could be gossips. Dave had mentioned that the Public Information Officer of Colby County, who was new, and his Deputy PIO, who wasn't, were both gay.
"Besides that, the deputy, Ben Moss, has a partner. His name's Toby something or other, and he used to be the room mate of – guess who?"
"Oh, I know who that is," Brody said. "He and Bruce Evans are good friends and lived together until Toby moved out. So he's with this Moss guy, you say?"
"I'll have to ask Bruce who's sharing the house with him now."
"Guys, you're talking about my English instructor!"
"Yeah, and he's a damn nice guy, isn't he?"
"He seems to be. But he's straight!"
"You? Mr. My Gaydar is Perfect? Relax. You'll get it all sorted out eventually," Brody said, grinning
"Justin," Dave asked, "tell us about your roommate. What's his name, Barney something?" Dave, too, was grinning.
"You know very well what his name is. I've told the Sarge, and he's told you, I'm sure. His name is Bailey Stone. He's a big guy, taller than me but not as tall as either of you, and he weighs 225. He's not movie star handsome." Justin almost said, "Like Brody," but he managed to cut that off before it was uttered. "But Mom thinks he's sexy."
"Sounds cute. What does your gaydar say?" Brody asked.
"Not a ping. Nothing. He's a great guy, and I already love him, but it's hopeless."
"Oh, well, you'll meet some hot gay dude soon."
"Oh, I already have. Cute guy from the second floor named Hal."
"Oh, and are you two getting it on?" Brody asked.
"I wish! We can't find a place. His roommate's a homophobe and he seems to always be in the room. Bailey's cool, but he's around a lot, too. One afternoon Hal and I managed to 69 before Bailey got back, and then Hal went down to his room. When Bailey came in, he sniffed and said the room smelled like a brothel."
Both Brody and Dave chuckled.
"Another time we tried using the back of my SUV. It's parked on the freshman lot, you know. We went there after dark, drove out into the country, and parked beside a deserted stretch of road. But the floor was hard. And cold, too. Then the road wasn't as deserted as we thought and cars kept coming by. I just knew my pale ass was sticking up above the window line and everyone could tell what we were doing."
"Ah," Dave said. "The trials of young love."
"Easy for you to say. You two can make out like bunnies any time you want. And you aren't even young and full of spunk like me!"
"Watch it, twerp," Brody said. "No disrespect to your elders. Besides, we're your hosts this evening."
Justin grinned. "No disrespect to you old farts. And the meal's great. But I'm pretty horny and Hal's hot, and we just can't find a place to get it on."
"What about home?"
Justin looked surprised.
"Yeah, ya know, I'd never thought of that. I mean, I don't want to take Hal home for an overnight. Mom would know what that was all about right away. But maybe some afternoon when we don't have any classes we could go to the house. And I could leave her a note saying I'd come home to use the laundry. We could make out while the clothes were getting clean!"
Dave grinned. "Where there's a will, there's a way."
Brody gave him a pretend look of disgust. "To coin a phrase."
"Watch it, Cox, or you won't get any nooky this evening!"
Justin felt conflicting emotions after that exchange. He knew Brody and Dave were solidly a couple. And, though he couldn't help wishing things had been different, that he and the Sarge could have been lovers, he saw how good the two older guys were together. He was happy for Brody. And he hoped that someday he could find that kind of love with someone. Then he realized there was plenty of time. He and Hal would manage to have their fun. Besides, who knew how many other cute gay guys he might meet in four years at Colby State? He grinned.
"What are you smirking at, twerp?" Brody asked.
As Justin was leaving, Dave went into the kitchen briefly and returned with a plastic bag, which he handed to Justin.
"You told us you and Bailey have a fridge in your room, didn't you?"
"Well, this is a care package. There's leftovers from supper you can nuke, and a couple of slices of cheese cake – which you definitely don't want to nuke."
"Wow! That'll be so much better than a meal at the Commons!"
He hugged them both, enjoying being held close by the bigger men, thanked them for the supper and the take-home food, and left, thinking once more what a good thing Brody and Dave had, hoping that someday he'd find someone . . . .
* * *
Justin and Hal still searched for a place where they could make out. It wasn't that Bailey was a hindrance. Justin understood that Bailey didn't actually disapprove of the guys having some fun, but he was by nature particular about their room. He meticulously tidied his part of the room, and Justin couldn't help seeing the expression on Bailey's face when he, Justin, occasionally left a pair of socks or some underwear on the floor or on his bed. Bailey made his bed as soon as he got out of it. Justin did so, too, unless he'd slept late and had to dash for class.
Justin had decided after the summer league baseball season ended that he'd let his hair grow out. He'd worn it in a pony tail before he met Brody. Although he'd never have admitted it, he got it cut shorter because he knew Brody didn't like it long. Then when he began playing baseball with Brody and Dave on the Higgins Hammers team, he started wearing it in a crew cut. When he moved on campus, however, he thought he'd like to try the long hair again.
One day several weeks into the fall term, he and Bailey were having lunch together.
"Jus, I'm gonna get a haircut this afternoon. You know a good barber shop?"
"Yeah, Carlo's, over on Sycamore is good."
"Why don't you come with me? You're looking a little shaggy."
"Shaggy? You think I'm shaggy? I was planning to let it grow long. I used to have a pony tail, you know. Thought I'd like to do that again."
Bailey shrugged and smiled. "Your choice, man. But why? Is this some kind of in-your-face gay thing?"
"There's nothing gay about a pony tail, or shoulder-length hair."
"I suppose not. Sorry I said anything."
Bailey was never unpleasant or bossy. Rather, Justin found that he naturally wanted to please his big buddy. He didn't get his hair cut with Bailey, but he was reluctant to invite Hal to use their room on those days when they wanted each other so badly they were about to explode.
* * *
Since they lived in the same building, it was inevitable that Justin and Cliff Thornton ran across each other from time to time. It happened most often at the mailboxes in the lobby. Thornton was about six feet, with brown hair and hazel eyes. He would have been good looking if his face didn't have a perpetual scowl. On the first couple of occasions when they'd both been retrieving their mail at the same time, Justin had smiled and said "hello," only to receive a grunt or a curt nod in return.
A few days after Bailey's visit to Hal and Cliff's room, however, he bumped into Thornton again in the lobby.
"Why do you wear those fuckin' earrings? You advertising that you're a queer?"
Justin, who had worn a pair of small black studs in his ears since his junior year in high school, seldom even thought about them. They were simply a part of him. He turned from his mailbox to see that it was Thornton who was speaking to him.
"What's wrong with a little bling?" he asked, smiling.
"Bling's okay for Blacks. But you've got one of those thingies in your right ear, and it's not shiny like bling. So I guess you're advertising, huh? Looking to be fucked, homo?"
Determined not to slug the guy, Justin grinned. "Not if it's you that's offering."
"In your dreams, faggot!" Thornton turned and headed for the elevator. Justin retrieved his mail and headed for the stairs, feeling sorry for Hal, who had to live with the jerk.
His first instinct had been to deck Thornton, but he knew that would only make matters worse. They had to live in the same dorm together for the rest of the year. He wondered if Cliff might be one of those gays who doesn't want to acknowledge his orientation and puts up a lot of homophobic bluster instead.
After that, whenever they met, Thornton managed to sneer, though he didn't usually say anything.
Justin asked Hal if his roommate was keeping to his part of the bargain.
"Yeah. Whatever Bailey told him, he's letting me alone. He doesn't call me names or anything. He just doesn't talk to me at all. It's like I wasn't even there. I wish I had a roomie I could like, someone who'd be a friend. But it could be worse."
So, Justin concluded, Thornton was taking out his anger on him rather than on Hal. Which he could live with. He didn't need Bailey to handle Cliff Thornton. One evening, however, the subject came up.
"Jus, how are Hal and Cliff getting along?"
"Hal says Cliff's giving him the silent treatment, but he's okay with that."
"So all's well?"
"I suppose you could say that. Thornton was dissing me the other day because of my ear studs, calling me a faggot and things. I felt like flooring him, but I didn't."
Bailey chuckled. "I wouldn't recommend that. Cliff's into martial arts. He doesn't look very scary, but he probably would have had you on your back before you knew what happened."
"Gee, Stone, thanks for warning me."
"You wouldn't really have slugged him, would you?"
Justin grinned. "Probably not. But he sure is a shithead."
Bailey returned the grin. "Agreed. But then, there are a lot of those around. We just don't let them get to us, right?"
* * *
Justin got occasional emails from Gary, who was loving Indiana University. He was thrilled to have made the band, and his emails were full of anecdotes about getting to play at halftime at Big Ten games, about trips to other campuses. He didn't mention having a boyfriend, but Justin suspected that Gary was being a bit reserved on that score.
He didn't hear from Todd at all. But then, looking back on the kind of relationship they'd had, he was more relieved than unhappy about that. His stomach still knotted up when he thought about the DVD, but as time passed he began to think that Todd would keep his promise not to pass copies of that around.
One day when he and Bailey were having supper at the Commons, the bigger man said, "Jus, this weekend is homecoming at Strongsville High. I've found a guy who lives in Brecksville who's giving me a ride, so I'm going home for the weekend. You and Hal can have the room to yourselves until Sunday afternoon sometime."
Justin felt a twinge. He was happy, of course, that he and Hal, who were always looking for a place to make out, would have the room to themselves. He had not met Bailey's parents, however, and he thought it might have been nice to be asked to go to Strongsville that weekend to meet them. Moira was always urging Justin to bring Bailey back for another meal.
He managed to grin at Bailey as he said, "Gonna party, huh?"
The skin around Bailey's eyes crinkled when he answered, "Well, nothing wild. You know me. But I'm hoping some of my classmates will be home for the weekend."
"Yeah? Is there a special classmate, maybe?"
"Actually, there's a gal in the senior class I used to date. A great-looking redhead, about your height, but with a much nicer body." He grinned. "Cath. I'm gonna call and see if she has a date for the dance Saturday night."
Justin knew that Bailey had dates most weekends since the term began, but he'd never brought any of the girls back to the room. And Bailey had never mentioned a special girlfriend back home.
"Geez, Stone, you've put it off pretty late. If she looks as good as you say, she's bound to have a date for the homecoming dance."
Bailey looked disappointed. "I'm so stupid! I should have thought of that. I guess I won't call. Maybe just see if any of the guys from our class are home and hang with them."
"Hey, bro, no harm in giving ole Cath a try, is there? A guy's gotta get laid! Go for it!"
When they got back to the dorm, Bailey told Justin to go on up to the room. He was going to call Cathy on his cell phone from the parking lot.
Neither of them had done much studying over the weekend. The plan was to hit the books right after supper, so Justin went upstairs, kicked off his sneaks, and hauled out his fat art history text. He and Bailey would read their assignment and then talk it over before going on to work separately on their other courses.
When Bailey came in, Justin asked, "So, any luck?"
Bailey shook his head. "No, you were right. She's got a date. But I didn't know until today that I'd have a ride."
"Sucks not to have a car."
"Yeah." He looked for a moment as if he were going to say more, but then he didn't. Instead he grabbed his toothbrush and toothpaste and went to brush his teeth.
When Bailey returned, Justin said, "You know, man, you could borrow my car some weekend if you wanted to go home."
Bailey smiled. "Justin, that's really decent of you, but I couldn't do that. Then you'd be stuck here without wheels. I've got an idea, though. Maybe you could come home with me some weekend. That is, assuming you'd be willing to drive."
"Cool! I'd like to meet your folks."
Bailey looked down at the book in his lap. "Well, they're not as warm and welcoming as your mother. But they're okay. And I'd like them to meet you."
"It won't bother them that I'm gay?"
"Oh, no. I wouldn't have asked you if that was going to be a problem."
Justin reached up for a high five. "Then it sounds like a plan, roomie."
"By the way. It would be nice if you could go home some weekend so I could have the room."
"Oh, sure. I could do that."
* * *
"Justin, how are you, sweetie?"
"I'm great. How's the greatest mother in the world."
"I'm fine. And you want something."
Justin chuckled. "You are the greatest. But, yeah, I was wondering if I could come to dinner Sunday. There's someone I want you to meet."
"Then I want to meet him. What's his name?"
"Henry, but he goes by Harry, and I call him Hal."
Moira laughed. "Well, dear, I've been looking for an excuse to fix a nice rump roast, but I want to go to the 10:30 service on Sunday morning."
"Okay, here's what you do. You put the roast in the oven before you go to church. Hal and I will be there to keep an eye on it. I'll get the potatoes ready and we can start them cooking when you get home. What kind of veggies will we have?"
"What does Hal like?"
"Well, I'd like asparagus, but you check with him. If he doesn't like that, we'll fall back on good old green beans."
"If you don't hear from me in about an hour, plan on the asparagus, okay? And, mom, thanks!"
"I'll look forward to seeing you, Justin, and to meeting Hal. Is he your new boyfriend?"
"I don't think we're quite to that stage yet."
Moira laughed. "Yet being the operative word? I suppose that means you're sleeping with him."
"Not much sleep involved, dear. We both have straight roommates."
"I think I get the picture. And I don't think I want any more information. Except about the asparagus. Say hello to Bailey for me. It's a shame he's straight!"
* * *
Justin and Hal went to Bennigan's for supper that Friday evening. When they got back to Justin's room afterward, Bailey's bed had been stripped. On it was a note:
"Guys, I'm taking the sheets home to wash them. There are clean sheets in the closet. That is assuming you aren't spending the whole weekend in the same bed. Or, cutie pie could bring his own sheets up. Have fun! B."
"Cutie pie!" Hal squawked. "What does he mean by that?"
Justin laughed. "Chill, dude. You are cute. He didn't mean anything by it."
Hal sighed. "It's just because I'm little. I get shit like that all the time."
"You're not much shorter than me. And you may still grow. Are you still 18?"
"Yeah, for another six weeks. But I'm so skinny. Next to a guy like Bailey I look like a little boy."
Justin gestured for Hal to put his arms in the air. As he pulled Hal's shirt off, he said, "I think you look just fine, Jackson."
Soon they were both naked on Justin's bed.
Giving one of them a flick with the tip of his tongue, Justin said, "God, I love your nubs!"
Hal shivered and put his hands in Justin's hair. "Anything else you love, feel free to lick!"
With an evil chuckle, Justin allowed his tongue to flick its way south.
Looking back on it, Justin decided the weekend was pretty much a sexathon.
On Friday evening they'd had a nice 69 session. Saturday morning they woke up late and then humped their dicks against each other's abs until they came.
They took time out Saturday afternoon, however, to sit in the student section and cheer the Cougars in their valiant attempt to beat the Bobcats of Ohio University, who were having their best year in decades and who eventually won by two touchdowns. On their way out of the stadium they bumped into Brody and Dave. After Justin had introduced Hal to the others, he asked, "You guys wanna come and get something to eat with us?"
"I've got a better idea," Dave said. "The restaurants will all be overflowing with the football crowd. We've got a big pot of chili back home, and I'll make some cornbread. Why don't you guys come eat with us?"
Justin looked at Hal, who'd been staring alternately at Brody and at Dave. He seemed a bit awestruck. When he realized that Justin was waiting for him to respond, he managed to nod his head.
"Cool! My car is in the freshman lot. We'll go get it and be at your place in about 45 minutes, okay?"
"Let us drop you at the freshman lot," Brody offered.
"Sarge, we can walk to the freshman lot faster than you can get out of the stadium lot."
Brody grinned and nodded. "You're probably right. So, okay, we'll see you at our place in a few."
In the car Hal said, "My god, Brody is even sexier than his picture."
Justin grinned. "Uh huh."
"And that Dave is just as sexy."
"Well," Justin said, "almost, maybe."
* * *
Saturday night they'd had more sex, with Justin topping an eager Hal. The next morning, after lots of licking and sucking, they reversed roles. Justin was happy to find that he still liked going both ways, relived that he wasn't the committed bottom Todd had claimed he was.
By the time they got to the Quinn's just before noon on Sunday, both Justin and Hal were very tender in the nether parts and were walking carefully. And both admitted that their balls felt more drained than they could ever remember. Bailey's bed had remained un-slept in.
"Maybe it's a good thing Bailey's coming back," Justin said as he peeled potatoes for their Sunday dinner. "I don't think I could fire another load tonight."
Hal grinned at him. "I wish we were going to be alone so I could put you to the test."
Justin grinned back. "Horndog."
To Be Continued
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