Mike and Danny: Straight Crush
OK, things calmed down for a while and then as spring break arrived they started coming unglued again. Brian followed through with his plans to go to Florida to see his dad, and Virgil stayed behind.
I determined that Virgil would be fine. He'll go back home, I told myself, and maybe drop in on Brian's mom for old times' sake.
She'd greet him at the doorI had this picture of a little frame house with white siding and cedar trees, the kind of place I imagined a high school English teacher would call homeand there would be homemade cookies on the kitchen table as the two of them talked away in the slanting sunlight of a slow, small-town afternoon.
I rely on my imagination like this and forget that she might live in a run-down trailer, have a drinking problem and a vicious German Shepherd. She could be that kind of English teacher, and I'm sure there are some.
What I hadn't bargained for was that Virgil wouldn't be able to bring himself to go back home at all. And that I'd find him in Dunkin Donuts with a duffel bag and a forlorn look, half a cup of cold coffee in front of him, watching the dusk of a Friday night descend outside the big front windows.
He didn't seem to see me as I walked in and stood in line waiting to get a plastic travel mug filled, pick out a couple cake doughnuts, and then get into the Camaro and drive home to Mike. And I was going to let him just sit there, while I snuck back out the door to the parking lot.
But the very idea that I was sneaking away made me feel like a jerk, so I went over to him to say something.
"Virgil," I said, standing by his table. I could see both our reflections in the window glass, his face turned from me, cast into shadow. Outside the harsh glow from the ceiling lights illuminated the blackened edges of snow along the curb and the grills of cars dull with winter road grime.
He reacted slowly like he'd known I was there all along, and I had this fleeting thought that maybe he wished I'd just leave him alone.
I might have excused myself at that point, but something about the way he sat, slumped inside his big old army coat made me think of that bottle of Extra Strength Tylenol, and to wonder if he had another one stuffed in one of his pockets.
He was looking up at me now, and he had the pathetic expression of someone whowell, who'd just lost his best friend. And I sat across the table from him, putting down my coffee mug and my paper bag of doughnuts, like I might keep him company for a minute.
"Headin' home?" I asked, eyeing his duffel bag beside him.
"No, sir," he said, as if he hadn't made up his mind until just then. "I've thought of staying right here if they'd let me."
It was about the only 24-hour place in town. You probably could hang out here for a week if you kept buying doughnuts.
"That was a joke," he said, giving me a lopsided grin. I noticed that what I'd thought was a chipped tooth in his mouth was really a gap where two teeth had grown in at odd angles.
"Where are you going?" I asked.
He looked out the window again. "I sure as shootin' do not know."
I realized that he was telling the utter truth. In his place I would have put on a brave frontmy defenses always in prime condition. But Virgil's were clearly down.
He'd been through hell, and he showed it. If anything, he looked more of a shambles than ever.
Without his knit cap, his curly hair was a kind of combat zone of confusion. He needed a shave, and the shirt he wore had not been touched by an iron. It looked like it had been pulled out from under the junk that collects in the trunk of an old car. Most of all, he looked like he'd lost the ability to sleep.
"So where do you plan to spend the night?" I said. I knew that the dorms were closed for the break.
He shrugged. "Number one, I ain't got nowhere to go. Number two, there ain't no number two."
You're probably way ahead of me at this point, wishing I'd get off my ass and offer the boy a place to stay.
In fact, I'd been fingering my apartment keys in my coat pocket and thinking of Virgil there for a weekand the condition the place would be in when I returned.
No, you're thinking, take him home with you. And you've got your own ideas about getting Virgil under the same roof with Mike and me.
Meanwhile I'm thinking, I've been looking forward for weeks to some R&R alone with Mike, and it doesn't include houseguests.
And I start wondering about Barry. He's got a rec room in his basement, with a couch someone could sleep on.
"You know anybody on the faculty?" I asked Virgil, and I waited for the light to begin to dawn.
He shook his head. "Not really. I'm nobody's favorite student, if that's what you're thinking."
I couldn't tell if that remark was meant for my benefit or just a general lament.
"A teacher you talk to maybe?" I suggested. "One of the coaches? There's gotta be someone."
He shook his head no and gave me a level look. "What's wrong with me going home with you?" he said, like he was reading your mind.
"I'm going out of town," I said, not letting on that he'd taken me by surprise.
"Where?" he wanted to know.
"To a friend's."
"Oh," he said. "Would they care if I came along?"
Mike, I'm thinking. No, Mike would not care. All the more, if he knew the whole story. He'd wonder aloud that I'd waited this long to offer our back bedroom to a young man with just the clothes on his back, a duffel bag, and a pack of troubles.
Worse yet, a broken heart, as it seemed that was Virgil's chief complaint. Mike wouldn't be able to stop himself. His generosity puts my cheap self-interest to shame.
I thought all this in a long moment as I looked back at Virgil, his face hovering on the verge of a hopeful smile.
"OK," I finally said. "They wouldn't care."
And that's how I ended up with him beside me in the Camaro, driving east out of town into the night, a full moon hanging low and heavy over the winter fields that lay silent under a thin blanket of frozen snow.
Not far beyond the city limits, he looked through my eight-tracks and put a Moody Blues album in the player. And we rode along without talking, listening to "Nights in White Satin."
After a while, I looked over at him, and he had sunk into his big coat, with his head against the window, asleep.
When we got to the farm, it was still early evening. Mike's truck was parked at the front gate. The lights were on in the kitchen window. On Friday nights he waited until I got home for supper.
I realized that Barry was getting his wishor something like it. He'd wanted Brian to get to know Mike and me. The difference was that it was Virgil getting the chance. And I'd decided that since Virgil had invited himself, he would have to deal with the facts as they stoodthis development wasn't going to keep me from sleeping with Mike.
And as that sank in, it was anyone's guess what Virgil was going to make of it.
Rusty appeared in the headlights as I turned into the driveway, like he'd been expecting us, lifting his nose to give out a couple of his deep woofs. As we got out of the car, he was at my door sniffing and snuffling at my hands and knees, happy to see me. Then he jogged around to do the same for Virgil.
Rusty makes snap judgements about people that are usually on the money. Ernie the mailman he's always had pegged as an annoying intruder. But Virgil passes the sniff test, and he gets the big welcome.
"If he tries to jump on you, push him down," I told Virgil. In the dome light, I could see from Rusty's paws that he'd been chasing rabbits again through mud and melting snow.
Virgil took to him before he was out of the car, grabbing him behind the ears and bending down to rub his face against Rusty's nose. "Good dog, good dog, good dog," he was saying. The gesture was so full of aching love, I looked away, almost embarrassed.
The porch door opened and Mike stood silhouetted against the lights from the kitchen. "Hey, bud," he called out to me. "Who's that you got with you?" He was in his wranglers and a tee shirt, his feet in sweat socks.
As I slammed the car door and walked up to the front gate, I could feel the gravel under the soles of my shoes, a welcome sensation that meant I was free for a while from asphalt streets and concrete sidewalks, traffic and stop lights. In the silence, for a moment, there was just the sound of my scraping footsteps over the half-frozen ground. And what stole through me was the feeling of being home again.
Half way up the walk, I turned and introduced Virgil, who was just getting out of the car. He had his duffel bag on his shoulder, like a sailor on leave.
The warmth coming from the kitchen was thick with the smell of spaghetti sauce. I explained quickly how I'd found Virgil with no place to go over spring break. "He's kind of an orphan," I said. But Mike needed no explanation.
"You hungry?" he called out to Virgil.
"Yes, I am, sir." His high voice rang on the thin country air.
"Then get yourself in here," Mike said. And he slapped Virgil on the back as he went by us and into the house.
"I was ready to start without you," he said to me now, a hand on my shoulder.
"Start what?" I said and put my arms around him as he held me in a fierce hug.
I remembered again how much I missed the feel of his body against mine, his broad chest and his belly. I pressed my hips against the front of his jeans, my cock beginning to stir. I couldn't wait to get him naked.
"I was about to start calling out the posse," he said in my ear.
Over Mike's shoulder, I caught sight of Virgil standing in the kitchen looking back at us, arms around each other, like he was thinking, "Two men can do this?"
Virgil ate that night like he hadn't had food for days. I swear he consumed half a loaf of white bread with butter along with three plates of spaghetti. Mike had a bottle of Gallo red, and Virgil allowed a fruit juice glass to be poured for him and cautiously drank it.
I watched him, both elbows on the table, as he bent to scoop up the spaghetti, the sauce getting on his chin as he slurped in the noodles. Obviously he had not grown up in a house where it mattered how you ate a meal.
"So, Virgil, what's your story?" Mike said, interested.
Virgil shrugged and looked at him. "I dunno." He didn't seem to be used to talking and eating at the same time.
"Well, where are you from?" Mike said.
"Never been out that way," Mike said. "What's it like?" Mike could get conversation out of a turnip if he had to.
And for a while the evening went on like that. Mike asking questions and Virgil giving him one- and two-word answers, until I cleaned off the table and stood at the sink with my back to them, washing up the dishes.
"You happy at school?" I heard Mike finally ask. And there was this long thoughtful pause.
The fluorescent light hummed overhead on the kitchen ceiling and a clock ticked in another room. Then the refrigerator kicked in.
"No, sir," Virgil said. "I am not."
"Don't like it?"
"It don't like me."
"That's too bad," Mike said. And then he let the subject drop, like I knew he would. Never pressure a man to discuss something that grieves him. I heard his chair scrape on the linoleum. He was getting up from the table.
"There's something I've been wanting to say," Virgil said.
"What's that?" Mike said.
"It feels good to be here," he said. "Real good." And from the growing tightness in his voice I could tell that in his fatigue he was struggling with his emotions.
Mike chuckled. "Consider yourself at home," he said and brought the empty coffee mug he'd been drinking from to set beside me on the counter. I felt his hand for a moment in the small of my back.
"Gonna watch a little TV," he said. "And then I'm turning in. It's been a long day."
I offered to show Virgil where to sleep, and then the two of them left the kitchen. A minute later I heard the TV come on.
In some ways, the evening had gone like I'd expected. Mike would do his best to make Virgil feel at home, and Virgil would do what he did. Eat a lot and say little. What surprised me was how much he seemed to trust us.
He hadn't told us his storyMike's word for itbut in the silences between his brief answers I know Mike heard the same thing I didan emptiness that only someone else, a man I'm guessing, could fill.
He'd been raised by his mother's sister and didn't know who his father was (I'm putting pieces of what he said together, making some assumptions, and paraphrasing the rest). I'm guessing at some point he met Brian (who he never mentioned to Mike), and he hadn't been lonely again. Now he was that boy once more, lost as ever.
By the time I was done in the kitchen, Virgil had fallen asleep again. Mike was there in his La-Z-Boy, and Virgil was sitting by him on the end of the couch, spread-eagled, his head back, mouth ajar, the gap in his teeth showing.
Mike reached over and shook his arm. "Wanna hit the hay, Tiger?" he said.
Virgil swum back into consciousness without a word and roused himself enough to follow me to the back bedroom. I carried his duffel bag in, and switched on the light. It was just as I left it after the last time Mike's nephew Kirk had been herean old-fashioned metal bed frame and a dark-stained wooden dresser from some farm sale, faded wallpaper that must have been old as the Dust Bowl, and a patchwork quilt on the bed.
"All yours," I said and left him there.
When I got back to Mike, I bent over him in the chair and kissed him full and hard on the mouth, putting my hand between his legs. He pulled me down on top of him and the La-Z-boy creaked under us.
"I didn't want to bring him," I said under the sound of the TV. And I explained again how when I found him, Virgil had invited himself.
"He's OK," Mike said, watching the TV as he talked. "Just a hurtin' puppy." I got off him and sat on the end of the couch where I could reach over and hold his hand.
With that I heard Virgil's footsteps in the hall, and he passed by the open door of the TV room on his way to the john. I had enough time to drop Mike's hand but he didn't let go.
We could hear Virgil taking a long loud piss into the toilet, and then he was back, stopping for a moment to say goodnight, and was gone again. Mike still hadn't let go of my hand. If Virgil had noticed, it didn't seem to make a difference.
We watched TV to the end of the program (a new show we both liked, for maybe obvious reasons, "The Odd Couple," for such we often seemed) and then turned it off. The old house filled again with silence, and Mike went to the back bedroom to check on Virgil.
"Bud," I heard him whispering, and when I looked down the hall he was standing there beckoning to me.
When I went to see, there was Virgil sound asleep and still dressed, stretched across the bed, one foot on the floor. Like he'd pitched backward from a knockout punch to the jaw.
We took off his beat-up sneakers, and Mike opened his jeans. Then we each took a frayed cuff and pulled until they slid down his legs, which dropped like lead weights again onto the quilt.
There was a thump as something hit the floor, and I saw it was Virgil's billfold. It had fallen open to some pictures inside. There was a snapshot of an older woman in front of a lilac bush that I took to be his aunt. And there were senior pictures of two girls, one of them very pretty, a real glamour shot.
The last picture was torn in half from top to bottom and then slipped back inside its plastic sleeve. It was Brian.
"Guess he hasn't made up his mind about this one," Mike said. And he folded the wallet together and set it on the table beside the bed.
Mike bent over him to start unbuttoning his shirt, and I slipped his socks from his feet. I wondered how long he'd been wearing them. And then I wondered whose socks they werehis or Brian's.
"Give me a hand," Mike said, and he lifted Virgil's shoulders from the bed so I could get his wrinkled shirt off.
He lay there now in his underwear, his pale skin hairless and almost blue-white in the light from the bulbs in the ceiling fixture. In his shorts I could see the shape of his penis, the blunt end of it tucked in over his testicles and outlined in the soft fabric. The fly had been pulled open so many times it sagged to one side and a little dark pubic hair showed through the gap.
For all the food he ate at supper, his belly was flat, rising and falling lightly as he breathed. He was like a big cat on one of those Mutual of Omaha wildlife shows, brought down by a tranquilizer gunstunned and unwound.
His chest and arms looked like he'd been lifting weights. His nipples were hard buttons pressing from the inside of his tee shirt. I noticed a long scar along one of his legs.
Mike, who'd apparently seen how this was done for hospital patients, rolled him onto one side of the bed to pull back the covers and then onto the other. And we soon had him tucked in under them.
We stood in the doorway for a minute watching him, dead to the world, breathing softly. Then Mike switched off the light.
Following Mike down the hall, I grabbed the back of his tee shirt. "You're next," I said.
"You're getting undressed and put to bed."
As I stood there in the hallway, I pulled up his tee shirt and he stopped to raise his arms so I could lift it over his head. Then I tossed it onto the floor and began rubbing his warm bare shoulders with both hands. As he leaned backward into me, I reached around him to open his pants, unbuckling his belt and pulling down his zipper.
Then I stroked his back and along his hips, slipping my fingers inside his boxers with one hand and finding his belly button with the other.
Holding him like that, I opened my mouth on the side of his neck and put my tongue against his salty skin, inhaling the smell of him, the mixture of sweat and Ivory soap and aftershave that for me was the Mike I knew from nights and mornings close to him in bed.
His belly contracted under my touch as the hand in his shorts slid through his pubic hair and came to a stop against his growing hard-on. And he pressed the side of his face against my head.
"Aw, bud," he said softly.
And the regular-guy, no-nonsense, all-business farmer and generous, uncomplaining host to any stranger I happen to bring home unannounced, that man melted in my arms and became the Mike I drive home to get in bed with every weekend, arms and legs around each other, tongues in mouths, cocks and balls kissed and sucked, and deep loving sex that can move me like the soaring chorus of "Nights in White Satin," which no matter where I am or what I'm doing when I hear it makes my heart acheas it did on the way home tonight in the car, the big Nebraska moon rising over snow-covered fields and Virgil drifting off to sleep in the seat beside me.
Mike fits snug in his wranglers and you have to work them off him. They don't fall like mine under the weight of my belt. And when I got them to his ankles, he stepped out of them one foot at a time, finally standing there in the dim light coming from the kitchen, naked except for his sweat socks, his erection standing straight out in front of him.
I was already on one knee and started reaching for his hard-on to steer it into my open mouth.
Instead of that, he pulled me to my feet and did the same for meshirt pulled over my head, shoes untied and removed, jeans pulled down and off. My own cock now pointing to something on the ceiling.
And leaving our clothes on the hallway floor, and the kitchen light still burning, we slipped into the bedroom and fell together into bed.
The next morning, I lay half awake, the room dimly lit with dawn light filtering through the window. It felt like Mike had crawled up against my back in the night. I could feel elbows and knees.
I must have stirred to let on I was waking up, and I felt a hand on my shoulder, gently shaking me.
"Bud." It was Mike, whispering.
I rolled over part way to look at him, a blurry presence without my glasses, and I realized that the two of us were not alone in bed. Between us, facing me and sound asleep was Virgil. He'd crawled in with us during the night.
"That boy must have some pack animals in the family tree," Mike said, and as he shook his head, I could tell he was grinning.
He got up then and started looking around on the floor.
"Where the hell are my pants?" he said, scratching his head, and then he remembered. "Oh, yeah," and laughed to himself as he went out into the hall.
He bent down to pick them up off the floor and then, still holding them, walked naked to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee and start another day.
Continued . . .