We have read a lot of love stories. I wanted this story to be a little different. I thought lets make a trip to India. We will get to read about the culture, people, cuisines, dressing styles, the history and the daily life of the people there. This is still a love story. Not world history and the romance will not be overshadowed. I could possibly take inputs from you guys and gals to see how much is tolerable :) Seriously I thought it would be a good idea. What do you guys think?
If I may suggest: Increase the font size before reading. It is easier on the eyes.
This is a fictional story with fictional characters. Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely a coincidence.
This story involves love and physical intimacy between two consenting adult men. If you do not want to read this or are prohibited by law, house rules etc, please leave.
The is a story about relations and not about sex. So there will be very limited sexual acts and even when it occurs, there will be no graphic details.
The story does not intend to preach any religion or culture. It is only an effort to take the readers on a vacation without the hassle of passports, visas, flights, lost baggages etc =)
The reader is at the liberty to stop reading if he or she does not wishe to continue.
My Blonde Brad - Chapter 05
We had only three weeks of school left. So many things had happened in the last four months, starting with the break-up with Ed, Brad, turning 21, coming out to my brother. Time does fly by too fast sometimes.
But as all good things come to an end, all bad things come to an end too. It was Christmas, Hanukah, holidays, whatever you want to call it. In either case it was the time of festivities. It was time for people to take a break from whatever they do every single day of the year and go back to their families. I thought of home. All my aunts and their husbands, uncles and their wives and the huge number of cousins visited us at almost every single festival. And considering the number of festivals we have, it seemed like they were gone only for a few days before they visited again.
We found ourselves scurrying with almost everything like last minute homework, project documentation, presentations, final exams and so many other things. We had planned for a private party on Wednesday night after our final exam. Thursday morning Lei and Jason would again go away to their homes. I would be left alone for almost a month with nothing to do but work and watch the snow. With no Ed or John, this holiday season was going to be much more depressing than the last two years.
It was finally Wednesday evening. Lei, Jason and I had decided to go to a gay club after dinner at China Dragon. Lei had agreed readily but we had to work to convince Jason. He denied flat right at first and then started suggesting other places that might be of interest and then asked a lot of questions about what the guys there might do to him. He finally agreed. Yea, as if he had a choice. He said he would go with us but on one condition - We would leave if he was not comfortable.
First we went to China Dragon and gorged on the tens of food items that they had on the buffet that night. Then we got to Rainbow around 10 pm, the only gay bar close to campus. It was almost empty. There was hope that there would be more people soon, as this bar attracted patrons from the university as well as outside. This is where I had first met Ed outside of the classroom. I was coming back to this one after more than a year.
Jason stiffened even as we entered the bar. It was alien territory for him.
"I wish Jamie were here. I could have brought her along." He was worried that was going to be mistaken for gay.
"Chill boy. What if someone took you for gay, how does it matter?" Lei questioned.
"Nothing is gonna happen. We'll just have a drink, dance and have fun and then leave." I consoled him.
We took our seats and ordered beer for Jason and Pepsi for Lei and me. We sat there trying to hold a conversation over the loud music. I never worked for me. I never could hear what the other person was saying. While there were a lot of people who were talking without the slightest hint of any hearing problem. It appeared as if each one was pretending to talk without actually paying attention to what the other was saying. Who could say! Do you really care if the other person answered your question or not. You got to be able to hear what he said, first. Right?
Slowly but steadily, people were starting to come in. Lei and I were busy enjoying the eye candy. Jason was nervous as hell. He instinctively maintained his head high, his shoulders wide, his chest up and front and strictly used straight-vocabulary when someone said "Hi" to him. All his macho-ness and the innocent sweet looking face only brought him more attention.
"Do you wanna leave?" I asked him out of sympathy.
"Naah. I'm cool." He said sipping his beer.
When Lei and I were done with our drink, we stepped onto the dance floor and started shaking with the music. I saw a couple of guys approach Jason. It was funny to see him ward them off politely. After a couple of beers, he loosened up and joined us on the dance floor. We danced until the cows came home. Hehe. It was well beyond midnight when we returned and we went straight to bed.
Lei and Jason both had flights leaving at different times and I was not in the mood to go all the way to the airport and return all alone. So after breakfast, I wished them both merry Christmas and hugged them goodbye from home.
"Eat well and sleep in time. Don't spend too much time watching porn." Lei delivered her motherly advice as she was stepping out of the apartment.
"Bye Jason. Have fun."
"Miss me. OK?" Lei always had trouble saying good-bye. She came up with something more to say all the time.
"I'll try. Now get going. You don't want to miss your flight." I chased her away.
I slumped onto the couch after they had gone and I had shut the door.
"They are going to a warm place and the weather is going to be warm too." I smiled at myself. "How am I going to spend three weeks all alone?"
I wasn't starting my grocery store job until Monday. With nothing better to do, I started cleaning the apartment. I liked everything in order, neat and clean with everything in its place. Not as obsessively as Monica from FRIENDS though. After three hours of cleaning, I was hungry and after a heavy lunch I was sleepy, so I went to bed. Sunday was mostly spent watching television, eating, calling home, browsing the Internet, chatting online with total strangers and retiring to bed early.
I was bored as hell of being alone in two days. This was exactly like how I felt when I first came to America. I didn't know a soul. Back home, I was surrounded by relatives all the time. I felt like a fish out of water. My mom wanted both brothers to be accepted into same university so that we could live together and not feel homesick. She lit lamps in a nearby temple everyday from the time we sent out applications until the acceptance letters came. My prayers were answered. I came to the east coast while my brother got accepted into his dream university. I am not sure if I would have had a chance to explore my sexuality and become as comfortable as I am now, if my brother and I were together.
The first two days after I arrived were the worst. The Indian Student Association had arranged for someone to pick me up from the airport. The guy was doing his job, for which he was paid. He was friendly no doubt, but he was in a hurry to drop me off and get back to his friends. I had arrived three days before school started and there was almost no one around the campus. The association was also kind enough to arrange for a temporary accommodation in the dorms.
I sat there alone with my huge luggage. The last one week, my home was like a carnival with all the aunts in colorful saris gathering to bid farewell to their beloved nephews. We were the eldest of all of our cousins and part of the family going away for four years to a far away land is a big deal for them. Hell, it's a big deal for me too.
For the first two days I ate pepperoni pizza and bread sticks without knowing that pepperoni is pork. I had gotten coupons from the front desk and that was the only thing that I could order from the dorm rooms. I walked around the campus trying to figure out the layout and where different buildings were. By Sunday afternoon I was so bored that I tried striking up conversation with even strangers who were walking in the university campus. I hate being alone. Never have been and never want to.
Thanks to Lei and Jason. I have a family here. The last two and a half years have been really fun. I think I would have run back home, if I had not found these two.
Monday morning, I was more than glad to get to work. At least I will be around people. I was assigned to one of the checkout counters. It was one customer after the other. And to my surprise Brad was in the line. I gave him a polite smile and he beamed.
"Hey what are you doing here?" he asked emptying his stuff from the cart.
"I work here."
"I mean, why didn't you go home?"
"Too far and too expensive" I sighed
"Lei and Jason?"
"They've gone home. What are YOU doing here?"
"I never go home." He said raising his eyebrows and his smile fading just a tad.
I could see the customer behind him get a little impatient.
"I will have to talk to you later. You have a good day."
"Oh. I am sorry." He apologized to the woman behind him. "Later." He left pushing his cart filled with beer, pizzas, microwave pot-pies and burgers. Cooking for just you could be one of the most boring things in the world. And eating alone ties with it, if not more boring.
"Sorry about that ma'am..." I went on with duty.
I listened to the message Brad had left on my phone, as I walked back home later that evening (We had exchanged numbers for the class project we did together). He had proposed that he and I meet up if I was not doing anything. I was not very sure if I wanted to hang out with him. I was still not very comfortable around him. Not that I did not like it when he was around, but I was tongue tied, too tensed and too self conscious of what I wanted to and what I didn't want to do. I was plain confused about what I wanted with Brad.
I was sitting on the couch staring at the television screen and contemplating what to do about dinner. I looked at my cell-phone.
"Crazy thought." I dismissed myself.
Five minutes later I found myself calling Brad.
"Hey Anaand. Didn't think you'll call back" He sounded surprised and overjoyed.
"It's Anand." I thought to myself. "Umm...you left a message" I stated what he already knew as I did not know how else to start.
"Yea. Wanna hook up?"
"We will watch a movie or something." He suggested.
"K" I acted hesitant even though I was more than just happy to have some company for the evening.
"Awesome. Whadya like?"
"Anything is fine" I said not wanting to be picky.
"OK. I'll be there in about half hour."
"K" we hung up.
I tidied the living room a bit and changed into better clothes. I waited. He appeared with beer, pot-pies, pizza and a bunch of DVDs.
"Brrr..." he was wrapped in a beautiful woolen coat.
He was dressed in tight fitting black t-shirt and black jeans with boots and the cap turned backwards.
"Can't take the cold, can you?"
"No. Grew up in Cali. Hate the snow."
I put his boots and jacket in the closet. The cap remained on him.
"I grew up in Madras. I thought snow was fiction." I smiled at my own joke, but he did not seem to get it.
"Where's that?" he asked as he dumped what he was carrying on the tea table and seated himself on the couch.
Almost everyone knows Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta and sometimes even Bangalore. No one ever seems to know Madras. It is the biggest metro and the cultural capital of the south.
"In the south. Hot throughout the year. Like Florida. Only hotter." I gave him a one line lesson on Madras' climate.
"Is that why you moved here? Or for hot white boys?"
"What movies you got?" I asked without answering his question.
"Power Rangers, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jurassic Park 1, 2 and 3, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Brokeback Mountain and Tom and Jerry" he read the label on each DVD.
"Brokeback Mountain?" I was surprised.
"Yea. Rented it. Thought you might like it."
"And Tom and Jerry?" I smiled.
"I love it." He gave me a goofy smile.
It was hard to pick and choose from a set meant for kids. I prided myself in watching only movies with subtitles, and he was expecting me to watch Power Rangers and Tom & Jerry!
"You choose." I didn't matter. None was my type.
"Tom and Jerry OK?"
"Yea. Do you want something to drink?" I asked trying to be a good host.
"Brought it with me." He said pointing to his six-pack.
"I am going to get myself some hot chocolate" I said as I walked toward the kitchen.
"You don't want beer?" he followed me into the kitchen.
I was the one uncomfortable in my own house. He was totally at ease. He stood leaning against the wall as I started to warm some milk.
"No. I don't drink."
"Not even wine?"
"OK. I'll take hot chocolate too then."
"I don't mind you drinking beer."
"But its cold and hot chocolate is better."
"OK. If you want it, you got it." I heated 2 glasses of milk and stirred in the hot chocolate.
"No one has ever cooked anything for me before." He looked at me with wide eyes.
I didn't know what to say. I just smiled at him and handed him his glass.
"You've...got...umm." I pointed to the area between his lips and nose and handed him some tissue.
We both returned to the living room and while I put the Tom & Jerry disc on the player, he pushed the coffee table aside and sat down on the floor stretching his legs out and leaning against the couch.
"Could we pull the shades down and switch off the lights? Please..." he asked as I turned towards him.
"Sure." I didn't know what he had in mind. But I myself liked to watch movies in the dark. Sort of create the theater effect. I came back and settled on the couch.
"No. Sit here. Next to me." He said pointing to the floor.
"Please." He blinked and looked cute.
Four months ago I hated this guy more than anyone I knew and he derived pleasure by harassing me. I still don't understand why and how the two of us are sipping hot chocolate and watching a movie together.
I moved down and sat next to him. He smiled widely and we started watching the cartoon.
"You know those two guys fight all the time, but they can't do without the other." He said looking at me.
"It's is just a cartoon. A cat and a mouse never go together." I adopted symbolism.
"You're so boring, Roman." He pushed my shoulder gently with his fist.
"Thank you." I was a little pissed.
"I was only joking. I didn't mean it." He apologized.
"I know." I gave him a glance.
"So who is who?"
"You are Tom, 'cos you bother me."
"I don't anymore!"
"Yea the kiss turned the frog into a prince." I blurted.
He kept quiet. I felt he was a little embarrassed talking about our kiss the other night. We watched the rest of the DVD in silence, sipping the hot-chocolate, which was not hot anymore, and laughing only when it was too funny. It was around 10 pm when we were done.
"Do you wanna watch another movie?" he asked as he was stretching. I had look away so as not to stare at his muscles flexing under that tight shirt.
Now part of me wanted to watch another movie so that he will stay a little longer and the other part wanted me to say "No".
"I have to get to work tomorrow."
I thought for a few seconds and then agreed. Actually I had to be at work only at 10, so it was OK to stay awake a little longer into the night.
"But lets eat something first." I was hungry.
"I got pot-pies. Chicken and turkey"
"Thanks, but I don't eat meat."
"What?" he sounded more shocked than the last time when I told him that I don't drink.
"I am vegetarian."
"Wow. If you didn't sleep with boys, you would almost be a saint. I need my steak. I cannot eat a meal without meat."
"So which one do you wanna eat now?"
"Mmm. Chicken." He handed me the pot-pie. "I will change the DVD while you heat it up." He divided the labor between us.
I found him sitting on the couch, when I returned to the living room. I handed him his dinner and a can of coke and settled on the other end of the couch with my roti, sabji and a glass of water. (roti = Indian flat bread, sabji = vegetable side dish)
"Thank you...No one has ever cooked for me ever before." He said again.
"You said that already. And you are welcome." I still was always formal with my replies.
"I know and I really appreciate you spending time with me."
"I am having fun." I admitted.
"Me too." He beamed.
"Let's start the movie." I was back to my formal former self.
He was a little disappointed that I my responses were always so curt.
"Which one?" I asked.
"Brokeback Mountain. Two guys together. That's romantic."
"Brad...please. Why are you doing this to me?"
"Doin what?" Now he is really "blonde" or is just acting smart.
"Everything. Four months ago you hated me and harassed me. One day everything changes suddenly and you turn friendly. Today you say two guys together is romantic. Sometimes I am not sure if what you're saying is what you mean. I am totally confused. I don't know what to make of it."
I stopped when I noticed that he was watching me with a smile on his face. Maybe he found my babbling funny.
"I am confused." I stated.
"I am confused too." His smile was gone.
"Yea, I don't know what's happening."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know Andy. I really don't know. All I know is I like being with you?"
"You like being with me?" I repeated his words.
"Yea. Don't you like being with me?"
It was my turn to be quiet. It was always mixed feelings of excitement and caution when he was around.
"Tell me you don't like me and I will leave right now."
I looked down. I decided it was best not to answer his question when I didn't know the answer myself.
"You don't like me?"
"Brad...are you gay?" I asked preparing myself for both verbal abuse and physical violence. I had to know. "like being with you" was just not enough to convince me.
He turned his face away from me. He rested his elbows on his knees and covered his face. He seemed to take this posture whenever he was trying to figure out something about himself.
He was still. I did not want to influence his thoughts with any of my own. I wanted the answer, whatever it was, to come out of him. I decided he needed a few minutes alone.
I gathered the dinner plates to heat them up again. When I turned, after putting the dishes into the microwave, I found Brad standing at the entrance. He was only a couple of steps away from where I stood now. He is so good at sneaking up from behind your back. He moved towards me and put his arms around my waist. He rubbed his nose against mine gently, hesitating and always stopping before our lips touched.
I was still holding onto the edge of the counter behind me. I finally yielded and put my arms around him. He was just waiting for this acceptance from me. He firmed his embrace and kissed me. I cannot describe in words my feelings. It felt like I had waited for this moment ever since he helped me back home when I broke up with Ed. We kissed slowly at first and then passionately. We stood there in each other's arms for several minutes.
I myself had not known until this moment what I felt for this guy. It was clear now. I felt love. It is strange considering the fact that, not long ago, I hated him more than anyone I knew. Things had changed upside down in four months.
"So do you like being with me?" he asked again smiling slightly.
I nodded positively. He gave me a tight hug and kissed my hair. I was so careful because I did not want to fall for a straight guy, and I had failed.
"You wanna do this again tomorrow?" he asked
I nodded again.
"I was actually talking about the kissing part" he joked.
I smiled shyly.
"Shit. You're blushing."
"I'm NOT." I wriggled myself out of his embrace and ran off into the living room.
"Yes, you're" he followed me and hugged me from behind.
"Brad...I don't understand you at all." I turned to face him.
"Me neither. All I know and care at this point is that I like you. I like you a lot and want to be with you."
"They call such people 'hags' you know?" I smiled at him.
"I don't care. Let them call it whatever they want. From now on I am doing what I want and not what others expect me to."
For someone who was openly homophobic until a few months ago, he sounded pretty sure of what he was saying. I couldn't stop myself from liking him. Well what was not to like. He is the most handsome guy I've ever seem and now he was proving himself to be a nice one too. My heart had taken over my head and I decided to go whatever way time took us.
"It's late for you Roman. Time to get some shuteye. So what time tomorrow?" he asked pushing my hair out of my eyes.
"I get off work at seven."
"I'll pick you up. We'll go out somewhere?"
"Alrighty. So I'll see you tomorrow." He kissed my forehead and reached for his coat.
"Brad...umm...you can sleep over here if you want." I didn't look at him. "You can take Jason's bed." I added.
"Sure. If he'll not mind, that is."
"No, he'll not." I moved into my bedroom and he followed me.
I handed him one of my pillows and a blanket. "Good night" I smiled fondly at him and got into my bed.
"I sleep in my boxers. Hope you don't mind." He took of his shirt and jeans. I swallowed. What a view. I did not want to stare and make him uncomfortable, so I pulled the blanket over my eyes and turned towards the wall.
A few minutes had passed and I still was wide awake. I heard him get out of his bed. After a few seconds I felt him lifting my blanket gently and slipping in next to me. He slowly put his arm around me and I froze instantly.
"Sorry, didn't mean to..." he moved his hand away. "I should have asked... Do you want me to leave?" he still did not move.
"Brad, you believe boys who sleep together go to hell, remember?" I said still facing the wall.
"I would rather go to hell and be with you than be alone in heaven." He moved closer and put his arm around me again. I smiled and patted his hand.
It took only a couple of minutes after that for both of us to fall asleep.
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