STANDARD WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Any coincidence to individuals, living or dead, is pure coincidence. Do not read this story if you are offended by man-to-man romance or sex. Do not read if you are underage according to the laws in the country, state/province, county, city/town/village or township where you live. There is sex between males. You have been warned!
Matt began to yearn for a place of his own. He loved living with Marty, but he wanted a place that he could call his own, where he could leave his sox in the living room, if he wanted. And then there was the issue of sex. It was just as awkward walking in on Marty or vice-versa as a straight roommate.
He wasn't earning that much money yet, but still,
he could dream. He bought house plan books with his employee
discount. He slowed when he saw a "For Sale' sign in front
of a house he thought he could afford. And as part of his slow,
leisurely study of the Sunday Tribune, Matt always studied
the Homes section. One Sunday In April, he spotted the HUD ad.
The Housing and Urban Development administration sold damaged
homes to do-it-yourselfers in the hope that they would bring the
house up to code, live in it, and turn the neighborhood around.
That Sunday he spotted a three bedroom town home in Park Forest
Park Forest was built right after World War II
for the returning servicemen. It was a planned community, with a
shopping center in the middle of town, apartments and town homes
surrounding the downtown area and single family homes further
out. Instead of a grid pattern, the streets were laid out in
gentle curves. In the 'downtown' area, an open mall served as one
of the first shopping centers in the country. Matt had been to
Park Forest many times. His mom had a coworker who lived in one
of the town homes, in fact. She was divorced and lived there with
her kids. He had been to the shopping center many times as a kid.
Matt ripped out the page. He jumped in his car
and began the trip to Park Forest. He followed the twisting
streets to the address in the HUD ad. He remembered that all the
three bedroom town homes were that the end of the rows. He got a
bit turned around looking for Ash Street, but he found it, and
the home featured in the ad. The windows on the lower floor were
all boarded up, and there were angry black scars over the
windows. There had been a fire. Curiosity satisfied, he drove
back to Marty's.
"Oh, darling, you're not really going to buy
that abortion in Park Forest, are you?"
"No, Marty, I'm not going to buy it, I'm just going to look at it. I have to make an appointment with a broker to see it. I want to see how bad it is."
"No need. I can tell you. It's a disaster."
"Still, I want to see it. I don't know why."
"I think you've been watching too much This Old House. And all this time I thought you had a construction worker fetish."
"I do had a construction worker fetish! Are you free on Saturday?"
"For what? A construction worker?"
"No. I'm going to look at it. Want to go with?"
"To see the stunt double for the Bates Motel? No, thanks."
"Oh, come on. Just a couple hours of your time. Besides, you have to meet my realtor. She's a hoot!"
Marty sighed and rolled his eyes. "OK, cupcake. But not too early in the morning. I need my beauty rest."
Because there was no direct expressway to Park forest, they drove down I 57 to Route 30, then took that east to Park Forest. The passed endless strip malls that crowded, pushed and competed with each other for attention. Traffic was heavy and the numerous traffic lights cut off like kinks in a garden hose.
Marty fidgeted in the passenger seat, alternately
fussing with the seat belt, chain smoking, or changing the radio
"We're meeting Jan at this place?" Marty asked when they stopped for yet another light.
"Yeah. This the the next step. You set up an appointment with a broker and see the place."
"Please, dear," Marty gestured dramatically with his hands, "don't do anything rash."
They finally reached Orchard, one of the main north-south streets in the town. It twisted gently and they turned left, then right onto Ash Street.
"There it is. And there's Jan. "
"She's a big girl," giggled Marty. "Big enough to have her own zip code."
"Now," Matt continued as he parked the car, "Remember- positive attitude and don't drop too many hairpins."
They walked up to the town home, There were six units in each building. They were clad in red brick and had black shutters. Each unit was staggered about four feet from the unit adjacent to it."
"I'm Jan Reeves." she held out her hand.
"I'm Matt Rosato. This is Marty Donovan."
"Friend," Matt completed the phrase before she could jump to conclusions.
Jan turned and walked up the sidewalk. "It's been vacant about a year. You understand the terms of the HUD mortgage?"
"Not really," Matt admitted.
"From the time you purchase the house - the date you close on the sale - you have one year to bring it up to code and occupy it. You can do the work yourself, or contract it out, but either way you have one year."
The front door took a little persuasion to open. Even before the door was full open the acrid smell of smoke was strong. The walls of the living room were covered with soot. The carpet had been torn up, and so had the hardwood flooring. All the molding around the windows was gone as well.
"These three bedroom town homes are nice. Lots of possibilities. The utilities have been cut off. Fortunately, no vandals have broken in."
Under his breath, Marty said, "It might have been better if they did."
If she heard the comment, Jan ignored it. "The kitchen has been completely destroyed. It's just as well. The original kitchens were ugly. Sorry it's so dark in here." She was referring to the fact that all the windows on the lower floor had been boarded over. The large living room was combined with the dining area to form an L-shaped plan. The kitchen, which occupied the rest of the first floor, was the worst. The cabinets had been removed, as had the appliances. What remained of the walls were charred and destroyed.
Marty spoke the obvious. "Oh, Matt, this is a disaster."
Jan put on a brave smile. Yes, it's bad. And to be honest with you, all the people who have looked at the place have been scared off when they see this. But think about the possibilities. You could start from scratch, and it could be beautiful."
Matt glanced at Marty who grinned and scratched
his eyebrow with his middle finger.
"Can we see the upstairs?" Matt asked.
"Of course." Jan replied.
They marched up the stairs to the second floor. The entire floor had been cleaned to an extent. The three bedrooms were decent sized and bright. The mature trees were visible through the windows. Matt's eyes lit up. He liked what he saw. The only drawback on he second level was the bathroom. It was directly out of the 1950's with a pedestal sink and a black-and-white checked tile floor. After this, they viewed the basement with the aid of a flashlight from Jan's purse. It was dry, although some water damage was visible from the fire department's effort to put out the fire. The furnace and hot water heater were original and needed to be replaced.
Jan explained that the village of Park Forest was
extremely strict about additions to the buildings. So the only
option was to improve the basement. Matt was concerned about the
fact that there was only one bathroom in the whole unit.
The trio ended their tour at the front door again.
"So what do you think?" Jan asked Matt.
"Let's go for it."
Back in the car on the way to Marty's apartment, Marty said, "You're not really going to buy it are you?"
"Yes. That's my intention."
"I don't believe it. Marty huffed.
Matt did his best Gerald O'Hara imitation. "You mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara that land doesn't mean anything to you? Why it's the only thing worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for. Because it's the only thing that lasts."
After their hysterics died down, Marty said "You know, you'll have to borrow a lot more to repair that dump, And even if you put sweat equity into it, you won't save all that much money."
"I know," Matt answered, "But I still want to do it."
For the next few months, Matt spent every spare
moment thinking about, planning, and preparing for the town home.
He had never filled out so many forms in his life. The economy
was strong, and interest rates were low, but Matt's credit wasn't
perfect - an unfortunate legacy from living with Andy. Still, he
got a slightly lower rate that his parents had when they bought
their first house.
Jan helped Matt find a bank who would finance,
and suggested an architect and a general contractor. Matt
accepted her suggestion of general contractor, but searched for,
and found a gay architect. It was the least he could do. Besides,
a gay architect would have the same esthetic sensibilities.
Matt discussed the move with his parents. Both
were supportive and his dad even volunteered to help once in a
while. If either his mom or dad had misgivings about the project,
they kept them to themselves. Matt's parents had long ago given
up trying to dissuade their strong-willed son out of anything.
Closing day came and went, and Matt found himself
a property owner. Some of the town homes remained rentals, some
were converted into condominiums, and some, like Matt's were
co-ops. In addition to property taxes, he paid a monthly
assessment for outdoor maintenance. If he chose, Matt could do
some of the work himself.
The architect basically kept the floor plan on
the first and second floors the same. There only two major
changes. The first was replacing the wall between the kitchen and
dining area with cabinets for extra storage and a breakfast bar
that would be open to both rooms. Above, he suggested cabinets
with glass doors on both sides. The second was to reconfigure the
stairs to the basement. In he original floor plan, they opened
into the kitchen. In the new plan, they opened into the living
room with a landing that turned the stairs ninety degrees halfway
down. It would open the stairway and give the basement an
illusion of openness. Matt loved the plan. In the basement, the
architect drew up plans for the second bathroom and a family
room/den with a gas fireplace. The other half of the basement
would still function as a utility room.
Once Matt had chosen the general contractor, Patrick McGraw and Sons, he worked out a schedule to work on the construction in his time off. Patrick himself was a native Chicagoan with a thick South Side Irish accent. He was good looking in his own way: still trim from years of manual labor, his hair was prematurely silver-gray, but it had not thinned. His face had developed some wrinkles, but they added to his rugged attractiveness. His brown eyes were intelligent and quick. Even more attractive was his son, Tim. Patrick was so busy, that Tim was actually managing this job.
Matt first met Tim on a chilly October morning
when he went out to the house to help. Most of the time, Tim or
Patrick would leave Matt a note about what they needed to be
done. Usually, it was cleaning, sweeping or maintenance. But on
this day, Matt found a green McGraw and Sons pickup parked in the
lot behind the townhouse.
Tim was a very handsome man. He had light brown hair and brown eyes. Matt guessed he had been a blond when he was younger. He had a firm, square jaw and a rather smallish nose that turned up at the end. It reminded Matt of a ski jump. His lashes were thick. His beard looked very light, and Matt guessed he could skip several days of shaving and still look good. He had a perfect smile bracketed by dimples on both sides of his mouth.
Matt found Tim wielding a sledgehammer as if it
were a toy. He was demolishing the walls in the living room. Tim
spotted Matt, pulled down the dust mask and eyewear, and grinned
widely. His brown hair was cut short, almost in a buzz cut. Like
his father, his eyes were brown and intelligent with just a hint
of mischief. He reminded Matt of a Catholic schoolboy. All that
was missing was the uniform. He shook Matt's hand a little more
firmly and longer than socially necessary.
"You here to help, today?" Tim asked.
"Yeah. what can I do?"
Tim furnished Matt with another mask, protective eyewear, and a sledgehammer. They worked side by side mostly in silence. Tim seldom spoke, unless Matt asked him a direct question. But Matt watched Tim as he worked, the flexing of his muscles was evident even though the layers of clothing the other man wore. Tim had pushed the sleeves of his sweatshirt to his elbows, and Matt was stimulated by the image of his muscular, veined, and surprisingly hairless forearms. Matt wished it were hot enough to prompt Tim to take off his shirt. But as the day progressed, it remained chilly since the new furnace had not been delivered yet. Even so, Matt could see the young man's broad shoulders flex even beneath his clothing as he took a swing at the wall. Tim paused, glanced at Matt, and grinned. The dimples appeared.
For the remaining three weeks in October, Matt worked every spare moment at his new home. Matt also hoped he could catch a glimpse of Tim. A variety of sub-contractors came and went. New windows arrived and replaced the old, drafty, rusted, steel casement windows. A new high efficiency furnace was installed. New wiring replaced the old electrical service, and at Matt's request the electrician also installed dual telephone lines, cable television and speaker wires.
The basement was coming along as well, with a new system of joists secured to the concrete walls, drywall and subflooring. Matt's tasks included helping with the insulation, some wiring, and cleanup. As the end of the month arrived, plasterers were taping the blueboard joints, and applying a thin coat of plaster. It was just as well. Matt never could get the hang of plastering.
November arrived, and Matt had to devote all his time to the store. It seemed to Matt that when he was not working, he was asleep. He put in some fifty-hour weeks. The Christmas season was critical; over half a store's profits could be earned. He visited the town home only occasionally and didn't see Tim all that time. The image of the brown haired man followed him, and made Matt question his own emotions. Was his gaydar detecting something or was it merely wishful thinking? Matt knew Tim was engaged to be married, and there had never been more than knowing looks. Still, Tim occupied his masturbatory fantasies that busy Christmas season.
Christmas at the store had been a resounding success. Sales had far exceeded plan. More than that, most of the customers had been cheerful. The economy was strong, and they had money to spend. Therefore, there were very few grouchy or crabby customers. For this, Matt was extremely grateful.
Almost six weeks had passed since Matt last
visited the town home. It was the week between Christmas and New
Year's. A thin layer of snow covered the ground. Outside there
was the familiar green McGraw and Sons pickup truck with a
shamrock on the door.
When Matt entered his new home, it looked to him to be almost finished. The lower level was startlingly white in the winter sun. The walls had been plastered, but not painted. Matt heard a radio tuned to WKQX, an adult contemporary station.
"Who's there?" A masculine voice called from the basement.
"It's me, Matt."
"Come down and give me a hand. I'm installing the shower."
When Matt spotted Tim, the younger man smiled and the dimples appeared. Matt hadn't planned on working this day, but almost skipped down the stairs anyway. The prospect of working alone with Tim was exciting. The fiberglass shower stall was bulky and awkward but surprisingly light. Tim plumbed the fixtures. Matt helped him snap the rest of the panels into place. Tim installed the knobs and shower head. They smiled at each other with the completion of their task.
"All we have to do now is install the door and caulk it." He looked right into Matt's eyes. "Right now, though, I'm hungry."
Matt glanced at his watch. It was 12:30 already. Now that Tim had said something, he noticed his hunger for the first time.
"Where do you want to go?" Matt asked.
"How about Jonny Lee's? They have the best Chinese food around. And they deliver."
Matt smiled. "Great. But I don't know what to order."
Tim strode over to the stairs, picked up his Dayrunner off a step, ripped open the Velcro, and handed Matt a worn carry out menu from Jonny Lee's.
"Tell me what you want. I'll call them on my
cell phone. My treat this time," Tim said with a grin.
A half hour later, they were sitting on the living room floor, eating directly out of the cartons. They chatted easily as if they had been buddies all their lives. Matt thought that this was the longest sustained conversation he had had with Tim since they met.
"You and your dad have done a great job here," Matt complimented.
"It's going to be a nice home for you and your family."
"I don't have a family."
"What I mean is, I'm not married."
"Oh." Tim paused a long time before adding, "Pretty big house for a single guy."
Matt shrugged. There was another long pause while Matt formulated his next question. "Are you?"
A troubled look crossed Tim's face. "Not yet. I'm engaged."
Boldly Matt asked, "You don't want to get married?"
"I'm not ready." He put another forkful of chicken with pea pods in his mouth, chewed thoughtfully, then swallowed. "I'm not ready to settle down."
"How old are you, anyway?"
God, Matt thought, he's almost ten years younger than me. They finished eating, and put the empty cartons in a trash bag. Downstairs they went to finish the shower stall. The caulked together, a major feat in the tiny enclosed space. Matt was on his knees caulking the seams on the bottom, while Tim caulked around the fixtures.
Tim stepped out and announced, "It's getting warm in here." He set his tube of caulk down, and pulled off his sweatshirt. The static also pulled up the navy blue T-shirt he was wearing underneath, revealing a perfect, hairless torso. Tim was not skinny, but neither was he fat. He was muscular in a bulky sort of way. And he had no body hair, which turned Matt on. Tim caught Matt's eye and the dimples appeared.
They resumed caulking, but Matt's hands were
trembling so badly, he kept making mistakes. Fortunately, the
caulk was forgiving as long as one wiped up mistakes quickly.
"I think I need a break." Matt extracted himself from the shower stall and sat on a step.
Tim continued to work for a time in silence, then spoke. "You've been watching me." His voice echoed in the shower stall.
"W-w-what do you mean?"
Tim stepped out of the shower stall. He wasn't smiling but the dimples appeared. "I saw you watching me."
Tim began to rub his crotch. A large bulge
appeared in the front of his jeans. He sauntered over to the step
Matt was sitting on.
"Don't worry, I won't tell my dad," Tim whispered, although there was no one else within earshot. He unzipped his fly and pulled his cock out of his black boxer briefs. It was semi-hard, circumcised and about six inches long. What made it remarkable was the circumference. It reminded Matt of a beer can.
Tim put his right hand on the back of Matt's head
and applied gentle pressure, urging him foreward toward his dick.
On the radio, Hey Jealousy by the Gin Blossoms was
playing. Matt loved the song, but the drama before him commanded
"Come on," Tim said, still whispering.
I shouldn't be doing this! This is stupid! A voice screamed in the back of Matt's head. But Matt ignored the voice, as his lips moved closer to the younger man's rod.
Tim smelled basically clean, but slightly of sweat. Matt's mouth wasn't accustomed to such a huge cock. He had to loosen his jaw to accommodate it.
"Oh, yeah," Tim moaned, as he now held Matt's head on either side. Matt was glad that Tim responded. He hated men that just stood there. Matt could feel the calouses on the younger man's hands. Matt stopped sucking for a moment to lick Tim's balls. Tim moaned even louder.
"You are so good," Tim encouraged. "I'm getting close." A few moments later, Matt resumed sucking on Tim's rod.
That was fast, Matt thought.
Before he knew it, Tim pulled his prick out of Matt's mouth, and shot a large load. A few drops hit Matt's right shoulder before he could move out of the way.
"Thanks." Tim said. "No extra charge for that. McGraw and Sons are full-service General Contractors."
In his car, on the way back to Marty's apartment, something kept bothering Matt. He couldn't put his finger on it. A song that he hated came on the radio, and Matt commenced station hopping, one of his favorite hobbies in the car. On The Mix, Hey Jealousy was playing again. The music jogged Matt's memory. His crotch was shaved, Matt remembered with a start. Everything. His balls, his pubic hair, it was all shaved. Dear God. But wait, Matt thought. Unless they're porn stars, straight men never shave their crotches.
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