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!
Matts excitement about his new home went beyond his encounter with Tim. He was creating something with his hands. It was a powerful, deeply satisfying experience. Much of the work was completed by professionals - Matt was timid around power tools. But there were many tasks with which he could help. Hanging cabinets and finish carpentry were examples. He helped lay tile and paint. He helped stain and wax the hardwood floors.
He ran into Tim from time to time, and although nothing was ever said about the incident. Tim always watched Matt with shining eyes and his dimples showing. Matt guessed that they could have had sex again, but there was always at least one other worker in the town home.
Matts new home passed a milestone in February when the Park Forest village inspectors approved the remodeled town home for occupancy. A week later the new appliances arrived. A new gas stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer in the basement, and - a first for Matt - a dishwasher. Now, all Mat had to do was move in.
Darling, this place is fabulous! Marty put down a box of pots and pans in the kitchen. Who knew? This place was such a disaster before! I have to admit I was wrong. Marty was generously helping Matt move some things from Blue Island to Park Forest. Matt was now officially a resident of Park Forest.
Marty spent the night. They rented videos, bought beer, and ordered a pizza. They laughed, told stories, and gossiped about people who werent there to defend themselves.
Marty was the first in a long line of visitors. On the free evenings, Matt played Perfect Host to his family, and then a long stream of friends, acquaintances, cousins, aunts, uncles, and even strangers.
He even considered having an open house and just getting it over with, but he hated the idea of an open house as a ruse for gifts, and refused to subject his friends and family to one. Plus, he could never afford the time, so he just let it go.
His dad approved of the home right away, and was full of endless streams of advice about housekeeping, appliances, and upkeep. His sister and brother-in-law and young niece all loved it. His mom, Gloria, sewed curtains for most of the windows and helped him paint some of the white walls.
Then, one day in the middle of April, he had an unexpected
visitor. Tim appeared at the front door one Saturday night. He
was drunk, and kept swaying from side to side.
Can I come in? Tims words were slurred, but quiet.
Matt grinned slightly, and opened the door wider. He gestured for Tim to enter. As the younger man got closer, he noticed that his eyes were bloodshot. It was either caused by the alcohol or Tim had been crying.
Matt hung his jacket in the guest closet and they sat in the living room, Matt in the recliner, and Tim on the couch.
Are you OK? Matt asked the obvious. Do you want a drink? That was a stupid offer, Matt told himself. He breathed a sigh of relief when Tim asked for a Coke.
All I have is Diet Pepsi.
OK, Tim agreed. He took a gulp, then set the can down on the coffee table. I just wanted to talk.
Did something happen?
Tim nodded. I broke off my engagement.
Oh, Im so sorry, Matt tried to sound as sincere as possible. Matt touched Tims knee. Tim flashed a look of disbelief, as if he had received an electrical shock from Matt. Matt rapidly removed the offending hand.
Its OK, Tim said. Im just....just...
Yeah, Tim agreed.
Can I ask you a question? Why did you do it?
Tim shook his head slowly from side to side, thinking deeply. He pondered for a while, his head finally coming to a stop as he answered. I keep having these feelings.....
Can you tell me about them?
Are you gay? Tim blurted.
Well, yeah...if that makes any difference.
I just wondered. Tim sighed.
Im sorry about your engagement. I really am.
Im sorry, too.
Want to talk about it?
No, not really. He stared blankly at the TV. Im kinda hungry. I havent eaten all day.
I could make you a sandwich. Matt went into the kitchen and began to pull out sandwich ingredients. He could hear Tim move around in the living room. He heard Tim opening the cabinet where Matt stored his videos.
Shit. Matt thought. Hes going to find my porn tapes. Matt had a modest collection of gay porn for those occasions when his libido shifted into overdrive. A porn tape was a quick and inexpensive way to relieve tension.
Matt peered around the corner to see him putting a tape in. Im going to remain cool. He finished assembling the sandwich and put the meat, cheese, lettuce and bread back into the refrigerator. Matt carried the plate and another Diet Pepsi into the living room. Matts hands were trembling as he set the food on the coffee table.
Tim was staring intently at the screen. His jeans were open and he was stroking his hard penis.
its a hot video.
Matt was unable to answer. Instead, the sat down on the couch a respectable distance away from Tim. Matt opened his pants and let his already hard cock free. The scene on the video wasnt exactly his favorite, but the man to his left more than compensated for this.
Tim worked his jeans off and spread his legs. He placed his right hand on the back of Matts neck and guided his head toward his rod.
Come on.... Tim whispered in a deep, needy voice.
Matt obliged. First he tried to suck him from his position on the couch, but soon slid off the furniture and knelt on the floor between Tims legs. Matts mouth was intent on pleasuring the younger man. A quick glance at Tims face confirmed he was succeeding. Tim rested his head on the back of the couch, his eyes were rolled into his head, and his mouth was slightly open.
Tim began panting and moaning. Yeah, baby. Its so good.
Then, without warning, he pulled his cock out of Matts mouth and shot a load.
Whew, that was good.
Matt, ever the good host, went upstairs to the linen closet and got Tim a towel. Tim chuckled as he cleaned himself up. You are very good at that. Matt wasnt quite sure how to respond. And just imagine. I never had a lesson! Matt took the towel downstairs to the laundry area. When he returned, Tim had stretched out on the couch and was fast asleep.
Upstairs Matt went again to get him a blanket. As he spread the cover over the younger man, Matt wondered what was going on. Why had Tim broken off the engagement? Why did he come here? What did he really want? A fuck buddy? I could use a fuck buddy. No attachments, just sex.
Matt turned off the TV, but left the uneaten sandwich. Just before he turned off the light, he stared at the sleeping face of the other man. He was missing something, some kind of connection. Matt shrugged it off wand went to bed.
The next morning, a Sunday, dawned bright and sunny. Matt almost hoped Tim would be gone. He showered, slipped on some jeans and a T-shirt, and headed downstairs.
Tim was still lying on the couch, but awake and staring at the ceiling. He smiled when he saw Matt.
How are you feeling? Matt asked him.
A bit hung over, Tim admitted.
Ill get you some Tylenol.
No, dont. Come here. Matt stood behind the couch and smiled down at Tim. Tim reached up, tugged on Matts arms and pulled him over the back of the couch. He caught Matt off balance.
WHOA! Matt landed chest-to-chest on top of Tim. Tim hooked his arm behind Matts neck, and pulled his face closer. He then kissed Matt with passion. Matt tried to pull away, but Tim was stronger, and Matt thoroughly enjoyed the kiss. Tim relaxed his grip on Matt. Matt pulled away, rolled off Tim and the couch and landed with a thud on the floor. They both laughed. Matt sat up with his back against the couch.
I wasnt expecting that, Matt admitted.
I like you. A lot.
Thanks, Tim, but Im not ready to get involved. Matt picked up the empty plate. When had he eaten the sandwich? Last night? This morning? He carried it into the kitchen and put it in the dishwasher. I dont want a commitment.
Neither do I. Tim said from the living room.
Thats obvious, Matt thought. When Matt returned to the living room, Tim was tying his shoes.
We can still get together, cant we? Friends?
Matt smiled. Friends.
Matt had seen her taking out her garbage, planting flowers
around the sidewalks, and getting in her Cadillac. That Sunday,
after Tim had left, she knocked on Matts back door.
Hi. Im Leah Levine, your neighbor. She was holding a plate on which a delicious-looking cake sat. I know you moved in a few weeks ago, but Ive been busy, and you seem to work some unusual hours. She spoke rapidly with a trace of a New York accent. She was a small woman with brown hair streaked with gray and kindly brown eyes.
Matt smiled widely. Do you have time for a cup of coffee?
She set the cake on the kitchen counter, then sat at the dining room table. Matt poured coffee and cut slices of cake for both of them. She told Matt she was a widow with two grown children. She had lived in Park Forest for thirty-five years, and she was originally form New York. Currently she was an instructor at Governors State University and she volunteered at the temple. Matt liked her immediately. She spoke rapidly, but even so, Matt could tell that her tongue had trouble keeping up with her sharp mind.
Matt gave her the basic outline of his life, and how he became a homeowner.
Im so glad you moved in. This place was vacant for so long. Matt took her on the tour of the house, and her exclamations of approval were genuine. She especially loved the kitchen.
Before she left, they exchanged phone numbers, and promised to keep in touch.
The following Sunday, Matt went to church. He had been raised
a Catholic, but his relationship with the church was strained
because of his gayness. He believed in God, but couldnt
abide a church that denounced homosexuality so vehemently.
It was Lent. For some strange reason, Matt loved Lent. Lent was dark, and mysterious and a challenge to self-discipline.
Matt went to an Ash Wednesday paraliturgy at St. Irenaeus. It was in the evening, and the sanctuary was darkened except for the alter area. Matt was rather surprised at how many people were present. The priest, who Matt figured was in his mid-fifties, was tall with thinning gray hair and a beard. And, Matt thought, gay.
Matt liked the service. Father Grimes talked about reconciliation and how Lent should be a journey of self discovery
Matt began to go to Sunday Mass almost regularly. He discovered that Father Grimes usually celebrated the 10:30 Mass, and it was late enough for Matt to pull himself together.
Palm Sunday was unusually warm for April, and Matt was glad for the chance to get out of the church. Father Grimes was in front of the church greeting his parishioners.
Hello, darling, he shook Matts hand. Ive seen you hiding in the back of the church.
Well, Matt, welcome. You know we have donuts and coffee after this Mass in the gym.
Matt smiled. OK.
Matt made his way to the gym. He assumed Father Grimes would have more greeting to do. Instead, he joined Matt at a table within ten minutes. Father Grimes made a running commentary about his parishioners. Matt found it highly amusing.
Thats Mary Ellen Rafferty. Shes a scream. Her husband is a bore. Thats Joe Warshawski. Gorgeous son at the University of Illinois. Thats Joan Blevins. Shes so conservative, she makes William F. Buckley look like a bleeding heart liberal.....
Matt had sung in the choir when he was a kid, and had even done some readings at masses, but he had never felt so comfortable and included at church until Father Grimes took him under his wing.
Matt continued to settle into his new home. He was still
thrilled at having his own washer and dryer after living in so
many apartments. It made life so much easier. He could even do a
load when he got home from work.
Matt chatted with Leah from time to time. She was, as Marty described her, a hoot. Deeply committed to the basic goodness of all people, she still could scold Matt like a stereotypical Jewish mother. She could be outrageously funny one moment and serious the next.
The store was practically running itself by this time. He had a good staff behind him. Matt found he could relax a little.
Matt found himself going to bars less and less. He often didn't have the time, and when he did he didnt have the desire. He lost touch with a lot of alleged friends. But Matt reasoned that if they didnt bother to keep in touch with him, they werent worth keeping in touch with anyway.
About a week later, Matts friend Bill Ronkowski called
to invite Matt to dinner. Bill had been his supervisor at Camp
Homewood and they had kept in touch sporadically since then.
During the year, he worked at St. Lukes as a social worker,
but he lived for the summers. Bill was heavyset with dark hair
and eyes. He was nongay, but very open-minded. He had been an
excellent supervisor. He motivated people to do their very best.
Matt would have walked across burning coals for Bill;
fortunately, it never came to that.
They met a Fuddruckers, a do-it-yourself hamburger place on Cicero Avenue. Fuddruckers had the best juicy burgers and a toppings bar. Matts challenge to himself was to pile on as many toppings as he could each time he went there.
They seated themselves and began to eat. They both talked about their jobs, and laughed about camp and life in general.
I miss camp, Matt admitted.
And camp misses you. The damn nature counselor I hired this year was worthless. I once overheard him asking the kids who the Secretary of the Interior was.
Matt snickered. I miss when you and I used to sit on the porch of your cabin. Remember what we used to call some of the kids we didnt like as they walked by?
Prick, Bill answered, emphasizing the K sound.
They laughed. It was a sweet bit of nostalgia. An inside joke. The kids didnt know about it and the rest of the staff tolerated it, or didnt understand it.
And I loved when you used to make them go back out and knock, Matt continued. Bills porch was an unofficial counselor hangout, so campers had to knock before they entered. Theyd go back out, knock, and youd say Who is it?
Still chuckling, they turned their attention back to their food.
You know, Matt, I never understood why you left teaching. Or camp counseling. you were such a natural.
Matt sighed. Hed had to explain this a million times. Well, I like to see immediate results. I love putting up a new display and then watching it sell. I like the fact that when I leave my job, its done. No homework, no lesson plans, no report cards. And none of the ass-kissing that you have to do in teaching to get ahead. His face softened. I do miss the kids. I still love kids. Matt smiled. Another reason is that Im gay.
I know that, Matt. But times are changing.
Slowly. Very slowly.
You know, in Massachusettes, all teachers have to to to gay awareness seminars. Its the law.
But thats Massachusettes This is Illinois. Im tired of lying and playing games with my bosses and coworkers. In bookselling, no one cares. Theres still too many people out there who view gay men as pedophiles.
Bills face sobered. I know that.
Matt continued. Look, Id be lying if I didnt say that young men werent attractive. But thats all they are to me - cute. Another comparison is physical violence. Weve all been so angry at someone that we really wanted to hurt them. But the vast majority never cross that line.
Bill leaned back and sighed. He pushed his plate away. Bill seldom does anything without a purpose, Matt thought. I wonder whats going on?
Matt, have you ever thought about becoming a parent?
Matt smiled ruefully. Sure I have. Its the one thing - the only regret - I have about being gay. I guess I have a lot of paternal instincts. I think I would be a great father.
So do I. Thats why Id like you to consider being a foster father in our program.
The server took the plates away. Lets continue this at my place. You still havent seen it , have you? Bill shook his head. Follow my car.
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