This being Halloween, I thought I might try something a little different and see how this submission would look in HTML rather than the standard ASCII format.  I also wanted to see how it would look with white text on a dark background, which I actually find easier on the eyes, rather than the traditional black on white.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy this chapter.  I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this format and whether it's worth continuing, assuming it works, as well as any constructive thoughts, etc. on the story itself.......Take care and have a safe Halloween.......... Michael Garrison:

And now for the usual preamble:

This story is a work of fiction.  Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.  This story also deals with love and consensual sexual activities between men.  If you are not of legal age, reside in an area where viewing such material is illegal, or are offended by such themes, do not read further and leave this site now.

The author retains all rights to this story.  Reproductions or links to other sites are not allowed without the permission of the author.

Two Lives – Two Loves

Chapter 15

“JOOOOOOOOOOOOON!” I screamed again, louder, when I didn’t get an immediate response the first time.

The sound of my cry for help must’ve resonated off of every hard surface in the house.  It sure felt like it should’ve, as loud as it was.   Although it seemed like an eternity, it was actually only a scant few moments before I heard the rumbling and pounding of Jon and Ron almost leaping up the stairs and down the hall towards me.  The beams from their flashlights preceded them by only a split second as they hit the doorjamb of the bedroom, almost knocking each other over as they tried to make the corner.

“What?!…What’s wrong?!…What is it!?”  They called to me, breathlessly.

“It’s in here!” I answered as they brought their flashlights up, chasing away the grayness of the afternoon, training the beams first on the door and then on me, standing there naked and dripping, holding the door closed with all my weight.

“What’s in there?” Ron asked.  Jon didn’t speak for a second as he took in the scene.  His jaw had gone slack and his mind was still trying to create order from chaos.  You could almost hear the wheels grinding away.

“The…the…thing!” I said in confused exasperation. 

“What……thing?!” Jon asked, clearly still a little confused.

“The ghost!”

“Oh, Lord,” Jon mumbled under his breath, not sure whether he should believe me or throw a net over me.

Ron’s eyes went wide and he pulled his body up in surprise, his arms dropping toward his side.  He was probably expecting me to say something like we had rats or something…. something tangible that could be dealt with in a straightforward way….I’m very certain that he wasn’t expecting this.

Having now regained his composure, Jon drew himself up and slowly came over to me.  He switched off his light, seeing that there was still some light left in the day.  Gently, he put one hand on my tensed forearm, the other around my shoulder.  I was still shaking like a leaf….from fear….from still being wet, I don’t know which….both probably.

There were moments when Jon could rise above a situation, no matter how outlandish it might be, and exude a permeating calm over his environment.  This was one of those moments.  I don’t know whether it was his Boy Scout training, never having been one myself, or whether it was just Jon being Jon, but his calming demeanor was a welcome anchor.  It was like pouring oil on water and watching it smooth troubled seas.

Ron was a living statue.  He had no idea of what to do and probably did the best thing that he could do at that moment…..nothing…..and let Jon carry the ball.

“Brad?” Jon said, slowly, gently moving his hand down my arm until it was on top of my own hand.

“I’m not crazy, Jon,” I interjected, my nerves frazzled, sensing where he might be heading.

“Let go of the knob, Brad,” he continued in his measured, doctorly voice.

“Jon, I touched the thing, fer Chrissake,” I continued.  Ron seemed increasingly rattled by this turn of events.  I sensed him backing almost imperceptibly towards the bedroom door, silently debating whether he should bolt from this asylum he must’ve thought he was in.  I was glad that he decided to stay put.

“Brad…,” Jon repeated with innate, measured calm,  “…let go of the knob and we’ll all check it out together.  I guarantee there’s nothing that’s gonna hurt you.”

“Yeah….,” I harrumphed, “That’s easy for you to say.  You weren’t in there!”

“Brad,” Jon began again slowly, becoming impatient, “Let go of the knob, or I’ll make you let go….,” he said ominously, his crystalline blue eyes staring directly, hypnotically into mine, never blinking.  “You know I can,” he added slowly as I felt his grip tightening around my wrist, emphasizing his point.  That finally got my attention as I stared straight back at him, never blinking.

Serious-Jon was definitely in the house.  I’d played poker with Jon enough to know that he was a lousy bluffer.  He usually wore his heart and his thoughts on his sleeve and if he tried to bluff, I wouldn’t believe him if he said the sky was blue.  He just wasn’t good at it.  That’s why I knew that he meant it when I felt his grip tighten and I saw the look in his eyes.  There was no deception involved here at all.  He flat out meant what he said and I didn’t want to mess with him.  Jon was one of those shorter guys I think I mentioned, whose wrong side was to be avoided.  In no way was Jon a violent person, but he sometimes had a low tolerance for what he perceived as gratuitous dramatics and I could see that, at least from his perspective, I was pushing that envelope just a bit much.

I backed off.  I don’t know whether he really meant to or knew to do it but he’d succeeded in transferring my fear of the ghost to fear of him….something I could deal with even though I knew I had nothing to fear from Jon.  Our eyes remained locked for a few more moments as he ran his hand reassuringly over my pecs, which amazed me a little what with Ron standing right there.  Given our little chat at breakfast, I wouldn’t have thought Jon would be so overt.  Maybe he didn’t think it was that big of a deal, maybe he thought that calming me down was more important than his secrecy; I don’t know.  Right then, I was still calming down, drawing relief from those blue eyes staring unflinchingly into mine.

“We cool?” he asked.

“We cool,” I nodded.  “But….”

“AH!” Jon said sharply, sticking his index finger in my face and bristling just enough to reinforce the peace.  I stopped in mid-sentence, backing slightly away.  There was no doubt in any of our minds as to who was the captain on this particular bridge at the moment.  “Ron, you cool?” Jon asked, turning to check on our guest, who was still standing in a corner by the door, unsure of what to do.

“Yeah, man; I’m good,” he said.  “It’s just….you know,” he continued, not knowing quite what to say about the whole situation.  Ron didn’t know what to do with his hands, either, which waved about aimlessly as he spoke, finally wrapping himself in a hug.  I think that he was really into seeing a supposedly haunted house, but wasn’t at all sure he wanted to see it in operation.

“Cool,” Jon said calmly as he poked his thumb towards the door.  “Now, I’m gonna open this door and we’re all gonna see there’s nothing here….’kay?” he said.

“Be my guest,” I said, gesturing to the door with my outstretched palm.  Ron only nodded and muttered a quick ‘yeah’ at Jon. 

Jon switched his light back on and shined it on the knob.  Ron did the same and crept up behind Jon, stretching a little to peer cautiously over his shoulder.

“Dudes,” Jon began, “you’re sucking up my air,” he said, looking over his shoulder at the two of us, having crowded well into his personal space.  We backed away, realizing that we were acting like a couple of frightened schoolgirls and were not too proud of it.  There was also the fact that neither Ron nor I wanted particularly to mess with Jon just then. 

In old movies where there were scenes like the one we were living now, the person opening the door would always do so with the greatest of caution.  Agonizing inch by agonizing inch, hinges squealing, the whole nine yards.  Jon was having none of that and just pushed the door open so hard that it bounced of the side wall and back at his hand, which steadied it as he turned his flashlight into the dark space.  Ron’s beam followed closely behind as Jon forthrightly walked into the room like he was just going to brush his teeth.  He shined his light around, looking in this corner, then that one. Ron followed him in.  I just kind of drew myself up close to the door frame.

“Wow,” Ron said.  “This has got to be the nicest bathroom I’ve ever seen!”  All of his fears were extinguished by the unexpected opulence of our bathroom.  “Is your uncle like a mob boss or something?”

“No, he’s an art dealer…at least as far as anyone knows,” Jon said, winking.  Ron just raised an eyebrow as he continued studying the details of the space, running his hand along the marble walls.  My eyes followed Jon around as he did his inspection.  He shrugged.  “See?” he said.  “Nothing.”

“Fine,” was all I could think to say, rolling my eyes with slight embarrassment.

“C’mon,” Jon said.  “Let’s go see if the phone’s still work so we can order some food.  I’m dyin’ here.”  He picked up my towel from the stool and handed it to me.  “Dude, I know it’s kinda dark, but you might want to get some clothes on,” he said, smiling as he looked me up and down.  “….you’re giving Ron a hardon,” he laughed as he turned to Ron, who also laughed….nervously.

“He is not,” Ron said slowly, enunciating every word clearly, still laughing a bit nervously.


We scrounged around the house and found a cache of candles in the Dining Room sideboard and some others in a corner of the Butler’s Pantry.  Before long we had the kitchen lit up like a church on Christmas Eve.  It was really kind of cool.  It gave the place a wonderful glow.  Jon looked especially hot in the candlelight. The glow of the candles worked really well with his coloring, especially his hair.  It almost looked like it shimmered, but I’m sure that had more to do with wistfulness on my part than the light.

“Great,” Jon said, dropping the receiver back into its base.  “Phone’s dead.”

“Most cordless won’t work when the power goes out,” Ron observed.

“Where’s yer cell phone,” I asked.  “Mine’s upstairs, I think.”

“Yeah, where’d I put that thing….” Jon said, looking quickly around.

I fished out the small phonebook while Jon searched for his cell phone.  He was always losing that thing.  “Who delivers around here?” I asked.

“Dynasty House’s the only one,” Ron said.  “Their food’s pretty good….hope they’ve got power, though.”

“Dynasty….Dynasty…..Dynasty,” I muttered, flipping through to the end of the D’s, running my finger down the page.  “Ah! Here….you ready?”

“I still can’t find…”

“Wait,” Ron said.  “Is that it over there,” he continued, pointing towards the entertainment system.

Jon and I turned to look where Ron pointed and there on the top of the TV was Jon’s cell phone, already opened and powered up, neatly centered and facing forward.  We just stared at it for a moment.

“I’ve said it before,” I began, “…I’ll say it again: This house ain’t right.”

“Oh….just chill.”  Jon was trying not to let on that he was more than a little surprised, studying it with eyebrows raised.  He tried to toss it off with a joke, shrugging.  “Hey, the ghost’s just trying to be helpful, I guess,” he said as he went over to retrieve it.  He looked at it for a moment, turning it over in his hand.  I don’t know what he was expecting to see; I don’t think he knew, either.  Maybe the ghost’s face on the display….not exactly the kind of thing you could download from Motorola, but no, no face, just his welcome screen and four bars.  “What was that number?” he asked, looking up after a long, thoughtful pause.

We ordered the food and waited.

“Who needs a beer?” Host-Jon asked.  I was glad to see him back.

“Beer, hell!” I said.  “All things considered, I think I need somethin’ with a little more hair on it…..”

“Ditto,” Ron agreed.

“…What’s your uncle got in the way of scotch?” I asked.  Ron nodded in whole-hearted agreement.

“Yeah, you’re right,” Jon agreed with only slight hesitation.  “Lemme see.”

Jon took his flashlight and went to search around in the Butler’s Pantry, door by door, while Ron and I watched expectantly.  Nothing….nothing…nothing…. “Du-ude,” Jon called out happily, “Now we’re cookin’ on the front burner!  I completely forgot about this stuff.”

Jon returned to the island where we sat and held out a new bottle of wonderfully golden brown liquid for us to inspect.  The soft glow of the candles was magnified to an amber radiance as he passed me the bottle, revealing the crystal clarity of its contents.

“Talisker,” I read the name off the label.  I didn’t know much about scotches, let alone single malts, except that they tasted wonderful.  The few single malts I’d run into in the past had names that I found difficult to pronounce.  I remember thinking that it wouldn’t kill the distilleries to use an extra vowel or two in their names just to have a little mercy on us non-Scots.

“Talisker?  Oooooooooo,” Ron said with a modicum of respect as Jon smiled.  “Your uncle’s got excellent taste!”

“Good?” I asked, looking naively at Ron.

“No….great!” Ron replied.  “At the bar, they charge fourteen dollars a glass for this stuff!”

“Fourteen Dollars?!”  Jon and I exclaimed together.

“Yeah,” Ron nodded.  “They don’t get many takers, either….”

“No mystery there!” Jon scoffed.

“….I think they’ve had the same bottle up there for almost a year now.  People around here don’t know what it is and they’re not gonna spend that kind of money on two fingers worth of scotch.”

“Well,” Jon started fishing out some glasses and a bucket of ice, “I say we see if we can burn up a couple o’hundred bucks worth….all in favor signify by saying ‘aye’.”

“Aye,” Ron and I chimed together, raising our hands.

“Opposed?” Jon asked.  No response.  “The ayes are above the no’s,” he quipped.  “Let’s drink!”

Jon poured us each two fingers worth of the amber fire.  The stillness of the house around us accentuated the sound of the ice cracking in the glass as it was deluged by the warm liquid.

“To power outages,” Jon said, raising his glass.

“To power outages….Hear, hear…” Ron and I returned, the three of us clinking our glasses together.

Ron and I took a sip of the Talisker.  The only words I can describe it with were ‘absolutely’, quickly followed by ‘excellent’.  It had a wonderful, earthy flavor that suited me right down to the ground and had a wonderful warming effect as it went down my throat.  A chill went up my spine and my head shook quickly, involuntarily at its passage.

I don’t think Jon had had much experience with scotch, either that or he just tried swallowing too much…probably both…but he coughed and sputtered like he was going into convulsions.  I ran around behind him.

“Arms up, arms up!” I ordered him, grabbing his arms and raising them as high over his head as they could go.  After a second or two, his coughing subsided and I let go of him.

“Whew,” Jon sighed, rubbing his eyes.  “Smooth stuff, huh?” he said, trying to chuckle.  “Thanks, dude.”

“Cool move, Brad,” Ron said.  “Where’d you pick that up?”

“It’s a little trick my doctor showed me when I was a kid.  I have no idea why it stops the coughin’; it just does,” I said, clapping Jon on the back a couple of times, making sure it had stopped, then rubbing his back tenderly, “Are we all better now?”

“Yeah, I think I’ll live.”

“Sip it, guy,” I advised.  “This stuff ain’t fer chuggin’.”

“Thanks, Dad,” Jon said, half smirking, half smiling.  “Let’s try that again,” he said, reaching for his glass.  This time he met with greater success, sucking air through his puckered lips as he took the glass away from his mouth.  “Wow,” he said, almost reverently.  “That’s awesome.”

“Now you see why they charge so much for it?”

“Yeah,” Jon said.  “I still wouldn’t pay it, though.”

“That’s my Jon,” I said to Ron, pointing to Jon with my thumb.  “He’s got bills in his wallet so old that Lincoln looks like a teenager!”

“Pffffffft!” Jon razzed.  “Ron, don’t pay any attention to him,” Jon said, waving at me in a mocking, dismissive manner as he took another, longer sip of his drink. 

Ron quietly laughed along, though still having the feel of someone who felt out of his element.  The scotch was helping ease him out of that mood though and he started to open up a little more.  I took the liberty of topping off our glasses with a splash while Jon doled out a little more ice.

“Ron, tell me something,” I started as Ron turned attentively.  “When you first got here today, you said you guys used to call this place the ‘Haunted Mansion’.  Anything interesting you wanna share?”

“Ooo, yeah,” Jon said, resting his elbows onto the countertop as if settling in for a good story.  “This I gotta hear.”

“Well, I don’t know that there’s a lot I can tell you, really,” Ron said, taking another pull at his glass.  Jon and I just stared and smiled, expectantly, hoping our silence would prompt him to continue.  “Well…,” he drawled again,  “You know how in every small town like this, there seems to be a big old house that people don’t like to go near?”

“Yeah,” we intoned.

“Usually it’s either the local funeral parlor or the local haunted house.  Well, we’ve got enough funeral parlors, so this one got elected to be the haunted house,” he continued, smiling at his own wit.

“Annnnnd?” Jon questioned.

“I’m only half kidding about that ‘cuz people really did wonder about this house…,” he continued as I threw a splash more in his glass.  “…It was vacant for years before your uncle took it over.  No one around town that I know of can remember the last time anyone lived here.  It was just always vacant.  So, I mean, like, you gotta wonder about a house that no one wants to live in, right?”

“Mmmmhmm,” we mumbled, nodding.  Jon, still listening intently to Ron’s story, absentmindedly pulled out a bag of breadsticks for us to crunch on.  Geez, I wondered, biting into one, how long was that food going to take.  The story was interrupted briefly as my stomach growled.   They glanced at me and grinned at my noisy interruption. “Sorry,” I said, “Go on.”

“Anyway, when we were kids, we’d come up here now and then just to throw rocks at the windows, daring each other to go in….none of us ever did, though; even in broad daylight.”

“Well, that explains the windows,” I muttered.

“What?” Jon asked.

“Nothin’, I’ll tell you after Ron’s done….Sorry,” I said.

“But I remember my mother telling me…..and this one of those things that’s, like, a friend of a friend who knew somebody’s boyfriend whose girlfriend heard from her uncle’s third cousin’s hairdresser….you know, one o’ those kinda stories?”

“Yeah? And?” I said, encouraging him to go on.

“Well, she said that when they were in high school this person and some other friends came up here one Friday night after a football game and parked in your front drive there, hanging on their cars, drinking beer, daring each other to go in, getting pretty loaded, you know?”

“Yeah? And?”  Jon said.

“Well, one of the players who was with ‘em was drunk enough that he wasn’t ‘afraid o’ no ghost’, you know, and was gonna go in the house.  And just as he put his foot on the first step up the porch, he supposedly heard one of the girls gasp and turned around to see what the deal was.  She had her hand up to her mouth and was pointing at one of those windows in the front,” Ron said, wagging his finger towards the Dining Room.  “And they all turned around and looked and they said there was this big ball of light about the size of a cantaloupe hovering in one of the windows….”

Jon’s mouth was agape, his eyes wide and glassy….wonderful stuff, that scotch….I listened in earnest, my left eyebrow cocked, waiting for that other shoe to drop.

“…and then they said it kinda moved slowly from window to window until, finally, it disappeared and they heard something heavy slam against the inside of the front door,” Ron paused to inhale some more scotch.

“Well, don’t leave us hanging!” Jon exclaimed.  “What’d they do?”

“They did what any group of half-drunk, red-blooded American teenagers would do….they ran like hell!” 

We couldn’t help but laugh, but my laughter didn’t last as long as Jon’s and Ron’s.  I knew there was too much truth behind that story, despite its dubious source.

“But like I said, who knows if it’s true?  Say, what’d you mean about the windows?” Ron asked.

I took another pull at my drink.  Jon hit it with another splash.  “You know, this stuff slides down way too easy after you get over the initial burn,” Jon observed.

“Yeah, so I’ve noticed,” I said.  “Don’t try settin’ any records wi’that stuff, hear?” I cautioned.

“So anyway,” Ron prompted.

“So anyway,” I continued.  “I can’t remember if I ever told you about these weird dreams I’ve been having…I told Jon, but I don’t think he totally believes me,” Ron shrugged and shook his head; Jon just listened.  I went on to tell Ron and recount for Jon the dreams I’d been having; about how the house in my dream, or vision, or whatever you call it, had different windows and how that explained why the windows today are different than the ones in the dreams…the originals had mostly been knocked out.  There were other details about the house that didn’t seem quite right but I couldn’t put my finger on any of it.  It was like there were pieces of the house that were missing today.  I didn’t mean just the Study thing, either; the layout was subtly different somehow.  I told them about that strange double dream…. leaving out certain aspects of it, if you catch my drift.  Jon was incredulous, amplified just a notch by the scotch.

“Wow,” Ron whispered.

“You didn’t tell me all that!” Jon said, setting his glass down with a thud.

“You’d’ve thought I was crazy,” I said  “Besides, I didn’t want to worry you….I mean, what if it is all just a dream?”

“Oh, God,” Jon started, with a touch more drama than usual, “….How many things are wrong with that statement?” 

I, and I think Ron, too, was starting to get a nice, warm little buzz off the scotch.  Jon was a little bit ahead of us and I noticed that Fearless Jon was starting to take center stage.  In retrospect, we really should’ve had something in our stomachs before starting in on the scotch.  Oh, well…you live, you learn.  I was going to have to keep an eye on Jon, though; he worried me sometimes when he drank.

“I would never think you’re crazy, Brad!” he stated forthrightly.  “…I lo….”

BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM….came the five, sharp raps that cut Jon off in mid-sentence….. probably just as well, too….. making us all jump out of our skins as they dashed the silence of the house like a brick through a plate glass window. 

“Christ, what was that?!” Ron asked, visibly shaken.

“Easy, boys…” I said, looking at the wide eyes around me.  “’s’probably just the food.”

“God, I nearly forgot about that!” Jon said as he and Ron kind of sheepishly let out a sigh of relief.


“Yeah, liquor’ll do that to ya….slow down already, ‘kay?” I said, staring into his glassy eyes and running my hand over the back of his head, through his fine, soft hair.  And no, I didn’t care what Ron was thinking at that point.  We were all at about the same level of toastiness then, and Ron wasn’t running away, so what the hell.  “Lemme get the stuff,” I said, grabbing my wallet off the counter, heading to the front door.

“You’d be amazed at how much the ghost looks like a Chinese delivery guy,” I laughed as I set two bags of food on the kitchen table. 

It’s a dangerous thing to order food when you’re hungry; you always end up overdoing it.  We were probably going to have enough leftovers for two days.  “…’s’EAT!” I called out as I started pulling stuff out of the bags.  Jon got out some plates and utensils and handed them out as we all sat down.

If a pack of ravening Timber Wolves had tried to jump us right then, they would’ve had the fight of their lives.  The table was a flurry of hands.  “Where’s the….Anybody seen the….Hand me some o’ that……” Our dinner conversation was born of expediency, not eloquence.  And forget the chopsticks…they were WAY too slow.  Personally, I didn’t realize just how hungry I was as I wrapped up and tore into my Mu Shu Pork and a side of shrimp toast…my favorite….gotta have shrimp toast.  I’m not sure any of us had eaten anything since breakfast and the subs that Jon had gotten for lunch were still sitting in the fridge, having been forgotten because of my back problem.  I looked around the table.  Jon and Ron seemed equally starved and were shoveling down their food as fast as they could.  Good.  Jon needed something in his stomach.  It didn’t take us long to put a sizeable dent into dinner, but there was still a sizeable amount left over, too.

“Oh, man,” Ron began, “That was some kinda good!” he said leaning back in his chair and stretching.

“Yeah, that really hit the spot,” Jon agreed.  “I’d forgotten when I ate last.  Dude, hand me those pot sticker things,” he asked, waving his finger towards the small box next to me.

“What’ll ya gimme?” I asked, playfully crouching and guarding the box with my folded arms.

“A poke in the eye…..gimme!” he smirked, waving his grasping hand more emphatically.  I handed him the box, grinning wryly, pleased that I’d pestered him just a little.

“Geez, Jon, where do you put it all?” Ron asked, more than a little amazed at Jon’s prodigious eating abilities.

“I dunno,” Jon shrugged.  “High metabolism, I guess.”

“I saw Jon eat a rockin’ chair one time,” I said, summoning the best impersonation I could of Quint from Jaws.

“Damn, I love these things,” Jon muttered in between bites.  “They’re slimy as hell but they are so good!”

I felt a whole lot better now.  The scotch had numbed me nicely and the food’d filled my void.  I took things easy for a moment, letting dinner settle as I reclined back in my chair, silently admiring my two companions through my lingering numbness as if they were museum pieces made golden by the soft glow from the flock of candles we’d assembled.  Of course, the picture of Jon shoveling down pot stickers was not exactly National Gallery material, but it had its charm.  Finally Jon announced that he was through with his feeding frenzy by setting down his utensils, putting his clenched hand to his mouth….as every good boy should….just in time to muffle a belch that could have caused time distortions in our little corner of the continuum.

“Oh, God…Excuse ME!” he said, apologizing for his momentary lapse of manners.

“No problem,” Ron said.  “You might want to check to see if any of your fillings came loose on that one, though,” he laughed.

“Yeah,” I agreed.  “That was a pretty healthy one.  I half expected to see your breakfast shoot across the room.”

“Hey, I covered my mouth,” Jon responded, grinning that pleased-with-himself sort of grin.

“True…your mom’d be so proud,” I added nonchalantly.  “What’s Uncle Jon got tucked away for after dinner drinks?” I asked.

“Oooo, excellent idea,” Ron said.

“Oh, he’s got plenty of that!” Jon announced.  “Want some Sambuca?  That’s my favorite.”

“Sure,” Ron said.

“Bring the bottle, too,” I suggested.

Host Jon brought three small tumblers back from the Pantry along with the blue and silver bottle of Sambuca.  After pouring out a small amount in each glass, he raised his… “Good friends,” he intoned solemnly. 

“Good friends,” we intoned back.  We sipped at ours, but I was a little taken aback as Jon drained his in one gulp and went back for a refill.

“Jon!” I said, looking at him in disbelief.  “Yer supposed to sip that stuff.”

“Just wanted to get the buzz back, man,” he said, smiling that trademark smile of his.  “Don’t worry about it.”

“ ‘Kay,” I said, shrugging and smirking a little but trying not to be sanctimonious about it.  Ron, however, was looking at Jon’s drinking with sort of a worried, apprehensive look on his face.  He didn’t say anything but his face spoke volumes. 

>From listening to people talk about stuff like this over the years, and to say nothing of my frat house observations, I was pretty certain that I was going to have a hung boyfriend the next morning…and I’m NOT talking about his physical attributes.  I’d seen Jon overdo it a little at parties, but who didn’t?  We all did it.  It’s one of those stupid, bullshit, male rite-of-passage-ritual kind of things that we all go through at one point or another.  But this felt different, somehow. My little helper voice was trying to tell me through the haze of my own buzz that this bore watching. 

“Hey, Ron….” he chirped as he sat down, snuggling up with his glass as Ron turned his attention to Jon.  “….I don’t suppose I could con you out of one of those backrubs while we’re sitting here doing nothing, could I?”

Oh, there it was…one of my favorite little bits of acting in the world…That doe-eyed look that he’d perfected, made strangely appealing and glassy from drink; that odd but sexy little tilt of the head that he somehow knew just how to do, accompanied by that smile.  Oh, my boyfriend could charm the birds out of the trees if he wanted to.  It was working to perfection on Ron, who seemed almost as mesmerized as a cobra’s prey.

“How could I refuse….,” he said, smiling his own huge Sambuca grin.  “….but there’s something I wanted to get off my chest first and this seems like a good point.”

“Shoot,” Jon said.

“Go ahead,” I agreed, motioning with my glass for Ron to proceed.


To Be Continued

I hope you enjoyed this installment.  Thanks again to those who've followed along with the story this far.

Let me know what you think of this format.

Michael Garrison