I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you who wrote regarding the new format and the story in general. Your comments were most helpful and I am making this the standard format for the remainder of the story. As always, I welcome comments on the story and will try to reply in turn as time permits.
And now.....Our Feature Presentation:
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“Jon!” I said, poking at his shoulder. “Jon, get up!”
I know he meant to sound coherent and articulate, that he was trying to say something like, “Yes, Brad? What is the problem?”, but what came out of his mouth as he rubbed his eyes sounded more like a jumbled cross between Russian, Japanese and Martian. Until then, I didn’t think that the human voice box could make such sounds, but I guess I was wrong.
“Mphhstfftbrswrong?” he mumbled.
“Jon, wake up,” I said more emphatically, shaking his shoulder. “You’ve gotta see this!”
“Whuut….What!” he yelled, more lucid now as he threw back the sheet, swinging his legs to the floor and running a hand through the cache of matted gold atop his head. He squinted at me as he tasted the residue of the night before, still lingering in his arid mouth despite breakfast, “What, Brad?!, he growled as I tossed him his briefs and robe.
“Get dressed and c’mon,” I said.
“All right, all right, give a guy a chance, will ya?!” I watched impatiently as Jon waddled into the bathroom and took care of his need and then downed two glasses of water from the sink. He squinted against the glare of the vanity lights as he started to check himself out in the mirror. I could stand no more and moved to grab his arm and put a guiding arm on his hip.
“You can look at yourself later. C’mon!,” I said, my patience all but gone.
“What has got you so fired up? What time is it?” He asked, a slight scowl on his face from his rude awakening and being shuffled off like a head of cattle.
“You are not gonna believe this,” I said, continuing to usher him along. I didn’t say anything else until I had him situated in front of the TV. “Okay, you remember the other night how we never finished watching our DVD ‘cuz we….”
“Yes, Brad, it does ring a slight bell,” Jon interjected dryly, still ticked off at having been awakened so abruptly. “So what’s all this about?”
“Well, see for yourself,” I said, soberly, as I hit the Play button on the remote.
Our movie sprang to life in all its 42-inch, high definition clarity. There were Jon and I, engrossed in each other, finding our rhythm together, clutching.
“Hey, Brad,” Jon began, incredulously. “Isn’t this, like, just a little too High-School for you? Showing me our own porn? I mean, I don’t think you need this to get me hor…..,”
“Just watch,” I interrupted, directing him to look back at the screen.
I said nothing and watched as Jon’s expression went completely blank, his eyes slowly widening as his jaw slowly succumbed to gravity. He never took his eyes off the screen, never once blinked as he fell back into the cushions of the sofa, drawing his robe closed just a little tighter. He watched in very apparent amazement as the transparent sphere hovered between us as our muscles tensed in climax and then floated to the far wall where it dissolved through.
“What the hell was that?” he asked slowly, quietly, his expression a study in astonishment.
“Wait,” I said, pointing back to the screen. “You haven’t seen everything.”
“There can’t be more,” he said flatly. I didn’t answer, I just pointed at the screen again. Jon studied it for a minute and held up his palms questioningly. “What? What am I looking for? Is this one of those ‘Where’s Elmo’ thin…...?”
Right then I knew he’d finally spotted it; that ever so faint portrait that was the face in the mirror that stared down at us as we were entwined before finally fading away.
“Oh, my God!” he intoned quietly, drawing out each syllable before looking back at me.
“See?” I said, nodding, feeling a slight sense of vindication now that Jon had experienced it too. “Now you’ve got some idea of what I’ve been going through lately.”
“Brad, what the hell WAS that?” he asked again. “What did we just see?”
“I don’t have the faintest idea,” I said. “……but when Ron gets back, I think we need to have a talk with him about maybe getting his friend over here earlier than Saturday. This is just getting way too freaky.”
“Got that right,” Jon huffed, in total agreement. “Tonight, if she can!”
The first thing Jon did after he’d had a chance to think was to go straight upstairs and relegate that mirror, along with two other small, decorative ones in the room, to the storage closet at the end of the hall. If he could’ve gotten the bathroom mirror off the wall, he probably would’ve done the same thing with it, too. He didn’t care that he was being obvious about it; he was big time rattled.
This was probably Jon’s first personal experience with a ghost. Of course, I say that as if I had years of experience with them…..what a laugh that is! I mean, despite what I’d told him about my own experiences and despite what he’d seen of my reactions to them, I just don’t think it’d really registered with him until he’d seen those things on the screen first hand. It was like, ‘Well, Brad says he saw it but I didn’t really see it so I’ll just go along with him for now to keep the peace.’ Even after the thing the other night with the relocating bottle and the cell phone last night, I just don’t think it really hit home with him until he saw it on our DVD. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because he didn’t actually see the bottle and the phone move. Maybe the scientist in him said, ‘Well, I didn’t actually see it move by itself, so it didn’t move by itself.’ Yeah, right. He probably thought I was playing games with him all along. Not anymore, though. Now he was a believer. I could see from his reaction that, to his way of thinking, we weren’t living in our own little Casa del Shepard anymore; we were living on the set from ‘Poltergeist’.
He showered and dressed. I popped in a movie…..an action flick, by the way, with plenty of gratuitous violence….. to get some normal sounds going, and turned up the lights in the room. For his part, Jon was kind of, I dunno, just flitting around the house, trying to find ways to keep himself busy so his mind wouldn’t focus on what he’d seen with his own eyes. I felt bad for him. If anyone should be coming apart at the seams, it was me; after all, Jon had only seen the video of a small portion of what I’d seen up close and personal on more than one occasion. He tried his hand at a little dusting and that held absolutely no interest. Then he went around to make sure all the pictures in the house were straight. Then he made sure all the chairs in the Dining Room were straight…..twice, because he didn’t like them sticking out so far as he’d left them the first time. He started looking around as he rubbed his hands together. My little helper voice intimated that he had his eye on going around to make sure all of the pillows in the house were properly fluffed. “Okay, enough’s enough,” I thought to myself. I could stand no more of this.
I went up behind him as he stood in the Dining Room, trying to think of something to do, and slipped my arms gently around his waist. Contact with him then heightened my perception of what was going through his mind and body. It was odd, but I swear I could see kind of a glow around him that I’d never noticed before. If this was what an aura actually looked like, then he was a dynamo of nervous, shuddering energy, worse than when he was about to come out to me that night. I’d always been able to feel people’s moods and energy, but I’d never seen a manifestation of it before. Maybe I hadn’t needed to until then.
“Jon?” I whispered in his ear as I gently kissed his neck. He was shaking like he was freezing. After a moment, his fidgeting slowed and I felt his hands come to rest on mine. “You’ve got to stop this, baby. Right now,” I asserted quietly, but firmly, taking my cue from how he’d dealt with me on occasion. “You’re gonna come unglued.” I felt him pull my arms more tightly around him as he’d done with his robe. I was happy to oblige.
He stayed still. “Brad? I have never seen anything like that before in my life,” he said quietly.
I knew and he knew that he had, in fact, seen plenty of things like that in his life, but with two distinct differences. First, this time it was real, not some movie you could walk safely away from when the credits started to roll. And second, this time it was him experiencing it, not some actor on the screen, or, for that matter, me.
“It was right in there with us, Brad!” he said, his voice rising. I felt him fighting to hold back his emotions. I couldn’t tell whether it was from fright or from fear that I’d think he was a wuss, but he was fighting them back. “I mean, doesn’t that, like, gross you out?”
Now it was my turn to be the comforting psychiatrist. “Jon, what did you tell me the other time when I was flakin’ out?” I felt him shrug his shoulders and he shook his head a little. His agitated state of mind was doing a very nice job of clouding his memory.
“You told me that our reactions to stuff like that’d probably hurt us more than the thing itself; remember?” I said quietly, rubbing his chest reassuringly, trying to get some warmth back in him.
“Yeah,” he said.
“And then the shark thing we talked about,” I continued. “’bout how if you’re just cool about it, they won’t bother you; remember?” I reminded him, hoping that my small train of logic would find its way to his station. He nodded. I knew I was being patronizing but it was the only way I could think of to get through to him right then.
“You think I’m being a pussy about this, don’t you?” he asked.
I turned him around, and slowly rubbed his back as I held him and stared, unblinking, straight into his eyes.
“Baby, I think you had a shock,” I said. “I think no matter how much a person watches movies ‘bout stuff like this or reads about it or whatever, seein’ it in the flesh is a whole ‘nother thing,” I continued, trying to pump up my southern accent a little; I knew Jon liked that and I needed some way to maybe get him to crack a smile. “And no, I don’t think you’re bein’ a pussy, Jon; I think you’re just bein’ a human bein’, that’s all.” He snickered, not much, but at least a little, at my unintentional wordplay.
I nuzzled his cheek and his mouth soon rose to meet mine. He needed a shave but his light stubble felt very sexy to me somehow as did his personal, ripening, scent. I felt him grip me more tightly as we kissed and I pulled him in tightly as well. With Ron having been around yesterday, it had been almost a full day since Jon and I had shared each other. His being drunk and passing out last night didn’t help at all, either. He wanted to make up for it, though, and pressed himself to me so hard I though I was going to pass out. He situated himself next to me and it was more than apparent that the recent shock to his system had in no way affected his blood flow. It certainly hadn’t affected mine, I’ll tell you that. Jon slowly began rubbing back and forth across me, just a little, but it was enough to send waves of that familiar, wonderfully warm tension coursing through every vein and artery in my body. He knew it drove me crazy when he did it but I definitely was not going to discourage him. I felt my own lubricant begin to creep out; it wouldn’t be long now but I wasn’t ready. I decided I had to break this spell he had me under and lifted my mouth slightly away. Jon opened his eyes, wondering why I’d stopped.
“Ron was right….. you do taste pretty good,” I finally whispered, smiling as I began to caress his neck. “C’mon, baby; show Brad your pretty smile,” I cooed soothingly at him, in much the way that one would coo to a child or a puppy. “C’mon,” I beckoned, putting a finger beneath his chin. It didn’t take much for the sunshine to finally break through the clouds.
“Stop it,” he blushed.
“There, now isn’t that better?” I asked, drinking him in. It was good to see. “I swear, you blush more than any guy I know,” I said smugly.
“Gotta problem with that?” he asked knowing I was just messing with him.
“None,” I said. “What I do have a problem with, though, is that trash can sitting empty upstairs, you know?”
“The what?…..OH!” he said, beaming that grin. “Do we have time before Ron gets back?” he asked expectantly.
“Oh, believe me…..we make time for this,” I confirmed, returning his grin.
“Ooooooh, God!,” I panted breathlessly, spent for now, as I melted on top of Jon’s back. I felt my heart slowing. I could feel, almost hear, Jon’s heart still pounding, his breathing still rapid and shallow but slowing. For what felt like a blissful eternity, neither of us moved, neither of us wanted to move. Jon turned his face away from the pillow, getting easier access to the air. With his eyes closed he looked so serene, so different than the frightened child I’d held close to me 20 minutes ago. I wormed a hand slowly downwards until I felt his moist warmth there between his abs and the sheets and I smiled, knowing that I’d made him happy.
Gently, I rolled us onto our sides so that we could be more comfortable. I felt Jon buck when the butt of my palm crossed over one of his erect nipples as I slowly caressed his chest. I loved the feel of his body and massaged him lightly in slow circles, moving down over his abs until I found him, semi-erect but with enough of his warmth still creeping out to make an effective lubricant as I gripped him. So soon after ejaculating, Jon was hypersensitive and yelped, his head almost hitting me as he reared back, as I ran my hand down his length, pulling his skin even tighter. It was like every nerve ending in his body was concentrating in that one area and he cried out as I gave him another slow stroke, swirling across his head.
“Stop it, you’re killing me!” he whispered harshly, gritting his teeth.
“Okay,” I whispered back, letting my hand drop to massage his root only to feel his own hand pulling me back.
“I didn’t really mean stop,” he whispered again quickly as I took ahold of him again.
Jon barked with each cycle of my hand. Each time his entire body jumped from the agonizing ecstasy as if a sudden electric shock had hit him when I pulled across his head. Soon I felt him starting to become engorged again, as was I. I paused for a moment to give him a chance to breathe. I kissed his shoulder and massaged his abs again. I felt his hand drop onto mine, following along with each circle.
“C’mere,” I whispered, turning him flat on his back, then settling back on top of him, crushing my mouth onto his.
Our tongues vigorously dueled with the passion like love long denied and I loved listening to the oddly sexy hollow sound as we breathed through our noses, never breaking contact. I wrapped my legs around the inside of his and instantly felt his pull against mine, pulling us together, our arms hugging each other with crushing strength as we tried to melt into one person almost as a diamond was formed from the crushing pressure exerted on it. Jon’s hands forcefully massaged my back, finally finding my gluts, which he kneaded and caressed so slowly, so sensuously that I thought I might have my second orgasm right then.
This was my soulmate.
Don’t ask me how I knew; I just knew it. I was never so certain of anything in my life. I know I’m young. I know I’m immature…..some might say highly immature. I know that some would call it infatuation, in love with being in love, not love itself. But, deep within me, at a level that cannot be easily described to anyone who hasn’t felt it, I knew it was not infatuation. I just knew.
I lifted away from Jon and cradled him in my arms. We just stared at each other for a few moments with expressions of the purest satisfaction, the purest happiness as he played with my hair, pulling a few strands down over my eyes as I had a habit of doing with him. He smiled at his little game, satisfied, I could sense, that I looked sexier now. I couldn’t help but smile back. I wanted to go diving in those eyes and not worry about coming up for air, so long as he was there.
“Jonathan James Wellford Shepard…..,” I began.
“The fourth,” he interjected, chuckling at his own mock pretentiousness.
“Yes, the fourth,” I agreed wryly. “Jonathan James Wellford Shepard…..the fourth,” I continued, without interruption this time, thankfully. “Have I told you how much I love you?”
“Yes…..but it’s nice to hear. I love you too, Brad. You have no idea how much,” he said quietly, reaching his hand behind my head and pulling our mouths back together.
He didn’t say it with his mouth but I heard it anyway. His voice, faintly but clearly whispering that familiar plea into my mental ear, “Don’t ever leave me.” Unspoken, yet spoken. I don’t know how I could hear this but I didn’t care and I tried thinking to him with my own thoughts, “I’ll never leave you, baby; not as long as you’ll have me.”
And I felt him smile. Until that moment, I never would’ve thought that anyone could feel a smile, but that’s what I was feeling coming from Jon as he lay there, both of us almost surgically joined at the mouth, our teeth almost grinding against one another’s. It was like a warming, golden dawn over a calm, blue sea. I know that makes absolutely no sense, but that’s how it felt…..and it felt absolutely wonderful. Something deep in me knew that, somehow, he’d heard what I said.
He pulled away from me for just a second and grinned. “Always,” he said.
“What?” I asked, not sure I’d heard quite what he’d said.
“You ready again?” he asked, doing his Cheshire cat impersonation as he massaged my ass. I smiled and nodded quickly. “Then do me,” he said, burrowing into the sheets and drawing his heels up to his thighs.
Who was I to deny him anything?
“Dude, we definitely have to do some laundry,” he said, continuing to shave while I dried off. “We’re almost outta towels.”
“Yeah, and the sheets are gonna start formin’ a crust before long, too,” I agreed.
“What time is it, anyway? My watch is dead.”
“It’s a little after four,” I said, glancing into the bedroom at the clock.
“Perfect. Ron should be getting here soon. You get the tanks refilled?”
“Yeah, I picked up a spare rig, too, so we can all dive together,” I said. “Oh, by the way,” I continued, “I saw a wetsuit lyin’ in the back seat when I went to Dave’s. You broke down and decided to get one, after all, huh? It looked like a nice one.”
“Well, that was the whole point of me going over there,” he said. “It’s pretty hot lookin’, too. I think you’ll approve,” he winked as he wiped away the last of the shaving cream.
“Excellent. I’m gonna want a private showing later, you know,” I said as I ran my hands down his sides. “Then I’ll wanna peel you out of it,” I winked in return.
“I can arrange that,” he said matter-of-factly before breaking into an immense grin. “Don’t forget, though,” he started, “First thing when Ron gets here, we want to see if his friend can come over. That…..thing still creeps me out, you know?” he said, cocking his thumb towards the bedroom.
“How could I forget,” I deadpanned.
We decided that since Ron knew about us now, we could open up around him a little and decided on tee shirts and our matching Speedos that Jon had gotten for us. I was just tying my Nike’s when the doorbell rang. I thought it seemed a bit early for Ron to get here. The way he ran out that morning, I figured he’d have to stop home to get some clothes together since he didn’t seem like he’d have time do it after he left.
“I’ll get it,” Jon said, he was halfway out the door, anyway.
I finished tying my sneakers and trotted down the steps as Jon opened the door. I slowed to a stop at the bottom step when I saw, as Jon did, that there was nothing there except a warm afternoon breeze. We’d both clearly heard the doorbell ring so I knew I wasn’t imagining things. Jon turned around and looked at me with a now-what sort of look on his face. I slowly walked up next to him, studying the doorway as if it were an ancient artifact. I half expected Ron or someone to jump out and yell ‘Boo’, but it wasn’t happening.
“Backdoor, maybe?” I asked quietly.
“No bell there,” Jon replied, shaking his head.
“Hm,” I said, my face twisting into a scowl of curiosity. “Well, let’s go have a look,” I said, edging tentatively forward.
“Dude, YOU go have a look!” Jon whispered excitedly. “I’ve looked at enough for one day.” I gave Jon a slight disapproving frown for not watching my back, but I backed off. I knew he was still a little rattled about the whole thing since he’d seen proof of it.
Jon backed off a little to let me have more room. I stood first at one side of the door then the other, trying to get the best angle I could to see if someone might be plastered against the adjacent wall, ready to jump out and surprise us. Nothing. I stepped through the door and out onto the porch, turning around in a slow full circle to inspect the immediate vicinity and listening attentively for any sign that someone was moving around. No one. It was warm out but I still felt an odd chill. Of course, Speedos and tee shirts aren’t exactly noted for their warmth, but still. Stepping forward cautiously as though afraid he might awaken someone, or something, Jon joined me outside, adding his eyes and ears to the search, but he didn’t see or hear anything, either. We were about to go back inside when something finally did hit our ears. We turned and looked to see Ron’s car coming up the drive, pulling to a stop at the foot of the steps.
“Hmm, I guess the ghost was just announcing Ron’s arrival…Like a trumpet fanfare’r somethin’, you know?” I said, trying to look at the lighter side of it for Jon’s sake. Jon was not amused. In fact, I wasn’t amused by my joke, either. Odd as it sounds, I was starting to get used to the odd goings-on, but they still gave me the creeps. Up to this point, Jon and I just sort of took turns bolstering each other. It was apparent, though, that he had much less tolerance for the unexplainable than I did and we were reaching a point where neither of us might be able to put up with it. I really didn’t want to think about what would happen then.
Ron got out, still in his waiter’s uniform. “Hey guys!” he chirped. “What’s goin’…..,” he paused when he saw our stoic expressions and was puzzled by our odd non-welcome, “What’s goin’ on? What’d I do?”
“You didn’t do anything, man,” I said, breaking out of my little trance. “I think our friend the ghost just paid us a little call is all.”
“Oh, yeah? What happened?” he said as he retrieved his bag from his trunk.
“C’mon inside,” I said. “We need a favor.”
“Sure, anything,” he said, slamming the trunk…twice, it wouldn’t catch the first time. “Damn cheap-ass thing,” Ron swore at the car.
“C’mon inside ‘n let’s talk for a minute,” I said.
“’K,” he said, clearly puzzled by our tense demeanor. “Great suits, by the way,” he said, pointing to our matching trunks. “You could almost be twins,” he laughed.
“Not funny,” Jon snapped.
His face took on a dark expression that was quite unlike him as he turned away from Ron to head inside. I was a little taken aback by his reaction to Ron’s harmless comment. It was clear to me, from the expression on his face, that Ron was too. This business with the ghost, specter, poltergeist, whatever you want to call it, must be weighing on Jon more than I thought. He paused for a moment, thinking the better of what he’d just done. “Dude, I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to snap at you like that. It’s nothing you’ve done and you didn’t deserve it. It’s…..,” he waved his hands futilely in the air. “Oh, never mind,” he finished as he turned again to go back inside.
“’t’s okay, man,” Ron said, giving Jon some extra room. He clearly had no idea what was going on and was probably wondering what he’d gotten himself into.
Despite his usually sunny disposition, I suspected that Jon had one foot in a world that was filled with all sorts of shadows that cloaked odd fears and apprehensions. He rarely let other people see this part of him. I was as close to him as anyone and I’d seldom even caught a glimpse of this melancholy world he sometimes presided over. He kept a lot inside, so it was always difficult to get a read on what was bugging him. There were days at the fraternity house when he’d just hole up in his room, lock the door and not come out for hours. It was like his little shell, his womb. We all kind of got to know that when he was in that sort of mood you just left him alone until he snapped out of it. Fortunately, it didn’t happen very often. Afterwards, after he’d crawl out of his shell, we’d grab a beer, get some pizza and talk. Well, I’d just listen mostly and let him do the talking. Nine times out of ten it’d be something like he was just worried about some bullshit thing with classes or exams or football or something like that that really wasn’t an issue but got blown up in Jon’s mind to grander proportions. It was that tenth time that concerned me and it felt like he was close to it as we walked inside and closed the door behind us.
Until the next time.