1 September 2004
The last time I sat here writing this, I was wondering what had become
of 2003, now I have to ask the same about 2004. Where has the
time gone?! Wherever it went, it went too quickly!
For those of you who've been following this story, I have to sincerely,
on bended knees, hat in hand, apologize for the inordinate amount of
time since my last posting. I had hoped to return to it
immediately after the first of the year. Life, however, had its
own ideas and decreed that I had to spend ever-increasing amounts of
time in the office tending to clients who, although I love them to
death, required a great deal of my attention on an expanding list of
projects. Not that I minded, given the nervous state of the
economy, but it just didn't stop. In February, we were saying
that if we can just get through March, we'll be all right. Then
March became April, then May, and so on, which left virtually no time
to do any writing that I was at all pleased with. Things became a
bit more manageable in early July but by then I was suffering from a
case of good old-fashioned burnout with a couple of tablespoons of
depression thrown in for good measure and I felt like doing absolutely
nothing, zip, zero, zilch for weeks. Any one of you who's been
through it knows exactly what I'm talking about and it's not
pretty. At the beginning of August, my brain definitely needed a
change. At about that same time, I received several emails from
readers who wondered if something had happened to me. It was from
this need for a mental shift and their prompting that I again took to
the keyboard and picked up the story. And I thank them for that.
The story picks up where it left off and is much further advanced,
which I hope will give me enough of a cushion, in the event of any
professional blips, until the story is complete.
Again, I sincerely apologize, begging your forgiveness and thanking
those of you who've been following the story for your infinite patience
during what has been a stressful period for me. I hope I haven't
gotten too rusty, and I look forward to
hearing from you with any comments that you might have.
And now, as Jackie Gleason (if anyone remembers him) used to say,
"Awaaaaaaaaay we go!".....
This story is a work of
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
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.
Lives – Two Loves
We were physically and emotionally spent for one day but
oddly, I was having a hard time getting to sleep. Lying with Jon in
the cool sheets, holding his sleeping form
to me, I listened to the sound of his deep, regular breathing and felt
warmth of his breath from his face nestled into my shoulder. He’d
drifted off with his legs entwined with
mine and I stroked his hair slowly, gently as he slept, not wanting to
fear I’d ruin this wonderful moment.
The idea had come to me on the spur of the moment but I
think that swim had done both of our minds and bodies a universe of
good. Half running and hopping out to the pool,
stripping our clothes as we went, I loved the sight of his moonlit body
headlong into the water with a yell, followed quickly by my own.
We splashed around and at each other.
We wrestled around, our personal
favorite. The feeling of the water
surging around me, the sight of the dappled moonlight playing over
muscles was almost more than I could stand and I engulfed him in my
pulling him close to me. We surfaced
only long enough to take in two lung-fulls of air and sank beneath the
again, our mouths meeting each other halfway. Jon
held onto me, his legs around my waist, as I maneuvered to
upright, our natural buoyancy wanting to make us surface.
I gasped and saw some of my air head for the surface as
gripped us, pulling us together hard, massaging us. I
heard Jon moan, too, and saw some of his
air escape to join mine. I felt my feet
touch the bottom, then slowly settling onto my knees with Jon still
around me. My lungs, our lungs, ached
but Jon’s insistent attentions felt so damned good that it was almost
overriding our need for air. His pace
quickened and I pulled closer, tightening my grip around his back and
neck. My entire body crackled with urgency,
tension made more intense by the odd euphoria from the need for air.
I felt Jon’s heels dig deeply into the back
of my thighs; I felt his whole body tense and I felt my own muscles
to lock around him. I felt his grip
tighten, his strokes becoming slow and firm, traversing our lengths
heads to our roots. I felt the eruption
beginning deep within me, a warmth spreading over me to combine with
tingling tension. We gasped again,
fighting back the water trying to enter our noses, the last of our air
for the surface, as our eruptions combined in multiple threads of
Empty of air, empty of essence, we kicked off the bottom for
the surface, gasping loudly and strongly as we broke through, sucking
desperately needed coolness of the night air.
We made it to the side and pulled ourselves up and out, our
heaving as we fell on our backs. The
concrete of the pool deck was uncomfortable and I asked Jon to follow
me to the
grass beyond where we fell to our knees and into each other’s arms,
other’s mouths. For the moment, there was no house; there was no
there was no Ron or Alicia. There was no
one but us, entwined in the soft grass as the moonlight bathed our
I don’t know how much time went by before Jon stood up,
taking my hand with him and told me to follow him with that impish
his. He pulled me upstairs and into our
bedroom, disappearing only long enough to get us towels to finish
the night air hadn’t. Tossing them
aside, he told me to lie down on the bed and then followed, head to
foot. I grinned broadly, knowing right
lover was going and adjusted myself so his feet wouldn’t hit the
Jon’s arms eased around my waist and I rolled back my hip to
open myself for him and he followed, taking my cue as, for the first
swallowed each other together.
I stopped for a second when I heard him gag, that odd
muffled sound coming from his nose, as he tried to take me all in too
quickly. Jon had done me before, but
hadn’t tried taking it all in. I
caressed his shoulder and whispered for him to relax, to just open his
and take his time. It wasn’t a
race. He nodded wordlessly and took me
into his soft mouth again as I did him.
I loved the feel of him on me. I
felt him edge his way down little by little, finally reaching my root
gagging and I patted and rubbed his arm, showing my appreciation and
congratulating him. His lips smacked as
he pulled off, then returning to me as I continued to slowly work his
length. I loved the feel of him at the
back of my throat and I loved the way he spasmed as I sucked at his
jumping myself as he returned the favor.
He moaned as I lightly massaged his perineum, and I thought what
pupil he was for following suit.
I moaned as he finally got the feel of it and found his
rhythm, his tongue swirling over me on each stroke.
I moaned again, deeply, almost letting Jon
fall from my mouth as I felt three of his fingers enter me, pushing
tightness of my opening and massaging me.
I almost couldn’t continue but somehow managed to focus through
indescribable sensations my lover was giving me. I
began to massage him as well, each of us
matching the other stroke for stroke in almost perfect synchronization.
Minute after luxuriously intense minute passed, our muffled,
nasal groans filling the room. I felt so
very close. Jon must’ve felt very close,
too. I saw him push his heels deeply
into the bedding, his groin harder into my face. Wrapping
my sweaty arms around his sweaty,
slippery waist, I took him, all the way down, and I felt him buck in my
he groaned again, sending torrents of himself down my throat.
I almost gagged as I too cried out and felt
Jon force himself down, swallowing me…and swallowing me.
Totally exhausted, we rested for a few minutes. We
said nothing, just fondled one
another. No talking was necessary; it
would have only ruined the perfect moment of being together, of sharing
other. Finally, slowly, we met back at
the headboard, pulling the covers up over us as we rested our glowing,
faces on the soft pillows. We embraced,
tightly, thanking each other softly before our moist lips found
again. Our hands and legs caressed every
inch of each other we could touch until, no longer able to fend off
Jon’s face fell into my shoulder, as if in slow motion, and he was gone
night. I just stared at him for a long
while, smiling, playing with his fine, blond strands, before putting my
close to his as I could, whispering that I loved him more than anything
world. As if he’d heard me, his body
cuddled in closer to me and I smiled again as I eventually drifted off
I hadn’t slept long, maybe a few hours, but I didn’t feel at
all tired. I was too keyed up, running
over everything in my mind that we’d talked about with Alicia that
evening. I really had no idea what I’d
signed on for
and it worried me. But at the same time,
I couldn’t help feeling a strange sense of stimulation.
It’s kind of like a horror movie when it gets
to the part where you just know that something’s going to jump out and
character. You don’t want to look but
you just have to look, feeling that you have to go through that door
along with them, no matter what. That’s
how I felt right at that moment, except that I was the character, in
I lightly ran my fingers in tight circles over Jon’s back,
slowly, as I stared at the dark ceiling over our bed, just thinking.
I turned my head and squinted at the glaring
red of the clock on the nightstand.
3:33. “Meditate, she said,” I
thought to myself. Well, it was a
bet that I wasn’t going to get any more sleeping done tonight and
just as well might give it a shot.
I gingerly pushed back the covers and eased away from Jon,
trying to be careful not to wake him. I
pulled on a pair of shorts and my Nike’s and crept downstairs to begin
morning fight with that caffeine production system.
While it burbled away, I snagged a bottle of water from the
fridge and downed a good quarter of it.
My mouth and throat felt very dry and the water felt good going
down. I wandered around the silent
house, turning on only the barest amount of light to see, looking for
I went from room to room.
I had no idea what I was looking for and nothing was presenting
itself. I heard the last few gasping
wheezes of the coffee machine and headed back to the kitchen, made a
felt the warm stimulation of my favorite first hit of the morning.
“Candles,” I thought, remembering what Alicia’d said, as I
stood sipping my coffee. I went to poke
around in the Butler’s pantry where Jon always seemed to find the
stuff. Nothing. Then
the sideboard, maybe there was something
in there. Nothing. I
thought that this was turning out to be a
less than auspicious beginning but it was one of those instances where
they’d been a snake, they would’ve bitten me, because when I turned
candelabras on the dining room table stared me right in the face and my
finally snapped on. Two of them, with
three white candles each. I thought they
were a little fancier than what Alicia had in mind but they fit the
she might say under certain circumstances.
I picked up the nearest candelabra and started back toward
the kitchen but stopped, turning to look over my shoulder back to the
living room. I don’t know why.
I hadn’t heard anything. There
wasn’t any fleeting movement out of the
corner of my eye that’d grabbed my attention.
I don’t know how to describe it other than to say that there was
some sort of pull there. So there I
I set the candles on a table next to one of the overstuffed
club chairs and went back to the kitchen to find some matches.
Neither Jon nor I smoke, so they usually
weren’t just lying around and it took a little bit of looking to find a
box of old, wooden kitchen matches shoved in the back of a drawer full
junk. I went back and carefully lit each
candle, then turned out the lights, I don’t know why, it just felt
kicked off my shoes and snuggled into the big chair.
The dark cordovan leather felt cool against
my naked back.
The plush Oriental carpet felt warm by comparison.
It felt good and I curled my toes up and down
in the deep pile as I settled deeper into the chair, adjusting my
against the chair until it felt about right.
I remembered, too, that Alicia’d said something about asking my
for protection and I was stumped.
I have to confess that, although I was raised Catholic, I
was never what you’d call a ‘good’ Catholic.
I was what you’d call a Christmas and Easter Catholic and, since
starting college, I’d avoided Mass even on those two days.
And confession? Forget it.
I hadn’t been to confession in years.
I mean, what was I going to say?
Forgive me Father, for I am gay? Yeah,
right. I took solace, though, from
believing that God loved me even if the Churchmen did not.
I have to apologize for going slightly off-track, but all of
that was to say that I’d lost touch with the ritual of praying.
So I just sat in the chair for a few minutes,
trying to think of the right words to say.
Finally, I closed my eyes, thought back to my old Sunday School
recited the Lord’s Prayer to myself. Then
I just sat as still as I could, letting my arms rest limply on the arms
chair, letting my feet rest flat on the carpet, and tried not to think
For what felt like an interminably long time, I felt
nothing, except for, maybe, feeling a little silly and I was glad Jon
asleep upstairs. I was sure he’d have
something cute to say if he could see me like this.
I squinted my eyes and smirked, chastising
myself for allowing stray thoughts into my head.
I started taking deep breaths, hoping that that would relax
me. I focused on my breathing, thinking
I could keep stray thoughts away and relax me at the same time.
I saw the changing light of the candles
through my eyelids, their yellowish-red, mottled light playing across
them. I could tell that they were
flickering, which I thought odd since there wasn’t a breath of air
the room. Again I thought not to even
think of the candles. Let them do what
I took a heavier breath, trying to purge all other thought,
and resumed my deep regular breaths.
Minute after minute after minute went by. I
sat deathly still, trying to think of
nothing, waiting patiently, which isn’t one of my greatest attributes,
guides to come to me as Alicia said they would.
After a while, I noticed the odd sensation of losing, I don’t
else to put this, the sensation of my extremities.
I couldn’t feel my arms or legs. It
wasn’t like that feeling of numbness when
they fall asleep; it was as if they just weren’t there.
I felt like I should’ve been afraid, but I
Cloudy images drifted occasionally in front of my closed
eyes, varying shades of gray against the darkness of my eyelids.
At first, I couldn’t make out what they were,
but they started to look like faces, pieces of them anyway.
It wasn’t like looking at a portrait
gallery. It was kind of like a piece
here and there, enough visual clues to let me know that I was looking
but not enough to really let me see them.
Still, I had an odd feeling of familiarity.
Then the images faded altogether.
For a while longer there was nothing. No
sounds, no images, no shades passing
before my eyes. Was that it, I
wondered? I was beginning to think that
Alicia’s buildup had been a little anti-climactic.
I was also beginning to feel the need for
some coffee and was about to move from my semi-somnambulistic state
when I felt
it. A rush of something, I’ll just call
it energy for now, that was so damn strong that I thought I was going
shock. I heard myself gasp.
That, in itself, was a strange feeling. It
was as though I was semi-detached, hearing
myself gasp as if I were listening to another person.
The energy started at my feet, washing
upwards over my entire body like a tidal wave.
I can’t begin to tell you how strong that energy was.
It felt like it was going to lift me straight
out of the chair like I was weightless.
It was like I was hooked to electrodes and I could feel my head
back, pushing against the cool leather of the chair and my chest thrust
as I gripped the arms tighter.
I have never experienced anything, and I do mean anything,
like that before. This was not like the
dreams; this was something altogether different. I
don’t want to give the impression that I
felt like a guy in an electric chair.
This sensation felt so good, so energizing and oddly warm, that
part of my body felt alert. The only way
to describe it is that it felt exactly like the feelings that surged
the first time that Jon and I had climaxed together, except that this
times stronger. Many times.
As quickly as it had come upon me, the wave of energy
passed. I fell back into the chair,
literally. I hadn’t realized that my
body had arched its way out. I had been
half standing, with only my hands and the crown of my head touching the
chair. I was winded as if I’d been
running sprints. The candles next to me
flickered madly for a moment or two longer, and I stared at them as if
hypnotized, until they quieted themselves, their flames becoming long
tapers stretching towards the ceiling. I
felt my arm slide easily across the heavy arm of the chair and I looked
seeing it was covered in sweat. I ran my
hands over my chest and face. I was
drenched. My head fell back against the
chair and I stared out into the room.
“Wow,” I quietly asked myself. “What WAS
I felt an odd mixture of energy and fatigue. No,
that’s wrong. Not fatigue.
Calm would be a better choice of words.
It was like there was nothing at all wrong in the world.
Everything was right. Everything
was perfect, except for a slight headache.
Despite that, I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face but I
figure out why I was grinning so much. I
had more energy than I knew what to do with and I felt like I could get
roof on the house before Jon woke up!
I poured a cup of coffee and was just getting ready to take
the first sip when the phone rang.
“Shit,” I thought. I
quickly, but carefully, set my cup down and half dived for the phone,
answer it before it woke Jon. I glanced
quickly at the clock over the ovens.
“Who the hell’d be calling at this time of the morning?” I
thought. I snatched the handset off the
cradle in the middle of the third ring.
“Hello?” I said with a touch of curtness.
“Brad, it’s Alicia,”
“Alicia?” I softened.
“It’s kinda early. Everything
okay?” I asked. I was half afraid she
was going to say something had happened to Ron.
“Everything’s fine, hon,” she said. “I was
just getting ready to start my shift,
but I wanted to say congratulations before I did.”
what?” I asked.
“For breaking your cherry, hon.” I could
almost see her winking in my mind’s
eye. “You phoned home and home
answered,” she said. “You just need to
pay closer attention.”
“How...,” I began.
“How could you know that?”
“Brad, remember who you’re talking to. I
felt it while I was getting dressed. You
had a really good first session.”
“But that was only, like, in the last hour or so,”
“How…?” I asked, totally confused.
“You felt that?”
“Oh, yeah,” she said.
“You and I are kind of attuned.
And don’t worry about the headache.
Just drink plenty of water; it’ll go away.”
“How…?” I started,
about to ask how she could possibly know about my headache before
better of it. “Yeah, what’s up with
that,” I asked. “It happened after those
“You’re channeling a lot of energy without realizing it,”
she said. “Happens a lot with newbies,
but you’ll get used to it. Just ask them
to not push so hard until you’re ready for more.”
“Them who?” I asked.
“Your guides,” she said.
I was dumbfounded and stymied, not even quite knowing what
questions to ask, or even if I should be asking questions.
“Hey, can we get together for lunch?” I
“Got some questions, do you?”
“Yeah, you could say that.”
“Yeah, we can do lunch.
Say, noonish at Ron’s place?” she said.
“Cool,” I said.
“See you then. I’ve
gotta run, but remember to drink a lot of water. Try
another session if you like, but take it
“Bye, Brad. Go make
breakfast; Jon’s waking up.”
“Breakfast? Me? You’d
better notify the Fire Department,” I
“Bye, Brad,” she laughed, as she hung up.
Make breakfast? Who
was she trying to kid? What I knew about
cooking could be written on the head of the proverbial pin, with a
flair pen. This was probably some kind
of test but I didn’t grumble too much as I fished around in the
looking for those pans I’d seen Jon using.
Finally, I found a shiny, stainless steel pan that looked about
fished some sausage out of the refrigerator and got to work.
Jon had done all of the cooking so far and I
felt like it was the least I could do. I
mean, how difficult could breakfast be, anyway.
“DUDE! What the
hell’re you DOING?” Jon yelled.
Jon stood naked, half-crouching, in the doorway to the
kitchen, tightly pressing his hands to his ears. I
would’ve been tightly pressing myself
against him right then if I weren’t balancing on the edge of the
counter, frantically waving a magazine at the screeching smoke alarm.
I’d hoped to get it quiet before it woke Jon
up. No such luck. Well,
woken up is too genteel of a word. If
there were a single word for his looking
like an air horn had gone off next to his ear while he slept, that’d be
word I’d use.
In my panic to quiet the alarm, I’d just pulled the sausages
off the burner but it wasn’t enough to stop the pan from smoking like a
chimney. Jon leapt at it, threw it into
the sink and hit the water, jumping back as the cold water made the hot
splatter angrily. He wasn’t fast enough,
though; a couple of red-hot droplets caught him on his pecs.
He screamed and spun around, trying to wipe
the pain away, and caught me right in the shins with his flailing arm.
The floor came up at me really fast. It
was one time I was really happy that Jon
was in my way.
I landed on top of him with a thud. Our
grunts echoed off the walls and I prayed
that he hadn’t broken anything. We
didn’t move for a few seconds as we tried to catch our breath.
There was only the sound of the water running
in the sink.
“Jon; you okay?” I asked, pulling him around by the
shoulder. He groaned in reply, pushing
me back as he turned to sit up.
“Well, let’s see,” he started. “I get
woken up by a fucking smoke alarm…,”
Oh, I knew he was pissed when he started cursing.
“…I come down to a kitchen filled with fucking smoke, I get
fucking spattered with grease, and then, as if THAT weren’t enough…”
The vein on the side of his temple throbbed, his pecs
bounced as he gestured theatrically with his arms.
I should’ve been afraid that he’d start
pounding the crap out of me, but he just looked so fucking hot sitting
naked with his blond hair going everywhere, all I could think about was
his ass. Given the situation, though, I
knew I’d better not try. That didn’t
keep me from smiling.
“…my fucking boyfriend falls on me like a ton of
bricks! Yeah, I’m just fucking
gre…what’re you smiling at?!”
“You,” I said, unable to stop grinning. I
should’ve qualified my statement but I
didn’t get time to. Jon flew at me and
pinned my shoulders to the floor. I
should’ve been terrified from the look on his face, but I couldn’t keep
“WHAT?” he demanded.
“I’m sorry, babe; I’m sorry,” I offered, holding up my hands
in surrender. “I fucked up.
I just wanted to make us breakfast for a
change, that’s all. Give you a little
break, you know? To show my
Jon’s narrowed eyes softened. His look
became a bit sheepish when it sunk
in that I was just trying to do something nice for us.
“I’m sorry,” I repeated, leaning in to plant a quick
kiss. He opened his mouth to meet mine
and our tongues flitted together briefly.
“Sorry I overreacted,” Jon said. “Truce?”
“Always, lover,” I said, as I began to push the shorts down
off my hips. I loved the expression on
his face as he watched.
“What?” he asked.
“You want to have make-up sex right here?”
Now there was a good idea, I thought, but it’d have to wait.
“Hold onto that thought,” I said as I snagged the shorts
from my ankles and handed them to Jon.
His ‘what-the-fuck-are-you-doing’ look was just wonderful.
“You don’t want the firemen seeing that
burnin’ wood of yours.”
Jon’s question was cut short by the sound of a siren.
It wasn’t passing by in the distance; it was
“Did you call 911 or something before I came down,” he
“Nope,” I said, shaking my head.
“Shit,” he muttered under his breath as he began to pull on
“I’ll hide out in the basement ‘til they’re gone,” I
said. “Answer the phone, too.”
Jon just smirked at me as he hopped around, trying to get
his toe unsnagged from the other leg as the phone rang.
“Probably the alarm company,” he muttered
“See you in a few,” I said, closing the basement door behind
“Hello?” I heard Jon say as he snatched up the phone on the
There wasn’t a lot I could do standing naked in the basement
except be quiet and listen. I looked at
the pile of dirty laundry sitting on top of the washer and thought I
something on, temporarily at least. I
dug around in the pile but everything smelled about a mile south of bad
cheese. Jon’s jersey was on top, reminding
we’d have to do the laundry soon. I
loved wearing that jersey, to say nothing of the fact that we were just
almost out of clean stuff. When it
quieted down, I decided I’d throw it in the washer and get that little
grunge work out of the way.
I don’t know what was going on upstairs but it didn’t sound
good. I heard the doorbell ring just as
the phone rang again. After a few
moments, the doorbell rang again. I
heard Jon yell something; it was short and sharp but I couldn’t make it
Then there was a crash, like glass or something followed by the dull,
thuds of a fist pounding at the door.
Then I heard more thuds, then a crash, then another.
I heard Jon yell again, farther away. I
couldn’t tell what he was yelling. It was
just enough for me that he was
yelling. I started for the steps,
stopping when I remembered that I was naked.
“Fuck it,” I thought.
Stench or no stench, I had to go up and help Jon and dug through
laundry pile as fast as I could, pulling on Jon’s jersey and the first
shorts my hand grabbed.
I hit the stairs two at a time and sprung through the
basement door. The kitchen was
empty. There were shards of a broken
coffee mug scattered across the floor.
The remains of the coffee spread out from the center like one of
old pieces of pinwheel art you’d do at an amusement park.
I was about to head for the voices I heard in the entry hall
when I noticed a couple of firefighters in full gear coming around from
front, obviously searching for any source of fire.
I waved and went to open the French doors.
“Mornin’,” I said, extending my hand.
“Good morning, sir,” the lead firefighter said, extending
his. “Do you live here,” he asked as he
eyed me up and down with that look I’ve seen from ex-military guys.
I’m sure I didn’t look my best and I knew my
clothes reeked. He was obviously trying
to figure out what his company had walked into.
His younger partner just eyed me.
He seemed suspicious of me. Well,
maybe suspicious is too cynical of a word.
Curious, maybe? I wasn’t sure
what I was getting. There was a little
too much confusion.
“For the summer, yeah,” I said. “I’m
house-sitting with my friend. His uncle
owns the place.”
The firefighters nodded, satisfied at my explanation.
“We got a call from your security company reporting a
possible fire,” the older man said.
“Mind if we come in and check it out?”
“Fine by me; breakfast got ahead of me, is all,” I said as I
walked them over to the kitchen sink and the remains of the sausages
in the greasy water. “I guess I’m not
what you’d call much of a cook,” I added, pointing up to the smoke
alarm on the
“Yeah, well, I guess that settles that,” he sighed, keying
the microphone at his throat to report.
His younger partner smiled and nodded.
I sensed relief coming from him.
He only looked a few years older than me; he was probably new at
The voices from the entry got our attention again and we
went to see what was happening. We got
to the hall to see Jon talking with an older man who had to be the
Jon was not a happy camper.
There was broken glass all around the front door from the
sidelights. The commander glanced at the
older man with me as we entered. “We
good?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” my man nodded.
“Boys were just smoking some sausages; it’s clear.”
A couple of the younger firefighters grinned
at the bit of dry humor. The more
seasoned firefighters smirked at the little joke. It
was obvious that, to them, there was no
little fire and never anything funny about one.
“Sir, please accept our apologies,” the commander said,
turning back to Jon. “Sometimes our
younger guys get a little overzealous,” he said with a harder edge as
to glare at one of the firefighters who looked like he could crawl
under a rock
and die. “They’re just trying to do
Jon looked like he was having a worse morning than I
thought. I could feel him suppressing a
desire to just flat-out scream in anger.
To his credit, he just took a deep breath and dealt with it.
“Yeah, accidents happen, I guess. I mean,
you didn’t know what might be
happening, right?” he said. The
commander sighed just a little, relieved that the situation was
diffusing. “No hard feelings, huh?” Jon
“Thank you, sir,” the commander said, smiling with some
relief. “We…,” he began, looking again
at the errant firefighter, “…can seal it up temporarily and you just
repair bill to me,” he continued, handing Jon his card.
Jon nodded and shook the man’s hand again.
“Thanks, and look, I’m sorry again for popping off like
that,” Jon said. “You guys were just
doing what you thought was right. I
mean, don’t beat him up too bad.”
The commander smiled.
“I’m sure he feels bad enough,” he said.
“All right, everybody,” he continued, addressing his men.
“Quit standing around and get everything
cut a piece of that plastic tarp from my truck and secure that window.”
“Yes, sir,” the man, Livingston, said as he ran to carry out
his order. Things were finally starting
to quiet down.
“C’mon, Hunter; you heard the man,” the older firefighter
said to his partner still standing beside me.
“Coming,” he called back, then turned to me. “Hey,
can I ask you something?” he began,
lowering his voice. I looked him full
on. Great eyes, clear, gray-green
staring out from under the yellow helmet.
“Sure,” I said.
“And please don’t get angry; I don’t mean anything bad,
but,” he continued.
“No prob, man. What’s
“Is it true what they say about this place being haunted?”
He asked with the directness of someone who knew he might not get a
“Jesus, does the whole town know about that?” I said.
“Hey,” Hunter said.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean…”
“Tell you what; why don’t you come by for dinner
tonight? Then you can hang out and see
for yourself. I offered.
Then, the little voice started to talk and
allowed me to see what I needed to see; I felt the urge and the words
out of my mouth. “We’ve got another
friend coming; he needs a friend, too,” I said, staring dead into him.
He gave me a confused smile.
I knew he wasn’t sure what he’d just heard and was trying to put
together. His eyes blinked unconsciously
several times, as if they were priming the pump that worked his mouth.
“He?” he began. “Hey,
I…,” he stammered for a moment before looking me in the eyes again.
a voice shouted from outside. “Get it in
“Brad Williams,” I said, offering my hand. “That
one over there sweeping up the glass is
my friend, Jon Shepard.”
“Hunter Richardson,” he said, taking it. “See
you at six?”
I nodded. “Make it
five; and bring your trunks. The pool’s
just about right. Oh, and if you want,
you can stay the night and see if anything goes bump. We’ve got room,”
barely able to keep from smiling at my little quip.
“Cool, see you then,” he said, heading in the direction of
the barking voice. “See you later.
And thanks!” he said, waving to Jon on his
Jon, whisking up the shards in a dustpan, looked up at the
young firefighter as he strode out the door, then back at me with that
look of his.
“What did you do?” he asked, suspecting something was up.
“I think I found a friend for Ron. We’ll
be having four for dinner,” I said,
beaming back at him.
“Man, let’s not go all Yenta on me, okay?” he said.
“Hey, just trying to do my good deed for the day, Mr. Eagle
Scout,” I said, smiling as I bent to help him with some of the larger
glass. “I mean, you never know, right?”
“Yeah, especially around here,” he muttered.
“What,” I asked.
Jon hesitated. “Let’s
just go get some breakfast and talk,” he said, taking the debris to the
Pensive Jon was starting to peek out. “Great,”
I thought. “I’m probably in for it now.”