9 September 2004

I hope you enjoyed the last chapter.  You might be happy to know that I not going to be long-winded in my introduction, except, again, to thank you for taking the time to read and for any comments that you might have. 

To those of you in Florida, especially out on the Keys, batten down your hatches, guys...something wicked your way comes....again.  If you don't already have them, here are some websites that I find useful for keeping track of such things:


I hope you enjoy the story.  Stay safe.

Kind regards,

Michael Garrison

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 21

If Jon was to give me a list of great ways to start the morning, I’m absolutely positive that none of what had happened so far would be on it. He was in a Class AA, über-pissy mood; and I sure as hell couldn’t say as I blamed him, what with getting woken up by that ear-splitting smoke alarm, getting spattered with hot grease, having me fall on top of him and then having the fire department show up and break out a front window. I had to do something to get him cheered up and there was one thing that came to mind right away.

While I waited for him to get out of the shower, I threw a load of laundry in the washer, then began loading the truck with our dive gear so we could go check out that quarry after breakfast. Being in the water always seemed to make him happy. Besides, it would finally give me a chance to see Jon in his new wetsuit, just before I peeled him out of it, that is! It looked like a nice one, too; an all black shorty with yellow accents, which, as anyone who’s seen Shark Week can probably tell you is also lovingly referred to as “yummy yellow”. I had to laugh as I set it in the back. It was just like Jon to get a cost-effective, one-piece suit that also went with his hair. Go figure. God, I love him. I found a blanket and covered the equipment. I wanted it to be as much of a surprise as possible.

We found our usual booth at our usual breakfast place. Susan, our usual waitress, brought us the usual menus and put the usual pot of coffee down in front of us, which we began to gulp down in the usual way.

“So what’s it gonna be, guys?”

“The usual,” I said, flipping the menu shut.

“Same,” Jon said, trying to smile but not doing too well.

Susan sighed and dropped her hands to her hips. “Gimme a break, guys,” she said. “You’ve gotta come in more than a couple of times for me to get that down. I mean, I’m good, but I’m no mind reader.”

“Humph,” Jon snorted with a slight smirk, turning to look out the window.

There are some things in life that you just don’t do. Like, say, you don’t poke at that coiled snake making the little rattling noise unless you want to get bitten, or make bad jokes at airport security unless you’re in desperate need of a proctological exam. This was one of those times with Jon when he’d just crawl up in his little shell and stew in his own juices. Just leave him alone, I thought.

We gave Susan our orders, which we ate quickly; well, I did, at least. Jon just picked at his.

“You okay, hon?” she asked as she topped off his coffee. “You look like you’ve seen better days.”

“Yeah, I’m okay,” he answered, trying to be engaging. “Just a lot on my mind.”

“Oh, that’s it,” Susan drawled with an air of experience. “I can spot girl trouble a mile away.”

I coughed when my coffee slid down the wrong tube. Susan was definitely not a mind reader.

“Easy, tiger,” she said, patting me on the back, making me burp loudly. It was a little embarrassing, the couple at the next table turned and smiled, but so did Jon. I guess it was worth embarrassing myself just a little to get Frosty the Blond Guy thawed out. He just sat there trying to suppress a big grin.

“Can I top you off?” Susan said, taking up the coffee pot.

“No,” Jon finally spoke. “I think he’s reached the bottom.”

Yep, Jon was finally out of his shell. We both tried to keep from laughing. Susan just looked at us, trying to figure out what was so funny. Jon saw her expression.

“Sorry. Inside joke,” he offered.

“Oh,” she said. “Well, anyway, I wouldn’t worry about it, whatever it is; a couple of great looking young guys like you probably got girls crawling all over you. Something’ll come along. You’ll see,” she offered. “You want some more coffee?”

“Nah, we’re good,” Jon said. “Just the check.”

“Toss me the keys,” I said as we walked towards the truck. “I feel like driving for a while.”

We headed out of the parking lot and I noticed that Jon was getting pensive again. He put his feet on the dash and started chewing at his nails. I reached over and gently pushed his shorts back to rub his thigh.

“Jon. I am really sorry about the mess this morning. I didn’t mean to…”

“I know you didn’t,” he interrupted. “It’s not that.”

I couldn’t stand the pregnant pause.

“I’m waiting,” I said. The tension was starting to make me get a little short with him.

Jon uncurled himself and turned in the seat to face me.

“Remember how the phone rang just after you went down in the basement?”

“Yeah.” I said, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“It was like you said. It was the alarm company calling about the smoke alarm. They said they’d already sent the Fire Department.”


“And then there was that second call.”

“I thought I heard the phone ring again,” I said. “Who was it?”


I was confused, definitely not connecting the dots. “What? You mean it was a crank call? Just Star-69 the bastard the next time it happens and tell ‘em…”

“Dude, it’s not that,” he said, waving his hands. “Not nobody. I mean, I think it was your friend.”

Light finally dawned on Marblehead.

At moments like that in old TV shows, the guy driving the car usually slams on the brakes with great screeching and smoking of tires or stares at the passenger in disbelief long enough to nearly get hit by a truck. Me? I just ran a traffic light a few seconds after it turned red. My bad. Missed it completely. The cop behind me didn’t, though.

“Great,” Jon muttered.

“Oh, fuck me,” I said. This was not one of our better mornings. I dutifully pulled the truck to the side of the road, wishing we’d just stayed in bed, and started reaching for my wallet. The cruiser blew by us, siren screaming, intent on some other call.

“Thank you, God,” I sighed, dropping my head against the headrest. Visions of a lecture from my father on insurance premiums slowly faded from my mind.

“What’re you worried about?” Jon said. “It’s my uncle’s car; I’d’ve gotten the ticket.”

“Yeah, but still,” I said. We needed to talk and I pulled into an empty parking lot as far away from the road as I could and shut off the engine. “So you want to give me that again?”

Jon started slowly. “It’s like I said. The phone rang again and for a second there was nothing. I thought it was one of those deals where some computer waits to see if someone answers before handing you off to some sales guy you didn’t want to talk to to begin with.”

“Yeah? And?”

Jon started chewing a fingernail again. He smirked a little when I pulled it away from his mouth.

“And then,” I asked again.

“Well, I was getting ready to hang up when I didn’t hear an answer and go meet the fire department when I heard something.”

“Some…thing?” I asked.

“Something! Someone! What’s the difference?” he snapped back. I backed off, settling into my seat, giving him a little more room.

“Sorry,” I muttered. “Go on.”

“There was this voice; kind of deep and slow. I knew I had to go take care of the fire department but there was just something about that voice.”

I sat still, just listening to Jon like a little kid listening to ghost stories around a campfire. Except that this was our ghost story and it felt like it was starting a new chapter. I could feel the tension starting to ooze out of Jon’s pores like the smell of that scotch the next morning.

“Then?” I asked softly.

“Anyway, it was, like, really soft and I couldn’t make it out, so I asked them to say it again. I don’t know whether it spoke louder or whether I was just tuning my ear to it, but…,” he paused.


“But…it said, like, it needed my help or something. It sounded exactly like what you described about that resident spirit,” he said, doing the two-finger quotation mark thing, mocking Alicia’s description for our ghost.

He curled up again, turning towards the window. There he sat, my best friend, my lover, looking like a frightened little boy. That sight struck me. Here was a guy who could dish it out on a football field as well as he got it, someone you’d want at your back when you really needed it, but now he just felt helpless. I felt an incredible need to wrap my arms around him. I knew it’d be better for now if I just stayed quiet and let Jon get it out at his own pace.

“When it hit me what I was talking to, I just lost it and told it to leave me alone and slammed down the phone. Brad, I’m telling you, as soon as the phone hit the cradle, your coffee cup flew off the counter and smashed on the floor like someone’d thrown it. Dude, I just froze. It’s like every hair on my head and arms stood up, like when you get one of those chills going up your spine, you know?”

“Oh, believe me; I know. Then what?”

“Well. That’s when I heard the glass break in the entry. That snapped me out of it, I guess, and I ran out to keep ‘em from completely trashing the place. I guess I should be glad I didn’t slice my feet up on all the glass.”

“Hey,” I began, reaching over to softly caress his thigh. “Look, we’re meeting Alicia for lunch. We’ll see what she’s got to say.”

Jon uncurled himself and straightened in his seat. “Oh, you mean, Miss You’ve-got-nothing-to-worry-about-in-this-house? Is that the Alicia you’re talking about?” he asked.

“Yeah, that’s the one,” I said, smiling, trying to defuse Jon a little. Jon just adjusted his sunglasses, crossed his arms, and stared out the window. “C’mon; we’re gonna go have some fun before lunch.”

“I don’t feel like it,” he muttered.

“Yeah you do,” I said, firing up the engine.

“No I don’t.”

“You will.”

“I won’t.”




“Yeah, I guess.”

It wasn’t my preferred answer, but it would do. Jon finally cracked a slight smile. So did I, except my smile wasn’t as genuine. I didn’t like what I was hearing but I didn’t want to say anything that might upset him.

“What’re we doing here?” he asked as I eased the Land Rover down the wide gravel road. When I say eased down the road, I mean almost dead slow. Maybe I was imagining it but the potholes seemed bigger than when Jon drove the last time and I still had a clear memory of my kidneys getting beaten up.

“I thought you could use a little surprise,” I said, jabbing my thumb towards the back. I was relieved that the blanket and the tinted glass in the rear windows had been enough to keep Jon from noticing our cargo.

Jon unsnapped his belt and turned around on his knees. He bumped his head hard when we hit a deceptively deep pothole.

“OW! Damn! Watch it, will you!”

“Sorry, babe,” I said. “It was deeper than it looked. You want daddy to kiss it and make it better?”

“Later,” he smiled. “And I’ll definitely need more than just a kiss.”

“We can do that.”

Jon pulled back the blanket and saw the diving gear.

“Dude!” he said. I could almost feel his eyes going wide. “This is too cool!”

He turned and flopped back into his seat and rubbed my hand as it rested on the gearshift. All at once it was like everything was forgotten. All the tension was gone. There was nothing and no one but the two of us. Jon acted like his old self again and he beamed that kajillion watt smile that made me fall in love with him to begin with.

“I knew you’d approve,” I said, smiling back. “Besides, I needed an excuse to see you in that wetsuit. It looks hot just lying in the back. I can’t wait to see it filled out,” I said, giving him a quick wink before I had to turn my attention back to our little long and pockmarked road.

As before, we wound our way past the empty field offices, down past the broken-down equipment sheds, following the spiraling path down to the water. The scene was as breathtaking as it was before. Sheer, rose colored granite walls rose straight out of the water, reflecting themselves on its tranquil surface for hundreds of yards around, making them look a mile high.

The road leveled out a little just before the water’s edge and I pulled to a stop. We leaned forward in our seats to take it in again. We didn’t get a full appreciation of it the first time we were there. It was raining and I definitely remembered not being able to see much of it from the back seat. This time, however, there was no missing it. The sun peeked through the clouds now and then, highlighting the natural rose color in the stone. It was gorgeous. So was the rock solid hunk sitting next to me.

“Wow,” he whispered, craning his neck forward to try to see the top of the cliffs through the windshield. I reached over to massage Jon’s thigh; it was as hard as the stone and was making me the same way.

“Let’s get wet,” I said, unlatching my belt and getting out.

Except for an occasional bird, it was dead quiet, almost to the point of being spooky. There was only a light breeze and hardly a ripple on the surface. The light cloud cover kept the sun from beating down on us too bad and it felt good. I was feeling better and I knew Jon was, too. He almost lunged at the rear hatch, pulling it open and ripping the blanket off our equipment. I watched him for a moment, studying his every line, smiling with great appreciation, before slipping up quietly behind him. He jumped when I slipped my hands around his waist.

“C’mere,” I whispered, turning him around and pulling him onto my mouth.

Jon didn’t protest. He needed to feel me as much I needed him. We pressed ourselves tightly together, letting our hands play over each others backs, and I felt that wonderful, almost dizzying feeling I got when it felt like we were becoming one person. There’s no way to describe it except to say it’s like floating on a cloud.

I loved the feel of his blond hair running through my fingers, of his tongue swirling around in my mouth. I loved the feel of his hands running through my own dark hair, then dropping to slowly massage my cheeks. Jon was hungry, no, ravenous, and I wanted to do anything to help make him feel better.

“Whoa,” I whispered. “You been practicing with someone when I wasn’t looking?” Jon just smiled and stared into me. He was picking up on one of my little traits.

“Nah; I’ve just got a really great teacher,” he quipped. His smile opened a little to reveal beaming white at the corner of his mouth. He was pleased with his wittiness.

I gave him a quick peck on the mouth as a reward for his little compliment.

“Let’s get suited up,” I said. “We’re burning daylight.”

“Thank you, John Wayne,” he replied. I’d forgotten I was talking to Captain Movie-boy. I think he could remember and spout lines verbatim from almost any movie he saw.

We stripped down and I pulled on my trunks. I went over to check the water temperature while Jon rooted around in the back for his gear. Kneeling at the edge, I scooped a handful of water. It felt wonderful. Not too hot, not too cold. I decided I’d just wear my wetsuit jacket.

“Hey, where’s my trunks?” I heard Jon call.


“My trunks? Where’re they hiding?” he asked.

“Ah, shit,” I said.

“Ah, shit?” Jon parroted. “Brad, you know how warm and fuzzy ‘Ah, shit’ makes me feel.”

You always forget something, you know? You try to run through the standard, stupid list of things in your mind. Did you lock the door? Did you leave the bathtub running? Did you leave the iron on? You know, all that dumb stuff; who the hell would be stupid enough to leave their bathtub running, anyway? Nope; Jon’s trunks obviously didn’t make it on the checklist.

“Sorry, babe. Guess I was in too much of a hurry this morning; it slipped my mind,” I apologized. “Some guys don’t like wearing trunks with shorties, anyway. They claim they ride up too much. Give it a shot.”

Jon shrugged and pulled out his wetsuit while I dug my jacket out of my bag. I was just getting ready to zip up when I heard him ask “So what do you think?” from behind me.

I turned around and was greeted by a sight, no not a sight, a fucking vision, that would’ve allowed me to almost die a happy man. Jon stood a few yards away, arms spread, turning slowly in his new shorty like a model on a runway. The word stunning came to mind.

He couldn’t hide that big, shit-eating grin of his and he knew, and loved, that it was driving me crazy. I was definitely going to have a hard time getting my crotch strap set, let me just say that. The yellow accent patches on the suit really picked up the color of his hair. It might not have been an expensive wetsuit, but it was definitely an excellent choice. When he turned around, giving me a look at those broad lats of his tapering down to that lean waist and tight, dimpled buns, I almost shot it right then.

“Stop it! Stop it!” I shouted as I fell against the truck, covering my eyes with one hand, holding up the other for him to stop taunting me.

“So you approve?” he asked, laughing at my reaction as he came back for the rest of his gear.

“Fuckin’-A,” I said. “More than a mere mortal deserves,” I added, winking. Our eyes caught each other again, locking for a quick second. I could’ve ripped that suit off him right then but I wanted to save my energy.

“You remember everything I told you, right?” I asked as I helped him on with his tank and BC.

“Yes, teacher,” he said, mocking me with a higher pitched schoolboy voice.

I got my tank set, pulled out our fins and masks and handed him something I saw pushed over to the side.

“Don’t forget your cool dive knife.”

“Oh, dude, thanks!” he said, strapping it to his leg. I’m sorry; I just couldn’t take my eyes off of him.

“Did I mention how hot you look?” I asked.

“Yeah, I think you mentioned it once or twice,” he said, trying to keep his face as nonchalant as possible as he headed for the water’s edge. He wasn’t having much luck. Jon’s face was pretty much an open book.

I watched him for a second and waited. Nothing. I decided to needle him a bit more.

“At this point,” I began, following after him. “It’s customary for one’s partner, one’s lover, one’s reason for being,” I added, laying it on thick, trying not to laugh. “…to tell him how hot he looks, too.”

Jon turned and eyed me up and down, the barest hint of a smile at the corner of his mouth.

“Yeah, I guess you’d do in a pinch if I needed some exercise,” he drawled, finally laughing outright when he saw my feigned hurt expression. “Aaaaawww, poor baby,” he continued, affecting a comical, old-lady voice as he stroked my shoulder. “Didn’t mama tell you to let her handle the humor?”

“Oh, just get in the water!”

We laughed at ourselves as we waded in, down the path that continued on out of sight beneath the surface, until it was deep enough to stop and put our fins on. We checked our airflow, gave each other a thumbs-up and submerged.

The water felt great and for the next hour, give or take, we could forget about everything except each other.

To Be Continued