30 September 2004

Greetings, everyone.  It's almost Friday, so hang in there.  Of course, by the time you read this, it probably already is.  I hope everything is going well with everyone and I wanted to thank those who wrote about the last couple of chapters.  I'm glad they were well received.   As always, if you feel like you have any comments, don't be bashful about dropping an email.

On a more somber note:  To all of our friends in the Gulf region, but Florida in particular, I'm sure I speak for a great many in offering our prayers and hopes for your quick recovery from what has been an unusually active hurricane season.  But I would also caution that the season doesn't end for two more months, and...  it's probably best that I just leave it at that for now.  Let me just say that you should take some time to consider your options.  Forewarned is forearmed.

Kindest regards.  Stay safe.

Michael Garrison

Now where were we?  Oh, yes.......

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 24

“Please tell me we’re in one of your weird dreams, ‘cuz, right now, that would make more sense to me than what I’m looking at.”

“We’re not,” I said, hopping out of the truck to inspect the front window.

“How do you know? You didn’t know before!”

“I just know, all right! It doesn’t feel the same,” I said, reacting to his rising tension. I had to get a grip.

“I mean, the Fire Department was here this morning, right? I wasn’t just dreaming it, right?”

This yammering-on of his had to stop.  I turned and grabbed Jon around the waist, pulling him in close. I don’t know how I knew, but it was like I thought he’d be okay if I could just bleed off some of that nervousness I felt oozing off of him like cheap aftershave.

He began to calm down and I felt his arms wrap around my back, rubbing me.

“Hey,” I whispered, nosing his face up to mine. He turned and our mouths met. Tenderly at first, then I felt his fears vanish in a winking flash and it was like a floodgate opened.

We crushed our mouths and bodies together like we hadn’t seen each other in years. Jon ground himself against me with every ounce of strength I think he had as I ran my hands down his back, to his butt. It was like we were picking up where we left off in the back room of the trailer. Our fevers rose quickly, too quickly; I pulled away and grabbed his hand. The foreplay part of the program was definitely over.

“C’mon,” I said, fumbling with the key to the front door.

Why is it that a key never wants to work right just when you really need it to?

Formalities were right out the window, which is where our clothes would’ve gone if the French doors hadn’t been closed.

We yanked back the sheets and nearly collided as we jumped into bed. Jon reached over to the bed table and handed me the lube like he was passing the baton in a relay race.

He lay down. arched his back and I got him ready, maybe not my best job, but we weren’t scoring, so to speak. I smiled, watching his sparkling blues eyes as he pulled a fresh condom out of the box, ripping it partially open with his teeth and spitting the shard aside.

“Yo, babe; sometime while we’re young, ‘kay?” I needled him to go faster as I kneeled between his legs. His flair for the dramatic aside, he hadn’t fully broken the seal.

“Keep your pants on,” he said as he struggled with the stubborn little package. “No, forget I said that. The pants definitely stay off.”

“No argument here.”

He fiddled with it a bit more before finally getting exasperated. “Oh, fuck it!” he said, unceremoniously ripping the pack nearly in two, allowing the condom to fall free.

Our hands shook like it was our first time, like our parents could get home any minute and catch us. Jon rolled it down over me, smoothing it, making sure it was tight before he nestled himself in the bedding and wrapped his legs around me. He reached for my shoulder, pulling me down on top of him. He didn’t need to; I was almost ready to pounce, anyway.

I wormed my arms around his back as we kissed. He inched his butt up higher, giving me my angle, and he gripped me, guiding me. I felt myself at his entry and pushed steadily in. Jon gasped and dug his fingers into my back.

We needed each other badly and he didn’t protest when I didn’t start right away, just holding us there for a moment, embracing him as hard as I could, and he me. We both sighed softly. It felt so good having the warmth of his whole body wrapped around me, holding me tightly in every way. I loved feeling him in my arms, realizing how good it felt to be alive, to be together, to join more than just physically.

“You okay?” I whispered.

Jon nodded and let his eyes fall shut.

I couldn’t keep from staring at the serene, handsome face belonging to the person I was deeply in love with. I felt his hands and legs on my backside, urging me on.

The morning had been strenuous for both of us. Jon and I were totally stressed and fatigued. We were totally drained; twice, if you really want to know, and had fallen asleep. I’m not complaining, mind you. We both needed it badly.

Being a history major, I have to confess that I’m really not up on the intricacies of male physiology. I’ve got the broad-brush stuff down pat, but beyond that, I’m lost. I mean, what is about guys that after being unusually stressed out or after engaging in some heavy-duty, oh, let’s just say ‘contact sports’, our heads immediately seek out the nearest pillow? And God help the person who stands between us and that pillow when we get that way. That’s nearly as dangerous as getting between a politician and a camera; you just don’t do it if you value your life.

But I didn’t sleep too long; I never do. I woke up first, as usual. Jon, as usual, was still almost surgically attached to his pillow. I’m convinced he could sleep through a train wreck. I felt his arm draped across my hip, his legs still entwined with mine. I glanced up at the clock. We were closing in on three.

I’d been dead to the world, lights completely out, gone, for less than an hour but I felt like a million dollars. No, better make that ten; nobody would waste the time to even by a measly million dollar lottery ticket anymore and I felt a hell of a lot better than that. I’d dreamt like crazy, but it wasn’t one of the house dreams. It was just image after image after image, flying by in front of my eyes. Then my eyes opened to the image right in front of my nose. It was a beautiful way to wake up.

His hair was in that sexy state of disarray that I loved, still matted from his sweating. I brushed a bit of it gently back out of his eyes, onto his forehead where it belonged, or at least where I liked it. I let my hand caress his square jaw and down his neck.  His breathing lost its rhythm for the briefest fraction of a second, his dark blond eyebrows furrowed and he swallowed. His smooth legs squirmed the barest fraction of an inch between mine. There was something just so incredibly hot about watching, and feeling, his reaction. He knew I was there but still didn’t wake up. I smiled, wondering if I was becoming part of his dream.

My hand found its way over the expanse of his shoulder, gliding around his arm to find his solid lats, touching lightly but with firm appreciation. Swimming had made my tall frame tight and lean, but his years of football and weight training, to say nothing of just flat-out good genes, had turned him into solid rock. My own little blond, bronzed god. And pardon me if I get too effusive, it’s just how I feel about him.

Carefully, I maneuvered my other arm under his neck, resting my head on my shoulder, our noses almost touching. He stopped that light snoring he sometimes did, thank God, and I lay there for a few minutes, listening to him breathe. For me, at that moment, there was nothing I would’ve traded for that peaceful sound; it was as soothing as holding a purring cat.

Gently, I slid my hand between our abs, grinning again when I found that he was dreaming about me, or at least it’d better be me, and I closed my hand around us, beginning a slow massage. His mouth opened slightly wider and the rhythm of his breathing changed again, not stopping, not panting, somewhere in between. Twice, he stopped, quickly taking in a strong lungful of air, letting it out slowly each time. I continued, notching up my pace just a bit. On the third time, Jon inhaled so hard that he shook himself awake, gasping as his eyes opened wide, trying to figure out what was going on, then settling back when he realized. I stopped, waiting for his reaction.

His entire body vibrated like a tuning fork from an intense, but unexpansive stretch. Reclining, his eyes closed back to relaxed slits of white for a moment before returning to their familiar blue. With an easy self-assurance, he pulled my mouth to his for a leisurely, seductive kiss. Then I felt his other hand on mine.

“Don’t stop on my account,” he mumbled in his soft, slurred waking voice.

“We’re running out of clean sheets,” I grinned.

“Fuck it,” he mumbled again, his eyes closing. “…gotta do laundry anyway.”

Jon draped his leg across my hip; we didn’t talk for a while longer.

First load’s in the dryer,” Jon said, emerging from the basement. “What time is it, anyway?”

“Little after four,” I said glancing at my watch. “Ron’ll probably be here soon; Hunter’s due at five-ish.”

“Your firefighter?” Jon asked, giving me a sideways glance.

“C’mon, now. Be nice,” I said. “He was interested in the house and seemed like a really cool guy, you know.”

“And you think he’ll hit it off with Ron becaaaaaaaause?” he drawled, leading me on.

“Becaaaaaaaause,” I mimicked, “I don’t care what Ron says, Ron’s gay.”

“And what makes you think…what’d he say his name is? Hunter?”

“Hunter,” I nodded.

“And what makes you think Hunter’s gay?” Jon asked, handing me a beer out of the fridge.

“Oh, trust me; he’s gay. Both of ‘em are. Ron’s just in deep denial, is all,” I nodded.

“So, let me see if I’ve got this straight, if you’ll pardon the pun. Hunter wants to see a haunted house, so you think he’s gay; and, Ron says he’s straight, but you’re positive he’s not. Is that about it?”

“It’s all in the eyes, m’boy,” I said, thumbing an invisible pair of suspenders as I cracked on Jon with a half-assed W.C. Fields impersonation. Jon just sniffed and smiled weakly. “And remember who you’re talking to. I’m stronger than I know, if you’ll recall.”

“You know,” Jon began, plunking his beer on the counter. “Of all people, you shouldn’t make fun of that.”

I recoiled slightly at the sudden edge in his voice.

“Personally, I’m still not convinced that Alicia’s about half bullshit about the house, but, I’ll tell you, I think she’s right on about one thing. You’ve got a gift. I don’t understand it…,”

My eyes got wider with confusion as I listened to Jon, suddenly so passionate. He had a nice sized little burr under his saddle about something but I figured it’d probably be best just to shut up now that he had a roll going.

“…and probably never will. I don’t have to. What I do understand is that you can see things…have for as long as I’ve known you. I think we both know where we’d be right now if it weren’t for your ability. You admitted it yourself, but it’s like you really don’t want to own up to it, except for some crap like this,” he continued, thrusting his hand sharply over his head in exasperation. “…and then you toss it off like a joke! Do you realize how many people’d kill to be able to do what you do? Brad, I…”

Jon was working himself into a froth, but he was right. He was always right. I understood now what Alicia meant about two halves of the same coin. Jon was my conscience, and I also knew there was more to his speech than just setting me straight. I set my beer down and went to him and wrapped my arms around his back.  I gently kissed his neck and pulled him tight.

“…I…have to apologize. Brad, I’ve never been so fucking scared in my entire life,” he whispered.

There it was.

“You weren’t alone, bro,” I whispered in his ear.

“I was pissing my wetsuit and kissing my ass goodbye,” he said. “I just knew we were dead, man. If you hadn’t…”

“Hey,” I said quietly. “We’re okay now. It’s all right; you don’t have to say anything.” Jon laughed when I pointed out that at least he hadn’t taken a dump in his wetsuit. That would’ve been just too gross for words.

We bearhugged as hard as we could. He groaned and then turned on me, laughing as he flipped me around into a headlock.   I flailed as he rapped my skull with his knuckles.

“Promise me you’re not gonna waste your gift on bullshit anymore,” he said. “Promise. Promise or I won’t let you go!”

“I promise, Master! I promise!” What else could I say? Jon might be shorter than me but he was no weakling by any stretch of the imagination. Drama queen? Absolutely no doubt about it, he could cry faster than any guy I knew; but, don’t try going toe to toe with him if his blood was up, except maybe horizontally. We both knew that.

He let me go and I massaged my scalp as we caught our breath.

“Go answer the door,” I said.


‘Bing-Bong’, came the chimes from the entry.

I just shrugged and smiled at him. “You know, like, what can I say?”

“Asshole,” Jon muttered under his breath.





“Truce,” I echoed. “Be nice. Act casual.”

“I’m telling the girls back at school you’re secretly worried about being gay,” he threatened. “You know how they love a challenge.”

“Oh, hey; fuck you very much,” I said, laughing at his double take. It’d taken him a few seconds to catch the wordplay. “Get the door.”

“Hey, man!” came Ron’s familiar voice as he tossed his small gym bag next to the kitchen table.

“Well, hey, Chipmunk!” I called back. “What’s going on?”

Ron flushed slightly at my use of the pet name Alicia had bestowed on him. Jon grinned at his reaction, but was a little sorry that he hadn’t thought to needle him first.

“It’s Friday and I’m off for the weekend; that’s what’s going on!” he chirped. “So what’s on tap for today?”

“Well, first off, you’re about a half a beer behind,” Jon said as he cracked one open and handed it over.

“You’re an officer and a gentleman,” Ron winked, downing half the bottle in one draw, then wiping his mouth with the side of his hand. “Damn, that’s good stuff.”

“Geez, dude; don’t get loaded before company gets here,” Jon said. I chose not to remind Jon of his own drinking. He’d had a rough morning, so he’d get a pass tonight; well, if he behaved. I’d start bitching at him tomorrow.

“Oh, yeah, you mentioned that before,” Ron said. “Who is this guy again?”

Jon hopped up on the island counter, took another pull at his beer and recapped the morning headlines. I filled in at the end.

“…so I told him to pack a bag for the night and come see for himself.”

“Oh, this should be interesting,” Ron said. “You tell him anything yet?”

“Nope, he had to get going with the rest of his guys. I figured we’d fill him in over dinner then we’d just hang out and see what happens,” I said.

“So what if nothing happens?” Jon asked. “It’s not like Old Faithful, you know.”

“Then we just get nice and crispy and watch flicks,” I said. “No harm, no foul. Nobody’s drivin’ tonight, anyway, so what the hell?”

“Sounds good to me,” Ron said.

I glanced at my watch again. “Say, look, if you guys want to go hit the pool, go ahead. I’ve gotta finish cleaning up this mess from this morning,” I said, pointing to the kitchen sink and the remainder of the breakfast debris. “I’ll let Hunter in when he gets here.”

Jon put Ron in the room next to ours and then went to go change into a fresh pair of trunks. It didn’t take them long; I heard the splashing and yelling coming from the pool as I tended to the dishes.

The other part of my self-imposed penance for the morning mess was to keep the endless procession of laundry going from the basket to the washer to the dryer to the basket. I hate laundry. It didn’t seem like a lot at the time, but it looked like a small mountain now. And the towels! Christ!  How many towels had we gone through? It felt like the towels were taking up more room than the house did! I was just starting the next load in the dryer when I heard the doorbell ring. A little after five. Not bad, I thought.

I must’ve looked like some old, gamey washerwoman when I opened the door. Hunter did not.

He didn’t look much older than me, probably closer to Ron’s age, and about my height, six-one, six-two, give or take. His helmet had hidden the thatch of black hair over those gray-green eyes of his.  

I’d always heard that firefighters had a demanding physical regimen. Not just because the job itself was stressful but so that they could literally carry people of any shape or size out of harm’s way if they needed to. Hunter was obviously a strict adherent to this regimen. His firefighting gear had completely hidden the broad chest and shoulders now wearing the dark blue tee-shirt with the white, silkscreened firefighter’s cross on it. It tapered down, blousing out around the waist of his jeans. I didn’t want to seem obvious and made a point of looking him straight in the eye, letting my peripheral vision do the inspection. It was difficult, though.

“Hi, Brad. Remember me?” he said extending his hand.

Hey, Hunter,” I beamed. “How could I forget! C’mon in.”

Hunter came in, bag in hand and turned to inspect the window. “Wow. That was fast work,” he said. “You’d never know anything happened. Who fixed it for you?”

“Nobody,” I said. Hunter turned and looked at me, puzzled.

“No, really,” he said, not getting it yet.

“I’m serious,” I said. “Jon and I came home after lunch and just found it this way.”

“Then who,” he began, stopping in mid sentence as he ran his hands over the woodwork again.

“Dunno,” I shrugged. “You sure you wanna stick around to find out?” I asked. He paused and straightened up.

“That’s why I’m here,” he said, bristling just a bit at the thought that he might duck out now before anything really happened, like some scared kid.

“Awesome,” I said. “Then let’s get you a beer; the party’s already started without you.”

“Hey, speaking of which” he said, unzipping his bag and handing me a six of some obscure but interesting looking microbrew. “I didn’t want to come empty handed.”

“Well, aren’t you just the gentleman,” I smiled.  “Lemme stick this in the fridge and I’ll give you the five-cent tour.”

We started upstairs and dropped his bag in the room next to where Jon had put Ron. I wanted to just put him in the same room as Ron but thought, naaah, that’d be pushing it way too much. I gave him the story of how we were just house-sitting for Jon’s uncle, showed him around, gave him what history I could remember as we walked downstairs. He stopped and studied almost every painting, smiling in amazement and appreciation.

“Man, I really wish I could do stuff like this,” he said.

“You paint?”

“Yeah, room’s mostly,” he laughed. A dry sense of humor, too. He and Ron should do okay. “I do a little of it now and then. It’s a good way to relax, but I don’t have much of a hand for it.”

I showed him around the rest of the first floor. He was a lot more relaxed than he’d been in the morning. He was also suitably impressed with the entertainment system.

“Whoa! I want one!” he said as he ran his hand over the TV. “Picture as good as they say on these things?”

“Oh, yeah,” I confirmed. “We can check it out after dinner. There’s a good selection of DVD’s, so we shouldn’t be at a loss for something to watch.

After prying him away from the TV, Hunter and I got changed for the pool snagged a couple of his beers and got a couple more for Jon and Ron. I was hoping against hope that he’d brought a Speedo with him. No such luck. Just your average pair of beach trunks. They’d have to do and I’m sure Ron wouldn’t turn his nose up at the rest of the smooth package they left exposed.

The guys had opted for the hot tub instead of the pool. It was still a little on the tepid side but was heating up nicely. I’d made sure to pay particular attention to Ron’s eyes as we came out to join them. I was not disappointed. Ron was trying his best just to act engagingly pleasant and cordial, like he would for any customer in the restaurant, but his eyes said more. He tried to maintain eye contact with Hunter, especially as they shook hands, exchanging greetings, but if there was such a thing as heat-ray vision, Hunter’s trunks would’ve been a pile of ashes. I couldn’t see Hunter’s eyes as we stepped down into the tub. I can only assume he wasn’t repulsed by what he saw. I was going to suggest that he sit next to Ron while I took my place with Jon, but he quickly found the place himself.

Ron’s excitement was almost palpable. I don’t care what Jon said, Ron was definitely gay but was afraid to admit it. I knew it with absolute certainty that morning after Jon had kissed him while he was plastered out of his gourd when he made that comment about Jon tasting pretty good. He tossed it out like an off-handed joke but it spoke volumes to me. Problem was, he obviously didn’t feel comfortable enough to come out to anybody, not even us, and he knew we were gay. He had to know we’d be nothing but supportive of him. I figured maybe it was because we were probably the only two gay guys he knew and he was afraid of rejection or something, afraid he end up being a pariah with no boyfriend. So instead, he chose to tiptoe around the periphery of being gay, kind of sticking his toe in the water but not going for a swim. This was a soul looking for help; inwardly sulking behind the veil of smiles. I just couldn’t let it go.

Then along came Hunter.

My small voice said ‘Ron’ the moment I looked into the eyes of the younger firefighter that morning. He was like an open book to me, and it was just like that, too. It was like opening an encyclopedia and reading almost everything you wanted to know about something, and I was amazed at what I was seeing play out on the inside of my head. Frankly, the fact that I was seeing it at all was amazing. Here was a really great looking guy who, by any standards, should’ve had a million friends following in his wake, but who chose the path of a loner. He had tons of amiable acquaintances, but less than a handful of people he thought of as friends, no one special whom he palled around with. Like Ron, he was pretty guarded and not an easy read, but I saw enough to let me know with absolute certainty that he’d done more than just stick his toe in the water; that’s all I’ll say about that. Then something pulled him away and made him build walls around himself, thick ones. I was hoping that Ron might be able to scale those walls and give both of them a little peace.

Go ahead. Call me a Yenta. Call me arrogant for sticking my nose into other people’s business. Maybe there’s even a touch of altruism in there somewhere, but unless you’ve experienced it, there’s no good way to describe the feeling of loneliness that was coming off of those two, particularly Ron. Once you’ve experienced it, you want to do something about. It’s a very unpleasant feeling and you couldn’t count yourself as a compassionate human being if you didn’t at least try to do something, because it’s an emptiness that…I don’t know; I can’t describe it. Maybe you know what I’m talking about, anyway. Well, I’d gotten them to the dance; now all they had to do was see each other across the room, if nature was going to take its course, that is.

“…I wasn’t what you’d call a college-minded guy, so my father just basically told me I was going in the Navy. That’s where I got into emergency services. I was on a carrier in the Gulf for a long time and after I got out, I just came home and took up what I knew.”

“Wow!” Ron said. “That must’ve been pretty exciting!”

“Bet you’ve got some interesting sea stories to tell,” Jon said. Hunter smiled at that.

“You know the difference between a fairy tale and a sea story?” he asked. We all grinned and shook our heads; we knew something cute was coming.

Hunter fought back his own grin as he informed us that, “A fairy tale starts out ‘Once upon a Time’. A sea story starts out, ‘Now, this ain’t no shit!’ ”

Ron was taking a gulp of his beer when Hunter delivered the punch line. We all had another really good laugh when beer shot out of Ron’s nose as he guffawed. Hunter leaned him forward and started slapping him on the back.

“Easy, man!” he said, grinning at the left handed approval of his anecdote. “Don’t choke or something. My mouth-to-mouth’s a little rustier than I’d like to admit.”

‘Interesting,’ I thought.

We settled back and put our feet up as soon as Ron got his wind back. Things couldn’t have been better despite all the goings on that morning. Jon went to get us some fresh beers while we just chit-chatted. Ron prodded me into retelling the story since he had to tend to tables and missed some of it. Hunter already knew the first part, but you could almost hear crickets chirping when I told them about the quarry; sans sex, of course.

“Jesus,” Ron mumbled.

“Oh, man,” Hunter began. “I know that place. You’ve gotta be careful in there; that place’ll fool you.”

“Yeah,” I said. “That ain’t no shit!” They both laughed at my play on Hunter’s joke.

“No, I’m serious!”

“You dive?” Jon asked, overhearing the tail end as he returned with the beers.

“Oh, yeah. It’s part of my job. I do recovery when they need it. I do it for fun sometimes, but I don’t have many friends who dive. There’s just an older guy at the station and he’s kind of a jerk, so I have to take that back. I don’t have any friends who dive. ”

“So teach me,” Ron said, smiling infectiously. “And you will.”

Jon started to say something; I nudged him gently with my foot to stay quiet.

“Hey, I’ve logged my share of bottom time, but I’m not an instructor,” Hunter said.

“I don’t care. Teach me,” Ron repeated.

“Okay,” Hunter nodded quietly, slowly catching Ron’s smile.

To Be Continued