4 November 2004

Well, another week's gone by and this cold or whatever it is just won't go away; so I hope you'll pardon me for not going on at length.  Of course, that might not necessarily be a bad thing.

Enjoy the story.  Any helpful observations are appreciated and I will respond as time permits.

Take care,

Michael Garrison

It was a dark and stormy night....no, wait...wrong chapter...sorry <grin>.................

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 29

There’s no doubt about it. Saturday’s are the best. Always have been, always will be. Even when you’re on vacation, Saturday’s are great, and I felt great after a hot shower. If I was still eight years old, I’d have rushed downstairs to grab my bowl of Cap’n Crunch and plant myself in front of the TV for a morning with my ‘toons! Boy, those were the days.

I washed away the remnants of the shaving cream and ran my hand over my face, feeling for any errant stubble I might have missed. I leaned in close to the mirror as I did, also checking to make sure I was still handsome. ‘Nope, no problems there,’ I quipped to myself. Maybe that’s a little conceited but show me a guy who says he’s never done that and I’ll show you a damn liar.

I dried my face off, wrapped the towel back around my waist and padded out to the balcony to suck in some fresh, cool morning air before getting dressed. It was quiet moments like that that made the not-so-quiet times bearable. I felt myself smile. No reason; I just felt like smiling.

I thought I heard some splashing in the pool but I couldn’t see around. Maybe Hunter was getting a jump on Ron. His diving lessons, I mean. That had to be it. I noticed the truck was gone. Jon must’ve pulled it around back so they could get the diving gear. I felt myself smile again. No reason. No, wait, I’m sorry; that’s a lie.

I went back inside and saw a basket of folded laundry sitting on the chair next to the door. Jon must’ve been up early this morning. That was something new. Usually, I had to drag him out of bed kicking and screaming. Well, whatever; at least we had clean clothes now. I tossed the towel back into the bathroom and picked through the basket for my clothes. I was pleased to see Jon’s jersey in there and put it on before anything else. It smelled great. It didn’t smell like him anymore but it still smelled great. I pulled on a clean pair of cargo shorts and my Nike’s and headed out the door.

I was almost in a whistling kind of good mood. I don’t know why; I had no reason to be. I just felt really good. At least until I got to the top of the stairs.

I was off-balance, nearly falling as the small wave of dizziness came over me. I groaned and grabbed for the railing. It creaked noisily but didn’t yield under my weight as I eased myself down to sit on the steps for a second. Remembering all that stuff you hear about dizziness and nausea, I put my head between my knees for a second or two. As fast as it’d come over me, the feeling was gone. I lifted my head, expecting that if I did it too quickly I’d be overcome again. Nothing. I pulled myself up to my feet and felt right again, except for the slight gnawing in my stomach. That must have just been pure hunger and it growled, telling me that it was sick and tired of waiting to be fed and wanted some breakfast. My nose caught a wonderful smell and dragged the rest of me along as it followed it.

“Hey babe!” I called to Jon as I entered the kitchen. “Whatever you’re makin’ smells gre…”

I stopped short when I saw Jon half slumping over the range. Sausages were sizzling, French toast was browning and eggs were ready to scramble; happy things. But Jon wasn’t looking too happy. He acted like he hadn’t heard me as he turned down all the burners and put down his spatula, backing away to rest his butt against the island counter. He winced as he slowly massaged his temples with his fingertips. I could almost feel the slight but clawing waves of pain going through his head and there was nothing I wanted more right then than to make it stop.

I went to him and put my arms around his waist.

“What’s wrong?” I whispered. He shook his head, only slightly, as if even that little motion accentuated the pain. “Scotch still wearing off or something?”

He shrugged. “I guess,” he finally said. “I felt fine until about a minute ago. I was just standing here and it was like I felt weird dizzy all of a sudden and then this headache started up for no reason,” he continued.

“Here, lemme help,” I said, leaning in to gently place my lips against his, barely touching, hesitating a moment to see if he was interested. I felt his tongue brush me and take mine in, his hands left his temples, drifting down to my hips, pulling me closer.

“I’m glad to see the headache hasn’t affected your blood flow,” I whispered wryly.

“Yeah, well,” he said, grinning as if he was a little embarrassed, avoiding my eyes. “Yours feels pretty good, too.”

“Hey, what can I say? I love you.”

“Love you too,” he whispered.

We hugged, tightly, nesting our heads. I loved the feel of him, that fresh morning smell of him. I felt him begin to rub gently.

“Babe, let’s get breakfast done first before someone catches us doin’ it on the floor right here,” I suggested.

“And that would be a bad thing, why?” he asked, grinning oddly.

“’Cuz I’m starved is why!” I said, laughing. “And since when are you interested in a public show?”

“Variety’s the spice of life,” he grinned.

I furrowed my eyebrows but smiled at his touch of boldness and let him get back to his cooking.

My attention was drawn back to the splashing I heard out by the pool. I looked out and saw Hunter walk up the steps at the end, toss his fins on the grass and take a seat on the edge. He pushed his mask back on his head and patted the ledge next to him as Ron rose from the water, sliding over to make room, not much but enough. They appeared to be done for the moment.

“Started in early, did they?” I asked.

“Yeah, they’ve been at it since about eight.”

Inside the house, I couldn’t hear what they were saying and I didn’t want to pry in that special way of mine, but it was apparent that the two of them were more than just getting along. They sat on the edge, legs dangling in the water, not even bothering to take their tanks off, chatting and laughing now and then. Hunter placed his hand on top of Ron’s and he didn’t withdraw, like a couple of schoolboys.

“Well, I see someone’s getting chummy,” I remarked to Jon, tapping him on the butt with the back of my hand to get his attention.

Jon turned to look, squinting through the slight glare on the windows. “Oh, hell; that’s nothing. You should’ve been down here earlier,” he said turning back to get ready for the eggs.

My eyebrows went up. I couldn’t wait to hear this, but Jon was taking his sweet time, torturing me with suspense, needling me more by whistling as he started whipping the eggs again.

“Well?” I asked.

“Well what?” he asked, assuming a nauseatingly sweet expression.

I sighed and slumped against the island in frustration. He was getting too good at pushing my buttons. “You gonna tell me what I missed or do I have to try my hand at cooking again?”

“Oh, Christ, dude; no! The insurance won’t cover it!” he said, raising his hands in surrender. He’d gotten his laugh. “You were still asleep so I came down to get coffee and finish up the laundry, you know? They were already up, down here having coffee and watching TV; I guess they figured out how the coffeemaker worked. It was a little bitter, though; I think they used too much or something. I mean, it was okay, but…”

“Hey, yo! Grandpa Simpson!?” I said as I folded my arms. “You wanna get to it while we’re young?” Playful Jon was definitely in the house and still wanted to push my buttons.

“Anyway,” he began again, satisfied that he’d had his fun. “I told ‘em I thought we’d wait breakfast for you and they decided they wanted to do the diving thing, so I pulled the truck around for them to get the gear.”

“’kay; then what?” I asked as I fixed my coffee.

“Then I told ‘em I was going to go finish up laundry and they should just help themselves,” he said, taking his little pause for effect. I waited and sipped my coffee; I wasn’t going to let him suck me into one of his little jokes again. “Anyway, they got changed and I went down to the basement. They must’ve thought I was gonna be down there a lot longer than I was ‘cuz when I came back up, I saw them out by the truck and, dude, I mean to tell you they were doing some serious tongue wrestling.”


“Oh, yeah,” Jon nodded. “Hands on butts, the whole nine yards. Gotta hand it to you; you were right about Ron.”

“Cool,” I muttered, smiling. “So what’d you do?”

“Nothing. I figured they couldn’t see me inside, so I took up the laundry and left them alone. When I came back down, Hunter was just going over all the gear stuff with Ron like nothing happened.”

“Awesome,” I said.

“Now maybe Ron’ll loosen up a little, huh?”

“I guess we’ll find out,” I said. Of course, I hadn’t peeked last night as much as Jon might have liked, but I suspected that Hunter already loosened Ron up a bit more than Jon might think.

“Hey, look, everything’s ready. Let’s eat outside. Give me a hand?”

I quickly put down my cup and applauded him loudly, shouting ‘Bravo, bravo’. I laughed when he smirked at having the joke turned on him. I stopped and gave him a quick peck on the cheek but I couldn’t stop smiling.

“Sure, babe; what can I do?”

“You want to wear these eggs, don’t you?” he said.

“Nah, they clash with the jersey.”

“C’mon, guys,” I called. “Breakfast’s ready.”

I helped Jon out with the rest of the food and utensils. Hunter and Ron unstrapped their tanks, threw towels around their shoulders and joined us at the table.

“Oh, man, this looks good!” Hunter said.

“Yeah, I’m starved,” Ron agreed, “and if you slept any longer, I think we would have.”

“Sorry about that,” I said. “Guess I was more tired than I thought. Everybody sleep all right last night?”

“Like a baby,” Hunter said, his chair leg squealing against the slate patio as he pulled his chair up to the table.

“Yeah, we slept great,” Ron said, pulling his chair up close to Hunter.

“We did?” Jon asked, his attention suddenly alert. I nudged his leg under the table not to press it, to let them tell us in their own time, if they even wanted to.

“C’mon, let’s EAT!” I said. “The food ain’t getting’ any warmer!” I didn’t get any arguments from anyone.

We all speared what we wanted. Sausages, eggs, French toast, drowned it all in syrup, except the eggs of course. I never could understand why some people feel like they’ve got to put stuff on eggs, like ketchup. The mere thought of it gave me the willies. We ate in silence, just inhaling everything in sight. There was no sound except for the clinking of knives and forks and the occasional bobbing of heads and muttering of approval. I was a little taken aback by Hunter’s overhanded use of his fork but what the hell. I guess that was his Persian flaw. Jon broke the silence after his initial pangs were satisfied.

“So how’d the diving lesson go?” he asked.

“Great,” Ron said between chews.

“Dude, you’re allowed to swallow your food first, you know?” Jon said, cringing.

Hunter grinned, “Yeah, he did pretty good; took to it right off.” he said, reaching over to rub Ron’s shoulder. “I might just make a diver out of him yet.” Ron nodded his agreement as he shoveled more egg into his mouth.

“Excellent,” I said, noticing Jon’s knowing smile. He was bursting to ask. I just silently told him no. He rolled his eyes and went back to stoking his furnace.

“You mentioned you’ve got this company coming by at, what, ten?” Hunter asked.

“That’s right,” I said. Out of habit, I glanced at my watch. It was almost quarter to ten.

“Yeah, Alicia,” Ron said. “You probably know her. Don’t all you fire and police guys know each other?”

“You mean Alicia Cunningham? Sure, I know her,” he said. “I mean not really well, but we’ve met at scenes a time or two.”

“You know her?” Jon asked.

“Small town; what can I say?” Hunter said. “You get to know everyone eventually.”

“Almost everyone,” Ron added. A slight smile passed over his face as he glanced up at Hunter in between mouthfuls.

“Yeah; almost everyone,” he paused, smiling back. I knew it was just killing Jon not to hear them come right out and say it. I figured they would when they were ready.

“So what’s she coming by for?” Hunter asked.

“Well,” I began, unsure how much Alicia might want known about her abilities. “She’s sort of…”

“She’s a psychic,” Ron butted in.

Hunter’s eyebrows flew up. “She is! Christ, how many of you guys are there?”

“Oh, they’ve got a regular secret society going,” Jon offered, jabbing his thumb in my direction. “Passwords, secret handshakes, the whole deal.”

“You’re shittin’ me?” Hunter asked, not entirely used to Jon’s humor yet.

“Don’t pay any attention to him,” I smirked, waving Jon off as he snickered. “Yeah, she’s kind of a mentor, you might say; she’s coming by to look at the house.”

“Again,” Jon added.

“Again,” I echoed. Hunter was all ears.

“Oh, God; I don’t want to miss this. Can we hang around?” he asked.

“Absolutely,” Jon said.

“Kind of figured you wouldn’t want to stay,” I said. “Could be interesting.”

“Shit; c’mon,” he said to Ron, wiping his mouth quickly and pulling Ron up from the table by the towel around his neck.

“Hey, I’m eating here!”

“C’mon, man; we gotta get going!”

“What’s the hurry?” I asked, puzzled by Hunter’s sudden burst of excitement. He calmed down a little.

“Well, we thought we’d go get the tanks refilled, maybe pick up something for lunch. Figured it’s the least we could do,” he said. “How long’s she gonna be here?”

“Most of the day, I expect. Depends on how it goes,” I said. “We were going to ask her to stick around for dinner; you’re invited, too, if you want.”

“Oh, cool,” Ron said. “We up for dinner?” he asked Hunter.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Thanks.” He yanked at Ron’s towel again. “C’mon, son; gotta run!”

“All right! All right!” Ron said, shoving a link of sausage in his mouth as Hunter dragged him off.

“Notice how it’s a ‘we’ deal with them now,” I said when they were out of earshot.

Jon nodded. “They must’ve had a good night last night.”

I could only smile as I went back to my eggs.

“You know something, don’t you?” Jon asked, pulling his chair closer.

“Don’t know what you’re talkin’ about,” I said, feigning ignorance.

“You do know something. C’mon; give!” he said.

“Oh, c’mon, CSI boy,” I said, chuckling at him as I dropped the fork to my plate. “I mean, you’ve seen all the pieces you need to see. Put it together!”

Jon smiled and stroked my thigh, trying his best to be seductive. It only made me laugh again. “But enquiring minds want to know,” he grinned. “I’m a little perv. Remember?”

“Yeah, you got that right,” I said getting up from the table and taking my plate back inside.

“Where’re you going?”

“To get the door,” I said.

“I didn’t hear…,” Jon started to say before waving off his thought. “Nevermind.”

“Well, you’re looking none the worse for wear after yesterday,” Alicia beamed as we hugged. She’d become her softer, off-duty self, a flowing bundle of hair and earth-tones that spoke more to the bohemian than to public service. I didn’t care; she looked good to me and her hug was an excellent tonic.

“Yeah, well; don’t let appearances fool you,” I quipped, returning her smile. “I’m actually a bundle of nerves. C’mon in,” I said, stepping aside to let he pass.

She rustled a little as she passed me and came to a stop in the middle of the hall. I left her alone for a second as she looked around, getting a sense of things.

“Spider-sense tingling?” I finally asked.

Alicia only turned to me and nodded. “Yours?”

“Yeah,” I whispered, nodding weakly in reply.

“It should be. Something’s changed around here,” she said. “You want to fill me in?”

I was about to offer some coffee to go with our chat when a thundering began upstairs, becoming louder. We turned and saw Ron and Hunter stampeding out of their room, racing each other down the stairs. They stopped abruptly, surprised when they saw us standing there watching them.

“Whoa, hey,” Hunter said as he screeched to a halt, I was half surprised the Oriental rug didn’t go sliding out from under him. Ron was not quite as nimble and slammed into Hunter’s back. “Alicia! How you doin’?” he asked, extending his hand.

“Hunter Richardson? Is that you?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said. “Almost didn’t recognize you without the badge.”

“Hey, Chipmunk,” she said to Ron.

“Chipmunk?” Hunter asked, unable to contain his grin.

“Chip’ll do just fine,” Ron blushed at his pet name.

“Hunter was one of the fire fighters who came to the house yesterday,” I offered, wanting to diffuse a potential lover’s quarrel. “He wanted to see what a haunted house looked like, so we invited him to stay over,” I winked.

“Well, you came to the right place.”

“Gee, thanks,” I muttered. I saw Hunter’s eyes light up again with excitement. Ron was not impressed.

“Hey, look,” Hunter began, “We’re going out to run some errands. You gonna be around?”

“I expect so, from the way this house feels,” she said.

“Hi, Alicia,” Jon called, joining us after he’d cleared the dishes.

“Hey, hon!” she said, giving him a hug. Their little differences seemed forgotten; Jon wanted to be a good host.

“What about the way the house feels?” he asked. Alicia eased her embrace and looked at him for a second as if confused.

“We’ll get to that,” she said. “Look, why don’t you boys go run your errands and let us get on with what we have to do. Don’t break any speed limits, either. Hunter? You drive.”

“What?” Ron protested.

“Here,” Jon said, fishing into his pocket and tossing Hunter the keys to the truck. “I loaded the tanks for you. Just be careful with her.”

“You drive, Hunter,” she repeated. “Trust me.”

“C’mon, son,” Hunter said, pulling a smirking Ron behind him.

We tried not to laugh as we listened to them heading around back. “There’s nothing wrong with my driving,” Ron groused. “Chill out, man. She pick you up for somethin’ or what?” Hunter trailed off as they rounded the corner of the porch.

Alicia flicked her eyebrows at me and smiled. She knew.

“So how’d things go with the milk truck at the power plant?” I asked.

“Just a milk truck,” she shrugged. “The driver pulled off the highway and fell asleep in the cab, is all, but the plant manager wasn’t about to go near it to find that out. No biggie. This time,” she added.

“I assume you gave him a proper talking to,” Jon said.

“Oh, the Highway Patrol made it abundantly clear that he should do his sleeping at a posted rest stop these days instead of scaring people half to death,” she said. “Particularly with the threat level being up like it is.”

“Great world we live in,” I muttered. “Can’t even trust a milk truck anymore.”

Alicia smirked and nodded. Even police in small rural areas had to be on guard these days. “Now,” she began. “Why don’t you boys buy me a cup of coffee and tell me what’s been going on around here.”


To Be Continued