Working at the Club
I drove home and turned off the radio. I was in no mood for music. Plus I had to work tomorrow which made me feel even worse. I hopedAdam, would be up because I wanted to have a long talk with him.
My dad asked me how the movie was and I was a little too rude with him. I could tell he was hurt by my curtness. We had had a wonderful day together and now I had just ruined it. I went upstairs and was happy to see the light on underneath the crack of Adam's door. I gentlyknocked and he responded with a, "Come in!"
He was laying in bed under the sheets reading another of my brother's books, The Hunt for Red October. "Don't tell me you finished the Cardinal of the Kremlin already?" I asked.
"No, but I got to the part where Ryan reams out the gay senator andI kind of lost interest in the story. I'm not in the mood for homophobic people at this point. Even if they are just fictional characters."
I had to giggle. "Ryan's not homophobic, they just used that argument as a trap for the Russians."
"Really? All right, now I can finish it with a clear conscious," he said setting down his current book. I laughed again. Itwas so cute the way he said it. He smiled and his dimples stuck outagainst the backdrop of his smooth and thin face. "How was the date,did you get lucky, stud?" He was grinning at me like we were sororitysisters, and he talked with an added lisp for effect.
He immediately brought me out of my shitty mood but I sat down at the foot of his bed and poured my heart out to him anyway. He listenedintently and immediately became serious. I told him everything, fromthe first hook-up, to the shower incident, how he were really getting alonggreat at work and then I told him about everything that happened tonight.
"What a horrible thing to say!" he reassured me after I told him what Ryan's last words to me were. "I think that boy needs to wake upand smell the gay." I chuckled.
"He's just not comfortable with his feelings," I said.
"Listen. You give that boy some space and he'll come around." He got a twinkle in his eye before adding in a really effeminate voice,"Plus I'll flirt with you when he's around to play up the jealousy factor." I had to laugh... I was coming out of my mood by just being aroundAdam. He seemed to know all the right thing to say and I couldn'tstop myself from smiling despite my mood..
"You're a funny guy," I said to him.
"How am I funny? Funny how? Do I make you laugh?" he said, doing a pretty damn good Joe Pesci impersonation. I started laughing uncontrollably as he switched from his gay queen persona to an Italiangangster. He kept up the joke and did a really good job with Pesci'svoice. He was obviously a fan of Goodfellas because he knewthe whole routine. By the time he was done, I was on the floor rollingaround with laughter.
"Stop, dude," I pleaded. "You're going to wake up my mom!"
"Hey, if she wakes up I'll fuckin' whack her! We'll fuckin' take her out back and send her to swim with the fuckin' fishes, eh? Andif you dad starts some shit, WHACK! We'll fuckin' deal wit' him too." It started a whole new fit of laughter and by the time I was done my sides ached and tears were running down my face. I sat up and saw the amused look on his face. In his Pesci voice he added for a finale, "Yeah,I'm a funny fuckin' guy. Says you, I oughta fuckin' smack you around." With that he got up and went out to the bathroom. He was in his boxers and I couldn't help but notice how unbelievably cute he was! Cuteand he had a great sense of humor. If my heart hadn't been aching,I probably would have tried to yank them right down to the floor.
When he came back after brushing his teeth and getting ready for bed I remembered to see what his step mom had wanted. "Hey, did you talk to your step mom tonight?"
"Yeah, we talked."
"What'd she want."
"Actually, she was genuinely worried about me. I told her I was staying at a friend's house and I gave her the number here."
"What about you dad?"
"He's not ready to talk, she mentioned that she wanted us to get together before I left for college."
"So does that mean he's still going to pay for it?"
"I didn't ask. I suppose it could." He pondered that for a minute.
"I hope he does." I sat back on the bed. He was leaningback on the pillow, with his hands folded behind his head. He hadjust around the right amount of light brown armpit hair. Not toomuch where it was real bushy, but just enough to play with. I staredat his lean body and he watched me enjoy the sight of him.
"Hey lover boy, although being mentally undressed by you is an exciting prospect I need to get my beauty sleep so I don't end up looking like you."
"Fuck you," I said, hitting him on the arm and getting up. "I'm the sexiest creature on this earth and you know it."
"You're about as sexy as you are modest. Go stick a pin in your ear before your head pops," he joked.
"Don't you wish."
I flipped him off as I left the room. I didn't say anything else because I didn't want him to get anymore comebacks on me. I got ready for bed and set my alarm clock for 9:30. I didn't have to be outon the course until 11 at least. I drifted off to sleep, wonderinghow I could ever make amends with Ryan.
The alarm clock woke me up with a start and I slammed my hand into it. Who invented those damn things? You're sleeping peacefully and then all of a sudden "BLAAAAAAAA!!!!!" I sat up in bed and slowly wokemyself up. I rubbed my eyes and lifted the covers off my bed andgot up to look out the window. The gods were smiling down on me. Outside a good old New England summer rain shower was raging. Theraindrops were pelting off the window and I could hear the steady drippingof the rain gutters. I headed downstairs in my boxers to call George.
Adam was in the kitchen eating a bagel and cream cheese with my mom. "Steven, put on some clothes," she scolded me. "We have a guest here." That's my mom for you. The Catholic mom scolding her gay son forbeing scantily clad in front of another gay man. I chuckled at thatthought. I wondered if he had come out to them last night, or not.
"Mom, when you're beautiful like me you have every right to show itoff."
Adam laughed and said, "Yeah, but you should exercise your rights somewhere else." My mom joined in with him laughing at me.
I shook my head and picked up the phone to call George. His wife answered and she passed the phone to him. I wondered how she stoodhim. If he was a grouch in the morning like a lot of people, I couldhardly begin to ponder how he acted.
"Stevie, how are you?" he said in his dopey but tired voice.
"I'm all right, but its raining pretty hard out."
"Yeah, you can go ahead and forget about doing the cart today. Sorry."
"I think I'll be all right." George assumed I absolutely loved my job and was upset I wouldn't be able to make any money today. The truth was, a day off would be bliss.
"Well, we got the member guest tournament coming up this weekend. You'll make a lot of money, then. Are you all set?" The member guest was the coup-de-grace of the golfing season. The winner got his name and his partners name on the "Wall of Fame" with all the other past winners. I thought the whole idea was pathetic. I affectionately referred to it as the "Wall of Lame". We talked for a couple more minutes and I was glad when I was able to hang up the phone and get rid or him.
"No work for me, what about you?" I asked Adam.
"Nope, I've got the day off," he replied. "I'm going to lookaround for a place to stay."
"Oh Adam," my mom said, "Don't be in such a hurry to leave. You're welcome to stay here as long as you need."
I walked over to the bread drawer and cut up a bagel to toast. As it warmed up, I ran upstairs to grab a sweatshirt. The rain haddropped the temperature quite a bit and our house was perpetually coldanyway. I threw on my lacrosse shorts to appease my mother.
When I went back downstairs my bagel was ready and I sat down to join Adam and my mom.
They were still arguing about him searching for an apartment. I didn't join in. If it ain't my fight, I don't bite. I atemy bagel in silence, watching Adam argue with my mom. He even hadher laughing with some of his quips. I couldn't help but admire theway he did that. After breakfast my mom went up to shower and getout of her nightgown.
I said to Adam, "Would you like me to come house hunting with you?"
"If you want you can come. Can you resist the excitement?"
"I can think of better things to do on an off day, except its raining."
Adam got up and went into the bathroom. I went over to the phone and picked it up. As I started to dial Adam came walking out.
"Whoa, who are you calling?" he asked.
"No one," I said smiling. Adam reached over and grabbed the phone from me. "Dickhead, give it back."
"Were you about to call Ryan?"
"Yes," I finally said.
"Steve, I can't stress this enough. Give him space."
"But I'm sure he'll be eager to make up," I pleaded.
"Steve," he scolded me. "He pretty much told you to blow off for good, last night. You're eager to make up because you love him. He's uncomfortable with his feelings and the way everything is going. He needs to sort that out, without you clouding his mind. You've heard that famous expression?"
"If you love something, let it go and if it comes back, its yours to love forever."
I rolled my eyes at this overused maxim.
"Don't roll your eyes at me boy," he said. "Its a cheesy expression but it really does make sense in this case. We both know Ryan hassome feelings for you, based on the way he acts, based on what he says. He just doesn't know it yet. I think it's going to hit him soon and whether or not he chooses to act on it is up to him. If you don'tgive him space its going to cloud his judgment and make him uncomfortableabout being with a guy."
I had to agree with what he was saying. His advice was genuine and sincere. I almost felt like he was pulling for this to work out between me and Ryan even harder than I was. "Adam, you're a greatfriend. Thank you."
He looked at me sincerely and said, "You're welcome." He paused before adding, "You don't know how much that meanscoming from a guy like you." My eyes started to get teary, as did his, and he quickly saved us from embarrassment. "Anyway," hesaid clearing his throat. "You want to come with to look at apartments? You know, help me test out the mattresses being the ass monkey that youare?"
Damn, he was so good at remembering everything you had said to him and using it against you later. "Yeah, let's go."
"Good, I'll drive."
He went up and showered and got changed, and then I did the same. I put on a pair of khakis with a red polo shirt. I figured it would be pretty cool out. He was wearing a pair of green cargo shorts with a nice white, turtleneck sweater. He looked really good.
We got into his car and drove over to Danbury. If he was going to find a cheap place, it would have to be there. First we lookedat a couple of condo complexes. They were real nice except none ofthem were under $1000. We left there pretty quickly. Next wevisited some people that had offered sublets. He wasn't too crazyabout having a roommate, but he didn't have the money for a single. We visited two places and they were both dumps. And one wanted himto pay $950 a month plus utilities. Way too much for the conditionit was in. He was getting pretty frustrated so we decided it wouldbe a good time to stop for lunch. We chose a diner and got a tablealone near the back.
After we had both ordered, we sat back to talk and wait for the meals to come.
"So what else do you have to go on?" I asked him.
"Well, I've got three more places listed looking for a subletter. But the cheapest one is around $800."
"Perhaps you could drop them down to $700?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "All these rates seem to be prettysolid. Is this a bad time to be looking for apartments?"
"I don't know. Is apartment hunting usually seasonal?" Neither of us had any idea. "What about WesConn?" I asked. (WesternConnecticut State University)
"What about it?"
"Well maybe you could get a dorm room. I'll bet plenty are open during the summer."
He thought for a moment and said, "That's not a bad idea. I'msurprised it came from you. How much do you think they'd charge? What is room and board for a semester?"
"I have no idea. But it'll probably come out to less money than some of these other places."
"A dorm room," he said to himself. "Cool, I can get ready forcollege!"
"Dorm life is all right. The food sucks and the rooms are small. But its like living with 100 of your best friends."
"You going to live in the dorms next year?"
"No, I've got an apartment. That's twice as better."
"Did you and your roommate get naked together in the dorms?" He had a devilishgrin on his face.
"What?" I asked laughing.
"Did you guys," he said slow and seductively, "get naked and make sweet ass-monkey love?"
"Where do you come up with this shit?" I asked him.
He was laughing pretty hard by now and so was I. "Answer the question," he finally said.
"What would make you think that?"
"I don't know, college, experimentation, two guys, raging hormones. It sounds like you're dodging the question."
"No I am not dodging the question. No, we never made love. He wasn't gay, he had a girlfriend."
"Okay, I was just curious. Did you tell him you were gay?"
"Why not?" he asked. "You seem to be pretty out."
"He said to me the first time we met was that he was glad I was 'normal' because he didn't want some 'weird gay guy.'"
"Yeah, so I figured I'd just let it slide."
"What a dick. What happened when you brought someone home?"
"I never did. I always went to the other guy's place. He actually was a pretty good roommate. We got along real well. He wasn'thomophobic in the way where he'd be violent or anything, he was just sortof weirded out by gays."
"Don't make excuses for him."
"No really, we got along pretty well."
"Was he cute?"
"Ahh," I said shaking my hand. "On a scale of 1 to 10, maybe a six."
"What would you rate Ryan as?"
"What are you crazy? What do you a think. Ryan's a 10."
He nodded his head. "I'll agree with that." Just then our food came and we paused our conversation as the waitress delivered ourfood.
"Where do you go to school?" he asked me after the waitress left.
"Penn State. I've told you this before."
"Guess I don't listen to you. How far from Bucknell is that?"
I shook my head. "I don't have any idea. It's not too far. Maybe an hour, hour and a half."
"We can visit each other."
"Sure, come up and stay with me. We'll party likes its 1999."
"Sure, I'll visit. You'll come see me?"
"Nah, Bucknell sucks," I joked.
"At least it ain't a state school."
I flipped him the bird. "Our business school kicks ass," I said. "And what's your football team ranked again?"
He laughed. "Allow me to reiterate. At least I'm not going to a state school."
"Screw you man," I said shaking my head and smiling. "They'reboth fine schools anyway."
"What are you studying?" he asked me.
"Differential quantum mathematics."
"What?" he asked. He raised an eyebrow.
"No. I'm studying business."
"That makes more sense. You don't seem like the geeky type."
"Oh so mathematicians are automatically geeky now?"
"You know what I mean. I think I want to study business, too."
I nodded. "The world needs businessman."
"Yup." We had a nice lunch. I found out we liked a lot of the same movies and books. He was an avid reader. I didn't read that much, just now and then when the TV was broken. After lunch, we decided to head over to the campus. It was only slightly drizzling now as we got in the car. We walkedinto the main office and a secretary directed us to the housing director. He invited Adam and I in. He was a real nice man.
Adam explained that he was looking for a cheap place to stay for a couple of months.
"Do you know an exact date that you'll need it till?", the directorasked.
He thought for a moment. "School starts the 4th of September. So I guess maybe till the 1st or 2nd?"
"Okay, that could work. It coincides with our schedule. And you're looking to move in soon?"
"Okay, I could you get in as soon as Thursday. I'll need yourparents to co-sign a housing agreement."
"Well, I'm 18 so I'm not a minor. I can sign that for you."
"I need someone to co-sign with you," he explained.
"I'm 19," I piped in.
"Okay, but you probably don't have any kind of a credit history, doyou?" I shook my head. He turned back to Adam and said, "Willit be a problem to get your parents to co-sign?"
He nodded, but said nothing.
"Well," the director continued, "I can't let you in without a qualified co-signer. I'll go ahead and start the paperwork, but you're goingto have to talk with your parents or someone who can sign this." He handed Adam a copy of the agreement before adding, "I can hold a roomfor you until Friday. But you have to let me know by then, okay?"
We left dejectedly, not even in the mood to look at any more apartments. Adam would only be paying $450 a month and he'd get meals with that aswell if he could live in the dorms. He cursed his luck and his dad.
"Look," I said as we got into the car, "you can live at my house for years before you overstay your welcome there. Both my brothers have moved out so we have plenty of room."
Adam shook his head. "I'm just stupid. I'm not ready tobe on my own yet. Why couldn't I have told them when I was readyto support myself."
"Come on, the last person you can blame is yourself. You haven't done anything wrong."
"Yeah but the timing wasn't too swift. Shit." He bangedthe steering wheel with his fist. I put my hand on his knee and caressed it for a second.
"Come on, calm down little buddy. I'll talk to my parents about co-signing."
"Oh no way," he said. "They've already done enough."
"Yeah, but we can be..."
He cut me off adding, "No freaking way Steve. Thanks but no thanks."
"All right," I concluded. There was one thing that I was starting to really pick up on with Adam. He was fiercely independent and hehated taking any sort of charity. I knew that people who felt thatway had often lived a rough life. I assumed that he and his familywere not too well off financially and he probably had a bit of a toughtime growing up. There was one question I wanted to ask him. I wasn't sure if this was the right time but I really needed to find outan answer.
I decided to ask it. "Adam, you don't talk about your mother at all."
"She died when I was little. Cancer," he said not letting getto the actual question.
"I'm sorry," I said.
He started the car and pulled out of the parking space. "No don't be. I was only four when she died. I've acceptedit."
"Do you get along with your stepmother? And please let me know if I'm getting too personal."
He laughed and said, "It's all right, Steve. I realize I've found a pretty special friend in you and I'd talk to you about anything. Yes, I did get along with her. She's the only one who seems to beon my side right now, although she took it the hardest when I first toldher."
"And how old is your little brother?"
"Was he..." I stumbled a bit. "Is he..."
"Gay?" he tried to finish for me.
"No, no, is he your dad's, too?"
"Yeah, they had him together. I get along with him fine, too. Its cool having a little brother. We're pretty close. He idolizes me and was always following me around the house. I can see why they were afraid of the effect it would have on him."
"That's bullshit," I said. "You're either gay or you're not. Its not like its contagious."
"I know," he said. "You just don't understand my dad, though."
"I don't think I want to," I said disgusted.
He just nodded his head. When we got home it was 3 o'clock. My mom wasn't home. I stretched out on the couch and flipped on the TV. Adam went upstairs to sort out all his apartment information. Nothing but cartoons and soap operas. In desperation I clicked over to Channel 44. Ahhhh. The History Channel was showing something on the battle of Britain. I watched TV for a half-hour or so before Adam came back downstairs.
He gave me a note he found on the kitchen table. My mother had been called in to work and she wouldn't be home until 4:30. "Thanks," I said to him after reading the note. "Could you get me a blanky?" Iasked in a baby voice.
He grabbed a blanket for me and said in his own baby voice, "Does little Stevie wantto be tucked in?" Little Stevie nodded and he tucked the blanketaround me tight. Then he kissed me on the forehead. It threw meoff a little. But I didn't really mind it. "Will Ryan get madif Adam gives little Stevie a kiss on the forehead?"
"Little Ryan can go fuck himself," I continued in my baby voice.
"That's the attitude. You'll be feeling better in no time, and maybe then he'll have realized what an ass he's being."
"That would be nice," I agreed.
He sat down in my dad's Lazy boy chair. "What are we watching?"
"Something on the Battle of Britain."
"What channel is this."
"The best channel there is. The History channel."
He frowned. "What do you watch this shit?"
"This isn't shit. Look at this stuff." On the TV there were clips of a crazy dog fight. Then they cut to an unlucky Spitfire that was careening towards the ground and a fiery death. This is educational entertainment. I callit 'Educationment.'"
He laughed at my little joke. "I call it crap. Put on MTV."
"Oh there's a great station," I said sarcastically. "The onlynetwork that draws a 90% illiterate audience."
"It's better than this shit," he said. "This is ancient. This is history. This is old men who ain't alive anymore."
"Hey butthead, if the British hadn't won this battle you'd be speaking German right now."
"Whatever," he said. He finally got his wish when I dozed offten minutes later and he stole the remote. I woke up when my momgot home.
"Well," she asked Adam. "How was the apartment search?"
"It was ridiculous. I couldn't find any nice places forunder a $1000."
"This is Connecticut, hon. That's just the way it is."
"I found a place at WesConn but I need my parents to co-sign. Its pretty cheap."
"Well, talk to your step mom again, maybe you two can work something out." She looked over at me and asked me how I was.
"Fine," I replied. "How was work?"
"Oh, busy," she sighed. She started to walk into the kitchen.
"What's for dinner?" I called out.
"Pork tender loin. Are you boys hungry right now?"
"Nah," we both called out.
"Okay, I'll probably start it in an hour."
We had a nice dinner. The food was good and the conversation wasn't awkward at all. My dad got home from work halfway through dinneras usual but joined us for the tail end of it. After we had cleanedup after dinner, Adam excused himself to go upstairs. When he wasout of earshot I brought up the subject of his apartment search.
"Umm, so this place at WesConn would be pretty sweet for him. He'd even get meals cooked for him."
"Yeah, that's not too bad," my mom said.
"So, what would you guys think about co-signing for him?" I asked alittle timidly.
My mom shook her head. "I'm not sure that's such a good idea."
"Why not? He's got enough money saved up. And he makes enough money at the club anyway."
"Steven, we wouldn't even co-sign for your brothers at school. Its just really not in our place to help him out."
I turned towards my dad. He said, "We're doing our part. He's welcome to stay here the whole summer. If he's so anxious toget on his own he's going to have to shoulder the load."
"But you wouldn't be helping him pay the rent. He just needs a co-signer."
But my parents were firm and they held their ground. I guess they were right, even though Adam was obviously a great guy they didn't knowhim well enough. The conversation ended without my breaking theirresolve. I went upstairs to see what Adam was up to and to checkmy email. The computer was in the room where Adam was staying.
He was laying on my brother's bed reading the Cardinal of the Kremlin again. "Good stuff?" I asked turning on the computer.
"Yeah," came the response. He put the book down and asked me. "Do you have an internet connection there?"
"Yeah, I'll show you how to use it." My dad's work gave him afree connection at home and I showed Adam how to dial in.
"Cool," he said after the demonstration. "I might like to geton when you're done." I saw the wicked smile on his face. Iguessed what he was thinking.
"Hey, no dirty stuff," I said. "This is my dad's work connection."
"Come on," he said. "Me? I'm an angel."
"Seriously," I said.
"All right, no dirty stuff. But is it all right if I go to 'themed' sites, as long as they're not porn?"
"Yeah," that'll work. I checked my mail. I had a coupleof messages from my friends from school. I wrote back and told themwhat was up. Nothing much. "All right I'm going downstairsto watch TV. You want to come?"
He rolled his eyes. "No, I've had enough history for a day. I think I'll finish this book."
"Your call," I said. "Good night."
I watched TV for a while with my dad. I went to bed around 11:30. The light under Adam's door was still on so I knocked and then peeked myhead in. "Good night," I said.
He looked up. He was reading The Hunt for Red October now. He sure was a quick reader. "Night, stud."
I went to bed and tossed and turned for a bit before drifting off to a sweet sleep.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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