Finding Love: A Journey
(Copyright 2007 by the author)
Disclaimer: This is a fictional story dealing with love and consensual sexual
activities between males. If you are not of legal age, reside in an area where
viewing such material is illegal, or are offended by homosexuality and/or
homosexual themes, leave this site now.
The characters in this story do not always practice safe sex. Remember this is fiction. You should always use a condom for the your protection and especially for the protection of the one you love. The author recommends only safe sex. Be wise and follow safe sex practices.
Several songs are quoted in this story. The copyrights to these are held by the artists or their publishers and not by the author. They are quoted as a tribute to the artist and the piece.
All persons in this story are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
All other disclaimers apply. The author retains all rights. No reproductions
are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...
In a short time, we had
collected all of our paraphernalia and were headed toward the
parking lot. As we walked up the beach, we saw a young man, sitting
by himself, staring out at the sea. I thought he looked familiar
and he was. It was Todd.
"That's Todd isn't it?" I asked Brad.
"Yes, it's Todd. Let's stop and say hello."
As we walked closer, it became apparent that Todd had been crying. At first he didn't see us, and when he did, he tried to hide his red swollen eyes. Brad spoke first,
"Hey, Todd, whatcha doing?'
"Not much. Hi. How are you guys?"
Brad gave me a look that said, `Don't ask any dumb questions,' but he should have known I would probably open my mouth and put my foot in.
"Todd, are you okay?" I asked. Todd sniffled and the tears began to slide down his face.
Brad gave me a look that could kill, but I persisted. Todd had his head in his hands and was sobbing quietly. I put down the things I was carrying and sat down in the sand beside him. I reached out and put my arm around his shoulders. Brad watched me with a mixture of anger and acceptance. Todd finally put his head on my shoulder.
"It will be okay, Todd. Brad and I are here and we'll help you with whatever the problem is." Finally Brad relented and asked,
"Todd, does it have to do with Trent?"
"Yeah. Yeah. Trent called it quits. He doesn't want anything to do with me. Brad, I don't know what I did, but I must have pissed him off. I think he has another friend. Do you know Bill Stevens?"
"Not really, I've heard of him. Plays tennis, I think, for East Palm High School. Is that who it is?"
"Yeah, I think so. Trent didn't say too much about him, just that he thought we should have a change, that we should play the field. I don't want to do that, Brad. I'm a one guy kind of guy. I....I loved him for God's sake. It hurts so bad, Jacob. I want to die."
I looked at Brad and motioned him over. He put down the cooler and some other things and came over and joined me in hugging Todd. The sobs were now louder and came from deep within Todd.
"Todd, don't even think that. You don't want to die. My God, Todd, think of all that you have to stay alive for. Brad and I are your friends. You have loads of friends at school. Even Trent will want to continue to be your friend." I poked Brad.
"Look, Todd, you're important to your parents. They love you, and you love them. Don't do anything stupid, okay? What are you doing for dinner tonight?"
"I don't want to eat. I'm just going to sit here until I have to go home."
Brad looked at me, pleading in his eyes. I knew what to do.
"Todd, you're coming to my house with us, and then you're going out to dinner with us, and if you want, you can stay the night at my place. No, that's not a invitation, it's a demand. You will stay the night with us at my house. You can call your folks and tell them we're going to dinner and then a movie and it will be late, so you're staying the night. I don't want to hear any shit from you; you're going to do it."
"But I can't. I'd be imposing on you two. I saw you earlier, you're so much in love, you two. I just envy you."
"Look, Todd, when Jake says you're gonna do something, you better do it or he'll drive you crazy with his talk and demands. So let's get going. How'd you get here?"
"I came with Trent. He left because I didn't want to go home with him. I was going to hitch home."
"Well, now you're going to be riding home in style in Brad's red Mustang. Come on, get your ass moving. By the way, it's a cute ass."
"Enough of that, dear Jacob. My cute ass is all you need."
"Well there are a couple of other things I like about your anatomy. What do you think, Todd." Finally Todd was laughing a little.
"I would say you're on the right track. And by the way, Jacob, your ass is nice, too."
"Oooo, that's so, true!" Now all three of us were laughing.
We headed toward the parking lot and the Mustang. I thought as we walked how strange are the twists of life. I never expected to be bringing two young men home. I loved Brad with all my heart, and my heart was touched by the sorrow of a lover scorned. My heart was heavy as I thought about what my life would become if Brad were to cast me aside.
The ride back to my house had been quiet until we got about half way
there. Then Todd decided to talk,
"Jacob, you probably know that I'm gay. I guess Brad always thought that I was, but he was a perfect gentlemen and never mentioned it to anyone. Then when I started to see Trent on a regular basis, I had to put up with a lot of shit from Kev and his group. I did get used to that, and they never made any moves on me, but they often said things that made me wonder.
"Trent made my life so happy, and everything went well until...until he met Bill at a tennis match. I don't know what happened as Trent would never tell me, but I guess Bill put the make on him and he liked it. After that Trent changed. He began to demand things of me during sex that I didn't like. I tried to reason with him, but he would have none of it. So I did as he wished hoping that I would keep him. But it got worse.
"What do you mean by that?" asked Brad.
In a whisper so quiet we had to strain our ears and with tears again running down his face, he said,
"He began to beat me. And then, and then..."
"And then what? Todd, tell us what happened," I almost demanded.
Brad intervened, "Todd, why don't you wait until later to tell us more. It's okay. Did you go in the ocean?"
"He brought Bill home and they wanted to both have sex with me. I refused. He beat me really bad, but not where it would show. You remember this summer, Brad, how I wore long-sleeved shirts even in the hottest days. Well, that's the reason."
"That son-of-a-bitch. Todd, why didn't you tell me, or Kev, or someone. What about your parents or the police?" asked Brad.
"My parents don't know that I'm gay. Kev isn't sure, and I didn't want to make it public. I knew that you thought I was gay, but I didn't want to get you involved. And if I went to the police, they'd have laughed at me and told me it was a gay problem. So, I stayed away from him most of the summer, until today. I agreed to see him today, and well, you know the rest. The terrible truth is that I think I'm still in love with him, even after all he did to me."
I sat there seething. How could anyone subject a good guy like Todd to such shit. I wanted to find this Trent bastard and cut his fuckin' nuts off. I knew Brad could see that I was almost out of control, so he quietly said,
"Jake, tell Todd about your house and pool and everything."
That little comment defused my anger, and I reached over and squeezed Brad's arm three times. He returned it.
In short order I told Todd about the house and the pool. He seemed interested, but I really think he was being polite. He was very interested in the house when we arrived and drove through the gates and into the garage.
"This is palatial. How many in your family, Jacob?' Todd asked.
"I live in the house with my dad and our housekeeper. Don't worry about room. We have five guest rooms, so you can take your pick. Come on in and meet Sadie. Would you mind grabbing a couple of things and then we won't need to came back out until we leave for dinner?"
We clomped into the kitchen where we found Sadie at the counter drinking a cup of hot tea. She looked at me with a furrowed brow, but said nothing, waiting for me to explain another young man.
"Sadie, this is Todd. Todd, what's your last name?"
"This is Todd Evans from high school He's a friend of Brad's and I met him at the beach. He's going to dinner with us and he's staying here tonight. Would you be sure that the guest room near Brad's is ready? Thanks. Guys, how about we take a swim in the pool. It's supposed to be ready today. Sadie, did the pool guy come today?"
"Yes, the pool is ready. Brad, take Todd out to the pool. I have to talk to Jacob about his father."
Brad glanced at me, a worried look on his face. I smiled at him and he decided to leave, so he and Todd went to the pool. I looked at Sadie with suspicion written all over my face.
"What's this about my father, Sadie?"
Sadie got up from the chair and came to me. She hugged me and then said, quietly but firmly,
"Jacob, this can't become a home for friends of Brad. I mean why is this boy going to stay here tonight?"
"What about my father?"
"Oh, dear, Jacob. He's taking a week off. He and Diane are leaving for a week in Paris. That's all he told me. He wanted to know where you were. When I told him about Brad, he seemed pleased that you had a new friend. I didn't mention anything else."
"Sadie, why does he do this to me? Why?"
"I don't know, Jacob. It isn't that he doesn't love you. He loves you very much, but I think he worries that if he loves you too much, he will lose you as he did your mother and your brother. We don't know where Karen is, but that's a loss, too. Try to understand how much your father's heart has been broken."
I flopped into a chair, put my head in my hands, and breathed in deeply. Sadie came to me and knelt down so she was at my level. She hugged me.
"I try to understand, Sadie, but it's so hard. Just when I think that things are improving, he does something like this. No explanation, nothing. It's not the way a father should behave. It's wrong. Damn it, it's wrong!"
Sadie got up from beside me, walked to the center of the kitchen, turned and spoke,
"I'm not sure if your father is wrong, but I understand how you feel. If you were ten years old, I would be more concerned about you. But you're almost eighteen and you have a new friend whom you are gaga over. You are the happiest I've seen you in so many years.
"Listen to me, Jacob. Concentrate on what is so special in your life. Don't worry about your father at this moment. Enjoy Brad and your friendship. You may need your father later in your life, but right now you have Brad. I can tell, Jacob, that Brad cares a great deal for you. Enjoy that. Keep his confidence and his affection and hold it close to your heart.
"Remember, your father loves you, but he's found someone in his life who means a great deal to him. Don't think that it's all physical because it isn't. Diane loves him and returns his love in a way that you can't.
"I'm here, Jacob, when you need an adult to talk to about your problems. I know that I can't replace either your mom or your dad, but I know you well, and I can help if you need it. I do love you, Jacob. I love you a great deal, just remember that.
Sadie stood there looking at me and then I noticed tears in her eyes. I felt like day-old shit. I got up and went to her and hugged her.
"Sadie, I know you love me, and I love you. You've been the one who has helped me through so many difficult times. I love you as I did my mom. I know I have to accept my dad as he is even if I can't understand why he does what he does. I hope that life doesn't bring him to a place where he won't be able to show and tell me that he loves me. The house is great, and having money so that I can have the things I need is wonderful, but Sadie I would give it all up for my dad's attention and love."
That's when the tears started.
"Brad, come here, Jacob needs you. Hurry, please," yelled Sadie out the sliders to the pool.
I stood in the kitchen crying like a baby. Brad came flying through the door, followed immediately by Todd.
"What's the matter, Sadie?" Brad asked gasping for breath.
"It's your boyfriend. He needs some lovin'," she said as she left the room.
Brad rushed to me and took me into his arms pulling me tightly against his almost naked body. I fell into him, my heart nearly broken. I sobbed against him; he picked up my chin and kissed me lightly on my tear stained lips. Then we swayed back and forth in some sort of rhythmic dance, as he said,
"I'm here, Jake. I'm here, Jake. Don't cry. Tell me how I can help. I'm here, Jake. I love you, Jake. I love you, Baby. Tell me what's wrong, please, Jake." Todd stood in the doorway watching and suddenly he rushed over to us and joined the hug.
"Take it easy, Jacob. Brad loves you. I'm your friend. Let us help.
"Oh, Brad, it's just about my dad. Sadie told me something that made me aware of her love for me. I just lost it. Thanks for caring, Todd. With all you have going on in your life, wanting to help me means a great deal."
"I already know that you two are real people, the kind of people I want to know. You wanted to help me the minute you saw me at the beach. How many people would do that? And you came to me immediately, Jacob. You have a tenderness, a sensibility that makes you special. Brad, I hope you know how lucky you are to have Jacob. And he's so lucky to have you, Brad. I think I should be going."
Brad quickly broke the group hug. I took Todd's hand in mine, and asked him,
"Where the hell do you think you're going? Brad, get him your cell phone."
Brad dashed to his backpack and returned with his cell phone.
"Now, Todd, call your folks and tell them you're going out to dinner with us, then to a movie, and then you'll be staying here for the night. Tell them you'll be going to church with us tomorrow, and you'll be having Sunday dinner here. Got that all straight?" I said.
"Yes," answered Todd.
"You better do it, Todd, or he will never let it go. He'll pester you until you do exactly what he wants. That's why I love him."
"Why don't you two go back to the pool. I'll join you in a minute after I talk with Sadie."
Brad kissed me quickly, then▀ he and Todd went back out to the pool. I went to the guest room I had mentioned to Sadie for Todd. I was right. She was there, freshening up things, checking the bathroom. I stopped at the door and watched her.
"Mom, may I talk to you?" Sadie looked at me and began to cry. She hurried to me and hugged me so tightly that I almost couldn't breathe.
"Jacob, thank you for calling me Mom. It means more to me than I can say. You are like my son, Jacob."
"Mom, I need to tell you about Todd. He's staying with us because he has been mistreated by his so-called boyfriend. The guy beat him frequently and then when he found a new guy, he wanted Todd to join the two of them for sex. Todd refused and he beat him terribly. He hadn't seen him for sometime until today, when the bastard told him he didn't want him any longer. Todd's so upset that he talked about suicide, that's why he is staying with us. Brad and I think that if we watch him through tomorrow, maybe we can get him the help he needs at school. What do you think?"
"Let me think about who might be able to help Todd. Jacob, do his parents know he's gay?"
"No, and he's not ready to tell them. He just talked to them and they know he's gonna be here until sometime tomorrow afternoon."
"You and Brad are wonderful to help this young man. Let me think of how we might be able to get him some help before school on Monday. I'm not sure that we should wait that long."
I kissed her on the cheek and said,
"Whatever you can do will be helpful. Thanks, Mom."
"Now you get back to your friends. Where are you taking your friends for dinner?"
"Brad and I decided on Ranaldi's."
"Good choice, now get moving." I hurried to join Brad and Todd at the pool.
When I got out to the pool, Brad and Todd were sitting on the edge
the pool dangling their feet and talking. At first I thought I
should go back into the house; in fact, I had started when Brad
I walked slowly over to Bard who was smiling that smile at me that weakened my knees. Todd also was smiling. Without meaning to, I found myself smiling with them.
"Closer, Baby, I want a hug," he whined like a little boy who had lost his toy.
I looked questioningly at him, wondering if he had some evil plan in mind. I walked between the two of them, bent down to give Brad a kiss, when in a flash, I was in the water. The two evil boys stood on the pool deck laughing and pointing at me. I had surfaced, sputtering and cursing, but I did think it was funny. I decided that instead of doing anything, I would start swimming laps and ignore the two of them. It worked.
As I turned at the pool's end I saw Brad who looked worried; his face showing no sign of humor. Todd had sat down in a deck chair and looked uncomfortable. I kept swimming and ignoring them. Brad yelled out to me,
"Jake, we were just fooling around. Speak to me, please."
I kept swimming and ignoring them. I heard a splash and looked to see Brad swimming free style toward me. I increased my speed. `Let him catch me if he can' I said to myself. Todd was on his feet to cheer Brad on in the race. I continued to ignore them.
Brad was falling further behind me, so I slowed my pace a little, letting him slowly close the gap. When I thought he was close enough, I picked up the pace again and pulled away from him. He was struggling now as his breathing was all wrong and he was on the verge of exhaustion. Still, I stroked furiously, losing all the form I had learned, and just intent on leaving him in my wake. I reached the ladder,hurriedly climbed out and sat on a lounge on the opposite side of the pool from Todd.
Suddenly I heard Brad floundering and I got alarmed; I ran to the pool and dived in. I swam as fast as I could to Brad. He looked scared and I hated myself for being such an ass. I grabbed him from behind and swam in proper lifesaving form, and pulled him toward the shallow end of the pool. When I got to where I could stand up, I pulled Brad out of the water and into my arms. I was crying like a fool. Brad spit out some water, struggled to get his breath, hugged me, and kissed me hard on the lips.
"I'm so sorry, Brad. I was an ass. You could have drowned. I know you can never forgive me and I understand. If you hate me, I will understand. If you want to leave, it will just about kill me, but I will understand. I can't believe that I was such a fool that I put your life in jeopardy."
My sobs seemed to increase and Brad continued to hug me tightly. He was now sitting in the water with me in his lap. My head rested on his shoulder, my tears flowing freely down onto his chest. Todd had run over and was standing next to us. He seemed alarmed, but said nothing.
Brad finally regained his breathing, and he kissed me again and said.
"Jake, Baby, it's all my fault. I talked Todd into the stupid idea of throwing you into the pool. We thought you would think it was funny and that you would enjoy it."
He hugged me tighter. As I collected myself, I moved a little away from him so that I could look into his eyes, and told him,
"Brad, I did enjoy it and I thought it was funny. I decided to ignore both of you to see what you would do. I didn't handle it very well. I'm sorry. Can you forgive me?"
He answered with a kiss which caused my Speedo to look filled to capacity. Todd smiled at me as he looked directly at my crotch. My reaction to Brad's kiss didn't escape Brad either as he, too, was looking at my ever expanding crotch. I knew the kiss had been good for him, as I could feel his manhood large and firm against my butt.
"Of course I forgive you, Baby. You really didn't do anything. I dove into the pool because I thought you were angry with Todd and me and I wanted to try to fix things. It was really all my fault; I talked Todd into it and he really didn't want to do it. I should have known better than to try to catch Triton, the fastest and most handsome of all the mermen."
Todd looked confused.
"Who the hell was Triton?" he asked.
"He's Poseidon's son and was god of the sea," Brad explained.
"Oh, I get it. "Cause Jake's such a great swimmer, it was like trying to catch this Triton guy."
"Sweet," I said.
It was then that I noticed Sadie standing near us on the deck of the pool. She looked concerned.
"Is everything okay? I heard some shouting and confusion and wondered if everything was okay," she said.
We three guys were all standing now, sans any erections. I was about to speak, when Brad took the lead.
"Sadie, I was stupid and tried to catch Jake in the pool and I just couldn't do it. I should have known that he could out swim me, but I'm a proud jock so I didn't worry about that. I just ran out of steam, and Jake, my wonderful Jake, saved me and got me out of the pool. Todd had nothing to do with the problem. Everything is okay now, isn't it Jake?"
"Sure is. We probably should get our showers taken and get ready for dinner."
"I'm gonna look like a slob since I have no clean clothes to put on," Todd said.
"Not to worry," I told Todd, "I have a closet full of new clothes and we're about the same size, so you can take your pick. The same goes for tomorrow when we go to church." Brad and Sadie smiled at me.
"That's a great idea, Jake. You are always helping somebody," said a proud Sadie.
"That he is, Sadie. That makes him so cute and lovable," Brad said with a giggle.
I couldn't help myself and quickly pushed him into the pool.
When we arrived at my rooms, Todd excused himself to use the
bathroom. I took this opportunity to whisper with Brad.
"What are we going to do for showers. I want to shower with you, but then what do we do with Todd?"
"Hadn't stopped to think about it. What do you think, Jake?" Brad asked.
"Well, I hate to leave him alone right now. Could we? No, I guess not."
"You want him to take his shower with us, don't you?"
My face reddened and I looked at the floor avoiding meeting Brad's eyes. I shook my head yes, but still didn't say anything.
"Hmmm," he moaned.
"Brad, I don't anticipate anything sexual. I only want and need you. It's just we might take some of the edge off his unhappiness if we shared our shower with him. And if we all get hard, then we'll figure out what to do about it. But really, that isn't what I want. Forget it; it was just a bad idea."
Brad pulled me to him, kissed me gently and as he kissed my ear, he whispered to me,
"You are so fuckin' kind. Sure, we'll share our shower with Todd, and if something sexual comes of it, we both can handle it. Why don't you ask him, and I'll support you," Brad said just as Todd came out of the bathroom.
"So, who's gonna go first for a shower, or do we all have a bathroom near our room?" asked Todd.
"Yup! Everyone has a private bathroom, but this is the only one with the special shower. So, why don't you join Brad and me in the shower here?"
Todd's face got very red. He didn't say anything, but looked at Brad with a pleading look.
"It's okay, Todd. This isn't sexual, it's really to save water," Brad replied with a laugh.
I joined Brad laughing. Todd still didn't seem too sure that this wasn't some kind of joke. I knew I had to do something to break the ice. I pulled down my Speedo and walked toward the bathroom. Brad followed my lead. Todd stood there for a moment, then pulled down his bathing suit, and, naked as we all were, followed us into the bathroom.
Brad turned on the shower and adjusted the water. He reached back for my hand and we walked into the warm water of the shower. Todd stood outside, shy about joining us. I decided to help him, so I reached out and grabbed his flaccid penis and pulled him into the shower with Brad and me. Todd gasped but didn't resist.
Once in the shower, I faced Todd and Brad faced his back. He was very uneasy, so I reached for Brad and leaned across Todd's shoulder and kissed my lover softly. Then Brad handed me a bar of soap and he took another. He smiled at me as we began to soap our friend. Todd was immediately hard and moaned deeply as our hands ran over his upper body. Brad reached around him and soaped his right nipple, I did the same to his left. His hard cock was pushing against me and my cock was hardening. I knew that Brad's cock must be hard and pushing against Todd's butt.
"But...but...but...you guys said this wouldn't be sexual. You've got me so hot that I am going to shoot. Please, please stop. I mean, I don't want you to stop, but I think you should. I don't want to get in between you two. I like you both too much. I think..." Brad had signaled me by pursing his lips and making like a kiss.
Before Todd could continue, I leaned into him and as Brad held his head, I placed my lips on his and kissed him firmly. I ran my tongue across his lips which he opened immediately and then Brad turned slightly and we were all kissing each other.
"Now relax, Todd," Brad said, "Don't worry about getting hard or cumming. It's okay. We're friends, not lovers."
"What?" I asked in mock anger.
"Ha!" laughed Brad, "you, Jake, are my lover and I am yours, but you, me and Todd are friends not lovers. Right?"
There were no longer any hard penises in the shower.
"See, this is what I meant, guys. You two are arguing about me. Please let me get out of here. You two finish showering here. I'll wait outside and then I will take my shower," said a quiet Todd.
"We're not arguing, and you're not leaving. So come here and let's finish washing you. Then you can wash us if you want, or we will do each other." I told Todd.
To emphasize what I had said, I grabbed Todd's cock and squeezed it. Brad seeing what I did, pushed his hardening cock against Todd's ass. Instead of getting upset, Todd laughed, and said,
"You two are something else. God, this is so sexy and wonderful, but let's stop soon, for my sake, please. I don't want to get involved. Please?"
With a third bar of soap, we quickly washed ourselves, rinsed off, and left the shower to dry ourselves with the large, fluffy white towels that were in the bathroom. Then we three, naked but not aroused, went into the bedroom. Soon all of us were dressed and ready to leave for dinner. There hadn't been much chat during the time we dressed, but just before we were to leave, Todd spoke up,
"Thanks, guys. You two are such wonderful guys. I hope I can find someone like you to be with. I thought Trent was the one for me, but boy was I fooled. Ya know, though, I still have this thing for him. I don't know what I'm going to do without him."
The tears were close to starting.
Brad quickly jumped in,
"You're going out to dinner with us, that's what you're going to do without Trent. Let's go."
I took Todd's hand in mine and led him out of the bedroom. He squeezed my hand tightly. `He will be okay.' I thought.
Sadie was waiting in the kitchen for us. She smiled and told us how wonderful we looked.
"Have a good time at Ranaldi's, but try not to overeat. Please say hello to Mrs. Ranaldi for me, will you? Are you headed to the movies after dinner?"
I looked at Brad with questions plastered all over my face.
"Yeah, I think we will if we get out of dinner in time for the last showing. We haven't even talked about what to see. I'll be careful driving, Sadie. I know I have some precious cargo with me," Brad said with a smile and kissed Sadie on the cheek.
Todd looked a little uneasy but went to Sadie and kissed her quickly on the cheek.
"Thank you, Todd, that was kind of you." Todd's face got a little red.
"I should thank you for letting me stay here with Jake and Brad."
Sitting on one of the stools by the counter, Sadie looked directly at me and said,
"No need to thank me, Todd, all your thanks should go to Jacob and Brad. You're here because of them."
"That's enough, Mom," I said to Sadie, "we have to get going. Come on guys. We'll be careful, Mom. Please don't worry. I trust Brad as a driver and more so as my closest, special friend. In fact, Mom, Brad is my boyfriend."
Brad's face got red and he looked a little alarmed but said nothing. He came to me and put his arm around me. He looked into my eyes, smiled at me and told everyone,
"Jacob Neilson is my boyfriend, and I love him more than I can say."
Laughing, Sadie, replied,
"I would never have guessed."
I gave Sadie a quick kiss and we were out of the door. I marveled that we had been able to declare that we were boyfriends to Sadie. I wondered if we would be able to do that in front of my father or Brad's parents. I had a deep, uneasy feeling about that.
Ranaldi's was an unpretentious looking establishment from the
outside. It was almost hidden in the far left corner of the strip
mall. Most people did not know too much about the place. My dad
had heard about it at work and took us there a day or two after we
arrived in Florida.
The parking lot was busy. Some of the cars were for other businesses in the mall, but the majority of them were for Ranaldi's. It was always that way. Sadie had been able to talk Maria Ranaldi into taking a reservation for the three of us. They usually didn't do that as they had too many customers who were walk-ins. We deliberately made the reservation for seven in the evening, thereby avoiding the busy Early Bird crowd who took advantage of the lower prices from about four thirty in the afternoon until six thirty at night. But even with that, I knew the place would be busy and jumping.
Brad parked the car and we got out and walked toward the door of the restaurant. I went in first. Maria was soon hugging me and giving me a kiss on the cheek.
"My favorite young man is here. It has been almost two weeks, Jacob. I've missed you." She looked over my two dining partners, and before she could ask, I told her,
"This is Brad. He's a very special friend."
Maria winked at me and smiled at Brad who was immediately red faced.
"And this," I continued, "is Todd. He's a friend of both of us." Maria smiled at Todd, and then added,
"Nice to meet you two. Come follow me. Jacob, Sadie told me you would want a private table, so here. How's this?" she asked as she pointed to a booth in the back of the restaurant
"Perfect, Maria. Perfect."
We sat in the booth, Brad first, then Todd, and then me. Maria cocked her head a little to the side, smiled, and said,
"You always surprise me, Jacob. From what Sadie told me, I thought you would sit next to Brad. But you know, of course, what you are doing. Here are the menus. Carlos will be your waiter, and Tim is your busboy. He gets bread, water, things like that. Enjoy!"
"Thanks, Maria," Brad said, "we appreciate all the courtesy you have extended to us."
Maria scurried away as best as her rather large, plump body would allow.
Finally, I looked up from the menu and asked,
"So, what are ▀you guys gonna have for an appetizer?"
"I'm not ordering a damn thing until we change the seating." blurted out Todd.
Brad looked at him and then at me, and asked,
"And why is that, Todd?"
Blushing a little, Todd turned toward me but didn't look at Brad. He spoke slowly and softly,
"Because I want you two to sit next to each other. You're...you're...lovers, for heaven's sake. Act like it. Enjoy every minute you have together because you don't know when it will end. I know."
I looked at Brad who was staring at me, tears in his eyes. I was holding back all my emotions which were trying to surge out of me. I couldn't let them escape or I would be sobbing. I couldn't speak, but Brad sensing that said,
"Todd, thank you for telling us what we should have known on our own. Why don't I change places with you and that puts me next to the person I love deeply."
Without further discussion, Brad and Todd changed seats. To my surprise when Brad had settled into his seat next to me, he leaned to me and kissed me quickly and softly on the lips. I know that I gasped because that simple little kiss moved my soul. I took Brad's hand into mine and held it tightly.
"That's better, you two," said Todd.
▀At that moment Tim appeared with a basket of hot bread. He stood near Todd and smiled, asking as he did,
"Is there anything else I can get for you, sir?" looking directly at Todd.
Todd smiled and answered for all of us, and told Tim,
"No, but if I can think of something, I'll be sure to call for you."
And to our surprise, he winked at Tim whose face turned a deep shade of pink, but also generated a wide mouth grin. He quickly disappeared into the crowded restaurant.
"So can we order now?" I asked with a giggle; Todd smirked and Brad snorted.
"Guess so", they said in concert.
Just about then Carlos appeared on the scene. He smiled that painted on smile familiar to those working with the public and hoping for some financial reward for effort and pleasant demeanor. Carlos, it appeared, was an expert at it.
"Are we ready to order?"he asked.
Brad, ever the wise-ass, answered,
"Yes, Carlos, we are ready to order; that's Jake, Todd, and me. That makes we, doesn't it?"
Carlos looked bewildered, but said nothing more. Todd had turned away so that Carlos couldn't see him laughing. My face was screwed up in my attempt not to smile or laugh. Brad continued and saved the day,
"We'll have the fried calamari...an order of mussels, and an order of fried mozzarella for appetizers...then we'll all have your special Ranaldi salad...we all want a cola for a drink. We're still working on our main course."
"This is fine for the moment. Let me take care of this, and then when you get the appetizers and salads, you may be ready to order your main course," said Carlos, giving Brad a hungry look. I snickered.
"What's the snicker all about, Jake?" asked Brad. I snorted.
"Carlos is hot for you and Tim is hot for Todd. That leaves me out in the cold, so to speak. I told you, Brad, that I was a loser and this just proves it."
I regretted saying what I did as I saw anger spread across Brad's face and a look of astonishment on Todd's face.
"What the fuck do you mean by that? asked an angry Brad. "You know you are not a loser, Jake. For God's sake, ignore Carlos and Tim, I have. I have you, don't you understand; I don't need anyone else. I don't want anyone else. Please, Jake, stop calling yourself a loser; you're a wonderful person and I love you."
Todd looked on, his eyes glistening. I had trouble seeing, too, as I had ample tears in my eyes.
"Jake, I think you are a super guy. I feel like this is partly my fault. I should not have come out to dinner with you tonight."
I was getting angry now. My little attempt at humor had fallen flat on its face. I had made the most important person in my life angry with me, and I had made a nice guy feel responsible for the little drama that had just played out. I had to try to rescue the evening.
"Brad, forgive me, please. I thought I was being funny, but I realize now I was really expressing my jealousy that someone else was interested in you. It made me crazy. I'm so sorry. And Todd, please, you didn't do anything. It's all my fault. Brad keeps telling me that he fucks up everything, but I do a pretty good job of it myself. I feel lousy about it all. Can you forgive me, Brad and Todd? Please?"
Brad smiled at me and placed his hand on my thigh and squeezed,
"Baby, you don't have to ask me to forgive you as you didn't do anything to be forgiven about. I just don't want you to demean yourself. We all have to take some shit as we grow up. Sometimes from our `rents, sometimes from our friends, from teachers and coaches, from strangers even. So we don't need to do it to ourselves. Remember this, Jake, if you weren't a person of substance, of caring, of loving temperament, then I couldn't love you. And, Jake, I do love you, completely."
Now the tears were running down my face, a testament to my emotional response to what Brad had just said. I really couldn't speak at that moment. Tim arrived with our drinks, and seeing my emotional state, asked,
"Is everything okay. Do you need anything?" and then addressing, Todd, "Sir, do you need anything?"
"Please don't call me sir. My name is Todd and I would like you to call me that. Okay, Tim?"
"Yes, Sir...I mean Todd."
Tim hurried away as Todd glanced at both of us as his face reddened. I had wiped the tears away with my napkin, and to my surprise, Brad had kissed me again on the cheek right here in the middle of the restaurant. That was another first and I was floating. Brad told Todd,
"It seems nice to see someone look at you the way Tim looks at you. You seem to like looking at him, too. What do ya think?"
"He seems nice, I guess. No, he is nice. He's good looking and has a really nice body. He's pleasant. He seems to be interested in me. I'm flattered, but not much can come of it."
I reached across the table and grabbed Todd's hand, I smiled at him and told him,
"Don't be afraid to try again, Todd. Get to know Tim better. You don't have to jump into bed with him, not immediately. Of course, if he's like me, he'll probably drag you into his bed."
"Better believe that, Todd," said Brad with a laugh.
"I can only hope," Todd said with a snicker.
I wanted to keep the conversation going so I asked. "Got any ideas for which movie we should see?"
"Not really? How about you?"
"Not me, gave it up in Statistics class," interjected Todd.
"How about "The Departed"," I asked.
"Sounds good," added Todd.
"It's supposed to be really good," Brad said.
"Even if it isn't too great, there's some eye candy," Todd said with a smirk.
"Really?" I asked.
"If you consider Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon eye candy, then it's the film to see," Brad suggested as he giggled.
"Yummy!" I crooned.
"Guess that's decided," Todd said with a laugh.
"Todd, which of the appetizers is yours?" asked Tim as he stared at him holding the mussels.
"We'll be sharing them, Tim. We do need some other plates. Can you manage that for us?" Todd replied.
Tim moved closer to Todd and as he placed the mussels on the table, he accidentally brushed Todd's arm with his crotch.
"Todd, I'll get anything you need. All you have to do is ask me." Tim said with an enormous smile.
"Oh, I have to get going. Other customers are waiting. I'll be back to check on you, Todd," Tim murmured as he moved away from our table.
"I'm sorry, guys. I don't know what to do. Maybe I should tell him I'm not interested in him," Todd said.
"Would that be true?" I asked.
"Then don't worry about it. He's cute and he's sweet on you. Enjoy it, Todd," suggested Brad.
"Yeah. Guess I should. He is cute."
"Better get at these appetizers before they get cold," Brad said.
He reached for a fried mozzarella stick and dipped it into the marinara sauce. Instead of taking a bite of it, he held it up to my lips. I opened my mouth and he slowly slid the tip of the stick into my mouth. I bit off the end. He smiled at me and I felt an urgency in my crotch.
"Wow! That was sooooo hot, you two. It made me horny," Todd said with a laugh.
An embarrassed Tim arrived at the table with three small plates, he was almost shaking,
`I...I...please forgive me, Todd. I got delayed at another table. I tried to get back with what you wanted, but I couldn't. I'm so sorry."
Todd reached out and took Tim's hand in his,
"It's okay, Tim. We were making out okay. You didn't do anything to worry about. Are you going to be okay?" asked Todd with concern in his voice. Tim's body relaxed and he sighed.
"You're too kind, Todd. I didn't do my job the way the Ranaldi's would want me to do it."
"We won't tell anyone about it," I said.
"You need to relax around us, Tim. After all, we're just three high school guys," Brad added.
"Thanks so much, guys. I wish I knew more guys like you at school. Maybe I wouldn't hate it so much."
"Where do you go to school?" I asked.
"East Palm High School, why?" Tim asked.
"Just wondered. We all go to Palm High," Brad said. Todd sat quietly looking down at his plate of appetizers. He cleared his throat and asked,
"Do you know Bill Stevens?"
"I know of him. He's an arrogant asshole as far as I know. I have nothing to do with him. He isn't that well liked at school, maybe the tennis team likes him `cause he's really a good tennis player. But other than that, he`s a sick pussy. Excuse the language. It's just, well, I once had a run in with him. It wasn't pleasant, so now I avoid the bastard. I have to get going," Tim told us. He turned and hurried away from us and into the kitchen.
"How's the calamari," I asked.
"And the mussels, Todd?"
"I wonder what the bastard did to Tim?" Todd blurted.
"More mozzarella, Todd?"
"Todd, don't get angry with Jake," Brad cautioned.
"Shit. I'm sorry, Jacob. I'm behaving like a jerk. No, thank you, Jacob, I don't want any more mozzarella."
(A stifled giggle.)
"Excuse the giggle, Todd. It's just that you were so cute just now. And look, Todd, you can't worry about what happened to Tim and the asshole. You obviously didn't know either of them at the time it happened.
"Jake is right, Todd. Try to relax and enjoy the food. Try to remember that neither asshole is a part of your life now, neither Trent nor Bill Stevens. And, if you want Tim in your life now, well go for it."
"You're right, both of you. It's just that I'd like to rip both of them a new asshole."
Carlos arrived back on the scene with our salads. He placed them carefully before us, smiled, and asked,
"Are you ready to order?"
"I am," said Brad.
"Me, too." I added.
"Yup," replied Todd.
Addressing me, Carlos asked,
"What would you like, sir?"
"I'll have Polo Mediterraneo."
"And your choice of pasta?"
"I guess I'll have zitti."
"And you, sir," he asked Brad.
"I want the Veal Cutlet alla Parmigiana with spaghetti for the pasta."
"Very good, sir."
Carlos cleared his throat and continued,
And you, Todd, what would you like?"
"I would like the Polo Ranaldi which I believe comes with fettuccine. And please don't use my name when you address me."
"Yes, sir. But doesn't Tim call you Todd?"
"Yes, he does. I asked him to call me by my name. But I don't wish to have you use it. Do you understand?" said Todd.
"Yes, sir, I understand." Turning on his heel, almost as a soldier might, Carlos left us in silence.
"Well," said Brad, "he's full of himself, isn't he?"
"What he needs," I added, "is a swift kick in the nuts."
"It's okay. I think I took care of the situation, didn't I?
"You were super, Todd," Brad assured him.
"My hero," I told him as I patted his hand.
A very flushed and upset Tim arrived at our table. He was trying to speak, but no words would come out. I could see that Todd was concerned, but he said nothing. Brad looked at me waiting for me to go where no other sane person would go?
"Is there a problem, Tim?" I asked. I could see that he was close to tears. Finally, he swallowed a couple of times and squeaked out,
"I got fired. Tonight is my last night here. Carlos said something to Mrs. Ranaldi about my being too familiar with customers. She knows that I am gay; I told her that when I applied for the job. But I think Carlos must have told her I was coming on to you, Todd. It's not true, but I can't do anything about it. I just wanted to say goodbye. Todd, I like you and I wish I could get to know you better, but I think I may have overstepped the boundaries. For that I apologize." He started to leave.
"Just one fuckin' minute," burst out of Todd, "you were not too familiar with me or anyone at this table. I asked you to call me Todd, because..because, I wanted, no...I thought you were cute, and I. . . I . . ."
"For cripes sake, Todd, tell the poor guy you like him, that he appeals to you. You'd like to see him again, but not here, but on your time and where you want to meet," Brad spit out.
I looked at Brad and smiled and silently moved my lips telling him that I loved him. He returned the message.
"Is that true, Todd? Is what he said true?" Tim asked.
"Yes, everything he said was true. My God, Tim, I didn't want you to get into any trouble. I mean, I feel terrible," said a sad Todd.
"It's okay, Todd. I can get another job, somewhere else. Carlos is a prick. He's been trying to get into my pants for a long time now. He's not my type. He's so sure of himself. He's a bore and an asshole. I think...
"What are you doing here at this table?" asked Mrs. Ranaldi, anger in her voice. "I told you to get your things together and to leave."
Tim was ready to leave, but Todd interrupted,
"Please Mrs. Ranaldi, would you listen to me for a minute?" Todd asked politely.
Maria Ranaldi stood straighter, hopefully sending a body language message that she was in charge and not to interfere.
"I don't know what Carlos told you, but I want you to know what happened. Tim kept calling me sir, which I don't like so I asked him to call me by my name, which is Todd. I assume that he told Carlos about it..."
"Yes I did," interrupted Tim.
"Anyway," continued Todd, "when Carlos came to take our order for the main course, he called Jacob and Brad sir, but when he got to me, he called me Todd. I politely asked him not to call me by my first name. He told me that Tim did, and I had to tell him firmly that I had asked Tim to call me that, but he was not to call me by my name.
"He was angry when he left and I surmise he went to you with some story about Tim being too familiar with me or us or whatever. That's just not true. If you fire Tim, I want you to know I will never set foot in this restaurant again and I will tell everyone I know about how you fired a perfectly good employee because a waiter who has been making sexual passes at him was upset because I wasn't enamored with him. In fact, if this continues, I will leave now. My friends can do what they please."
"Calm done, Todd," I cautioned.
Maria Ranaldi looked at me and then asked,
"Jacob, I know you. Is this true? Is this what happened? Did Carlos lie to me?"
I took a deep breath and replied with a single word,
Maria gave a surprised Tim a hug, and then told him to get back to work. She'd take care of everything, especially Carlos. Before she could leave, Todd spoke up,
"Mrs. Ranaldi, considering what has happened tonight, and I know how busy you are, but could you see clear to let Tim leave with us to go see a movie? We would all appreciate it. We all feel as if we owe Tim something for all the trouble we caused for him."
Tim stood there; his mouth opened in surprise. Maria Ranaldi smiled, looked directly at Todd and said,
"Yes, I'll do that for you, sir. I think you feel as if you owe Tim something for all the trouble you caused. I understand more than you think, young man. Tim is like my own, but I thought he had broken a house rule about being familiar with customers. I'm relieved, because I want to keep him here. He's on his way to being one of our best waiters. Just a few more weeks as a busboy, and then he's a waiter. Maybe he'll take Carlos' place, `cause I might just fire him for the tale to told. Watch, Tim, and when they are ready to leave, you may leave with them."
"Thank you, Mrs. Ranaldi," four young men said in unison. She walked away, head held high and a large smile on her face.
"I have to get back to work," Tim said. Then he looked directly at Todd and said in the sweetest voice, "I will be honored and pleased to go to the movies with you. I'll watch out for when you're finished."
He left us, Brad and I had surprised and happy looks on our faces. Todd had tears in his eyes. To get some levity back into our outing, Brad started on Todd,
"Todd, what `s this shit about we this and we that? I mean you're the one who has the hots for Tim, not Jacob and me."
"Speak for yourself, Brad," I said with a laugh. I got a poke in the arm for my wise-ass remark.
"You are one sexy guy, Jacob. It would be easy to fall for you," Todd said with a laugh. I got another poke and I hadn't said a word.
Our main courses were delivered to us by none other than a smiling happy Tim. He nearly spilled mine on me he was so engrossed with Todd.
"I hope that you will find everything to your liking. If anything isn't right, please let me know. The Ranaldi's want their customers to be pleased with everything," said a blushing Tim.
His hand was hanging by his side nearest Todd. I watched with pleasure as Todd took his hand in his and squeezed it. I saw Tim stiffen a little, and I laughed to myself, wondering what other appendage might be hardening. As quickly as he had grasped Tim's hand, he released it. Tim smiled at us and quickly left. Todd was smiling broadly. Brad noticed what had happened, too, and mouthed "great" to me. I just smiled.
We all attacked our dinners. The food was excellent and as can be imagined, three young men with hearty appetites enjoyed the good food in a short time. We had just finished when Tim appeared, clearing away our dishes and the table. Once that was done, he stood by Todd and asked if any of us would like dessert. Brad and I almost shouted with joy when Todd said quietly and while looking directly at Tim,
"I'm fine; I'll have my dessert later."
Tim got the message and they did the hand thing again. I thought the theater would be an interesting place to be tonight. And then I wondered if Todd might chose not to come home with us. What would we would do if that happened? We would handle that only if we it was necessary.
"Please, Tim, could I have the check?"
"Certainly, sir." I laughed and saaid to Tim,
"If we are all going to the movies together, I think you should call us by our names. This is Brad; he's my boyfriend, and I'm Jacob."
"Sure, Jacob, I'll be right back with the check."
"Damn, he's so cute, Todd."
"Agreed," Brad added. Todd just smiled.
Tim was one of those teenage boys who was handsome and athletic, but who was totally unaware of how he affected people, especially gay guys. He had cold black hair, intensely blue eyes, and a wonderful Florida tan. He had a pleasant athlete's body, much like Brad's, only I guess I think Brad's is the better. And, also like Brad, he had a killer smile. I think that's what got to Todd. While I thought about this, Brad began to ask Todd some questions.
"So, Todd, what are your plans for the night. I mean do we all go together or would you rather be alone with Tim?"
"No, I mean yes, I want to be alone with Tim at some point, but I want all of us to go to the movies together. You and Jacob have been too kind to me for me to drop you just because I saw a pretty face."
"Don't feel that way. Maybe you need to be alone with him." continued Brad.
"It's a big theater," I suggested, "we can be together and still be by ourselves as couples."
"True." said Brad.
"Right." said Todd.
"So?" I asked.
"Here's your check, Jacob. I can take care of it for you, or you can settle up with Mrs. Ranaldi at the register."
"I want to speak to Mrs. Ranaldi, Tim, so I'll take it up and attend to it. Why don't you guys wait here? When I'm finished, I'll be back for you."
"Fine, Jake, we'll be here."
Blushing slightly, Tim told Todd that he would meet us in the parking lot in five minutes.
I went directly to the counter and handed Mrs. Ranaldi the check and my charge card. She looked at me and smiled.
"Was everything okay, Jacob," she asked.
"As usual, Mrs. Ranaldi, everything was super. By the way, I don't know if I mentioned it when we came in, but Sadie insisted that I say hello from her. She thinks the world of you and of this restaurant."
"Sadie is a jewel. You're lucky to have her taking care of you, Jacob. You know what I mean, she doesn't really have to take care of you, but she is there for you."
"She's my Mom, really. She fills a big void in my life, but she has to be both my Mom and my Dad. Dad's so busy I seldom see him except maybe for a little while on the weekend, but that doesn't always happen."
"Yeah it's tough when parents run a business. I know we both had to make sacrifices, sometimes it was our kids who took the hit, and sometimes it was the business. But if a business is to be successful, you need to keep giving it attention."
"Yeah, I know that. It's just..."
"Jacob, when I watch your young man, Brad, and I see how he looks at you, how he touches you so gently, it's obvious even to an old lady like me, that he is deeply in love with you. Keep him, my dear. By the way, you can't hide how much you love him either. I think you are good for each other. And I am so happy for Tim. He finally has met someone, your Todd, who he likes and I think who likes him. I hope they hit it off. It's been difficult for Tim, no parents, just his sister who raised him after his Mom and Dad were killed in an accident. He had no one to cuddle with him like a parent often does. I think he told me he was gay before he ever mentioned it to Terry, his sister.
"I wish he had told me about Carlos' advances, because I would have put a stop to it. As things stand now, I don't think Carlos will be here too much longer. There are other young men here and I imagine that he has hit on them, too. Anyway, have a good time at the movies. Please sign and take the second copy for yourself. My best to Sadie, and you don't leave here without giving me a big hug."
I did just that, got the guys at the table and exited the restaurant. Tim was waiting for us, and when he saw Todd, his face lighted up and a wonderful grin spread across his face.
"Is everybody ready?" I asked.
"Yeah, I called my sister, Terry, and she knows I am going to the movies with some friends and that you will drop me off after the show. I hope that's okay," Tim said.
"That's fine," I said.
"Let's get going. How about Tim and Todd in the back seat? It will be a little crowded otherwise."
"That sounds perfect to me. I won't mind being crowded by Tim," Todd said.
Everyone laughed as we got into the Mustang and headed for yet another adventure.
To be continued...
"The measure of love is to love
Feedback always welcome: email@example.com
Thanks to my editor, Wayne, and to my readers, Peter and Rock. Their help has added immeasurably to the story. Best of all, they are my friends.
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