Disclaimer: This story is fictional and any resemblance of characters to real individuals is purely coincidental and unintended. Although a number of the locations, businesses, institutions and residences described in the story are real, the author in no way implies the actual behavior of the owners, managers or other individuals at these establishments. Some of the characters in the story may discuss or engage in homosexual acts, some of whom are underage. Obviously, anyone uncomfortable with this should not be reading the story, and the reader assumes responsibility for the legality of reading this type of story where they live. Opinions expressed in the story are those of the characters and they do not necessarily reflect those of the author, nor of the hosting website. The author retains full copyright, and permission must be obtained prior to duplication of this story in any form.

A Fish Out of Water

A Novella by Altimexis

9. Proposal

"I can't believe you do this every day!" David exclaimed for about the fifth time as he nicked himself yet again while trying to shave.

"I started shaving when I was fourteen," I reminded my boyfriend as he attempted yet again to remove his beard and mustache. He'd recently cut off his side curls and as a result, looked more handsome than ever.

"Yeah, but you're a lot hairier than I am," David reminded me. "You've even got some hair on your chest." Bringing his face close enough to whisper in my ear, he added, "It's one of the things that makes you so fucking sexy," which of course made me turn beet red.

For the third time, I asked, "Would you like me to help you?"

"No!" David cried out. "I've gotta learn to do this myself, one-handed." And so he went back to it yet again.

When he finished and wiped his face clean, David looked like a whole new person. He was so fucking adorable - I couldn't stand it. I immediately gave him a quick peck on the lips. I couldn't help myself.

"God, I love you," he said with a huge grin afterwards.

"You can't begin to imagine how much I love you," I said in return as I gave him another peck on the lips, meaning every word.

It was the beginning of January, and we were getting ready to start classes at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which is considered to be one of the top hundred universities in the world. When we set out to enter an Israeli university, HUJ was our top choice by far, but we thought it would be an incredibly long shot. Overall, it was best suited to meeting both our needs, providing the solid liberal arts background I would ultimately need for admission to seminary and an outstanding math and science curriculum for David. If we hadn't gotten in there, our backup plan was to try to get David into Technion - Israel Institute of Technology and me into the nearby University of Haifa, both of which were excellent universities on a par with the Ivy League back home.

If worse came to worst, we thought we might have to enroll in the Open University of Israel, but that could have raised a number of issues and left David vulnerable to his father's whims, since it is an open institution that employs distance learning. It might also have left me vulnerable to my obligation to military service once I turned eighteen, whereas if I were in a traditional university, I could elect to defer military service indefinitely so long as I was studying to become a rabbi. To us, Open University was a last resort, behind all seven of the other Israeli universities and even some of the colleges.

Our worries were baseless. Both David and I passed the Israeli equivalent of the SAT with nearly perfect scores. Even so, because we were only sixteen and didn't have all of the necessary prerequisite high school classes, we had to interview in front of a special admissions committee, but in the end, we were granted admission. With our acceptances in hand, David's attorney notified the rabbi at his Hasidic kibbutz that he would not be returning, and we petitioned the court to have the rabbi's power of attorney arrangement severed. This required that we send a certified letter to David's father, notifying him of the intended action.

Neither of us was prepared for the letter the Rebbi sent back in return:

Dearest David,

Please understand that I cannot condone your choice to turn from God and embrace the homosexual lifestyle. Doing so goes against everything in which I believe. I do not need to rehash Biblical law with you now, nor do I need to remind you of what the Talmud has to say about your chosen path. God has already handed down a punishment for your action while you remain here on earth, and He alone knows what awaits you in the Hereafter. Many say that you have made your choice, and I should declare you dead to me and move on, but you are my only son. I also believe it is God's place, not mine, to decide your fate.

Know this - I love you and will always love you. You are my son.

I am disappointed that you have decided to leave the Yeshiva and the kibbutz and to abandon your religious studies. I think it is a mistake and one that you will come to regret. You will be like a fish out of water, flopping around as you try to find your way, lacking in the religious upbringing that has been your sustenance until now.

However, I am amazed that you have been accepted to attend the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and at such a young age! You have always been different, David, and I have long accepted that you will pursue your own dreams. Not only will I not attempt to block your request, but I will do everything I can to ensure a smooth transition, and to support your efforts. I am proud of you, David, and wish you the all the best in your studies.

If you are going to be the way you are, I am pleased you are with Daniel. He is a good boy, who is becoming a fine young man. The two of you will be good for each other. I assume you will be sharing a room at the University, and I will try not to think about that, but please take care of each other, and watch out for each other.

Love, Abba

David and I were stunned. Coming from his father, it amounted to nothing less than acceptance. We were ecstatic!

With David's legal situation no longer in doubt, he was discharged from the hospital and he moved in with me, initially into the boarding house where I was staying while we waited for classes to start, and then into the freshman dormitory at HUJ. He continued rigorous physiotherapy, and began training with his first prosthetic hand, a temporary one, consisting of little more than a metal hook with a jaw mechanism that opened and closed when he reached forward. It was controlled by a cable that was harnessed to his shoulder and, as he said, it took a lot of getting used to.

David and I absolutely loved the setting of HUJ and its campuses, nestled as it was among the hills of Jerusalem and, for better or worse, it straddled the line between new and old Jerusalem. Our dormitory was located on the Mount Scopus Campus, which was also where I had all of my classes. Mount Scopus is surrounded on two sides by the beautiful Tabechnick National and University Garden and on a third side by a Botanical Garden, and it affords magnificent views of the Old City. In the center of the campus, there is a lovely sculpture garden.

Most of David's classes, on the other hand, were located on the Edmond J. Safra Campus nearby. He still needed to attended physiotherapy at Hadassah Hospital, which is affiliated with HUJ, and he did so at the branch located on the Mount Scopus Campus.

Being university students at only sixteen and sharing a dorm room together was totally fucking cool. One of the first things we did upon moving in was to move the two beds together and buy several king-size sets of sheets, which we intended to launder ourselves. We were going to sleep together, period. We were a couple, and we didn't make any bones about it. We were out, and we were proud.

Unfortunately, our fellow students weren't nearly as accepting as we'd hoped they would be, in spite of them being some of the best-educated from Israel and around the world. Yes, some of them were Orthodox and I could relate to the way they'd been raised, but a lot of them came from much more liberal backgrounds, and quite a few of them were from America. These kids should have been raised to respect diversity in all its forms.

We shared a bathroom with the room next door and it was on our first day of classes that our suitemates, Heifetz and Solomon, a couple of freshmen from the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York, opened the door to the bathroom and found David and I standing at one of the sinks. David had just shaved, and the two of us were pulling apart from a quick peck on the lips after professing our love to one-another.

"What the fuck?" Heifetz practically shouted. "Our suitemates are faggots! They're God damn fucking queers!"

Without missing a beat, David turned to them and said, "That's right, we're gay, we're out and we're proud. You gotta problem with that?"

"God damn right we've got a problem with that, cocksuckers," Solomon responded, and with that, both boys, and I mean boys, based on their level of maturity, left the bathroom and closed the door. After they were gone, David just shrugged his shoulders and we went back to getting ready for class.

Perhaps we should have expected it, but a few minutes later, there was a knock on the door. I answered the door, to find our suitemates, with the Resident Assistant in tow. The RA's name was Johnny, pronounced 'Yanni' in Hebrew, who seemed to be a very nice and reasonable guy whom David and I strongly suspected batted for our team, so we were very curious to see how this would all play out.

"I'm sorry to bother you guys . . . I know you have to get to class . . ." Johnny began, "but your suitemates have made a very serious accusation . . . that the two of you . . . sexually propositioned them.

I couldn't help but burst out laughing at hearing that, nor could David, but then I finally responded by saying, "Johnny, David and I make no secret of the fact that we're a gay couple. We're very much in love . . ." Solomon snorted at hearing me say that, "and have absolutely no interest in anyone else. We're completely faithful to each other, but if we were interested in a four-way, why in the world would we initiate something on the first day of class, when we're in a hurry, and least of all with these assholes? Neither of them is one-tenth as sexy as my David," I added.

"The truth of the matter," I continued, "is they walked in on me kissing my boyfriend, and they just didn't like what they saw."

Johnny responded, "Let me start by saying that the University has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment, but it also has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to intolerance. Before we go any further with this, I must warn all of you that making false accusations, particularly when motivated by hate, is grounds for expulsion from the University." Looking directly at Heifetz, Johnny asked, "Knowing that, do you still wish to press charges against your suitemates?"

Rather than answer, Heifetz instead said, "These two have no right to be here. They're an abomination. I came here, among other reasons, because I wanted to get away from their kind. New York's full of faggots. Even Yeshiva University isn't safe anymore. I thought Jerusalem would be a different story."

"David and Daniel have as much right to be here as you do," Johnny countered, "and it's not like you have to sleep with them. If they make a pass at you, or if they violate the rules in any way, that's another story, but as long as they mind their business and you mind yours, there shouldn't be any problems."

"It still isn't right, and it goes against God," Solomon fumed. "Can you at least move them to another room?"

"Why should they be the ones who have to move?" Johnny asked. "I'd offer to move you guys to a different room, but right now, we don't have anything available, and probably won't until well into the semester. In the meantime, guys, you need to get used to living in a diverse environment."

Before he left, the RA said, "Guys, not that it should matter, but it's not like they're Nazis or anything. These guys are fellow Jews who just happen to be gay. The fact is, you've been around gay people all your lives . . . indeed, some of your best friends have been gay . . . you just haven't known they were gay before now. For all you knew when you approached me, I could have been gay. Not that it matters, but I'm not, but David and Danny are far from the only gay kids on this floor. They're just the only ones who are out . . . so far."

No sooner than the RA left, however, than Heifetz and Solomon started laying down a whole bunch of rules for the shared bathroom. Basically, they didn't want to see us or have anything to do with us, and we were to stay out of their way. That was fine by us - we'd stay out of their way so long as they left us alone.

Back in our room that evening, David and I compared our classroom experiences while we finished off a pizza and enjoyed listening to some of our favorite music. I hated that David had had to lose his right hand, but I couldn't help but marvel at the change in our fortunes. Less than half a year ago, David had been ripped from my life, and vice versa, and now we were living life practically as a married couple at the age of sixteen. We shared a dorm room and could be intimate with each other whenever we wanted. More importantly, however, was that we simply could share moments like these, wolfing down a pizza while we listened to a little Snow Patrol and Keane on my iPod boom box, and just shot the shit with each other. Life didn't get any better than this.

After we cleaned up from the pizza, David got out a poster he made on one of the large format printers available in one of his classes. It was the Star of David and blue stripes of the Israeli flag, superimposed over the rainbow flag of gay pride, and along the bottom in Hebrew and English, he'd printed the words, "Proud to be a Gay Jew". It was totally awesome.

"Where did you have in mind to hang it, babe?" I asked after he finished showing it to me.

"I was thinking we should hang it on the outside of our door," he answered with that endearing, sly smile of his.

When he said that, my eyes got wide and I just kind of stared at him with what I'm sure must have been a 'WTF' kind of look before I finally said, "After what happened with our suitemates this morning, you want to advertize it to the whole floor?"

"Thanks to them," David answered with a laugh, "I seriously doubt there's a single person on the floor, if not in the whole fuckin' building, that doesn't already know." Getting a more serious look, David continued, "Look, we already put up a mezuzah, even though we're not religious. Why? Because we're proud to identify with the Jewish people. Well I'm proud I'm gay, I'm glad I'm out, and I'm particularly proud to have a very sexy boyfriend."

God, did my David ever know how to lay on the charm! He did have a valid point, however. A mezuzah is a tiny prayer scroll inside an ornate box that is prominently hung on the doorposts of Jewish people's homes. Not only does it fulfill one of God's commandments - to display His word on the doorposts of one's house - but it also shows one's solidarity with the Jewish people. Even Danny and I, with our more secular views of Judaism, had a mezuzah on the doorpost of our dorm room. Perhaps it was just as important to show our solidarity with our fellow LGBT students by hanging David's poster outside our dorm room?

"OK," I agreed, "Let's do it!"

David got a huge grin on his face as he got out the transparent tape and we set about affixing the poster to the outside of our dorm room door. Yup, if anyone didn't know we were gay before, they'd know it now.

Our task accomplished, we went back to talking about the different classes we'd had that day, the classes we had yet to attend, and college life in general as we continued to listen to music. Eventually, our talking was combined with cuddling and kissing, and it was not long before we'd made ourselves more comfortable by stripping down to our boxers.

Soon, I was playing with the wonderfully soft, curly hair on David's head and he was playing with the hair on my chest, and our occasional kisses led to full-fledged making out. It was in the midst of this that I thought of the irony of the situation, and began to laugh.

"What's so funny," David asked with a little laugh of his own.

"I was just thinking of how your dad sent you here to try to make you straight, and instead, you're now living with your boyfriend, and prolly getting a hell of a lot more gay sex than you ever would have had you stayed back in New York."

"True that," David agreed. "'Course losing a hand was a fuckin' heavy price to pay for it, but I'm happy, Danny boy. I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. Being together with you has made leaving home, living here and, yes, even losing my hand worth it in the end."

As David gently stroked my chest, I sighed deeply and said, "I'll never quite forgive your father for the loss of your hand even though I know it really wasn't his fault . . ."

"No, it wasn't," David agreed. "He was just doing what he thought was best for me. I lost my hand, in part, thanks to the attitudes of people like my father, but it was a terrorist's rocket that took my hand, and very nearly took my life." David said quietly as he looked intently into my eyes.

"Truthfully," he continued, "some of the right-wing Israeli extremists aren't much better than the Palestinian terrorists. At least we don't train our children to strap explosives to their bodies and kill themselves and everyone around them in crowded markets."

"No," I agreed, "but bulldozing entire neighborhoods, while it may be 'humane', still deprives thousands of their homes and their livelihoods, and keeps them in indefinite poverty."

"They bring a lot of that on themselves, Danny," David countered.

"True," I agreed, "but wouldn't it make more sense to help them rise up out of poverty? It's because of their desperation that they turn to organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah."

Abandoning our foreplay, turning to lie on his back and staring up at the ceiling, David said, "We came so close once . . . sooo close, but then Arafat stormed out and began the Second Intifada. We offered them everything, too."

"Everything but the right of return," I countered, "and that was the deal breaker. But what a crock . . . giving them the right to reclaim property inside of Israel proper would have been like America giving all of its land back to the Indians. There would have been no Israel left if we did that. Still, I can't help but wonder if we'd have offered to dismantle a bunch of the West Bank settlements, or negotiated a cash settlement, or both, if it might have been enough, you know? Wouldn't it have been worth it to have avoided all the bloodshed we've had ever since?"

"There aren't many Israelis who think like we do, Danny," David said as he continued to stare up at the ceiling while I watched him. "Sometimes I think the only hope this country has for survival is for people like us to move here and become active in politics."

"Is that what you want to do?" I asked with some trepidation. What he was suggesting would involve traveling a very difficult road for both of us.

Turning back on his side to face me, he said, "No, not really. I'm very much an American, and as important as Israel is to me, I don't want to live here after we finish our studies . . . not unless you want to. I'd like to go back to New York. New York is my home. But Danny, if you want to stay here to advance the cause of Humanistic Judaism in Israel and to try to change the world in your own way, you know I'll do it. I'll be right there with you, 100%."

Smiling, I said, "I want to return to America, too. You're right . . . Israel's important to me, but it's not home. A lot could happen in the next several years, though, so I'll never say never. The one thing that matters is spending my life with you."

Looking at me with his dazzling, coppery eyes, David said, "When I was about to turn eight, I stood on our terrace and watched in horror as the twin towers of the World Trade Center came crashing down. Some of my friends lost their parents that day. At the time, I thought it was all my fault. God was punishing me for the evil thoughts I was having. Not that I had any interest in sex back then, but I had a huge crush on a boy in school. I never told anyone about it . . . I didn't even really know what it meant to be gay back then . . . but somehow, I knew I was different, and that loving a boy was wrong.

"It took a long time for me to accept that 9/11 wasn't my fault. You know how it is with kids at that age, but my attraction to boys only got stronger with time. With all I'd been taught, I withdrew and became a loner, retreating into my own world . . . my world of skating and music.

"Then one day last April, I spotted a boy staring at me, and I knew he was the one for me." Swallowing hard, he continued, "Danny, you swept me off my feet. You made me feel whole . . . that I'm somebody. We share so much in common, yet there are differences too. In so many ways, we complement each other. I guess what I'm getting at in all of this, is a question. I know we'll prolly have to wait until we're eighteen, 'cause my father would never give his permission, and my mother would never go against his wishes, but will you marry me?"

Wow! I never expected it would be David who would propose!

"David, nothing would make me happier than to marry you," I replied. "I'm so much in love with you . . . you cannot begin to imagine how happy you've made me."

"When I lost my hand," David added, "I thought it would change everything. I tried to push you away, but you wouldn't let me. You saw right through what I was doing. You anticipated it. You've seen me through my darkest times. For better and for worse. To me, you're already my husband."

"From what I've heard, high school relationships rarely last," I said, "but those that do, often stand the test of time. I have absolutely no doubt that ours will be one of them."

"Nor do I," my loving fiance added. "Nor do I."

"We should get some promise rings," I suggested. "We could wear them on chains around our necks."

"I like that," David replied. "You'll look so sexy with a gold chain around your neck," he added, and then he planted his lips firmly on mine and didn't let go. We started kissing like there was no tomorrow.

Before long, the boxers were gone and we were both eye-to-eye with each other's most personal anatomy. As I reached forward with my tongue and started to lick at the glorious head of David's member, tasting it for the first time since our initial oral exploration all those months ago, David asked, "Didn't you want to use condoms, Honey?"

"David," I replied, "we just agreed to marry, but since the day I first laid eyes on you back in April, there has been no one else for me but you, nor will there ever be anyone else for me. I don't need a ceremony to establish my commitment to you. I'm yours . . . all yours, for evermore. If you feel the same way, I say we throw out the rest of our condoms and never let a barrier come between us again."

"I was only thinking of your promise to your father . . . not that I'm one to talk," he laughed. "You know I'm yours, Danny. Not even a terrorist rocket could keep us apart. No more condoms . . . just an impenetrable bond of love that will never, ever allow anything or anyone to come between us."

"Yours forever, babe," I agreed before I went down on him, swallowing my David down to the pubes.

"Oh God," he said, just before he did the same with me.

Not that I didn't enjoy our lovemaking before, even through a condom, but there was no comparison. Being able to feel the texture of David's tongue directly on the skin of my glans and shaft was indescribable, and nothing could compare to the taste of David on my own tongue. This was ecstasy.

Fortunately, ejaculatory dysfunction was not a side effect he experienced from his medication, after all. The taste of David's spunk when he came was a lot stronger than it had been the last time. He'd matured so much in all those months. He tasted much nuttier, for some reason, too. Perhaps it was an acquired taste, but I'd definitely acquired it, and I couldn't get enough of it!

"That was wonderful, Danny," David said when he came up for air after we were done. "Yours tastes so different than mine. Yours is stronger, but sweeter. I love it. I love you."

"You've tasted your own spunk?" I asked in surprise.

"Of course I have, Danny," he answered. "Haven't you tasted yours?"

"Actually no, I haven't," I answered.

Scooting back around to face me, he looked at me with the cutest expression on his face and said, "Well, I was curious, but yours is much better." After kissing me passionately, during which time I couldn't help but taste my spunk on his tongue, he went on to say, "I just love you sooo much, and right now, I want you inside of me, old man." He'd taken to calling me that a lot lately, since I was four months older than him.

"Old man my ass," I said as I got out the lube and started loosening him up. "Actually, it's your ass that's on the line now, isn't it?"

"In a manner of speaking," he agreed as we continued our foreplay. Before long, I was buried deep within my lover, thrusting long and hard as we continued to kiss with unmatched passion. Feeling David's sphincter clamp down on me as his cum spread between our bodies took me over the blissful edge.

Life at the University was quite a change from what either of us was used to. For one thing, just because David had classes didn't mean his rehabilitation was finished. On the contrary, it was largely just beginning. Now his life as a non-dominant left-handed person was beginning in earnest. He had to keep up in class - there were no reprieves - if he failed to keep up, he would fall hopelessly behind.

He used a standard voice recorder to help make sure he didn't miss anything in lectures, but that only helped to an extent to make up for his slower speed in taking notes. The voice recorder was not a camera - it couldn't record things the professors wrote down, and it couldn't think for David. On top of all this, David had to put up with the awkwardness of using a prosthetic hand that looked more like something a pirate should be sporting, while trying not to look self-conscious using it, which only drew attention to the fact that he had it.

The one saving grace, if it could be called that, was that he wasn't the only student who was missing an arm or a leg. Israel is a war-torn country, after all, and many of our fellow students had themselves been victims of terrorist attacks, or had seen action in the army. David was not alone.

Although university life was more rigorous than anything we were used to from high school, it wasn't nearly as difficult as what we'd been expecting. Perhaps this was because so many of the best students started with advanced placement credit and, thus, started out as sophomores. Perhaps it was also because our respective Yeshivas had been so rigorous that we really were used to a much more advanced level of coursework than most high school students in the U.S. or Israel. Regardless, we didn't feel nearly as behind in our knowledge as we'd expected to be, and in some areas, we felt we were actually better trained than most of our fellow students were. In other words, we really were ready to begin college-level classes at one of the best institutions of higher learning in the world.

When we weren't in class and when David wasn't attending physiotherapy, we often spent our time skating. We fell in with a group of other skaters and quickly developed a camaraderie with them that seems to be pretty universal among skaters, worldwide. David wasn't quite back to the level of skill he had before his injury - his balance was definitely impaired at first, but the more he skated, the more his skills improved, the more everyone else became totally in awe of him. David always could run rings around me, and I was frankly better than just about every other skater on campus. That pretty much made the two of us instant legends.

With my encouragement, David also started working on playing the guitar once again. Music really was his passion, but without the use of the fingers on his right hand, his ability to play the guitar was significantly altered. He lacked the feeling of touch as he relearned how to pluck on the strings without having any finger or wrist movement. We spent hours together, me with my recorder and David with his guitar, practicing some of the most difficult pieces we could find. Unfortunately, there were just some things he couldn't do, but that he could play at all was something of a miracle.

Although we had hoped that the initial difficulties we encountered with our suitemates would eventually settle down, they continued to make life difficult for us, and they weren't the only ones. We constantly came back to our dorm room to find that David's poster had been defaced, or removed entirely. We always replaced it right away, feeling it important to stand our ground, but it was never long before it was defaced again. Nothing, however, could have prepared us, for the time in late January when we came back to the room after dinner to find a large red swastika painted over the poster.

We were, literally, transfixed by the site of it, unable to move from our spot in front of the door. The RA, Johnny, must have seen us come in, as he came up to us within a minute of our arrival.

"It's hard to believe that a fellow Jew would do such a thing," he said. He was right - everyone on our floor was Jewish, and to the Jews, Nazism was as pure a force of evil as any the world had ever seen. That a Jew would do this only demonstrated the depth of the hatred they harbored for us, simply because of our sexual orientation.

"I've already notified Security," Johnny added, but that was of little comfort. "Don't worry," he continued, "if they have to, they'll install a webcam in your mezuzah, but Security will find those responsible, and they will be properly punished."

Although I didn't doubt Johnny's sincerely, I somehow doubted that the vandals' hatred extended only to the poster on our door, and for the first time I truly feared for our safety.

"I'm sorry," the dean of students tried to explain to us, "but I cannot put you in married student housing unless you are legally married."

"But you've done it for other committed gay couples before," I challenged him. "We have friends we've met through the Gay Student Union who aren't married and who live in married student housing. Why can't we do the same?" I asked.

"For one thing, you are Americans, and you can legally marry in America. Israel recognizes same sex marriages performed in any of the American states. Secondly, you're underage. It would be sending the wrong message to allow the two of you to live together, don't you think?" Whoa, what a hypocrite!

"Dean Cohen," I responded, "It would pose an undue hardship for us to take time from our studies to plan and carry out a wedding in the United States. We intend to marry only once, and we want to do it right. Even if we were agreeable to interrupting our studies to travel back to Connecticut to marry, we can't at our age without parental consent. As you pointed out, we're minors and, unfortunately, all American states and Canada require parental consent when either partner is under the age of eighteen. Some states require both parents to consent, and some even require a court order."

"My father would never consent, and my mother would never go against my father's wishes," David interrupted.

"Which is another reason I would have to deny your request, regardless," the dean reiterated. "Unless both sets of parents consent to the two of you living together, I cannot allow it."

"But we already live together," I pointed out. "What's the difference between living together in the freshman dormitory, and living together in married student housing?"

"The difference is that in freshman student housing, you two are merely roommates," the dean asserted. "You share a suite with another pair of boys, and you have the supervision of an RA down the hall. In married student housing, you would have your own apartment to yourselves."

"Dean Cohen," David countered, "can you honestly tell me you don't have other couples in married student housing where both partners are under eighteen years of age?" When the dean didn't answer, David said, "I thought not."

"But those couples had parental consent," the dean pointed out.

"And more often than not, they didn't have their own consent," David added. "Most of those were arranged marriages."

Sighing, the dean said, "That's Jewish Law, boys, and it's perfectly legal."

"But that doesn't make it right," I challenged. "David and I are a loving, committed gay couple. We're engaged to be married, and intend to get married as soon as we can legally do so. If it weren't for David's father, who's a Hasidic rabbi, we could get married, right now."

"What's the real reason for your request, gentlemen?" the dean asked. "Does it have something to do with that swastika that was painted on your dorm room door?"

"That has a lot to do with it," I admitted. "Since Security started interviewing the students on our floor, we've been getting threatening notes slid under our door. Yes, we've turned them over to Security, but Security can't be with us twenty-four hours a day, and they can't protect us when we leave the campus. We genuinely fear for our safety."

"A number of the students on our floor have been very supportive," David admitted, "but it only takes a handful of kids to make our lives hell."

"When we find the one or two who are doing this," the dean stated firmly, "and we will find them, we'll expel them from the University. In the meantime, everyone on your floor will be getting sensitivity training."

"Dean Cohen, Danny and I are in every way a married couple. The only thing we lack is the ceremony and the certificate to prove it, and that's not by choice. We only want what other married couples have."

Looking very pensive, the dean sat for about a minute without saying anything. Finally he asked, "David, Danny, would the two of you be willing to hold a commitment ceremony here on campus?"

"After what we've told you, do you need to ask?" David countered.

"We would be delighted to affirm our commitment to one another in front of whomever you wish," I agreed.

"I'll tell you what, then," the dean stated, rendering his final decision, "if the two of you will agree to hold a public commitment ceremony sometime before the end of the semester, I'll approve your request for married student housing."

"You have a deal," David said with a huge grin on his face, and I nodded my head in agreement.

"Just be sure to let me know when and where the ceremony will take place before midterms, OK?" he asked, and we agreed as we got up to shake his hand.

As we exited the building, David said, "You know, Danny, a lot of people fly to Israel to get married, just so they can say they got married in the Holy Land. Like you said in there, we only plan to get married once. Why don't we make this commitment ceremony our once in a lifetime? Someday, after we return to the States, we can get legally married in front of a Justice of the Peace or something, but I don't want to wait 'til then to consider you my husband, or me yours.

"Let's make this our official wedding. Let's go all out and make it special."

"Wow, we'll have a lot to do in a very short amount of time, but I really like your idea," I told my lover with a smile, and then I brought my lips to his. We kissed for the longest time, right out in the open. David meant everything to me.

"If we have to hold the wedding before the end of the semester, we should try to hold it during a regular school holiday, so the whole family can come out here," I suggested.

"You mean your family," David said, sadly. We both wanted our families to be there, but David was right; it would most likely be only mine in attendance. His family would never attend a same sex marriage, or even a commitment ceremony.

"How about Pesach," I suggested to my fiance.

Pesach, known to non-Jews as Passover, is an eight-day festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt. Pesach was early this year, beginning the end of March and ending in early April. Although we couldn't marry at the beginning or the end of the holiday, the weekend during the holiday was ideal. It might not be traditional, but then neither was a gay wedding. There were no restrictions that would affect the ceremony other than those associated with Shabbat, and school would be out for the full eight days. Pesach was a wonderful time to visit Israel anyway, so what better time to hold a wedding in the Holy Land?

"There would be a lot of restrictions on when people could fly, but it's a long holiday, so it would be ideal that way," David agreed. "The only major downside is that because of the dietary restrictions of Pesach, we wouldn't be able to have a real wedding cake, but I can live with that if you can."

"Yuck," I said, "the thought of a wedding cake made with Passover flour is so inherently repulsive that I think foregoing a wedding cake entirely sounds like a better idea."

"I'd have to agree with you there," David giggled. "So shall we commit to Pesach?"

"Assuming we can find a place to hold it on campus that's not already reserved, and if we can find a hotel for our guests," I agreed.

"How about the Rothberg Amphitheater?" David suggested.

Given the ample parkland in and adjacent to the campuses, we'd found no shortage of places for us to skate in our free time. One of the things we often did was to take my boom box with us and skate in time to the music. Our moves, although daring, were truly a thing of grace and beauty. In fact, our impromptu synchronized skating demonstrations had already become a bit of University folklore. It was on one of our many explorations around the University for places to skate that we'd spotted the Rothberg Amphitheater and - I had to agree with David - it would be the ideal place to hold our commitment ceremony. It was larger than we needed, to be sure, but the physical setting was spectacular, with an eastern view of the valley that would be lit by the rays of the setting sun.

"That's a wonderful idea, Honey," I agreed. "Let's see if we can find out how to reserve it, and see if it's available, and then we can check on the availability of the Hyatt Hotel nearby."

The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of David of Hope in editing this story this story and Alastair in proofreading it, as well as the support of Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Nifty for hosting it. I would also like to thank Rigel for correcting some of my errors with respect to traditional Orthodox Judaism. This story was written as part of the Gay Authors 2009 Novella Writing Contest.


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