This is a story of friendship, commitment, love and trust. It is not a sex story. However, this story deals with love between male teenagers. If you are offended by stories involving love between two teenage boys, please do not read this story. There may be some sex scenes in this story; however, sex is not the main theme. If you are under age 18 or 21 or it is illegal to read this story where you live, don't read it. Reproducing this story for distribution without the owner's permission is a violation of that copyright.

Ian Roberts

Friends of the Heart
A story by Ian Roberts

Chapter 4



When I walked into Cinq Billiards I was hoping I’d see Jason sitting alone, but that was not the case. They were all laughing and enjoying themselves. I thought perhaps I should go, but then Jason saw me. He was positively glowing with happiness, in fact that was something I noticed about Sven, Alex and Ian. They all looked so happy and different. I guess the word is ‘alive’. Usually when I’ve seen them they seemed less alive. I realized that the only difference was Jason. Jason is like a catalyst.

Jason seems a little uneasily around me. Maybe he doesn’t like me. When the three guys started arguing over Jason it was so funny and Jason was giggling and laughing so much I just wanted to grab him and hold him so tight. Every time he’d look at me I’d get nervous and look away. I wanted to join in but I was afraid he didn’t really like me and would be offended by something I’d say and the next thing that I knew everybody was leaving.

I said, “Well, I have to get off to work too.”

“Oh, yeah work,” and he sounded really disappointed.

I left and was walking with Alex to the Metro.

“He’s so quick witted,” I said.

Alex said nothing.

“What’s wrong, Alex?”

Alex continued his silence.

“Alex, please!”

“Why did you leave with me? If you love him so much, why? You don’t have to work today! Ian, who I’d never expect to apologize to anyone no matter how wrong he was apologized for last night - he wrote a damn good story for Jason. I couldn’t believe it, he wrote a story and gave it to him - Sven went and apologized last night and they spent the night together talking. I don’t know what they talked about but Sven has changed! He’s alive! He’s actually going to work on a sculpture! And then there is YOU! You walk in and Jason lights up like a light bulb and gradually that light bulb dims and when you said you had to work it went out. Dieter, I saw it, but you’re still too interested in yourself to care!”

“Alex, I’m scared! I’m scared I’ll screw up. I’m scared he won’t like me. I’m scared he’s straight and he’ll hate me! Alex I don’t know what to do or how to act - I just get so nervous when I’m near him. What if he’s straight?”

“Does it matter? Be his friend first - that’s what you told me to do with Ian. Yeah, and some times it’s hell to be in love with someone and not be able to express it. If sex is all you want then I guess it is important but then would the friendship really matter if all you want is the sex part?”

“Dieter, go spend a day with a friend!”

I went back to Cinq Billiards. I saw Jason staring into his cup. He looked sad and lonely. I guess he was really lost in thought because I stood in front of him for thirty seconds before he looked up.

“Miss your bus?” he said.


“Did you miss your bus? You said you had to go to work.”

“I changed my mind, I, uh, thought I’d spend the day with you…I mean you’re new here and I just thought I’d show you around. If you want.”

“Oh really! I’d love that!” he said and then blushed. Oh my god is he cute when he blushes. He then jumped up and grabbed my hand and he all but drug me out the door of Cinq Billiards. When we got half way to the Metro he stopped and released my hand and giggled, “Dieter, where are we going?”

“I don’t know. I was following you,” I laughed, “What were you planning on?”

“Well, I need to go to school to learn French and then I was hoping to get some art supplies.”

“Well, then I know where to go. Come on”, I said as I ventured to take his hand and lead him along as he had been leading me. I was so scared that he would object to me doing that but he didn’t. And I think with every second that I held his hand my love for him exploded. I didn’t ever want to not be a part of his life and that’s when I realized that Jason was the one for me…it was the fact that I wanted to be a part of his life not that he had to be a part of my life. Before I was always looking for someone to be a part of my life with me in control.

I got him signed up in school and then to an art supply. We talked constantly about our likes and dislikes and I found there were very few places where we differed in opinion and then they were very weak and unimportant.

The art store was incredible! Jason was like a kid in a candy shop. He is incredibly knowable for someone as young as he. I think I learned more about art in that time than I have in my whole life.


When Dieter said he wanted to spend the day with me. That was the beginning of a great day for me. I couldn’t believe it and yet from the moment I saw him in my room I knew that we would be life long friends. He got me enrolled in French class I started the next at 9a.m. and finished at 3pm. Then we went to an art supply where I went crazy buying all the things I needed. Again I could believe how much interest he was taking in me. I think I told him almost everything I knew about art and he still kept interested. After the art supply we stopped at a Bistro and had lunch and talked. Not that we hadn’t talked ourselves silly before the bistro. I really like Dieter a lot. I hope he likes me too. He was very mature for his age. He’s seventeen.

“You are so lucky,” he said.


“You can draw. Me, my stick figures ugly,” he laughed.

“You can draw too, you know?”

“No, I can’t.”

“Yes you can and I can prove it!”

He looked at me and smiled the most gorgeous smile I’ve ever seen. “Prove it.”

I smiled back as I got up and moved my chair behind him on his left because he is right-handed. “Drawing has very little to do with the hand and everything to do with the eyes. How you look at things. Okay.” I leaned over, reached past him and moved a cup. “Look at this what do you see?”

“A cup on a table.”

“And so you should, but now I want you to look at the cup again and look only at the edges.” Using my finger I pointed out or traced each line. Checking that he followed my finger and could see the lines I was pointing out. We did this exercise for about five minutes, then I moved the cup and made him trace out the lines with his finger until I knew he’d got it.

“Now the fun part - real eye-hand coordination. Follow the line with your eyes and let you hand follow.” He drew his first cup and we both laughed at it.

“See I told you I was terrible!”

I slapped him alongside his head, “None of that! No self-invalidation! Do it again!”

He did and it was better. By the fifth drawing it was looking pretty good.

“I can draw,” he finally said with a huge smile.

“Okay now we switch objects,” said as I switched the cup for a rose, “Just do the outlines.”

He started drawing and after a few minutes a rested my chin on his shoulder, I don’t know why I did it except that it seemed the natural thing to do. Life seemed to feel so right at that moment, so perfect and all my troubles vanished for that moment.

Dieter turned his head, smiled at me and then went back to his drawing. I think if he had kissed me I wouldn’t have been afraid. After a while he finished and it was damn good.

“Wow! We’ve been here four hours! We better leave a nice tip and get this stuff back to my wonderful suite!”

We made our way back to my room and deposited everything and went to the café where we joined Sven and Alex. We were all joking around and laughing.

“Jason, that performance last night, do you know how to fence?” asked Sven.

“Yes, and I’m very good. Not the best but good.”

“Wow! Could you teach me?” asked Sven.

“Absolutely!” I said a little to enthusiastically and then I know I blushed. Sven smiled at me and winked and I blushed again and he giggled.

“What?” asked Alex.

“Oh, nothing, just a cute thought. Hey, Alex I worked all day sculpting!”

“Cool! Sven. I’ll be right back guys,” said Alex and he rushed of in the direction of our hotel.

Ian came over to take our order.

“Hey Yank! Wassup?” asked Ian.

I laughed.


“It’s just funny hearing waasupp spoken with and English accent.”

“Funny. Anyway, I wrote a chapter on a novel I’ve been working on would you like to read it and give me your opinion on it?”

“I love to! Where is it?”

“In my room but why not just drop by tomorrow during the day?”

“Well, I’ll be in school tomorrow until three o’clock but after I’ll be around it that okay?”

“I think that will be right nice of you pardner.”

“Ian, stick to speaking Brit you just murder an American accent,” laughed.

Dieter return and he was telling Sven about the art store when an epee landed at my feet.

I looked to see Alex standing there in full fencing gear holding an extra mask and jacket, which he promptly threw to me. “Ready to loose, Yank?”

“Are you Kraut?”

We began the match. “On guard!” I said. I five minutes it was over with a score 15-5. My win.

“It’s because Papa Alex, you’re getting old,” I laughed, “Come on let’s play Hollywood.”


No jacket, no mask, not touch. All show.”

“All show?”


“Then, if it’s all show, I get to win!”


I pick up the epee then shouted, “Clochard!”

“Abruti!” shouted Alex and I had no idea what he called me.

“On guard!” and we began putting on the show for the locals which amounted to about ten people.

Back and forth we fenced yelling and screaming and laughing at each other. I was jumping on and off benches and tables. I decided to try something that would wow everybody!

“Advance towards me, parry it and I’ll loose my grip the epee will land behind me keep advancing I’ll jump on the chair - play like you are going to cut my balls off! Do not raise the epee above your head,” I instructed Alex as we fenced. I put on a good act and at the last moment I sprung from the chair did a forward flip over Alex much to the amazement of Alex and the crowd and ran for my sword I purposely slipped and rolled and landed inches from my sword which I then grabbed, stood up and I bowed deeply towards Alex and threw him my epee. The crowd, which was now about twenty people, applauded and cheered both of us and so did our friends.

I proceed to give Sven his first fencing lesson he was a natural. Sven was so special to me, I knew that he loved me that was so obvious but it was a brotherly love because he said he wasn’t gay. I know Dieter likes me too…and I could love him too, I guess.

My schedule for the next few months consisted of Tuesday night fencing show with Alex or Dieter or Sven and school from 9-3 five days a week. My French was pretty good and I was speaking French most of the time. I spent almost every afternoon with Ian discussing his story ideas or reading his work or just goofing off I always fell asleep on his bed and woke up about nine in the evening and would spend time with Dieter, Alex or Sven. I knew I was in love with Dieter but I pretty well kept that to myself. Sven knew I’m sure because we’d talk. I never told him how much I loved him…What would be the use – it would just upset him and remind him of Johann. I knew and understood Johann. I think I would have done the same. Well, there was always Dieter. Any way my schedule would end with me going to my humble tiny room and painting all night. The problem was I had so many paintings in my room that there was no place to sleep except Ian’s bed.

I loved my friends and I cherished every moment. Like a few weeks ago

"Yank, I wish you would not sleep in my bed!" complained Ian.

"Wank, you're bed is so much more comfy than mine. Besides, yours has fewer fleas. Yesterday, I was having a hard time sleeping because of your incessant banging on that antiquated thing you call a typewriter that I decide to take a census of your bed's flea population and did you know you have exactly 43 less fleas inhabiting your bed than my bed?"

"I don't have any fleas in my bed!"

"Exactly! Just what I said, your bed has fewer fleas than mine. When I try to sleep in my bed it feels like there are forty-three tiny little vampires awaiting for me to drift off to sleep so they can suck my blood. If that happens too often I would become a flea vampire called Fleacula! So, my little Wank would you prefer me to run around here terrifying the locals and yourself by saying 'I am Count Fleacula. I want to drink your blood?'" I smiled.

“Why don’t you kill them with flea spray?”

“They are flea spray proof. You have to drive little bitty wooden stakes through their hearts to kill them. Do you have any idea how hard that is? And it makes them really angry…I think they are multiplying - they have some evil plot. I know because the last time you made me sleep in my own bed two of them hopped in my ear and started talking about it. I’m almost as good an understanding flealanise as I am understanding French. So, I have to sleep in your bed. I’m terrified of what might happen if I fall asleep in my own bed!”

"You're hopeless! Just don't pee in the bed or have a wet dream!"

"No problem, at least the peeing in the bed part - I stopped that when I was 17 or 18. Oh, wait I’m fifteen, well, forget that one as far as the other stop telling me your fantasies about Madame Rochelle and I stop having wet dreams."

“Who’s Madame Rochelle?” asked Ian.

“Oh sorry! I forgot you’re gay…well then make that Mr. Rochelle - if you’d stop telling me your fantasies about…” A dictionary narrowly missed my head.

“I give up!” he said.

“Good. Because I’m tired and I need my sleep.” Within minutes I was asleep.


My friendship with Jason got off to a bad start but my love for Alex and hopefully his love for me got me to realize what a different person Jason is. In one word Jason inspires me. How I don’t know totally. He’s always full of praises about the stuff I write and those praises come from his heart. He’s always telling the customers they should really appreciate me because someday I’ll be a rich and famous writer. I’ve almost enough courage to send off one of my stories to be published.

When I’ve written something that’s not really that good he always gets me to rewrite it but he does it in a manner that is really non-pervasive. Somehow get gets me to look at it and rewrite it. If I ever do become a famous writer it will be him that got me there.

I actually jerked off once because he was sleeping on my bed with just his boxers on and he got a hardon and it really turned me on. Just seeing it sticking out of his boxers drove me crazy and I jerked fantasizing that I was giving him a blowjob. It only happened that one time because after that he ran around in these jean cutoffs.

I think he knows that I’m gay because he kids me about it a lot like he did today with this fleacula story of why he likes to sleep in my bed. I like to think it’s because he really likes my company not because there are fleas in his bed.

Alex is still my true love - I wish I could tell him but I’m afraid to loose him as a friend. He gets really offended when the gays at the studio hit on him…sometimes I wonder if he is gay. I’m sure Dieter is at least I know he has the hots for Jason. It is so obvious to me. Alex and I actually talked about it.

Alex is funny. If you ask him a question he always asks you one back. For example, the other day I asked, “Is Dieter gay?”

“Does it matter? Well, I guess it does because you are so homophobic…”

“I am not homophobic! And that ‘does it matter’ sounds like Jason.”

“Well, yes I guess it does sound like Jason. Because I asked Sven if he thought Jason was gay because those two are like brothers and he asked me the same question. His answer was he didn’t care if Jason was straight or queer or bi because his friendship was so deep and so true that it didn’t and doesn’t matter. So, Dieter is my cousin and our friendship is such as it doesn’t matter to me. So you’ll have to ask him.”

I wanted to ask him if he was gay but I knew I would get the same answer. And yes it did matter to me because I could be open with him. I think the reason I didn’t was I was afraid he’d say no he wasn’t and I’d rather not know that to know that there would never be hope they we could actually become a couple.


My French was pretty good now in fact that was all I would speak most of the time. The last two weeks I’ve spent most of my free time with Dieter because he had no work. We had talked about going to the South of France - Nice or Marseilles, but I was still at school for another two weeks - well that was my excuse. I was scared was the real reason; sleeping over at his apartment on his couch was the most I could risk and that was even difficult.

Why? Because as much as I love him and as much as I knew he loved me I couldn’t bring myself to be totally honest with him yet about me because I didn’t want to risk loosing him. I could never just have sex with him as much as my young teenage body was demanding it. For me it had to be a total commitment of body, mind and soul and a commitment for life. Thanks G-dad for installing your principals or morality and honor and commitment in me.

We were at the café and Dieter had excused himself to go to the restroom.

Ian came over to take our order.

He got everybody’s order except Dieter’s.

“Dieter went to the restroom, he’ll be back in a sec.”

“What he didn’t take you with him,” Ian replied I thought trying to be funny or something.

“Why? You jealous?” I replied in jest.

“Don’t you ever call me a poofta you little faggot!

What happened next I didn’t expect. Ian’s fist connected with my face and the impact landed me off of my seat and on my back.

I staggered to my feet. I looked at Ian. I couldn’t believe he’d just hit me.

“Jason, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what I did,” he said as the tears ran down his cheeks.

“Fuck you!” I said as I turned and walked away grabbing my art pad off the table where Sven and Alex sat with stunned looks upon their faces.

I was nearly across the square when Ian caught up to me. “Jason, I’m sorry…please I need your help…I-I need someone to talk to. Please…”

I turned and he saw the tears running down my cheeks, “I-I can’t. Not, not now…later. When-when your work…when your work’s done.” I could stop my sobbing, so I turned and ran to my room and fell onto my bed. All the memories, all the hate, all the lost friends, all the fights and the pain returned. I cried until I felt a gently kiss upon my cheek.

It was Dieter. He smiled at me. I touched my cheek where he had kissed me.

“Does it matter?” he asked.

“No.” I whispered as I wiped the tears from my cheeks.

“Me neither, I love you, Jason. When I heard that there was a young boy artist who was incredibly talented and Alex added incredibly cute - I had to meet you and your were so beautiful sleeping on your bed - I knew then that I wanted to get to know you.” Dieter ran his fingers through my hair.

“Everyday since the second we met when you spent the day with me has been the best days of my life, because I spent them with you. Getting to know you and you getting to know me…” I said and he blushed and smiled.

“What?” I asked.

“Remember when you rested your chin on my shoulder? I almost kissed you.”

I smiled.


“Well, you missed your chance, because I would have kissed you back but know you’ll just have to wait for a really romantic moment.” I pursed my lips at him and then giggled at the look on his face.

“You little tease!” he said as he jumped on top of me and started tickling me.

“Stop! Please I’ll pee in my pants!”

He stopped. And looked at me. “You know your eyes are so beautiful, so blue…” I said as he kissed my lips. The kiss grew more and more passionate. I wanted it to go on forever. I really did but I was afraid. I broke the kiss. He kept on trying to resume the kiss. “NO!” I shouted and pushed him off of me and he felt on the floor. He had such a hurt look on his face. “I’m sorry. I’m just not ready for this!!” I started crying again. “Please just leave, leave me alone!” I watched as the tears welled up in his eyes and spilt over on to his cheeks.

“Please, Jason, please let me stay.”

“I-I don’t want to hurt you, but please go…”

He got up and went to the door the turned and with tears flowing down his cheeks he said, “I love you.”

I just nodded and he left. I got up locked the door, collapsed on my bed and fell asleep. Ian may have come and left but no one woke me.

I woke at sunrise and decided to get something to eat. I bought a demi-baguette and then went to Cinq Billiards for some hot milk. I sat quietly and I thought about Dieter mostly. I thought about Ian and Alex and Sven. I knew Dieter was gay, but I didn’t know how I felt about him. Well that’s not true, I knew how I felt about him, I loved him, but I figured once he really knew past then he would stop liking me and that would hurt. Was it worth the risk? What about Ian I knew Ian was jealous, but was he now jealous of Dieter? I needed sometime away from Paris away from Dieter - away from all of them. I decided to go to Nice.

“May I join you?” asked Alex.

“Are you gay?” I asked.

“Does it matter?” he asked with a smile.

“Yes, if you are here to tell me that you are madly in love with me then please go sit somewhere else.”

Alex laughed. “No, I’m not here to tell you that.”

I sat staring into my hot milk, which wasn’t that hot anymore.

“But I am here to ask you to forgive Dieter and to give him another chance to at least be a friend.”

“He is a friend and what’s to forgive? Well, we kissed but I wasn’t really ready for that. Why are you asking this?“

Alex smiled, “You’re the first boy he’s ever kissed. He was so ashamed and in tears last night. I am gay, but the person I love hates gays as you found out.”


“Yes, but please don’t tell him.”

“Where’s Dieter?”

“In my room. Last night he was upset, thinking that you would hate him. I was waiting tables so I couldn’t take him home, so I made him stay at the café until he calmed down then I told him to go sleep in my bed.”

“Why were you waiting tables?”

“After you left Ian was in tears and so I set him to his room. I’ve never seen him so upset.”

“Don’t worry about Ian and don’t ever stop loving him. He needs a friend like you who really cares. Later, dude.”

“Yeah, later.”

I went to my room and packed a few things wrote a note to the guys made sure everything in my room was setup and ready.

I knocked gently on the door and heard Dieter say, “Yah!”

I opened the door and walked in. When he saw who it was that entered his eyes filled with water and I could see that he was hurting.

“Dieter,” I could feel my own tears begin, “I’m so sorry. I-I didn’t want to hurt you…can we talk?” He nodded and scooted over in the bed and I lay down next to him but facing away from him he wrapped his arm around me and cuddled close to me. It felt so good but after a few minutes I said, “Can we switch around, I need to see you, but not your face.”

“Am I that ugly?” he tried to joke.

“No, you are so beautiful that I would get lost in what I need to tell you about.”

We switched positions. I held him in my arms and cuddled very close with my nose nestled against the side of his neck. I kissed his neck gently and lay there quietly. “I could die like this with you in my arms it would make all the pain in my life seem so insignificant and death would become a beautiful thing.”

“There are some things I have to sort out with myself. I have to get away for a few days.”

“No!” he cried.

“Dieter please hear me out…”

“Go, on I’m sorry…”
“First of all, I love you. I love you more than I have ever loved anybody in my life. But right now I can’t make a commitment to you and as much as my body is screaming out to make love to you I cannot, no I will not. I am a very screwed up person right now and I have to get away for a few days out of Paris - alone. I speak French pretty well now so I should be okay.”
I knew he was crying. “Dieter, please don’t cry, please. It’s only for a few days at the most. I am so fucked up - there’s a lot of stuff in my life I have to deal with - there’s a lot of stuff, bad stuff you need to know about me stuff that will probably give you second thoughts.”

“No. Never. Tell me now. Please don’t go alone.”

“I-I can’t. I love you, Dieter. I promise I will return and I will tell you everything then you can decide. Please I need this time for myself.”

“You promise you’ll come back?”

“Yes. I promise.”

“Will you call me every day?”

“Yes. Where and what time?”

“The café at six.”

“Okay,” I agreed. I laid there with my arms wrapped around him. I found it hard to let go.

“You better leave now,” he said softly.

I kissed him on the back of his neck the left.

I caught a night train to Nice (pronounced Neece). Why I chose Nice, I don’t know, maybe because the name was nice. But as I found out it was a life changing event and almost a miracle. I slept practically the whole way waking just as the train arrived.

Waking up in Nice was like waking up is a storybook fantasy world for me. I don’t think I’ve seen any place so beautiful. The Rue de France the pedestrian shopping street runs from the end of the Place Massena, roughly parallel to the seaside. This area is full of shops, including some exclusive clothing boutiques, and restaurants and cafés with outdoor terraces - a great place to sit and watch the world go by, while you eat or drink. I guess I walk around for nearly three hours stopping occasionally to sketch some scene.

Around ten I found myself back on the Rue de France, I was starved and decided to have a large breakfast of eggs, bacon a couple of croissants and coffee. From where I sat I could look out and see the beautiful Med.

As beautiful as Nice was and this breakfast and all the people around me my heart was in Paris. I missed Dieter and I wanted so much to share Nice with him. I looked at the drawing I was doing and although it was good it lacked something and I knew that it was because I was just mechanically drawing. I thought of Ian and a tear escaped and trickled down my cheek and plop on my drawing. I changed the page and imagined Ian in his beautiful red hair was sitting across from me - I started drawing with my ink pen. Ian has thin lips but they are perfect especially when he’s laughing about me and my fleas…suddenly the picture I drew seem immaterial because although it was very good and I put a lot of work into it was really what I wanted to express what I was drawing now was what I wanted to express - my love for him by the time I finished the drawing it was lunch time.

The waiter was a little antsy - I guess because I had been occupying this seat for a couple of hours. I called him over and ordered a sandwich for lunch and more coffee and pressed the equivalent of $20 into his hand - he smiled and asked me if I would mind switching tables as he had a regular customer who always preferred the table I was sitting at. I moved to a different table.

Ten minutes later a man in his forties arrived and sat at the table. He was quite a handsome gentleman. A pleasant smile, but as I continued to watch him I noticed his eyes were sad he would talk to the waiter and then while sitting there he’d stare off into the distance with a look of sadness which didn’t belong. I started sketching him. I wondered what had happened to make such sadness. If only I could bring him some happiness. It wasn’t until I was nearly complete when he looked in my direction. I smiled and almost immediately there was a look of surprise like he’d suddenly recognized a long lost friend. I turned around to see whom it was behind me that he recognized but there was nobody. I turned back to catch him wiping a tear from his cheek.

I quickly finished off my drawing and signed it with my usual Jason MP signature. The man kept watching me as I worked. The waiter approached. “Mr. Lamartine would like you joined him for coffee.” I picked up my backpack and walked over to his table put my stuff down.

“Hello, my name is Claude, I see you are an artist.” He said with a pleasant smile.

“Jason, the artist, pleased to make your acquaintance,” I said and then handled him the drawing I had finished, “This is for you. I hope you like it because you looked so sad when you were thinking of someone or something and this is such a beautiful day and Nice is so different than Paris.”

He looked at the picture for several minutes not saying anything and then just one word…sadness.

“How perceptive you are. You remind me of someone…”

“Really? Who?”

He looked at me slightly unsure of what to say then he said quietly and with some sadness in his voice. “Michael my lover. You look so much like him I cannot believe it. Especially your smile.”

“Where is he?”

“He died a few years ago.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. You must have loved him so very much. I lost my Grandfather almost a year ago - I miss him so much…he wasn’t just my grandfather but more like my father and mother and best friend all wrapped up into a package called love. And when he died I was all alone with nobody…” I could believe I was telling a complete stranger about my g-dad. I guess the sadness in my own face must have touched him because he reached across the table and gently squeezed my hand.

“I cannot get over how much you look like Michael just a much younger version.”

I smiled, “Would you like to take a walk along the beach? Then you can tell me all about your Michael and I can share my life with my grandfather with you.”

He agreed. It’s funny I rarely make friendships with people way older than me, but Claude was so likable - maybe it was because he was gay and I had never known a gay adult that I knew I could talk to.

“Why don’t we go to my hotel first and you can leave your things there?”

“As long as you don’t try to seduce me that would be fine,” I said jokingly but meaning it too.

“You have nothing to worry about. I am not a pedophile and you are far too young for me.”

We arrived at his hotel and went to his room or I should say suite. “Wow! What a view!” I said in English as he showed me the place.

“You’re American?” he asked in English.

“Oui,” I answer in French.

“Your French is perfect! Not even a hint of an American accent although you sound Parisian - I assumed you were French.”

“Thank you.”

“This is so amazing…”


“You! You look so much like Michael and he was an American too. Feel free to look around I need to use the bathroom,” he said and disappeared into the bathroom closing the door behind him.

I looked around and even checked out his bedroom and that’s when I saw it - the photograph of my father! I couldn’t believe it! On the nightstand a photo of the man I had longed to meet, half the reason I came to Paris. My real father. I knew it was him because my grandfather had the same photo and had given me a copy. I was to go and meet him two years ago, but he had died. It didn’t seem to matter at the time because he was a complete stranger, but now. Now I needed him I needed my grandfather, I needed someone. I sat down on the bed holding the picture and the tears of a lifetime poured down my cheeks.

Claude came into the room and saw me holding Michael’s photo. “Jason, what’s the matter?”

I looked at him. I couldn’t speak just uncontrollable sobs. Quickly, he sat next to me and took me into his arms, but I couldn’t stop and for at least ten minutes we remained like that, finally I tried to speak again. “He’s my dad, why did he have to die? Why couldn’t he have waited? I was supposed to meet him! Why, Claude, why?”

“Oh, my god! Oh, Jason!” cried Claude as he realized what fate had done to us. He had lost his life partner - I had lost my father who had only lived in the fantasies of a young twelve-year-old boy. We both cried our hearts out.

I fell asleep in his arms and woke again sometime late afternoon still in the arms of my dad’s lover and life partner. I turned over. He was awake. “Are you feeling better? You’ve been asleep for quiet a while,” he said softly.

“No. Just rested,” I forced a small smile, “Can we go for that walk?”

I said very little more until we were walking along the beach. I held his hand as we walked - I figured people would think we were father and son even though we looked nothing alike.

“All my life for as long as I can remember I wanted to meet my father; it was just because I was curious at first and I wanted to know what it would feel like to call someone papa. As a kid I would imagine having adventures with my Dad, he would take me places and teach me things just like Sam, Sam Phillips, my grandfather did. I met my mom once - what a let down! Then I had to live with her for a while - what a nightmare! I was and unwanted and unloved child with the exception of Sam.”

“Sam was so excited about me meeting my dad when I was twelve and I was excited too and nervous - nervous because I thought maybe he’d be like my mom, I thought maybe he’d hate me too. Sam said he loved fencing and I thought that maybe he’d love me and take me to his home and we’d fence together and become a real father and son team and be famous.”

“Then a week before we were to meet Sam got word that he had died. It was the only time I ever saw Sam cry and I cried too, but only because my Sam was so sad. I didn’t cry for my dad because he’d only lived in my dreams, he’d never been a real person…until I saw the photo on your nightstand…when I saw it I realized, my dad was a real person who was loved by you and Sam…” I stopped and looked at Claude, “It’s just not fair! It’s not fair that I didn’t get to feel him hold me in his arms, or kiss me goodnight! It’s not fair that I didn’t get to tell him that I loved him!”

“That is true, life is not always fair to us humans…but then maybe life is trying to make up for what she has taken away from you and me.”

“What do you mean?” I asked as we resumed our walking.

“Life took your dad, my Michael and your Sam away from us. I know for myself I have been very depressed, I came here to die,” he paused, “yes, Jason I was going to end my life because life had been so unfair - it had taken my love away from me and I became impossible to live with. Yet, look at what life has done! It has by fate or whatever brought us, two complete strangers together. Your father until a few years ago never knew you existed. He and Sam had had a terrible argument and he left home never to return. For years I tried to get him to make up with Sam and eventually he did…and he found out that he had a son, Jason Michael Phillips. In our whole life I had never seen him so happy.” Claude let out a chuckle.


“You and your father had the same worries, what if Jason hates me because I’m gay. What if he just hates me? I want him to love me like I know I’m going to love him. I want him to love you too Claude. Oh, Claude, what if he hates you? What will I do?”

I laughed.

We continued our walk and I must have asked him a million questions about my dad and him and their life together and what he did for a living and what my dad did and did my dad like art and fencing. It was seven o’clock and I was getting hungry and so was he so we headed back to the hotel.

“Claude, were you and my dad true to each other or did you ever have other lovers?”

“Your dad had one affair very early in our romance…it didn’t work out…and in his words it was the worst experience in his entire life as you said earlier she was a let down - your mom. Years later when he found out about you he said - “funny that the worst experience of my life should be the cause of such happiness for me so many years later.” I personally think if he’d known you would be the outcome of that experience he would have suffered the nightmare too.”

“Claude, I can understand why my father was so in love with you. If he hadn’t died I would have been living with both of you. I would have had two papas.”

“Yes, well, now you only have one, me.”

“Can I call you Papa Claude?”

“My boy, you can call me Papa Claude, or Papa or Claude. You know when you were sleeping I realized that if Michael had not died, I would be your second papa and I would grow to love you as much if not more than Michael. Well, if Michael died after that then I would still be there for you and I would still be your papa. All afternoon I was hoping for an opportunity to tell you that I have accepted you as Michael’s and my son and I will do my best to be a good father to you if you want me in that capacity. Do you?”

I was totally overwhelmed with joy I did what comes so naturally to me - I hugged him. “YES! I WANT! Oh Papa! I love you!”

As we walked into our suite Papa Claude said, “You know I think the boy uh, Dieter?”

I nodded, “Yes, Dieter Rosenberg.”

“Well, I think if you two become life partners and mates then he will have gotten the best part of the deal.”

I smiled, “Wait till you’ve lived with me around you for a while then you’ll change your mind and will be begging Dieter to take me away…OH MY GOD!”


“I was supposed to call him at six! It’s eight o’clock!”

“Well, my son, you’d better call him! He probably worried sick by now!”

Claude left the room smiling while I hurriedly dialed the number to the café.

Ian answered.

“Ian, it’s Jason. I need to speak to Dieter.”

“Jason. Jason I’m so sorry please come back - I’ll never write again if you don’t come back. I’ll do anything you ask anything - I’ll, I’ll give you my bed! I loved the gallery!”

“Is Alex there?”

“Yes and Dieter and Sven.”

“Good - I’ll come back when you tell Alex that you’re gay and how you really feel about him?”

“I can’t do that, Jason. It would be the end.”

“No. Ian it would be the beginning of your life together. He loves you, you idiot! Now tell him. I want to hear you. Trust me!”

“Alex only, you other two go over there,” I heard Ian say, “Alex, uh, uh, I’m uh, uh, gay and I love you.” There was a moment of silence, “If I’ve just make the biggest mistake of my life I’m going to kill the little bastard on the other end of this phone…”

Alex must have taken the phone from Ian because I heard Alex say, “Thanks, I owe you.” Next I heard cheers in the background and could only imagine the two were engaged in a serious lip lock.

“Jason, I barley beat Dieter to the phone, as you may have guess Ian and Alex are unable to come to the phone I just want you to know that I love you and your boy here is throwing a fit because I beat him to the phone and is about to hit me cuz he wants to talk. Bro - you’ve only been gone a day and we can’t stand living without you cuz your boyfriend is driving us crazy!! OW! Dieter that hurt!” I really loved hearing Sven’s voice.

Finally Dieter got on the phone, “Are you okay? I love you and I miss you.”

“I love you too. I’ve had the most fantastic day, there has only been one day in my life that has been better and that was the day I knew I loved you, the day I rested my head on your shoulder. So, much has happened today.”

Claude came into the room and saw I was still on the phone and started to leave. “Papa, it’s okay I don’t mind you listening.” He smiled and came over and gave me a kiss on my forehead.

I explained some of what happened.

“Oh, my love, I am so happy for you. I miss you so much,” I knew he was crying.

“Dieter, I want you here with me, I want to tell you everything good and bad about me and most of all I want you to meet someone very, very special…my papa…”

“Papa, can Dieter come an stay with us?”

“Of course! Let me talk to him.”

I handed the phone over to him. Then he said, “ You need to go wash up for dinner. He’ll still be on the line when you get back.”

I left and went to wash up for dinner when I returned Claude was still talking to Dieter and laughing which I took as a good sign.

As I entered Papa Claude said, “Well, you love is back and anxious to speak I can tell.” I blushed. He laughed and handed the phone back to me.


“Oh! Jason, your papa sounds like a wonderful person.”

“He is and so are you. So will I see you tomorrow?”

“Maybe,” he teased.

“Maybe,” I whined, “No! Not maybe. Definitely. Positively! Absolutely!”

He giggled, “I love you, but I have to go catch a train to Nice to see the most beautiful boy in my life! I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, and I love you!”

“I love you too!”



I hung up and Papa and I went down to dinner.

When we got to the dinning room I stopped. All the people were well dressed and I only had on my old jeans and a T-Shirt. Papa was in slacks and a decent shirt.

“I’ll go down the road to eat, I’m not going in there,” I said.

“Why not?”

“Look at me! I look like some street urchin you picked up off the street!”

“Hmm. I see your point. Wait here.”

He ordered a complete three-course meal to be delivered to our room. During and after dinner Claude and I continued to talk and learn about each other.

I had to go to the bathroom and when I came back Claude told me that Dieter had missed the train and it meant that Dieter wouldn’t be here until noon, which was a bit disappointing.

“Papa, Dieter is going to be here tomorrow and I am so afraid that when he learn the truth about me he will not want to be with me.”

I spent the next three hours telling Papa all of the horrible things in my life and all the things that I feared Dieter would hate. I think I figured if Papa hated me then I could just leave and never see anybody again. I cried a lot, but in the end I had told all.

“Do you hate me Claude? Should I leave?”

“Sam once said to me after you Dad’s death - we all make mistakes - learn from them - I think you have. We all tend to be much more critical of ourselves than we should be. I think you are. Jason what your dad and I learned was if you really love someone you will always be therefore them no matter what. If what you have told me upsets Dieter then it only means he is hiding things from you that he feels bad about. The mind is a funny thing it just works that way. So don’t worry. I am tired and I think we should retire. May you have pleasant dreams and may tomorrow be the happiest day of your life.”

He kissed me on the cheek and I did the same. I stripped to my boxers and crawled into the couch bed and sleep soon came upon me.

PS: So, that was chapter 4. Hope it was too long and boring. Thanks for the emails. Comments are welcomed. Email me. tlc_tlc_uk@hotmail.com .