Journey to Love
Chapter Eleven: Traveling and Home Again
Preface warnings apply
edited by Cole, Peter and Scott
Before lunch, Auntie had me take her to a local electronics
store where she purchased a GPS for the car. After lunch and
my being quizzed about the upstairs, I programmed it to take
me to the office of the Dean of Student Life at the
I was in his office at 2:00 for our meeting which went well.
Since I would be essentially 'living at home', the
requirements for resident freshman simply did not apply to me.
I was classified as a day student and that was that. After
that was settled, we chatted. He had known Auntie since he was
a student himself and told me a few great stories about her.
Unfortunately, things did not go as well with Coach Anderson,
the head aquatics coach, and Dr. Haynes, head of the athletic
department. They were seemingly unbending in their demand that
I live in the athletes' dorm and eat at the athletes' table. I
was becoming very, very depressed as I had very little I could
do in face of their demands and could not convince them that I
simply could not afford college. I finally said, “Coach, Dr.
Haynes, the only options I have are to borrow a lot of money
or to wait until next year to start here. I’m not going to
borrow money and end up with a huge college debt when I can
afford a community college near home. Seems you can’t
compromise on this, so I’ll enroll there this year and will be
on track when I come back.”
Before either could answer, the phone rang. Dr. Haynes picked
it up and after he identified himself, he just listened. After
a while, he said, “Thank you,” and hung up the phone. He then
dialed a number and spoke into the phone, “Mr. Gibson, Dr.
Haynes. Could you come to my office?” He hung up the phone and
asked, “Mr. Wilson, do you have your gear with you?”
There was a knock on the door and Mr. Haynes said, “Come in.
Ah, good, Mr. Gibson, Mr. Wilson. Mr. Gibson is a senior and
on the dive team. Gibson, take Mr. Wilson by to pick up a pair
of Speedos and observe his diving. Anyone else around?”
“Smith is here.”
“Grab him and score Mr. Wilson's dives. You have him for
forty-five minutes.” I wondered what was going on.
“Will do, Coach,” the diver said. When we left the office, he
said, “Name's Brody,” extending his hand.
“Derek,” I responded. “Do you know what's going on here?”
“Haven't the foggiest.”
He then asked why I was here and I told him. “I wouldn't be
too optimistic,” he said when I was finished. “Coach and Dr.
Haynes are both pretty stubborn. Well, here we are. Roger,” he
said, speaking to the young guy in the supply cage, “Derek
needs a pair of Speedos.” He looked at me and said, “Know your
size?” Small? Medium?
“Well, my waist calls for a small, but the rest of me needs a
medium, otherwise, I'm not decent.”
He looked at me, his eyes dropping to my groin. “I
understand,” he grinned. “A pair of medium Speedos,” he said.
When I had changed into the Speedos, he said, “Nice. Well,
let's see you dive.”
When we got to the pool, there was another fellow there, too
thin to be a swimmer, I thought. In fact, he looked as if he
needed a new diet and fitness program. “Robert Smith, Derek
Wilson. Robert is a nationally recognized dive judge. We are
lucky to have him around. Well, Derek, show us your stuff.”
I hadn't expected to be diving and I'm not sure how well I was
doing, but about half an hour after I started, Brody got my
attention and called to tell me I needed to get dressed. I
guess the ax was about to drop.
I hadn't noticed him before, but Coach Anderson had joined
Brody and Robert and the three were comparing notes when I
walked past, headed for the showers. When I had showered and
dressed, Brody was waiting to take me back to the athletic
department office. When I walked in, Dr. Haynes and Coach
Anderson were waiting.
“Derek, I'll get right to the point. Coach Anderson says Roger
and Brody confirmed what he had seen in Alexandria. Coach
Anderson observed your last two dives today and all three
think you are exactly what our dive team needs. The phone call
was from the Alexander Personal Fitness Center staff, a
conference call. Ms. Bianchi was on the women's dive team here
so we know her well. Frankly, you and your friends have put us
in a bit of a bind. To be completely honest, Mr. Hunsinger
reminded us that your scholarship didn't cover room and board
and our forcing you to sleep and eat here didn't seem quite
kosher, especially when he pointed out you had been told the
athletes' dorm was full. He, Mr. Malik and Ms. Bianchi all
convinced us we didn't have to worry about your training, diet
and so forth. The long and short of it is, we need you and you
really don't need our dorm or dining hall. They also said you
had no problem in being a part of a team and reminded us that
the APFC team didn't live and eat together and it was obvious
to anyone who sees it that it is a real team.”
“Coach Anderson is beating about the bush, Mr. Wilson. What he
means to say is, you are free to live and eat where you damn
well please so long as you watch your diet and maintain your
training schedule. Agreed?” Dr. Haynes asked.
“Fine. We'll expect you here the fifteenth of August to begin
training. What will you be doing this summer?”
“I'll be attending a two-week aquatics camp at AFPC and then
I’ll be on the staff there for the middle-school swimming camp
for two weeks. Other than that, my best friend and I are
planning on doing some traveling and camping in New England
for a couple of weeks. That about takes care of the summer.”
“Well, have a good one,” Dr. Haynes said and shook my hand.
Coach Anderson shook my hand as he nodded in agreement.
“See you in August,” Dr. Haynes said and left.
Auntie was delighted with the news and said, “So I get to keep
my IOUs from Old Commonwealth. Good. Always good to have.”
Tuesday when we finished breakfast, Auntie insisted we go
downtown to shop. We went to a mall where she purchased a cell
phone for me, then to a men's clothing store—where I was
thunderstruck at the prices. “Auntie, there is no need to pay
these prices,” I said.
“Derek, I haven't had a young man to dress in years. Don't try
to deny an old lady her fun.” After she purchased real
dress-up clothes for me—all very classic in design—she said,
“Now let's get some school clothes. Only requirement is I
don't see your ass crack or underwear and I get to choose the
underwear,” she giggled.
After spending a bundle at three upscale clothing stores
specializing in younger men, we went to another shop—small and
very nice—and she purchased underwear. When she asked, I told
her I wore and loved trunks* most of the time, otherwise
briefs. “Since I spend a lot of time in Speedos, I can't
tolerate boxers or boxer briefs.”
She bought dozen pairs of trunks in various colors and designs
and a dozen of equally varied pouch briefs, then said, “OK, my
choice,” giggled, and selected half a dozen very brief briefs,
some see-thru. I drew the line at thongs. “Auntie, if you
don't mind, I'd just as soon not have something in the crack
of my ass!” She also purchased socks, Ts, wife beaters and
muscle shirts. I'm sure she spent as much as two months of
Mom's salary on just underwear! With all the purchases, the
backseat of the car was full and the real dress-up wear would
be shipped when it had been properly altered.
We had lunch and when we got back to the house, she insisted I
get on the road. “You have at least a three-and-a-half to
four-hour drive and I don't want you getting sleepy while
We said our goodbyes and I was on my way at 2:30.
When I got home, I could hardly wait to tell Brad and Sam
about my trip. It was almost 6:30 when I arrived. After I had
unloaded the car they still hadn’t arrived home and I was left
on pins and needles worrying. When they walked in, Sam said,
“So who's here in the red convertible?”
“Thank goodness you're here. I was worried about you,” I said
as I hugged them. “The car? It's kinda mine. Now that you are
here, come upstairs with me.”
On the way up, Brad said they were late because a kid had run
past the receptionist at the Center and attacked another kid.
“Took awhile to get that sorted out. They were fighting over a
girl who walked out of the Center snuggled up against another
guy. When will guys ever learn?”
When we got to my room, I showed them my wardrobe and they
were as impressed as I was. “Damn, you let him out of your
sight and his gay comes out and he returns a fashion plate,”
Sam laughed. “I've heard of sugar daddies, but you have a
We went back downstairs and while Sam started supper, Brad and
I seated ourselves at the kitchen table so both could hear my
report from Norfolk. Auntie had also bought me a very nice
point-and-shoot camera and Brad put the memory card in the
projector so I could show them the house, my rooms and all.
“Derek, I can't think of anyone more deserving. I'm glad you
have a job, and taking care of Auntie is a job even if she is
pretty independent, but you are a responsible young man, so
it's a win-win situation,” Sam said.
We had another big aquatics meet in mid-May and, again, Jeremy
and I did very well. The trophy cabinet at the Center was no
longer empty. Two weeks later, we graduated. I was second in
my class. Sam and Brad were a bit upset because the school
awarded honor points, but did not count them for class
standing. The person first in my class had not taken a single
honors or AP class and I had taken one or the other for
everything where it was a possibility. It didn't matter to me.
I had my scholarships and was better prepared for the next
step in my life and that was what was important, but it did
matter to Mom and my dads who were very proud of me and wanted
everyone to know it.
James Monroe's's semester ended the week before graduation and
DeAngelo was back home. He was full-time at the Center, a
personal trainer intern for the summer. He had taken courses
aimed at becoming a physical therapist and personal trainer
and needed practical experience. The Center had grown to the
point where they needed another trainer and Brad was delighted
to have him working under his supervision.
Jeremy and I had spent hours planning a camping trip through
New England for the first two weeks after school was out. When
we thought we had planned well and we sat down with his dad
and mine to present it, all three took one look and started
laughing wildly. When Jeremy’s dad finally got control, he
said, “I thought this was to be a two week trip, not two
months. You would have to be moving 24/7 to get little more
than half of this done in two weeks. What were you going to
see? Were you planning on stopping and seeing anything or just
driving? You have fourteen days. You're going to be sleeping
at least seven hours a day or you are going to enter a danger
“Let's break down your time and you can recalculate your route
based on that,” Sam said. “Fourteen days times twenty-four
hours means you have three hundred thirty-six hours. Seven
hours sleep a day and, since you are camping and preparing at
least two of your meals, you'll spend say five hours a day
setting up camp and preparing meals. So you have a hundred
sixty-eight hours sleeping, setting up camp and eating which
leaves you one hundred sixty-eight hours for driving and
seeing things. Split that as you will, but I'd suggest a third
driving and two thirds looking. After all, looking is why you
travel, right? You can drive four or five hours a day and have
seven or eight to look, rest, whatever. How does that sound?”
Jeremy and I were both laughing because we had figured on
driving eight hours a day. “We'll lick our calf over,” I said.
“Lick our calf over?” Jeremy looked at me as if I had lost my
“Yeah, you know, when a calf is born, its mother licks it to
clean it up. If she doesn't do a good job, she has to lick it
“Oh, I guess I get it.” Damn! The boy was living on a farm
now, but you'd never know it.
“You know, Jeremy, we were talking about how pretty New
England was when we started planning this trip. It's barely
spring there and I know we were thinking about fall. It's
still cold there.”
We both got a good laugh about poor thinking, and Jeremy asked
why we didn't head south instead. “We were thinking about
mountains when we live in a valley. How about the seashore?”
“Smart boy,” I said and we started planning again. We finally
ended up with both, seashore and mountains.
We'd spend our first two nights with Auntie. I wanted to show
Jeremy around and visit with Auntie.
Auntie put us in the guest room saying the upstairs still was
not habitable and suggested we not even bother going up. She
suggested that in a way which seemed to be more command than
suggestion, so we didn’t.
While Jeremy was finishing his shower the morning we were
leaving, Auntie asked if Jeremy was my boyfriend. When I told
her he wasn't, she said, “Pity.”
“Auntie, you don't know how much I wish he was, but Jeremy is
so straight he makes an arrow look like a corkscrew. I really
love the guy and he knows it and we both know it will not be
returned. We are just very, very good friends.”
We spent the next seven days camping down the coast of North
Carolina and South Carolina, finally ending up in Savannah,
Georgia. The nature of the coast and availability of camp
sites meant we never drove more than three or four hours. We
spent a day in Charleston on our way to Savannah and we spent
a day there also.
We decided we could do a long haul and headed for the
mountains after we left Savannah. Again, we took a day
sightseeing in Asheville, North Carolina and then got on the
Blue Ridge Parkway and headed northeast. Night thirteen of our
fourteen night trip we spent in Stone Mountain State Park in
North Carolina. We called our dads and got permission to stay
on the road one more day so we could divide the rest of the
trip, arriving back at Grace House two weeks and a day from
the time we left.
Back at Grace House, I unloaded my things and left them in the
foyer and went back outside to say goodbye to Jeremy. It
really was goodbye until Christmas as he was leaving on an
early morning flight out of the local airport, headed for West
Point. He was to report in before 0600 the following day, so
he needed to get there the evening before. “Knowing my luck,
there'll be a canceled flight or delay and I'll be late, so
I'm leaving in the morning.” After we had my stuff unloaded
and he was ready to go, he embraced me and said, “Love you,
“Love you too, Brother,” and he was gone.
Before we’d left on our trip, several people had warned that
such a trip would be wearing on the nerves and that it would
at least strain our friendship. Nothing could have been
further from the truth. We had spent two weeks sharing not
only food, a Jeep and a tent, but also our hopes, our dreams,
our worries and our fears.
About mid-way, there was a full moon which was so bright, we
decided we'd go for a walk on the beach since we had had a
long drive that day and were worn out. As we walked, for the
first time since I had told Jeremy I was gay, we talked about
that. “You know,” I said, “when you told me you were straight
and could never love me the way I loved you, I knew it was
true. I also knew that there was nothing I could do to turn
you gay any more than you could turn me straight. I knew that
and my rational mind accepted it, but human beings are not
just rational. While my rational mind accepted reality, my
emotional and sexual mind did not. I realize that, finally, my
emotional side is beginning to accept that we have a damn
valuable friendship and that is enough. Now if I could just
get my sexual mind to stop lusting for your hot body!” We
laughed, but when we got back to the tent and lay down, I
realized that, yes, I would always love Jeremy, but it no
longer commanded all my thoughts and dreams.
I had a day to get back in the groove before I started
swimming camp. Jeremy and I hadn't been good at all about diet
and exercise, but with the exception of a very few days, we
had run and/or swum. Nonetheless, I needed to get back in
training. With aquatics camp started, I needn't have worried
about not getting back in training. It was that or die!
I did as much coaching at aquatics camp as I did being coached
and I soon discovered that the best way to learn was to teach.
Not only had I learned a lot about swimming and diving during
the two weeks, but I had my first real experience with someone
trying to seduce me—well, I didn't resist too much at first.
Jacob Crawley was a rising senior from Woodbridge. He was a
typical jock type—handsome, well-built, arrogant, conceited,
demanding: as I said, a typical jock. While he flirted with
the girls, he definitely spent a lot of time checking out the
guys. In the pool, locker room and showers, he played a lot of
grab ass and copped a feel any chance he got. One afternoon
Mr. Malik had really been on his case for not paying attention
or following instructions. He was swimming like a beginner,
not a swim team member. When the last group was sent to the
showers before returning to the dorms—the Center rented dorm
space at Mary Baldwin College to house campers—Mr. Malik
called him and said, “Jacob, you can just stay in the pool.
Derek, would you coach Jacob as he swims twenty laps, laps
that meet your approval, of butterfly, breast stroke,
freestyle and backstroke. Goof off, Jacob, as you have been
doing all afternoon, and you'll be here until midnight.” Jacob
started to arguing until Mr. Malik said, “It's that or
Woodbridge here you come. People paid good money for aquatics
camp and they will get their money's worth and if that means
you head to Woodbridge, you'll head to Woodbridge.”
Jacob started swimming and when he returned to the starting
point, I simply said, “Jacob, not acceptable. You know how to
swim better than that and you’d better do it. Mr. Malik
always, always, means business.” After that, Jacob
straightened out and even graciously accepted my coaching.
When he finished swimming laps, I knew he was nearly
exhausted. “Good job, Jacob,” I said as I extended him a hand.
Instead of using it to pull himself out of the pool, he pulled
me in, wrapped his arms around me and kissed me. I'll admit,
he was a good kisser and before I knew it, I was kissing him
back. We both went from 'limp willie' to 'rod of steel' in
about ten nanoseconds. We were still in the pool when Jacob
untied my Speedos and started sliding it down my legs. I
grabbed his hand and said, “Not here,” and pulled my Speedos
up. We walked to the shower and Jacob again started stripping
off my Speedos. After he pushed them down my legs, he leaned
over and took my cock in his mouth. As he did, I suddenly
realized we were not just two aquatics camp campers. He was,
but I was in a different relationship with the Center and sure
didn't need to be having sex with a camper. I reached down
pulled Jacob to his feet and said, “Don't get me wrong, Jacob,
I am a horny eighteen- year-old, but I'm sorry, I’m on the
staff here and this has gone too far already.” He was pissed
and didn't give up until he climbed in the car to head for
Woodbridge a week and a half later.
By the end of the two weeks, Ms. Bianchi and Mr. Malik both
said I was in top form.
Camp ended the last Friday in June. The Fourth of July was a
week from the next day and we had the week off before the
middle-school swim camp. The campers would be arriving Sunday
after the Fourth and counselors would be coming in the Friday
before. Brad planned a picnic for the counselors and camp
staff as well as the regular staff of the Center at the pond
on the Fourth.
There were a couple of huge old oaks less than a hundred yards
from the edge of the pond and the food would be spread on two
long tables under them. Surrounding the huge trees was a grove
of smaller, but still large, oaks, forming a semi-circle
around the pond. People would use them for shade. All were
told to bring lawn chairs or blankets to spread under the
trees. All in all, just over a hundred people were expected
when children and significant others were added.
The Alexander Center Foundation was putting on the whole
event. There was a lot to do to get ready for Saturday.
It began with the arrival of a large truck Friday morning
containing all sorts of warning signs. Two men came with
the truck. When one of them came to the door, he asked for Mr.
Hunsinger and I called for Brad. When he saw the truck, he
told them, “Give me a minute to get the Jeep and then follow
me.” He went to the garage and drove out the Jeep and headed
toward the pond area. He had only been gone a few minutes when
a pickup with a large cooler on the back pulling some kind of
contraption came down the drive. When I answered the door, he
said he was there to setup the barbeque and stoves to prepare
the food. I was barely back in the house when the doorbell
rang again and this time it was a man with an above-the-ground
pool to set up for the smaller kids. I told him to follow the
tracks in the pasture.
I cleaned my room, DeAngelo's and my bath, then went
downstairs and cleaned the living area and the office. I had
also put in a load of laundry before going outside. Sam had
been called back to the therapy center earlier when one of the
therapists didn't come in, so I locked the house, turned on
the alarm and hopped in my car, headed for the pond.
Last fall Brad had the power company run an underground line
from the road to the pond where it connected to underground
wiring he had a Waynesville company install. There were now
outlets all around the pond and in the grove. He had
attractive street-type lights placed in the grove and on two
sides of the pond. He and Sam had debated putting some
underwater lights in the pond and after they had argued
the pros and cons for a few days, Sam said, “Hell, Babe, let's
They started talking about a Fourth of July picnic in the
spring and before we knew it, we were talking about
port-a-potties, potable water and such. After discussing that
for awhile, I asked if the Fourth of July picnic was a
'one-of.' “I hadn't thought about that,” Brad said. “I hope
“Then why temporary and not very satisfactory toilets?” I
“Sam, the baby boy is thinking. We'll go for a more permanent
solution.” They had a well drilled and restrooms with flush
toilets built. Water fountains and showers were also
installed. They were turning the area surrounding the pond
into a kind of mini-park and picnic area. While they were at
it, they enlarged the pond. When I asked Sam if it meant no
more skinny-dipping, he said, “Of course not! That is our
place, not open to the public, opened occasionally to APFC
employees and family and our friends.” I guess I was selfish,
but I was glad that the pond was still for family—and invited
When I reached the pond, I noticed the truck with the warnings
was parked on the opposite side of the pond from the grove,
three hundred yards or so beyond it. The two men who had been
in it were taking some kind of racks from it and setting them
in rows. I had no idea what was going on. The above ground
pool was set up and being filled from the pond. Had it been
filled from the well, it would still be cold tomorrow. The
barbeque was being set up as was a large stove beside it. I
walked over to Brad, who was standing under one of the huge
oaks, watching everything. As I walked up to him, he put his
arm around my shoulder and hugged me. Since I had been living
with Sam and Brad, I had become a real hugger and sure enjoyed
the fact that they were. “So what's going on, Dad? I mean
barbeque and pool I understand, but what are those guys
doing?” I pointed to the two men across the pond.
“They're working on a surprise.”
He looked at me, laughed and said, “A surprise.” That was all
I could get out of him.
As we stood watching all the activity, a van drove up and
three older—elderly—men climbed out of the front. It was
followed by an SUV and when it stopped, two more elderly men
got out of the front and four guys piled out of the back. The
guys were about my age. I gave them a once over—I mean, I like
guys, right?—and decided they were all well built, a couple
damn good looking and all, but definitely none were my type.
Don't ask me why since I am not sure what my type is. One of
the elderly men walked over to us, followed by one of the
younger guys. The old fellow stuck out his hand and said,
“Good to see you, Brad.”
“Good to see you, Mr. Moffitt. How's Mrs. Moffitt?” Brad
responded as they shook hands.
“Fine, Fine. This is my grandson, Afton.” Maybe I had judged
too quickly. Afton might have been my type after all.
“And this is my baby boy,” Brad laughed. “Derek.” I shook
hands with the grandfather and his grandson. As the two were
making the introduction, I remembered where I had seen Mr.
Moffitt. He’d played in the string band which had played for
the Halloween party. “I thought we get you set up on the other
side of the pond,” Brad said.
Mr. Moffitt nodded and headed back to the van. When they
reached the other side, the five elderly men took lawn chairs
and headed for the grove where they unfolded the chairs and
sat down. Two of them covered their faces with their hats and
were soon dozing. Meanwhile, Brad said, “Derek, if you like,
you might help get the stage set up.”
I went over and asked, “Need any help guys?”
“Always welcome help,” Afton said. “Guys, this is Derek. Derek
“No, another FFS, Derek Wilson.”
“Well, we're all FFC—First Families of Churchville: Chuck
Connor, Don Camp and Jesse Camp,” he said and laughed.
“They're all cousins in one way or another, to one degree or
another. I'm the outsider. Looks like a real big party going
to take place here.”
“Yeah, July Fourth picnic Saturday. You're invited along with
girlfriends, boyfriends or just a regular unclassified
“Your boyfriend or girlfriend be here?”
“Out of boyfriends right now. Guess I’m kinda one of the hosts
as Brad Hunsinger is one of my dads.”
“You have more than one?” Jess asked and laughed.
“Yeah, I have two. Brad and his husband Sam Houston.”
“See, Jess, I told you a man could marry,” Afton said.
“Cannot!” Jess said.
“Can too,” I said. “Not in Virginia—yet—but my dads were
married in Massachusetts.”
Jess didn't want to drop it and when Brad came by, he said,
“Mr. Hunsinger, Derek's been pulling our leg saying you were
married to a man.”
“He's not pulling your leg. I am. Thought everybody in the
Shenandoah Valley knew that. It was in the paper, but I guess
you were too young to be interested in that.”
As Brad was speaking, Sam walked up and put his arm around
Brad and with his other hand, turned his face to his and gave
him a quick kiss on the lips. “How's it going, Babe?” he
“Fine, except this handsome young man doesn't think we're
“Shame on you, handsome young man,” Sam laughed. “Drop by the
house and I'll show you the paper if you like.” As I
introduced the four to Sam, I wondered why they had been
discussing gay marriage in the first place, but probably would
never know. I suddenly got a bad feeling in the gut -- I had
outed myself. Why had I said I was out of boyfriends?
*Seems to some that trunks are undergarment from years past or
swim trunks. They have been around a few years now and some of
us former brief wearers are converts. They are much shorter
than boxer briefs, but do have legs. They fit close like
briefs. Most of the underwear brands have several styles.
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