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"The Lost Weekend"
I was gripping the black bars, lying face down on the mattress, a pillow tucked under my middle. "Jamie, what are you waiting for? What are you doing?"
"I'm slipping a condom on it."
"What the hell for?"
"You think you're the only one here that wants to play? It'll save clean up later."
"Well, it was my birthday present after all."
"True, but it was my idea, and you get to use it first anyway. Now don't be such a greedy bitch. You have to be willing to share to make a relationship work you know." Jamie paused, and then I heard this buzzing sound. There was awe in his voice. "Kewlness."
"NOW what are you doing?"
"Huh? Oh, this thing has variable speeds. Oh WOW! The head wiggles back and forth on 'high'. Didn't you notice? Its adjustable."
I had noticed. The `Johan Paulik' model had some nice features but damned if I was going to admit it. What I did have to admit to was impatience.
I squirmed, trying to re-adjust the pillow. Just the anticipation was getting me hard. "Planning on starting any time soon? Or should I take a nap?"
"Jesus, you are SUCH a pleasure pig. Hold on a sec." I heard the squoosh of the lube tube and knew we were about to begin. I had been waiting for this for over a month. I lay there, letting myself relax, and suddenly I felt his hot breath on my--
Wow. I'm really getting ahead of myself here. I mean who starts at the end when they tell a story? Well, I guess we'll just have to wait awhile before we talk about the sex, and let me back up a little...
* * * * *
Not much happened in the first month, and that was the trouble. I mean, everyone figures that because you're still in school, you have no responsibilities and that your time is your own. Anyone want to lay odds? Unless you're in a TV sitcom, or your parents are loaded, you don't have time to scratch. Oh sure... part time job, and they laugh at you. Right. A part time job; three nights a week during the week and weekends, every other Sunday off. Friday or Saturday? You work. Some kids flip burgers, some bag groceries. I work in a bookstore and Jamie in retail clothing. Easy jobs? Oh yeah. You only have to deal with the public all the time. The company tells you to lick spit off the floor if they have the price of a magazine in their pocket. Don't misunderstand me, most people treat you with a common decency, and you give the same back. There are also an awful lot out there who think the Proclamation of Emancipation hit the shredder just because you made seventy-five cents over the minimum wage.
Ok, that's just your job. Now factor in school. Five days a week, 8 am to 2:30 pm. You sit in a controlled atmosphere of lethargy with some teacher who's just as bored as you. He's delivering the same lectures and announcing the same projects he's been doing since he was certified by the state. Sure, the first five or six years he may have seen it as a challenge, but somewhere along the line he started counting the days to his retirement or at least the next vacation day. So that takes care of school... except for homework, research assignments, term papers, and special reading lists-- things like that. Not to mention your guidance counselor is always there to tell you how you have to be active in the school if you want to catch the eye of the better colleges. Everything has to be down on paper, you see. Your resume begins in kindergarten. There are dark allusions to "your permanent record" if you get out of line. All of which means nothing if you plan to go right to work after you leave school, not that there's anything wrong with that. But if you want to get into a college, the `Curse of the Permanent Record' lurks in the shadows. More time squandered on something you really don't care about.
With Jamie, he had an easy out; he quit sports after three years to concentrate on his academics. College recruiters and guidance types swoon at his feet. A jock that can think. They're all knocked out.
Me? I ran for Student Rep Freshman year, and lost to this chick with boobs bigger than Britney Spears and a brain cell to match her navel. That marked the demise of my political career. I did get involved with the school paper, writing cheesy reviews of cheesy movies. I was given free passes to what were thought to be "uplifting cinema events for youth." That's adult code for `suck movies' no one wants to see, and the video hits the bargain bin a month after its released. I'd like to tell you I fought pitched battles to review films like "Beautiful Thing" or "Edge of Seventeen," but the truth is I didn't have the guts to admit I'd even heard of them. Our faculty advisor made it clear I was to limit myself to mainstream movies. She told me what I could see and write about, and I'll always wonder about that, because our advisor was also my civics teacher. The one who insisted we understand the Constitution and our rights under it - like freedom of speech and the press. Go figure. So that was on my record, and while I wasn't nerd enough to do the chess club thing I did do drama, and I will thank you all to spare me the laughs because Jamie has exhausted every one of them. Anyway, the point of all of this was how much of a social life did you have left when you factored this all in?
I mean sure, Jamie and I could be together in school as much as we wanted, but let me tell you there are not that many opportunities to even steal a quick kiss, never mind anything else. It was tough, because Jamie was in three of my classes, sitting right where he always sat - a little to my left, and just far enough back so I barely caught site of him from the corner of my eye. I realized now that he had done this for three years, so he could look at me... ME. I never caught him at it, no one ever did. When the bell went off, he was a fixture at my side as we went to class. I know a few people watched us, like Dave Sciuoto. Dave was cool though; he never commented even once, and talked to us both as much as ever but never asked a single question. Dave watched us as we cruised the halls together; watched us meet on breaks and lunch at work. If he suspected anything, he never said a word. But others did notice, and we were catching looks. Jamie was never far away, even going so far as meeting me in the hall between classes that we didn't share, and always grabbing me by the shoulders with that bone-crushing grip of his when I stepped out. I drew the line when he tried carrying my books, because that really was too much and we had a few words about that. It hurt him I know, but Jesus, I didn't want a sign on our backs saying `couple'. He did ease off but he still turned up. We had different lunch periods so we stuck with our old groups. I don't know about his table but mine always came back to the same thing.
"Hey, what's with you and Jamie Levesque?"
Stock answer, "We're friends."
"Since when? How come you two are so tight all of a sudden?"
I'd try to tell them we had a lot in common but they'd look at me who couldn't catch a ball if it landed in my face, and then at Jamie, Mr. Jock Strap himself. Dave Sciuoto would step in and steer the subject elsewhere and I'd be grateful to let the matter drop. I really did wonder how much Dave thought he knew, but neither of us ever went into it.
Well, the time together at school was all right, but how about some private time? I mean, we were in our late teens, at the peak of our sexual form, and we had NO place to go. There was always someone at Jamie's place; I swear the Cayman's never went out. To make it worse, on the few occasions they DID go somewhere, there was Lauren. For sheer spite she'd cancel her plans the minute she heard I was going to be there, and I'm not so sure Jamie's parents were too anxious to leave us alone anyway. They accepted us as a gay couple, but I think they wanted to believe we never did anything. It's a lot like when you first learn about sex and somehow you can't picture your parents doing that. It's called denial. I am sure the Cayman's firmly believed in that same denial about their son. Anyway, the point was when we were at Jamie's the farthest we ever went was a quick kiss or two.
My house was no better, because while my parents liked going away on the weekends, they didn't range far on weeknights and in the fall cut back their travel. Unlike the Cayman's they didn't know the facts of our relationship, but they'd at least gotten used to Jamie's coming around. My father fell in love with Jamie himself, and together they'd sit and talk the sports page to death until I'd finally get him away. Mostly that meant going to my room. Neither of us wanted to get into much more than a cuddle and an occasional kiss with my parents only a lauan door away. Sure, there's a lock on the door and we'd hear them on the stairs if they came up, but having mom and dad right there does put a damper on things. Jamie and I were pretty under control even when we got going, but there were times we did come out with some loud noises when we got, um, involved and neither one of us wanted to risk it. It was really frustrating having your other half RIGHT there all the time and not being able to touch him.
A few times we were so bad off we took his old Crown Vic and parked somewhere and tried for some quick relief, but it was just like when I used to cruise the mall up in Salem. Park in the darkest and most out-of-the-way spot you could find, and guaranteed someone would show up just as things were getting interesting. Nine times out of ten, it was someone you knew with his girlfriend, and for pretty much the same thing.
There's that big difference here though. Getting caught by a school buddy with your girlfriend is one thing-- if anything, your reputation goes up. Get caught with your boyfriend, and all hell breaks loose. If it's someone from school that's seen you, the word will travel faster than the 'net with cable. If it's a cop, the same guy who'd chase off a straight couple would just as likely haul your ass off to jail for public lewdness. Shake your heads if you want, but it's the truth. What ought to be just ain't always what is.
Besides, the few times we managed to find some relief cruising in Vicky, it wasn't that great. We liked the long foreplay before getting to the main event. There wasn't much long-term satisfaction from a quick dive down and right to business. Worse, Jamie was too big even with the huge bench seat pushed all the way back. You'd be amazed how painful a steering column off the back of the head can be. Forget getting naked. Oh, and it gets cold here in September. The heater in his aging Ford wasn't a lot better than the heater in my aging Toyota, and we wondered what it would be like come December.
So... we were really looking forward to the end of September and spending a weekend at Paul's condo in Seabrook. Jamie's boss had already confirmed it. Karen told me not to worry about a thing. It was going to be great, just the two of us for three solid days, from Friday afternoon after school till Monday morning when we returned. Just the two of us. No trying to get together when our work and school schedules allowed it, no waiting for my parents to go out or away for a night, no awkward moments in the car when everywhere else was too loaded with people for us to... share.
I stood looking at the schedule and my mouth dropped. I was off Friday and Sunday, but Karen had me closing Saturday night. She had ruined it all by scheduling me to work right in the middle of our get-away trip.
"Don't whine," she said behind me as I stared at the list, even as I started to do that very thing. "Jesus, I said don't whine, Chris. Honest to God, you sound more like a QUIT everyday."
It was enough to distract me. "A quit?"
"Yeah, a Queen in Training. You'll be ready for the twink bars in Boston in no time. Honest to God, you bitch more than Wynona. At least she has an excuse-- she's alone."
"If I looked like Wynona, I'd be alone too," I added huffily.
"You don't look like her, but you certainly sound like her. I have to put you on the schedule. All part timers have to work on the weekend, that's company policy. But its just paper to keep the regional office happy, they just don't want it to look like we play favorites. It's understood that you'll be calling in sick."
"I have to call?"
"No, you don't. But Daniel will log in a sick call and fill in for you."
My eyes bugged. "Daniel? As in Mr. Prendegast, Daniel?"
"That's right. I told him that you were going away, and he agreed to help out. He's, well, sympathetic let's say." She giggled, and gave me a sidelong glance to catch my reaction. "He thinks you two are cute."
My boss thought we were cute? "Karen, are you telling me that my boss knows I'm going away with my boyfriend for a get-away weekend?"
She shook her head. "We never discussed why you are going away, or with whom. Let's just say that Daniel is... perceptive. He knows what it's like having to duck and hide, just to steal time with someone you love. Daniel is thirty-seven years old and still lives with his mother." She dropped her voice lower, and looked around carefully. "Don't ever repeat this, but he's been in a relationship for ten years, but he's so damn closeted they hardly ever get together. It's so sad," she said, pausing for effect. "That's something you should keep in mind, Chris."
Oh yeah, back to this. Karen had been on me to take the big step - Out, and I kept telling her it wasn't time. I was waiting until after I was done with high school. I liked breathing. "We've been over this, Karen."
"I know, and I'm not saying you should do it now, but it's something you should keep in mind before you become another Daniel Prendegast. He's so deep in the closet, and everyone knows. He keeps saying `after my mother is gone'. I think she'll live `til she's ninety. But I'm not talking about announcing to the world, Chris. I was only thinking about your family."
This was well known territory. Karen was leading back to me talking with my parents, something I was trying to avoid. I knew they wouldn't make a scene, but I just didn't want to go there. And in case there was trouble, I wanted to make sure I was done with high school before the word got out on me. Jamie had brought it up a few times and offered his support. He had done the whole scene, with his brother Paul by his side and it had gone well. I wasn't sure how well it would go with me, so I was waiting for it to go away... like Daniel Prendegast waiting for his mother to die.
Anyway, Jamie and I were both looking forward to this weekend. The Caymans accepted the truth on the level that we were just house-sitting. My father thought it was good of me to keep a friend company for a few days. My mother smiled and said she hoped we had a good time. It was her tone of voice that got to me. Something was up with her, and I didn't know what... yet.
Friday arrived and Jamie picked me up for school that morning, and we loaded my things into his trunk. We had so little private time together; we traveled to school as much as our work schedules permitted. The one attempt we made using my car was hopeless. Jamie sat with his knees rammed against the dashboard of my two-door Tercel with his head hunched over, almost a fetal position. I never bothered to close my door when I saw the look on his face and it was unquestioned, thereafter, that Miss Vicky was our transportation by default. The mileage on the Crown Vic truly sucked, it used a suspicious amount of oil, but even if it was an old bomb, it still rode nice. Like my Tercel the air conditioner had given up years before, but its radio worked and without this god-awful humming in the background. I learned to NEVER roll the rear windows all the way down unless you had the spare half-hour to get them back in their tracks when you wanted them up. The bench seats were comfortable for almost anything. They would have accommodated almost anyone for a hot parking session except for Jamie, but we've covered that.
Our plan was to do our bit at school, disappear in sixth period and head for the shore. For once, nothing went wrong and we arrived safely in Seabrook, making good time on the highway. It was amazing the difference four weeks could make. Labor Day there were cars backed up from the Maine Turnpike to several miles behind the Massachusetts border, aggravated even more by the Hampton Toll Booth in New Hampshire. The same trip a month earlier would have taken us hours. Today, it was a little better than forty minutes.
We were cruising along the back roads of Seabrook when I gradually became aware of this... smell.
I wrinkled my nose. "Wow, how close are we to the salt marshes?" These were the equivalent of a swamp-- stagnant seawater at low tide and the odor of rotting vegetation and fish.
Jamie chuckled. "A lot closer than you want to know. Paul was determined to live on the coast no matter what, even if he couldn't afford ocean front property. Too bad he looked at this place at high tide with an ocean breeze. Don't worry babe, you get used to it pretty quickly. Figure around Monday morning, just before we leave."
He looked at me expecting me to start, but I remembered what Karen had said about me being another Wynona and a QUIT. It wasn't like Jamie could do anything about it, and all I cared about was finally having some uninhibited playtime with my boyfriend. It was still a nice day, even if it was almost October, and all the weather reports had told the same story: clear skies, unseasonably warm temperatures, and bright sun. It didn't matter to me if it rained all weekend. The two of us were away, and even if all the tourist places were pretty much closed down, there were still a lot of nice things we could do, and when we had exhausted them we could spend time together in private. No looking over our shoulders to see who was coming, or listening for sounds at the door signifying an unexpected parental return.
Just as the stench of the marshes became unbearable, Jamie pulled into a narrow drive with this high cinder block wall painted pink. An ornamental gate was mounted to it, and this big, ugly lamp doing a lousy imitation of a gaslight. I looked for a pink flamingo and was fortunately disappointed. It might suggest 'quaint New England' to someone from a distant city, but to me it just looked plain tacky. I squinted at the ivy draping the barrier, which seemed uncommonly lush for this time of year. Not exactly plastic, but it was nothing that ever grew naturally.
"Tacky, huh? I give Paul a hard time about that."
I was starting to worry what the place might look like, but as we cleared the gate I was surprised. It was a court of six semi-detached townhouses, four units to each structure. Uniform in design of course, painted a soft bluish gray, each section of the unit set just a little bit further back than its neighbor. No one could easily see the comings and goings of anyone else, at least in their building. There were well established and manicured shrubs, with borders of colorful, fall `mums lining the walks. The grass was still a rich, deep green. Nothing at all that I had expected when I saw the front gate. Two other things missing were a pool and a playground. Paul had chosen wisely, since the two hinted, if not guaranteed, no little kids.
Jamie guided Vicky into a numbered parking space to the left of the first building. As we got out of the car, I saw a shade pulled back in a nearby unit that faced the parking lot.
"We have an audience," I said nudging Jamie who was just pulling our things out of the trunk. He never even bothered to turn.
"That's just Stanley," he replied. "Stan checks out everything that moves around here. He likes the way both Paul and I move, he-he."
Before I could ask what he meant by that, the door of Stan's unit flew open. Stan must have been forty judging from his face, but not by the way he dressed. The shorts were cut just a little too high, worn a little too snug, and a little too... arranged. Did I mention the color? Pink, of course; very faded, like they had been around for a while-- not unlike Stanley himself. He was my height and probably close to my weight, but it sort of hung down in the middle, another reason his short-cut purple tee was a poor choice. His hair was a deep brown until he got too close, then it took on that purplish hue that screams `L'Oreal Look' in natural light. From there, you got a closer look at the rest. Thick glasses that magnified his eyes, a dull washed out gray. His skin was deeply tanned, but it was also the skin of a man who has seen too many tannings, and was deeply lined making him look older. Something else that gave the lie to the hair color. He had a strange nose, with a bump in the middle. A huge gash of a mouth topped it off, I thought. Then he got closer and no, the mouth didn't top it off; the makeup did. Just to accent the haggard skin, you saw the cruelties of adult acne aggravated by makeup not-so-carefully applied to the spots.
"Jamie! Paul said you'd be by to keep an eye on things. Haven't seen much of you this season. Job and a girlfriend keep you away this year?" Whiney voice, very nasal, topped with a slight accent; not foreign, just not from around here. His eyes were totally fixed on Jamie; I didn't exist.
"Something like that, Mr. Keralski," said Jamie, never pulling his head out of the trunk. I did notice that he twitched his backside a bit, and seemed to suddenly stretch out deeper into the trunk to grab something. His butt moved higher into the air, and Stan seemed to enjoy that. Jamie then stood, and gave the neighbor the most complete `air-head blonde' look, as he draped one of his thick arms over my shoulder, giving me a squeeze. He managed to use me as a barrier between himself and Stan. "This is my friend, Chris. We'll be staying until my brother gets home Monday."
"Mr. Keralski, pffft! Call me Stanley, I've told you that before." He looked at me now as Jamie leaned into me a little more. Almost like he was trying to hide behind me. Then I saw Stan's eyes as they focused on me. Lizard eyes, big lizard eyes stared me down. Stanley Keralski hated me for sure, but smiled with everything but those eyes. Jamie knew it, and began rubbing his fingers over the top of my shoulder and maneuvered his body just a little closer than he should be. Stanley held his hand out to me reluctantly, and I took it with the same feeling.
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Keralski. Oops! I mean Stanley. Hehe, sorry... I was brought up to respect my elders."
I felt Jamie's hand squeeze my shoulder hard, and Stanley fixed those lizard eyes on me as he shook my hand. He twisted his lips into a sweet little smile, but those eyes fired lasers. "Such a nice little boy." Then to Jamie, "You'll have to stop by sometime this weekend. Todd will be home in a few hours, stop in for a beer. Oh, and you're welcome too, Chris. Really."
`I'll just bet I am, you bitch,' I thought. We tried to be evasive, but it just didn't work. Finally, we agreed to stop by in the evening. Stanley walked with a sashay across the lot to his unit.
God, I thought to myself. If Karen thought I was a Queen in Training, I knew I had just met an Empress.
We were at the front door. "He hates you now. You do know that don't you?" Jamie fished through his ring for the key.
"I'm devastated, but he hated me before I said anything. Does he always look at you like that? Like he's ready to jump your bones?"
He flicked the lock. "Yup. He's been giving me the eye for two years now, back when I helped Paul move in here. He eyes Paul a lot too. I think his fantasy is the three of us in a jail cell, Paul in uniform with a whip and him in chains."
"Where do you fit in?"
"Probably in front, with Paul bringing up the rear. That was a hell of a dig, by the way," and he led us into our weekend home.
Paul lived well. The rooms were open and spacious, as you stepped through the door onto a small tile entry that changed to a pickled white oak floor. This lead to the dining area, done up in the same oak, and acted as barrier to the living room. The open living area had a deep burgundy carpet. Off-white leather sofa and love-seat, facing an a/v center clustered around a 52" projection TV. Nice sound system hook-up too, from what I could see. In the outer right of the room, a fireplace and wood to fill it. I immediately made plans for that fireplace whether it got chilly or not. We'd just have to be careful not to spill anything on the carpet. The dining room was nicely furnished as well; glass top table, but not the K-Mart cheapy, a heavy plate glass top with beveled edges on two marble-look supports. The chairs were simple round-backs with cushions. Comfortable, I knew. The kitchenette was exactly that. Small and cramped, meant for work, and that was all.
"Now for the best part. Check out the view." Jamie pulled a cord, and the drape flew back exposing a pair of sliders leading to a deck. I stood gawking.
"That's his view? Seabrook Station?"
He snickered. "Yeah, another reason this place was so cheap."
I stood there, staring at the containment dome of Seabrook One and its half-constructed twin, a maze of rusting girders and panels. Its construction had been halted nearly twenty-five years before in federal court on the petitions of the states of Maine and Massachusetts. "We're living next door to a nuclear power plant?"
"Only for a couple of days. But, um, let's say we check out upstairs?" He was biting his lower lip again, so I knew he meant the bedroom. It was a fast flight for both of us. Jamie nearly broke through the door and then we both stopped.
"Damn. Paul's redecorated."
A king-size bed along the outer wall dominated the room. It was a four-poster, made of wrought iron, with a rail along the four sides, and fitted with brass accents. The head and footboards gave the effect of a cage. Black wrought iron bars... I was wondering if Paul took his job as a cop a little too seriously. Jamie loved it, and I had to confess being more than a little interested. I sat on the edge of the bed, running my hand over the cold iron bars before I spoke. His mouth was slightly open, and I saw a faraway look in his eyes. "Picturing my ankles tucked up in there?"
"More like mine," he said from his distant place. Then his eyes spotted this old trunk. He smiled, walked over to it. There was a Master padlock on it. "Still the same old Paul..."
"What does that mean?"
He snickered. "Paul and I shared a room when we were kids. He bought this trunk for his private magazine collection and a lot of other stuff he didn't want me messing with." He edged it away from the wall and checked out the back. "Nope. He's never noticed."
Jamie looked around, saw a pair of needle nose pliers lying on the dresser. He grabbed them, then pulled the pin from each hinge and lifted the top forward. "That I knocked off the bottom hinge guards when we were kids." He looked down, and I saw his eyes light up as he began to rummage through. A leather motorcycle cap flew at me, followed by a leather vest. Then Jamie sat on the floor howling, pulling out a pair of leather chaps and held them up. "I knew it. I knew that motorcycle freak would have something like this!"
I looked at the outfit and tried picturing Paul Cayman wearing it, adding the sunglasses I'd seen him wearing at the beach. No shirt, of course; and the chaps had no crotch or back, just the leggings, those meeting at a belt. All he'd need was a mustache, and he'd be a Tom O'Finland model.
"Doesn't it give you ideas, C?"
"Yeah," I said with my mind drifting to those ideas. "It's just too bad none of this stuff will fit you. The chaps maybe, but you'd split the vest up the back, and this hat would never fit."
He was walking to me slowly, a gleam in his eyes. "What makes you think I'm the one who's gonna wear `em?"
I thought it over for a long time, maybe six seconds. "OK, but next time is definitely by the fire place."
* * * * *
We had arrived a little after 3:30, but now it was almost seven. It had been weeks since Jamie and I had gotten together for more than something quick, so we made the most of our first totally free time together. Not that it was all just sex, though there was plenty of that. We enjoyed just being naked together in the bed, twisted and twined, kissing and touching one another and we even dozed for a while... until the phone started. We assumed it was Stan and when we checked the message we were right. Todd was home and they were anxious for us to come and visit. Well, I was glad they were anyway, and Jamie wasn't looking forward to it much, but he dialed the number from the caller ID and said we would drop by shortly if that was still ok. I could hear Stanley halfway across the room oozing how scrumptious that would be. I shook my head, and Jamie just smiled thinly and rolled his eyes until he was able to get off the phone. Then being the conservationists we were at heart, we saved water by showering together. It was a first. Paul's shower was a freestanding unit, larger than a tub enclosure. Jamie called it the party model, and I wondered just how Paul Cayman did get his kicks. All we really did was shower, but I know we both placed it on our `to do' list before the weekend was out. It would be a tossup over who would drop the soap first. I'd hoped for a Jacuzzi, but no such luck; we'd have to wait a bit before we lived out that little fantasy. Hey, you have to have something to look forward to. We both agreed to replay our little leather experiment, and I really wasn't all that sure that Jamie was joking when he said he'd have to have a look around and see if Paul had left his handcuffs behind.
It was a warm evening, so I slipped on some board shorts and a new A&F tee; I was a little surprised when I saw Jamie dressed in a pair of khakis and a button down shirt. Jamie must have read the look on my face; he just said he planned on giving Stanley as little skin to look at as possible. I considered changing, but figured, what the hell, Stan didn't even know I existed. "Don't worry, Todd's a cool guy," he told me, putting my mind at rest. He dialed ahead, and neither of us looked forward to that long, unwanted walk across the parking lot. There was a lot of loud music coming from there, and there seemed to be a crowd, but the condo lot was relatively empty. Jamie pointed out the visitor lot closer to the gate. It was full.
"Umm, maybe we should rethink this?" I was about to ask, but the door flew open before I could even mouth the first words.
"Jamie!" Stan almost shrieked. "Todd, come see! Jamie is visiting!" He grabbed Jamie by the arm and dragged him through the door. He didn't quite slam the door in my face, but it was close. Jamie turned to me with this pleading look on his face as he was hauled across the room. So I stood there, and looked it over, and its occupants. The room was filled with a group of... different types. One was lounging in a chair as I walked by, and he ran his fingers up my leg. "Fresh meat," he said to his companion, who giggled. "The mall rat look- so cute on the little ones, don't you think? What are you, kid? Fourteen or fifteen?"
I stepped back and looked at them. Lestat and Louis came to mind. Decked out in twin black outfits, silver jewelry massed on their chests, the shorter one speaking had his hair dyed chalk white. At least as old as Stanley, I thought. Sharp, pointed fingernails painted red. The other had jet-black hair and wore these round, tiny, ugly black-framed glasses. Lestat was a bit over-weight; enough to prove that he shouldn't consider a shirt made of spandex. Louis was so thin I wondered if he lived on an IV. His hand was getting very familiar with my thigh.
"I'm eighteen," I replied flatly, and pointedly removed his hand from my leg.
"Oh, you're still a child!" Louis rattled on. "I should just take you under my wing and give you a special lesson." He turned and giggled at Lestat who broke up. They were drunk enough to think each other incredibly funny.
"Don't be greedy. We can both share him!"
I don't like drunks who think that being ignorant is funny. I fixed them both with as steady a look as I could manage.
"Sorry sir. Maybe for a hundred each I might let you play, but I'm really not much into the daddy thing."
"Mean little queen," the chubby Lestat said. The other one summed me up in a single word with a single syllable that begins with `c' and rhymes with `hunt.' I had clearly made two more friends.
I looked around the unit, which had the same layout as Paul's, except for sets of bi-fold doors that separated the dining area from the living room. The place was jammed with furniture, all of it old, mostly mismatched, and if you think antique is just another word for being old, then they were antiques. To me they looked like rummage sale rejects and Sears scratch-and-ding center close-outs. I was particularly drawn to a group of tacky paintings over the plaid couch.
"Isn't the black velvet painting thing chic! So retro. I don't know which is best, the matador or the Elvis," someone fairly screeched in my ear. I turned and saw this guy who looked like pictures you saw from the sixties. Those helmet-like haircuts with the long bangs. Was it the Beatles look? He was decked out entirely in denim: pants, shirt, and jacket. There was a heavy black belt around his waist, encrusted with silver studs. The denim shared space with his jewelry. I had been watching TV Land a lot, and it looked like he had called the number for Ronko and snapped up a `Mr. T Starter Kit'. His neck was layered with chains. Each ear had at least three gold piercings. His hands flashed gems and gold. He wasn't drunk but he clutched a glass as if for life, and I noticed he swayed back and forth as if listening to music from another place. Fortunately, his hands didn't wander to my body and maybe he looked strange, but he had a pleasant smile. He looked me over carefully, then leaned in close, and whispered. "Stay close, kid. I'll help keep the hands off. Besides, they live on straight vodka and bar snacks. They lose interest pretty fast," he said quietly.
I was grateful. He did put a hand on my shoulder, but there was nothing threatening about him and he didn't act like he wanted to explore my terrain, so I left it there. "I don't suppose you've seen our host?" I asked. "Stanley? Dragging this big blond guy behind him?"
He looked at me appreciatively. "Was that yours? Jesus, you've done pretty well. He was being towed into the kitchen. I'm Dwayne, by the way." I introduced myself, and he led me to the dining area. Jamie had Stanley glued to one arm. Stan's other arm was wrapped around Jamie's waist, and I didn't fail to notice that his thumb was hooked into Jamie's back pocket, and Stan was patting an ass that belonged to me. Jamie had this scared rabbit look on his face, and I swear I saw him mouth the word `help.'
This was my protector? This was the guy who a month before picked up a bruiser and tossed him in a trash can for threatening me? Stanley was no bigger than me, Jamie could have squashed him if he wanted, but he was as much in terror of him now as he had been in the parking lot this afternoon. I looked at Stan. He was tacky, over done, loud, and rude. He had also raided the jewelry store, and sported this incredibly large diamond in his right ear, which would have made a nice pendant for my mother. I swear, when I looked you could see the one ear hanging lower than the other. He didn't have as much gold as Dwayne, but he had plenty of it. I had to admit the forest green silk shirt looked nice with the black dress pants. They were talking to two others, or at least Stanley was talking at them as his hands wandered over MY man.
One was maybe a few years older than Stan. His voice was a little over the top, but he had a nice smile. This one was smart enough not to dye his hair, but he dressed way out of it. The pants were at least a size too small, and he could have gotten away with it better if it weren't for the shirt; a stringy, peacock blue French tee that showed too much of his flabby arms and chest and snuggled to his waistline. He had dangly earrings, the type you see on easy women in old `B' movies. The other was a man taller than Jamie by a good four inches and a hundred pounds heavier. His stringy, thinning hair was pulled tight across his skull and tied back in a ponytail that reached halfway down his back. Stanley referred to him as Pugsley and sent him off to refill his drink. Pugsley never said a word, just took the glass, and walked away.
"I think you forgot one of your guests at the door, Stan," Dwayne said.
Stanley just gave me this strained smile and giggled. "Well, I guess my manners need some work."
They needed a major over-haul but I let it go. "I'm Chris. I'm Jamie's friend," I said simply.
"I'm Todd," said the peacock blue French tee. He looked at his partner. "You didn't mention Jamie had a friend."
Stanley just stood and wobbled his head with his lips pursed. Jamie used the excuse to bolt from Stan's grip. He was hiding behind me again, hand glued to my shoulder and body pressed against my back. "Yeah, this is Todd, Chris. Stanley's, ummm..."
"Other half," Todd said simply, and offered his hand. He may have looked silly, may have been more feminine than I liked a man to be, but he was nice. His grip was just firm enough to make you feel secure, and his pale blue eyes had a dance in them that said he could be fun. "I guess if you've looked around, you can see that everyone is a bit on the gay side."
Stanley giggled, and I smiled sweetly at him. "Some more than others," I said. Todd snorted, and I got the lizard eye from Stan, and I saw a nostril flare. Todd offered me a drink, and I accepted a beer. Somehow, I didn't think it was a good move for me to trust a mixed drink if Stanley was doing the pouring. Jamie was still glued to my side. I took his other hand in mine. "Why should it bother us? Jamie and I are together too."
I looked very deliberately at Stanley. "That means he's my boyfriend. You get it don't you? It means he's taken."
Dwayne's eyebrows shot up, while Todd, looked us casually up and down, smiling. I think I even saw a twitch at the corner of Pugsley's mouth. Stanley just glared. I wondered what could possibly have been going on in his head. Jamie was half his age, clearly not interested, and obviously uncomfortable with the plays Stan kept making - in front of his partner, no less. He had no chance, but he kept fawning and pawing. How could he be that blatant with Todd standing right there? How much of this was the booze? I moved in closer to Jamie and held his hand still, and I felt his other arm ride down from my shoulder and press against my ribs as his body pressed lightly against my back.
Todd shook his head, smiling. "God, if I had your guts at eighteen. And luck."
Louis and Lestat had joined us, and Pugsley handed Stanley his glass and me a cold bottle of beer.
"I'm still seventeen," Jamie threw in out of nowhere. One of the vampires groaned. The other murmured something about "jail bait" and they both laughed at each other's brilliance.
Stanley was off center stage, and didn't much like it. His eyelids fluttered and he squinted. "Really Jamie, you shouldn't tie yourself down so young. There are just so many fun things ahead if you play the field."
I gave him one of those sweet smiles, not unlike Roger Moore in his James Bond days. "The trouble with playing the field too long is that sooner or later you get trampled by the new players. The smart ones learn to quit before that," I stated.
"Score," Todd mouthed, just barely. Dwayne raised his glass.
"What a little bitch," Louis stage-whispered to Lestat. "This one's ready for the Attitude Room at Avalon!"
* * * * *
We lay there, warmed by the fire and stretched out on a quilt that had been tossed onto the arm of the sofa. Sitting on the apron of the fireplace was an empty bottle of champagne and two flutes. Not a big bottle, just enough for two people; one for a toast, then another to enjoy. Paul had bought it for Jamie, and stashed it in a small refrigerator in the cellar. The fire was burning low now. Jamie had built it when we got back from Todd and Stan's. They had all gone off to some bar in Portsmouth for the evening. Todd said he could probably get us in if he spoke to the bouncer, but Jamie and I had declined. I liked Todd, and their friend Dwayne. Stanley, Louis, and Lestat were another matter. I had no opinion of Pugsley, who had just sat and stared the entire evening, never saying a word. I noticed the vampires and Stanley picked on him constantly.
Jamie was stretched out beside me, and my fingertips traced a trail along his thigh, barely touching his skin. I smiled as I saw a shudder pass over him. He had his head resting on one arm and we lay naked, crotch-to-crotch, which put my head about even with his neck. "On Monday it might be a good idea if you wear a mock or a turtle neck to school."
He smiled, and tweaked my nipple. "Ouch!" I said. "Easy, they've been tenderized."
"It was your idea to bite `em. So you gave me a hickey to get even?"
"I'll say I did. Looks like Lestat sucked you dry."
His eyes widened in mock shock. "Damn, and I thought that was you getting good at it. Oh! You meant my neck!"
I smacked him one across the left buttock, then rubbed it. God he had a great ass. His hand came up the small of my back and he pressed me closer to him. I nestled my head against his chest, and looked up into his face watching the flames reflect off his eyes.
"Jamie, do you think we'll get like that?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, getting old is one thing, that happens. Do you think we could get that nasty and bitchy? Making a play for anything that moves?"
"Well you've got the bitchy thing down pretty good," he sniggered.
I rubbed my tongue over a small chip on my left incisor, and made a mental note that Jamie would pay for that remark later. "Whoever got it tonight deserved it. Todd was nice, so was Dwayne. And I've got nothing against poor Pugsley. The vampire twins and Stanley were just plain jerks."
Jamie sighed, and his fingers played across the back of my neck. "I don't know. I hope not. The worse thing about Stanley grabbing me all night was the way he did it right in front of Todd, and Todd never said anything or even acted like he noticed. I mean no one said they were a couple before exactly, but that's the idea I got from Stan." He ruffled my hair. "I forgot to say something. Thanks."
"Tonight. You told everyone in that room what we are to each other. It's the first time you ever did that. You called me your boyfriend." He leaned down and kissed my head. I turned my face upward and brushed my lips over his.
"There's something else I never told you either."
"I love you, Jamie."
I felt his arms wrap around me, and was drawn close to his chest. His big hands gently stroked my hair, and I swear I heard a sniffle, but said nothing as I hugged back. I know I fell asleep like that, just curled up against his body, wrapped in his arms. Later that night I awoke, and found that we were in the bed. I didn't remember waking so I knew I had been carried. Jamie was awake, and must have heard the change in my breathing. I felt his hands gently rub over me and I responded, coiling my legs and arms around his. His mouth found mine. We didn't need any costumes or toys or special places this time; this time wasn't about just sex. Yeah, sex was a part of it, but this time we made love. Climax wasn't the aim here, just slow coupling and giving one another pleasure as an expression of how one felt for the other. When it was over Jamie fell into a deep sleep, but not before he whispered something in my ear.
It was nearly dawn, so I pulled on one of the terry robes Paul had left behind and went down to the kitchenette to make some coffee. There was no sense trying to sleep and I didn't want to disturb Jamie. I took a mug and stepped onto the rear deck, feeling the early morning breeze, which, thank God, was off the ocean this morning and not the salt marshes. I just sat and watched the sun rise, something I hadn't done for a long time. Even the dome of Seabrook Station and its deformed, stunted twin couldn't take away from that sight. It was nearly October and a bit chilly now but the robe was thick and warm as I settled into the deck chair. I wished I had the sense to find some fuzzy slippers but instead of going back to look tucked my feet under me and sipped my coffee. I thought of the words Jamie had spoken into my ear, and I smiled.
That night in August when I first came
to really know Jamie, all I had wanted was sex, thinking that was what
it was all about. Now, I knew there was a lot more. And those words? Well,
maybe I'll tell you one day. But those words were meant for me, and I'll
be treasuring them for a while.
© 2001-2002 by Keith Mystery.
Email comments to Keith_hackwriter@lycos.com