Author's Notes:

Before I get into the Legal stuff, I want to say thanks first to my Editor, Pete. He always does a wonderful job. Second, I want to thank my Readers. You guys are the best. Okay, these characters are not meant to resemble any living or dead persons. I make no apology to anyone who is offended by anything in this story. If you do not agree with the idea of guys being in love, then find something else to read. Let me know what you think of the story by emailing me at

Hnstskr4@aol.com

Copyright 2008-2012 by Chuck B.

The Journey Begins

Chapter 18

Meeting Seth

 

I pick up the phone to make an important call.

"Hey Babe, what's up?"

"I love it when he calls me babe."

"Would you be up to going to the King's Buffet with me?"

I'm hoping he says yes, because I would be more comfortable with him being there.

"I'm meeting a guy and his friend up at the buffet."

"Sure I'll go, but tell me about this guy that you're meeting."

"He found me on that LGBT teen site that you and I signed up on a while back. His name is Seth and he is LDS like me. We live pretty close to each other and figured that we might as well meet and talk. We're around the same age. He's not dating anyone, which is why I wanted you there. Either way, I didn't want to meet him without you knowing about it."

This website is not very active but it has a ton of resources on it. I hope that someday, the site will catch on and help make a difference.

"Thanks for telling me. Eric, I love you."

"I love you too."

We ended our call. You know, there is always just a little bit of heart ache when I end a phone call with Steve, even though I know I'll see him the next day.

Literally, I am going to see Steve tomorrow. I'm glad that he agreed to come with me to the buffet. Seth seems like a great guy but I did meet him on the Internet, and people on the web are known for not being honest. A person can be whoever they want to be on the web. I guess I need to let Sarah and Mark know what is going on tomorrow at noon.

Mark and Sarah trust me and I don't want to keep anything from them. It's 5:00 pm and that means that Sarah is in the kitchen and that Mark is down in the pet room. I wonder what the chances are of being able to pull them away from what they're doing. I'm headed down the stairs to see Mark, but when I get to the bottom of the stairs, I realize that I do not need to tell both of them. Instead of disturbing Mark, I'll just pop into the kitchen and bother my sister. It looks like she is busy mashing some potatoes for dinner tonight.

"Want me to finish mashing the potatoes?"

"Sure, Eric. Now tell me, what's going on?"

Yeah, I'm guilty of not helping in the kitchen as much as I should, so I guess my offer to help out screams `I need to talk to you.'

"Actually, it's nothing big. I just wanted to let you know that Steve and I are going out tomorrow."

She was quiet for a second while she arranged the ingredients for finishing her world-famous mashed potatoes.

"So where are you going?"

"We're going to King's Buffet."

"Sounds good!"

"Is it okay for me to go?"

"Yes."

"Do still want help?"

"Yeah sure, if I measure out the ingredients, can you get them added to the potatoes?"

"Sure, it's no biggie."

I put chives, roasted garlic, and white pepper into the mashed potatoes. My body is carrying out Sarah's wishes, but my mind is on tomorrow. I helped with the rest of dinner and then went outside to shoot some hoops. Hmm... I should see what is up with Jason and Shaun.

"Hey, Eric, get in here; time for dinner!"

"I'm coming, Mark."

After dinner, I headed up to my room to work on a drawing before going to bed.

 

Well, it's Saturday, and that means it's time to meet Seth. As usual, I'm ready an hour before it's time to leave. It is fine because I'm not doing anything other than sitting here, so I won't cause myself to stink. Around 11:15 am, Steve pulls up to the house. Opening up the door, I'm greeted by my handsome and charming boyfriend.

"Are you ready?" Steve asks, as he stretches out his hands for a hug.

"Man does that feel good!"

"Yeah, I'm ready to go."

"Are you nervous?"

"I suppose a little bit."

Having Steve around is helping me relax a lot more than I would be if I were by myself. When Steve opened the door for me, his face glowed. I love it when he does that because it makes me smile. Steve stands by until I am in the car and then he closes my door. He smiles as he comes around and gets into the car. In case you're wondering, Steve usually opens my door for me.

 

It didn't take us too long to get to the buffet. As we pulled into the parking lot, I could feel a case of butterflies coming on. I pulled out the photo of Seth that he sent me and then Steve and I walked inside the restaurant. The hostess came up to seat us. I explained to her that we are meeting two others for lunch. I pulled out my picture of Seth and showed it to her.

"Please follow me."

She led us straight to the table where Seth and Scottie were sitting. I wanted to surprise Seth, but I suppose that was not meant to be.

 

Seth must have heard us approaching, or he was looking for us. Seth turned to look at us.

"Hey Eric, what's going on?"

"Nothing, but I think we should introduce each other for our friends' benefit, huh?"

"Yeah, I guess that would be the polite thing to do."

Steve and I sat down across from Seth and Scottie. I knew from our last email that these guys are jocks, but they are practically monsters. I suppose in a different situation they might inspire a little bit of fear.

"We'll go first. The guy next to me is my boyfriend Steve."

Seth turns to Scottie. He smiles as he looks at Scottie. I think there is something more to that smile, even if Scottie and Seth can't see it. I know it's there.

"This is my friend Scottie."

We are taking turns shaking hands.

"Scottie, my name is Eric."

"Steve, my name is Seth, and I think it's time to eat."

Seth is right. It's time to eat. I am ready to dig into the food, and I know Steve is dying to eat too. We all got up to grab our food.

 

I think we are all starving and it didn't take us long to get our food. We all sit down and start eating. There is mostly small talk going on right now as we eat. I'm enjoying myself sitting with my boyfriend, eating, and making two new friends. We've gone from strangers to friends in little over a half hour. Seth and I mesh up so well because of church, Scottie, and Steve because of their love for sports. I can see a smile on Steve's face, so I know he's enjoying himself.

 

Like everyone else in the world, Steve's smile is a good indicator of his mood and his thoughts. Now, I would say his thoughts are on something either funny or something embarrassing. I've gotten pretty good at reading his face since we've been dating. He knows this too and on a couple of occasions he has tricked me. He's been known to use that smile to throw me off of his occasional surprises. He's able to trick me without a single hiccup. I'm sure it's a trick that he'll keep up his sleeve for many more years to come. There is something going on in that sexy mind of his.

"Scottie is kind of a cute," Steve told me as he whispered into my ear.

I leaned in and whispered into his ear, "Yeah he is a little cute, but I know who's cuter."

Steve just smiled.

 

The conversation has finally died down, but Seth was having none of that.

"So besides Scottie, what is everyone's coming out story? Steve, why don't you go first?"

"Mine is pretty uneventful. I came out towards the start of my freshman year. My mom took a few days to let it all sink in before she was okay with it. My dad just said, `Okay.' After my parents thought about it for a few days, they sat down with me and we talked. There really hasn't been much said, but I know they like Eric, and I know they support me one hundred percent."

Even though I already knew that Steve's family likes me, hearing it from him makes me feel all warm inside. I guess it's my turn to tell my story.

"I had a friend, or at least I thought he was a friend. He stood up in class and said that he hated gays. I had no choice but to stand up and out myself. Eventually, I met Steve and we started secretly dating to keep things out of my parent's eyes. My `friend' took a picture of Steve and me kissing and then emailed it to my mom. Let's just say that it didn't end well. I ended up disowned and living with my sister."

I turned and looked at Seth.

He turned and looked at Scottie and then back to Steven and me.

"I came out to myself around January 11, 2009. There was nothing special about it other than some emotional garbage. The next thing I did was call my Uncle Tim, who is gay, and I came out to him. At that point, he was the only person that I knew was gay. A couple of days later, I came out to my friend Paige. The whole time that I was in the process of coming out, I started having these really weird dreams about another friend of mine. I'm ashamed of those dreams and no, I am not about to mention who that friend is, because I think it would ruin our friendship. I came out to my parents, who blew my mind. They already knew that I was gay, and more importantly, they loved me even though I was gay. Then I came out to my younger brother, Paul, and my sister Samantha. The worst day though, was when I told my best friend. He walked out of my room and didn't say a word. I cried so hard that day because I knew that he would never talk to me again. Nevertheless, losing that friend wasn't even the worst thing to happen, my best friend decided to announce to our wrestling coach that I'm gay, and then the coach announced to the team that I'm gay. There were guys who refused to wrestle with me. The miracle in all of this is that everyone from my parents to my uncles told me to not give up on my best friend, that he would come around..."

My eyes were darting between Seth and Scottie, and when he said those words `...not to give up on my best friend...' I realized that Scottie was his best friend, the friend who walked out on him when Seth came out to him. Scottie looks like he might just start to cry.

"...and everything would be okay. In the meantime, one of my grandmas has turned away from me. In fact, until I quit being gay, I'm not welcome in her house. The best news came about two weeks after I told my best friend, when I got a phone call from him and he called to apologize to me. He has no idea how happy I am to be his friend. Right now, my brother and sister are trying their hardest to find a boyfriend for me and I'm not sure how I feel about this, but what's a guy to do, right? I love them so much. So yeah, that is my coming out story."

I feel strengthened from hearing the stories. Hearing the coming out stories of others always helps to strengthen me, but as I look at Scottie, I can see a glint of sorrow. I wonder what he's feeling sorry about.

Scottie looks at Seth and you can see some form of pain in his eyes.

"Seth, I'm so sorry for the way I acted. You didn't deserve to be treated that way."

Seth smiled.

"Scottie, you don't owe me any apology. You already apologized."

"It's just that hearing your coming out story made me feel like I needed to say that I was sorry."

"It's okay." Seth smiled as Scottie and he exchanged a hug.

 

Scottie glanced at Steve and me. It's almost as if he's sizing us up.

"How did you and Steve meet?"

Looking at Steve, we decide between the two of us that we would both answer his question.

"I first saw Steve in 8th grade, but we didn't connect until this year, and it's been a wild ride."

Scottie seemed satisfied with my reply.

"How did you start dating?"

I went to speak up, but Steve beat me to the punch.

"Sort of by accident, to be honest. I always thought that Eric was cute, but it took a little spark to get us going. I remember being in the locker-room and seeing Eric come out of the shower. I was completely taken by him. I think we both wanted each other to speak up first. I was scared that Eric would not notice me. We had a little push from one of our teachers, who saw our interest in each other and helped us meet up. I wanted to meet him, so I passed him a note at school one day asking him to meet me at lunch. It was at that lunch meet-up that Eric and I decided to be boyfriends."

Seth's face suddenly became bright. Scottie's face seems pleased. It's a little hard to know what is going on in their heads. As I looked at Seth's face, I saw the light fade from it. Our discussion about how Steve and I met seems to have caused Seth some heartache. He looks so distant.

"Seth, are you okay?"

His eyes move from the table to my face.

"Yeah, I'm just thinking."

"What's on your mind?"

Scottie suddenly perks up. I guess he wants to hear whatever his friend has to say.

"Don't take anything that I'm about to say the wrong way, okay?"

We all agreed to not take offense to anything that Seth said. I can't wait to hear what he has to say.

"There are days that I'm really envious and jealous of the couples that I see waking around at school. I know my parents would tell me not be in a huge hurry to find someone, but I can't help it. There are friends who tell me to give up looking and then love will find me, but I hate that because I want to be in love. You guys seem so perfect together and I want that in my life. For as much as I feel depressed or angry, I know that I'll find someone sooner than later."

Seth was worried about nothing. Steve and I took no offense to anything that he said. Scottie, on the other hand, seems a bit concerned over what his best friend said. I wonder if he is upset over Seth wanting a boyfriend over religious reasons. It wouldn't surprise me, but I hope that I'm wrong.

"Seth, you'll find someone; don't worry about it."

Steven knew that Seth may not want to hear that, but it's true. Seth is cute; he'll have no problem finding someone who will want to fall in love with him.

"Hey man, trust me; you're cute, and I know that you'll find someone who will make you happy."

"Thanks, Eric."

Seth has such a sweet smile on his face. It's possible that Seth knows that someday he'll find someone to care for him.

"Yeah, I think you'll find someone pretty quickly."

Steve says what is on my mind. Scottie still shows a look of concern on his face. The question is why.

 

Steve has an interest in Scottie's role as a friend. I admit that I have some interest in it as well.

"Scottie, can I ask you question?"

"Sure!"

I wonder what is burning in Steve's mind. I bet he's wondering about whatever caused Scottie to feel like he needed to apologize.

"You don't have to answer if you don't want too."

He doesn't seem worried about the question. I wonder what question Steve is going to ask.

"What happened between you and Seth?"

Now it is Seth's turn to look worried.

"I abandoned Seth when he needed me the most. He doesn't deserve a friend like me, but for some reason, he's chosen to forgive me."

Steve's glance at Seth is a reminder that they share a close friendship. Could I forgive one of my friends the way that Seth has done with Scottie? Yes, I could do it; I could forgive a friend, as long as they didn't assault me physically.

"I know that I hurt Seth. I could see it in his eyes as I turned to leave his room. Hearing him say `I'm gay' threw me for a loop. It never occurred to me that Seth might be gay. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that I was acting foolishly. More importantly, I realized just how much I was missing hanging out with him."

"It takes a big man to admit when he's wrong."

Steve was right. Scottie is great guy.

"Scottie, Seth is a lucky guy to have a friend like you in his life."

Seth smiles as he pats his best friend on the back.

Scottie seems to be glowing, but there is still a look of concern on his face.

"Scottie, what's up?"

Even Seth looks at him with a worried look on his face.

"Do you think Seth will find a boyfriend?"

He looks past Seth and gazes at Steve and me.

"Your question is kind of hard to answer. It really depends on Seth, but he's honest and cute, so I doubt that he'll have any problem finding someone to love."

A sly smile emerged onto Seth's face. He knows something, but he's not sharing. I wonder if he doesn't already have a boyfriend. Memo to self: I need to find out what's up. I looked at my watch and realized that it's time to head back home.

"Hey, guys, Steve and I need to get going."

"Okay, we'll see you later then," Seth replied, as he raised a piece of peanut chicken to his mouth. From the looks of it, they aren't ready to leave just yet. Steve and I pay our bill and head out.

 

As we head out, I wonder what Steve thinks about Seth and Scottie. As we get into the car, my mind replays the conversation from beginning to end.

"Did you have fun?"

Steve smiles as he waits for my reply.

"Yeah, I liked meeting Seth and Scottie."

Hearing Seth's story was amazing to me. I want to get my parent's acceptance.

"What do you think about Scottie and Seth?"

Steve is thinking about the question. I hope his impression of them is a good one.

"They seem like nice guys. When we heard about Seth's coming out, it made me wish that your parents were accepting."

Frankly, I was hoping for a little bit more from him.

"I couldn't agree more. Maybe someday, my parents will see things as they really are and act like real parents."

My heart sank as I thought about my parents.

"Maybe."

I didn't know what else to say. I wish Seth all the best.

Without warning, Steve's phone started ringing. He pulled off into a parking lot and answered the phone.

"Hi Mom, what do you need?"

He didn't look happy, but he answered her.

"Yeah, I'll be home after I drop Eric off."

Guess that ends that date. I love hanging out with Steve and, as usual, I didn't want the day to end.

 

It didn't take long for Steve to reach my sister's house. The first thing that I need to do is email Seth. I just want him to know that we enjoyed ourselves today. The computer is turned on and I'm just waiting on it to finish booting up. As soon as it's up, I wasted no time in clicking on AOL. I started typing up my email to Seth.

"Hey Seth,

Thanks for a great time; it was awesome meeting you and Scottie. Steve had a great time too. Tell Scottie thanks for us.

Your new friend,

Eric"

Now I just have to click send, and I do. Someone is coming up the stairs.

Mark knocks at my door.

"Come on in, Mark." I turned around so that I could see him.

"How did your meet-up go?"

"You know what, it was awesome. Meeting Seth was so cool. It was neat meeting another gay Mormon."

My brother-in-law smiled excitedly. I think he's smiling for me. Sure, there are other guys out there who are both gay and Mormon and now I've met another one.

"Will we be seeing this Seth around here?"

"It's possible."

We heard the front door open and close.

"Sarah, is that you?" Mark called out to my sister.

"Yes, it's me. Is Seth home?"

"Yes I am, Sarah."

"Mark, can you come down here please?"

She sounds very worried about something.

"Coming, Sweetie!"

Mark wasted no time in getting downstairs.

 

It was only a few minutes later that Sarah joined me. She sat down on the bed with her game face displayed. I don't know what's up, but someone or something is eating at her.

"Sarah, are you going to talk to me?"

She just stared at me. I don't know what's up and I'm worried. My sister is usually not this quiet. I can't stand it. She's driving me nuts. All she has to do is just talk to me.

"Sarah, you should know that you can tell me anything."

I'm hoping for a response. She is still just sitting there.

"Whatever it is, you can say it."

Her face suddenly changes, not to her normal happy face, but to her serious, information digging face.

"Mark told me things went well at your meet-up."

"Yeah, we had a blast. We ate and talked."

"Cool!" Her tone doesn't sound like she meant what she said.

"Are you sure that it's cool?"

I see her eyes gazing at a picture of Steve and me.

"Is there something wrong between Steve and me that I'm not aware of?"

Now she has me worried. I'm beside myself. I get the impression that things are not well.

Sarah's eyes turn to me. She takes my hand and stares at me with her concerned sister eyes.

"I take it Seth is a great guy?"

"I wasn't sure what to think at first, but he seems like a nice guy."

"Does he have a boyfriend?"

"No, but I think he'll have one soon."

Sarah was quiet; the kind of quiet that makes one worry where the conversation is going. I'm trying to ignore the silence.

"How are Steve and you doing?"

Now, I'm worried... really worried.

"We're good. Steve seemed to like Seth."

"Eric, do you think there is a chance that you might leave Steve for Seth?"

Boy, I wasn't expecting her to say that at all. Where did that even come from? Steve and I are secure in our relationship. There is no way that I'm giving up my guy.

"No, no way! I'm not going to just stop seeing Steve. I love him!"

My sister's mood seems to have suddenly gotten better. Sarah smiles and pats me on the back.

"I'm glad, because Steve and you make a great couple."

"Thanks, Sis!"

I knew that Sarah and Mark like Steve. Personally, I think that they would like anyone that I dated.

"Well, I guess it's time to start dinner."

"Okay, I'll talk to you later!"

I just want a chance to relax.

 

I retired to my bed. I sat on my bed and started to read a book. It's nice when I can just sit back and read for no other reason than for enjoyment. After fifteen minutes of reading, I lay down and rested my head. It's a great way to ease into a nap.

 

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