Disclaimer: This story is a continuation of the story of Kevin Foley, Rick Mashburn, and their "sons," Tim Murphy, Kyle Goodson, Justin Davis, and Brian Mathews that started in "Tim," continued in "Justin" and "Kyle," "Kyle, Part 2," and "Kyle, Part 3." It now continues in "Summer Fun." It is about gay men and gay boys living and loving together as a family, and it contains descriptions of sex. The sex is never intergenerational, though. If you are offended by descriptions of gay sex, or if the law in your area forbids you to read them, please exit the story. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy it. I appreciate feedback, and you can send it to me at email@example.com.
Kyle had let it be known at Brian's party that The Clay would be in service starting around one o'clock the day of my party. Anybody who was interested in water skiing should present themselves whenever they felt like it after that time.
Rick was the lead organizer for my shindig, but Kyle wanted to be involved in the preparations, too.
"What needs to be done," he asked Rick, as we were sitting around in the den in our briefs that morning.
"I think it's pretty much under control, Kyle," Rick had said. "I need to pick up the cake, but that's about it, I think."
"Do we have ice?"
"The cake and some ice," Rick said, grinning.
"When are we going to get an ice machine? Don't you think it's a pain in the ass having to remember to buy ice all the time," Kyle asked.
"Yeah, it is. Why don't you be in charge of getting us an ice machine," Rick said.
"That's all I've been waiting to hear," he said. "I checked out the kitchen in the clubhouse, and there's a place for one already there. We just have to buy it and have it delivered and installed. No plumbing."
"Plumbing? Why would it have to have plumbing," Tim asked.
Kyle rolled his eyes at his monkey.
"Where do you think the water to make the ice comes from," Kyle asked. He didn't say that sarcastically, which I might have been tempted to do.
"Oh, yeah. How do you know stuff like that," Tim asked.
"How do I know you make ice out of water?"
"No, I know that. How do you know it doesn't need plumbing?"
"I looked at it, and I saw the water line," he said. "Tim, go to your room."
Tim shot him a bird, and then they both laughed.
"I'm going to get an ice machine that makes clear ice," Kyle said. "That's the pretty kind, I think. I hate cloudy ice cubes."
"You don't have enough to think about," Justin said, pointing at Kyle.
"What do you mean?"
"Who ever thinks about cloudy ice and clear ice?"
"I do, evidently. Do you have a problem with that," Kyle said. They were facing off for a round of jokes, and I chuckled with anticipation.
"I think it's just such stuff as that that gives gay men a bad name, Kyle."
"So you don't think straight guys dislike cloudy ice?"
"I don't think they notice," Jus said.
"So what does that make you?"
"Okay. You got me last," Justin said. "I'm not having my queerness challenged by some damn ice cubes."
That was funny.
"So, do you want to help me pick out the ice machine? It has to be color coordinated with the rest of the stuff in that kitchen out there. Then there's the whole matter of size."
"Kyle, when we get the fucking ice machine, look for your dick in it, 'cause that's where I'm putting it when I cut it off," Jus said.
Even Kyle laughed at that one.
"Gahh, I'm ready to party," Kyle said.
"Why don't you go out and walk up and down on the pier a while. Take the edge off, Buddy," Justin said.
Tim yawned and stretched.
"Why do we get up so early, Kyle," he asked.
"I dunno. I just wake up," he said. "Go back to bed, if you're tired."
"He doesn't want to be in bed without his sweetie," Jus said.
"Shut up, asshole," Kyle said. "Oh, you know what? I didn't tell Jackie and Paul about skiing. Does anybody know the phone number of that hotel?"
Justin started saying the number.
"Not so fast. I need to dial it," Kyle said.
He let it ring, and then someone at the desk must have answered. He asked to speak with Jackie or Paul Thomas.
"Hello. This is Kyle Goodson, one of Kevin's kids. Who's speaking, please.
"Hi, Jackie. We sure did enjoy meeting you guys yesterday. Those stories were awesome."
"Kevin told us the one about you and Craig on the double date with the belts. That's rich."
"Well, thank you. Actually, the reason I called was to let you and Paul know we're going to start running the ski boat at one o'clock, if you guys are interested. You will need suits for that. But just come on over anytime you want to."
"Men or women?"
"Oh, bring 'em on. The more the merrier. And we have plenty of towels, so don't worry about that. Do you like to dance? 'Cause we usually get around to dancing after dinner. Sometimes before."
"Well, we'll see you later, then. Bye."
He hung up.
"I just invited two more guys. I hope there's enough for them to eat."
"I gathered as much. How'd that happen?"
"Well, he said they have two friends with them, and they wished those guys had a chance to meet us. What was I going to say?"
"You could have said SOL," Justin said.
"What does that mean," Tim asked.
"Shit outta luck."
That made us laugh, too.
"Jus, Kyle did the right thing. In fact, we should have told them to bring their friends when we saw them and invited them yesterday. Think about this, Jus. How would you and Brian feel at a party of thirty or so black men if you only really knew one other person there?"
"I'd probably feel uncomfortable, but because they were strangers, not because they were black," Jus said. "Especially if I had to show my wee-wee just to swim."
"You say that about race not being an issue, and I know you mean it, but that isn't true for a lot of people. It's probably not an issue for them, now that I think about it, but it could be. But, Jus, your point about being strangers is a very good one," I said. "They're going to feel more comfortable with their friends here."
"So the Stud saves the day," Justin said.
"Why are you picking on me this morning," Kyle asked.
"'Cause I love you."
"Oh. That's what I thought," Kyle said. After a moment's pause, Kyle continued, "Kevin, since we don't start work until a week from Monday, can Tim and I do some camping on the island?"
"How come they get a week off," Justin asked.
"You had a week off in March for your trip, and you got paid. They don't get paid until they work," Rick said.
"Oh, yeah. I forgot about that," he said, grinning sheepishly.
"Besides, this is Memorial Day weekend. We're lucky any of us is off," Rick said. "We ought to have your ass down there toting luggage."
"Well, ain't you the hard-ass, all of a sudden," Jus said. "It's usually Kevin. Stay away from him, Rick. He's rubbing off on you, Bubba."
Rick laughed at him, and Jus and Kyle knocked fists together.
"Kyle, in answer to your question, don't you think you should ask your parents, instead of us?
"We did. They said it was all right with them, if it was alright with you all," he said.
"Well, yeah. It's alright with us, isn't it, Babe?"
"Sure. Who's going? Just you and Tim?"
Kyle nodded. "And can Trixie go with us?" She perked up when she heard her name.
"What about Brian? Are you just going to leave him here by himself? He's not working yet, and Justin is. Did you think about that, Kyle," Rick asked.
"Do you want to go, Bri," Kyle asked. I could tell that was a genuine invitation, not a perfunctory one.
"Not if Jus can't go," Bri said.
"Why can't he go, too," Rick asked.
"He's working, Babe," I said.
"Not at night. What are your hours, Jus?"
"I work 7:30 to four this coming week," he said.
"How long does it take to get out to the island?"
"About twenty minutes from here," Kyle said.
"This doesn't sound hard to me," Rick said. "Kyle picks him up here after he gets off work, they all spend the night on the island, and Kyle brings him home in the morning in time to get ready for work."
"Do you want to do that, Jus," Kyle asked.
"Yeah. Hell, yeah, I'd like to do that," Jus said.
"Then I say it's a done deal," Kyle replied. "It'll be more fun with you guys there. Kevin, we were thinking we would leave tomorrow morning after family time. Would that be all right? It means we wouldn't be with you all day on your birthday. Would you mind?"
"My birthday's Monday, Kyle. Today's the 23rd, not the 24th."
"Oh, my bad. But we won't see you at all on Monday, probably."
"You're seeing me now, Kyle. I really don't mind, guys, but thanks for thinking of that. Rick and I were thinking we might drive over to Tallahassee, anyway, on Monday. And it's all right with me if Trixie goes with you."
"Do you guys still have friends in Tallahassee," Justin asked.
"A few," Rick said. "Some people we worked with, and I'll reluctantly grant Trixie permission to go."
Just about then Jeff came in. He was the late sleeper in the crowd, but it was really only ten o'clock, not exactly late by adolescent standards.
"Good morning, Jeff," we all said in one form or another. He told us good morning, too.
Jeff got himself some coffee and made himself a bowl of cereal. Trixie tried to get into his lap, but he pushed her away.
"Jeff, we're talking about going camping for a few days starting tomorrow. You want to go," Kyle asked.
"I have to work," Jeff said.
Kyle explained how they had it worked out so that he and Jus could camp and still go to work.
"Thanks, Kyle, but I don't think so," he said.
"You're not the outdoor type, are you, Bubba," Jus said.
"Not at all, Jus. I love doing things with you guys, but camping doesn't really do it for me. Besides, you'll have to get up so early to get in in time for work."
Jeff looked uncomfortable, like he had something on his mind. I hoped he wasn't depressed again. Finally he spoke.
"Would it be all right if I asked a date to the party tonight," he asked.
Kyle's face lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree.
"You met somebody? How'd you meet him," he asked. "Where'd you meet him?"
"Yes, I've met someone," he said. "I first met him on line in a chat room. We've had coffee a few times after work and went out one night."
"Who is it," Kyle wanted to know.
"His name is Tyler Jones, and he's in the Coast Guard. He's stationed here."
"Jeff, I think Kyle's reaction tells you how we feel about your friend coming over tonight. We're happy for you, man," I said. I got a little misty eyed when I thought of the implications of his having a date.
Kyle was much more effusive. He got up, went over to Jeff, pulled him from his seat, and hugged him. Kyle even bounced them around a little.
"I'm so happy for you, Bubba."
"Thanks, Kyle, but it's just a date. He hasn't proposed or anything," Jeff said.
"I know, but think about where you were last October, man. And Christmas? It's that ink, isn't it?"
Jeff couldn't help grinning at his little brother.
"That reminds me. We still haven't seen that ink," Rick said.
Jeff hadn't been with us in briefs mode lately, and he was already fully dressed that morning. He was a much more private person than the rest of us were, and we respected that and gave him all the space he wanted.
"You'll see it tonight. It will be the great unveiling."
"Has Tyler seen it," Kyle asked.
"No. Of course not," Jeff said.
"Kyle, don't pry, Bubba," Rick said with mock sternness.
Kyle grinned, and Rick grinned back at him.
"Well, I need to get some gas for the boat," Kyle said. "Tim, can I take your car?"
"What's wrong with yours," Rick asked.
"It's not mine; that's what's wrong with his," Tim said. "I'll take you, but I'm driving."
"Fair enough. Let's put the top down."
Those weekend mornings were some of the best times of our lives together. One of them, Kyle I think, had called it "family time," and that's truly what it was. Sunday morning was sacrosanct for the family to be together, but even that wasn't always true, if Jeff couldn't be there. Saturday mornings were our second best time, and Kevin and I cherished the hours all of us spent with one another. The boys had their own lives, and they were pretty busy people. But when we were all there, we were a unit.
Chris had done a number on me at first. He was a very likeable kid, but, frankly, I was scared of him at first. He was so small and so stiff that I was afraid we'd hurt him without even realizing it. The boys didn't have those hang-ups, though, and they wrestled him and swam with him and even threw him back and forth among themselves in the pool. He loved it, and all of us were very sad when he had to leave. I had been thinking since he left about a cross-country car trip for us to go to Montana to see him, but I hadn't brought it up yet because I knew the kids would want to leave the next day.
And that damn dog! What am I doing, I kept asking myself. But she got to me, let me tell you. I broke her quick of waking me up when I didn't want to run in the morning, but it was so much more fun running with her than running by myself. I had said I wasn't taking care of her, but I'm the one who took her to the vet the first time she went. The doctor said she thought Trixie was about eight months old, and she also said she thought Trix had had some training. I had expected to step in loads of dog shit all over the house, but that didn't happen. A couple of times there were wet accidents in the laundry room when we had been late getting up, but I swear she was embarrassed she had done it. You could actually see the sorrow on her face. How could you not love a beautiful animal like that, who was smart as hell and always more than glad to see you? Kyle and Tim had been right. She did love us, and we loved her.
Tim's birthday party was unbelievable. The New Orleans crowd came for it, and I was just a little bit sorry Kyle hadn't thought to call my mom and Arnie. I don't know if they would have come, but I was going to make sure they'd at least know about the next "all call" for Justin's birthday. Of course, it had been on the family Web page, so I guess they had seen it.
Kev just wanted locals at his, and we didn't even post the party to the Web site for fear they'd feel obligated to come for it. I mean, we're talking two big medical practices and two law practices here. They just couldn't drop everything every other weekend and come see us, five hours away. Kevin's point was that if we invited them, they'd feel like they had to come, and that just wasn't fair to them. We'll invite them for Justin's party on the Fourth of July, though, and I'm almost certain they'll come for it. And mine was July 11th. I thought I'd do for mine what Kevin did. Locals only.
Kevin and I were doing extremely well at work. We had both been working very hard since we had gotten those jobs the previous September, and the hard work was paying off. The company had always made a lot of money, but it was making even more than it had before. Gene praised us constantly, and he gave us bonuses all the time, too.
The money was nice, but we didn't need nearly as much as we got. We had a really good investment program going, but Kev and I weren't interested in getting rich, necessarily. Gene was rich, and he ended up giving away more than half of it to various charities every year. He had the lawyers create a Goodson Family Foundation to give away his money, and Kevin and I were board members of that. The local United Cerebral Palsy Clinic got a good bit after Chris was with us. We were in the very inner circle of that business, but even we didn't know everything that Gene was into. We knew that Kyle was rich in his own right, but he had no clue about what he owned, and we didn't know the details of that, either. We knew that was probably going to have to change pretty soon when he turned eighteen, but we also knew it wouldn't make any difference with him.
Was I happy? Was I content? Was I satisfied? Was I ever! The only thing that had been a problem for me was Arnie, my step-father, and how he felt about me and Kevin. The boys had pretty much taken care of that, though, at Christmas, and the only worry I had in my life was whether I would finish the next marathon I entered.
They started coming in early on the day of Kevin's party. I knew they would, so I made Tim stop at Publix when we went to buy gas so we could buy some sandwiches and fried chicken and stuff for them to eat. I got ten foot-long deli sandwiches, and I made them cut them into six pieces each, instead of just two. They didn't want to do that at first, but I said, hey, look! I got sixty pieces of fried chicken, a gallon of slaw, and a gallon of baked beans. I also bought a couple of sacks of bakery cookies and that sort of thing. I knew those boys were going to be hungry when they got there, even if they had just eaten lunch, and we were going to be prepared.
"What did you do? Buy out the store," Rick asked me when we got it all inside.
"They're going to be hungry when they get here. You know that," I said. I grabbed me up a couple of wings. The wing was my favorite part of a chicken.
Justin and Brian came in from somewhere just then.
"Yum, lunch," Justin said.
He and Brian each made them a plate. They each took a couple of sandwich pieces, three pieces of chicken, healthy dippings of the slaw and beans, and a couple of spears of dill pickle.
"Have I made my point yet," I asked Rick.
"Yeah," he said. "You're learning, aren't you?"
"Learning from the masters," I said.
Philip and Ryan were the first ones there around 12:30, and they needed food. Chad, Gage, Sam, and Fred came in about a half hour later, and they were hungry, too. Morgan, Blake, and Riley were in next, and they needed to eat. All afternoon there was a steady stream of people coming in, and that food went.
We did some fine skiing that afternoon, too. I made pass after pass up and down that lagoon, which was really a bayou, and I think everybody who wanted to got at least one chance to ski. I skied a couple of times, and I let some of the ones I had trained drive the boat. They all did a good job, especially Philip, but I expected that of him. That was the first time I had seen Morgan ski, and he was pretty good. Blake wasn't bad, either, but Riley needed some pointers. Philip took him in hand for that, though.
Paul and Jackie got there about mid-afternoon with their friends Randall and Tyrone. Randall and Tyrone were just as nice as they could be, but none of the four of them wanted to ski. They got lunch food, too. Then they wanted to play basketball. I snatched Rick up to play with us, and we had a pretty good three-on-three for a while.
"Y'all never thought this many people would show up this early, did you," I said to Rick.
"No, we didn't. I'm so damn glad you bought that food, man. Jesus Christ, what would we have done if you hadn't?"
"They'd have gone hungry, that's what," I said. "But I knew."
"Yeah, you did, Bubba, and thank you."
"Let's play some ball, man," I said.
I was in just a Speedo and a pair of Nikes, and my tattoo was showing proud. I was so slick with sweat, you could have shoved me up somebody's ass, but I was having a great time. I had left Philip in charge of the boat, and Trixie was out there with the boys. Every time somebody fell, she jumped in the water to go save 'em. You tell me about another dog as good as that one, and her still a puppy.
After that basketball game, we were all hot and tired. All six of us got naked and went in. Let me tell you something. Those black guys were built, and I, for one, appreciated what they looked like. I'm not talking equipment, although that was pretty good. I'm talking overall physique. Those were some good looking dudes.
After I went in the pool, I didn't put my clothes back on right away. There were naked guys all over the place, and if somebody had a problem with that, fuck 'em, I say. Not even Rick said anything about it, or my dad, when he got there.
The highlight for me of that day, though, was meeting Tyler, Jeff's date. What an incredibly nice guy! I was naked when he came in, which probably wasn't the best way to meet your brother's new friend for the first time, but he handled it good. Yeah, he glanced. Who wouldn't? He was really nice looking, and I figured him for a virgin. He had that really short military hair, which was bright blond, and he had that real scrubbed clean look. He had one of those squared-off jaws that I liked, and he had a really nice smile.
"You done good, Bubba," I said to Jeff when Tyler had gone to the bathroom.
"Do you like him," Jeff asked.
"From what I've seen, I do. How old is he? Where's he from?"
"He's twenty-one, and he's from Minnesota," Jeff said.
"If you want him to sleep over, you know it's okay, don't you?"
"Yeah, I know, but we're not nearly there yet, Bubba."
"Hey, that's the first time you've called me Bubba, I think."
"Probably. Usually I can remember your name. I couldn't just now, though," he said.
That made me laugh. "Fuck you," I said.
He grabbed me in a big hug. "Thank you so much, Kyle. For everything."
"You can forget crying, 'cause you ain't getting no ice cream right now," I said.
He laughed his ass off.
Kyle came up to me, naked as the day he was born.
"What is this about," I asked, just to tease him.
"Fuck you. Did you meet Tyler?"
"No, not yet. Did you?"
"Yes, and he's an incredibly nice guy, too. And very cute."
"I'm surprised you ain't hard," I said, again to get his goat.
"You fucker. Come with me. Let's go talk to him. I want your opinion, and Jeff's gonna want it, too," he said.
"All right. Let's go."
"Tyler, this is our other brother, Justin," Kyle said.
"How you doing, Tyler," I said, shaking the man's hand.
He told me hi, and he smiled real broad and friendly. That boy was major cute, you hear me? I always notice people's teeth, and he had some of the best.
"How many brothers do you have, Jeff," Tyler asked.
"Too many," Jeff said.
We all laughed, and ole Tyler looked at Jeff like he was liking what he was looking at.
"Actually, I have one blood brother and four honorary brothers," Jeff said. "I told you that."
"He's got a sister, too, and they could be identical twins," I said.
"What," Jeff asked, all puzzled.
"Trixie," I said.
"Trixie's the dog," Jeff said.
Tyler laughed, and it was a good laugh.
"Can I get anybody something to drink," Kyle asked.
We all said yes, and he came back with four cans of beer, still unopened.
"If you'd rather have a soft drink or a mixed drink, we've got those, too," he said.
We all said beer was fine.
Kyle disappeared and came back a few minutes later with his Speedo on. I was glad he did that, too. Kyle's got a great body, and I wouldn't mind looking at it all day long. But Tyler was a new friend, and there wasn't any reason for Kyle to be naked, since we weren't swimming.
"Would you all like to shoot some pool," I asked.
"We might have to put our names on a list," Kyle said. "Monte, Terry, Sam, and Fred were playing when I went to get the drinks. Let's go see, Jus."
"What did you think," Kyle asked me, as soon as we got in the clubhouse.
"I think ole Jeff's got him a stud, is what I think," I said.
"I know. He seems real nice, too, doesn't he," Kyle asked.
"Hi, guys," Mont said when we walked up to the table.
We both told all of them hi.
"Is there a list of who wants to shoot pool," Kyle asked.
"Not that I know of," Sam said. "Why? Do you guys want to play?"
"Yeah, but not until y'all have played all you want to," Kyle said. "We're not in a hurry."
"What if we just come find you when we're finished," Sam asked.
"That'd be great, Sam," I said. "But don't rush, okay?"
Kyle and I went back outside, but Jeff and Tyler had moved off from where they had been. Then I saw they were shooting baskets, and they both had their shirts off.
"I want to see Jeff's tattoo," I said.
We walked over to where they were, and just kind of stood there, nursing our beers. It was a red heart, about the size of a quarter, about an inch above and to the right of his left nipple. It had a word under it, which I knew was Clay's name in French. It looked damn good, and it also looked like it belonged right there, too.
"Where's your camera, Kyle," Jeff asked.
"I took a bunch before, but let me get some more," Kyle said.
He went in the house and came back with his camera bag and both cameras. He handed me the digital, and he went to work with his other one. He got a bunch of shots of Jeff and Tyler playing basketball. Then he put that one away, and made me give him the digital. I had only taken three or four shots, but he went to town.
"He's taking pictures for our family Web site," Jeff said to Tyler. "I'll have to show it to you later."
"Cool," Tyler said. "Does it say anything on there about you guys all being gay?"
"Not a word," Jeff said. "Plus, it's password protected, so the general public can't get to the pictures. Would you prefer that your picture not be on it?"
"No, that's fine. I would prefer that my picture and my name not tell the Coast Guard I'm gay, but it doesn't sound like that's an issue," Tyler said.
"The 'don't ask, don't tell' rule," Jeff asked.
"Exactly. You'd be amazed how many guys in the military are gay, though," Tyler said.
"Is it hard being around all those hot guys all the time," Jus asked.
"Sometimes it's hard, but I kind of enjoy that," Tyler said.
We weren't expecting that kind of pun out of him, so it took us a second to react. When we did, Kyle and I laughed our asses off.
"You sound like us, Ty," Kyle said. "Do you mind if I call you Ty?"
"Not at all. That's pretty much what I go by with my family," he said.
"Where are you from," I asked. "I'm from Alabama."
"Minnesota," he said. "I'm sort of the farm-boy type."
"That's me, buddy. I'm pure country," I said.
"Do you like country music," he asked.
"Are you kidding? What other kind of music is there?"
"Rock and roll," Kyle shouted.
He loved all those old songs from long before we were born. Every time we were in the car, he'd put the radio on an oldies station. Kyle could sing pretty good, and he knew the words to every one of them. Compared to a lot of guys our age, though, music wasn't all that big a deal for any of us, really.
"Are you guys dating," Tyler wanted to know.
"Yeah, but not each other," I said. "We're just best friends, ain't we, sweetie?" I put my hand on his chest and started playing with his nipple ring.
"Get off me," he said, knocking my hand away.
"You just wait till later, honey," I said.
"Shut up, Justin," Kyle said. "His boyfriend is Brian, Ty, not me, and my boyfriend is Tim."
"Do you guys joke around a lot," Tyler asked.
"It's pretty much constant, Ty, especially these two," Jeff said. "It's really fun living with these guys."
"You said you're not going to go back to the University of Florida," Tyler asked.
"Right. I'm switching to the FSU campus here," Jeff said.
"What? When did this happen? Why wasn't I consulted," Kyle demanded.
Jeff explained about the rivalry between those two colleges and that he and Kyle were the only Gators in a house full of Seminoles.
"It sounds like you don't want me around, Kyle," Jeff said.
"You know that's bullshit, Bubba. I'm just carrying on. I'm glad you're going to be here. You know that," Kyle said.
"I know, especially when I get you last like I just did," Jeff said.
"You fucker," Kyle said, grinning.
Jeff explained about "got you last," and Tyler laughed.
Kyle looked at his watch.
"Let me go check on the boat," he said, and he took off.
"Do you notice that he never says 'my boat,' only 'the boat' or 'our boat,'" I asked Jeff.
"Yeah. I think that's pretty neat," Jeff said.
"Is that the boat he named after your boyfriend," Tyler asked.
"Yeah," Jeff said.
"You know about Clay," I asked.
"Yeah. We've talked quite a bit, and we've had, what?, three or four coffee dates before tonight," Tyler said.
"We know each other pretty well, don't you think, Ty," Jeff said.
"You know him, and you're still willing to date him," I asked.
"Go to your room, Justin, like a good little asshole," Jeff said.
All three of us laughed.
I "met" Jeff the first time I ever went into a gay chat room. I had wanted to do it for a long time, but I had been afraid. I had been afraid someone would walk up behind me and see what I was doing. I had been afraid somebody would trace my on-line activity, discover what I had been up to, and expose me. I had been afraid of the implications of the fact that I was hopelessly gay and didn't want to be. I had been afraid.
But the loneliness just got to be too much. I had been a really popular guy in high school, with lots of friends. But that was in a school of less than 250 people, and everyone was accepted, more or less. Nobody but me knew then that I was gay, of course, and I was determined that nobody but me would ever know that.
I went to community college for a year after graduation, but I was tired of school. For one thing, it was forty miles from home, and the daily commute, especially in the winter in Minnesota, was a killer. For another thing, I couldn't force myself to study. High school hadn't been very challenging, and I had made reasonably good grades by more or less just paying attention in class. College was different, though, and I didn't have much self-discipline or motivation. I dropped out at the end of the spring semester.
My parents actually encouraged me to join the military. They thought it would help give me focus and goals, and they thought I would benefit from being away from home. I knew they only had my own good at heart. I chose the Coast Guard because it seemed more exotic than the other branches of the service. I didn't know very much about it, but it seemed like it was as good as any other branch.
I guess you could describe me as a gentle person. I'm not weak or effeminate or shy, even, but I seem to feel things more deeply than the other guys in the Coast Guard. Throughout basic training and the schools they sent me to, I never really connected with anybody. I wasn't looking for sex or a romance, and the guy didn't have to be gay. I just wanted a friend, and I couldn't find one. A couple of guys teased me about being a fag, but I knew they had no way of knowing I was. That got on my nerves, but it wasn't really serious harassment. It was just insensitive joking by guys who were trying hard to be macho.
I was rather appalled by some of the talk about pussy and the constant joking about what they would like to do with (to?) every girl we happened to see. I had grown up in a place where modesty was considered a virtue by many, and all of a sudden I found myself surrounded by guys who thought nothing of walking around stark naked, even when they were half hard. I overcame my shyness about nudity, though. After a couple of years, I had adjusted reasonably well to military life, but I still didn't have any friends. That's why I took the chance and went to the on-line chat room.
I logged on to a room for the southeastern part of the United States. One of the guys who was already there was using "EmeraldBFL" as his nickname. Since I was in Emerald Beach, Florida, I decided to check him out. It turned out he was in Emerald Beach, also, and we seemed to have some things in common. He described himself, and I liked the description. He told me about being in college and deciding to transfer to a college in Emerald Beach. I knew there was a community college here because I passed it often, but I wasn't even aware Florida State University was in town. When I finally checked it out a few days later, I discovered a beautiful campus tucked away on a bay, out of the view from any main roads.
The guy told me his real name was Jeff Martin and that he worked as a bellhop in a hotel on the beach. I told him that I was in the Coast Guard, that I had a brother ten years older than me, and that I loved to read. He loved to read, too, and we spent a while talking about favorite books. I talked to him for well over four hours that first night, and we agreed to meet in the chat room again the next night.
The next night, Jeff told me a lot about himself. He told me he had been in love with a boy named Clay who had died from some kind of reaction to a drug he had been given for a headache. He said he had gone through some serious depression but that medicine and Clay's brother had helped him overcome that. He told me he was ready to start dating again. He also told me about the trauma of getting disowned by his parents when he told them about Clay, about moving in with Clay, and about the family in Emerald Beach who had taken him in. He seemed like he was very gentle and kind. He asked me for my email address because he wanted to send me a picture of himself. My first reaction was panic, but I eventually gave it to him. When I opened the picture, I knew he and I could be friends.
Jeff and I chatted every night for two weeks, sometimes staying up so late that I had trouble at work the next day. It was worth it, though. He had a very dry sense of humor. He was great at making puns, which was something I did all the time, too, and we just hit it off. He was the one who suggested we meet after work one day for coffee. I didn't commit to that right away, but I yearned to see him, to hear his voice, to shake his hand.
Our first meeting was nervous for both of us. Jeff had over a year of sexual experience with a partner behind him, and I had only years of guilt-ridden masturbation. Jeff had a houseful of gay men to support him, and I had only him who even knew I was gay. Jeff seemed very confident and self-assured, and I felt worthless and scared. I had no history of involvement with another, and Jeff had the painful residue of his lover's tragic death. I had no past to overcome, and Jeff had to get past his dead boyfriend and the need to start over. I had a deep secret that I could probably keep forever, and Jeff had "in-laws" to deal with as he started dating again.
After ten minutes together, though, we both knew we had a new friend in one another. We met a few more times for coffee, and one Saturday in mid-May we met at a place and rode go-carts and played miniature golf. We went out for a couple of beers after that, and we had a great time.
Then he invited me to Kevin's birthday party. He told me that most of the people there would be gay, and that nude swimming would be a featured entertainment. By then I wasn't intimidated by having others see me nude. That's probably a good thing since Kyle, whom I knew to be Clay's brother, was stark naked when Jeff introduced us. It was distracting as hell because he was gorgeous, but I only glanced at his full body once or twice.
Jeff said his younger brothers would love me simply because I was his friend, and that his older brothers would like me, as well. He said there would be wonderful food, lots of games to play, and dancing. I was Catholic, as was he, and he said a Catholic priest would be in attendance. He said I would feel safe and accepted.
I was scared, but I accepted his invitation. As it turned out, that was probably the best time I had ever had.