Like Father, Like Son
Copyright / Disclaimer
Copyright 2001, Duke Price
This story contains descriptions of sexual acts between boys of similar ages. If this is not to your tastes or is not legal in your locality, please leave now! The story and its associated characters are entirely fictional and any resemblance to people, living or otherwise, is purely coincidental. Please bare in mind when you read this, that portions of this story takes place in the early 70's. That was a time before HIV/AIDS. If you are going to engage in sex, remember to please be safe!
Like every other author out in cyberland, I would love to hear what you think of my story. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I love you too!"
"John, JOHN! Wake up!"
I woke up with a startle. "What?"
"John, you keep talking in your sleep and I'm very tired!"
"I'm sorry. What time is it?"
"It's four in the morning!"
I got up and went to the bathroom to relieve myself. Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I began to worry about what the heck I said in my sleep. I turned around and sat on the toilet and buried my head in my hands. I thought about Michael and how wonderful he was to me. Seeing him again after all of these years reminded me of better days. I think he still loves me. I almost feel giddy inside! But then I thought, how selfish of me! If I truly loved him I'd want him to find someone to love him back. He's lonely! To top it off, it's like I'm getting some sort of satisfaction out of knowing that he's alone, that he still loves me and that I've got him on a string by which I can pull him in anytime it suits me. Now I'm definitely the twisted lowlife who doesn't deserve anyone's love. Oh God! Take this pain away from me! I wish I had someone to talk to! I feel so isolated!
Wiping the tears from my eyes I walked to the guest bedroom and drifted back to sleep.
"John, why are in the guest room?" I opened my eyes enough to keep from being blinded by the light and then looked at the clock.
"You said that I was keeping you awake last night so I went in here to sleep."
"You were carrying on quite a conversation," she said, smiling.
'Yeah?" Here we go!' I thought to myself.
"I couldn't understand a word you were saying but it must have been SOME dream!"
"Why do you say that?"
"Um, well, you'd moan sometimes and then you'd start playing with me."
"Hehe! Ah, well, I don't remember anything. Sorry I kept you awake."
"I thought you were funny and if I hadn't been so tired I would have taken advantage of you!" she said, smiling.
Trying to change the subject, I said, "I am so happy that the office is closed today. I'm going to check in with Ed to see who I need to watch over the holiday weekend. I'm sure he needs a break! So what are you planning on doing tonight? It's New Year's Eve!"
"I thought we'd do the usual. Champagne and lobster."
"Remember, I'm on-call tonight, so I can't drink."
"No problem! I'll drink for you," she said, smiling. "So, when are we going to talk to Con?"
"You know, I've been thinking about that. Can we wait until Ryan goes home or better yet, let Con come to us when he feels ready?"
Paula thought about it for a while and said, "If you think that's the prudent thing to do, Im sure you know what's best in this situation."
"I really feel that it's best that we allow him to come to us. Anyway, I originally told him that he needed to approach you. I told him that I would like to be there when or if he comes forward. You know he's afraid to tell you and your family?"
"I still love Con to pieces even if he is gay. I wish I could say that I understand how he feels, but I'd be lying if I did."
"Let me try to help you understand. It feels the same way as you and I love each other. It's no different. Does that make sense?"
"I guess if you put it that way. I grew up with a father who without a doubt felt that homosexuality was an emotional illness."
"Does Con seem emotionally disturbed to you? I mean, if you didn't know any better, wouldn't you think he was your average 14-year-old boy?"
"You're right, John, he seems normal."
"And what about me? Would you have guessed that I was bisexual?"
"If I was just an acquaintance, I'd have to say no. But being your wife for the past 15 years, I'd have to say that there is something missing in our relationship. Remember, I told you that I'm the one who usually initiates sex. I don't think we'd ever have sex if I didn't ask for it. I don't think that's normal. What do you think?"
'Careful, John!' I thought to myself as I lay there staring off into space, thinking of how I should reply. Paula just sat on the edge of the bed looking at me and waiting to see what I would say next.
"I hate it when you just lie there and not tell me what's going through your head! I feel like I'm putting all of the effort into this relationship!"
"OK, ok! Paula, I think that you are a very beautiful woman!" I stared off into space.
"Yeah, so you think I'm beautiful why do I get the feeling that I'm about to hear a 'BUT'?" Paula said as she started to motion for me to continue.
"How does a person tell his or her best friend something that could hurt their feelings?"
Paula sat straight up as tears started to well up in her eyes. "So I'm just your friend and you don't want to have sex with me?"
"No! Paula, in my mind the concept of love and sex are two different things. Yes, I think that sex can be an expression of endearment, a means to celebrate our love or a way to enhance our intimacy with each other. Without love, sex is only that, sex. Love for me is something much greater than that! It's something that I feel in my heart and soul. Love for me is the common bond that a couple has with each other. The fact that they cherish each other for who and what they are and being able to overlook each other's imperfections. Love for me is being able to rejoice in each other's individuality and being cognizant of how the two enhance the other. It's like becoming a team in order to survive life's trials and tribulations."
"I want to hear more about sex." Interesting how she wants to hear more about sex. After 15 years of marriage I've found that sex is just as important to women as is it is to men.
Sighing, "OK. For me that biological need (sex) swings back and forth like a pendulum."
"I don't understand?"
"Being bisexual umm I feel like I swing both ways, sometimes I swing further to one side than the other. Sometimes I feel gay sometimes straight, and sometimes I'm smack dab in the middle."
"Well then, you must have been swinging to the gay side for the past 10 years."
I chuckled at that. "Well, I wish I could say that I'm not attracted to men. The truth is, I like both."
I could almost see the wheels spinning in her head. "So why are you so glum?"
"The thing that's been bugging me for the past number of years, well more so since I turned 40, is that I feel like a part of me has been put to rest. It's like losing someone or something that I love and now Im mourning that loss. When I decided to spend the rest of my life with you, I chose a path that excludes my gay side. It's a part of me that I love and cherish. My life with Michael was very good and I look back on it as something positive. He was my sex partner my best friend! I loved him with my whole heart and soul JUST as I do you. The truth of the matter is I still love Michael and I always will. I also love you, Paula, very much. I grew up with Michael he's a part of me. I consider him family."
"I see, so you want Michael back in your life?"
"Yes! With your consent!"
"Why be married if we're not going to be monogamous? You know, John, I think the reason you've been avoiding going home is because you can't trust yourself to be alone with him."
"Paula, I didn't even know he was living in Sioux City! I thought he was still in Boston!"
"Oh, I forgot."
"Besides, I think we can just be friends. I just want to be able to talk to him! I miss him!"
"And if I say no?"
"If you don't give your consent, then I won't see him."
"John, how would you feel if I were to start seeing my childhood sweetheart? And I told you that I just want to be friends with him and that I missed him very much?"
I had to think about that. "I don't know. I'd probably think that I wasn't giving you everything that you need."
"See, that's how I feel about it. I think I might feel that you were cheating on me and that you are looking for something that I can't give you! It makes me feel inadequate."
"Let me ask you this. Growing up, did you practically live with your childhood sweetheart? Did your family think of him as a part of your family? Did you ever think about never being able to visit your best friend or sibling that you love and cherish?"
There was a long silence.
I pressed on. "If I visit my parents, will you allow me to see him?"
"I think you know the answer to that question. I think you need to make a choice, John. It's him or me."
I laid there in silence. "OK, Paula, I'm going to sleep now."
Looking very frustrated, "So we're going to quit talking?"
"Is there anything more that needs to be said?" looking up at the ceiling.
"John, I think you're being unfair about all of this."
"Maybe I am being unfair! I will do as you say, Paula. I think this discussion is closed. But know this if you wonder why I might look sad just think about what it would be like to be barred from seeing your family! I miss Michael but I don't want to lose you. I can't help the way I feel about him. I can't really blame you for feeling the way you do but it hurts that you can't trust me. I will have to deal with this the best that I know how. I love you, Paula." I closed my eyes as she got up and left the room.
Months went by and I immersed myself in work. Trying to ignore the ambivalent turmoil within me. Sex became nonexistent and our relationship was growing colder. We'd sit down for dinner and talk about work or the kids, but didn't do anything as a couple except maybe go out together for some business dinners or social gatherings. I felt myself spiraling downward into the abyss of depression and seeing no way out. I was working out at Hong's Academy less and less. The only time I would work out was when I would teach class, which is a requirement if you want to maintain your 3rd degree black belt. I quit sparring with Tom because I couldn't concentrate and the fact that he was kicking the shit out of me. The only thing that I enjoyed in life seemed to be work. It was an escape for me because it required all of my concentration and it allowed me forget about my pain.
"Con! Ryan's here!"
I yelled down to Ryan. "Come up here, stud!" When he reached the top of the stairs he gave me a big hug.
"Are you ready to go?"
"Yep, I've got my golf clubs in the garage."
"Are you boys ready?"
"Well, let's go, guys!" Con and Ryan are very competitive. Seeing the two of them together is like Déjà Vu. I pray that Con doesn't make the same mistakes I made with Michael.
"Great round of golf, boys!"
"Thanks, dad! Can we get something to drink?"
"Sure can!" I sat there and observed them. Damn! To me they look too obvious! They were making me nervous! I wanted to tell them to knock it off but then I thought to myself 'Maybe the world has changed and I just haven't noticed.' The boys don't seem to be self-conscious about being gay at all. They look at each other with loving eyes. They even touch each other at times. Michael and I never did that in public or in my parents' presence. Well, it's probably because Con knows that I know about them, so they aren't as careful. Good for them!
"Dad, you're being so quiet!"
"Oh, I'm just daydreaming. You guys want another soda?"
"Yeah!" said Con and Ryan.
"Hey, Ryan! I kicked your butt out on course today, you must have had your your mind somewhere else?"
Looking dissapointed. "I couldn't hit worth crap today!"
"Yeah and I noticed that you kept lagging behind dad and me." Ryan took a sip of his Pepsi.
'Oh god, where is this conversation heading!' I thought to myself.
Con leaned over the table and whispered,. "Dad, I think he was checking out our butts!"
Ryan started coughing as Pepsi started shooting out of his nose. Con started to laugh hysterically. Ryan however didn't quite see the humor in it and looked at me nervously.
"Con, be good!"
Ryan was wiping the Pepsi off of his face. "I'm sorry, Ryan. I didn't mean to embarrass you."
Ryan looked a little miffed and didn't reply.
Yo, boy! I think we're going to have a little lover's quarrel here! I wasn't about to stay and find out so I said, "Let's go, guys!"
As we walked out into the parking lot, Con put his arm around Ryan's neck and said, "Come on, Ryan, don't be mad at me!"
Damn! I gotta talk to that kid! They're making me nervous as I looked around the parking lot to see if anyone was looking.
On the way home Con and Ryan sat in the back seat. I could hear some mumbling. Then there was sighing and then I heard noises that sounded like kisses. I was feeling uncomfortable. I felt like I was intruding on their privacy, so I cranked up the music. This is ridiculous! Can't they do this in private? I'm going to have a talk with Con when we get home! Hmmm, better not, then they might do this stuff elsewhere better to do these things here where it's safe!
We got out of the car. I noticed that the two boys were smirking and quickly ran up to Con's bedroom. Grrr! This is going to be more difficult than I thought! Not only that, what do they think I am, their chauffeur! They could have at least taken their golf clubs out of the car! KIDS!
I need a drink! I sat in the kitchen and opened a cold MGD. I could hear them roughhousing upstairs. There'd be some loud laughing or maybe some words like. "NO!" "NOT THERE!" Then there would be more boisterous laughter.
'They can wrestle outside,' I thought to myself and as I stood to go upstairs I started to envision them doing that outside and decided to just let it go. Where the hell is Paula when I need her! Damn, I don't think I want her around either!
Ryan and I were having a gay old time as I was trying to tickle him. "Ryan, you gotta lighten up, man! I was just joking around."
"Yeah, but your dad was there when you said that I was watching your butts. Then you kissed me in the car! He's going to find out!"
"He already knows!"
"I told him that I liked you and that I am gay."
"What did he say?"
"He said that he thought that you are a very nice boy and that he's happy for me."
"However, Mom doesnt know. She and her family don't like gays. Gramps says that queers are sick in the head! He used to arrest queers at rest stops. He said the things they did were really gross and a lot of his murder cases were the result of a queer going ballistic. He equated queer men as having female tempers in male bodies."
"Con, do you think we're sick in the head?"
"Dad said that he had romantic feelings towards a boy when he was growing up and that it's normal and that it's not a mental illness. He's a doctor, so he should know!"
Ryan smiled at Con. "Oh good!"
Con reached over and kissed Ryan on the lips. "I think you are the sweetest thing on this planet!" Ryan blushed and kissed Con back.
Then Ryan got a serious look on his face. "Do you think that down the road we'll start liking girls?"
"Hmm, I don't know. Maybe I'll ask dad."
"I hope not! I don't want to lose you!"
"Ryan, don't worry, man! I am head over heels in-love with you! I have been for a long time!"
"Oh, Con I don't know what I'd do without you!" They kissed again.
After some smooching and hugging, Con pulled away and smiled at Ryan.
Looking puzzled, Ryan said. "What?"
"I'm going to tell her tonight because I'm not ashamed of what I am or our relationship!"
"Wow, really? I'm afraid to tell my parents!"
"That's Ok! You don't have to tell them now!"
"Do you want me to be with you when you tell them?"
"I would really like that but I don't know how mom is going to take it. How are you going to handle it if she freaks out?"
"I'll just stand by your side and not say anything. I'll be there to give you support."
"Ahh, Ryan come here!" They embraced.
"Dad! I'm home!"
"Hi, Paula! How was your day?"
"BUSY! I'm exhausted!" Paula picked up my beer and took a swig.
"Hey, don't be drinking my beer!"
"Sharing just means you love me!" she said, smiling.
"Well, get your own beer if you want one!"
"I just wanted a taste of yours! Did you boys have fun today?"
"It was OK. I shot like shit! The boys seemed to have a really good time! A little too good!"
"What do you mean?"
"Ehemm! Mom Dad?" Con and Ryan came into the kitchen hand in hand.
"Oh, I think I know what you mean," Paula said, just loud enough for me to hear, with her right brow raised, with her arms folded across her chest, and taking a step back. Damn, she's a beautiful woman!
OK! The moment I've been waiting for! "Hi, guys! Looks like you have something to tell us?" I said, looking at Ryan and then at Con.
"Yeah, dad we, well umm, I do I mean I, I have something to tell mom."
"Ok, gentlemen. Have a seat at the table and we'll talk about whatever it is that you want to to talk to us about. Paula, have a seat, please?" Paula looked at me nervously then she grabbed my beer and proceeded to sit down next to me.
"Mom Dad, I just want to tell you that I love you both very much! I've been really struggling with some things and it has to do with my well my sexuality, you see, mom and dad, I'm gay." Con stopped looked at Paula and then me.
Paula took a large swallow of my beer and didn't say anything so I thought it would be an appropriate time to ask a question. "Is there more? You said there were some things...?"
Con looked at Ryan for support. "Umm, yeah, well, the other thing that's happened in my life is is Ryan. We're in-love! I've loved him for at least the past two years and he loves me and I wanted you both to know that."
We sat there in silence and I'm thinking 'Come on, Paula, say something!' The three of us looked at Paula as she drank some more of MY beer. She didn't seem to know what to say. Then finally she looked at Con. "Con "
Con interrupted. "Mom, before you even say that you don't approve, please listen to me!"
I held my breath 'Calm down, son!' I thought to myself.
"I have been so depressed this past year. I'd listen to gramps talk about how sick in the head gays are. I was worried that I had some type of illness! Then there's Ryan! He's my best friend and I love him. For a long time and not until recently I wasn't sure if he loved me the same way that I love him." Con looked to Ryan for reassurance. Ryan squeezed Con's hand and smiled at him.
A little irritated, Paula said, "May I speak now?"
Looking at Ryan, "Ryan, do you feel the same kind of love that Con has for you?"
"Yes, Mrs. Devon."
"Ryan, please call me Paula."
"Yes, Mrs I mean Paula."
Paula looked at Con. "Con, I'm glad that you came forward to tell me this. I think it's best that we get this out in the open NOW so that all of us can come to terms with it and move on. I think it took a lot of courage to come forward and I can respect that. I think that we can all learn that it's best to be up front with the people we love and care about and not to pretend that we are something that we're not." Paula looked down at the mug of beer and I could see the tears forming in her eyes and I knew that she was refering to me. She sounded almost defeated.
"Paula, it's OK!" She pushed me away as I tried to give her a hug.
"I'm not finished!" I sat back into my chair
"Con, I've known for quite some time that you haven't been happy but I didn't know why. I guess I should have pressured you more into talking about it but, like your father, you can be quite stubborn!"
"Yes, mom, I know," smiling with tears in his eyes.
"I can't lie to you, Con, this will be very difficult for me to handle. So you'll need to be patient with me and don't forget that I love you!"
Con got up and ran to his mother's arms. They held each other in a tight embrace. "Oh, mom! I was so worried that you'd hate me!"
"Con, you don't know how much it hurts me to hear you say that! I would never hate you because of your sexual preferences! How could I hate such a sweet and loving son!" Paula relaxed their embrace and reached out to Ryan. Ryan didn't waste any time and jumped out of his chair to join the group hug. Ryan buried his head into Paula's bosom and started to weep. It's as if he was letting out all of his fear and emotional torment. Paula stood there like a sponge, taking it all in.
Once again Paula has managed to relieve much of the pain and torment that her boys are experiencing!
"Mom Dad? Is everything OK?" I was startled as I turned to see a very concerned looking Andrea standing in the doorway.
"Hi, Andrea, umm we were just having a private discussion."
"Did something serious happen?"
"Umm, well "
"Ahemm! Andrea, I have something to tell you. Something that is very important to me and I hope that you can understand." Con looked at Andrea and then at Ryan. Ryan grabbed Con's hand and I could see Andrea's expression turn from a look of concern to one of disgust.
"Andrea, I'm gay."
"I can't believe it! You're a faggot! My brother's queer! And I suppose you're his boyfriend?" looking at Ryan with contempt. Ryan looked down at the floor.
"Listen, Andrea, you leave Ryan out of this! If you're pissed, take it out on me! NOT RYAN! Do you hear me!"
"So it's true? You and Ryan? I can't believe it!" Before Con could answer she turned and ran upstairs.
"I'm going to go talk to her."
Paula stepped in and said, "No, Con, I'll go talk to her."
"OK, mom." Poor Ryan looked hurt.
"Honey, she'll be OK. Just give her some time to digest it. She'll come around."
"OK, mom, if you say so?"
Paula went up the stairs to talk to Andrea. "I'm proud of you, son, and you too, Ryan! That took a lot of courage to be up front with us! Ryan, I guess I should say, 'welcome to the family!'" as I patted him on the shoulder.
"Thanks, Dr "
"John, call me John!
"Thanks, John! I feel so much better now that it's out in the open!"
"Im happy for the both of you!"
"Ryan, have you told your parents?"
"No, sir. I'm afraid to tell them. I think mom would understand, but I dont think dad would take it very well." I could see the fear in his eyes when he spoke of his father. I know Ryan's father. He's strict with his children but I've never seen him be abusive.
"OK, I won't say anything to them."
"Thanks, John. I appreciate that!"
The days went on and the boys continued to get along famously, which is great but they were so open about it. I worried that they would be obvious to strangers outside of our home. I could tell it made Paula uncomfortable but she never said anything. Andrea, however, was a different story. "I can't believe how queer you two are! You're nothing but a couple of faggots!"
"Andrea, shut your mouth and go to your room! Oh and you are grounded for the rest of the week!"
"But, dad! They're an embarrassment!"
"Andrea, it's YOU who has a problem, NOT them! I WILL NOT STAND FOR THAT TALK IN MY HOME! IS THAT CLEAR! CON IS YOUR BROTHER AND I THINK HE DESERVES BETTER THAN THAT!"
"Andrea, going through life can be pretty difficult and it would be nice if you two could be friends and support one another. Someday your mother and I won't be around and it will be just you and Con to be there for each other!"
Andrea thought about that and said, "OK, dad. I'm sorry, Con Ryan. It's just that seeing you two kissing and hugging all of the time makes me sick to my stomach!"
"Well, dad, they look like they're going to eat each other. Every time I look at them, Con's got his tongue practically shoved halfway down Ryan's throat!"
"You know, Con I think Andrea has a valid point. While seeing you two make out doesn't make me sick, it does make me uncomfortable. Even if you two were a boy and a girl, I wouldn't be comfortable with your display!"
"Yeah, and when you guys are in Con's bedroom, you are so loud I can hear almost everything you say! OH RYAN, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! OOH AHHH! I don't want to even go into my bedroom any more!"
Blushing, "Sorry, mom, dad Andrea! We'll try to be a little more discreet!" Ryan looked like he was going to die of embarrassment.
"Thanks, son! Let me say this and then I'll shut up. I think it's great that you feel comfortable enough show your affection for one another, but you need to think about how it might make us feel. I think everyone will agree that holding hands, hugging each other or giving each other a kiss from time to time is just fine. I also want you to feel that our home is a safe haven. If you want to express your love for each other, I would prefer that you do it here and not outside. I worry about you two getting into trouble!"
"Ok, thanks, dad!" Ryan grabbed Con's hand and they ran to Con's room. Poor Ryan was as red as a beet! I looked over at Paula and she was looking at me. I got up and sat down next to her on the couch.
"You handled that well, John."
"Thanks, honey! I don't think I'm cut out for this parenthood stuff!"
She gave me a kiss and said, "Even though they are a little over the top, they are cute together, aren't they?"
"Yes, they are!"
"I think Andrea has a crush on Ryan and that's one of the reasons she got so angry."
"She's a cute girl! She'll find someone special!"
"A boy, I hope!" Paula said, smiling.
It was a relief knowing that Paula was beginning to accept Con's sexuality. Even Andrea seemed to be warming up to the idea!
Time went on and I tried not to think about Michael, but seeing Con and Ryan together only served as a reminder of the relationship that Michael and I once had. Fighting my depression was becoming more and more difficult.
"How's my boy?"
"John, are you sure everything is going OK?"
"To be truthful with you, I'm exhausted. I'm working too much and I'm really run down."
"I think you should take some time off and visit us! You can bring Paula and the kids! They could play out on the farm with Jean's kids. I think they're about the same ages."
"Jean? That's a name that I haven't heard in a long time! What's Jean up to these days?"
"Well, her and Mark have 3 children. They lease the farm from us. They take good care of the place, plus we make a few bucks out of the deal. They love it out there!"
"Oh, it would be so nice to go visit the farm. I haven't been out there for so long!"
"Come home, John! Please come home!"
"I'll tell ya what. I have a conference in Chicago in a couple of weeks. Maybe I can just bring Paula and the kids with me and then fly to Iowa. Let me see what I can do!"
"Sounds great! Tell me what's going on with your family ."
To my surprise, Paula thought it sounded like a great idea to get away for a while so we planned it all out. Con said that Ryan wants to come along, so it'll be the five of us.
"Maybe I can do some shopping and take the kids to the museums while you are at the conference?"
"That sounds great!"
"Do your parents really want me to come along with you guys?"
"Yeah! I was thinking that maybe when the girls go shopping, mom could drop us off at Six Flags!"
"Cool!" Ryan gave me a high five.
"I'm not sure how much fun Iowa will be. There's nothing but beans and corn there. Dad said that he wants to take us out to my great grandfather's farm and show us around."
"That might be fun. I've never been to a farm. It doesn't matter anyway, as long as I'm with you."
"Ahh! That's sweet!" I leaned over and gave him a peck on the lips.
You know the older I get, the faster time passes. It was 5:30 in the morning and we were packing the twin engine Beech King Air 350. Paula and I were doing our preflight checks. It was a perfect day for flying. Light winds out of the south at 5 and clears skies. I had to be at the conference by 9am. The kids were excited to get underway. Paula and I were like a team, checking everything over. We were usually redundant in our preflight checks by having both of us go over everything twice so that we wouldn't overlook anything.
"Austin Straubel, this is Bravo Kilo Alpha 3 5 0, request clearance?" Before we knew it, we were cleared for takeoff and on our way to Midway. The flight was uneventful. The kids had a great time and talked nonstop. Ryan and Con wanted to know what this button and that button was and we were more than happy to explain what each button controlled. After all, this was the very thing that Paula and I loved doing together and we'd smile at each other, seeing their exuberance and excitement about flying.
After shutting down the plane, Paula took the kids to the hotel and I went off to my conference. I sat down at a table with some guys that I didn't know and shot the shit with them about interventional cardiology. We discussed thrombolytic therapy and shared our experiences with IIB IIIA agents. The morning session of the conference was pretty good. It was 11 am and we were filing out to the cafeteria. I started to look around for an empty seat and that's when I saw a very familiar face. Michael! I began to walk toward him and could see him chitchatting. As I got close to him he happened to glance my way and I could tell that he didn't quite recognize me or maybe he couldn't believe his eyes. Then a huge smile came over his face as he stood up to greet me.
Mom dropped us off at Six Flags. We couldn't wait to get on the roller coaster rides! I grabbed Ryan's hand and literally dragged him to the first ride. "This place is cool! I want to ride on every roller coaster ride!
"Yeah! Me too!"
We finally got on the first ride. "Wooo Hooo! Yeahhhhh! This is great!!!"
Ryan grabbed my hand and squeezed as we went upside down. We'd look at each other and laugh. "That was great! Come on, let's go get something to drink!"
I noticed that people were looking at us and then it occurred to me that we were still holding hands while we were waiting in line. I quickly pulled my hand away from Ryan's and he gave me a funny look. I whispered into his ear, "Ryan, I think we're being too obvious."
I knew I was correct when I heard someone say behind us, "Couple of queers."
"Come on, Ryan, let's get out of here."
I heard a guy say, "Get lost, faggot!"
Then I heard some girls giggling as we walked away. One of them said, "WHAT A WASTE!"
Ryan had a worried look on his face. "Ryan, just ignore them!"
"This place scares me!"
"Ryan, we just have to work on not being so obvious. OK?"
Ryan shook his head in agreement. "I hate being gay! I don't like being called queer or faggot!"
I could see the tears starting to form in his eyes. "Come on, Ryan. Don't let them ruin our day. I came here to have fun with you and that's what we're going to do. We'll just be careful!"
"Ok, Con." He touched my hand like he was about to hold it but then caught himself and pulled away.
I looked at him and winked. "Come on, let's get in line!"
"John! I can't believe you're here!"
"Michael, how the hell are ya?"
"Good! Let's get out of here!"
"What about the conference?"
"To hell with the conference! We have a lot to catch up on! We can go to a restaurant where we can talk in private."
We walked down the street and found this quaint little Italian restaurant. Michael seemed a little nervous. To be honest, I was too. We hadn't had a chance to sit and really talk to each other for so many years. The waiter seated us and we sipped on some red wine. "So, how do ya like the conference so far?"
"Aah, it's OK. I'm already familiar with a lot of the stuff they're covering."
I nodded in agreement. I looked into his eyes and smiled. "You look great, Michael! You've kept in good shape. Are you still into TKD?"
"Yes, I'm a 5th degree black belt. Master Kim is getting pretty old and I do most of the teaching. His son has pretty much taken over the business end of it."
"Please tell him hi for me?"
"Sure! No problem."
This was more difficult than I thought it would be. I didn't think that it would be this uncomfortable being around Michael, but what should I expect? We haven't seen each other for so long and when we broke up it certainly wasnt on very good terms! I would imagine that we've both changed.
"How long did you live in Boston?"
"For about 10 years. It's a great city to live in and I worked with some pretty fantastic people there. But, I got homesick. Ten years of living in a big city was all I could tolerate. You have to plan your life in and around the rush hours."
"So, what else have you been doing?"
"I did a lot of traveling over the years."
"Cool! What places did you visit?"
"Let's see. We toured Europe, Asia, South America, Australia."
"Wow! That sounds great! So are you still with this person?"
"You said we?"
"Oh, umm, no. We dated for about 5 years and then we went our separate ways."
"Was that Pete?"
Michael had this puzzled look on his face. "No, his name was Jack. We met a few years after I moved to Boston."
I took a sip of my wine.
"Oh, I get it now!" Michael said as he sat back in his chair. "You thought Pete and I were an item. Pete turned out to be a real shithead. He found out that I was gay shortly after I arrived in Boston. I think he figured it out when he saw all of my pictures of you in my bedroom. That's when he started doing things behind my back. What did he say to you?"
"Aaa, Umm, he said to stop calling you. He made it sound like you two were dating."
"That SON OF A BITCH!"
"Michael! Quiet down! People are looking."
"That son of a bitch ruined my life! He outed me to everyone I worked with, but to his surprise, no one gave a shit! There were gay people everywhere. That son of a bitch!"
He sat there, obviously very upset. I don't know if I've every seen him this mad. I reached over and tried to calm him down.
"Excuse me, gentlemen. Is there anything I can do for you?"
"I'm sorry, my friend here just heard some upsetting news. We'll keep it down. Won't we, Michael?"
"That son of bitch."
I looked up at the waiter, smiling. "See, that was quieter."
Looking a little irritated, "Can I get you gentlemen something to eat?"
I looked over at Michael, who was in no condition to order, so I ordered for the both of us. "We'll start out with some capoletti and then bring us some ravioli with a Caesar salad."
"Thank you, sir." The waiter picked up our menus and gave Michael a strange look.
"Oh, and get us a bottle of wine."
"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."
"If I ever see that guy again, I'm going to rip his heart out!"
"Michael, calm down!"
Michael sat up in his chair with tears in his eyes. "That guy destroyed my life! You and I " Then he sat back and stared down at the table. My pager went off. I recognized the number. It was Ed's.
"Excuse me, Michael," as I dialed the number.
"Ed, what's going on?"
"I'm sorry to be bothering you but the Chief is in the ER with angina and he won't let me touch him! His 12 lead is showing ischemia in the anterior leads."
"Let me talk to him."
"What the heck are you doing, Chief? Ed needs to take you to the Cath Lab!"
"No one is doing anything with my heart except for you!"
"Chief, listen to me, if you don't go to the cath lab, you might die! Ed is just as competent as I am! I've worked with him for ten years!"
My pleading fell on deaf ears. "I'm not going anywhere! I'll wait for you to get back from Chicago."
"You might be dead if you wait that long!"
"Just order some medicine over the phone and I'll be fine."
"OK, let me talk to Ed."
"Ed, give him TNKase and I'll fly back. That stubborn bastard! Tell him I'll be there in about 2 hours."
"OK, John. Sorry about this!"
"Don't worry about it, Ed!"
"Michael, I have to get home. One of my patients is refusing to go to the cath lab unless I'm there to perform the procedure." Michael shook his head without looking up. Then it came to me.
"Michael, why don't you come along with me?" Michael looked up at me with a surprised look on his face.
"Are you serious?"
"I sure as hell am! Let's go!" As we hurried out of the restaurant I handed the waiter a $100. "This should take care of it."
"Thank you, sir! Come back again!" We sped off to the Midway airport. I left a message at the Hotel that we were staying to tell Paula that I needed to get back home to take care of a VIP.
"How are we getting there so quickly?"
"I leased a twin engine."
I quickly got clearance and we were off to the land of the green and gold.
"What happened to us, John? I never understood what happened? I know that you met Paula and that you fell in-love with her but I always felt in the back of my mind that I did something to break us apart."
"Michael, when you left for Boston, I was lost! I had this feeling of doom. Once you got there I only heard from you like maybe once a week. I'd call and Pete would tell me that you weren't home or that he was going to be meeting you somewhere. Then he'd ask if I would like him to pass on a message to you. Sometimes I could have sworn I could hear you talking in the background but he'd tell me that you weren't home. So as time went on I felt that you had lost interest in me. After months went by I thought that I needed to move on with my life and that's when I met Paula."
"That SOB! John, we never had an affair. He was straight. He always had women over. He was always trying to set me up with them. When I found out that he outed me, I kicked his ass out our apartment. Oh, John, I'm so sorry about what happened!" Michael wiped the tears from his eyes.
I reached over and squeezed his hand, trying to fight back my own tears. Michael didn't pull his hand away and I just held on to it, trying to comfort him. We didn't say anything the rest of the way to Green Bay. I guess we were both lost in our own thoughts I was wondering, 'Where do we go from here?'.
"Come on, Michael, let's get a move on it. If the Chief dies, I'm going to be really pissed off!"
"Damn, you drive fast!"
"I should give you a ride in my Porsche! This SUV is like driving a fricken' bus!" I called Ed to let him know that we're about 2 minutes out and to please get the Chief to the Cath Lab.
"Chief, you're lucky to still be alive!"
Ed walked up to us. "John, who is this gentleman that you have with you?"
"Ed, this is Michael. Michael Ed. We grew up together and he happens to be a cardiologist."
"You don't say!" Ed's eyes lit up.
"Michael, have you ever thought about moving to Green Bay?"
"Didn't he tell you? We are desperately looking for a new partner!"
Standing behind Michael,. I started motioning to Ed to stop by shaking my head no, but Ed ignored me. "Ahemm, let's get started!" I quickly scrubbed in and put on my lead apron. It was difficult to concentrate because I could hear Ed describing our facility to Michael. He went on and on about how our patient volumes have been so overwhelming and that we needed a partner.
I shot the first picture of his RCA and it looked fine. Then I shot the vessel that was causing all of the problems. He had two areas of stenosis. One blockage was in his circumflex and the other in the LAD. "What do you think, Ed? Should I stent the blockage in the LAD or should I just send him for CABGS?"
Ed and Michael were studying the digital image. "It's your call, John, but Michael and I both feel you should stent it. Ok, ladies and gents, be ready to defibrillate the Chief when I open this up."
"We're ready, doctor."
"Give him the usual dose of reopro."
Just as I opened up the LAD, he went into V-fib. We defibrillated him with 150 watts of biphasic current and converted to a sinus rhythm.
"What the hell happened, Doc?"
"Your heart fibrillated. I'm opening up your blockages."
"Ed, what size stent should I put in?"
"What do you think, Michael?" I knew exactly what Ed was doing. He was evaluating Michael, trying to figure out if we should recruit him. Of course we both agreed with Michael's recommendations. I could hear Michael tell Ed about his experience in Boston and Sioux City.
"How am I doing, Doc?"
"You have two blockages. I just opened the one that was causing your pain and now I'm working on the second one which is in a different vessel."
"Do you still own that little silver Porsche?"
"I sure do! Why?"
"I just have to keep my officers up-to-date on what you're driving."
"Hehehe. I think your officers know me quite well."
"They aren't giving you any trouble, are they?"
"No, Chief. In fact they sometimes will escort me to the hospital or at least attempt to."
"Aha, I suppose you're in front of them and they're trying to keep up?"
"Yeah, something like that."
"You be careful!"
"I will, now you relax and take a nap so I can concentrate on what I'm doing. Can you guys keep it down back there? I can't concentrate."
"Sorry, John!" Ed said.
"Sorry, John!" Michael said.
I heard Ed say, "Let's go over here and talk."
Michael whispered, "OK."
After I was finished fixing up the Chief, I went out to see what Ed and Michael were up to. They both had their legs kicked up on the desk, sipping on coffee. "Well, did you fix up the Chief?" Ed said, smiling at me.
"I think I've got Michael considering coming here to work with us."
"Really? That would be great!" trying to sound upbeat about it.
"We need to head back to Chicago. I convinced the Chief that you could handle the rest."
"Thanks for coming up, John, and it was great talking to you, Michael!"
"Nice to meet you, Ed! I might take you up on your offer."
"We'd love to have you here! Wouldn't we, John?"
"We sure would! See ya, Ed!"
"OK, guys, have fun!"
"Michael, do you want to see my place?"
We drove into the garage and Michael was admiring my Porsche. "Nice car!"
"It gets me around!"
"Ed seems like a really nice guy."
"Yes, he is and he's a great to work with! We look after one another."
"Is he married?"
"Yep, with two kids."
"Damn, all of the nice guys are taken!"
Michael was walking around the house, looking at the family pictures. "Con looks just like you! He's beautiful! Andrea's a real beaut too!"
I smiled at him. "Care for a drink?"
I handed him a glass of Chardonnay. "Thank you!"
"Have a seat, Michael."
"John, how are you doing?"
"I'm doing OK."
"Oh, I know that tone, John. I don't think you're telling me the truth. Your parents are concerned about you. They think that you are working too hard and Jill thinks you are depressed. She's mentioned that Paula has been calling her but never tells me what they talk about."
"Really, what the hell is she calling for?"
"Heck if I know. So, are you doing OK?"
I sat forward and stared at my glass of wine. "That's what I thought," Michael said as he sat closer to me. I felt my whole body react when he sat next to me.
"John, what's the matter?"
"I can't tell you."
"Is it about us?" I turned to look at him and I could feel his eyes attempting to penetrate my soul, trying to find out what lurked inside. I quickly looked away. I was afraid that he'd find out the truth. I was afraid that he would find out that I still loved him. I broke down and began to weep.
Michael started to rub my back, trying to console me. "I miss you, Michael. I never quit "
"I never quit either, John. I I still love you! Hehe, poor Jack never stood a chance with me. I compared him and everyone else I dated with you and, you know what, none of them ever measured up."
I turned to Michael with tears streaming down my cheeks. "I'm so damned miserable, Michael, I can't stand it! I don't know what to do?"
"Do you love Paula?"
"I do, Michael. Like a close and dear friend. She's the mother of my children!" I was trying to catch my breath, attempting to hold back the sobs.
"Does she know about us?"
"Yes, and she wasn't happy about it. To make matters worse, she and her family are very prejudiced against gays."
"Why the hell did you tell her, now she'll never let us get together!"
Sniffling, "I came out when I was trying to get Con to come out of the closet."
"He's gay too?"
"Yeah, he's got a boyfriend."
"So, when Con came out to you, you told him that you were gay too?"
"Well, not really. I told him that I had romantic feelings about boys, growing up. He looked so scared and I didn't want him to feel like some freak of nature. I wanted him to know that I still loved him...that I understood and and "
"Shh it's OK, John!"
" No, it's not OK! Then I told Paula the same thing, only she pressed on and I finally admitted to having an affair with you! Paula will never trust me again! She's angry with me! Then I asked her if I could see you again and she said no. She said it would be like her going to visit her old childhood sweetheart. She said it would make her feel inadequate, like she's unable to give me what I need."
"Well, does she?"
"Does she what?"
"Does she make you happy?"
"Michael, believe me when I say that I love her but I also love you and, now that I'm 40... well the path I chose excludes you. That's not what I want! Michael I want you back in my life!"
Michael took a deep breath. "John, I feel like I have lost three of the most important people in my life my mother, my father, and you. If I knew for certain that getting back together was the right thing to do, well then, Paula would have one hell of a fight on her hands. You have a family, John! They depend on you! You don't know how lucky you are!" Michael began to weep.
"I will always love you and I want you to be a part of my family! Don't ever forget that." I reached out and gave him a hug.
"John, I just don't see how that can be possible. I would love to be a part of your family to be back in your life. I visit your parents not only because I love them but because it makes me feel closer to you."
"Anything's possible! There's got to be a way that will make us all happy!"
"John, if I were in Paula's shoes, I'd want you all to myself."
"Michael, if you really love someone, wouldn't you want to do whatever it took to make that person happy?"
"Well, yes, that's why I've been staying away and not attempting to contact you."
"There's got to be a way!"
"How are you going to tell Paula about what happened today?"
"I don't have a clue! I am certain about one thing, I'm finished lying to her! The ball's in her court now! I will abide by her wishes. I've made it quite clear to her that I will be miserable without you in my life."
"Like I said before. I'm not getting in the middle of your relationship. You two will have to work this matter out on your own."
"Michael, don't you have any ideas as to how I can convince her to let us visit each other?"
"You know, John, you are beginning to disappoint me."
"Because I think you are starting to blame Paula for keeping us apart. You are putting her in an impossible situation. We're not together because WE fucked up 16 years ago! Paula is the innocent one here! Not only that, but you lied to her from the very beginning! You should have told her about us about who the real John IS!"
"Michael, please listen!"
"You know before today I was pretty much resigned to the fact that the two of us would never have any type of relationship. Now I'm not so sure and it kind of pisses me off. I don't want to get my hopes up!" I pulled Michael up next to me and I embraced him. I didn't want to let go!
In our embrace, I asked, "I'm sorry, Michael? Can you forgive me?"
Sounding irritated, "John, WE fucked up and now we have to live with the consequences!"
"OK, you're right! I'll stop blaming her!"
"Good! I think it's time we get back to Chicago!"
"Michael, please help me figure out a way that we can be at least be together as friends?"
"I can't help you, John!"
"I guess I can't blame you for not wanting me back in your life!"
"John, right now I'd take anything I could get! The thing that worries me is that I think we may want to be more than just friends."
"Oh god, Michael you might be right!"
"Why do you say that?"
"Because right now I would love nothing more than to give you a kiss!"
"Hmmm, well, then maybe I shouldn't be in your life. I told you before, John, that I vowed never to get in between you and Paula. I think it's time you grow up and accept the fact that you have the responsibility of taking care of your family! Not only that, you are your children's role model, now don't fuck it up!"
I knelt down to the floor, crying like a baby.
"John, get a grip!"
"Michael, we're not getting any younger! We're halfway through our lives now! I'm not sure that I can get through the second half without you! I'm lost without you!"
"John, calm down, things will get better!"
"I don't see how? I can't stand not seeing you anymore!"
"John, you know how to contact me!"
"No, I don't! I don't even have your phone number!"
"Here's my business card. We have to get back to Chicago!"
"I don't want to go back!"
"Damn it, John, I'm beginning to think that you've become a wimp in your old age! Now let's go!"
I reluctantly flew back to Chicago and took him back to his hotel.
"John, you're finally back! I was getting worried!"
"What's the matter, John, you look as if something terrible has happened?"
"Where are the kids?"
"I saw Michael today."
"Really? How did you meet him?"
"He was at the conference today."
"Where is he now?"
"He's at the Sheraton. Why?"
"Because I need to talk to him!"
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