"New York Is Where I'd Rather Stay"
This draft completed early January 2007
* This is a work of fiction, blah blah blah. Any resemblances to reality are purely coincidental, blah blah blah.
Smoke curled upwards from the man's cigar like a wayward sailboat at sea. A glass of tea sat in front of him, ornamented with a lemon. Slowly he raised the cigar to his lips and took a deep drag, inhaled deeply, and released the smoke from his mouth and nose in a long, steady stream.
"Özgur?" a voice speaking in Turkish called from the corridor outside the dark study where the man was seated.
"Yes," was the man's terse reply.
"It is I, Ertan."
Özgur titled his head slightly in acknowledgement. He set his cigar down in an ashtray and followed the other man's movements with his eyes. Ertan inched his way toward where Özgur was seated. He lowered himself so that he was level with Özgur. A slight smile formed on Ertan's face.
"I really cannot help but notice that you seem less than exalted to see me," he said slowly as a nervous laugh escaped him. Özgur said nothing. Ertan cleared his throat and tried again.
"You know, as charming as you are when you're silent and scowling, you really do have a lovely smile. Do you think you could put it on display for me?"
Again, Özgur was silent. Ertan arose, and said "Right. Be seeing you."
He started to walk away, but he stopped when Özgur spoke. "Wait. Don't go away. I'm sorry, darling--I really would like to speak to you."
Ertan turned around and faced Özgur.
"You know I love you," Özgur began slowly. "You must know that. I love you more than anyone or anything." He sighed. "But I've taken on a new case that's put me in the constant company of a man that I work with. I...I think I'm falling for him, Ertan!" Özgur leaned forward and, with his elbows on his desk, buried his face in his hands.
For several moments neither man spoke. Ertan once again made his way over to where Özgur was seated. This time, however, he did not lower himself to be level with the seated Özgur. He towered over the other man. With the full impact of Özgur's words having hit him, he began to speak impassionedly.
"What are you telling me, Özgur? You say you love me more than anything, yet you're willing to toss me aside for another man you've just met? Is that what you're telling me?" He was shouting now, gesticulating in ways that he wasn't even aware of.
Özgur looked up and stared his lover full in the face. "Never, Ertança, never. That is never what I would say nor do to you. By Allah, you must know that I would never leave you for another man."
Ertan stared at the floor, his fists clenched at his sides. Also clenched were his buttocks and his innards, although he was not at all aware of this. "Then suppose you tell me," he hissed, "what you are telling me."
Özgur arose from his chair and took Ertan's fists. He unclenched them and intertwined Ertan's fingers with his own. He looked deeply into Ertan's eyes and gazed at him intently until Ertan could not possibly look away.
"All I'm saying is that I want you to meet this man. I'm almost positive he's homosexual. If you like him and he agrees, maybe we can invite him over one night and hopefully, you know..."
"We can fuck him senseless?" Ertan finished for him. He let out an incredulous laugh. "I can't believe you. I simply cannot believe you. This is..." He sighed. "This is one hell of a proposal that you're springing on me. I just don't know..."
"It would only be after I fuck you senseless," Özgur replied, giving Ertan a peck on the lips. "Why not just give him a try? You know he would never in any way take your place. No one possibly could after twenty-three years." Ertan smiled, and tears began to fill his eyes and fall down his cheeks. The two men embraced and held each other tightly for at least a minute. Then they walked out of the study arm in arm.
Later that evening the two were hunched over an evening meal of pilav. Seated close together in the dining room's leather booth, they exchanged bites from each other's plates and related tales of each one's day. It was not long before the talk got around to the man Özgur had mentioned. This time their language had switched to English.
"So tell me about this fellow," Ertan said. "What's he look like? Nice guy?"
"He's Hungarian," Özgur said. "His name is Bálinyi. Gabor Bálinyi. He's a bit short, but quite good-looking. Nice smile, and a really nice arse--I'm sure his hole is nice and tight. I work with him on my current account, the one with Prendergast & Sons. I think you'll like him, Ertan. I've gotten to know him fairly well both on the case and when we take cigarette breaks. He's very sweet."
"Oh yes, he certainly does sound sweet," Ertan chortled. "In fact, I'm not sure I can even handle so much...sweetness. I just might suffer a diabetic stroke."
Özgur put his fork down and stared at Ertan in surprise. "You're still angry."
"Shouldn't I be?" Ertan said evenly.
"I've already told you that you have nothing to be upset about. I told you that no matter what, I'll always love you the most."
Ertan sighed. "Yes, I know, my love. It's just that, well, we've had something so solid for all these years. In twenty-three years only several times have you even looked at another man, much less considered bringing one home to me. Now all of a sudden you meet some fellow at work who just happens to have a nice arse, and you fall head over heels in lust. It's just not like you, Özgur."
Özgur slipped his hand inside Ertan's. "I know how you feel, Ertança. I realize that this must seem jarring. But why don't you wait until you meet Bálinyi? If things don't go well with him or if you decide you don't feel comfortable then I'll tell him to exit our lives and never come to our home again."
Özgur sipped from his cup of coffee the next morning at work. He was in the process of typing up a fifteen-page brief when Gabor Bálinyi stepped into his cubicle.
"I'm sorry to bother you since you look so busy, but I needed your advice," Gabor said in his enticing Hungarian accent, smiling sheepishly.
Özgur turned around and faced him, doing his best to mask the intense excitement he was feeling. "I'll do what I can."
"I need to submit a preliminary brief to Angela, but I am not sure where to start with the particulars of the Prendergast case. You seem to have that knowledge on hand, and I was wondering if you could share with me the details that I am in the dark about."
Özgur was baffled, but truth be told, any moment that he was in Gabor Bálinyi's company was a moment worth spending. He was not sure where to begin--the intimate details of the case were not well known to him either--but he prattled along the best he could. Gabor was sitting next to him, taking notes. The two men were close enough that their knees were touching. Özgur's heart was racing slightly, and a feverish feeling was spreading to his loins. He wondered if Gabor was even aware of the effect that he was having on him, much less if the feeling was in any way mutual. Özgur was positive that Gabor was gay, and while Gabor was friendly to him, Özgur had not received any signals that Gabor was attracted to him sexually. Özgur continued to talk, but he was no longer even aware of what he was saying. Every bit of his attention was focused on Gabor: his delicate hand writing notes in a small, neat print, his brow furrowed with concentration, his curly brown hair with the cute lock gracing his forehead, his bright blue eyes, his soft, youthful cheeks, and his lovely, delicate mouth. Whenever he smiled, dimples formed on both sides of his mouth. He was beautiful.
Özgur's spell was broken when Gabor tittered and said, "You're trailing off." Özgur shook his head and cleared his throat. "Sorry," he muttered, thoroughly embarrassed. He felt like such a fool. Here he was, lusting openly after Gabor, and now Gabor was fully aware of it. What would the younger man think?
His fears were quickly dashed by the continuing grin on Gabor's face. The dimples in his cheeks stood out prominently on his face. "You like me, don't you?" he whispered impishly.
"I haven't made it too obvious, have I?" Özgur asked hesitantly, with a nervous laugh.
Gabor returned the laugh. "My mother always advised my sister to be careful about Turkish men. I guess she never realized that I was the one she should have been warning."
Özgur suddenly turned serious as he gazed deeply into Gabor's eyes. "You know that I have a lover whom I've been faithful to for many, many years."
"Yes, I think I've seen him. Tall fellow, mustache?"
"Yes. His name is Ertan, and I have every intention of remaining faithful to him. He comes first to me. But I was wondering if you would like to come to our home and get to know the two of us. I've talked it over with him, and he would like to meet you."
Gabor was silent for some time. At last his eyes lit up and he said, "You know, this was a lot more than I was expecting when I came to you for advice." His face broke into a smile, perfect white teeth on display for Özgur. "I'd love to."
Özgur was elated. Without thinking, he put his arms around Gabor's shoulders, pulling him close and kissing him on the mouth. Gabor reacted with surprise, then laughed. All Özgur could think was, I don't know how I am going to wait until day's end to hold him in my arms and be inside his asshole.
The day had been cold, and it was even colder now. Gabor Bálinyi warmed his hands in the hot air that flowed from the heating vent. The two men didn't speak much in the heavy traffic that Özgur was carefully navigating his 1999 Chevy Chrysler through.
"Where do you live?" Gabor asked.
"East of the city, in Manhasset."
Gabor considered this information. "I live in Hell's Kitchen, in an apartment. It's noisy, but at least something is always happening."
The lights of the city and the traffic illuminated the two men's faces. Otherwise, the evening was as gray as an iron slate. Some forty minutes later, Özgur pulled into the long driveway of the sprawling ranch-style home that he and Ertan shared. Ertan's blue Porsche sat outside the garage. A wave of nervousness suddenly came upon Özgur. What if Ertan changed his mind about the whole thing? He hadn't exactly been ecstatic about the endeavor. It was only after much needling on Özgur's part that he was able to convince Ertan to go along with it. What if Ertan didn't share Özgur's feelings for Gabor? That's just a risk I'm going to have to take, Özgur decided as he parked his car next to Ertan's and got out. Gabor also got out, and Özgur took his arm and led him into the house.
The house was warm, and this was most welcome to the two men. Özgur led Gabor to the living room, where Ertan was seated on a divan drinking a warm mug of anise. Özgur told Gabor, "I'd like you to meet Ertan Kesgin, the love of my life. Ertança, this is Gabor Bálinyi."
Ertan rose to his feet and stared at Gabor. Gabor's eyes shifted to the ground, and he was blushing slightly. He knew he was being appraised and it made him uncomfortable. After what felt like an eternity the corners of Ertan's mouth rose in a small smile, and he took Gabor's hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, saying, "It's very nice to meet you."
Gabor looked up at Ertan and smiled shyly, dimples gracing his cheeks.
"Have you gentlemen eaten yet?" Ertan asked them. Both men shook their heads.
"I am pleased to hear that, as I have prepared a small meal for the three of us." Özgur still had hold of one of Gabor's arms, and Ertan gently took the other one. They led him through the hallway and into the dining room. Gabor felt slightly like he was being held prisoner by these two delightful, handsome Turks; it was a feeling that left him feverish and tingling in the groin. He was so hot under the collar that he had no appetite for food. Nevertheless, he took the place that Ertan had set for him at the table and sat down to eat.
The three men chatted amongst themselves during supper, with Özgur and Ertan doing the bulk of the talking. Gabor watched his two hosts intently, trying to get a feel for each of them. They were both equally handsome in their own ways. He knew Özgur better and felt more comfortable with him, but he was happy to see that Ertan was warming to him. He picked at his food idly. It tasted fine, but he was not the least bit hungry. Fortunately, Ertan had also served warm Darjeeling, and this Gabor imbibed enthusiastically. It had a pleasant taste and he found it highly invigorating.
The house was quite exotic in both its design and décor, and to Gabor's eyes it took on an almost sterile look; if not for its central heating he would have considered it ice cold. But centrally heated it was, and this along with the hot tea and his charming hosts were making him feel cozy and right at home.
At last Ertan and Özgur got up from their seats and began clearing away their places. Gabor followed suit, carrying his plate and mug into the kitchen. Ertan stood at the sink, rinsing the dishes and placing them into the dishwasher. Gabor helped with the dishes, thanked his hosts for the meal, and inquired after a rest room. He wanted to freshen up.
After having used the toilet, he splashed water onto his face and opened the mirror cabinet. He felt guilty about snooping, but he felt that he was in desperate need of what he was seeking. Having found it--a bottle of cologne--he spruced himself up and combed through his hair with his fingers. He made his way back to his hosts, who were still in the kitchen waiting for him. After exchanging a few pleasantries, Özgur and Ertan led Gabor into the master bedroom. They slipped off their shoes and left them outside the door. Özgur suddenly took Gabor by the shoulders, gazed penetratingly into his eyes, and said softly, "Do you want this now, Gabor?"
"Yes," Gabor replied without hesitation, his heart pounding. In truth, he was not sure if he felt prepared. But every cell in his body was crying out in need, and there was absolutely no going back now.
Almost the instant they were inside the bedroom, Özgur pushed Gabor onto the bed and began undressing him. Ertan climbed onto the bed and began unbuttoning Gabor's shirt while simultaneously peeling off his own clothes.
Gabor's head was reeling at the speed with which all of this was occurring. He wanted to tell the two older men to slow down a little, but he didn't dare say a word. This was just too exciting. His heart was racing so fast and so hard that he was afraid it would burst out of his chest. Özgur had removed Gabor's pants by now, and Ertan was working on his shirt. When he had at last doffed the shirt, Ertan snaked his head around to the front of Gabor's chest and began flicking at his nipples with his tongue. A tortured moan escaped Gabor. Özgur pushed him further up onto the bed, and he began to remove Gabor's underwear. He did it so slowly and deliberately that Gabor felt like screaming. Not surprisingly, Özgur saw that Gabor's cock was rock-hard and fully erect. Özgur and Ertan removed the last vestiges of their own clothing, and Özgur climbed onto the bed to join the other two.
Gabor was lying in Ertan's lap, his legs splayed out in front of the two of them. Ertan had his arms around Gabor's chest, holding him firmly in place; his fingers played with Gabor's nipples tantalizingly. Özgur positioned himself between Gabor's legs, and holding them down with his elbows, he leaned forward and took Gabor's hard cock into his mouth. Gabor almost shrieked with pleasure. After nearly a minute of bobbing his head up and down Gabor's cock and taking him all the way down his throat, Özgur lifted his head and issued Ertan a silent instruction. Ertan nodded, and he and Özgur lifted Gabor up and maneuvered him so that Ertan had Gabor's buttocks over his face. Ertan used his hands to part Gabor's cheeks and he began tonguing his anus, gently at first and then with more force, probing his tongue deeper and deeper inside the puckered entry. Gabor was whimpering and crying out like a puppy. Özgur continued delivering him a blowjob while Ertan tongue-fucked him, and at last Gabor screamed as his cock twitched and come spurted out into Özgur's mouth and down his throat. His passageway clenched repeatedly around Ertan's tongue. Gabor was now sighing and breathing heavily, and tears were forming in his eyes. This was the best orgasm he had ever had in his thirty-eight years on the planet.
Özgur finished swallowing down Gabor's semen, then he licked all the excess come off of Gabor's cock. He lifted his head and kissed Gabor deeply and passionately. Tears continued falling down Gabor's cheeks. He was so overwhelmed and so, so happy. He could taste himself in Özgur's mouth, and he found this erotic as hell. Özgur broke the kiss and took Gabor's face in his hands, caressing him gently and wiping away the tears.
"How long has it been since you've had someone love you like this?" he asked Gabor tenderly.
Gabor sniffled. "I, well, um, I..." he tried to say but found that he couldn't.
"That's what I suspected," Özgur replied. He resumed kissing Gabor and then realized that he was neglecting Ertan.
Gabor wiped away the last of his tears and watched, fascinated, as Özgur and Ertan cradled and caressed one another, all the while speaking huskily in Turkish. Özgur bent down between Ertan's legs and began administering to Ertan what Gabor could only imagine was as exquisite a blowjob as the one he had just received. Ertan was making little keening sounds, approaching closer and closer to climax. Gabor watched as Özgur slipped a finger inside Ertan's anus, and this proved to be the last straw for Ertan. He cried out, arching his back, and Özgur once again began swallowing. He roved his tongue up and down Ertan's cock, following its every crease and contour, licking away every last trace of semen just as he had done with Gabor.
All of this was making Gabor exceedingly hot all over again. His cock was hardening and his breathing was becoming heavy. He felt a sudden desire, no, need for one of their cocks inside him. Luckily that was just what Özgur had in mind. Özgur took Gabor by the shoulders and pushed him onto his back in a manner that was both tender and forceful. Ertan took hold of his arms and held them tightly, effectively pinning him down. Özgur got up and rummaged through the nightstand's drawer. He produced a container of lubricant and returned to the bed. He applied the lube to his huge, erect cock and to Gabor's hole with glistening fingers. Then he lifted Gabor's legs and hooked them over his shoulders so that they were draping them. He scooted himself forward, his lubricated cock poking Gabor's bottom, and Gabor was about to go out of his mind with excitement.
Özgur slipped his hands under Gabor's buttocks and gripped them tightly as he lined his cock up against Gabor's hole and slowly pushed. The head of Özgur's cock penetrated Gabor's anus, and Gabor yelped. It had been a long time since someone had done this to him and the pain coursed through him; it was almost unbearable, and once again tears pricked at his eyes, this time of agony rather than euphoria.
"Oh, god," he sputtered. "Please, it hurts."
Özgur and Ertan both tried to comfort him. "Just relax and give it some time," Özgur soothed. "It will feel better soon," Ertan assured him.
Özgur continued to slowly push himself in, with Gabor still writhing in pain. While Özgur reveled in the glorious tightness and warmth surrounding his cock, Gabor only wished that he could free himself of Özgur's cock, despite his intense desire for sex. But slowly, very slowly, the pain did indeed ease, and a feeling of sheer heaven gradually took its place. Özgur's cock in his tight arse felt so amazing that Gabor thought he really had died and gone to heaven. As soon as it was clear to Özgur that Gabor felt comfortable enough for him to proceed, he pulled his cock out and thrust back in. He did this over and over and over again, increasing the tempo bit by bit. Ertan still had Gabor's arms shackled with his own, but he scooted forward so that his fingers were able to tease Gabor's nipples. Gabor was in a state of absolute ecstasy; so was Özgur, who found that being inside Gabor was every bit as wonderful as he had imagined.
Gabor began to babble in his euphoric state, unknowingly mixing his English with Hungarian. Özgur continued fucking him, thrusting deep inside only to pull out and slam back in, pausing to perform a circular grinding motion at the bottom of each thrust. Ertan said something in Turkish and Özgur responded breathlessly.
The waves in Gabor's chestnut-colored hair were matted with sweat; his heart was beating faster and faster as he was brought ever closer to peaking. Özgur once again slammed deep inside him and ground his cock against his rectal walls, and this time Gabor did peak. He cried out in rapture, and come splashed between himself and Özgur. Özgur also cried out as Gabor's anal passageway clenched around his cock, and after a few moments Gabor felt warmth flood his insides as Özgur climaxed inside him. Özgur continued thrusting as he rode the aftershocks of his orgasm, and then he collapsed on top of Gabor. Ertan released Gabor's arms and unhooked his legs from Özgur's shoulders, lowering them gently onto the bed. He then focused his attention on Özgur, rubbing his shoulders and kissing the back of his neck. Özgur, still experiencing the effects of his powerful orgasm, was unable to speak, but he reached up and took Ertan's hand and squeezed it lovingly. Ertan wrapped his arms around Özgur and at last Özgur removed himself from Gabor and settled into Ertan's arms.
The two men held each other tenderly and repeatedly told one another "I love you" in Turkish. Gabor sat up and watched them longingly, fighting back tears. How he missed having someone to come home to and love every night just as these two had. As his hosts caressed each other and shared secrets that only they knew, Gabor could no longer resist letting the tears fall. After a few minutes Ertan glanced back at Gabor and noticed him crying silently.
Both men untangled themselves from each other's arms and embraced Gabor. Ertan pulled him onto his lap while Özgur embraced him from the front, sandwiching Gabor between his two hosts. Being held and caressed by both men was a great source of comfort for Gabor, and his anguish slowly subsided.
"You two don't know how lucky you are," he said at last.
Özgur and Ertan exchanged meaningful glances. "Yes we do," Özgur replied. "We know how precious we are to each other. We know that we have something that we hope to never, ever lose."
"I once had someone like that back in Hungary," Gabor began timidly. "His name was Laszlo. I loved him with every inch of my heart, and I thought that he loved me as well. We were together for eight years. Then one day he came home and told me that he was leaving. He never told me why. He mentioned something about "the ocean" being "full of all different kinds of fish" and wanting to get away and explore. All these years I've had to guess why he picked that moment to leave me. Was it something I said or did? I've racked my brains trying to remember what it was that I must have done to drive him away, but in the end I cannot remember a thing. Nothing that would cause him to leave me like that. What I do know for certain is that he totally and completely broke me. Since then I've been hesitant to become involved with anyone else in the hopes that Laszlo might one day change his mind and take me back. If he were to do that I would have given up everything I have here and moved back to Hungary with him. Now I know how foolish I've been."
As he listened, Özgur's heart broke a little. He had always picked up the vibe that Gabor was lonely, and while he had definitely been attracted to Gabor due to his boyish good looks and charm, it was also the sense of loneliness and carefully concealed sadness that caused him to take great pity and affection on the man.
"I'm so sorry, dear one," Özgur told Gabor, his tone full of sympathy. He embraced the younger man tightly. "You're too good to have to experience such sorrow. I can only hope that Ertan and I have been good to you."
"Oh, you have, you have," Gabor assured him emphatically. "You've been wonderful. You'll never know how much I've enjoyed and appreciated this evening."
The three men embraced for some time. At last they got up and put their clothes back on, donning their coats and going outside for a smoke. The night was bitterly cold, and all three smoked their cigarettes quickly in order to return to the warmth of the house. They were still working on their smokes when a thought occurred to Özgur. He looked at Ertan and the idea became apparent to him almost as if the two possessed telepathic capabilities. It gave Ertan a moment's pause, but at last he nodded in the affirmative.
"Gabor," Özgur began. "It's so cold out, and we've enjoyed your company very much. To put it simply, we were wondering if you would like to stay the night here with us. We can drive you back tomorrow. What do you say to that?"
Gabor was deeply touched by the offer, but felt he couldn't take it. "I would love to so much, but Tómi, my cat...I have to feed him."
"Couldn't you have a neighbor feed him?" Ertan suggested. Gabor thought about this. He really had no desire to go back home in the cold, and he was relishing every second with his hosts. He had a spare key under his doormat, and his closest neighbor knew about it. He decided to go along with Ertan's suggestion. The three men put their cigarettes out in the ashtray that Özgur had brought outside, and they went back into the house. The blast of warmth that greeted them was like manna from heaven. They doffed their coats, and Özgur went to retrieve a telephone for Gabor.
Ertan showed Gabor to the living room. "Come, have a seat. It's much more comfortable in here," he motioned. Gabor followed him hesitantly and sat down on the nearest sofa. Ertan sat beside him and put his arm around him.
"You're still shy, I can see that," he told the younger man, who responded by blushing. "That's alright," Ertan assured him. "This has been a lot to experience in one night."
"I really have had a wonderful time," Gabor insisted, "and I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to here with you and Özgur."
"Think nothing of it," Ertan kissed Gabor on the cheek, causing Gabor to blush a deeper shade. He looked up at Ertan and grinned, dimples ornamenting his cheeks. Özgur returned to the living room and seated himself beside them, handing the telephone to Gabor. Gabor made his call and was relieved to hear that his neighbor would gladly feed Tómi. He thanked the neighbor profusely and ended the call, handing the phone back to Özgur. Ertan got up to make some drinks, and Özgur scooted closer to Gabor, placing a hand on the latter's knee.
"Why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself, if you don't mind. How long have you lived in the States?" he asked Gabor.
"Three years. I came out here in August of 2003."
"Have you lived in New York all this time?"
"Yes, although I really wanted to go to California, and I still do." He grinned. "I had this dream of going to Hollywood and becoming an actor. It was actually my mother's idea. She kept telling me that I was handsome and charismatic enough to take the world by storm. As far as I know I have no acting abilities, but this didn't stop my mother from encouraging me. Maybe someday I'll make it out there. It would be nice to have warm weather year round. How long have you and Ertan been here?"
"We have lived in America for twelve years. Four of them were in Chicago, two in Los Angeles, and for the rest of the time we've been here. Up until about a year ago we lived right on Central Park. We had the most incredible bedroom view. It was amazing. We moved out here to Manhasset when Ertan's company relocated to Long Island. I usually take the subway into Manhattan every day, but occasionally I drive, like today."
"What is Ertan's line of work?"
"He is a graphics designer. He's good at what he does because he's very technical and extremely intelligent. He could solve practically any problem relating to computers or networking. And he's got great artistic talents."
"Where in Turkey were you originally from?"
"We were both born and raised in Izmir, although I went to university in Ankara at age eighteen and lived there for years. Ertan stayed in Izmir for university and came to Ankara when he was twenty-two years old. He's three years younger than me, but he was so intelligent and savvy with computers that the firm decided to take him on right out of university. We met at a work-related auction. That was 1983, and we've been hopelessly in love ever since." He smiled, reminiscing on the good times.
"I was born in Debrecen, which is a small city in Hungary," Gabor began. "But we moved to Budapest when I was quite small. I spent my entire childhood and most of my adulthood there. My mother worked as a model ever since she was young, and my sister was a runner-up for Miss Hungary in 1986. People used to tell me that I should model too; almost everyone thought my sister and I were twins, but I'm two years younger. She and I were very close, and she always accepted my homosexuality. But it came as quite a blow to my parents to discover that I was gay, particularly my father. He wouldn't speak to me for years. Only in the last decade or so has he made an effort to tolerate my existence and accept me for who I am." He sighed. "Of course, that was also around the time that Laszlo left me."
Omir moved his hand from Gabor's knee to his shoulder, patting it in sympathy. "I'm very sorry," he told him.
"That really does mean a lot to me," Gabor said. "You are very kind."
They continued making small talk until Ertan came back with a tray holding three cups of warm anise. He and Özgur imbibed theirs enthusiastically while Gabor drank his slowly, trying to acclimate himself to the exotic flavor. The taste was not altogether unpleasant; in fact, it reminded him a bit of the soups that his grandmother would serve when he was a boy in Hungary. There was a slight kick to the drink that he recognized as gin. He finished his cup--several minutes after his hosts had downed theirs--and placed it on the tray. The gin mixed in left him feeling warm and pleasant.
"Would you like to watch television?" Özgur asked Gabor. "Ertan and I are going to shower."
"Yes, that would be fine," Gabor responded. Ertan opened a drawer next to the sofa and produced a remote control. He switched on the T.V. and handed the remote to Gabor. Then the Turks left the room and headed towards their bedroom. Gabor switched through the channels until he came upon a show that he liked, "The Office."
Once in their bedroom bathroom, Özgur and Ertan doffed their clothes and turned on the shower head. As they stepped under the warm current, they began conversing in Turkish.
"So what do you think of him?" Özgur asked as he lathered up a loofah and applied it to Ertan's back.
Ertan laughed and replied, "You could have saved me a lot of grief by telling me up front that you felt sorry for him. I would have gone along with the whole scheme far more willingly."
"Well I did take pity on him, but I also think he's a kind, beautiful fellow," Özgur returned somewhat defensively. He soaped up his hands and washed Ertan's genital and perineal regions. Ertan moaned as he did so.
"He certainly is that," he concurred. "Delightful, he is." He turned around and planted a kiss on Özgur's lips. "My turn," he said, snatching the loofah from his lover and lathering it up with soap. He applied it to Özgur's chest, rubbing in small circles. Then he trailed it downwards until he was washing between Özgur's legs.
"We should have invited him in here," Özgur intoned breathlessly as his lover rubbed the soapy loofah along his penis and directly above. "He may be lonely, but he knows how to play the role of a good guest."
"Yes. A bit on the shy side, but very sweet nonetheless. You were right, although I do not know why that surprises me. You're always right. Our Bálinyi is as charming as he is handsome," Ertan agreed. He set aside the loofah and squirted a dollop of shampoo into his hands and applied it to Özgur's hair. Once his head was sufficiently lathered, Özgur stood under the current of water and let the soap wash out. He then took his turn washing Ertan's hair.
"And he is handsome, isn't he?" Özgur declared as the two men exited the shower. They took turns toweling one another off and then put on their robes and combed their damp hair.
"He definitely has a post-adolescent beauty about him," Ertan replied. "Of course, he's got nothing on you, Özgurça." The two men kissed.
They had a complex and very beautiful hookah system in their room, and usually they smoked from it several times a week; with their guest here on this particular evening, however, they decided to forego the hookah and spend that time with Gabor. They brushed their teeth and left the bathroom. When they arrived back in the living room, Gabor was nearly asleep and just barely watching the T.V. His head was leaning back on one of the sofa's pillows, his legs were curled together on an ottoman, and his entire body was shifted slightly to the right as if fighting the effects of gravity and looming sleep. When his hosts entered the room, he sat up slightly and smiled, rubbing his eyes.
"Do you want to shower now?" Ertan asked. Gabor considered this: he was incredibly tired and would have liked to simply plop down into bed, but the idea of torrents of hot water washing over him and relaxing his muscles was very appealing. He answered Ertan in the affirmative and arose from the sofa, straightening up the pillows that he had used and ruffled. Özgur switched off the television and placed the remote control back into the drawer. While Ertan took Gabor into the bedroom, Özgur made his final rounds around the house, making certain that all the doors and windows were locked. He then turned on the security alarm and ambled back to the bedroom. Ertan was laying out the blankets on the bed while Gabor showered. Having fluffed up all the pillows, the two men crawled underneath the covers and waited for Gabor to join them. About five minutes later he came out of the bathroom wearing a spare robe that the men had lent him. He removed it and hung it on the bedpost along with his hosts' robes, then climbed into bed next to Ertan, pulling the blankets over him. He smelled wonderful. His hosts kissed each other goodnight, and then Özgur said, "Why don't we have Gabor sleep between the two of us?"
Gabor had no objections to this suggestion and made his way between the two men. Having settled himself, he grinned contentedly.
"Thank you again," he said. "You two have been the kindest that anyone has been to me in a while."
Özgur leaned forward and kissed him lovingly, then said, "You are most welcome, love."
Gabor turned around to face Ertan, who took his turn kissing Gabor. "It has been our pleasure," he said when the kiss was broken.
Özgur switched off the bedside lamp and the three settled their way into sleep. The bed was king-sized, but even so the men huddled close together. Özgur had his arm around Gabor and was slowly drifting into a peaceful slumber. He was very pleased with the way the evening had worked out. Gabor felt warm and protected between the two older men, and he fell asleep almost immediately. He hadn't felt this happy in months. Ertan had enjoyed the evening very much as well, and he had taken to Gabor quite strongly by this point. Sleep came quickly for him as he laid his arm across Gabor, intertwining it with Özgur's.
The next morning Gabor awoke to the heady aroma of coffee. Özgur and Ertan were in bed next to him drinking from large mugs.
"Good morning," Ertan smiled when he saw that Gabor was awake.
"Did you sleep well?" Özgur asked.
"Yes, thank you," Gabor replied.
"Would you like some coffee?" Ertan asked him.
"Thank you very much, yes," Gabor responded, taking the mug that Ertan handed him. He started off with a small sip, sampling the flavor. It was a very strong Turkish blend. He drank it down, feeling himself spring fully awake. When he was finished he handed the mug back to Ertan. Then the men brushed their teeth and put on their clothes.
Gabor felt strange about having to leave. Even though he had only been here less than twenty-four hours; even though he found the house cold despite its warm temperature; even though prior to yesterday he had barely even known Özgur, let alone Ertan; even though his cat was at his apartment; even though his hosts lived out in the suburbs while he lived in the heart of Manhattan; in spite of all this, he felt like this was home. It was a feeling that he hadn't experienced in a long, long time.
Ertan had grown to like Gabor a lot, and he felt sadness and pity at having to send him home, but it did not weigh particularly heavily on his mind--it was simply something that had to be done. Özgur experienced pangs of sorrow at the prospect of driving Gabor all the way back to the city. Having invited him to his home and served him with food and bodily pleasure, Özgur had begun to regard Gabor's well-being and happiness as his own responsibility. Gabor had displayed such joy in his and Ertan's presence; he had also shown that he was phenomenally lonely, vulnerable, and starved for affection. Özgur did not know how in good conscience he could dump Gabor back at the steps of his apartment, where his only source of companionship was his cat, after having briefly presented him with such pleasure. It seemed almost cruel.
Meanwhile, Ertan had fixed a small meal of pita bread, hummus, and olive oil, and the men snacked in the kitchen. After cleaning up, they headed out to Özgur's car. During the drive back to Gabor's apartment, Gabor sat in the front passenger's seat while Ertan was in the back. The three men smoked cigarettes and talked idly. As downtown Manhattan approached, a sense of dread settled into Gabor's chest. He didn't want to leave Özgur and Ertan. He didn't want to return to his drab apartment. He didn't even want to see his cat Tómi at the moment. A part of him would have been perfectly content to simply be with the Turks and lie in their bed forever, making love for all eternity and occasionally taking breaks to smoke or drink coffee.
As they drove through Times' Square, Gabor gave Özgur directions to his apartment. When they arrived, Ertan and Özgur got out of the car and walked Gabor to the front steps. They took turns hugging and kissing him on the cheeks, telling him how much they had loved spending the night with him and that he was welcome back any time. This made Gabor so happy he didn't even know how to respond. He simply grinned and embraced both his hosts so tightly that they reacted with surprise and delight. They said their goodbyes, and then Özgur pulled out his wallet and took out a card, which he handed to Gabor. Along with Özgur's name and work telephone number, two additional phone numbers had been written by hand at the top of the card.
"The top one is our home number, and the other one is my cell," he explained. "If ever you feel like calling me or you just need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to dial either of these numbers. You would not be imposing on me, and I would love to hear from you. So would Ertan. Last night was amazing; it meant a lot to us, and I know it did to you as well."
For the fourth time in less than twenty-four hours tears came to Gabor. He tried to say something pithy or substantive, but instead he said what was simply on his mind and in his heart: "I love you." He took both men's hands in his and kissed them both on the mouth.
Özgur and Ertan exchanged a look, then Özgur, his voice full of emotion, said "And I love you, Gabor."
"As do I," Ertan echoed, smiling.
As Ertan and Özgur got back into the car, Özgur called out, "I'll see you Monday morning. Don't forget to call us anytime!"
"I won't," Gabor replied. He thought about what he had just said, then called back, "I mean, I won't forget. I will call you!"
Özgur and Ertan drove away, enjoying the New York City winter scenes. They passed through Times' Square again, observing all the hustle and bustle and the life. Of everything that New York had to offer--the night scene, the deposits of culture, the restaurants, the many job opportunities, the myriad different stores--in the end it was the city's sense of life that so appealed to both Özgur and Ertan. As they drove home they did not speak much, but the entire time they exchanged tender smiles and held hands. Words were not necessary.
Gabor Bálinyi entered his apartment and greeted Tómi, who jumped into his arms and rubbed himself against his chest. He turned on the lights and adjusted the temperature. Having given the cat some milk, he sat down on his couch and flipped on the television. He did not really watch, however, as he thought about how lucky he was. Normally he hated coming home to his lonely apartment; even Tómi offered only small comfort. Today, however, he knew that he no longer had any reason to be lonely. That knowledge was both profoundly reassuring and liberating. Gabor had been wounded, first by his father and later by Laszlo, and he had carried the scars for far too long. Now he could finally let them heal, move on, and never look back. As the day turned into evening and the evening turned into night, his heart was filled with serenity and joy. He went out on the town for the first time in weeks, eating out, checking out stores, and catching a Broadway show. His life had changed, and it was fantastic.