Plaquemines Parish -- Epilogue
We slept late the next day. When we rose, we had a light breakfast with Mike and Steve in their kitchen. Nothing special but we all enjoyed the experience and each other. It was the first time Mark joined us when we gathered in the morning. I was still feeling radiant from the night before and so was he. Every time our eyes met, we couldn't help smiling at each other. It was like having our own little secret except I had the distinct feeling that it hadn't gone unnoticed and I really didn't care. We both had what we wanted and what a remarkable feeling it was.
Mark had to go to work earlier than usual. He had to be there at noon because there was a wedding reception that afternoon and he agreed to work it. I didn't have to work until my regularly scheduled time at three. After breakfast and coffee, I walked him outside then kissed him goodbye remembering the night before. The memory would live on for a long time to come for us. We held on to each other, neither one of us feeling the need to speak. Then he climbed into my car and drove away.
He took my car because he lent his wheels to his younger brother. His brother lived with their father as part of their parent's divorce settlement. He came to visit Mark and their mother for a few days before school started. It was a temporary thing and Mark was excited to see him so I did what I could to accommodate the situation.
Back in the kitchen, Mike excused himself then went upstairs to shower. I stayed to help Steve clean up. I was standing next to him at the sink rinsing the dishes and handing them to him.
"So do you want to talk about last night?" Steve asked as he loaded the dishwasher.
I glanced at him to see him smiling. "Ah, what makes you think there's something to talk about?"
Steve started laughing. He closed the dishwasher then said, "Sport, you're not very good at hiding your emotions. You were glowing like a Roman candle during breakfast. And Mark? Well, he's not very good at hiding his feelings either." Steve messed my hair and said, "It's okay. It's good to know all is well with you and Mark."
"Steve, you know I hate that." I said as I made my way to the back door, Mike came into the kitchen, showered, dressed, smelling and looking good, "Where are you going, Sport?"
"I'm going to the guesthouse. Steve's asking too many questions. I'll see you guys later."
"Come here, Sport. We're not done. I have something to tell you."
I went back to the table and sat down, "Let `er rip, Mike. I'm all ears."
Mike laughed then said, "Val, we think Mark is the nicest young man we've met in a while."
"Thanks," I said. "You finally figured out what I knew all along. Mike, he's my partner, my other half like you and Steve. It's a little awkward to say this but I love him. That's the way it is and, as far as I'm concerned, it's not ever going to change, so there!"
"Val, we're happy for you. Above all, we don't want to see you get hurt. We're behind you one hundred percent."
"Thanks, Mike. I have to get ready for work. Mark took my car so I have to ride the trolley."
"Take my car," Mike said. "We aren't going out. If we do, Steve's car is here."
"I don't know, Mike. Your car is so expensive. I think I'll take the trolley."
"Whatever you want, Sport. The offer stands."
I thanked him then made my way to the guesthouse. I went through my routine then dressed. I started making the bed then decided to lie down on it. I pulled a pillow between my legs and drew another one in with my arms. I squeezed them both remembering the night before. It wasn't as good as having Mark there but the memory was fresh and very much worth savoring. I turned the radio on with the remote then closed my eyes. As I lie there, I couldn't help missing him and looking forward to that evening when I got home. It wasn't much longer and I nodded off.
When I awoke, I looked at the clock. It was two-thirty and I was going to be late if I took the trolley. I decided to accept Mike's offer to use his car, if for no other reason than to keep my unblemished record at work intact. It had been such a long time since I rode the trolley it seemed like a lot of hassle and time was running short.
When I found them in the main house, Mike and Steve were watching a Saint's exhibition game in the library. "Mike, I'm gonna take your car if it's still okay. I fell asleep and I'm gonna be late if I take the trolley."
"Go for it, Sport. Be careful."
"Thanks, see you guys later." I grabbed Mike's keys from the board by the back door as I left.
The traffic light seemed to take forever to change as I waited to turn left onto St. Charles Avenue. The trolleys had the right of way and they were coming from both directions. When they finally cleared, the light changed. I depressed the accelerator and the back tires squealed. I backed off when it happened. Man, my little car was way underpowered compared to Mike's machine. I knew I had to hurry or risk being late but hell, I had no idea Mike's car could burn rubber.
I made it to work with a few minutes to spare. I backed Mike's car into an empty space behind the restaurant. I don't know why I did that. All I know is that it seemed right to me. I never did that with my little Ford Fusion as much as I loved my car.
As I was climbing out of the car, Rob and another waiter drove up and parked their cars either side of me. I waited for them to get out so we could walk in together.
The other waiter was Ron, a tall, dark haired, good looking straight guy who knew about Rob and me. He was cool with our sexuality and even went so far as to kid around with us once in a while. It was always done in good taste and humor, never mean or condescending.
"I didn't know you were a spoiled rich brat," Ron said smiling.
"I'm not," I said. "I work for my money just like you."
"Maybe so but you're driving a top of the line BMW, a seven series model. Do you have a sugar daddy now?"
"Don't let him fool you," Rob said. "He lives in the guesthouse behind a huge old house. Don't ya rich bitch?" Rob had a big teasing grin on his face.
"Both of you can bite me, starting now," I said then began walking toward the back door of the restaurant.
"Look," Ron said. "He even walks like a rich bitch. Hey Val, how do you do that?" Then they both started laughing their asses off.
I held my hand up giving the two of them the finger as I reached for the door with the other one then went inside. They were still laughing like hell when the door closed behind me.
Though I wasn't rich in the strict sense of the word, I couldn't help thinking how fortunate I was. In the last few months, which seemed like years, things changed so dramatically that it would have been hard to imagine had I not experienced it. Back in Wisconsin, when Dad died, our lives were turned upside down. Then Mom made the decision to move to Louisiana. I remember driving up to our shack and the sick feeling I had. It was an ugly memory but a real one nonetheless. It was awful. Then there was the ordeal with Kris and my decision to leave home to be with Dave. It's a scary thing when you have to live by your wits but that's the way it was.
And as bad as it was, things worked out that good. I had two Dads that I knew loved me and I loved them, too. My real father never knew about me, which made me wonder what he would have said. It was hard to know what he would have thought of Mark, yet Mom was supportive and approved of him. That meant a lot to me and Bill liked him, too. So much so that he arranged an internship and scholarship for him. Then there was Mark my big, strong, handsome hunk whom I loved with all my heart. He was so considerate and caring, always placing someone else's needs ahead of his. It wasn't hard to understand how I came to fall for him.
If one is going to be reasonably happy then you have to appreciate what you have and that I did. That doesn't mean to say I was complacent. What it means to say is that I considered myself privileged because I knew what it was like to have no father or money and an uncertain future though I couldn't be sure what the future held. Who could be for that matter? Of one thing, I was certain. I had nothing to complain about and everything to be grateful for. Who could ask for more?