I’m not sulking.
Well maybe, I am. But fuck, my life sucks. I’m home from school, I love school. I am good at school. I take school serious. But I am stuck at home. I am angry. I want to break things. I am frustrate. I want to rip things. I am sad, bone sad, burned to the ground sad, and want to cry sad. Because Dom is dead. Hit by a van that left him to die. Dom is was my love. Dominic Fortino. I love saying that name over and over and over. I would whisper it into his ear, little shells. I miss you so fucking much. I am lost in tar—dark, viscous, filling horizons.
So now I am home, alone after the fight at my high school. My mom tries to be understanding. She did not yell when she was called to school. She supports me. She wants to understand why. But I just can't tell her because I do not know how to make the words release. Everything is so jumbled. I know I am a mess, and I don’t know how to fix it--how to bring Dom back. I look at the juice I poured this morning, liquid sunshine, so they claim. I know I should drink some, but ...but... but.
“Hi Ash,” I hear my mother’s voice from the entryway. I hear her walk into the living room and stand behind the sofa. I hear the deep sigh. She comes around and sits on the sofa beside me and pulls me into a deep hug. I so want to cry, but my lethargy is too strong.
“You doing OK?” I hear the concern in her voice and I want to comfort her but. So I give a large fake smile and say I’m OK. We both know I am lying.
“How ‘bout I order pizza from Torelli’s. I know you always like that.” I say fine and smile because it is expected.
“What did you do today?” She smiles weakly. I mumble nothing. She sees my morning juice sitting on the coffee table.”Have you eaten anything?” More concern and I feel guilty. I shrug an answer. “You’ve got to eat.” She stands, hands on hips, “Ash, I know you feel like shit but Dom would not have wanted this.” She was playing tough parent, unsuccessfully. In a small part of my head I knew this was true but. “Now young man, I will not eat with a half-naked man no matter how handsome,” I was still in pajama pants. “Go to your room, shower and dress for supper.”
My shower feels good. My mom and I shared a three bedroom condo. My dad died when I was just a little over four. I did not know exactly how but he was here one day and the next gone. We seldom talk about him. I think the sudden loss was painful. So after he died, we moved into the condo, which was close to my grade school and nearer her work. She is the administrative assistant to the HR VP of a large online retailer. I’ve been to her work a few times, and she is awesome there. So we moved into this condo complex after dad died. It is really nice, has a gym and pool. It is large so we do not feel crowded. The third bedroom is mom’s office and my occasional study room. But my bedroom is large enough to hold my desk and other shit. Dom and I would play and study all weekend in my room. It is where we first kissed and did blow jobs, albeit not good ones. We never got further than that because; water runs down my face. I sob. I comb my hair, mostly, and dress haphazard.
I walked into the small dinette area in the kitchen, the larger bistro table with high chairs looks out onto a patio with several pots of herbs. The view from the twelfth floor was nice with the glimpse of the Tampa bay estuary. I always loved sitting here and watching the weather roll across the water; white monk fog in procession, storm troopers battling with light sabers, broken stained glass ripples under a brilliant sun. Today, the view was washed of color, the hue going toward gray. I sat and stared at the pizza. My mouth salivated, but nothing else could move.
“Eat.” mom’s commanded. I did because it was a command, and it was better than just being still. It gave my body something to do.. I chewed because the muscles said chew then swallow. Tastes and smell played hooky.
“I met with Vice-Principal Bustion this afternoon.” I nodded. “You are suspended until Monday.” I looked up in panic. I had a test tomorrow, Friday, in Algebra. “He felt bad about the suspension but then they had to pull you off the other guy. I saw the videos. Many of the kids pulled out their cell phones when the other boy started the verbal and then physical attack. Mr. Bustion said more than a dozen other students came to his office to tell them you acted in self defense.” I did not look up, my effort was in chewing. “I agree.”
“You are not mad at me? I sort of lost it.”
Mom laughed softly, there was pain and love in that laugh, “No shit, Ash.” I found I could weakly laugh at that comment. “But you need to learn more self-control. I have no problem you physically defending yourself or others who are in danger. But such actions must be controlled by rational thought and limited to achieving a safe result for everyone.” I nodded. “Do you want to talk about what happened?”
“If you saw the videos, no need.” What could I say to my mother. How could I say to my mother that Dom was more than a close friend, more than a boyfriend, he was my lover. My mother played with her pizza; she always plays with her food when she is frustrated. “I am sorry mom about everything. I did not mean for this to happen or anything to happen.” I wanted to cry, but kept chewing.
“I know dear,” mom said on the edge of tears. “I know” We ate in silence. More correctly she ate while I picked some sausage off my slice.
“I have all your homework. Mr. Samuelson will let you take the algebra test from home. He says it is all online so no big deal. He trusts you not to cheat.” I heard pride in that statement and looked up at her and smiled. “I met a girl, Helly,” I continued to look at mom. “She saw me meet with Mr. Bustion and she needed to reassure me that you were provoked, that she and the other students had your back.” My mother reached across the table and grabbed my hand. “With friends you can get through anything.” Her voice wavered as she said that, and I realized that she spoke from her own pain after dad.
“Mom, I will be OK,” I attempted a smile with the lie.
“I know son.” she sighed back “I know, but I love you and am your mother and want you to be well.”
“Why did Dom’s parents not want me at his funeral Saturday?”
“I am not sure, dear, but I think you and Dom were so close that to see you would be to see the living half of their son. They need to grieve without the reminder.”
“I thought they felt I was responsible for …” I wanted to cry, but tears were vagabonds that never could find a home. “I feel guilty.”
“Please don’t feel responsible for what happened” My mom moved so she stood beside me and hugged me. “That is a dark road that has no exit. Trust me on this.”
“I know in my head, or part of my head I am not responsible but.”
My mom kissed me, “Eat more pizza.”
The slice of pizza I had looked moth attacked or moon cratered for all the holes that I had picked into it. “”I’m going to my room, maybe do homework. Take my algebra test.”
“I’ll put the pizza in the fridge if you are hungry later,” mom said as I left for my room. From my room, I could hear my mother pacing and doing meaningless tasks. I wished I could say what was inside me, but.
I threw myself on the bed, scouring like a truffle pig for any scent of Dom hidden in the folds. It had been only a week or less since we sprawled naked on the bed reading Romeo and Juliet to each other:
If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.
Now will he sit under a medlar tree,
Dom and I laughed at what a medlar tree was and was often another word for prostitute. We spent an hour online finding prurient references. Dom, how could you do this to me. We had plans to see a thousand thousand sunrises and to kiss a thousand thousand sunsets. You are so cruel, I lamented. I threw Shakespeare against the wall
“You alright,” my mother yelled from down the hall. I mumbled that I just dropped a book. I went over and pick up the play and took it back to my bed. Romeo and Juliet loved each other just as Dom and I did. I needed my Dom; he was my east and west, my sun and moon. Without him I was not whole; people say it is as if your heart is ripped out. But it is more like I am less than half. I walk with only one leg, I have only one arm, my mind is less than half. Dom you did this to me. I do not like being less than half. I need you, even if you were not in my arm, I need to know that you are breathing somewhere. I sat with Shakespeare on my bed, slowly spinning the book around on its back; the title rotating. Maybe Romeo was right not to want to live without his love. Could I continue without my Dom? I dwelled and brooded on this and it felt right. The pain of loss shredded me, eviscerated me. I could not bare feeling this way forever, forever without Dom. I was resolved. I cried with pain and longing.
I needed to see my mom once before I left to join Dom, I needed to silently say goodbye. I slipped quietly out of my room. My mom was in the living room sobbing. I wanted to run to her and comfort, but I realized she was on the phone.
“I don’t know what to do?” she sobbed and listened.
“I know Ted,” I didn't know who Ted was.
“You’re right Ted. I need to be strong for Ash.” The sobbing slowed.
“I don’t know if I will be strong enough.” Whimpers.
“I couldn’t ask that.”
“I know you would be happy to do it, but you have Manny to consider.”
“Hi Manny,” … “Yes”...”If you insist.”...”Thank you, Manny.”
Mom started sobbing again.
“Yes, Ted, tomorrow morning.” The sobbing receded. “Thanks to both of you.”
I silently went back to my bedroom. I loved Dom but could not leave my mother to the same pain I felt. I loved her too. Dom, I never want to lose you, ever, ever. I fell asleep.
I awoke with the realization that Dom was dead; he was never coming back; I miss him desperately. I heard my mother in the kitchen. I pulled myself out of bed and shambled to the kitchen.
“Morning hon,” my mother said cautiously. “Did you sleep well.” She came over to hug me. “You doing better?”
I was not sure. I just shrugged, which was fine with my mother because I barely spoke in the morning until I ate. Our intercom buzzed at the lobby of our condo. “Hi Ted, I’ll buzz you up” I looked at mom but she just smiled.
A few seconds later our doorbell rang and mom went to the door. I was swirling cereal in my bowl, hungry but not. Mom walked in with Mr. Prelman, mom’s boss.
“Hey Ash,” He said brightly. For an older man he was nice looking—mid thirties, dark hair, slim build, nice ass. The last thought embarrassed me. I shoved a spoon of cereal in my mouth.
“Hey” I weakly acknowledge him. He came over and sat beside me on another stool. He was dressed very casual in a pair of jeans and a designer T-shirt. I gave him a double look because I had only seen him before in suites. “Mom says that you are having a rough time.”
“I’m coping.” I said staring at my bowl, still mostly full.
“Not what your mom says.” I just shrugged and took a bite of cereal; maybe they will leave me alone if I ate. “Did your mom say why I am here?” I looked up confused.
“No,” mom said, “..I thought a surprise is best.”
Mr. Prelman nodded, “Ash, I know you are in a bad space now, so we are going on a road trip.” I started to protest. “No is not acceptable answer. Sometimes getting away helps one gain distance and perspective.” I looked at my mom for support, but saw that she really wanted me to go. “Yes, your mother wants you to get away, and it would be good for her to have a weekend to herself. I know she has a spa day tomorrow, and she will not enjoy it if she knows you are home moping.”“Fine,” I agreed with both a tone of belligerence and resignation. I didn’t really care. Dom was still dead if I stayed here or went away.
“As hot as you look in only pajama bottoms, you need to pack.” Mr. Prelman said.
I stood and looked at mom; she was smiling. “Pack casual: jeans, shorts, T-shirts, tennies, and a swimsuit, maybe a light jacket or hoodie.” As I started to leave, he said, “don’t forget your phone and laptop, with chargers.” I nodded and strode off, curiosity trumping sulk. Yet I resolved not to have fun, because my Dom would not be with me.
My mother kissed goodbye, my backpack and computer case stowed, I climbed into Mr. Prelman’s Mercedes convertible. I had never ridden in such a rad car. The engine started and the sound system pumped Elton John. “You like?” he asked,
“Yeah, this is a cool.” I replied impressed. “Dom would have…”
“Your friend Dom was into cars?” he asked. I gave a weak yes, but Dom was more than a friend. Mr. Prelman would never understand. “What would he have liked about this car?” he pushed.
“He would have like to look at the engine.” I was bordering on hostile. I remembered Dom helping his father change the oil. Who says gays can’t be mechanics. “Where are we going Mr. Prelman?”
“First,” he said, carefully navigating Tampa traffic, “since we are spending the weekend together, you can call me Ted. We need to stop by my place and pick up Manny.” I tilted my head slightly and asked if we were traveling with a pet. He found that very funny. “Manny is my husband.” I caught my breath, “Yes, I am gay. I am out, but I do not flash. My husband does enough of that for both of us. Yes, your mother knows I am gay.”
“Oh, cool.” I had never known any gay men. There were a few kids at school that I suspected, but they were not men. He was out and married. And that Dom would never know, slaughtered by a white van, this killed the start of my excitement. I will never marry Dom—the love of my life. I suddenly grew silent and curled into myself. How could I watch two happily married men and not miss my Dom. Ted noticed the sudden change I think because he turned up the music.
We parked in the underground parking of his condo and took the elevator to the fourth floor. It opened onto a small lobby and three doors. We took the one on the left. “Manny, we’re here.” Ted yelled into a large open concept living area with large floor to ceiling windows overlooking Tampa Bay. It was stunning. Ted ushered me into the living area with two large leather sofas and three upholstered chairs. I sat; it squeaked. “I’m not particularly fond of leather, but it is easier to clean cum off it.” My eyes went wide. “Gotcha,” Ted laughed. I smiled weakly. “I’m going to get Manny. He is likely still trying to decide which shirt to wear to our party tomorrow night.” I was going to a party, a gay party. The weekend might not be too bad. I had visions of orgies and cavorting naked men. But—Dom was not here to share. My excitement darkened like a drawn curtain.
“The queen is finally ready,” Ted said as he pulled on large rolling suitcase and one carry-on case. Ted looked at me, “Guess which bag is Manny’s.” He laughed. Manny entered the room—not what I expected. Ted was tall, thin, fit, and masterful. Manny was a good two inches shorter than me and very thin. His skin was a soft shade of brown, between beige and tan. His hair was dark as where his eyes, which danced when he saw me.
Manny came over to me and pulled me to standing. “Ted, he will grow to be a heart-stealer, he’ll get any cock he wants.” While Manny was not effeminate by any means, he was not solid butch. He pulled me into a hug and a kiss, not particularly chaste, on the lips. “So glad you could join us for our get-away.” He purred into my ear. I liked him, my body liked him; I was confused.
Dom and I had read stories online about gay relationships. They mostly depicted them as one partner the master and the other as submissive. I watched as Ted and Manny closed up the house to leave. I assumed the Ted would be dominant, but as I watched, I say Manny giving orders to Ted and also following orders from Ted. Neither seemed to be dominant, but more complimented each other. Their relationship was efficient.
“Got everything?” Ted asked.
“Thinks so, but if not we can always shop.” Manny smiled at Ted, who smiled back. This was some sort of ritual.
“Got everything except?” Ted asked knowing something was missing..
Manny ran into the kitchen and returned with a small gray velvet bag, “marital aids,” he laughed. I was not sure what that was.
“Let’s get started,” Ted said as he grabbed the suitcase. “Ready Ash?”
I sat in the backseat buckled in. The car hit I 275 and then the Sunshine Bridge. I always liked crossing it because of the stunning view of the Bay and the Gulf. Ted and Manny chatted in front. Once over the bridge and at a stop light, Ted said, “Putting the top up, because traveling at high speeds with the top down can cause hearing loss. And we can talk without shouting.” A slight shudder of the car and the top slid into place. I loved the feel of the wind, but it was loud.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“That is a very profound question,” Ted said as he glanced at me in the rear view mirror. “If one has goals in life, you know where you are going, but even then events may force you to change. Sometimes it is hard to know. Sometimes one is lost and cannot find where to go.” I frowned. I knew he was hinting at me and Dom, but I was not in any mood for philosophical banter.
Manny laughed, “We are not saying. This is an adventure. So sit back and enjoy the ride.”
“Fine,” it was between a petulant huff and anticipation. I wanted to continue to mourn Dom, but this was so enticing. I felt guilty.
“Let’s play question and answer. We each get to ask a question of another person and they must answer truthfully.” Ted grinned at me in his mirror. “You can go first, Ash”
Ash: I smirked, “Ted, where are we going?”
Ted laughed, “You think you asked a smart question. Ash, you need to do better.” He and Manny both laughed, “We are going where the road leads us.”
“Very funny, but that is not what I asked.”
“It did answer the question. It is not my fault you asked an ambiguous question.” Ted’s chuckle annoyed me. “My turn.”
Ted: “Ash, have you told your mother that you are gay?”
I had not expected the questions to turn serious. “No.” I curtly said. I answered the question but did not feel I needed to elaborate.
I wanted to hit Ted hard after his question. How did he know. I had heard about gaydar but thought it a myth. He was chuckling at my curt response. “Manny’s turn.”
Manny: “Why haven’t you told your mother you are gay. Are you afraid she will reject you?”
“I don’t know.”
“You’re mother knows Ted’s gay and has a male partner. What are you afraid of?”
“I don’t know?” I really didn’t. “I guess I don’t want to talk to my mother about sex.”
Ash: “Manny, do you fuck Ted?”
“Boy’s got a mouth on him,” Ted laughed.
“Yes Ash, I fuck Ted every change I get, and he does the same to me.” I could feel the love and passion as he said that. He was not embarrassed.
Ted: “Are you ashamed of being gay or afraid?”
I thought about this and was not sure. “Maybe both”. Manny turned enough to see some of my face. “It is nothing but sex and I want more than just that.”
“Being gay is not just about sex, Ash,” Manny chided, “Many gay people never have sex. Being gay is about attraction. It is about rightness and fitting.” Manny paused, “I like women, I think they are beautiful, smart, and charming, but this is an intellectual connection. I have female friends I love dearly, but it is for the personality. Think of it as the difference between talking and singing. With a woman, I talk; with a man, I sing.” I understood that. With Helly, my best female friend, we talked, talked about everything. With Dom, my body sang four part harmony.
“You need to tell your mom when you get home.” Ted softly said. I knew I did.
Manny: “My turn,” Manny was enjoying himself. “Are you a virgin, Ash?”
I did not know how to answer that. “Not sure.” I replied, “I mean I’ve kissed other boys, and masturbated together. I’ve done blow jobs three times with Dom. Do these count?”
Manny sat quiet thinking. “All of those are a start, but you are still, technically a virgin. You need insertion.”
“You mean fucking?” I hated his pussy footing.
“Yes, fucking,” Manny laughed. “Putting the old schlong in the pie hole….so?”
“No,” I said as a wave of sadness flooded me. “Dom and I were planning to soon, but…”
“I know, sweets” Manny soothed, “life is not fair”
“Got that right!” I wanted to cry. The car went silent and I watched the palmetto and scrub brush rush by.
“Your turn Ash,” Ted said returning my mind to the present.
Ash: “When did you lose your virginity, Ted?”
Ted laughed, “When I was 13, my next door neighbor caught me watching him fuck his boyfriend. He invited me to join. First to watch. It was so hot. And then asked if I wanted to try. He fucked me and I fucked his boyfriend.” Ted laughed at the memory. “I was hooked.”
Ted: He grinned. “What is your wildest sexual fantasy?”
I laughed at that one. “I’m 15 with very little sexual experience. I’ve watched some porn and read some stories. Some of them were disturbing. But Dom and I discussed some light bondage—no pain, just building lust.” I turned several shades of red as I answered.
Manny laughed, “Boy after my own heart. I love to be edged.” I asked what edging was and the reply made me stiffen.
Manny: “Along the same lines what really turned you off?”
This was easy for me “Whips, flogging, humiliation. It makes me angry that anyone would do that to another person.”
“The partner is willing and many times desires the beatings,” Ted said
“That is sick. Don’t they like themselves.”
“Yes, sometimes” Manny assured me, “but many of those men are powerful in the work world. It becomes about not having responsibility for anything, including yourself. It is a type of freedom for them.” I really did not understand that.
Ash: “Ted, how does Manny sexually please you the most?”
“Manny and I have been together almost 10 years and so this has changed. When we first met if he nibbled on my neck, he would almost orgasm. Now, it’s a dildo up my bum and him slowly doing fellatio.” I blinked, “sucking me off.”
“Really,” Manny said in surprise. “that is what I enjoy doing to you too.”
“Ash, as our relationship has changed over time, we have become more attuned to each other’s needs. I know Manny goes apeshit over deep rimming.”
“Dom and I will never grow into each other,” I said dejected.
“No,” Manny consoled, “You will not have that with Dom.” The emphasis was on the word Dom. I knew he meant that there would be other men in my future, but I did not want that. I wanted Dom.
Ted: “Two part question, give me one thing you really liked about Dom and one thing that really annoyed you?”
I wanted to say everything and nothing, but that was not true. “I really liked how his eyes shined when he looked at me naked.” I blushed a little, but received no comments.
“Disliked—his farts,” I laughed, “He liked to fart to annoy me, and they were stinky.”
“He’d fart in the room?” Manny asked.
“No,” I smiled, “He’d sit on my belly, holding my hands down, and fart. His ass would quiver as he cut one on my stomach. It was so disgusting.”
“Why do you think he did that?” Manny asked.
“He said he wanted his scent on me. He was marking me like a werewolf. He liked transformation stories.”
“Did you ever tell him to stop?” Manny again.
“Yes, all the time.”
“No, I mean really tell him to stop because you were angry that he did it?’
That question caught me, “No, never. He liked to tease me and the farts were part of it. I liked that he wanted to mark me as his.”
Manny almost turn totally around in his seat, “That is a very good memory, cherish it always. For every fart you smell think of Dom.” I nodded knowing that Manny was right
Manny: “Do you plan on being a virgin forever?”
Forever is a very long time. I realized that I did want sex at some point, maybe soon because I was horny a lot. “No,” I admitted, then with some defiance, “I will just have sex without the love.”
“You can do that Ash,” Ted commented, “many men do that, but it is not all that satisfying. Before I met Manny I was a horn dog. I bedded—metaphorically—sometimes it was just in a john, many, many men. I got my rocks off but it did not satisfy my soul.”
“I agree,” added Manny, “I was not as much of a slut as Ted.” That earned Manny a playful slug on the arm from Ted, “Hey, eyes on the road. But I had sex with many men. I do not regret it because I learned what I liked. It was just that the sex was so much better with someone you care for. The sex is not selfish, about your own needs. If your partner is in the same zone, the sex is beyond belief.”
“I had some of that with Dom,” I said.
Ash: “I am afraid that I will forget Dom if I find someone else. Will I?
Manny smiled showed understanding, “No you will never forget Dom. He is part of you, farts and all. He will be a refuge when you are alone, but he will not hold you back from living a whole life.”
“I would like to believe that, but am not sure I can let Dom go.”
The compassion I saw in Manny’s eyes did not minimize my feelings; they understood them. “It might be too soon Ash, but you will and that is healthy.”
“Whose hungry,” yelled Ted, “An IHop coming up..” I noticed that we were on the outskirts of Ft. Meyers.
We devoured hamburgers and fries, even though it was barely after 10. Ted and Manny had ice tea while I drank a soda. We bathroomed and headed east on I 75 toward Miami. “Are we going to South Beach?” I asked suddenly excited.
“Maybe,” Ted smiled evasively. The conversation turned to the Everglades that slid by us on the highway: the python problem, ecology, Big Sugar. The miles sped by until we turned south onto Highway 27 heading toward Miami. I had been to Miami once when my mother had a three day convention, but I was mostly limited to the hotel, except for a tour to Vizcaya. Ted and Manny told me about Miami, all the gay bars, and South Beach. They had been there several times, and once, when he was in his late teens, Manny went to a party at Versace's home. He declined to comment on what happened at the party. I was so entranced by their stories that I did not notice we continued on past Miami and onto US 1.
“Shit,” I said as I suddenly realized that we had water on both sides of the road, “where are we?”
“On a road.” Ted laughed.
“No shit, what is the name of the road?” I was a little pissed off.
“You are doing much better at asking the right questions,” Ted said. “We are on US 1 south of Miami.
I knew that road only head from Miami to Key West. “We’re going to Key West?”
“Maybe,” Manny said with a grin. So I knew it was true.
“Why?” I was suddenly very excited. It was a place of my fantasy
“Young virgin ass sells for a good sum there.” Ted said seriously. I panicked.
“Yeah,” Manny, added dead pan. “White teen boy virgins are in very high demand because they are so rare. We might get 10-15 grand for the first time, then perhaps a thou for each fuck thereafter.” Manny turned back to look at me. “We brought plenty of lube.”
“My mom would kill you if you did.” I whined.
“Ash,” Ted said, “you won’t tell your mom you’re gay. I don’t think you say anything about being gangfucked.”
“But, I thought you liked me?”
“We do honey, and you said you didn’t want to be a virgin. I mean a boy your age should have been fuck many times. And it’s good money.”
I saw Manny’s head tilt toward Ted’s head and knew they were fucking with me. “You are right about being a virgin, and I will need to lose it sometimes. So OK.” Manny choked on something. “But I want 75 percent of the profits. I mean it is my ass.” Manny practically crawled over the seat to look at me. I burst out laughing, Manny and Ted laughed too.
“We had you going for a bit.” Ted said as he continued to laugh.
“Yup, I almost pissed myself.” I laughed out. “But a gang fuck might be interesting.”
“We have created a monster,” Manny lamented. “But we can arrange it if you want?”
“No, not ready for that. I need just one dick inside me to start with before my ass is party central.” We all laughed.
“Do you want your cherry popped this weekend?” Ted ask seriously.
“If you guys are offering, maybe.”
Manny laughed, “Maybe if you were five years older.” I understood his point and was both relieved and disappointed.
“Five, huh, I’ll be 18 in two?”
]“Don’t push your luck kid,” Manny laughed.
“We may cage you until your 25.” Ted said as he joined Manny in a laugh.
“Cage?” Why would they put me in a cage. I was missing something.
“Kid doesn’t know what a cage is?” Manny said bemused.
Ted laughed, “A cage is a device you put on your penis that prevents an erection.”
“To enforce chastity, prevent masturbation, increase sexual arousal, many reasons.”
“Definitely not my cup of tea.” I laughed.
“Don’t knock it until you try it,” Ted winked into the rear view mirror.
“Once for about a week. Made me so horny that when I was released and fucked, I came in buckets.”
“Released, you mean it is locked on?” I felt an absolute horror for the idea.
“Yes, it is locked on.” Ted paused to let that sink in. “and someone else holds the key.”
“Hope the holder likes you.”
“Knew someone who found out his boyfriend was cheating. Slipped one on the boyfriend while he slept.” Ted laughed loudly. “Fortunately, the boyfriend did not throw away the key. They negotiated a compromise and have been together for 30 years.”
“Gives me an idea if you ever cheat on me,” Manny said as he grabbed Ted’s knee.
“Don’t worry love, I will never cheat on you. I always tell you in advance whom I am sleeping with just like you do.” Manny laughed.
My mind whirled at the revelation that they were not monogamous. That while they loved each other they had sex with other people. Where is commitment? “You have sex with other people?”
“Of course.” Manny asked confused by my question.
“But isn’t marriage about being true to one person?” my voice had an edge of panic.
“We are true to each other, Ash,” Manny patiently said. “We are true in our commitment to each other, but we do not own each other. If Ted enjoys the company of another man and I know about it, I see no harm.”
“What if he falls in love with the other person?” My mind was trying to wrap itself around an idea I had never. Commitment meant no sex with anyone else.
“If I fall in love with someone else,” Ted said as he glanced at Manny with love, “obviously, it would not be fair to Manny to continue our relationship. That would be dishonest and cheating.”
“You would not be upset Manny?”
Manny laughed, “Of course I would be, but Ted is right that to try to maintain a relationship if he is in love with someone else hurts everyone. I would piss and moan, but I would survive.”
“But love is forever.”
“No Ash,” Ted said, “love is seldom forever, people change, needs change. I have had three boyfriends before Manny that I was in love with, perhaps more than they were in love with me. And I may have a few more after Manny wears thin.” The elicited a poke in Ted’s ribs from Manny, “Works both ways, lover boy.” Manny laughed.
“You are very young, Ash and will fall in love many times. It will sometimes hurt, but the heart is resilient. The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is that they could not see love beyond each other.” I went silent, watching the water flow by. I wanted to believe that Dom and I would spend our entire lives together in blissful, but part of me knew that what Ted and Manny said was true. I was depressed. Was what Dom and I had a sham?
“You are quiet,” Manny said as we drove along the Seven Mile Bridge.
“I was thinking of Dom and our relationship. If it was truly love?”
“True love is hard to identify,” Manny said kindly. “Did Dom make you happy when you were together?” I said yes. “Do you miss him now and constantly think about him?”
“Desperately and always.”
“Doesn’t that sound like true love to you?”
“Yes, but you said that love does not last forever.”
“It may not, but that does not make it real and important at the time. Take it and relish it, it is a great gift.”
“Yes,” I said less than sure.
We came into Key West at the edge of dark. Some lights were on the houseboat, some condos were lit, but more were waiting full dark. This mostly describe me; I was between light and dark, life and death, and knew not which I preferred. I saw Dom smiling and laughing and naked on my bed the day before his accident. My mother was not home from work yet, and we were alone since school let out at three. Dom was prancing before me in perfect nudity, His cock erect and bouncing. He danced for me more seductive than Salome. I loved him. I laughed. He rushed over and threw himself on top of me, our naked bodies enthusiastically intertwined. We played with each other, his mouth on my shaft, mine on his. His cum in my mouth, my last taste of him. We heard my mother come home; we quickly dressed. He left, I rode down in the elevator, kissing at each floor. We made plans for the next day. Plans unfulfilled. I loved Dom. I love Dom. I want you back with me.
Ted and Manny had a two bedroom condo on the third floor facing west. We arrived a little too late to enjoy the sunset. Just the last rose and fuchsia was lingering on the horizon as we stepped onto the large patio. “Sorry, Ash that we are a little late for the sunset ritual. We’ll do Mallory Square tomorrow.” I nodded just excited to be in Key West. “Let’s just stash stuff now and go to supper.” Ted said as he put a hand on my shoulder and we turned from the patio into the condo.
We headed downstairs and past the pool. I glanced at the pool and a naked man. “That man is naked,” I whispered to Manny.
Manny laughed, “The pool is clothing optional.”
“Why did I bring a swimming suit,” I said feeling rather bold.
“We thought you might like to snorkel tomorrow. Need a suit for that.” I was stoked.
Duval street was crowded. Many were hetero couples, but more were gay. Men in tight shorts or jeans, tanks and T’s, and mesh hiding little. I was mostly hard looking at all the candy on open display. Ted noticed. “Your tenting.” My shorts hid little. I blushed. “Don’t worry, you are causing others the same problem. So flaunt it.” I tried to walk close behind Manny, but Ted shoved me between himself and Manny. I was on full display. “Do not be embarrassed, you fill out well and make others jealous.” I grinned at Ted and put my arms between his and Manny's and enjoyed the men staring.
We wandered down the street, stopping occasionally in a few stores but buying nothing. Ted led us into a restaurant filled with guys and more waiting outside, We walked in and were ushered to a seat after a short wait. Ted had made reservations well in advance. A very cute waiter appeared wearing a tight white T and short and tight black shorts; I drooled a little. “Hey guys, I’m Ian what you want to drink.” Ted ordered a Conctobertfest and Manny a Swamp Ale. The waiter looked a me so I said a Swamp Ale.
“Sorry buddy, no alcohol. He’ll have a Leche de Tigre. And an order of conch fritters” Ted looked at me “Tiger’s Milk.” The waiter’s ass was nicer than his bulge. I liked being gay.
Ian returned with the drinks and the fritters. “Ian,” Ted looked at the waiter. “How old are you?” The waiter reacted as if this was a common question and said 17. “My friend Ash here is almost 16 and needs his cherry popped.” I wanted to crawl under the table. Manny just laughed.
Ian looked at me and smiled commiserating at my red face. “I am sure sir that Ash has a very nice cherry, but I’m straight.” He smiled slowly at Ted. “I do have a couple of friends that might like the opportunity. If you could give me a number.” I was even more humiliated when Ted gave a number. Ian took our order and left. “What?’ he said looking at me as if this is normal.
“Your pimping me out.” I said with indignation.
“Not in the least,” Ted evenly replied. “This is free. You said you might like to lose it, so I am facilitating. This is what I am doing—connecting interested parties with like goals. I’m negotiation a merger.”
“I did not give you permission, nor did not ask. You just took over like I was your property. I am not, I make my own decisions.” I was furious.
“Of course.” Ted’s equanimity was infuriating, “It is still your choice if they fuck you or not. I just provided opportunity.” I calmed a bit.
“Ash, look at this as part of your adventure.” Manny said. somehow his voice always soothed me.
“Yeah, but I don’t like being blindsided. Anything you plan, you tell me first.” I stared hard at Ted. “Got it.” I refused to break my stare. Ted broke first.
“Yeah, that was pretty ass hole of me, but I want what is best for your ass hole.” Ted smiled. My anger melted.
“I do too. After all it is mine.” I emphasized the word mine.
The food came and it was tropical and exciting and delicious. But then I was ravenous.
Ted’s phone vibrated; he glanced at it and smiled. “We need to take pictures, lots of pictures. I’ll send some to your mom. Which also means you need to call her when we get back to the condo. Ted took out his phone and started snapping and videoing: me, me and Manny, me and Ted, me and Ian, selfie of the three of us. Soon I was camp in the photos.
Manny took the phone from Ted scrolling through the photo’s. He stopped to grin at Ted. “Couple of nice potentials.” He handed the phone to me and in many of them I was a complete idiot, but it was fun to let loose.
We wandered Duval Street and the many side streets with shops. I bought a rainbow flag for my bedroom, if I was out then I was out. We stopped in a shop specializing in only men’s under garments. Ted bought a few pairs for Manny, Manny did for Ted. They convinced me to buy three pairs that would accentuate my junk. I only wore tighty whities, so this was a move out of my comfort zone. But that was what the weekend was about. Ted demanded we have an underwear fashion show when we got back to the condo. Ted pulled us into a jewelry store. He said he wanted a new pair of cuff links. They ended up looking at rings and other items. I wandered over to the earring case and stood staring.
“He kid,,” Manny whispered in my ear, “Thinking of having your ears pierced.”
I started to tear up, “Dom and I planned to both have our ears pierced on my birthday. Each pair of earrings we would share so that any time we touch the ear we would know the other was too.”
“That is so sweet,” Manny said with total sincerity, “Why not get both ears pierced: one for you and the other to remember Dom.”
“What’s up,” Ted said from behind us; he had several small packages.
“Ash is thinking of having his ears pierced.”
“Way cool. You’d look nice with rings.”
“I don’t know, I said, “I mean my mom might object.”
“Call her; you need to anyway.” Ted prodded.
Ash: “Hi mom, me Ash.” My mother acted like she had not spoken to me for over a month
Ash: “Yeah, I am having a good time. Just got here and finished supper. We’re doing a little shopping now.”
Ash: “I know. I can use your card for anything I want, within reason.”
Ash: “Bought some underwear.” “Yes, underwear.” I suddenly realized that my mother might want to see them and then there is the laundry.
Ash: “Yes I am behaving myself.”...“Really, it is OK is I don’t totally behave. Jezz, Mom, I’m not going to get drunk and smoke pot.”...”You mean you're fine if a do a little.” Mom just gave me permission to drink a little and smoke pot; was this person on the other end my mom or an alien replacement.
Ash: “Glad you like the pictures Ted sent. I look like a real dork.” …”You hav’ta say that because your my mother.” I let my mother ramble over the pictures and some she might have framed, I groaned at the thought.
Ash: “Mom, is it OK if I get my ears pierced?” Silence for a few seconds and then she said yes. I was about to be 16 and old enough to decide. “Thanks Mom, sure I’ll put Ted on.” I put Ted on the phone while Manny and I looked at earrings. The sales clerk was helpful on type and care. I could swim and snorkel and do anything without worry. Just look for infection. I left the store with gold balls in my ears, small diamond studs in a bag, and feeling like a man. I rubbed my right piercing and said to myself “for you Dom.”
Back at the condo I stood in front of a mirror hanging in the living area. “These are so cool,” I said as I twisted the gold balls. “Why don’t either of you have piercings?”
“Who says I don’t.” Manny slyly grinned.
“Someplace where only Ted sees it. Let’s say at Christmas time he likes to decorate it and I have three balls” Manny grinned wider as I struggled to imagine where. Ted was standing behind Manny and shifted his hand below the crotch. I blanched at the thought. Both Ted and Manny laughed. I was both scared and intrigued. I had never thought it possible.
“Underwear show and then swimming.” I tried to protest but was brow beaten into submission. I ran to my room excited to see Ted and Manny in less. I ran back into the room with my three pairs. Ted had me go first. I striped with my back to them.
“Ash, you know showing a gay guy your ass is just as much a turn on as showing your junk.” I blushed.
“Even his ass turns red when he blushes,” Manny laughed. “Now show us what you bought. I turned in my jockstrap like undies; they were soft cotton in a pale blue. “Strut it boy,” Manny said while Ted did wolf whistles. I wanted to run to the bedroom.
“Never be ashamed of your body, Ash.” Ted said as I stood still.
“Next one,” Manny demanded. I slipped out of the one into a spandex like fluorescent green jock. Obviously, Ted and Manny saw everything.
“That’s very hot,” Ted said while waving his hand fanning his face.
“Last one,” Manny said.
I didn’t know why I bought the last one because it was basically a small bag on a thin elastic band. I slipped the band around my waist and tucked my cock and balls into the sack. The black shimmering material made my cock hard, but it could not because of the size of the sack.
Ted started laughing so hard he fell on the floor. Between gasps, Ted tried to speak, “You know what that is?” I was baffled and uncomfortable. “That is a chastity sack, It’s designed to prevent a full erection.” Ted continued to howl in amusement. That explained the odd look the clerk gave me when I bought it.
“I’ll wear it to school. No more woodies in the hallway.” I huffed and put my shorts back on. “Now your turn.” I looked at Ted.
“Nope,” Ted said with a small smile. “I said we would have a fashion show, but I never said Manny or I would be the models.
I was floored and angry, so I did the mature thing and ran to my room. They had intentionally humiliated me. Granted I did enjoy showing off, but only because I thought I would see them almost nude. Manny knocked on my door and entered. “Sorry about that kid. You need to appreciate your body and let others appreciate it too. You know you were totally in control of the situation out there; you could have said no..”
“But I thought you and Ted were going to do it too.”
“That is a terrible reason to do anything because it gives the control to others. Many times very attractive men may want you to perform with no intention of reciprocating. Never do anything you do not want to do just because someone else says they will too. You always need to do it because you truly want to. That is why you need to appreciate your own body, so you will never be shamed or coerced into situations you do not want.” He stood there waiting and staring. I realized I still had the cock sack on. I laughed; we both laughed. “Want to go swimming?” I said yes and Manny left while I changed.
The pool was almost empty except for two older men in the Jacuzzi, who watch us as if we were a royal procession, and two men, I guess in their twenties, kissing at the far end of the pool, oblivious to everything except each other. I commented on how empty the pool was. Ted explained that it was Friday night and most were out to the bars. After midnight the pool would get rowdy. Manny went directly to the pool. Ted had brought a plastic beverage dispenser and plastic glasses. He pour me a glass. I tasted: lemon, salty, maybe some orange. I smiled. Ted smiled back with sly humor, “That’s a margarita. Your mom said she was OK if you drink a little.” It was good and took a large gulp. “Slower Ash, that the drink had tequila and will knock you on your ass after two.” I drank my next taste as a sip.
One of the older men from the Jacuzzi walked over. “I’m Paul and my friend over there is Bill.” Ted introduces himself and me. “Nice looking boy pussy you got there. Might we be able to borrow him for an hour or so.” Paul waited politely looking only at Ted.
“I might let you borrow him,” Paul smiled. “But he is not my boy, so he is free to do as he pleases.” Paul took a step back and looked at me intently; he nodded. “He is only 15”. That seemed to make Paul happy. “and his mother is very protective. I would hate to inform her.”
Paul paused looked at me again. “Sorry about that, so I guess the answer is no. But he does have a fine ass and pretty mouth.” Paul left to return to the Jacuzzi and then he and Bill left.
“What was that about I asked?”
Ted reached over and patted my hand protectively. “He thought I might give you to him and the other man for sex.” Shock. “In some parts of the gay community, a small part, an older man with a very young boy can be seen as a father son type relationship. The father controls what the boy does and disciplines the boy if he misbehaves. The father can, and sometimes does, lend his son to pleasure other men.”
“Shit,” I said, “and he thought that you would.” Ted nodded. “Why did you say that I make my own choices?”
“If you had wanted to go with him, I would have let you.” Ted’s smiled reassured me. Being gay was more complicated than I thought. “Let’s hit the pool and attack Manny.”
We cannon balled on either side of him. The waves of water caught him unaware because he was watching the two guys kissing. Out horseplay must've disturbed the two guys because they soon left, one pulling the other eagerly behind him. “Someone’s getting lucky tonight.” Manny chuckled.
“We can hit the bars if you want.” Ted winked at Manny. Manny winked back. Since the pool was empty, Ted shucked his swimming suit and tossed it by our chair; Manny followed losing his. I hesitated but finally bared my ass. I had never swum in the nude before. I liked it and I like what I saw of Ted and Manny. While it was a turn on to see both nude with penises gliding in the water like eels, it did not prompt lust. I found that odd.
After about an hour we headed back up to the room naked. Ted and Manny sprawled out on the sofa. I tried not to but my eyes kept gravitating toward their cocks. “Have you seen many adult penises?” Ted asked. My eyes jerked to his; I blushed and said only briefly in the shower.
“Now is the time to ask questions.” Manny gave a smile that said I could as anything.
“Why do you have skin hiding the tip?” I looked at Ted.
“I can assume that Dom was circumcised. My penis is uncircumcised. Many cultures, traditions, and health practitioners require the removal the skin around the penis. This is usually done when the boy is a newborn. It is often referred in slang as cut and uncut”
“Doesn’t it get dirty inside, does it interfere with an erection? Does it feel better than cut?’
“Yes, need to wash it although some men like to clean it out. No, my erections are perfect. Don’t know because I have no comparison.” Manny reached over and slide the loose skin back so I could see. Ted was starting to get arouse, but Manny squeezed Ted’s penis and it quieted.
“Why do you have thick pubic hair and nothing on you ball sack?”
“Manscaping,” Manny chuckled. “We shave it. It makes the penis and scrotum look larger and I think it increases sensitivity to touch.’ Ted nodded agreement.
“Can I see your piercing?”
“That is a very personal question, Ash.” Manny looked at Ted, who just smiled. “But since we are teaching, Yes.” Manny leaned back on the sofa and pulled his legs toward his shoulders. Between his balls and his anus was a small ring, just like you would see in an ear.”
“Does it hurt.”
“Did when I had it done, but then I was so high I was feeling nothing. Now, no pain.”
“Do you like it Ted?”
“Not at first, but Manny enjoys it and enjoys my playing with it, so yeah.”
“I did not even in my wildest fantasy think of getting my ass pierced.”
“This area is called the taint,” Manny had lowered his legs, “and is one of many body parts that get pierced: ears, tongue, eyebrow, nose, navel.” He paused, “and of course the penis and the scrotum:
“Enough, TMI.” I laughed, we all laughed. “I will suffice with my ears.” I gave an intentional shy grin, “for now.” Conversation abruptly shifted to plans.
Ted said he and Manny were going to hit some bars and asked if I would be OK by myself. I politely explained that I was fifteen and used to fending for myself. This was a bit of an exaggeration because I never spent a night by myself, my mother was always home nights, maybe late, but always home.
Half an hour later Ted and Manny were ready for the bars. I suddenly lusted after them more than when they were naked in the pool. Ted in tight black jeans that gave him a large bulge and a black shirt that looked painted on. Manny was in jeans torn to almost the crotch with a similar rip snaking up his left ass cheek. His shirt was a bright pink mesh that exposes his whole torso. I was immediately hard. Ted looked at my crotch, “Manny, you got one vote of approval.” Manny pinched his nipple for me and grinned. “There is plenty of juice and soda, no booze. There is also porn in the TV cabinet.”
“I don’t recommend,” Manny added as he headed toward the door, “going to the pool, unless you want to start a gangbang. With you being the bang.” The door closed. I was alone.
Dom and I had watched a little Internet porn, but we were more concerned about exploring each other. I opened the cabinet and saw almost 50 DVDs. The order of the DVDs seemed planned. The first three or four seemed to be just hot guys masturbating. Then the titles were Sean and Zack or other paired names. I took one of these out then more toward the middle and a last toward the end. I had three selected: Isaac Surprises Ephraim, The Soccer Team, and Daddy’s Bitch. I poured some OJ, I added vodka and grabbed a bag of chips and watched. The first video, while the guys were hot, was more informative on various positions and techniques. I thought how this would have helped Dom and me. The second was a gang bang; It was very hot, but I knew the advice to avoid the pool was spot on. Although I might not say never to it. The last video was disturbing and hot, I only watch 10 minutes. I went and sat on the balcony with my juice and thought of Dom. I rubbed my earring and went to bed.
I awoke to the smell of coffee, which I only occasionally drank, and breakfast. I threw on a pair of my new underwear, figuring Ted and Manny had already seen me in them, and walked into the kitchen. “He kid,” Manny asked as he looked me over, “look hot in those undies.” He smiled. I smiled back still a little sick from the vodka. “You sleep well?” I nodded. “Breakfast will be ready in about 20, Ted is on the patio if you want to join him.” I ambled to the patio and realized that Ted was not alone.
“Hi Ash, how’d you sleep? Got a hangover?” I blanched from being busted. Ted voice sounded cheerful. He was naked and across the table was another naked man—tall, tan, bleached blonde and brown hair, and deep blue eyes. “This is Brett, he is from Sydney.”
“Hi mate,” Brett said with a true Australian accent., “nice to meet ya.”
“Nice to meet you to Brett.” I smiled at him. He was luscious, and I was hard, so I sat quickly.
Ted leaned over to Bret and ran a hand down his chest to his groin. I tried to not look but Ted just laughed when he saw me uneasy. “I’ll help Manny for a bit. Ash make Brett comfortable.”
I stared for a few minutes trying to avoid looking at him. I noticed he enjoyed my discomfort and let me sweat. “What brings you to Key West?” I finally asked.
“I had business in Miami and had a few days free so made the visit,” he smiled, the teeth white in his tanned face.
“I’m from Florida and never been out of the state.” I said. “I would love to visit Australia, see kangaroos in the wild and koalas.”
“In Sydney, where I live, you don’t see many bush animals. I surf and see a shark or two.”
“You surf,” I said suddenly excited. “I always wanted to surf. I’ve been to Cocoa and did a wave board, but that is not surfing.”
“Got the right matey, Those waves are just pimples.” He smiled again. “How you connected to Ted and Manny?”
“Ted is my mother’s boss. Mom thought I needed to get out of town for a bit before I return to school Monday.”
“You on the run and their hiding you,” Brett laughed; I did too.
“No I was suspended from school for a few days because of a fight.”
“Oh,” he said, “you start it?”
“No, a douche started saying some nasty things about my boyfriend,” I felt a wave of loss for Dom, “the douche pushed me, so I went a little ballistic.”
“Sounds like you were defending yourself, so why the suspension?”
“I lost it and beat the shit out of him. My friends pulled me off of him or else I might have seriously hurt the guy.”
“Yeah, self-control is important for your safety.” Brett said firmly, “What did your boyfriend think if your fight?’
I did not know how to answer him as the rush of events of Dom’s death hit me again. “None of your damn fucking business,” I said suddenly angry.
“Sorry Ash,” Brett said gently. “Ted says you are going snorkeling this afternoon. Want some tips, because I scuba and snorkel.” I got up and ran for my bedroom. I lay on the bed and sobbed. I knew Dom was never coming back, and he never intended to leave me with this hole inside me.
After a long cry, I walked into the kitchen, it was empty. I found Manny and Ted on the balcony having coffee. Brett was gone. “Sit,” said Manny, “I have breakfast warming in the oven.” Manny left me staring at the brilliant ocean.
“You OK, Ash.” Ted said with concern.
“Yeah, I will be. I’m sorry I was an ass to Brett.”
“Yeah, you were. He told me that he asked a question about Dom. He did not know your boyfriend died. He felt so bad when we had to tell him. But his ignorance does not excuse your bad behavior. People will say things from ignorance but not to hurt you. You must learn how to respond. They do not deserve your anger.”
“I know, but how do I say anything.”
“I know you do not want to go through the all the explanations, and people do not have the right to know all of it. Just try, “Dom died recently, and it is too personal for me to discuss.” I liked that response. “If they still insist on more, then you can tell them, to fuck off.”
I smiled back at Ted, overwhelmed by the fact I had lost my father many years ago and never had any other men in my life. I now had Ted and Manny, maybe only for this weekend. But for this weekend they truly cared for me. And even better they were gay. “Thank you Ted, for letting me tag along this weekend; you do not know how much you are helping me. Even when I am a complete douche.”
“Ash, I invited you because I wanted to spend time with you. I love your mother. She is more than my assistant, she is a good friend. She is always talking about how wonderful you are, I wanted to meet you, spend time with you. That you are gay is even better. You are one cool dude, who right now is in a very dark place. But you will find your way out; you are starting to find your way out.”
“Everything he said, for me too,” Manny interrupted. “When Ted said you were coming with us, I was excited. I am not sure why, but I was absolutely thrilled and on cloud 9. You are a gift to use, Ash. We need you in our life like you need us. I do not know how to describe what we are to you because we do not want to be neither a father nor a brother to you. The first scares me with the responsibility and authority over you. As a brother, we can be protective, but also it can be competitive. That is not what I want either, nor do you. And we are not friends, at least not yet; the age difference makes that weird. We’d like to us to be more in the ancient Greek role of eratas, guides and mentors. Will you accept us in this role, in your life?”
“I like being with you both,” I said, “and I was willing to accept that this weekend was just a one time deal. But I need you both as anchors because I as sure as hell don’t have clue about much.” I pulled Manny and Ted, who now had shorts on, into a hug. “I like this a lot.” I then added, “Does it include sex?”
“Hell no,” both replied.
“You do understand, Ash,” Ted held my head in his hands, “That us is not a 24/7 or even a weekly thing. You need to find about yourself and make mistakes. And we have our own lives.”
“Like Brett,” I grinned at Ted.
“One part.” Ted tugged at my ear. “We have our lives, friends, and family. We both have careers which demand time. But we are here anytime you feel lost or confused.”
“Understand?” Manny said as he kissed my forehead. “Now eat and then we’ll sight see before we snorkel.”
I had a funny feeling that they would demand more of my time than they thought. I felt loved and needed. That morning we saw all the tourist spots: Hemingway's house, Mel Fisher's museum, the lighthouse and a few other boring places. Mostly I looked at guys, in a diversity I did not realize, not only in all shapes and colors but also expression, from preppy queens who screech when excited to biker bears in denim, boots and chains. During lunch, before we headed back to the condo, I asked where I fit in, what type gay I was?. Manny laughed, “You don’t try to fit in, you must be yourself, find out who you are. Being gay is not just one face of your life. Here in Key West people are allowed to show some of the wilder sides. I like to be a bitchy queen sometime, and Ted likes to be a tough sometimes. But these are just one facet of the myriad of facets we are. Many people go through lives showing only one side of themselves, only admitting one side of themselves. That is a shame. We do not need to act on all those sides, but it is good to know they are there. Our mental health can suffer if we don’t”
“Ash, you are still young,” Ted said as he demand my attention. “You are still discovery the basics of you: that you are gay, that you are capable of deep love, that you are checking that man’s ass as I’m talking to you.”
“Busted,” Manny laughed
“What can I say. He has a nice ass and was willing to show it off like a dog on a leash.” I beamed back at Manny. Ted laughed in hearty agreement.
“We are creating a monster,” Ted moaned.
“But it is our monster,” The possessiveness of that statement thrilled me.
I was bouncing on my toes as we stood at the dock waiting to board the boat. “He mate,” I turned and saw Brett. “Mind if I tag along?”
“I would like that.” I did several deep breaths. “I want to apologize for blowing up at you this morning. You did not deserve it because you did nothing wrong.” I could not look at Brett’s face.
“Hey, matey, I understand. What happened to your boyfriend is terrible and you are angry. I get it; been there too when my Pa died... Hug?” He did not wait for me to agree he just pulled me into the largest, strongest hug I ever had. It felt good. Then Brett went and stood between Manny and Ted, grabbed both by the hips close to him and proceeded to deep kiss each. He winked at me and I giggled. Reaching up, I felt my earring, and I was with Dom.
The snorkeling was mind blowing, and Brett spent almost as much time with me as he did Manny and Ted. He helped with my mask and equipment, guided me to strange coral and fish. He discussed everything about the ocean, it’s inhabitants, and the ecology. I was blown away by his knowledge and passion. I finally asked if he was a marine biologist. He laughed that I finally figured it out. He was, and in Miami for a conference on tropical cyclones. I found Brett very funny, and I started to form a crush—he was hot, I mean a hot Aussie, cricky. Too soon the boat returned to the dock and Brett took his leave, saying he would be by later tonight. I liked seeing Brett with Ted and Manny. A part of me wanted to see them in bed together. I blushed.
Back at the condo, I threw myself on the sofa, exhausted both physically and mentally. Although the snorkeling was beyond belief, I could not stop thinking of Dom: how much Dom would have enjoyed the fish and coral, how much Dom would like the treasure museum, how much Dom would have enjoyed Key West. Here Dom would have been my first. Here I was enjoying myself and Dom was dead. I pulled a sofa pillow over my head.
“You OK,” Manny asked crouching in a kneel beside my head.
“No,” I said both with anger, regret, and confusion.
“Thinking of Dom?’
“Yeah,” I pulled the pillow in a desperately tight hug.
It struck me that is what I was feeling. I was having fun and Dom could not. He was dead and I needed to feel just as dead. “Yeah, I guess.”
“I think I know how you feel.” Manny sat in a chair next to the sofa. I gave an incredulous look. “Boyfriend died when I was 17. I went into a tailspin of grief, recriminations, guilt, and depression.” I sat up and moved to the end of the sofa to be closer to Manny. “I tried to kill myself through sex.” I smirked at that. “I know it sound silly, but I was fucking and getting fucked by anyone any time, just to stop feeling the pain and fill the hole Oliver left. That’s how I obtained the piercing and the invite to Versace's. I was a party favor for anyone to use. I didn’t care how unsafe or risky; I just didn’t care because Oliver had the fucking nerve to get himself killed.” I placed a hand on Manny’s knee to sooth the leaking raw emotions. “Silly to think that Ollie would intentionally get himself caught in a crossfire in a gang shooting. Finally, a stranger during a fuck said that if I had a death wish there were better ways than being a fuck pig. He pulled out and I went to the shower; under the warm water I thought about suicide; I thought about a dozen ways to off myself. By the time I dried off, I knew I wanted to live and Oliver would want me to live. I was 19 and had a future. I dressed and left the party, got tested and enrolled in community college. That is why I wanted Ted to bring you this weekend. I did not want you ending like me.” I leaned over and kissed him gently on the cheek, and I said thank you. I saw Ted move over to cradle Manny. Our eyes met, and I smiled to him. I realized that some pains never truly go away; they stay quiet and allow us to live a life.
I showered and then lay naked on my bed. I started talking to Dom, explaining how I missed him, how I loved him, how I would eventually move on. I fell asleep.
“Sleepy head,” Ted poked his head around my door. He saw me naked but I didn’t care because I was gay and proud of my body. “Need to get dressed to go to Mallory Square and then supper. I have a reservation at a nice place so nice jean and shirt.” I replied with a gotcha boss. He smiled at that.
I entered the living room is a nice pair of ripped washed denim over my new underwear. I sported a button down shirt with three buttons undone. “Hey sexy,” Manny drawled. “Ted, did you bring the whip. Need it to keep all the boys off Ash.”
“No left it at home with the paddles and chains.” Ted cheerfully responded. I was not sure if he was serious about having those at home or not, so I just laughed.
“Who is going to protect you?” I asked. Ted had on a pair of tight designer jeans and equally tight Henley. Manny was wear black leather with a black silk shirt.
Ted laughed, “We throw you in front and we run.”
“Heh, I’m not running.” Manny gave a wicked smile, “except toward any hot man.” Ted slapped Manny’s ass hard. Manny laughed in reply. I laughed too, not because of the slap but because I was with two gay adults and they were showing me what I could become if I let myself. I realized that life was not perfect and could cause deep pain, but also life could be joyous and have hope. I twirled my earring.
The sunset celebration at Mallory Square was part circus, part bazaar, and part religious experience. After the last shade of pink left, Tom looked at his watch and hurried us on to the restaurant. The restaurant was set off from the street by a brick wall and an wrought iron gate. At the door, we were met by an older black woman in a long batik dress. Ted said we had reservations; we were quickly ushered to our table in an interior courtyard. Strings of white lights hung across the patio in no pattern, It was elegant and romantic, with white tablecloths and napkins, a small trio played, and candles danced on each table. (My fine dining experience was mostly confined to Denny’s, Chili’s, and Perkins’ with a rare meal at Outback or Applebee’s.) The open courtyard held maybe 20 tables. Ted ordered a bottle of wine. I looked at the menu and gasp, nothing was under 40 dollars. But I remembered what my mother said so I told my two companions I was buying supper. They argued until I said I was using my mother’s credit card. The service was crisp and precise, the food unlike anything I had before. I started with conch chowder, I was told it was a must at least once. My first taste was heaven, until Manny mentioned the conch was a giant snail. It was so good, the comment only briefly set me off eating it. Ted let me try his octopus. Then the main meal was my swordfish, which I had never had, in a pesto that was not basil. We finished with Key Lime pie for me, a chocolate bread pudding to Ted, while Manny had a lemon cheesecake. I tasted all of them. The bread pudding was the best. During the meal we talked about Ted’s and Manny’s jobs, Manny was a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma, and my school. Ted allowed me some wine, which I did not appreciate the chalky taste, despite the cost.
The bill came, Ted paid for the wine since I was not of age, it was over 350 dollars. I blinked a couple of times and then handed my card to the waiter. He paused as he looked at me and the card. Ted asked if there was a problem. The waiter choked out a no. Guess he was not used to 15 year-old paying a 350 plus tab with a sapphire card. He returned with the card and the receipts. He said a thank you sir, to me, and that it was a pleasure serving you. I gave him a condescending smile back. I added a $75 tip, as Ted suggested.
As we walked back to the condo fully sated, Ted mentioned that a few friends were stopping by tonight—the party Brett mentioned. I asked if they wanted me to entertain myself in the bedroom. Manny assured me that I was expected to participate. Ted warned me that some of the men might pinch my ass. I responded that that might be fun. That earned me a glare from both Ted and Manny. “Horny teenagers,” Manny bemoaned.
“This is so exciting.” I bounced as we walked down the street. “My first gay party.” Ted and Manny laughed catching my excitement. “What should I wear?”
“You could wear your new underwear.” Ted teased.
“Or nothing,” I added. Manny did a double step at the comment. I wanted to be sexy, to feel sexy, I wanted to be fucked. At least I thought I did. I was not sure if it would hurt. “Does fucking hurt?”
“Yes,” said Ted, but Manny at the same time said, “No.”
“It can hurt if you are not properly prepared.”
“What about poop. Doesn’t the dick get poop on it?”
“Manny, this kid is sorely uneducated, we have a lot of work to do,” Ted grinned at Manny. “We’ll discuss this back at the condo.”
“I think we’ll stop in this store and buy something.” Manny said as he steered me into a men’s clothing store. The display showed nothing suitable for church or anywhere in public. I picked out several items where modesty was foreign. Manny and Ted said no to both. I was a new mint gay and wanted to state it to the world. But as Ted said, I might want my cherry popped before I became a cum pig. It was just that it felt like I was a new me; I was starting to grow into myself and I wanted everyone to know and appreciate me, gay me. I wanted to flaunt myself like a diva. The clerk found me amusing; I found him more than helpful when he arranged my package in the shorts I bought. He suggested a thong to wear under the shorts to help with presentation, his words. Ted and Manny mostly stood back totally amused.
Back at the condo, I did a quick wash and dry of my new outfit. And then retired to my room to shower. I was feeling impish and walked into the kitchen wearing just my thong—black metallic mesh. Both men were too busy preparing snacks and setting up the bar to hear me on by bare feet. Ted turned around and dropped his jaw and a serving spoon. Manny turned and then saw me; he only mouthed oh shit. “What do you think? Will this get any attention?” I did a model turn.
“Got ours,” Manny said as he walked toward me. Ted bent to pick up the spoon but just stared at me, or rather my crotch. “Let me see how it looks all the way around. Need to show off all your assets.” He slowly walked around me. “God Ash, what did you spray on.” He stepped quickly away. “You have so much cologne on that no can get near you without a respirator.”
“I thought it would help me get noticed.” suddenly embarrassed.
Ted had walked over and stood by Manny, “You’ll get noticed alright, but not in any good way. You might knock them dead, literally. Go shower, and I will lend you one of my colognes. Better yet I will apply it.”
I showered well with lots of lather and then rinsed repeatedly. Ted walked in while I was drying; I surprised myself that I didn’t care if he saw me nude. “Ash, you need to slow down on outing yourself.” He gently said as he sat on the toilet. “You need to take baby steps, learn what you like, what you don’t like.” I was not sure what he meant. “I am sure that when you were in fourth or fifth grade a girl showed up for school in way too much makeup.” I remembered Mary Beth and how everyone thought she looked like a clown with red lipstick, and purple glitter eye shadow. “I bet every thought she looked ridiculous.” I laughed. “Unfortunately, she had no one to tell her that at ten she could not look like a mature woman of 30. The same applies for you. You’re a lad of 15 soon to be 16 wanting to be a debauched man of 45. Now is the time for you to be sweet, young and innocent. Do you understand? What you are wearing tonight is a one off, a taste of what is possible when you are 20 and desperate for cock. After tonight you are jeans or shorts and Ts. You are 16, a teenager, and will act and dress like it, except you are also gay. You understand?“
“I think so, I am no different than I was a month ago, except I now know I like boys rather than girls.”
Ted nodded. “Yes, exactly.” He pulled me into a hug: it was comforting, affirming but no way erotic.
“But can I wear my jeans a little tighter?” I said, my smile hinted at mischievous.
Ted smacked my ass, “Sure, to be expected. Now for a scent. A light scent. Your scent should never overwhelm; it should intrigue and ask people to get closer to smell you. I am not sure this scent is right for you, you need to go to a department store and try several scents before you will find the one the compliments your own body chemistry. Maybe Manny can take you shopping next week.” Ted stood up and stood about three feet from me. He sprayed the cologne into the air. “Now walk into the mist. This will lightly coat you with scent. Turn around and then back into the mist again. That’s it all done.” I turned around and thanked him. He smiled looking at me. Suddenly, my pubic hair were wet. Ted spayed cologne directly on them. “That is to asphyxiate anyone that comes close to your man goods.”
I hugged him, “Thank you for caring about me.” I kissed his cheek and he blushed. “Need to get dressed.” I left the bathroom with Ted just watching me leave.
“You can play a slut tonight but back to yourself come Sunday.” was his parting comment.
“Right.” I yelled back as I closed my bedroom door.
I lay on the bed and started to cry, like a cloud needed release and dumped rain. At first I was not sure why and then I realized I did not have Dom. I was alone, following my path alone. I always thought Dom and I would be together forever. How can I move on without you Dom. You are my other soul. I lay there softly sobbing. I heard the noise in the living room and knew the guests were arriving. I wiped my eyes on the pillow case and stood. I touched my earring and knew I still had Dom. I dressed ready to face the world.
In my tight white short (shorts cut to the top of the thigh and low enough in back to show a hint of crack, the white of the mesh sides almost blended in with my white skin—almost—the fabric thin enough to give a shadow of my metallic thong), and a tank top that started a few inches above my nipples and ended well above my navel (it was the same black metallic as the thong), and barefoot, I entered my new life. I rubbed my earring for courage. Every head turned toward me. “Holy shit,” I heard Manny say, “we’ve created a monster.” Ted and Manny were soon on each side of me, ostensibly to introduce me to other, but I thought it was more to protect me.
The place was full of men maybe 15 or 20, mostly Ted and Manny’s age with a smattering a few older and a few younger. I saw three guys about my age, two looking nervous.--Ian must have delivered as promised. Both Ted and Manny took me around, introducing me as we went toward the bar. The first time my ass was pinched, I was startled; the second and third time, I was flattered; by the six, I was getting annoyed. I felt a finger slid down my crack, and a couple of hands surreptitiously slid up my shirt. I felt like the sale bin at Macy’s.
“Ain’t you on the pull,” Brett said. He was leaning casually beside the bar. He wore cargo shorts, a white tank, and a magnificent tan. He walked up to me and immediately put one hand up my shirt and stroked a nipple, while the other was fondling my ass. I liked it. “You got me cracking a fat” He thrust his pelvis into to me; he was hard. “If we’d be back home, I’d toss you on the sheets and bugger you.” I wasn't exactly sure what he meant, but I thought I might like it. “Age of consent is 16 in Sydney, and your close enough. Damn bible thumpers here, make a boy wait too long.”
“You think I look hot,” I asked for confirmation.
“Hell, fucking yes.” Brett said loudly, I blushed.
“It’s my coming out togs.” I smiled and pulled a little away, I was getting too aroused and was not sure about it.
“Best you come out as a nuddy.” Brett unbuttoned the top button of my shorts. I slapped his hand away. He laughed.
“No, coming out as being gay.” I huffed. I mean I might like to be naked in front of Brett, but the room was full of strangers. I redid the button on my shorts. I heard Ted and Manny behind me snickering.
“Later dude,” Ted said to Brett, “Spending the night,” added Manny. Brett said yes while looking at me.
I was introduced to several other men, who looked covetously at me and envious at Ted and Manny. By the patio doors to the balcony Ted stopped and turned me to face the crowded room. “Guys, this is Ash.” I waved. “He is a new mint gay and only 16, so his ass if off limits unless you are under 19.” I heard one man say he had a fake I D, that prompted a laugh. Another complained that Ted was just a cock tease by offering a Tantalus feast. I was not sure what that meant, but several guys agreed with the comment.
“Hey guys,” Manny’s voice carried. “Ash, just came out as gay this weekend and he is also 16 and jail bait. He is also virgin.” I turned fifty shades of red. “So nothing below the waste.”
“Killjoy,” I joked to Manny.
“It is amazing what a man can do with just a tongue. Your tits will be well worked..” Ted said as he reached forward and pinched my tit. I squealed. A few guys close to us noticed and gave a thumbs up.
“Did you notice the three hot younger guys.” Ted said. I nodded. “They are yours for whatever you want. Not off limits.”
I looked through the crowd and saw to my left a muscled blond dude in a yellow tank. He was self-assured, flirty, and confident. He was talking to an older man, hell they were all older men; the geezer was feeling the dude’s pecs. Close to the front right was a tall thin man with wire rimed glasses. He had dark curling hair. He saw me looking at him smiled broadly then blushed. Just a little further to the right almost hidden was the hottest Hispanic boy I had ever seen: lean compact, and swaying sensuously to the music with a couple of men. He saw me looking at him and he waved back. Ted directed me to the patio, while Manny said he would get us drinks. A man, in late 20’s approached and pulled me into a very strong hug. He welcomed me into the brotherhood and then gave me a ferocious kiss; his tongue was all inside my mouth. He released me and I gasped for air, not because the kiss was so great but because the hug was so tight. “Now remember to always play safe.” He said as he left the patio.
Ted laughed at my reaction, “Did you like that?” he motioned toward an empty table.
“Couldn’t breath he held me so tight.”
“Noticed.” Ted grinned. “You know that your slut get up is going to horn everyone, so expect a lot of fondling. If you do not want that, I suggest you change into something less provocative.” Ted’s eyes ran down my body; I was thrilled by the attention. “If anyone does anything you do not want, say no firmly. It is your body and you are in control of it. If anyone is forcing himself and you say no and they continue, raise your hand high with the bird. Manny or I will be there. Finally, relax and have fun.”
“I will,” I looked through the door at the milling men, most of them comfortable friends for some time. “Who’s the best kisser?”
“Ash, you are going to age me 20 years. Now I have not had sex with all of them, you do understand that, so I cannot not say.”
“No just 75% of them,” Manny laughed as he set down drinks and joined us.”So what is the topic of conversation?”
“Ash wants to now who is the best kisser.” Ted said and then took a drink.
I sipped mine too. “What is this, it is good.”
“Mojito, like a good kiss smooth but deadly. So best kisser. Smart to start with the best so you know what’s sloppy.” Manny looked around. “Robby is very good, wouldn't you say Ted?”
“Yeah, definitely” Ted smiled softly.”He’s the shorter guy, brown hair and yellow polo. Al is great too and so is Carlos.”
“Ash, I would aim for those three if you want to learn how to kiss well. Each has a different style, but all are masterful.”
“Anyone I should avoid,”
“Nah, they are all good guys and respect limits. Zipper can be aggressive with the tits. He is a good choice if you want to explore that tonight.” Ted pointed to a burly man in a leather vest. “If you want to try bondage, he is also your man.”
“Nope pass on that. Too much; too soon. Also not sure about the nipples. You pinched my hard, It still tingles.” I looked at Ted and raised his hands in a me-bad pose.
“Did the pinch, send felling to you nether regions?” Ted’s question expected a yes
“Yeah, my willy jumped a little.”
“Nipple play is an important part of gay sex. It may hurt but then the pleasure is more intense.”
I looked at Zipper. He saw me looking and then tweaked his nipples with a very broad grin. I rubbed mine. He laughed. “Why is he called Zipper?”
Manny and Ted both laughed like it was the best joke. “The guy always has his zipper down and his cock out.” Manny added. Ted continued. “So the joke was to tell him his zipper is down--’zipper’. The reminder soon became his nickname.” Manny laughed, “His real name is Larry.” I laughed.
My drink had disappeared leaving only mint leaves. I felt my inhibitions fade. “Damn that is good. I need more.”
“Sorry kid,” Manny said, “we are rationing you. In an hour you can have another. “
I pouted, but did not want to get drunk and do something I would not remember. “Do you mind if I circulate. I have three guys to talk to, some kissing lessons, and maybe a little nip play.”
“Your party too, so have fun.” Ted helped me stand.
“We are around if you need us.” Manny pushed me toward the door. “Our little bird taking his first solo flight.” I heard Manny say to Ted.
I was sitting alone and shirtless on the sofa feeling a little buzzed with my second Mojito. My shirt had somewhere during the past two hours disappeared, and I did not care. My nipples glowed from the attention, and I was hard, very hard. The muscle guy in the yellow tank plopped down beside me. I looked at him. He looked 17 or 18. “Your cute,” he said and put my hand on his lap.
He grinned, “Your the guy who needs his cherry popped. Let’s say we go to the bedroom and get it done.” My head jerked back by the abrupt statement. “I got to be at another party in fifteen, so let's get this done.”
I was flabbergasted by the audacity to presume that I would just go and get fucked. “You want to just fuck me and leave.”
“Sure, we both get what we want. Quick, easy, and efficient.”
“I’m not sure that is what I want.” My tone was cold and harsh, but the dude was oblivious to it. He was so sure of himself that I did not matter.
“Look your a virgin at sixteen, Dude, you need to get fucked fast. Your pussy needs to get dick, boys like you need that.”
“Boys like me?”
“Yeah, pussy boys need men to fuck them. That is what you are, just a needy pussy for men like me.”
I was furious. “I don’t even know your name, but I am not a pussy for you or anyone else.”
“Jezz, dude, you know you like me.” He flex his chest muscles and leered at me. “So just let me in your tight hole”
“Why in hell would I do that?’
“Because I told you to bitch.”
“You have not even told me your name and you are calling me a bitch. Please leave.”
He grabbed my hand and put it on his crotch, “Your ass is aching for this to be inside your pussy boy cunt.”
“Leave now, or I will not be responsible.” I grabbed his hand, which was feeling up my shorts and crushed it.
“Shit dude, you’re hurting me.”
“Not as much as I am about to.”
“You’re nothing but a fucking pussy cock tease.” He stood and made a straight exit to the door.
Manny was standing behind the sofa watching, ready. “You did well Ash.” He ruffled my hair and left. I hate having my hair ruffled, but I did feel proud of myself. A few guys stopped by and sat with me for a bit. A couple kissed me, they were only OK. Robby was much better. Brett sat next to me asking how I was doing, when I felt the sofa shift as someone sat on my other side. I turned and say soft brown eyes behind wire-rim glasses,. “Hi I’m Scott,” said a quiet voice. “I’m Ash.” “You look amazing,” Scott said; his smile was timid but sensuous, “I don’t know if I would ever have the courage to wear something so hot.” he said as he gave me a halting once over.
“First for me too. I’m new to all this gay stuff. I’m in Key West, and I saw a lot of other guys with more revealing clothes, So what the hell. It is only for this party.”
“Are you really a virgin?”
“Yeah” I blushed.
“That is so cool,” a sheepish smile, “I wish I were. My first time was not good. A friend of my dad’s got me drunk and wham, no longer a virgin.”
“I want my first time to be special, with someone I trust and like.”
“Hang out for it.” Scott, looked down at my crotch, which was semi-hard, but I did not feel like he was staring at it. “Every have a boyfriend?”
I panicked, but knew I needed to answer. “Yes, but I cannot talk about it. It is too emotional for me right now.”
“That's OK man. I won't pry.” He looked me in the eyes. I saw kindness and respect. “You know you are very hot, and I don’t just mean the get up.”
We talked about school, about our parents, about music. Scott was an amazing person; he played piano.
“Hope you don’t mind if I join you.” said a person who appeared on the other side of me. “I’m Julio, but you can just call me Jul. Hope you don’t mind, me horning in, but there are nothing but old guys here, and I'm tired of being pinched.
Scott and I both laughed. “That's why I'm sitting here, My ass has welts.” I extend my hand, “I’m Ash, and this is Scott.”
“Nice dudes.” Julio looked at Scott, “You go to Key.”
“Yup a junior.”
“Thought I had seen you before. Junior too. Mrs Beauchamps class right.” Scott nodded. They exchanged names of mutual friends and shared class. I felt left out. “Sorry man, don’t mean to leave you out, but didn’t realize Scott was gay.”
“No prob.” The conversation moved to video games, movies, and music.
“Want to go somewhere and fool around?” Julio asked looking at Scott and me.
“I’ve never actually fooled around with two guys,” I blushed at the admission.
“No prob, Scott and I got your back.” Julio wiggled his dark lush eyebrows, “and front too.” I was hesitant. “We will carefully guide you through, nothing you don’t want.” I nodded and went to my room.
I woke to the sound of breakfast. I put on one of my new pairs of underwear, ass open, and walked into the living room. Manny was in the kitchen, Ted and Brett were at the patio table. I strode out to them, confident in myself. “Morning guys.” Ted and Brett looked up and froze.
“Looks like someone had a great time last night,” Brett finally said.
“Manny,” Ted finally choked out, “need to prepare for two more, Ash has some guests.” Behind me stood Scott, just in plaid boxers and Julio in a leopard bikini.
“Going to introduces us to your maties,” Brett grinned in part lust and bemusement. I made introductions, and blushed at the look Ted gave me. I didn’t think he was mad at me, more surprised,
“What did you say, love,” Manny said as he came rushing onto the patio. “Oh shit.” I turned toward him with a shit-eating grin. “This means your not a virgin.” He bent over and hugged me, I glowed scarlet. “Pancakes, bacon and eggs. And of course mimosas. To celebrate Ash’s initiation into man sex.” I should have felt mortified, but I was actually proud of myself.
“So guys tell me about yourselves,” Ted asked Scott and Julio. It was more of an inquisition than friendly curiosity, but as they told Ted about themselves, the more he relaxed.
Once Ted started winding down, Brett finally asked the one important questions, “How was the sex.” The three of us looked at each other and just giggled. “That good,” Brett just nodded with a broad smile.
The breakfast went smooth with friendly banter. Once done, Julio said he need to head home and then to church with his mother. Scott also excused himself. I kissed both boys at the door and we exchanged numbers. Julio told Scott they would meet up Monday at school.
“I’m impressed, “Brett said, standing close to the door, “A three way first time out of the gate.” He turned to Ted and Manny, “been great guys, enjoyed the company and the sex, but time for me to head back to Miami” He turned to me, “Ash, matey, you are going to be just fine. And if I am back this way in two years, I want a crack at your ass.” He pinched my ass hard as he gave me a deep French kiss. Ted, Manny and I stood at the closed door waiting for our normal lives to return.
“Time for use to pack up too and head back to Tampa,” Ted said breaking the inertia, “We have work and you have school tomorrow.” We quickly packed, loaded the car, did a final sweep and the place was locked.
Barely out of Key West, Ted asked how my ass felt. I was a little sore but it felt good; that I had a tingle further up my rectum. Manny said that my prostate was happy and humming. I liked that and said I would want it to hum more. Everyone found that funny, but also true. Then came the grilling about what I enjoyed or did not. I was honest and said I liked everything we did, But I really liked a dick up my ass and one in my mouth almost as much as mine up an ass, but then blow jobs were very good too. Manny laughed and said they had created a sex fiend. I was not sure if I would be a fiend, but I was sure to be active.
As we got closer to Tampa, my mood soured as I realized I was not going home to Dom. I felt guilty that I had sex, not just sex but great sex with two guys. I wanted to do all this with Dom. But Dom was gone. And I was forgetting him.
“Dom?” Manny asked.
“Yeah,” I sighed. “Yeah.”
“Feeling guilty about having fun this weekend?”
“Do you think Dom would have objected if he were alive to you have sex with two very hot guys?”
I thought hard about that. “No, he would be jealous, not angry. He would have said I was a fool to not do it.”
“You are feeling guilty, yet you know Dom would have encouraged you to enjoy everything about this weekend.”
“Yeah,” I knew it was true, “but I wish Dom would have been our fourth.”
“That would have been very hot.” Ted laughed, “It is a very hot fantasy you can jack off about tonight.” I rubbed my earring and said yeah.
“Hi mom, we’ve returned.” I yelled as I walked into the living room with Ted and Manny. They insisted that they make sure my mother was home.
“Hi hon,” she gave me a big kiss on the cheek. “Ted, welcome. Manny it has been awhile; nice to see you again. Did Ash behave himself?”
“He was perfect the whole time.” My mom gave Ted a stare, “As perfect as a young boy can be in Key West.” That prompted laughter from my mother. “Sheila, never any problem.” Ted said, giving my mother a kiss on the cheek.
“We really enjoyed having him around?” Manny added.
“Didn’t cramp your style?” my mother asked with a wary glance.
“No he fit right in. I am sure he will tell you everything. And of course you got all the pictures.” My panic rose as I thought of what I wore last night.
“Yes thanks, it was reassuring, because my son never called except to get his ears pierced. Lets see.” I showed my mother. “Look nice on you.” I felt relieved. “Come in and sit, can I get you something to drink?”
“No, we’re good. Have laundry and other stuff to do.” Ted said.
“Sheila, we enjoyed Ash’s company very much,” Manny said, “we’d like to do more things with him.”
Mom looked at them, ‘Are you sure? Not that I don’t appreciate it and think it is good for Ash; it’s just he would limit your activities.”
“Don’t worry,” Manny laugh, “It will only be age appropriate activities; movies, theme parks, whore houses.” we all laughed at the last.
“Whore house is better than learning on the streets,” my mother joked. “What do you think Ash? Do you think you can behave enough?”
“Yes, I would like it very much. They have so much to teach me.”
“Sorry we can’t stay” Ted gave my mother a kiss on the cheek as did Manny. “See you tomorrow Sheila.” Ted turned to me. “Now talk to your mother about what we discussed.” I nodded and they were gone.
“What do we need to discuss.” Mom put on her stern voice.
“After I unpack, we’ll talk.”
“Good, I’ll order Chinese for delivery.”
I came into the kitchen as mom was plating sesame chicken, shrimp in lobster sauce, fried rice, and my favorite chicken nuggets. We ate in silence. “So what do you need to tell me?” my mother finally asked.
I swallowed a bit of rice, “I’m gay.”
“That is nice dear, but what was it you needed to tell me.”
“I said I’m gay and you don’t bat an eye.” I was almost hurt by her blase response.
“Yes dear, I know you said you were gay, but I’ve know that for several years.” she smiled at me, it was one of those smiles she gave which made me feel safe, “but I am very happy that you can tell yourself that. So anything else important.”
Damn her, I needed to shock her. “I had sex with two guys at the same time.”
“Ted and Manny?” my mother did not seem upset by that thought.
“No, two guys my age last night.” She smiled, she just smile at me, “I asked Ted and Manny but they both said no.”
“I would not have objected if they had sex with you because I trust them not to hurt you and to help you grow into a fine gay man.” She took a bit of shrimp allowing me to digest the conversation. “Did you enjoy the sex.”
“Mom, is this the type of conversation I am always going to have with you.? Am I going to give you all the details of whom I screw?”
“Son,” my mother’s voice was firm, “you should never screw anyone, that is selfish sex. I am not naive Ash; I know what sex is, and before your father I had plenty. You are never to use that word unless it involves home maintenance.”
“Yes, mom.” I smiled at her, “yes the sex was amazing. I will want to do it again.”
My mom laughed; it was a free kind of laugh that I seldom heard from her,” I will need to buy you condoms and lube.”
“Jezz, mom….thanks” we continued eating in silence, I was glad I told my mom, but now I would need to introduce any boyfriends or explain why I needed more condom to my mother. Jeez. Life just got more complicated.
“If you do not want to talk about it, just tell me.” She paused to look at me and I knew what was coming. “Were you and Dom lovers?”
That question flooded me with emotions, “Yes, we saw ourselves as more than just boyfriends.”
“I am sorry Ash, that he is gone. I know it is hard.” tears filled both of our eyes.
“I know, I got the earring for him.” I touched my right earlobe. “This one's for him because we were going to both pierce our ears and share rings.”
“That is a very nice gesture. Are you doing OK, because when you left I was very worried.”
I wiped a tear with my napkin and ended up with soy sauce on my face. I chuckled at that. “Yes, I will be. I miss him desperately, but I have enough room in my heart for someone else.”
“That is good son, very good.” We spent two hours talking about my adventure in Key West. I told her a spent over $400 on diner. She only asked if it was good and then thought it was a good thing considering Ted and Manny covering most everything else. But most of the time we spent talking about Dom. It felt good, and she like the earrings and the reason for them. We both cried and laughed; but more important to me, we shared. We shared as if I were an adult. I knew I was not yet, but I was starting.
I dressed Monday morning in my usual: shorts, nice T-shirt, and Nike’s. But I did not feel usual. I was returning after a suspension, after Dom passed, after have my first gay sex in Key West. The clothes were usual, but I was not.
Helly and a small group of friends met me by the school entrance. “You doing OK?” She pulled me into a hugs. Soon I was surrounded by a small group of friends. Stuart, who was not a close friend, we had a few classes together, pulled me into his arms and whispered into my ear, “I am so sorry about Dom; if you want to vent let me know.” The embrace lasted longer than required; I hugged him back. The moment fled like a flock of ibises when Helly screamed, “You got your ears pierced.” That got me pulled away from Stuart and inspected.
“And you look like you’ve has sun,” Bethany added.
I promised to tell them everything at lunch since we usually ate together. I and Stuart were off to Calculus. Today, he sat in the seat next to me. I like his reassuring presence, but it also unnerved me.
At lunch my friends and I filled a table, Stuart sat next to me, which was unusual since he usually sat with the more jock table. I think he wanted to be close in case I lost it. But I didn’t. I told my friends everything about the weekend: Ted and his husband Manny, snorkeling, the earrings, that I was gay and had my first sex. No one blinked on the last. Helly said she knew and that was why were were best friends. I’d never try to get into her pants. We all laughed. Everything was normal until the last period when Ms. Storble said I need to stop by the Vice Principal's office before I head home.
Mr. Bustion was sitting at his desk working, reading papers, when I was ushered in. “Sit,” he said without looking up. I sat and fidgeted. He seemed in no hurry to look at me. Slowly he raised his head and took off his glasses. “Ashton, I see you have made some changes to yourself since I last saw you.” He pulled on his earlobe. I did not know how to respond, so I lowered my head. “I assume that your mother was informed before you did the alterations?”
“Last week’s behavior is not acceptable, even when provoked.”
“Are you in a better place this week?” I detected a true note of concern in his voice, which surprised me.
“Yes, sir, that out break will not happen again.”
“Why?” It was not an accusatory question, it was more curious.
“Sir, I had the weekend to learn important information about myself. I am in a more solid place.”
“Key West will do that. It is one of my favorite places.” I looked at him in shock. He gave a hearty chuckle, “I talked to your mother Friday to see how you were doing.” He actually cared about me, I felt warmth from him. “So what did you discover?’
Shit, did I tell him? “I admitted to myself that I am gay.” I waited for reaction.
“That is a very important admission, Ashton. Some men never will acknowledge it and suffer from the lie. You know the school has a LGBTQ group you might like to join.” I vaguely knew that but it had never registered. “Mr. Wren and Ms. Volker are faculty sponsors.”
“Thank you sir, I will look into it.”
“How are you dealing with Dom’s death?”
Shit, and fuck he knows about that too. “Better.” I honestly answered.
“Good. He is an important person in your life. The pain of his loss will never go away; you need to cherish each good memory It will become easier to bare.” I started to cry; Mr. Bustion handed me a box of tissue. He sat quietly while I pulled myself together. “Tears are good both emotionally and physically; they clear the body of toxins.” He stood and I stood ready to leave, but he walked over to me and hugged me. It felt so good.
Before he opened the door he said, “I am going to yell at you a little because I need to maintain my reputation as a hard as an SOB—Old Steel Balls.” He gave me a wink, that he knew his nickname. He opened the door and he became Old Steel Balls, “Ashton,” he said loud and stern, “if you ever end up in a brawl again, you will need to look for a new school.” I gave a weak yes sir and stood like a beaten puppy. The administrative assistant gave me a sympathetic look as I exited the offices to the hallway.
Helly and Stuart were waiting for me in the hallway. “So how was it?” Helly asked; I liked the deep concern in her voice. I mumbled that I was fine and it was not too bad. I could not tell them the truth.
“Want to grab nacho’s and a soda at La Fiesta, my treat.” Stuart said as he positions himself on the other side of me. “It took a lot of courage today to admit your gay, Ash.” He grabbed my arm. “I belong to the LGBTQ group. We meet next week Thursday, if you want to come.” I agreed.
“I want all the lurid details,” Helly said pulling on my arm. “I like the new gay you.” I just laughed. It felt liberated and ready for anything.
Wednesday’s English class we were finishing up Romeo and Juliet. Ms. Weiland assigned me to read Romeo while Gloria was Juliet. I read Romeo’s final words.
—O my love, my wife,
Death, that hath sucked the honey of thy breath,
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty.
Thou art not conquered. Beauty’s ensign yet
Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,
And death’s pale flag is not advanced there.—
I was not saying these words not to Juliet. It was Dom laying there.
Ah, dear Dom,
Why art thou yet so fair? Shall I believe
That unsubstantial death is amorous,
And that the lean abhorred monster keeps
Thee here in dark to be his paramour?
For fear of that I still will stay with thee
I was not aware that I was changing the text for this was all for my sweet, beautiful Dom: my love, my soul.
And never from this of dim night
Depart again. Here, here will I remain
With worms that are thy chambermaids. O, here
I gasp at the weight of the words, the words halted slowly out of me.
Will I set up my everlasting rest
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh!
My tears flowed as I remembered Dom’s last kiss, his last hug, his last smile, his last laughter, bright like stars.
Eyes, look your last.
Arms, take your last embrace. And, lips, O, you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death.
I kissed not Gloria but Dom, soft and gentle. I pulled a little away from his lips and went and kissed again, one last time, sobbing tears of loss.
Here’s to my love.
I took the bottle and looked at it as I would a gift. I looked a Dom laying there lifeless, and I lingered in drinking like it was as divine beverage. I savored every drop like it was Dom’s lips.
O true apothecary,
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.
I pulled Dom’s lifeless body to me. I was sobbing and gently kissed Dom. I lowered his body and my face fell against Dom’s lifeless. I roused only when I felt tears from Gloria touching my check. I sat up and smiled sheepishly. Half the class was crying including Ms. Weiland. Everything sat still for about five minutes until Gloria and I sat up, both embarrassed.
“I think we will stop here. Gloria, Ash, you may return to your seats,” she said. I returned to my seat with some students not able to look at me, other looks of sympathy and others just in awe. Stuart, who sat next to me, just pulled me into a hug and let me cry it out. “Thank you Cynthia and Ash for an excellent reading. I think everyone can see how relevant Shakespeare is to us today. Although the language may feel strange, the emotions still run true. The ancient Greeks thought that tragedy needed a catharsis, a purging of emotions, in other words a good cry. Shakespeare also believed in this. The release of pent up emotions is good. So today in class, thanks, to Ash and Gloria, we have experienced Shakespeare at his best and had a catharsis. Class dismissed.” Everyone looked at Ms. Weiland because there was 15 minutes more to the class. No one moved, when everyone is usually in a rush to leave. Then slowly a few of the bolder students gathered books and left. I did not move, nor did Stuart. Ms. Weiland came over and sat at a desk next to me. “Ash, that was a brilliant reading, but I know that it came more from your soul and your grief. Did it help you?”
I sat quiet, she did not press for an answer. “Yes,” I smiled, “yes it did.” I looked at Stuart, quiet and concerned. “Shall we head to current affairs.” I did not realize until then how many classes Stuart and I shared. He gently placed an arm around my shoulder. Not said but implied was I am here for you.
When I got home from school on Thursday, my mom was home. She and Ted were going to Miami on Friday for an all day HR symposium. Ted was one of the speakers and mom was doing final edits of the presentation at home. “Hi hon, how was school?” It was going better than expected. My coming out caused barely a ripple and my life was returning to a new normal without Dom. I still thought about him very often, but I did find good memories among the hole of loss. “You got a package in the mail,” Mom said, “It’s on the kitchen table.” It was from Mrs. Fortino, Dom’s mom.
I opened it. It contained several pictures of Dom and me, a couple dozen Pokemon card that were Dom’s pride and joy, One or two were very rare, and a small box with a ring, a simple green jade ring. There was also an envelope with a letter.
I cannot say how much I appreciate the joy you gave to Dom. It has been very difficult for us to cope with losing our son. It must have been very hard on you not to come to the funeral. My husband and I had a huge fight over it, but he just could not see you because you and Dom were always together.
As I was going though Dom’s things, I realized that you and Dom were more than just close friends. I want you to know how much I appreciate that he had love beyond his family before he left us. I know that you must hurt from his loss as much as I do. Please cherish that love and use it to be open to new love. It is a cliche, but nonetheless true, that the heart has no limit to love. So please, for Dom’s sake, remain open to love.
I have enclosed a few things I think he would want you to have. The ring was to be a birthday gift for you next month. I want you to have it, but not wear it, please. I do not want you to be tied to the past.
If you and your mother could stop by Saturday, we would greatly appreciate it. We have a few larger things that Dom would like you to have. I also want to know you are OK, and hug the man that my son loved so much. If this is too much, I understand that too.
With great affection,
My mom found me sobbing at the kitchen table. I just handed her the letter. She just sat next to me and hugged me for the longest time. Once the sobbing subsided, she asked, “Do you want to go over?” I only had the energy to nod yes. “Fine, I call Maria and confirm a time.”
I was in Dom’s room. It was empty. The place where we spent hours playing games and kissing was empty. The closet was devoid of clothes, the dresser drawers hung open and vacant, the bed was striped of sheets and the Pokemon comforter absent. A few of Dom’s X-men figures lay on the bed, corpses. I sat on the bare mattress and cried; it was a soft cry, a cry for a lost future and not a lost past. I picked up the X-men on the bed: Wolverine, Snow, and Dr. Xavier. I hugged them and then left them on the bed.
Back in the living room with everyone else, Mrs Fontino hugged me and asked if I was OK. I smiled I was.
I asked where Mr. Fontino was. Everyone tensed. He is having a very difficult time adjusting to the loss of Dom. I understood and I also understood that I was not the only one lost. “I understand,” I said quietly, “Tell him I got an earring so I would never forget Dom.” I gently rubbed my right lob. “Love does not die.” Tell him, if he wants, I would love to sit with him and talk about Dom and what a magnificent person he was. Everyone wipes some tears. Mrs. Fontino said she would like to tell her husband that,
Mom and I stayed for supper, lasagna, true Italian. While the mood was not festive, it was comforting. We talked about Dom, how silly he could be, how intense he could be, how fucking amazing he was. We laughed and cried. It was good.
Sunday, mom shoved me in the car and we went to the cemetery. Dom’s grave was still fresh. The dirty mostly light sand against the manicured green. There was a small headstone: Dominic Fortino 2000-2016. It was so final, so short, so inadequate for the Dom I knew. Mom stood several feet from me, giving be privacy. I spoke to Dom.
“I am sorry Dom. I am sorry about losing you, not being there when you died.” Tears flowed gently, softly, unnoticed. “You know I love you and always will. I also know that this is goodbye. We must go our separate ways. I am not so naive to believe that what we had would be forever, even if we said so. But I did not want us to part this way. The world is so diminished without you, so am I. I love you Dom. I know what you are telling me, my heart knows what you are telling me, telling me what you want for me. I will do my best without you.” I smiled, “You know Dom, I think Stuart has a crush on me.” I knelt and brushed my hand over the tombstone. “I think I will see where that goes.” I stood and joined my mother. I turned and took one last look where Dom’s body lay. But I thought I saw Dom dancing naked like he did for me a few weeks ago. He blew me a kiss.
This is a work of fiction for which I own the copyright. Please enjoy my work but respect my effort.
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