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This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, living or dead, is entire a coincidence. As the author, I retain all rights to this story, and it cannot be reproduced or published without explicit consent from me.  This work is copyright © 2014 by Steven Wells.


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John's Journey Forward


Chapter 04: The Brother, Job, and Boyfriend


Noel and I decided that he would move into my apartment on Saturday. I had turned in my letter of resignation on Thursday. My supervisor decided that Friday would be my last day. He gave me two week's salary to end my job sooner than later because he was going to lay off some people anyway. So, life was good.


I made room for Noel's belongings in the closet and emptied a few drawers. I was amazed at how much useless stuff I accumulated since I moved into the apartment two years ago.


My phone rang promptly at 11 am on Saturday. It was Noel announcing his arrival. I went downstairs to help him move his stuff.


"John," Noel began, "I'd like you to meet my older brother Manuel. Manuel, this is John."


We exchanged greetings. Finally, Noel explained his situation, "Manuel offered to help me move my stuff. Fortunately, it all fit in the back seat of his car. So, this won't take long to move things in."


After we had everything inside the apartment, Manuel headed to the bathroom. Noel and I began to talk about where to put his stuff.


"I've cleared out half of the closet over there for your stuff," I explained. "I've also emptied two drawers in the chest for you to use."


"Thanks, John!" Noel added with a smile. "I hope you don't feel I am invading your space when I start to put my stuff away!"


Manuel returned from the bathroom. He was smiling broadly, "So, guys, I will be on my way shortly, but I wanted to ask a few questions. And, Noel, don't fucking freak out on me, okay!"


"Why should I freak out?" Noel asked.


"Just listen, guys," Manuel ordered.


Noel and I both looked at Manuel in earnest. Something was about to happen.


"First, guys," Manuel began his questioning. "Are you two roommates, friends, or lovers?"


"Friends!" Noel shot back.


"Yea! Friends!" I also responded to Manuel's question. "Why?"


"Noel, I know our mother is a nut case when it comes to gay people," Manuel began to explain his position. "Kerry, my wife, and I have had some serious discussions about gay people. Unlike our mother, Noel, we have decided we don't give a shit if someone is gay. We have actually discussed whether you and Jorge could possibly be gay. I don't care. I am still your brother if you are gay. I will still love you like a brother if you are gay. So, what is it guys? Roommates? Friends? Lovers? Or, too early to tell?"


Noel looked down at the floor before he answered. "Too early to tell," he almost whispered. "I like John a lot, but he has been screwed in relationship recently by another guy. We promised we would take things slowly."


Manuel smiled at both of us, "I thought so. After we had the car packed with your stuff, Noel, you seemed to just totally relax. I also see the way the two of you look at one another. It reminds me of how Kerry and I look at one another. We can almost finish each other's sentences."


"It's that obvious?" Noel asked.


"If someone knows what to look for, yes," Manuel explained. "But, you don't have to worry about our mother making that observation. I don't think she has loved anyone or anything other than herself and her religion. So, she wouldn't know. And, I am sure as hell not going to tell her!"


"Thanks, Manuel," Noel quietly said to his brother.


"I have one last item before I leave," Manuel added as he pulled something out of his back pocket. It was a brochure titled `Living with HIV' that was given to both Noel and me at our first group session with Jake. "You left this on top of your dresser. I didn't want our mother to find it. Does this mean that one or both of you are HIV positive?"


Noel again looked at the floor before responding, "We both are. We met at an HIV support group meeting."


"Okay," Manuel responded to Noel's admission. "I want both of you to know that Kerry and I are always there for you to discuss things if you want. Nothing really surprises us anymore. We have a couple of friends who are living with HIV. So, all I am saying is, you are not alone with this. Do both of you understand?"


"Yes," Noel and I answer simultaneously.


"Good," Manuel said as he stood to leave. "I need to get moving, but Kerry and I hope the two of you will consider coming for dinner at our house... I'll talk to Kerry."


"Manuel," Noel answered. "Thanks for everything. It means a lot to me—and I am sure John too—that you understand our situation. You are a great brother!" Noel pulled Manuel into a hug.


After Noel and Manuel broke their hug, Manuel moved to where I was now standing and pulled me into a hug, "John, I don't think it will be long before you are over the `too early to tell' stage. So, please take care of my brother. Kerry and I will talk to you about anything as well. I know Noel is not going to be easy to live with!"


After Manuel departed, Noel and I sat on the sofa in total silence. Finally, Noel spoke, "That went well, don't you think?"


"That is an understatement, Noel," I quietly said to my new roommate. "Why don't I treat you to coffee? I think we might have a few things to talk about!"




A week after Noel moved in with me, I was set to start my job at Chris's website development firm. The Saturday before I started, I was a nervous wreck. I was glad Noel was there to help me with some major decisions.


"Noel," I started. "What am I supposed to wear? Chris said it was business casual. I have no idea what business casual is. I'm used to wearing jeans and a t-shirt."


"Well, I think maybe you need to talk with Chris, but I would suggest chinos or slim fit grey slack and a button down dress shirt—preferably blue," Noel suggested. "Do you have chinos or slim fit grey slacks?"


"I have both," I answered my roommate. "I may need to go to Macy's for the shirt, however. Of course, I have five days each week that I will need things to wear. Do you want to go shopping and max out my Macy's card?"


"Sure!" Noel said enthusiastically. "I love spending other people's money!"


"What should I wear to go shopping for business casual clothing?" I asked Noel.


"Something easy to get out of," Noel said with a grin. "And, you'll need some sexy underwear. I personally like the low rise Calvin Cline ones. You probably need to have a pair of dress shoes with you so you can decide on the inseam length. Loafers will do. Do you have loafers?"


"Yes, I have loafers," I answered. "I may have spent three years working at UPS, but I was let loose occasionally in the real world."


I slipped on my black Calvin Cline low rise briefs that Noel liked so much. On top of that I pulled on my 511 slim fit jeans and added a fairly tight red t-shirt. Loafers without sox were on my feet. Noel had on a similar outfit. `I am trying not to drag him into bed. He looks so fucking sexy!' I thought to myself.


We decided to walk to Macy's in the Galleria. We walked down Mass Ave from Central Square and up Memorial Drive along the Charles River.


"I'm so glad we decided to walk," Noel announced. "It is such a beautiful day! The City of Boston looks so peaceful from the Cambridge side on a day like today!"


"It is nice," I told my new roommate. "It's also nice to share moments like these with someone."


"I know what you mean," Noel agrees. "It makes these moments even more special!"


When we arrived, I made a suggestion, "Before we start the laborious task of shopping, why don't I buy us lunch. We can sit outside next to the fountain?"


"You're on, roomie," Noel agreed.


Once we had our food, we selected a seat outside for optimum people watching. "We should do this more often," I suggested.


"What? Go shopping?" Noel asked with a grin.


"No!" I answered with mock disdain. "Eat somewhere that allows us to sit outside. Winter will be here all too soon!"


"It's only June, and you are talking winter?" Noel asked.


"Summers are so fleeting!" I answer. "Hey! Isn't that Bobby from the support group?"


"Yup! I think it is. Do we ask him to sit with us?" Noel asked.


"Sure! Hey Bobby!" I yelled in our friend's direction. He waved and started to walk towards us.


"Hello, guys! What's new?" Bobby asked.


"Pull up a bench and join us," Noel suggested.


"Sure," Bobby said as he sat down. "I was just out for a walk. It's too nice a day to stay inside. What's up with you two?"


"John needs to buy clothes for his new job," Noel announced. "Did you do some work for Chris in our support group?"


"Yea!" Bobby answered. "He's given me a reason to get up in the morning. Chris is a really patient and all around nice guy to work for."


"I'm glad to hear it," I said to Bobby. "I start there on Monday morning. Hence the shopping spree to buy clothes suitable for an office. What do people normally wear?"


"Mostly slack and a dress shirt," Bobby answered. "Some people wear polo's. But the designer guys are mostly dressed in slacks and dress shirts in case a client shows up. What will you be doing for Chris, John?"


"Website application design," I told Bobby. "When Chris offered me the job, I couldn't believe it at first. Then, the HR guy started sending me forms to fill out, employee manuals to read, and contracts to sign. So, I'm guessing it is real even though I still can't wrap my head around Chris's generosity."


"Super," Bobby exclaimed. "You'll like the people. Everyone is so fucking friendly. And, everyone—and I do mean everyone—thinks Chris walks on water! I have to run. I'm meeting a friend for coffee... Well, he's not exactly my friend... More like my AA sponsor."


"See you on Tuesday evening, Bobby," Noel says.


"I guess we will be seeing each other on Monday!" I tell Bobby.


After Bobby left and we deposited the remains of our lunch in the trash bins, we were on our way to Macy's. "So, here goes," I say to Noel. "I've never been good at shopping. I can never make up my mind. Colors confuse the shit out of me. So, please give me advice! That way I won't need to really make a decision. I'll just rely on your options!"


"You're not getting away that easily, Johnnie boy!" Noel admonished me as we stepped into the men's department of Macy's. "You will have the ultimate decision. I will just give you opinions! Let's find a gay boy sales person and make him our personal shopper."


"Good idea," I agreed. "How about the blond?"


"Perfect!" Noel said as he headed toward our target. I saw Noel glance at the blonde's name tag. "So, Jason. I'm Noel. And, my friend John, here, is starting a new job on Monday as a website designer. He needs clothes. Business casual clothes. Like five days of business casual clothes. Could you help us out?"


"I would be delighted to help you guys," Janson answered. "Turn around, John. I need to see what size you wear."


I turned around and Jason adjusted my 511 jeans so he could read the tag. "Good. These 511 Levis make your body look terrific, John. So, we should probably stick with the 30 inch waist and a 32 inch inseam. We should find something you like and try it on. Then, we can select the colors you want. If you stick to a similar style, you can switch things around. Maybe throw on a contrasting vest one day. Maybe a skinny tie the next. I know you said business casual. But, I think from my experience of helping my boyfriend dress in a business casual environment, I have some ideas that will definitely get you noticed. And, if you are in an entry level job like he was, you will definitely want to be noticed! So, follow me."


Noel smiled and whispered into my ear, "See! We've found our gay boy personal shopper."


"I guess," I whispered back. We were following Jason around like puppy dogs.


Before we knew it we were in the Tommy Hilfigar section. "These trim-fit slacks will accentuate your body's natural contours. Plus, they can be worn in almost any season. I would recommend a pair in blue, black, grey, tan, and taupe. So, why don't we try a pair of these on to make certain we have the exact size that will emphasize your body's best assets?"


Jason gathered up a pair in each color. We headed toward the dressing room. Jason found an empty room and handed me the slacks. "I can't wait to see these on you!" Jason enthused.


I left the door open. I slipped off my 511 Levis and pulled on the first pair of Tommy Hilgigar trim-fit slacks. `Jason is totally right,' I thought to myself as I looked into the mirror. `I had never thought a pair of dress slacks could possibly show off my butt and crotch like these did. Jason is a master!'


I stepped out of the dressing room, "So, guys. What do you think?"


"Nice, John!" Noel exclaimed. "You look almost edible...! Opps!"


"Don't worry, Noel," Jason remarked "You are among family here. And, they are definitely a perfect fit. And, John, you fill out your Calvin Clines very nicely."


We followed Jason around the store for another hour. After it was all over, we had five pairs of slacks, six shirts, six pairs of sox, six Calvin Cline white tank tops for under the shirts, two pair of shoes, two skinny ties, and one vest. I also decided to blow the whole bundle by adding a suit jacket to the black suit separate pants.


"And, John, you are in luck," Jason said as he began tallying the purchases. "Everything is 25 percent off. Plus, you get an extra 20 percent for using your Macy's card. And, because I think you are both really nice guys, I am going to throw in a 20 percent friends and family discount. So, the grand total is $1,051.49. That's over 50 percent off the original price!"


As I slid my Macy's card, I said to Jason, "Thank you for all of your help! I would still be here at closing if we hadn't found you!"


As he put my new things in the bags or on hangers, he pulled out his business card. "I am the assistant manager of this department. Please call me when you need help with additional purchases. I will make certain I am here when it is convenient for you to shop."


When we finally were on the sidewalk on our way home, I turned to Noel, "Noel, I have never in my life spent this kind of money on clothes in one fucking day. But, you know what? I loved every minute of it. I especially love it because we shared this monumental occasion."


"Thanks, roomie," Noel answered. "I enjoyed it, too! Of course, I didn't spend my money! How are you going to pay for all of this?"


"When I get the bill, I'll pay it," I answered. "It will come out of my college fund, but I will pay it."


"Now that I have enjoyed watching you spend your money, I am willing to spring for dinner tonight," Noel suggested. "How about the vegetarian place on Mass Ave?"




On Monday morning, I was dressed in my new grey Tommy Hilfigar slacks and a blue button down shirt. Noel supervised me getting dressed, "I think you look terrific, John. I thought you looked better in your red Calvin Cline low rise briefs, but... you are certainly dressed for the new job! Heads will definitely turn when you walk into the office!"


"Thanks, Noel," I told my roommate. "I am nervous as shit! What if I do something stupid? What if I'm not as good as Chris thinks I will be? What if I spill lunch on myself?"


"John," Noel encouraged me. "You will be fine. You will not do anything stupid. Chris will be happy as shit with your work. And, if you do spill lunch on yourself, you will merely take the pants and shirt to the cleaners. End of story. Now, let's hit the road!"


Noel and I both hopped on the Red line at Central Square. I got off at the next stop, which was Kendell Square where Chris's company was located. Noel stayed on the train for his journey into the financial district.


I paused for a moment when I was at the door to eSquare Web Solutions. `Okay, here goes!' I thought to myself as I opened the door. Janis, the receptionist, greeted me with enthusiasm, "John! Welcome to eSquare! I will let Chris know you are here. Just have a seat and he will be right with you!"


I was barely settled in a chair when Chris appeared, "John! Welcome aboard! Let's go to the conference room, and we can get started."


I followed Chris into the conference room. "First off, I am a coffee freak. So, there are Keurig's in every conference room and scattered around the common areas of the office. We also have every imaginable Starbuck's coffee drink somewhere in the office. And, if you see a Keurig, there will be a fridge nearby with water and assorted cold beverages. There is also an espresso machine in the break room." As Chris was explaining the basics, he handed me a black ceramic mug with eSquare imprinted in bold gold lettering.


Once we each had coffee, we settled around the conference room table. "I will introduce you to several people in a few minutes. However, I thought we should get a few things out of the way."


Chris pushed a laptop in front of me, "This is standard issue as of last week. It is an Acer V Nitro Black Edition. Inside is an Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor running at 2.5GHz. This one is equipped with 16 GB of RAM, 256 GB of SSD storage, and a 1 TB hard drive. It is considered one of the best gaming laptops on the market. Most of us leave these at the office because it weights almost 6 pounds. That's why we also provide our designers with a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 to carry around. And, to keep you even further connected to our merry band of geeks, here is a Nokia Lumina Windows 8.1 phone. It is synced to our customer and employee databases so you can reach any of us at almost any time. You will learn to silence this thing when you want privacy. I shut mine off—Gavin's orders! Any questions so far?"


"No," I answered. "I think I have just died and gone to geek heaven!"


"We try to stay on top of new technology," Chris smiled as explained the equipment. "You have the entire Microsoft Office 365 suite at your disposal as well as the entire array of products included in the Adobe Creative Suite. I will let Sandy show you how to navigate all of these tools. By the way, Sandy will be your lead team member. He is a great guy. I think you will like him immensely. He's been with me since day one."


"What's a lead team member?" I asked. I hoped I wasn't asking a stupid question.


"Ah! Lead team member is eSquare talk for supervisor," Chris explained. "Sandy Lee is the lead on a five member team. You are the fifth team member. I hope you don't mind, but I put you on our team that does contract work for a major gay business. Sandy will explain that in further detail. All five members of the team are gay. Sandy, Ralph, Serge, George, and you. I think you will understand why after you talk with Sandy. The other guys are cool dudes!"


"I am looking forward to working with whomever you want me to work," I answered.


"Here is a starter pack of business cards. They have your phone number, e-mail address, and other contact information. Give them out freely. Business cards can provide terrific marketing opportunities... Now, on a more personal note, only Janis and, of course, Bobby know how we met. Some of the staff know that I am HIV positive because I was freaking out when I was first given the news. I told all of the staff that you and I met at a networking gathering. I would suggest that if anyone asks, you should tell them the same thing. I frankly don't think anyone will ask, but I want you to be prepared."


"Thanks, Chris," I told him. "I wasn't sure how you were going to handle that particular detail."


"Now, John, let me introduce you to some of the crew!" Chris said excitedly as he led me out of the conference room. "While things here may appear to be sheer chaos, there is an actual structure that you will figure out at some point. The executive team occupies the offices in the center of the floor. The work teams occupy the outside areas. Your team happens to have a view to the East, so you will be looking at the Boston skyline all day long."


As we approach a group in the east conference room, Chris enters with me in tow. "Guys," Chris begins the introductions. "This is our newest team member, John Ramerez. The guy with the floral shirt is Sandy Lee. The big guy is Ralph Freeman. The one that actually gets his hair cut is Serge Morales. The last one is George Hassan." The guys all greeted me with a handshake.


Chris continued, "I will introduce John to a few other people. Then, I will bring him back here for you to help him get settled."


"Okay, boss," Sandy added as Chris led me away.




I arrived back at the apartment at 6 pm after the first day of my new job. I was excited and tired, but I had to call Mel or there would be hell to pay!


"Hello, Mel," I said as she answered the phone.


"How did your first day as a website designer go?" Mel asked.


"It has been a total blur," I responded. "I met what seemed like hundreds of people. Shown around the office. I think I can even make it to the bathroom by myself tomorrow. Chris gave me a new, top of the line laptop, a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 in case I don't want to carry the six pound laptop with me, a Windows phone, and a stack of business cards. The view from our part of the office is the Boston skyline!"


"It sounds exciting," Mel effused. "How many people work there?"


"There are five of us on my team," I explained. "Sandy is our team leader. There are about 10 teams with five team members in each team. So, I think there are around fifty designers and then there are the support people who do the accounting, HR, and other things. I believe Chris said he had 75 people on his staff."


"And he has been at this for only two years, right?" Mel asked.


"Yup," I answered.


"Well congratulations, Mr. Website Designer!" Mel exclaimed.


"Thanks. I can't believe I have a real fucking job as a website designer!" I added.


"I have this feeling you will do really well at this job," Mel encouraged me. "How are things with Noel?"


"Really well," I admitted. "He's a really nice guy. He went shopping with me at Macy's for my business casual garb I needed. It was actually fun shopping with him. And, you know how much I hate shopping!"


"I had to practically drag you to the shoe store last winter, remember," Mel reminded me. "You were going to wear fucking sneakers to work when we had a foot of snow on the ground."


We talked for several minutes more until I heard Noel come home. "Mel, I have to go. Noel is here. I want to tell him everything I told you!"


"Go for it, stud," Mel signed off. "We can talk later in the week!"


"Bye, Mel," I said as I ended the call. "Hey, Noel! How was your day?"


"It was a day at the beach!" Noel enthused. "I can see you must have had a really exciting day. I don't think I have seen you this happy since I've know you!"


"It shows, huh?" I ask.


"Yup!" Noel answered. "Take off your clothes so they don't get wrinkled. Then, sit beside me and tell me everything that happened today!"


"You just want to see me in my underwear!" I said to Noel as I was smiling at my roommate.


"That, too!" Noel answered as he followed me to the closet area.


We both took off our clothes and hung them in the closet. I had on my black low rise Calvin Clines, and he had on his white ones. We settled back on the sofa, and I began to recount my entire day, including the lap top, Surface, and phone.


I summarized my first day at work, "I really, really like the people I am going to be working with. The other four guys on my work team are gay."


"So, does that mean I have competition?" Noel asked.


"Nope!" I answered. "I am sitting here looking at my almost naked roommate. I am thinking he is really, really cute, sexy, and adorable! I'm also hoping that at some point my roommate might kiss me!"


"Really?" Noel asked. He seemed somewhat surprised.


"Really!" I said. "Does that bother you?"


"Nope!" Noel said as he moved closer to me. "I just want you to be sure that we are not going too fast."


"If you don't kiss me within 30 seconds, I am going to be a very, very angry roommate," I whispered as I move closer to Noel.


Noel wrapped his arms around my shoulders and pulled me close to him, "I love the way you feel."


I put my arms around Noel, "Now, the lips, please!"


We began softly kissing one another. I was caressing Noel's back and Noel was caressing mine.


"I've wanted this... for a long time..., Noel!" I whispered between kisses.


"You'd better... get used... to this," Noel whispered back. He grabbed my hand and put it over his crotch. "This is what... you do... to me...!"


I moved our hands so Noel felt my crotch, "Same here... boyfriend!"



To be continued...


I hope you liked the direction that "John's Journey Forward" is taking. I would like to hear from anyone who reads this story.


I would enjoy hearing your comments about this story. You can write to me at


This is my fourth posting of my third story on Please also see:


Sam and Chris in the College section.


Jeffery Comes Home also in the Beginnings section.


Life With Tim in the Authoritarian section (Please note, this story is not for everyone because there are several scenes depicting Master/slave and BDSM relationships. So, if you are not interested in this activity, please, please do not read this story.)


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