Saturday dawned wet and the forecast was for rain all weekend. There wouldn’t be much outdoor activity this weekend! I lay there watching him sleep, realizing it was almost 7:00 AM and he’d naturally wake soon. Before too long one eye opened, and I saw just the hint of a smile form on his lips. “You have an addiction, you know, watching teen age boys sleep. Is that healthy?”
“It’s healthy for me. You’d be amazed how good it is for my psychological constitution and physical health.” I reached out and stroked his cheek as I said it, and he reciprocated.
“Thank you for last night, I’ve never felt so good, cum so hard, felt like I was at the end of the world, and it was because you were inside me, making me whole, making us one.” He was really emotional, I thought I could almost see tears.
“Last night was really an emotional one for you, wasn’t it?”
“It was. I was really worried about signing Heroes, even though Susan told me I had it down. I wanted it to be the best for you. It was so great being able to look at you as I sang it. I wanted to do a good job, but I wanted it to be perfect for you. Because you’re my hero. I’ve heard Gary say a couple of times that you saved him. I’ve never said it to you, but I feel the same way. Nine months ago I was a fucked up invisible kid, and because of you I’ve become a whole person who’s on their way to doing something with his life, and who’s in a relationship so far beyond what I dreamed about that I don’t, I don’t know, I….uhm, I don’t know how to say it.”
The beginnings of tears were just forming at the edges of his eyelids. I pulled him to me and kissed his eyes, licking the tears the way a mother cat does for her kittens. Then I held his face in my hands and waited for him to open his eyes and look at me.
When his eyes flicked open in ten or fifteen seconds, I kissed the end of his nose. “I feel the same way, and remember, you said it when we were at the beach the last time. Reciprocity. We’re both damaged goods. We’re both fucked up. But we’re taking care of each other. We’re healing each other. That’s the most astonishing thing in my life. I mean, I love you, and the sex is wonderful and you’re beautiful, but that’s not what you’re talking about. If we both didn’t have each other who knows where we’d be. Screwed up, on our own and living some kind of emotional nightmare probably. Now, can I tell you something?”
He wiped his eyes and nodded. “After what you told me about your ride home with Will and the conversation and all that, I called Paul Gallagher yesterday and talked to him about it.”
Jackson’s eyes widened, and I could see the faintest hint of a smile, an indication of approval.
“His first response was about how important this could be for Will. That he’s probably struggling with his identity and consciously or unconsciously he’s reached out to his best friend about it. Mainly he said we both need to understand how much benefit could come from handling it right, or damage from handling it wrong.”
“Wow! I hadn’t thought about it that way, but it makes sense. Do you think he’s figuring out that he’s gay too?”
“Probably not, but anything’s possible. Paul said more likely he has bisexual feelings going on and we’re not a society or a church that helps people work that out. So, think about it, he’s watched and felt our vibe. He heard that whole thing with Josh and the last fellowship where he outed himself, he’s struggling in the relationship with his girlfriend. Paul said it’s the most natural thing to turn to your best friend, if you can.”
“But he didn’t ask for advice. We had that weird wandering conversation about kissing guys and sucking dick and stuff.”
“It was a form of a conversation. Maybe it was the only way he could give voice to what’s going on inside him. He’s an artist. He’s a musician. He’s a creative soul. Why would it be a surprise that he’s struggling with feelings like this?”
“You’ve thought about this a lot, haven’t you? This isn’t the way you sounded the other night.”
“No, it’s not. I overreacted the other night. Personally, and I let my personal paranoia get in the way, so I didn’t even see any of this. Paul challenged me to step back from my relationship with you and be Will’s pastor, to try and help him sort it out however I could. And he thinks you should, too. He’s willing to talk to you on the phone about it to help out.”
Jackson’s eyes widened.
“His point is that he’s your best friend. That’s precious. And remember Paul’s gay, too, so he knows just how delicate this kind of thing can be, and how damaging it can be if it goes the wrong way.”
“So, what do we do?”
“That’s up to you, Lover Boy. He talked to you. Are you willing to continue the conversation and see where it goes?”
“What does that mean? That I’m supposed to suck his cock?”
“No, no, relax. You’re jumping to the extreme. I’m betting he’s forgotten all about the part about sucking cocks. The message he was sending you was like a plea for help with the struggle he’s going through. Are you willing to engage and help, or not? If so, then we’ll sort out the rules of the game.”
“What do you think?”
“Honestly, I didn’t know what to think until Paul challenged me to think about how different my life would have been if I’d have had someone that I could have engaged with like this about those feeling I was having at that age. Someone to talk to and maybe even experiment with, but most importantly someone who would affirm me and those feeling and help me sort them out.”
I could see him getting emotional again. “I so wish I’d had someone like that, too. Instead when he stated talking to me about it, I got flipped out and defensive. It’s almost like I forgot he was my best friend I was so focused on me and us.”
I kissed his forehead. “We’re solid. It’s Will we have to think about right now. The first question is if we’re going to engage or not. If not, then you can act like it never happened. If so, then we’ll figure out how we go forward from here.”
He smiled broadly and his eyes were sparkling in the morning light. “Can I think about it?”
“You bet, we need to get up and start breakfast. Gary will be up soon, and I’m betting Lois is coming over for breakfast to give us both the third degree about last night.”
“What?” He had a look of shock.
I laughed out loud. “She’s not going to quiz us about the gay sex, though that might be interesting because it was so monumental last night, when I was so deep inside you.” I wiggled my eyebrows. “Can you still feel it?”
He smiled and nodded “It’s wonderful, like the way your muscles feel after a good workout!”
“She’s going to quiz us about the song you sang, how well you sang it, what it meant, and all that. She told me it was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen.”
“Yep. It was that magical. Just so you know. Now, let’s get up. I need to pee!”
I did, then slipped on some jeans and used the bathroom downstairs to wash my face while Jackson used ours off the bedroom.
I heard Gary getting up and decided we’d have Gas House Specials with sausage on the side, and went to work brewing the coffee, and cutting the rounds out of the bread. I had quite a stack of ammunition before Gary and Jackson walked into the kitchen, almost at the same time.
“Ah ha, en garde,” I said in my best Inspector Clouseau impression, then started firing the little bread rounds at them like frisbees out of a cannon. Jackson knew what was happening within two seconds and started trying to catch them and heave them back. Gary was caught off guard, started ducking and dodging out of the way, and then slowly figured out the game. Eventually I was out of ammunition, and they came marching across the kitchen, the way a squad of infantry with eight-foot pikes would mow down a weak enemy. I backed up to the counter by the sink, trapped in the corner. Their grins were evil, but I could see the fun in their eyes.
“Surrender? What a pansy? We haven’t fought back yet, and you’re surrendering?”
“Yeah, what kind of a man would do that,” Gary asked?
“A guy who cooks breakfast in his boxers, maybe? See, I wore jeans for you this morning so I wouldn’t throw you off or anything. I’d hate to have my clothes have a negative impact on your appetite.”
They charged, and had me pinned in the corner, up against the cabinets, knuckling me in the ribs and giving me a dose of pay back when I heard Lois yell out. “What are you guys doing?”
Jackson looked back at her and quickly said, “We’re getting payback. He tried to start a war, but then he ran out of ammunition. Now we’re getting even and then we’ll negotiate the peace.”
Lois started giggling. “You guys are so immature. But it is fun to watch. I never had the pleasure of dumb brothers to watch.”
That comment was funny but stung. “Whatta ya mean dumb brothers. We’re the Three Musketeers, remember. Nothing dumb going on here! We’re just goofing around while we waited because you were late for breakfast!”
I pushed Jackson and Gary off me, and we settled down and rearranged our clothes. Jackson, smart boy that he was, got to work picking up the bread rounds before they got stepped on and ground into the floor. Gary strolled over and kissed Lois hello.
“So, pour the lady a cup of coffee, as a gentleman should, and while you’re at it, pour a cup for Jackson and me too, si vous plait!”
He looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language, which I was. “It’s French, for if you please. You know the Three Musketeers were French, don’t you?”
“Oh yeah, right! Coffee coming up.”
”However, now the Lady who with us constitutes the Fellowship of the Four is here, so we have to act more chivalrously.”
Jackson and I shared the cooking duties, and as we ate Lois started talking about the dance and the music the night before.
Jackson was head down, eating breakfast when Lois said, “Jackson, do you know how good you were last night? Like it was fabulous!”
He looked up, still chewing, and as he finished and then swallowed. I could see just the beginnings of the blush of embarrassment.
Lois could read him like a book. “Why are you embarrassed? You were great? A new song, first time in public, first time sung in Newberg, a great rendition, and you’re embarrassed about that?”
Before he could say anything, she went on, “Oh, and there was that dedication to the hero in your life. Are you going to tell us about that?”
He was really blushing now, his hazel eyes glinting in the brightening morning light, but the hint of a smile was growing into something larger.
“You’re not trying to embarrass me, are you Lois? I mean, like put me on the spot and make me feel bad?”
“Uh, yeah! Kind of like you put David on the spot with the dunking booth at the Harvest Fair. Remember that? Now give it up. I want all the details!”
We spent the next half hour filling her and Gary in on the album, Paul buying it in Germany, the present for his birthday, the lyrics and all the rest.
Gary was looking at us like he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Lois effusively said, “You guys are a couple of real romantics, aren’t you?”
I took that as a real compliment, reached over and took Jackson’s hand and said, “Yes, we are, and proud of it.”
Then I reached for her hand with my free one and added, “And we’re not alone. We’re all in this together. The whole idea of building a family is kind of romantic, don’t you think?”
I could see she’d reached over and taken Gary’s hand, and Gary, had done the same with Jackson.
Lois looked at me, and said softly, “I now understand something else. What you really meant when you said what you did about the Tammy Wynette award and called me one of your heroes. That was so nice to say.”
I smiled at her, “I meant every word, and here’s to being romantics!”
Gary was working at the bike shop in the afternoon. He said it gave him spending money so he could afford to date Lois! He also told us that her Dad had said he could do the trade in of the Electra for the International truck on Monday, so he’d be home late since he’d do the deal after he came home from school.
Jackson quipped, “Then Tuesday afternoon we can practice loading up the riding mower and other equipment in the trailer.”
Gary beamed, obviously very happy with the equipment change, and anticipating where it would take their business. “You know, it’s almost March. We need to start going back though all our customers from last year and making sure they’re signed up for this summer, and then find replacements for those who drop out.”
They agreed to start working on that over the coming weekends.
Lois was then off to do something in the afternoon with her friends, Gary was heading for the bike shop. Jackson and I cleaned up the pans and dishes of what had become brunch, and then retreated to the living room to relax. I told him I wanted to play the Bowie album and have him do a kind of karaoke version, sing along with David, but use his special lyrics.
He grinned and I cued up the album and turned up the volume. It was great. Jackson sang really good harmony to David Bowie, was right on the beat, and when he switched the lyrics it melted my heart. When the song was over, we turned down the volume and he came over and laid down on the couch with his head in my lap.
We enjoyed just being. Being there. Being together. Eventually, he reached up and stroked my face and said, “Can we talk about Will?”
I nodded and leaned down and kissed his forehead.
“I’ve been thinking about what you said earlier, and you’re right. This isn’t about me. This isn’t about us. This is about him. I already feel bad that I reacted like I did. He’s my best friend and all I did was let myself feel weird and worry about me.”
“Jackson.” He looked up at me. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s called first reactions. Most of it was in your mind. He didn’t hear it.”
“I guess you’re right. So, what do we do?”
“Have you answered the first question?”
“Yes. I want to engage. He’s my best friend. I owe it to him to help him, whatever is going on. I’m only in the band and some kind of singing star because of him. He accepted me back into his friendship with no questions asked. If he’s going through a tough time I’ve got to help.”
“That’s terrific. Do you have any ideas how you want to approach it or where you think it might go?”
“Well, no. Not really. That’s the scary part. I mean he hasn’t said anything since we talked after band practice. He didn’t say anything last night, but we were super busy and all.”
“Maybe you should reach out to him, see how he’s doing today.”
“That makes sense. See how he’s feeling after last night’s gig?”
“Yeah, he should be feeling good, since the performance went well, and the Heroes song was a huge hit. Even if you were the soloist, he played lead guitar and backed you up. Maybe give him a call. See how he’s doing.”
“Play it by ear. See how he’s doing. You’re sensitive. You’ve known him for years. Maybe suggest you guys get together and do something. Go somewhere and talk. Whatever. I think you need to give him the opening to talk to you. And if he’s nervous or hung up, maybe you need to bring it up in a neutral way and ask him what he’s thinking about it all now. I don’t mean confront him, just give him an opening.”
“Really? You think I can do that?”
“You said you want to help kids understand themselves and improve.”
“Yeah, but that’s kids. Not a friend my age who’s talking about kissing guys and sucking cock.”
“Jackson, are you afraid he’s going to jump your bones?”
“No! But I’m nervous. I’m with you. I don’t want anything to happen to damage what we’ve got.”
“Okay, and I agree. Now we’re talking about what Paul called ground rules. How open are you and how far are you willing to let it go? He said maybe it’s making it clear up front that if he wants to experience it, maybe it’s limited to kissing or embracing. So, he knows what it’s like with another guy. Or it could go further if you’re up for it.”
“If I’m up for what? What about you? Are you up for any of this?”
“You saw my initial reaction, and that was selfish and paranoid. I trust you absolutely. You know Will. So, I’ve resolved myself to the fact that since you’ve said yes, this has to be your call. We can talk about it and agree, but it has to be your call.”
“What does that mean?” He was looking a little panicked.
“Are we one? Are we us, for the rest of our lives?”
“Okay, then what we’re talking about here is something temporary or transient, right? We’re not talking about a second relationship. We’re talking about you helping Will experience something that he is mentally wrestling with about his identity. Let’s say he’s bisexual and in denial, like Paul suggested is possible. Maybe all he needs is be held by a boy he can trust to get in touch with that. Maybe it’ll take more. Maybe he needs to be kissed by a guy. Maybe he needs to be naked with a guy and be held, or jacked off, or whatever. We’re not talking about a new relationship; we’re talking about something like what they call a therapeutic intervention.”
Jackson was silent. I could see he was processing.
“How can you be so unemotional about this? It sounds like you’re talking about a science lab project.”
“No, I’m talking about the life of a real person. And I was really struck by what Paul said to me about how different my life could have been, would have been, if I’d had someone in it to engage like we’re talking about when I was younger. Someone like you, who was willing to engage with me and help me figure this out, even if it was temporary and never turned into a relationship or a romance. That’s the point, isn’t it? Engagement and helping him figure it out? But, that said, it’s your call and you have to set the boundaries.”
He was silent and thinking seriously, so I said nothing. After a minute he said, “You’re serious, and none of this will come between us? That this is about helping Will however it turns out, and you won’t let it hurt you? That’s my worry? That I do this for Will, and somehow it rebounds, and you get hurt.”
“I promise I’ll try my best not to take any of it personally, because he’s my friend, too and I want to help him. Another angle is that I’m his pastor, and if he engages again about struggling with his identity, you encourage him to talk to me. Meaning I can have a more intellectual discussion with him about it, and you guys can have a more experiential discussion about it. Does that make sense?”
“Will you tell me about the intellectual discussion part?” I told him what Paul had told me about the two basic questions: how do you react to seeing sexy boys, and what do you think about when you jack off?
“Wow! You’d put that to him?”
“Well, yeah, but only if he wants to have the conversation and is open to it, because those kinds of questions really start to address the issue. At some point it has to move from an intellectual exercise to what’s real. If you think about boys and cocks and stuff when you jack off, then guess what? By the way, Lover Boy, I never asked. Before you met me, what did you think about when you jacked off?”
“Oh, that’s easy. I always thought about cocks. Not that I’d seen many, outside of gym class, but I had seen plenty of pictures in those men’s magazines I told you about. The one’s out in my fort. The one’s you never looked at.”
I leaned over and kissed his forehead again. “I had no need to look at them. Why would I look at pictures of the cocks of guys I don’t know, when I can look at the cock of the guy I love like nothing else in the world?”
I slid my hand under his T-shirt and down the front of his jeans, under his boxers so my fingertips were in his pubes. “See,” I said, “I have the real thing. Who needs mags!”
He grinned. “That’s what I’ve been thinking, too. I think I feel a bulge behind my head. What would that be? Do you suppose it’s some kind of real thing?”
Our gazes were locked now. “Since we have the dishes done and no other pressing commitments this afternoon,” I whispered, “I think we should retreat up to our bedroom and explore the possibilities. I have this growing need to have you inside me today.”
We made passionate mid-day love, and then took a delightful nap. Afterwards, Jackson called Will and they talked for a while about the gig last night, how he was feeling, and all the rest of it. They decided to go out to eat after youth fellowship the next night.
The Sunday Gospel reading in John was the beginning of Chapter 9, where Jesus encounters the man born blind from birth, and is asked by the disciples, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind.” I tried to shape the sermon to talk about spiritual blindness and what is required to move beyond it, but was constantly nagged by a fact that went back to the study group: the formation of a major belief system in a time when blindness was thought to be the result of the parent’s sin…and we still accept most of it at face value even though we’ve been to the moon and have modern medicine.
Youth Fellowship that evening had a couple of questions about equal rights for women and religious views on homosexuality, but they were nowhere near as specific as I expected. My worry had been that some of the kids would go right home and tell the parents what the pastor was teaching them about it, and that could lead to a major confrontation. So far, so good.
Will closed fellowship, as usual, with a couple of songs on his guitar. He and Jackson were the last ones in the parsonage after all the other kids had left. I turned to them and said, “Where are you guys going to eat?”
“We’re debating between the Mexican restaurant or Super Burger.”
“If it was me, I’d go Mexican. Do you have enough cash?”
He nodded. “Okay, you guys have a good time. See you at home.”
It was before 9:30 when I heard him coming up the stairs. Gary was already home and in his room. He slipped into our room quietly, though I was reading in bed. I watched him and said nothing. He acted just a bit embarrassed.
“I don’t know. It’s a new feeling. I don’t understand it. You’re my lover. But I’ve been talking about all this stuff with another guy.”
“Can I make a suggestion?” He nodded.
“Come over here, right now.” I shifted over to make room at the edge of the mattress. He slid in next to me and I grabbed him in a tight embrace. “No worries. I’m still here. You still feel like you did last night. I think all is good.”
He smiled. “I guess I’m just young and paranoid.”
“No, you’re sensitive. And, you’re worried that you crossed some boundary and hurt or offended me. But since we agree that you’re setting the boundaries, that’s a non-issue.”
He looked at me. “You’re serious, aren’t you.”
“I told you I trusted you completely, so why wouldn’t I be serious. I do and I am.”
“You, my Sexy Man, are pretty amazing.”
“I’ll take that. Now, do you want to tell me how it went?”
“Sure. We talked about the dance at school, the gig overall, the musical performance, the singing, how I did, how he did. You know, all of that. We’re both happy with how it went, and so’s Tom, according to Will. Then we just talked about school and stuff, and finally I realized he wasn’t going to bring it up. So, I said, ‘Will, when we were driving home the other night you were talking to me about my relationship with David and what it’s like to kiss guys and stuff. Do you want to tell me what was behind that?’ I mean, I told him not to freak, I was just concerned and wanted to be sure he was Okay.”
“And he handled that Okay?”
“Well, he acted startled, then after I told him to chill, no confrontation, I wasn’t offended, he’s my best friend and I’m trying to be there for him, he started opening up. Meaning he apologized for dumping all that stuff on me. What clued me in was what you said about how maybe it was subconscious, and I told him to relax. It was cool and he could talk to me about anything, including anything sexual. The only thing off limits was my sexual relationship with you.”
I grinned widely at that. “And how did he handle that boundary?”
“He apologized if he’d offended me. He said I was his best friend and the last thing he wanted to do was offend me or demean our relationship. It was sweet he was being really honest.”
I smiled, waiting, appreciating how analytical Jackson was being, as well as how sensitive he had been to his friend.
“Then it was like he didn’t know what to say or how to go on from where we’d stopped talking the other night. So, I apologized to him”
I probably raised my eyebrows, but I wasn’t surprised. That was just the kind of person Jackson was.
“Did he understand?”
“Not until I told him that I was apologizing because I hadn’t heard what I think he was really saying when he was asking about kissing guys and sucking cock and stuff. Instead I’d reacted by being defensive and taking it personally. I told him I was apologizing because I thought it should have been about him, not about me.”
“And he said…?”
He said, “I can’t believe you. That you can even say something like that. I’ve been freaked all week that,…that you thought I was way out of line and trying to cut in on you and David or something.”
“So, I told him nothing would ever come between you and me, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t be close to my best friends and help them and support them however they needed it. I kind of emphasized the ‘however they needed it’ part, and I think he got the message. Anyway, that’s what happened. Except when he dropped me off, he got out of the car to thank me, and when he came around to the passenger side, I knew he was going to do some lame guy goodbye kind of thing. You know, one of those really lame kind of hugs, and I didn’t let him get away with it.”
This time I really raised my eyebrows.
He grinned. “Yeah, he was on the curb, and I was standing in the street, you know six inches lower, and I grabbed him and hugged him. It started out as a regular hug, but then I guess I was pulling him toward me, and he had to step off the curb and he lost his balance and fell into me, and I leaned back against his car and pulled him into me. Like one of those killer embraces you give me. And we were really close, and his face was next to mine, and I could feel my lips against his ear, and I told him, ‘You’re my best friend, and I love you.’ He froze for a moment. And then he leaned back and looked at me, and I could see him tearing up, and he said, ‘I love you, too.’ And that was it. We’re going to talk some more after band practice on Wednesday.”
“You’re an amazing person, Lover Boy. But I have a request.”
“Why don’t you get out of those clothes and come back here into bed with me and let me see if I can’t find something interesting to do with that cock that seems to be constrained within those jeans you’re wearing.”
His grin widened, and he complied.
Monday after school, Jackson found me in the kitchen starting to work on dinner. “You’ll never guess what happened at school today?”
“Let me guess. You were hounded by dozens and dozens of girls seeking your autograph and all telling you how you are now their hero.”
“No, not even close? Okay, you were hounded by four or five gay boys who suddenly are totally in love with you and think you’re their hero?
He wasn’t completely smiling but having to choke down a giggle. “Closer, but not quite. It’s Josh. We were walking together between class and after telling me how great I did on Friday night and all that he just slipped in a question. “I want to know about your hero, and about that song, and about the other of the two best gifts you received for you birthday.”
What? I looked at him with a flash of concern.
“Oh, don’t worry. I blew him off on some of it and told him the rest was personal and none of his business. That kid needs to learn about boundaries.”
“Well, who better than you to teach him. He also needs to learn about the private versus public identity, and the sooner the better so he doesn’t get into trouble. He’s so naturally honest and sincere that he doesn’t realize he’s outing himself and giving out way too much information. So, are you going to become his instructor, too?”
“It looks like there isn’t much choice. There’s no one else, and I can’t stand the idea of him getting himself hurt.”
I stepped back, holding him at arm’s length. “There he is, Newberg’s one-man gay counseling center!”
“Seriously, that may be a role you have that you didn’t ask for. If so, know that I’ll back you up however I can. I’m a pastor, so you can pass kids my way that want to talk about it in a safe setting, if that’s what’s needed. In fact, maybe that’s what we should do with Josh. Have a session where all three of us sit down and talk.
The next day I was doing sermon prep in my office at the parsonage. I had to look up a couple of words in an interesting turn of phrase I’d just read in a theological book that was contrasting different theological positions with Trinitarianism. I realized I couldn’t remember clearly what “modalistic Monarchianism” was. The phrase, and in fact the theology I was reading had almost nothing to do with the Scripture passage for Sunday, but I’d studied theology, and started reading…and just kept going. I put the book down and walked over to the dictionary stand. It was facing away, so I gave it a light push to swing it, so it was facing me. It swung easily, and I thought that my father must have occasionally oiled the round turntable bearings in the base. I pushed again, and watched the stand rotate. I was transfixed, just as I’d often been as a youth, watching the stand spin, seeing it go round and round. It was the same mesmerizing feeling that happens when kids spin a Lazy Susan and watch it go round and round.
Round and round. I could see myself watching the stand go round and round. In the study in my father’s office in our home in South America, and then in Hong Kong, and finally in Cairo. I loved the feeling of walking into this office with all the books. He had what he called a reference library, meaning he had lots of legal book in his own office, so he didn’t have to depend on the legal library at work, or worse yet a public library. There were all those books on the shelves, many with embossed leather covers and spines. Almost all the rest hardbound, and beyond the visual impact when you walked in, there was that certain smell that comes with older books, especially ones with leather binding. I loved it because it symbolized knowledge and learning. And I loved the dictionary stand. It was big and the dictionary on it was huge and impressive, and it looked like it had every word in the world in it. My father was very protective of his things, and at one point I’d tipped over a chair in his office and cracked an arm and it had to be sent out for repair, and I got a scolding that was so severe I cried without even getting hit.
Then one day during the first year we were in Cairo, I had come from school and started my homework, and in an English exercise came upon a word that I didn’t know…but which I was certain I could find in the dictionary. I walked down the hall and into my father’s office, and before I could even think about what I’d stand on to be able to read the dictionary, I spun it. I was entranced, watching the wood cabinet go round and round, and carrying with it all the words in the world. Then I heard his loud voice behind me. He’d come home early and walked straight to his office to set down his briefcase. “David! What are you doing? I told you not to touch anything in my office after you damaged the chair.”
Before I could even turn and say, “I needed to look up a word in the dictionary,” he’d hit me across the back of the head. I howled and turned to see his furious face and I started to cry.
“But, I needed to….”
“I told you not to touch anything in my office. Now go to your room.”
I walked stonily to my room. The crying had stopped by the time I got there. I couldn’t believe what had happened over something so innocent, something connected with learning. But I knew that if it had been Michael that he’d found doing the same thing, the result would have been very different.
And now this object that I’d loved as a child and positively associated with my father and with learning, and then had been negatively associated with my father to the point I would never go into his office again unless he called me…now this object was in my own office. Was it going to be a reminder of that negative event, constantly taking me back to the anguish of being treated that way by my father?
I stood there for I don’t know how long asking myself that question, trying to answer why. Trying to answer why, to a question for which there was no answer to be given, because my father was gone. But the hurt and the pain wasn’t gone even fifteen years later, I was back in the moment, hurt and humiliated and rejected and crying.
And that’s how Jackson found me, sitting in my desk chair, staring at the dictionary stand, crying like a baby. He quietly walked up to me, and I didn’t even see him till he was a step or two away, and even then, I was just aware of someone being in the room near me. I felt his arms go around me, and he kissed the top of my head, and then he knelt down between my knees and clasped me to him, resting my head on his shoulder, my face against his neck, and said softly, “Let it all out David. It’s time, just let it all out.”
I don’t know how much longer I cried, thirty seconds, five minutes? It didn’t matter, I was crying. I was letting it out. And, I was letting it out on my boyfriend’s shoulder. When I finally stopped, and had composed myself I whispered to him, “I’m sorry.”
Then, and only then, did he lean back from me, holding my shoulders at arm’s length and said, “Sorry for what? Don’t apologize for that. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen you really cry. The first time I’ve seen you really emotional. Your parents just died. You’re not only entitled to be emotional; you have to be. Do you remember what you told me about death and grieving, about how you finally get to acceptance and then resolution and about letting the emotions out and not being embarrassed about it?”
I nodded but couldn’t say anything.
“Maybe this is finally resolution. That you’re on the other side of all the problems with your parents and can let it go.”
I nodded and pulled him back into a hug. When I’d gotten a grip I finally said, “I’m so glad I have you. I’m so glad you found me. You told me just what I needed to hear. That dictionary stand can now be a symbol of what should have been, instead of what happened.”
He kissed me, whispered, “let’s hope so,” and then said, ‘come on, let’s get out of here and go home. You need to be in a different place now.” He took my hand and walked me out of the parsonage and home.
My meeting with Susan was at the parsonage on Wednesday, and we sat in the living room and I made tea when she arrived. We chatted about the dance on Friday, the band’s performance, and of course Jackson’s singing of the Bowie song.
“Will you give me the details on the singing coaching you gave him and the band? I’m enough into music to be really curious, and not the least of the reasons is what Jackson said about you being the hippest choir director in the state, and all that.”
She grinned with pleasure, clearly enjoying the moment far more than she’d let on Friday night. “Well, it really came down to two things. The band only has a few instruments, they’re not a big band with lots of people and equipment, so the first part was how to arrange and play the song, so it sounded as full as possible. You know, big sound from small band. Kind of like your favorite Kyrie from Brumel when it’s sung by the Schola Cantorum Stuttgart. I’m still amazed at how much sound that ensemble produced. At any rate, it was just some pointers on the arrangement to start.”
“And that was in Will’s parent’s garage?”
She giggled. “Yes, isn’t that hilarious?”
“You’re lucky you weren’t seen and reported to the newspapers or the union or something.”
She grinned. “I actually loved it. They’re all so serious and Will and Jackson are good at their music and they want to improve and perform well. So, one has to do it. At any rate, the second part was working with Jackson on singing the song, the phrasing with the arrangement, how to control his voice to get the same effects David Bowie achieved. Lots of people think rock and roll is just a form of shouting to the music, but that’s not true. If the artist creates and presents a certain sound, then it’s work to recreate it.”
“That was all?”
“No, there was some pretty typical vocal coaching like I have to do with soloists in choir. Jackson has the range, he just hasn’t used it and needed help in how to execute. Do you want to know what the best part was for me, my hidden agenda?”
“I now know the vocal abilities and ranges of two of my choir members, and I will not forget. And, they owe me, and those voices will be put to use in the upcoming choir performances.”
“Well, you heard it yourself, Jackson gave you the credit. I doubt you’ll have any trouble calling in those chips.”
We were quiet for just a few seconds, and Susan looked at me. “Now fill me in one the other part of the story. We were speaking about Gary and Lois and their future, and I asked you about your future with Jackson and you demurred until we could meet away from school. Which, of course, was the sensible thing to do.”
“Well, the first part is easy. The only question is when Gary and Lois get married. Like I said the other night, they’re growing and maturing together, and their love and relationship only gets stronger and stronger. Gary is coming into his own as a person, and even Lois’ father is impressed. So that’s all pretty positive.”
“And you two?”
“Our relationship gets better and better, and part of the foundation is you and Ellen. Like I told you, you two saved us from screwing up and helped us to refocus and strengthen what was then a budding relationship. It’s since grown into this, and I think you know most of the details.” I slid my sleeve back to show the Lovebirds bracelet.”
“Indeed,” she said softly, “and I think that’s one of the most wonderful expressions of love and commitment I’ve seen, especially in this country where we have legal rights to be who we are, but no right to marriage.”
‘How true, and it was pure luck that I found the first one. My parents wanted to walk around old town Seattle when we were there, and my mother saw something and wanted to go into a certain jewelry store, and that’s how I found them.”
“And how are you handling the death and grieving?”
I paused, choking for just a few seconds. “I’ve been doing the standard minister thing, you know it all too well, complete control of your emotions. Jackson’s been all over me from the start about getting in touch with my real feelings and working it out. I didn’t cry at the funeral. That’s how bad it was. But, and I’m not embarrassed to tell you, I wept most of the way home on the plane, and I broke down in there yesterday.” I nodded toward the office.
“Would you like to expand on that?”
“Yes. I wasn’t crying for my parents and their death. We were never close. I was crying for the poor kid who went through hell because of who his parents were. I know they were the product of their own parents and the environment they grew up in. But notwithstanding that, what that poor kid had to suffer wasn’t as bad as what Jackson had to suffer through with his parents, but the point is the same.”
I stopped, and we both were quiet.
Finally, and compassionately, Susan said, “And is there resolution in sight?”
“Yes,” I said, with a wry smile. “I’m no longer in thrall to my father and all he wasn’t or couldn’t be. I don’t blame him anymore. I just acknowledge that I’m free of him. I’m free to be my own person.”
“And that person is?”
“David Ayers, gay and madly in love with Jackson.”
“That’s lovely. You are finally liberated, aren’t you?”
“God, I hope so. But my faith isn’t in very good shape!”
“I can understand that. I may be older, but I understand what happens with things like this. And on top of that you have to deal with being gay and ordained. That’s personal and I won’t pry, but we’ll help if and when we can. What does all this mean about the future?
“In the near term it means that Jackson has college applications out, and he’ll soon begin to receive acceptance and rejection letters, and where he goes, I’ll go.”
“I’m not surprised, in fact, Ellen and I talked about it last week, and that’s exactly what we expected. It’s the right thing to do. It’s what two pure souls in love should do.”
“I don’t know about the ‘pure souls’ part. We’re both just damaged goods, trying to help each other heal. Like I told you, I was in there yesterday crying my eyes out when Jackson found me. I needed him to pull me back together. That’s not much like a pure soul.”
She smiled wryly, looking at me the way a beloved aunt might. “You know, David, I’m here to tell you that you are a pure soul. That doesn’t mean perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. It is about motives, wanting to help others and having compassion. Besides that, what you’ve just told me assures me that you’re human. That’s all. I hope you appreciate that you’ve found your compliment, your other half. Cherish that. Protect that. Treasure that, wherever you go. We know you’ll be leaving here before the Fall term starts, and we support that move. What you two have is special and to be cherished and cared for.”
I sat looking out the living room window for a couple of minutes, and Susan wisely said nothing. Finally, I looked at her and said, “Thanks for those words of wisdom. Wherever we go, and we mean to make a life together, you and Ellen will be among our fondest friends. We have to hold and cherish that, too.”
She nodded and took my hand. “We will. No worry there. By the way, in case I didn’t tell you earlier, when you asked me to write a letter of recommendation for Jackson to Lewis and Clark, I did as choir director of a Presbyterian church, and also recommended him for a music scholarship. They have a good choir program and glee club, and I think it would be wonderful if he’s accepted there. It would help him develop his talent, and it would keep you both in the general area. You’ll always have a place out in Yamhill County to come visit as a country retreat.”
I was getting emotional again. “I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve having people like you and Ellen in my life. And people like Lois and Gary for that matter. You’ll have to work hard to get us out of your lives, you know that don’t you?”
She grinned and looked at her watch. “I do, and with that I must be off. I have to be home in time to cook dinner. Ellen’s shift ends at 7:00 PM, and it’s my turn.”
We walked to the front door and I couldn’t help myself. When she turned to say goodbye, I just hugged her, laying my head against hers and holding her tight. “You and Ellen mean so much to us. Thank you.”
“David.” I leaned back and looked at her. “The feeling is mutual. Never forget that. You’re in a very emotional time at present, but you’ll get through it. Just remember, the feeling is mutual.
I was home from my meeting with Susan by 5:00 PM and started dinner, knowing Jackson would be along later after band practice. Gary and I ate and talked about school, and when I asked about the truck he said there was a couple of days delay—something to do with the trailer. I was in the living room doing some additional reading for Sunday’s sermon when I heard Jackson come in the front door. He walked into the living room and over to me, stroked my hair and kissed the top of my head.
I smiled up at him. “That was lovely! Are you hungry? I’ve still got your dinner in the oven.”
“Yes, but first, I want to know how you are today, compared to the other afternoon.”
“I’m a lot better because you were there for me, and also because I had the meeting with Susan this afternoon, the one I told you about when she started asking questions about us after the concert. I told her all about my breakdown too.”
“And?” He was starting to sound like me!
“And, it helped a lot. There’s an ancient saying that also appears in the New Testament about physicians taking their own medicine or healing themselves. That was what I needed to do, too, not just be Reverend Always-In-Control-Of-My-Feelings, like you’ve pointed out to me once or twice.”
“That sounds healthy. Tell me more while I eat. I’m starved.”
We sat at the kitchen table and talked while he ate. “Have you still got homework to do tonight?”
“Yeah, some reading for History. I got the Psych reading done before we started band practice.”
“Good session?” He nodded, his mouth full, then after he’d swallowed said, “I think we’re in a new place with that first big public gig behind us. It’s like we’re not so nervous and hung up or something.”
“That makes sense. You got a big one out of the way. No need for a lot of stage fright when you play in public now, as you’ve proven yourselves. Good to hear that it’s carrying over to practice, too. That makes it sound like a highly efficient musical machine.”
He grinned at that. “Then, Will gave me a ride home.”
I nodded, “As usual.”
“He told me that he still couldn’t believe that I hugged him and told him that I love him.”
I smiled at that, giving him space to tell me what he wanted at his pace.
He smiled back, “I asked him why, like hadn’t he had any males who ever told him they loved him before? He said only his Dad and his grandpa. I said me, too, and then I told him one of the main things I learned from being in a relationship with you was discovering myself, the importance of discovering yourself and being true to yourself and living your life accordingly. He was quiet, like he was still embarrassed and didn’t know what to say next, so I told him I meant it, in a different way than I loved you, but that I meant it, and it’s real because it was only because of him being loving and gracious that our friendship was re-formed and I was singing in the band. Then I asked him, ‘Don’t you think what you did, accepting me back after I just dropped out of your life and disappeared, was an act of love?’ I could see he’d never thought of it that way, and he said so.”
“You asked him that question that way?”
“Yes. It was a lot like so many of the sermons you preached last year about accepting the other, about caring for people. Wasn’t what he did an act of pure and simple love?”
“It was,” I nodded.
He paused and looked at me, making sure I was tracking with what he was telling me. “We’d already gotten here and weren’t done talking, so I told him to keep driving somewhere and park so we could keep talking. We went down to Rogers Landing, remember, where we went swimming last summer and saw those kayakers the first time? Anyway, when we got there and parked and were sitting looking at each other I said, ‘Will, I’m gay and you know that and you’re still my friend. I love you for that, but I love you for another reason, too, and that’s cause you know about me and David and are not only so cool about the relationship, but you agreed to help give us cover by wearing a bracelet. You’re the best. But can I ask you something personal?’ I could see him start in his seat.”
I smiled having an idea where this might be going and said, “I bet that got his attention?”
“Yeah, but he knew he’d asked me some really personal questions last week, so it was only fair. So, I told him I’ve been thinking a lot about what he asked about kissing a guy and blow jobs and stuff, and when I connect those questions to the fact that he knows about us, sees our relationship and all, I wonder if he’s struggling with his own feelings? Feeling about guys.”
I raised my eyebrows.
“And he was quiet, and looked panicked for a little while, and then said he didn’t know how to talk about it. So, I told him that’s one of the problems we’ve got in society, that people aren’t allowed to explore their identity to find out who they are and see what it’s like. It’s all about forcing people into boxes and telling them how to behave. Especially when it comes to sex and especially feelings for guys. We’re told it’s wrong or deviant.
“He was quiet again, then looked at me and wanted to know how I know so much, and you’ll love this! I told him I’ve been having a crash course over the last nine months from my pastor, on top of being in a love affair! He thought that was hilarious. Then I asked him again if he was struggling about having feelings for guys.”
I was amazed, but not surprised, that Jackson had unfolded the engagement this way. I smiled more widely. “Did he open up this time?”
“Yeah, finally, he stumbled around, and I had to tell him he could be honest with me about anything and just forget all that church sin stuff and get real. Finally, he said that seeing us together and in love and so happy had made him realize he did have feelings, feelings he’d been denying, but that made him feel ever more weird and demented and dirty because he also had a girlfriend and liked girls and just felt like a freak and a phony.”
I wiggled my eyebrows. “Way to go.”
“Then I asked him if he’d ever heard of being bisexual, and he said no, and I kind of explained it as having feelings for guys and girls, and it’s for real and it’s not deviant or sick. And he looked like a deer in the headlights. Then I told him something else, and then I did something.”
“Go on,” I said. “I totally trust you.”
“I told him he should seriously think about talking to you about it, and after the initial shock I told him why and how it might help. I mean he knows you’re gay and you’re his pastor. He was quiet again, but he wasn’t resisting. Then I reached across the seat and took his hand, and he looked at me like he was holding a hot iron, and I told him to chill and said, ‘You asked me last week if kissing a guy was different than kissing a girl. So, I’m going to show you, if you’ll let me.’ He hesitated, then said, ‘You’re serious, aren’t you?’ And I nodded and pulled on his arm, and he slid across the seat and I put my arm around him and pulled him in for a kiss. Just a small one, kind of dry, and it took a while for him to relax, and then our lips parted just a little, and the tips of our tongues touched, and then you won’t believe what happened.”
“I’m on the edge of my seat now.”
“He started crying. He dropped his head on my shoulder and hugged me and started crying. I let him go on and didn’t say anything, and then he whispered in my ear. ‘I’ve been so afraid. I just knew letting anyone know would be the end of my world. I’ve been so afraid everyone would hate me.’ He was scared shitless.”
He was looking directly at me now, and I could see how emotional Jackson was, and his eyes were red. “He was so afraid, like I was last summer. Scared of who he is and what he’s been feeling. I remember that nightmare. It was terrible. So, I just told him he didn’t have to be afraid anymore, he wasn’t alone, and within limits I’d do whatever I could to help him sort out his feelings. And that was it, I said we needed to get home to eat and do homework. And here I am.”
“You are an amazing person. Can you imagine how different our lives would have been if a conversation like that had happened when we needed it in our lives. The agony and mental anguish avoided? Maybe I wouldn’t have turned into such a compartmentalized and emotionally shut down person.”
“And maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much time in my room listening to Please Don’t Judas Me and thinking about suicide!”
“So, where does it go now?”
“As far as I’m concerned, the ball’s in his court. I told him why I loved him, that there are limits to it, that I’d do whatever I could within those limits, and that he should talk to you. Now he’s got to decide. The message was that he’s not sick and depraved, and he’s got to decide if he wants to accept the feelings he has and talk about them. Don’t you think so?”
I nodded. “Yep, and I think you should have that phone call with Paul tomorrow so you’re as comfortable as possible with what you’re doing.
It’s been a pretty crazy couple of weeks, since David got back from his parent’s funeral, the run up to the dance at school, practicing to perform Heroes for David, then Will talking to me about kissing guys and if guys give better blow jobs than girls, finding David crying his eyes out in his office, and then kissing Will tonight! Fucking-A. How crazy is all that?
At any rate, I guess the good news, starting at the end, is that I found David crying his eyes out yesterday about that dictionary stand, and it took a while for him to explain that it was a symbol from his youth of all that had gone wrong with his father, and he now accepted all of it, and with his Dad dead and gone he could finally resolve the feelings. I’d never seen him lose it, but he was totally gone, crying like a baby, sobbing and heaving and totally out of control. I’m so lucky I decided to go to the parsonage when I got home, and he wasn’t there. I held him and he quieted down, and then we talked, and I understood what was going on, but I think more than anything he just needed arms around him and a shoulder to cry on. The good thing was that it was his boyfriend’s shoulder. Just like he let me cry on his shoulder a few months ago.
It was a pretty big downer after last Friday’s high at the dance. Susan had done a great job working with the band on the arrangement and then with me on how to sing the Bowie song, and I’ll love her forever for that. She’s so cool. And it came off great. I didn’t choke explaining the song or talking about dedicating it to my hero, and I sang it well, too. Then when I got home David was waiting for me, and I wanted him so much, and he was there for me. I wanted him inside me, I so wanted to feel at one with my hero, and he made me feel like the only guy on the planet. So deep. So full. So, connected. So wonderful. My Sexy Man!
Then there’s the whole Will thing. I want to help him, but I’m freaked that somehow, it’ll blow up and hurt my relationship with David. He keeps saying he totally trusts me, but what does that mean? I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. I’ve been in a gay relationship for less than a year, and now I’m kind of counseling another guy about his feelings for guys and that maybe he’s bisexual. God, what do I know!
But David helped, arranging a call with Paul. And he was so cool, cause we talked for a while about what he knew about me through David, and what impact our relationship had made on his friend and all kinds of stuff like that. Then he said something about rumors he’d heard about what I did with a song off that album he’d bought for David to give me for my birthday.
“You know we decided right then that it was going to be the song of our life. Like, we could be heroes. David told you that, right?” I must have sounded like a total dork.
He laughed and said, “Ah, young love!” He meant it as a compliment and told me that David had told him all about it, and how happy he was that he could have done something to cement our relationship in a new way.
“Now tell me about this new challenge you’ve got in your life.” I told him about the first conversation with Will, what David and I had talked about, and then what happened last night.
I didn’t know what to expect, what he’d say, but was blown away when he said, “Jackson, you’re an incredibly sensitive and strong and committed person. I want you to know that first and foremost. What you just told me you did last night, that means you put him above yourself. And you didn’t just do it with words, you did it with actions. You held him and kissed him and let him cry on your shoulder. Very few people could or would do that.”
I told him that Will was my best friend and had accepted me back after I just disappeared, and that was an act of love, so what I did was the least I could do. Then we talked about what was likely going on with Will, and next steps and stuff. A lot of it was what David had told me they’d talked about. I told him I suggested he meet with David as his pastor, and David said if it happened then he’d have the intellectual conversation with him about how he responds to sexy guys and what he thinks about when he jacks off.
He laughed. “God, you two sound like you’re serious sex therapists!”
I giggled in response. “Probably not, but we both know our answers to those questions, and we’re not hung up about them, so maybe that helps!”
Basically, he said that we were on the right track and doing the right things, and that was probably the most important thing he could say besides just being sensitive to how important this event was likely to be in Will’s life. He was really direct about not underestimating what an important thing it is to struggle with your identity and the worst thing is to be judged about your feelings. I started to say something then, but he told me to relax. He said he knew we wouldn’t be judging Will, that we’d do the exact opposite, but we needed to understand how sensitive to judgment people are when they’re going through this. Then he really blew my mind cause he gave me what he called a word of advice. He said to think about what life would be like for a bisexual kid in a perfect world, one with freedom to explore and no judgement?
Wow! I’d never thought about it that way, and the possibilities were amazing. I could talk to him about that! When we finished, I asked him if he was coming to Oregon to visit, like David said he might, and he said he was talking to his partner about it. I said it would be a riot—two gay couples in the same house, in Newberg, Oregon!
That was Thursday, and today at school Will told me his parents were going into Portland for some kind of gala dinner party and were staying the night at a hotel, and, asked me if I’d sleep over at his house. He knew what he was asking, I could see it in his eyes. I know what he was asking too, but after talking to Paul I wasn’t afraid. “Drive me home after school, and we’ll talk to David about it, Okay?”
He acted surprised, but I told him that me and David have no secrets, and he knows all about this. So that’s what happened. We walked in the house, Gary wasn’t home yet, and David was reading in the living room. It was friendly and I told him what Will had asked me, that we were going to go to a movie and then I’d sleep over at Will’s house. He smiled at me, just sending me vibes of love and support.
Then he turned to Will and said, “I think it’s a great idea. You guys are best buds. But Will, I know some of what’s going on, so why don’t you think about us getting together sometime, just the two of us, and talking about it all?”
I could see Will tense, process, then relax. He smiled, and then said, “You know, you two are something else. I’ve never known anybody more accepting and …I don’t know, just honest than you two. You really don’t have any secrets, do you?”
David smiled at him. “Nope, and we care about pretty much the same things, if you know what I mean. And one of the things we both care about is you”
Way to go, David? I ran upstairs to grab my toothbrush and stuff, and when I came down, they were talking about music.
We split and then dropped my stuff at his house, had something to eat and caught a movie in town. It was about 9:30 when we got back to his house and he asked what I wanted to do. It would have been stupid to beat around the bush and talk about playing Scrabble or something like that. So, I just said “let’s go up to your room and see what happens.”
We both knew what was on each other’s minds when we got there, so I just said, “What’s on your mind?”
He did the initially shocked thing like he’d one in the car, then I saw him relax and say, “You’re so open about his. How can you be so relaxed and I’m so uptight?”
“Will, it’s because I know who I am, and you’re still figuring it out. Can I make some suggestions, so we don’t waste a lot of time?”
He nodded, smiling weakly. “Okay, first, you have to swear an oath of secrecy about something I’m going to tell you.” He grinned, and then looked really serious. “Done.”
“This is about me and David, and I told you our sex life is off limits, but this is different, Okay? This is about when he got here and how it started. We fell for each other the first afternoon when I was part of the crew helping him move into the parsonage. I just flipped out that the man of my dreams had just moved into town. And he fell for me, too, partly cause I was wearing tight cut offs and a tight T-shirt.”
Will was grinning, “I remember those shorts. They were real tight last summer, weren’t they?”
“Yeah, like my briefs were showing.”
“But you wear boxers.”
“Not that day. I wore the white briefs on purpose!”
We’d moved to sitting on the edge of his bed. “Anyway, the next day he asked me to drive with him to the store in Sherwood so he could go shopping and wouldn’t get lost, and we didn’t plan on it, but we came out to each other.”
“Are you shitting me?”
“No. We both thought the other one had figured the other out, but we hadn’t, and then we kind of told each other what we thought, and it was like “Oh my God! I just outed myself.” It was pretty bizarre! Anyway, I was way forward, talking about jumping his bones and shit. But I ended up holding his cock.!
Will’s eyes were wide open. “This is secret, man, like totally private, right?” He nodded.
“The point is just that I was mouthy and pushy, and I pushed farther than was right, but it was right for us right then, because we cut through all the bull shit and got right to the point. Like, we’re both gay and we both are really attracted to each other. Do you hear what I’m saying, about cutting to the chase?”
He nodded. “I don’t believe you did that.”
“Sometimes I don’t either when I think about it. I think I was so lonely and hurting so much, and I’d even thought about offing myself, and now he was right here in front of me I just couldn’t risk losing something that seemed so right. So, what I’m saying, is let’s not beat around the bush, Okay?”
He nodded again, but still seemed unsure of where I was going.
“Okay, let’s take off our clothes except for our boxers and get on your bed.”
I could see his eyes almost bug out, but he swallowed hard and manned up and said “Okay.” I knew he wasn’t going to lead so I kicked off my shoes and socks, pulled off my shirt and tossed it on his desk, then turned to him and undid my jeans and dropped them on the floor. “Okay, bro, your turn.”
He smiled, a little uncertain, but took his clothes off. By the time he was done I was sitting on his bed, leaning against the headboard. I waved him over and pulled him in for a hug. “You’re my best friend, you know that, right? I love you.”
That’s all it took, and he relaxed and leaned into me, and I felt his arms go around me. After a minute he said, “God, Jackson, you feel so strong and soft at the same time.”
I chuckled, “Yeah, it’s from the mowing. I’m not even an athlete like you. You’ve got an amazing body, in case no one ever told you.” I traced my fingers across his pecs and down to his abdomen. “Wow, you’ve even got a six pack here. That is so cool.”
I had my arm around him, and he looked up and said very quietly, “Will you kiss me again?” I didn’t say a word but reached under his chin and turned his face up and toward me, looked into his eyes and then put my lips on his. This kiss was a little wetter and lasted a little longer.
I pulled off after a minute and said, “Will, there’s rules to this game. David is my boyfriend, and you know that. I’m here to help you experience something because you’re my best friend. We’re not going to suck or fuck or anything like that, Okay? But I think you want to experience this, you need to experience this, so relax and enjoy it as far as it goes, Okay?”
He acted like he couldn’t believe what he was hearing but nodded and whispered,” Okay.” He was still nervous, but he got the message and knew there were boundaries. I pulled him in for another kiss. This one was a lot more passionate. I could feel his tongue trying to get in my mouth and opened to let him in and encouraged it with my own. Suddenly it was like a light switch had been turned on. His arms were around me, his hands stroking me and pulling me tight. I gave it back to him, wanting him to feel what a guy’s embrace and kiss could really feel like.
When we broke, he leaned back, smiling, and said, “You’re an outrageous kisser. I mean you’re so strong or direct or something. Most girls seem like they’re really not into it, but it’s like you’re driving the bus.”
I grinned. “Kissing is something I really like to do. You’re not bad yourself, seeing that you’re kissing another guy for the first…well, actually, the second time. How does it feel?”
“Like I said, it feels strong and real, and you’re holding me like I really matter. Like I’m real.”
“You do matter. You’re my best friend.” Then I kissed him again. I could feel myself getting into it and had to keep reminding myself that this was an engagement and it had boundaries. I knew I was half hard, and he had to be too.
A minute later I felt us both slip down the pillows so we were close to flat on the bed, and then I felt him roll on top of me, his arms slid under me and clasped behind me, and I could feel his hard on against mine. He was kissing me this time, starting to grind on me. Decision time!
I rolled us to our sides, so his weight was off me, and reached up and stroked his face. “How far do you want go?”
I could see he felt put on the spot. He hadn’t thought about this.
I reached down and stroked his six pack and slid my fingers under the waist of his boxers. “Do you want me to go further?”
His eyes were wide, and he was almost panting. “Please.”
I slid my hand further down, my fingertips in his pubes and I felt him shudder.
He was looking at me in a pleading way. “Is it Okay for me, too?”
I nodded and felt his hand slip down my belly and into my boxers, stroking my pubes. I leaned over and kissed him. “We need to get these boxers off.”
He looked surprised, then followed along when I pushed mine down and shoved them down my legs and off my feet. I was totally hard, my cock hanging above my belly. He turned toward me looking somewhere between lost in space and like he’d won the lottery and said, “Can I touch it?”
“Only if I can touch yours.”
Gingerly he put his hand around my cock, and I reached over and held his.
“God, it feels so good. So hot and so strong and I can feel it pulse.”
‘Yeah, just like yours?”
I watched his eyes, and they were wide, and kept flicking at mine like he still couldn’t believe this was happening. “It’s beautiful. It’s so soft and the head is so big and such a beautiful color.” He stroked it a few times and I stroked his, too.
I felt some precum as I stroked over the head of his cock, and I rubbed it around with my thumb. He gasped and then looked at me wide eyed and embarrassed. “Will, no blushing. This is part of it. You’re making precum and it’s a lubricant.
He said, “You are, too.”
“No surprise, bro. I’ve got this sexy hand stroking my cock. It’s kind of what happens.” A thought flashed through my mind about tasting him, but I decided that was over the boundary. I felt him circling my cockhead with this thumb, rubbing my precum around, too.
I stopped stroking and just held him, and then he stopped, too. We stayed like that for a few seconds, Will just absorbing the feeling of having a hard cock in his hand. Eventually he looked up at me, asking for direction.
“Now we have to decide where we go. We’ve kissed, we’ve made out, we’ve held each other naked, we’re holding each other’s cocks. Now you know what it feels like, and I’m guessing from your expression that you like it. I told myself I’d go as far as us jacking each other off if you want to, but that’s up to you.”
I could see the emotion in his eyes. He was torn between what his body wanted and what his brain was telling him was the best thing to do. Finally, he said, “No, that wouldn’t be right. You’re David’s boyfriend. You guys are almost married. You just gave me something I couldn’t even have dreamed possible before. Something no one else I know would even consider doing. If we jacked each other off it would move into something else. I don’t want to infringe. I’m horny as hell, but I can live with that. I can jack off anytime. Can we just lie together naked, let me hold you, sleep together like that? That’s all I need.”
I smiled and kissed him again. “You are the greatest best friend ever. I’m starting to learn about honor now that I know more about my Dad who was in the Army. You’re an honorable person, Will, and I’ll love you like a brother forever.”
We hugged and kissed some more after that, but we didn’t get it on, and we fell asleep peacefully. When we woke up in the morning, I was facing away from him, and eventually I rolled over to look at him. He was awake and looking at me.
“So, what are you thinking now about guys and kissing and cocks and sleeping together naked?”
“I think it’s amazing. I know it’s part of me, and I’ve got to figure that out now.”
I touched his hand and said, “I didn’t tell you last night, but you’ve got a really sexy body, and a really nice cock.”
His eyes popped wide open. “You don’t need to say anything. I’m just telling you as a gay guy that I really like what I see. Just know that, Okay? If you decide to play on my side of the street, you’re going to make some guy a really sexy boyfriend.”
He reached his hand out and stroked my cheek. “I can’t tell you how important this is to me. Not just what it tells me about me. That I’m not crazy or sick. But also, what it tells me about you. I’ll never to anything to hurt you or David or get between you two. But what you did for me is so cool I don’t know if I can even describe it. I don’t know what to do with it right now, but I’ll work on it. I love you, Jackson.”
Wow! A second guy had now told me he loved me while I was naked in bed with him. Ha Ha! This was different, and this was cool because it hadn’t turned sexual in a passionate kind of way. It was more like a guy teaching his younger brother about life. And I was only able to do it because of what I’d learned with David in the last nine months.
I told him to trust me on something else and talk to David about it. He had to get his head straight about all of this, and he probably couldn’t do it alone or from just playing around with me. He promised. Then we had breakfast and he drove me home.
David was reading the newspaper in the kitchen when we walked in. He smiled and asked how the evening went, and we both sat down and talked to him. It didn’t take long to cover dinner and the movie. Then I said we went back to Will’s house and I took him up to his bedroom and made him undress cause he was hesitant, and then we spent some time experiencing each other. We didn’t get into real details, but Will told him that I kissed him and held him and let him kiss me back and hold me. He stopped, and I could see the embarrassment starting. I glanced at David, who’d seen it, too. He reached out his hand and put it on Will’s and told him he didn’t need to be embarrassed about any of it.
What he said next blew my mind, and I’ll never forget it. “I told Jackson I trust him completely, and we agreed this was a good thing to do. A good thing for you. We both thought you had to experience it if you were going to get in touch with your feelings. I don’t need the details. It just confirms to me that I’ve got the best and the most caring boyfriend in the world!”
I could see Will getting really emotional again and then he told David that what I’d done had taken all the fear away and that he’d promised me to meet with him, and they agreed to talk after Youth Fellowship the next night. Pretty crazy! Who’d have thought it would end like this.