The next morning we woke near noon and lollygagged in bed till one. We showered, got dressed, grabbed an apple in the kitchen and headed out the door to go make groceries. Steve was yakking on the phone with Katie. It dawned on me that they had yet to meet face to face.
“Tell Katie it’s time to make groceries and come on with us, Steve,” Dan yelled.
“Now our thoughts are in tune; this is gettin’ scary,” I said to him.
He looked startled for a second before he realized what I meant, then he smiled at me. Steve was stopped cold. He was absolutely speechless.
Dan grabbed the phone, “Katie, hope you haven’t already done your shopping, ‘cause it’s time for you two to meet. Double date grocery makin’. We’re leaving now, OK, see ya in ten. And well, if Steve’s jaw would come off the floor he’d say bye. Bye, Katie. Don’t worry. Trust me. Bye.”
“Oh my God, what did you do! I need to shave and change and….”
Dan took three steps to Steve’s bath and snatched his electric razor, tossed it to him and said, “You can shave in the car. Look you’re going to marry her. I know it! So she’ll have to get used to seeing you look a little rough sometimes.”
“But on the first time,” Steve whined.
Dan pushed him down the hall, picking up his sneakers, and out the front door we went.
“Dan, you bastard…Pete, tell your husband to not do this!”
“Steve, sorry I agree with him. You and Fitz have got to do this. I bet she realized the exact same thing after she hung up.”
“Good, maybe she’ll have sense enough not to show up!”
“Hey…You called him ‘my husband’! That is too cool! Thanks, Steve.”
Both Dan and I got broad smiles as we thought about it.
“My husband,” I repeated.
As we drove off I leaned up from the back seat and kissed Dan’s ear. Steve shaving away, knowing he had lost the battle, knew he really wanted to meet her and had to trust Dan’s instincts. I leaned over and kissed Steve’s ear too.
“Thanks, again. Wow! I have a husband.”
I settled into the back seat content that I was now married to Dan. We winked at each other in the mirror.
I snatched a cart off the end of the line and checked for wobbly wheels.
“If I’m going to push this thing it will not have wobbly or lopsided wheels,” I said to no one in particular.
Dan grabbed Steve by the sides of his face and gave it the once over, ran his hands through his hair and said, “Good to go.”
“Oh that gives me a shitload of confidence, Dan. Look, if this thing does work out like you say, you can both be my best man…men.”
“Deal,” said Dan as we entered through the sliding portal and into the air-conditioned world of Schwegmann’s.
We had made a few trips up and down the aisles before we spied Katie. We didn’t let Steve know we had seen her. Steve was so nervous I thought he was going to crap in his pants. Katie smiled and pushed her cart down the aisle, faster and faster went her wobbly wheel. Suddenly, Steve caught on and stopped dead. Dan nudged him. He returned to the present. Katie stopped her cart with a rattle. The two of them just stared, not saying a word. They just drank in the reality of the sight of the person they had come to know on the phone in the last week.
“Earth to Steve and Katie, Earth to Steve and Katie, Come in, this is Mission Control,” I joked.
“Hey,” he said.
“Hey,” she replied. Then the floodgates opened. For the first fifteen minutes we couldn’t fit a word in so we just made groceries. They pushed around an empty wobbly cart. For the next half hour the four of us had a wonderful time filling our baskets with provisions.
“We’ve created a monster,” I said to Dan as we waited for them to say their good-byes in the parking lot. It wasn’t till a thunderstorm burst that they kissed and said bye. We waited in the car with the doors locked.
Bam, bam, bam, Steve pounded on the window, “Come on guys!” Dan paused a second for effect while he bounced his eyebrows at Steve and me, then he hit the button and Steve jumped in, soaking wet. Dan chuckled a devious laugh as he started the car.
The rest of the year became anything but routine. After the double date the next week the four of us were an inseparable set of two couples, always doing things together whether it was the necessary adventure of groceries, wandering about in Audubon Zoo, going to get “knighted” by George Thorogood’s guitar in a small dump of a bar on a dark winding road on the far side of the Mississippi River or having Thanksgiving together, we were a unit of fun and frivolity whenever we could all separate ourselves from work or school.
With final projects and papers coming due and exams about to begin our fun time ground to a halt by the first of December, Dan spent his off time in an old La-Z-Boy, scavenged from our neighbor’s shed, parked next to my drafting table. He read the novels he had always wanted to read but never before had made the time. He listened to the chatter about my design decisions that he did his best to understand. Most of the time I rambled to satisfy my own rationalizations. He was there, that was the important thing and he put up with me and the rest of the certifiably insane who occupied that fifth year design lab. He accepted me, all of me, and all of the idiosyncrasies of my life and of my career choice. I loved him because he did it without a major complaint or criticism. Not that he didn’t have a few, but when either of us came upon something that bothered us we talked about it. It wouldn’t necessarily come to a resolution or compromise but we came to an understanding of how we felt and that was all that was truly needed. It was his simple attitude of no secrets, whether an emotion, feeling, thought or event, that he brought into the relationship that made our life so enjoyable together
On December eighteenth I was done with school. I had three and a half weeks to get myself prepared to do it one final time. It was a week till Christmas and I had yet to shop. The anxiety started all over again, but this time I didn’t get bent out of shape about it. I had fun or should I say we had fun, because our unit was back together again, even if abbreviated at times depending on who was getting shopped for. Half the time it didn’t matter; someone would say “back in a few” and meet up with us again with a new bag in hand. Dan and I decided we would go to his parents for the week since our plans were to move to New York by next Christmas and the distance factor would go to my family. New Year’s would be our New Orleans celebration with Steve, Katie and presents from my family. There were a series of teary good-byes as Steve headed to Missouri and Katie got on a plane for Virginia, before we drove off to Texas.
There were less than two hours till we arrived in Houston on December 23rd when I turned to face Dan and said, “Hey darlin’, what about sleeping arrangements?”
His head snapped around with a jerk.
“Oh shit, hadn’t thought about that one. Don’t know what to say. I was just wondering how they were going to react to the rings.”
“Well, I hadn’t thought about that because they know what’s going on.”
“No, I meant more about Mom. I think she’s gonna freak that she got left out of a ceremony!”
Dan chuckled and then continued, “Well there is the guest room and it’s got a double bed but…”
“I know, that’s what I meant, I want to sleep in your room.”
“Yeah, I think my life would be complete at that point when I sleep in my room in my parents’ house with my husband. I’ve wanted that since I realized I wanted to have sex with guys.”
“I never asked. When did you figure it out?”
“Well, I think around seven or so, I kept having dreams of sex with boys even though I had no idea what sex was for a few more years.”
“Me too, exactly. Maybe we dreamed of each other fifteen years ago, and now it’s all true.”
“Maybe…but not until we have sex in my room!”
“Well, blast right on in there and tell them!” I paused, “No matter, we started out in my single bed in my room. I’ll be content with that again. We can’t get too spoiled in our old age.”
“You’re right. It’ll be all right. They love us, you know.”
“I know. It was a little weird at first when your Mom wanted to talk to me as much as to you.”
“Why don’t you call her Mom?” Dan asked seriously.
“Self-conscious, didn’t want to offend you or her.”
“I’m a little offended that you don’t, and she calls you ‘Son’.”
“OK, outright scared then.”
“Don’t be. Please. Call her Mom, OK.” I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
“Same all around with my parents too, OK?” He leaned over and kissed me.
For the rest of the trip we were silent. I daydreamed staring unfocused out the window. Images of floor plans and facades morphed in my mind as I tried to connect them into a 3-D model that I could wander through. I was brought back to reality when the car slowed down the off ramp. Within fifteen minutes we pulled up his driveway. Before we got a chance to stretch the trip out of our bodies we were being hugged and kissed by Mom. Dad gave us a breather before a hug and a handshake from him. Dad noticed the bands right away and gave us a look that wrinkled his forehead. Dan smiled back at him. We grabbed our gear and went inside.
Dan and I climbed the stairs to put our bags in his room. Yep, the single was still there. We washed up and returned downstairs where Mom quickly confronted us. She grabbed our left hands.
“You two! I wasn’t invited?”
“I told you,” Dan said as an aside to me.
“Mom, there was no ceremony, just tears of joy. These are my birthday presents. Actually, Pete is the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten!”
“Yes, I asked your son to marry me. I know that I should have asked your permission first, but…”
“Don’t get cheeky now,” Dan said in another aside.
“You certainly have our permission,” Dad said.
“Congratulations, Son!” and he shook my hand.
Mom gave us each a big hug and started to cry.
“It’s OK, Mom. If you want to have a party to celebrate we can,” Dan said. Her eyes began to glaze over at the thought.
“I’ll have to think about that.”
“Oh come on, blast out of the closet Mom!” Dan laughed, “It’s a brave new world.”
Dad laughed too, and then said, “We’ll think about it…it is still very new to us. Come on, let’s have a drink to celebrate.”
After dinner, we were sitting in the den with the TV on, but no one was paying attention. I felt more at home that day than I think I ever felt in my own home. The conversation flowed with ease and grace. We told them of our plans to move to New York City. That revelation did not thrill them, but they understood. They were excited that their son…sons were happy and so full of life about what lay ahead of them. Dan brought up the single bed in his room.
Dad looked up at the ceiling, sighed and said, “Well, I guess that comes with the territory.” Then he pursed his lips as he thought about it some more. Mom had to think about it…then not think about it. Dad finally said, “Let’s go switch the beds.”
We followed along. Within twenty minutes, it was all complete. Mom was still figuring on the necessity of it all, but resigned herself to the reality of it. Downstairs in the den, we returned to our conversations on life. Dan discussed his hopes and dreams with his parents. I was feeling relaxed and took Dan’s arm and put it around my shoulder. I could hear his watch ticking in my ear. Within minutes I was asleep.
“Hey, wake up, it’s time for bed,” Dan whispered in my ear. I awoke to the two of us on the couch. The TV was on.
“What time is it?”
“Two. Mom and Dad went to bed hours ago. Rope came on and I had to watch. Anyway, you were content snoozing and listening to my watch.”
“Aw, man, I can’t believe I missed Hitchcock.”
“We can rent it ya know. Come on let’s go to bed.”
Dan guided me as I sleepily climbed the stairs and into bed. I smiled as I nestled up to him and almost instantly fell back asleep.
Christmas Eve became a parade of all of Dan’s relatives through the house: cousins, aunts, uncles and, of course, his grandparents. Well, the two that remained. Dad had told his family that Dan was gay the week before. Dan had insisted. They were also told that they would meet his boyfriend too. We all thought that most would come to gawk more than socialize for the holidays. It made us all feel a bit like sideshow freaks.
Dad told us beforehand that he had advised his relatives that if any of them had a sour attitude about us they better stay home because he would “kick their ass right out the door.” His brother and mother were especially warned.
“Oh great!” I said.
Mom said, “Don’t worry, I called them back after he talked to them and they’ll be fine.”
Mostly they were respectful; especially Mom’s sister’s family. We were ourselves, but without the handholding or kissing. Some of these folks had come from out on the plains of southern Texas and had gun racks on the back of their pickup cabs. We all felt that there was no need to poke at a rattlesnake.
When they had all finally left I put arms around Dan’s waist and my head on his chest.
“Well I think the present here is that it’s over with,” Dad said;
“Y’all affect a lot of people with your life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Life will always have its difficulties; you just have to accept them at face value. This is the first time for all these people, well, that I know of, to have to deal with this so close to their lives. Hopefully, it will be a bit more comfortable next time around.”
Dan smiled, “I know it will. Mom, Dad…I want to thank you both for being the best. You really have gone so far beyond my expectations. To tell you the truth, I really thought there was a tiny chance that I’d have to pack my bags for good, but you have accepted us unconditionally. To me that is the greatest Christmas gift I can ever receive.”
“You’re welcome. Now let’s get this place cleaned up and get to bed, so Santa can come.” An hour later we climbed into bed.
“How did we get so lucky? Look at Joe; he was taken to a hotel and told he needed to take care of himself for the rest of his life for his eighteenth birthday. I couldn’t imagine.”
“Joe is so cool. He has survived and grown. I think I would be a bitter soul if that had happened to me. And, I don’t know how we got so lucky. It’s amazing isn’t it?”
“Yes it is, yes it is.”
We intertwined and nuzzled, which led to an incredible session of lovemaking. Dreams became reality in Dan’s room…our room.
Christmas and the rest of our stay was an enjoyable, relaxing vacation from school, work and our regular routine. We entertained ourselves, visited old friends of Dan’s and saw the sites of Houston. (Even Dan was bored by that.) We even relaxed in between taking naps. We were in no hurry to return to New Orleans. Yet the 30th arrived and we tossed bags, presents and ourselves into the Rabbit after lots of hugs and kisses all the way around. We would see them next at my graduation. The last hurdle for me was finishing school and for us when both sets of parents would meet for the first time.
Fitz came bounding down the concrete steps and across the front yard to the car.
“Hey hey, glad to see you!”
She stuck her head through the window and gave me a big sloppy kiss on the cheek before I could turn off the ignition.
“What’s the matter, don’t get enough from Steve?”
“God, I missed you guys. It was too quiet around here for the last few days.”
“It’s nice to be missed,” mused Dan.
Fitz ran around and kissed Dan. She helped us with the bags. We were about to go through the door when Steve met us there with a huge smile.
“Hey, I’m glad you guys are home. It’s ain’t the same without you two.”
“Thanks, we missed you too. Life was almost a bit too relaxed at Mom and Dad’s,” I replied.
“How did the rings go over?” Fitz asked.
“Mom got a little bent thinking she missed a ceremony, but they were really great about everything. Dad even helped us move the double bed into our room…After I prodded a bit.”
“We met most of the relatives, as a couple. I was ‘a quakin’ in my boots,” I said in a cartoonish voice.
“I have to admit, even though Dad is cool, his family is a bunch of hicks from the sticks.”
I could never have said that about his family, but I couldn’t have agreed with Dan more.
“Mom and her family are just Baptists, that’s their excuse, but Mom is running with the idea of her son being a queer, I have to say. She really stood up for us by callin’ Dad’s family and makin’ sure they were going to behave.”
We turned to notice the huge Christmas tree in the corner of the living room, decorated and lit like the best of them.
“Wow! Cool! You guys, this is great!”
I was floored. Steve and I always had gotten a little three foot high tree and decorated it well, but this one was at least nine feet tall!
“You guys rob a bank or just walk out with a tree from Macy’s?”
Fitz replied, “Steve’s idea, trees are really cheap after Christmas and I had the lights and decorations left over from an old sorority party…so here they are. Merry Christmas!”
“You guys are the greatest,” Dan said as he went over and hugged them both.
I joined him. No matter how relaxed and how much I enjoyed myself when I was in Houston I honestly did miss these two and our fun as four.
Dinner was a communal effort. Dan and Fitz cooked the main course. Steve handled the salad and constant cleaning and I baked apple pies. We sat on pillows around the coffee table in front of the tree to eat our dinner. Each of us in time during cooking had put our presents out. I had arranged them in a balanced composition. With candles burning and the tree lights on, our faces had a rosy glow. This was our family of our own creation as good if not better than any natural one. Actually, it was very natural.
Opening presents one by one we all oohed, aahhed, laughed, wisecracked and exclaimed with delight. We were all on a clothes kick for some reason, including my family’s gifts for Dan and me. Sweaters were the number one item, although we had the windows open that night. Everyone seemed to buy the right clothes for Dan. I guessed he must ooze some clothes aura. The present I enjoyed giving him the most was a hardbound copy of Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, one of my favorite books and a must read it you have any love or curiosity of New Orleans. Dan loved to read and I knew he would love this book.
He smiled and said, “First book from you - I can’t wait to read it.”
He must have been waiting for me to give him a book. I gave Steve a deluxe electric train set, HO gauge.
Steve and I had met in Astronomy class, the beginning of our sophomore year. It was my one elective of the semester and we both needed an easy class that was enjoyable. We happened to sit next to one another one day when we both were depressed for forgotten reasons. We were both being such civil grumps to one another that we made each other crack with laughter. Still moody after class but becoming fast friends he made the brilliant suggestion of going to a toy store to lift our spirits. It was an hour and a half of silly delight. I convinced him to buy an electric racing car set. We stayed up till 2 AM racing cars and laughing. Now his roommate was pissed and depressed at us for keeping him and his girlfriend up.
My comment was “I would think your girlfriend would want you up!”
Steve and I died in a heap of laughter.
At first I thought I would ask Steve out on a date, but I couldn’t decide if he was straight or gay. We soon turned into inseparable friends. His roommate and the girlfriend hated me. They moved out over Thanksgiving and I moved in at Christmas.
“You wonderful son-of-a-bitch, I love you! Wow! Look at the cars! Look at the amount of track. Look at the…”
He went on for ten minutes. Every single piece was soon stacked in neat piles around him. He was in heaven.
Fitz gave me an evil eye that said, “You wonderful son-of-a-bitch, you’ve created a monster!”
It didn’t matter to me for I was in heaven too seeing Steve so happy.
Then I gave Fitz my present.
“This is from Dan and me.”
Dan glanced over at me and I winked back. He had no idea what this was. She opened the small package to reveal a fuzzy dark purple jewelry box. Dan glanced at me again. Steve forgot about the trains as his eyes widened with curiosity. Slowly her fingers pried the box till it snapped open. She placed it onto the coffee table, then delicately reached in with both hands. Out came a fine silver chain with a tiny diamond pendant. Fitz was stunned silent. A collective “Oooooh” came from the rest of us. Steve helped her put it on. She kissed me on the lips.
“Ya gotta have one woman in your life you give jewelry to,” I said, answering her question before she asked it.
She cocked her eyes over in Steve’s direction to see if he got the hint. Dan did because he sat there chuckling. Steve must have gotten it because of the scared look on his face.
It was well past midnight when we pulled the plug on the tree and made our way to bed.
We were in bed when Dan said, “Be right back.”
“Gotta pee again or what?” He snuck off down the hall naked.
“Ow…I’m OK, stubbed my toe.”
I was intrigued now. He came back to the room, shut the door, and climbed back into bed with a present in his hand.
“Come on, we’ve had Christmas at Mom and Dad’s, Christmas here, now what?”
“Christmas between you and me, dummy.”
“Just open it.”
I took my time unwrapping the present. I was curious of the fact that it had been wrapped in a purple “K&B” paper bag. Dan’s devious side was at work here. I pulled off the paper only to find that it had been wrapped in a layer of the Sunday comics.
“OK,” I said laughing.
I began to tear off that layer. Underneath was a plain gray box, four by three by twelve inches. I lifted the lid. Inside was a latex dildo. We both started to laugh, sinister laughs.
“Oh, come on, you could have given this to me in front of Fitz and Steve,” I cackled.
“Sure, and Mom and Dad too! Hey, really, I’ve just been curious to see what it’s like to be fucked while I’m fucking you.”
“And vise versa too! This is really cool Dan. Ready to try it out?”
“Can’t wait!” He moved and I felt him hard up against me.
“You are ready!”
We slept late the next day, New Year’s Eve. When Steve finally knocked on the door, we had just begun to stir.
He opened the door and poked his head in.
“Do you guys want to go do brunch? I’m not in the mood to clean up,” he said with a grin, which immediately turned to a grimace.
“Sure, we just need to shower and such. How about in 45?” “C…c…cool.”
He quickly closed the door. We stared at each other with tilted, confused looks. Then I saw the dildo on Dan’s nightstand. I flicked my eyes and head in that direction.
Dan turned and said, “Oooops, cat’s out of the bag, huh.”
“Oh well, we don’t want any secrets with those guys either.”
We hopped out of bed and into the bath, taking the dildo with us. I was amazed that we still were ready to go forty-five minutes later. As we got in the car the two of us could not stop laughing.
“What is with you two, smoke a joint in the shower or what?”
For whatever reason, Dan had shoved the dildo down his pants and had walked out the door. I noticed it when we went down the steps. I completely lost it when he tried to sit in the car. The two of us were in hysterics in the back of Fitz’s LeCar and now the two of them were completely turned around to see what was going on. Fitz’s eyes rolled back in her head and she keeled over laughing.
Steve caught on last, “What the fuck? Dan…Pete! You are such a horrible influence on him!”
“Me! I had nothin’ to do with this.”
Dan pulled it out of his pants. Fitz gave Steve a double take.
“Oh no, Dan…Pete! Now you are giving Katie ideas. Oh shit, I’m in trouble now.”
Steve slumped down facing forward. I leaned over the seat and hugged him around the neck.
I whispered in his ear, “Don’t worry, I don’t think she’ll want to use one on you.”
His head snapped around so fast it scared me. I flew back against the seat. His face was beet red. Then he burst out in a fit of nervous laughter. Fitz had a hard time driving as the four of us continued to laugh all the way to the Camellia Grill.
Our friend Joe was having a New Year’s Eve party. We were all invited and excited to go. Joe Larkin was one of those people who knew how to give a party.
Steve had introduced me to Joe. They had gotten to know each other from the freshman dorm. Joe had tried to seduce Steve, but although he declined, he took it as a compliment. They became good friends. Joe never tried to seduce me because he thought I was straight. Although after I came out, he harassed me in a good-natured way because he was sorry he missed his chance with me. I was sorry too, because I knew he was gay but was too scared about coming out to Steve at that time. When I introduced him to Dan, he said very seriously that he understood why I had waited. He thought the world of us as a couple and I loved him dearly for that attitude.
Joe lived on the top floor of an 1880’s industrial building in a nearly abandoned area of New Orleans, the vast Warehouse district between the CBD, the Central Business District, and the Irish Channel. The city was in a struggle to revitalize the area. The convention center was being built there and plans were underway for a World’s Fair to be held along the riverfront in 1984, but this area on the uptown side of the Mississippi River Bridge was still the frontier for living. Joe’s building was a three-story brick structure about 60 by 80 feet. He rented the whole floor and had access to the roof. He had spent the last two years stripping the place down to the bare walls and floors and slowly building it back. It was now a wide-open space with beautifully refinished wide plank wood floors and sealed brick walls. A free standing wall of cabinets divided the kitchen from the rest of the space. A curtain separated the bedroom and furniture was the rest of the interior architecture except for the four walls of the bathroom, which was a cube, set in composition with the vertical slab of the kitchen cabinets. For someone who had gone to college for computer science he had a beautiful sense of space, form, texture, color and proportion. He was an inspiration to me with his determination and vision of life.
The place was full of people, balloons, music, food and excitement when we arrived. Joe greeted us like we were his only guests, giving all four of us a kiss on the lips. He was the only one I knew who could get away with that with Steve, besides Katie. And Steve accepted and returned the kiss too. There was a definite bond of friendship and trust between them. He gave us a tour of the place and the changes that had been done since we were last there. Before long we melted into the scene. At 11:30 we were up on the roof admiring the rising waning moon on that crisp cool evening. It had finally decided to cool toward the season. I had my arm around Dan’s waist as we turned to watch the streams of headlights and taillights flow over the Mississippi River Bridge, or as we routinely called it “The Car Strangled Spanner.”
Suddenly, Joe’s head appeared between ours and he said, “There is someone in search of you two.”
We turned and said together, “Who?”
“Right over there, with his back to us,” he said pointing, “A friend of mine brought him.”
The hair was cut short but the color was unmistakable. Dan and I looked each other in the face and said, “Strawberry!”
“Joe, we’ll tell you later, promise.”
“You better, this is intriguing!”
We marched over there and stood to either side of him and simultaneously put our arms around his waist.
“What the… Oh… my… Hallelujah!”
He put his arms around us and pulled us together in one huge hug.
“Oh my God, I lost your number and I’ve been down here looking to find you a bunch of times and I’ve tried to figure out your last names, but that didn’t work and I’ve been asking everyone I met down here if they knew Pete and Dan and then I ran into this guy tonight who…well, he’s over there somewhere…and said he didn’t know you but he was going to a party and maybe…”
“Hold on there Babalouey, calm down, it’s OK, we’re here.”
Jason took a deep breath and continued. “After I talked to you last I lost your number in the move to USM. I’ve gone plain crazy lookin’ for you guys. I can’t believe you found me.”
He bowed his head so it came to rest between our chests. He sighed heavily and squeezed us tight. He looked back up and said, “What are your last names so this doesn’t happen again?”
“Langer, Elliot,” he repeated looking at each one of us as he said it as if to burn it into his mind.
“Pete Langer and Dan Elliot, how have you guys been? Except for goin’ a tad crazy I’ve been awright. I sure have missed you two.”
Jason suddenly realized that this was all taking place in front of the two guys whom he had been talking to before we walked up. He got embarrassed and dropped his head.
After a second or two he lifted it back up and said, “Excuse me y’all, I need to talk to these guys.”
Jason wheeled us around.
I turned back and said, “You’ll have to excuse us Daf. I’ll let you in on this later.”
Dan turned back towards Daf and bounced his eyebrows. Daf just shook his head and smiled. Jason then marched us back to the view of the bridge.
“Before I go on any longer and make a bigger fool of myself, let me ask one thing?”
“Shoot, Tiger,” Dan said.
“Well…hey I like the ‘Tiger’ bit! Anyway, you know we talked about gettin’ together before…Are y’all still interested, I mean, I don’t want to be led on or taken advantage of, not that I think ya guys would or anything…”
“Tiger, I don’t mean to interrupt.” “
Yes, Dan, it’s OK.”
Dan looked over at me and I nodded my head.
“One, you need to calm down…OK…and two, it’s still cool. You are someone who is really special, we mean it. So just be our friend, ‘cause we’re yours and let things happen as they may…OK?”
Dan leaned his head over and kissed Jason on the forehead as he looked at me. I nodded my head and smiled but in my heart I already knew he was more than just a friend.
“Hey, you guys, here have some champagne, it’s almost time.”
It was Steve and Fitz with a handful of glasses and a bottle of bubbly. Jason let go of us like his parents had caught him jerkin’ off. I started to chuckle.
“Hey, who’s this?” Steve asked.
“Gadsden!” I replied.
Steve did a double take. I could tell he had made a few rounds to the bar and was feeling no pain.
“Am I drunk enough to be told?” he asked.
Jason looked completely confused.
“Jason, this is our great friend and roommate Steve and his girlfriend and our great friend, Katie, whom I always refer to as Fitz. Katie, Steve, this is our friend Jason… Jason…what? Hey, what’s your last name?”
“Godcheaux,” Jason said.
“Cool, Cajun huh,” I said, “We met at a fillin’ station in Gadsden, Alabama.”
We each took a champagne glass, Katie quickly scarfed one more for Jason, and Steve filled us up. It was five till and we had time to drink one down. Steve again filled us up and we chattered restlessly waiting for midnight to strike. As Dick Clark counted down once again, we had watched New York’s count down an hour ago, we all huddled in a group with our glasses raised.
“…Three, Two, One, Happy New Year!”
We clinked our glasses, tossed the champagne down our throats, and had quick kisses all around. Then I turned to Dan and kissed him as if I had never kissed him before. That kiss ended the incredibly wonderful year of our meeting, the blossoming of something more than the individuals we were, and began what we hoped would be one of many years to come. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Steve and Katie doing the same and Jason looking very left out. I reached out and grabbed him by his shirt, pulling him into our embrace. Dan and I broke and we both leaned over and kissed him simultaneously on the lips.
We could hear the sound of fireworks going off from all directions across the town. The cheers and yelps of people on the roof began to fade. There was no better place to be, with no one better than where I was and whom I was with at this very moment. I think we all felt the same.
Within the hour Katie came to me and said, “I need to take Steve home; he’s goin’ downhill fast.”
“That’s cool, I think we can find a ride home.”
Jason piped in, “I got my car, they’ll be fine with me, if that’s OK with y’all.”
Katie replied, “Thanks, Jason, you’re a real lifesaver; I was gonna feel guilty about this. I think I’ll take him to my place too; it’s a lot closer.”
“Fitz, you need a hand with him?”
I walked over to Steve and asked him how he was doing. He slurred something I didn’t understand back at me.
“Damn, you went to the bar too many times and not enough trips to the food table.”
“Uh-hu-huh,” and he gave me a stupid drunken grin.
“Oh, come on sweetie, time for beddy-bye.” I slung his arm around my shoulder and headed for the door to the stairs. Joe came up out of nowhere and took the other side.
“What happened, Steve?” He mumbled something.
“Oh, worse than I thought.”
Katie was right behind us and followed us down only zooming ahead to unlock the car door. We poured him into the front seat and put his seat belt on.
“Katie, I’ve only seen Steve this bad twice before. I couldn’t get him out of the car. I just put the seat back a bit, left the windows down a crack and let him sleep. In about two hours he wakes up and stumbles inside. Trust me.”
“Oh great, might not be a bad idea though. Thanks, I apol..”
“No apologies, we love him too,” I said.
She kissed us both and we watched her drive off down the street.
“Oh shit, I forgot to tell her…” Joe began.
Then the brake lights snapped on and the passenger side door flung open and a head appeared.
“Too late, she just found out,” I said, shaking my head.
We both felt sorry that Katie had to deal with Steve like this but we knew she could handle this herself. I put my arm around Joe’s waist and we walked back to the party. I wandered back up to the roof. It took Joe awhile as he had to say good-bye to guests as he made his way up the stairs.
Dan and Jason were sitting on the parapet lost in a deep conversation when I returned to the roof. They both looked up and smiled as I walked up. I felt…I knew… that Dan had come to terms with his feelings about Jason and me.
“Hey, how’s Stevie,” Dan asked.
“I knew we should have eaten something before we got here. He’s really gonna feel like shit tomorrow.”
“He and three quarters of the rest of the city,” Jason replied.
Looking around us there were quite a few who were going in that same direction.
“Hey, y’all want to get going. The last time I hung around till the end of the party I ended up kissin’ this guy,” Dan said pointing his thumb at me.
“And now he kisses me every day,” I retorted.
“Hey Jason, are you staying with anybody,” I asked.
“No, I was goin’ to drive home, or sleep in my car.”
“Oh no you are not. We got room, you can stay with us,” Dan said.
The three of us knew he was going to stay with us, but we just had to get it out in the open. I found Joe and we too said our good-byes. Ten minutes later we were up the front steps and into the house.
As soon as I closed the door behind us we stopped dead and looked at one another for a second. The reality of the three of us together, alone, was a bit daunting. Up to now it had been a fantasy.
Dan broke the ice, by grabbing the two of us and saying, “Let’s get naked and have some fun. Shower first?”
“Definitely,” I responded.
A pile of our clothes grew on the floor next to the bed. I stared at Jason’s body. He had grown some in the last four months, filled out a bit, and toned muscles graced his frame.
“Been working out, huh?”
“Been playin’ soccer a lot…and got a chin up bar in my room, that’s all.”
“Well keep it up, it looks good on you.”
“Thanks,” he said shyly.
His cock started to harden. I took each of their dicks into my hands and led them across the hall to the bath, three naked boys and one knapsack. I snapped on the light, but it was too harsh so I unscrewed one of the bulbs above the mirror. I got out my toothbrush and Jason did the same.
Dan turned and said, “I got to unload,” and sat down on the toilet.
I hit the switch to the fan.
I saw Jason’s eyes widen in the mirror at the site, “But…we’re in here,” he whispered to me.
Dan reached across and flicked his finger at Jason’s butt and said in a calm reassuring voice, “Remember what we talked about. There are no secrets between us. And that includes this. If we are open about it all it will work out. OK?”
“OK, OK, I’m new to this whole thing. Except for you guys and not much more than beatin’-off with a friend of mine, my whole experience has been what I’ve done by myself.”
“Jason, I don’t think this is normal for most people, but it is to us. So, I hope you can deal with it.”
I looked at Jason’s reflection and then continued, “You know we all should do that so when we get into each other there isn’t a mess.”
“I know, I think that’s what freaked me at first, realizing I needed to do that too and…”
“Why, you did it in front of us in Gadsden,” Dan said with a laugh as he stood up.
Jason spit, winked at Dan, rinsed his mouth and took his seat, “Mmmm, warm seat.”
“Simple pleasures in life,” I said softly looking at Dan.
He winked at me and then began to brush his teeth. Our shower together was also a simple pleasure of getting to explore one another. By the time we climbed into bed it was past three. By the time we had enjoyed every possible position and combination it was after six. We all got back in the shower and washed each other down. The sky was beginning to brighten by the time we all fell asleep with Jason snuggled between the two of us.
I heard the front door bang open and Steve groan. I picked up Dan’s arm and saw that it was nearly 3 PM. I pulled the covers a bit higher over Jason’s head in case Steve popped his head in. A bad hangover is not the best frame of mind to have to understand this.
I heard Katie’s voice as she walked down the hall and back, “They’re not up yet? Where’s Jason? I think that’s his car out front.”
“She’s a sharp one,” Dan whispered.
“She’s already figured it out by now.”
I stared at him seriously. He nodded his head. Steve said in a gravelly voice, “What are you talkin’ about?”
“Not to worry, darlin’, I was just thinking out loud.”
Jason began to stir. His butt rubbed up against my dick. I couldn’t believe that I began to get hard. How could I be the least bit horny? I was literally sore from last night.
“Hey, lovers,” he said with a broad smile and a stretch.
“Hey, Tiger,” Dan softly said as he kissed him.
Then Jason heard Katie and Steve’s voices.
“Oh shit, what are we going to do?”
“Be honest and open about it to them. We have no secrets with them either, although I’m a little nervous of having to do it…I have to admit I feel a bit guilty about this.” Dan stopped for a second to focus his thoughts, then continued softly, “We have this wonderful fulfilling relationship…amazing relationship and here we have invited a third person into it, willingly and lovingly. And it’s you, Jason, who made this a reality. You see it couldn’t have been just anyone. There is something incredible about you and how you relate to each of us individually and as a couple. I don’t quite understand how you do it, even in the time between Gadsend and last night we both felt your presence. I felt and still feel no jealousy with you here. I think Pete would agree that if it were anyone else we would probably be having our first fight right now over our torn feelings. I don’t take this relationship lightly. I want to be with this man fifty years from now. That’s what Steve and Katie know too, and I feel a bit ashamed of having to explain something I don’t quite understand myself.”
Dan stopped; he was at a loss to continue.
“Dan, I love you. I am continually astounded by the way our thoughts are connected. I couldn’t have said that any better. And hopefully Steve and Fitz will understand us when we tell them that this was more than sex, but it will take some explaining that I think we both feel we shouldn’t have to do.”
“We just want the easier, softer way to get by,” Dan said with a smile.
Jason had a very stern expression on his face.
He glanced at each of us and said, “But how do I really fit into this situation? ‘Cause I agree you guys are more than just sex to me. From the first moment, I had this strange gut feeling about y’all. I think, now, I am beginning to understand what it means, but I don’t want to come in between y’all…I’m just confused.”
He now had a pout on his face.
Dan kissed his forehead and said, “Jason, that’s part two of this quandary, and we all need a little time and thought and talk to really understand this, but for now I think it we had better just get up and face the day…face the New Year! We’re not ashamed of what we did so let’s just be ourselves, OK?”
“How about stayin’ in bed and repeating last night,” I suggested.
They both laughed and jumped on top of me, tickling me. We wrestled and giggled for a few minutes as the tension of the situation was released.
The three of us got up and walked across the hall to the bath. Fifteen minutes later we flowed into the kitchen to the wide eyes of Fitz and the slits of Steve’s. I poured coffee for the three of us and we sat at the kitchen table joining the other two. Dan brought a chair from the living room for Jason. The room was bathed in shafts of golden afternoon sun that spread across the pine floor.
Fitz gave us about two sips of coffee before she brought it up; “Now I don’t mean to pry and you guys can tell me to go to hell if you want and to mind my own business but I just don’t get it. Can you explain it to me please?”
Jason answered in a succinct manner, “I seduced them.”
Dan and I burst out laughing. He was absolutely right!
“OK, that’s what I get for being concerned and caring.” Fitz began to put her head in her hands.
Dan quickly jumped in, cutting his laughter, “Actually he’s right on. This strawberry headed kid is one remarkable guy. We haven’t yet figured out why we did this, I’m not sure we care, but it wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Jason being the incredible person that he is. I know you two are concerned and care but I also know you trust us. So let’s leave it at that for now…OK? Accept this as you accepted us…please.”
It was finally beginning to become clear in the fogged brain of Steve what had actually occurred.
“You…mean…you three went at it last night?”
“Hmmmm, that description would work,” I responded.
“Geez, you will always surprise me, Pete...and Dan…and now am I to include Gadsden too? Ow, this makes my head hurt. Geez. Between this and the dildo I don’t know what to expect out of you guys next. My learning curve is getting a bit steep here.”
“Dildo,” Jason queried.
I winked at him. His eyes got wide and a smile slowly creased his face; the wheels were turning.
“Ok,” Fitz replied to the whole conversation, “I guess I’m going to ride that curve with Steve, but…I can’t say anything…I know that you two are two of the brightest, most levelheaded people I’ve ever met and I absolutely love and trust you. Jason, welcome to our slightly wacky world on Upperline Street. Now, we all need to eat. Dan? Help me get something together to feed this crew?”
Their chairs squealed as they pushed them back.
“Oooooowwwwww!” Steve cried, “Watch that. Shit!”
“Steve, go lie down on the couch and watch some football or something. Just go relax. Jason, Pete, you need to go to the store…”
Dan went on to give a grocery list as he scanned through the refrigerator and menu in his mind. Jason wrote as fast as he could on the pad on the table.
“How does he do that,” Katie marveled.
“Don’t question, just do,” I replied.
Jason and I headed out the door and got in the Rabbit. As we ventured up and down the aisles of Schwegemann’s I asked him how he felt about everything that went on since we ran into each other the night before.
“I’m cool with it all, I just wonder how it will all turn out.”
I responded, “Yeah, I have no clue on that one yet. You have your life and school to return to and so do we…but somehow you need to fit in. For me this is not a one night thing…No way.”
“Not me either. I need to tell you guys…Since goin’ to school I’ve run into a lot of gay guys and a lot that have come on to me, but I’ve been sayin’ ‘No’ because I kept thinkin’ of you guys. To tell ya the truth, it’s weird; I only really feel it for both of you. I don’t think that I would stick around long if it wasn’t the three of us… I just don’t get it.”
I stopped the cart dead and looked at him under raised eyebrows. I didn’t say a word, but he was right.
“Hey, we will continue this tonight. When do you have to be back home, or at school?”
I told my parents I would be home, oh, about now,” Jason said looking at his watch.
“Dammit, Jase, we have a phone, don’t worry your parents. Look, I want you to stay at least tonight. The three of us can talk about it when we get back. Come on, let’s get this over with. I’m starved.”
Fitz and Dan had already gotten the whole stove occupied with steaming pots and pans by the time we got back. Fitz’s face had a huge flour smudge across her forehead. Dan was calling this “Dunch” and “Linner” depending on the moment. They were really preparing a New Year’s Day feast. Jason called home and said he was staying till the next day. I looked at Dan and nodded my head. He mouthed the word “Cool” back to me. After a half an hour of chopping and cleaning up, we were sent to the living room with snacks to keep us happy and to see how the living dead was doing.
Steve was snoring to the boring drone of college football on the TV. He rallied and sat up on the couch as we plunked down to either side. He ate a few snacks, drank some juice and then wanted to lay his head back down. I put a pillow on my lap and he placed his head down, and then cocked his knees up over Jason’s legs. He stayed awake, looking straight up at me, and after a few more cheese and crackers and finishing his large glass of apple juice he began to get down right chatty.
“What got into you last night?”
“I was just in the mood to get a little fucked up…I forgot about not eating anything. It was New Year’s, you’re supposed to get loopy.”
“Loopy yes, pukey drunk, well….you’re payin’ for it.” I stroked his hair off of his forehead. “I’m glad you have Fitz, although I felt guilty that she had to deal with you alone last night.”
“I’m glad to have her too and I wouldn’t without you guys. Pete, you’ve taken care of me for three years now and you have Dan now, so you need a break.”
“Oh crap on that, I have not taken care of you. I was just here, being your friend. Look, I love you and we look out for each other.” I looked down at Jason. He had both of his arms around Steve’s knees and was hugging them into his chest as he watched the football game. He was happy having friends too.
“Hey, I got trains to play with!” Steve shot up like a bolt. He turned, grabbed his glass, downed the last tiny sip and stood up, entirely too fast. He collapsed right back down on his ass. “Oops, let’s try that again.” He stood up; I put my hand to his lower back. “I’m OK.” He strode off to the kitchen for more juice and was back in a minute. “Got kicked out of there fast, sheesh.” He sat down on the floor in front of the fireplace and began to click and snap train tracks together.
I spun around with the pillow and put it on Jason’s lap.
“Cool,” he said.
I put my head down. Jason ran his hand across my shirt and caressed my cheek. I turned my head so that it rested against his stomach.
He woke me a half an hour later, “Hey, dunch is ready.”
I blinked and then whispered, “Oh man, I wanted linner.”
I sat up and he stood, turned to me and offered his hand. I accepted. We walked around the coffee table and both offered a hand to Steve and pulled him to his feet. We all ambled into the kitchen.
Jason announced, “Start with the black-eyed peas and collard greens. That’s traditional Southern New Year’s Day food. It’s for good luck and prosperity.”
“Pay attention to the man, he’s absolutely correct,” Fitz said.
“Then dig into whatever else you want.”
It was a typical simple southern feast: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, salad, corn bread and biscuits besides the black-eyed peas and collard greens.
We all felt fat after we finished an hour later. Jason and I spent the next hour cleaning and putting things away, while Dan and Fitz got their chance to relax and Steve continued as the railroad baron.
It was after eight when I sat down next to Dan on the couch. Jason got down on the floor with Steve and the two were lost in an HO world. Dan put his arm around me and pulled me close.
“Hey Love, missed you all afternoon.”
“Me too.” I snuggled in closer, putting the side of my face on his chest.
I couldn’t remember ever being without him even though it had not yet been nine months since we met. The phone rang and Jason popped up and answered it. He handed the cordless to Dan.
“Hey, Bill, What’s up! How are you?”
“Same here. Good New Year’s?”
“Great. So what’s up?” “Things are fantastic.”
“Yeah, he’s here snuggled up against me. Love him more than ever.”
“I know, I’m sorry we missed you too. Well, why the hell you goin’ skiing for Christmas anyway. Look, pick a weekend and come on. You’re always welcome here.”
“Wait, what’s the matter…hold on.”
Dan got up.
“What’s up,” I asked.
“Don’t know, I knew something was wrong from his voice.”
Dan walked back to Steve’s bedroom for some quiet. Every once in a while we would hear “Bullshit” or “Fuck that” but otherwise it was a long quiet conversation. Dan came back an hour later.
“Everything is cool. He’s just a bit depressed and confused.”
I smiled at Dan. I could tell that he needed to talk something through with me, but it could wait. Steve had his railroad up and running by then, at least the first vestiges of one. He and Fitz got up not long after and called it a night. Jason found a movie on the TV and he snuggled up with us on the couch to watch.
Dan and I were sitting next to one another at one end of the couch. Jason had laid his head in Dan’s lap. We had been quiet for a while when I turned and kissed Dan, smiled at him and bent down and kissed Jason too. I sat back and looked at both of them as they concentrated on watching Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I loved Dan more than I could have ever imagined possible, yet I had the capacity to love Jason too and not conflict with my feelings for Dan. This astounded and confused me too.
When the movie ended at midnight, we all sighed. I had to blink the tears from my eyes as we all began to work out the kinks. Dan stretched out like a board as Jason turned over getting Dan’s crotch thrust into his face. Jason playfully gnawed on his dick through the soft cotton khakis. I put my arms around Dan and pulled him tight to me. Dan reached out and grabbed Jason’s butt cheek as he snaked his arm around to mine too.
“Let’s go to bed,” I said.
We had our own train of three cars that wound their way to the bedroom and then, naked, made tracks to the bath. The three of us stood pissing together and began to talk of the future.
“I guess I’m going to go home tomorrow.”
“You can stay as long as you want,” Dan responded.
“No, I need to get back to reality, and you two need your time alone…together,” Jason replied, ending with a smile.
“What, we’re just a dream?” I asked sarcastically.
“Yes, an amazing dream come true!”
“So are you Jason,” I said, shaking my dick of the last few drops.
As Jason was doing the same I wrapped my arms around him from behind and hugged him tight. Dan finished and flushed, and then he too wrapped his arms around both of us, facing Jason.
“I think this is something that involves the three of us. Jason, don’t get me wrong but you would be just a good friend if Pete weren’t here. The physical love between us only works as a trio…I don’t quite get it, but I know that’s what’s goin’ on.”
“I said the same thing to Pete this afternoon.”
“And I wouldn’t trade it for the world, now that it’s happened,” I added.
We were silent for a couple of minutes, lost in this embrace till Jason whispered, “I can feel you both getting hard at the same time.”
We brushed our teeth and headed back to the bedroom for an intense, but short compared to the night before, session of sex, culminated by Jason’s insistence that both of us fuck him at the same time. We, and he, obliged.
The next morning we held each other in a tight knot of limbs not wanting to let that moment go. Our collective conscience agreed that Jason could come any time and stay however long at any point. There were no rules, except the one Jason imposed on himself; he was going to stay exclusive to us. We told him that wasn’t necessary, but it only made us love him more.
He said, “Look, it’s the way I feel; I’m getting’ everything in this deal. I get friends, lovers, and even a pair of big brothers to look out for me. I don’t need anything else at this point in time, except for me to concentrate on school. This also gives me my space too. I feel I’m the luckiest kid in the world; besides if I change my mind I’ll tell you. No secrets, right?”
“Right, Tiger and we’ll do the same with you.”
By noon, he had packed his knapsack. I had given him a clean shirt and some jeans to wear. They were a little big on him but still the outline of his bubble butt drove me crazy. The four of us went out to bid him good-bye. He promised to be back before the end of the month and we promised a road trip to see him at school. That really opened his eyes as he thought of the possibilities and problems he would have to deal with. We all laughed and said we would talk about it. I took a pen from the side pocket of his knapsack and wrote our phone number on his palm.
“Now, no beatin’ off!” I cracked.
“Man, I prob’ly will on the ride home thinkin’ of y’all! Anyway I got your number written in three diff’rent places and I know all y’alls last names and I know where y’all live! Y’ain’t getting’ rid of me too easily.”
“Tiger, anytime, OK?”
Each in turn gave him a hug, with me last.
I held him tight and said, “Love you; drive safe, OK?” I slid my hand down his back and then down into his pants. I caressed his ass.
He moaned softly into my ear and whispered, “Dan just did the same thing...I love you both.”
I pulled my hand out slowly and released him. I had the biggest smile on my face. So did Jason.
He got into that huge yellow car of his and with a rumble and a cloud of smoke vanished down Upperline. I turned to Dan and hugged him. We walked up the steps with our arms around the other’s waist and on into the house. Steve was soon on the floor with his trains. Fitz watched him from the couch. Dan and I drifted to the kitchen. He poured us some coffee and we sat down to talk.