The Man from Swift Current
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved




Chapter 126: Jake

It was the beginning of the winter semester and my classes were beating me up pretty badly, not to mention the fact I was working part time now with Duane and Mason.   I was standing in the kitchen, preparing dinner for me and Rick.   I get off work an hour earlier than Rick does, so I usually make dinner for us.   I had decided on a baked potato bar and had just put the potatoes in the oven, when I heard a knock on the door.

I walked into the foyer and opened the door to find Gerald standing there.   Gerald and I had played together in the orchestra at Georgia Tech.   He grinned at me and said, “Glenn, you won’t believe who gave me a note to give to you.”

“Well, come inside and I’ll try to guess,” I said, moving out of the doorway to let him pass.

He walked into the kitchen and turned around, holding out a folded piece of paper toward me.   “It’s from Dr. Bigelow.”

I looked at him in astonishment.   “You’re kidding, right?”

He shook his head, and said, “Go ahead and read it.”

I took the note from his hand and opened it.  I hadn’t seen Dr. Bigelow since I dropped out of the music department, so I was very surprised when he sent a note to me.   Gerald continued his music studies, despite Dr. Bigelow’s undisguised attempts to get him to have sex with him.

Gerald watched me closely, as I read the note.   “What does it say?”

“He wants to refer students to me for violin and piano lessons,” I said, pleasantly surprised.   I looked up from the note, and met Gerald’s gaze.   “I didn’t think he would ever consider sending anyone to me for music lessons after I switched majors.”

“I’m not.   He’s had nothing but good things to say about you and Rick,” Gerald said, smiling.   “Of course, most of what he says is about how good looking you guys are.”

I laughed.   “I’m sure.   He has a one track mind, and it’s set on having sex with every guy he meets!”

Gerald agreed, ruefully, “That’s for sure.”

“How are you doing in your new place?” I asked.   Rick and I had encouraged Gerald to buy a condo in our building, and he had just moved in a couple of doors down from Keith and Kerry.   Now, he could be with his daughter, instead of leaving her with her grandmother in Florida.   His girlfriend, Sharon, didn’t want anything to do with their child.

Gerald smiled.   “We’re doing fine.   Mom Strickland loves the new place.   She can’t believe I was able to buy such a grand place.   All of our neighbors have been very welcoming.   Kerry brought over fresh bread with strawberry jam yesterday, and our next door neighbors gave us a basket of fresh fruit.”

“I’m glad she’s happy here.   LaTisha is cute as a button,” I said, smiling.

Gerald tried not to show how pleased he was, but failed.   “I think she’s pretty cute, too.   But, then, I’m her father.”

“You can bring LaTisha over any time you like,” I said.   “She told me she likes to read stories.”

“That she does,” Gerald said.   “She is constantly asking me to read to her.   I try to give Mom Strickland a break from caring for her when I get home from school.   I do my homework after LaTisha goes to bed.   It’s a lot harder for me to study, now that LaTisha is here with me; but I wouldn’t change anything because I love her so much.”

“What does Sharon think about her mother moving in with you and LaTisha?” I asked.

“I don’t know.   Mom Strickland hasn’t mentioned Sharon to me for quite a while.   She isn’t very happy with her for abandoning her child.   They haven’t spoken to each other for nearly three months now.   Eugene has been very supportive; but, then, he is getting his mom’s house all to himself,” Gerald said.

I nodded my head in understanding.   “I would be pretty happy about getting the entire house to myself, if I were him.   Hey, Kerry told me she lined you up with one of her friends,” I said, smiling at my friend.

Gerald laughed.   “Yes, she did.   I went on a blind date with OJ last night.”

“Well…?” I asked, drawing out the word.

Gerald grinned from ear to ear.   “OJ is very nice.  She goes by OJ which stands for Oretta Jacqueline.   She is from Charleston, South Carolina.   She wants to meet Mom Strickland and LaTisha, so she is coming over for dinner tonight to meet them.”

I whistled and high-fived Gerald.   “Score!   It sounds like she might be a keeper.”

Gerald nodded his head.   “At least she hasn’t been scared off by the fact that I have a child.  Most of the girls I’ve dated since I started college here have run away as soon as they find out I have a three-year old daughter.”

I heard the door to our condo open and Rick called out, “Honey, I’m home!”

I stood up and walked out into the foyer to greet my guy.   I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him deeply.   “Welcome home, Babe.”

Gerald, who had followed me, cleared his throat and said, “I should be going.”

Rick looked over my shoulder at him.   “You don’t have to go, Gerald.   Glenn always greets me with a kiss when I come home from work.”

Gerald smiled.   “I wish I had someone to greet me like that when I come home.”

I released Rick and turned to Gerald.   “You will.   Just give yourself time to find the right person for you, maybe OJ will be that special someone.”   I turned back to Rick.   “Gerald brought me a note from Dr. Bigelow.”

Rick raised his eyebrows, and asked, “What does he want?”

I answered, “He wants to refer students to me for music lessons.   What do you think about that?”

“That depends on whether you want to teach music lessons.   I don’t mind if you have your students come here for their lessons; if that is what you want to do,” Rick replied.

I thought for a moment, then said, “I think I’ll agree to take on a few students.   I’m pretty busy right now, between school and work; but I think I will be able to fit them in.   It will get easier, once we graduate.   Until then, I’ll see how it works out.”

Gerald said, “I’ll let Dr. Bigelow know you’re willing to do it.   May I give him your cell number?”

I hadn’t thought about him having my phone number.   I looked at Rick, who shrugged.  “Sure, go ahead.   You have my number already, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do,” Gerald said.   “I’ll see you guys later.”

After he left, I said, “I can always get a new cell phone number, if Dr. Bigelow starts to harass me for sex.”

Rick nodded his head.   “That’s true.   However, I don’t think he’ll give you any problems.”   He took my hand and led me into our family room.   He sat down on the couch and pulled me down onto his lap.

I laughed and said, “I wonder what you have on your mind.”

Rick grinned from ear to ear.   “You don’t have to wonder, Babe.   You should know by now!”

Later that evening, I sat between Rick’s legs and leaned back against his chest, watching one of our favorite television series.   Rick kept playing with my hair, twisting it between his fingers.   I could tell something was bothering him.   Normally, he wraps his arms around me and holds me close while we watch television.   After it was over, Rick clicked off the television, and said, “Babe, do you like your job?”

I got up and repositioned myself with my legs wrapped around his waist, facing him.    “Yes, I do.   Why do you ask?”   I took his hands in mine to stop him from fidgeting.

He met my gaze and held it.   “I’m not sure I like sitting behind a desk all day.   This internship is driving me crazy with all the paperwork.”

 “It’s only for a short time, Rick.   It’s not like you’ve made a commitment to work for them the rest of your life,” I said.

“I know, but I keep thinking there has to be something else I could do that would be more worthwhile,” Rick replied.

“Well, ask them to move you around the organization.   That way you can see the work they do from different perspectives,” I suggested.

“I’ll talk to them tomorrow,” Rick said, relief showing in his expression.   He leaned forward and kissed me.   “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” I responded.   I scooted forward to straddle him and pushed him back against the cushions.   I took his face in my hands and I whispered, “Do you know what I’m going to do to you?”  Before he could answer, I kissed him deeply.   When we came up for air, I continued, “I’m going to make you forget all your troubles.”

Rick grinned at me.   “Just how do you propose to do that?”

“Well, let me show you,” I replied, huskily.

A few days later, I received a phone call from one of Dr. Bigelow’s students.   I answered the call.   “Hello.”

“Is this Mr. Nielsen?” a deep male voice asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“This is Jake Wong.   Dr. Bigelow said I should call you about violin lessons.   Do you have an opening?”

“Yes, you are the first student to call me for lessons.   I need to be very upfront with you.   I’ve never taught anyone lessons before,” I said.

“Then why did Dr. Bigelow send me to you?” Jake asked.

“Maybe he thinks I can help you.   I’m just as baffled as you are about Dr. Bigelow’s motives for sending students to me for music lessons,” I said.

“He told me you’re one of the best violinists he’s ever heard,” Jake said.

“He said that, did he?” I asked.

“Yes,” Jake said.

“Well, then.   I think you should come by and we’ll decide together if things will work out for me to give you lessons,” I said.

“Are you free right now?” Jake asked.

“Sure.   Let me give you my address,” I said.   I gave him directions and ended the call.

About twenty minutes later, I heard a knock on the door.   I walked into the foyer and opened it.  The young man standing there said, “I’m Jake Wong.   You must be Glenn Nielsen.”

I gave Jake the once over.   He was a good looking oriental kid.   He was 5’8” (173 cm.), had a swimmer’s build, jet black hair, a perfect smile and a little goatee on his chin.   He was dressed in a white muscle shirt, khaki shorts and flip flops.   I liked what I saw.   He grinned, as he met my gaze.   He wore a backpack, and carried his violin case in his left hand as he extended his right hand.

I shook it and was pleased to find he had a firm grip.   There is nothing I hate more than a dead fish handshake.   I returned his smile, and said, “Come inside.”  He followed me into the family room, where I had set up a music stand.  I sat down on the couch and signaled to Jake to take a seat, as well.   “Tell me a little bit about yourself, Jake.

Jake said, “I’m a freshman at Georgia Tech, majoring in electrical engineering with a minor in music.   Dr. Bigelow referred me to you for violin lessons.   I’m not planning to become a concert musician, but I want to improve my playing.”

I said, “I was rather surprised Dr. Bigelow sent you to me because I switched out of the music department at the beginning of the school year.   I explained my logic for doing it, and he didn’t try to dissuade me; so, I’m puzzled why he would send you to me.”

Jake smiled, and said, “Dr. Bigelow said I could learn a lot from you, so I’d say he still thinks highly of you and your talent.”  He paused to gauge my reaction to his words.

I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I guess I should be flattered, then.”

“Thanks for giving me a chance to play for you,” Jake said.  

 I smiled, and said, “I hope I don’t disappoint you.   What pieces are you playing?”

Jake replied, “I’m working on Mozart’s violin concerto number 5.”

“Good.   Let’s hear you play it,” I said.

I listened to him play.   When he finished, he looked at me and asked, “What do you think?”

“You have good technique.   I like how you executed the most difficult passages,” I said.   I picked up my violin.   “I want you to listen to me play the same passages.   I want you to listen carefully, and we’ll talk about what you heard when I’m done.   Then, we’ll play the same passages together.”

We continued in this fashion for the better part of an hour.   We paused, and I turned to Jake.   “So, what do you think?”

Jake smiled.   “I’ve learned a lot from you over the last hour.   I think I’d like to continue.”

“I agree we seem to work well together.   I think we can make a lot of progress.   I will let you know when I have nothing more to teach you.   At that point in time, you can decide whether to continue your studies, or not,” I said.

Jake nodded his head.   “Cool!”   He suddenly became solemn.   He raised his eyes until he met my gaze and asked, “May I ask you a personal question?”

I could see he was very uncomfortable and wondered why.   Only moments earlier, he had been smiling and seemed happy.   Puzzled, I replied, “Sure.   You can ask, but I reserve the right to decide if I’ll answer.”

“Are you gay?” Jake asked.

I replied, “Yes, I am.   Does that bother you?”

Jake said, “No, it doesn’t.   I hoped you were gay, because I think I might be gay, as well,” he said.   “I’ve never had an interest in girls, but I’ve never really been attracted to guys, either.”

“Well, you’re welcome to talk to me about being gay,” I said.   “I know how difficult it is to come out of the closet.   You have to be ready to handle the reactions of your friends and family when you do.”

“Thanks.   I will let you know when I have questions,” Jake said.   “It’s just nice to know I can talk to someone who won’t judge me for being gay or straight.”

“Jake, I think you’re a great guy.   You’re good looking and have a very engaging personality.   I don’t think you’ll have any problems finding someone to date, straight or gay,” I said, laughing.

Jake blushed.   “Thanks, Glenn.”

After Jake left, I called Rick and told him all about my first violin student.   Rick said, “I hope I don’t have competition from Jake.”

“You don’t, Babe.   He’s cute, but he’s not my type,” I replied.

“Good.   I’ll see you in a little while,” Rick said.

“I love you,” I said.

“Back at you,” Rick responded.

I received a couple of more phone calls for lessons the following day.   Both were good looking guys, but I didn’t hit it off as well with them as I did with Jake.   They continued taking lessons from me, but I knew they would be moving on, as soon as they could find another teacher that suited their needs.

I wrapped my arms around Rick’s waist, pulling him close to me.   I looked into his eyes and smiled.   “I can’t believe it’s spring break already.”

Rick laughed and said, “I can.   I’ve nearly been beaten to death by all the homework I’ve had over the last few weeks, plus working part time as an intern.   I asked them to let me see more of their organization, and they have me rotating between the different departments every three to four weeks.”

“I know, Babe.   I’ve watched you struggling every night to complete your assignments.   My classes have been pretty intense, but I’ve not had the huge projects you’ve had to deliver,” I said.   I reached up and caressed his cheek, enjoying the feel of his five o’clock shadow under my fingertips.

Rick, taking my hand in his, asked, “What do you want to do for spring break, since we didn’t plan a big trip somewhere?”

“I want to find a nice quiet beach where we can spend some quality time together.   I don’t want anyone else to be there to interrupt us.   I love being with our friends, but I need some time alone with you.   I don’t want to have anywhere to go, or anything to do, for the entire week,” I said, emphatically.

Rick grinned.   “I want that beach to be a nudist beach, so I can admire your beautiful body in all its glory.”

I put my hands behind his head and kissed him deeply.   “You don’t have to go to a nudist beach to do that, Babe,” I said, huskily.

“Then, let’s stay home and fuck like rabbits,” Rick suggested, grinning from ear to ear.

“I’m okay with that, as well,” I said, grinning back at him.   “However, we may be asked to babysit, if we stay home.”

“No we won’t, because Keith and Kerry are going to the Mitchell’s beach house for spring break,” Rick replied, shoving his hands into the back pockets of my jeans.

I smiled and said, “You’re right.   I’d forgotten they were leaving town for the week.   Then, I think it’s settled.   We’ll make it a stay at home vacation.”

Rick said, “However, we have to establish some new rules for spring break.”

I raised my eyebrows and asked, “What might those be?”

“We can’t wear any clothes all week, and we must have sex as often as we can,” Rick said, grinning lewdly at me.

“Okay, I’ll agree to that, but I want to make one exception.   I want to wear the sexy underwear you like so much,” I said.

Rick nodded his head in agreement.   “But only when you’re doing a strip tease routine to seduce me into having sex with you.”

I laughed and said, “I don’t think I’ll have to seduce you into doing something you are already willing to do.”

Rick gave me an evil grin.  “I may need a little extra persuasion to give you what you want.”

I reached down and gently squeezed his package.   “I think I won’t have to do much to get this.”

Rick kissed me and said, “Let’s go out to Ray’s in the City for dinner; then, we can begin our spring break in earnest.”

“Sounds like a plan,” I said.   I released my boyfriend from my embrace, and took him by the hand.   “Let’s get dressed up for the occasion.”

I led him into our bedroom and chose a sexy outfit for him, and he did the same for me.   I also pulled out his favorite mesh bikini underwear.   He chose a black mesh thong for me.   Once we were dressed, he stood behind me and admired our reflection in the mirror.

Rick said, “Damn!   You look good enough to eat!”  He nipped the base of my neck with his teeth as I arched my back and leaned against him.

I said, huskily, “If you keep that up, we won’t make it out the door!”

Rick gave me a devilish grin.   “Who said we were going out?”

“I thought we were going out to Ray’s in the City,” I said, in surprise.

There was a knock on the door, and he said, “I believe that would be our dinner.”

He took my hand and led me to the front door.   He opened it to find a nice looking guy standing there, with a couple of bags of food.   His name tag said, “Greg.”   Greg had puppy dog brown eyes, short brown hair, a thin mustache, a square jaw and a jaunty smile.   He was my height, and I could see that he worked out from the size of his biceps.   His uniform fit him nicely, showing off his trim body.  He met my gaze and smiled.   “Hi!  I’ve brought the meal you requested.”

Rick said, “Greg, come in.   Will you put the food in the kitchen?”

Greg stepped inside, and Rick closed the door behind him.   Greg responded, “Sure.   Would you like me to serve you?”

“Yes, please,” Rick replied.   “I’ve laid out the china and the crystal on the counter.   The silverware is in the drawer to the left of the kitchen sink.”   Rick led me into the dining room.  He pulled out a chair for me, then sat next to me.

Greg came in, lit the candles on the table, turned off the lights and served us our meal.   I enjoyed the food, the company and the eye candy!   When we were finished, Rick tipped him generously.   After he left, Rick pulled me into his arms and asked, “Did you enjoy your meal?”

 “Yes, I enjoyed it very much,” I answered.   “I also enjoyed the company very much.”

“By that, do you mean me or Greg?” Rick asked, cocking an eyebrow.

“Both,” I said, laughing.   “Where did you find Greg?   I don’t remember him being on the staff last time we went to Ray’s in the City.”

Rick replied, “I met Greg in one of my classes last semester.   I asked Ray’s to let him deliver our food and serve it to us.   They were happy to accommodate me.   However, Greg agreed to do it for me, only if we would do the same for him and his girlfriend next week.”

“Cool.   I wondered if he was gay, but you say he has a girlfriend,” I said, ruefully.

“Yes, he does, and she is a real looker.   I think she might even turn your head, despite the fact you don’t have a straight bone in your body,” Rick said

“She must be drop dead gorgeous, because you know I’m not in the least attracted to women,” I said, rubbing noses with my guy.

“She is; however, you’re much better looking, especially in your birthday suit,” Rick said, leading me into our bedroom.   We proceeded to do a strip tease for each other.   We were both so amped up that it didn’t take long for us to begin our week long make out session!

We were three days into our spring break when we heard a knock on the door.   We were lying on the floor in front of the fireplace with our limbs intertwined.   Of course, neither of us had a stitch of clothing on.   I looked at Rick and asked, “Who do you think that could be?”

Rick replied, “I have no idea.”

The knock on the door came a second time.   Then, it hit me!   I hadn’t cancelled my violin lesson with Jake. 

“It’s Jake,” I said.

Rick said, “I guess we’ll have to get dressed then.”

We both got up and raced to our room for our board shorts.   I pulled mine on and ran to the front door.   I opened it and found Jake standing there.    

He grinned at me when he saw that I was only half dressed.   “I can come back next week, if you’re busy.”

I smiled and said, “Come in, Jake.   We can have your lesson.   I forgot about cancelling it for this week.”

Jake said, “I should have thought about it, too.   I live at home with my Mom, so I don’t usually go anywhere for spring break.”

We walked into the family room, and I pulled out the music stand.   I set it up and indicated that he should begin.   He grinned at me and asked, “Do you mind if I play without my shirt on, since you’re shirtless today?”

“No, go ahead,” I said.

Rick walked into the room, also shirtless.   “What is this I hear about shirtless violin lessons?”  Jake froze with his shirt half way off.   Rick laughed and said, “Go ahead, Jake.    Both of us would love to see you shirtless.”

Jake finished pulling his shirt over his head and tossed it on the couch.   He had a smooth, hairless chest.   He smiled and said, “I’ve fantasized about playing naked for you guys.”

We looked at each other and back to Jake.   “Well, you can do that if you want,” I said.   “But, we’ll strip, as well.   That way, you won’t feel self-conscious about it.”

 Jake stripped off his shorts and underwear.   We both gave Jake the once over.   I met Jake’s gaze.   “After seeing you this way, I don’t think we could concentrate on what you’re playing, even if we tried.”

Jake laughed.   “Then I won’t play.   I wanted to see your reaction to seeing me naked.”

I glanced over at Rick and noticed he was just as hard as I was.   “Well, now you know,” I said.

Rick nodded and said, “It looks like our reaction to you is the same as yours to us.”

Jake was equally aroused.   “Where do we go from here?”   He did a little dance in front of us.

Rick laughed.   “I think that you should join us for a shower, Jake.   We don’t have sex with anyone else but each other, as we’re in a monogamous relationship; but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a jerk off contest with you in the shower.”

Jake grinned from ear to ear.   “Thanks for inviting me to join you.”

“Not a problem.   We all could use some relief,” I said, slapping Jake on the shoulder.  “Follow us.”  

We led him into our en suite.   Rick turned on the various shower heads and adjusted the water temperature.   He turned and pulled me under one of the shower heads.   Jake took the one next to us.   Rick reached over and pulled him under the water with us.  

Rick said, “Group hug.”   He wrapped his arms around both of us.   I leaned forward and kissed Jake on the lips.

Jake’s eyes got as big as saucers as I deepened the kiss.   He didn’t respond to my kiss at first.   Then, Rick started laughing and released us from his embrace.   I released Jake’s lips and stepped back, grinning at the expression on his face.

Jake said, “Wow!  I’ve never been kissed like that before!”

I said, “You’ve been missing out.”

Rick pulled Jake into his embrace and kissed him just as deeply as I did.   This time, Jake immediately responded.   When Rick released him, he sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly.

Jake looked at both of us, and said, “I only THOUGHT I was gay before I came here today.  Now, I KNOW I’m gay, after being kissed by two great looking guys!”

I nodded my head in agreement.   “I would say that’s an understatement.”

Rick said, “Let’s have our little contest.”   He outlined the rules and we proceeded to have our competition.   Rick won, as usual.

Jake asked, “Do you always win?”

Rick grinned, proudly, “Yes, always.”

We helped each other dry off, and we went into our bedroom to get dressed.   Jake watched as we dressed in our favorite Andrew Christian underwear.   He whistled as we modeled for him.   He walked over to our dresser and looked at the wide variety of underwear we had accumulated.   He asked, “Which ones are your favorites?”

Rick replied, “We like them all.   We help each other get dressed, so I get to choose what Glenn is wearing every day.   Sometimes, I get so horny at school thinking about what Glenn is wearing, that I can’t concentrate on what the professors are saying.”

I laughed.   “What Rick means to say is that he’s horny all the time!”

Jake grinned.   “If I were as well-endowed as Rick, I’d be horny all the time, too!”

Rick blushed.   “I’m not horny all of the time, just some of the time.”

I walked over and put my arms around his waist, pulling him close to me.   “You’re horny whenever you’re around me.”   I kissed him and pulled back to look into his eyes.

“Yes, that is a true statement.   But that is how it’s supposed to be, Glenn,” Rick replied.

Jake said, “I can see that you two are very much in love with each other.”

“That we are,” I said.

We pulled on some blue plaid board shorts and white t-shirts.   We pushed our feet into some flip flops and followed Jake back into the family room, where he got dressed.

“Do you want to join us for some pizza?” Rick asked.

“Sure,” Jake responded.   “I’d like to get to know you guys better.   Since you’re in a committed relationship, maybe you guys can help me find someone.   I’m really shy, and it’s hard for me to get to know people.”

“Let’s go down to the Mellow Mushroom,” I suggested.

“Okay,” Rick said.

We left the condo and drove over to our favorite pizza joint.   We had a nice time getting to know Jake.

The next morning, Duane and Mason joined us for breakfast.   Duane sat at the kitchen table and grumbled, “Why do we have to go to work at 7 AM?”

“Because Rob asked us to work a full 40 hours this week, since we’re on break,” Mason replied.   He patted Duane on the back, sympathetically.

“You’re the one who told him we were on break this week,” I chimed in.

“Don’t remind me,” Duane growled.

Rick laughed.   “Don’t complain, Duane.   At least you guys are getting paid for your work.   I’m putting in the same number of hours as you, but I’m doing it for free.”

“But remember, you’re gaining valuable experience,” I said, smiling at my guy.

“Do you want to smack him for being a smart ass, or do you want me to do it?”  Duane asked.

Rick said, “I have a better idea.”   He reached over and began massaging my inner thigh, eventually moving higher to stroke my growing cock.   I moaned in pleasure and pushed against his hand.   He suddenly took his hand away, leaving me totally aroused; but not satisfied.

Rick laughed, as I glared at him.   “That’s not fair!   You can’t leave me this way!”

“I never said it was fair, and I certainly can leave you that way,” Rick said, grinning from ear to ear.

Duane smirked.   “It serves you right, Glenn.”

I turned to him and responded, “Just you wait.   I’ll get Mason to do the same thing to you.”

Mason grinned, as he started to do to Duane what Rick had done to me.  

However, when Mason tried to leave him on edge, Duane put his hands on either side of his head and said, “No you don’t, Babe.   You have to finish what you started.”   He kissed him deeply.

I glanced at the clock.   “It’s time to go, guys.   You had better make it quick.”  

Rick pulled me to my feet and we walked out into the foyer to wait for our friends.   I put my arms around his waist, hugging him tight against me.   We kissed deeply.

“I love you,” I said.

“I love you, too,” Rick said.   “Are we going out tonight?”

Duane said, “I think we should stay in.   We went out to Swinging Richards last night, and saw a couple of military guys get nailed by the MPs (military police).  I’d heard that they try to entrap gay military guys, but I’d never seen it here.”

Rick shuddered.   “I wonder if the MPs have seen me?”

“I doubt it, or you would have heard about it by now,” I replied.

“You’re probably right,” Rick said.   “But I agree with Duane.   We should probably avoid going out to gay bars.”

“Okay,” I said.   “I have to say I was a little surprised each time you’ve agreed to go to a gay bar, because of your fear of being discovered.”

Rick said, “I guess I thought I would never get caught.   Thanks for warning us, Duane.”

Duane said, “Not a problem.”

We left the condo and went our separate ways; Rick to his office and the rest of us to ours.

Joey heard the sound of an explosion and turned to Sra. Nájera.   “What was that?”

He had just walked in the door from school.   He was taking classes in computer science at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.   Usually, he met up with Tyler on campus, and they rode the train home together.   But today, Tyler had a late class, and he had insisted that Joey come home ahead of him.

Sra. Nájera answered, “I don’t know.   Maybe Sr. Nájera will know.”

Sr. Nájera entered the kitchen.   He looked very upset.   He said, “Parece que se explotó una bomba.” (It sounded like a bomb exploded.)

Sra. Nájera said, “Crees que es la ETA?” (Do you think it was the ETA?) – (See Author’s Note)  

 “Sí,” he replied.

Joey asked, in English, “How do you know it’s La ETA?”

Sr. Nájera looked at Joey and said, “They announced they were going to set off a number of bombs in protest of a new law.   They promised to set off bombs in all the major cities until the government caves into their demands to make them exempt from the new law.”

“They want their own country, and are willing to kill as many people as needed to achieve their goal,” Sra. Nájera said.   “There are others who want to be independent of the central Spanish government, but aren’t as violent as the ETA.”

“I thought Spain had already given many of the regional communities a lot of leeway to govern themselves,” Joey said.

“That’s true,” Sr. Nájera said.   He walked over and turned on the television, tuning it to a local channel.   There was a special news bulletin, announcing that a car bomb had just exploded outside the entrance to the Las Rozas train station.   The announcement was cut off abruptly; then, resumed, stating another car bomb had gone off outside the Nuevos Ministerios train station in Madrid.”

I looked over at Sr. Nájera and said, “That’s the station we use to come home.   I hope Tyler wasn’t anywhere near the station.”

“Try calling him on his cell,” Sr. Nájera said.

Joey pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, and punched the speed dial for Tyler.   He waited impatiently for Tyler to answer, pacing around the room.   He didn’t pick up, and the call rolled to Tyler’s voice mail.   “He’s not answering.”   Joey’s voice was full of concern.   He knew that Tyler’s class had already ended, but a group of students was meeting after class to discuss the class project on which they were working.  

Rachel came running into the family room followed by her baby sister.   She squealed as Sarah caught her.   Rachel took Sarah by the hand, and walked over to her father.   “Daddy, Sarah caught me,” she said.

Joey smiled at his daughters, welcoming the diversion from his growing concern for his husband.   “So, I see.  Sarah can run just as fast as you can, Rachel.”

She nodded her head.   “Sarah is a big girl now.”

Sarah, pointing to herself, said, “I’m a big girl.”

Joey was amazed at how grown up the girls seemed now.   It had been a year since they had moved to Spain.   Both girls had adapted quickly to their new circumstances.   They had accepted Tyler as their new Dad, and, now, it seemed as if Tyler had always been a part of their lives.  

He scooped both of the girls into his arms and hugged them.   He kissed them both on the cheek.   “I love you both very much.”

Rachel hugged him back and said, “We love you, too, Daddy.”

Sarah imitated her sister’s actions.   “Yeah, Daddy, we love you.”

They both climbed down from his lap and scampered out of the room, laughing and giggling as they went.   He looked after them in wonder.   Rachel was a very rambunctious four-year old, and cute as a button.   She knew she was cute, and used that knowledge to wrap the adults in her life around her little finger.   Sarah, on the other hand, was pushing her limits, as most two-year olds do.   Sarah’s personality was so different from Rachel’s.   She was very headstrong and stubborn.   Joey knew she favored him in many ways, while Rachel favored her mother, Kathy.

He was brought back to the present by the ringing of his cell phone.   He fished it out of his pocket and answered it.  

“You called me, Babe.  What’s up?” Tyler asked.

“I was worried about you.   Have you heard about the car bombs?” Joey asked.

“Yes, we’ve heard about them.   I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to get home, since the trains aren’t running,” Tyler replied.

“You can take a cab, or we can come get you,” Joey said.

There was a pause, while Tyler talked with someone in the room with him.   Then, he said, “Pedro will bring me home.   He lives close to us, so it won’t be too far out of his way to drop me off at the house.  Fortunately, he drove his car into the city, today.”

“Okay,” Joey said.   “Call me, when you leave for home.”

Tyler said, “I will.   We have about another hour of work to do, before we can leave.”

“I love you,” Joey said.

“I love you, too,” Tyler responded.

Joey turned to Sr. and Sra. Nájera and said, “Tyler won’t be leaving for another hour.   Pedro, a fellow classmate, will bring him home.”

Sra. Nájera said, “Good.   I’m glad to know he wasn’t anywhere near the train station.   I don’t need another son taken from me that way.”   Her voice was full of emotion, and her eyes brimmed with tears.

Joey stood up and walked over to her.   He embraced her and said, “I’m glad, too.”

She pulled away from him and wiped her eyes.   “I’m sorry, Joey.   When I heard more bombs had gone off near the train stations, it brought back so many bad memories of the day my son was killed.”

Sr. Nájera put his arm around her shoulders.   “It’s okay, mi corazón.”

He led her out of the family room and into the kitchen.   Joey could hear Sr. Nájera consoling her.   He was grateful for both of them.   Their presence in their home had helped Joey and Tyler immensely.   They knew just how to approach Joey and Tyler without being overbearing, or overstepping their bounds.   He was especially grateful to them, given his experience with his well-intentioned, but interfering in-laws.

His thoughts turned to Tyler’s parents.   They had adapted very well to their new surroundings.   Harry and Louise were happy with their condo a few streets away, but they spent most of their time in Málaga at their beach house.   They had become very attached to their new home.  A home on the beach was something they had both dreamed of owning for many years.   To have that dream become a reality, was something very special for them.

He walked into the play room where the girls were playing with their dolls.   He sat down in a rocking chair, and watched them with great interest.   The girls had set up a table with a toy tea set.   They had their dolls sitting up to the table as well as some of their stuffed animals.  

Rachel asked, “Molly, would you like some tea?”   She looked at her doll, reached over and nodded its head.   She pretended to pour tea.   She asked the same question of all the dolls and animals.   Later, she put the animals to bed and put the dolls in their doll house.   She walked over to Joey and climbed up on his lap.   She looked up at Joey and asked, “Daddy, do you miss Mommy?”

Joey was surprised by her question.   They hadn’t talked about his deceased wife for many months, now.   He wondered what had triggered this question from his daughter.   He said, “I do miss her sometimes, Rachel.”

“Mommy was mean to you, wasn’t she?” Rachel asked, staring into his eyes.

He hesitated to answer her question.   He felt uncomfortable talking ill of his little girl’s mother, but he felt that he needed to be truthful.   “Yes, she was.   That is why we were getting a divorce.”

Rachel asked, “But you still loved her, didn’t you, Daddy?”

He didn’t answer her right away.   At one time, he had loved her very much, but not at the time of her death.   He remembered how much hatred he had felt for his deceased wife.   He had harbored a lot of anger and resentment toward her.   “No, Rachel, I didn’t love her anymore.   She hurt me very badly and treated me very poorly.   I was very angry and hurt.   Your Mom and I couldn’t be together anymore, because we hurt each other too much.”

Rachel seemed to be processing this information, as she continued looking into his eyes.  She said, “I hope Dad never makes you angry or hurts you like Mommy did.”

“I’m sure your Dad will never hurt me, Rachel.   We sometimes disagree about things, but we’ve learned to talk things out between us, so neither one of us gets hurt.   Do you understand why it’s so important to talk about your feelings?”

Rachel nodded her head.   “It’s so I don’t get hurt.”

Joey saw this as a teaching moment to reinforce what he and Tyler had been working to instill in both girls about handling strong emotions, and asked, “Is it okay to be angry sometimes?”

Rachel nodded her head.   “Yes, but I have to stop and think of something positive, like you and Dad have taught me.   You said I have to do or say something positive to make the anger go away.”

“That’s right,” he responded, smiling at her.   “Talking about your feelings is a positive thing to do.   It helps other people understand why you are feeling hurt or upset.”

Rachel asked, “If that’s what I have to do, why didn’t you and Mommy do that, too?”

“We should have done it, but we didn’t.   Grown up people make mistakes, sometimes, and your mother and I made lots of mistakes.   So, we didn’t talk about our feelings, and we didn’t do or say anything positive to make the anger go away,” he said.   “We didn’t know about the positive action circle then.   I’m glad that Grandma Louise talked to us about it, so that we could teach you and Sarah.”

She smiled and said, “It’s positive thoughts that make for positive actions that make for positive feelings.   It’s a circle that keeps going.   See, I remember what you taught us.”   She pointed across the room.   “See, the circle is still up on the wall where you put it.”

“Yes, I’m glad it’s still there to remind us to be positive people,” he said, kissing the top of Rachel’s head.

“It helps me be nice to Sarah, and Sarah is learning to be positive, too,” Rachel said, proudly.

“That makes me very happy,” Joey said.  

He was very glad that Louise had given them a book on helping young children to learn about handling strong emotions in positive ways.   He had been skeptical about how it would help them with his girls.   They had been throwing a lot of temper tantrums and acting out.   However, after following the lessons in the book for the past two months, he had seen a marked improvement in how all of them interacted with each other.   He had been surprised how much the simple lessons applied to their marital relationship, as well.   As he and Tyler modeled the behavior they wanted the girls to emulate, they had become more united.   Their parenting skills had grown, as a result.   Hank and Louise had commented on the marked improvement in the girls’ behavior and complimented Joey and Tyler on their success.

Sarah had been listening to the exchange between Rachel and her father.   She said, “I like being positive.   Rachel is very nice to me.”

Joey leaned over and kissed her on the top of her head and said, “I’m very happy you’re being positive.   We all need to be positive.”  He sat on the floor and pulled Sarah onto his lap.   “Do you want to read books?”

“Yes, Daddy,” she responded, clapping her hands in excitement.

Joey picked up a couple of Dr. Seuss books, and asked, “Which one do you want to read?”

“This one,” she said, pointing to the one called, “Hop on Pop.”

He opened the book and began to read to her.   Rachel walked over and sat down next to him, listening to him read to them.

He had just finished reading the book when his phone rang and he reached into his pocket for it.   “Hello.”

“I’m on my way home,” Tyler said.

“Okay, I’ll see you in a little while, Babe,” he replied.

Rachel looked up at her father and asked, “When is Dad coming home?”

“He’ll be home soon,” Joey answered.   “Do you want to read another book?”

“Yes, but I want to read it,” Rachel said, picking up another Dr. Seuss book, called, “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.”   She read it slowly, but very clearly.

They read several more books before Tyler walked into the room to join them.   He was followed by a tall, handsome Spaniard.   The girls jumped up and ran to Tyler, wrapping their arms around his legs.   He bent down and hugged them both.

“Hello, girls,” Tyler said.  He stood up with one in each arm.   “Pedro, I want you to meet Rachel and Sarah.”

Pedro smiled at the little girls and said, “Hello.”

Sarah hid her face in Tyler’s shirt, but Rachel responded, “Hello.”

Joey stood up and walked over to Tyler.   “Welcome home, Babe.”   He gave Tyler a quick kiss, before turning to Pedro.   “Thank you for bringing my husband home, Pedro.”

Pedro said, “You’re welcome.   You must be Joey.”

Joey smiled and extended his hand to Pedro.   “Yes, I’m Joey.   It’s nice to meet you Pedro.”

Pedro shook his hand.   Joey noted his strong grip and the fact that Pedro was looking him over.   Pedro released his hand and said, “You look like you work out quite a bit.”

Joey smiled and said, “We do work out pretty regularly.   I used to go to the gym a lot, and that’s how I found Tyler.”

Tyler set the girls down on their feet and said, “Girls, please tell Sra. Nájera that Pedro will be staying for dinner.”   The girls ran from the room calling, out for Sra. Nájera.

Pedro watched the girls leave the room, then, turned back to Joey and Tyler.   “May I ask a question of you two?”

“Sure,” Tyler said.

“Please don’t be offended by my question, because I really want to know the answer.   I’ve always thought gay relationships always consisted of an alpha and a beta male, with the beta male playing the female role.   You guys don’t seem to fit that stereotype,” Pedro said.

“That’s because your idea of a gay relationship is all wrong.   We are equal partners in our relationship.   Neither of us tries to dominate the other.   Too many straight men think being in a marital relationship is about dominating their partner.   Our relationship is built on trust, and, as a result, we share the responsibilities of parenting and caring for our family.   As for our intimate relationship, we have sex to enhance and augment the love we have for each other.   Consequently, we are versatile and we’re always looking to give the other the most pleasure possible.”

Pedro looked surprised.   “But I’ve never thought about sex that way.   I’ve always used women to get my rocks off, and figured that would continue after I get married.”

“Well, that would explain why you’re single,” Tyler said, laughing.

Pedro blushed, but responded, “I guess you’re right about that.   Maybe I need to reconsider why I want to have sex with someone.”

Joey said, “Tyler insisted that we couldn’t have sex until I was free to be his.”

Pedro looked at Joey in confusion.   “What do you mean by free to be his?”

“I was married to a woman when I met Tyler.   He wouldn’t have sex with me, because I was still married at that time.   We were in the process of getting a divorce when she was killed in a car accident,” Joey answered.

Pedro asked, “Then those two little girls are from your first marriage?”

“Yes, they are,” Joey confirmed.

Pedro asked, “Are you happier being married to a guy than you were being married to a woman?”

Tyler looked at Joey, and waited to hear his answer.   “I’m much happier being married to Tyler than I ever was when I was married to Kathy,”        Joey said, wrapping his arm around Tyler’s waist, and giving him a kiss.

Before Pedro could ask any more questions, Sra. Nájera came into the room.   “It’s time to eat.”   She turned to Pedro and said, “Welcome, Pedro.   I’m glad to meet you.   I’m Sra. Nájera.   Please follow me.”

The guys followed her into the kitchen, where dinner was laid out on the kitchen table.   They ate a hearty meal, as they discussed the events of the day.   After dinner, Pedro bid them farewell.  

Later that night, Joey lay in Tyler’s arms.   Tyler asked, “What did you think of Pedro?”

“I thought it was kind of strange how he was asking questions about our relationship,” Joey said.   “If I were a betting man, I would say that Pedro is gay, but very much in the closet.”

Tyler said, “I think you’re right.   He seems to be very curious about gay relationships.”

“I think he will come out to us soon,” Joey said, caressing Tyler’s chest.

 Tyler asked, “Do you still want more children, Babe?”

“Yes, I do,” Joey said.   “I was thinking that we should find a surrogate to have our child.   Most of all, I want you to be the father.”

Tyler kissed his husband and said, “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.   In fact, I would be thrilled if we had twins,” Joey said, smiling.

“We’ll begin our search tomorrow, “Tyler said.   “The bombs scared me today.   It caused me to think we need to get our affairs in order, just in case something happens to either one of us.”

“I agree,” Joey said.   “I’ve never been as worried about you as I was today.   Just the thought of living my life without you scares me.”

“Babe, I’m not going anywhere, so don’t worry anymore,” Tyler said, kissing his husband.

Prev To be continued . . .

A Note from Russ:

 La ETA - Euskadi Ta Askatasuna means “Basque Fatherland and Liberty” in Basque.