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




Chapter 24: Rick and Glenn's First Date

At first I didn't respond to Rick's kiss, I was so surprised I didn't know what to do.   Rick continued to run his tongue over my lips and tried to push his tongue into my mouth.   I naturally responded by opening my mouth and soon I was kissing him back matching his hunger and passion.   Our tongues danced back and forth as our passion for one another grew.

When we finally surfaced for air, Rick gently took my face in his hands, his eyes piercing my soul, he said softly, "I love you, Glenn Nielsen, don't you ever forget it."

Rick rocked my whole world with those whispered words.   I totally didn't know what to think or how to respond.   This wasn't what I was expecting from this macho, tough-guy military dude.   I knew he was very straight.   I'd seen him with his girlfriends here in the apartment.   I just couldn't make things add up.   Why was he kissing me like this?   Rick has kissed me before but I always thought it was more to get at Keith.   This doesn't make sense.

He was so gentle with me and right now his gaze was searching my face for clues to how I felt about him.   I couldn't drop my eyes from his.   It was like I was hypnotized by his deep blue eyes.   I wanted so much to love him back as much as he seemed to love me.   Could this be real?   Or was this a set up?

Could it be that this was the beginning of a fairy tale with the happy ending where they live happily ever after?  You know the ones where love's first kiss happens at the end with the happy couple riding off together into the sunset.   But here I was hoping, dreaming, and wanting this fairy tale to come true but not quite believing it was going to happen to me with Rick as my Prince Charming.  

I couldn't help but think that I was dreaming and that I would wake up and find none of this was happening.   Finally, I got my mind to unlock itself and I let out a long sigh.  That was when I realized I had been holding my breath for what had seemed an eternity.  

I smiled at Rick and simply said, "I love you."  

I couldn't believe I just uttered those three words without giving it a second thought.   I should be panicking right now!   Last time I said those words, I ended up being played for the fool!   What was I thinking?   I just said, "I love you," to a muscle bound, womanizing military type!   Rick just didn't seem the type of guy to want to get it on with a guy.    Maybe I should play along and see where this goes.

Rick pulled me back into a tight embrace and then led me to the couch where we sat down side by side.   He put his arm around me and held me close.   We sat there for awhile not saying anything.  

When the silence started to get uncomfortable, we both started to talk at the same.   We both laughed and I said, "You go first."

"I thought I had lost you when you left here without telling us where you were going.   I was so afraid that you would hate me.   I'm so sorry that Keith and I got into an argument.   Keith can be so over-protective and stubborn sometimes.   He really means well.   I'm sorry he hurt your feelings," Rick said, his anxiety showing in his voice.

Hearing Rick defend my cousin just set me off.   How could he ruin my perfect dream making excuses for someone who didn't' deserve it?   "Rick, please don't defend Keith to me!   He needs to talk to me on his own.   He's a big boy and is accountable for his own actions.   Besides, I don't want to talk about him anyway.   I want to talk about us….me and you!   This all hasn't quite clicked in my head, yet," I said more than a little befuddled at what had happened in the last few minutes.

"I know you don't want to talk about Keith but I need to talk to you about him before we can move on.  I know you're still angry with him but can you at least give him a chance to apologize?" Rick pleaded with me.

I still couldn't believe what I was hearing.   "Why are you so concerned about Keith?" I asked with a note of frustration in my voice.   "What does Keith have to do with you kissing me and telling me you love me?"

"Because Keith is a very good friend and I hate to see you two at odds with each other over me," Rick said rubbing my back with his huge hands.   I was having trouble concentrating on what he was saying.   I moved away from him so I could organize my thoughts.   I needed to make sure we understood each other.   I saw the crushed look on Rick's face and was immediately sorry I had moved away from him so abruptly.

"Listen, Rick, it not about you.   It's about Keith's attitude towards me and the way he treats me.   I can't stand people who say one thing and then do another.   I thought I could trust Keith.   It really hurts to know that I can't trust him.   His true feelings about me surfaced that night two weeks ago.   He made that perfectly clear. 

"He will have to decide just where he stands because he can't pretend he's okay with me being gay and then stab me in the back and leave me bleeding in the street when he finds it inconvenient to pretend anymore or when his true feelings burst through his carefully rehearsed lines!" I said with a fierceness that surprised me.  

I hadn't realized just how hurt I felt about Keith's betrayal of my trust.   I had reached out to Keith with a desperate need to know that someone thought I was okay after being totally crushed by what Ian had done to me.   He had seemed so understanding and tolerant of the fact that I liked guys.   He betrayed me!   No, I don't want anything to do with Keith right now!   Why can't Rick understand that?

Rick reached over and pulled me into a close embrace, "Just promise me that you will let him talk to you and you will hear him out.   That's all I ask."

"Rick, you can't make me say I will talk to him by distracting me.   You are making it very difficult for me to say no to you because I want you so much.   I don't like being manipulated into doing something I don't want to do," I said heatedly as I, again, pulled away from Rick. 

"I'm not trying to be difficult, Glenn.   I just want to be able to keep my friendship with Keith and have you in my life at the same time.    Please don't make me choose between you two," Rick voice trembled with emotion.  

The intensity of his feelings about getting us to reconcile our differences made me pause and think for a moment.   I had been so angry I didn't really give myself a chance to see just how strongly Rick felt about it.   I didn't want to continue arguing with him about Keith.   I wanted to talk about us.

"Okay, I will at least listen to him but only because you asked me to and not because of any loyalty I owe Keith," I said.   "Can we talk about us now?" I asked moving closer to Rick.

"Okay," Rick said hesitantly.   I turned so I could face him and look into his eyes.   I leaned forward and kissed him briefly.   Rick responded to my kiss by putting his arms around me.  

"I want to know when you decided you were in love with me," I asked drinking in the sight of the angular planes of his face, trying to memorize every feature as if it were the first time I'd ever seen him.   I so wanted to love him but I needed to know that I wasn't just an experiment in gay sex.   I didn't need a repeat of my relationship with Ian!

"I knew I wanted you the first time I saw you sitting at the kitchen table staring in shock at me.   I was stark naked and you looked me over from head to toe with your mouth open in wonder at seeing such a hot stud!   It was a wonder you didn't start to drool all over the floor!" Rick said laughing at the memory

"I didn't look you over from head to toe and I wasn't drooling!" I exclaimed as the color rose in my cheeks.

"No, you but you sure did check out my package before you even looked me in the eyes," Rick continued to laugh.  "From the bathroom, I heard Keith tell you to close your mouth before you embarrassed yourself!   From the way you looked at me, I thought you were gay but I wasn't sure.   I held back until I overheard your conversation with your Uncle Dave and how Ian had dumped you."

"So you "were" eavesdropping on my conversation.   I wondered when I found you in the kitchen.  So that's when you decided to pursue me?" I asked earnestly.

"Well, no.   I had already decided I wanted you from the moment I first saw you.    I was intrigued by the obvious desire for me that I saw in your eyes.   I figured I would eventually have my way with you!" Rick laughed.

That was what I was afraid of hearing.   I did NOT want to be his fuck buddy.   "But that's not what you said a few minutes ago.   You said you loved me.   Now you are talking about something totally different.   Is it that you just want to try out having sex with a guy and I happen to be that guy?" I said more than a little annoyed.  

My fairy tale was coming apart at the seams before it even got started!   I should have known that reality would hit sooner or later!   After the hard fall I had taken with Ian, I didn't want a relationship where we were just friends with benefits.   I wanted a more permanent relationship, one where we could learn to love each other and maybe even grow old together if things worked out that way.

"I have to be honest with you Glenn.   At first it was just that," Rick admitted lowering his eyes to look at the floor, "I thought getting you in the sack would be a great way to try out having sex with a guy.   Since I had no intentions of developing a relationship with you, I thought it would be fun for both of us without the entanglements of a romantic nature.   You would get to have great sex and I would get to experience what it was like to have sex with a guy.  I thought it would be good for both of us.   You obviously wanted me and I wanted you in the same way," Rick paused and looked back up at me to gauge my reaction to his words.  My face must have shown the anger that was building inside me at Rick's calloused attitude towards his sex partners and towards me in particular.   I didn't want a casual relationship with Rick and I certainly didn't want to be his new sex toy!

"What made you think I would agree to any such thing, especially after you overheard my conversation about Ian?" I asked with angrily.   I was shaking I was so angry!

"Don't get angry with me please!" Rick begged me putting up his hands as if to ward off a blow.   "Give me chance to explain, okay?  I realized how vulnerable you were as I listened to you crying on the phone as you told your Uncle Dave about what Ian had done.   Hearing the pain in your voice made me want to reach out and protect you.  

All thoughts of having sex with you left my head at that moment.   I felt angry at Ian for treating you so poorly and it made me feel guilty that I'd thought of doing the same thing to you that Ian had done…use you and leave you.   I felt about as low as you can get.   I even felt guilty for eavesdropping on your conversation!" Rick said, his face showing the shame he felt still about the thoughts he'd had about me.

Despite his obvious feelings of guilt about his motives, I still was pretty hot about the pure audacity of his actions.  

"So how do I know that this isn't all an experiment?   How will I know that once you've tried out sex with me that you won't treat me like I have a disease or worse yet like an abomination?  Let's be honest, Rick, you are about as straight as they come.   I know you have had a different girl just about every weekend.   Keith has told me about your sexual exploits!   Not only that, you are in the Marines and your military doesn't allow gays!   So that tells me you aren't gay!   Being gay isn't like pushing a button and all of sudden you become gay!   So please tell me why should I trust you?" I asked more sharply than I intended.

Rick ducked his head and wouldn't look me in the eye as he mumbled, "I'm sorry Glenn.   I don't know what more I can say to you than I already have.   Maybe you should have stayed at Brett's house instead of coming back here with me."

That just made me all the angrier.   How could he just roll over and play dead?   I'm not letting Rick off the hook that easy.

"It's too late for me to go back to Brett's house and it's too late for you to back out on me now Rick Lernier!   You still haven't answered my question!   Why should I trust you?" I repeated letting my exasperation with Rick show in my voice. 

Not waiting for an answer I kept going, "Rick I'm really attracted to you physically and I so much want to have a relationship with you, a romantic relationship not just a friends-with-benefits kind of thing.   You have had those every weekend for who knows how long with any girl you could get to go to bed with you!  But I need to know that I can trust you!" I was practically begging Rick to answer me now.   I wanted so much for this relationship to work.

I reached over and lifted Rick's chin so I could see his eyes.   I was totally in shock as I saw the tears running down Rick's cheeks.   I felt guilty for being so hard on him.   The ice that had formed in my heart melted at that moment and the hot anger that I felt inside quickly dissipated. 

 I wrapped my arms around his broad shoulders and said, "I'm sorry, Rick.   I didn't mean to hurt you.   I just need to know I can trust you.   I've been badly hurt and I don't want to repeat the experience.   I certainly don't want to hurt you either!   Please tell me you can forgive me for being so harsh with you."

Rick finally responded to my embrace and wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me close to him.  "I want you to trust me but I need to be honest with you.   I know I was taking a risk by telling you how I first reacted to you.   I not only want for you to trust me but I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and know that I have been totally honest with you.   I want our relationship to be built on mutual trust and understanding.   Would you have believed me if I had told you that I never lusted after your body and wanted to do to you what I have done so many times before?"  

I shook my head negatively at his question.   "Now can you understand that it's not just about getting into bed with you?" Rick asked, his eyes begging me to understand what he was trying to say to me.

"Yes, you're right.   I would have always wondered if I was just another name on your list of conquests," I said, "I guess it was better that you told me even though it made me angry with you."

Rick looked down, again.  "I haven't been able to develop a close relationship with anyone since I broke up with Angie.  I'm really afraid of developing long-term relationships.   I'm always afraid of being hurt.   That if I give my heart away like I did then, I will just have my heart broken, again.   I can't stand being vulnerable in that way and the thought of opening my heart to you scares me so much I want to run and hide."

This wasn't what I expected from this big, strong marine.   He was trembling in my arms and the tears were still streaming down his face.   I lifted his chin up so I could see into his eyes and wiped the tears from his cheeks.   I leaned in and gently kissed him on the lips.   I brushed the hair out of his eyes and put my hands on either side of his face so he looked at me.  

My eyes held his as I said, "Rick, I want a lasting relationship with you and I promise to be open and honest with you so we can work on it together.  I want us to have a full and equal partnership where we both feel warm and comfortable.   I want to create a place where our love for each other can grow and prosper becoming a refuge from the outside world.   I do trust you Rick Lernier!"  My eyes were misty as I felt for the first time that I had found a soul mate to share my life. 

It seemed like hours that we gently held each other wanting this moment to last forever with my head on his shoulder and his arms wrapped around me.   I sensed a change in Rick as he tightened his embrace.   I pulled back and looked him in the eyes, again.  

There was a sparkle in his eyes and roguish grin on his face.   He and I knew I had just given my heart to him and with it all the confidence and love I was capable of giving him.   The sudden change in Rick was like when the sun has come out from behind the clouds after a violent thunderstorm.  As I returned his smile, Rick's expression grew more mischievous.   It made my heart stop for a second.   I knew I was in for a wild ride!  

Rick said, "I hope this means I get to have my way with you Glenn Nielsen!"

"So what makes you think you can have your way with me?" I asked with an impish smile on my face as I straddled his lap.

"The bulge in your pants tells me you are attracted to me and that I can probably get you into my bed right now!" 

"How do know that it's you who turns me on?   Maybe it's some hot chick I met at the beach!" I asked laughing at Rick as I put my hands up his t-shirt and started playing with his nipples.   I could feel him growing beneath me and I intentionally moved around on his lap causing Rick to lean his head back and moan with pleasure.

"You are such a wicked tease," Rick complained grinning all the while.   "I guess I will have to show you who is the boss.   Don't say I didn't warn you!"

Rick stood up with me in his arms and carried me into his bedroom and gently put me down on his bed and slowly undressed me.   He caressed every part of my body sending sparks of electricity all up and down my spine.   It made me shiver in anticipation!   Rick did a strip tease as he undressed himself with his bright white smile contrasting with the deep tan of his face.   I couldn't take my eyes off his magnificently sculptured body.   There was a slight sheen to his tanned skin that made each muscle stand out prominently on his chest and abdomen.  I watched mesmerized by the slight movement of his chest as he breathed in and out.  I was quite literally drooling as I watched him finish disrobing.   He moved closer to the bed and gave me the look of a very hungry wolf ready to devour his prey.   I half expected him to issue a growl as he pounced on me.   I was so ready for him to take me to new heights of ecstasy that I surrendered completely to the passions that engulfed us both.

A short while later we lay exhausted in each others' arms enjoying the afterglow of our lovemaking.   I have never felt so much love for anyone before tonight.   It was truly a revelation to me that having sex with someone you love and who loves you back could be so much more than just the act of having sex.  Rick helped me understand that being in love meant lowering all of my barriers and letting him inside my world.   Not only did I give myself to him physically but emotionally and mentally as well.   Believe it or not my fairy tale was coming true!  

I rested my head on his chest listening to his heart beat.   I lifted my head to see if Rick was awake.   As I looked up, my eyes met Rick's and a huge grin spread across his face.   "Do I qualify as Prince Charming, yet?"

"Yes, but I'm not some princess that you rescued from an evil queen!" I teased.

"True you're not the princess but you are the prince that was turned into a frog and had to wait for true love's first kiss!" Rick teased back, "And I'm the lucky guy who broke the spell!   Now do we get to live happily ever after?"

"Yes, we do!   At least, that's my plan," I said laughing with Rick about what looked to be a perfectly wonderful life together.

"Do those plans include having dinner with me tonight?" Rick asked, "Because I'm hungry!"

Just then I heard his tummy rumble.   We both burst out laughing.   "Okay, Prince Charming.   Race you to the shower.   I can't go out in public smelling this way!"

With that, we raced to the bathroom.   Rick started the shower running and we cleaned each other thoroughly.   This was a new experience for me.   Ian and I had never showered together.   I couldn't help comparing Rick to Ian.   Ian never seemed to care how I felt.   It was always about getting him off and then he would withdraw from me.   Rick was so different.     

Rick's touch on my skin as he soaped me up and rinsed me off started the passions running high in both of us, again.   As I washed Rick off, he pulled me into a tight embraced and kissed me under the shower.   The cascading water accentuated the erotic feelings we had for each other.   Rick had his way with me, again.   By the time we finished cleaning up a second time, the water was starting to turn cold.  

"We're going to need a bigger water heater if we're going to keep doing that every time we shower," Rick joked as he toweled me dry.  

I looked up at Rick with smile, "Well, we wouldn't need so much hot water if you could control yourself in the shower!   I thought they taught you how to govern your passions in the marines!" I joked with him giving him a quick kiss on the lips.

"Not so!   They only taught us how to focus and channel them not necessarily control them.   However, it wouldn't matter if they did teach us to govern our passions as you say because I don't have any control over my passions when you touch my skin and caress me the way you do.   Not to mention the fact that you are the best kisser I have ever met!"   Rick pulled me close and proceeded to kiss me running his tongue over my lips until I opened my mouth and let him in.   After what seemed like an eternity, we came up for air.  

"We are never going to get dinner if you keep kissing me like that!" I exclaimed laughing as I caressed the muscles on Rick's upper arms.   Rick let me loose and I grabbed a towel and helped dry him off.   I followed him back into his bedroom.   I couldn't take my eyes off of him.   I still couldn't believe that Rick was now my lover and wanted me to be with him.  

Rick looked over at me as he dressed, "Aren't you going to get dressed or are you going out like that?"

 His question prompted me to redirect my attention away from him towards getting dressed, "Yeah, so does this mean I get to share a closet with you?"

"Sure does," Rick responded.   "Go get your things and I will help you hang up your stuff."

I grabbed my bags from the front room and brought them back to Rick's bedroom.   We made quick work of putting away my clothes and he handed me what he wanted me to wear to dinner.   He made me smile as he stared at me as I put on my Speedo underwear.   I had the feeling that I wouldn't be using a lot of boxers or briefs anymore.   I pulled on a golf shirt and khaki cargo shorts.   They matched what Rick was wearing.   We both pulled on our trainers and left the apartment for Rick's favorite restaurant, Ray's in the City. 

Rick parked his Jeep in the underground parking lot a block away and we walked up the hill to the restaurant.   It was a beautiful summer evening.   Rick took my hand as we walked.   I was still floating on air as Rick opened the door for me and we entered the cool interior of Ray's.   The hostess quickly seated us near the back of the restaurant in a semi-private corner.  

Rick looked at me across the table with a broad grin on his face, "Order anything on the menu you want.   This is a special occasion and I feel like celebrating!"

When the waiter introduced himself, Rick ordered a bottle of wine to be served with dinner.   He also took our dinner orders:   clam chowder and seafood pasta for me and horseradish crusted grouper for Rick.

"I've never eaten mussels before so I wanted to try them," I said, "I've had shrimp and scallops before but never mussels.   I'm excited to try something new!"

"It makes me happy to see you enjoying yourself.   Have you had much wine before?" Rick asked.

"No, Mom and Dad don't drink alcohol so I haven't tried beer, wine or anything else.   Having a glass of wine with my dinner tonight will be a first for me," I said smiling at Rick.   "My parents will think you are bad influence on me Rick with you introducing me to alcoholic beverages!"   I laughed at Rick's surprised expression.

"Are you totally serious?   Do mean to tell me you have never had anything with alcohol in it?"

"Not only that, I haven't ever had a cigarette or chewing tobacco.   My parents are pretty strict about alcohol and tobacco products.   Dad always said they were tools of the devil and were a major waste of money," I said.

"I have to agree with your Dad on that point.   They are a major waste of money and cause a lot of damage to those people who are addicted to them.   However, tonight, we will make an exception as we are celebrating our love for each other.   I will make sure you don't drink too much.   I don't want you to get sick or pass out on me on the way home!"  Rick said with all seriousness.

It made me feel warm all over knowing that Rick wanted me to be safe and would look out for me.   Normally, I would have resisted having someone tell me what to do but it somehow felt right knowing that Rick did it out of love for me.

"What about you?  Did your parents let you have tobacco or alcohol?" I asked.

"My Mom and Dad had alcohol in the house for entertaining but discouraged us kids from touching it.   It was the same thing with cigarettes.   However, when I joined the marines, I did my fair share of carousing and spending time at the local bars close to base.   When I go on reserve duty, we usually end up at a bar after we're done to unwind and visit with each other," Rick said.

"How long have you been in the marines?"

"I've been in for 2 years and have 6 more to go," Rick said.   "I know where you are headed with your questions but can we not dwell on it right now," Rick pleaded with me.   I looked into his eyes and saw the tears forming there.  "I want this to be our special night, one that we will treasure for many years to come.   We can talk about our plans for the future another time."

I nodded my head, "I'm sorry Rick.   I didn't intend to put a damper on our celebration.   I just want to know everything there is to know about you!   There are so many things we don't know about each other.   I look forward to discovering the real Rick Lernier!"

"Well, what you see is what you get!" Rick said jokingly.   At that moment, the waiter returned with my clam chowder and the bottle of wine.   The waiter showed the bottle to Rick before opening it and pouring a small amount in a wine glass for Rick.   He waited for Rick to taste it and give his approval before pouring a glass for me.  

After the waiter left, Rick raised his glass to me, "A toast to the most wonderful lover in the world."

I raised my glass to his and then sipped a little wine.   The taste was kind of bittersweet and I could taste the alcohol in it.   My reaction to it must have been pretty evident on my face as Rick burst out laughing.

"I can see you don't like it Glenn.   You don't have to drink anymore of it.   I didn't know you didn't drink alcohol so I won't make that mistake, again." Rick said.

"I'm sorry Rick.   I didn't mean to spoil it for you," I looked at him with misty eyes.

Rick reached over and took my hand, "Don't worry, my love.   You haven't spoiled anything.   Relax and enjoy yourself."  Rick waved the waiter over.

"How may I be of service," he asked.

I spoke up, "Could you bring me a diet coke, please."

"Sure, I'll be right back with your soda."

Rick still held my hand.   "You have such small hands.   I've never met anyone with such small hands"

"I've always been the smallest one in the family.   I weigh 53 kilos and I'm 173 centimeters tall.   All of my brothers and my dad weigh more than me and are taller than me."

Rick looked puzzled.   "So how tall are you really?   In normal measurements I mean."

I laughed, "Those are normal measurements.   You Americans are the only ones who insist on not using the metric system.   I don't remember the conversion factors right now but you can measure my height and weight when we get back to the apartment if you have some scales that is and a measuring tape."

Rick released my hand and smiled, "We can stop on the way home and pick those things up.   I'd like to know everything there is to know about you."

I continued eating my clam chowder as I listened with rapt attention as Rick talked about his family.

"My dad was an Air Force pilot so we moved around a lot when I was a kid.   After he got out of the Air Force, Dad moved us back to North Carolina to be close my grandparents.   I was in 9th grade then.   Your cousins, Keith and Roger became my best friends.   I love working on cars and so do your cousins.   Keith and I took every shop class we could and became really good friends with Mr. Thompson, the auto mechanics teacher.   Keith is a much better mechanic than I am.   Between Keith and Mr. Thompson, I learned how to work on any kind of vehicle.   I bought an old Corvette and fixed it up while I was in high school with Keith's help.   It's parked at the apartment and I keep it covered to protect it from the elements.   I will have to show it to you tomorrow.   It's bright red and drives like a dream!"

The waiter arrived with our meal and refreshed my soda.   "Don't you have any siblings?" I asked.

"Yes, one sister named Julie.   She is 10 years old than me.   When Dad retired, she stayed in Maryland with her boyfriend.   They are married now and have two kids.   She still lives there."

"So you basically grew up as an only child then," I said.

"Well at least the last four years I did," Rick answered.  "After my break up with Angie, I kind of got really depressed and stopped doing any homework and I didn't want to go anywhere or be seen by anyone.   Keith tried to get me to rejoin the real world but he and Roger couldn't get through my self-pity.   Finally, one day, Keith's Dad asked me to come into his office and we had a good talk.   He was really able to reach me that day.   You don't know how much I owe your Uncle for talking to me that day.  He challenged me to bring my grades up and to go on to college.   It was that day that he told me he would make a deal with me.   If I went to college, he would pay all of my expenses for the first four years.   At first, I told him no.   I couldn't stand the thought of taking money from my best friends' Dad.  I didn't want to be in debt to anyone."

"So what happened that made you change your mind?"

"Your Uncle Stan talked to my parents about it and they agreed to talk to me.   My parents told me I was being extremely ungrateful and that I needed to go back and apologize to him for refusing his offer.   It was hard for me to go back to talk to him about it.   In fact, my Mom drove me over to Keith's house and made me go in and talk with Stan.   He made it clear that I wasn't a charity case.   He considered me part of his family and as such intended to make sure I got a good education.   Of course, he made me promise to do the best I could to do well in every class.   What about your parents Glenn?"

"My Dad didn't want me to come here.   He has always been fiercely independent and doesn't like people trying to help him.   When my Grandpa offered to pay for my college, Dad said no at first.  In fact, my Mom threatened to leave him and move back to my grandparents' house if he didn't allow me to go to college."

"Wow!   I thought that the Scarboroughs were a very close knit family!" Rick exclaimed.   "I had no idea that there were any disagreements or hard feelings between any of the family members."

"I agree with you Rick about the Scarboroughs being very close.   That's what I've witnessed as well but something happened between my dad and my grandparents when my parents were first married to cause a rift between them.   I have been lucky to see my grandparents once a year and sometimes less." I said with a hint of sadness in my voice.   "I feel like I lost out on what could have been a wonderful relationship with my Mom's side of the family.   I'm just glad I am getting to develop a relationship with them now.    What are your grandparents like?"

"We have lived with my grandparents since we moved to back to North Carolina.   Both of them are in failing health and need full-time care.   I have helped take care of them when Mom and Dad have had to work.   Grandpa has Alzheimer's disease and has to be watched constantly.   When we first moved back, he used to take me fishing and camping.   He has to be the funniest man I know.   Grandpa used to have us laughing all the time.   Then he started to forget things and acting really weird.   It wasn't long before he would wander off and get lost.   It has been really sad to watch his mental state deteriorate so quickly." Rick explained.

I nodded encouragingly as I finished my soup.   The waiter brought out our meals and refilled my soda and Rick's wine glass.  

Rick continued, "Grandma fell and broke her hip and hasn't been able to get around very well since then.   Grandma has taught me our family history.   She is a great storyteller!   I know you will love her when you meet her.   She is the glue that holds our family together.   My Mom's parents live in the town just down the way.   They are wonderful people, too.   They live on a tobacco farm.   Grandpa still farms it with some help from my uncles who live nearby.   I used to help them harvest the tobacco.   I love family reunions with my Mom's family.   Grandpa makes a pretty good BBQ.   He slow roasts a whole pig all day and boy does it taste good when it's finally done!   I have got to bring you to our family reunion in August so you can taste the best BBQ pork in the whole state of North Carolina!"

"I would love to meet your family!"  I said enthusiastically.   "I want to be part of your family and I want you to be part of mine.   We'll have to take a trip home so you can meet my parents, too."

Rick's mega-watt smile made me feel warm and toasty all over.   Is this how it feels to make someone else happy?   I could get used to this feeling!

"I am so happy, Glenn.   You don't know how long it's been since I have felt this way!  How's your meal?"

"I love the shrimp and scallops but I'm not fond of the mussels.   Do want the rest?"

"Sure," Rick said as I passed him my plate so he could help himself.

"So what did you tell Keith about us?" I asked, curiosity getting the better of me.

"You mean after I finished yelling at him for interfering in my life?" Rick asked with a smile.

"Yeah, I left during that part," I said.   "You were pretty loud.   It's a wonder the neighbors didn't call the cops!"

"I guess I was pretty worked up about it.   It made me mad that Keith had the audacity to try to run my life for me, especially when it comes to who I want to spend the rest of my life with, lover boy!   I told him in no uncertain terms that he had no right to try to tell me how to live my life or to lecture me about not having sex with guys when we had sucked each other off when we were in high school!"

"Are you kidding?   You and Keith sucked each other's cocks?" I asked in amazement.

"Yeah, Keith will probably kill me for telling you.   We were both pretty drunk and horny when it happened.   It only happened once and we've never talked about it until I threw it in his face when he was trying to tell me that being gay was a sin and that I would rot in hell if I had a relationship with you."

My face must have registered the shock I felt hearing what Keith had told Rick how he felt about being gay.   Keith had never mentioned a word to me about his religious views.  "You still want me to talk to Keith after what he said about gays and me in particular?"

"Yes, I do.   Glenn, we don't have to sink to his level.   We can show kindness and tolerance towards him and help him to see that it is wrong to treat you the way he has.   If you return hate for hate, it won't solve anything it will just make everyone miserable.   I want to take you to Keith's wedding and feel comfortable being there that is if Keith still wants me to stand up with him.   He is still my best friend and you are still his cousin!   One mistake shouldn't be held against him.   Okay?"

I couldn't help thinking back to how my Dad had treated my brother Randy and his life partner, Shawn.   It really tore my family apart when Dad disowned Randy and told him to get out of his house with his faggot friend and to never return.   We weren't allowed to mention Randy's name or talk about him in any way.   As far as Dad was concerned, Randy didn't exist.  It really hurt me to know that my Dad had lied to us.   He used to tell us he loved us unconditionally.   When he found out Randy was gay and had a lover, he went ballistic.   I have never felt more betrayed then I did at that moment.   How could Dad say all those mean things to Randy and disown him if he really loved us unconditionally?   My whole world started to crumble around me that day.   The pain of that day still lingers vividly in my memory even though Dad has finally acknowledged that he was wrong and has reconciled with Randy and Shawn.  I didn't want that kind of hurt to spread by not doing what I could to resolve things in a positive way.  

I let out sigh of surrender, "Okay, I guess I could at least talk to him.   But I won't stand for being told I'm going to rot in hell for being the worst kind of sinner and have Keith call me a faggot and every other kind of derogatory term that comes into his head!"

"If you want me to be there when you talk to Keith, I will stand by you.   I also told Keith that I wanted you to be my life partner if you would have me.   I told him I loved you and wanted to be with you always," Rick said capturing my hand in his.

"So how did he react to that?" I asked with wide-eyes.   I was totally taken aback by the thought that Rick had already told Keith that he loved me and wanted me to be his life partner even before he had asked me.

"He got really angry and stormed out of the apartment.   I haven't talked to him since then," Rick said sadly.

"So you haven't even talked to him yourself and what makes you think he will want to talk to me?" I asked.

"He will have to talk to you because you are part of his family.   I know your grandparents won't allow him to NOT invite you to his wedding.   I figure that you will see him sometime before then and you will have the chance to clear the air with him."

I looked in Rick's eyes seeing the distress he was feeling.   He was really hurting because his best friend had betrayed him just as he had me.   It made me even angrier at Keith for inflicting so much pain with his inexcusable behavior.   Before I had time to think about what I was doing, I reached up and placed my hands on both sides of Rick's face and gently brushed my lips to his and whispered, "I love you."

As I pulled back, I saw a tear slip down his cheek.   I wiped it away and smiled at Rick.   "I promise to talk to Keith if it will make you happy, my love.   I won't promise I won't tell Keith a thing or two about what a jerk he has been to you but I will make an effort to talk to him."

Rick took my hands in his and said, "I am the luckiest man alive.   Thank you for letting me be a part of your life."   Rick's ever ready smile returned to his face.   He seemed like a kid at Christmas who has just opened the biggest and best present ever!   My heart skipped a beat as he rubbed his leg against mine under the table.   Rick knew just how to get me worked up!   It was totally unfair!   I was afraid to look down to see just how obviously aroused I was!

Just then, the waiter appeared to clear the table and asked if we wanted dessert or any after dinner beverages.   We declined both and he left the check.   Rick counted out the cash and left a generous tip.   He grabbed my hand as we left the restaurant.   The evening had cooled off a bit and the moon had come out.   What a wonderful way to spend an evening!   I couldn't have been happier.  We retrieved Rick's jeep and headed back to our apartment.   Boy that didn't take long---I was already thinking of it as "our" apartment.  

Rick said, "Thank you for letting me love you.   I had a great time tonight.  I hope you did too."

"Yes I did.   I think I can foresee many more such wonderful evenings in our future!" I said grinning from ear to hear.   I couldn't help running my hand up and down the inside of Rick's thigh.  

Rick placed his hand on mine and gently removed it from his leg.   "If you keep that up, I will have a mess in my shorts before we are even half-way home!   You know that your touch has that effect on me.   You are just so sexy and I love the way you touch me!   Please let me get us home safely.   Then I'm all yours!"

Either I was really in love this time or I was totally on a hormone overload!   I have never had so much trouble having a continuous hard-on.  

Rick stopped at the drug store near the apartment.   Rick said, "Wait here while I run in and get the scales and measuring tape.  I won't be long."

My eyes followed him into the store.   He walked with such grace for a big man.  Man! Rick was hot!   Rick returned to the Jeep a couple of minutes later.

"Let's go home, Babe," Rick said as he turned the key in the ignition.

By the time we arrived home, I was hurting pretty bad.   One look at Rick confirmed that he was having the same problem even though I hadn't touched him since he asked me to restrain myself.

As we entered the apartment, Rick closed the door behind him and caught me looking down at his crotch and that mischievous grin spread across his face.   I soon learned what that grin meant!   "Come here you!   I think we need to take care of a few things," Rick said huskily.  He reached out and grabbed me around the waist as his mouth captured mine.   We kissed for what seemed an eternity.

Rick started maneuvering us towards the bedroom as he continued to kiss my neck.   He had me stripped totally naked by the time we reached the bedroom.   He was out of his clothes in a flash and pushed me firmly down on the bed and proceeded to make madly passionate love to me.

Prev To be continued . . .