|The Man from Swift Current|
|© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved
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|Chapter 50: Felipe's Family|
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, we were relaxing in front of our big screen television when we heard a knock on the door. Rick said, "I'll get it."
He leaned over and gave me a quick kiss before he stood up and walked into the foyer. I heard him open the door. Rick said, "Come in, guys."
Rick reappeared with Felipe and Greg. "Hey guys! How was your holiday?" I asked curious to know how Greg's family had reacted to Felipe.
Felipe grinned, "It was excellent!"
"How did your family like Felipe?" Rick asked as he sat down next to me.
Greg and Felipe sat down on the loveseat. Greg put his arm around Felipe's shoulders, "They really like him. My mother thinks he is the best!"
I smiled, "That's great. Did you tell them you are lovers?"
Greg's face grew serious, "No, we didn't. I'm not ready to come out to my family."
Felipe turned and kissed Greg, "That's okay, Greg. I don't care if they ever know about us. My Mom and Dad already know about you and want to meet you." Felipe looked over at us and said, "I asked my parents if I could bring home my friends for the holidays in December. They said yes so I am extending an invitation to you two to stay at my parents' house in Veracruz, Mexico."
I looked at Rick and asked, "What do you want to do, Rick?"
Rick smiled and said, "I would love to go to Mexico for Christmas, especially if it's with you." Rick kissed me and then nibbled on my ear.
I rubbed the inside of Rick's thigh and said, "It looks like we are in. When do we go?"
"We will leave the Saturday after finals are over," Felipe said. "I am very happy you guys can go with us. Greg was afraid he would be the only one who didn't speak Spanish at my house."
Greg laughed, "I only know a few words in Spanish and every one of them has to do with fucking or being fucked!"
Felipe grinned, "That's because that is all you wanted to know."
"That's all I need to know, Felipe, because you will be there to translate for me," Greg said.
Felipe said, "Maybe we can help you learn a few phrases in Spanish to use just in case you get lost."
"I won't get lost because I will be holding your hand the entire time," Greg said.
Felipe smiled but then he turned serious on us, "Guys, you can't show affection for each other in public when you are in Mexico. You can get shot by some crazy macho guy for walking around holding hands and/or kissing a guy."
"Do you mean it's worse for gay men in Mexico than it is here?" I asked in surprise.
Felipe said, "It can be. It is better not to attract attention to yourself. I want you to have a good time in Mexico and being careful is key to staying safe."
Rick smiled and said, "Thank you for warning us, Felipe. I will make sure I don't do this in public."
Rick lifted me onto his lap so that I straddled him. He proceeded to kiss me passionately and then lifted my shirt off and started kissing me everywhere. I could feel him growing under me as I took his shirt off and unbuckled his pants.
Felipe whistled at us as we continued showing off for them. Greg asked, "Can we join you?"
Rick grinned, "Sure."
After Greg and Felipe left, I turned to Rick and said, "I think we should do that more often. That was extremely hot!"
Rick grinned, "It was good wasn't it. It is an experience definitely to be repeated." He took me in his arms and nuzzled my neck. I put my arms around his waist and molded my body to his.
We kissed deeply. Rick pulled back with a wide grin and said, "I think I can find an opening in my busy schedule to accommodate my sweetheart's demands."
I laughed, "You had better free up that busy schedule because you just began a permanent engagement in our bedroom with multiple performances throughout the day and night!"
Rick led me into our bedroom and closed the door, pinning me against it as he began his next performance!
I lay in Rick's arms enjoying the feel of his body next to mine as I thought about our plans for the holidays. I looked at Rick and asked, "Do you think Mom and Dad will be okay with us going to Mexico for Christmas instead of going home to Swift Current?"
Rick shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know. It's not too late to call them and ask."
I reached over and grabbed my cell phone from the nightstand. I checked with my family to make sure it was okay. Mom and Dad were cool with it but my grandparents were a little concerned. They insisted that we get all the necessary immunizations and that we learn how to take care of ourselves while we were there. Thankfully, Grandpa took care of all the paperwork that we needed to make sure we didn't have any problems with our passports.
The Saturday after our finals were over, we packed our bags and took off for the airport. Needless to say, Felipe was extremely excited to be going home for a visit. However, his excitement was dampened when Greg called to say he wasn't going to be able to go since his Grandma had passed way and the funeral was on Monday. His parents had insisted that he cancel his trip to spend time with the family. He told Felipe he'd catch up to him after the holidays. Felipe wasn't happy but seemed to shake off his disappointment as we were waiting to board our plane.
"Now, remember not to show a lot of affection in public guys. I don't want my best friends in the whole world to get hurt while visiting my family. Okay?" Felipe took each of us by the arm and looked us in the eyes to make sure we understood how serious he was about behaving ourselves in public.
Rick said, "I'm okay with it but I'm not sure about Glenn."
Felipe nodded, "You're right, Rick. Glenn, I worry most about you. Rick is so masculine it's nearly impossible to believe he's gay but you on the other hand don't hide it very well, my friend!"
"I'll try, Felipe. I promise!" I responded, "We need to get on the plane before they leave us."
Felipe let me go and we moved forward to board the plane. We flew from Atlanta to Mexico City and from Mexico City to Veracruz. We sat together with me sandwiched in between two gorgeous guys. On both flights, I enjoyed being close to my sweetheart. At one point, I covered us both with a blanket and gave Rick some very personalized attention!
When we exited the plane in Veracruz, the humidity hit us like a ton of bricks. The temperature was moderate but the dampness in the air was palpable. It was even worse than Atlanta during the summer and that is saying something!
Felipe's parents met us as we left the security checkpoint. Felipe introduced us, "Mom and Dad, this is Rick and Glenn."
Mr. Gomez replied, "I'm very glad to meet you." He voice reminded me of Felipe and his English was slightly accented. I couldn't place the accent though. It wasn't like Felipe's. Before I had more time to analyze it, Mrs. Gomez took my hand.
Mrs. Gomez said in a clipped British accent, "Yes, we are very glad to have you visit. Felipe has spoken very highly of you both. We are happy he has been able to make good friends at school. We were a little worried at first."
"We are happy he is our friend," I said. "Thank you for inviting us to stay with you."
"You are most welcome. Come this way, please," Mr. Gomez said leading the way to where he had parked his Volkswagen bus.
Rick said, "Felipe, I didn't think they still made these Volkswagen buses. Where did your parents buy it?"
"They bought it straight from the factory in Puebla, Mexico. Volkswagen has manufactured cars here in Mexico for many years," Felipe answered as we loaded our luggage in the bus.
Mr. Gomez said, "I bought the Volkswagen bus after visiting the United States. We were watching some of your old cartoons. I think it's one called Scooby Doo and I saw they drove a Volkswagen bus of many colors. When I came back home, I wanted one just like it but they only had this white one."
Mr. Gomez drove us to their home. Felipe jumped out of the car to unlock the gate and let his father drive the car into the garage. We got out and looked around. It was a very beautiful home surrounded by palm trees and a high adobe wall.
Felipe asked, "Do want the tour now or later?"
Rick responded, "Can we look around outside for a bit? We've been cooped up in airplanes most of the day."
"Sure, let me tell my father," Felipe turned and told his Dad in Spanish what we wanted to do.
Mr. Gomez smiled and said, "This is your house. You are welcome to look around. Felipe will show you where things are."
Felipe took us around the side of the house and to the back yard where there was a giant swimming pool and beyond that was a huge two-story structure.
Felipe pointed to it and explained, "That is my father's factory. They make fire extinguishers. He sells them all over the world."
In between the pool and the workshop there was a patio with a grill and patio furniture surrounding a water fountain. All of which was shaded by palm trees gently blowing in the breeze. All of sudden, we heard a dog barking. I looked everywhere but I couldn't tell where the dog was.
Felipe laughed as he saw me trying to locate the dog. He pointed up to the roof of his home, "The dog is on the roof. We keep him up there. He has a dog house and mini swimming pool to keep him cool. My mom likes to hang our laundry up to dry on the roof. She says it keeps the clothes smelling fresher. Let's go inside. I'm sure that Mom has already prepared something for us to eat."
We followed Felipe inside to find that Mrs. Gomez and her staff had indeed prepared a delicious assortment of dishes for us to try. As we seated ourselves at the table, Mr. Gomez introduced us to their cook and housekeeper, "This is Mrs. Martinez and her daughter, Maria. Mrs. Martinez is our cook and Maria is our housekeeper. If you ever need anything, please ask one of them and they will get it for you."
Both of them smiled and said in broken English, "It's nice to meet you." They first brought in a nice soup as the appetizer followed by the main dish of roasted chicken, black beans and rice. For dessert, they gave us a delicious flan.
As we ate dessert, I asked Mrs. Gomez, "Where did you learn English?"
"I studied medicine in London. I'm a general practitioner and love working as a family physician here in Veracruz," she responded. "My office is not far from here. I don't charge very much since most of my patients have very little. I will often take a chicken or stack of fresh tortillas as payment."
"It sounds like you really love what you do," I said.
"I do. I travel to the various villages surrounding Veracruz to provide medical care to those who are unable to travel."
Felipe spoke up, "We go with her sometimes to help deliver medicine and help with other things when she makes house calls to those who are too sick to come to her office."
We finished our flan. When Mrs. Martinez tried to serve us more, Rick said in Spanish for both of us, "No, thank you. We are so full we can barely move. It was very delicious. Thank you for sharing your meal with us."
"Wow! You did remember some of your Spanish after all!" I said in amazement.
Rick slugged me in the arm, "I remember more than you do, boy! Don't forget, I was the one who got an "A" in Spanish!"
"Yeah, that was only because Felipe helped you!" I said smiling at him and nodded towards Felipe. "Isn't that so Felipe?"
"Yes, that is so. I did help him study. But I also helped you as well," Felipe pointed out.
"You're right but I have to tease Rick to keep him humble," I said placing my hand on Rick's inner thigh and massaging it lightly.
Rick looked at me and grabbed my hand before I had a chance to move closer to my target, "Glenn, not now," he whispered to me nodding to our hosts.
I nodded my agreement. I'd forgotten that Felipe had asked us not be so open with our affections for one another while we were at his parents' home. I turned to thank them for their hospitality. This time I tried out my Spanish and succeeded in telling them I was happy to be there with them. Or at least I thought that was what I said when they all started laughing at me.
I looked over at Rick who said, "You just told them you were happy to sleep on the floor!"
"I did not! I'm sure of it," I responded heatedly.
"No, but you did tell them you were happy to be my partner!" Rick said laughing at me.
"I did not say that! You're teasing me." I said.
"Yes, I'm teasing you but you did sound very funny telling them the food was good but that you can't keep your clothes on from eating so much." Rick laughed at me, again.
I started blushing at that. Mr. Gomez came to my rescue, "Glenn, you can speak English here and we will always understand you. Why don't you boys get your luggage out of the car and get settled into the spare bedroom."
We went out and retrieved our bags and climbed the stairs to the Gomez' spare bedroom. It was a large room. There were two queen-sized beds. There were ceiling fans over each one as well as mosquito nets.
Felipe explained, "We sleep with the mosquito nets so we won't get eaten alive. The fans make it nice and comfortable to sleep.
Felipe showed us where to stow our gear. Felipe said, "Why don't you take a short siesta? I will wake you up in a little while."
Rick and I agreed and soon were asleep in each other's arms.
Felipe woke us up about an hour later. "Hey, guys, it's time to wake up. Come downstairs to meet the rest of the family."
We followed him down the stairs and into the family room. We saw Mr. and Mrs. Gomez sitting together on the loveseat with two teen boys sitting on the couch across from them. I took a quick look around the room. There was a big screen TV at one end with an entertainment center on the wall next to it. At the other end of the room behind the couch, there was a pool table and a wet bar. The room was richly carpeted and was very inviting.
Felipe introduced us, "Glenn and Rick, these are my brothers, Gary and Oscar. They are twins."
Both stood and shook our hands. Gary said, "We're glad to meet you."
Oscar nodded and said, "Felipe has told us a lot about you."
Rick said, "You both speak perfect English."
Gary responded, "We attend a boarding school in England. We are home for the holidays and will be going back in a couple of weeks."
"That explains the British accent," Rick said. "How do you like England?"
Oscar responded, "We love it. We missed being with our family at first but it's our last year there so we are kind of used to being away from home now."
I asked, "What do you plan to do after you graduate?"
Gary said, "We aren't sure, yet. Mom wants us to study medicine like she did but I'm not sure I want to be a physician."
Oscar said, "Come on, Gary, you know you want to be a neurosurgeon just like I want to be a cardiologist. We both want to be doctors but as you can see we want to specialize. We've watched Mom practice medicine here in Veracruz and neither one of us wants to be general practitioners."
Gary continued, "It's not that we don't like what general practitioners do. It's just that we want to do something a little more challenging than treating the common cold or a case of the flu."
Mrs. Gomez said, "I'm glad to hear you both want to go into medicine. I was beginning to wonder if any of my boys would follow me into the medical profession." She smiled her approved at the twins.
The twins returned her smile. Gary looked at me, "Felipe says that you are both studying engineering so how did you meet him since he is studying business management and accounting?"
I responded to Gary's question, "We met him in our Spanish class. Felipe has been helping us to learn to speak Spanish."
"Yeah, he has helped us try to get the pronunciation right and he has tried to help us tone down our accent some," Rick added.
Felipe laughed and said, "It's been hard work trying to get you two speaking proper Spanish! Hey, are you guys interested in playing a game of soccer?"
The twins both nodded their heads, "Yes, we need to get out and get some exercise," Oscar said. "Do you two play soccer?"
Rick answered, "I don't play very often. American football is more my kind of game but Glenn is very good and loves to play."
I blushed as he praised me about my soccer skills. "I only hope I can live up to your expectations. I am not as good as Rick says I am."
Felipe interrupted, ‘That's not true Glenn. I've played soccer with you and you're a great forward and you play pretty well as a midfielder!"
"Thanks, Felipe. I'm not really that great at either position. My favorite position is defender," I said.
The twins got up from the couch, "Let's go change into some shorts and t-shirts so we can go out," Oscar said pulling his twin out of the room.
"Guess we should change as well," Rick said.
We headed back upstairs and changed into our soccer gear. I brought my cleats and shin guards as did Rick. We headed back downstairs and met Felipe and his brothers in the foyer.
"Let's go guys. Dad gave me permission to drive the car," Felipe said. "Gary will you unlock the gate so I can back out of the driveway."
We all climbed in except Gary who did as his brother asked. After we had pulled out of the driveway, Gary relocked the gate and climbed in beside his twin in the front seat.
Felipe drove us down to the soccer field. There were several games in progress but there was a practice field where a couple of kids were kicking a ball around. We approached them and Felipe asked them if they'd like to play a game against us. They agreed and we chose sides and started kicking the ball up and down the field. Rick was goalie and managed to block every shot they tried to get past him. About an hour later, we managed to score one goal against them. We let down our guard after that because it wasn't five minutes later that they scored and tied the game. We called the game since it was starting to get dark. We shook hands with the other team and piled back into the car.
When we got back to Felipe's house, we all went up and cleaned up before joining the rest of the family for a light snack before bedtime. I could smell the scent of cinnamon as we entered the kitchen.
Mrs. Martinez smiled at us and said, "I hope you like horchata de arroz."
Rick smiled back at her, "I'm sure we will. What is it?"
"It's a rice drink made from pureed rice with cinnamon, milk and a little sugar. Here, try some," she said.
She handed us both a glass with a milky, warm drink. We both tasted it. "It tastes like rice pudding," I said smiling at her.
"Yes, it does. If you want some more, there is plenty for you," she said patting my shoulder as we sat down at the kitchen table. We were soon joined by the Felipe and his brothers.
Mrs. Martinez placed a tray of sweet rolls on the table to go with the horchata de arroz. Rick said, "Thank you very much. This is very delicious."
Felipe said, "This is what I missed about being away from home. Thank you Mrs. Martinez!"
Gary and Oscar nodded their agreement as they continued eating their sweet bread.
Mr. and Mrs. Gomez joined the happy group around the table. "This is what I like to see: my boys enjoying a late night snack in our kitchen," Mrs. Gomez said as Mrs. Martinez brought her a glass of horchata de arroz.
"How do you like our sweet breads?" Mr. Gomez asked us.
"They are really good. They are not as sweet as the muffins and sweet rolls we get back home," I said.
"That's true. I remember thinking how much sugar they must put in your food there when we visited last time," Mr. Gomez commented, "as well as a lot of salt. Everything tasted so salty to me."
"That's because Americans eat a lot of pre-prepared foods that have a lot of salt and sugar in them," Mrs. Gomez said.
"You're right about that," Rick said, "We do tend to eat a lot of fast food or frozen meals that can be cooked in the microwave. We are in a constant state of motion; always rushing to the next appointment or scheduled activity."
"Boys, I need your help in the morning to deliver medicine to some of my patients. Mrs. Zingri needs more antibiotics to help her get over the pneumonia. She has been sick for some time and can't come to me. She lives in the gypsy camp just outside of the city. You will need to check in with the leader of their group before you go to see her. They are a very suspicious people and don't like strangers.
"There are a couple of other deliveries here in town to be made as well. Most of them live in the Garibaldi building. If you get there before 8 AM, you will be able to use the elevator. Otherwise, you will need to climb the stairs to the 16th floor. It seems they only have power for a few hours of each day. I've tried to time my visits for those times."
"Who is going to drive?" Felipe asked.
"You can if you wish to drive. Rick and Glenn can go with you as long as you're very careful around the gypsies. If their leader objects to their presence in their camp, you will need to bring them back here and then return. His name is Mr. Echaya. You will need to leave here by 7 AM to get to the Garibaldi Apartments before 8 AM."
"I guess that means we need to be up by 6 AM to get ready," Felipe said. "Gary and Oscar are you two going to come with us?"
"Sure we'll come," Gary responded nudging his twin who nodded.
"I wouldn't miss a trip to see the gypsies any time," Oscar said. "They have so many interesting customs. Mom has taken us there many times. I wonder if Mrs. Zingri remembers us?"
"She will remember you. How could she forget you two making such a mess of things in her home?" Mrs. Gomez said laughing at the memory.
"We didn't make a mess. It was their dog that made the mess," Gary said indignantly.
"It wasn't our fault the dog got all excited when we tossed the ball back and forth in the house," Oscar said.
"Now don't try to make out like it was the dog's fault. You two provoked the poor animal and it did what it would naturally do," Mrs. Gomez scolded but then broke out laughing. "It was quite a sight to see though I do have to admit. Even Mrs. Zingri saw the humor in the situation. Of course, we ended up spending the entire afternoon trying to put her home to rights thanks to you two."
"I'm sure she'll be happy to see us," Gary said, smiling. "I was always her favorite."
"That's not so, dear brother, it was I who was her favorite," Oscar said. "She never could tell us apart you know."
"No, you forget, she knew you were Oscar because she said you had one eye that was slightly bigger than the other and she knew I was Gary because I was always talking and you were always the quiet one," Gary said.
"Maybe so but I was always her favorite one. You have to agree on that," Oscar responded.
"No, I was her favorite because she always gave me a special treat when we came to visit," Gary said.
"Yeah, but she always gave me some, too," Oscar replied.
"Boys! Enough already," Mrs. Gomez said. "Both of you were her favorites because you looked and acted so much alike. She says that being a twin gives you good luck."
"Yeah, she wanted us to join their gypsy band. She said we would bring them good luck," Gary said.
"Maybe we should ask her if she still wants us to join them. What do you think little brother?" Oscar asked laughing at his twin.
Gary reacted quickly, "Who are you calling little brother?"
"You, of course, since I was born first that's what makes you the little brother," Oscar replied laughing, again.
"Sure, you were born 15 minutes before me but that doesn't make you my big brother. So just take that thought out of your head right this minute," Gary responded.
"Boys! We've heard this discussion many times. I think we all should retire for the evening since we need to be up so early," Mrs. Gomez suggested.
Mr. Gomez said, "You're absolutely right, dear. Come on boys; let's help Mrs. Martinez with the dishes so we can all get some sleep tonight."
We all cleared our dishes and helped Mrs. Martinez with the cleanup. It didn't take long before we had all finished up and were back in our room with the boys sitting on one of the beds and Rick and I on the other.
Gary and Oscar were anxious to ask us questions about how we liked school. Gary started first, "So what is the best thing about going to Georgia Tech?"
Rick responded enthusiastically, "The girls!"
"What do mean the girls? Felipe told us that you and Glenn are a couple," Oscar said.
We both looked at Felipe in surprise. I spoke first, "I thought you didn't want us to tell anyone about our relationship?"
Felipe looked extremely embarrassed. He looked down at the floor before raising his eyes to meet mine, "I didn't tell anyone about you guys but the twins came up to me after they first met you and told me they knew you were gay and that Rick had to be your partner. They didn't even give me a chance to say anything."
"Don't blame Felipe. We knew you were gay from the moment we laid eyes on you. It's something you just can't hide, Glenn."
I looked at Rick and Felipe for confirmation, "Guys, am I that obvious?"
Felipe nodded his head, "Yes, you are."
"I've tried really hard not to be. So what gave me away?" I asked the twins.
Oscar replied, "For me, it was the way you looked me over when I first met you. I felt like you were undressing me with your eyes!"
"I did not!" I exclaimed in protest.
Felipe laughed, "You did the same thing to me the first time we met in Spanish class. That's how I knew you were gay. I knew right away that you were interested in me."
Gary laughed, "I felt the same way. You will have to be less obvious about checking guys out if you don't want anyone to know you're gay."
"I can't help it! I love looking at good-looking guys!"
Rick put his arm around my waist and pulled me close, "You know that's how I knew you were gay the first time I met you, remember? Of course, now that we're together you can look at the guys all you want. You just can't do anything more than that, sweetheart." He leaned down and gave me a quick kiss on the lips. "You belong to me, now." Rick looked over at the twins, "I hope you two are okay with us being together."
"We're fine with it. We have gay friends at school," Oscar said. "I know Felipe has already warned you about being openly gay here. I'm sorry to say it but most of our neighbors are very intolerant of anyone who is different than themselves. Just ask the gypsies how they are treated."
Felipe agreed, "Yes, it's true that the gypsies are harassed by nearly everyone. No one trusts them and they don't want them anywhere near them. The group we will be visiting is unusual in that they return to the same camp every year. It's become a kind of village now or at least it seems like one. It's completely deserted during the rainy season."
"Come on, Gary. Let's get to bed," Oscar said as he took his brother's arm and led him down the hallway to the room they shared. "Good night Rick and Glenn. We'll see you in the morning."
Felipe got up as well, "Good night. I'll get you guys up at about 6 AM, okay? Don't forget to pull the mosquito netting around your bed before you go to sleep."
"Sounds good to us," I said. I got up from the bed and closed and locked the door behind Felipe.
Alone at last! It didn't take us long to strip down to our boxers and jump in bed. Rick reached up and pulled the mosquito netting closed around the bed and pulled me close to him. The steady rhythm of Rick's breathing and the warmth radiating from his body soon lulled me to sleep.
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