Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Man from Swift Current Chapter Thirty - Rick's Parents

Chapter Thirty – Rick’s Parents

 “Glenn, are you awake?” Rick whispered, as he caressed the bare skin of my back and reached down to cup my buttocks with his huge hands.

“Yes,” I responded sleepily with my eyes closed against the sunlight that was streaming through the window, “Why?”

“We need to talk about our trip to North Carolina this weekend.   I’m really nervous about outing ourselves to my crazy red-neck uncles and cousins,” Rick said, as he brushed his lips gently against mine.  Rick rolled me onto my side and looked me in the eyes.

I looked deeply into his beautiful eyes and saw the worry he felt reflected there.   “Why are you so nervous?   Do you think they will try some crazy stunt with all of the family around?” I asked fully awake now.

We had planned our trip to North Carolina so we could be at Rick’s family reunion.   He wanted to introduce me as his life partner to the whole clan at the same time.   I knew it would a risky thing to do, but it would be better than doing it one at a time or letting the rumor mill spread nasty things about me and Rick.   I would just as soon have everyone hear it directly from us.   I cringed to think of the reaction of some his red-neck cousins and even some of his uncles to the news.  

 “Well, let’s just say I’ve heard some pretty bad things about them from others in the community.   I’m afraid they will try to hurt one or both of us.   My cousins aren’t very open-minded about homosexuals or anything like it.   In fact, they aren’t very open to anything that doesn’t fit their idea of normal,” Rick said, his brow creased with worry.

“Sounds like your cousins aren’t any different than people anywhere else.   I didn’t come out to my classmates during high school because I was afraid of being harassed every day and beaten up on the way home from school.   I came out to my family, but not to anyone else except Ian and that happened by accident.   I kind of had a huge crush on Ian and didn’t hide it very well, just like how I didn’t hide my desire for you when I first met you,” I said, laughing as Rick ran his hands over my chest and played with my nipples.

“So you are okay with being “outed” to my whole family?   I don’t want to put either of us at risk of bodily harm because of my family,” Rick said, as he bit my left nipple.

I leaned my head back, enjoying my lover’s ministrations.   “I’m okay with it as long as you think it’s a good idea.   Maybe the best thing to do is to tell your mom and dad and then decide what to do.   If they're okay with us as a couple, we can ask them what they think we should do,” I replied, looking my lover in the eyes.

“Glenn, you’re a genius!   I love you!   I think you are right when you say we should tell my parents first and gauge their reaction to our news and ask for their support.   We need to get up and get on the road soon.   Are you ready?” Rick asked, as he rubbed his steel pole against me.

“I am always ready for you…,” I said but didn’t get any further before Rick’s mouth captured mine in a very passionate kiss.

***  ***

We lay exhausted from our love-making with our limbs intertwined enjoying the touch bare skin to bare skin.   After a while Rick said, “Glenn we need to get showered.   Come with me lover boy!”   

Rick pulled me up with him and led me into the shower and we quickly cleaned each other up.   We toweled each other dry, got dressed and headed downstairs where my grandparents were already having breakfast.

As we sat down at the table, Grandma said, “Don’t forget to be back in time for Keith’s wedding next week.   We need you two to help us set things up for the wedding.”

“Yes Grandma.   We haven’t forgotten about the wedding.   Do we need to stop by here or should we go directly to Kerry’s parents’ home?”  Rick asked.

“You don’t need to come back here, Rick.   We will take care of everything we need from here.  You should check with Keith’s folks before you leave Selma to see if they need any help.   We will meet you in Clemson, South Carolina,” Grandma said, smiling at us. 

Grandpa looked over at us and smiled.  “I warned you two that you would be dragged into the middle of the wedding plans.”

“And so they should be dear.   They are part of this family and as such should be part of the preparations for the celebration.   Everyone will have a great time at the wedding, once all the preparations are complete.   Besides, Keith and Kerry have planned a much more relaxed ring ceremony for just the family at the beach when they return from their honeymoon.   Katie and Joe have invited us down to their beach house to spend the last week of summer with them before college classes begin.”  Grandma smiled at us and ruffled my hair.  “While Keith and Kerry are on their honeymoon, your Grandpa has bought tickets for you to fly to Regina where your parents will pick you up, Glenn.   We told them Rick would be accompanying you.   You will spend a week at home before returning for our last trip to the beach of the summer.   How does that sound boys?”

We looked at each other and said at the same time, “Great!”   Rick grabbed my hand and gave it a squeeze to let me know he was excited to meet my family.

We finished eating breakfast and helped clear the table.   Grandma said, “I’ll wash up these dishes.   You boys had better be on your way.   I know you have a long drive ahead of you.”

“Thanks, Grandma,” I said, hugging my grandma.

“Ditto,” Rick said and gave her hug, too.

Rick led me back upstairs and grabbed our bags and headed back downstairs and out the front door.   He loaded our stuff in the back of Rick’s Jeep Wrangler and climbed into the driver’s seat, as I was buckling my seat belt.  

Just like Rick had done on our trip up from Atlanta, he leaned over and kissed me and said, “I love you.”

Rick started the engine and pulled out of the driveway.   He had butterflies in his stomach.   The thought of introducing his lover to his parents had him so anxious he was gripping the steering wheel so hard his knuckles were turning white.

“Rick it’s going to be okay!   Relax!   I’m sure your parents will be very understanding,” I said soothingly, trying to get Rick to settle down.

“I know you’re right but I still can’t help thinking my Dad is going to go totally off the deep end when I tell him I have fallen for a guy.   I’ve heard him talk about gays before and his thoughts about them aren’t favorable.   I can hear him now, “Rick you know how I feel about gays and how can you expect me to accept you're a homosexual!”   I don’t have an answer for him, Glenn.”

“You’ll tell him it’s not about accepting you as gay but it’s about accepting you for who you are and you have fallen in love with the best person in the world for you,” I said patiently, knowing it wasn’t going to be as easy as I made it sound.

“But what about the military issue?” Rick asked, glancing at me.

“What about it?   Have you decided how we are going to handle it?   You know we haven’t really talked about it.   We've avoided the subject since our first night together when you asked me to let us enjoy our time together without spoiling it with negative thoughts about things such as your military’s anti-gay policy,” I said.

“I know!  I know!” Rick exclaimed with feeling.   “I have been too afraid to face up to the complications of being in the military has for our relationship.   I know how you feel about hiding our relationship from other people and I agree we shouldn’t hide out.   However, can we just keep things less obvious in public for now?” Rick pleaded with me.

“Rick, do you realize you still have six more years before you can be free of the military’s restrictions?   You're asking me to refrain from showing how much I love you in public for six years?  How can you expect me to simply pretend we are good friends when I am so physically attracted to you I can’t keep myself from reacting to the nearness of your gorgeous body?    How can I just look the other way when I want to kiss you passionately and hold your hand as we walk down the street together?” I said, letting my frustration show in my voice.  

I know my statements hit him hard.   I could see his reaction to my words on his face.   He knew I was completely right to be frustrated with him.   Rick knew I wasn’t going to be happy with him when we talked about this and we had deliberately avoided talking about it.   I guess I had tried to pretend it would resolve itself, if we ignored it long enough.  

 “I feel the same way Glenn,” Rick said, hoping to head off an argument with his lover boy.

“Then why are you asking me to stop showing my affection for you in public?” I asked.

“I didn’t ask you to stop showing me affection in public.   I just asked you to refrain from being so obvious about it,” Rick responded defensively.

“What’s the difference?   You are still asking me to pretend you aren’t my boyfriend and lover!   Do you know how hard that’s going to be?”  My voice had risen with anger as I finished speaking.

Rick said, “I know I'm asking you to make a sacrifice for me but I think our love for each other is strong enough to get us through it.   I know six years is a long time but it will go pretty fast since we are both going to be in school during most of those six years.   Glenn, I know it seems like a lot to ask but I don’t have any way to get out of the obligation I have to complete six more years in the reserves.”  

Rick paused before continuing, “I’ve thought a lot about my commitment to the military.   It seemed to be pretty straight forward to me when I signed up for the Marines.   Now, it seems more like a millstone around my neck, weighing me down and keeping me from being the partner I want to be for you.   I’d hoped you would agree to keep our relationship a secret from all but our closest family and friends.”

“Maybe you should have thought about that before you decided to make me your lover!” I said angrily.  “You know I can’t just turn my love for you on and off like a water faucet.   I’ve fallen so hard for you that it’s too late for me to try to pretend I don’t love you!   Rick, I love you too much to just turn away from you because of this situation but it sure makes me angry.”   I paused to try to get control of my emotions.   “I am not so much angry with you as I am angry at myself for getting into a relationship that requires me to pretend to be someone I'm not.   You know how much it means to me to be able to be honest about who I am!”

Rick said, in a distressed voice, “I know how important to you it is to be honest about who you are.   I’m sorry, Glenn, can we at least reach a compromise?  I don’t like it anymore than you do.   Can you please look at it from my perspective?  Okay?”

“I’m listening…..” I responded, still angry about the whole situation.   Rick’s begging me to compromise makes me even angrier!

Rick said, “I know you’re really angry right now, but can we agree we both went into this relationship with our eyes wide open?   You knew I was in the Marines and even asked me about it the first night we went out together.   You have to admit you agreed with me when I asked you not to talk about it that night and we haven’t talked about it since then.   We haven’t even talked about it when I have done my reserve duty and I leave you alone at the apartment.”

I acknowledged his point, “Yes, I agree we both knew what we were doing and chose to ignore the elephant in the room.   That still doesn’t change the fact you're asking me to pretend to be something I’m not…..and that is straight!”

“I’m not asking you to pretend you are straight.   I’m not sure you could pull that one off even if you tried!” Rick said, laughing at me trying to reduce the tension between us.   He continued, “I’m just asking you to refrain from being so affectionate with me in public so it’s a little less obvious to outside observers.   I’m thinking now would be a good time to put that into practice since I don’t trust my cousins to leave us alone.   I don’t want to take the risk of either one of us getting hurt.”

“Do you really think your cousins would do us physical harm?” I asked in alarm.

“Yes I do.   I know my cousins!   They are pretty prejudiced against anyone who isn’t of the same religion, race, color and socio-economic status as they are.   They have done some pretty bad things to other people.   I’ve overheard them bragging about it when they thought no one was around.   They may seem like nice people when you meet them, but they are not nice at all!” Rick warned me.

“Wow!   I thought people in the United States had resolved those kinds of problems with the civil rights and women’s rights movements.   We don’t have those kinds of problems in Canada.   We have a pretty open society that believes in letting people live their lives.”

“I hope you are right about Canadians being more open to different people since you’re Canadian.   We, Americans, can be pretty closed minded when it comes to gender, race and religion despite our claims of tolerance and acceptance.”

“Back to the matter of your cousins, what are we going to do?” I asked.

“Can we agree that we will be VERY discrete while we are at the family reunion?” Rick asked me very pointedly.

“Yes, I think I can do that.   What about telling your parents?” I responded.

“I want to tell them but let me decide the best time, okay?” Rick asked.

“Alright, I will wait until you're ready but don’t wait too long.   We need their support as well as the support of my family to make this work.   We can’t hide the fact we love each other from our closest family members.   They're going to figure it out eventually,” I said, looking over at Rick as he concentrated on the road ahead.

“I guess you’re right Glenn.   I’m just not quite ready to confront them on the issue of me being gay, yet,” Rick said.

“I am here for you, Rick.   Remember I love you very much.   I will support whatever decision you make with regards to your sexuality and your coming out to other people.   I may not agree with you and I may not like it.   In fact, I may even get angry but I will always love you and support you the best I can,” I said, trying to overcome my feelings of frustration.

Rick said, “Thank you, Glenn, for being so supportive.   I know how angry you were a few minutes ago.   I want to understand you better and I'll try to remember to not offend you regarding your sexuality and the importance you place on being true to yourself.   I haven’t come to terms with who I am, yet.   I’m glad you're willing to back off a little bit about showing affection for me in public.”

 Rick quickly glanced over at me.   He could see I was still struggling with his request.

“Glenn, I know you are still troubled by this issue.   What more do I need to do to help ease your mind?” Rick asked sincerely.

“I don’t know Rick.   I'm okay with not being so demonstrative in public but I am really disturbed by what you have told me about your family.   I experienced that kind of hatred towards gays personally in my own family when my Dad threw my brother and his lover out of his house and completely disowned him.   It wasn’t physical violence against them but it was just as traumatic and caused a lot of emotional damage to our family,” I said.   I had thought the wounds from that experience had healed and was shocked at how much the memory of that time still hurt.

Rick, hearing the pain in my voice said, “I’m sorry to cause you to remember such a horrible time in your life, Glenn.   I don’t want you to have a repeat of that experience with my family.”

“I hope we don’t either.   I guess I will have to be more on my guard than I thought,” I said with resignation.   “It’s just I've really enjoyed being with you around my family and not having to worry about hiding my love for you.   I love the fact that even my grandparents have accepted who I am and the fact I've fallen in love with the greatest guy on the planet.   The thought of having to always be on guard, always watching my words and actions to prevent harm to myself or those I love really bothers me.   I don’t want to have to live in fear of being discovered and being persecuted for loving you.”

“I’m sorry, Glenn.   I feel the same way as you do but we don’t have a choice in the matter.   We live in a society that doesn’t value the freedom of human expression.   They only value conformity to their own ideas of what is acceptable and aren’t willing to let others live their own lives.   They live to force their morals and values on others in fear they might stray from their own chosen path.   It’s that fear that drives them to violence to enforce their standards.   It makes them feel invincible and somehow immune to those things they fear.   When it comes down to what they feel deep down inside, they are cowards and have huge insecurity and inferiority complexes that prey on their feeble minds,” Rick said.

“Wow!  Rick I didn’t know you were such a philosopher!   Since when did you have these deep thoughts?” I said, trying to keep a straight face and failing.

Rick reached over and grabbed my thigh.  “I will make you pay for that comment.   You just wait, smart ass!   Remember, I don’t get mad I just get even.” Rick said, with an evil grin as he continued to run his hand up and down my inner thigh, groping my equipment each time he moved up my leg.   I started to squirm in my seat as he kept it up.

“I’m going to cum in my pants, if you don’t stop!   Rick!” I exclaimed as I tried to get away from him.

“Say you’re sorry or I won’t stop,” Rick replied, grinning from ear to ear.

“Okay, Okay you win!   I’m sorry for teasing you!   Just stop!”

He removed his hand and with big grin said, “See you can be taught to behave!”

 “You are so cruel!   Why did I fall in love with you?” I asked, laughing at Rick.

“It was my good looks and charming personality!”

“Well, I will give you the good looks, but not the charming personality!”

Rick reached his hand over to my thigh, again, threatening to repeat his performance.

I tried to move away from his hand as I said, “Alright, alright, I’ll give you credit for a charming personality, just keep your hands to yourself and concentrate on driving!”

“I am concentrating on driving.   I learned to multi-task very well in the Marines so don’t underestimate my abilities!”

“I’m sure you won’t let me forget how talented you are, especially in the sex department!   In fact, I’m counting on unlimited repeat performances for the rest of our lives together!”

Rick loves it when I talk dirty to him.   It always turns him on.   He said, “You know we will have to pull over to the side of the road if you keep talking dirty to me!”

“Speaking of pulling over…..why don’t we pull into that rest stop?” I asked.

“Sounds like a good idea,” Rick said, as he signaled his intentions to exit the freeway.   He pulled into a parking spot close to the restrooms and turned off the engine.   We jumped out and headed towards the restrooms.  

The rest of the drive to Rick’s home was uneventful.   We chatted about inconsequential things to pass the time.   Rick pulled into his Mom and Dad’s driveway and shut off the engine.   Before Rick had a chance to get out of the Jeep, his dogs, Rusty and Shep, came bounding up to greet him.   He climbed out and gathered them both in his arms getting a dog bath as they licked his face.   Rusty and Shep are beautiful Irish Setters and have been with him since they moved back to North Carolina.   He has told me how much he missed being with them.

I retrieved our bags from the back of the Jeep and came around to see what all the excitement was all about.

Rick looked up at me and said, “Let me introduce you to Rusty and Shep.” Rick pointed to each one as he named them.   I dropped the bags on the ground and knelt down to pet each dog.  

I said, “Hello, Rusty.   I’m glad to meet you.”   Rusty immediately took to me and let me scratch him behind the ears.   Shep wasn’t about to be left out and pushed his way under my hand too.  “Hi, Shep.   I haven’t forgot about you so don’t worry.”  

Both dogs sniffed my crotch before wrapping themselves around my legs.   This made Rick laugh. “It seems they know what part of your body is my favorite!   It also appears they have accepted you into the family, Glenn.”

It made Rick happy to see both of his dogs liked his boyfriend.   Maybe we could take the dogs back to Atlanta with us when we returned to school.   I would have to remember to talk to his Mom and Dad about that later.

Speaking of Rick’s Mom and Dad, here they come to welcome us home.  “Hi Mom,” Rick said, giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

His Dad held out his hand and Rick took it and gave it a firm handshake.  “Dad, it feels good to be home.”

“Welcome home, son.   Why don’t you introduce us to your friend here?” his dad said, smiling.

“Dad, this is Glenn Nielsen.   He is Keith’s cousin.”

“It’s good to meet you, Glenn.   Where are you from?’

“I’m from Swift Current, Saskatchewan.   I’m spending the summer with my grandparents in Georgia,” I said firmly shaking his hand.

“You have a firm handshake, Glenn.  I admire that in a man.   So how do you like being here in the states?”  he asked.

“I love it.   It’s been great to meet new people and to see the sights.  Rick has been a great tour guide.  He’s taken me to all the tourist sites in Atlanta.” I said, grinning at Rick from ear to ear.

His mother said, “Welcome to our home, Glenn.   I’m glad Rick has made a new friend, especially if you are related to Keith.   Keith’s family has been very good to Rick.   We certainly are glad to have you visit us.”  

Rick’s Mom pulled me into a warm embrace and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek.

“Thank you, Mrs. Lernier for the warm welcome,” I said.

“Please call me Mom or Vickie,” Rick’s Mom said, smiling at me.

“And call me Dad or Jim,” Rick’s Dad chimed in, “we don’t stand on ceremony around here.   Rick, Glenn will be sharing a room with you so take your things on up and then you both can freshen up.   I’m sure you're both tired from the long drive up from Atlanta.”

“Come on, Glenn.   I’ll show you my room,” Rick said, grabbing the bags and climbing the front steps to the door.

I followed Rick up the stairs to his room.   He pushed open the door and said, “Everything’s just like I left it except my Mom has been in to make the bed and close the closet doors.  Just throw our bags on the floor in front of the closet.”

Rick jumped on the bed signaling for me to sit down beside him.   Rick seemed a little nervous for me to see his room.   He said, “I wasn’t sure what you were going to think of all my posters.   As you can see, I have more than one poster of sexy looking chicks in my room along with posters of my favorite football team.   I guess my room reflects what a typical American teen male thinks about…..cars, sports and sex.”

Rick stopped and waited while I scanned his room.  When I didn’t say anything, he spoke up, trying not to sound nervous, “So what do you think?”

I looked at Rick and reached over and kissed him and said, laughing, “I think it looks like your room.  I know you're an avid sports fan.   I know you really liked having sex with girls.   And I know you really are into cars.   So, you have posters on your walls of those things:  sports, cars, and women.   I am not surprised at all to see those things here in your room.  What did you expect me to think?”

“I wasn’t sure.   I’d forgotten about all the posters of sexy girls I’d put up.   I thought maybe you would be offended or upset by them.”

“I’m not upset or offended.   They reflect who you were before you met me and swept me off my feet.   You shouldn’t be ashamed of who you are, Rick.   You and I both know you are still attracted to women.”

Rick looked shocked to hear me say he was still attracted to women.   I know he has tried his best to show me he only has eyes for me.   “How can you say that, Glenn?   Haven’t I shown you I love only you?”

I could tell Rick was trying hard not to get angry at me.  “Be honest with me, Rick, please.   I know you love me but you still notice the girls.   I've watched your head swivel around to catch sight of the gorgeous babes as they walk by us when we're at the pool.   Now don’t go trying to deny it!”

“I wasn’t going to deny it but you have to admit I’ve stayed faithful to you and I’ve tried not to be obvious about it when a gorgeous babe walks by us,” Rick said defensively.

“I agree you have been faithful to me and I appreciate the effort you've made not to make me uncomfortable.   You have to admit you aren’t entirely gay…..bisexual maybe but totally gay….I don’t think so!”  I smiled as I said this last statement and took his hand in mine.

“I guess I have to own up to that fact.   You’re right, Glenn.   I’m still attracted to women but I promise to be faithful to you.   Are you okay with that?” Rick asked, looking deeply into my eyes.

“Yes, if you are.  I have been giving it a lot of thought ever since we left Atlanta.   I must also confess I'm attracted to women, too.   I noticed those gorgeous babes walk by us just as much as you did.   I was trying to be even more discrete than you were, because I’m the one who is supposed to be gay not you,” I said, laughing.

“So all this time, you have been playing possum with me?   Are you sure you’re attracted to girls, too?” Rick said, staring at me.   “I thought you were completely gay!”

“I still haven’t decided if I am really completely gay or not, yet.  I know I'm highly attracted to you, more than I have ever been attracted to anyone else in my life.   I do appreciate physical beauty when I see it.   Do I get a hard on every time I see a gorgeous girl?   No, I don’t!  I don’t know if Keith told you about Kerry’s sister, Ruth Ann, or not?”

“He told me about her coming home from Italy but that’s about it.  Why?”  Rick asked feeling a hard knot of fear start forming in his gut.   He had a bad feeling about this.

I answered, looking Rick in the eyes, “Ruth Ann and I had a lot of good sex while we were at the beach and at my grandparents’ house before I left for Texas.   Keith was very surprised because he thought he and Kerry were the only ones messing around and not getting caught.   You should have seen the look on his face when I told him  Ruth Ann had spent every night with me the entire week their family stayed at my grandparents’ house.”   I laughed at the memory.

“So what you're telling me is you like Ruth Ann, too,” Rick asked with just a tinge of jealousy in his voice.

“Yes, I like Ruth Ann, too, but not in the way you're thinking.   You don’t have to be jealous of her.   You're the only one I really love.   I had a great fling with Ruth Ann but it wasn’t about love like it is between you and me.   With her, it was more about the sex and helping each other out, kind of like being friends with benefits.   Ruth Ann may have read more into our relationship than I did, but that’s how I feel about it especially now that I'm with you.”

“Do you really mean that?   I don’t want to “out” myself to my parents if you are just going to jump ship and run into Ruth Ann’s arms next time you see her,” Rick said slightly miffed.

I placed my hands on either side of Rick’s face and looked deeply into his eyes, searching them to make sure I had his full attention, “Rick.   Listen to me!   I am not going to abandon you.   Remember, I'm the one who has already come out to my entire family.   They all know I had boyfriend in high school.   And I haven’t been shy about introducing you as my boyfriend to them, as well.   I am not going to run into Ruth Ann’s arms the first chance I get.   You are the only one I love.   Try to remember that sweetheart.”   I kissed Rick gently and sweetly, trying to communicate to him all the love I feel for him.

Rick pulled back from our kiss and said, “I’m trying to let go of my jealousy and to move past it but I’m not being very successful at it.   I know I’m being unreasonable but I can’t help myself.   I’ll try, Glenn, to remember you've said you love only me.   These last few weeks have been pretty amazing to me.   I just don’t want it to end, okay?”

“It won’t end if I can help, my lover boy,” I said passionately kissing him.

It still amazed me how much Rick’s body responded to mine.   I could feel him growing harder as we continued kissing.  Even if I wasn’t in love with him, I would still want to have sex with him!   He is so hot!  

Rick pulled back reluctantly.  “We should be getting back downstairs before my parents come looking for us.”  

“Okay, but before we do, I want to know what this is,” I asked, pointing to Rick’s scout shirt that hung on his bedroom wall.

“That’s my Boy Scout shirt,” Rick said, “Mom framed it and put all of the awards I've earned as a Boy Scout inside the frame with it.”

“Why did your Mom want to frame it?” I asked.

“She is very proud of the fact I earned the rank of Eagle Scout.   Both Mom and Dad were very happy when I finally finished my Eagle project and turned in the paperwork.   Keith and I earned our Eagle Scout award at the same time.   In fact, we had a joint award ceremony to honor us.   Keith’s parents really made a big deal of the whole event.  I remember that day, standing next to my best friend as we both received our Eagle Scout awards.   Our scout master is an old retired Marine sergeant who encouraged me to join the Marine Corps.  He’s one of the main reasons why I decided to join the Marines.”

“I wondered why you decided to join the Marines.   Now I know,” I said.
We both washed up and shared one last passionate kiss before heading downstairs where Rick’s parents were waiting for us.  

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