Chapter Thirty Three - Coming Out to Rick's Parents
I awoke in Rick’s arms feeling so safe and secure. I love him so much! I ran my hand over his well muscled chest as I looked into his masculine face with his morning stubble. He had a frown on his face and he seemed to be having a bad dream. As I watched, his eyes opened and his whole face brightened with a brilliant smile when he saw me looking at him.
“Good morning, lover boy,” I said. Rick responded to my greeting by pulling me closer to him and kissing me passionately.
He broke the kiss and said, “I’ve a feeling something is very wrong, Glenn. I was dreaming my parents had found out about us and had disowned me. I just can’t shake this heavy sense of foreboding that’s weighing on my mind”
I responded trying to reassure him, “I’m here for you, Rick.”
Rick said, “I know you love me and will stand by me no matter what. Thank you for trying to make me feel better sweetheart.”
We were startled by a loud knocking on the bedroom door. We were even more surprised when the door opened and Rick’s dad stepped into the room.
Rick said to himself, “Damn it! We were so tired last night we forgot to lock the bedroom door. I should've remembered to lock it! Now it’s was too late. My Dad has seen us in each other arms and it’s pretty obvious we're more than just friends.” Rick looked into his father’s eyes as he stood in the doorway. By the look on his Dad’s face, he knew this wasn’t going to be pleasant.
I reached my hand up to Rick’s face when I saw his expression change. It went from content and happy to fear and quickly changed to anger and defiance. Rick looked deep into my eyes without saying anything. He released me from his embrace and I rolled over to see his Dad still standing in the doorway.
His Dad didn’t say anything as he walked into the room and sat down at Rick’s desk. Rick and I didn’t break the heavy silence that filled the room. Jim just stared at us and we stared right back. His expression was unreadable. Rick and I both sat up and Rick put his arms around my waist making it very clear we're together.
I broke the silence looking directly into Jim’s eyes. “I'm sorry you walked in on us. I hope we didn’t embarrass you. We should have remembered to lock our door to protect our privacy. We are used to having the entire apartment to ourselves and don’t have to worry about someone walking in on us.”
The effect on Jim was not what I expected. “You're right, Glenn. I should have waited for you to open the door, instead of barging in like I did. No, you didn’t embarrass me rather I embarrassed myself by my own actions. I came up to see for myself what your mother saw when she opened your door a few minutes ago.”
“You mean Mom came in here this morning and saw us sleeping in each other’s arms?” Rick said in a panic.
“Yes, son, she did. She is very upset and came to tell me about what she had seen. I'm just as shocked as she is. I’m trying to come to terms with you and Glenn being together and I’m not quite getting there,” Jim said, shaking his head.
“I wanted to tell you I'm gay and Glenn is my partner, but I was too afraid to tell you,” Rick said with a barely noticeable quaver in his voice, betraying the strong emotions he was feeling.
“Well, it’s probably better we found out this way than if you had told us directly. Your mother is not handling it well at all. I’m afraid she is going to call her family and tell them she needs help to reform her son. That means deprogramming sessions and being locked up in a “rehab center” run by her Christian fundamentalist friends until they purge you your sinful desires,” Jim said seriously.
“You think she would do such a thing?” I asked worriedly looking from Rick to his father.
“Yes, I do. In fact, I would advise both of you to get your stuff together and leave here as quickly as you can to prevent any bodily harm from happening to either of you. She and her family very much believe in the Old Testament commandments to stone sinners to death to prevent them from contaminating the rest of the world. I wouldn’t be surprised if she hasn’t already called her brother, George, to come mete out their brand of vigilante justice. That means you are in grave danger, Glenn. We’re a very small town and justice here is very much in the eye of the beholder, meaning no one would stop you two from being murdered for loving each other. It would be quietly covered up and no one would ever tell who did the deed,” Jim said, looking worried.
I was so shocked by what I was hearing I was left completely speechless. I couldn’t believe that in one of the most “civilized” nations of the world that such brutality and lawlessness was tolerated.
I turned to look at Rick when I heard his voice. “So you're okay with us being together Dad?” Rick asked, pleading for his father’s acceptance of his sexual orientation and choice of a mate.
“I’m not going to say I’m okay with it because I’m not; however, I’m not so ignorant as to think that I can force you to change. Your mother, however, seems to think she can force her will on you by means of violence, if necessary. You know her religious views are very much intolerant of any deviation from what she believes to be God’s law and your Uncle George is even more extreme in his views than she is,” Jim replied, looking his son in the eyes.
Rick replied, “I know your right about Mom and Uncle George. The thought of them trying to force their views on me just makes me angry. Thanks, Dad, for warning us. We’ll be gone as soon as we can get dressed.”
Jim got up from the desk and turned to leave, an expression of deep sadness on his face. “Good-bye, son. I’m sorry we have to part this way, but I believe it is for the best. I will go down and try to distract your mother until you’ve been able to get away from here. It will be better for all of us if you don’t confront her right now.”
With that, Jim left the room closing the door behind him. Rick just sat there totally numb. His worst fears had been realized in that his mother had gone over the deep end about his sexuality. Rick shook himself out of his trance as I got dressed and threw my clothes into my bag. He quickly did the same and we hurried down the stairs and out the door to his Jeep. We threw our stuff in the back of the Jeep and we pulled out of the driveway.
I looked over at Rick and I could see that he was trying to hold back the tears that stung his eyes. “Do you want me to drive?” I asked. “I can see you aren’t in any state to drive.”
Rick didn’t respond to my question but pulled over and we switched places. I put the Jeep in gear and drove us towards the freeway entrance. The tears started falling down his cheeks almost from the moment he pulled over.
“I'm sorry, Rick. I should've remembered to lock the door,” I said. “It’s my fault this happened this way. I know you wanted to tell them when you were ready to talk to them about it.”
Trying to get control of himself, Rick responded, “No, Glenn, it’s not your fault. My parents would have found out sooner or later. This just wasn’t how I imagined it would be when I told them I'm gay and you're my partner.”
“Do you think your Mom will try to cause trouble for you?” I asked.
“I don’t know, Glenn. My mother and her family are capable of almost anything when it comes to their religion. They are pretty fanatical about it. Dad is pretty low key about religion but Mom is one of those who are on a mission from God to convert the world to her view of the gospel and church doctrine, even when she’s been proven wrong in her views. That makes her even more determined.”
“My Dad is like that. He disowned my brother, Randy, when he found out he was gay. It tore our family apart. It was like Randy had died and we had lost him forever. Dad wouldn’t even let us talk about him. It was like he never existed. My Mom was especially upset by Dad’s behavior. I remember feeling like he had betrayed me. Dad had always told us he loved us unconditionally and he would love us no matter what we did. Well, that wasn’t true. He lied to us! When he kicked Randy and Shawn out of our house and told them never to come back, he showed me he couldn’t be trusted and that everything he said about loving us was all lies. His betrayal created a huge chasm between my Dad and the rest of us, one that he hasn’t been able to bridge, even though he has since reconciled with Randy and Shawn. I will never be able to trust him like I once did and I know my siblings feel the same way I do,” I said, stealing a quick glance at Rick and returning my attention to the road ahead as we sped down the freeway.
“I hope my Dad can get my mother to see reason. I’m afraid she may never accept me for who I am,” Rick said sadly. “My heart feels so heavy with grief right now at the thought of losing my relationship with my Mom. At least Dad made sure we were safe from any harm that may have come our way from her side of the family,” Rick said. “It really bothers me though that he treated me more like a stranger instead of his son.”
“I agree with you about your Dad’s behavior. He was kind of cold and distant to me but that’s to be expected since I’m sure he blames me for causing you to become gay. However, I’m sure your Mom and Dad will eventually come around, Rick. In the meantime, I’m here for you and my family has already accepted you as my life partner. Remember, they are already calling you the in-law that came to dinner,” I said, trying to get Rick to smile despite his obvious pain.
Rick tried to smile at my attempt at humor but I could see he couldn’t quite get his lips to form a smile. Rick said, “Thanks for trying to cheer me up, Glenn. I know you mean well but I’m just so devastated by what has just happened my brain hasn’t been able to process it all.”
For the rest of the trip, I did my best to help distract him from thinking about what had just happened by talking about Keith’s impending wedding and all the excitement of the coming week. I kept up a steady stream of conversation the entire trip to Clemson, South Carolina.
As we approached Clemson, I asked Rick, “How do you want to handle meeting the Mitchells?”
Rick didn’t respond at first. “I mean do you want come out to them as a couple?” I further clarified my question.
Rick said, “I don’t think I can handle coming out to anyone else right now. Let’s just play it by ear, okay?”
“Sure, Babe, we’ll do whatever you are comfortable doing,” I said as I gave his leg a gentle squeeze.
“Rick, do you have the directions to Kerry’s house?” I said as I turned onto College Avenue.
“Yes. I have them right here. I thought we might need them so I made sure I pulled them out of my bag a little while ago,” Rick said.
Rick served as my navigator as we made our way into the Mitchell’s neighborhood and pulled up into their driveway. We got out and Rick got our stuff out of the Jeep and followed me to the front door. I rang the doorbell and the door flew open and a beautiful dark-haired girl threw herself into my arms. Wow! What a reception! Ruth Ann had really missed me. She kissed me and clung to me.
I pulled back from her embrace and turned to Rick, “Rick, I want to introduce you to Ruth Ann, Kerry’s sister. Ruth Ann, this is Rick Lernier, Keith’s college roommate.”
Ruth Ann smiled and extended her hand to Rick. “I’m glad to meet you, Rick. Come inside so I can introduce you to my parents.”
We followed Ruth Ann into the sitting room where her parents were waiting for us. They both stood up to greet us.
“Glenn, we are so glad to see you. Who is your friend?” Katie asked, smiling at Rick.
“This is Rick Lernier, Keith’s roommate from college. Rick this is Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell,” I said.
Katie shook Rick’s hand. “We're glad to meet you. Please call us Katie and Joe. We are happy you're able to be here to stand up with Keith. We'll be going into town to pick up the tuxedos tomorrow for the rehearsal dinner. I hope we got your measurements right.”
“Thank you for arranging for the tuxedo, Katie. I’m sure it will be alright,” Rick said with a forced smile. I could tell he was really making an effort to be pleasant despite his deep sadness he felt not to mention the fact that Ruth Ann was all over me. I half expected Rick to kiss me passionately just to let her know I belonged to him!
Joe extended his hand to shake Rick’s, as well, “Welcome to our home, Rick. Come have a seat and visit with us for minute. Glenn, your grandmother left instructions you two are to join them at their hotel. They have rented a room for you and are expecting you for dinner. Keith and his parents are staying there, as well.”
Ruth Ann sat next to me on the couch and laid a possessive hand on my arm. Rick sat next to me on my other side. I could see he was trying to not be jealous of her physical familiarity with me. I hope he'll remember that I have told him many times I love him and only him, but seeing me for the first time with Ruth Ann I am sure has brought back all of his fears of losing me to her.
Ruth Ann is a very lovely woman and she is positively glowing with happiness. It’s obvious she’s in love with me. I’ve seen that same look on Rick’s face many times over the last few weeks when he whispered, “I love you, Glenn,” in my ear.” Damn! I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this situation. I knew Ruth Ann had feelings for me but I hadn’t realized she had fallen in love with me. Everything about her screams, “I am yours and you are mine.” This whole situation was making me very nervous.
I glanced at Rick’s face to gauge his reaction to Ruth Ann as I spoke, “Ruth Ann when did you get back from school?”
“I flew in from Salt Lake City yesterday. You know I wouldn’t miss my big sister’s wedding for anything! I’m so excited for her!” Ruth Ann exclaimed excitedly.
“So how was the University of Utah?” I asked.
“I did pretty well for my first semester of college. I’m excited to be able to go there since they have one of the best nursing programs in the country,” Ruth Ann said smiling at me. “Have you decided where you are going to attend college?”
“Yes. I’m going to attend Georgia Tech and I will take Keith’s place as Rick’s roommate,” I said, glancing over at Rick. I smiled at him and tried to reassure him everything was okay. “I'm going to try to get into their engineering program.”
“That’s great, Glenn! Keith has spoken very highly of you, Rick. I’m glad you are going to be Glenn’s roommate,” Joe said.
“Don’t believe everything Keith tells you, Joe! He is a very good friend but he tends to over emphasize my good qualities and overlooks my bad ones which is not a bad thing but it puts me on a pretty high pedestal sometimes,” Rick said with a short laugh. I could tell by his tone of voice he wasn’t very happy to be here. “I’m excited to have Glenn as a roommate. We're already good friends and I’m sure we will have a great year at school.”
Katie asked, “So what have you done with your summer since we saw you last, Glenn?”
“Shortly after you saw me last, I took a trip to Texas with Keith’s friend, Brett. Since then, Rick has been acting as my tour guide and has shown me around Atlanta. We spent some time helping my Grandpa out with the peach harvest and we just returned from Rick’s family reunion in North Carolina. His Grandpa makes a great BBQ!” I said enthusiastically, remembering the delicious taste.
“It sounds like you have had a good summer so far,” Katie said.
“Yes, it’s been wonderful for me. I've seen so many new places and done so many new things,” I said.
The phone rang and Katie got up to answer it. She returned and said, “Glenn, your Grandma wants to speak to you on the phone.”
I got up and followed Katie into the kitchen. We returned a few minutes later. “Rick, Grandma wants us to come on over to the hotel. She has some things she wants us to do to help her,” I said.
“I’m glad you boys stopped in to see us. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow for the rehearsal dinner,” Katie said warmly.
Ruth Ann got up and clung to my arm, again, as we moved towards the door. Rick went out first and looked back at me just in time to see Ruth Ann give me a passionate kiss before she let me go. I saw the anger on Rick’s face so I quickly jumped in the Jeep without saying anything to him. I wanted Rick to calm down a bit before talking to him about Ruth Ann.
Rick got in and started the engine and backed out of the driveway. We rode in a cold, chilly silence for a moment. I could tell from set of Rick’s jaw he was still too angry to speak to me. I have never seen Rick get angry with me before now. I wasn’t sure how to proceed.
I was the first to speak, “I'm sorry for making you angry, Rick. I know it’s hard for you to watch Ruth Ann come on to me even though I’ve told you that you're the only one I love. Can you forgive me?”
“It really hurt me to see you kiss her like you did when we first got there. Then in the sitting room, you don’t know how hard it was for me not to rip her hand off your arm,” Rick said with so much violence in his voice it shocked me. I sat there in stunned silence as he continued.
“She treated you like you were her property and the kiss at the door on the way out was just too much for me to handle Glenn,” Rick said angrily. “I can’t tolerate anyone making advances on my guy. I don’t want to be angry but I can’t help it, Glenn! It’s not that you're my property or something because you’re not, but it makes me feel so insecure I feel threatened. Do you understand?” Rick said, pleading for me to see things from his point of view.
I didn’t respond right away. I was still trying to sort things out in my own mind with regards to Ruth Ann. Rick’s reaction to her reaffirmed for me she indeed had fallen in love with me. That explained his reaction to her. It’s not hard for someone who’s in love to identify someone else who shows those same kinds of feelings for another. I want to remain friends with Ruth Ann but my heart belongs to Rick.
“Rick, I’m really sorry for hurting your feelings. I didn’t realize how much seeing Ruth Ann, again, would affect me. I certainly didn’t foresee causing you harm. I love you, Rick, and I promise I will try and avoid Ruth Ann and her advances while we are here. I don’t want to keep hurting you or making you angry. I love you too much to keep doing that even if it’s by accident.” My voice was thick with emotion as I struggle not to burst into tears. “I didn’t stop her from kissing me when I should have. You have every right to be angry with me.”
Upon hearing my heartfelt apology, Rick’s anger dissipated almost as quickly as it had arrived. Rick said, “I’m sorry for not trusting you to handle the situation with Ruth Ann. Can you forgive me?”
“There is nothing to forgive, my love,” I responded as I placed my hand on his knee.
My touch had its usual electrifying affect on his groin area. I could see his hard on tenting his cargo shorts. Rick said, “Glenn, you know better than to touch me while I’m driving. You will either cause me to make a mess in my pants or cause us to be in an accident! Neither of which things are desirable at this moment.”
“Sorry, Rick. You know how much I love to touch your body. I can’t help myself sometimes,” I said, laughing. “That alone should reassure you of my attraction to you, lover boy! I can’t get enough of you!”
We pulled into the parking lot of the hotel and went up to my grandparents’ room and knocked on the door. Grandma opened the door. “Hello, boys. I’m glad you came quickly. I have a quite a list of things I need you to do for me. First, here are keys to your hotel room. I made sure you guys have a single queen bed.” Grandma smiled as we both blushed at her pointed remarks. “Take your things to your room and come directly back here so we can get started.”
We took our stuff to our room and took a few minutes to freshen up before returning to see what Grandma needed us to do for her.