Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Man from Swift Current Chapter Fifty Six - Making Up

Chapter Fifty Six – Making Up

Rick and I were still cuddling on the couch in the aftermath of Felipe’s departure and the argument that followed.  I said, “I want to make love to you, Rick.”

Rick said, “I can’t right now.   I’m still too upset about what I saw.   I know you’ve told me nothing happened; but I can’t get the image out of my head of Felipe straddling your naked body.   It really looked like he was fucking you, Glenn!”

I turned to look him in the eyes.   “I’m so sorry, Rick.”

Rick returned my gaze.   “I know you’re sorry; but being sorry won’t erase that image from mind.   It keeps coming back to me, and it keeps on hurting.”   Rick stood up and said, “I need to get out of here for a while.”   Rick pulled his cell phone from his pocket and called Keith.   “Hey Keith!   Do you want to join me for a run around the neighborhood?”

“Sure, I’ll meet you in the parking lot in a few minutes,” Keith said.

Rick broke the connection and turned to me.   Seeing my hurt expression, he said, “We can talk later.   I need some fresh air to clear my head.”   He left me sitting alone on the couch.   A few minutes later, he poked his head in and said, “I’ll be back.”   He was dressed in his running shorts and t-shirt.   It really hurt me he didn’t even ask if I wanted to join him and Keith.   We normally did our running every morning.   Of course, I didn’t dare lodge a complaint; given what had just happened with Felipe.  

I heard the front door open and close.   I finally moved from the couch to the kitchen.   I sat down and tried to finish my homework.   My mind kept going over the recent events and I couldn’t concentrate.  I pulled out my phone and called Mom.

“Mom,” I said.

“Hello, Glenn,” Mom said.

“Can you talk now?” I asked.

“Yes.   What’s going on?” she asked.

I explained everything that had happened between me and Rick.   Tears were streaming down my face as I finished.   “Mom, what am I going to do?”

“Well, for starters, you need to be completely honest with yourself and with Rick.   You can’t hide anything.   Glenn, you have violated the trust Rick had in you.   Restoring that trust will take some time and effort on your part,” Mom said.  

“How do I do that?” I asked, plaintively.

She replied, “After you have come clean about all of your feelings, thoughts and actions, you can then establish a new contract between you and Rick.   One that you both agree will reassure the other of your love for each other.   It’s not going to be easy, Glenn.   I can’t tell you how to regain Rick’s trust; but I can tell you that if your love for him is strong enough, you will know what to do.   The main thing is to learn to communicate with each other.   What happened today was caused, in part, by a lack of communication and a willingness to understand and appreciate what was being communicated.”

“What if Rick won’t talk to me about it?” I asked.

“He might not.   If he doesn’t want to talk about it, that’s not a good sign, Glenn.  Wounds like the ones you have inflicted are slow to heal; however, they never heal if they are left to fester.   Working through the hurt is the only way to cleanse the injury and begin the healing process.   Part of that process is talking about it and getting everything out on the table.”

“I feel so terrible, Mom,” I said.

“That’s a good sign,” she said.   “It means you really do care for Rick.   I would be worried if you didn’t feel remorse for hurting the one you love.”

“I really do love him, Mom.   I don’t want to lose him,” I said.

“Then you need to change your ways,” Mom said.   “You have to make sure Rick knows he is the most important person in your life.   I do have one more thing to say, Glenn.   After you have made up with Rick and things are going smoothly, remember that you need to forgive yourself.   You need to learn from your mistakes and then make changes.   You don’t want to repeat the same mistake.   Your Dad and I love you and please give our love to Rick.”

“I love you, too.   Thanks for listening to me, Mom,” I said.

I broke the connection and decided I needed to take a walk.   I left the condo and walked to a nearby park.   I took a seat in the gazebo next to the playground and watched a group of small children playing tag.   The children’s happy noises cheered me up.  

One of the children’s dads came over and sat down on the bench next to me.   He looked over at me and said, “Hi.   I’m John Gotimer.”  He extended his hand.

I shook it and said, “I’m Glenn Nielsen.”

John looked to be in his early thirties.   He had the looks of a football player.   He was tall and well-built.   His piercing dark eyes met mine.   He smiled, showing perfectly straight, white teeth.   His short, dark brown hair was combed so it stood straight up.   “I’ve seen you running through our neighborhood with your friend.”

“We run most mornings,” I said.

“I know,” he responded.   “I can almost tell what time it is because you always pass my house at about the same time every morning.   I’m usually just getting ready to leave the house when I see you running past.”

I nodded my head; but I didn’t say anything more about it.   He had reminded me Rick had gone out running with Keith.   John asked, “What’s wrong?   I hope I didn’t offend you or something.”

I looked over at John and said, “I just had a fight with my roommate.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” John said.   “Do you want to talk about it?”

I shook my head.   “Not right now; but thank you for offering to listen to my troubles.”

“Not a problem.   You’re not from around here,” John said, changing the subject.

“No, I’m from Swift Current, Saskatchewan,” I said.

“I thought you might be Canadian from your accent,” John said.  “I work with a computer software development company.   We have several clients in Vancouver.”

“Vancouver is one of my favorite cities,” I said.

“Mine, too,” John said.   A couple of young boys ran over to John.   John introduced them.   “These are my boys.   This is Rian.   He’s 8 and this is Jimmy and he’s 6.”

“Nice to meet you,” the boys chorused.

Rian said, “Daddy, we’re hungry.”

John laughed, “You boys are always hungry.   I guess it’s time for us to go.   It was nice to get to know you, Glenn.”

I nodded my head and said, “I’ll see you in the neighborhood.”

John smiled and followed his boys.   I watched them go.   I thought about Rick and began to feel really down.   I stood up and walked back to our condo.   Instead of going home, I stopped and knocked on Keith and Kerry’s door.   Kerry opened the door.   She looked surprised.   “Glenn!   I thought you went running with the guys.”  I passed her and she followed me into their kitchen.   I sat down at the table and put my head in my hands.   “What’s wrong?” she asked.

I looked up at her and said, “I really messed up, Kerry.”

She sat down and asked, “How did you do that?”

I narrated what had happened and how bad I felt about it.   By the time I was finished, the tears were streaming down my face.   Kerry handed me a box of tissues and she said, “I agree with your assessment, Glenn.   You really blew it.”

“What can I do?” I asked, mournfully.

“Didn’t you just say your mother told you to make sure Rick knows how important he is to you?” Kerry asked.

“Yes; but I don’t know what to do,” I replied.

Before Kerry could say anything more, we heard the front door open and close.   Keith walked into the kitchen.   He looked from me to Kerry and back.   He gave me a closer look and asked, “What’s happened?”

“Didn’t Rick tell you?” I asked.

Keith looked puzzled.   “He didn’t say anything out of the ordinary.”

Kerry said, “The guys have had a big fight, Keith.   I think Glenn needs to go back upstairs and try to patch things up the best he can.”

Keith started to protest, “But…”

Kerry cut him off, “Keith, we need to stay out of this one and let the guys work things out between them.”   She looked at me and said, “I will fill Keith in on the details with your permission.”   I nodded and she continued, “Glenn, you really need to go back upstairs.”

I stood up and said, “Thanks for listening.”

Kerry smiled and said, “Glad to be able to help.   Now, go up there and make sure Rick knows you love him.”

I walked past Keith and left Kerry to tell him what had happened.   I left their place and returned to ours.   I opened the door and entered our condo.   I walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table.   I could hear the shower running, letting me know that Rick was home.   I began working on my homework, again.   By the time Rick finished his shower; I had completed my assignments and cleared the table.   I stuffed everything into my backpack and dropped it by the front door.   I just about jumped out of my skin when I felt Rick’s arms encircle my waist.  

Rick laughed.   “Why are you so jumpy?”

“I didn’t know you were there,” I said.   I turned around in his arms and buried my face in his chest.   He nuzzled my hair and tightened his embrace.   I clung to him.   Time seemed to come to a stop as we held each other.   When he loosened his hold on me, I lifted my lips to meet his.  It was a tender kiss.

“I love you,” I said.

Rick raised his hands to my face and wiped away my tears.   “I love you, too.”

*** ***  

Later that night, I lay awake next to Rick thinking about what had happened between us and Felipe.   How could I have been so stupid?   I knew Rick was very sensitive to my flirting with Felipe; but, yet, I let Felipe give me a massage and a back rub.   Worse yet, Rick caught us in our bedroom!  I could just kick myself!

It has been pure hell for me since Felipe left.   Even though Rick said everything is okay, I knew it wasn’t true.  I knew Rick was still angry with me; and he was still hurting pretty badly inside.   I also knew it was my fault.   It was breaking my heart to see him hurt so much because of me.   I have never seen him so depressed; not even when his parents disowned him.   That thought really shook me up.   What if he decided to leave me because I was so foolish?   I don’t want to lose him.   I love him too much.   Just the thought of losing him caused me to shiver.

I guess that small movement woke him up because he pulled me closer to him.   Rick nibbled on my ear, “What’s keeping you awake, Babe?”

I buried my face in his chest and took in his masculine scent before I answered, “I feel so bad for hurting you, today.   I know I promised not to let Felipe touch me and I broke that promise.”

Rick lifted my chin so he could look in my eyes in the dim light of the moon shining through our bedroom window.

“Yes, you hurt me very much and I’m still hurting inside.   But I know you love me, and that’s the only reason I’m still here, Babe.   I was so angry at first; it was all I could do to keep from hurting you both.   I’ve never felt that kind of anger toward anyone, and it scares me to think how close to losing control I came,” Rick said.

“Can you forgive me for hurting you so badly?” I asked, with a tremor in my voice.

“Yes, I believe I can, Glenn; or I wouldn’t have stayed with you tonight.   But the kind of damage that has been done to my heart isn’t going to disappear overnight.   As much as I want it to, I know it won’t.   Glenn, I need to know you’ll listen to me when I say, ‘please don’t play around with anyone,’ and that means not even flirting with another guy.    I know sometimes I’m overly possessive; but please believe me when I say I just can’t deal with it right now.”

“I promise to stop flirting with other guys.   I’ve learned my lesson this time,” I said.

“I hope so, Glenn.   I think we make a good team and we can make this relationship work if we work together,” Rick said.

“I agree with you, Rick.   I’m so sorry I messed up today,” I said.

“Okay, Glenn, you can stop apologizing now; but the proof will be in your actions.   I love you, Glenn,” Rick said.   He gave me a quick kiss on the lips.   “Let’s get some sleep.   We have a lot to do tomorrow.”

For the following week, I felt like I was walking on egg shells with Rick.   I did my best to make up for what I’d done by cooking all of his favorite meals, leaving notes in his notebooks and attending to his every need.  

Finally, after about a week, Rick said, “Glenn, come here for a minute.”   I walked over to where he was sitting on the couch.   Rick indicated I was to sit on his lap, facing him.   As soon as I was situated, Rick kissed me and said, “Glenn, you can stop worrying about what happened last week.   I forgive you.   Okay?”

“No, it’s not okay; because I still feel so guilty for hurting you,” I said, my eyes filling with tears.

Before they could spill down my cheeks, Rick lifted my chin so he could look into my eyes.   “There is no need for tears, my love.   It’s okay.   I need my cheerful, happy partner back; not this guy who thinks I’m going to bite his head off at any moment.   You’re making me feel like I’m a monster.   I hate feeling like I’m the bad guy.”

I tried to smile but didn’t quite succeed.   “I feel so bad for hurting you.”

Rick pulled me to him so my head rested on his chest and held me tight.   “Glenn, I’m okay and so are you.   Let’s put this behind us now and move on with making our relationship stronger.  Okay?”

I mumbled into his shirt, “Okay.”   I felt so much better knowing Rick was ready to move past what I’d done with Felipe.   I love my guy.   He knows me so well!

Rick held me close until I finally relaxed completely against him.   He knew he’d gotten through to me.   He stood up with me and carried me to our bedroom.   I love it when he does that.   I know it means we’re going to have a great night showing our love for each other.   And we did!

***  ***

 A couple of weeks later, Rick came home from his reservist duty looking totally dejected and very upset.   He dumped his duffle bag at the door.   He went into the front room and collapsed on the couch.   I joined him and put my arms around him.

“Okay, Rick, spill it!   What’s going on?” I asked.

“Our reserve unit has been called up for a one year tour.   We’ll be leaving the week after school gets out,” Rick said, his voice betraying how upset he was about it.

I was completely stunned.   I knew there was a possibility Rick would have to go; but I thought the Marines would leave him in school.   “I thought they would let you finish school first.   Can’t you get them to give you a waiver or something?”

“I’ve tried that already.   They said I could finish when I return,” Rick said, looking like he was going to lose it.

I put my hands on either side of his face and looked him in the eyes.  “Listen to me, Rick Lernier, we are going to make this work.   We knew you being in the Marines was going to present its challenges.”

Rick said, “I love you, Glenn.”   His expression changed to one of worry.   “How am I going to keep them from knowing I’m in love with a guy?”

“I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out somehow.    Do you remember our secret codes?” I asked.

Rick nodded his head.  “Yeah, I do.”

“We can use those secret codes when we talk over the phone or use Skype.   We can figure out some other things to keep others from knowing we are more than just roommates,” I said.

Rick’s expression changed to one of relief.  “I think we can invent a secret language we can use between us.   What do you think?”

“I think that’s the best idea you’ve ever had!   Let’s start working on it tonight.   I think we can get everything ready by the time you leave,” I said, hugging my guy.

“What are you going to do while I’m gone?” Rick asked.

I thought about it for a minute, “I think I’ll go home for the summer then play it by ear as far as school goes.   Let’s call Grandpa and let him know what’s happening.”

We called Grandpa and told him what was going on with us.

“So, Glenn, are you going to stay in Atlanta while Rick is gone?” Grandpa asked.

“I don’t know, Grandpa.   Keith and Kerry are here so I wouldn’t be alone; but I’m not sure I want to be here without Rick.”

“Well, think about it and let me know what you want to do.    You might consider studying abroad; like going to Israel, Europe, or Latin America since you’re studying Spanish.” Grandpa said.

“Okay, I’ll give it some thought.   I want to talk to Mom and Dad, too,” I said.

“That’s a good idea, Glenn.   Call me after you’ve decided what you want to do,” Grandpa said.

“Good-bye,” I said.

“Good-bye, Glenn,” Grandpa said.

After putting my cell back in my pocket, I turned to Rick.   “What do you think I should do?” I asked.

Rick said, “I think you should do a year of study abroad.   That really sounds exciting to me.   At least I would be able to rest easy about you and Felipe since you wouldn’t be here alone.”

I smiled at his reference to Felipe.  “You’re right.   I don’t need that temptation.   I know I wouldn’t be able to resist him for an entire year.   So where should I go?”

Rick laughed, “I don’t know.   Call your parents and ask them if they have some ideas.”

I called Mom and Dad but they didn’t have any suggestions.   Dad thought I already was studying abroad, since I didn’t stay in Canada to go to school!

Next, I called Uncle Dave.   He answered, “Hello, Glenn.”

“Hi, Uncle Dave, I need your advice.” I said.   I explained the situation and asked. “So what do you think?”

“Well, your cousin, Ben, is looking for another roommate.   He and a couple of his buddies want to rent a house and are looking for another guy to share the rent.   Plus, you could enroll at the University of Minnesota, and get another year of college in before returning to Georgia Tech when Rick finishes his year of active duty,” Uncle Dave suggested.

I turned to Rick and explained what Uncle Dave had suggested.

“What do you think?” I asked.

“It’s okay with me if that’s what you want to do,” Rick said, feeling relieved we had found an alternative to staying in Atlanta.

Returning to Uncle Dave, “I think that sounds like a good idea.   I’ll call Ben and ask about the details.”

Uncle Dave said, “Give me a call back and let me know what you decide to do.”

“Okay, bye,” I said.

Rick wrapped his arms around me and kissed me.   “I think staying with your cousin would be just the right thing for you.   You and Ben get along really well and I think you would have a great time being his roommate, again.”

“Yeah, we did have a great time our senior year.   It would be like old times!” I exclaimed, starting to feel a little excited.   “See, Rick, things are working out for us.   I’m not happy you’re going to be gone for a whole year but we’ll make it.”

I called Ben next.

“Hey, dude!   What’s up?” Ben asked.

“I’m calling to see if you still need a roommate?” I asked.

“Yeah, why?” Ben asked.

I explained what was happening with Rick and said, “So your Dad suggested I do a year at the University of Minnesota with you.”

“Rock on, dude!   That would be fabulous.   You need to get your admission papers in so you can attend classes with us.   You’ll love the guys.   They are Takaaki Morita, he’s from Japan, and Kyle Young, from Korea.   They’re a blast!   The house we are looking at renting has four bedrooms; so we each can have our own room.   It’s a couple of blocks from campus, so you won’t need a car.”

“That sounds great, Ben!   I’m looking forward to being roommates again!” I exclaimed.

“Yeah, so am I!   It will be the best year you’ve ever had!   Let me run it by my roommates though before you do anything.   Let me give you a buzz back in a few minutes,” Ben said.

“Okay, catch ya in a minute,” I said.

I broke the connection and waited for him to call back.   Ben called back to confirm the guys were okay with our plans.   We spent the next hour making plans.   I was getting really hyped up about it.   Ben is my best friend in the whole world, next to Rick, that is.

Rick laughed, “I would be jealous if I didn’t know Ben was your cousin and he’s straight as an arrow.”

“You don’t have to worry about Ben.   He has already assured me he’ll keep me out of trouble until you get back,” I said, smiling up at my lover boy.

“I know.   I’ve chatted with Ben about you; and you have no secrets from me anymore, Babe!”

“I know.   He spilled the beans about everything!   But that’s okay since I know you love me anyway!” I exclaimed.

We called Grandpa to let him know our plans.   He approved and suggested Ben fly to Atlanta and drive with me cross country.   Grandpa wants to buy me a car so I won’t be without transportation.   Grandpa is so cool!    I called Ben who was so stoked about the prospect of taking a road trip with just the two of us.  

Rick said, “I’m so jealous of you guys.   You’re going to have a lot of fun taking that road trip without me.”

“Yeah, I do feel bad about that part, Rick.   I’m going to miss you.   Just thinking about it makes me sad,” I said, putting my arms around his waist.

“Well, let’s take away that sadness right now, Mr. Nielsen.” Rick said with a wicked grin.   Well, you can imagine what that meant!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Man from Swift Current Chapter Fifty Five - My Big Mistake

Chapter Fifty Five – My Big Mistake

We were in the car driving to my grandparents’ home from our spring break vacation at Hilton Head.   The last week had been like a fairy tale for me.   My prince charming and I were living our “happily ever after.”  We had spent every day on the beach.   Fortunately for us, the weather cooperated and we had beautiful warm, sunny days for the entire week.   The beach house we rented had a private deck where we could sunbath without being seen by any neighbors.   As result, we both were tanned all over.   Yes, we had faint tan lines but they weren’t very noticeable.   Of course, we had worn our skimpiest swimsuits on the beach!   I chuckled as I remembered wolf whistles we got from a couple of older women.

Rick glanced over at me and asked, “What are you laughing about?”

“I was just remembering those two old women who whistled at us at the beach,” I replied.

Rick laughed and said, “We sure gave them an eyeful!”

I grinned.   “You have to admit our swimsuits didn’t leave much to the imagination.”

Rick replied, “No, they didn’t; but they sure let us get a great tan!  The last week with you has been the best vacation I’ve ever had!”

I said, “It was the same for me.   I especially enjoyed fucking each other in the surf.   There is nothing hotter than making out in the ocean!”

“I will never forget that night,” Rick said, smiling at the memory.   “There was a full moon and we were the only ones on the beach.”

I reached over to caress Rick’s package.   He was already hard from just the memory of our night on the beach.   “What made it so memorable was this right here.”   I gave him a meaningful squeeze.

Rick took my hand away from his dick and said, “Babe, you can’t do that while I’m driving.   We’ll get in an accident!”   He brought my hand to his lips and said, “I love you too much to risk hurting you by getting in an accident.”

I laughed and said, “I just couldn’t resist.   You are so sexy; even when you’re driving.”

Rick glanced at me and said, “Hold that thought, Mr. Nielsen.”   He returned his attention to driving.   “When we get to your grandparents’ place, I can take care of your needs.   Just be patient!”

I pouted as he released my hand.   Rick stole another glance at me and chuckled.  “You look so cute when you pout.”

“I’m not cute,” I said, indignantly.

“Yes, you are, Babe.   Cute and cuddly,” Rick said with a sly grin on his face.

“You make me sound like a great big teddy bear,” I said, folding my arms across my chest.   “I’m not cute and cuddly!”

“Alright, then, let’s try handsome, good looking, sexy and really ‘hot.’   Let me see, you are strong and wiry plus you’ve got the best looking butt on the planet.   It’s nice and tight,” Rick said.   He reached over and caressed the inside of my thigh.  Hearing my moan of pleasure, Rick said, “Now the shoe is on the other foot.”   He moved his hand up to my package.   I leaned back and closed my eyes.  

He continued until I breathed his name, “Rick.”

He took his hand away and left me hanging.   My eyes flew open, “Rick, you are so wicked!   You can’t leave me in this state!”

“I said you needed to be patient,” Rick said.

“But we still have another hour on the road,” I whined.   “I can’t wait that long.”

“Babe, you’ll just have to figure it out,” Rick said, laughing at my expression.   “I love you, Babe.”

I sighed in resignation and said, “I love you, too; but you’re still wicked!”

We talked about our plans for school and the classes we had decided to take.   The next hour passed quickly and we were soon pulling into the driveway of my grandparents’ home.

Grandma met us at the door.   “Welcome back, boys.”

We gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.   “We’re glad to be here,” I said.  

Grandma said, “Take your things upstairs and freshen up.   Your Grandpa and I have already eaten our lunch; but we can have something ready for you in no time.”

Rick said, “Don’t worry about us, Grandma.   We grabbed a bite to eat on our way here.”

“Grandma, is the pool ready to use?” I asked.

“Yes, Grandpa cleaned it a couple of days ago and the water is warm.   Your Grandpa and I went swimming in it this morning,” she said.

“Good,” I said.   “Rick and I are still working on our tans.”

Grandma laughed.   “Both of you are pretty dark now.   I don’t think you need to worry about your tan.”

Rick said, “But we have to maintain it now.”

Grandma threw up her hands in defeat.   “Okay, okay, have it your way.   The pool is open and ready for use.”

“Thanks, Grandma,” I said.

“Run along now and we’ll see you when you’re finished your swim,” Grandma said.

We mounted the stairs two at time.   I opened our bedroom door and we quickly unpacked our things.   Rick said, “Let’s get a shower first.”

I said, “You were reading my mind!”

We quickly stripped and jumped in the shower.   As usual, we enjoyed our time in the shower.   Rick’s performance was a masterpiece!  Coming out of the shower, I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him passionately.   “Thank you, Babe.”

Rick held me close and nibbled my earlobe.   “It was my pleasure,” he whispered in my ear.

“And mine,” I said as we rubbed noses.  We dried each other off and put on our swimsuits (ones a little less skimpy than the ones we wore on the beach; but just barely!).   I looked in the mirror at our reflection and said, “We look like gingerbread men.”

Rick came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist.   He nipped me on the neck and said, “You taste like one, too.”

I grinned at him in the mirror as he continued to kiss my neck.   He ran his hands over my chest and followed my treasure trail downward.   He slipped his hands inside my swimsuit as he started to caress my package.   “You know I can’t leave this room with my dick sticking out of my swimsuit like that.”

“Who said you were going anywhere?” Rick asked huskily.  I leaned back against his chest and lifted my chin to give him better access to my neck.   We didn’t make it to the pool until much later!

*** ***

We were lounging on the pool deck when Grandpa joined us.   He looked at us and said, “I can see you’ve been to the beach.”

I looked up at him and said, “We did our best to soak up as much sun as possible.”

“You did a good job.   In fact, you two could be models for some of those vacation commercials,” Grandpa said.   He took a seat at the table next to us and asked, “How are your studies going?”

“I managed to get good marks in all of my classes,” Rick said.

“I did the same in mine,” I said.

“Good,” Grandpa said.   “I was afraid you two would be too much of a distraction to each other.”

Rick looked at me and grinned.  “Glenn can be very distracting at times; but we’ve figured out how to discipline ourselves so we get our homework done before we have fun.”

Grandpa chuckled and said, “I’m glad to see someone has some restraint in your relationship.”

I gave Grandpa a puzzled look and asked, “What do you mean?”

“I’ve seen how you can’t keep your hands off of your boyfriend,” Grandpa said.

“I can’t help it,” I said.   “He’s just so good looking.”

“I’ll give you that,” Grandpa said.   He smiled and continued, “It’s just the last time you were here, you both were so love-struck I wasn’t sure either of you would be able to concentrate on your studies.”

“You can rest assured we know we need to keep our grades up,” Rick said.

“Your Grandma sent me out to let you know dinner will be ready in about half an hour,” Grandpa said.

I looked over at Rick and said, “Okay, we had better get a quick shower to clean off all of the chlorine.”

Rick nodded his agreement.   “Let’s go, Babe.”   He stood up and turned to help me up.   We walked hand in hand into the house and up the stairs to our room.

We quickly showered and dressed.   We wore matching board shorts and white t-shirts and flip-flops.   Rick kissed me before we left our room.   We joined my grandparents in the dining room.   They were already seated and we sat down across from them.

Grandpa said, “I’ll say grace.”   When he had finished, we dug into the delicious meal consisting of pork chops, mashed potatoes with milk gravy, steamed broccoli, a green salad and sweet potato pie.  

When we finished, Grandpa asked, “Glenn, will you play the piano for us?”

“Gladly,” I said.   We helped clear the table and made our way into the family room.   Grandpa sat in his favorite armchair with Grandma seated next to him in hers.   Rick opted for the couch.   He slid off his flip flops and stretched out on the couch.   He patted his rock hard stomach and said, “Dinner was delicious.”

Grandma said, “I’m glad you liked it.”

Grandpa said, “I’d like you to play Debussy.   The music is in the piano bench.”

I opened the piano bench and retrieved the music book titled, “Debussy Favorite Piano Works.”   I looked over at Grandpa and asked, “Which ones do you want me to play?”

“Start with Clair de Lune.   Then Reverie, Two Arabesques, The Girl with Flaxen Hair, and Golliwog’s Cake Walk,” he responded.

I opened the book to Clair de Lune and began to play.   By the time I finished playing the requested piano pieces, both Rick and Grandpa were fast asleep!   I looked at Grandma and asked, “What do you want to hear?”

Grandma smiled at me and said, “I think we should leave these two to take their nap while we go into the kitchen for some hot chocolate.”  I got up from the piano bench and walked over to help her out of her chair.   “Thank you, Glenn.   I’m not as spry as I used to be.”

We walked into the kitchen and I took a seat at the table while she prepared the hot chocolate.   She handed me my cup and sat down across from me with her own.

“Now, tell me how things are going between you and Rick,” Grandma said.

I took a sip of my hot chocolate, then replied, “Besides being the sexiest man alive, he’s my best friend.   I’ve never felt so close to anyone.   He treats me so much better than Ian did.   He is always asking me what I want to do and how I’m feeling.   Ian never did that.   Ian only wanted to have sex with me.   He never asked me what I wanted or how I felt.   It was all about Ian and never about me.   Rick never pushes me to do anything I’m not comfortable doing.   He challenges me to do new things, but never forces me.   I love him very much.”

“Is he Mr. Right?” Grandma asked.

I thought for a few minutes before answering her.   “I think so, Grandma; but I don’t know.   Sometimes, I get the feeling Rick is really conflicted about our relationship.  It’s like he’s not sure he is really gay.   I mean, he was quite a womanizer before he met me; and he still turns the girls’ heads when he walks by them.   I know he can’t help noticing how attracted they are to him.”

“So you’re worried he will dump you for a woman?” Grandma asked.

I looked away from her searching gaze, then finally nodded my head, “Yeah, I guess so.   Rick has never said anything and he is always kind and gentle with me.   I don’t know why I feel so nervous about it.”

Grandma said, “Rick is a very handsome man, Glenn.   He will always attract women to him; and men, too.   You need to get used to that fact.   You’ve chosen one of the best looking men I’ve ever met as your life partner; and as a result, you will have to deal with the attention it brings with it.”

I nodded my head in acknowledgment that what she said was true.   When I didn’t voice a response, she continued, “Glenn, you are a good looking young man in your own right.   That is what has attracted Rick to you along with your charming personality.”

I laughed and said, “I don’t think so, Grandma.”

Grandma smiled and said, “I beg to differ, Glenn.   Rick has found, in you, his soul mate.   You have that special something that clicks with him.   I don’t think you’ll have to worry about him leaving you for a woman as long as you treat him with kindness, dignity and respect.  Above all else show him you love him.   Remember to always put your partner first; even before yourself.   I have also overheard you two talking about your penchant for flirting with other guys.   Don’t you think that hurts Rick?”

I dropped my gaze.   Grandma sure seemed to know everything.   I finally raised my eyes to meet hers.  “You’re right, Grandma.  I’ve asked him to be patient with me, because I know I like to flirt too much.”

“Just be careful not to hurt him, Glenn.   You might think he’s okay with you flirting with other men; but each time you make eyes at another guy is like a dagger through his heart.   It doesn’t make for a very stable relationship if your partner isn’t sure where your loyalties lie.   Rick seems to have a pretty thick skin; but underneath, he has a very tender heart and he’s entrusted it to you,” Grandma said.

I turned around in my chair when I heard Rick’s voice behind me.   “Your Grandma is right.   I’ve given you the keys to my heart, Babe.”   He leaned over and kissed me.

Grandma smiled at us and said, “Rick and Glenn, I may sound old fashioned; but I’m going to say it anyway.   Please focus your attention on each other.   Don’t let yourselves be distracted by others who would destroy what you have.   Your Grandpa and I had a few rough years because of a woman who thought she could steal him away from me.   Always make the happiness of your partner your number one priority.   That’s what I had to do.”

Rick nodded his head.  “I’m trying to do just that.   I know sometimes I fail miserably; but at least Glenn knows he means the world to me.”

Grandma stood up from the table and placed her cup in the sink.   She turned to Rick and asked, “Would you like a cup of hot chocolate?”

“Sure, Grandma,” he replied as he sat down next to me.

She made two more cups of hot chocolate.   She handed one to Rick and she carried the other one into the family room and woke Grandpa.   I stayed in the kitchen with Rick.

“It sounded like Grandma was telling you how to make sure I don’t have wandering eyes,” Rick said, putting his arm around my shoulders.

“She was giving some pointers about how to keep my man happy,” I said, smiling at him.

“So tell me; what is her secret?” Rick said.

“You heard her tell me.   Always put the happiness of your companion first,” I said.

“I also heard something about flirting,” Rick said.

I looked away from him and admitted, “Yeah, she did say something about that.”

Rick reached up and put his hand under my chin.   He turned my head toward him until I was looking into his eyes.   “Listen to me, Glenn.   I know you aren’t looking for someone new when you flirt with the guys.   The problem lies in the fact they don’t know that.   I’m afraid one of these days, a guy is going to take you seriously; and then what will you do?”

“I tell him I’m in love with you,” I said, earnestly.

“But will he believe you if you’ve been flirting with him and encouraging his advances?” Rick asked.   When I didn’t answer right away, Rick answered for me, “The answer is probably not.”

“I’ll try not to flirt with the guys, Rick.   I really will,” I promised.

Rick leaned over and kissed me tenderly.  “I trust you to do your best.”

Rick finished his hot chocolate and stood up from the table.   He put our cups in the sink and turned to me and said, “It’s time for us to go to bed.”

I started to protest, “But it’s not…”

Rick put his finger to my lips.   “Hush, Babe.   I didn’t say we were going to sleep.”   He put his arm around my waist as we left the kitchen.   We walked into the family room to say good night to my grandparents.    We left them chatting in the family room as we made our way upstairs to our room.   Rick and I had another memorable evening satisfying our passion for each other!

*** ***

We returned from spring break and got back into the swing of things with classes and studies.   Felipe started spending time at our home; after proving he could behave himself in other settings.   He kept his promise and didn’t cause me and Rick any problems; or, at least that was true until I made a stupid mistake!   About a month before finals, Felipe was over at our place as usual.   We had just finished eating and were cleaning up the dishes.  

We were studying at the kitchen table when Rick looked over at me and asked, “Do you want to run out to the store with me to pick up some groceries?”

I looked my sweetheart in the eyes and smiled.  “I’d love to go with you; but can we wait until I finish writing this essay?”

“I’d rather go now so we can settle in for the night.    Tell you what, I’ll run get the groceries this time while you two study,” Rick said, standing up from the table and retrieving his keys from the key rack by the front door.   “I’ll be back soon,” he called from the front door.

As soon as the door closed, Felipe got up from his studies and stood behind me and began giving me a back rub.   Felipe had done this before for me on a number of occasions; so I didn’t think anything of it at the time.   “That feels good, Felipe,” I said.   I leaned back and closed my eyes.

“I’m glad you like it.   Why don’t we go into the bedroom where you can get comfortable and I can give you a proper massage?”

I opened my eyes and replied, “That sounds wonderful.”   I should have listened to the little voice inside my head that kept saying, “Danger! Danger!” but I was so stiff and hurt so bad from overdoing our weightlifting yesterday I didn’t really want to listen.   I gave myself a mental shrug and stood up from the kitchen table.

Felipe took my hand and pulled me up and led me back to my bedroom.   “Okay, strip down while I get you a towel.”

Felipe went into our bathroom and retrieved a bath towel that he tossed to me.   I wrapped it around my waist.   I lay down on my stomach and stretched out luxuriously as Felipe straddled me and began working massage oil into the muscles of my aching back and neck.  Felipe’s hands felt so wonderful to me.   He worked his way down my back.   Then Felipe massaged my feet and worked his way up my calves and thighs to my butt pushing the towel up.   He was working my butt cheeks over when Rick walked into our bedroom.

All I heard was a sharp hiss; then the door slammed shut, and Rick was gone.   After a moment of silence, Felipe said quietly, “I think Rick thought I was fucking you.”

It took me a minute to comprehend what Felipe had said, “Do you really think that Rick interpreted what he saw that way?” I asked.

“I do.   In fact, I’m almost certain of it,” Felipe replied his voice shaking slightly.

“Let me get dressed and we’ll go out and talk to him and set the record straight,” I said.

I stood up and dressed quickly and Felipe and I went out into the front room where Rick stood stalk still in front of the sliding glass door; with his fists clenched at his sides, staring out at the surrounding cityscape.

I went over to Rick and slid my arms around his waist, “Rick, Babe, Felipe was only giving me a massage.   I wasn’t cheating on you,” I said as I ran my hands up and down the very prominent six pack.   “I love you, remember?”

Rick still stood stiff and unrelenting in my embrace.   “Rick, don’t be angry with me.   I promise you we weren’t making out.   Yes, I love Felipe as a friend; but not in the same way I love you.   Please let go of your anger and listen to me,” I begged him.   I leaned my head against his back.

Rick took a deep breath and slowly unclenched his fists.   “I thought Felipe was fucking you when I walked into our bedroom.”

Felipe said, “I know you thought that was what was happening.   I’m sorry I caused you to be angry, Rick.   You know I love Glenn and I would never do anything to hurt him.   He loves you very much and would never cheat on you.”

Rick looked at Felipe, “Yes, I know you love Glenn.   I guess that’s why it made me so angry; especially since you promised not to cause problems between us if we let you back into our lives.”

Felipe cringed at the fierce anger he saw in Rick’s eyes. “I’m sorry, Rick.   Maybe I shouldn’t come around here anymore.   I don’t want to be the cause of contention between you two.”

The edge in Rick’s voice was like steel, “I think that would be a good idea; at least for now.”

I wasn’t sure how to react to what I was hearing.   On one hand, I thought Rick was being unreasonable.   On the other, I kind of understood why he was so angry.   Felipe has been very open about his love for me and I had tried not to encourage any kind of relationship with him, other than that of being his friend.   Rick has always been very possessive of me and doesn’t like to have anyone get too close to me (man or woman) because of his bad experience with his ex-girlfriend.

The only close friends besides Felipe I have are my cousin, Keith, and his wife, Kerry, who live in the same complex as we do.   I’m not complaining, since Rick is my life partner; but he has become so oppressive about it in the last few months it seems.   I heard the door close as Felipe left our condo.   I feel really bad for Felipe.   He doesn’t have many friends here either.

This last episode made me wonder what was going on in Rick’s head.   “Rick, can we talk?”

Rick’s back was ramrod straight and his muscles taut as he turned around in my embrace.   His face was a mask of barely contained fury.  

Rick said through his clenched teeth, “Yes, we need to talk.”

Rick didn’t respond to my embrace; even when I put my head on his chest and hugged him as tightly as I could.   Finally, I withdrew my arms from around his waist and collapsed on the couch in frustration.

I looked up at Rick, “Okay, I’m listening.”

“Why do you always make it so hard for me, Glenn?   You know how sensitive I am to you letting other guys touch you!   I’ve tried and tried to overcome my feelings of jealousy but I can’t continue to ignore the fact you seem to be in love with Felipe!”   Rick’s face was dark with rage as was his voice.

“Yes, I love Felipe, but not in the same way I love you Rick!   I’m in love with you and have been since we first met!   That hasn’t changed!   Yes, I’m guilty of enjoying Felipe’s willingness to give me a backrub!”

“It was more than a backrub, Glenn!   He had his hands all over your body and you let him do it!”  Rick shouted at me still clenching and unclenching his fists.

“You’re right.   I was enjoying his ministrations too much.   I’m sorry I’ve made you angry.   Can you forgive me?” I asked, hoping to diffuse some of Rick’s anger by admitting that I was enjoying Felipe’s hands too much.   I was still a little confused by Rick’s angry reaction to what I thought was a perfectly innocent event.

“I could forgive you if it were the first time it’s happened, but it’s not!   Felipe has made it abundantly clear he’s in love with you and you’ve encouraged him!   It’s like you enjoy throwing it in my face you’ve got someone else who wants you.   I feel like you really don’t want to be with me anymore the way you flirt with Felipe right in front of my face,” Rick’s voice cracked with the strength of his emotions; his feelings of anger and frustration, along with the heartache were trying to express themselves at the same time.

I was shocked to say the least.   Rick had never mentioned anything to me before now about his feelings about Felipe; at least not since before spring break.   “You’ve never said anything about your feelings to me about this.   If you’d said something to me, I would have backed off all the goofing around.   I thought you enjoyed having Felipe around as much as I did.”

“I did until Felipe started showing his feelings for you, again,” Rick responded still looking like a boiler ready to explode.

“Rick, Felipe has always had feelings for me.   We talked about it when we first invited Felipe to our home.   Remember?” I asked, looking Rick in the eyes.

“Yes, I remember.   And I remember telling you not to encourage him and I really wanted Felipe to know you were already taken,” Rick said, glaring at me.   “From the very beginning, you have flirted with him even though I asked you not to do it.”

“That’s not true, Rick!”   Now I was starting to get angry.   Up until now I’d tried to stay calm and respond in a rational way but his inaccurate statements were getting the best of me.   “You asked me to just look and not touch!”

“Exactly!!  So what do you call Felipe giving you a full-body massage?” Rick shouted at me.

“I’ve already admitted I made an error in judgment.   What more do you want?” I responded heatedly.   Not giving him time to answer, I continued, “You have already sent Felipe away and I doubt he will come back unless you personally invite him to return; so you’ve achieved your goal!   Rick, I need to have friends as well as a husband!  Felipe is the only person other than my cousin, Keith, and his wife, that we associate with anymore.   I love you, Rick, but I need to have more of a social outlet than what we have now!”

“So now my company isn’t good enough for you?   Since when did we need to have a social club to be able to function as a couple?” Rick shouted at me as he started pacing back and forth in front of me.   “You do this to me every time we have an argument.   You divert attention away from the real problem, and try to confuse the issue with statements that have no relevance, even tangentially, to the situation,” Rick said, finally sitting down in the armchair across the room from me.   

His whole demeanor changed as his anger abated and only the hurt remained.   The deep sadness in his eyes pushed aside the coldness I felt in my heart.   I recognized I was the cause of his unhappiness; and it made me feel terrible.   I didn’t like feeling that way.

“I’m sorry, Rick.   You’re right, again.   I have a difficult time facing my own weaknesses, so I try to divert attention away from them so I don’t have to face them.   I’m not very good at self-improvement, Rick.   I have always expected others to fix their own problems; but I’ve never tried to fix the ones I have,” I said, pausing to take a deep breath.

“I know I’ve expected you to be there for me and I haven’t been there for you like I should’ve been.   I’ve treated you pretty shabbily,” I said; recognizing that maybe this conversation was happening too late to make a course correction.   I looked down at my feet; not daring to raise my eyes to Rick’s as my tears started to cloud my vision.

After a few moments of silence, I looked up with tears staining my cheeks as Rick crossed the room and sat next to me.   He put his arm around me and pulled in close, and I rested my head against his chest.   “We should’ve had this conversation a long time ago,” Rick observed quietly.

“Yes, but what’s important is that we are having it now,” I said; hoping it wasn’t too late to fix what had gone wrong in our relationship.   “Can you forgive me for being so self-centered and uncaring?” I asked as I took his hand in mine.

“I’m not sure I can, Glenn.   It hurts too much.   I know I should be able to let it go; but I’m still haunted by what happened to me with Angie.   I know I’m being overly possessive of you, because I’m so afraid of losing you.   I’ve heard you tell me over and over again you love only me; but when I see you flirting with someone else, I can’t help but think one day you’ll abandon me for someone else,” Rick explained; pleading with me to understand his feelings.   I could feel his arms trembling as he held me.

“Yes, you’ve become very possessive of me and I’ve tried not to chafe at it, because I love you so much.   We both need to be more alert to the other’s needs.   Can we try to make a fresh start?” I asked, hopefully.

“I’m willing to give a try if you are,” Rick said.   “I’m not sure I can handle having Felipe back in our home.   Can we just be a couple for now?”

“Okay, but at some point, I want to host a party for some of our classmates.   Will you help me plan it?” I asked.

“I’m willing to do that; but not until after school gets out for the summer,” Rick said.  

I straddled Rick’s lap and wrapped my arms around him and tenderly kissed his lips, “I love you, Rick Lernier.”

*** ***

Author’s Note:

Debussy -  Golliwog’s Cakewalk - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9g1oODkmKM

Debussy – The Girl with the Flaxen Hair - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjxXF7x7Lu0

Debussy – Arabesque No. 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQaJw5pa0-M