Chapter Seventy Three – Justin
Rick awoke in the early morning hours before the sun had come up. Glenn stirred in his sleep, but didn’t awaken. Rick thought, “I love waking up in the morning with Glenn’s head on my chest. I remember our first night together. He asked if he could put his head on my chest to listen to my heartbeat. I thought it was a kind of odd, but agreed he could. It wasn’t long before Glenn had wrapped his body around mine, and was fast asleep. He seemed so trusting and childlike that night. I held him in my arms, smoothed his hair and ran my fingertips along the line of his jaw. He never stirred, even when I shifted his weight, so I could sleep a little more comfortably.”
“Since that night, Glenn sleeps in my arms with his head on my chest. I know it makes him feel safe and loved. Glenn has told me that many times. I’ve never felt as close to anyone in my life, nor have I felt as much a part of someone else’s life. It’s like we are two halves of the same person.”
“I know Glenn has missed me terribly since I went on active duty. It’s been hell on me, too! It’s like half of me is missing. I hadn’t realized just how much this beautiful young man means to me, until now! I’m amazed at Glenn’s resilience in the face of adversity, but at the same time, it scares me how fragile he is. Last night really brought that home to me.” Rick replayed the conversation in his memory.
Glenn looked into my eyes as I held him in my arms, enjoying the aftermath of our lovemaking. He asked, “Rick, what are you thinking about?”
“Why?” I asked, in reply.
“You seem to be thinking and I wanted to know what you were thinking about,” he explained.
I thought for a moment before answering. I wasn’t sure how Glenn was going to react to what I wanted from him. When I didn’t answer, Glenn said, “You don’t have to share your thoughts with me, if you aren’t ready to talk about whatever it is that is bothering you.”
I finally decided I’d just say it, “Glenn, I want you to fuck me. I want to feel you inside me. I’ve always been the top and you’ve been the bottom. Will you do me this time?”
Glenn’s answer shocked me. He said, “I can’t, Rick. I don’t want to hurt you.”
I thought he was joking until I saw the tears running down his face.
“I have nightmares about John and his friends raping me and how much it hurt. I can’t do that to you, Rick. I love you too much to hurt you like John hurt me,” Glenn said.
I held Glenn in my arms, as I absorbed what I’d just heard from my lover boy’s lips. Finally, I asked, “Does it hurt when I fuck you?”
Glenn replied, “No, you are always so gentle with me, and you make sure I’m ready when you start fucking me hard. I can feel you love me, and I know the reason you fuck me is because you want to share that love with me. It’s not like when John fucked me. He did it to hurt me! He didn’t care how I felt or how much I hated having him get his rocks off in my ass! Rick, it hurt so much, and the names he called me hurt me even more. Then, his friends did the same thing to me, calling me their bitch. It went on for hours, Rick. I thought they would never stop.”
I said, “But that doesn’t mean you can’t fuck me. You won’t hurt me, because you love me. Can you see it’s different than what John did to you? I want you to make me yours, Glenn. I want to be yours, as much as you are mine.”
“Intellectually, I know it’s not the same, but that doesn’t change the fact I can’t do it, Rick,” Glenn pleaded with me to understand. “I don’t want you to be angry with me. I need you to help me, please! I want to be the best lover, boyfriend, partner or whatever I can be for you. Honestly, I want to do this for you, but I can’t.” Glenn clung to me and covered my chest with his tears.
Glenn’s reaction totally left me without words. I didn’t know what to say. I just held him tight until he stopped crying, and seemed to calm down somewhat. I ran my fingers through his hair and gently wiped the tears from his cheek. I raised his chin so I could look him in the eyes.
I said tenderly, but firmly, “Glenn, I will never make you do anything you are not ready to do, especially when it comes to having sex. Do you understand me?”
Glenn smiled weakly, and answered, “Yes, I understand. I love you, Rick.”
I said, “I love you, too.” I gently kissed my sweetheart.
Rick’s thoughts returned to the present as he listened to his partner’s steady breathing. Just remembering how much pain Glenn exhibited last night sent a shudder through Rick’s body. It made him very angry with John and his buddies for the psychological damage they inflicted on Glenn; damage so severe that just the thought of being the top in their relationship brought him so much pain and anguish.
Rick never really seriously thought Glenn was so fragile emotionally. Glenn always appeared to be very stable and put together. Rick knew he’d been through a lot with Ian, but this latest revelation about John opened up a whole new view into Glenn’s personality. It explained many of the behaviors Rick had noticed and wondered why Glenn acted the way he did. It was almost like he had found the missing puzzle piece that allowed him to complete the picture.
Rick had never been able to fathom how such a good looking young man with so much talent could have such low self-esteem. That’s why he had been pushing Glenn to acknowledge the musical talent he has. Rick thought if Glenn could see the great value others saw in his musical abilities, it would give Glenn’s self-esteem the boost it needed to start moving upward to normal levels.
Rick decided at that moment that he would do whatever it took to make his partner whole again.
I awoke with Rick’s arms holding me tight against his body. I listened to Rick’s steady heartbeat. Last night was purely amazing. Rick made love to me multiple times, with each time better than the last. Then, he asked me to fuck him and to make him mine in the same way he’d done me. I felt so bad I couldn’t do it for him. I tried to explain why I couldn’t, and Rick seemed to understand; but I know, deep down, he is hurting because of my inability to return the same love he gives me.
In some ways, it was a relief to finally tell Rick about my fears. I’ve dreaded telling Rick I couldn’t fuck him from the first day we got together. Rick has never asked me about Ruth Ann. So, I’ve never had to explain that with Ruth Ann, I was afraid of hurting her, as well, so I never took the active role. She was always in control and took what she wanted. Ruth Ann thought she was helping me, but in reality it scared me even more.
Rick didn’t push me anymore about it last night, but I know he will, soon. He wants to have the full experience of being loved by a man, and I understand the feeling. Rick is the best lover anyone could ask for, because he is so kind and gentle. Yes, he can be rough and aggressive; but, at the same time, he always makes sure I’m okay with what he’s doing.
My reverie was interrupted by the sound of the bedroom door opening. I couldn’t see who had opened it, but I didn’t have to wait long to find out who it was! I turned my head and saw Robbie and Adam, as they came around the side of the bed. Rick’s arms tightened around me as he started to wake up.
Robbie said, “Good morning, sleepy heads!”
Adam asked, “How was the recital last night?”
Rick lifted his arms over his head and stretched. I felt his muscles ripple under me as he effortlessly lifted me up. I love the feel of his body in the morning! That’s why I enjoy wrapping my body around his!
I answered, “The recital was okay. You should have seen my lover boy! He was the star of the whole evening. Everyone fawned over him and kept asking him questions about the Marines and where he had served. They hardly even noticed I was there!”
Rick laughed and said, “You’re just jealous, because everyone recognized how superbly handsome I am.”
“And did I say sexy? Rick looked extremely sexy in his dress uniform. It was all I could do to stop myself from ripping off his clothes, and letting him ravage me right there in front of everyone!” I exclaimed.
Adam laughed. “Yes, we know how great Rick looks in his uniform. Remember? We saw him last night before you left.”
Robbie said, “We’re all jealous we don’t have a handsome boyfriend like you do, Glenn.”
Rick looked at the two teen boys. “I don’t think either of you has to worry about snagging some handsome guy. You’re both very good looking, and have engaging personalities.”
The two boys looked at each other before answering. “Adam already asked me to be his boyfriend,” Robbie said.
“Congratulations! Do Zach and Todd know, yet?” I asked.
Adam replied, “Yes, we told them last night. They are very happy for us, but made us promise to wait to have sex until we’ve talked to our parents about it.”
Robbie grinned. “We plan to call our parents this morning. Are you guys coming down to eat breakfast? Ben cooked for all of us.”
Rick and I nodded our heads in the affirmative. Robbie smiled and said, “Let me guess – you’ll be down after you clean each other up in the shower.”
Rick laughed. “Right, again, Dr. Watson.”
Robbie grabbed Adam’s hand and pulled him from the room. “Adam, we’d better leave the lovebirds to themselves until they’re ready to come downstairs.”
They left, closing the door behind them. I looked at Rick, who pulled me to him and kissed me. “Good morning, lover boy!” he said, smiling.
“Good morning,” I said, returning his smile. “I’m sorry I ruined a perfect evening by becoming so emotional last night.”
Rick responded, firmly, “You didn’t ruin anything, Glenn. I’ve known there was a reason why you’ve always insisted on being a bottom for me; but I’ve never asked why. I guess it seemed natural to me, as your boyfriend, I’d always play the dominant role in our relationship. After being away from you, I’ve realized I want you to be an equal partner in everything we do together, and part of that, for me, is for us to switch roles during our lovemaking.”
I nodded and said, “I understand, and I want us to be equal partners in everything we do. I’m glad we're having this conversation, because it means so much to me to know you feel the same way I do. Up until now, I’ve been happy the way things are, but, like you, I’ve been thinking a lot about our relationship, and how we could strengthen it. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Rick.”
Rick kissed me. He grinned and asked, “Is that a marriage proposal?”
“It is, but only in the sense, that when you’re ready, I want to be married to you. As long as you’re in the Marine Corps, there is no way we can be married; but I want you to know I will wait for as long as it takes,” I said. “I’m not letting you get away from me, Mr. Lernier, now I’ve found you.”
“Does this mean I’m a keeper?” Rick asked, as he started tickling me.
Between laughing and giggling, I managed to say, “Yes, now stop tickling me before I pee all over you!”
Rick stopped, pulled me to him and kissed me. “Let’s get a shower,” he said. He pulled me to my feet and we made our way to the bathroom.
After a nice, long shower together, we emerged from the bathroom very happy and satisfied. We quickly dressed and went downstairs to see if the guys had left us anything for breakfast.
Ben pulled out two plates of food from the oven when he saw us appear in the kitchen door. “I managed to save this for you. Better sit down and eat it, before the rest of them realize there is some still left.” Ben laughed, as we started wolfing down pancakes, eggs, sausages and orange juice.
We heard a knock on the door, followed by Zach calling out, “Honey, I’m home!”
Ben shouted, “Come in. We’re in the kitchen!”
A few seconds later Zach and Todd joined us at the kitchen table.
Zach asked, “How did things go last night?”
Rick answered for us, “Really great! Dr. Nohr seated us at his table with some of the businessmen from here in town. They treated me like royalty! It was truly amazing to see the level of support they have for our troops overseas. It really made me happy to know people want to know about what I do, and how things are going.”
“Not only that, they couldn’t keep their eyes off of my handsome boyfriend in his dress uniform,” I added.
“That’s true, too. I had quite a few women approach me, and a couple of guys, too, which surprised me. The guys took one look at Glenn and decided to beat it; but the women, on the other hand, just wouldn’t quit, sometimes,” Rick said.
“Yeah, I practically had to beat them off with a stick to get rid of some of them,” I said, laughing.
Todd asked, “So, how did you do at the recital?”
Rick spoke up before I could respond, “He was absolutely wonderful. The crowd gave him three standing ovations, and clapped so loud I thought I was going to go deaf from the noise!”
I blushed at the praise, but managed to say, “Yes, I didn’t make any mistakes this time.”
Todd smiled and said, “I’m sure Rick isn't exaggerating when he says you brought the house down.”
Ben said, “We need to be getting on the road soon. We have a lot of things planned for today.”
“I’ll get Robbie and Adam and we’ll get started,” Zach said.
He yelled up the stairs, “Robbie and Adam, let’s go!”
A few minutes later, two rather disheveled boys appeared in the kitchen. It was obvious what they had been doing while we were eating breakfast!
We piled into the Land Rover and spent the day touring the sights around Minneapolis and St. Paul. We were relaxing in the front room, after returning home from our day out, when Zach said, “Let’s go out dancing at one of the local clubs. Are you guys up for that?”
Todd answered, “Sure as long, as it’s a gay club. I want to be able to dance with you without getting all kinds of stares and rude comments.”
I looked at Rick, who shrugged his shoulders. “It’s up to you, sweetheart,” Rick said.
“We’ve never gone out to a club before. We’ve kind of kept a low profile, because Rick is in the Marine Corps,” I responded.
Todd said, “Well, no one knows you here, so, you should be able to go out and have a nice time dancing.”
Zach said, “I’ve been to a couple of the gay bars here in town.” He looked at Todd before continuing, “I didn’t hook up with anyone, even though I wanted to a couple of times.”
Todd smiled, as he put his arm around Zach’s waist. “That’s because you were still in love with me!”
Zach nodded his head in agreement. “True. I wanted you back something terrible, but didn’t want to admit it. So, are you guys up for going dancing?”
Rick replied, “I’m okay with trying it out. If we don’t like it, we’ll catch a cab back home so you two can have the car.”
Zach smiled and said, “Cool! Todd and I need to go over to my dorm so we can freshen up. We’ll pick you guys up in about an hour or so.”
Ben came into the front room as Zach was leaving, “What are you guys planning to do for the evening?”
“We’re going dancing at a local gay bar. Do you want to come with us?” I asked.
Ben laughed and said, “Sure, as long as you’ll keep guys from hitting on me!”
Rick grinned and said, “No way! I want to see what you’ll do when some big guy tries to hit on you; especially if he grabs you and hauls you off to the restroom for a quickie!”
Ben laughed. “That guy would be one bruised dude when I finish with him!”
“Why don’t you ask Janice to go with you? That way, you’d have a date and no one would bother you,” I said.
Ben thought for a moment before answering, “Okay, I’ll give her a call.”
Ben pulled out his cell phone and dialed Janice. After a few minutes, he ended the call and turned to us. “Janice agreed to go. She’s never been to a gay bar before.”
Rick asked, “I’m the only one who is 21, so how are the rest of you going to get in?”
Ben said, “We’ll see if they won’t let us in, anyway. Sometimes the bouncers will let us. Last year we managed to get into a few places that way.”
Rick got up and pulled me up with him. “Glenn and I need to get ready. We’ll be back down in a little while.”
Ben grinned at us knowingly. “Enjoy yourselves while you can.”
I laughed, as Rick picked me up and carried me up the stairs. He pushed the bedroom door shut with his foot. He laid me on the bed and began to remove my clothes. When he finished, he did a strip tease routine that had me laughing so hard my sides hurt!
“Are you ready for the ride of your life?” Rick asked, as he prepped me.
I nodded my head as he captured my lips and kissed me, running his tongue over my lips. I responded by opening my mouth to allow him in. I completely surrendered to Rick’s passion for me.
Later, as we lay exhausted in each other’s arms, I contemplated the handsome face of my lover. He looked back at me and asked, “What are you thinking about?”
“I was thinking I’ve never seen a more handsome face,” I said. I raised my hand to his face and traced the line of his jaw down to his chin. I touched his cheek, where I could feel the stubble of his beard.
“I like the feel of your face, with your 5 o’clock shadow. It makes you look so sexy! You look like one of those models in a GQ magazine. Maybe you should try being a male model,” I said.
“Only if I get to have sex with you on every photo shoot,” Rick said, grinning at me.
“Then I guess you’ll have to be a male model for one of those kind of magazine, then,” I said, grinning back at him. “I think you would become a major porn star very quickly.”
Rick laughed and said, “I don’t think I’m cut out for that kind of lifestyle. I’m a one man kind of guy, and many of those folks have multiple partners, which is not something I have an interest in. You are the only one for me, Glenn Nielsen.”
“I’m glad, because you’re the only one for me, and I don’t like sharing you with anyone else,” I said, as I caressed Rick’s six pack abs. I love the feel of his rock hard muscles under my hands.
Rick looked at the clock and turned back to me. “Babe, we need to get dressed. The guys will be here shortly.”
We got up and quickly showered and helped each other dress. Again, we wore matching outfits. This time, we wore bright purple dress shirts, tight fitting dark slacks, and penny loafers. Rick pulled out a couple of matching velour sweaters that we had purchased earlier in the day, and handed one to me. Rick pulled his sweater down over his head and straightened it. The sweater did a good job of accentuating his perfect physique.
“Rick, you are such a stud!” I exclaimed, as I straightened my sweater and wrapped my arms around my guy.
Rick gave me a quick kiss, before he splashed a little cologne on himself and did the same to me.
We came downstairs just as Zach and Todd knocked on the door. Zach and Todd were dressed alike, since they had bought matching sweaters at the same store we did.
Todd whistled when he saw us, “Wow! You two look great! Rick, you will have the guys crawling all over themselves to get your attention.”
Robbie and Adam came into the foyer to see why Todd was whistling. Robbie’s eyes went wide when he saw the four of us. “Guys! Where are you going? You all look like a million bucks!”
Zach said, “We’re going dancing, and, no, you can’t come. I don’t think I can get you two in without causing a scene. And before you start protesting, we can take you tomorrow, when they allow guys 18 and over into the bar. You guys can pass for 18, but not 21.”
Robbie was going to protest, but Adam put his finger to his lips and said, “You guys go and have fun. We talked to our parents this morning, and they are okay with us being together; so we are going to stay here and enjoy each other’s company.”
Zach laughed. “Translated, that means you’re going to get laid!”
Robbie giggled, “We’ve already had the lecture from Mom about safe sex.”
Todd grinned. “Okay, but don’t force your partner to do something he’s not ready to do.”
Robbie gave us his “I’m so innocent” look. “I’d never force Adam to do anything.”
Adam laughed and said, “Don’t go trying to be all innocent on me. You’re just as horny as I am, and we’re going to have a great time tonight while you guys are out on the town.”
Ben came downstairs just as Adam finished his statement. “Just be sure to change the sheets and air out the room when you’re done. You know I have to sleep in there sometime tonight!”
Adam laughed. “Robbie, changing the bedding will be your job!”
Robbie smiled and said, “I’ll do it, as long as you promise to shower with me afterward.”
“Deal!” Adam declared.
We left the two teens to themselves for the evening. Ben took the Land Rover to pick up Janice, while we rode with Zach and Todd. We parked the cars and we got in line to pay the cover charge. The place seemed to be very popular by the size of the crowd trying to get in.
When it was our turn, Zach paid for our admission. Zach and Ben chatted with one of the bouncers. Zach introduced us, “Brian, this is Glenn, Ben’s cousin, his boyfriend, Rick, and my boyfriend, Todd.”
“Nice to meet you guys. I’m on the hockey team with Zach and Ben. I’ll answer your question before you ask it: Why am I working here? Answer: I didn’t get a scholarship to play, so I have to work to help pay the tuition.” He turned to Ben and Janice, “Hello, Janice. I’m glad to see you, again. Ben, you better take good care of Janice.”
Ben smiled, “I will. How do you two know each other?”
Janice spoke up, “We dated in high school, for a while.”
Brian smiled, “That is, we dated until I told Janice I was gay. Janice was very upset at me at the time, but we’ve become good friends since then.”
Janice asked, “Do you have a partner?”
Brian nodded, “Yes, I do. He’s the other bouncer. His name is Joshua.” Brian led us over to Joshua and introduced us to him. “Josh, these are some friends of mine.” He went around the group naming us and our relationships to each other.
Josh smiled, “Nice to meet you guys. If you need anything, just let me or Brian know. We’ll be circulating around the dance floor and between the different rooms.”
Zach said, “Thanks, Josh. We’ll see you guys in a bit.”
Zach led us into one of the rooms where there were a lot of guys dancing. He found us a table and we sat down. A waiter took our beverage orders and soon reappeared with them.
I took a sip of my virgin strawberry daiquiri and watched the dancing. Rick reached over and took my hand and said, “Let’s dance.”
Rick led me onto the dance floor just as the DJ put on a slow song. Rick pulled me into his arms, and I leaned my head on his shoulder as he led me around the floor.
Rick whispered in my ear, “I’m glad we came. It’s nice to be here where I can be myself, without fear. I wanted to take you out to clubs in Atlanta, but have always been afraid I’d be seen by my some of my fellow Marines.”
I agreed, “I’m happy we came, as well. I’ve been watching the other couples on the floor. Most of them seem to be as close as we are.”
Rick kissed me, before he answered, “I agree. I like the fact I can kiss you in public, and no one cares!”
Todd and Zach were dancing close to us. Watching Zach and Todd making out on the dance floor really turned me on. Rick started to kiss me, then, nibbled on my ear before moving lower, to my neck.
Thankfully, the music ended, or who knows what would have happened! The next song was a fast paced number, and Rick took me by the hands and asked, “Are you ready to show everyone how to do the swing?”
“Sure! I’m ready if you are,” I responded.
My Mom made sure all of us knew how to dance. She taught us all kinds of dance steps. My Dad supported her in it, since it taught us how to move our feet. My older brothers really benefited from it, since they were all into sports.
Rick and I returned to our table after a few more dances. We both shed our sweaters as we sat down. Rick looked absolutely stunning as he rolled up his shirt sleeves and pulled his collar up. We had gone commando so his package was clearly outlined through the fabric of his pants. We were getting a few looks from the guys at surrounding tables. One of the guys stood up and approached our table.
As he reached us, I recognized Justin from the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus. I said, “Hey, Justin! I want you to meet my boyfriend, Rick.”
Justin extended his hand, as he looked Rick over. “Glad to meet you, Rick. Glenn, you sure got yourself a real good looking guy.”
I replied, “Yes, I did!”
Rick said, “Nice to meet you, Justin. However, I’m the one who has the best looking guy in the world as my boyfriend.” Rick released Justin’s hand and put his arm around my shoulders. “Have a seat, Justin,” Rick said, indicating an empty chair at our table. As Justin sat down, Rick said, “This is Ben, Glenn’s cousin, and his girlfriend, Janice.”
Justin said, “Nice to meet you both. I will only stay for few minutes. I know your friends will want their seats back when they tire of dancing.”
A waiter whose name tag said his name was Mark approached Justin. “May I get you something to drink?”
Justin grinned at the waiter. “Yes, Mark, you may. How about bourbon on the rocks?”
“Sure, Justin. I’ll be right back,” Mark replied.
Justin turned back to us. “Glenn, we have auditions on Wednesday. I hope you plan to come and try out.”
I smiled and replied, “Thank you for remembering me.” I turned to Rick. “Justin belongs to the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus. We saw them in concert and I went backstage to find out how I could join their singing group. That’s how I met Justin.”
Justin smiled and said, “Yes, I remember. I was rather rude, trying to hit on you that night. Rick, you are the luckiest guy in the world. Glenn handled himself with grace and poise, while, at the same time, putting me in my place. Please accept my apologies. I can see you are both very much in love with each other.”
Rick answered, “Apology accepted. How long have you been singing with the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus?”
“I joined them my first year of college, so I guess that makes it a little more than 4 years ago, since I just graduated last spring,” Justin said.
Rick asked, “What do you do?”
“I’m working as a computer specialist for a local software development company. I’m a database administrator, which means I get to be on call a lot. I’m not sure I’m going to stick with it for much longer. It’s not exactly what I would call exciting work! My friends think I need to give it more time before I jump ship,” Justin said ruefully. “I want to get a return on my investment in an education. I’m okay with working, but I’ve got to find something I enjoy doing!”
Mark returned with Justin’s beverage. Justin paid him, and thanked him for the good service.
Rick replied, “I’m with you, dude! I’m majoring in mechanical engineering, and I’ve thought about working in the automotive industry, like Glenn’s cousin, Keith. However, we toured a couple of the manufacturing plants near Atlanta and everything is done with robotics.”
Justin nodded his head. “That means you’ll need to know computer stuff to go with the mechanical engineering, not to mention electrical stuff, too.”
While I listened to Justin and Rick talking, I watched Zach and Todd on the dance floor. They were doing their version of dirty dancing! It was so “hot” to see them together, so totally into each other, and completely oblivious to the outside world.
Rick noticed I wasn’t really listening to them and leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Who are you watching?”
I didn’t reply, but nodded toward where Zach and Todd were dancing. Ben and Janice were watching them, as well. Ben leaned over to me and said, “You and Rick have some competition.”
Justin looked over to watch Zach and Todd dancing not too far from us. Justin’s reaction was quite visible, as I could see the tent in his pants. Rick had been hard since we started dancing. Justin’s expression turned wistful, as he said, “I wish I had someone who loved me like they obviously love each other.”
Rick said, “You need to be patient, Justin. It took me a while to find Glenn. When I started college, I had a different girl every night. I used them and left them. Then Glenn came into my life.”
Justin’s shock was written all over his face. “You slept with chicks?! How could you do that when you’re gay, or are you bisexual?”
Rick replied, “I wasn’t into guys until I met Glenn. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t find a woman I wanted to be married to. My ex-girlfriend cured me of ever wanting a relationship with a woman. She was like a waking nightmare. I really loved her, but she didn’t love me.”
Justin nodded his head. “I’ve been there. My last boyfriend used and abused me. I so desperately wanted to be loved by someone I wouldn’t leave him until one night he beat me so badly, the neighbors called the cops. He broke both of my arms and would have done more damage if the cops hadn’t arrived when they did.”
The pain on Justin’s face showed there were still deep wounds to be healed. “How long has it been since you left him?” I asked.
His eyes were bright with tears. “It’s been about nine months now. Alex is in jail now, so I don’t have to worry about him trying to hurt me anymore. It’s just hard to adjust to being alone.”
Janice asked, “Where is your family? Aren’t they helping you?”
Justin’s voice broke with the emotions he was feeling, “They disowned me when they found out I’m gay. I asked the hospital staff to call them, but they denied they had son named Justin.”
“What about close friends?” I asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.
“My friend, Sarah, helped me after I left the hospital, since I couldn’t dress myself, with both arms in casts. She is a divorcee with two kids. The boys were more than willing to help me. They are both gay teenagers and enjoyed the fact that I was completely defenseless!”
Rick laughed and said, “I can just imagine what they did to you!”
Justin blushed. “Yes, I’m sure you can! I love those two very much. They kept me from going completely off the deep end. Mitch and Jerry are 16 and 17 years old. Jerry asked me to marry him when he turns 18.”
I smiled and said, “So, do you think he’ll still feel that way when he graduates from high school?”
“I don’t know,” Justin said. “Sarah thinks things will change between now and then. They live not too far from here. I’m sorry for talking so much. It’s nice to have someone to talk to, since I live alone now. I haven’t told anyone in the office I’m gay. They seem to be nice people, but you never know how they will react when confronted with someone who is gay.”
Rick said, “That is so true. I’m in the Marines, as you know, and it’s really difficult for me, since our military doesn’t allow gays to serve in the armed forces. It gets pretty hard sometimes, especially when they start cracking gay jokes and putting down gay people.”
Zach and Todd came over to the table. I made the introductions, “Zach and Todd, this is Justin. He’s the guy I talked to at the concert the other night.”
They shook Justin’s hand. “Nice to know you, Justin,” Zach said. Zach grabbed an extra chair from the table next to us and they joined us. Zach continued, “I think I’ve seen you here before, but you were with a huge guy who didn’t seem too friendly.”
“Yeah, that’s Alex. He’s my ex-boyfriend now,” Justin said.
Todd asked, “What happened?”
Justin related his story to Zach and Todd, who were as shocked as we were by what had happened to Justin. Zach put his arm around Justin’s shoulders. “You are welcome to join us, Justin. We are wild and crazy sometimes, but we have a lot of fun.”
Justin looked Zach in the eyes. “Do you really mean that?”
Todd stood up and pulled Justin into an embrace, giving him a kiss on the lips. “Yes, we really mean it.”
Todd released Justin, who sat down. He tried to hide how emotional he was, but didn’t quite succeed. “Thank you! You don’t know how much I needed to hear that tonight. I came alone tonight, hoping to see somebody I knew.”
Justin pulled out a piece of paper that had been folded several times out of his pocket and handed it to Zach. Zach unfolded it and began reading. His face showed surprise, and then, shock.
Silently, Zach passed the note to Todd who passed it across the table to Ben and Janice who passed it on to me and Rick. It read, “I can’t go on living like this. I’ve no one who cares for me. My parents have disowned me, and most of my friends have abandoned me. Maybe by committing suicide, I can relieve the pain I feel; and, at the same time, bring attention to how gay people are treated in our society.”
When we had all read the note, Zach spoke, “You were going to kill yourself tonight, weren’t you?”
Justin hung his head and looked at the floor. “Yes. I have a loaded pistol in the car I bought yesterday.” He squared his shoulders and looked around the table. “When Zach and Todd said I was welcome to join them, I decided I could trust you, so I showed you the note. Will you help me? I really don’t want to commit suicide, but I can’t go on living the way things are now.”
We looked at each other for a moment, before Rick said, “I think the answer is ‘yes,’ but there are a few things we need to get clear. First, I want the gun and I want you to promise you will not buy another one. Next, I want you to let us take you to the hospital. You need some serious help only they can give you; namely, anti-depression drugs, and they can arrange for you to get counseling. You have to promise us you will follow through with therapy sessions, and you will call us if you ever get feeling this way, again.”
Rick paused and waited for Justin to answer him.
Justin looked at all of us in turn. “I will do as you ask, but can I ask for one thing in return?”
Rick replied, “Yes, you may, as long as it’s legal.”
Justin nodded his head. “Promise me you won’t abandon me like my parents did?” His face reflected the small ray of hope that had entered his mind, since sitting down at the table with us.
We all promised Justin we’d stand by him, as long as he was making an effort to get better. Zach said, “I can even promise we will help you find a new boyfriend.”
Justin laughed. “I’ll take just having friends first. I’m not ready to have an intimate relationship with anyone, yet.”
Ben looked over at me. “I think we may need to find a bigger house to rent, because I think Justin is going to need someone to watch over him for the next little while.” Ben looked Justin in the eyes. “That means you’re moving in with us, so you need to be thinking of how you will get out of your lease.”
Justin started to protest, but I cut him off, “Justin, you’re going to live with us so don’t try to tell us you aren’t!” I turned to Ben. “You’re right, Ben. We need to find a bigger house, especially with Adam and Todd coming over for weekends,” I said.
Rick said, “Remember, Grandpa said he would buy a place here for you to stay in while you were attending school at the University of Minnesota?”
“I’d forgotten, since Ben already rented a house with his friends,” I replied.
Ben asked, “Do you think your Grandpa would still be willing to buy a house here?”
“Yes, I do. His terms are that we live in it while we are attending college. Afterward, we become the property managers if we don’t want to continuing living in the house or condo. That way, the house generates income for us after we leave school,” I said.
Ben grinned and said, “I’ve seen a nice house for sale down the street from where we live. It has six bedrooms and three bathrooms. The rooms are very big, and it would be ideal for renting to college students. Maybe we can call your Grandpa tomorrow.”
Rick asked, “What about Frank and Taka? Will be they willing to move with you?”
Ben said, “Yes, I’m sure they would. The problem will be finding someone to take our lease on the house. We signed a one year contract.”
Zach said, “Let’s ask coach if he knows of anyone still looking for housing. I’m sure he has contacts at the school that can help us.”
Justin shook his head in disbelief. “You guys would really buy a new house just so I could live with you?”
“Yes,” Ben said, smiling.
I said, “You are in trouble now, Justin. I think what Ben is saying is you’ve been adopted. We take care of our own, and that means you’d better do your part to get yourself to a better place; because we are NOT going to let you screw up your life, let alone take yourself out of it! Are we communicating yet?!”
Justin nodded his head in the affirmative. “Yes, it’s still incredible to me, but I’m beginning to think I can make it through all this mental and emotional stuff that has me feeling like I’m locked into a room without windows or doors, and no hope of ever getting out.”
Rick had been silently observing us, as we talked. He spoke up now, “Justin, I don’t want to sound negative, but we don’t really know very much about you. Can you share more information about yourself, your family and friends?”
A look of great sadness crossed Justin’s face before he started to speak, “Sure. I come from a small town in Wisconsin called Chippewa Falls about 97 miles (156 km.) from here to the east. My older brother, Jared, is a great sportsman and excels at everything athletic. Not only was he a great athlete, he was valedictorian of his class. He’s married, with two kids and lives near my parents.”
“My parents always compared me to Jared, telling me that I needed to be better at sports, and get better grades, because Jared did so well. Nothing I do measures up in their eyes. When I came out to them, Dad said I was not a child of his and completely disowned me. Mom didn’t defend me, but just sat there in silence. I packed my stuff and haven’t been back. That was during my first year of college. I’ve worked to pay the tuition and books, sometimes taking a semester off to save enough money to go the following semester. It’s taken me seven years to graduate.”
Zach asked, “You haven’t mentioned your ex-boyfriend? How did you meet him?”
“I was just getting to that part,” Justin replied. “I met Alex three years ago. At first, he was the man of my dreams. Then one day, he seemed to change. He started to drink heavily, and he started to beat me. He would call me every name he could think of, to hurt me, as he would kick me or punch me. He said I deserved to be beaten every day, because I’m gay. I know I should have left him the first time he beat me, but he said he was sorry and begged me to stay. He promised it would never happen, again. He went a couple of weeks without drinking, but then he started, again. He would come home drunk and he would start in on me. I managed to hide most of the bruises, so people wouldn’t ask questions.”
“Our last weekend together, he came home Saturday night, and this time seemed different. He seemed to be sober, and was so much angrier than normal. He started to beat me, and, this time, I realized he really meant me real harm. It’s not that he didn’t mean to hurt me all of those other times, but I could always explain away his behavior, because of the alcohol. He grabbed me and started to choke me. He didn’t stink of alcohol, which made me realize it wasn’t the same as all the other times. I grabbed his balls and squeezed as hard as I could which caused him to let me go.”
“I tried to escape from him by running out the front door and down the stairs to the parking lot; but he caught me and dragged me back into our apartment, threatening to kill anyone who dared call the cops on him. I shouted at my neighbors to call the police, because I thought he was going to kill me. When we got back to our apartment, he told me that, since the cops were going to show up that he would provide them with a body to make their trip worthwhile. He said he wanted me to suffer for being gay, and making him gay. He said he blamed me for his wanting to be with a guy. He said he hated me, and hated the fact he enjoyed having sex with me.”
“As I said earlier, he managed to break both of my arms before the cops arrived. I had a concussion, as well as three broken ribs. When the cops came in the door, he had me pinned to the floor and had his hands around my neck. I’ve never been so scared in my life, nor have I ever been so powerless to stop him from killing me. Alex won’t be getting out of jail for a long time.”
I had never heard of anything so shocking in my life. I knew spousal abuse happened, but I don’t know anyone who had firsthand experience with an abusive partner. We all sat in silence, trying to digest what we had just heard.
Rick was the first one to recover from the barrage of tragic images that were painted for us by Justin’s narrative. “Justin, you said your parents wouldn’t even acknowledge you're their son when the hospital called them.”
Justin replied, “They hung up on the nurse who called from the emergency room. My Dad told her he didn’t have a son who lived in Minneapolis and he cut the connection. My student health insurance covered some of the expenses but I still have huge medical bills to pay. My health insurance at my new job doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, so it won’t pay for therapy or anything Alex did to me. It’s been really difficult to make ends meet, even with the new job. My friend, Sarah, has helped me as much as she can, but she’s on a tight budget, too. I haven’t been able to make the payments on my car, so they repossessed it yesterday. I borrowed Sarah’s car to come here tonight. I’m past due on the rent, and I’m sure I’ll be evicted any day now.”
As Justin fell silent, I could see that Justin was on the verge of a complete breakdown. I said, “Guys I think we should leave now.”
Justin said, “Please don’t leave early. I’ll be alright.”
Rick said, “I agree with Glenn. Justin, where did you park?”
“I parked down the block,” Justin replied.
“We parked there, too,” Rick said. “Let’s go. You will take us to your car and hand over the gun. Then, Glenn will drive Sarah’s car back to her house and then we are taking you to the hospital.”
Justin followed us out of the bar. Once on the street, Todd and Zach sandwiched him in between them, each with an arm around his shoulders. We reached his car. He unlocked it. Rick said, “Now give me the keys and tell me where you put the gun.”
Justin said, “It’s in the glove box.”
Rick opened the passenger side and opened the glove box. He removed the pistol and the box of bullets he found there. He got out and said, “Okay, Glenn, I want you to drive. Justin, I want you to give Glenn directions to Sarah’s house. We will follow you.”
Rick handed me the keys and I got behind the wheel of the car. Justin climbed in on the passenger side. Justin said, “Glenn, thank you for helping me. You are so fortunate to have Rick as your partner.”
“You’re welcome, Justin. Yes, I know I did well when I met Rick. How do I get to Sarah’s?”
Justin provided directions, as we chatted about Rick. When we arrived, Justin took the keys inside to Sarah. Rick and I went inside with him. Sarah looked relieved to see Justin.
“I was worried about you, Justin. I wasn’t sure what you were going to do tonight, but I had a bad feeling about letting you take my car,” Sarah said.
Justin replied, “I’m okay, Sarah. These are my friends, Glenn and Rick.”
We shook her hand. “We are taking him to the hospital to get him some help,” Rick said.
Sarah looked surprised. “Why? What happened, Justin?”
Before Justin could respond, Rick said, “He tried to commit suicide; so, we are taking him to the hospital so he can get the help he needs.”
Sarah sat heavily on the couch and put her face in her hands. Her whole body shook with her sobbing. She finally stopped crying and looked up at Justin. “I knew you weren’t doing well, but I never thought you would attempt suicide.”
“I’m sorry, Sarah. I know I should’ve talked to you, but I couldn’t. These two and their friends managed to convince me I can make it, so I’m going with them to the hospital. Everything will be okay, Sarah.”
Sarah looked at us and said, “Please, let me know how he’s doing.” She gave Justin a hard look. “Justin Cardin, don’t you ever think you’re going to get out of this life without telling me first! I’ve invested too much in keeping you going to let you take the easy way out!”
Justin looked properly chastised. “I’m really, really sorry, Sarah.”
“You’d better be! Now, go with Rick and Glenn and get the help you need,” Sarah said.
We left Sarah’s place and climbed into Zach’s car. Ben followed us to the hospital. We entered the emergency room and registered with the triage nurse, who told us to take a seat in the waiting area, and she would call us back when they were ready to see us.
After nearly three hours, Rick went up to the nurse to see if they had made any progress. The nurse said, “We can’t see him tonight. You’ll have to come back tomorrow.”
Rick asked, “How long have you known that information?” Rick’s voice had gone very quiet.
The nurse looked up at Rick and stood up and took a few steps away from him. She said, “I’m sorry. I should have let you know as soon as they told me, but I’ve been very busy.”
Rick asked again, “How long?”
The nurse finally replied, “About an hour.”
“Next time, don’t let me sit here for an hour, when you know that you are not going to do anything for us,” Rick said, his voice left no room for misunderstanding. The nurse nodded her head, and I could see her breathe a sigh of relief as Rick turned away from her.
Rick and I returned to the waiting area. “Let’s go home guys; these people have no intention of helping Justin. I think we need to make a few phone calls in the morning to get things fired up around here,” Rick said.
Ben woke Janice up, and we all went to our cars and made the trip back to our house. It was nearly four in the morning by the time we got everyone settled into a bed for the night.
When we got up the next morning, we found Robbie and Adam had made breakfast. Justin was sitting at the table with them. He was smiling and seemed to be in good spirits. We came in and sat down at the table.
Rick asked, “You guys have already met Justin, I take it?”
Robbie answered, “Yes, I think he’s wonderful, and so does Adam. Do you think we could have a threesome with you, Justin?”
Justin blushed, “No, I think that wouldn’t be a very good idea.”
I laughed. “I see that you’re still up to no good, Robbie, making passes at every guy you meet!”
Robbie laughed. “It’s worked for me, so far. Why would I change?”
Rick answered, “Why? Because you have a boyfriend now, and should respect his feelings for you!”
Adam said, “Yeah, you need to remember I’m your boyfriend now! However, a threesome sounds like fun!” Adam grinned from ear to ear as he looked over at the now very embarrassed Justin.
I came to Justin’s rescue, “Alright, guys! Enough of your teasing! Justin, ignore these two clowns. They are always looking to take advantage of their elders!”
Justin laughed. “They remind me of Mitch and Jerry. They like to tease me as well.”
It was good to hear Justin laugh. I hoped things will continue to improve for him.
Rick said, “We need to call Grandpa soon, so we can get moving on that house Ben talked to us about last night.”
Ben walked in, just as Rick finished speaking. “I’ve already got the realtor’s contact information. The house is two blocks down the street, so I walked over to see if there were anymore flyers left.”
Ben handed Rick the flyer. Rick looked it over, before passing it over to me. It was a six bedroom house, just like Ben said. It was an older home with an addition. I looked up at Rick. “I think this would be a great investment for us. What do you think?”
Rick said, “I agree. Let’s call Grandpa.”
I pulled my cell phone out and hit the speed dial for Grandpa. I put it on speaker, so everyone could hear what Grandpa said. Grandpa picked up on the second ring.
“Good morning, Glenn. I hope everything is going well for you and Rick,” Grandpa said.
“We’re fine, Grandpa. I’ve got you on speaker phone, so all of us can hear you. We have a question to ask you,” I said.
“Okay, go ahead,” Grandpa responded.
“Do you still think it would be a good idea for us to buy a house up here in Minneapolis?” I asked.
Grandpa responded, “Yes, I do. Why? Have you found a house you like?”
“Yes, we have. It’s a six bedroom place not far from campus. It’s an older home, but it has a new addition,” I said.
“Do you have the realtor’s contact information?” Grandpa asked.
“Yes, we do,” I replied, and read it to him.
“I’ll make some phone calls and I’ll let you know what happens,” Grandpa said.
“Okay. Thanks, Grandpa,” I said.
“Good bye for now,” Grandpa said.
“Bye,” I responded.
I cut the connection and looked around the room. “It looks like we’re going to be moving soon!”
Ben smiled, “Sounds great to me.”
I looked over at Justin, to see him smiling from ear to ear. I walked over and pulled him to his feet and gave him a hug. “Everything will be alright, Justin. You’ll see,” I said, letting him go.
Robbie asked, “Does this mean Justin is going to live with us?”
“Yes, it does, but it doesn’t mean you get to have a threesome with Justin,” I said.
Robbie smiled. “You’re such a spoil sport sometimes, Glenn. Justin, welcome to our family. Ben and Glenn have adopted all of us into their family, and we’ve adopted them into ours.”
Adam nodded his head. “It’s great the way these guys have pulled us all together. My parents are very impressed Ben and Glenn are willing to let Robbie live with them. I wish I could live with them, too, but my parents have already paid for the dorm at the school.”
Robbie laughed and said, “If you lived here, we’d never get any homework done! Besides, you’ll be here every weekend, anyway, so I don’t think you’ll miss out on anything!”
Adam smiled. “Robbie’s right. He’s so sexy I can’t keep my hands off of him!”
With that last comment, the boys left the kitchen and went upstairs. Ben asked, “Do you want to go see the house?”
“Sure,” Rick said. We each grabbed our jackets and walked down the street to see the house.
Later that day, Grandpa called us back. He explained the house had been vacant for about six weeks, since it had gone into foreclosure. The bank was anxious to sell it and was willing to close the deal as quickly as possible. Grandpa had made them an offer which the bank had accepted. The paperwork was being drawn up, and the appraisal, inspection, title search, etc., were already scheduled to take place over the next couple of days.
We were all excited to be moving into a bigger place. Frank and Taka decided they would stay on in the old house. Taka’s friend, Kyle, had come back to school, and was looking for a place to stay. One of Kyle’s friends also needed a place to stay. I was relieved Ben and I didn’t have to pay anything to get out of our part of the lease, since we found two students who were willing to take our place.
Zach dropped off Robbie and Adam at school, then dropped Justin at his office. Justin insisted he had to go into the office, so we made him promise to ask for Tuesday off, so we could find him some help.
After Justin returned from work, Rick and I called Grandpa, to ask his advice. We laid out all the facts and listened as he walked us through what we should do. We invited Justin to join us, and Grandpa asked him some questions we hadn’t thought to ask. After about 20 minutes, Grandpa outlined a course of action for us, and asked us for our thoughts.
Justin was open to trying anything at this point to help him overcome his feelings of depression and worthlessness. We said good-bye to Grandpa and started making phone calls to find a good psychiatrist.
We didn’t find anyone we were happy with. The next day, after class, we followed Dr. Nohr to his office. Dr. Nohr opened the door to his office and turned to us “What can I do for you two today?”
Rick asked, “Can we talk to you for a few minutes?”
Dr. Nohr smiled and said, “Why, of course. Please come and sit down.”
We followed him into this office and took the seats he indicated, in front of his desk. He sat down and looked expectantly at us.
“We have a friend who tried to commit suicide over the weekend,” I said.
Dr. Nohr’s expression showed his concern, as he asked, “How is your friend now?”
“He’s okay for now. At least, he hasn’t harmed himself, yet. Do you know of a good psychiatrist who could work with him?” I asked.
Dr. Nohr thought for a moment, then said, “I don’t know of one at the moment, but I can give you the name of someone to call who does. He is a good friend of mine who works at the Mayo Clinic. He should be able to assist you. If you will wait just a moment, I will give him a call to confirm it’s okay for me to give you his contact information.”
Dr. Nohr picked up his phone and made the call, as we waited. He spoke to a secretary who put him on hold.
A few minutes later, his friend came on the line. “Hello, Eric,” Dr. Nohr said. He proceeded to explain the situation, and asked if it was okay for us to call him. Dr. Nohr wrote down some information and ended the call.
Dr. Nohr said, “Eric gave me the name of a specialist here in Minneapolis. Here is her information. I’ve written down Eric’s information as well, just in case Dr. Hansen can’t see you right away.”
Rick said, “Thank you for your help, Dr. Nohr.”
Dr. Nohr handed us the page from his notepad with the information. “Please let me know if I can help. It makes me very sad to know so many young people see suicide as their only option.”
I said, “We’ll let you know how things are going. Thank you so much, Dr. Nohr.”
We left his office and we went to my next class. When we returned from classes, Rick called Dr. Hansen’s office.
“Hello is this Dr. Hansen’ office?” Rick asked.
“Yes, how can I help you?” the receptionist asked.
He then related what had happened and asked, “Are there any appointments available this week?”
“Yes, we have two openings in the morning. Dr. Hansen likes to spend an hour getting to know new patients. There is one at 9 AM, and another one, at 10 AM.”
“Okay, can I book the first appointment for Justin Cardin?” Rick asked.
“Sure, if you will wait a moment, I will enter it into the computer,” she responded. “Okay, I have an appointment for Justin at 9 AM. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
The next words out of Rick’s mouth took me by surprise. “I’d like to make a second appointment for Glenn Nielsen, for 10 AM, if that’s okay?”
“What are you doing?” I asked, with more than a little anger.
Rick ignored me, as Dr. Hansen’s receptionist repeated back my name and the time of the appointment tomorrow.
“Thank you very much. We will see you tomorrow,” Rick said, and ended the call.
Rick looked at me and said, “Glenn, please don’t be angry with me. I want you to at least talk to Dr. Hansen about what happened between you and John. Will you do this for me, please?”
Rick pulled me into his arms. I tried to pull away from him, because I can’t think straight when he touches me. “Rick, let go of me, please,” I said, looking him in the eye. “I want to talk this through, and I don’t want to be distracted,” I said.
Rick kissed me before letting me go. “I’m glad to hear you want to talk about it. I’m not happy you don’t want me to hold you as we talk.”
“I’m sorry, sweetheart. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I’ll let you hold me if you promise not to distract me. You know I can’t resist you when you touch me. I’ve become so addicted to you I go crazy for your touch,” I said.
I moved back into his arms and he pulled me down to sit next to him on our bed. “After our conversation the other night, I made a promise to myself I would do whatever it takes to make you whole; to restore everything John took from you,” Rick explained.
I turned in his arms so I could look him in the eye. “Okay, I’m all for that. Next time, please talk to me about what you intend to do. I’m not opposed to seeing a psychiatrist, but it did catch me by surprise when you made an appointment for me.”
“I’m sorry, Glenn. I promise I won’t do to you, again,” Rick said. “Can you forgive me?”
“You know I can’t stay angry with you! Of course, I forgive you! I know you love me and are trying to do your best to help me,” I said
Rick said, “Please, always remember I love you. If you do that, you won’t be angry when I do things you don’t understand, or that catch you by surprise.”
I nodded my head. “Now, I want you to make love to me, since we have a few hours before everyone comes home.”
Rick grinned and said, “I’m so glad we think alike. That’s exactly what I had in mind. I want to make sure everyone knows you’re loved!” Rick, as always, is a man of action and didn’t waste any time fulfilling my request!
Author’s Note: The music that inspired this chapter.
1. Josh Groban – You Are Loved - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGLSk3AVcUU
2. Lifehouse - Everything - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjDojEOiMcE
3. Matt Wertz - Feels So Right - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g46ZMnL5Ejk&feature=fvsr
4. Savage Garden – I Loved You Before I Met You - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjnmICxvoVY
5. Anne Murray – You Needed Me - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pXQZL4HsUw&feature=fvst
6. Bette Midler – The Wind Beneath My Wings - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9ZMDPf9hZw
7. Roxette – Reveal – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKIRpkNjkK8
8. A-ha – Analogue - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDzLMpkdIuw
9. Christian Castro – Azul - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29NM6ySmwfQ