Journey to Love

Chapter Seventeen

Philip's Story

by Sequoyah

Edited by Cole, Peter and Scott




Next morning at breakfast I said, “Auntie, Philip . . . ”


“Something's bugging that young man,” Auntie said.


“He's ticked off because he didn't get to go to France for college and then his second choice, Montreal was out as well. Louis says the family suffered a financial reversal and Philip was left with a state college as his only option.”


“Maybe true, but that's not what bugging him. He's not fooling this old lady, but you started to say something.”


“Philip told me a fellow debater’s family owns a large design center and furniture store in Richmond. He and Peter Lee, the fellow debater, are close friends and he thought we could find some of what we wanted there and at a good price. He was going to check on our going up Saturday, but I told him I thought the trip might be too much.”


“Oh, I don't know. I think you could probably stand it, if not, he and I could select the furniture.”


Laughing, I said, “I get your point, Auntie. I'll give him a call.”


“Tell him to ask that handsome brother of his along as well and plan to stay overnight. That way you can get rested from the trip up,” she laughed.


Louis begged off saying he had to prepare for Professor Simms' classes for next week. The professor was in the psychiatric unit of the hospital and wouldn't be released until the following weekend, if then.


Auntie insisted on climbing in the backseat when we left the house Saturday morning. Getting out was too much of a struggle so when we got to Philip's, I called him from the parking lot and asked him to come down. When he reached the car, he asked Auntie if she wouldn't like to sit in the front and she reminded him that ladies never ride in front with the chauffeur and laughed. It is almost impossible for someone in the back to join in conversation with someone in the front and Auntie didn't try. She simply relaxed and, maybe, went to sleep.


Philip was quiet until we were leaving Norfolk. As I settled down to drive, he glanced back at Auntie and said, “Seems Auntie's enjoying a nap.” I wasn't sure, but said nothing. “Derek, I need to apologize again about the other night. Louis had just told me why I ended up here rather than in France or Montreal. It wasn't the money. I suspected as much because I had been told my grandparents had established a trust fund for each of us grandchildren to go as far as we wish educationally. The object was to separate me and Peter Lee, my friend in Richmond. I guess I may as well say it, my boyfriend.


“We met almost two years ago at a debate. I'll be honest, I thought love at first sight only happened in romantic novels. Not so. Five minutes after I met Peter I would have said yes if he had asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. Of course it was pretty shallow, I guess, but we were both in love. I lived in Alexandria and he in Richmond, so, unlike the straight couples I knew, we did not see each other between classes, date every night on the weekend or do the other things high school lovers get to do.


“I worked, saving money to buy a car, but there was never enough. There really was the money crunch Louis mentioned. I had two more years of high school and anything beyond the necessary—prom, awards banquet, travel to debates, etc.—I had to pay for myself. Fortunately, our debate teams were doing very, very well and along with regular contests, there were several invitational tournaments. As a result, we saw each other every couple of months or so. Of course, expressions of our love and affection had to be very discrete and amounted to touching and a rare stolen kiss.


“Unlike my family, which was keeping up appearances, but skating on thin ice financially, Peter's family was well off, very well off. He had a car and the months we would not have seen each other we found excuses to be out of town—doing research, going on field  trips. There are lots of ways to get together if your heart's set on it. We made good use of the time we could be alone. We never advanced beyond bringing each other off with our hands until we went to Colonial Williamsburg to celebrate the end of our junior year and discovered the joys of sixty-nine.


“Thanksgiving of our senior year, Mom and Dad were invited to spend the week at Mom’s sister’s in North Carolina. She wanted the family—her siblings and current spouses or significant others—to spend the week together. Dad fussed—too many Democrats in the bunch—but Mom reminded him they had not had any time away in almost two years. Although I would soon turn eighteen, they were afraid I couldn't be trusted alone and insisted Louis come home for the holiday, which he did. Louis and I planned on having Thanksgiving dinner at a local cafeteria.


“Peter called and I told him my parents were in North Carolina for the week. ‘You and Louis alone?’ he asked. I told him we were. ‘I’ll pick you up Tuesday and bring you to Richmond for the rest of the week. You shouldn’t be alone Thanksgiving.’


“When I told Louis, he thought it was a good idea. ‘I’ll program the phone to transfer calls to Richmond and no one will be the wiser.’ I gave him a big hug.


“Tuesday Louis had just left to get food for lunch when Peter arrived. I figured Peter and I had time to get in some making out before he returned. As soon as Peter walked in the door, I grabbed him and gave him a passionate kiss. He dropped his gym bag to the floor and we really got into kissing, running our hands under our shirts, kissing necks and nipples. I finally broke a kiss, grabbed Peter's hand, picked up his bag and we headed toward my room. We lay on my bed, Peter on top, rubbing against one another, both streaming precum. I finally said, ‘Peter, we better cool it. Louis will be back in any minute.’


“‘Don't want to,’ Peter said in a spoiled child's voice, then in the voice I love, he said, ‘Babe, we have tonight to make love and I mean to do that,’ and gave me a quick kiss. I knew exactly what he meant. We managed to get our clothes straightened and cocks deflated to half mast before Louis came back.


“As we ate lunch, Louis asked Peter the things you would expect an older brother to ask his younger sister’s boyfriend and not for the first time, I wondered if he suspected something, but I really wasn't worried about Louis' reaction when I came out to him.


“One of his best friends in high school had been gay and Louis had been a true friend to him including pulling him from the river when he tried to drown himself. On the other hand, Dad and our two older brothers had constantly been on Louis' case about associating with fags and queers. Mom? Whatever Dad said, that was her position. Louis once said Mom would have more freedom in Saudi Arabia.


“We planned to get up early Wednesday to head for Richmond so there was an excuse for going to bed early. Peter and I went up at 10:00 and were naked seconds later. Cocks standing straight, pulsing with each heartbeat and streaming precum called for hot mouths, which soon found them. We hadn't seen each other for almost two months and had agreed to save a week's love, so no way could we go long without cumming. With cocks enjoying the mouth and tongue of our lover, we both were soon swallowing copious amounts of love juice.


“We licked each other clean and started another hot make out session, both becoming hard again in minutes. ‘Philip, tonight, I want you to make love to me,’ Peter whispered in my ear.


“‘You mean . . . ’


“‘I mean . . . ’ he said as he reached for his gym bag and took out condoms and lube. ‘We've talked about it and I want it. I've prepared for it.’


“I had been anticipating that moment as well, having read about being both a top and bottom and how to get your lover to relax and open to you. I had only practiced on myself, but I put what I had learned into practice. Our foreplay was long and tender and finally Peter said, ‘Philip, I'm ready; make love to me.’


“We took things slow and easy as Peter mounted me cowboy style. Since we had just cum, even with the wonderful feeling of being inside, united, with Peter, I managed to stop twice just before going beyond the point of no return. After the second time, Peter said, ‘Babe, take me doggie style.’


“I had thrust into Peter very few times before we heard Louis say, ‘I guess you're not playing leap frog,’ and laugh.


“I immediately pulled out of Peter and went soft. Peter collapsed on his stomach and said, ‘Shit!’


“‘Get dressed and I'll be back in a few minutes,’ Louis said.


“As we dressed, I was crying like a baby. Peter took me in his arms and said, ‘It'll be okay, Philip, it'll be okay.’


“‘Never’ I said. ‘Peter, you don't know how much Dad rants and raves about queers trying to take over the world. He still talks about how Pat Fallwell was right about AIDS being God's punishment for men who butt fuck. Once in a fit of rage I heard him say Matthew Shepherd got what he deserved. It was only later that I learned what that meant. No, Babe, it'll not be OK.’


“Louis had been standing outside the door while we dressed and heard our conversation and asked, ‘May I come in?’ even though the door was standing wide open. I nodded and he came in and said, ‘Philip's right, Peter, it'll not be OK if Dad finds out Philip's gay. I have watched my little brother grow up and when he was twelve going on thirteen, I hoped what I saw was a phase he was going through. No doubt in my mind that if he was not just going through a phase, he was gay. By the end of the following summer, I knew it was not a phase and set about trying to find ways to protect him. After Philip met you, I watched the growing relationship between you and worried more. Now I'm faced with what I hoped would be deep in the closet until Philip was well away from home.’


“‘Peter, I know my dad,’ Louis continued. “I have seen him lose control completely. When our brother André was playing one of his last basketball games, he missed a shot which would have won the game. The game went into overtime and we lost. Dad was pissed at him already because he was out past his curfew the night before and, Dad said, came home smelling of sex. He had a date after the game, but Dad went to the locker room and told him he was to be home in thirty minutes. When he walked in the door, Dad slugged him, knocking him to the floor. He then kicked him until he was unconscious and had to spend a week in the hospital. Dad told the doctor he had been beaten by some guys from the visiting team and got away with it.”


“André and Daniel, our oldest brothers, are every bit as bigoted as Dad,” Phillip said. “They are so far to the right you can't see them on a foggy day. All three feel the church has become too liberal and worldly. Dad says the church is wrong when it says homosexual feelings are not sinful, just homosexual actions. ‘Fags will burn in hell. It's a pity they don't burn here,’ I have heard him say many times.”


“Daniel asked Louis if I wasn’t a faggot and Louis told him I wasn't. That didn’t satisfy Daniel. He said he suspected that Peter fellow was a faggot and he and I were fucking each other. ‘I’ve warned Dad,’ he told Louis.  Dad mentioned it to Louis and said he didn’t think I was gay because Peter was a Lee and a Lee couldn’t possibly be a faggot.


“I had hoped to go to France for college where I could be me. Peter was going as well. Suddenly there was a money problem and I was told I'd have to go to a Virginia state school. I didn’t suspect something more was going on. Peter said if I had to stay in Virginia, he'd would as well and would stay at home. Dad told Louis that Daniel insisted I was gay and while he didn’t believe Peter was, he would make sure if anything was going on between us, he’d put a stop to it. He insisted I apply to UVA-Wise, over six frigging hours from Richmond.


“Louis managed to waylay the UVA-Wise application and get me a scholarship and enrolled in OCU. He told Dad that way he could keep and eye on me and Dad bought it,” Philip said, with a sigh. “I had suspected something like that was going on and Louis had just confirmed it before he insisted I go to the freshman party. All that really came down on me and I was an ass when we met. I apologize again.”


“Accepted,” I said. “But why did you tell me all this?”


“I needed a gay friend I could talk to.”


“And what makes you think I'm gay?”


“My gaydar has never been wrong before and I'm positive it's not this time. Do you act gay, look gay, seem gay? No, I just know.”


“Well, now maybe Auntie knows.”


“Shit! Shit! Shit! I never thought.”


“No, you never thought. This time it doesn't matter because she does, but you need to learn discretion for your own sake as well as that of others.”


When we arrived in Richmond, Auntie and I checked into the motel while Philip called Peter. “Peter will meet us at the design center where you can look over styles, fabrics, etc. If you find what you want, we’ll go to the warehouse to see the actual furniture or at least the same style since fabrics could be changed.”


When we reached the design center, Peter grabbed Philip and pulled him to one side and unabashedly gave him a full, open-mouth French kiss. Realizing what he had done, he blushed and said, “I hope you will excuse me, but this French Virginian kinda makes me wild. I guess I don’t need to say, I’m Peter Lee.”


“Peter, you’re impossible!” Philip said, still red from blushing. “Peter . . . Sorry, I just realized I don’t know your name, Auntie.”


“Auntie will do fine,” Auntie replied. “I’m amazed. I didn’t think a Virginia Lee would have had a lot to do with a Frenchmen these days.”


“Guess there’s some impure blood mixed in somewhere or maybe it’s just some wicked French magic.”


“And this is Derek Wilson of the famous Stanton Wilsons,” Philip laughed.


“Ah, more mixed blood, I see. Anyway, Philip told me you are furnishing your off-campus housing. I was surprised when he said you had definite ideas about what you wanted. Any photos?”


“Sure,” I replied. “Philip insisted on photos of the whole place, but we’re only in the market for living room furniture,” I replied, handing Peter a CD with the photos.


“Philip insisted you have a decent designer to assist you and since I’m about the best available . . . ”  Peter smiled deprecatingly, showing he was joking, then said, “Actually, I’m the only one available today, but once we get the general idea of what you’re looking for, I’ll give my dad a ring. He promised to drop in on us when you know what you want. Now, let’s get to a studio.” 


In the studio, Peter popped the CD I handed him into a computer. The first shot was of Auntie’s house. “Some rundown house just off campus, inside subdivided into cubbyhole rooms for students I see,” he laughed. “Auntie, how long have you lived there?”


“Almost fifty years. Harry bought it when he spotted it once when he was home from the sea. It was in a very rundown section of Norfolk at the time and he could pass, so the real estate agent never questioned him. When we moved in, some of the neighbors tried to cause trouble, but we made sailors welcome, providing cheap housing and meals between their times at sea and they made sure the neighbors got the message I was to be left alone. The neighborhood started turning around in the late sixties and by the mid-seventies was one of the places to be.


“Once we moved in, we had sailors who were experts at all sorts of trades and hobbies, so things got repaired, improved, renovated as guys looked for things to do to occupy their time between voyages. Long before the neighborhood started on the way up, our place was in perfect condition and a garden spot; but enough history.”


The last photos before we looked at the living room were of the study/library. “Wow!” Peter exclaimed.


“Yeah, Louis says it looks like a junior lord’s library.”


“I agree, except for the lack of books, but I’m sure that will change. Gives me some idea of what you might be thinking about for the living room,” Peter said.


“Well, I was looking for a quiet atmosphere for the study, one conductive to reading, studying, and thinking, and that is definitely not what I am looking for in the living room,” I said.


“Understand. For example, you have dark and rich colors in the library—it’s too nice to be called a study,” Peter laughed. “But I see what you mean by masculine. Let’s look at some catalogs.”


Half an hour later, we were still looking and I was getting ready to compromise on something I liked but was not very excited about, when Mr. Lee came in. “Dad, Mrs. Amelia Kingston,” Peter laughed. “Surprised you didn’t I? Looked you up by your address. And Derek Wilson. Derek’s looking to furnish a living room and has a pretty definite idea what he wants and we haven’t found it yet.”


“Mrs. Kingston, Derek, welcome. Philip, how’s my son-in-law?”


“Dad. Guess I’ll just have to learn to like Old Commonwealth.”


“Sorry about that, but by the end of the year, maybe something will come up, who knows. But long term relationships can work even with long absences, right, Mrs. Kingston?”


Auntie looked surprised and said, “Well, I know one that did, but you seem to know that.”


“My mom’s baby brother was a Merchant Marine so as soon as I heard Amelia Kingston I knew who you were. I think he thought of your place as home more than his own. So, what’s the problem?”


Mr. Lee looked at the photos, listened to me try to describe what I had in mind, thought for a few minutes and said, “I think I have a very good idea of what you have in mind. Helped select furnishings for a place a year or so ago which seems to be about the same thing you have in mind. Peter, bring me the Grace House book.”


“Grace House? In Stanton?” I asked, astonished.


“Know it?” Mr. Lee asked.


“It’s home. My dads own Grace House.”


“You want the same thing?”


“No, but I want the same welcoming atmosphere as the living area there, but more lively and fun.  But yes, definitely the same masculine feel as Grace House.”


“I think I have a ready made deal for you,” Mr. Lee said. “I have a custom-made sofa which is longer than most, a couple of recliners and four very comfortable casual chairs a woman ordered and paid for. When they arrived, she didn’t like the upholstery. She said she’d pay to have them recovered, but suddenly left town under pretty suspicious circumstances six months ago. I’ll give you a real deal on them if you like them, and I think you will, provided your purchase the accessories at employee’s prices. Interested?”




“Then let’s head for the warehouse.”


As soon as I saw the first piece of furniture, I wondered how anyone could have known what I wanted and matched it so perfectly. “Mr. Lee, I couldn’t have found anything closer to what I had in mind.”


“Fine, since it cost me nothing, you can have it for the furniture Mrs. Kingston gave my son-in-law and his brother.” Then with his help, Auntie and I picked out lamps and other accessories. Mr. Lee suggested we rent a truck so it could be loaded by his crew, otherwise we would have had to do all the loading ourselves on Sunday.


Before we went to rent a truck, Auntie asked Mr. and Mrs. Lee to join us for dinner. He called his wife and she welcomed the idea. We rented the truck and it was soon loaded and Auntie said we’d meet the Lee’s at a downtown restaurant they all knew at 7:00.


 “By the way,” Mr. Lee said, “Philip and Peter will not be joining us.”


At dinner he said, “I wanted to explain why Peter and Philip did not join us. Took me awhile to get over the fact that I had a gay son, then that he had a lover, but the two are so in love, it’s obvious they intend to make a go of it. Since they have so little time together, we allow them to decide when they want to be with family and when they want to be alone. Can’t say I don’t wish it was different, but Peter is happy, happier than I have known him to be since he was nine. His older brother, whom he worshiped, died quite suddenly with meningitis a few days before Peter’s ninth birthday and Peter had never really gotten over it until he met Philip. Philip is a great kid with great potential. His dad’s missing a lot by alienating himself from his son.”


With the successful trip to Richmond, my place was furnished and it was, to be honest, elegant. One would have thought I was rolling in money instead of having nothing more than college scholarships and gifts from friends.


Philip was a regular visitor as Louis had a girlfriend and when they wanted to get it on, Philip was obligingly absent. Had it not been for my place, he would have been stuck in the undergraduate library. The library was, frankly, more a social gathering place than a place to study. He said he didn’t want to wear out his welcome and endured the library for routine study, but came to my place when he had more important work or needed to vacate his apartment.


When Peter decided to stay in Virginia, he enrolled at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Art in Richmond to study interior design. While he and Philip would like to have spent each weekend together, both were carrying heavy class loads and Peter worked in the design center two weekends a month, so they pretty much saw each other once a month. For that weekend, Louis spent the nights on my living room sofa.


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