Journey to Love

Chapter Twenty-six

The Rest of Stu's Story

by Sequoyah

Edited by Cole, Peter and Scott




“Daniel posted the notice at Radford and when he came home, said three people who were in summer school had asked about the housemate notice. The first was a woman and when she found out she would be the only woman among four men, immediately bowed out saying she wasn’t about to become den mother to a bunch of immature slobs. The second and third caught Daniel at the same time, an English major who was very interested, but said he’d have to think about it, and an art major who said he would be happy to hire someone to handle his share of the painting and grounds work but he was not a common laborer.


“Daniel thought we’d just have to make do with the four of us because he was pretty sure the English major wouldn’t want to get his hands dirty either. At nine the next morning, as we were preparing to start painting, the phone rang. It was the English major who asked that we hold the place until he could get out to see it. He didn’t own a car and would have to bike out. ‘Be there in half an hour or so,’ he said.”


“’Twas I, of course,” Manning said. “I arrived in less than half an hour, loved the house at first sight, saw real potential in the grounds and was determined to be a part of the Swan’s Pond crew unless they were really gross. As I was contemplating that possibility, a magnificent specimen of manhood, dressed in cutoffs and hiking boots, rounded the corner of the house carrying scaffolding. ‘Hello,’ I called out, leaned my bike against the porch and extended my hand, ‘Scott Manning. I’m here about the housemate notice.’


“‘From Radford?’ he asked, and I nodded. ‘Oh, I’m Stu Hangar. We’re ready to start painting, I guess you know that’s part of the deal.’


“It was clear to me Stu was trying to discourage me. He decided all humanities majors didn’t want to work. ‘Got something I can wear?’ I asked. ‘We can talk about the housemate thing while we paint.’ I had already had a good look at Stu's body and lust was running at full speed, then I looked into those brown eyes, I fell in love. I mean it, honestly, truly, it was love at first sight.


“We went inside and Stu handed me a pair of cutoffs. He just stood there, again, I think, discouraging me or trying to, as I stripped and slipped into the shorts. As soon as I turned them loose, they fell to the floor. Stu was at least three sizes larger than I was. ‘Maybe you have something in a smaller size,’ I grinned. He stuck his head out the window and yelled for Keith. When he answered, Stu explained what he needed and Keith told him where he could find a pair of shorts in his room. When I was dressed, I joined the crew, scraping and patching getting ready to paint.


“‘So, Manning, you’re interested in joining us,’ Stu said. ‘You know what the rent will be?’ I nodded. ‘We split the utilities and grocery bill--we generally eat breakfast--quick stuff except when we will all be home in the morning--and dinner here. We share cleaning, cooking duties, all work on the grounds and have to paint the house this summer. Any area in which you are especially interested, go to it. How does that sound?’”


“Great, and I already see how I’d like to devote some extra time to the grounds.”


“‘Well, there’s one other thing you need to know. One of us is gay.’”


“‘Actually, one and a half,’ Kevin laughed. ‘I’m a textbook bisexual.’”


“’Okay, one and a half queers bother you?’’


“‘Will be an even split,’ I responded. ‘I’m gay.’ I was then told why there had been a place for two housemates and we all got a good laugh out of how two people running from an evil gay man had been replaced by one and a half gay men!


“I had to really restrain myself around Stu, because everyday I loved the man more. Lust was still alive, of course. I was ready to throw him on the floor and make mad passionate love to him, but knew the only result of that would be I’d never see him again.”


“The fall was one of the most beautiful I could remember and the whole house took advantage of it, often as a group, but also as smaller groups or as individuals. Stu and I did a lot of hiking and biking as a duo. Occasionally I caught him looking at me in the strangest way and was never sure what that was about. Anyway, first semester ended before the Christmas holidays. We had taken a break in writing final papers and studying for exams to put up a real Christmas tree with all the trimmings. The evening the holiday began, we had invited several people in for a party and had a grand time. The next day, we cleaned up, packed and scattered.”


Manning paused and Stu resumed the story. “As soon as I had said hello to my folks, I called Justin, my UVA boyfriend. He had gotten home a couple days before and had a friend with him. ‘Stu, we need to talk and the sooner the better,’ he said. I suggested we meet at a favorite place on the river. ‘Rather not, Stu, how about meeting me at Wendy’s?’ Well, we met and he told me he was in love with the guy who had come home with him. ‘I mean really in love, Stu. I realize now I was never in love with you and I suspect if you don’t know it now, you will find out you were never in love with me. To be honest, we are hardly friends any more. We have grown up and away from each other. I’ll always treasure our boyhood friendship, but we are no longer boys, Stu.’


“I didn’t know what to say. I was surprised, but certainly not devastated. I finally said, ‘Justin, you are probably right. Much happiness and thanks for being honest with me.’ We parted company and I hung around the house, feeling as if I needed to be somewhere else, doing something else.


“I was moping around the house and Mom finally had had enough of it. ‘Stu Hangar, what in the world is wrong with you. You are acting like you lost your best friend or is it girlfriend trouble?’ See, my parents didn’t know I was gay.


“‘Well, Mom, it’s not girlfriend problems and never will be. I guess it’s loss of a best friend, boyfriend, but it’s not that either.’ I don’t know why I had never told her I was gay or why I decided to tell her then, but I told her about Justin and me and how he was now in love and how I was glad and not really upset about that.”


“‘No big surprises there,’ Mom said. ‘Your dad and I have suspected you were gay since you were a senior in high school. Justin?” I nodded. “We thought you two might be playing around, but when you left for VPI and he for UVA, we decided you were likely to drift apart. Most couples do. We were just happy you didn’t get to Blacksburg and go wild. So what’s the problem?’ she asked.


“I replied, ‘I wish I knew. I just feel I need to be somewhere else doing something else.’ She suggested I spend the few days before and Christmas Day at home with the family, then take off, following my instincts. I did and ended up back at Swan’s Pond. I was surprised when I got there to find the house warm, a fire in the fireplace and nice smells coming from the kitchen. Kevin was planning on visiting some friends of his family through Christmas Day, but would be returning later that day, so I expected to see him in the kitchen when I walked in. Instead, Manning was tasting something he was cooking in a pot on the stove. While it had not been love at first sight, or maybe it was, since when I saw Manning standing there, I knew I was in love with him and had been for sometime, but hadn’t allowed myself to realize it. Long story, but the moral is, don’t jump into something less than love and push love aside because of it.”


“So what did you do?” Levi asked. “I mean, it was love at first sight for Manning and you now knew you were in love with him, so what happened? What did you do?”


Manning laughed. “He practically ran across the room, took the spoon from my hand, gave me the most passionate kiss I had ever had and said, “Damn, Manning, I hope you at least like me because I am so in love with you I’ll dog you to the grave trying to make you fall in love with me.”


“And Manning said, ‘I’m ahead of you on that score, Stu. For me it was love at first sight,’ and he returned my kiss. He was--is--a good kisser.” We all laughed.


We talked awhile longer, then it was time for Stu to go back hunting the bear and for us to get back to Grace House. We took the scenic route home--there really was no other!--and talked about our time with Manning and Stu. “Derek, you are ruining my life because I now know I’ll never be completely happy until I have what Brad and Sam and Manning and Stu  have, a relationship based on mutual love and respect.”


“While I agree, Levi, I don’t think that precludes some serious making out!”


“Agreed, Derek. Wanna make out before we go back to Grace House?”


In answer, I turned down a side road I knew led to nowhere. It had once led to a logging site and since the logging operation was long gone, the road would have been abandoned, but a group of hunters had bought the land and used it for an extension of their hunting club. During hunting season, the road led to a temporary campsite which was not in use. I parked the car, leaving the motor on and the heater going, opened the door and got in the back seat where I was promptly joined by Levi.


We were soon engaged in some pretty passionate kissing, our tongues doing battle, exploring each other’s mouth. The car’s heater was blasting out hot air, so in spite of the cold, coats came off and were tossed into the front seat, shirts followed and hands explored bodies. Levi unbuckled my belt, unzipped my pants and slid them down my legs. My cock was hard and pulsing with each heart beat as I followed the same pattern. When Levi reached into my trunks and grasped my cock, I almost shot. “Levi, go easy man, unless you want to be covered with cum.”


I had started to slip my hand into his boxers, stopped, and lifted the waistband over his hard cock and slipped the boxers down his thighs. His cock was streaming precum and I knew he was as close to coming as I was. Levi looked in my eyes and said, “Derek, ever had someone suck your cock?” I shook my head ‘no.’ “I’d like to, okay?” I nodded ‘yes.’ His hot, wet mouth covered my hard cock and he began moving up and down my shaft, sucking gently. In a matter of seconds, my back arched and I shot into Levi’s hot mouth. I shot, I know, the largest load I had ever produced. I expected him to spit it out, but he swallowed my man’s seed. He continued to work on my cock with his hot mouth and tongue until I was so sensitive that what had previously produced the most wonderful feeling I had ever known was painful. He finally removed his mouth from my cock and kissed me. I could taste my own cum when my tongue explored his mouth.


“Damn, Levi, I never experienced anything like that before.”


“Glad I was your first. Unfortunately I can’t offer you the same honor,” he smiled at me. “And, please, Derek, don’t feel you have to take my cock in your mouth, although I wouldn’t object to your hand.”


“Could I try sucking your cock?” I asked.


“So long as you don’t feel obligated to do so.”


“You’ll have to tell me how.”


“Happy to be of assistance,” Levi said and did, indeed, guide me in my first time giving head. For once I knew that it is not always more blessed to give than receive, but the giving wasn’t bad. Unlike, Levi, I couldn’t swallow fast enough, so when he came, my mouth overflowed and he helped me clean up the result.


We cuddled and kissed for awhile, but eventually decided we needed to get dressed and get back home. It was 5:00 when we pulled into a parking space and went inside. I was surprised that both Brad and Sam were home, but DeAngelo was nowhere in sight.


“You’re both home early,” I said as we walked in.


“Yeah, we brought DeAngelo home. He’ll talk to you later, but asked us to talk to you before he does,” Sam said. “DeAngelo is not in very good shape. I made arrangements for the tests today and the results are not happy. He tested positive for both chlamydia and gonorrhea. While that was not good news, both are curable and, in fact, when a person tests positive for gonorrhea, they are usually treated for chlamydia as well. The really bad news is that the HIV/AIDS test produced confusing results. The first quick test came back positive and DeAngelo almost went berserk. He told the lab tech he was not gay and could not be HIV+. The tech set him straight in no uncertain terms. In fact, I halfway expected her to slap his face and I wouldn’t have raised any objection had she done so. I asked her to use another of the quick tests and it came back negative. DeAngelo started celebrating, but she cut it short telling him false positives were pretty rare and since it was the first, it was the official test. She then explained that further tests were needed to be sure and those took longer. “Buster, you keep it in your pants until the results come back from further tests or you’ll possibly be passing out a death sentence with your cum.”


“He’s upstairs convincing himself he’s okay. Since HIV can take months to show up, I told him to list every woman he had fucked for the last six months,” Brad said. “He laughed at me. ‘I can’t even list the ones I know, much less those that either never gave me a name or we both knew they were lying. When I asked him how many he estimated he had fucked, he said, ‘Six months, half a year, that’s twenty-seven weeks. Probably as few as a hundred, but more likely one-fifty or so.’ ‘Was it worth a spending the rest of your life, however long that may be, living with HIV?’ I asked and he started crying, asked us to talk to you and went upstairs.”


“What are the chances the positive test was false?” I asked.


“Pretty slim,” Sam said. “He has an appointment with a doctor at the UVA medical school day after tomorrow. I’m sure he’ll do tests again, so there is a tiny ray of hope that the initial test is wrong, but with the number of casual sex partners the boy has had, I’m not anticipating a negative test.”


“Should I go up?” I asked. “I don’t know what to do or say.”


“Remember, you can’t undo the past. At the moment I think we can assume he fully realizes he is paying for his irresponsibility, so berating him is out. And, at least from my standpoint, so is encouraging his denial of the test. Assure him he’s still your brother, you love him and will stand by him, but don’t make promises that cost you your hopes and dreams either,” Brad said. “But before you go up, what have you two been up to today?”


“Well, I needed to talk with someone after this morning, so we went to see Mr. Manning.” I then told the dads about our trip and was surprised when Brad said, “Yeah, they are a great couple. We used to get together more often than we do now since I have been so busy with the Center. Sam, we have been neglecting some important people and Manning and Stu are near the top of the list.”


“So Stu told you about being in love and not knowing it,” Brad said. “Manning teases him about being a VPI grad who can’t be expected to know anything about the humanities. Don’t you love their place? They invite few people to visit them as Manning thinks someone would come up with a way to fire him if the school board found out he was gay. Stu thinks it would be worth the fight. I tend to agree with Manning on that,” Brad concluded.


“And I with Stu, but then my job is not on the line.”


When I went up to talk with DeAngelo, I wasn't surprised that he was really down. He was lying on the bed staring at the ceiling. I sat down beside him. He started talking about how foolish he had been and the price, he guessed, he was going to have to pay. “What makes it worse is I have never been in love or had anyone in love with me and now it will never happen.”


“You can’t know that,” I said. “Well, you can know your past, but you cannot know your future.”


“Who’d want to have anything to do with an HIV+ man? Who’d want to take the risk if they knew?”


“DeAngelo, don’t even think about having sex with someone who does not know your HIV status,” I said. “I know you have been taught better and in spite of you record for the past year, I think you are a better man than that. Who might be interested in you in spite of your status? Who knows why a person is attracted to another. Look at Levi with open eyes. Suppose you were into men, don’t you think you’d fall head over heels in love with him? Well, I am most interested in men and I find Levi sexy as hell and in the language of my kindergarten teacher, ‘we play together nicely,’ but we haven’t fallen in love. The spark just isn’t there. Why? Who knows? On the other hand, I met two guys today that you’d never in a hundred years think would be interested in each other. One said he fell in love with the other the first time he laid eyes on him. The other was so blinded by a boyfriend whom he never really loved that he didn’t see he had been in love with his partner from the first time they met. Don’t count yourself out, DeAngelo, there are always others who will do that. Be real and see what happens.”


The question of whether or not DeAngelo should tell Mom came up and while he said he thought he should, I urged him to wait until things were more definite. “Should the positive test prove correct, not having told her won’t make matters any worse. Should it prove a false positive, not having told her will have saved her a lot of worry and grief,” I said. “On the very practical side, we need to have a talk with Sam and make sure we have a very good understanding of the situation in regard to our own contact with you. Basically I know there is nothing to worry about so long as there is no sharing of body fluids, especially blood, but we need to talk with Sam.” I needn’t have worried. Sam made sure we knew what to do and not to do.


After assuring DeAngelo I was still his brother and still loved him, I gave him a huge hug and we went down and started getting supper ready.


We were just about ready to sit down to eat when the doorbell rang. Brad was on his way to the kitchen table from the living area and detoured to answer it. Seconds later, the double doors burst open and a whirlwind swept into the kitchen. It was Jeremy who grabbed me, in his arms and planted his mouth against mine. This time I knew it was something he decided I could handle and he felt like it was the only way he could really express his love for me. Well, if he wanted to kiss, I was not going to play. When we broke the kiss, he said, “Damn, someone has been practicing! Man, I could take lessons from you.”


“Glad to see you too, Jeremy. Jeremy, Levi Epstein, my best friend--now that you have deserted me--and my housemate.”


“You two...” Jeremy’s head finally caught up with his tongue. “You two share that palace?” he said.


We all started laughing at Jeremy’s almost slip of the tongue. “No, we’re not lovers, Jeremy, just very, very good friends.”


“But you do play around some. Well, I would in your situation. You know, nothing serious. Damn! It’s good to be back here where I know I am among friends. Good to meet you, Levi, you’re proof again our man Derek knows how to pick the best looking ones. Supper ready?”


“Join us for supper, Jeremy?” Sam laughed.


“I think I might have a bite or two just to keep all of you company--why do you think I showed up right on time?” he laughed.


I was dying to find out what was really going on with Jeremy. He pretty much always was up, but to say he was hyperactive would just begin to describe him now.




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