Journey to Love
Advisors to Lovers
Edited by Cole, Peter and Scott
School rocked along, nothing exciting. We all were among those at the top of our classes and when it came up in our in-house study group, the general consensus was much of that could be contributed to warm, loving relationships, friendship and stable living conditions. “Yeah,” Jeremy said, “but having someone to kick ass occasionally and hard work counts as well.”
“Penny kick your ass? Sounds kinda kinky, but let's try it, Levi,” Telvin said.
I was still seeing a counselor once a week, and still seemed to be making no progress. Physically I think I was almost back to my starting point; Jeremy, Levi and Telvin were as well. We were finally cleared to rejoin the swimming team and when we started, quickly came to realize we might be recovered physically, but we were in piss-poor shape when it came to swimming and diving. We really pushed ourselves to get back in the groove in the pool and on the diving board, but progress was slow and frustrating. I had tried to talk Jayden into working to get on the swim team, but he wasn't interested. He really didn’t enjoy competitive swimming.
He had played soccer in high school and was playing with a group which had started in having pickup games, and then had become a team. They played against other informal teams around Norfolk. I loved watching him. He was fast, graceful and pure poetry in motion to my eyes.
There were no further incidents concerning our sexuality until Jayden and I went to the Regency University for a soccer game he and his team were playing. Two members of the informal soccer team had met some guys from Regency who were in Norfolk and over a coke, they got to talking soccer. They, too, had an informal team. All of them played intramural, but enjoyed their own team much as Jayden and his teammates did. They welcomed the opportunity to have the OCU team come over and play them at Regency.
The game was set for 11:00 Saturday and Jayden invited a couple of his teammates to come for breakfast at 9:00. We'd leave at 10:00 for Regency which was about a half hour trip. Breakfast was great. I enjoyed Jayden's soccer buddies; friends who belonged to him and only because of that, were friends of mine, just as some of the dive team members were friends of Jayden because they were friends of mine. A couple of teammates were or had been in study groups at our place, knew us, knew we were married and were happy for us. The others had seen us together and unless they were blind, knew we were more than best friends. Just as they kissed their girlfriends before taking the field, I kissed Jayden.
I should have been warned when we drove by the RBN building on Regency's campus. I commented on that and one of the guys with us said, “Sure, Regency was founded by Jerry Robinson.”
“You sure we'll be welcome, Jayden?” I asked.
“Why wouldn't we be? We were invited.”
“Jayden, this is Jerry Robinson's establishment. A goodly number of those involved in the attacks at OCU were from here.”
“Derek, you can't brand everyone from here by what some from here did. That's not fair.”
“I hope you're right,” I said as I spotted the parking lot we had been told to use. We got out and the four of us walked to the field. The others from OCU had arrived just ahead of us and were talking to the Regency students. “Hey, guys,” Roger Davis, the captain of the unofficial OCU soccer team said as we walked up. “Guys, Larry Ellis, Jim Howard, Jayden Fulton and Derek Wilson. I guess Derek's our cheering section. He only plays in the water.”
“You're not a member of that gay swim team at OCU are you?” one of the Regency players laughed.
We were guests here and I resolved to keep my temper in check, so I just replied, “I am a member of the OCU swim team or will be when enough of us recover to reconstitute the team.”
“How can you stand to be around all those faggots?” another one of the Regency team asked.
I was having a hard time holding on to my temper and Jayden looked at me and mouthed, “Keep cool.” I was ready to explode.
“I suggest you to apologize to Derek,” Larry said.
“Well, is he a faggot? We don't allow piece of shit faggots at Regency.”
“Derek is my husband,” Jayden said in an icy voice. “Both of us spent time in the hospital courtesy of bigots like you. You have insulted me and my husband. I suggest you apologize to our teammates because ...”
“Hold it, Jayden,” Roger said, then looked back to the Regency player. “First of all, you have insulted two of the finest people I know. Second, you have insulted all of us from OCU. No apology from you is acceptable to me or my teammates, much less Jayden and Derek. I suggest you get back to your New Testament studies because you sure couldn't convince me you ever read it. Guys, let's go where the air is clean and less contaminated by bigotry. By the way, asshole, there are fifteen guys on your team, I'd place money on at least one of you being gay and if I was on a campus where I could place a wager, I'd place my money on you because methinks the lady doth protest too much. Come on, guys, let's get out of here.”
As we walked back to the parking lot, Jayden said to Roger, “Thanks, Roger, another remark or two and things might have gotten nasty back there.”
“I meant it, Jayden, when they insulted you and Derek, they insulted all of us.”
“So how about a game back on the home turf?”
“Sounds good to me.”
Back at OCU, the guys found a vacant soccer field and played for two hours before hitting the showers. When they came out, Jayden said, “Any of you interested in pizza and beer?” Most said it was date night, but thanked Jayden anyway. Eight of the guys did accept the invitation and we headed for the house.
“Jayden, I'm not sure how much beer we have on hand. We'll have to get Levi to make a beer run.”
“Why don't we just stop by on the way?” Jim Howard asked.
“We have to have Levi buy our beer. We’re just twenty.”
“Well, you got the money, I got the age,” Jim laughed.
With four cases of cold beer, we got back to the house and I ordered pizza after inviting Levi and Telvin along with Jeremy and Penny to join us. We were sitting in the dining room having a beer while waiting for the pizza to arrive when Alan Johnston said, “None of my business Jayden, but you called Derek your husband, right?”
“No problem, Alan, I thought everyone knew.”
“Well, I guess I had heard you were gay and didn't think anything about it, but husband?”
“Right. We were married December 30th in Middleboro, Massachusetts by a Navajo medicine man.”
“I thought you meant your husband as in legally married.”
“Right. He is my husband and we are legally married.”
“You can't do that.”
“Well, tell the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I sure the governor will be surprised to know that because he thought we could. Show you the certificate later when we go up. Of course you're right so far as Virginia is concerned. Here we're not legally married but are married in our own hearts and those of our friends.”
The pizza arrived and thirteen men and Penny made short work of a pile of pizza. When we had finished and cleaned up, Alan said, “Okay, I was promised a look at a piece of paper.”
“It's upstairs in our apartment,” Jayden said. “Be nice or we'll bore you with our wedding pictures.”
“Hey, who said we'd be bored?” Larry asked.
Leave it to Penny to point out there was a video as well before she excused herself. She was going out with some girlfriends and Jeremy joined the guys.
After everyone had a look at the certificate and photos, Larry said, “Ok, let's see the video.” When it had finished he said, “Man, after seeing that, I'm surprised that one of you didn’t punch out that joker this afternoon.”
“Well, it wouldn't have changed his mind and would have made trouble for all of us, besides, Jayden and I are ...well, I am trying to learn to control my temper.”
“Larry, we are always going to have to endure bigots, it just comes with being gay,” Jayden said. “It's just like we both will always face prejudice and bigotry because of our race. You have to learn to ignore it when getting angry would accomplish nothing.”
“Guess that's tough.”
“Sure, but friends make it a lot easier.”
“Hey, do I see a DVD of ‘The Hurt Locker’ on the coffee table,” Andrew Smith asked.
“You do,” Jayden said. “I picked it up this week and haven't seen it or put it away. You want to watch it, we can.”
Soon thirteen guys were sprawled about the living room absorbed in the movie. It was just after ten when the movie was over and all the guys thanked us for the evening except the locals and Jim and Larry. “Ah, guys, Larry and I would like to talk to you,” Jim said.
“Sure,” I responded.
“Well, see, all of you being gay ...”
“Well, Jim, all except Jeremy the pervert,” I laughed.
“Oh, well, I thought, I mean...”
“You met Penny?” Jeremy asked.
“We're getting married. Originally after the semester was over, but because of my mom's health, we've moved it up to spring break.”
“Just when did you plan to tell us?” Telvin asked.
“That was only decided this afternoon but, anyway, do I need to leave?”
“I guess not,” Larry said, but with a great deal of hesitation.
“Never mind. Penny will be back shortly. Night all.”
“So, what's up, Larry, Jim?” Jayden asked.
“Well, see, Larry and I have known each other since kindergarten. We lived on adjoining farms and did just about everything. We were in scouts together, went to the same church, were in the same youth group, played football and basketball together, double dated ...”
“I think they get the picture, Jim. I think we are gay and are in love. Well, I guess we're both pretty sure about the latter, but not about the former. I mean, I know I am in love with Jim and have been as long as I can remember, you know? So I guess that means I'm gay. Well, I'm gay. But Jim ...”
“Look, I'm not gay. I'm pretty sure of that. I mean, I have dated girls. I have had sex with girls and liked it and they seemed to like it as well. I'm not like Larry. We double dated, but I don't think Larry ever dated the same girl more than three times. I got him a date with the hottest girl in our high school—I mean she was hot to trot any time, any place. We double dated and I was driving and took my date home first. I drove us to a back field at my place and parked. She soon had Larry's pants down to his ankles and after a supreme effort sucking on his dick, he got half hard. The guy just isn't into women, period.”
“True enough. I had told Mom and Dad I was pretty sure I was gay after that episode in the backseat of Jim's car. It just kinda slipped out one night at dinner when Dad asked if I had stopped dating. I don't know what reaction I expected, but certainly not what I got. Dad said, 'Well, son, your mom and I wondered about that. Folks around here don't like that and I just as soon you not broadcast it, but you are still our son, we still love you and want you to be happy. That's what's important. Anyone special in your life?' I told him there wasn't, then admitted I had been in love for as long as I could remember, but it never would be returned. He said there would be someone one of these days. So I'm gay, but that's not the question, is it, Jim?”
“Well, no. See over the Christmas holidays we went to Colorado skiing. We were supposed to have a room with twin beds, but the booking got screwed up and we ended up with a queen. Didn't bother us as we’d had sleepovers since grade school and for events, had a pile of kids stay at our place, so we had slept together—in the same bed, I mean—from time to time. When we were middle schoolers, we jerked off together and a few times, did each other until I started dating and thought we shouldn't do it any more. Anyway, we went to bed and in the middle of the night, I woke up, wrapped in Larry's arms. Moonlight was streaming through the window and lit Larry's face. Suddenly it was like something clicked inside and I leaned over and kissed him. I watched as his eyes opened slowly and a smile spread across his face. He pulled me to himself and gave me a passionate kiss which I returned.”
“Then all hell broke loose,” Larry said. “Jim jumped out of bed and started stamping around the room shouting 'I am not queer, god dammit. I am not queer.' I finally gave up trying to calm him down and went back to bed and cried myself to sleep. When he'd awakened me with a kiss I'd been in seventh heaven. That was something I had dreamed about for a long time, I returned his kiss and then he went ape-shit. He finally pulled on his ski pants and jacket and left the room. He had just turned twenty-one, so he could buy alcohol, which he did and proceeded to get completely shit-faced. After he had been gone over an hour, I got very worried and went looking for him. I found him passed out on a bench in front of the lodge. I dragged him back to the room and started fighting hypothermia. It didn't take me long to realize I had a problem larger than I could handle and I called 911.”
“Because Larry went looking for me, I was fine and released from the infirmary the next afternoon. I decided just to pretend the previous night—the kiss and getting drunk—hadn't happened. I know pretending I hadn't kissed Larry was killing him as it was pretty obvious he'd welcomed the kiss. Well, pretending was killing me too, but I couldn't be gay. I just couldn't. Anyway, Larry didn't mention the night ever. Then, something happened which shook both of us.
“Larry lived on one side of my place and Rubynelle Waldrop on the other. She and Tommy Haines had been boyfriend-girlfriend since at least eighth grade. They had officially announced their engagement at Christmas and were to be married in the spring. New Year's Day deer season was open in some places and Tommy was an avid hunter so he and some of his buddies went deer hunting. No one is quite sure what happened, but there was a hunting accident and Tommy was killed. That news greeted me and Larry when we got back home New Year's Day. We had grown up with Rubynelle and Tommy. We had been very happy for them and looked forward to their wedding and now it would never happen.”
“The news was like being hit in the gut with a ball bat,” Larry said. “Jim and I both made a rush to the toilet and barely made it before we emptied our stomachs. After hearing the news, we went my room and sat on my bed, silent. Without lifting his head, Jim said, 'Tommy and Rubynelle were so in love and so happy and now it’s over. It's all over. All their hopes and dreams may as well not have been. All the love Rubynelle ...god dammit, shit, piss, fuck, Larry. I love you. Larry, I love you, dammit, I don't want to be gay, but I love you.’ He then grabbed me, pulled my body to his and gave me another passionate kiss ...”
“And this time Larry didn't kiss me back, instead he just rolled off the bed and walked out of the room. I was devastated. I buried my face in a pillow and wept. There had been no question in my mind that Larry loved me. I had struggled with loving him and my fear and anxiety over the possibility that I was gay until I was a wreck. Then when Tommy was killed, I realized neither of us had any assurance of tomorrow and if Larry was taken from me I would just as soon die as well, but now he had not been taken away from me, but had turned away by choice.”
“I had been lifted to seventh heaven when Jim kissed me in Colorado,” Larry said, “then tossed back to earth. I pretended nothing had happened while I was being eaten up inside. I wasn't going to let that happen again. I couldn't take it. As had been my habit since I was a kid when I wanted to be alone, I went to the hayloft. My family always respected that so I knew I would not be disturbed. Well, I was wrong.”
Jim said, “I finally decided I needed to find Larry and talk to him, so I went downstairs and asked his parents if they had seen him. His dad said he had left the house. 'He had tears in his eyes. You have anything to do with that?' I started to lie, but I'd had enough of pretending and answered in a whisper, 'Yes.' 'Care to talk about it?' I broke down and started bawling like a baby. Larry's dad wrapped his arms around me and held me until I stopped crying and we sat down at the kitchen table and I told him about Colorado and what had happened upstairs. 'You know,’ he said, 'you don't have to pin a label on yourself. You love Larry. Who gives a shit whether you call yourself gay or not. Go find him. He's in the hayloft.’”
Larry took over. “Jim came climbing up the ladder to the loft and before his head appeared above the floor, he said, 'Larry Ellis, I love you with my whole heart, period. If that makes me gay, I'm gay, but who gives a shit? I love you, man.' I didn't answer. What was there to say? I didn't want to get hurt again. He came on up and stood looking at me like a lost puppy and I finally smiled at him and he grabbed me. We just held each other for a long time. I can’t tell you how right that felt. But then, we were young, and male, and horny, and just holding each other wasn’t enough, soon enough, and we had a pretty hot make out session there in the loft.”
As the two looked at each other then, it was obvious the memory of that event was still vivid in their minds. Jim was the one who finally broke eye contact and continued the story. “That was Christmas and since then when we are home, we spend most of our time at Larry's place since his parents gave us time together. At my place we have to be very careful. I love my mom and dad, but I don't like some of their attitudes. Dad would be right there agreeing with that jerk at Regency and Mom would go along. Both are very long on the 'wives obey your husbands’ bit. Whatever he says is the law and Gospel so far as she is concerned. The very least I could expect is that I would be thrown out of my house.”
I was very puzzled about where this was leading. I mean, while I liked the two guys I didn't see what they were asking of me and Jayden. Jayden did and I saw it when it dawned on him. “Ah, so you are in love and you think you might be gay or know you are gay and labels don't matter, but you are ready to move beyond mutual masturbation and maybe an occasional blow job and aren’t sure about what comes next and how to go about it. Is that the question?”
“Well, kinda, I mean, well ...” Jim said.
“Yeah, except blow job sounds dirty and ...” Larry said and blushed.
“So you want to know about two guys making love,” I quickly picked up on what was going on once Jayden pointed it out.
“Yeah,” Larry said. “Jim's had a lot more experience that I have with sex, but it was all with girls.”
“Larry tried making love to me with his mouth once and ...”
“It was a disaster,” Larry said.
Once the ice was broken, the two talked freely about how little they had done and how much they really wanted to make love to each other. “What we know we only know from experience, and some of it was not good,” Jayden said, “but ask away.”
It was approaching 1:00 when the two finally wound down and said, “Thanks, guys. Sorry we kept you up so late,” Larry said.
“That's okay. We'll give you a lift to your place.”
“Unfortunately, that's places,” Jim said. “We kinda live at opposite sides of the campus. Larry has a fairly decent room in a house with five other guys and I have a tiny attic room which was all I could find last fall. My high school grades reflected the attention I was paying to women instead of school so I had to go to the community college two years to get my GPA up. My adviser screwed up and I had to do summer school before OCU accepted me, so I was late looking for a place.”
Jayden looked at me and grinned and I grinned back. “Not sure about a non-gay sleeping with a gay in our place, but if two guys who are in love would like to, the living room couch makes into a wonderful bed.”
Both the guys turned bright red, but had huge smiles on their faces. “I think we qualify,” Jim said, “and thanks.”
Jim and Larry started showing up for a couple study groups and occasionally we invited them to stay over. It was understood that they had dibs on the first empty room at the house.
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