It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yeah maybe for some, but to me, it’s that part of year I can’t wait to end. I hate how packed the stores are, how cold it is not to mention the snow and freezing rain, but most of all I hate having to pretend I enjoy the holidays season. Not that I’d ever be rude to a stranger giving me their holiday greeting. Usually my good friend Steve and I planned to getaway the week between Christmas and New Year, which is something the owner of one the hottest gay bar in town should not be able to do. But because of his agreement with the other owner, Steve can get that week off in exchange for pulling extra duty from mid-July to the end of August, while Rick helps manage his father’s straight bar during height of the racing season in Saratoga.
Last year we spend that week in Aruba. I remember how much talking I did to persuade Steve. Looking back, in a way I’m sorry I did. About the third day there, Steve met Evan Agoutette from Louisiana after that, I didn’t see much of Steve or Evan the rest of the trip time. After spending every night for the next three months on the phone, Steve flew down to Louisiana, rented a U-Haul and moved Evan lock stock and barrel back up here. Now they’re getting ready to celebrate the anniversary of their meeting and talking about making it legal. That reminded me, I needed to call Steve and let him know I won’t be joining them for their Christmas Brunch.
A gentle toot from the car behind me let me know the light had turned green. “Well let’s continue this journey up Western Avenue to Annie’s house.” My friend Annie Hudson having her annual Christmas Party, which I’m attending only because of her threats that if I didn’t she would come down to my apartment and bring me by force. I was raised by a single mother and understood there are some threats made by a woman you do not ignore. As much as I loathe this holiday season, Annie loved it enough to come hog tie me to her car and bring me to her place.
I was about to Annie’s ring doorbell when I remembered I’d left her Christmas present in the car. As walking back to the car, I noticed a geeky looking man exit from a white Accra RDX. He looked to be a few inches taller than my 5’8 in frame, wearing a pair of thick black framed glasses, I was sure if a strong wind blew around him it could blow him over. The only redeeming quality I could notice were the tapered long fingers wrapped around the package he was carrying. When he walked past me, he smiled and said those awful words, “Happy Holidays.” I nodded my head and smile. Although we were took different direction, we both ended up at Annie’s door.
I had to laugh laughed. “What would be the odds?”
“That we both know Annie?” The other man laughed back.
Since I had reached the door first, I rang the doorbell and within seconds, Annie opened the door holding her cell phone to her ear.
“You are so lucky. I was just calling you and if you had answered, I would have been on my way down Madison Avenue to…. Suddenly she saw the other man. “Oh hi Carl, do you two know each other?”
We looked at each other and shook our heads.
“Ok, Annie sighed Let me make proper introductions. Fletcher this is Carl Gardiner. Carl, this is my oldest and closest Gay friend, Fletcher McKay.”
I shoved the gift at her not caring if she had it or not before walking over to the beverage table and picked up a bottle of water. My face was warm and I knew it showed some of the anger I had over Annie’s introduction. I know she doesn’t harbor any prejudices against me. Hell, many of the people there were aware I was gay, but she didn’t need to introduce me that way especially to a perfect stranger. I sipped on my water and watched her walk Carl over to the stack of gifts, before hurrying over to me.
“Aren’t you going to take off your coat?”
“I’m not staying, I promised you I come and bring you a gift, so now I’m leaving.”
“Okay, what is wrong?”
“Nothing,” I answered.
“Don’t kid a kidder,” Annie announced grabbing a beer. “What did I do now? You’re squeezing your lips so tight they’re practically invisible, you know you people’s lips are already paper thin.”
I gave her a hard looked. “Was that a race joke?”
“Hey, come on Fletch, you know how we play. You call me Brown and Round and I call you….”
“Your closest gay friend, I know. So tell me how would you feel if I introduced you as Brown and Round to a stranger?”
Annie moved a little closer to me “Well, I wouldn’t suggest you do it in a crowd like this, but I got your drift. Look Fletch I’m sorry, you know I didn’t mean anything by it. I’ve told Carl about you and how close we were.”
I looked over at Carl talking to some girl. “You mean Carl is….”
Annie as nodded her head, “That’s the reason I begged you to come. He has only been working with us since the first of month and really doesn’t know anyone except us at work. Because of the problems he had on his prior job I want him to know it made almanbahis yeni giriş no difference to us just as long as he does his job.
“Excuse me Annie everything alright between you two? Annie’s friend Teak was speaking to Annie, but looking over at me.
Annie gave Teak a hard look, “I don’t believe you’re wasting your breath with such a bullshit question. Of course everything is alright. You know he’s is my brother from a white mother. Which also means Teak; don’t try any of your player moves on him.”
Teaks slightly smiled as he walked away.
I had a tight smiled pinched the corners of my mouth as he left us. Ever since I’ve turned down Teak’s advances, I’ve had this strange feeling he was trying to sabotage Annie’s and my friendship. I think Teak thought my rejection was racially motivated, but it was because of safety on my part. I know Teak likes playing with multiply partners, I on the other hand prefer to be in an exclusives one on one relationship.
“So Fletch, would you help Carl get acquainted with the area?”
“Sure, but you better let him know there’s not much to become acquainted with though.”
“Understood, now let’s rescues Carl, from Teresa before she thinks she’s found her date for New Year’s Eve. By the way you’re invited to Christmas Dinner. Uncle Jake is bringing some Tennessee moonshine and homemade dandelion wine.”
“I’ll have to get back to you on that, Brown and Round.”
I laughed at Annie as she stuck her tongue out at me. Since our sophomore year in college, we’ve had each other’s back. She was the first person I came out to and it was with her help I gradually learned how to accept it myself. I helped her pass Computer Science courses, and with her assistance, I was able to get in decent grades in my required English courses. We graduated the same year, me with a BS in Computer Science, Annie with a degree in English Literature. And it was she who found my current web design job, while she worked as Communication Liaison for The State of New York Office of Emergency Management Service.
Those people who don’t know us believe we’re a couple until one of us set them straight. Yeah, we may argue and can make each other mad as hell, but just like this time, we always pick up right how we were before the argument. If I had a sister, I hope our relationship would be like Annie and mine.
“Excuse me Teresa, but Carl, Flech would like to ask you a few things about Minnesota, like how’s the skiing there.”
I looked over at Annie wondering what hell she was talking about, and then I got it. “Oh yeah, I heard there are some excellent resorts out there. Did you do a lot of skiing while you lived there?”
Teresa was not getting the hint as she looked up in Carl’s face waiting for his answer. “You know I skied when I was young. We have some great places to go here around here,” she volunteered.
“Actually, I don’t ski. I prefer warm weather activities. I have a time share in Florida which I tried to get away whenever I can.”
That answer had earned Carl a second look from me. I watched as Carl continuously push his glasses up his nose for some reason I was intrigued watching those long fingers repeat the same motion over and over again. My eyes wondered down to his mouth, his lips were full and the color of a ripe red delicious apple, unlike the dull flat pink color many fair skinned men have. I suddenly wondered how it would feel having those lips on mine.
“Where’s yours at?” I heard Teresa asking.
“Teresa sweetheart, Annie began shaking her head; I hate to be blunt, but you are oh so much stiffing up the wrong tree with these men.”
Teresa looked from Annie to Carl to Fletcher. Suddenly the light bulb went on. “Oh, oh, I didn’t know.”
“Yeah, we know,” Annie replied pushing her away.
I looked up at Carl and smiled, “So where is your timeshare at?”
“In Disney World, We bought it about three years ago.”
“We?” I asked puzzled.
“Yeah, me and my former partner, when we broke up he left it to me.”
“How long ago did you and your partner split?” I asked.
Carl had just taken a swallow of water from the bottle he’d picked up. “Do you want the actual date or the effective date?”
I opened up another bottle of water. “How about both dates,” I replied.
“Well, the actual date was May 14th of this year. As for the effective date I’m still dealing with it
“So you still have feelings for him?” I took a quick sip of water to hide my disappointment.
Carl smile down at me. “Obviously, you have never been in love or cared a great deal about someone.”
I shook my head, “Oh I’ve cared about people, it just that it’s never taken me nearly a year to get over them. So tell me if he called and wanted you two to get back together, would you?”
Carl slowing replaced the cap back on the water bottle he was drinking from and shook his head. “If he needed my assistance as a friend, I would be there for him. But as far as resuming a almanbahis giriş relationship with him, I don’t think I could to that.”
That was enough information for me. “Annie told me you’re new in town, and you might need a guide to the exciting gay world of the capital district?”
“Yeah, I would appreciate that. Is there a designated hang out area?”
I was about to reach for another bottle water, but thirty-two ounces is my limit when out since I don’t like using public bathrooms and even though I know Annie bathroom would receive an A plus rating a from the Board of Health, I still prefer to use my toilet only. “To tell you the truth, I don’t go out that much, but when I do I’m usually at the Water Shed, it’s a bar on Washington Avenue in Albany. It’s clean, safe and I know the owners.”
“The Water Shed, I’ll remember that, Thanks.”
Carl looked down at his watch. “I think I better get going. I have a 6:30 am spin class in the morning.”
“Oh you spin?” I asked. Looking at him, it was hard to believe he could exert himself that much.
“Yeah, one of the guys I work with told me his gym offers a boot camp spin class. So I joined it.”
“Do I even want to know how hard those spin classes are?”
Carl laughed, “Normally our spin time is last just under an hour, and let’s just say, after you’re finish, the hot tub feels mighty, mighty good.”
Suddenly I had a vision of Carl’s sweaty body and found myself discreetly adjusting my position to allow for more space in my crotch area.
“Fletcher, it nice meeting you and if I don’t see you before the holidays….”
“Yeah, I know,” I answered back. He smiled at me and walked over to Annie. I watched as Annie gave him his leather jacket. I watched him walked out the door as I wondering if I could last more than two minutes in one of those spin classes.
For some reason I woke up feeling a little down. I looked over at the clock, it was going for 7:00 then remembered Carl had been spinning for nearly a half hour. Why was I wasting my thoughts on this man? Last night he told me in code he was not interested. At least that’s what big head had understood, but the little head between my legs wasn’t accepting that message. It liked him and right now it was rock hard and looking for some comforted. Well buddy, the best I can give you is a hand and a vision of your fantasy lover. My friend quickly accepted the offer and I shot wad on the sheets. Normally my landlord/housekeeper, Mrs. Murphy took care of my laundry, but the thought of her handling cum soaked sheets didn’t sit right with me, so I removed the soiled linens and threw them in the washing machine myself. With less than 10 days to Christmas, I decided today would be a good to start shopping. Not that I had a lot of gifts to buy, just something for my Aunt Jamie Uncle Paul, the Murphy’s, Steve and Evan. That reminded me I needed to call Steve. I picked up my phone and dialed his number; it went to voicemail so I left a message. I had barely set my phone down when it rung back with Steve’s picture showing.
“Did I wake you?”
“No, I was just in the middle of giving Evan a couple of my nuts.”
“Ew, TMI, I did not need that image in my head.”
Steve laughs “Hey, what do you expect, we’ve been apart for over twelve hours. Now we’ll be able lie in each other’s arms more comfortable. We always sleep much better that way. Oh by the way, Evan says good morning to you.”
“Tell Evan I heard him and good morning back to him.
“Go ahead and take your shower while I talk to Fletch.” I heard Steve give Evan a kiss. “So what’s up?” He asked me.
For some reason, the vision of Steve and Evan togetherness annoyed me making my next words easier to say, “I can’t make it to your Christmas Bruch.”
Steve takes a deep breath, “Why?”
“Annie asked me first.” And when she tells you dinner at two that means I will be eating at two. If you tell me brunch will be at ten, we still may not be eating by two.”
“Oh man Fletch, I wish you would reconsider. Evan’s family is coming up from Louisiana. I’d really like for you to be here when I ask Evan’s father for permission to marry him.”
“Wait, you’re asking Evan father for permission?”
“Well I’ve already done that. This will be down on one knee in front of both our families.”
“I really didn’t know it was that serious between you two.”
“Fletch I told you Evan and I were talking about it. With him having passed the state nursing board exams, everything is starting to settle in.”
“You’re that much in love him?”
“Fletcher, I love him like crazy. Remember that line in that Tom Cruise movie where the girl tells him ‘you complete me.’ Well that is what Evan does for me.”
“Actually, it was Tom Cruise’s character who said that to her.”
“Whatever, Steve replied, so I guess this is as good of a time as any to ask would you be my best man?
“Sure, have you all set a date?”
“We almanbahis güvenilirmi sure have, it’s Memorial Day weekend. Rick told me we could have the reception at the bar, but I asked if we could have it at their summer home in Maine, and before you ask, Maine does allow same sex marriages, and with Rick’s help all the legal arrangements have been taken care of.”
“Well you know it’s not all that warm in Maine for Memorial Day.” I reminded him.
“Then bring your winter coat or be prepared to freeze your balls off because the wedding outdoors.”
“I guess congratulations are in order.” I said, but it still going to take some time getting used to another man being a closer friend to you than me.”
“Speaking of friends, guess who asked about you?”
“Last week he was in the club. I think he still have the hots for you.”
“Yeah, going out with him that one time was more than enough. He was at Annie’s last night, but didn’t try anything in front of Annie.”
“Well I better warn you, he was at the club with a young twink. The kid looked so young I carded him.”
“Was he old enough?” I asked.
“Barely,” Steve replies.
“That sounds like Teak, asking about me while on a dating someone else.”
“Hey, you know Teak; why worry about the bird you have in your hand, concern yourself about the one you still want to get. But Teak may have bite off more than he can chew with this one, I’ve heard this tweak likes it rough and can also play rougher. Hey Babe, Fletch can’t make for Christmas brunch, he’s already promised Annie Christmas dinner. Evan wants to you know, you’ll be missing his mom’s shrimp and grits, and it’s the best this side of the Mississippi. Also his dad will be making his homemade eggnog, guarantee to put hair on your chest. Oh Fletch doesn’t like hair on a man’s chest. That is why he and I never made it.”
“Ha, ha I replied. Listen I’ve got one more thing to ask you. “Do you need any more help for New Year’s Eve?”
“Hey I can always use a great mixologist on New Year’s Eve. Come on down tonight and we’ll talk about it.
“Sound like something I can do after I do some Christmas Shopping.”
“So I take it you’re not in town leaving town this year?”
“Correction we’re not leaving town this year.”
Steve clicked his tongue. “Sorry buddy, but those days are over.”
“I figure that out when you came back from Louisiana with Evan and all of his stuff. But that not the only reason. I have a lot of web designing to do. One is due the week after New Year’s and two due by the end of January, so I’m buried.”
“Well just make sure you have Memorial weekend off.”
“Okay I’ll be sure to put it on my calendar. Hey buddy, are you alright, you sound a little distracted.”
“Look Fletch, I’ve got to go. Evan is….”
“I don’t want to know.”
After waiting a few minutes for Steve to disconnect, I hung up, but not before hearing his moans become louder and more sensual.
I walked into the Water Shed and gave the place the once over. It was still too early in the evening even for Tom Cats to be out, but I wasn’t on the prowl. I came in early to reacquire myself with working in the bar. Two hours from now, it would be all non-stop and no one would have time to show me the tips I’d need to work efficiently here. I started back in my college days waiting tables this had been where I met Steve, who had been friends with Rick. The bar scene of today is totally different than it was back then. Although we no longer needed to be worry about police raids, there are still other concerns we have to watch out for. Underage drinkers whether done by vice cops or a kids trying to pass. Straight guys coming in harassing the crowd either for their amusement or try as a way to get the bar close down. After all, this was still a gay club which meant Steve and Rick needed to be extra careful.
I saw Rick talking to the head of his security team Benjamin they both waved then pointed to Steve’s office. When I enter, Steve was just hanging up on his cell phone. “Oh hey man, I’m glad you came down early. I was going too suggested while we were on the phone, but I got a little side track, he looked down at the picture on his phone gave me a sheepish smile.
“You two are like rabbits.” I plopped down in a chair facing him.
“Well we won’t see or speak to each other until after seven tomorrow morning.”
I must have had some type of grin on my face.
Steve walked over to the office’s mini frig and pulled out two bottled orange juices handing me one. He then opened the other one for himself. “You know, I can’t wait until you find your soul mate. Maybe than you’ll understand of how I feel about Evan.”
I took another gulp, “Oh I think I understand how you feel.”
Steve had a little half smile on his face, “How could you unless you have felt that way about someone?”
“Well I’ve met this guy and I can’t stop thinking about him.”
“Pray tell me more.”
So I told him about meeting Carl at Annie’s the night before, and how I hadn’t been able to stopped thinking about him.
He replied swallowing the last of his juice. “So what’s the problem?”
“He’s kind of still carrying a torch for his former partner.