The lighted sign at the entrance to the motel said, "No Vacancies." I hoped that didn’t mean us, that our room was still vacant, waiting for us. In the lights from the parking lot, I could see Gregg's face, drawn and near exhaustion. This had been a long day for him; he really needed to rest.
I pulled up in front of the motel and turned to look at him, as I stopped. "Why don't you wait here? I'll find out where the room is, and we can park the car right by the door." His look of pure gratitude struck deep. He was even more tired than he let on, and apparently, in more pain.
I went in to the office and gave the clerk my name. He was waiting for us, so that he could close the office and go to bed. "If you guys had called five minutes later, I wouldn't have had a room for you. These conventions have got every motel for miles around booked solid." He pulled a key down from the rack and handed it to me. "It's down at the far end, close to the restaurant. That's one good thing!" He handed me a room card to fill out; when I finished, I handed it back. I was about to ask for a wake-up call, but I could still see the pain and exhaustion in Gregg's face. If we get there a little later tomorrow, it's not going to matter that much.
I went out and pulled the car down to the room and parked in front. We grabbed the bags we would need for tonight and locked the car. Once we had dropped off our luggage in the room, we went next door to the restaurant. The food here wasn't quite as good as the place we had dinner last night, but neither of us was terribly hungry, so we just ate and went back to the room.
When we walked in, I was really startled. We had been in the room to leave our luggage, but I hadn't even looked around. My mind was on food. Now I realized that there was only a single queen-size bed in the room. Now, what? I glanced over at Gregg to see his reaction. He was looking at the bed, and I couldn't tell from his expression what he was thinking.
I cleared my throat. "Um, if this is going to be a problem for you, we could try to find something else. The clerk said this place is full, but I'm sure we can find something a little farther on, if you'd be more comfortable that way."
He looked at me. "Harley, does the idea of sharing a bed with me bother you?"
"Well, no, of course not." I hoped I sounded more confident than I was feeling.
"Well, to be totally honest, I don't think I could stand going any farther tonight." He looked at me with a pleading expression on his face. "I'm just about ready to collapse, if I have to ride any further today." He took a step toward the bed and stumbled. I caught him before he could fall.
"You really are beat, aren't you?" I held him in my arms, and he seemed to almost melt into me.
"I have been, for the last two hours. If you can put up with me, I'd really like to just get to bed and get some sleep." He looked so pitiful, like a sleepy child; I couldn't help it, I just hugged him closer and kissed his forehead. He smiled and stroked my cheek.
I helped him to the bed, and he sank down with a big sigh. I sat down beside him. "Are you OK? Do you need any help?" He looked at me with that grateful smile. "Would you, please? I don't think I can manage by myself. I don't think I've ever felt this tired."
I slipped down to the floor and took off his shoes and socks. He sat quietly, as I unbuttoned his shirt and slipped it off his shoulders. He reached down and unfastened his belt and his pants. I took hold of the sides and pulled them down, as he put his hands on my shoulders and lifted himself enough so that I could pull them off. Now he was sitting there in his boxers. I reached around him and pulled the blankets and sheet down, so that he could get into bed. He didn't even have enough strength left to pull his legs up on the bed, so I helped him. When he was comfortable, I covered him and walked around to the other side of the bed. I undressed quickly and slipped into the other side of the bed. The bedside lamp was on his side, so I reached over him and turned it off. In the dim light from outside, I could see his smile. "Thanks, Harley. This is what I was talking about earlier. This is the sort of thing that Jerry would have done. He was right, you know. He said that I had someone who would care for me and support me. And I do."
He reached out and pulled me toward him. I slid over until we were just touching. Then I had to do it; I wrapped him in a hug and leaned in to kiss him. I was afraid he would pull away, that he would be angry, but I wasn't prepared for his arms wrapping tightly around me, or for the pressure of his lips on mine, as he kissed me back. We held that kiss for long moments. Then he lay back on his pillow with a big sigh. "Oh, I needed that; I really needed that. It's been far too long." He stroked the side of my face and then pulled me down to him in another kiss. How do you measure time in heaven? How do you describe it? All my dreams, all my longing flowed into that kiss, and I knew. I knew beyond any doubt, that this is where I was meant to be. Here, with this sweet wonderful man, sharing a gentle, loving kiss. It wasn't the least bit sexual; there would be time for that later. But now, he needed, I needed the closeness and the tenderness. It was enough.
Still wrapped in each other's arms, we fell asleep.
Well, It's about time they finally realized they need each other. I think, in fact, I am almost certain that they love each other. They might not realize it yet, but they do. There will be time for them to figure it out, but they have finally taken that first step toward showing each other that they really do care. And they need each other.
I can't wait for the next chapter, and I hope it is a little longer, but yet that was exactly the perfect place to leave it.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher
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