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Life, love and all that jazz

by c m

Chapter 2

The next time I see Jordan is a month later. We've exchanged the occasional message in the meantime, and I've accepted his invitation to a jazz evening in a local club in Cardiff where he and his band are playing. I've booked myself into a nice little hotel; Jordan said I could stay at his place, but he's one of six sharing a crowded house and my presence would not only be hard to explain but there's no spare bed and that would raise even more questions. I suggest he comes round to the hotel instead. Ellie is away singing with a choir that night, so there are no potentially awkward explanations to give in that quarter. To the rest of his bandmates, I'm his godfather.

The evening is excellent; Jordan is an accomplished pianist as well as a very fine trumpeter, and the rest of the band – mostly made up of fellow students – are every bit as good. I have a great time and join them for a drink afterwards. When the club closes, everyone drifts away and Jordan and I head back to my hotel which is only a ten-minute walk away. Once inside my room, he embraces me and kisses me.

'I've missed you,' he says.

'Not as much as I've missed you. But I think you could do with a shower if you don't mind my saying so.'

He laughs. 'You're right. I'm soaked. Sweaty business, jazz. Don't suppose you'd like to scrub my back?'

'I can do that,' I say with a smile.

He strips. Right there. In the middle of the room. It's the first time I've seen him naked. The promise of his upper half in the pic he sent me is confirmed by the rest of him. Very fit. Very beautiful. Very arousing.

'Get 'em off, then,' he says to me with a grin.

I strip too. I can see his eyes taking me in. I hope I don't disappoint him.

'Very nice, James…very nice indeed,' he says, 'Come on, let's shower.'

And we do. Lengthily and intimately, our bodies slippery against one another as we seek and give each other the relief we've been longing for. Afterwards, lying on the bed, we have a second round. Slower, longer, even more intense. And after that, as we lie there, his head on my chest, and my fingers running through his hair, with just a sheet thrown over us, we are at perfect peace. And that's how we fall asleep.

In the morning, he's hungry for me again. It's more sex than I've had since I went on honeymoon. But he arouses and excites me in a way that my wife never did – even at first. I tell him so.

'So why did you marry her?'

'Well, back then although homosexuality had been legalised, it was still only legal if you were over 21. And coming out was hard. My homosexual experiences were pretty much limited to messing about with a few boys at school. And I told myself that all I needed was the love of a good woman and I'd be fine. And we did love each other. And I told myself I was bi and that I didn't need boys anymore, at least for the time being.'

'And do you still think you're bi?'

I turn and prop myself up on one elbow.

'I know that what I feel for you, Jordan, I never, ever felt for her in terms of attraction. Maybe that means I'm gay and always have been, but just didn't want to admit it. And if so, then I'm very OK with that now. Not that labels matter very much anyway, it seems to me.'

'You're right. And whatever you are, I'm very happy for you. And for me.'

He kisses me.

'And what about you?' I ask. 'How…experienced are you – if you don't mind my asking.'

'Not at all. It's a fair question. I've always been bi. I've slept with three girls and three boys – well, two boys and one older man. Plus some fooling about. Quite a bit of fooling about, actually – with boys and girls. Proper sex with the guys has been strictly one way, though; I fucked them, but they didn't fuck me…I'm still a virgin in that sense. And I've been honest with all of them – including telling them when it was over. Which was very quickly in most cases. They didn't give me what I was looking – hoping – for. I'm sorry if that sounds callous, but despite how it must sound, I want to be loyal and faithful to someone. And I want more than just sex. Ellie is the first woman I've ever been truly in love with - and you're the first man who I've ever really wanted to go to bed with more than once. But it isn't just about sex with you any more than it's about sex – or the lack of it – with Ellie. It's something indefinable. It's…about what and who you are. I just…know. You and Ellie both give me what I want…what I need. You touch something deep inside me.'

I think about what he's said.

'So…does that mean that you want to fuck me too?'

'I'll be honest with you, James, I'd love to. But only if you want to. And only when you're ready – which isn't yet, I think. How do you feel about it?'

'I think you seem to know me very well already,' I say with a smile, 'and I'd like to do anything that gives you pleasure.' I pause. 'But…I'm scared it will hurt.'

'I won't lie to you, it's likely to be pretty uncomfortable the first few times, at least at first, but it doesn't have to hurt. I'd be very gentle with you. And it would be worth it, I promise – but we don't have to. It's about us, not about me or you.' He smiles at me. 'And who knows…we may even get to the point where I find that I want to lose my virginity to you. But right now, I'd just like a nice long cuddle before I have to go. I have a practice session later his morning.'

We hold each close. His body is warm and comforting. I ask him why he's attracted to older men like me.

'How do you explain attraction?' he says, 'Some like smooth, some like bears; some like slim, some like chubs; some like muscle-bound bodies, some like natural ones. Some like younger, some like older. Like me. I like that we can have grown-up conversations, I like that there's a…maturity…about the way we make love – even though you're very inexperienced. I like…I dunno…I just…you just…excite me.'

'I'm not sure I've ever excited anyone before.'

'Then it's a wonderful thing we met, isn't it?'

'It surely is.'

We kiss – and one thing leads to another, and, well…you can guess the rest.

Half an hour later we shower and get dressed. We give each other a farewell kiss in the room. He makes his way to college, while I put my bag in the car and set off home. We promise each other that we'll meet up again soon. I am at once happy and desolate.

It's a year later. Jordan and I have managed to meet up roughly every two months - sometimes in term time, sometimes during the vacations. From our third meet onwards he's been fucking me. And he was right. It was uncomfortable at first, but not painful – well, maybe a little bit - and the last time we met it was pretty much pleasure all the way. He takes his time, and there's something about having this gorgeous boy inside me that makes me want to cry with joy.

Six months later, we manage to arrange a long weekend away together. The first time we will be together for more than just one night. Ellie is on a mini singing tour up North and we have the prospect of three days - and nights - on our own. Staying with Jordan is obviously out of the question, and I think it would be unwise to risk him spending three nights with me in the village where I live and where everyone knows each other's business. So I take the opportunity to rent a self-catering cottage on the coast.

The weekend is everything and more that I hoped for. We go for long walks along the beach, we visit some of the local sights, we talk about things we've never talked about before – or maybe simply not had the time to talk about before - and a closeness grows between us. An intimacy that has nothing to do with sex. Although we do – of course – spend a lot of time in bed together too. Jordan seems to have an almost insatiable appetite for sex, not that I'm complaining; my desire is as infinite as his, even if my fifty-two-year-old bits can't always keep up with his twenty-year-old ones – but this doesn't matter as I'm more than happy to lie back and let him keep going once my body has given its all, or just continue to pleasure him until he's finally had enough. It does make me wonder, however, how Ellie is going to cope with this almost satyric sex drive once they're married. Maybe there are hidden layers of passion underneath that rigid self-control of hers. For her sake, I hope there are. But what is really special about our three days is just knowing Jordan's there all the time – even if we're not in the same room together. I realise that this is perhaps what I've missed most since my wife died; the companionship and the comfort of having someone 'there' - even if they're not physically present.

And, as the three days come to an end, I also have to acknowledge that this can no longer be seen as just some kind of infatuation or vehicle for sexual release – if it ever was; no, the truth is…the problem is…that I've fallen definitively, hopelessly and head over heels in love with this boy, and the prospect of having to end this – of having to let him go off with Ellie one day - fills me with despair. I don't dare risk spoiling what we've got, but at some point I'm going to have to tell him.

But not yet.

On Monday, as I drop Jordan back at college, our farewell hugs and kisses are more drawn out than usual. We both know this weekend has been something special. I don't want it to end, but at least it will keep me going over the long weeks ahead until I can see him again.

Then, barely a week after these few magical days away, I get a call from Jordan out of the blue.

'We need to talk,' he says.

My heart drops. We never meet up again so soon after we've been together. And 'we need to talk' is never good news, is it? Is this where it all comes to an end?

'Can I come and see you?' he continues, 'Could you pick me up from the station?'

'Of course,' I say, 'when do you want to come down?'

'There's a fast train that leaves here just before five, gets to you just after six. Would that be OK?'

'Today?' I say.

'Yes please…if that's OK.'

'Sure Jordan. It will be good to see you.'

'You too,'

And he rings off.

I am a mixture of anticipation and dread. This is the first time he's asked to meet at my place; the first time he will have been under my roof. And I am all too worried that it will be the last. But if it is, then I want us to go out with a bang. I spend the afternoon buying the stuff I need to cook us both a lovely farewell meal - if that's what it turns out to be.

When I pick him up, I can tell something's wrong. He's quiet and reserved – not at all the bouncy, joyous, funny boy I've come to know and love. And when I ask him what's up, he just says 'I'll tell you when we're at your place.'

I show him into the house and lead him into the big open-plan kitchen-cum-dining-cum-living room with its high, beamed ceiling.

'Wow, this is nice,' he says, looking around admiringly.

'It's lovely to have you here,' I say.

He puts his bag down and opens his arms.

'Come here.'

We embrace and we kiss, but I can feel there's something wrong. And I can see it in his eyes.

'So why don't I get us both a glass of wine,' I say as we let go of one another, 'and then we can go and sit down, and you can tell me what this is all about.'

'Lovely. Thanks.'

I open a bottle of white burgundy and pour us both a glass, then motion Jordan over to the sofa by the woodburner at the other end of the room. He sits down, staring at his feet.

'So…?' I say.

He gives a big sigh, then looks up with a half-smile before looking back down at his feet again. He draws a deep breath before finally lifting his eyes up to meet mine.

'It's Ellie. We were together yesterday, and she said to me that she loved me very much but that she felt there was a part of me, a side to me, that she didn't know…that I was keeping hidden. She asked me if she was right. And you know I value honesty, James. She knows I've had previous girlfriends, but I've never told her about the boys. So I explained about being bisexual. That I'd slept with boys in the past as well as girls. She asked me if that meant that when we were married I'd want to sleep with boys as well as with her. I explained it wasn't like that; that I could be happy with either but that I didn't need both. She accepted that, but then she asked if I'd slept with a boy while I'd known her. I can't lie to her, James. I told her that I absolutely respected her wish not to have sex before marriage, but that I had needs and that I'd occasionally found relief with a boy. Very occasionally. She went very quiet and said that if we were to stay together, that had to stop. But that she understood about boys' needs and that she'd be prepared to give me the relief I needed from time to time if I wanted…just with her hand. But if I couldn't promise her that I'd stop having sex with anyone else, boy or girl, then it had to be over between us. I knew she meant what she said about masturbating me from time to time, but I wasn't sure that it was really what she wanted. I said that I didn't want her to do anything that would make her feel uncomfortable, and we both agreed to have a think about everything. So that's why I'm here. To tell you. I don't want to stop seeing you, James, but I think I have to. I still love her. But…well…I've come to love you too, god help me. And the thought of ending things…it hurts so much. So much more than I thought it would.'

And he starts to cry.

I put down my wine, still reeling from what he's told me. He loves me. And he's leaving me. I go across and put my arms around him. I feel him tense at my touch but then his arms are round me and he's sobbing helplessly on my shoulder. I just hold him until the tears stop.

'I love you too, Jordan. More than I can say. More than I meant to. And that's the truth. But you need to follow your heart. If you want to marry Ellie and this is what it takes, then of course it's what you must do. You've been honest with me from the start. You told me that one day this would come to an end. I'd hoped it wouldn't be yet, but if it is, it is. You've made me happier than I ever thought it possible to be these last eighteen months. Maybe you need time to think. But for now, for tonight, we're going to have a damn good meal, some nice wine and then you can sleep in the spare bedroom if you want. I respect you as well as love you, Jordan.'

He looks up at me, his eyes reddened from crying.

'Why are you being so nice to me, James? I come here and tell you it's all over and you…you're still the kind, loving man you've always been.'

'Let's celebrate what we've had, Jordan, not be angry about what we might lose. You've enriched my life in a way that I could never have expected. That's something to celebrate.'

He looks at me and just shakes his head. And then he kisses me – and this time the old warmth is there.

'You once told me I was an amazing boy, James,' he says, 'but you are truly an amazing man.'

I prepare dinner. A lobster cocktail, followed by spaghetti carbonara and then a chocolate mousse. Afterwards, we sit on the sofa, and he asks if it's OK to lie down with his head in my lap. I say 'of course'. I ask if I can still come to his jazz concerts and he says 'of course'. He asks me if I'll come to the wedding, and I say 'of course'. He asks me if he's doing the right thing. I tell him that only he can judge where his heart lies. But I also tell him that I think he's marrying the wrong person if he wants to be truly happy for the rest of his life.

And then it's time for bed. I lead him upstairs and we pause outside my bedroom.

'Sleep wherever you feel is right,' I say. 'I'd love a last hurrah, but if you feel we should start as we mean to go on from now on, I understand.'

He nods, kisses me, pauses for a moment - and then walks on down the corridor to the room I've prepared for him.

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