"Bye Shawn, hope you have a good day."
"Bye James," I said looking at the floor, couldn't look him in the eye yet. I wanted to, even tried, but each time quickly looked away before he looked at me. I went to work as normal and found Lisa my boss in a most cheerful mood. Soon she had found me a mountain of work to do, so I started right away. Thoughts of last night kept entering my head and wouldn't go away. I concentrated on work extra hard to make those thoughts go away, and finally was able to make some headway on the big workload. I took only a short break for lunch, maybe ten minutes, and went right back to it. Had to make it through the rest of the day somehow, if I could just keep busy, keep my mind on work I would have no problem. Lucky for me Lisa had given me about a weeks worth of work. I kept at until five, shut my computer down to go home. My ride home proved to be less of a distraction. I was still wondering what was happening to me, my attraction to James, and how long it would be before Shelly returned home. All these thoughts were zinging in and out of my head, before I knew it I was home. James must have gotten off work early, his truck was already there. I walked inside, no James. Walked to the bedroom, he was just coming out of the shower, still damp, wet hair, wearing only a towel.
"Sorry," I said, turning around to walk back out.
"It's alright, come on in, it's only me."
"Didn't expect you to get home before me." I was really thinking he looked sexy standing there in just a towel. God I have to get these thoughts off my mind, but how. I couldn't look at him; I looked out the window instead while he talked.
"Told my boss about going over to your parents house tonight. He surprised me at four o'clock he told me to pack it up, we were going home."
"Great my mom hates if you're late. Let me get cleaned up and I'll be ready to go." I went for the bathroom, didn't get sweaty that day and decided to take my shower after we got back. I did go to the sink and wash my face. Not with hot water but cold. I was trying to clear my mind, desperately seeking a way to get back, find the old me, the me I use to know. Seeing him all wet, with just a towel, took my mind into another direction, somewhere I wasn't planning on going. I was having trouble understanding my thoughts, wondering what was happening to me. I've got to get through tonight somehow, and maybe later try to interpret the thoughts I was having. I washed my face about twenty times, put on a clean shirt and walked out to the kitchen. James was ready to go, waiting for me there in the kitchen.
"Want me to drive? James asked.
"It's okay I'll drive."
"You okay to drive?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Why, is something wrong?" I asked politely.
"You seem nervous to me. Anything happen at work today?"
"Ahh, work was okay, no problems there." We both got in my jeep, pulled out on to the road as we made our way there. I tried to think of something to say but my mind was still spinning. Couldn't look at him either.
"I noticed you this morning, before work like something was up."
"How's that?", I said.
"Just that you seemed quiet, distant. You were lost in your thoughts and never once looked me in the eye this morning. In fact you didn't look me in the eye when you got home either."
"Guess I didn't." He was my friend, and I was going to have to tell him what was on my mind.
"Did you sleep okay last night?" Okay he was close, very close and I paused, and took a deep breath.
"It was a dream but not a bad dream exactly." He gave me a puzzled look. I was able to look at him for the first time today. I looked back at the road and kept driving. "It was a dream, very real, too real. It was like I was really there, only it, it ah, I don't know? It was different"
"Well, what was it about?"
I looked over at him; the wind was blowing his blond hair up, the sunlight hitting it, dancing around in his hair. The hair underneath was exposed, some gold, some brown hair, as it too blew around. I saw his eyes for a second before looking back at the road. Thought I saw a message there in his eyes, but I wasn't sure what he was trying to say. I had to look again. We got to a straight section of road and looked again. He was still staring at me. Those eyes were trying to say something, to reach out and touch me with his soul. I had to look back at the road. I didn't know what to say. He was still waiting for an answer to his question. I decided to be as honest as I could
"I don't know what to say exactly." I thought about it some more, I had to tell him something. There was a pause. "I had a dream about you." Another deep breathe. I wanted to look at him, tell him, but I was afraid to. Afraid what he might say. Afraid of what he was thinking. He remained calm and gave me time to think. "It was a dream about me and you at the lake, and well it. It's hard to say right now exactly what it was about, maybe I can tell you later." I looked at him again; saw that same look in his eyes, only more. He was trying to tell me something else now. I looked at the road and back at him again. The look was stronger this time, he began to speak as I looked back at the road.
"When ever you're ready to talk Shawn, it doesn't matter to me, it doesn't have to be tonight, it doesn't have to be ever. What ever you have to say I will listen, and I won't judge you."
God that was so sweet. I felt goose bumps on my arm. It was hot outside but I got a shiver. A tear was forming in my eye, then one in the other eye. I looked over at him again, and those eyes of his were looking back at me. I wiped my eyes so I could see the road. I kept driving, almost there now. I looked over at James; he was staring out the window now, his hair still blowing around in the sun. We approached my mom and dads house, parked on the side, and walked to the back door. There at the glass door was Teddy, my mom and dad's golden retriever. He barked once then wagged his tail at us, as we went inside. Seeing him again brought some relief to my troubled mind. It was his energy and playfulness that was brining me back around. My mom was standing at the counter cutting up some onions. They were making her cry. "Hi dear, let me wash my hands first, and get this onion off me."
"How are you mom?"
"I'm fine dear, it's just the onion you know making me cry." I knew that but I guess she had to tell me to make sure I didn't think something was wrong. I waited for her to finish washing her hands and take a Kleenex and wipe her eyes.
"Mom this is James, James this is my mom." I never knew what to tell others to call my mom. James extended out his hand to shake my mom's hand.
"Nice to meet you," he said.
"Hello James, hope you can stay for dinner."
"Wouldn't miss it for the world."
"Good. Maybe we can get to know you. Shawn hasn't had much of a chance to tell me anything about you."
"I probably have an advantage then, after getting to know your son and seeing what a wonderful person he is I came to the conclusion that he must have some great parents."
"Dear, what did you do to impress James so much?"
"Don't know mom." I gave my mom a hug. It was good to see her again.
"Thank you James for the nice compliment. Can I get you boys anything to drink?"
"I'll get us some water mom."
"Thanks dear. How was work today?"
"Real busy, had a lot to do. In fact I have enough work for the rest of the week," I said while watching James. He found a friend in Teddy and was petting him and talking to him very quietly.
"What about you James, how was your work today?"
"We had cut out lines today."
"Oh my, that sounds like hard work."
"It can be, but I really enjoy it. I love being outdoors, close to nature, and the hard work is rewarding to me."
"What are you making for supper?" I asked
"I have a meatloaf, baked potatoes, some mixed vegetables, and rolls."
"Sounds good mom. James here can eat like you've never seen before. Come on James I'll show you around." We walked into the den first. "This is where my parents spent most of their time." I showed him the dinning room, then the bathroom followed by the living room.
"This is a cool dog", James said. "He really likes me. His fur is so soft and fluffy. Wish I could have a dog like this."
"He's cool." We continued on, "this is my parents room, and this is my mom's sewing room, use to be my bedroom."
"I like your parents house."
"Come-on I'll show you upstairs." We went up the flight of stairs.
"Now this is really cool."
"I know this is my room, or use to be until a few weeks ago. My dad had someone put in the stairs in, then he finished off the rest of the room."
"I like this," James said, still playing with Teddy. "You got windows on every side of the house, your own sofa and chair, a bed, a bathroom, and plenty of room to romp around in."
"I loved it when my dad did this for me." It was always my refuge, a place to come, and get your thoughts in order, and that was something I needed to do in the worst possible way. James gave me one of those looks, like he knew what I was thinking. "Come on I'll show you outside." We went back through the kitchen where my mom was still busy fixing supper.
"Great house you have here."
"Thank you James," my mom said, looking up only briefly.
"Can we take Teddy home with us?"
"I don't think so James, we couldn't make it around here without Teddy. You and Shawn are going to have to get your own dog."
"We're going out back mom."
"Okay dear, your dad should be home soon, I'll call you when supper is ready."
"Thanks mom." We grabbed our waters and went out back. It was a very long walk across the grass to the back. The large oaks stood by themselves all the way at the very back. There were seven real big trees and lots of smaller ones.
"I love those trees," James said. "They must be thirty six inch diameter or bigger."
"I don't know what size they are, but the two at the back are the biggest. Let me show you the patio first." We approached the group of trees, and there in the middle was a brick patio, surrounded by planters of all shapes and sizes, flowers, a table and chairs, some lounge chairs and a grill area.
"Did your dad do all of this?"
"Yup, sure did. I helped a little, but it was all his doing." We wondered through the patio area, and out the back. "Here are the two biggest oaks." James stopped, looking in disbelieve at the large trees.
"My goodness, those are bigger than the first ones I saw. They are beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. I wonder how old they are?"
"Don't know. I never remember them being small."
"I should say not," James looked at me, and I was able to look at him as well. "These trees are at least two or three hundred years old."
"Really I didn't know that," I said, turning back toward the patio.
"At least that old maybe older," James was still amazed. I on the other hand felt more like a volcano brewing. The feelings pent up inside me were ready to explode. We walked back to the patio area, where I offered him to sit in one of the chairs.
"Love these chairs," he said sitting down in one of the lounge chairs.
"My dad made these too, and my mom made the cushions for them."
"No, really they did a good job, both of them."
"I really like it here Shawn, this is very nice."
"James do you mind if we talk for a second." He looked at me turning his head slightly to one side. I couldn't stand what was going on in my mind, confused yes, but I was also afraid of what James would say after I told him. I took a deep breath, "About the dream last night, it was a great dream, just made me feel strange when I woke up." James sat there patient, listening to my every word. "It was about me and you and Shelly at the lake. We swam half way across the lake and back. After our long swim, the three of us got out and laid down on our towels in the sandy area. We were all very tired, and the sun felt great as I lay there resting. Then I felt someone kissing the back of my neck. They were soft sweet kisses, and I thought it was Shelly, but when I turned around to look it was you."
"So that's what was bothering you. It's okay Shawn, I understand."
"So you're okay with that?"
"Yeah," he said, as I gave him a funny look.
"When I woke up that's when it bothered me."
"I can see that, but you shouldn't let it bother you."
"Why not?" I wanted to know because it was bothering me.
"First it is a dream, did not happen. Second, it was a kiss, you know just a kiss."
"Yeah but in the dream, you had your hands all over me, even in my crotch." He looked at me, straight at me, but he didn't look mad. "At the time of the dream, it felt really good, I liked what you did. But it isn't right"
"How do you feel now?"
"Not so good. When I woke, I felt guilty. Still do, sort of."
"Guilty about what?"
"You know, that I shouldn't feel this way, that I should like girls not boys, that I shouldn't have enjoyed the feeling I did in the dream."
"Shawn, love can take many forms. What you experience may be an expression of love, and while the dream was sexual in nature toward the end, the fact that we swam together first and I kissed your neck first, before anything sexual tells me that this may be more about love than sex."
"Does this mean, that I, ah, that somewhere hidden inside me, that, I ah, that I love you?"
"Just keep in mind love can mean caring, compassion, and giving of yourself to another. You fit all of those. You have shown your compassion to me."
"The day in the rain, you silly boy."
"Your right," I said looking away for a second, but then I looked back at him again.
"Your caring, the way you took care of me the other night when I cried. You weren't selfish at all and you really helped me out. Any other guy would have left me there to cry, and wouldn't have done anything to help, but you did."
"Maybe your right." I was starting to see his point. "Thanks, I do feel better." I smiled at him. I was so glad he didn't get mad at me, but then he did more, he made me feel okay again.
"I'm just glad you shared that with me," he said.
"Me too. Its been bugging me all day." The volcano had been quenched with an ocean of water. I felt relieved and wanted to go hug him. I looked into his eyes and that's all it took. It was as if I were being swept along in a river, just before the falls, the current was so strong, it was forcing me in that direction, as if I had no control, and soon I found myself next to him, giving him a big hug.
"I feel much better now. My dad must be home."
"How can you tell?"
"I can hear Teddy barking in the house. He is always so happy when one of my parents gets home."
"He is a happy dog, Teddy is really cool. Should we go inside to meet your dad?"
"No he will be out in a second, as soon as he gets a beer." And sure enough he came out strolling across the yard, big steps, with Teddy running circles around him. He came up to the patio and was extending his arm toward James, while James was standing up.
"Nice to meet you James."
"Glad to meet you too," James said.
"Please call me Bill and Shawn's mother is Sarah. Please sit down," my dad said to James. The two of us sat down together, my dad took a seat opposite us, it was where he normally sat. "James, I hear you're a surveyor."
"Like what you do."
"Love it, it's a great job."
"Good it's very important to like your job. I've been working at the same place for fifteen years now. Had lots of different jobs while I've been there. Each time was more of a challenge."
"Who do you work for?" James asked.
"It's a family run operation, the Johnson's own it. They have been in business for seventy years now. It's a good company, but like any job it has it's ups and downs. Shawn tells me your staying with him now, how's that going?"
"I couldn't ask for a better place to be." I turned and smiled at him while he looked my way for a second. He turned back to my dad. "Shawn has helped me out in so many ways, he is a very kind, and caring person. We get along well, communicate, and keep things open and honest. I was lucky to run into him."
"Glad things are working out for you boys. I've never known Shawn to open up too much, you must be a special person for him to share with you."
"Well your Shawn is a special person too." James looked over at me again with a big smile.
"Shawn, what does James have that we don't?"
"Dad." I could always tell when he was kidding, even though he looked serious.
"So tell me," James said, "It must have taken a long time to put this all together. All of these bricks, the grill area, and these chairs, how did you do it?"
"It's been an adventure. Learned a lot doing it, making my share of mistakes."
"I haven't seen any mistakes."
"I could show you a few. Just one of those things you learn to do as you go on. Kept Shawn here busy a for a summer." Teddy was bouncing back and forth between my dad and James. He usually kept everyone entertained. Sudden Teddy took off for the house. It was my mom coming outside, he must have heard the door. Teddy went running up to her then ran back to us and back to my mom. What a nut he was.
"Dinner is almost ready guys, be about ten minutes. Are all of you having a good time?"
"Yes mom," I answered for all of us.
"We'll be up in a minute," my dad said.
"I've got some last minute things to do, shouldn't be too long," my mom said, and turned to go back inside.
"Seen your uncle Bob lately?" my dad asked.
"Probably go see him this weekend." We continued to talk for a short while and went in to eat. The food was good and we all ate plenty. I didn't think James would ever stop eating. Then dessert came and he ate some more. I always thought I ate a lot, till I met James. We said our goodbyes and went home.
"Your parents are wonderful."
"They have always been good to me."
"Your mom is a great cook, I don't know how you are so thin."
"I ran a lot, burned off the calories."
"And that Teddy is a trip. Wish you had a dog like that."
"Someday I'd like to." The rest of the trip home was quiet. Once home James went to bed, while I took a shower, and brushed my teeth. When I came out it was dark, but found my way to bed and crawled in on my side. It being dark I didn't know if James was there for sure. As I got settled in I reached out with my hand until I brushed his arm.
"Goodnight," he said.
"Goodnight James," I said very softly and let my hand stay there on his arm. I quickly drifted off to sleep. I woke up during the night must have turned on my side facing away from James. I could feel his hand and arm across my back. He was so warm, and I felt safe and drifted back to sleep. I woke up in the morning, slowly opened my eyes, and saw James staring at me.
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