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by Lou Hanford

a story of unrequited love

The way I met Peter was as generic as a meeting can be. I was at an office Birthday celebration at a very straight restaurant/bar. I never cared much for these kinds of things and generally got bored not very far into them. In an effort to lose the crowd for a while and the pain of all the happy couples that were invited to the celebration, I removed myself from the table that was in a private area and took myself to the bar to order myself a plain old beer. It wasn't too late into the evening and the bar wasn't that crowded. There were only a few people seated at the bar and one was a very handsome guy about my age (32 then) who was alone. As I waited for my beer I smiled and he smiled back. As I was handed my beer, he lifted his and toasted me and we both gulped. I thought that was a friendly thing for him to do so I moved over to him and said something lame like 'quiet evening.' He was very upbeat and we immediately started chatting. He seemed excited and in need of sharing some news. I sat on the stool next to his. We introduced and he told me that he was in from Philly and had just accepted a job offer in Boston. I learned that he was divorced about 10 months earlier and wanted to get away and begin a new start. He asked me all sorts of questions about Boston having only been here one time prior and that was on business. Before long an hour and several beers had passed. I found that I really liked this guy and since it was Friday I invited him to spend Saturday in Boston and we could do a leisurely tour of the city so that he would know what he had gotten himself into. He had planned to drive back in the morning but thought that would be a great idea and thanked me for the generous offer. The more I sat to his side and frequently head on, the more I began to see the beauty in this man and realized I wanted to know him much better. It was already clear to me that he was straight but that didn't matter. He was truly handsome and I wanted to spend time with him. We agreed that I would meet him at his hotel the next morning and we would have breakfast and then start our journey.

It was a really nice spring day and everything was coming to life in the city. He looked really good out of the suit he sported during our first meeting. Back then the style was much different and he had what I thought then was a very sexy jersey, flattering jeans and a pair of high top sneakers that were unlaced as they were worn back then. He looked much younger than 32. We had a great day and we became comfortable with one another and less like strangers meeting for only the second time. There became so much about him that I found attractive and even sensual. Several times I found myself aroused in his presence. At the end of the day he insisted on taking me to dinner. I loved when we sat at a table together because I faced him head on and was able to indulge in his so very handsome face. (As I am writing this and thinking of today's standards, I can only imagine how ruggedly handsome he would have looked with several day's worth of beard on his face.) Before he parted for his hotel for the evening, we shared another beer and I took that opportunity to invite him to return the next weekend and we could look at some possible areas that he might like to settle in. He was currently living in a suburb of Philly in the house he and his ex had bought (while waiting for it to sell) and he wasn't sure if he wanted to live in Boston or nearby. I offered to take him on an excursion and give him a feel for both. I was living in a condo in the South End at that time and had a room for guests. I told him he would be very comfortable there. He thanked me over and over gain and we made plans for his return next Saturday morning.

He turned out to be a model house guest. His sneakers or shoes came off at the door (without being asked), picked up after himself, and treated my home as his. If we had coffee, he cleaned up, washed the coffee maker and mugs, dried them and put them away. He was easy to have around. We got to know more details of each other's lives (although I did not let on to him that I was a gay man). It didn't come up and I didn't feel any reason to tell him. He gave me a lot of the details surrounding the breakup of his 6 year marriage. It was quite obvious that he still had feelings for his wife as several times his eyes glossed over and he admitted that it was best that he move away and to start fresh. We ate most meals out because he felt it was the only way he could thank me for my hospitality and the generosity of my time. (Little did he know I should have been thanking him.) I could not wait for Sunday morning to see how he presented himself just out of bed. Of course I was hoping for nothing more than boxers!! I was already up with coffee brewing. He said that was the signal for him to rise. He seemed to love coffee. He came into the kitchen wearing a dark blue tee shirt, black sweat pants and white tube socks. Tube socks were in back then. It was the first time I noticed how wonderful his chest actually was. I had previously picked up a variety of things for breakfast so we ate, showered and were on our way. But not before Peter had cleaned up and put all the dishes away. We had really established a connection and seemed to equally enjoy our time together. We spent the entire day out in the suburbs and before long, the sun was setting. We had never gotten to see any of the rentals in Boston proper. He could not spend the entire day (Sunday) looking at rentals so we barely scratched the surface. It was a 5 and a half hour drive back and he had to work on Monday. He could not return the next weekend due to other obligations but did the following which was a long weekend. That gave him more time since he was also going to take Friday off and drive up. He felt like he was being a total inconvenience to me and because of the length of time he was going to be in Boston he made plans to stay at a nearby motel that was somewhat less expensive than a Boston Hotel. As soon as I found out I insisted that he cancel the reservation and told him I would not hear of it. Aside from the fact that I enjoyed his company, I loved having that handsome face and masculine body in my condo. He was overwhelmed with gratitude. The Friday that he arrived was the day I received my first hug from Peter. I cherished it. I also got hard.

I knew by this time I was developing feelings for Peter that were unhealthy but beyond my control. It was so easy to like him and he made me want to like him. He was soft and gentle yet masculine and very heterosexual at the same time. Of course the inevitable topic of conversation came up that weekend. Why was I not married or at least dating. I gave him a story that I had concocted in this event that I thought he could relate to and told him that after a long engagement with whom I thought was the most wonderful woman in the world, someone from her past interjected and we ended the wedding plans and parted ways. I didn't go into much more detail than that as I didn't want to have to remember too many lies. I felt like a total heel but I had to give him something to believe while giving credibility to my bachelor self. And it worked. After that we didn't talk very much about our past love lives. It seemed it served no good purpose for either of us. Instead he started asking me where the good places were to meet women. That made me wonder how long it had been for him and if he reserved the motel for just that very reason. Of course it did not happen for him that weekend but I knew it was on his mind. Everywhere we went his eyes were roaming and he was looking. Several times he pointed certain females out and asked what I thought. He said when he finally moved to Boston we should consider double dating (I don't remember the exact term he used but I knew what he meant). Fortunately I did and still do have a wonderful friend, Shari, whom I can always rely on when the need arises. I know if I were straight she would be my wife, but that would never happen.

That weekend was wonderful. I loved every moment I spent with Peter. I also loved seeing him in many forms of dress and undress. He stayed thru the holiday weekend and planned to leave very early Tuesday morning. When we were home for the evening, he showered so that he could get an early start in the morning. When he returned from the guest room having showered and packed, he wore only a pair of gym shorts. No shirt, no socks. My heart failed to beat for at least 30 seconds. He had no underwear on and when he sat, there was no hiding the outline of his masculinity. Being the hetero he is, he had no idea what was happening to me. For him it was just a shower and attire for bed. I could not control my erection and had to leave, shower, and put on a jock strap to hold myself in place. I was a mess.

We talked several times during the week and he was getting nervous that time was passing and he did not locate a place to live yet. The house he and his wife had purchased had finally sold and was closing very soon. He was planning to take some time off when he left his job in Philly to pack and sort out things but now that time was gone. He had to be out of the house and had to hire a mover to get his things here and put them in storage. I found a place for him in Boston that was reasonable and he could place his belongings in the facility until he found something permanent. I enforced that there was no question that he and his clothes would move in with me and he could stay until he found something to his liking. It was a done deal.

After that I had to stop and analyze this entire chain of events. How did it come to be that this very straight stranger I had met in a very straight bar had taken my heart away from me without even knowing it and that I, a very gay man, had fallen in love with him. There was no doubt in my mind that I was not falling in love with him, but that I already had. This was the worst possible thing I could do. Invite the man who could give me nothing but unrequited love into my home and share my life with him. But now it was too late. I had made my bed and now I had to sleep in it. Alone.

As I said before, Peter was not only the ideal house guest, but also proved to be a model roommate. He enjoyed cooking, he was as meticulous as I am about a clean home, and he was sheer pleasure to have around. On weekends we shopped together, we cleaned the condo together and we did laundry together. I laughed with him more than I had laughed in years. I was so comfortable around him and had to stop myself on so many levels from expressing what would be interpreted as unwanted advances or affection. On one hand it was so amazing to have him as a roommate, but on the other hand, it was so very painful. At night in bed I fantasized about him continuously. I saw his handsome face every time I jerked off. I was becoming obsessed and I knew it.

Unfortunately (for him) his new job had been occupying a great deal of his time and his evenings proved nonexistent thus making apartment hunting time nil. I suggested that he put lodging on the back burner and concentrate on the acclimation of his new job (which he was thrilled with and so glad he was chosen for it). I enforced that things were going great (to his agreement), that I was enjoying his company as a roommate and for now, we should just keep things as they are. So we did. We continued our living arrangement as roommates.

Again I would see him in various stages of dress and undress. He was a wizard at taking my breath away. I could tell he was about ready to climb the walls as when he did have a free night at work, he didn't come home until very early morning hours. I knew he was hooking up when he could. On several instances, he did not come home at all on a Friday or Saturday evening. I felt betrayed on those occasions but I knew I had no right to feel that way. I began to resent a whole string of women I didn't even know. I had to keep reminding myself that we were roommates, not a couple. Yet, I felt like he was cheating on me whenever he was late or didn't come home at all. But when we shared time alone, that is what it felt like to me. We were a couple. In a restaurant, having a beer, just sitting around having a cup of coffee or watching a tv show. It was wonderful. I loved sharing the same air with him. It wasn't long into our bromance that I realized that when he was comfy for the night, he didn't wear undies. As a result I got to see him in various stages of arousal from time to time. I recall one time that he fell asleep on the sofa while we were watching whatever, his dreams took him to someplace very erotic and his sweats tented high. Times like those were the most difficult for me. Made me want to violate him in every way I could. But I would always remember that having him as I did, was far better than not having him at all. And I knew if I violated his trust, I would very quickly have nothing at all.

Still, it was horribly painful to be in love with someone like Peter. No way to express it. No way to satisfy the desires and lust that drove me crazy. There were so many moments I wanted to join him or have him join me on the sofa. Rub his chest or back. Glide my fingers thru his hair. Place his feet on my lap and massage and rub them for him. Simple loving ways of showing affection. I could do none of them. Even more painful was knowing that he never once considered doing any one of those things to me.

But of course I could not fault him for that. He was straight. Heterosexual and I knew he loved women. On several occasions he asked if I would be okay with him bring his date for the evening home to spend the night. I had no right to say no as this was his home too. He was paying his rent and more than his share of food and utilities. I won't say it didn't pain me when he did, but I would never prevent him.

I don't exactly know when it happened but it seemed it just did. There was no further talk of finding a place to live. Where I lived was convenient to where he worked. Just a short subway ride away. Of course I was okay with that and I never pressed the issue that he should be on the hunt for his own place. Things were just status quo between us and we were both as comfortable living together as we could possibly be. Peter did share at some point that he hated living alone in the house after the divorce. For him it was horrible living alone. I had pretty much lived alone most of my life so it was fine for me, but I had grown to love having a roommate. Especially Peter.

Over the course of the summer, Peter and I went to Maine (just a mere hour and a half away) for several weekend getaways from the city. We stayed on the ocean and both loved the water and sunning beside it. The first weekend away was the first time I saw Peter naked. Bare assed naked. Frontal nudity naked. It was brief, but naked nonetheless. Of course it only made me fall deeper in love with him. His body was exemplary. And he didn't even work out. I figured it must have been all the sex he was having with women. I think one of the things that impressed me most about Peter was that when I suggested a weekend in Maine, he never faulted on the idea. He gave up his weekend of probable sex with some bimbo to spend a sexless weekend alone with me. That made me realize that he enjoyed and appreciated our company together. That was a joy for me. I'm not sure why he felt that way but he did… and I was glad. It was also wonderful to sleep in the same room with him when we went away. Even though we each slept in a double bed, just being that close to him was amazing. Hearing his breathing and sounds as he slept would keep me awake at night but I relished every moment. Not because they were annoying, but because they were beautiful. Because they were his and he was right there beside me. He kept me hard all night and I always had all I could do to keep my hands off of him. I was so horribly in love with this man and he didn't even know it. There were times the pain of longing was so great my eyes filled with tears. The hurting, the yearning was endless. I began to think I should talk to a professional. This was unhealthy, I knew it, yet I could not stop or even control it. I was self inflicting the most ruthless pain I had ever known.

Peter was beginning to sense a change in my personality. He asked what was wrong. He had no idea what was wrong was my feelings for him. I lied and told him it was work. He offered himself if I ever felt I needed to talk. He had no idea how oxymoron that statement was.

I was not brave enough to see a professional. I somehow already knew what the solution was and it would only be fortified. I didn't want to go there. As even more time passed, I tried to extricate myself from the situation as best I could. Seeing less of Peter, being at home less, getting involved in other activities beside the hobby of thinking of Peter 24/7. None of it worked. It just made me miss him more.

And then it happened. The weekend that changed everything. Thanksgiving weekend. We made plans to go skiing for 4 days. Peter made reservations for us at Loon Mountain , NH. He got a suite with two bedrooms, living room with a huge sectional sofa, kitchen and 2 baths. We left Thanksgiving morning and arrived before noon. When I saw the place, and the two bedrooms, it didn't take a rocket scientist to realize he had plans to hook up with a ski bunny or two that weekend. And why shouldn't he, he was a hot straight guy who loved hot straight women. I was bummed and yet I knew I should not have been.

We skied for a while after we got settled and then later that evening for a Thanksgiving buffet in the dining room. Afterwards we spent some time in the bar and it didn't take Peter very long to find female company. He didn't sleep in his own bed that night. He returned early on Friday to shower and we got ready for a day of skiing. We had a great day but Peter ended it early because he was meeting up with the "bimbo" he met the night before and they were having dinner. Once again he did not return to his bed that night. The following morning he rolled in about 8 and again we planned a day of skiing. He told me that the woman he had spent the last two nights with was leaving and heading back to NY. He told me how great she was and how amazing she was in bed. Not exactly what I wanted to hear from the guy I was in love with. I didn't want to be pissed but I was. I tried as hard as I could to keep my feelings under wraps because I knew it was jealousy and I didn't want to have to explain that away with still another lie. Anyway, we both showered (unfortunately not together) and dressed then headed off for a nice breakfast and a very full day of skiing. No interruptions. We skied into the darkness then headed back to the suite. I asked him if he had plans for dinner or would we have dinner together. He said he was totally exhausted and thought he would just shower and probably go straight to bed. I knew there was no sense pushing him so I showered first and headed off for a dinner alone. It was such a sobering dinner because I was alone, and I knew that as far as my relationship with Peter was concerned, I would always be alone. It was a very sad and lonely dinner. Afterwards, I stopped at the bar and had a few beers talking with a stranger or familiar face from here or there. Afterwards, I made the trip back to the suite.

I expected to be alone for the rest of the evening with Peter off to bed, but I was surprised to see him stretched out on one end of the sectional sofa with his head on the soft and billowy arm. The television was on but his eyes were shut and his breathing indicated a sound and restful sleep. I can only tell you that seeing him stretched out on the sofa wearing a zip front sweatshirt, sweats and white socks that my cock took on a mind of its own. I stashed my parker, pulled off my boots and like magic, found myself lying on the return end of the sectional sofa. I had propped myself up on pillows and as I laid there, could feel the warmth of his feet as I pressed my thigh into them. I was wearing underwear under my jeans but there was no way of hiding the hardon I was already sporting.

It took several minutes for my heart and breathing to resume to a normal rate. I had never been this close to Peter in all the time we were together. I kept looking at him as I listened to his deep restful breathing over the low volume of the television. He was so peaceful and looked almost vulnerable. Even with my thigh pressing into the soles of his feet, he made no movement. When my body relaxed, I placed my left arm over the sofa pillows that were running parallel with Peter. I was feeling less and less in control and I could feel beads of sweat on the sides of my head and forehead. I found myself in a situation I had fantasized over time and time again. Here was Peter out cold and I was in arms reach. My hand slowly found its way over the front of the cushion and eventually millimeters away from Peter's sweatpants. When my finger ever so gently touched his sweats, it was several inches below his knee. Just feeling the fabric of his sweats was causing my hand to shake. I pulled my hand forward, closer to me and it rested on the ankle of his foot. I kept it there to see if there was any change in Peter's sleep. There was not. I slid my hand in under the sweats and up some until I could feel the hair on his leg. Again I stopped to study his sleep. And again there seemed to be no change. It felt so good being under the leg of his sweats and touching his masculine hairy leg. I even pulled his sock down closer to his foot so I could feel more of his bare skin. I knew I was leaking like a faucet and my penis kept convulsing from the excitement. I felt a bit vulnerable keeping my hand inside the leg of his sweats, so I slowly pulled it out and placed it on his socked foot. I began to rub and massage it and even ran my fingers in-between his toes. Even though this was only Peter's foot, it was his and I was excited as all hell to be touching and rubbing it. I treated it as a sex object and I loved it. It was soft and warm. It was only a foot but it was at that moment the most sensual appendage I had ever touched. By now I had risen his foot slightly so that it was no longer on the sofa but on my thigh. I had both of my hands wrapped around it and was in total ecstasy rubbing and massaging it. I knew I needed more and with trembling hands, I lifted his foot higher and higher while looking at his sleeping face. He had no awareness of what was taking place. Even though he was sleeping in blissful peace I realized this was a very dangerous thing to do. I had lifted his left leg slowly and gently to my face. I rubbed my cheek against the softness of his sock and sole of his foot. I recall so vividly wanted to place his toes into my mouth and gently bite on them. I don't remember how long I remained this way but my right hand slipped into my jeans and underwear and hardly without my fingers making contact, I came. I came with an intensity I had not experienced in years. I lost sight of my surroundings and found myself in some far off Neverland. I did not return until I felt his foot being released from my face and my grasp. I turned and our eyes locked. A look of utter incomprehension was on Peter's face. If I could have chosen to die at that very moment I would have. I was mortified and never had I achieved such embarrassment or lack of self control. I couldn't speak. I couldn't look at him. Nothing good could ever come of this.

Nothing was said between us but Peter lifted himself off the sofa. Something started to mumble out of my mouth but Peter's hand went up gently to stop me from making a fool of myself as he was walking out of the room to his bedroom. I was sweating, my eyes were wet, and I absolutely hated myself. I was in panic mode and I didn't know what to do. I couldn't even get myself off the sofa. There was nothing I could do but lay there and cry. And I cried like the fool that I knew I was.

I couldn't sleep at all. I tossed and turned, knowing I had ruined everything because of my lack of self control. I could smell coffee but I didn't know how I was going to face Peter or what I was going to say. I just laid there. I had never felt so helpless. Suddenly there was a knock on my door and I heard Peter say there was coffee in the kitchen and that he was going out for breakfast. He also said he was packed and we should leave when he returned. He didn't give me time to respond and I heard the door close.

We drove back in silence. Peter did not want to speak. Not a word about what happened. And we never did. The silence not only in the car was deafening but also the next few days at my condo. Peter spent a lot of time at work and in his room. We hadn't watched television together all week. On Friday he informed me that he was going away for the weekend. I asked him if we could talk about what happened and he again refused. I knew he had to be disappointed and angry over my behavior and that the trust he had in me had ended. I was certain that he was furious with me for learning that I was gay the way he did. As I said, he continued with his refusal to talk.

About middle of the week that followed, he announced that he was moving out on Saturday. My eyes just welled up with no self control. I asked him when his happened and he said he had been spending the evenings with a real estate rental agent and found a place in Cambridge that would be good for him. He said that he could move in on the 15th but he was waiting for Saturday because a few friends from work were going to help him get his things out of storage and move him in.

He saw me drying my eyes with my fingers and he softened somewhat. He said he was sorry that it came to this but he saw no other way that would be good for us both. He said he felt he should be flattered that I had these kinds of feelings for him but that he wasn't. He said the greatest surprise of all was he had absolutely no idea I was gay until that moment he woke up. He said I did a great job of deceiving him. He was right and I knew it but I couldn't even get the words out I wanted to try and right that statement. I couldn't even find the words to apologize for never having confided in him. But I did manage to make sure that he knew that was the first time anything like that ever happened. It never happened before and I promise it never will I told him.

He said he hoped so. He hoped it was the first time. The thing is, there is always a first time for everything. I just want to make sure there is no chance of there ever being a second or third time. It's why I have to go. There is not one single fiber in my body that could make me feel the same way about you that you do about me. I'm sorry, I know that hurts you, but I'm not gay. I never will be. I love you for everything you have done for me from the very first day we met. I can never thank you enough for that, but I can't be who you want me to be. It's not who I am. I'll never be in love with you the way you obviously are with me. It just won't happen.

I knew he was right. And I knew I had thrown away the most meaningful relationship I had ever had.

Peter moved out on Saturday. I thought it best to not be around. When I returned, just like the gentleman he was, was a check for the full amount of his December rent and more than his share of the utilities and expenses. He left me a brief note thanking me for everything and mostly for my friendship when he needed it most. He wished me happiness and hoped I would find someone to love me in return.

He phoned me a few times after that to check on me, and each time he did, I fantasized that it would be the beginning of resuming our friendship. Of course it never did and I never saw Peter again. My heart was broken and to this day, it still is.


This story is part of the 2020 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture: Socks". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 31 January to 21 February is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the challenge home page.

The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:

2020 Inspired by a Picture Challenge - Socks

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