I needed to step away for a moment, let my emotions subside, and give Jed an opportunity to absorb the depth and breadth of our conversation. Standing, stretching in order to rid myself of the various kinks age can bring, along with relieving the stress I was currently feeling, glancing at my watch, I noticed it was mid-morning. I walked to the kitchen and brought back a Pepsi for Jed and an ice-tea for me. Placing his drink in front of him, returning to my place at the table, we each slowly savored our beverages, quietly, with both of us deep in thought and contemplation.
Smiling, as he looked deeply into my eyes, my son asked, "If it wasn't love at first sight, what finally brought the two of you together?"
Laughing, for the first time all morning, I chuckled aloud saying, "At first, he seemed like a poor, little rich boy, flooded with money, living off campus – with his own car, mind you, and I didn't even have a bicycle. It took some time, but I eventually succumbed to his bubbly personality, optimism, his persistence, and, yes, his extremely good looks. Grant had his sights set on me, but I just didn't realize it at the time. Yes, Grant was persistent."
Two weeks later, when my Sunday shift at the Library rolled around, he showed up again around eight o'clock. Once in the door, he practically skipped over to the information desk where I was stationed. His eyes sparkled and when he smiled, his face lightened as the mid-day sun, illuminating and warming everything and everyone within its glow.
"I looked for you last Sunday, but you weren't here. You weren't sick or something or out on a hot date?"
I thought at the time, how audacious, brazen, and overly familiar he was with someone he hardly knew. He was certainly more forward than I was used to. Really, it was pretty cheeky of him when I didn't know his name and at that point, I wasn't certain I even wanted to. This guy came on like gang-busters and could portend danger to me, perhaps someone to be avoided, however, trying to be civil and yet friendly, I smiled, looked down, and responded, "I only work every other Sunday; I was off."
Grant looked at me, grinned from ear to ear, and then in an almost pleading request, asked, "What're you doing when you get off tonight? Want to go for a pizza or something?"
This guy was so bold, so intrusive into my sedate, scholarly life, so determined, but yet so damned appealing to me. As hungry as I was and as delicious as a pizza might be, pay day was not until the next Wednesday and I just didn't have any extra cash.
Shaking my head reluctantly, no, I responded, "I'd better not, thanks anyway."
"Aw, come on now; let me treat since it was your idea that got me the 'A' on the persuasive speech. Let me thank you; it was a great topic and really stirred up a couple of the bigots in the class. I'm Grant, by the way, and I'll just wait outside for you to get off work," and with a smile, a wink, an easy wave of his hand, exuding utter confidence I'd join him, he left. He certainly possessed a great deal of energy and vitality.
The library closed at nine and Grant was sitting on the front steps waiting just as he said he would. Grabbing me by the hand, he announced as we headed across the street, "I'm driving, but I'm parked in the employee lot so we have to hustle or the Campus Police will give me a ticket and that won't make Daddy very happy. What's your name? Do you live in the dorm? Are you from Wisconsin?"
"Parker; yes, and yes! Where are we going?" I asked, concerned perhaps, with all the energy and exuberance Grant exhibited we'd end up in Chicago for pizza, as we approached a late model, four door sedan; not new, not old, and mid-priced.
Grant opened the front passenger door, motioned me in, dashed around to the driver's side, and once in, said, "Buckle up, Parker, we're off," as excited as a little boy at Christmas. We ended up a one of those pizza parlors on the east side of town rather than one of those closer to campus. We were seated, pondered the menu, and Grant announced, "I like sausage, hamburger, and cheese combo, how about you?"
The combo was my favorite; something I seldom ordered since two meats plus cheese was more expensive than just plain cheese, so I nodded my approval. While we waited for our pizza, I learned Grant was an only child of a very successful trial attorney in the Milwaukee area, loved camping, fishing, gardening (albeit vicariously), reading, opera, ballet, classical music, and more. His cultural tastes were very eclectic, just like me, only he had more opportunity to enjoy those things growing up. His vocational ambition was to become a lawyer, not a trial lawyer such as his father, wore boxer shorts (small like me), was approximately my height and weight, and we were both twenty years old, born the same month of the same year.
In the midst of our conversation, Grant very cleverly, almost innocently it seemed, probed into my life, bringing me to tell him of my family, my educational goals, scholarships received, and lack of financial resources. I was soon to learn he had a mind like a steel trap; once something was committed to memory, he rarely forgot it and was extremely capable of recalling whatever it was he was seeking in his mind. We visited while we ate and continued our conversation until the parlor closed. Grant drove me back to the dorm, stood outside visiting for a while, until, with a wave and a smile, he left. Lying in bed that night, I wrestled with my emotions while my roommate snored.
Grant was likeable, bright, interesting, fun to be with, and so much desired to please me. Physically, we were of the same stature; personality, I was quieter, more reserved, and cautious; he was handsome and I thought myself plain and; he was from wealth and I wasn't. Our family didn't have the resources his family did and our backgrounds were so dissimilar. In my mind, I was certain he'd soon tire of having me as a friend and I'd be alone on campus again. In my heart, I wanted more than friendship from him, but who knows if he wanted the same? Perhaps he had some rich girl friend tucked away somewhere, complete with poodle and bouffant hair, and I was just an interlude, a distraction from the hubbub of campus life. There was no sense in getting my hopes up, knowing it'd only be a source of disappointment.
Wednesday was an eight hour day at the library for me, starting a two in the afternoon until closing at ten. I have two morning classes also, so by days end, my ass is dragging. When my shift ended and I left to walk back to my dorm, Grant met on the Library front steps again.
"Where are you going, handsome," he mischievously asked, wagging his eyebrows in the process, "want to share a coke or something with a love sick sophomore?"
Somewhat taken aback by his pronouncement of being a "love sick sophomore," I none the less laughed and nodded my acceptance of his offer. Smiling at me, he took my hand and led me to his car in the student lot, this time. We had nothing more than just a soda at some little two-by-four joint, but I had so much fun.
Reluctant to bring the evening to a close, I finally said, "Grant, I've got to go; I have an early class in the morning and still have some reading to do." He drove me back to the dorm, walked up to the front entrance with me, placed his hand on my shoulder, and asked, with some timidity, "May I see you again, Parker?"
I grinned, winked, and responded, "Anytime!"
Grant giggled and skipped back to his car, while my heart floated me up to my room. It was difficult for me to study once I returned, knowing he wanted to see me again and how desperately I wanted to reciprocate. Crazy as it may seem, I felt as though he was courting me. If true, it warmed my heart, gave purpose and meaning to my life, and hope for my future.
As the semester hummed along toward Thanksgiving break, our Wednesdays and every other Sunday rendezvous' became every day, studying together, being together, laughing, giggling, silently looking at each other, and, for me, falling in love. The night before Thanksgiving break, before we headed our separate ways, Grant treated me to burger and fries. I know I should object, but he wanted to please me, wanted to show me that he could share with me, provide for me, and I loved it! When he dropped me off at the dorm, we stood in the parking instead of him coming to my room.
Grant placed his hands on my shoulders, moved his head closer until our foreheads touched, saying softly, "I'm going to miss you so much when we are apart. Will you miss me?"
Choking up, wanting to say "yes," I could but nod, moving my head to his shoulder. Grant released my shoulders, slipped one hand gently under my chin, lifted it, and caressed my lips with his. I reacted like a moth to the flame, eagerly meeting his lips with mine, as he softly plucked my bottom lip, probed with his tongue for entrance to meet mine, engaged it, then withdrew, and kissed my neck, my forehead, my cheeks, and my lips again. As he brought us closer, wrapping his arms around me, I could feel his stiffness twitching against mine as our crotches touched.
Shivering, fearful if we stayed together much longer, I would deposit a sticky mess in my shorts, I sighed in surrender to his touch, ready for what may occur, but he took a deep breath, pulled away, saying, "I'll call you," and stepped back, continuing, "you know I love you with all my heart, don't you?"
Grinning, nodding like a bobble-head doll on the dashboard of a car, I acknowledged his declaration and at that moment, I became the happiest person on campus, I think. I didn't want us to part, fearful of what I heard, what I felt, was only an apparition, a dream, a figment of my imagination, from which I'd awake and reality would strike me as hard as a blacksmiths hammer thunders on his anvil. Would the chariot turn into a pumpkin pulled, not by white steeds, prancing gallantly, but poor mice, struggling through life? Looking at him, I knew here was someone who loved me, poor, plain, simple me.
"You, know, Jed, it was at that moment, I realized I'd fallen in love, head over heels, ass over applecart, with Grant Hoffman. I thought then what a God-awful combination; a poor boy and a rich boy falling in love with each other, and males besides in an often bigoted world. However, I never regretted a moment of our lives together."
Looking at my watch and hearing my stomach grumble, I stood up, saying, "Jed, let's take a break for lunch."
After lunch, we returned to the porch, but instead of the table, I chose the wooden rocker I often sat in while enjoying the natural setting of our home, the lake, and the surrounding forested land. Wildlife isn't prone to wander about during the midday, although there are a number of birds active in the nearby trees. A pair of bald eagles nest in one of the tall pines near the lake and were circling high, floating on drifting winds aloft, taking advantage of the height to see, swoop down upon, and secure a meal for their fledglings.
Jed pulled up a chair, set it in front of me, and settled himself comfortably in it, gazing at me in anticipation of more to come.
"I suppose you want me to continue, don't you?" I inquired of him.
He smiled and nodded in return, leaning forward, intent on capturing every word, every nuance of the story of his father and his love.
"Grant did call Thanksgiving Day, twice in fact," I began. "The first time he called, I asked him where he got the number and he said he called information. 'Do you know,' he said with satisfaction, 'there are only three Parker's in the book. The first one said he was your uncle when I asked for you and he gave me your number.' Grant called twice a day, Jed, all through break. Generally he'd call the first thing in the morning and then at bed time. It was then, each evening he called, he'd tell me how much he missed me, the strength of his love for me, and just before saying 'goodnight' would recite some small portion or verse from Solomon's 'Song of Songs' or another endearing verse or poem. Son, I remember well that first bedtime call, that first verse, just before he said goodnight; 'Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth for thy love is better than wine.' During the wonderful years we were together, whenever we were separated overnight, Grant would always express his deepening love for me, his unbridled passion, and his desire to please me by reciting something from the 'Song of Songs' or other romantic verse."
When we returned to campus, it was difficult to separate us, one from the other, during the day. We studied together, ate our lunches together, doing all of those things a courting couple, in love, do, except live together. My room at the dorm became a place to store my things and spend my nights while the rest of my time was taken up with study, work, classes, and Grant.
One December weekend, while studying at Grant's apartment, a particularly nasty snow storm barreled up out of the southwest and descended on the city, blanketing it with swirling, drifting, cascading curtains of white. Grant flipped on the television and the weather people were announcing the snow was inundating the city at the rate of one and a half inches per hour and advising all people to stay off of the Interstates, beltway, and city streets. There was no way in hell I was going to make it back to campus in this miserable weather. Grant knew it too, but said nothing as I fussed about, worrying, being my fidgety self when perplexed or faced with a problem beyond my ability to control or solve.
He walked over to the window, peered out at the snow huffing about on the street, the wind off of Lake Mendota kicking it into ever increasingly high drifts, turned and announced, "Parker, you're not going out, so just quit your fussing; you're staying here tonight."
I'd known that for the past hour. What I was really nervous about was spending the night with him in his bed; he only had the one. I wanted to so badly, but I was so inexperienced, so plain, and he was so beautiful. I longed to run my hands over his nakedness, let him hug me close to him, and for us to make love to each other, but I was afraid I wouldn't be what he expected or wanted. I was so timid, so shy, bashful, but so much in love.
Grant, sensing and seeing my hesitation, knowing me better than I knew myself it seems, walked quietly over to me, lay his soft, warm face against mine, and whispered into my ear, "Not to worry, 'My beloved spake and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away'" and led me by my hand into his bedroom.
Standing beside his bed, peering deeply into each other's eyes, expressing our unspoken love for each other, knowing that our love would stand the test of time and space; we were two young men about to begin a lifetime of learning together, of patient understanding, each willing to put the other first, and fully committed to each other's welfare, sustenance, and life. Our hearts were as one, beating rhythmically, synchronized to the life forces of the other, each lost without the dual accompaniment.
He embraced me, sought my lips with those soft, moist delicate instruments of his, nestling them with the ease of feathery clouds, brushing across, drifting down my neck, migrating up behind my ears, slipping into the crook of my neck, that erogenous spot which makes one quiver with sensuous delight, until returning to their original destination. As he did, he began to slowly, methodically unbutton my shirt, beginning the process of us claiming each other. When the shirt opened, I dropped my arms to my side, allowing him to remove it. His head snuggling gently against my neck, placing soft kisses about my ears and throat, slowly pulled my t-shirt up to my arm pits and then over my head, discarding it to the floor. Warm, delicate hands stroked up and down my spine, gently massaged my back muscles, slipped under my arm pits and reached over my shoulders, pulling my chest to him and his mouth to mine.
His hands, those wonderful instruments of pleasure, voyaged from my shoulders and my back to my sides and then to the front of my shirtless body, there dancing across my abdomen, tickling, caressing me in the most delightful ways until they found my zip and began opening that portal to my jeans. Once down, he loosed the button at the waist, and using both hands, slid my jeans and my boxer shorts to the floor, leaving me before him, my nakedness for him to possess. Kneeling before me, as if in homage to a deity or great king, he removed them for me and began kissing his way up the insides of my legs until he reached my tightening scrotum and firm erection. Clasping my buttocks firmly, but easily, massaging them, slipping his fingers up and down the cleft as if seeking to become familiar with that which I was willing to give to him, he lightly twirled his tongue across my hardened member and stood up.
Beginning to disrobe, I reached forward to assist or do so, but, clasping both of my hands, bringing them to his lips, he murmured, "Nay, sweet one, for I am but your humble servant; it is thee I love for thou art the fairest, the most magnificent, and with thee am I completed."
My desire was heightened for him as he slowly, provocatively removed his clothing, one piece at a time, until he stood naked before me. As I viewed for the first time what I could only describe as perfection, a beauty not unsurpassed by Adonis, perfection in man personified, I could only but lean into him, draw his nakedness to mine, and encircle my arms about him. Returning his kisses, I whispered in supplication, "I don't deserve anyone as wonderful as you, my love, my Grant, my all."
He brought me to his bed, our place of comfort and warmth, wrapped his arms and legs about me, cuddling me, holding me safely in the strength of his arms and heart, and I, again, felt his lips brush mine, willing me to open to him, and experience the pleasure of his contact with me. Time began moving slowly, yet swiftly, as it can only do when two people are so deeply in love. As the night progressed, we made love to each other; first Grant to me and then me to him. His presence, steely, sensuous, and gentle, excited and pleasured me. As he moaned his delight, seeding me with his sperm, I could only hope and wish for more. Opening himself to me, feeling the tightness and the softness of his inner sanctum, stimulated by my own rocking motion, brought me the same pleasure as he brought to me just a short time before. We were to each other, all things to come.
In the wee hours, that magic time just before the darkness of night fades into dawn, Grant embraced me, kissed me again, and murmured to me, "remember sweet one, 'Many waters cannot quench love; neither can floods drown it; if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be contemned,'" drawing my heart even closer to his.
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