Jay & Miles

by ColumbusGuy

Chapter 18

Relationships

POV: Mikey

Well, it goes without saying that any hope of spending more relaxing time with my boyfriend in my arms was now gone...he was bouncing around like he'd eaten an entire factory-full of chocolate. Once Jay stopped squeezing the breath out of me and set me back on the floor, I went to sit on the couch we'd just shared. Dirck managed to get him to stop and calm himself long enough to give us more details; Jerry was taking some of his annual leave to come home for Linda's graduation in June, and to take a little break since he hadn't managed to get home since Thanksgiving. He'd wanted to at Christmas, but there was some drill or patrol or something which he couldn't miss. Since he was just about finished with his second year of four in the Coast Guard, he wanted some time to think about his options, and his sister's big day would give him that chance. Dirck and Rosalie seemed concerned about that bit of news, but Jay knew no more than what he'd already said.

I sat on the couch next to him, my hand resting on his thigh, and though he wasn't bouncing off the walls anymore, I could feel the tension in his muscles as it ebbed and surged through him, and something happened to me; the sparkle in the room seemed to dim a bit, and their voices recede into background noise like the television had during lunch. My mouth seemed dry for no real reason, and I wanted a glass of tea, but I wasn't sure if I could get up. Jay placed his hand over mine on his thigh, but it didn't seem to have its usual warmth. I returned his smile weakly, and mumbled something about getting a drink, before pushing myself up and heading into the kitchen. The glass I picked up off the cast iron enameled drainboard was the one I'd used at lunch—a clear glass tumbler with a design of vertical lines connected at their tops where they flared out into blue diamonds to match the pitcher of sweet-tea in the fridge. The other pitcher there held milk, both had larger stripes and diamonds, the tea in blue, the milk in yellow. Helping set the table, I remembered odd numbers of glasses in each pattern due no doubt to breakage over the years.

Standing in front of the Frigidaire's big green door, I stared blankly for a bit before pulling out the tea; with milk I'd need to brush my teeth sooner, and I didn't know how Jay felt about me using his brush...I'd just used mouthwash this morning. I poured half a glass and set the pitcher on the table, raising my glass to drink...after barely more than a sip, I felt my stomach clench and set the glass on the table. I knew the signs. So it was coming back? My head started to hurt and I lay it down on my crossed arms, trying to shield my eyes from the sunlight coming in the west-facing window. The first throb told me this wasn't going to work, and my eye came to the back door to the screened porch—it faced east and was shadowy and cool in the afternoon, so I quietly slipped out the screen door to sit down. There was a 'glider' there in the far corner, facing out toward the yard, and I sank down onto the cushioned seat and stretched out—the gentle rocking and creaking of the springs holding it off the ground helped a bit when I closed my eyes.

The trace aroma of Jade East told me who it was even before the swing shifted with Jay's added weight. I felt fingers lightly brush back my hair, and my right hand was taken in his. "Kæreste? What's wrong?" His whisper was barely audible, but the concern was overwhelming in its intensity. Oh, how much that hurt me right then—but what I actually said hurt far worse."Jay, I need to go home. I can't stay here."

His fingers stilled where they had been vainly trying to make my errant patches behave like the rest of their mates, and I felt him stiffen slightly. "I'm gonna run you home in an hour or so, Mikey..." I shook my head— I had to do this now. I bit my lip to stop it from quivering and turned my head slightly away from him. With my eyes closed I couldn't see his face, but I knew the hurt that would be there.

"Jay... please ...ask your Dad if he can take me..." I felt him squeeze my hand before he stood up. I heard him stifle a sob as his soft tread retreated into the house. Muffled voices came shortly after, but I could only catch snatches, '. ..I don't know, far ...', 'shutting me out...' and louder from just inside the kitchen, "He's crying." Heavier steps approached, and I felt large hands lift my shoulders up so he could sit on the seat, then Dirck lowered me back down so my head rested in his lap. He stroked my hair gently and I could feel some of the throbbing ease off...but it wasn't gone. His other hand pulled me into his chest and he began to run his hands over my shoulders...he worked the muscles bunched there for some time, easing the built-up tension. Where this large man learned to do something like this I had no idea, but his hands and the steady rhythm of his breathing gradually made the pain in my head recede. As he felt me relax into him, the deep massage changed to a lighter touch which connected with the turmoil in my head and drew order out of chaos. The rumble in his chest belied the soft tone he used when he finally spoke. "Jay says you want to go home? Did we do something to make you feel unwelcome?"

Dirck felt my head shake against his chest, his fingers continuing their work on my soul. "Miles, so much stress has to come from somewhere—tell me what's going on—whenever you're ready."Could I tell him? Would he still think me and Jay were a good idea? I licked my lips, my throat was too dry to get many words out, so he called for Jay to bring us some tea. Dirck took the glass from Jay, and when my boyfriend went to sit on the floor next to us, I heard his father ask him to give us some time—he'd call when it was good to come back. I felt a glass being held to my lips, and the cold sweetness of the tea. "Drink now, just a bit." He held it while I took several small sips, then took one of his own before sitting the glass on the table next to the glider. Besides the physical warmth coming from this burly farmer, there was a sense of calm acceptance which flowed into me: whatever I said to him, he'd never reject me . It took quite a while, but Dirck listened as I poured out what I'd told Jay Friday night and Saturday afternoon: the loneliness, the doubts and insecurities, even what I'd tried to do that night in my car. All he did was pull me in closer and stroke my hair. When I finally wound down, I felt him kiss the top of my head, much as Jay did, then he let out a breathy sigh.

"Miles, that's a lot to hold in...now I see why my boy ran out of here so fast Friday evening—but tell me something: what's changed? What are you trying to hide from?" My eyes opened to see him staring gently down at me, and a small smile played around his lips. "I'm not psychic, I just know a bit about how things work in boys' heads—I was one once, you know." I buried my face in his shirt, and started to cry again. "I know you still love him or you wouldn't have been so upset...you were fine right up until Jay came back from talking to Jerry...." His voice trailed off and the silence was eventually replaced by a low growl which caused his abdomen to flex and I realized with a jolt that he was holding back laughter! Before I could get angry, he said something which stopped me. "It's Annelise all over again."

At my questioning grunt into his chest, he laughed a bit louder. "Let's just say I was an idiot—no, that's not fair—a 'cop-out', is that the word? If I'm right, you just nod—okay?" He was asking me about current slang? I hardly ever used it since I didn't 'hang out' with the popular kids at school—Jay was the one to ask about that. Nevertheless, I nodded and wondered what he'd say. "Bear with me a bit; Rosalie's family and mine grew up next door to each other, so us kids all knew each other, and mostly got on okay: me, Willem, Eskil and Mikkel, and our sisters Katrin and Marit—Rosalie's brothers Valther and Matthias, and her sisters Annelise and Signe..." he laughed when he saw me trying to remember all the names, and handed me the tea again. "Annelise is the one you need to know for now—some of the rest are gone now." He sat quietly for a few minutes, and I could see him fight back tears when I grabbed his hand. He sipped the tea when I offered it, and went on.

"Rosalie and Annelise spent a lot of time together, they were just a year apart, and were practically twins from the way they ganged together if things got rough. So, when I got interested in dating Rosa, Annelise wanted to go everywhere with us—we had little enough time to ourselves, and I resented her tagging along—but Rosalie told me I was being stupid, and that there was no reason for me to be jealous of the time she and 'Lise spent together. But I was stupid, and let my feelings get out of hand—I told her she could spend time with me or 'Lise, not both." I saw him wince at that memory, and I finally got the point to this story—he had felt jealous of his wife's sister, just as I felt toward Jerry, only I'd never even met him. I began to wonder if such feelings were normal, and softly asked him what happened next.

"After calling me some very bad names in German and Danish, she punched me in the stomach, hard, and walked away. About a week later, her brothers Valther and Matthias had a 'talk' with me behind my dad's barn—when I got back to the house, Dad was furious until I told him what caused it, then he—and Eskil—jumped all over my ass. A few days later, Katrin sat me down in my room and gave me some pointers about how to treat girls, but it applies to lovers of any sex, I think; there are many types of love, and none of them can be used up—just tossed away. Love between siblings is one type, and between parents and children is another, then there is that between a couple who are bound together by nothing but love—no family ties. That one, she told me, was the hardest to forge, but the most satisfying in the end because it involved true feelings of respect, love and care...and the only way it could be lost is if one of the pair did something stupid and tossed it aside, as I was doing with my jealousy of Annelise.

"I sat in my room for a long time, thinking about what my sister had said, and after looking deeply within myself, I knew she was right. And— it wasn't the sister I was jealous of—it was the connection they shared. When I told Katrin about this, she gave me a hug and said that I finally understood—and the best way to get the same depth with Rosalie, was to spend time with her, doing things together even if it was no more than walking to the store or seeing a movie—but I also should try to be friends with 'Lise as well." I watched as Dirck drank some more of the tea, and had some myself. Dirck pulled me against him again, and wiped my eyes. "Did I get it right—was that the problem you felt was so big it made you sick and want to leave... us ?"

It took a minute to find my voice after so long, but I nodded. "Yeah, far— so, what I was feeling isn't just me, a lot of people feel it—and it's okay?" I saw his smile get wider and he patted me on the back in congratulations. "And, all I need to do is spend time with him...but how can I spend time with Jerry? Isn't he out West somewhere?"

Dirck sat me up so I was seated next to him rather than lying in his lap, and slapped my knee. "Jay's going to hate this—but it's the best way for now—ask Rosalie to pull out the picture albums—that'll set off a flood of stories about him, and Jay too!" We had a laugh together at the way Jay was sure to react, and then I remembered something, and Dirck's smile faded when I asked about Willem and Eskil—Jay had not mentioned any uncles other than Mikkel. He drew into himself a bit, and it was my turn to take one of his hands in mine. "Don't tell me, far , I didn't mean to pry."

"No, Mikey, it's...okay. Jay knows their names, but not much else...later on, I'll tell both of you the whole story...but for now, this is what Jay knows. Willem was four years older than me, and went to fight in Europe just after D-Day with the Army. The Nazis were retreating on most fronts by then, and he made it through V-E Day fine—we heard from him by letter off and on. He mentioned a girl and how he hoped to bring her home with him after he got out, but all we had was a first name and the town she was from. What they don't talk about much was that the Nazis had soldiers who continued fighting after the war was officially over—Willem was out patrolling when his jeep was hit with a rocket—the Army said there wasn't much left after that, but sent his personal effects home, including his dog tags, so we know it was him. He's buried somewhere in Germany in a military cemetery."

Dirck wiped his eyes of their tears, and I thought of my uncle Eddie who'd landed at Anzio in Italy, fought through to the end of the war, and come home fine...only to lose most of the fingers of his left hand in a piece of farming machinery. "Eskil followed me into Korea when he turned eighteen, and was badly injured in '53 just before the war ended...he came home...mostly. I took care of him, along with Mom and Dad, for three years. Once he was—gone—I stayed on the farm until Mikkel turned sixteen, when he told me to take Rosalie and little Jerry and start our own farm. Mikkel knew how much pain I was feeling staying where Eskil had died..but he got Rosalie on his side, so we began looking for a farm—this one—and moved here when Jay was six months old."

I thought about all this man had been through, and knew now where he got his compassion—some men might have turned bitter or hard, but I knew in some way that the gentleness he'd shown me came out of his caring for his brother Eskil. Thanks to him, I felt so much better not only about my relationship with Jay, but myself as well. I gave him a big hug and held on for a while, soaking up his serenity and strength, then asked him to show me those picture albums. We found Jay sitting at the kitchen table, his eyes puffy and red, his cheeks bearing wet tracks where he'd been crying, and I walked over to him and placed my hands on his shoulders, bending down to give him a soft kiss. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Dirck head into the living room and Rosalie.

I had something to fix before I did anything else, and I drew Jay up into my arms, wrapping him into my chest and cradling his head into my neck with one hand. "Never again, elskede, will I cause you any tears—I was so utterly wrong, and I let my feelings come between us and our love. I was stupid, and far told me he'd done the same thing with your mom, and he told me how to fix it—it's gonna be tough—but I have to spend even more time with some kid named Jay Beckel—do you think Mr. Jay might like me to do that?"

My golden-haired Dane looked into my eyes and his seemed a little calculating. "I dunno, that sounds pretty convenient for you —I can't see mor letting him off so easily. What are you leaving out, and what's the first dose of this remedy?" No one ever said Jay was stupid, and he knew how badly I was at lying, so I told him his mom had hit his dad in the stomach for being so dumb, and that his first task in spending more time with me was to go through the family albums with me and his parents. I knew what I'd feel if I saw him going through my old pictures, and I wondered what he'd think of the idea. I didn't have to wait long to find out.

"Uh-huh...picture albums? And this was far's idea?" I nodded. "There are embarrassing pictures in there of me, and Jerry... painful memories in fact...like pleasure, pain is better when it's shared, so let's go struggle through the torture." My boyfriend—my boyfriend—punched me in the stomach! I gasped and bent over holding my abdomen, and Jay grabbed my hand in his after kissing me gently on the lips. "That's so that you never forget the price of being stupid."

And he dragged me into the living room, where his parents exchanged one look and began to laugh. "Annelise?" I heard Rosalie ask, and Dirck nodded. I tried to maintain my pained expression as Jay sat me down on the floor by Rosalie and he took the spot next to his father, but their laughter was something I couldn't resist—my shock had come mainly from surprise at the punch, not the force Jay put behind it—he and I both knew that I would never forget making him cry...or forgive myself anytime soon. Rosalie opened a large brown leather book in her lap to reveal black construction-paper-like pages with several photos attached to most of them...one or two held single larger pictures, and I laughed when I saw a picture of the Beverly Hillbillies in costume we got ours at the Ohio State Fair ten years or so ago, and it looked like the Beckels had done the same.

I was also pretty sure I saw some naked baby rump lying on a rug, but Jay turned that page as quick as he could manage. When I glared at him, he turned red but refused to turn the page back so I could get a better look. I saw pictures of him and Jerry bathing together slick and covered in bubbles, where Jerry had piled them on top of Jay's head and stuck more to his chin. One picture I wanted a copy of so bad it hurt: Jerry was chasing a completely naked Jay around the house with a diaper in one hand and some pins in the other! You could tell Jerry was mad, but Jay seemed to be laughing hysterically.

Along with the pictures of the children growing up, there were stories; the Skunk Encounter where the two boys tried making a new pet, the Cow Pie Trip where Jay fell into one of the common farm hazards, stories of water-balloon fights, climbing trees, and while the pond was being created, colossal mud-fights involving all the neighbor kids and tugs-of-war where each side tried to pull the other into the dirtiest part of the muddy area which would become today's current pond. I could really feel the boys' pain when they were learning to ride two-wheeled bicycles for the first time—having fallen several times and once even skidded down a hill face first when my front tire came off! Jay was laughing hard as he told of Jerry trying to teach him to milk the cows...but then his eyes focused on me and he turned beet red and shut up.

Before I knew it, the clock in the hall chimed out four, and I knew I couldn't delay going home any longer—dinner would be at 6:30 and my parents liked me to be there on time. I stood up and took Jay's hand before excusing myself to take him upstairs to his room. With the door closed, I drew him over to the bed and pulled him into a long hug while we lay facing one another. I lightly kissed his lips before wrapping my arms around him so we were molded together as one person—the feeling of love and comfort enfolded me and I discovered the only bad part about falling in love: I was going to miss Jay more than anything I'd ever felt before, and there was nothing I could do about it. Even though we'd only spent one night together, it was where I wanted to be every night for the rest of my life—not so much this particular bed—but curled up next to my belovèd. He shifted so that he was half on top of me, and his hair fell about his face like a halo in the afternoon light coming from the western window looking over the front yard. "I'm so sorry for making you cry..."

Jay hushed me with his lips' tender kiss, then he rested his head on my chest. "You were dumb, I hit you—now it's over...until you find the next thing to be worried about." I could hear the mischievous tone in his voice, and my fingers gave a small tug to his hair just to get his attention. "Who says it'll be me who's stupid next?"

Jay's laugh rippled from out of his chest like a sparkling stream and he rested his fist against my stomach. "It was only a matter of time, and you just proved it! I'm Super Jay, and everybody knows heroes don't do stupid shit." He looked affronted when I pointed out the obvious error of that statement. "So it's intelligent for a hero to run out of the house into the mud with just his socks on?"

"You think you're so smart—that doesn't count because I was under the influence of an evil power no one could resist." When I raised a questioning and doubtful eyebrow, he wrapped his fingers around my dick and gave it a squeeze through Jerry's tan trousers. "You generate some sort of hypnotic ray with this thing—it's all I can think about when you turn it on. I have to do whatever you want, like run out in the mud shoeless to get your fresh villain's costume." I watched his eyes get huge as he scurried over to the foot of the bed and peered over. He let out a sigh and settled back against me, his heart slowing from its momentary panic. "Jeez, I was afraid mor did the laundry—I'd die if she saw the state of our underwear!"

"That reminds me," I began, giving my dick a few strokes to get it hard, "Look into my hypnotic ray gun— you will no longer wear white undies—you will wear the colored ones from now on ..." Jay giggled, but his eyes focused on my crotch, and a small smile came to his lips as he repeated my words with me a second time. "I will no longer wear white undies... giggle... I will wear colored ones from now on— until Mystic Mike tells me to take them off." I swatted his butt for his little addition, then kissed him by way of an apology because the picture of him taking off his underwear got me going pretty fast. "Just to make sure you do, if we wear the same color on the same day—you get a surprise." His face fell when I wouldn't give him any hints about what that might be, or how we'd find out if our colors matched. We lay together for a while longer, our legs and feet rubbing together along with our hands exploring with soft strokes to hair or shoulders or inside shirts, until the clock struck 5PM. I pulled him off the bed and gave him the laundry basket while I picked up our haphazardly strewn clothes from yesterday. I held up the black jeans whose zipper I tore and he said "Toss 'em in—I'll blame it on the washer."

I followed him down the back stairs and into the laundry, passing Dirck and Rosalie at the table, peeling vegetables for the pot of stew which was beginning to take shape on the stove. I could already smell the fresh bread baking in the oven to go with it. Seeing the way this family did things made me want to stay...but tomorrow was Monday, and that meant school. I heard the washer start to fill and felt a warm arm wrap around my waist. "I'm taking Mikey home now," Jay said with a soft sigh. His parents got up and came over to engulf me in their own hugs, and Dirck whispered in my ear as he pulled me close: "You okay now, søn ?" When I nodded, he tilted my head up the fraction of an inch necessary to look into my eyes. After a minute or two, he nodded back. "You need anything , Miles—day or night— you call! Okay?"

I stepped back, swallowing hard, and managed to thank them for their hospitality without crying...until Rosalie waved my words aside and kissed me on the cheek. "Tys, du er familie nu, Mikey, og vi holder af dig, ligesom Jay. ...Don't mention it—families do things out of love, Mikey, and you're family now." Jay and I put our shoes on before heading out the back door; I turned just before I let the screen shut, "Farvel, mor og far." Jay held my hand all the way out to the truck, even while opening the door for me....

Jay held my hand on the gear-shift all the way to my house, even though I knew the pattern now, it was still hard to figure out when to change gears. I was preoccupied with the meeting about to take place, and I think it showed on my face because Jay asked what was wrong—it was that, or he just knew me too well by now and figured I'd be starting to panic. "It's gonna be so hard, Jay...pretending we're just friends," I said softly. His hand squeezed mine on the knob and I felt his thumb rub little circles on the back of my hand—and that set the small hairs there to tingling.

"Kæreste, stop thinking so much." He slowed the truck and leaned over to give me a quick kiss before pushing down the gas pedal again. The gears growled. "First, Mikey—no, I mean shift down to first." He laughed at my confused look, then we were back on track again. "I know we can't be so open at school, but friends do touch—a bump of shoulders, light punches on the arm—even a swat on the ass or an arm across the shoulders; it doesn't mean we have to act like strangers, just that we don't do anything different from what we did before Friday night."

I thought about what he said, we'd both seen guys who were undoubtedly straight doing such things all the time—especially the football jocks—so I felt a little better. Maybe I could do this after all. I would miss holding his hand, or kissing him whenever I felt like it, but at least he'd be there for me to look at. "So, I guess kissing you in the hall like the stupid straight couples do is out—and so is a quick bj in the restroom?" Now I was just giving him shit, and he knew it, but his hand left mine on the gear-shift to adjust the bulge in his jeans.

"I am gonna get you for that, you bastard—we don't have time to take care of things the way I want now..." He growled at me as I snickered in triumph, but when he spoke again his voice was full of love and tenderness. "When you're missing me and you think it's too hard to hold on, do what I'm gonna do..." I looked at him, and he pulled the little Pegasus I gave him out from under his shirt to hold in his hand. "This is part of you, and while I wear it, you are never more than a touch away."

Damn him—for not being good with words—how did he always come up with the right thing to say to make me love him even more?

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