Adrian and Paul
"Adrian show me your home and where you went to school."
"This is the high school I attended, it isn't large they had from 7th to 12th grades here. I liked school and did very well. I tutored some of the jocks and they kept kids in check. One kid started on me at lunch time, when he turned around there were these two football players behind him. They made him apologize."
"Why were you being picked on? Did they know you were gay?"
"No, it was just that I was smart. You know kids always look for some difference to make a big deal out of it. That kid eventually attended one of my tutoring classes. We became friends, I only had friends inside school, never associated with anyone outside of school."
"That must have been lonely for you."
"Not really, I had my books. I spent a lot of time in the town's library. Reading has always been my favorite past time till you came along. Now you're my favorite past time." That got me a kiss on the cheek.
Our town wasn't big but we did spend a few hours driving around. I did show Paul my home and then we parked the car and walked along main street. "I use to stop here and get an ice cream after leaving the library. Want an ice cream?"
He nodded and held open the door. "Hey Adrian, what are you doing back in town?"
" Hi Larry, my mom is in the hospital so I came back to see her. This is Paul, he's my boyfriend."
"So you are gay. There was a rumor around school that you were gay, of course none of us would say anything as long as you had your army backing you up."
"I never denied it, for me it wasn't an issue. My intent was to win a scholarship and that meant I had to time for dating boys or girls. So what's new with you?"
"I live with my boyfriend, we have a small apartment over his car shop."
I started to laugh, "That really surprises me. I didn't know you were gay."
"There was no way I'd come out in school. You had your body guards, I had no one."
"I'm glad we stopped for ice cream. Do I know your partner?"
"Yep, you remember Bobby Hawkins."
"Yes, he was always fixing his car. That thing broke down more than it ran."
"That's him, he learned a lot on that car and now he has a car repair shop. Doing quite well."
"That's great I'll have the usual, what do you want Paul?"
"I'll have the same as you."
After paying for our ice cream, I said goodbye. We finished walking along main street eating our ice cream. "Adrian, there's a dog. It looks like a stray. Oops I dropped my ice cream."
"Oops? I think you did that on purpose."
"Well, the dog looked hungry."
We watched the dog finish off Paul's ice cream. "Here I'll share mine with you."
He took it, tasted it, "I think this is sour," he dropped the ice cream as the dog ran over to finished it off.
He was smiling at me, "You did that on purpose."
"Yes, he was hungry and maybe that'll allow him to get through the day." Paul was a softie, he couldn't see anyone get hurt, animal or human and I loved him for that.
"Did your sister say what time to meet for dinner?"
"Yes, she said 5, before the crowd. If you want we can head that way. We can walk and that way we'll probably show up on time."
The walk was pleasant. We jostled each other, like kids playing around, only for us it was an opportunity to touch each other. I was hopelessly in love with Paul.
As we approached the diner, I could see Emily and Jim walking toward the diner with another couple. As we got closer we could see it was two guys.
When we entered the diner, Emily saw us and waved us over to a large corner table. "Adrian, I want you to meet Bill and Alex. Bill is Jim's cousin and Alex is his boyfriend."
"Hey, this is Paul and he's my boyfriend." So this is why Emily was so accepting. We sat across from them and started to chat.
"Emily, I saw Gene earlier. I thought he was coming."
"He is, he had some business to attend to. He'll be here shortly."
"I guess you guys have eaten here often?"
"Not really, Bill has since he spends a lot of time at Jim's house. I think this'll be my third time. My parents aren't too keen on me having a boyfriend so that makes it hard for me to get away."
"Do you work or go to school?"
"Bill works, I go to school. I'm attending a community college and when I get my Associate Degree, Bill is going to go and get his degree."
"What are you studying?"
"Medical technician, I'm going to work with Jim."
I looked at Jim, he just smiled. "Bill, what are you planning on taking at college?"
"I'm going to get my degree in accounting. The way these guys talk about making all of this money, they'll need me to keep track of it."
"Hey guys, have you ordered yet?"
"No, we were waiting for you."
The waitress came over, looked at us, grinned and left. "What was that all about?"
"She knows that we want, chicken. Watch she'll be back with a plates, a large bowl of coleslaw and several napkins."
It wasn't long before she put a pitcher of ice tea on the table with glasses, napkins and cutlery. I watched Paul as she went through her paces. Gene poured us all a glass of ice tea and before he set the pitcher down, she brought a bowl of cole slaw and a large bowl of french fries. Picked up the ice tea pitcher and left. I just smiled at Paul, we still didn't have any plates. That was remedied when the tea pitcher came back, she had plates for all of us and an empty basket.
Paul looked at the basket, I mouthed the word 'bones' to him. His smile told me he understood. We helped ourselves to the cole slaw and french fries. It didn't take long for the dishes to be empty. The next time our waitress came she had a large platter of fried chicken. That platter no sooner hit the table, when forks started to move. Most of them liked the white meat, I prefer the dark meat, it's tastier. So I had two chicken legs and one thigh on my plate. Paul did manage to get one piece of chicken breast, but I think he got all of the wings.
The food was just as good as I remembered it. "Adrian, we need to take some of this home." I just smiled. I knew he'd give a piece to Dave and see if he could make it.
I never knew a dinner could be so enjoyable. When I had dinner when I was home, I wasn't encouraged to say anything. If I did say something, I was ignored. Here I felt like I belonged.
Bill and Alex fit right in. For the first time I felt like I was part of a family. Paul looked at me and winked. I knew he knew how I felt.
We passed on dessert, Paul offered to pay but we ended up tossing money onto the table. Gene did a quick count, threw another 5 and said it was good. "Paul and I walked from our car so we have two walk back and get it." Bill and Alex volunteered to walk with us.
"Adrian, may I see you a moment?"
"Paul, why don't you go ahead and get the car, I'll catch up to you."
"Adrian, the reason I was late is because I had a talk with Dad. He's going to restore your allowance and make up the back payments as well."
"Gene thanks, but I really don't want anything to do with them."
"You won't. What Dad didn't tell you is that Grandfather set up a trust for you. The bank is the trustee, and they have been holding the money when Dad told them you didn't need it. I spoke to Dad and then went to see Mr. Cummings at the bank. So you'll be getting a monthly check."
"Did Grandfather set up a trust for all of us?"
"No, just for you, Emily told me what mom. Grandfather must have suspected something. I guess he felt that sometime down the road you would need this."
"Did you know this all the time?"
"No, I guess I never really paid attention to you growing up. The only thing in my head was football. I'm really sorry that I didn't act as an older brother should. I'm sorry."
"It's ok Gene. I think one of the reasons I tried so hard in school was because of you. I was proud of you, and proud to be your brother. We shouldn't really focus on the past, the important thing now is that you're in my life along with Emily. I'm really glad I came."
I think for the first time, my brother gave me a hug. I hugged him right back. "Will I see you before I leave?"
"When are you leaving?"
"We are leaving in the morning, registration tomorrow for the new semester."
"OK, if I don't see you promise to stay in touch."
"I will and you also."
I looked into the heavens and thanked God for Paul. He has been my good luck charm as well as my lover. I didn't have all of my family back but I did have my brother and sister back.
Walking in the direction of the car and not focusing on the road, I jumped when I heard a horn next to me. Looking at the car, I saw Paul laughing. "You scare the hell out of me."
"You shouldn't have been walking with your eyes shut."
He just leaned over and gave me a kiss. "Do you know the way to Jim's"
"Bill, do you want go drive since you know the way"
So we changed seats, Paul and I in the back, Bill and Alex in the front.
I looked at Paul and he had the devil in his eyes. "Don't do what you're thinking. Be a good boy and I'll have a treat for you when we get home."
Alex must have heard he started too laugh. When he looked back I pretend I didn't say anything. I like them, they were young like us and we needed friends. I loved Paul very much but you also need friends in your life. It just further enriches your relationship.
As we drove, we began to talk about how we all met. Bill and Alex had met in high school but kept their relationship secret. I told them how Paul and I met, my version. Then Paul corrected me with his version. I was relaxed and was having fun, I realized as long as Paul was with me, I would be happy.
Jim had a two story house that was on a cul-de-sac. It was a very nice home, the bedrooms were on the second floor while the kitchen, dining room and living room was on the first floor along with Jim's office.
I followed Bill to the second floor. "You can use this room. Jim's at the end and my room is in the middle."
"You have a room here?"
"Yes, Jim allows me to stay here as long as I keep the place clean."
"Did you have problems with your folks?"
"Yea, you might say that. My mom is ok but my step dad doesn't like me."
"Your lucky you have a place to stay. Jim sounds like a nice guy."
I put our bags in the room and followed Bill downstairs to the living room.
"Do you guys want something to drink? We have beer, soda and lemonade."
"I'll have a glass of lemonade, thanks." I looked at Paul he held up two fingers. "Make that two lemonades please."
For the rest of the evening we sat around and chatted. Paul and I enjoyed the company of Bill and Alex. I knew by the time we would leave we had two friends.
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