Brian and Lanny Go to Europe
by Nick Brady
Brian and Lanny had said goodbye to their friend Roth and were on a train for Amsterdam. They looked around to see that the train was half filled with a cross section of people of various ages and genders. They sat huddled together in private conversation.
"Our time in Germany has been super," Lanny observed.
Brian nodded. "No kidding. I had the expectation that the Germans would be cool and aloof, but these are really the nicest people we have met on our trip. As soon as we met Fredrick we have been treated with such generosity. I was very pleasantly surprised."
"Especially Roth. After only knowing him for two weeks, he seems like an old friend."
"He's a very interesting guy. Our last 24 hours with him has been pretty surprising. How do you feel about our little three-way with him?"
"I didn't expect that at all, although I guess if I had been thinking about how open he was with us, maybe I should have," Lanny said. "What do you think. Is he gay or straight?"
"I don't know. I don't think he knows, to tell the truth. Maybe he is just curious like he said. But he certainly threw himself into having sex with us."
"I guess Roth is one of those people who could go either way. I can't see him coming out as gay and going down that road. I think this was his chance to explore some fantasies. Probably he will do just what he said he planned to do – find a nice Catholic girl and raise a family."
Brian chuckled. "Think about it. We are a gay couple and he most likely will never see us again. Now we are leaving Germany and are not likely to return. His little secret is certainly safe with us. He can go on like nothing ever happened."
"You almost say that like he was using us. I didn't get that feeling."
"I didn't mean it that way. I think he genuinely likes us and we like him. Roth is a pretty honorable guy. I don't know that he would screw around with anybody he didn't care bout. I think maybe he took advantage of an opportunity. Probably he would hesitate to play around with anyone who might blow the whistle on him."
"I think that was part of it," Lanny agreed. "It's hard to know. Roth is sort of a complex guy. He's much more intelligent and thoughtful than our first impression of him. This goes both ways, you know."
"How do you mean?"
"I mean that I don't know if we would have been comfortable doing sex with anybody else we know. The way this worked out seemed so natural. I like to think that we are fairly honorable guys too. And think about it. We did this as a couple, not as individuals. It was kind of kinky, but neither of us was being unfaithful to the other."
"It was pretty kinky," Brian chuckled. "Is that something you can see doing again?'
Lanny shook his head. "Not really. I think I am a one man guy. Would you?"
"Nope. I'm satisfied with the guy I've got." Brian thought for a minute. "So where are we going? I mean, what happens when we get back home? Is this just like a shipboard romance, or will we make a go of it?"
"I've been thinking about that too," Lanny nodded. "Will we go back to living with our parents and pretending to just be friends, or declare ourselves a couple?"
"Brian sighed. "You're right. We are coming up on decision time. I guess we could put it off, but I'm not real comfortable with that. I'm not sure how do do this."
"Well, let's think about this," Lanny said. "The first thing we need to decide is if we really want this to go somewhere. I know how I feel, but I'm not sure I know how you feel. Are you ready to make a commitment to a relationship? Maybe we need to wait and see if we still feel the same way about each other after we are back in Tulsa for awhile."
Brian frowned and took Lanny's hand. "Hey. I know how I feel about you. I've been looking for you forever. I'm not in the market for a boyfriend anymore. I found what I want. How do you feel about me?"
Lanny turned his head to Brian and smiled. "I feel the same way. I have some things to figure out, but I want to figure them out with you in the equation."
"Like, what do you need to figure out?"
"The same things you do. What changes when we get home, and what stays the same? Neither of us is exactly 'out' to anybody. I don't think that will be a big problem for you with your parents, but it might come as a surprise to mine. What about our friends? Do we declare ourselves a couple and come out to the world, or try to be discreet about it? Do we live with our folks or find our own place? What do we want to do? What can we afford to do?" Lanny paused and looked very serious. "Do you love me Brian? Is this real and lasting? I've never done this before."
Brian squeezed his hand and looked into his eyes. "I told you I loved you."
"Yes. But it's different sitting on a train than when we are in bed with each other," Lanny suggested. "In bed maybe it's situational."
"Like in the heat of passion?" Brian chuckled. "Nope. I really meant it. I love you Lanny – in bed or on the train, I love you."
"Where do you want this to go?"
"I want to be with you," Brian said. "I want us to stay together. If you were a girl I would give you an engagement ring and ask you to marry me."
"I don't need the ring," Lanny said quietly.
"Oh." Brian stopped and considered what Lanny was saying. "Is this the right time for me to ask you to marry me?"
"It's as good as any."
"Should I get down on one knee?"
Brian turned in his seat and took both of Lanny's hands in his. "I love you, Lanny. Will you marry me?"
Lanny smiled and his eyes grew wet. "Yes. Yes I will marry you. I love you very much Brian. I thought you'd never ask."
"Sorry. I don't have much experience with this sort of thing. I didn't expect this to happen when we started out on this thing."
Lanny closed his eyes. "Shut up and kiss me."
Brian wrapped his arms around Lanny and gave him a loving kiss. "There. How's that?"
"That'll do for now," Lanny smiled. "See. That's wasn't so hard, was it?"
"No. Actually, that came very naturally," Brian grinned. "It didn't hurt at all. So now what do we do?"
"If we have the important part settled, then we need to work out the details. We need to break this to our parents. Maybe not tough for you, but kind of scary for me."
"How do you think they will take it?"
Lanny sat back and looked out the window at the passing scene. "I don't really know. Maybe they know already. I've never had a real girlfriend. Since I met you I hardly talked about anybody else. Maybe it's obvious. I think Mom will be OK with it."
"What about your Dad?"
"He might not be so thrilled. He's not homophobic really, but he probably has different expectations for his only son," Lanny sighed. "He likes you though."
"Well, that's better than not liking me."
Lanny smiled. "You're pretty easy to like. He thinks you're very masculine. It wouldn't work if you were nelly."
"Why do you say that? You aren't effeminate."
"Really? I feel like I am sometimes. Nobody would ever suspect you are gay, Brian. I feel kind of fem, sometimes."
"Not at all. You are intelligent and sensitive, but you're cool," Brian told him. "Girly guys kind of turn me off. Probably they shouldn't, but they do. I kind of like the way you are."
"That's nice to know," Lanny said.
"I think we compliment each other. I can be sort of rough and impulsive. You're more careful and thoughtful about things. I think you're a lot smarter than me. I have a lot of respect for you."
"What do you mean? You're planning to be a doctor. That takes a lot of brains."
Brian shrugged, "I may not be able to make it as a doc. Basically, I like to fix things – bikes, people, whatever. It will be a long time before I can practice. I appreciate your saying that though."
"But we digress. What happens when we get home? What then?" Lanny asked.
Brian grew thoughtful. "I think we should wait for a little while to kind of let the dust settle from this trip, then make some specific plans. I can tell Marco and Marty where we are. I think I know where they will be with that. I'm sure they will tell me not to get into too big a hurry though. I've just started college and they won't want me to screw that up."
"Engagements sometimes last for quite a while, don't they?"
"That's true. And we can just be roommates if we want to live together. But first you have to deal with your folks. How's that going to work out?"
Lanny sighed. "Probably I will sit down with Mom and break the news to her first. She'll be easier. She's a nurse and understands such things better than Dad. I imagine that she will clue Dad in. She kind of knows how to best deal with him."
"You think he will be OK with it?"
"Eventually I think. He's a good guy and we've always been pretty close. He's just a little more conservative than Mom. He's kind of a traditional values kind of guy. I know he loves me so I imagine he'll come around."
"We might not be in that big a hurry," Brian suggested. "Before we decide that we want to get a place of our own and move in together, we have to be able to afford it. Our folks are trying to help us with college expenses, but that doesn't include a separate apartment."
"So true, so true. We don't have to be in any hurry," Lanny said. The only concern I have right now, is that we have gotten used to sleeping with each other. That will be hard to give up."
"I guess. My Santa Fe has a good back seat though," Brian grinned. There's always that."
"Where there's a will, there's a way," Lanny laughed. "What about our friends? Do we come out to everybody?"
"No. I don't think so. You tell anybody you think cares and needs to know. I will tell Louisa and you might want to tell Melissa. Other than that it should be on a need to know basis. Besides, high school is over and we are already making a new set of friends. It's like we're starting over anyway."
"That's true too," Lanny agreed. "I guess the bottom line is to take our time and play it by ear. There's no need to generate unnecessary drama."
"Nope. I think it'll work. It has to," Brian said and took Lanny's hand again. They looked out the window of the train as the terrain shifted to a flatter more open country. Having exhausted the pressing issue of the day, they napped until the train began to slow down and enter the outskirts of Amsterdam.
"It's so flat here," Brian observed.
"About half of The Netherlands is below sea level," Lanny told him. "a lot of the country is reclaimed sea bottom."
"How do they keep the water out?"
"They have an extensive system of dikes and pumps I think. It's pretty ingenious. You'll see when we get into the city."
Looking out the train window, the flat terrain stretched off over small hedges and dykes to disappear into a mist that seemed to surround them. Here and there they could see the silhouettes of small windmills against the gray sky.
"Some of those windmills are really old," Lanny told him. "They run the pumps that keep the water out."
"How do you know all this stuff?" Brian asked.
"I read things," Lanny smiled. "You should try it."
It was just after five o'clock when they arrived, and already the sun was very low on the horizon. The hostel was in walking distance of the train station so they hefted their packs and set out, walking over a series of bridges than spanned many small canals.
"Brian took a deep breath. "The air smells different – kind of salty"
"It smells like the sea," Lanny explained. "You are never far from the water here. Amsterdam is sometimes called the Venice of the north. We should try to go to the beach tomorrow. It will be dark soon because we are pretty far north here."
They found their accommodations at the Clinknoord Hostel to be clean and neat. It was a dormitory room with three bunk beds. Not very private, but cheap. There were bags on several of the beds to tell them that they would have company later on in the evening.
"OK tour guide. What do we do now?" Brian asked.
"I don't know about you, but I'm ready for an early evening. Are you up for the Sexmuseum?"
"The Sexmuseum. It's only a short walk and it's open late. Probably it will be interesting. What do you say?"
"Sounds interesting for sure. Let's go."
They paid a small admission fee and walked through several floors dedicated to famous erotic figures in history. Some of the exhibits were erotic, but none to compare with what was available on the internet for free. It was more historical than actually pornographic. They did laugh at a nicely carved marble statue of a plump lady with an assortment of dildos spread out in front of her spread legs. While there was a room devoted to Oscar Wilde, they felt that representation of those with their sexual orientation was rather minimal.
"Once again, we are a minority," Brian chuckled.
They walked back towards their hostel and stopped for sandwiches at a small shop. "What's up for tomorrow?" Brian asked.
"It depends on when we want to go home," Lanny told him. "We have an open return on American Airlines that we need to confirm. The flight is scheduled to leave at noon with stops at London Heathrow and Dallas to get into Tulsa at about a quarter of ten in the evening. It is a daily, but might not be available every day. Sometimes these things get full, you know?"
"Can you check on the flights?"
"Give me a minute," Lanny said and started clicking on his phone. After a minute he reported, "The flights tomorrow look pretty full. Let me check the day after tomorrow." A few more clicks, then, "Day after tomorrow the early flight looks good. It leaves at seven thirty and gets to Tulsa at about five thirty in the evening. How does that sound?"
Brian smiled. "That sounds pretty good to me. To tell the truth, I'm sort of looking forward to seeing the family again. Don't get me wrong, this has been a fantastic trip, but there's no place like home."
"You ready to click your heels three times and get back to Kansas?"
"Or better yet, to Tulsa."
"I'm with you," Lanny laughed. "There's no place like home."
"So that gives us a full day here tomorrow. What's the plan?"
"I'm not sure. I think there is a boat tour that will take us around the canals. That might be fun and let's us see a lot of the city rather quickly. It might be nice to go over to the coast just west of here. It's not far to there. Probably there are some nice museums and cathedrals to see," Lanny smiled.
"Please. No more cathedrals and museums. I'm burned out on those. I want to see something I haven't see before," Brian protested.
"Like a Sexmuseum?"
"Right. I guess that was different. But I want to be outside. The weather is mild here. Let's stay outdoors."
They bused their trays and walked back to the hostel. When they returned to the room they found three young men sitting around a lower bunk playing cards and chatting in what they assumed was Dutch. Lanny reached for his phrase book and was greeted by American English.
"Hello. You must be the Americans." A blonde youth spoke to them.
"Yes. I am Lanny and this is Brian."
"I am Henry, this is Peter, and the tall guy is Sven," The blonde introduced them. They stood and shook hands in a friendly manner.
"How did you know we were Americans?" Brian asked.
Henry laughed. "The tags on your packs show your home address of course. You are from Tulsa?"
"Yes. Do you know about Tulsa?"
"Only from Eric Clapton. You are a long way from home. How do you come to Amsterdam?" Peter asked.
"We are at the end of a month of wandering. We started in Scotland, then England and France. For the last two weeks we were in Germany and now the Netherlands. We will start home the day after tomorrow," Lanny explained.
"Ah. So you have saved the best for last." Sven laughed.
"Of course. We have saved you for desert," Brian smiled. "Where are you guys from? You sound you are from America somewhere."
"No. We are Dutch from Zeist. It is not so far from here," Peter told them. "We are enjoying a school holiday and have come to the big city for excitement."
"But your English is perfect, and your accent is American," Lanny said with surprise.
Peter laughed. "Thank you. We learn English in school from very early and the pronunciation comes from American TV. Here the voices are not dubbed in. The Dutch is included in subtitles but we hear the original dialogue. It is a good way to learn the language."
"We are in high school. Peter and I are sixteen and the little boy here is only fifteen," Henry joked, pointing at Sven who was taller than any of them. You do not look much older. May I ask your ages?"
"Lanny is nineteen and I will be in a few weeks," Brian told him. So we are all about the same age I guess."
"You are having a big trip," Peter said. "What is the occasion for such travel?"
"I guess that was my idea," Lanny explained. "We are both just starting college and I have always wanted to travel. So I decided to take a gap semester and talked my friend Brian into coming with me
"So how is your trip? Are you having a good adventure?" Henry asked.
"It's been great. We have really done a lot," Brian admitted.
"So please tell us what you have seen. We would like to know about it."
Brian and Lanny tried to tell them some of the things they had seen. The adventure on the Goldsteig Trail was interesting to the young men. They told of the kindness shown to them by Fredrick and his family and the many things about German history they had learned from Roth.
"You have had quite an adventure," Peter agreed. "It is good that you met some good people who showed you more than the usual tourist things. I should tell you that some of the older people here do not have a good opinion of the German people because of the war. But we are too young to remember such things. I think there are good people everywhere."
Sven had listened without saying much, then he asked, "Do you know the Oklahoma City Thunder? I like basketball very much."
"Yes of course. They are a great team. But they are in Oklahoma city, not Tulsa, and the games are very expensive. I've only seen them on TV," Brian admitted.
"Then you do not know Kevin Durant?" Sven looked a little disappointed.
"No. Not personally," Brian laughed. Do you play basketball?"
Peter laughed, "Sven is very good at basketball. Maybe he will play for your Thunder someday."
"I would like that," Sven smiled.
"What will you do tomorrow while you are in Amsterdam?" Henry asked.
"We were talking about that. What would you suggest?" Lanny asked.
"There are very many nice things to see here," Peter told them. "Do you like museums and things like that?"
Lanny laughed. "No doubt there are some fine museums where we could see the famous Dutch artists, but we are a little full of museums. We would like to be outside seeing something of the country."
All three boys laughed at this. Henry said, "Yes of course. You can see paintings in many places. You should go to the sea. If the sun is shining, everyone likes to go to the sea. It is too cool for swimming right now, but it is always nice to go there."
"There is a bus that will take you to Ijuiden," Peter suggested. "From the bus you can see nice little villages and windmills. The sea is nice from there. Maybe you can go for a nice walk and drink some good beer."
"There is a good restaurant there called the Zilt aan Zee," Henry said. "There are other places there, but I have eaten at this one. It has very nice prawns. You would like them."
"Thanks. We will try that if we make it over there," Lanny told him. "We were thinking about taking a boat cruise of the canals in the morning. Is that worth doing?"
"Yes. I think so," Peter agreed. "It is nice and a good way to see many things quickly. There are canals everywhere in the city. Take a Love Cruise. You can drink free Heineken beer on the boat."
"A Love Cruise?" Brian smiled.
Peter laughed. "It is the name of the company, not a sex boat. But they are very nice."
"That sounds like a day," Lanny said. "What will you guys do tomorrow? What are your plans?"
"The three looked at each other and smiled rather mysteriously. "Oh, we have plans for some adventures here in the city."
"They are looking for sex girls," Sven broke his silence to explain.
Henry poked Sven with his elbow. "We are on an educational holiday from school."
Sven smiled shyly. "They wish to cure me of my virginity."
Brian laughed at this. "We wish you a successful holiday. But we've had a long day and want to get some sleep tonight. Please be careful and have a good time. Maybe we'll see you tomorrow."
"Yes. We will go away and let you sleep," Peter said. "We wish you a safe journey." They all stood, shook hands again and left abruptly.
"Nice guys," Brian observed.
"With few exceptions, the people we've met have all been nice," Brian said. "Other than that jerk who made a pass at you in France, we've been really lucky."
"You said he was overcome by my beauty," Lanny grinned.
"Well yeah, that too. But there is the stereotype of the Ugly American. No one has reacted to us that way at all."
"Maybe if we were middle aged, potbellied, and wearing a loud shirt with a camera around our necks, we would have. I guess we look pretty harmless."
"Maybe. You want to shower? Brian asked.
"I do. Then I want to go straight to sleep. No hanky panky, OK?"
Brian pretended to look hurt. "Hanky panky? Me? I'm just an innocent student trying to make his way home from Europe."
They showered, undressed, and flipped for a top bunk. Sleep came almost instantly.
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