Marco in the Park

by Nick Brady

Part 16

The day after Christmas was a Saturday and we used our new computer to plan out our week in Eureka Springs. I had reserved the hotel but we wanted to know what there was to do in the area. I downloaded Google Maps and amazed Marco by zooming in on the hotel, showing him what it looked like and pointing out where our room would be.

"How do they get all those pictures?" he wanted to know.

"The views from above are from satellite photos, and the street views pics are taken by an army of funny cars with cameras on top," I explained.

"That must have taken forever," he shook his head.

"Well, they have been working on this for years and years." I quickly brought up a street view of our apartment, complete with my car in the parking lot. Then I showed him St. Jerome's, then zoomed down to Austin to look at my mother's house from the street.

"That's amazing," he exclaimed.

"Hey, it's all done with computers. You can be doing stuff like that if you want to." He was impressed.

Next we laid out our route from our apartment in Tulsa to the hotel in Eureka Springs. Once into the city I brought up the various restaurants and clubs in that area to see what was close. He was fascinated. We laid out the route to Branson where all the stage shows were performed.

"Branson is called the Baptist Las Vegas," I told him. "Lots of shows, no booze or gambling."

"Our kind of place," he laughed. "How is it like Las Vegas if they don't have casinos?"

"They have a lot of big stage shows of different kinds, and there are some big name entertainers who have their own theaters and perform every night during one season or another. I have heard that some of them are pretty cheesy though. We will have to ask around."

"Or we can look them up on the internet, right?" Marco said, catching on quickly.

"Right, you get the idea," I agreed. "You ready to move on?"

"Sure, what's next?" Marco was getting into this.

"OK, here is the route to Crystal Bridges Museum," I said, and included some photos of that place.

Marco looked over my shoulder. "Gee, that's pretty. It's right out on the woods."

"With lots of hiking trails if you want to get out and stretch your legs," I reminded him. "And I understand they have a nice restaurant inside."

"I think this is going to be fun," he said with enthusiasm.

"This is all pretty close to Eureka Springs. We will have lots of things to do, and back to a nice hotel at night. The hotel will have wifi so we can take the computer and tweak our plans once we are over there," I suggested.

We were both excited. We did some laundry, sorted out our clothes to decide what we needed to take and did some preliminary packing. Marco had to work for Luigi this weekend but would be off the next. He fixed us an early supper then walked over to the restaurant at 4:00.

I played with the new computer, downloading Open Office to do for free what Microsoft Office charged a small fortune for. Also a copy of the old reliable Viewprint software to view and manage photographs. I had a few photos on my Samsung smartphone and created a Flickr account which would automatically push shots from my phone to the Cloud to be available anywhere. I knew Marco had a few things on his phone as well and would add them to our library before we left for Eureka Springs. We would be ready to go on a photo taking orgy over the week.

I gave him a ride home when he got off work, we made a snack and got ready for bed. The shower dance was brief but thorough, then we spent about an hour rehearsing some of our better moves. The sexual part of our relationship had always been amazing.

We stopped to catch our breath and I kissed him on the nose. "You are one heck of a sexy person, Mr. Marco Montgomery."

He grinned and replied. "You aren't half bad yourself, Mr. Marty Montgomery."

"We won't have time to make that legal until after the honeymoon," I reminded him.

"Hey, it's just paper. As far as I'm concerned it's already a done deal," he smiled and snuggled in close.

Sunday morning we got dressed and went to the early service. We didn't see David and Wayne since they typically came to the second service if they came at all. I liked the early service. It was a little quieter with not quite as many people, and the music was sparser. It was a nice service to calm down and almost meditate. I actually preferred it but it meant we had to get up earlier.

After church we went into the Parish Hall for coffee and snacks. As we were into our second cup of coffee Father Hoover came up to us smiling. "Oh you wonderful boys, your vintage prayer book is magnificent! It is a museum piece. That must have cost a fortune and I will never be able to thank you properly."

"Did you like it?" Marco asked innocently.

"Like it? Why it is priceless," he looked at us. "How did you know I have a collection of old prayer books?"

"We didn't," Marco said. "We just thought you might like to have that one because it is so old. Do you have one like it?"

"Oh heavens no. That is a very rare book, and the compact binding is even more difficult to find. Where on earth did you get that?"

Marco and I looked at each other. There was no way we could be less than honest with our dear Father Hoover.

I looked at Marco. "You tell him the story. I think you had a lot to do with this."

Marco began. "Well, we decided to look in this old book store just to see what we might find there. We told the owner that we were looking for something for you. I guess he knows you and he said he had the perfect thing. He had this little book sort of hidden away and he brought it out and showed it to us. It was wrapped up in a white cloth and looked really old. I don't think I really appreciated what it was. So he showed us the inscription and said it was a gift to a new priest from an older one. Then Simon, that is Mr. Newcastle, said that it had likely been used by a young priest to take with him on his rounds from one little church to another, and that it was really special because it had been used in such an interesting way. Well, then we thought you might really like it but figured we couldn't afford it."

Marco looked at me and when I nodded he went on. "Anyway, when we tried to buy it he told us he knew you and actually, he had attended our wedding. He said it was perfect for you and he wouldn't let us pay him anything for it. I guess really it is from him instead of us. It was awfully nice of him."

Father Hoover's eyes were wet. "Oh, that is such a beautiful story. I have known Simon for many years, and he is a dear man."

Fr. Hoover lowered his voice a little and confided to us. "He is Jewish actually, but we became friends when I shopped in his store. He visits our church occasionally and I think was very interested in your wedding. He lives with his partner of many years but they have never taken steps to make their arrangement more formal. He was quite taken with you boys. I doubt he would have given that book to anyone else regardless of what you were going to do with it. That old book is a treasure and it means the world to me. You could not possibly have found a gift that would have pleased me more. I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

I tried to protest, "But you have done so much for us Father, and...."

He cut me short. "I did what I did because it was my duty, although I must admit that I am very fond of you both. Perhaps I did what I did out of love. Apparently you did what you did for the same reason, as did Simon. That makes this old book even more special. All three of us bound together with a gift of love, a veritable trinity of love! This is a very special gift indeed." He wrapped us both in his long arms and hugged us very tight. Then he excused himself to get ready for the second service,

Marco and I looked at each other. "Wow, that went well," Marco said.

I laughed. "Looks like we done good Marco my boy."

"We didn't even get the chance to tell him I was changing my name," Marco said.

"He will find out soon enough. How about we get some lunch?" I asked.

We agreed that a big wet burrito would suit us fine and drove over to Rio Verde to enjoy some authentic Mexican food topped off with a chunk of candied sweet potato.

Back at the apartment we finalized our packing so that we could get an early start in the morning. I took Marco to work and did some last minute house cleaning so that we wouldn't have to come home to a messy apartment. I picked Marco up after work and he did his usual bookkeeping to have his deposit ready for the bank in the morning before we left for Arkansas. I noticed that he kept out more cash than usual.

I woke up the next morning to the smell of sausage cooking and dressed to wait expectantly for one of Marco's nice breakfasts. The great honeymoon adventure was about to begin.

We drove over to Eureka Springs. East of Tulsa the terrain changes from rolling hills to the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. They are not mountains in the sense of the craggy mountains in the western parts of the country. This is older terrain, the tops rounded off and covered with trees. At the higher elevations the hardwoods begin to make way for long leaf pines. The leaves had mostly fallen and what remained was brown, making the pines stand out in their greenery. It is pretty country and quite different from Tulsa; Marco was admiring the scenery.

"This is farther east then when we came to Lake Weddington. This is higher and my ears are popping," he grinned.

Eureka Springs is quite hilly and looked very old. The crooked streets ran up and down the hills and the old buildings were decorated in an ornate Victorian style. Built into the side of one of the hills was our Cliff View Hotel. It looked like several old houses connected by slightly newer structures. The elaborate trim was painted in bright colors and looked really cool.

We arrived a little past eleven, parked outside and walked into what appeared to be the entrance. The inside surprised us. There was a long counter which might have been an ornate bar at an earlier time. The walls were covered in dark wood paneling and hung on the walls were mirrors and nice paintings. The ceilings were trimmed by big cove moldings with panels across the top, some nicely carved. The furniture around the room was mostly brown leather and looked very comfortable. The overall impression was of warm elegance. We liked it at once.

Sitting in one of the leather chairs was an older man with a short white beard, smoking a pipe and reading a newspaper. He looked up when we walked in. "Can I help you boys?"

"Yes, we have booked a room for the week. We are looking for the proprietor."

"That would be my wife, but I might be able to help you," he said and stood slowly. "She runs the place but she lets me help. I'm kind of the fix-it guy," he smiled in a pleasant way and walked over behind the long counter to a computer terminal.

"What's your names?" he asked.

"Marty and Marco Montgomery," I told him.

He pecked at the computer for a moment. "Says here Marty Montgomery. That must be you."

He looked us over and could see that we weren't father and son and probably not brothers. "We got you in the Teddy Roosevelt Suite. That's just got the one kingsize bed. That be alright?"

"That will be fine," I said firmly, hoping we would not get a hassle, and signed the register card.

"That's a nice suite. I think you boys will like it," he answered, handing us two keys on big key fobs. "You need help with your bags?"

"We can manage the bags if you can tell us where the room is."

"I'll take you there if you'll follow me," he said with a pleasant smile.

He took us up a long wooden staircase to the second floor and a room that faced the street. The back, I assumed, was up against the rocky cliff. He took one of the keys to open the door then stepped back for us to go in. We almost gasped when we saw the room.

There was a living area with beautifully upholstered period furniture, side tables, porcelain lamps with fluted shades, what looked like original paintings on the walls, and a very large photograph of President Theodore Roosevelt on the long wall opposite the windows. The walls were covered in muted cream and rose wallpaper and the windows were hung with elegant white curtains tied back at the sides. It was just beautiful.

We put our bags down and followed him into the adjoining bedroom. Here the wallpaper was cream and gold and standing against the back wall was an enormous fourposter bed. The walnut bed posts were at least 6 inches around and fluted from floor to ceiling. Around the top was hung a valance of cream and gold that complimented the walls. The bedspread was a soft green and the floor was old wood on which was centered a large oriental carpet in muted tones of brown and cream. There was a night table on each side of the bed ornamented with tall brass lamps with pleated white shades. On the walls were scenic paintings, probably done by local artists but very nice. It was stunning, and looked like a picture out of a decorator magazine.

The man smiled again and opened another door just inside the bedroom. This was the bath with the usual toilet, a double sink with a gray marble top and the most enormous jacuzzi I had ever seen. Gathered to one side was a white shower curtain tied back with a gold sash. The walls were gleaming white and the floor appeared to be white marble. This was a palace.

"Now if there is anything you boys need, you just let me know. We serve lunch from 12:00 to 2:00." The old man smiled again and left us to marvel at our surroundings.

Marco stood slack jawed for a moment then said. "My God Marty, can we afford this place?"

"I looked at the card when I signed us in. It said $169 a night." I assured him. "I don't know what it is during the peak season – a lot more I would guess."

Marco's look of amazement slowly turned to a broad smile. "This is the most gorgeous place I ever saw in my whole life. This is like something out of an old movie."

"You like it?" I smiled back.

Marco went to the large paned windows that looked out to the street on the side opposite the big bed. They were hung with long cream and gold drapes tied back at the sides and covered with a gauzy white sheer material that billowed down from rings on a long rod. He pulled them back to look out at a long brick street that curved down the hill to the main part of town.

"I like it," he said in a hushed tone. Then he turned to hug me. "This is going to be so nice!"

We unpacked our bags into two drawers of the ornate dresser in the bedroom and hung a few things into a closet that was considerably bigger than the one we shared at home. We used the toilet, washed our hands, and walked back through to the living area to sit in the two wingback chairs that faced the settee.

"This is actually a lot nicer than I expected," I chuckled.

Marco still looked overwhelmed. "I think I could just stay here for the whole time."

"It will be a nice place to come back to every night," I agreed. "Did you check out the tub and shower?"

"Oh yeah, I think we can make that work," Marco grinned.

I set up our laptop on a little side table and plugged it in. Looking at a card that sat next to a folder with local information, I found the wireless password and quickly logged on. All the comforts of home.

"Shall we check out the restaurant?" I asked.

"Sure, why not?" Marco still looked a little dazed.

The lobby area opened out to a small dining room with small tables set for four. There were several people already sitting at two of them, two men maybe in their forties and two older women who might be locals. We sat and nodded at the others, who smiled and nodded back.

One of the women asked. "Are y'all stayin' here?" Her companion gave her a sharp look.

"Yes we are. We just arrived this morning," I responded politely.

"I'm sorry to be nosy, but I just like to meet people. We live here and like to come over for lunch sometimes. They have real nice food," She explained. "I hope you enjoy your stay in Eureka. They's lots to do here." Then she turned back to her companion who seemed to relax.

After a few minutes a slender youngish man came in with a pair of menus, and two glasses of ice water. "Hi, my name's Johnny. What can I get ya'll to drink? He asked, adding, "We don't serve alcohol."

"That's fine, I would like unsweetened ice tea please." Marco nodded that he would like the same. Johnny left us to look at the menu.

The menu covered all three meals for the day. Breakfast was from 7:00 to 9:00 and included several choices of omelets, pancakes, or cold cereal and croissants. Lunch was a choice of several sandwiches, a soup of the day, and a chefs salad. Dinner simply said Chef's choice. At the bottom read: 'In room breakfast available to guests'.

Marco pointed to the latter and commented, "That looks interesting. Breakfast in bed maybe?"

"That could be nice, but Johnny is going to be back in a minute to see what we want for lunch."

"I might try the chefs salad," Marco said. "What about you?"

"I don't know, a turkey sandwich maybe, and let's see what the soup of the day is."

Johnny came back with our ice tea and looked expectant. "You decided on lunch?"

"What's the soup?" I asked.

"It's a seafood chowder. Mostly local catfish, but it's real good," he explained.

"If you say so I'm sure it is. Let me have a turkey sandwich with lettuce and mayo and a small bowl of your catfish chowder." I handed him back the menu with a smile.

He turned to Marco and raised his eyebrows. "I think I would like the chefs salad with Ranch dressing please," Marco told him.

"That's good too," Johnny confided. "You want some soup?" When Marco hesitated, the waiter told him. "I can bring you some. We got plenty."

"OK, bring it on." Marco laughed.

"You got it," Johnny picked up the menus and disappeared.

Our nosy lady leaned over and volunteered. "You'll like that chowder. You'd never know it was catfish."

I laughed. "That makes two recommendations. I'm sure it's good."

Marco said nothing but grinned. In about 10 minutes our lunch arrived and looked nice. The sandwich had plenty of turkey on it and the chefs salad had bacon, chopped egg, and sliced tomatoes. We both tried the soup.

"Hey, that's really good," Marco said.

"I told you so," the nosy lady reminded him as her companion shushed her.

We enjoyed our lunch as the two men at the other table were finishing up. The taller of the two looked our way and asked, "Pardon me, but we were wondering if you are staying here at the hotel?"

"Yes, we will be here all week. We just arrived today," I answered.

"We came on Saturday. We have been here before and think the rooms are just lovely. I hope you enjoy your stay. I am Bob by the way, and this is Frank."

"Nice to meet you, I am Marty and this is Marco." By now the men were standing to leave and we shook hands all around.

"We will be here until Friday," Bob volunteered. "There are a lot of things to do in Eureka. If we can help you in any way, please let us know."

We thanked them and they left. "They seemed nice," Marco observed.

"Seemed to be. I gather we are not the only 'couple' to stay here."

Marco nodded. "That's kind of nice, actually. We might ask them about things to do, you think?"

"Sure, can't hurt," I agreed.

We finished our lunch and went to pay. Johnny told us it would be put on our tab, although we could pay as we went if we really wanted to. He said that as if it were more trouble, so we left it for the tab.

"Let's walk around," Marco suggested, and we did.

The street in front of the hotel wound around more old houses converted to Inns. Some looked nicer than others. But then the place where we were staying was less impressive on the outside than the interior would suggest. We tried to guess what was inside the others. After several blocks the street turned downhill towards the main part of town so we followed it.

Eureka Springs looked like it had been there for a long time. I lectured Marco that "Unlike Oklahoma, Arkansas was settled much earlier and Eureka Springs has long been a tourist attraction due to the natural springs that were thought to have healing powers. All this Victorian architecture dates back to the late 1800's."

"How do you know all that stuff?" Marco wondered.

"Google. You can find out anything on Google," I informed him. "Check it out."

"I'll remember that," Marco said thoughtfully.

Our self guided walking tour took us winding through the hilly town of ornate old buildings. There were no 90 degree intersections and no traffic lights. It was quite picturesque. Almost by accident we found ourselves walking back up the street that led to our hotel. We went back up to our room and refreshed ourselves in the fancy bathroom.

"This is a cool place," Marco said. "I'm glad we came here."

"We are just getting started. We are going to have a nice honeymoon," I winked at him.

After a bit we went back to the lobby lunge and found Bob and Frank sitting in a pair of leather armchairs. "Hello again," Bob greeted us. "Have you been looking around?"

"We did sort of a walk around. You can get your exercise here, it's quite hilly," I acknowledged.

"Yes, we almost wore ourselves out last weekend," Frank spoke up. "What brings you to Eureka Springs?"

"Well actually, we are sort of on a honeymoon," I admitted with some reservation.

They both smiled. "Oh how marvelous. This is the perfect place for that. Actually, we were married here just last year although we have been together for much longer than that," Bob admitted.

"This is the first place in Arkansas to permit gay marriage," Frank informed us, "Although I suppose one can marry almost anywhere now."

"We were married in Tulsa last month," Marco chimed in. "We had a really nice church wedding."

"Oh, how nice. I wish we had done that. We just went to the court house," Frank laughed.

"Well great," I smiled. "Nice to meet some kindred souls. So what is there to do here in the evening?"

Bob giggled, "Almost anything you like. This is one of the most gay friendly places in the world, at least in this part of the country. There are all sorts of bars and clubs. Some of the entertainment is most interesting."

Marco cautioned him, "We don't drink really, and we aren't looking for anything too exciting."

"Oh, there are lots of places," Frank told us. "We like to dance. Would you like to go dancing?"

We looked at each other. "I don't think we have ever tried to dance together. I guess there are gay clubs in Tulsa, but we have never done that," I admitted.

"You should go dancing then. There are lots of places to do that here. You won't be exposed to anything too risqué. Can we take you to a nice place?"

Marco grinned. "That might be fun, What do you think?" he asked me.

"Why not? It might be a great new experience." Marty agreed.

"Would you like to go to dinner first? There are just tons of good restaurants here," Bob suggested.

Marco nodded. "I'd like that. We had kind of a light lunch and I could do justice to a nice dinner."

"What do you like?" Bob asked. "We know a few places."

Frank suggested, "Why don't we take them to the Happy Clam? The food is great and they always have dancing in the bar. If we are lucky they will have a band and if not they will have a DJ. We had a nice time there last year."

"That's a great idea," Bob agreed. They have seafood and good steaks; they have everything really."

It was agreed. We parted to meet again in the lobby at 7:00. In the meantime we went back to our room.

Marco looked at me with a grin. "What do you think? Do we have time for a shower before dinner?"

"Hmm, I think we should shower after dinner. Right now I would like to check out that big jacuzzi."

"That works for me," Marco said.

We undressed and I started filling the tub with hot water. We stepped in from opposite ends and settled back. "Have you ever been in one of these?" I asked him.

"No, never. Don't they bubble or something?"

"Watch this," I pushed a big button on the side and air started to hiss out from a dozen different jets around the perimeter of the tub.

"Oh man!" Marco closed his eyes and slid down into the bubbling water until he was up to his chin.

I did the same from my end of the tub as our legs overlapped each other and we relished the sensation of the hot swirling water. I opened a small packet of bath salts from a small dish and tossed the contents into the tub and the water began to foam, covering us with a thin layer of soap bubbles with the fragrance of lavender. It was heavenly.

"Man, when we are rich I want one of these," Marco declared.

I put my foot in his lap and began to play footsie with his nether regions, creating an almost immediate erection on his part. He reciprocated and we soon were busy masturbating each other with our feet. This caused Marco to giggle. "This is a first," he exclaimed.

By unspoken agreement we slid together to let our genitals rub together and started an impromptu mutual massage. "You like that?" I asked.

Marco answered with a kiss, pushing his tongue into my mouth and grinning at the same time. This quickly became serious as we explored each other with our hands under the hot soapy water.

"Damn, I could get used to this," he gasped between breaths.

"It just occurred to me that I am pretty horny," I told him, kissing his neck.

"No shit, me too. This is sexy as hell," he agreed.

A few minutes of this and we both added our semen into the mix, lingering over some passionate kissing.

"Whoa, I can't believe we shot so quick!" Marco said.

I laughed. "We're young, we will recover in time for tonight's shower."

We retreated back to the opposite ends of the tub and relaxed, enjoying the sensuous feeling of the moving water.

After a few minutes I asked. "Are you ready to dress for dinner?"

Marco laughed again. "Man, I think I am about ready for anything."

We climbed out of the tub and let the water start to drain while we dried each other off and then put on our best clothes: khakis and sweaters. I wore a navy blue crew neck, and Marco put on the loose white sweater that I liked so much. He used the hair dryer provided by the hotel to dry his long hair as I brushed it for him.

I loved to brush his hair. A few times when I brushed out his hair he had asked me to braid it rather than just gather it in a ponytail. I made it into a long thick braid that hung half way down his back and admired the results. On someone else it might have looked out of place. On Marco it was stunning. Under normal circumstances this might have caused another erection but by now we were temporarily satiated and getting hungry. We made it down to the lobby just at seven. He was wearing his silver cross over his sweater, I was displaying my turquoise pendant. We were as dressed up for the evening as we could get.

Frank and Bob stood to greet us as we entered the lobby. "You guys look terrific," Frank said, looking mostly at Marco.

"Are you ready for dinner?" Bob asked.

Marco grinned. "We're already having a nice evening."

We followed our new friends out of the lobby. Scarcely a half block down the hill was a corner restaurant with blue neon lights that spelled out 'The Happy Clam'. Inside it was warm with soft lights and round tables set with white linen. Just beyond we could see a larger room with a long bar down one side and even smaller tables around the perimeter. We waited and were seated at a table in the dining area and presented with menus.

After a minute a nice looking young man came to see about us. "What can I bring you to drink?" he asked.

Bob and Frank ordered cocktails and Marco looked at me. "Ice tea for me." I nodded and ordered the same.

Bob said under his breath. "I didn't ask about your age Marco, but they probably wouldn't card you if you wanted something."

"That's OK, we hardly ever drink alcohol," Marco explained.

I shrugged and added, "We have both had some bad experiences with booze and feel like we can live without it."

Bob picked up his menu and pointed out some things he thought we might like. "As the name of this place would suggest, they do some nice seafood, and the steaks are good, I can attest to that. I don't think you can go wrong with anything on the menu."

We looked it over. Marco went for a small New York strip and I decided to try the coconut crusted shrimp. They came with a baked potato or fries and a house salad. We both asked for a baked potato. Bob and Frank ordered Ribeyes.

We chatted about local attractions and were served quickly. The food was good and the waiter attentive. Our tea was refilled several times as were our friend's cocktails. We declined a dessert and could hear music from the next room.

"Oh, I want to dance," Frank said. "Are you ready?" he looked at us.

"What do you think, Twinkle Toes?" I grinned at Marco.

"I told you I'm about ready for almost anything."

We moved into the bar area and found a small table on one side. David and Bob started to dance as soon as we sat down. The music was upbeat and they were dancing around, doing something we couldn't identify as we looked around the room. There were a few male and female couples, but the same sex crowd was in the majority. This was something of a new experience for both Marco and myself. We sat and grinned at each other. After a few minutes Bob and Frank came over and encouraged us to dance. We looked at each other and shrugged, then got up and gave it a try.

I had danced some in school, but since I didn't date that much, was not very experienced. Neither was Marco, but the rock music required little except the willingness to stand and wiggle our hips and wave our arms. We managed to do that and felt we were as adept as most on the floor. As we got into it we decided that we were having fun.

The DJ took a quick break and we all sat down together. "You were looking good," Bob told us. "I thought you said you didn't dance."

"We are learning," I chuckled.

A waiter came by, Bob and Frank rededicated themselves to cocktails while Marco and I opted for Cokes. The music started up again and made conversation difficult so we did some people watching.

The DJ went into a slow set and Marco smiled at me. "Can we dance to that?"

"I don't know, can you slow dance?" I asked.

"I think I can if you'll teach me," he said almost shyly.

I stood, offered him my hand and we walked to the side of the dance floor. I had not slow danced in some time, and never with another guy. I hesitated, not sure of the etiquette of which side the arms went or who would try to lead. Since Marco had never danced like this before I decided it didn't matter, and took the position of the lead and tried to instruct him. It was a simple two step and I demonstrated an equally simple step pattern and we began to fall into a rhythm. Marco was naturally graceful and before long we were dancing around and found we enjoyed it very much. The last time I had a dance partner in my arms it was a girl I was not particularly interested in and I found that Marco was much nicer to hold. As we began to feel more sure footed, I pulled him in closer and we began to really dance together. It was very nice, and Marco was smiling broadly.

"Hey, this is fun," he said.

"Yes it is," I agreed. You turn out to be a good dancer."

"I have a good teacher," he smiled. Then he leaned forward to whisper in my ear. "I love you Marty. I can't imagine dancing with anybody else," then he kissed me on the ear.

The band shifted back to a faster tempo and we did our hip wiggle for a number then sat back down to sip our colas. The volume level precluded conversation so we sat and held hands until another slow number came up. We nodded at each other and got back up to dance again.

I simplified our position to hold him around the waist with both arms, while he put his hands on my shoulders and we danced with our bodies touching, and our faces pressed cheek to cheek. We alternated like this, dancing a few fast numbers, then sitting out until a slower song began. We found this most enjoyable and decided that we danced well together.

Our friends continued to drink to the point that Marco and I were becoming a little uncomfortable. They seemed to be holding their liquor fairly well, but Marco appeared uneasy. I thought of Carl, and asked if he were ready to go. He nodded almost gratefully. We thanked our hosts and excused ourselves.

We walked the short distance back to the hotel, holding each other around the waist and shivering with the drop in temperature. "We should have worn coats," I observed.

"It wasn't that cold when we left," Marco agreed.

Back in the room we felt warmed by our brief exercise and sat down together on the nice little settee in the living area. "Did you enjoy yourself?" I asked Marco.

He snuggled in close and told me, "The food was good, and the company wonderful. I can't believe you taught me to slow dance. That was really nice."

"You are really graceful. You picked that up very quickly."

"This is beginning to feel like what a honeymoon is supposed to feel like."

"How do you feel?" I asked.

"Happy," he said softly. "Very happy."

He looked up at me. "Was it OK that we left? I mean were you really ready to go?"

"Sure," I told him. "I'm ready when you're ready, you know that."

He put his head back on my shoulder. "I'm sorry to be a wuss, but I get uncomfortable when I am around too much drinking."

"Like with Carl that time?"

"Yeah. And there are some other things. I guess I haven't told you everything that's ever happened to me."

"Do you want to talk about it?" I asked.

"Not particularly."

"Then let's drop it. I am not crazy about drunks either," I chuckled.

"I think Bob and Frank are OK. Their drinking is more my problem than theirs," Marco admitted. "It was nice to go out dancing like that though. We didn't have to worry about who was watching or anything. I wish we could do that more often."

"I enjoyed that very much," I agreed. "I think there are some clubs in Tulsa where we could dance. The only one I ever visited was kind of a cowboy bar, but we could ask Wayne and David. I bet they know someplace."

"Wayne and David have been nice friends, but they are about it, you know?" Marco looked thoughtful. "We don't really have any friends except them."

"No, that's true, we don't," I agreed. "I suppose there are ways of meeting other gay couples."

"Can we look for something on Google?" Marco wondered.

"Sure, let's give that a try." I pulled out the laptop and we sat back down on the settee to take a look.

I typed in 'Gay support groups, Tulsa' and hit enter. Several things came up. "Oklahoma Equality looks interesting. Click on that," Marco suggested.

"They have some social activities," I noticed. "There is a 3 on 3 basketball game every Wednesday night at the Schusterman Center. That could be fun. Do you play basketball?" I asked Marco.

"Yeah, well a little. I might try. What else?"

"There is an Arts group. It doesn't say much about it, but there is a contact. And even bowling teams," I read off the screen.

Marco looked interested. "I think the idea is to meet some people, not if we are great at the activity."

"That's true. Here is even a list of places to go dancing," I pointed out. I pulled up information about the Club Majestic downtown.

We read the information and decided we might want to check it out.

"There are some interesting things here," I said.

"What's PFLAG?" Marco wondered.

"Hmm, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays," I read. "There are chapters in some of the high schools."

"We might be a little past that," Marco laughed.

I agreed. "But there are some thing here. It might be a way to make some friends. Not that we can't make friends with straight people, but it might be a way to meet some other gay people. That might be nice."

"Right. I don't mean that we can't be friends with people unless they are gay, but it's kind of nice to know who is and who isn't," Marco pointed out.

I shrugged, "Actually, if there is something you are interested in, the thing to do is to find a group that shares that interest and start doing it. That is how to meet people, whether they are gay or not."

"Don't get me wrong," Marco said. "There is nobody in the world I would rather be with than you, but I am thinking it might be nice to have some friends to do things with. I mean, except for David and Wayne, we don't really have any friends at all."

"No, we don't. It wouldn't hurt to have some friends," I agreed. "Let's look into that when we get home. I think the main drawback for you right now is finding the time to do anything besides work and school."

"That's true, but we had so much fun tonight that it makes me want to have more friends to do things with. But no boozers, OK? Let's don't make friends with a bunch of drunks," Marco stipulated.

"That works for me," I laughed.

Marco sighed. "You know, I think you are the only person in the world I've ever felt like I could really trust."

"Maybe we should stick together."

"Yeah, I think so," he sighed again. Then he looked up and kissed me on the ear. "What do you think about a shower now?"

"That sounds good. I'm kind of sweaty after all that dancing."

We undressed and folded our clothes carefully. We pulled the shower curtain around the big tub and ran the water nice and warm. We did our favorite dance together, washing and rinsing each other carefully, lovingly. When we were nice and clean I stopped up the tub, turned on a little more hot water, and we laid down under the shower and let it fill around us, luxuriating in the warm water. When it was sufficiently filled I turned on the bubbles again, threw in another little packet of lavender and we relaxed. When the water began to cool, I added more hot water to the mix and we relaxed some more. We did that until we both grew very sleepy.

"If we don't get out of this thing we are going to fall asleep and drown," I suggested. Marco nodded.

We pulled the plug and dried each other off, then climbed into the nice big four poster and snuggled up close and quickly drifted off to peaceful sleep. The mambo would have to wait until morning. We had all week.

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