Age of Discovering

by Rick Beck

Chapter 19

Loving You

I woke to tender kisses in the dark. It took only seconds for me to remember where I was or who I was with. By then kisses were becoming serious affairs.

There was nothing tentative as our bodies pressed together. We'd broken the seal on our love for each other. Now it was a matter of going further than before, until we found our limits.

I was hoping we had a long search ahead of us.

Now there was nothing to do but love. No one was on their way and, if we were lucky, we'd still be in bed at noon, tangled in one anothers arms.

The sun was shining in my eyes for a long time before I remembered to open them. Now, because we were facing west, it wasn't so much the sun as the day that shined.

Even with eyes open, I was dazed and not sure if I was really awake or dreaming I was awake. I wondered if I might be back home and dreaming of being in love in Seattle.

The size of the room told me I wasn't at home. Then there was Glenn in the bed with me. That definitely wasn't going to happen at my house.

Glenn was breathing deeply. I wondered if he was dreaming about the violin that had been shipped to Preston the day before we left home. Glenn hadn't touched it since early in the week. I was still practicing a few hours before we played somewhere.

Glenn told me he practiced for long hours two or three evenings a week. Once dinner was done, the dishes were cleared, his mother and father, and sometimes his brother, sat in the room at the back of the house to hear Glenn play.

My parents were good and decent people who treated me far better than I had a right to expect, but they never listened to me play the guitar. I rarely played at the house once I went electric.

My parents driving up to school to listen to us wrangle between the songs we played wasn't a good use of their time. They'd have come if I asked, but there was no reason to lengthen their already long days to listen to my attempts at making music, even if some of it was residue from when I heard my parents' music as a little boy.

As a boy still making discoveries about my world, I was fastened by the Beatles. In my little boy mind, I couldn't figure out how bugs played musical instruments so well. I could picture them playing and even more remarkable, they sang in English.

Now, Glenn made music and I realized that Image an effort to duplicate the sound I heard from famous guitarists.

Once I heard Glenn playing the violin, I knew we weren't in the same league. I'd never heard music played with such a pure sound as the one his violin made.

I threw one arm behind my head, looking at him beside me. I yawned and blinked to clear my vision. Glenn rolled over toward me, throwing his arm over my chest, scooting his body closer to mine.

He kissed my chest before going back to sleep.

The idea of getting up to take a leak left me as we cuddled. Having Glenn so close wasn't something I was ready to give up. I could pee later.

"You OK?" he asked, trying to keep his eyes open.

"OK! I'm fantastic," I said.

"You telling me! I've been with gymnasts and they don't have a thing on you."

I laughed.

"Must be the company I keep. I can't compete with the German gymnasts though. I'm a lousy wrestler."

"I'm not so sure," Glenn said. "That was about boys being horny and doing something about it. This ...this comes with feelings I've never experienced before."

"I like you too. This is where I've been heading since we met. You rock my world, Glenn."

"That sums it up for me too," he said.

"I was afraid you wanted to stick that thing in my butt. I wasn't sure it was a good idea," I revealed.

"I never really liked that. Good thing, I guess," he said. "Besides horsing around with Eddie, I haven't done a thing since leaving Germany. I'm almost a virgin again," he said.

"Almost?" I said laughing. "I didn't know virginity could be recovered. I'm delirious having one boy. I'm even more delirious you are the boy."

"Me too," he said. "About being glad you're the boy. The German boys were fun, but you are fun in a lot more serious way."

"Did you have trouble learning foreign languages?"

"Hermie and Fritz spoke better English than I did. I didn't sound convincing speaking German. Maybe that's why everyone spoke English around me. I could make myself understood after a year or so, but I wore a lot of German's out doing it."

I laughed.

"I've lost most of my German. You need to speak a language almost every day if you hope to retain it. Most German's would rather I speak English. Being a red blooded American boy, I didn't mind. It also meant I didn't need to spend that much time studying German. The Germans learn English by speaking to people from English speaking countries. It was rare for me to run into anyone who didn't have some knowledge about English."

"Makes one wonder how things got the way they are," I said. "We expect people who come here to speak English. We might have a better understanding of foreign countries if we learned their language. Communicating in a visitors native language would be a sign of respect toward them. Making an attempt to speak their language might give us a better opportunity to learn about their culture."

"Colleges study different cultures. You can learn other languages in college," Glenn said. "Reading can give you an understanding of other countries. Traveling with my parents allowed me to see other places and give me some idea how those people lived."

"You made good friends in Germany. That was good."

"I did OK because I took up with them. I got involved with their gymnastics team. I was American, Lang was Austrian, and the other boys were German. They didn't expect me to be German and I never tried to be. We just had fun when we were together."

"Did most Germans know you were American?" I asked.

"If they heard me speak German, they knew," Glenn said. "They didn't act like it was a hardship speaking English so they could understand me. I understood German better than I spoke it."

Glenn kissed me and I kissed him back. I tried to imagine traveling overseas. I hadn't been anywhere, even in the U.S., until the trip to Seattle.

"We'll have time this afternoon to see more of Seattle. It'll be different in daylight. We've got time to shower, get something to eat, and ravish each other's bodies a couple of times," Glenn said.

"If we take our time and do it right, we'll only need to do the ravishing once," I said.

"We don't need to be ready for anything until this afternoon," he said.

"It's got to be late in the morning," I said, guessing more than knowing what time it was.

"All the more reason to take our time," he said.

"Leo?" I asked.

"He'll call before he leaves his house. He knows his business. He won't want to sit around here waiting for us to get ready for today's tour. We're fine for a couple of hours on that front, and we don't need to go to the brunch as soon as it starts. I'm sure musicians and Preston's people will be straggling in until it's time to go to the auditorium."

"Do you think we can squeeze in a shower before the phone rings?" he asked.

The phone rang.

I put my fingers against my temples, letting my eyes roll back in my head, "Simple Simon says, no."

Glenn laughed.

The phone kept ringing.

"It's got to be Preston. He's the only one who knows where we are," Glenn said.

We kissed again.

The phone kept ringing.

He gave it one long last look before Glenn picked up his phone.

"Hello," Glenn yelled, "Oh, sorry. I thought you were going to bother me. Yes, omelets. Wait a minute," he said, looking at me. "We've got to order breakfast or it'll be too late. They don't take orders after eleven. What kind of omelet would you like?"

"You pick. I like everything. Especially sausage."

"You're a tease," he said before speaking into the phone. "Sausage, bacon too if that's OK in Seattle, cheese, two kinds if you got 'em. Mushrooms. Do you have mushrooms?"

Glenn listened.

"Oh, four. Go for it, my man. Fill that puppy up."

Glenn listened again.

"Oh, Tony. Hi. Yeah, rye and pumpernickel toast. Coffee. Plenty of coffee. Orange juice. Big glasses of orange juice. That ought to hold us until lunch. Thanks, Tony."

Glenn ended the call.

"We ought to tip him. I still only have a few bucks cash," I said. "He didn't have to call us. I'm starved and Tony is the only thing between me, you, and another trip to McDonald's, which I do love, but not every meal love."

"I got a five from last night. I'll give that to him. Preston's going to give me some cash today. That'll get us through tonight without any difficulty."

"Cool," I said.

"it's easy to be with you, you know," he said. "You're low maintenance."xcvb2q

"Easy?" I asked.

"Most people require more work. That makes It easy to be alone. I like being alone. Doesn't require any work. You like what I like. That requires no work. We fit together on a lot of levels."

"I'm a little frightened that I'm falling in love with you," I said, rolling over on my back.

"Don't be. I'll protect you. I'm tough, you know."

"What happens when we go home? There's school. Our families. How will we be together? I want to be with you, Glenn. I like being with you."

"Gordon, we're together now. Let's have fun and make the most of this. Hell, the plane might crash before we get home. We have that to worry about before we worry about finding time to… well, you fill in the blank. Let's be here while we're here."

"You think so?" I said not in a serious way.

"No, but let's go with the flow. I've never felt more alive than you make me feel. We haven't even been here a full day yet. We'll worry about home once we're home. We'll work out a way to spend plenty of time together."

"OK," I said. "Breakfast is coming. We should have time for a shower. It takes a few minutes to put together the things you ordered."

Not worrying was a fine idea. Showering together was a great way to start the day. Kissing as the water cascaded over us. Being here with him was the best place I'd been."

Kissing once the water was off was cool too. We kissed while we dried each other off. We laughed a lot and we got washed and dried before breakfast came. We even had time to kiss some more.

In some ways it was phantasmagorical. If I had been able to imagine love, this would be how it was.

"Tony," he said, before we fell onto his bed.

"I know," I said.

We got up and put on the plush robes that were hanging just outside the bathroom door. I dried my hair with a big fluffy white towel that smelled as fresh as all outdoors. Glenn used a hand towel, rubbing it vigorously across his head. He was done once he used his hands and brushed his hair into place.

I'd just started getting my much longer hair dry. Why didn't I get a neat haircut like that? I'd cultivated long hair for years and never once thought about how much easier it would be on me to have it cut short like Glenn's.

Tony knocked twice before swinging the door wide open to roll in our breakfast. Several metal covers hid the food that came under cover and on glass platters with pedestals. There was a pitcher of orange juice and glasses filled with ice. Tony poured water from a bottle over the ice. A white table cloth hid the dishes and silverware under the table.

Tony went about setting the table for two, as I watched in astonishment at what could best be described as a feast. I'd never gone first class before but I was sure this was it.

There were two places set. Tony reached under the cart to retrieve what was needed. He poured us each a glass of orange juice before he poured two steaming cups of coffee. He put a silver creamer and sugar bowl in the center of the table that was created once he pulled up the side flaps on the cart. A white table cloth was in place under the half dozen covered dishes we'd yet to investigate.

After the table was set to his satisfaction, Tony stepped back to make sure he remembered everything.

Tony said, "Enjoy your breakfast, gentlemen."

"Tony, my man, it smells scrumptious," Glenn said, trying to hand him the five dollar bill.

"No, no, Mr. Preston, he pays Tony well to take care of his people. This not be necessary."

"I'd like to reward you for the fast service," Glenn said. "We may well have starved up here if you hadn't taken the time to call."

"You are the magic flute player, no?" Tony asked.

"Something like that. I play the violin."

"Oh, yes, I've heard that. You play like the angels," Tony said, regrouping gracefully.

"No, that's not quite how I play but I appreciate the endorsement. I'm Glenn. My friend is Gordon. Here, I want you to take this," Glenn insisted. "You've earned it and you shouldn't argue with your clients."

"No, I shouldn't," Tony said, he appreciates your kindness," he said, removing the five dollar bill from Glenn's hand. "Need anything, you ask for Tony. I take care of you."

He bowed gracefully, closing the door as he backed out of our room.

"Oh man. Oh man," I said, nibbling on the omelet under the first cover I removed. "This is heavenly."

Glenn leaned toward me and I stuffed the next fork full into his mouth. He closed his eyes and chewed carefully.

"This could replace sex," he said. "There's some grapes here, orange slices, some pineapple slices. Fresh! Quite a spread," he said, looking under each cover to see what other surprises might be hidden there.

"I've decided that I like being with only one guy, as long as it's you," I said. "To me love should be a private affair. I don't know how I'd react to a boy, or boys, who only wanted sex."

"We keep going back to Germany," Glenn said. Being on a team meant there was all kinds of horsing around. If I hadn't gotten interested in gymnastics, I wouldn't have had those friends," he said. "Once I left the team, I didn't have any friends, but it was time for Dad to get a new duty station, and here I am. That was fun while it lasted but we were young and making the most of a good situation."

"I can't imagine letting someone watch us," I said.

"We're seriously involved, Gordon. That's way different. It's private," Glenn said. "We're more mature than I was when I went to Germany. I'm back home and I don't need to go out of my way to make friends."

"Seattle is a little out of the way," I said.

"Not if you live in Seattle," he said.

"When in Seattle...." I said.

"To answer the attention question a while back. Fritz was the nicest to me of the German kids. He was the oldest. We got along best together. Once I broke my arm, we started putting distance between us. The thing we had in common, we no longer had in common. Fritz came over to check on me a few times but it wasn't the same. Gymnastics was the glue that held our friendship together. I'd say I was closest to Fritz if I needed to pick one of the three."

"He was closest to you," I said.

"He kept coming around the longest, but we drifted apart in time. With those guys it was gymnastics. With you, I think our connection is musical. Music is our glue. As we move forward, music will be important in our relationship."

"Oh, it isn't how you react to me then?" I said sorrowfully.

"Oh, yeah, it's you all right. It's the difference between child's play and serious business. You're most definitely serious business, and after two years, I'm as close to being virgin as you'll find in these here parts these days."

I laughed at his hillbilly accent.

"Don't you miss your friends in Germany?"

"They were letting me in on their fun and games. I had no complaints," he said. "They got me through a time when I'd have been alone without them. I'm used to moving on. We were in Germany longer than we were at most duty stations. I had more time to make friends and have friends."

"Then it was time for you to come home," I said.

"I don't have a home, Gordon. Now I'm in Seattle. No telling where I'll be the next time Preston calls. One thing for certain, I won't be in one place all the time. I guess moving around as a kid has prepared me for moving around as an musician."

"And in between moving around, Eddie's my only competition for the time being?"

"Eddie? Eddie's... fun," Glenn said thoughtfully.

"Am I fun, Glenn?" I asked.

"Are you fun? That's a loaded question if I ever heard one. You are surprisingly, amazingly, magnificently, most wonderfully fun, but on a scale of 1 to 10, Eddie has a 10 body, I'll tell you right off. I'm not going to lie."

"You were rating Eddie and me as far as fun was concerned," I reminded him.

"I've known Eddie longer and he was a ten before I met you, Gordon. All things considered, you'd maybe be a 95."

"You mean 9.5," I corrected.

"Oh, no, no, no, you are definitely a 95 all right. I'm crazy about you, if you haven't noticed. Did I mention that? I didn't know there were feelings like the feelings I have for you, Gordon? You're way off the charts."

"No," I giggled as he kissed my neck with a flood of kisses.

"OK, 96, but that's it. 96. You're surprisingly casual after your first ever sexual experience, Gordo. I think I like that too."

"I'm with you, Glenn," I said. "I'm totally comfortable. I didn't know there were feelings like the ones I have for you. Just being with you makes me smile."

"I'm glad to hear that. I love being with you, Gordo."

"Is this what love feels like, Glenn? Are we falling in love?" I asked, as he snuggled closer to me.

"Well, this beats hell out of anything I've experienced up until now. If this isn't love, it's got to be close."

"I'd bet on it," I said.

"You're about the best thing that ever happened to me. I haven't had the urge to jump over anything or off something since we went out together the first time. I think a lot about the day you made me feel like a lamb chop," he said.

"What's a lamb chop?"

"The way you kept looking at me that day at the water fountain," he said, kissing me again. "Lamb chop is a pork chop with a pedigree. They have them in the windows at the butcher shops in Germany, along with the sausage. Hundreds of feet of sausage wrapped around the window. Germans love their sausage. Serve it with sauerkraut and beer and they're happy campers. Germans love their beer."

"And you?" I asked playfully.

"It took time to cultivate a taste for it but I learned to love it served the way German's fix it," he said.

That was it for the talking. I'd never eaten better. It was delicious. I don't know how they kept the hot stuff hot and the cold stuff cold, and get it to the room that way, but they did it.

Leo called while we were eating and he was coming for us at one thirty. He wanted to take us by Puget Sound in the daylight and we were going to Pike's Market.

He'd get us to the brunch between three and four. It wouldn't break up until close to six, when everyone was driven to the university that was less than a mile away.

I became excited all over again by Seattle. It was a different city in the daylight. There wasn't enough time to see everything. Leo said we'd have a little time before we had to get to the airport Sunday, but not enough time to make any stops. We'd make the most of it according to our mood Sunday.

Puget Sound was massive. We watched a ferry come in to unload people and cars behind Pike's Market. Pike's had shops running through it for what had to be over a city block long.

On the top level we watched a fish show. There were guys unloading carts full of fish and they tossed the fish like footballs, until they ended up on ice in show cases.

One man caught a fifteen or twenty pound fish and he proceeded to make it talk. As crazy as it was, it made me laugh and the fish show had an audience of twenty to thirty people who stopped to watch the fish being tossed.

The orchestra ate and visited, relaxing before we left for the university at six. The performance began at eight fifteen.

Glenn would play just before nine thirty. Five minutes after Glenn left the stage, intermission started.

Leo would would wait for us at the back of the auditorium after Glenn changed out of his tuxedo. It was kept with other formal wear and the costumes that traveled with the Preston Hathaway Show. That way Glenn didn't need to worry about it.

This group was way easier than the people at the reception. They were all in the same business and there was no competition or intensity for anyone's attention. Carmen, Preston's brother, was there and his wife would join him for the performance. I was happy to hear they couldn't drag Junior to the symphony, the little creep.

I guess even someone like Junior deserves to live but for the life of me I couldn't figure out why. Maybe deserves is too strong a word.

There's no way to describe Glenn in a tux. Quiet works. He had a small space with a curtain where he dressed. I watched, holding onto his watch, wallet, and the money Preston gave him.

I fondled him through his underwear once he took his pants off.

"I don't think these pants are tailored with my hard on in mind," Glenn said.

"Maybe skip the pants," I said.

"There's an entire orchestra out there, not to mention an audience of thousands. I don't think it's that kind of show. Hold that thought though, my lovely, and we'll pick up where you left off later. For now, I've got a performance to keep my mind on. Not that you don't get points for the idea," he said with a smile.

He kissed my cheek before he went back to getting ready.

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