Age of Discovering

by Rick Beck

Chapter 22

Eastward Bound

"I was proud of you tonight, Glenn. Thank you for letting me come along," I said, hugging him, once he returned to the sitting room.

"I need to get out of these shoes. My feet hurt," Glenn said.

"Let me," I said, kneeling before him and slipping his feet out of his new shoes delivered before we left the hotel room before brunch. I massaged his feet and he leaned back to enjoy the attention.

"That feels marvelous," he said.

"He's right, you know?" Glenn said.

"How's that?" I asked.

"I'm comfortable around you. My brain is usually going in three direction about this time, but tonight I'm calm and all my thoughts are about you."

"Glad I could be of service," I said.

"Me too," he said, scooting over in the chair to make room for me to sit next him.

He kissed me once I sat down. It was a long lingering kiss.

"I think this is where we were when Preston interrupted us," he said.

I kissed him back.

"Yes, this is it," I said as we got our arms around each other.

The Seattle night twinkled outside our window.

We were alone and we were in love.

The roar of the plane's engines was prominent as we left the gate. It was a little after 2 p.m. Our departure was on schedule.

We slept in late that morning, barely getting our bags packed before Leo called to tell us he'd arrive in about fifteen minutes. It took a half hour to drive from the hotel to SeaTac Airport.

Leo said Sunday traffic would be light and his gas pedal foot was heavy as we cruised almost alone in the high speed lanes.

Leaving Leo was like leaving a friend. He'd been helpful and couldn't do enough for us. I hoped to see him again one day.

There were no signs that anyone was lurking in the shadows waiting for Glenn to appear.

The picture in the paper was of a devilishly smiling Glenn. I knew it was him but the picture didn't look that much like him.

In any event, we met Leo in the alley behind the hotel. Leo thought someone may have seen his limo carrying us away from the campus. If he pulled up at the front door, it would alert anyone inside that a VIP was on his way down.

If someone tracked members of the Preston Hathaway show were staying there, some industrious photographer might be in the lobby, hoping for a picture of someone important checking out.

With most of the performers being up late, they'd sleep late and fly out later in the evening.

They didn't have school on Monday.

Preston would check us out once he was circulating after he got up. Anyone laying in wait for Glenn Denning would be disappointed.

We slipped out of Seattle virtually unnoticed.

"You OK," I asked, holding Glenn's hand and watching him sit with his eyes closed.

"No, I still don't know if I can do this," he said, obviously thinking about fame and fortune.

"You've done it," I reminded him. "When you are on stage, you know what to do."

"You could be a tad prejudiced," he said.

"Not so much that I don't know what I saw and heard."

"You see what he's paying me to sign his contract?"

"No. He said a substantial signing bonus."

"All the contract says is that I'll notify him if I'm approached with an offer to play for someone else. It says I'll play five dates with the Preston Hathaway Show. Dates to be decided later. I know how a football player feels when he signs with the NFL They pay then a signing bonuses. Paying you to sign your name is a bit pretentious."

"Preston knows how business is done. If he doesn't do what's expected, what if someone comes along and starts throwing money at you to leave Preston. A fair man is going to pay you what you're worth," I said with confidence. "Preston seems like a fair man to me."

"I'm not worth that much money. That much money is scary. What if I can't keep doing this?"

"You can't miss the fondness he has for you. Put the money away and one day you'll be glad you have it. If you don't live up to his expectations, he'll let you know and you can give the money back."

"I know how business is done too. There's nothing I've read that says I might need to give the money back. I'm no fool, Gordon."

"No! You aren't," I said, squeezing his hand.

"It bothers me. How do I give him his money's worth? I'm a violin player. It's not like he doesn't have plenty of violinists."

"That's where he knows more than you. You aren't like his other violin players. What you do is only something you do. If you just played the violin, you wouldn't be getting all the attention. The critic in the Seattle Times didn't write about the other violinists. He didn't even write about the Preston Hathaway Show. The people who contacted him were talking about you. That makes you one of a kind." "I know all that but it's a lot to take in. I don't feel that special."

"It's what he thinks you're worth. That's your value to him," I said. "The audience liked you. They put your picture on the front of the entertainment section of the paper. No one was in the picture with you. I'd say your performance was out of the ordinary."

"I came to play because I thought it would be a neat thing to do. I'll play and see Seattle. I'd impress you with my part time job and Preston sees to it I go first class. It's like being on vacation."

"I was impressed. I loved you before you impressed me."

"You were? I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't have any idea if you felt anything like I felt when I decided to ask you to come with me. I didn't know if you could go. I thought if we spent some time together, you'd see I wasn't as crazy as I act. I am pretty adorable once you get to know me," he said.

"Yes, you are," I said, squeezing his hand. "My being here, our feelings being similar, it figures into the picture. Once you're home, it'll be easier to consider your future. Let it rest for a few days. You'll feel better about where you are and where you want to go. If you want to let me hang around you."

"Hang around you? You don't think I already made up my mind on that one. Seattle was fun but even without Seattle, I was so attracted to you," I said.

"You know, I didn't have any idea how much you liked me. My feelings were all mixed up with the excitement over playing in Seattle. I wanted to tell you how I felt but I didn't know if you could come along. I can seem pretty crazy. You've seen me being crazy. I didn't know if you could see beyond the daring do I do."

"I did and I do. You've acted like an adult and a gentleman. I couldn't have asked for more, Glenn. I'm sorry it has to end."

"Keeping those words in mind, Washington does have gay marriage," Glenn said.

"Yes, I heard that. If I wasn't seventeen, which we both are, I might have given it some thought," I said.

"I get that and I am not one who rushes into things. Well, I don't always rush into things. One date on Preston's calendar is Christmas Even in Seattle. We'll both be eighteen and we'll have been together almost all year by then," he said.

"Glenn, I am seventeen. That's a very large step for someone who has thought he'd never be able to get married. I won't say yes or no to that, because I like the idea a lot, but I'd like to get married at home, where we live."

"They don't have equal marriage there," Glenn said.

"I know. People are beginning to see gay marriages. The earth hasn't come to an end and no one is hurt because two people in love can get married. I've got to think that rational people will see there is no reason to stop two people in love from being married."

"You think they'll go for that at home?" Glenn asked.

"Yes! I'm in no hurry to do something that you can't do in most places in this country. I really don't feel like I've got to get married to be in love. I don't think anyone does. So, I think I can wait to see if we'll have the right to marry at home. To me that's worth waiting for," I said.

"I see your point. I've never thought about marriage. Not until I was told they had gay marriage in Seattle. That's the first time I considered it an option. I don't feel gay but I do feel like I'm in love with you. I can work with what we have as long as we're together."

"That's a pretty mature way to look at it, Glenn. What we are. What we decide to have together, really isn't anyone's business but ours. I think waiting for it to be legal where we live is a good move."

He kissed my cheek and I turned my head so our lips met.

As quick as the kiss was done our flight attendant dropped two huge strawberry short cakes, piled with whip cream in front of us.

"What's this?" Glenn said. "We didn't order anything."

"Thank you?" she said with a big smile.

"I haven't done anything yet," Glenn reminded her.

"Yes, you have," she said. "You see, I was on Preston Hathaway's flight crew my first year as a flight attendant. He was the most pleasant passenger I'd had. He seemed to appreciate everything I did, and because of how sweet he was, I did more for him and I did it better. When he was leaving, he handed me two tickets for the Preston Hathaway Show the next evening in San Francisco. I was laid over for the weekend and so I attended my first Preston show. I've never missed one since, when we were in the same town at the same time. Last night was his seventh show I've seen. I must admit, you left the audience stunned. At intermission the talk was all about you," she said.

She handed Glenn the picture on the front page of the entertainment section of the Seattle Times.

"When I first saw you, I knew I knew you. After we took off, I checked the papers, thinking I'd seen a picture of you. There it was. So thank you for an entertainment experience I won't soon forget, Glenn. I can't remember seeing such a perfect performance before. So the strawberry short cake is my way of thanking you. Luckily I was on board when they loaded the strawberries and I knew just how I would thank you."

"Your name is?" Glenn asked.

"I'm Gwendolyn," she said, extending he hand.

"You know my name. This is my boy friend, Gordon."

"Delighted," she said, extending her hand to me.

She had a beautiful smile.

"Enjoy! I better circulate before someone demands it," she said.

"What a nice thing to do," Glenn said.

"You see, you are no average bear. She thought you were something special too," I said.

"Well, she's out of luck if she thinks she can steal me away from you," Glenn said, kissing my cheek again, leaving whip cream where his lips dared to go.

I laughed, licking the rest of the cream off his lips.

"How did we get here from where we started?"

"I told you, the first time I saw you, I knew. I didn't know what I knew but I knew I was going to find a way to get close to you. I've never felt like this before. Being with you has been totally amazing for a kid who has never been any where," I said.

"You do know me better than anyone. Inside out, you might say," Glenn said, smiling and kissing my cheek.

"You might say, I don't know what is going to happen. I don't know what comes next, but I'm in love with you, Glenn. I'm crazily, amazingly, insanely in love with you. I want to make you happy."

"I know. That's even scarier than playing in Seattle. Whatever I do, Gordon, let me know if I'm being a dick, will you? I can be a dick and it's not something I ever want to be around you. I want to make you happy too. I want you to be happy with me. Going home won't change what we've discovered for very long. We'll both be eighteen soon. I want to make the most of what we feel for each other," he said.

We were flying over the Rockies, heading east. I'd had the most incredible three days of my life. I was in love for the first time. I was with the man I loved and we were talking about our future.

It was incredible.

Love was a big deal. I didn't know there were such feelings. I was glad there was. Loving Glenn was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I leaned to kiss his cheek. He smiled and leaned to kiss mine. He squeezed my hand. I squeezed his, looking into his dreamy eyes.

We sank back into our seats.

Life was good.

Life was very very good and we were very tired from keeping each other up all night.

The End

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