The Highschool Years

by David Gaingridge

Chapter 3

"So, now who is this Mitch?" My dad asked when I was doing homework at the table and he was cleaning the oven. Mitch was coming this weekend and I think my dad wanted to make sure Mitch was one of the good guys.

"Just someone from my old high school," I casually replied.

"Is he a good friend of yours?"

"Well…uh…we were friends. Not super close, but he's really nice." I think my dad knew I liked him.

"You've just never mentioned him that much," my dad said as he ran scrubbed one of the metal shelfs. I didn't look up, but I knew my dad had his one eyebrow raised. When I didn't say anything he continued: "So, what does he like? What places are you showing him?"

"Dad," I whined. Some things are just private. He turned and just gave me the look which, in turn, just made me laugh. "He's into photography so, like, maybe a few museums, or some of the statues, maybe have lunch at that diner on Oak Street."

"Depending what he's into they just added onto a post-modern exhibition at one of the art gallery's downtown, you guys should look into that."

"Sure, dad, I'll see what Mitch thinks."

"Well have fun, but be careful, ok?"

This time I did look up and he gave me a look. I definitely understood the double meaning of what he was saying.

I picked up Mitch from the train station an hour and a half later. He was actually dressed quite differently from when I would see him at school. He had on tailored dark-wash jeans, a peacoat, and a beanie that showed off his wonderful physique. Usually he just wore joggers and a t-shirt of some sort since he was always working out. I noticed he only had a backpack with him and he told me he traveled light and only packed the bare necessities (plus his camera).

I didn't know if we should hug or not so I just gave him a bro hug. He was so easy to get along and talk to the conversation just started flowing.

"Thanks again for having me and letting me crash at your place," he said and flashed me his killer smile.

I instantly grew weak in the knees and stuttered over my words, "problem…no…uh…it's no…problem." I blushed and gave him a weak smile. I told him we'd better get started since he was only here for a couple of days.

We got out of the train station and the wind started howling. Immediately snow was blown all around us. It would've been almost something out of a gay fairytale if the wind wasn't so strong. I looked to where I had parked my dad's car and pointed to it.

We both jumped in and let the car warm up. Well I was waiting for Mitch to warm up I had already melted when I saw Mitch step off the platform.

In the process of getting to the car I noticed that Mitch's beanie had shifted and his brown locks had become visible. Oh how I yearned to reach out and fix it. I figured I'd better not just because I knew that Mitch was cool with me being gay, but getting hit on by another guy is a different story.

"So, I wasn't really sure what you were looking for," I started to say. He just looked over and I continued, "but I thought we could hit up a few museums or art gallery's."

"Sure, both of those would be good backdrops for the photograph's I need to take for my class," he replied. So I guess this trip was strictly business and not pleasure. Whatever I wasn't looking for anything and besides I still wanted to see where things were going with Sam. And Mitch had always been really nice. I didn't want to mess that up.

"There's a good post-modern gallery my dad recommended that's just a few blocks away," I said turning up the heat.

"Lead the way. I'm yours for the weekend," he laughed at that. Oh if only…we wouldn't leave the bedroom! I started getting hard, but I think my bulky coat covered it up.

I put the car in gear and drove off into the winter night.

I sat down on a bench after awhile and just watched Mitch really enjoy the gallery with his camera. While I did love art, I was exhausted and in need of an energy boost. I didn't want to bother him since this was his weekend and plus I did love spending time with Mitch. Especially since he wasn't one of those obnoxious tourists, but if he saw something just right or some natural beauty then he'd take a picture, or that's how he explained it to me at least.

I turned to look at some of the paintings and got lost in the rich textures and hues. It was actually a pretty nice painting done in shades of blues, golds, and creams. There was a woman and a small girl with her and they were also looking at the same painting. The little girl declared (a bit too loudly) that she had painted something better than that in her art class and the woman laughed. I couldn't help but smile at that. I took another sip of my tea and turned back to Mitch.

I think he could tell that I was getting a little restless so he decided that now was a good time to take a break. I agreed and I told him of a diner that was just nearby.

We left the car and just decided to hoof it on foot since it was just a street over. And plus I'd get to see the snowflakes dance over Mitch's eyelashes. And also have the wind play with his hair and beanie.

We arrived at the diner after a short five minute walk. It was one of those eclectic diners that was interesting without trying to hard. It was vintage, but not tacky. We took a seat at a booth and a waiter came up. He was cute with a muscular build and a tattoo just barely visible under the sleeve of his left arm. We gave our orders and got back to shooting the shit.

"Man, this city is so awesome. I can tell why you love it here," Mitch told me.

"Yeah it's a lot better than…" my voice trailed off. No. I wouldn't cry. Not here in front of Mitch.

"I'm sorry, Sid, that was insensitive of me." He apologized. I just gave him a weak smile. "How are you doing?"

"I guess ok. I haven't been called a fag at this school yet," I weakly laughed trying to diffuse this awkward situation. Mitch just gave me a sympathetic look. "But I am better. My dad is great and there's a few new people I've met."

"That's good. It sucks you had to leave. I can't wait to get out of that place," Mitch complained.

"Believe me I was counting down the days for college," I laughed and he joined in as well.

The handsome waiter came back with our water at that moment. I couldn't help checking him out. I think Mitch caught me because he just gave me a shit eating grin when the waiter left.

"Shut up, man," I said through giggling. "Even for a straight guy you have to admit he's hot," I added. Mitch just kept laughing.

We just chatted over the course of lunch. Every once in a while I'd feel Mitch's foot touch mine, but I just figured he needed to stretch out so I'd move my foot back. Finally, by the time we finished our grub I didn't feel his foot anymore and he seemed a little down.

I was gonna ask him what was up when the waiter returned with the check.

"You gentlemen have a good night," he said as he placed the check in the middle of the table and then gave us a wink. Could it be our waiter liked dick as well?

We fought over who was gonna pay until Mitch finally told me that he was gonna pay because I was letting him crash at my place. He left a generous tip and told me he'd be back he just needed to use the restroom.

As soon as he left the waiter was back saying he'd get some change. He added, "your friend seems nice."
"Yeah, he's just visiting for the weekend," I replied.

"A weekend's too short to see someone."

"I know what you mean," I replied my eyes stared longingly to where he entered the restroom.

"If you want my advice, don't push him away. You both like each other it's obvious."

"What? But he's straight."

"So is spaghetti until it hits boiling water," he laughed and I joined in. "But, seriously, I saw the way he kept trying to play footsie's with you under the table and how you kept resisting. Don't push him away because one day you're gonna realize that you shouldn't have. Or maybe one day he'll realize that," he said and then looked away as if recalling some memory.

Could it be? Was the waiter right? Was Mitch not as straight as I thought?

Mitch came back and the waiter was still talking to me. The waiter told us to have a good night again and then we threw on our coats and got up to leave.

The diner door flew open and a man in his late 30s wearing glasses walked in and shook the snow off his hat. Mitch and I were standing near the door and he apologized for bringing the snow in with him.

"It's like a snow globe out there only someone really must hate us cause they shook it up really bad," he laughed and we did as well.

He then took off his hat and I could've sworn I'd seen him somewhere. But where? How could I somewhat recognize a man in a strange city where I'd only met a few kids my own age? The only other man I knew in this city who was the same age as this man was dad and that wasn't him…and then it hit me.

"Is your name Scott?" I asked him. "Scott Lee?"

"Yes it is unless I owe you money then no it's not," he laughed again. "And you're…" He took off his glasses, wiped them, and then put them back on. His voice trailed off when he saw me. He raised his hand to his mouth in shock. "Sidney. Sorry, Sid, right?" I nodded my head in agreement.

We kinda had an awkward moment of wondering if we should shake hands, or hug, or…? We both just laughed at that. 
I just started apologizing right there: "I'm sorry about what happened. I didn't mean to kick you out. I honestly didn't know…"

He cut me off before I could continue: "Sid, it's ok. I'm not mad. It was my idea I wanted to give you guys time to adjust. You take as long as you need."

By then I had also realized that Mitch was still standing there trying to piece together what was going on and how I knew this man.

"Oh, Mitch, sorry, this is Scott. He's my dad's husband." I said very proudly. I wasn't going to say he was one of dad's friends because that would like I was embarrassed about being gay and I wasn't. "Scott, this is Mitch my friend from back home."

Both Mitch and Scott shook each other's hand. I could tell they both had a strong grip by the way the grabbed each other's hand.

"Nice to meet you, Scott," Mitch said.

"You too." Scott replied.

They released the handshake and Scott asked us what we were up to for the day. I said that Mitch was taking a photography class so that was why he was visiting and I was just showing him around the different galleries.

"I'm not sure if your dad mentioned this but there's an interesting history museum close by as well," Scott piped in.

"Thanks we'll check it out," I said and Mitch readily agreed. I glanced at the clock on the wall and realized how late it actually was. I apologized to Scott that we had to get going, but he understood.

Just before we left Mitch said, "hope we can discuss some more galleries later."

I chimed in and said, "yes please come for dinner and stay over."

"Oh, are you sure? This is your weekend I don't want to intrude. Besides I don't want to spring this on your dad." He replied.

"Please come, I know dad misses you," I said.

So that was that. Scott and I both messaged dad and told him what happened. Like Scott, dad wanted to make sure that Mitch and I were both cool with the new arrangements. We both agreed that it was.

We said goodbye to Scott once more and then we took off. I swear I saw Scott give me a knowing smile when we waved him off.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty uneventful. We went to that history museum and it was very good. We talked the rest of the afternoon. By the time the museum closed we were both dead so we happily drove back to my dad's place.

I parked the car in the parking lot and we walked over to the elevator and pushed the top floor.

As we were going up I turned to Mitch and said, "thank you…for everything."

"What do you mean? I should be thanking you!"

"When I told you that Scott and my dad were married you didn't bat an eye."

"Why would I? It seems like Scott really loves your dad."

In all honesty I didn't know how to answer. I was just so taken aback by that answer. It was just such a nice change of pace from what everyone had been saying this past week at my old school. How people thought they needed to voice their opinions at me.

We reached the top floor and when the elevator doors opened we stepped into the loft. I heard Mitch say 'wow' beside me at this place.

"Hey son," dad said from down the hall.

"Hi dad," I shouted.

By the time we had pulled off our winter gear dad had appeared at the end of the hallway.

"Hi Mr. Roy-Briggs-Lee, I'm Mitch," Mitch said holding out his hand. 
My dad just laughed and said, "please call me Mark. This Mr. Roy-Briggs-Lee sounds like you're delivering bad news or something." We laughed at that. I could only imagine the last time dad had probably heard his name like that when Paul was in the hospital.

"This place is really nice. You've got a great view of the city," Mitch declared.

"Thanks. It didn't always look like this. It definitely took some time."

While Mitch and my dad talked about the renovation of this place and the skyline at night I couldn't help thinking back to what that waiter said and about that knowing glance Scott had given me. My gaydar might be broken because up until now I was convinced Mitch was as straight as an arrow.

It was nice that my friend and my dad were both getting along. Back home I was always embarrassed by what my mom would say in front of my friends. That was just one reason why I never really had any friends over. For the longest time I think she thought that Amanda and I were secretly dating so that was another we never hung out at my old place.

"So, have you applied to college?" My dad asked. Typical dad questions I thought to myself and suppressed a laugh.

"Yes mostly out east." And then he went to list which ones. Surprisingly we both picked almost all the same ones. He continued, "but I did apply to some out west. I need to get away from that town though," Mitch replied. He kept bringing that point up. Was he like me and also sick of small town conservative views for being gay? Or just sick of them in general?

"I think we know all about that feeling," my dad joked. Again Mitch just laughed. Was my dad trying to subtly say something? Did he pick up on the fact that Mitch might also play for the same team as us?

After that dad told us he had to start dinner going and that we could get Mitch settled into my room. I lead him down the hall and into my room.

"Um so there's a sleeping bag or you can take half of my bed," I said trying not to sound excited.

Mitch just laughed and said, "I think I'll take the bed. Just be warned I tend to hog the bed," and then he winked. What was it with everyone and winking? Did I miss a memo or something?

Mitch just pulled out his toiletry bag and put it on my desk and pulled out a change of clothes. He turned to me and said, "I hope it's cool I only sleep in briefs. I probably should've asked you that before I came, sorry." Why was this hot boy apologizing? Did he not know the big crush I had on him? And that in a few hours I'd see him down to his skivvies just got me so excited.

There was a bit of an awkward, pregnant pause in the air so I just asked Mitch if I could see some his photos. He happily agreed and we sat down on the edge of my bed.

The pictures really were fantastic. He knew how to tell such a story with each one. There was an older couple holding hands looking at an artwork and he captured something so beautiful between them. There was another a young woman was looking at a soldier's uniform and had her hands folded while toying with her ring. Then there was a picture of me. I had my head turned to the painting behind me, but you could tell there was a smile on my face.

"I didn't know you took this one," I remarked.

"Those are the photos I love the best. You just looked so handsome and that smile is so candid. I love capturing natural beauty," he said pointing to my pose and smile.

I turned to face him and gave him another smile. How could this man be so tough on the basketball court and so caring here? I placed my hand on his arm and just started stroking it. We kept looking through the photos after that. But he hadn't flinched when I put my hand there so maybe I'd just have to see…

Scott arrived before dinner and brought garlic bread. The meal was delicious and we all gave our compliments to the chef. All throughout dinner I could see the love between my dad and Scott. I think it was when dad made a joke about Scott then grabbed his hand in an affectionate way that I realized I wanted that as well. Being gay was one thing, but being proud of it was another. This was my a-ha moment much like my dad had at that club…this was definitely where I was meant to be.

We unwound in the living room watching a movie. Scott and my dad were cuddled up on the love-seat and Mitch and I were sitting on the sofa. Very slowly I could feel myself falling asleep and by the end of the movie I was asleep on the couch my head right beside Mitch's hip.

"Well guys," my dad said, "I think it's time for bed, eh?" He laughed a little.

"Yeah," Mitch agreed. I just mumbled something and rubbed my eyes.

"Night guys, sleep well." Scott said as he took my dad's hand.

"Sleep well," we said in unison.

"Night son, love you. Night Mitch." My dad said as he walked down the hall with Scott.

We heard the master bedroom door close. After a few seconds Mitch said, "your dad seems really happy."

"Yeah he is," I yawned.

"I'm glad he found Scott. Your dad's really nice. And so's Scott."

"Mmhmm," I said barely asleep.

I think Mitch knew there was no point in talking so he shut off the tv and said that we should follow suit and head to bed. At this point I was almost back asleep so I didn't reply. Mitch then picked me up and carried me down the hall and into my room and closing the door behind him. He lay me down on my bed.

"Ok, Sid, get undressed so we can go to bed," he said.

"You do it," I half groaned.

"Are you sure?" 

He took my shirt and pulled it over my head. Next he unclasped my belt and slid my pants down. Then he took my socks off. I was slowly waking up when he was doing this…or at least one part of me was. The next thing I knew was that he was stripping off his own clothes and adding them to my pile. His body was amazing. His washboard abs were to die for, but the rest of his muscular body was heavenly as well.

"Ok, let's go to bed," he whispered as he climbed under the covers. I slowly wriggled myself under them and near his body.

"And I thought I was a bed hog," he joked.

I slowly moved away, but he pulled me back to him and slipped his arm over me. It felt so nice.

"But I don't mind that you hog the bed," he whispered into my ear and then planted a kiss on my shoulder.

That woke me all the way up. What straight guy gives another guy a kiss? I turned over to face him and he had a sly smile on his lips. I reached out and ran my hand over his perfect jaw. When my fingers reached his lips he gave them a kiss. I couldn't wait any longer I closed my eyes and kissed him.

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