Saturday, November 23, 2013
Dear Jon - Chapter # 17
Hello all! My name is V.L. Locey. I am a self-published and traditionally published author that lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania with my husband of over twenty-two years, my daughter who is seventeen, a herd of dairy goats, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, two dogs, two cats, and a partridge in a pear tree. For more info and links about me and my work, check out the Bio tab up above.
Enough about me, let`s get to the romance!
Ross flipped the steaks. I could hear the fire in the brick pit flaring up as well as the sizzle of meat juices. I was sitting on the redwood swing by the pond keeping an eye on Andy as he tried his hand at fishing. We had about an hour before dark, give or take. I took a small sip of the gin and tonic Ross had prepared for me. The cubes made a reassuring clatter inside the tall frosted glass. There were birds rustling around in the pines that blocked the cabin from sight from the road.
“Mourning doves getting ready to roost,” Ross said as he sat down beside me with care. The swing moved slightly. His hand rested on my knee. “Feeling better?” he asked while giving my knee a gentle squeeze.
“I`m not sure what to do,” I said as I stared at the lime slice in my gin and tonic. “They`re asking me to be a totally different person, Ross.” I looked from my drink to the man on my right. “They`re trying to mold me into the very thing that I broke free from the day my father died.”
“I know how hard it is for you, but sometimes we just have to conform.”
“Why? Why the hell do we have to change to fit a stereotype? I`d be a damned good father figure to Andy just as I am!”
Andrew looked from his bobber sitting atop the water at the sound of his name. Ross waved and asked if he had any bites. The lad shook his head, sandy hair falling into his eyes as he replied. I threw back a long pull of my cocktail.
“Jon, I know you youngsters--”
“Please don`t use that term to make me feel like a child.”
“Very well, I`m sorry if I offended you,” he replied gently, his fingers applying a steady pressure that was quite heartening. “Let me rephrase. I know that the wild fire of reform and rebellion burns more brightly in the souls of young men. When you grow older – and I`m not making any sort of age reference about us- you learn to temper the fire with patience.”
“I refuse to play their game.”
“Then you chance losing Andrew,” Ross whispered, keeping our conversation private. “Would it be so terrible to grab a part-time job in Hannity Hills? You can still paint to add to your income, as we`ve discussed.”
“And where do I draw the line?” I asked, turning my head to look right into his stunning grey eyes. “Do I move here and become a laborer at the feed mill? Do I marry some ditzy young farm girl? Do I live a lie for the rest of my life?!”
“Yes, if it means that young man has his uncle, then yes, you work at the feed mill and you marry Becky Barley, the farmer’s daughter. You even go to the church that Becky says you go to, because in the end, that child`s needs are more important than yours.”
He stood up and walked to his red brick fire pit. I sat there staring at a bat that had braved the last rays of sun to grab a mosquito rising from the pond. Andy giggled and pointed at the brown bat. I smiled and nodded. I stood up slowly, to ensure my legs had recovered from Ross` words better than my mind had. I met the man`s steady gaze over the steaks as he tended to them.
“If I could, I would marry you in an instant,” I told him. He was not prepared for me to say something of such magnitude. In truth, the proclamation kind of shocked me as well. Of course the thought of a couple of fruits tying the knot was outlandish, and we both knew it. But even queers can dream, right?
“You`d look wonderful in an apron, high heels, and pearls,” he said, one side of his mouth twitching.
“Why do I have to be the woman?” I asked, sliding around the pit to stand at his side.
“You`ve got better legs for the stockings.”
“That’s true.” I raised my glass for a sip, peeking around the tall brick flue. Andy had forgotten about fishing to pursue the bat. Talk about an exercise in futility. When the lad ran behind a tall spruce I leaned over to grab a taste of Ross. His mouth claimed mine instantly. We broke apart when a child raced past with a stick. Do little boys go anywhere without a stick in their hands? “Andrew, stop running with sticks!” I shouted at his back. He threw the stick down but continued chasing the poor bat, his high-pitched squeals muddying the bats echo-location terribly I was sure.
“And with that last statement your time in heels and garter belts is cemented into place,” Ross chuckled, forking a steak.
“I think I`ve fallen in love with you,” I said.
“Christ, Jon, is there any other startling news you`d like to throw at me tonight?” Ross asked, the steak nearly missing the platter he was placing it on. I shook my head. “Good,” he huffed as he cleared the racks of t-bones, “I don`t know if my old heart can take too many more shocks.”
“I didn`t mean to throw you for a loop.”
He placed the steaks to the picnic table then turned to look at me. “You didn`t. It was just a surprise to hear you saying what I too have been feeling.”
“So now what?” I asked after we stood there in the dwindling sunlight staring at each other for a solid minute at least.
“We`re going to eat dinner, go inside, listen to the radio, tuck Andrew into bed on the couch, and then go into my room where I plan to make love to you for hours.”
“That`s not what I meant,” I countered as Andrew barreled around the side of the house, arriving as young boys do, in a blustering cloud of dirt, wild hair, sweat, and giggles.
“Let tonight pass and then worry about tomorrow.” Ross waved a hand at the steaks, salad, and big baking potatoes wrapped in tin foil. “Have faith that things will work out. Be patient.”
Cocking an eyebrow at the man, I sat down beside my nephew, dropped my head, and for the first time since I knew I was queer I asked God to help guide us through the trying times ahead.