Is This Really Love, That We’re In
There's no one but you and me
Right here and now
The way it was meant to be
There's a smile on my face
Knowing that together everything that's in our way
We're better than alright
- Between The Raindrops, LIFEHOUSE
“I spent a lifetime waiting
Always hesitating until you
I was lost so deep inside my shell
'Til you came and saved me from myself
Now all I really know
Is I need you.”
- Love Of My Life, DAN HILL
“So, uh…how’d your talk with Becca go?” Jonah cast the young man a quick glance from behind the wheel, then smiled when Noble shook his head slowly.
“About as well as you’d expect.” He looked at Jonah. “she…refuses to call off the wedding.” He averted his eyes and looked out the passenger window of the car. “She says that God will fix everything…fix me.”
“And why would He do that?” Jonah smiled warmly and reached over, taking his hand and lifting it to his lips, kissing Noble’s fingers. “Unlike human beings, God doesn’t try to fix what isn’t broken.”
Swallowing thickly, Noble smiled and looked at him. “I…told your dad.”
“Told him what?” Jonah held onto his hand but turned his eyes to the road.
Noble squeezed his fingers and murmured, “I told him I couldn’t…marry Rebecca. And…” He hesitated and Jonah glanced at him. “And that…I loved you.”
The car slowed as Jonah’s foot instinctively let up off the gas. His heart was suddenly in his throat, pumping so hard and so fast it nearly choked him. He steered the car to the shoulder, shoved it into park then looked at Noble. “You told him…” his chest heaved and eyes burned as he shifted his gaze to the front windshield and rubbed his hand over his mouth, letting it linger. “Well that…” he cleared his throat then returned his stare to the young man. “That wasn’t hardly fair.”
Uncertainty tightened Noble’s face as he clearly began to doubt his decision in confessing to Mason. “I don’t…”
Jonah reached over and slid his fingers through Noble’s hair, drawing him closer and kissing him softly. “It wasn’t fair that he got to hear you say it…before I did,” he whispered against Noble’s lips. The guy relaxed when he realized Jonah wasn’t upset with him. He kissed Noble’s brow then his lips once more. “Do you really…love me? I mean…love…love me?” he smiled, his heart on the verge of exploding from his chest. “Really? For real love me?”
His lips tight, Noble buried his face in Jonah’s throat and nodded, “I do…I love you…for real love you.”
Jonah closed his eyes, his face pinching with emotion, and pulled Noble into his arms, holding him tight. “I love you, too, baby.” He kissed his hair and hugged him tighter, then ducked his head and kissed Noble’s face. The young man lifted up and kissed Jonah’s mouth. When he drew back, Jonah slid the tip of his thumb along the curve of Noble’s jaw. “There’s no taking it back…now that you’ve said it out loud.” He smiled and kissed him ever so lightly, “Okay?”
“I won’t ever take it back.” Noble whispered.
Jonah smiled and nuzzled his ear. “Do I still have to behave…after this confession?”
“Yes.” Noble laughed softly, then relented a little, “For the most part anyway.”
“Again,” Jonah murmured and kissed his ear. “I can work with that.” But even if Noble had tied his hands, just hearing his I Love You was enough to set this night in stone as the best night of his life.
He’d shocked himself in confessing to Jonah that he loved him. But it felt good to say it, and he found himself wanting to say it again and again. I love you. It was like a drug he was suddenly addicted to. But despite the high it gave him – he was brought back to earth when they reached the restaurant and he was about to step out into the cross hairs of a critical, judgmental world. The age old tension grabbed him though he struggled to ward it off. But he suddenly felt as if he were being watched, scrutinized – by his own father. Even when the man wasn’t there…he was still there. Always in his head, analyzing every little look or gesture.
“Hey.” Jonah squeezed his hand gently as they prepared to exit the car. “Everything all right?”
“Yeah.” Noble whispered, but the rasp in his voice betrayed his anxiety.
Jonah looked at him doubtfully but didn’t press the issue and got out of the car, walked around and opened Noble’s door. He hesitated a moment before stepping out, then felt his tension heighten when Jonah touched his hand to his back. “You sure you’re okay?”
You’re not going to ruin this night. Just deal with it. “I’m okay.”
Jonah had brought them away from the smaller town and into the city, and to some degree Noble felt slightly more relieved. There were too many who knew him back in town, who knew he and Rebecca were engaged to be married. He preferred the city right now, where he was as much a stranger to everyone as they were to him.
When they were seated, Jonah ordered wine then both their meals. Since Jonah was familiar with the place, Noble had trusted his judgment in choosing his meal.
“So.” Jonah asked when the waiter left them alone. “Do you like the restaurant?”
“Yeah, it’s…nice.” But Noble felt exposed beneath the bright overhead lights. He tried to relax but found it difficult to do so.
“Do you always fidget this much?” Jonah smiled over the rim of his wine glass as he took a sip.
“No, I…” Noble swallowed thickly. “I guess I’m just a little nervous.”
His lips pressed tight and his gaze dropped to his glass. “I’m not used to…”
“Being out with a man?” Jonah murmured.
Sighing, Noble nodded. “Yeah.” He whispered, then raised his eyes slowly, a hesitant smile playing on his lips and a tightness in his throat, “Are you really sure you want to deal with someone with as many issues as I have?”
Jonah took his hand and kissed it softly. “Without a doubt.” He kissed each of his fingertips. “But you can relax, we’re in New York. No one cares what we do. New Yorkers are…unshockable.” He smiled. “So just enjoy yourself. No one cares that you’re a hot gay guy out on a date with another…slightly less hot gay guy.”
Slightly less hot gay guy? Noble stared at him. The man looked like he just stepped off the cover of GQ. He was the most beautiful, sexy, perfect man Noble had ever laid eyes on. He smiled, “Well, then…God bless New Yorkers.”
Jonah chuckled and raised his glass. “Amen.” He took a drink of wine and licked his lips slowly as Noble watched, suddenly in need of a taste of that wine flavored tongue. Jonah smiled, amused, “You okay?”
“Huh?” Noble’s face warmed and he glanced away. “Yeah.”
Jonah slid his hands across the table, leaning forward. “If you want a kiss, baby.” He murmured. “Just say so.” Noble’s cheeks heated a bit more and Jonah chuckled softly and leaned over closer, kissing him deeply. Noble let himself drown in it for a moment before the anxiety kicked back in and he pulled back, rubbing his lips together. Jonah sat back in his chair and gazed at him.
“Sorry.” Noble stared at his wine glass.
“Don’t be.” Jonah told him. “We’ll work on it.” He took hold of his hand, drawing Noble’s eyes to his, and smiled. “I don’t mind…working on it. Practice can be…fun.” He winked.
Once their meal was served, conversation dropped to a few casual words between bites. Noble was shocked to discover he could actually eat, despite his nervous stomach. Having dinner with Jonah felt oddly natural. How would it feel to sit across the dinner table from him every night? Prepare meals with him? Wash dishes together? All the little menial things most people took for granted, even dreaded. Yet every one of those boring daily tasks seemed wonderfully exciting to Noble when imagining doing them with Jonah. He had never experienced that thrill when he’d thought about his life with Rebecca, about their marriage. Had never even thought about those little things. But with Jonah…
His fork hovered an inch or so above his plate as he gazed at the man. What would it feel like to stand at the alter with Jonah and vow his love and life to the man? A tremor swept through him and his heart skipped a few beats before finding its regular rhythm again, though it remained quickened.
“Something on your mind?” Jonah was gazing back at him, an amused gleam in his eyes.
Again Noble’s face warmed and he looked away. What would Jonah think of him imagining them exchanging vows? Would he ever get to the place where he could actually stand before all and marry a man? “No.” he said thickly.
“It’s a good thing you’re not Pinocchio.” Jonah smiled wryly.
“What?” Noble frowned, then got it and shook his head. “You’re implying I’m lying?”
Jonah’s handsome face scrunched a bit. “Oh, maybe just a tad.”
Noble laughed quietly and shrugged. There was no way in hell he would tell Jonah what he’d been thinking.
Thoughts of weddings and marriage life brought Rebecca to the forefront of his mind. Despite her inability to truly hear what he was trying to say to her, Noble still felt the guilt of all this. The day she’d went to pick up her wedding dress…he’d been with Jonah, doing things an engaged man should not have been doing with someone that wasn’t his intended.
“You know.” Jonah slid his plate aside and reached over, covering Noble’s hand. “I was kind of hoping you would actually be on this date with me.”
“What? I am…” Noble realized his meaning and smiled apologetically, “I’m sorry. I guess…there is a lot on my mind.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Noble wove his fingers through Jonah’s. “I doubt that’s what you had in mind for this date.” He said quietly, “discussing my…thoughts and issues.”
“What exactly do you think I had in mind?” Jonah raised one eyebrow. “To get in your pants?”
Noble stared at him, and smiled, “Wasn’t that…part of it, at least?”
Chuckling softly, Jonah leaned back and groaned low, “So maybe the thought crossed my mind a couple…thousand times.” He grinned. “But that doesn’t mean it was my agenda.” He sighed. “Just my fantasy.”
Mine too, Noble thought, body affirming. Jonah’s lips tightened and he smiled, eyes glowing as if he could see straight into Noble’s head and read his thoughts. He leaned forward again as Noble pushed his own plate aside, and took both of Noble’s hands in his, being careful with his injured hand.
“I very much want to know what’s on your mind.” Jonah said, then shrugged and winked, “even if it doesn’t involve you and me naked.”
Noble ducked his head and grinned. Oh, that is definitely in there too, baby…you just don’t get to know it.
Jonah pressed his hands to his lips. “So tell me what’s on your mind.”
Noble shifted and cleared his throat. “Rebecca told me what happened between you and her.” Noble said quietly, his eyes on the man’s face.
Jonah leaned back and gazed at Noble. He sighed, “Did she?”
“She said…you tricked her into thinking you liked her, that you…had real feelings for her.”
“Uh huh.” Jonah murmured. “And you’re telling me this because…”
Noble licked his lips slowly. “Because I want you to tell me what really happened between the two of you.”
A twitch of the lips brought a ghost of a smile to Jonah’s face. He leaned forward, eyes intent on Noble. “You don’t believe her?”
“I did.” He whispered, “At first. Or…I thought I did. That’s why I went to the meeting. Because for a moment there…she had convinced me you were just using me.”
“For a moment?” Jonah smiled and covered Noble’s hand. “But only for a moment?” he lifted his hand and kissed it. “Right?”
Nodding slowly, Noble murmured, “Yes.”
“And what made you start thinking otherwise?”
Noble shrugged and wrapped his fingers around Jonah’s. “The things she said about you, I…I couldn’t imagine you being the man she was describing. That just wasn’t who I knew you to be.”
Jonah kissed his fingers again. “Thank you.”
“But what did happen?” Noble asked. “Why does she despise you so much?”
Releasing a heavy sigh, Jonah’s lips tightened and he shook his head, gazing down at the table. “She didn’t used to hate me.” A strain crept into his voice. “When my dad first married Colleen, I thought it was great. I was thrilled to have a family again. And to see my dad so in love, so happy again after my mom died…I loved my new family.”
Noble stared at his face. A slight sheen of tears glossed Jonah’s eyes as the memories seeped back in. “I thought that having a little sister was the best thing ever. She became like my best friend. She was sixteen at the time, and dating a seventeen year old guy – Keith.” He smiled. “She was crazy about him…and he was the same about her. I used to tease her about them getting married. She would always tell me to shut up and stop goofing around, but I could see it in her eyes…she hoped I was right.”
Thinking of the Rebecca he knew now, the one who seemed to hate the very sight of Jonah…Noble’s eyes stung and heart ached for the girl she used to be.
Jonah cleared his throat. “Then one night, she and Keith had a disagreement. I don’t even remember what about. Something minor. But it was their first argument and Rebecca was convinced he was going to break up with her and she was devastated.” He traced his fingertips across the back of Noble’s hands, eyes glossy, distant. “I held her and told her there was no way in the world Keith would ever break up with her, he was too nuts for her. But she was terrified he would leave her. I held her and consoled her for most of the night and when she finally started to fall asleep, I kissed her cheek and promised her that everything would be okay. That any guy would be crazy not to love her.”
Rubbing his lips together, Noble held Jonah’s hands; he knew where this story was going.
“The next morning,” Jonah murmured, “Everything was different between us. I could feel it more than see it. But she started acting different, always making sure she was wearing makeup and her hair was fixed whenever she was around me. And a few days later, she came home from school and told us she and Keith had broken up. I expected her to be distraught, but she seemed strangely okay with it. Then confessed to me privately that she had broken up with him.” He shook his head slowly, “I was confused. I knew how much she loved him. But then a few days after that, she came to my room after our parents were asleep. She…” he swallowed tightly, “She wanted me to…be her first.”
“She…” Noble stared at him, startled by that bit of the story. Rebecca had always been adamant about waiting till her wedding night.
“She said…she loved me. That Keith was just a boy, a school girl crush, but I was a man and she loved me. I knew it was infatuation, a kind of transference.” He sighed. “I’d been there for her at a devastating moment, and her mind clung to that…and made it into more than it was.”
“What did you do?”
Jonah shifted, releasing a heavy breath and squeezed Noble’s hands lightly. “I tried to explain to her that she wasn’t really in love with me, and that she was too young to be having sex, that she should wait until she was older and truly in love. But then she…”
“What?” Noble murmured.
Rubbing his mouth uneasily, he looked at Noble, “She started…undressing. Insisting she was in love with me, and she wanted her first time to be with a man…not a boy.”
“Oh…wow.” Noble stared at him, shocked. It was hard to picture Rebecca making advances on Jonah to such a degree, thinking of her as she was now.
“Yeah.” Jonah cleared his throat. “Up until then, I hadn’t told Colleen or Rebecca that I was gay. I wasn’t ashamed, but I wasn’t sure how they would receive it and I didn’t want to lose my new family. And my dad left it to me to decide when I would tell them.”
How humiliated Rebecca must have been, Noble thought. And deathly embarrassed.
“I had to just come out and tell her I was gay.” He said quietly, then shook his head and smiled, but it lacked humor. “She accused me of lying. Insisting I was just saying that because I didn’t like her. I swore to her it was the truth. And when she finally became convinced it was true…” he licked his lips then pressed them tight, hurt shadowing his eyes. “That’s when she turned on me. From that moment on, she was adamant about gays going to hell, that it was a disgusting lifestyle and abominable before God. She pretty much quit talking to me, except to remind me if I didn’t repent of my sin, I was going to burn in hell.” The hurt in his eyes deepened. “The little sister and best friend I’d come to know and love and adore…vanished without a trace.”
Noble’s vision blurred and he looked away, blinking back the tears. “Did she…try to get back with her boyfriend?”
“Keith?” Jonah nodded slowly. “Yeah. She told him it had all been a mistake, even outed me as if Keith knowing I was gay would make him more willing to take her back, or something. But she’d broken his heart when she left him, hurt him real bad. Becca didn’t know it, but even I tried to talk to him, explain to him what had happened, and that deep down she really did love him. But all he could see was how easily and quickly she had left him for another. He wasn’t willing to take that risk again. And honestly, I couldn’t blame him. But realizing her rash choices had cost her the love of her life…it crushed Rebecca.”
Noble’s throat knotted. “That’s…sad.”
“It is.” Jonah whispered thickly. “I don’t think she could handle the reality that it was her actions and choices that had caused her to lose Keith…so she turned it on me, blamed me. Insisted I had led her on.” Tears welled thicker. “And I let her. I knew how much she was hurting, and I couldn’t just shove it in her face that it was all her fault. She was devastated as it was. So I let her blame me. I never agreed with her that it was my fault, but I didn’t argue the point either. I thought that in time she would come to terms with it, accept the responsibility, and maybe even…want to be friends with me again.”
The pain in the man was evident; it had hurt him deeply to lose her that way.
“But she never did. And her feelings towards me only festered and grew worse as time went on. And her attitude towards me spread out towards all gays in general. She associated them all with me, and what had happened between us.” He gazed at Noble. “Finding out that you were gay…probably felt like a slap in the face to her. And then…” he shook his head. “For you to be attracted to me, of all people. That surely didn’t make it any better.” He raised his hands to his lips once more. “And the fact that I didn’t reject you, but rather fell in love with you…that was no doubt a triple slap. I mean, I know she isn’t attracted to me in that way anymore, but at that crucial point in her life…I had rejected her. And that doesn’t go away.” He pressed Noble’s hand to his cheek then kissed his palm. “She doesn’t despise me because I’m gay…but because I’m the reason she let Keith go.”
“But that…wasn’t really your fault.”
Jonah smiled and shook his head, eyes sad, “When you’re sixteen and just lost the boy of your dreams…you’re not going to be thinking rationally. You’re going to want someone to blame. Anyone but yourself.”
Of course, he understood that. And despite Rebecca’s attitude lately, and her seeming refusal to try and understand his situation – his heart still broke for the sixteen year old girl she had been. That moment when he’d thought Jonah had left him behind…it had hurt like hell. But Jonah had come back to him, healed the hurt. But what if he hadn’t? What would life have been like to have to live each day knowing the one you loved was out there – but they no longer loved you or wanted you? It would be hell on earth. And he didn’t wish that on anyone.
“I wonder,” Noble whispered and slowly raised his eyes to Jonah’s soft gaze. “If Keith still thinks about her. Still…loves her.”
A slow smile crept across Jonah’s lips and he kissed Noble’s hand yet again. “He does.”
Eyes narrowing somewhat, Noble frowned uncertainly, “How do you know?”
Jonah winked softly. “Trust me.”
“What’re the chances…their paths might cross again?”
“Not great.” Jonah murmured, “If left up to them.”
Noble frowned, “What’re you saying?”
“I’m not saying…anything.” Jonah smiled, a glint of mischief in his intriguing eyes. “Except…dance with me?”
The hesitation in him was as evident to Jonah as it was to himself. “Dance…”
Jonah’s smile widened and he winked again, stood up and drew Noble to his feet. “Think of it as…therapeutic.”
© Copyright 2017 AMS1971. All rights reserved.
Book / Erotica
Book / Gay and Lesbian
Short Story / Gay and Lesbian