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Protecting David-Alex's Story
--- Chapter 1 ---
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Protecting David – Alex’s Story 1

Alex

It’s funny, funny in a fucked up way, that life leaves these little time bombs sitting in our brains, little nuclear blasts from the past waiting to happen.

I was walking past David’s office at home and heard Billie Holiday singing on David’s stereo system, David’s a jazz freak. I’m not like totally into jazz but something in her voice hit me, it was like an open wound, like the last sounds she was going to make before her death. I stopped in the hallway near his office and listened as she slowly sang the song, sang it like each word was much too much to bear.

“Darling, why stop and cling……
To some fading thing that used to be,
If you can forget,
Don’t worry ‘bout me!”

And the time bomb went off. It was a whirl of memories, Tommy’s dad calling Mark a fucking faggot, Mark putting his fist through the wall next to Tommy’s dad’s head, Tommy screaming and his dad telling us that we were never to see each other again. The look in Tommy’s eyes, the fear.

They had to drag me back to our house kicking and screaming and I had a huge fight with Mark and then did a really dumb thing, a thing that I’ll regret to my death. I punched him in the face. It was like it was happening in slow motion. I pulled my fist back and I could see on Mark’s face that he knew what I was going to do and at first he was surprised but then he just accepted it and braced himself. He could have stopped it! He’s got the reflexes of a cat, he could have grabbed my fist in midair! He should have, he was suppose to! But he didn’t, he saw what was going to happen, accepted it and let it happen. He staggered back against the wall with the force of the blow but then recovered. Then after a minute he just nodded at me like he understood that I had to do that and then turned and walked to his and David’s bedroom.

I crashed out of the house and went running back to Tommy’s house and tried to get his dad to let me in but he just swore at me, screaming that I was the faggot that had ruined his son. I called Tommy on his cell but he was crying hysterically and hung up. I ran around the house calling his name. Finally his dad called the cops and they escorted me back to our house, one on each arm. David was there by then and he talked to the cops and they left. He has that ability, people in authority listen to him, everyone listens to him.

I was past going nuts! I was insane and somehow ended up back in my bedroom crying like a little girl. I’ve never felt anything like it. It was like major surgery without an anesthetic. It was insane pain. It was curl up into a ball and die pain.

For two years I’ve pushed that night out of my mind, not that you can totally do that but I did a pretty good job of it. The next morning I was functioning, not well but functioning. Somehow I slept and when I woke up Mark was sitting on my bed. I looked at him and started to cry. That’s so fucking stupid! When will I stop doing that?

I couldn’t face him. I couldn’t look at him. He took my chin in his hand and turned my tear-streaked face to him and said. “I love you. That will never change.” And then he smiled. “You really thought that you were taking me down with that punch?”

And then I cried a-fuckin-gain! This time Mark wrapped his arm around me and pulled me to him. He didn’t say anything, he just held me.

I went to school! I fucking worked! When I got tired and started to think I worked harder. I worked for David I worked for Mark. I cut the lawn, shoveled the snow, washed the windows, anything and everything. I did my regular schoolwork and then with tutors I studied Spanish, French and Mandarin. I was already pretty good at them and German but I wanted perfect and………..well I came close. David gave me dozens and dozens of books to read on economics and business. Emi sent me copies of all major European newspapers and then called me and discussed what I read. He spoke to me in French, Spanish and German and drilled me endlessly on the culture of the countries.

Jamie called me and discussed business in general and the stock market in particular. Would I mind reading this article? Could I get back to him with my thoughts on some article in the Financial Times? Drill, drill, drill.

I knew what they were doing and I approved. Well…………..approved may not be the right word…………..I agreed. And in time I figured that I had put it all out of my mind. I was figuring that my head was so full of facts that there was no room for anything else…………..and then came Billie Holiday, a dead black lady and her raspy near death voice and the dam broke, the bomb went off. I fell back against the wall of the hallway and slid to the floor…………….and cried, cried the cry of the living dead, a wailing crying scream that must have woken the dead in three counties. Sobs racked my body and blurred my eyes, my life was a sea of endless pain that went on like the Sahara. Every horizon spoke of pain and a endless sense of loss and remorse. My fists wiped what seemed to be endless tears from my face and the sobbing was physically exhausting.

And then there were arms around me, David’s arms. A lot of people think that Mark is the tough one but David makes him seem like a walk in the park………….well in most ways. If there’s violence likely to happen you want Mark.

David cried with me……………well at least for a while. He’s like that, emotion has it’s place but enough is enough.

Finally he said to me. “He’s gone. You know that don’t you? You won’t get him back!”

I curled over and buried my face against David’s chest. His body was small, slight but solid. It was weird really, I’m like a foot taller than David and much bigger all the way around and yet here I am curled up against him. We must have stayed like that for more than an hour.

“Oh, God! It’s hurts so fucking much! Why don’t they tell you this? Fucking fall in love and don’t even fucking know about the pain!”

David stood up and looked at me. “Alex! As an Irishman once told me, “Take a day to die and be done with it.” I looked up at him still rocked with sobs.

He wasn’t having any of it. “Make up your mind that you’re going to survive! For one thing I won’t let anything other than that happen. For another thing: when you meet someone who’s worth all this you’ve got to be ready.” That’s fucking tough!

He left and came back with a washcloth and towel. He wiped my face off, dried it and smiled. “Fucking mess!” He shook his head slowly. “You’re not the only one that this has ever happened to. The world’s full of wounded people.” He stood up and pulled me with him.

“Come into my office. There are things we have to decide.” As I stood there he turned to look at me. “You’re a mess, go change you shirt, but step on it!” Decide? I could barely think. What the fuck did he want me to decide?

When I walked into David’s office after changing my shirt he gestured to a chair he had pulled up next to his. “We’ve got to decide on a college.”

“College? Shouldn’t we wait for Mark?” I just knew that he was going to send me to some place on the other side of the world for college. I figured that if Mark was there I might stand a chance.

David laughed. “He wants you to go to school in the basement. No, you and I’ll decide this and then we’ll check with Mark.” He was shuffling through a stack of papers and books on his desk. From time to time he’d push his hair back out of his eyes. David’s hair is always going just…………..well let’s just say that it’s unruly. “If he hates it………..well……….we’ll deal with that at the time.”

Finally he found what he was looking for and leaned back in his chair. “You’ve been accepted everywhere that you’ve applied and it was tempting to consider Europe but maybe that would be a mistake. Frankly I’m thinking Stanford.” He held up his hands. “Think about it. You’ve got Chris and Jason out there. You like them. The school can’t be beat and you’ll have a chance to see a part of the country that you haven’t spent much time in.”

California! Twenty-five hundred miles away, away from Tommy. Tommy? I didn’t even know where he was but I was pretty sure that he didn’t care………….for me anyway. Did I care for him or was it a memory of caring, a habit, something that has lingered longer than it should have? It’s been two years, it’s gotta stop.

David rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands and then looked at me. “Hmmmmm. You’re eighteen,” he smiled, “virtually a man.” He got up and walked around his office with his hand in his pockets. He stopped and stared at me.

“I’m going to turn over some of your money to you. You manage it. Let’s see what you can do.” Me? Is he nuts?

He laughed. “Don’t look at me like that. You’ve gotta learn sometime and you got all the resources in the world. Just taking Jamie and Emi, between the two of them they know more than all of the economics professors in the world. Use them! Get them to recommend others. It’s not necessarily what you know, it’s networking, working together with people you trust.” David leaned into my face. “People you trust!”

Just what I needed, more pressure.

----------------------------

David, Mark and I were standing waiting for our luggage in San Francisco International Airport when Mark turned to me. “We gotta get you a car.”

David leaned over the carousel looking for our luggage and then looked back at us. “Something reliable like your Honda at home.”

I was about to object when Mark rested both of his arms on my shoulders and stared into my face. He smiled and spoke softly. “What kind do you want, Alex?”

I didn’t waste any time. “A BMW!”

David went rigid. “A BMW? I’m not buying a college kid a BMW!”

It’s weird, David will spend tons of money on anything but cars. He’s not even slightly cheap with anything else but cars make him nuts. Mark smiled at him and David immediately went silent. “David, he’s worked hard! And no drugs or booze.”

Mark’s right hand went to the back of my neck and squeezed it gently. “What model have you been drooling over?”

“Ahhh, the cheap one would be fantastic!” I know when not to push it.

David was mumbling to himself. “The cheap one? There’s no such thing as a goddamn cheap one.”

Mark looked back into my eyes after smiling at David’s fit. “You’ll have it before we leave, Alex. Just don’t wreck it or you will never ever hear the end of it.” With Mark the love and warmth are like a bonfire just radiating this wonderful heat. If Mark likes you you could roast marshmallows on him.

Suddenly I hear people screaming our names and the three of us turn to see Chris and Jason walking quickly towards us with open arms. I laughed from the sheer joy of seeing them again. Chris tall, blond, Jason a couple of inches shorter with brown hair both guys thin but Chris maybe a little bit beefier. We’re wrapped in warm familiar arms and finally wisked off to their home west of Palo Alto.

Dinner that night was eaten off of the grill and on a patio that was still warm from the days heat. The smells of a strange land washed over me, flowers, eucalyptus and maybe the ocean thirty miles to the west. Chris told me with Jason smiling next to him about the first time that they met Mark and David and how Mark had arranged for them to have enough time alone to have sex even though Chris’s father and grandfather were out on our patio in Wisconsin.

The thought kept pushing itself into my mind that in two days David and Mark would say goodbye to me at my dorm and then I’d be alone and I’d be expected to be an adult. I wasn’t ready.

Chris and Jason sat next to each other and even though they were a settled couple who had been together for years the bond between them was strong and obvious.

-----------------------------
“ You’re roommate has already moved in.” David was looking over at the other side of the dorm room.
I glanced at David and nodded yes. “Looks like it.” I continued hanging up my clothes in the half of the closet that was clear.
Mark, looking over at my absent roommates half of the room said. “Nice computer. One of the top Dell models, flat panel monitor, nice.”
“ His waist is 32 inches.” This from David.
“ Dad, how can you know that?”
David held up a pair of boxers. “Hugo Boss, 32 inch. That tells us that he, or someone in his family likes high quality brand names and is willing to pay for them.”
“ Dad! Please put those down! He could come in at any second!” Parents!
David walked over to the other side of the closet and looked at the inside collar of a long sleeve shirt belonging to my roommate. “Size large, Land’s End. Interesting.”
I looked at him. “What interesting?”
David said. “Hmmmm, narrow waist broad shoulders. We should check the inseam of his pants.”
“ Dad! Stop!” David looked at me and smiled. “Dad, you can’t do that!”
“ He could be short and dumpy. A 32 inch waist on someone six feet tall is trim, maybe he’s 4’2” tall. That would be dumpy.” I groaned.
I looked at them both. It was time. “I’m going to miss you guys.” I felt like crying but I wouldn’t.
Mark walked over and wrapped me tightly in his arms. He kissed my forehead. “We’re only an email away. You’ve got your car, your cell, your computer, a bank account, credit cards and Chris and Jason.” He stroked my hair. “You’re smart and kind and you’ve got common sense. You’ll be okay.”
David came over and touched my face with the back of his fingers. “Mark’s right, Baby, you’ll be fine. Remember our talk about friends and people that you can trust.” He pulled my head down and kissed me.
And then they were gone. A four hour jet flight and they’d be back in Milwaukee living the life that they had always lived except that I wouldn’t be there. Now I was an adult bound on another voyage that, at least for a while would take me inevitably away from them. I felt alone and afraid.
--------------------
Suddenly the door burst open and a really good-looking guy was standing there looking at me. He was about my height, 6’2” and appeared to be about my build too. His hair was dark brown where mine is blond but other than that we could pretty much wear each other’s clothes. He was wearing faded jeans with a well-worn crotch. The tee shirt that he was wearing was not designed to make me feel good. It said “Hopelessly Hetero!” in big black letters.

I didn’t plan to say it it just came out. “Oh fuck!”

He looked at me with puppy dog brown eyes. “What? What did I do?” He crossed the room in three strides and was pumping my hand. “I’m Larry Donovan! I guess that we’re roommates but what the fuck did I do? What’s with the “Oh fuck?”

I nodded towards his chest. Might as well get this over with. “My tee shirt says “Hopelessly Homo!”

He smiled at me. “You’re gay?” I nodded. “Really?” He smiled again. “That’s cool! Hey guy, it’s not that I’m like anti-gay or anything. It’s just that I want the chicks to know what they’re dealing with.” He grinned. “Pays to advertise! Actually I wish more guys were gay, it’d increase my chances.” He paused. “Why?” He looked a little crestfallen. “I guess the tee shirt’s kinda tacky. You think that people would be offended? You think that I should wear something else?”

I smiled at him. I liked the guy. “Larry, I don’t think that they’re gonna have any doubts about whether you’re straight or not. Unless you wear that tee shirt.”

Larry plopped down on my bed about a foot from me. “You didn’t tell me your name.”

I laughed. “Sorry, we got sidetracked. My name is Alex Chauvet-Kerry.” I grinned. “Sorry about the hyphenation.” We shook hands, his were big and dry.

He pushed himself up on the bed and leaned against the wall. “That’s cool. Those two guys leaving when I came up were yours?”

I nodded. “Yep! My dads, Mark and David.”

Larry grinned. “They looked like they worked for the FBI. They ever smile?”

I laughed. “They’re worried about me being away from home. Afraid that I might come under the influence of some hetero.”

He let it pass. “Lemme ask you something. You think that you’re gay because of them. I mean, you know like seeing them do gay stuff.” This guy had a way of totally getting under my radar. I’d known him for like thirty seconds and I felt like I had known him for my whole life.

I laughed and leaned back against the wall myself. Two guys that had just met and still had the freedom with each other that strangers have. “They never did gay stuff. Not, anyway, if you’re talking about sex and stuff. They never did that in front of me, just hugging, kissing, shit like that. It was pretty dull actually.”

“So you just got to be gay all by yourself?”

“Born that way I guess.”

“So have you got a boyfriend now? Somebody waiting back home?’

I really didn’t want to talk about this and yet at the same time I did want to talk about it. “Nope. I………I………..had one a couple of years ago but things didn’t work out. How about you? A cute cheerleader someplace waiting to drop into your arms.”

He laughed and rolled onto his side facing me. He probably wasn’t aware of it but when he rolled onto his side his cock and balls made the trip too only at a more leisurely pace. “There’s been a few but that was back home. Man, I need something here!” Then as if he were immersed in thought. “Damn I love women!” He rolled onto his back and sat up. “We could go find some food. Maybe we’ll find a gay guy and a straight girl together and we can both score.”

I laughed. “What if he’s straight and she’s lesbian.”

He smiled in a slow almost southern way. “Can I watch?”

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