The Things We Do For Love

 

by Douglas

 

 

 

 

(Author’s note: this story includes characters and situations from my novel, ‘Here’s Looking at You, Kid’; it’s set a few months after the end of that story, actually. But you shouldn’t need to read the novel, to appreciate this story, it should stand by itself. I very much hope, anyway.)

 

 

 

“So,” went my boyfriend, Cole. “’I am a . . . woman’,” – and he clicked his mouse – “’looking for a . . . man’,” with another click of his mouse.

 

Cole’s house; or his mom’s house, more accurately. Cole’s laptop open on the dining room table, with the dinner dishes already cleared. Cole’s mom going back and forth, in and out of the kitchen, trying to look busy; trying, vainly, to postpone the inevitable.

 

Me, as usual when it comes to the two of them, mostly a spectator. Caught in the crossfire.

 

“’My age’,” Cole went on, and he clicked again – “Hm. I’ll put down, thirty-five to forty.  You don’t look your age.”

 

Neither of them did, really. Cole’s eighteen, slender, brown-haired; his mom’s forty-two, with the same general build and coloring and everything; you can so totally tell they’re mother and son.

 

You can tell, actually, by more than just their looks.

 

“Cole, dear,” his mom started. With a little, quirky, tilt to her head, and an ironic, upturned-corner-of-her-mouth that I’d learned meant trouble. “Somehow I don’t recall ever asking you to help set up a dating profile for me. Or am I mis-remembering something - ?”

 

“I just wanted to show you how easy it is,” Cole went, innocently. With a glint in his eye, and a little head-tilt of his own, that echoed hers.

 

Actually, it creeps me out, a little, when they do that head-tilt thing to each other.

 

“See, just a few basic details to fill out first, to register; then a few more screens, and you get to the good part, you get to be really specific about the type of man you’re looking for. You can go into so much detail – ”

 

 “Thank you, dear,” she purred, and the tension in the air notched up, a bit. “I’m familiar with how drop-down lists work.”

 

Cole’s mom buys high-tech IT equipment for the University of California at Berkeley, where I go to school. And she’s at least as technical as Cole, which is saying a LOT; Cole’s more technical than anybody else I’ve ever met.

 

“I know, Mother. The thing about user interfaces is, they only produce results when you USE them.”

 

“I said I was thinking about on-line dating. I said I was thinking about STARTING on-line dating. I didn’t say I was going to do it.”

 

That blistering, direct stare from her, that I’d first seen almost two years ago; but this time, aimed at Cole.

 

“We’re just filling out a profile for you,” went Cole, reasonably. “It’s just like, practice, okay? What harm can that do?” He glanced back to the screen. “We won’t be able to actually post it until we have a good jpeg of you anyway – ”

 

“A picture of me?! Cole, I absolutely refuse – ”

 

“Mother, you won’t get any responses unless you have a jpeg as part of your profile; two jpegs would be better, actually. And you shouldn’t answer any postings from anyone who doesn’t have jpegs with his profile. Do you really want to go on a BLIND, blind date - ?”

 

“It was a wonderful dinner, ma’am,” I broke in, pushing my chair back, a little. REALLY not wanting to be there; right then. Embarrassed to be witnessing it. “I think maybe I should be going – ”

 

“Oh, no,” went Cole, flashing his eyes at me. “You’re not going anywhere; you think she should start dating again too, and you should tell her so. And anyway, you belong here, you’re part of the family, now; you’re an in-law.”

 

I could see Jeannine’s – that’s Cole’s mom – I could see her lips tighten, a second, before they relaxed, and an ironic glint came to her eyes, as she glanced at me.

 

“Yes, do stay, Jeremy, dear. You might as well; after all, you DO have experience with . . . digital photography. Of a personal nature.”

 

“Mother – ” from Cole, sharp, as I winced.

 

 

Okay.  Background.

 

Cole was sixteen, and underage, and I was nineteen, when she found a, a . . . video we’d made. Of us, like, doing it.

 

She’d almost gone to the police. And I’d almost run off to Mexico. Before we . . . worked it all out.

 

“I’m sorry, Jeremy,” she said; after a loaded pause. “That was uncalled-for.” She settled into the chair beside Cole, with a sigh; and gently set her wine glass down on the polished table-top. She glanced at the screen, the same screen Cole was looking at; and I wondered, once again, at how much alike their faces were . . . one with fine lines, and a hint of makeup; one smooth and with just the faintest trace of a soft stubble.

 

And as I watched, I saw Cole’s eyes slide sideways to his mother’s face, in profile. Calculating, for a beat.

 

“So,” he said. Evenly. And his eyes went back to the screen, to the form he was filling out. “’Minimum education’; Bachelor’s? Or post-graduate?”

 

“Post-graduate,” she said, immediately; then she sighed a resigned, fatalistic sigh, and reached for her wineglass. “No; no. Make that a Bachelor’s . . . ”

 

Strong-willed as she is, she’s still had more practice than me, at giving in to Cole.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

“That’s him, over there,” went Trevor. As we were carrying our cappuccinos back to our table. Trying to hide his grin.

 

“Where?” I kept my voice down.

 

“Shhh!”, from Cole. Then; “Yeah. I saw him as we were coming in. He’s over there, by the window,” he went on, more-or-less in my direction. “It’s a pretty flattering jpeg.” His voice was acid.

 

I tried not to be obvious, as I looked.

 

We were in an espresso bar, of course, not far from campus; a pretty nice one, that Cole and I’d been to before.

 

Over by the door, in the sunlight coming through the windows, was Jeannine’s blind date. Or computer date. Or whatever.

 

He looked . . . nice enough, I guess. Forties-ish. From this angle, maybe a little bit greyer at the temples, maybe a little thicker around the waist, than his picture.

 

 “C’mere,” hissed Cole, and he pulled with his free hand at my sweatshirt sleeve, and then we were back at our table, across the room from his mom’s date. I set my cappuccino down and slid out a chair; “No!”, from Cole.  He pulled me to a chair facing the wall, facing away from the door. “You have to sit here.”

 

“What - ?”

 

“Watch out,” went Trevor. “He just looked this way.”

 

“Sit,” Cole hissed out. I sat. Then: “You have to be there, to block his view. I don’t want him to see me. And you’re the biggest of us.”

 

Trev was grinning openly, now; he was Cole’s best friend, and a kind of shaggy, blondish version of Cole, except that he’d been getting almost kind of beanpole-tall and skinny lately, he’d been growing. Late.

 

“Yeah, I’d say he’s the biggest,” started Trevor, grinning wide; then – “Ow!”

 

“Get serious!” Cole whispered, fiercely. Trevor went on grinning.

 

“Like your mom’s not going to notice us, when she comes in?” I said. Skeptically.

 

“Of course she will. But she won’t say anything, in front of him. I mean, look, he might be my future step-father; I don’t want him remembering seeing me here, okay?”

 

“Yeah,” I went. Reluctantly.

 

*

 

We’d had the conversation, on the way over.

 

“You really think,” he’d said, “I’m going to let my mom hook up with some strange man she met over the internet, ALONE? Without me being there?”

 

He hadn’t told me what we were doing until after we started out, walking.

 

“Baby, they’re having coffee, not hooking up. Besides, how would you have liked it if she’d been watching US, on our first date - ?”

 

And that’d brought a snigger from Trevor, and a blush from me. Because I’d been thinking about our REAL first date; but Trevor’d been to the party where Cole and I had met, before that, and Cole and I had gotten a little . . . carried away. In public.

 

All right, a lot carried away. In way-too-public.

 

“It’s a computer date, Jeremy,” Cole’d said. After giving Trevor a dirty look. “Who knows what this guy is really like? I am NOT letting my mom do this alone.”

 

And his whole strong, loving protectiveness was so much like Jeannine’s over-protectiveness towards him – the over-protectiveness that almost got me busted – it was laughable, and I know Trevor saw it too, but he didn’t say anything, he just grinned, knowingly, at me . . .

 

*

 

“Sit up straight!” Cole whispered at me, fiercely. “He’s looking over here again.” So I did; and I sighed.

 

They also serve, who only sit and imitate walls.

 

And then Cole’s hand came out, and it was squeezing mine on the table, and, and his thumb was caressing my fingers, gently, gently and lovingly, and I got a quick glance from him that was just intense, grateful and intense, before his eyes went back to the other table; and my heart started pounding up, and he kept caressing my fingers, and I remembered why it was all worth it . . .

 

*

 

I didn’t get to see much of the date, from where I was sitting. And to be honest – I was glad.

 

But there was a cut-glass mirror on the wall above Cole and Trevor, and it gave me a partial view of the door, so I had a perfect view of Jeannine’s expression, when she spotted us. As she was walking in.

 

Medusa would have been proud of a look like that. I’m surprised the three of us didn’t turn to stone on the spot.

 

But as soon as I saw it, even as I was wincing, she was putting on her public face, her dealing-with-a-stranger face – I’d come to know her well enough to recognize it – and turning towards the table with her blind date, and then she was out of my view.

 

And that’s when the play-by-play commentary started.

 

“Ouch,” went Trevor. Admiringly. “She’s definitely going to have something to say to you, dude.”

 

Cole wasn’t impressed. “She should have known I’d be here; I helped set it up. And anyway, it’s not like I’ve been looking at her phone bills, or hacking into her hard drives, like she used to do with me.”

 

I met his eyes; and I heard Trevor snicker. “Okay,” went Cole. “I mean, I haven’t hacked into her systems, RECENTLY.”

 

I squeezed his hand, on top of the table. The last time he’d gotten into his mother’s computers, he’d done it for me.

 

“Okay,” Trevor interrupted. His eyes on Jeannine’s table. “Okay; so, that’s a good sign, isn’t it?” That grin still on his face.

 

“What?” from Cole. Then: “Oh, yeah.”

 

“What’s a good sign?” I went; and I started to shift, a little –

 

“Don’t look!”, from Cole. Fiercely, again. “Just stay like that.”

 

Jeremy, the Amazing Human Hunting Blind. “All right, all right,” I said.

 

“He kissed her on the cheek,” went Trevor, to me. “Really quick; he leaned across the table, and kissed her on the cheek. That’s kind of classy, isn’t it?”

 

“Yeah,” went Cole; and I watched him scowl.

 

“And he’d holding her hand!” went Trevor, happily. “That’s good, isn’t it? Kind of romantic.” And as I watched, he gave a kind of sideways grin at Cole; and I realized, Trevor was really enjoying this. Watching Cole dealing with his mom, dating.

 

“Yeah,” went Cole; still scowling. “Yeah.” A pause; for a longer beat of seconds. Then; “No.”

 

“No, what?” I asked, when nobody said anything.

 

“No, it’s not going right,” Cole said; peering past my left shoulder. “You see? Look at the way she’s sitting.”

 

“What?” I said, and I started to shift.

 

“No, don’t!” from Cole again; in a hiss. “Look; you see?” he went on, sideways, to Trevor.

 

“What are you talking about?” went Trevor.

 

“Look at the way she’s sitting,” Cole said. “She’s sitting up really straight; she’s not relaxed at all. She’s all tensed up.”

 

“Oh, come on,” from Trevor. “Your mom’s always had good posture – ”

 

“Not that good! And, look – you see it? He’s not smiling anymore, and he’s not holding her hand, either.”

 

“Well, yeah. Maybe.” Trevor sounded a little dubious.

 

“It’s a blind date,” I said, and Cole’s eyes flicked to mine, briefly. “Of course she’s going to be a little tense.”

 

“You don’t know her that well,” from Cole. “When she’s tense, she gets kind of – weird. She gets, like, all formal, really business-like. It’s a defense mechanism.”

 

Listening to my eighteen-year-old boyfriend analyzing his forty-two-year-old mother . . . Well. It struck me that it all should have been funny, except Cole was so serious.

 

And, that I felt for Jeannine.

 

“Oh, no,” went Cole. “Oh, no.”

 

“Ouch,” went Trevor; and this time he didn’t grin, he scrunched his face up.

 

“What?” I asked, a little frantically.

 

“Tell me she’s not doing that? Tell me she’s not doing that?” from Cole.

 

“Yeah,” went Trevor. Wincing. Shaking his shaggy head, a little. “Yeah. She is.”

 

“Oh, Mother,” went Cole; sorrowfully. “Oh, Mom.”

 

“What?!” I asked, a little louder, this time.

 

“Well,” from Trevor; sympathetically. “It HAS been a long time for her, after all. A long time since her last date.”

 

“Will somebody - !” I started to hiss.

 

Cole cut me off; flicking his eyes to mine, again. “She pulled out her portfolio, and she’s opened it up, and now she’s taking notes. Or doodling, or something, but probably taking notes.” He grimaced. “It’s another thing she does, when she’s nervous. She must be REALLY freaking, though, or she wouldn’t be doing it.”

 

“’Taking notes’?” I repeated.

 

“Yeah. It’s just a nervous habit. It’s just something she does. The first time my dad came up for Thanksgiving, after their divorce, she did the same thing; she hauled out a legal pad and started taking notes.”

 

“Maybe,” went Trevor, “she’s doing it because she really doesn’t like the guy? And she wants to, like, get him to go away - ?”

 

“No. She’s nervous because she likes him. If she wanted him to go away, he’d be gone. Believe me.”

 

I’ve been on the other end of her displeasure; I believed it.

 

“Uh-oh,” from Trevor. “That guy is not looking very happy, right now . . . ”

 

“I REALLY can’t watch this,” went Cole; and he buried his face in his hands.

 

I took a chance, and twisted around to look; trying to make it casual, like I was stretching my neck.

 

Trevor was right; the guy was more-or-less facing us, and he was sitting ramrod-straight; with the kind of expression you see on somebody being questioned for a job interview. Or maybe, questioned by the police.

 

And without even seeing her face, I just knew what Jeannine’s expression was like. I could tell by the stiff back, and the tense squareness of her shoulders. She looked like she was wearing a business suit, although she wasn’t.

 

A long stretch of silence, between the three of us. Cole lifted his head back up, to watch the train-wreck-in-progress; then sank his face back down in his hands.

 

“Well,” went Trevor, at last; a little wistfully. “She can always try speed-dating . . . ”

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

There wasn’t a second date.

 

There weren’t any other first dates, either. It turned out, Jeannine thought the whole computer-dating experience was scary and humiliating, and she absolutely refused to try it again; in spite of all Cole’s wheedling, which says a lot. Cole can wheedle really well. But she was firm.

 

So the news Cole was giving me, right then, almost made me choke on my sushi.

 

“Really?!” I said, around my mouthful of food; then I swallowed. “No way! She’s got another date?”

 

We were sharing a tray of sushi at The Terrace, a little, quiet, open-air cafe on the UC Berkeley campus. Late in the afternoon; not dinner or anything, just a snack to hold us over until dinner.

 

“She’s got a date,” went Cole. Using his left hand, to position the chopsticks in his right hand; he’s a little new to the whole sushi experience. “They’re going out to dinner, actually; Friday night.”

 

“Where?” I asked; already running my wardrobe through my mind, worrying about what I had that was clean, that I could wear for the stakeout –

 

“I don’t know yet.” He shrugged; I couldn’t read his expression. “It doesn’t really matter; I don’t think we need to be there.”

 

“We don’t?”

 

“No. It’s not exactly a computer date, or anything; they’ve already met.” He lifted up his roll, a little awkwardly, and took a bite out of it; and the roll kind of disintegrated, falling back onto the tray. Cole gave it an evil look.

 

“Baby,” I said, sympathetically. “You can use your fork – ”

 

“No; no. I’m terrible with chopsticks, it’s embarrassing, when we’re out somewhere. I’ve got to learn.” He picked up a larger fragment from his roll, awkwardly, and maneuvered it into his mouth.

 

“So,” I went on, as he chewed. “They’re already met? Where?”

 

“It turns out,” Cole went, after a pause, “he works for the University, too. Here at Cal. There was this wine-tasting thing here on campus last week, and that’s where they met.” He carefully captured another piece of his crumbled roll, not-quite-looking at me. “I think they really liked each other.”

 

“Oh. Cool.”

 

I tried – not for the first time – to imagine what it was like, for Cole. I mean, his parents were divorced a long time ago; but he still loved both of them, his mom and his dad, and it still had to hurt, somewhere.

 

But at the same time, Cole’d basically moved in, with me – except for a couple of nights a week, at his mom’s – and he really, really wanted her to be happy, he hated the idea of her being all alone in that house, it was why he stayed there, most Tuesdays and Thursdays . . .

 

“Anyway,” he went on. “I looked him up; he seems like he’s okay.” He shrugged.

 

“Cole. Tell me you didn’t hack into the University’s HR system, to check him out?” The hairs on the back of my neck raised up, a little; because he could, if he wanted. And would.

 

That ironic title to his head, as he looked back at me; the golden October sun shining on his face. “I googled him. He works in the Chancellor’s office; he has plenty of public information out there.”

 

“And that’s all you did?”

 

“Well,” he shrugged. “Maybe I paid for one of those online background-check things . . . ”

 

“Cole – ”

 

“It’s legal. And, he’s okay. He’s divorced; no kids, he’s got property. No criminal record, or anything.” He poked at another roll-crumb. “He’s from Massachusetts . . . ”

 

All this from my boyfriend, the privacy advocate. Who once was willing to risk jail, for a civil-disobedience computer hacking thing, over privacy rights.

 

“Let me guess. Cambridge, Massachusetts? As in, Harvard?”

 

“Yeah.” Cole fiddled with his chopsticks a little more, clicking the ends together. “I’m staying at the house, Friday night; just to, like, be there for her.”

 

I blinked at him. “Ummmm – baby. Do you think that’s a good idea - ?”

 

He cut me off. “Yeah. She’s already freaking out about it, again. She tried not to show it, but she’s really pretty nervous.” He scowled down at the last sushi roll on the tray.

 

I tried to be diplomatic about it. “But is she really going to want you there . . . that night?”

 

He gave me a look. “That’s when she’ll need me around, most. Believe me.” He made a face, and pushed the sushi tray over at me. “Here. This’s yours.”

 

“No . . . no, I’ve had all of mine, that one’s yours.” It was a really plump-looking California Roll; avocado, shrimp . . .

 

“Jeremy.” I looked up at his ironic, Cole head-tilt. “We’ve been through this. If we split food evenly, I’ll get fat and you’ll starve. You’re three inches taller than me.” And as I watched, I could see his eyes roam over my body, my chest . . . “And you need the food; you’ve been filling out, since we started swimming together . . . ”

 

I felt myself flushing, and I had to look away, a little. When Cole looks at me like that, with that naked, sexual intensity, I can get boned up in, like, seconds, and I really didn’t want to get all hard in public . . .

 

And he saw through me, of course. “Tsk,” he said, and he reached out and took my hand, and held it, gently. “I didn’t mean to spoil your snack.” That Cole-irony, in his voice.

 

“That’s okay,” I managed. “I think I’m done, anyway – ”

 

“No you’re not, you’ve had your eyes on that sushi roll for the last five minutes. Go ahead. And – Jeremy - ?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Thank you for caring. About my mom, I mean; thank for being here.” And his face just, showed his love, for me, in the slanting October sunlight, and it was one of those moments that pierces your heart, and I could feel myself just beaming back at him, and I forgot all about the last piece of sushi –

 

Okay. Confession. We took it with us when we left, and I did finish it, a little later. And it really was delicious.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

It was the rattling that woke me; the weird sound of my cell, rattling on the ledge of our sleeping nook as it vibrated, and then began to chime, softly.

 

I fumbled at it in the dark, and rolled onto my back as I opened it. “H’lo?”, I managed; or something reasonably close to it.

 

“Jeremy?” It was Cole’s voice, sounding uncertain.

 

 I blinked up at the skylight over our bed; jet black. I was groggy; I’d been sleeping really soundly.

 

“Baby? What’s going on, are you okay?” Getting calls at the dead of night can wake you up, fast; my heart rate was speeding up.

 

“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine . . . were you asleep?”

 

I relaxed down into my pillow, and I considered what to say. Cole doesn’t usually ask ridiculous questions, like that. “Yeah, I was asleep. Are you sure you’re okay?”

 

“Yeah. I’m fine. But my mom’s not home, yet.” He sounded a little lost; there was a tiny little quaver of stress in his voice, that probably only I could hear.

 

“Oh . . . ”

 

“Do you think she’s all right? What do you think I should do?”

 

“Ummm . . . do?” I’d just woken up. I wasn’t very quick on the uptake.

 

“Her phone’s off, I went right to her voicemail, she never turns her phone off. Should I try the local hospitals? Or call my dad, maybe - ?”

 

“No! no, don’t call anybody.” I looked at the screen on my phone; it was 4:14 in the morning. I winced into the darkness. “Cole . . . Baby. Do you know what time it is . . . ?”

 

“Why do you think I called you?!”

 

I tried a different approach. “Baby . . . she’s on a date.” Short pause. “It’s four in the morning.” Another short pause. “What do you think she’s doing?” I said it as gently, as sympathetically, as I could.

 

A long silence, from my phone.

 

“You think?” he said, finally. Uncertainly.

 

“I think she’s just fine, baby . . . ”  I smiled, to myself. “Remember what we did together, on our first date? I mean, our first real date, in San Francisco?”

 

“We didn’t spend the night together!”

 

“We would’ve, if you didn’t have a curfew.”

 

We’d done enough, even without the sleeping-with-each-other part. And I could almost feel him remembering it.

 

“Cole,” I went on, still trying to be gentle. He’s not uncertain like this, vulnerable like this very often, and it always makes me feel more – tender, for him. Protective, maybe. “Baby. Why did you want to be there, tonight? I mean, why did you want to sleep over?”

 

Another short silence; and when his voice answered, it was – small. “I thought she might want to talk about it, when she got back. I thought we’d split a glass of wine, or something.”

 

I chose my words. “Well . . . baby, even if she gets home soon, she’s not going to want to talk about it.” I paused, a second. “Why don’t you come back here? You know I don’t really sleep that well, without you. I keep waking up.”

 

Another short, uncertain pause.

 

“You really think I should?” came the question.

 

I thought about the scene, the embarrassment, when Jeannine walked in, after a whole night out, finding a stressed-out, sleepless Cole waiting for her . . .

 

“Yeah,” I said. Firmly. “I really think you should.”

 

“Okay,” said my boyfriend.

 

He sounded relieved.

 

*

 

I was still awake, snuggled down into the blankets, when I heard his key scrape in the front door lock; his mom’s house is just a few blocks from our apartment.

 

I squeezed my eyes shut, but he didn’t turn on the light; instead, I just listened in the dark, as he moved around. The click of his keys, as he put them on the table; a couple of soft footsteps, then whispery sounds, as he slipped out of his clothes, down below.

 

And finally, most welcome of all, the little creak of one of the steps, as he climbed up to our sleeping nook.

 

And then, a flash of cool as the covers lifted, and he slid into bed with me, and I rolled over to put my arms around him –

 

“Arrrgh! Your hands are freezing!” I yelped it out; I couldn’t help it.

 

“Sorry,” he muttered; “sorry,” and he tried to pull back from me –

 

“No, no, come here.” I trapped his cold hands in mine and held them between us, warming them up; and I cuddled myself closer against him, giving him some of my body warmth, and I felt him snuggle in against me, gratefully. I could smell his breath on the pillow between us, so I kissed him, softly, on the lips.

 

“You okay, baby?” I whispered.

 

“Yeah,” he muttered. “Yeah.” A short silence; then – “I feel like such an idiot.”

 

“What?” I kissed him, really lightly, again. “Why?”

 

I felt him shrug a little, under the blankets; his warm, bare skin moving against mine. “You know,” he muttered, low.

 

“What?”

 

Another uneasy shift. Then – “I didn’t even think. That she might be – you know. Sleeping with that guy. It like, never even occurred to me . . . ”

 

“’That guy’,” I said, softly. I let his hands go, and put an arm around him, feeling the smooth skin of his back under my hand. “What’s his name?”

 

“Rob,” he muttered. Not a happy mutter.

 

I began making circles on his back, soothing strokes with my open hand. “Rob. Okay.” A few more soothing circles. “Baby, you’re not an idiot. It’s your mom; I mean, it’s not the kind of thing you want to think about, with your . . . parents.”

 

“Yes it is,” he went, immediately.

 

“Huh?”

 

Another impatient shrug, against me.

 

“What?” I murmured, softly.

 

A pause. Then – “I wanted her to start dating again. I pushed her into it. I just – ” Another pause. “It’s like I owe her, so much. When she and my dad broke up, she like, put her whole life on hold for me, to take care of me, and it’s been like that ever since.” A pause, in the darkness. “I wanted her to have – someone. To love; like I’ve got you.”

 

I kissed him, gently, on the lips; and then for a second we just lay there, facing each other, sharing the pillow and the quiet.

 

“So, why be embarrassed - ?” I went, softly. Eventually.

 

A puff of a laugh, from Cole.

 

“Like I said, I didn’t expect her to – stay with him, tonight,” he went. Quietly; just beginning to laugh at himself, over the whole situation, I could tell. “I thought there’d be dates, and dates, first . . . ”

 

Like mother, like son, I didn’t say; I just kept on stroking his smooth back, pausing now and then to massage the tense muscles in his neck.

 

“And so, there I was, waiting for her to come home,” he went on; and I could dimly see him make a face, in the sky-glow from the skylight overhead. “She always makes me feel like a little kid; tonight I felt like I was about ten, waiting for my mommy to come home, and make everything all right . . . ”

 

“Poor baby,” I breathed, and I kissed him again – trying not to smile. Even though it would have been a sympathetic smile. “Poor baby.”

 

“Mmmmph.” He made a comfortable sound, and snuggled closer against me, under the warm blankets.

 

And then –

 

Well. There’s always been one foolproof, sure-fire way to take Cole’s mind off of his problems. A way to distract him; to make him feel good.

 

So I started stroking lower down, on his back. Gently; rhythmically, still in soothing circles, but now going lower, with my fingertips, lower, teasing my way down, lower, gently, until I was teasing my way down, between his cheeks –

 

“Mmmmphhh . . . ” went Cole, again, and I could feel his excitement growing as he moved against me, moved against my body, pushed himself back, sensuously, against my fingers – it’s a script we’ve followed hundreds of times before, and we do it really well, it’s so comfortable, and so exciting, for both of us –

 

And then, all of a sudden, I felt Cole freeze against me; and a second later, one hand came out and took my wrist, gently, stopping my stroking.

 

“ – What?” I breathed out, into Cole’s hair; his head was kind of tucked under my chin.

 

“Mmmph,” came the short answer. Not a contented sound; more like a statement.

 

“What, baby?” I whispered, after a couple of beats.

 

His head came up out of the crook of my neck.

 

“Nothing; nothing,” he whispered back, after a second. A short pause; then – “I was just thinking. What if she’s . . . doing the same thing, right now - ?”

 

“Oh,” I whispered back. Trying not to laugh. Feeling for him, at the same time. “Oh.”

 

I lay still, holding him, for a second, while I considered. And then it came to me, and I smiled into the darkness.

 

“Well,” I breathed out, softly. “There’s one thing you can do, that I guarantee she won’t be doing tonight.”

 

Okay. I should explain.

 

The way Cole and I fit together . . . I’m the pitcher; and he’s the catcher. Almost always. It’s how we’re both built; it’s what works, for both of us. It’s what we crave. 

 

But I figured, this was a special occasion.

 

“Hmmmm - ?” from Cole.

 

“Shhhhh . . . ” I whispered back.

 

And I moved in the darkness; pulling back the blankets, snagging the lube from the ledge of our sleeping nook, sitting up and straddling Cole’s thighs, as I opened up the tube, and squeezed, and started spreading it over his erection, listening to his quick gasps . . .

 

And then, I was reaching in back of me, lubing up that part of myself; grinning into the dark, feeling my pulse start pounding up, and up, in pleasurable anticipation.

 

Oh, the things we put ourselves through, for the people we love . . .

 

*****************

 

Thank you for reading!

 

Comments are always welcome, at dlgrantsf@yahoo.com.

 


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