The House on Cherry Street

Chapter 4

Shorty before the July 4th holiday Ryan and I were mowing extremely large high school playing fields. We were both on big red riding lawnmowers moving from opposite ends of the fields. I could see the clouds darkening but didn’t see any lightening. I thought we could finish before the rain started. I was wrong because five minutes later the skies opened. We were soaked in three minutes as we raced to the landscaping van. The other guys were in the cab but there was no reason for us to get in.

Out of the window Carlos said, “Boys, the grass is going to be too wet to finish today. Load the mowers.” We did that and returned to the truck. He said, “Get in I’ll drop you at your truck. We’ll call it a day.” Carlos was wrong because the sun returned shortly after two when we pulled into Brad’s driveway behind a black Chevrolet. We were wet and Ryan suggested we go through the gate near the basement door. We sat in the gazebo and took off our wet clothes. I intended to take them up to the washer. Instead of going into our bathroom Ryan turned on the outdoor shower. The water was warm but we had to walk across the basement to get to our towels. I said, “Give me the clothes and I’ll take them upstairs.” Without saying anything he handed me our clothes. When I got up to the kitchen I could neither see nor hear anyone. I laid the clothes on top of the washer to check the pockets and pull out our belts before tossing the soggy mess in. I heard a muffled voice say, ‘Slowly, it hurts.’ Suspecting that Brad was with someone I quietly called down to Ryan, “Come up here.” As he came up I had my finger to my lips suggesting quiet. I said, “I think Brad is with someone. Do you want to check?”

Ryan didn’t speak and walked toward the bedrooms. Brad’s door was open and we could clearly see he was lying over the side of the bed and a tall slim fellow was pounding his ass. Since both of them were turned away from us we didn’t move until Brad turned his head and saw us. He didn’t move nor did he act upset. The other fellow was busy enjoying himself so we stepped away. We quietly returned to the kitchen and Ryan got two beers. We sat on the kitchen stools. We looked at each other and smiled. A few minutes later Brad came into the kitchen with his naked friend. His friend immediately covered himself when he saw us. Brad said, “Joshua, these are the two guys who rent my basement apartment.”

The guy was clearly embarrassed but said, “Hi.” Then said, “Brad, I have to go. Sorry guys to meet you this way.”

Ryan said, “No, problem, Brad probably told you this is a house of naked gardeners. The fellow turned to find his clothes. I knew he couldn’t leave until we moved the truck but neither Ryan nor I made a move to get clothes. Brad opened a Coke for himself. Joshua returned wearing his clerical collar on his basically black outfit. He gave Brad a hug and said “See you.”

Ryan said, “Let me put pants on. I have to move our truck before you can leave.” He got up and went down the basement stairs. I said, “Joshua, come back and help us in the garden. We can always use more hands.” He smiled, ran his hand over Brad’s clipped beard and walked toward the front door.

Brad sat beside me and took several sips on his Coke. Ryan came in the front door, stood in front of us and said, “So that is your priest friend. It appears he is more than a friend.”

Brad took one last swallow of his Coke and said, “Joshua is more than a friend but not only like you saw. He really saved me before you met me, Ryan. I told you I moved back from Grand Rapids and quit my job. I was really depressed. Ty had ditched me and Kahli had hooked up with another guy. We had been a real fun threesome in many ways. I was alone with no family around. All I had was grandmother’s house and her garden. Luckily Sonny came along.

“I wasn’t suicidal or anything like that but was really lonely. I didn’t attend church regularly but I saw a notice in the paper about a social at St. Andrews. I thought I would go and perhaps meet some people. The church hall was filled with people not a one less than sixty years old. I sat and talked to several of my farmer’s market customers. I did know a few people. No one was my age. As I was about to leave Joshua approached me to introduce himself. We chatted briefly and he invited me to have coffee. Maybe he sensed I was lonely, I don’t know.

“Well, anyway, we met for coffee a couple of days later. He asked me if I was from Traverse City and I told him I wasn’t but my late grandmother was. I told him I was living in her house. I invited him to come over. A funny thing happened when he arrived the first time he said, ‘Where’s your dog?’ I said ‘I don’t have one’ and he said ‘You need a dog. We’ll go to the shelter tomorrow. You need a dog.’ He didn’t ask he told me. That’s how I came to have Sonny. That was the best decision and Joshua made it.”

Ryan said, “Pretty presumptive, guy!”

“No, I would say insightful. He could sense how lonely I was. The day I brought Sonny home Joshua sat right where Randall is sitting. He asked if I was looking for a job. At that point I wasn’t working. I explained that I had worked for the Herman Miller Company in Grand Rapids. He knew the company. He told me a little about himself but didn’t mention a girlfriend or wife. He wasn’t wearing a wedding ring so I assumed he wasn’t married. As spring progressed, before Ryan arrived, Joshua came over periodically or I would meet him for lunch. There was nothing going on between us except friendship. I hadn’t told him I was gay. Shortly after you arrived last summer he told me he was going to be away for six weeks finishing the course work for his doctorate. He actually was away all summer. He returned just before you left so you never had a chance to meet him.”

Ryan smiled, “Brad, you forget I did see him. Remember, he was naked mowing your lawn one afternoon. You were in the garden and he was pushing the mower around the yard. When he got finished he put the mower away and the two of you came in and I heard you tell him ‘Goodbye.’ You called down to ask me to move my car. Maybe you didn’t know I saw him mowing naked.”

“I never thought about that. You didn’t meet him, correct?”

Ryan said, “That is correct. I wondered who he was but you didn’t volunteer any information. I didn’t feel it was my place to ask.”

Brad got the three of us pretzels and chips which he poured in two bowls. He motioned for Ryan to sit because he said it was more comfortable for him to stand. Brad continued, “When Joshua returned I didn’t see him for about a month except at mass. By this time I was working for my former boss who kept giving me more and more work. I didn’t have much time to think about Joshua. Shortly before Halloween he invited me to a full moon party. I was pleased but was surprised he would go to what turned out to be a mild fetch party. He told me that a jock strap was the preferred costume. He knew I wasn’t afraid of being naked, at least, in my yard. I went with him to a party of about ten guys all in jock straps and leather harnesses. There was no sex just socializing while we were there.

“I had fun and met some nice guys closer to my age. About a week later Joshua came over for a spaghetti dinner. After dinner we got into the hot tub and showered together. He didn’t leave until the next morning. Our first time together when you saw us he was stiff. I don’t mean the way you’re thinking. He wasn’t relaxed. I suspect he felt guilty. I told him not to worry I wasn’t going to tell anyone.”

I didn’t want to break the spell but I had gas pains and needed to go to the toilet. I said, “Is there more to the story? I have to go to the toilet.” The sun had come out. “Meet you in the garden.” Since Brad hadn’t dressed he followed us downstairs where Ryan left his pants and I went to the toilet. We weeded and mowed until it started to rain again. We decided to go out to dinner.

At the diner Brad quietly continued. “I have seen Joshua several times a month at my house. He lives in a church owned apartment and told me he wasn’t comfortable having me visit him. I was fine with that because I like Joshua. He was attentive to my injury when we had sex. We found a way for him to enjoy me being inside him that wasn’t uncomfortable for me.”

Ryan said too loudly I thought, “You mean he rides you?”

“Straddles is a better word, but ‘yes’.”

“Do you think all he wants is sex. I mean he’s your friend but do you see him as a partner?”

“I’ve asked him the same question and he’s evasive. I think he hasn’t admitted to himself that he’s gay. He has mentioned several times his desire to have children. I know we could adopt but I think he wants more than that.”

“As long as you are comfortable with the relationship. Remember what Ty did to you?”

“I don’t blame Ty. I blame myself. I wasn’t ready to be partner to an athletic guy who could only talk about sports and vegetables. Joshua is different. He knows so much about interesting things. Even at his age he has traveled to countries in South America and Europe. He plans to go to Asia next year.”

“Has he invited you to travel with him?”

“No and anyway I don’t think I could get off work long enough for a trip to Asia.” Brad paused and got a serious look on his face, “You guys act so warm toward each other. You put your hands on each other’s butts. I’ve seen you kiss. That makes me happy. Joshua never does that. We aren’t playful like you guys are. I wish he could see that.”

“If you want us to be more playful when Joshua is here tell us.”

“Joshua is supposed to come over for dinner on Thursday. Can you guys join us? When he arrives lets be working in the garden naked. Let’s have the lawn mover out and I will ask him to mow. We’ll see if he gets naked. Would you be comfortable being playful?“We’ll go further if you want us to. We are friends with two older men in Evansville who like to watch us make out and have sex. First, we have to get our boss to let us leave early. I don’t think that’ll be a problem.”

“I’ll have dinner already prepared except for the pasta that way food preparation won’t interrupt us.”

Man mowing lawn

Joshua Mowing

Fortunately, we were able to leave our jobs at three. Thursday was a hot day so being naked was comfortable. I heard Joshua’s car stop in the driveway but didn’t see him for several minutes. He must have knocked but no one answered the door. He came out of the basement door dressed in shorts and a yellow button collared shirt. Brad hurried over to him as Ryan and I continued to pull weeds. Ryan intentionally pointed his butt in Joshua’s direction. He turned around and I was afraid he was leaving. A few minutes later he came out naked and went straight to the lawn mower. He had conspicuously hardened which he didn’t try to hide. As Ryan and I got up he put the palm of his hand on my butt and pulled me into a kiss which seemed normal to me. He ran his index finger down my crack a couple of times. He knew what would happen to the front part of me. I didn’t look at Joshua but could see Brad smiling out of the corner of my eye.

Ryan took my hand and we walked through the opening in the hedge to the back garden. Rather than pick up hoes he positioned me in a way that we were out of site of Joshua and Brad. If they took a few steps they would be able to see us. Ryan got down on his knees and took my cock into his mouth as his hands grabbed my balls. I was enjoying what he was doing and turned slightly to see both Brad and Joshua standing looking at us. Both of their cocks were at full attention.

Brad said, “Guys, get a room. Could Joshua and I watch?”

“Fine with us. We’ll shower quickly.” Brad and Joshua followed us into the basement where we showered as they stood waiting. I dried Ryan and he did the same for me. We were kissing. I almost forgot we had an audience. We pulled back the covers on our bed and I laid on my back. Ryan kissed me passionately before he straddled me and without a condom slipped down on my member. He gave himself a real ride to impress Brad and Joshua who were both fondling each other’s dicks as they watched. I looked away and they were gone. I assumed they went up to Brad’s bedroom. Neither Ryan nor I finished because we both had the same thing in mind. We got up and went upstairs to be audience for them.

As before when we first saw them together the door to Brad’s room was open. There was plenty of light to see Joshua straddling Brad. When Brad saw us he smiled which caused Joshua to look our direction. He said, “Come join us there’s room.” Surprised but pleased Ryan and I climbed onto the bed. Ryan held his legs over his head indicating what he wanted. The bottle of lube was lying next to Brad so I prepared myself and positioned myself behind Ryan which was a position I was rarely in. I was sensitive and tried to go slowly but in a minute both of us erupted. That caused Joshua to finish as he brought Brad to his conclusion. The smell of sex was prevalent but no one moved for minutes.

As we got up Joshua said, “I have never done anything like what we did. I like it.” That led to a pleasant evening of eating and conversation. Ryan and I continued to be more lovey than we usually were. I did see Joshua let his hands slip down Brad’s back several times. After the dinner dishes were into the dishwasher Joshua excused himself and led Brad to go the bedroom. We went downstairs to prepare for bed since we had to be out of the house by 6:30am.

We didn’t see Brad for several days because he went to Grand Rapids for a rare face-to-face meeting with his boss. Even though most of the employees were working remotely his boss wanted to discuss a major new project with Brad. Before he left he told us that Ty had invited him visit to see his gardens. Since he couldn’t take Sonny he asked if we would look after him.

The following Sunday afternoon Ryan and I were doing a little clean up in the yard when Joshua came out the basement door with Sonny following him. He said, “Hi, guys, when I didn’t see Brad at church I was concerned.”

“Didn’t he mention he had to go to the Grand Rapids? He had a face-to-face meeting with his supervisor at Miller. Then he went to visit friends near South Bend. I think he’ll be back tomorrow or Tuesday.”

“He did mention the meeting in Grand Rapids but he said when it was. He stooped over and gathered a pile of debris and walked it to the compost pile. When he returned he said, “You guys got a few minutes to talk?”

I said, “I’ll get us some drinks and meet you in the gazebo.” Ryan put the tools in the shed before joining Joshua. I came out with three glasses of iced tea, lemon and sugar. There was silence as we sipped. Ryan and I were waiting for Joshua to say what was on his mind.

Joshua slowly said, “I really don’t know how to start this conversation but I would like to know how long you have known you were gay?”

Ryan said, “I was fifteen when my uncle caught me shagging a guy and threw me out. I had known I liked boys before that but really didn’t have any experiences until I was caught. At school I was on an athletic team. I didn’t flaunt my sexuality but I didn’t deny it if someone asked. Randall presumed I was and didn’t ask until he had me in his bed.” Ryan laughed.

“Joshua, it didn’t happen the way Ryan said. You should see Ryan strut around the locker room. If he wasn’t gay he certainly was an exhibitionist. For me, I’ve known I was gay for a long time. I grew up in a military family and, particularly, my father wasn’t happy when I told him I was gay. I feel uncomfortable going home because of my father’s attitude. I stay in touch with my mother and brother.”

Joshua listened and was studying our bodies. He said, “You guys look like you really like each other.”

I said, “We do and care about each other.”

Ryan snapped, “Sex with Randall is always entertaining. He was a virgin when I met him.”

“What do you mean entertaining?” Ryan didn’t follow up.

Joshua said, “Has Brad told you how he and I got together?” We nodded our heads. “So you know he was pretty depressed when we met last year. The closer we became the better he seemed to be. I’d never been with a man before I was with Brad. At first I was totally embarrassed that I was having an affair with a parishioner. I stopped coming over for a while. Finally, I got comfortable joining him naked in the yard and in his bed. I’m happy being assistant priest doing my duties. I had always planned to marry a woman and have two or three children.”

“Now you’re in a relationship with a man and what do you do?”

“Correct, understand I really like Brad. But when I saw the love between the two of you the last time I was here I wondered if that could be me and Brad.” Ryan and I listened and didn’t interrupt. “I’ve got to decide if I let our affair go on because Brad is a sensitive guy. I don’t want to hurt him like he was hurt before.”

“Are you telling us you are going to breakup with Brad?”

“No, I’m not going to do that.”

I said, “I know I’m jumping ahead but can’t gay Anglican’s get married in the church.”

“Yes, and I have considered that. I still think I want to have kids.”

“You can always adopt.”

“I know but my ego wants to see a miniature version of me.”

I said, “Surrogacy is really expensive, I understand. When I read about Anderson Cooper’s new baby I wondered what he had to pay the woman who carried his baby.”

Joshua said, “I thought the same thing. A lot I’m sure.” He paused, “I have a favor to ask you guys. Would you engage in a repeat of this conversation with Brad present? We have talked around some things. I’m not totally comfortable bringing the subject up.”

“We will but you know we are only here about six more weeks. If you decide to breakup with Brad do it soon because he is getting more attached to you. We won’t condemn you for breaking off the relationship. We want to be here to help him get used to being alone again. He’s an adult but fragile.”

“Guys, I’ve got to go back to the church. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll talk to Brad when he gets back.” The three of us got up, he hugged both of us and walked into the basement.

Ryan and I sat down looking at me, “Brad’s plan for us to be more intimate has backfired. What should we do?”

“First, remain calm. Joshua has to make his decisions. I am happy we’ll be here because somehow I think Joshua will walk away from their relationship even though we know he loves the sex part.”

Man sitting at desk with a computer

Brad Working at the Computer

Brad returned from his visit and said he had a good time. He seemed to totally be into his new work project. If we wanted dinner when we got off work we had to prepare it. Brad would join us for a few minutes and return with his food to his computer. Ryan and I wondered if he and Joshua had spoken. On Saturday Brad joined us in the back garden which hadn’t been weeded in more than a week. Toward the end of the weeding Brad said, “Joshua called and I invited him to come over after church tomorrow. Are you guys going to be around?”

Ryan said, “We’ll be here. Do you want us to fix lunch or dinner?”

“Josh said he’d bring dinner. Rather than eat in the gazebo I decided that the dining room would be better because of predictions of late afternoon thunderstorms.” I thought the conversation Joshua wanted to initiate would be easier in the dining room.

The wine we drank before Sunday dinner seemed to relax everyone. Brad seemed unusually relaxed as Joshua put his arm around his waist and patted his butt. This happened several times. When we were almost finished eating Ryan asked the first leading question: “Joshua, when did you know you might be gay?” I saw the look on Brad’s face but Joshua took the lead and described much of what he had told us. He was forth right about his personal confusion about wanting a family. Brad listened and didn’t interrupt as much as Ryan did seeking clarification.

As we drew toward the end of Joshua’s dissertation Brad smiled, “I’ll take as much of you as you’re willing to give me.” I felt tears come into my eyes. Joshua got up and pulled Brad up. “We have business to attend to. Will you guys clean the kitchen?” We nodded and they were gone. Neither Ryan nor I said much before we got downstairs.

I said, “Did we do more damage than good?”

“Gawd, I don’t know. Let’s see how Brad is tomorrow.”