Arms of a Man Ch. 02byFantasyboy69©
We got my car and went out to breakfast at Denny's. It was so strange for me to be in a restaurant when I was so used to the mess hall. I'd eaten out a few times, but it was still so odd to me. The two of us had gone over to the River Park and walked the trail. At one point, when no one was around, I leaned over and kissed his cheek. He glanced around quickly to make sure there were no pitchfork bearing rednecks chasing us and then kissed me back. It was cool and scary for the both of us to be kissing each other in broad daylight in a place like the River Park. He had gone home that Saturday after our night and morning of exploration with a smile on his face. As I closed the door, peeking out the window to watch him drive away, I smiled to myself and sagged against the door. How long had it been since I had a crush on anyone? God...it had to have been almost ten years! He'd been the quarterback when I was a frosh. It was all in my head cause he was straight and never knew I existed, but I still crushed.
Now here I was. Twenty-six years old, a grown and worldly man, and I had a crush on a guy I had known for twelve years but had not seen in eight. What to do with myself now? I did not need to PT that morning, the sex and walking had been quite enough, and the house was spotless. I decided to check my emails, see if anyone sent me anything. When I did check I saw one from an address I had never seen. I looked at the subject but all it said was "Leo!" Okay, so they knew me somewhat. I clicked on it.
G'damn bro! It's been a whole week and you ain't wrote me yet. Must be banging the shit outta your sweetheart, huh? You old horndog! Just checkin' to see how civ life's treatin' ya. Write me back soon, bro.
P.S. The Beast sends his love
"Oh my god," I said and laughed. Alex had sent me an email and I swear I could hear him speaking in the back of my head. I hit the reply button.
Alex and the Beast,
You expect me to write your dumb ass when I got nooky to get to? I was awake for less than an hour and got my nut twice. If this keeps up, I won't need to PT at all. So far it's a bit of a shock to be home and seeing what's changed and what hasn't. Went out with some fellas from school last night...embarrassed myself by going home to bed by 10pm PST. Old chum was in the Army and has two Hearts and PTSD. I'll probably be calling him as soon as I finish this, maybe talking to someone who knows will help him a bit.
Petty Officer Leonardo Donati
PS: I need to change my signature in this thing.
I sent that off and did call Tyler. With directions I went to his apartment which was surprisingly only a mile or two from mine. I could walk it next time. He let me know that he didn't want to bum me out with talk about combat. "Ty, if you want or need to talk about it, I'll listen. I lost some good friends too."
"Maybe some other time. Right now I wanna hear bout life at sea." I could tell he was medicated against the pain in his body, but how do you medicate against the pain of memories and a slowly dying heart? So I told him about the Captain. "Woman Captain?" He snorted and let me continue. My captain was awesome. She had a sense of humor and liked to have a crew that did too. There was a time she ordered a full stop for a surprise inspection of all hands. Thankfully she gave us grease monkeys an hour to clean up and get ready. She had all of us meet on the helipad and in full parade dress. Telling us that no matter what we could not react to whatever she did else we had to fall out, she went around and I could hear the occasional grunt or snicker and I saw a slowly growing group of those who had fallen out. She got to me and looked me up and down.
"Then she stomped her foot and said 'Don't laugh', which of course I did." Tyler laughed at me. "Hey, you would have too. Here is this distinguished woman looking like a six year old and telling me not to laugh. Like telling a person not to touch the plate cause it's hot, we do it anyway." He nodded his sympathy. All in all after the inspection there were eight of us who had fallen out, one of which was her first mate. We marched to her office as ordered, all the while the Mate was still grinning from ear to ear and not caring who saw. "Turns out she did this once a year to find out who still knew how to laugh. Our punishment was to watch a four hour video." Tyler winced. "Four hours of Blue Collar Comedy Tour." I nodded at the stunned look in his eyes. "I know! She liked to see that we weren't becoming machines and this, plus a huge bag of popcorn, was our reward for still being human."
"Sounds like quite a lady."
"She is. Better mom to me than my own let me tell you." Ty knew what my mom had been like and knew it did not take much to be a better mom at all. We shot the shit all afternoon and I left when his girlfriend showed up for their dinner date. Pretty, plump, and out going, she was also a nurse, which is how they met. "Have fun kids and don't stay out too late," I said as I left, "it's a school night." Which he was neither in school nor was it a school night.
"Yes Dad," Ty said with a grin.
I got home to find a lost looking puppy dog on my porch. He looked up at me and smiled. "Hey you," Zach said, getting up to brush off his butt.
"Don't you have princesses to pamper?" I asked with a smile, unlocking the door.
"I took them to their grandma's for the rest of the week until Friday." I could tell he would miss them but there was some motivating factor. I shut the door and dropped my keys into the dish by the door.
I took a shot in the dark. "You need a break from Helen and the girls were needing care." He blinked a few times and looked down at his feet before nodding. "Then you did the right thing." He looked up with a smile. "I'm serious. Sometimes you do have to think about yourself. Your girls will be fine for a week with their gran, so you can relax and stay away from a situation you don't like." I wrapped my arms around his waist. "And you are more than welcome to stay here again." Zach's face turned a bit red and he leaned down to put his forehead on mine.
"You must think I'm a nervous wreck."
"Pretty much, but that doesn't change the fact that I think you're cute." Looking at me through his lashes, Zach snickered and kissed me tentatively. This guy really needed to know I was not going to pull away from him. When we parted I lifted his chin up. "Zach, I know this is all new to you, but not to me. I'm not going to pull away if you want to kiss me. I'm not going to turn you away when you need a friend. First and foremost we are friends. Whatever else happens will happen or it won't. I will respect your need for time, but don't hold back your feelings if you want to express them."
"You are the most unreal guy I know, Leo. I mean I think Derek would understand all of this and be sympathetic. He and Greg have let me stay at their place for a few nights, but it was obvious they were uncomfortable showing affection around me." That sounded typical about guys who did not want to offend someone with affection. "But you? I've just met you again after almost a decade and you never once held back, never once said 'sucks to be you, Zach' and then laughed about it all behind my back. I mean within less than a day you've given me more love than I've ever had. Not just the physical part, which has been awesome so far." I gave him a huge grin. Yay for being a slut! " You've listened and nodded, held me when I needed it, restrained when I can tell you really wanna jump up inside of me." I nodded like an idiot and slid my hand lower to rest on the top of that round bottom. "Still it's all so unreal. Maybe...maybe I'm just waiting for the other shoe to fall and kick me in the ass like always."
I chuckled and kissed him while caressing his cheek. The upper one. "Zach. I'm glad I ran into you at the store. Like I said, you could help me too and something tells me you would help without asking why." He nodded. "See? You wonder why I give myself freely to you? It's because I know you give what you can and then some every day of your life. The girls would be lost without you, you fill in as a lowly cashier when someone calls in sick, and you would help a person who was not much more than an acquaintance without even asking why."
"You make me sound worth knowing."
"And loving." I led him over to the couch and kicked off my shoes before pulling down next to me. "I don't know. I'm tired of living in the closet. You and Derek, and I guess Greg, are the only three people here who know I'm gay...and I don't like that. I'm no super fem queen, but I would like to stop lying to everyone...to myself. Maybe you can help me with that," I said quietly as I stroked his chest. I was tired of living a lie.
"I don't know how I can help you, I'm in the same boat, sailor." Zach smiled and kissed my chin since he couldn't quite reach my lips then.
"Just by being you. Giving me someone to be open for. Before you get nervous, this is not a LTR thing. I mean you represent someone I could be open and happy with." My smiled was fond. "And who knows, maybe you will be that someone... someday."
"I like that. Someday. But right now I'm someone you can be yourself with too." I nodded. I was glad he understood what I was saying because I'm not one for explaining myself sometimes. "Do you want my honest opinion?" I nodded. He took a deep breath. "Then lets tell the gang. You and me...a coming out party or something sappy like that." I felt my stomach clench but I wanted what he was saying.
"Minus the party. I mean I don't really want it to blow up if someone is not happy. Like your wife and kids." I could tell he had not thought about that. It had never occurred to him that his family would ever know. "Yeah. They should be told first. Starting with Helen. Ask her for one sober night to tell the girls. Get them use to it young." He turned his head and looked away. He was battling within himself but he nodded. I hugged him tighter. "It doesn't have to be tomorrow, silly. Just...they should know first."
"You're right. Maybe...you could help me tell Helen. And Derek and Greg could be there as support for the both of us." He was looking for ways to kill a thousand subs with one torpedo and I couldn't blame him. I wouldn't want to have to do it over and over again either, even though I know I will be once I get up the nerve to tell someone.
"Sounds like a good idea. You want to clue the boys in before hand or drop it on them?" I could tell by that little smirk he was thinking about the poleaxed looks on all their faces and I chuckled. It was nice to see there was some mischief in him.
"I would say let them know and get advice on how to tell the family." I nodded and reached for the phone. "R...right now?" I nodded. "I don't know if I'm ready."
"I'm just inviting them over for dinner. If you feel it then you can tell them and I will be right there beside you." He nodded and I dialed Derek.
It took a minute for the phone to be picked up. "You had better be dying for interrupting me and Greg."
I laughed. I couldn't help it at all. "Oh shut up you big girl. So you aren't banging your boy friend for a few seconds, waaah!" Zach covered his mouth to keep from laughing aloud.
"Leo, were it anyone but you I would castrate you for this." I could hear the happiness in his tone that I had called him.
"No you wouldn't. Why waste a perfectly good pair of nuts?" He lost the angry act and laughed along with me. "Go finish making Greg happy with that tight ass of yours and then come over for dinner. Not a request either." I hung up and then laughed at the sheer dumbfounded look on Zach's face. "What? He said the same thing when he came out to me. I had no choice but to listen to him."
"Nice." Zach sat up and sat me up to take off my shirt.
"Feeling frisky?" I said with a leer. He shook his head but led me to the bed room, snagging a small bag I had not noticed. I laid down when asked and flipped onto my stomach when directed. I wondered what he was doing when I felt his strong hands rub massage oil into my skin. "Oh...I like this. I like this a lot."
"I thought you would." God this man was thoughtful. I would not even ask why he was doing this because I could guess. Letting someone be themselves is a big gift. Never judging them for who they are or what they do, accepting them for the special person they were...it was a gift I gave freely and this was probably one way he was returning the favor. "I had felt a few knots in your back this morning and I wanted to see how bad they were. Plus I get to have my hands all over you."
"Not complaining at all." I groaned when he found one. I had not even realized it was there until his fingers kneaded the tension and pain away. He knew just how much pressure and where. "How many patients have expressed their undying love for your hands?"
"All of them," Zach said with a slight chuckle. "Adding yourself to that list?"
"The top of it," I said and he leaned down to kiss my cheek. From my lower back to my shoulders and back he made sure every last bit of tension was gone. I was in a conscious stupor when he asked me to roll onto my back and I don't quiet remember doing it until I felt his hand working on my upper chest and shoulders again. Then I became very aware of him and the fact that I was hard as a rock. My eyes focused on his face and he had this serene half smile. He was happy to be giving me a relaxing massage and not for the sexual reactions he could not be oblivious to. Zach liked helping people. I jumped a bit when he pressed on one spot.
"That is the source of the tensions in your shoulders. Old injury?"
"Mild bruising to the muscles when a forty pound wrench slipped off the nut and fell on me. Three years ago." He nodded clinically and then worked around the area like he was chipping away at stone until he got to the heart of the matter.
"It will continue to give you tension. But I can help lessen it if it gets too bad, or you just want me to." He grinned at me and I smiled back, feeling very sleepy. He worked on my arms and my even gave me a hand massage which was a first. They rock! He went over my stomach and then skipped to my thighs. "Before you ask, it's work ethics."
I knew what he meant. "Good. That way I know you won't take advantage of me when I fall asleep from the massage. But you can give me all the erotic massages you want." He grinned at me and my sausage jumped in my shorts.
"I'll keep that in mind for later." Zach inhaled deeply when he went at my legs. "Or sooner. Your thighs... just wow." I chuckled and pulled him atop me.
"Enough massage. I'm falling asleep and still have to plan for dinner." His laugh was so nice to hear. Much better than the self-loathing. That was when the doorbell rang. I groaned and got out of bed. Thankfully my stiffy was not too obvious. I opened it to see Derek and Greg. "Hey guys, c'mon in." I made sure to speak clearly so Greg could read my lips. They just stared at my chest. "Eyes are up here," I said with a smile.
"Holy shit, Leo," Derek said while signing. "Why are you all glisteny?" They came in.
"I just had a massage." Zach came out from the room towel drying his hands.
"Zach? Lucky you Leo. Zach doesn't give massages to many people." I shrugged as there were hand shakes all around. "And you, Leo, will never use my own words against me." I just rolled my eyes and led them to the loving room.
We ended up calling for pizza and while we ate I regaled them with tales of the open seas, signing what I could and picking up on more of the signs I had forgotten or never learned. Zach seemed to be very comfortable around them and while they were very chaste with the affection, I could tell it was helping Zach. He had not said too much, just listened, but he did not exclude himself from the conversation and even joined in on learning some ASL baby talk. As I was gathering the trash Zach offered to help. In the kitchen he gave me a kiss and nodded. "I feel ready." I grinned and hugged him hard to me.
"You are amazing. Wanna really make them go nuts?" He nodded and I whispered in his ear. He laughed like a mental patient and then went to go sit down in the other room.
"What was so funny," Derek asked.
"Leo looks like the MGM lion when he yawns." Nice improv, I thought as I came back in. I leaned in and kissed Zach softly on the lips and I heard their jaws drop as his hand slid up my chest and rested on my cheek. I sat beside him without breaking the kiss and rested my hand on his leg near the groin. As I drew away I could see that I would be very much in trouble when we were alone later. Something in those blue gray eyes said I was in for a very good night.
I looked at Derek who was still wide eyed from shock, his mouth hanging open like a loose hatch, but Greg was waving his hands, the ASL version of clapping. It could not have gone better except if Derek had fainted. As it was there was no blood in his face...it was all in his pants. The guy had a boner from just seeing us kiss! "Does he get that happy every time he sees guys kiss?" I asked Greg. He read my lips and signs and nodded.
"But...when...how...huh...damn that was hot." Proof that Derek was a real dork, he signed his gibberish too. Zach was a bit flushed but he did not pull away from me. In fact he snuggled a bit closer. "When did all this happen? You've been home about a day!"
"Last night. We," Zach was saying with a small smile, "talked about the same stuff I always bitch about when I crash at your place, but he saw right to the real stress." His smile as he looked at me made my heart flip. No one should have a smile that sweet and sexy at the same time. "True to form Leo made a wise crack about me not liking my wife...duh... and I told him no woman had ever meant anything. He joked about guys." His face was still red, but he was actually doing this. Doing this with guys he'd known for seven years, or longer, who were also gay. "But it's no joke. I...I like guys. Always have." I kissed his forehead as he exhaled.
"It takes a lot of guts to tell such a big secret. If it matters, I'm proud of you," Derek said and Greg echoed it with a firm nod of his head. He had echoed my thoughts exactly.
"Thanks. Really. All three of you have been so awesome to me." I saw it coming. I could have run for it, but why? A big group hug ensued and it was all big and...gay. It was something so not military...fabulous! "Now here is the big barb."
"Both of us are coming out so to speak. I'm tired of lying to everyone," I said as I ran my hand through my buzz cut.
"And we're doing this as support for each other."
Greg nodded and signed, "And you would like us to be there to tell your wife and girls. And the guys." I had to admit, Derek had picked a real winner. Greg seemed to be everything Derek needed and wanted and he could see where friends would be needed for this. "I will be there as a silent witness." For the life of me I could not help but laugh and groan at the bad but clever joke. Greg poked Derek in the ribs. "Leo likes it."
"But Leo is insane. We'll be there," Derek said and Greg nodded his agreement. "Is there a time for all of this or when it feels more comfortable?" He asked Zach and not me. He knew I would do it tomorrow were it solely up to me. I was not really one for procrastinating although in this I had been putting it off for a while. No longer.
"I'm not too sure. I want to tell Helen when she's sober. That may take a few days." They nodded like they knew personally how long that could take.
"I gotta meet this woman. I swear she sounds like a completely nasty bitch." Greg went all stone faced, Derek nodded like I was preaching to the choir, and Zach just looked away like he didn't want to speak ill of his wife. "Wow. Should I bring the holy water and stakes?" That made Zach snicker and he looked back at me with a small grin.