I felt my eyes starting to droop as I laid on the couch watching a rerun of "The Golden Girls".
A sudden pounding on the door startled me awake. I sat up and stretched and shuffled to the front door. I opened the door to find my brother-in-law, Sheppard Bannister, standing in the hallway looking pitiful, slumped over with a dejected posture. He had his hands shoved in his jeans pockets.
"Shep," I said with surprise. I glanced up at the clock and saw that it was 11:45 at night. "Is something wrong?"
"Hey, Billy. Can I crash here for the night?"
"Oh. Uh, sure."
I opened the door wide and gestured for him to come in. He picked up the duffel bag laying on the floor next to his feet. I shut and bolted the door behind him. I felt slightly embarrassed standing there in a t-shirt and briefs, but I wasn't expecting company. We stood in awkward silence for a moment.
Shep is married to my older sister, Wendy. I don't know how she landed a guy like Shep. Shep was the captain of all of his sports teams in high school. A big, brawny jock. Of course, that was more than ten years ago. He's a little softer these days, but he's still a total stud. He's got wild dark blond hair and blue eyes. Like his hair, his five o'clock shadow is thick and dark blond, as is his goatee. He's got long sideburns that reach almost to his jaw. I have always been jealous of Shep's ease at growing any style of facial hair. At 28 years, I can't even manage a proper goatee. At 6'5", Shep's eight inches taller than me. He's 32 years old, making him four years older than me. He's got a bit of a rebellious streak and he's a bit gruff, but he's mellowed some with age. He's a good guy. He's always been nothing but nice to me.
When Wendy first brought Shep home eight years ago, I was still in college. I was home for Christmas break and she brought him with her. I was immediately in lust with him, but after talking to him and getting to know him, I found that I really liked him as a person. For the life of me, I couldn't understand what he saw in Wendy. She's a shrieking harpy and a total nag. Nothing is ever good enough for her. They got married a year later and I figured if her 'bridezilla' behavior didn't scare him off, then nothing would.
"I wasn't sure where else to go," he finally said.
"Well, you're welcome to stay here as long as you need, if you don't mind the futon in my office."
"Yeah. That'd be great."
I walked down the hall to the second bedroom, which I use as a computer room. I turned on the light and pulled out the futon so that it was laying flat.
"Here ya go," I said. "You know the bathroom's across the hall. Let me get you some sheets and a blanket."
I walked across the hall to the bathroom and opened the linen closet. I grabbed a set of sheets and a blanket. When I returned to the computer room, Shep was sitting on the futon staring at the floor. I stood there, not knowing what to say.
"I'm leaving Wendy," he said quietly.
"I'm sorry to hear that," I said, though I wasn't really sorry.
"Thanks for letting me stay here, Billy."
I watched his eyes go glassy and he turned away from me. I set the sheets and blankets on the futon.
"Anytime, Shep. Yell if you need anything."
I left the room, shutting the door behind me. I turned off the TV in the living room and got ready for bed. I went into my own bedroom and shut the door behind me. I tossed my glasses on the nightstand and crawled into bed. I couldn't help but think about Shep. I had never seen him so depressed. I really hoped he would be okay. Maybe a good night's sleep would help.
* * *
I woke up early the next morning and showered and got dressed for work. I went to the kitchen and started a pot of coffee. I got myself a bowl of Raisin Bran and sat down at the small table. When Shep walked into the kitchen, I nearly spewed my coffee all over the place.
He shuffled into the kitchen with half closed eyes. His hair was all over the place. He had on a pair of green boxer shorts. And nothing else. His chest and stomach were covered in dark blond hair, which was thickest in the middle of his chest and the line that ran down the middle of his body and disappeared into his boxer shorts. Despite having a little bit of a soft tummy, he's still in pretty good shape for a guy his age. He has various tattoos on his arms and also a large tribal spider pattern on the front of his lower left leg. The spider is really cool, but my favorite is the big cross on his left arm. I couldn't help but notice that those thin and flimsy boxers did nothing to hide the large lump that hung down the left leg.
I shifted uncomfortably in my seat and looked down at my cereal. I could feel that my face was warm and flushed. My dick throbbed in my briefs and I closed my eyes and tried to calm myself.
"Smelled coffee," he said. His voice was rough and scratchy and he cleared it.
"Help yourself," I said without looking up. "The mugs are in the cabinet above the pot."
He grabbed a mug and poured himself a cup and sat down at the table. He took a drink and set the mug down and stretched his arms over his head and groaned. He yawned and absentmindedly scratched at the patch of fur in the middle of his chest. It took everything I had in me to rip my eyes away from him.
"There's milk in the fridge if you want cereal," I offered.
I quickly finished my cereal and made my excuses about heading in to work. I was going to embarrass myself if I hung around him any longer.
"You sure it's okay if I stay here?" he asked as I was about to leave the room. "Just for a few days. I won't wear out my welcome."
"Yeah. It's no problem. As long as you want. Here's a key."
I pulled the spare key out of the drawer and set it on the counter. I looked up into his eyes and smiled, then quickly hurried out. I walked to the parking lot and saw his red truck parked next to my Jeep.
Shep was a mechanic. He mostly worked on restoring and repairing classic cars and trucks. He drove a classic Chevy pickup truck. It was bright red and looked like he just drove it off the lot. It ran like new as well. He told me how old it was once, but I can't remember. I think it was from the 60's. Wendy was always trying to get him to sell it, but he wouldn't because he worked so hard over the years restoring it. It was his baby and he was proud of it. While I have no attachment whatsoever to my Jeep, I can understand Shep's attachment to his truck.
I ran my hand over the hood of the truck, then got in my Jeep and drove to work.
As I sat at my desk in my small gray cubicle, I found it hard to concentrate on the spreadsheets in front of me. All I could think of was Shep. If I wasn't wondering about what was going on with him and Wendy, I was daydreaming about his hunky body.
When I got home from work, I went to my bedroom and pulled off my khakis and my briefs. I had drooled into my underwear all afternoon. I tossed them into the hamper and laid out the khakis to get another day's wear out of them. I pulled on a clean pair of underwear and some sweat pants.
I decided to start dinner. I really liked cooking and it would be nice to cook for someone else besides myself. I decided on honey balsamic glazed chicken breasts with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.
Shep came home while dinner was cooking. He leaned in the kitchen doorway and watched me. He was wearing his navy blue Dickies branded pants and a matching mechanic's button-down shirt. He had a patch on his left breast that said "Midtown Auto". On the right was a rectangular patch with "Shep" embroidered in the middle of it. His pants had a couple of smears of grease on them.
"Smells good in here," he said.
I looked up at him and smiled. "Thanks."
"Need any help?"
"Nah, I'm good."
"Okay. Um... I'm gonna go watch TV if that's okay?"
He walked over to the sink and scrubbed his hands. "Need some gojo," he mumbled as he tried to scrub the grease and dirt from his hands and nails. After he cleaned his hands, he kicked off his work boots and picked them up and walked out of the kitchen. I let out a nervous breath and returned to smashing the potatoes.
I set the rolls on the table and called Shep. He turned off the TV and stood at the table looking nervous.
"You want something to drink?" I asked.
"You got any beer?"
"I got this Blue Moon wheat beer."
I grabbed a bottle of Blue Moon for Shep and a bottle of water for myself. We sat down at the table and helped ourselves and dug in.
"Mm. This is fantastic, Billy." Shep let out a satisfied little grunt and took another bite. "Don't get cooking like this at home," he added. "Or what used to be home."
"Thanks, Shep. It's nice to cook for someone besides myself."
We made small talk while we ate dinner. Nothing deep. Shep was too busy eating to talk. He finished quickly and then got a second helping.
After we finished eating, Shep helped me clear the dishes and put the leftovers into containers.
"You can take this for lunch tomorrow if you want," I offered as I put the containers in the fridge.
"Sure. If you want."
"Yeah. Thanks, Bill," he said with a big grin.
I grabbed another bottle of water and gave Shep another beer. We went into the living and turned on the TV. We didn't really talk. We just silently watched TV and sipped our drinks. It was in the middle of the news that Shep finally spoke up.
"Thanks again for dinner, and letting me crash."
"You don't have to keep thanking me."
"You didn't hear from Wendy today?"
"We been fightin' a lot lately," he said quietly as he took the last swig of his beer. He thought for a few moments, then added, "It must be nice to not have any expectations piled on you. You're lucky. You just get to be yourself."
"What do you mean?"
"You know... You being gay and all."
"What does that have to do with anything?" I said with a frown.
"I don't mean it like that. I just meant, you know, no one expected you to be the best at sports. No one telling you to get married, buy a house, start a family. No one nagging at you to make more money. You know, guy stuff."
I bristled and my posture stiffened. "'Guy stuff'? What is that supposed to mean? Just because I'm gay?" The volume of my voice started to raise. "You think I like living in this little apartment all alone? You think I don't want to find a man and get married and have a family? Just because I'm gay?"
Shep held up his hands in defeat. "I didn't mean to upset you, Billy and I wasn't trying to say that you were a woman or something. I just thought that gay dudes didn't go for that stuff. I didn't know."
"Well, now you do. I think I'm going to go to bed."
Shep grabbed my wrist and kept me from leaving. "I'm sorry."
He looked genuinely sorry for offending me and I softened my attitude a little bit and tried to smile. "Don't worry about it. Maybe I'm just being over-sensitive."
I got up and got ready for bed, leaving Shep sitting on the couch. While I could tell he felt bad for what he said, I was still annoyed.
He didn't know what it was like. I knew that I was gay for so long. I came out when I was sixteen. My mom said she didn't care, but I could tell she did. Dad was 'fine' as long as we never talked about it under any circumstances. Wendy was so self-absorbed that if it wasn't about her, she didn't care. My younger brother Wilson thought I was a freak anyway and that just confirmed it in his eyes.
I was such a little nerd back in high school. It was until I went away to college that I finally really found myself. I had a growth spurt and filled out. I even got myself a boyfriend.
I still look pretty much the same as I did back then. Like everyone else in my family, I have brown eyes and dark brown hair, which grows in loose curls. I keep it somewhat short so that it doesn't curl out of control. I wear glasses like my brother and my mom. I'm kind of short at 5'8". My tummy is a little softer than it used to be these days, but I still have a fairly small build.
My first boyfriend Dave was wonderful. He was strong and confident and mature for his age. He was everything I wasn't and I wanted to be just like him. I fell head over heels in love with him. I gave him my virginity and we dated for over two years. He really helped me to come out of my shell. As we dated, I became less nerdy and became more confident. I was devastated when we broke up. As graduation approached, Dave seemed to be really busy. I thought it was just because of school and getting ready to graduate along with job hunting. I was shocked to find out it was because he was having an affair. But I picked up the pieces and tried to hold my head up high, even though inside I felt like I was dying.
After I graduated from college and moved back to my home town, I met Payne. He was an older guy. I was 22 at the time and he was 36. He was a big and husky guy. He treated me really well and we dated for nearly four years. I know our age difference made my family uncomfortable almost as much as the 'gay thing', but I didn't care. His age didn't matter to me. Unfortunately, it wasn't long after he turned 40 that he freaked out and went through a midlife crisis. I guess that's what it was. The whole thing was so clichÃ©d. He bought a little red convertible Mustang and then dumped me for a 21 year old. At the time I was devastated, but now I think back and realized that he was a total asshole. His age didn't matter to me, but apparently mine mattered to him.
That was a couple of years ago. I'm 28 now. I wouldn't say that I'm bitter, but I'm a little weary. I don't want to get hurt again, so I don't put myself out there. I would rather be alone than be hurt. Okay, maybe I'm just a little bitter.
* * *
The next morning at breakfast was a repeat... Shep in his boxer shorts getting me hot and bothered.
When I got home from work, I made a lasagna and heated up some garlic bread. Shep carried on about how great it was and that made me feel really good.
After dinner, we retired to the living room and turned on the TV. Shep pulled his shirt off and unbuttoned his pants and relaxed back on the sofa. He was just sitting there next to me, totally oblivious as to what he was doing to me.
"I talked to a lawyer today," Shep said suddenly.
"Yeah. I'm filing for divorce. My mom thinks I'm making a huge mistake, but I just can't do it anymore, Billy."
"Well, I don't know how you put up with her all these years."
Shep let out a little laugh. "Well. She had some good qualities," he said with a smirk that implied that I didn't want to know the details behind that statement.
"I do love her," he added. "It's not that I don't love her. I'm just tired... Tired of being told what to do. Tired of doing what's expected. I just wanna be myself. Like you."
I looked at him in surprise. He looked at me for a second, but I couldn't read him. He then took a drink of his beer and turned back to the TV.
The next day at work, I was surprised to get a phone call from my sister.
"I know he's staying at your place," she hissed.
"Yes. Shep's crashing at my apartment. And 'hello' to you, too."
"Whatever. Well, tell that lazy, good for nothing, limp-dicked bastard that he still needs to pay his share of the rent here. Maybe if he spent his money on viagra instead of beer--"
"First off all, I'm not his secretary and--"
Click and dial tone. I stared at the receiver in shock. She hung up on me.
* * *
Over the next few weeks, Shep and I fell into a routine. Every morning, he would shuffle into the kitchen in his boxers and we'd have coffee and cereal together. Every evening, I'd make us dinner. He helped out around the apartment, washing the dishes and even cleaning the bathroom. He didn't mention finding another place to live, and neither did I.
We talked more comfortably over dinner and while watching TV. I opened up to him in a way I hadn't in a long time with anyone. I told him about my past two relationships and how I felt. He would tell me about life with Wendy and I would shake my head in disbelief. He told me how he didn't have any friends anymore. Wendy had chased them away years ago. When he left, I was the only person he could think of that would maybe take him in.
I found myself liking him more and more every day. I loved having him here with me. I wasn't lonely anymore. I found myself wanting more, of course. In my fantasies we were a couple. Except at night time, he'd go to the futon in the other room and I'd go to my bed. I would lay in my bed and pleasure myself, lost in images of a nearly naked Shep and imagining what lay beneath those boxers of his.
We hung out every night and on weekends we'd hang out as buddies. We'd go to the movies, or shopping, or go cruising around in his truck. I loved that the best. His old truck was awesome.
One Saturday night, we decided to stay in and watch a movie on On Demand. I wanted a snack, so I offered to make some cookies.
"'Make' cookies? Like homemade?" Shep asked with an incredulous look on his face.
"Yeah," I shrugged. "Cookies are easy."
"Chocolate chip?" Shep asked, grinning like a little boy.
I couldn't help but smile and let him have his way. "Sure."
He clapped his hands together and rubbed them in anticipation. I laughed and went into the kitchen to get started. I got out the bag of chips, the flour and the sugar and started making the cookies using the recipe on the chocolate chip package. As I folded in the chocolate chips, Shep came up behind me and looked over my shoulder, then stuck his finger in the batter. He swiped up the raw dough and popped it into his mouth.
"Hey!" I said as I tried to smack his hand away.
"Don't worry. I just washed my hands."
He laughed and reach around me and I tried to push him back with my butt. He reached around me and grabbed another fingerful and ate it with a snicker.
"We're not gonna have any cookies if you eat all the dough," I said, trying to sound like I was annoyed, but I was laughing as I said it.
"But it's so fucking good."
I turned around and laughed as I put my hands on his chest and tried to pushed him backwards. He was big. He didn't budge. I looked up into his blue eyes and my heart skipped a beat. He was so close to me. My hands felt hot as they pressed against his chest. My blood pounded in my ears. He leaned towards me and I drew in a sharp breath. My stomach flipped as his hand moved behind my back.
He had a little smirk on his face as he brought it back up to his mouth. It was coated with cookie dough and he snickered and ate it off his finger. I swallowed nervously and tried to move away, but he stepped forward and pinned me to the counter. He brought his finger up again, but this time he moved it towards my mouth. He stared back into my brown eyes and I opened my mouth. I closed my lips around his finger and brought my tongue up along the underside and gently sucked off the dough as he pulled it out. I seductively swirled my tongue around his finger.
His eyes widened as if he was horrified and he stepped back from me. He tore his eyes from mine and then quickly left the room.
Shit. What did I just do?
I took a couple of deep breaths. I realized then that tears were falling down my face. I lifted my glasses and wiped my face. After I washed my hands, I then proceeded to spoon the cookie dough onto the baking sheet. My hands were shaking as I formed the cookie balls. I put the cookies in the oven and set the timer. There was still no sign of Shep as I sat down on the couch in the living room.
Shep walked in a few seconds later. His face looked slightly damp like he had just splashed it with water. He glanced over at me for a second and then quickly looked away. I couldn't help but notice that he sat down in the arm chair instead of on the couch with me like he normally would.