This story was first published in the Gay Authors Summer 2007 Anthology


 

 

Nathan licked his lips as the aroma of the coffee filled the kitchen. ‘Nothing like a cup of coffee to start the day,’ he thought as he sipped the black strong liquid. He loved summer holidays - no worries about classes, roommates or work. He could just relax! It was good that he decided to spend the holidays at home for a change. He really missed his family, especially Chris.

‘Think of the devil and here he comes,’ Nathan chuckled to himself as he heard footsteps enter the kitchen.

“Morning, Nate!” Chris said as he sat down.

“Morning. So how come you’re up so early?” Nathan asked as he leant back against the wall and sipped.

“Hmm, you know my friend David, the French guy I met on the net for the GSA. Right?” Chris asked as his elder brother nodded silently, “Well so you remember that he’s supposed to come today? Well yesterday when I asked Fred for the day off he refused. He says that I was absent two days last week and that I need to set some priorities. Otherwise, he’s going to fire me. You know how much I need this job.”

“So?” Nathan asked though he secretly knew where this was heading.

“Can you do me a small favor, Nate?” Chris said as he got up and came closer to his brother, “Can you go get David at the airport, please?”

Nathan was about to answer when Chris used his last card- those lost puppy eyes that always worked with his brother. “Just a small favor for your younger brother,” he said with an innocent look.

“Ok!” Nathan accepted defeat, “but how am I going to recognize him? I haven’t seen him.”

“But he saw your photograph. I knew you wouldn’t refuse me,” Chris confessed with a grin, “and yesterday, I told him that you would be coming. So no worries!”

That’s how two and a half hours later, Nathan found himself at the airport waiting for a guy he didn’t even know.

“Not bad,” Nathan mused to himself as he saw a young guy with a rather strange yet pleasing hairstyle. That was Nathan’s favorite pastime--stealing glances at any attractive guy. He was too timid to approach anyone and often pleased himself only from a distance.

As his eyes swept across the room, they stopped on the guy that just came through the door. He was really good-looking and seemed to be around seventeen or eighteen. But there was something he had that was…different or unique, something that made him out of the ordinary. Nathan raked a hand through his hair as he tried to place his finger on what it was. He was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn’t realize that the guy was coming toward him until they were two feet apart.

“Hi! I’m David. You’re Nathan, aren’t you?” he asked in a soothing voice.

“Oh, Buon giono!” Nathan said hurriedly and extended his hand, as his mind took longer than usual to register what he heard.

“Isn’t that Italian?” David asked grinning as he shook his hand.

“Hmm, sorry, I mixed it up. I meant Bonjour!” Nathan said with a smile as he cursed himself mentally for being so stupid, “So you’re David. Right?”

“Yeah, that’s me, the one and only David!” he said with a slight laugh.

‘Of course, he’s David. He just told you that,’ Nathan said to himself.

“We have about a two hours drive before we get home, so I think we should go now,” he said to his new friend.

“Before I humiliate myself any more,” he mumbled quietly so that no one heard him.

After they comfortably ensconced themselves in the car, Nathan started the engine. He couldn’t help but steal glances at David. He felt as if he had returned to high school when he used to steal glances at Jake Spencer, his ex-crush.

“The weather has been like this for about three days,” Nathan said as he saw his French friend look up at the gray sky, “Wonder if it’s going to even rain. I mean, sometimes the sky remains cloudy, then clears up without one drop of rain.”

This triggered some chit-chat between them. David spoke quite well in English. He had a small accent that could be easily ignored. They talked about this and that and of course, Chris.

“How come Chris wants to start this GSA? It’s really cool but I was a bit shocked when he told me that he’s straight. Usually, it’s gays and lesbians who start these. Very few straight people would venture into this. Being the president of a GSA would almost automatically be a reason for someone being branded as gay,” David said.

“It’s because of me,” Nathan said as he recalled his teenage days, “Coming out was not really easy for me. My parents and close friends took it well but the rest were, let’s say, not too keen on having a homosexual near them. I had to explain to them over and over again that gays were normal. Sometimes it worked but sometimes it didn’t. Chris had to witness all of this and I think that pushed him to fight homophobia when he got the chance. I’m really proud of him, you know.”

“Yeah, that’s very noble of him. I’m sure that through the GSA, he will do his best to reduce the ignorance about homosexuality,” David said with his usual smile.

“Hope so. And what about you? How was your coming out?” Nathan inquired.

“I would say that fate has really pampered me. My parents already had gay friends and had no problems whatsoever with my homosexuality when I came out. My friends think that I’m a hero for being brave enough to live without any secrets. I got my share of negative remarks from people; but I really pitied them when my friends were finished with them.”

“And your boyfriend?” Nathan blurted out as he tried to ignore the thumping in his chest.

“Oh,” David blushed, “I don’t have a boyfriend…”

Before he could complete his sentence, the car came to an abrupt halt. Nathan, for a moment, thought that he was so distracted by David’s answer that he knocked the gear shift or did something just as foolish. But as he gained his wits, he realized that that was not the case. The fuel tank was empty!

“Oh shit!” Nathan exclaimed as he smacked his forehead with his hand, “I forgot to fill the fuel tank at the station. It completely slipped my mind.”

In fact, he was so engrossed in the conversation with David that he didn’t even notice the station. He inwardly groaned as he gauged his geographical location. Right now, he was on a lonely road with dark jungle on both sides. He fished his mobile out of his pocket but cussed at the lack of signal. He turned to see David looking at him with the same bright smile. The sincerity in that smile reassured the frustrated driver quite a lot.

“I think we’ll have to walk a few kilometers,” Nathan told his friend, “this road is only used when going the airport. We can’t really rely on a lift. We will have to walk to the nearest town. Once there, we can catch a taxi home or just call someone.”

Both took their mobiles and their wallets as they got out of the car. Nathan locked the car before setting out. His spirits plummeted when he realized that on the very first day, he caused David so much discomfort. As a host and friend, it was his responsibility to look after him.

“Don’t be so upset,” David said as if reading his mind, “It’s not a big deal. Anyway, to tell the truth, I prefer this than traveling in the car. Who wouldn’t prefer the company of giant trees and pure air to the imposing skyscrapers and stifling heat of cities? In fact, I should thank you.”

Nathan accepted that David was right. It wasn’t so bad. There they were, walking on a long road with guardian-like trees. The brush of the breeze and the occasional chirping of a bird were quite relaxing. But the fact that David was next to him made all this seem much more beautiful. Each second spent with him drew Nathan closer to this French guy. His smiling face would smooth every difficult situation. It sounded a bit too mushy or bookish but that was how he felt. He knew it was strange to feel like this about someone he had met only an hour ago.

They had barely walked a kilometer when Nathan felt a drop of water on his right hand. He lifted his hand only to have rain start to fall on him. Automatically, he rushed under a tree to seek shelter. But while he expected David to join him, he was wrong. He turned to see David standing there with his hands extended to feel the rain. He had a huge childlike smile plastered on his face. Seeing him like that reminded Nathan of an innocent child who discovered rain for the first time. Nathan couldn’t help but smile as he witnessed such naïveté.

“David, come here. You’re going to end up all wet and can get sick!” he shouted.

But David just shook his head and gestured for Nathan to come and join him. When Nathan refused, David came and dragged him into the rain. Well, Nathan didn’t resist much when David held his hand.

“Come on, Nathan!” David said as he brought him to the middle of the deserted road, “Can’t you feel it? Just close your eyes and become one with nature. Forget everything and open yourself. Feel each drop as it touches your skin and slides down. Isn’t it amazing? Can’t you feel the love in the rain? It’s so intoxicating and sensual.”

Smiling though he felt a bit cold, Nathan closed his eyes and allowed nature to take over. David was right- it felt so…right! It felt so peaceful and invigorating as he felt the drops kiss his skin. He wondered why he hadn’t felt it for so many years.

After a few moments of bliss, when he opened his eyes, he met with a breathtaking sight. There stood David, with his eyes closed and his arms extended towards the sky as if waiting for someone. This vision had nothing in common with the innocent David he had met before; the David standing in front of him was so sensual. Nathan found himself coming closer to him, a bit too close. He could see each drop on David’s face as it caressed his pink skin. He looked at his wet blond hair which, despite the rain, swayed a little as the wind blew. Then his eyes met two sea-blue pools as David opened his eyes. Under normal circumstances, Nathan would have bolted but this time, he didn’t. He tilted his head as he brought his lips closer to David’s. And they kissed. It was neither a wild one nor a gentle one. It was different. It conveyed the natural fear and reluctance of a first time as well as the desires roused by the rain. Nathan’s fingers played with David’s wet hair as he felt David’s palm caressing his cheek. He wished both of them could become two drops of rain so that he and David could immerse themselves in each other and never separate.

Eventually, they broke apart due to the lack of breath. Nathan couldn’t meet David’s eyes as his actions dawned upon him. He simply contemplated his shoelaces. He wanted to say something but didn’t know what. He could have said that he was sorry but he didn’t want to lie; no one could be sorry after such a kiss. He could have confessed his feelings to David but he didn’t know how the other boy would react. In the middle of a road with jungle on both sides wasn’t a good place to say such a thing.

“I think we should be going,” Nathan said gently. As he lifted his head, he saw something cross David’s face. Was it disappointment? Or relief? He didn’t know.

As it rained, the two boys walked. No words were exchanged. A few times, Nathan turned to look at David and then, he would quickly look down lest David caught him. And they kept walking. Forests on both sides gave in to farm land but the rain never stopped.

“Look there!” David exclaimed suddenly. There was a little house a bit far away.

“Let’s go. Perhaps, we can get help,” Nathan said as they quickened their pace.

As they got closer, they saw that it was in fact an inn. It looked quite old and dilapidated. There was ivy growing all over the walls and the name of the inn was no longer visible as the paint had faded with time and weather. Nathan knocked at the door. After five knocks, the door opened and a plump woman with a large bosom appeared. She had a look that said ‘don’t-mess-with-me’.

“Hmmm, is the inn open? Can we come in?” Nathan said tentatively.

“Okay, come in,” she said after scrutinizing both of them properly, “what will you have? There’s only Pepsi, Coke, coffee and tea.”

“I’ll have coffee,” David said meekly as he entered the building.

“Me too,” Nathan added. He gauged his surrounding. There was nothing great or pleasant. The table and chairs looked creaky and about to disintegrate. Thick layers of dust rested on the surfaces and a slightly nauseous odor hung in the room. Nathan gingerly sat on a chair and David, following him, sat opposite to him. Soon, the coffee came.

“Can I make a call?” Nathan asked the woman as he paid for the bill she came with.

“Okay. The phone is over there, in the left corner,” she said in the same severe tone. She reminded him of a stern teacher who wasn’t going to be happy at all if you didn’t do your homework.

Nathan left the table and went to phone Chris. Thank God, he managed to get a working line. He explained to his little brother about his current situation as well as their location.

“Chris is coming to pick us up. He’ll be here in about an hour,” Nathan announced to his French friend as he took his seat.

An uneasy silence settled again. Nathan didn’t know what to say so he busied himself with staring at his hot black coffee. A few times, he lifted his head to see David in the same position. He wondered if he too was trying to find words to say. It seemed as if the words appeared in the heart but bounced back when they hit the lips. Nathan saw David open his mouth a couple of times but close it after a short while.

“That’s quite some rain,” Nathan eventually said, “It hasn’t stopped at all.”

“Yeah,” David said with a small smile before the silence spread its wings once again.

“If I knew my first day would have been like this, I would have come here long ago,” David said with the same smile.

“Yeah, the rain is really amazing in summer,” Nathan added.

“I wasn’t talking about the rain,” David blurted out before he could stop himself.

It took Nathan one whole minute to grasp what David meant and realized why he was turning all shades of red. He could feel warm butterflies inside himself, as he understood that David wasn’t mad at him for the kiss. He suddenly wanted to open himself and confess his feelings to David. But before he could say anything, David started talking again.

“The first time I saw you, I felt something. I don’t have words to describe it. It was like… meeting an old friend or perhaps someone dearer than a friend. At first, I thought it was just an attraction and I shunted my feelings aside so as not to spoil anything. But as I spent more of this very short time with you, ignoring these feelings became more difficult. Everything about you was fabulous- your clumsy manner, the way your eyebrows twitched when you were a bit embarrassed, the sincerity sparkling in your eyes and… the care for me I see in your eyes. I don’t know if it’s just a friendly care or more. Heck, I don’t know why I’m telling you all this. I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have told you all this.”

Nathan watched as David talked while looking at his coffee cup. But as he finished, welling eyes replaced the smile he had on his face. He got up but Nathan grabbed his hand gently as he got up too.

“Hey, now listen to me. I love you David,” he confessed as he took David’s face in his hands and planted a kiss on his lips, “The kiss we had earlier wasn’t an accident. I don’t know about you but it conveyed my most intimate feelings, David. I love you, David. I doubted my feelings before but now I know its right. Many may think that it’s just attraction or just a small ‘fling’ but I know it’s not! And deep down, you know it too. You were the one who told me to open up. Open yourself and listen to what your heart tells you.”

“I don’t know what the future holds for us but I’ll always be by your side, even with thousands of miles between us,” David said without any hesitation, “And you’re right, Nathan. We’ll make it work.”

Saying this, David planted a small kiss on Nathan’s lips when suddenly they heard a horn.

“It’s surely Chris! Only he knows how to disturb a sweet moment,” he said rolling his eyes, “C’mon, let’s go.”

“By the way, when you said that marvelous list of adorable things about me, you didn’t mention the kiss,” Nathan said with a tiny pout as he opened the door.

“Really?” David replied, “Seems that my boyfriend has passed on to me his forgetfulness. Anyway, it was a very… French kiss!”