Copyright © 2016
by David Lee
by David Lee
Having had adequate sleep for the past several days, Michael woke up first. He lay there for a few minutes studying the face of the guy snuggled against his left side. It was, at once, angular and masculine, but boyish and innocent as well. He would cherish it as long as he had life and breath.
Joe's countenance wasn't the only thing Michael observed. There was a hard, fleshy rod against his thigh vying for his attention. He reached down to caress it, causing its owner to sigh in appreciation.
"I wish I could wake up every day like this," Joe grinned.
"It can happen, and fairly soon, if you like. I checked with the folks, and the lease on the house it up in June. I plan to occupy it the minute my school's out, fixing things up and repainting while I finish my thesis. You're welcome to move in as soon as I do. Since I have very little furniture, we may have to share the bed."
"Ooh, you're upping the ante! I didn't know the bed in your apartment is yours. I thought you rented it furnished."
"I do. I was thinking about a big new one that we could christen as our own."
"That sounds even better!"
The guys had planned to have a quick shower together before going to the breakfast buffet, but it ended taking longer than if they'd have showered separately because it led to fooling around. Joe claimed that the extra time was well-spent because they'd both be more relaxed and able to concentrate, with a lower sperm-count. Michael had to agree that he had a valid point.
They carried their laptops with them so they could work in the lounge after eating, thus giving housekeeping time to make up their room.
Michael attempted to explain their plans to the maid who was coming down the hall with her cart. However, she didn't get it until Joe translated it in Spanish. Then, she said "gracias" and gave them the thumbs-up along with a big smile.
The guys were eager to eat, which was to be expected. Their calories needed to be replenished after the energy they'd expended before going to sleep, as well as the calories they'd burned in the shower. Michael had a good appetite; Joe was ravenous!
"Better slow down," Michael advised with a grin. "You can't make up for a week of not eating with two meals!"
"I know. You can see I'm sticking mostly to protein. The waffles look good, but I really don't need all of those carbs when I'm not running every day."
"Seems like both of us have had quite a bit of protein between dinner last night and breakfast this morning," Michael grinned.
"Yup, and I loved every mouthful!" Joe snickered in return.
After eating their fill, and spending an hour and a half concentrating on school work, the guys took a break. There was a big glass cooler of ice water with lemon and lime slices floating in it sitting on a table in the lounge area. The liquid seemed especially refreshing with the addition of the citrus.
"I suppose our room is probably finished," Joe speculated. "After all, there was only one bed to make."
"Do you want to work there, or will it be too distracting?"
"I wouldn't mind a little distraction; maybe some snuggle time."
Contrary to what one might believe, the guys really didn't do more than cuddle. Joe needed to know, physically, that Michael still loved him as much as before, and Michael needed the contact too. Given the amount of stress, and lack of sleep that Joe had had, he fell asleep in Michael's arms after a few minutes.
When he awoke again, he stretched and yawned. Then he planted a big kiss on Michael's cheek before going to pee. Upon returning, he sat at the desk in his underwear and spent another hour working on his lessons.
Michael was very proud of his industrious young fiancé.
"Do you want to walk someplace to eat?" Michael asked around 11:45. "It's not so far that we need to take the car, and we'd probably have to park some place even further away."
"Sounds good. We could use the exercise as well. I can't be a lazy bum with the season coming up soon."
The guys had to walk past Martin's Jewelry on the way. Michael stopped to look at the display of rings in the window. Most of them were diamond engagement rings to lure in hetero couples. After all, spring would be coming soon, and everyone knew where a young man's fancy was likely, as well as lightly, to turn.
"Are you too starved to make a detour?" Michael grinned.
"I can hold out as long as you can, old man!" Joe smirked.
"What may I show you today, gentlemen?" the owner inquired.
"We'd like to look at your rings for men, something a bit dressy," Michael said.
"I have a new assortment of Mexican sterling and turquois," he suggested, noting Joe's Hispanic coloration.
"Aunt Rosa covers her fingers in that stuff, but I'm into things that aren't so ethnic, more high-tech, if that's a jewelry term."
"I understand where you're coming from; you might like the selection of titanium ones that have become popular with millennials.1 Let me get out that tray."
The proprietor laid out several of them on a piece of dark blue velvet cloth. The one that Joe was immediately drawn to had a Celtic knot pattern in gold tone over a sliver background.
"How much is this?"
"Seventy dollars, but we have a 10% discount sale going on this week."
"Can it be engraved inside?"
"Certainly. Is this what you had in mind?"
Joe looked into Michael's eyes and nodded. "I would like 'JG LOVES MB' inside the one that fits his finger."
"And I'd like 'MB LOVES JG FOREVER' in the one that's Joe's size."
"Yeah, put the 'FOREVER' in the first one too."
"Let's check your sizes. I have more in the back, so we should be able to fit you with no problem. I can't have them engraved until Monday afternoon. We've had a real demand on engraving during this sale."
"I'd hoped we could have them today. We're having dinner with Michael's family tonight and he has to go home tomorrow," Joe looked sad. "We just got engaged, and I'd love for everyone to see them."
"Just a minute, let me talk to the guy who does it."
"Jorje Martino, what are you doing here?" Joe exclaimed.
"I work a few hours for Dad for spending money."
"Michael, this guy is part of my study group."
Jorje and Michael shook hands.
"Dad, this is the guy who's saving my butt in biology. What kind of deal are you giving him?"
"I offered the 10% off, but I'm going to have to sweeten the pot. How about 50% off with free engraving?"
"That's really too generous," Joe shook his head. "You have to make a living."
"Imagine what I'd have to pay for a tutor for Jorje! The price will still cover more than the wholesale cost, and it will make both of us happy."
"I'll start the engraving immediately," Jorje offered. "You can pick them up after lunch."
"Separate checks, please," Joe said as he pulled out his billfold to pay cash for Michael's ring
Michael laid a credit card on the counter to pay for Joe's. He didn't offer to buy both of them because he knew Joe wouldn't want him to. He was surprised, and pleased, that Mr. Martino's offer was extended to him as well.
"Your kindness has been rewarded!" Michael commented as they walked to the café.
"I never expected anything for helping."
"That's the beauty of it. You know the adage, 'what goes around, comes around,' I know that doing a kindness for someone is supposed to be its own reward, but it's cool when you also get compensation."
"I wonder why Mr. Martino felt he had to use "Martin" for the name of his shop?" Joe speculated.
"Do you really, JOSE?"
"Okay, I get it. Am I being a hypocrite?"
"Nope, you're being whomever you want to be. I love you no matter what you call yourself."
Back at the motel, Joe kissed Michael passionately.
"Let's undress down to our underwear so we can try on our new rings," Joe requested.
"Okay, I don't quite know why we need to be nearly naked, but it sounds fine to me."
As they stood smiling at each other, Joe kissed Michael on the lips again. Then he kissed his way down Michael's chest and abs. Sliding Michael's briefs to the floor, he kissed the rising manhood they'd been hiding. Milking the foreskin back, Joe ran his tongue around the head.
"My love and lust for you I confirm with this symbol," he said, rising to place the ring on Michaels hand.
Without any prompting, Michael returned the gesture. Once again, they pressed their bodies together.
"I think we should drink a toast to our future together," Michael grinned.
"We have no champagne," Joe noted.
"We have nectar on tap that is more precious!"
They climbed on the bed in the 69 position and proceeded to consecrate their union.
Fortunately, the guys had gotten a lot of work done in the morning because they weren't in the mood for anything more than cuddling and napping after their love-making.
Around 3:30, the alarm in Michael's phone awakened them so that they had time to shower and dress.
"You guys look absolutely radiant!" Kristen greeted them at the door. "Is there something special you have to tell us?"
Instead of speaking, both held up their hands, displaying their rings.
"You didn't get married without telling us, did you?"
"No, Mom, we're now officially engaged. We'll use these as wedding bands later, but we're ready to let the world know we belong to one another, and no one else!"
"What's all the fuss about," Phil asked, entering the foyer.
Again, the guys showed off their new jewelry.
"We just got engaged," Joe told him, as he received a hug.
"This calls for a toast! I know there's at least one backup bottle of bubbly in the chiller left over from our company open-house last week. Let me get it."
"Don't forget a glass of Sierra Mist for Noah. I think he's awake from his nap," Kristen chimed in.
About that time, Noah ran into the room at top speed, hurling his body toward his older brother. Michael picked him up and spun him around, handing him off to Joe who did the same.
"I thought you guys would never get here!" the boy exclaimed.
"We had to take a nap too, but we're here now." Joe grinned.
"Can we play trains?"
"In a few minutes," his mother replied. "First we're going to drink a toast to Joe and your brother."
"Can I put the bread in the toaster?"
"No honey, it's a different meaning for the same word. You'll see in a minute."
Phil arrived with a tray holding four stemmed goblets filled with champagne and a juice glass filled with soda. After the glasses were all handed out, he proposed the toast.
"Here's to two fine young men; may you have a long life of love and happiness together!
They clinked their glasses and drank.
"What he said," Kristen laughed, and they raised their glasses again.
"I like it, but what's it all about?" Noah asked.
Michael looked toward Phil and his mother with a question in his eyes. Both nodded for him to answer. He got down on his knees to be more on Noah's level.
"Well, Joe and I care for each other very much, and we're planning to spend our lives together. So, Mom and Dad are wishing us happiness."
"Like getting married?"
"Cool! Will Joe be my brother too?"
"I will if that's okay with you." Joe said kneeling as well.
"YES!" Noah cried out. "That will be awesome!"
"I think we have everyone's blessing," Michael joked. "I believe we should call Maria to give her the news right away. I don't want her to think we've been keeping things from her."
Dinner was excellent. Kristen had roasted a marinated pork loin to perfection. Alongside it there were vegetables which had absorbed the flavor. It was high quality comfort food, just the ticket for a chilly gray day in late February.
"Can you stay overnight with us again?" Noah asked.
"Um, we already have a room rented, so we need to sleep at the motel," Michael told him. "Perhaps when we move into the old house, you can spend the night with us sometimes."
"You need to get ready for bed pretty soon, Noah," Kristen admonished. "I don't want you cranky when you get up for Sunday school.
You men are welcome to join us for church if you like. It's at 10:30."
"I think we'll take a raincheck," Michael answered for both of them. "I should put Joe to bed early. He has a bit more homework, and I need to read through my thesis once more before emailing it to my committee."
"I understand," Kristen said. "I know that some churches would make you feel unwelcome, but ours is very affirming. I hope you'll give it a chance at least once."
"What do you think, Joe."
"Yup, we can do that. I've felt alienated from the Catholic Church because of the last pope, but we went to midnight Mass with Grandma this year, and I do kinda miss it. I think I'll never be Catholic again, even though Pope Francis is trying to open the doors to everyone. It doesn't mean I don't believe in God."
"As I said before, I really do understand."
"Was that a Freudian slip about putting me to bed?" Joe asked on the way to the motel.
"Um, I guess it was," Michael blushed. "Damn! Do you think Mom picked up on it?"
"Probably; she's no fool, but I'm pretty sure she knows that newly engaged couples want to show their affection physically."
"You're not making me feel any better here, stud."
"Wait until I get you in bed, and I'll think of something to cheer you up!"
Sunday morning arrived a bit earlier than either guy would have liked. However, they both felt refreshed from their restful night. They shared a no-nonsense shower, and dressed for breakfast.
They had pretty well packed their few belongings the night before, so it didn't take long to check out.
At Joe's dorm room, the two settled into study mode again. Michael found only one sentence that needed rewording, and after fixing that, he asked Joe if he had time to read through it quickly. Being at a stopping point, Joe agreed that it would provide a distraction for him, though he could think of a better one.
While he read Michael's thesis, Michael read his draft for a term paper in history, making a few notes about possible changes.
Joe found one typo in the thesis, but pronounced the rest of it good.
"That's a cool study! I understood it, even though it's not my field. You write with clarity!"
"Oh dear! If is not somewhat obfuscated, my committee may not think it's scholarly enough!"
"Seriously? They don't want it to be understandable?"
"I'm kidding; at least I hope I am!"
After a late lunch, the guys settled down to cuddle, making the most of the remaining time together, and dreading being apart again.
"I can't believe how much has happened in the past few days," Joe mused. "Before you came on Friday, I was almost at the point of giving up on life. I felt like I had no future. Here it is Sunday afternoon, and I'm the happiest guy on campus. You love me totally and unconditionally, and I'm gonna be yours forever! Life is good!"
Take a moment and let David know what you think of this new story: firstname.lastname@example.org
For the benefit of readers from outside the US: Millennials is an imprecise term used to designate the young people who follow Generation X. Some feel that it's interchangeable with Generation Y, but others would put them as younger. Michael more or less fits, but Joe might be on the young side of it. ↩︎