They made it back to Memphis and the shade-lined streets of the university neighborhood in a half-hour. The two cars rolled up in tandem in front of the two-story, 60's-style apartment building and stopped - school not being in regular session meant fewer cars on the street. Later, Dave and Mike discovered the one assigned car-parking space in the rear. With gear in hand, they got the keys from the apartment manager and went up to inspect in detail what they had rented as a weekend escape.
"I'd carry you across the threshold, babe, but you're too heavy," said Mike as he pinched Dave's butt playfully. They approached the apartment and Dave unlocked the door.
In an exaggerated accent grabbed from 'Gone with the Wind,' Dave said, "Why, Mr. Mike, ah do declare that I'd melt in your arms."
They walked into the efficiency 'studio' and inspected the small room and decided that it was small compared to their 'honeymoon palace' last night. However, the manager had made sure the basics in the kitchen were in place. In addition to the microwave oven, there was a respectable collection of cutlery, dishes and glassware. Looking further in the studio apartment, they discovered the need to buy the basic pillows, bed linen, and bathroom terry - some bare essentials. The centerpiece of the room was the queen-size bed.
"You do realize, babe, that I plan on returning last night's favor on our own bed," Mike said as he looked at his pal and licked his lips. "I may need some pointers, though."
"Stud, the only pointer you'll need is the one that sticks out from between your legs. However, I can provide a little on-the-job training, tonight." Dave leaned up and kissed Mike on the lips. Over the next half hour they took inventory of what they needed to purchase at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was still only noon.
After detouring first to a Krystal for a few sliders and root beer, they went to the store and bought a basic supply of linens, towels and two feather-filled pillows. On the way back, they stopped at Kroger's to purchase a supply of toiletries and household necessities. Separately, Mike bought two strip-sirloin steaks, broccoli, salad fixings, and a few other kitchen staples.
Back at the apartment, quarters in hand, they found the laundry room and washed the new purchases. Mike made sure that they used a softener. 'No reason to get a body chafe on the first night,' he considered, 'because of stiff sheets or coarse towels. With the last load in the dryer - and 30 quarters later, they decided to put on their swim trunks and go down to the pool in the courtyard. They each had a Peabody towel as a backup to use while their new terry was drying.
The pool was a token 'let's jump in and cool off' water space. Mike and Dave found two chaise lounges and lay down and noticed that there were only two other residents - both female - poolside. Since neither of the women seemed to be watching, the guys proceeded to unashamedly apply sun block on each other.
One of the females at the pool, however, was paying close attention through her half-closed eyes.
She jumped in the pool to cool off and immediately got out. Walking close to the guys' chaise lounges, she 'accidentally' shook water over their bodies. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to disturb you," she said with mock concern.
Mike and Dave squinted as they opened their eyes.
"Hey, a little H2O never hurts. But, coming from a mystery lady, it does require a closer inspection," Mike said as he lifted himself from the lounge.
"Are you new here?" asked the woman.
"Just moved in this morning. Hi, I'm Mike and this is my friend, Dave."
Dave opened his eyes wider and smiled. "Hi. How are ya?"
"Hi, guys. My name is Beth. Beth McCartney. I'm in 203. That's my friend, Cathy." She turned and waved at the bikini-clad woman, who was now alert.
Mike waved at Cathy, also. "We're neighbors, then. We've just rented 202."
"That's a studio. Both you guys are living there?"
"Naw, just an escape for the weekend. We're from Millington," Dave answered. 'Might as well get that out in the open,' he thought.
"Oh, that's great. My boyfriend is stationed there." Mike and Dave immediately started paying closer attention. "He'll be getting out next year. In the meantime, Phil is taking classes at the University to add credits to his major. That's how we met. In class."
"Phil?" Dave asked as he furrowed his forehead, "What's his last name? Maybe I know him."
Mike was watching this volley of words like a badminton match.
Dave's eyes grew a bit larger, as he already knew the answer.
"Gonzales. Phil Gonzales. He works somewhere in transportation."
'Well, there it is,' Dave thought. 'I'm tied, screwed, and tattooed.' Clearing his throat, he said, "Yeah, I've met Phil. Nice guy." 'No more volunteered information,' Dave decided.
Mike gave Dave a questioning look when Beth couldn't see his expression. "What?" he mouthed.
"Phil will be here later tomorrow. Do you guys want to get together?"
"Well, um, we've both got plans and need to be back to the base later tonight. How about a rain check?" 'Damage control is in order,' Dave concluded.
"Okay. But how about coming to our barbeque next Saturday? Phil and I are making some great food and you'll get a chance to meet some of the other residents. How about it?"
"If we're in town, that will be great." 'We're fucked,' Dave thought. "I'll see Phil at the base and confirm later in the week."
"Don't bring anything but yourselves. Well, maybe some wine - just jug stuff will do. I hope you two can make it." She smiled, waved a farewell and returned to her friend.
"Want to give me a rundown of what just happened?" Mike asked with a little concern in his voice.
"Small world time. She's the girlfriend of a guy that I had dinner with last week. Phil is a helluva nice guy who I thought was just going to be a barracks buddy. I guess he's going to be much more."
Mike looked into Dave's eyes and frowned. "What now? What do we do about this?" Mike asked with quiet panic in his voice. "With 800,000 people in Memphis, I didn't think that we'd be running into your friends from the base."
"Fuck, Mike. I didn't think this could happen either." Looking around, Dave advanced his hand and stroked the shoulder of his lover. "Chill. We'll figure things out."
"Babe, let's go back inside and work this out together in the privacy of our place," Mike replied. "We also need to get that last load out of the dryer."
"Let's do that." Dave saw the urgent look in his partner's eyes. 'This is part of getting to know my man,' Dave thought. 'Read the signs and react accordingly.' They rose at the same time, waved at Beth, and returned to the building.
With warm bundles of clean terry in hand, they entered the apartment and dropped their laundry on the bed. Mike and Dave grasped each other and held each other closely for a long time. Slowly, they went from concerned embrace to a hot lovers' hold that caused their bodies to react accordingly. Simultaneously, each pulled down their swim trunks to ease the stress of their hard cocks being strangled by the confinement of cotton and polyester.
We looked at each other with a combination of confusion, caring, concern, and lust. Our bodies were covered with sun block and sweat.
"What the fuck was that all about?" I was confused about this new cast of characters that had just been introduced. First there was Beth. Now, Phil. "You really know this guy?" I grabbed my pool towel and wiped myself.
"Yeah, I do," Dave replied, as he duplicated toweling himself dry. "I met him the first night in my new barracks. He was very helpful in getting me moved in and we had dinner. When we get back to the base, I've got to talk with him."
"You think he'll be cool with us?"
"I've only spent one evening with him, but he's a real heads-up guy. Intellectual dude...not a macho, gung-ho type who lives and breathes Navy regs. I think he'll be okay with our relationship. I do need to feel him out, though."
"I'll leave it for you to handle. But, right now, I need to feel you out." I grabbed Dave's slippery body, embraced him in a bear hug, and felt our cocks pressing against each other. We started to sway and move our bodies together with our crotches producing a sensual friction. 'God, I love this man in my arms,' I thought as our cocks jumped to attention.
"What say we shower off the sweat and lotion? I don't want to soil the mattress our first day here," Dave said with humor and conviction. "Let's get cleaned up. And then, I want to break in our new bed." There was a very serious resolve in his expression.
Without saying a word, we both walked into the bathroom off the big room. The tub had a shower curtain that we had installed only hours ago. Today, unlike earlier at the hotel, we were ready to shower together...however tight the tub would be, for two adult males 'in heat'.
The shower was an exploration by hands and mouths. Kissing and fondling. Everywhere. We were both excited soaping down each other. But, we were also controlled. The crescendo would be the two of us, mating each other in the bed. Dave took particular attention with his bottom area. I knew that he wanted to be clean for my first time with him.
Without 'finishing' ourselves, we finished the shower, dried each other and pushed the laundry off the bed. I placed a large towel over the mattress and we lay down. Thoughtfully, Dave had made sure that the lube was conveniently positioned on the bedside table. I held him closely and felt our hard dicks pulsating in time with our heartbeats.
"Mike, let's put what happened out at the pool aside for awhile. I'll deal with it later. I'm not about to let our possible 'outing' stand in the way of what I want you to do to me."
I agreed. Lying on his back, he dreamily smiled. I smiled back, rolled over and straddled his body. With my balls close to his knees, I bent down and kissed him. At the same time, I started massaging the area between his nuts and chute.
"I want this to be perfect for you. But, I might need some signals. Please let me know if I'm doing anything that isn't pleasurable." I started to pour enough lube around his ass crack to float a battleship - well, maybe a destroyer.
"Do the same thing I did for you last night. Work your fingers in and around me. Stretch me so that you can fit in me. I'm not a virgin, but I haven't taken anything that large...ever."
Dave was tight to my first finger.
"Ohhh, Mike, tongue my hole," he moaned.
'Good idea,' I thought, 'and he's really clean from the shower.' I removed my finger and leaned into his crotch. The lube already in place was not unpleasant and it merely facilitated my probing tongue attack.
After working on Dave for several minutes, I moved my mouth out of his crack and licked his hard, vein-textured manhood. I took it into my mouth as I moved two fingers into his hole and copied Dave's moves as best as I could remember. I instinctively added a third finger a little later.
"Whenever you're ready," Dave said softly.
Taking that as a signal to move on from the preliminaries, I withdrew my fingers from his hot orifice and my mouth from his cock. Truth time. I had to get this as perfect as it was last night for me. No 'wham bam' moment to get off. It was my first time giving my love to the most important man in my universe.
"Just go slow, Mike." He looked at me intently and lovingly.
"Baby, let me know when I need to pause." I looked into his eyes for any sign of panic or fear. There was only love and determination.
"Let's get going," he said looking up at me. "Fuck me like your cock is going to fall off."
"Hang on, sailor."
He did, and I did, as ordered. 'I was also a good sailor,' I thought as we slowed down and our activities faded to a halt. I eased out of him and moved over onto my side to face him. "What d'ya think. Did I do okay?" I gently nibbled on his earlobe.
"Do okay? Mike, that was terrific. I've only been with one other guy in my life. The past pales by comparison. You are the man. I love you," he said as he reached up to grab my head and kiss me.
We finished the kiss, passionate but tender, and I said, "Whatever faces us in the future, we have each other. No one is going to interfere with our lives."
"For sure, Hon." Dave then excused himself to do a little tidying up.
Returning, he brought a warm, wet towel and said, "Babe, let me do a little housekeeping." He proceeded to wipe my sweat-moistened body and well-used crotch. We snuggled together, knowing that the ride back to the base in a few hours would bring answers to some unanswered questions.
I loved this man. Yes, man. All man. My man. His consideration for me. The way we amused each other. His intelligence and social grace. His classic, American male beauty. And, those primitive animal sounds he utters when we make love.
After cleaning ourselves and enjoying some brief cuddling, we both slipped on our briefs. Mike went over to the efficiency kitchen alcove and starting prepping dinner. God, his muscled butt looked great encased in his tight white CK's. I opened a bottle of Kendall Jackson merlot and poured two glasses.
"Mike, I think I'll go over and shop at the Navy Exchange next week. Get a small radio and portable TV for the place."
"Only if you let me pay half," he said while he was tearing the lettuce. Turning around, he looked at me and asked, "Are you sure you can afford this? An E-2 doesn't make that much."
"Yeah, tell me about that. $349.00 every two weeks." Chuckling, I raised my wine glass and held it in a toasting position with my new lover. We clinked glasses and took a sip. "My mom and dad left me enough so I can swing the costs of this civilian part of our lives. No sweat."
Mike proceeded to prepare an exceptional dinner. Even though we dined on the Formica-topped table, being in the fanciest steak house wouldn't have been any better. The little oven broiled the steaks to medium-rare perfection. When we finished, I cleaned up the dinner mess while Mike made the bed. At 0800, we headed back to Millington and the Navy world, in separate cars. I needed to track down Phil tonight. 'He's probably studying,' I thought.
I stopped at the main gate. With a new vehicle, I needed to register it with Security. It only took 15 minutes because I had all the documents in order. After placing the new enlisted decal on my bumper, I drove onto the base and into the enlisted parking lot. I secured the top and went into the barracks. I knew that Phil was in #10, down the right passageway. In the Navy, odd numbers are to the left, even to the right.
I lightly knocked on his door. "Phil, are you up? This is Dave." I heard steps approaching the door from inside and the doorknob turning. The door opened and there stood my studious friend; his small frame covered by a T-shirt and boxer shorts, glasses perched on his nose, and book in hand. "Can I come in for a few minutes?"
"Sure, Dave. This is a good time for a break from studying. Wanna drink? I've got Budweiser and Coke," he said as he pointed to the small fridge by his desk and added, with a straight face, "but it's not a good idea to mix them together." His somber expression turned into a 'gottcha' grin.
"A beer would be great, Wiseass," I replied with a chuckle.
He told me to sit on his bunk as he pulled out a chilled can and handed it to me. He was already drinking a Coke. I sat down, pulled the tab to open the can, and took a swig. Phil asked in his usual elegant fashion, "For what purpose do I have the honor of entertaining my new friend on a Saturday night?"
"Well," I started with a short pause, "I wanted you to know that I met Beth today."
"You met Beth? In Memphis? Where?" Phil said rapidly with a puzzled expression.
"Whoa. Slow down, guy."
"Slow down? You come in here and tell me, out of the blue, that you met Beth? Memphis isn't exactly Podunk," Phil replied with an uneasy smile. "What gives?"
"At her apartment building. Well, make that 'our' apartment building." I studied Phil for any reaction other than normal curiosity.
"Dave, you lost me somewhere around 'our' apartment building. Come again?"
"I just rented a small studio in Beth's building, with a friend, for a little escape place from the base on weekends. We met Beth and her girlfriend, Cathy, at the pool. Quite by accident, I might add."
"Ah...yeah, my friend, and I. We're renting it together."
"Great. When am I going to meet her?"
"Well...um...Beth invited us to the barbeque you're having next Saturday." I took another long pull of the beer. "I guess we'll all meet then."
"We're having about six couples over and it'll be a good opportunity for you to meet some non-military types. Mostly students. I'm curious about your friend. Tell me all about her," he said with a genuine enthusiasm.
"Phil. I'm about to say something that requires complete trust between us." I looked at his eyes with a quiet pleading.
"Dave, you're being quite mysterious," he said warily.
"If what I tell you pisses you off, I'll go my way and won't bother you again. I only ask that you keep what I say just between us." I felt perspiration forming on my brow and my lips quivering.
"Whoa, slow down, Man," he said with growing concern. "Whatever shit is going on, we'll figure it out. This doesn't involve anything illegal, does it?"
"Naw, nothing like that. Just a situation that's somewhat unusual."
Getting up, Phil said, "I think I'm going to have a beer." He reached over to the fridge and got another frosty. "Ok, let's take this, one step at a time...first, does this have anything to do with Beth?"
"No. She couldn't have been more gracious this afternoon. And, when she found out we would be across the hall from her, she was really a great new neighbor."
"Then, what is the problem?" he asked with a perplexed expression. "Whatever you tell me stays here."
Taking a deep breath, I said, "The thing is, Phil, the 'we' is another guy."
"Yeah, gay as a goose." I looked for a reaction.
"Dave, your telling me that you're gay is no big fucking deal." He came over to the bunk and sat down next to me. Looking at me squarely in the eyes less than a foot away, he continued, "I'm not going to name names. But, don't think for a second that you're the 'lone gay ranger' on the base. There are several guys I know who quietly have boyfriends. Good men, too. A few that I could probably point to in our barracks."
Feeling somewhat relieved, I asked, "This doesn't put you off about me?"
"Well, I might not drop my soap in the shower if you're around," he accented with a guffaw. Playfully, he lightly patted my back.
"Don't worry. Your skinny hetero ass is safe." My retort broke the tension.
"Skinny? Let me assure you that Beth likes it just fine," he replied with a chuckle.
"Hey, man, different strokes."
"Seriously, Dave. No. What you do in your personal life doesn't faze me for a moment. The friendship that started between you and me is solid. And, for the record, my older brother is gay. He and his partner live in Atlanta. Beth has met them and really likes them." With that, he grabbed my hand and held it. "So, I guess I'll meet your friend next weekend?"
I nodded, frowned and looked down at the deck. "Yes. His name is Mike," I said softly.
He put his other hand on my shoulder as the relaxed atmosphere between us became cloudy. "Ok, buddy, spill it. Whatever it is, my lips are sealed. Like Paul Harvey says, 'And...now...for the rest of the story'."
I nervously chuckled, looked into his eyes and replied, "Yeah, 'loose lips sink ships,' or something like that," referring to an old WW II motto. "The thing is, Mike's also in the Navy...here at Millington."
"Okay, I don't see any problem."
I took a deep breath and replied, "...and he's an officer." I studied his eyes.
"Well, my friend, you really know how to unload a mouthful." Phil scooted closer and pulled me into him with his arm around my shoulder. "That said, your secret and sordid details of any romance with anyone are safe with me. I gotta ask, is this a little fling or something serious?"
"As serious as you and Beth, I think."
"Hey, maybe we can have a double-wedding next spring?" he added, laughing louder.
Joining him in the joke, I said, "I don't think the church is ready for that." Ratcheting the tone down, I added, "But he is very special...I think this is the person I want to grow old with."
"Wow. Can I ask his name?"
"Phil, I know I can trust you." I paused and added, "It's Mike Cole. Ensign Mike Cole. He's the 'O' Club Manager."
"Oh, yeah, I know the name from the officer roster. But that's all."
This little guy held me tightly with a wiry strength. It felt comforting and trusting.
Pulling away, he continued, "Your secret is completely safe with me. Tell Mike not to worry. I look forward to meeting him - and at the apartment, we'll just be friends, without any relationship to the Navy. In fact, I think that one of the couples invited is gay."
I pulled him into a hug between two friends. "Thanks, Phil. I know Mike will enjoy meeting you."
"And next month my brother and his friend will be coming for a visit. Maybe we can get together while they're here?"
In a more upbeat fashion, I said, "That would be super. If it's around the 4th, maybe we can all get together and help celebrate my 21st birthday."
"That sounds like a plan. I'll check the dates next week."
"I also want to tell you that I am a proud new owner of a Mustang convertible. I bought a used one this morning."
"Great. When do I get a ride?"
"Well, how about dinner at the Spotlight Cafe this week. Maybe Tuesday? I think I'm ready for the meatloaf."
"Tuesday's a deal. I'm seeing Beth tomorrow and I'll get all the details about the barbeque."
"Phil, would you let her in on who Mike is. She picked up that we are a couple, but we didn't tell her that Mike is an officer."
"I will. Believe me, she won't say a word to anyone."
We both stood. "Thanks, Phil. You don't know how much both of us appreciate this."
"One word of warning, Dave. Those walls at the apartment are awfully thin. Your moaning in the middle of the night could be distracting for the neighbors."
"Fuck you, Phil," I answered with a laugh. "And just for the record, any moaning will not be me."
He took my hand in his and squeezed very firmly. "I look forward to getting to know both of you better. Anyone you have picked to be a mate has got to be someone special."
"Thanks, buddy, I've got your back covered anytime." I squeezed his hand back, placed the empty beer can in the trash, and departed.
Outside the rec room, I went to one of the internal base telephones and dialed the BOQ. I was immediately connected to Mike's room. After two rings he answered.
I said, "Mission accomplished, Sir. No problems. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Understand. Give me the details in the morning. Good night." We had agreed on an abbreviated conversation on the phone so as not to arouse suspicions.
I headed to my room...empty, no doubt. 'Yes, mission accomplished on many levels,' I reasoned.