Castle Roland

Forever 1 - Beginnings

by Jack Schaeffer


Chapter 16

Published: 19 Mar 15

FOREVER 1 - Beginnings
By Jack Schaeffer
Copyright © 2014 - 2015. All rights reserved.

_"A beginning is a very delicate time."_
from Dune (1984) by Frank Herbert, David Lynch

I was sitting on a tall stool at the kitchen island counter, eating my crunchy granola and fresh fruit for breakfast, and thinking how wonderful my new life had become. In the span of a few days, my relationship with Sam had gone to a depth and intensity I never expected when I first met the pool boy, and this new reality was so much better than any fantasy. Last night, Sam had kissed me, and I kissed him back. And he liked it! I liked it, too - a lot!

I was getting hard again just thinking about the wet spot on Sam's shorts. I caused that - and being able to excite Sam produced new confidence in myself as a sexual guy. I was so inexperienced I struggled with self-doubts about being able to have a sexual relationship, but if last night was any indication, maybe I had nothing to fear. And thankfully Sam seemed like a very patient and understanding guy, plus he said he wanted to explore the sexual side of things slowly, so I was fairly confident I was in good hands with him.

But all was not perfect. Behind the lingering afterglow of my first kiss, I had a worry threatening to unravel my new found happiness. It was a phrase, a single statement from Sam. Two words resounded loudly in my head now - nothing hidden.

Sam had said we should have nothing hidden between us. Which was the problem, wasn't it? There were still some things about me "hidden" from Sam, and I had a big decision to make. To tell Sam about the inheritance or not. I didn't see how I could continue in the relationship and not tell him. You can't keep secrets like that - and let's face it, it was a really, really big secret. And I didn't want to have secrets from Sam.

For me, the money was just a tool, one I hadn't even been able to use much yet. For the most part, I hardly thought about it now. It was just there. But Sam apparently had some strong feelings about money and wealthy people - at least some wealthy people - and I didn't want to scare him off just when our relationship was getting more serious.

The other "hidden" thing was my true feelings for Sam. I was definitely in uncharted emotional territory. I didn't yet know what to call them or how to speak about them. Was I in love with Sam? Is this what love felt like? I didn't know. It seemed awfully sudden to have such strong feelings for someone I had known for not even two weeks, and yet there was no denying I had them. Even now, just thinking about him had my heart beating faster. Sam touched places in my soul nothing and no one else ever had.

Until I could be certain about my feelings, I would keep those under wraps. But I decided I owed Sam the truth about the money. I had to trust he would find a way to handle it, to accept it as a part of my life, and maybe even eventually a part of his. It was funny, you would think I would be worried about a guy wanting me only for my money. Instead, I was worried the guy who wanted me would dump me because of my money. But surely Sam was better than that. He had to be.

How do I start the conversation? I could just see us, sitting at the dinner table. "By the way, Sam, just so you know, I'm worth more than half a billion dollars. Could you please pass the salt and pepper?" I needed some advice, and the best place I knew for money advice was Larry back in Denver. Or maybe Todd.

Crap! Neither one of them knew I was gay. Now I would have to tell them my little secret, too. What if they had a real problem with it? Would they quit? Could I still trust them? It was only 8 o'clock in the morning and already I had myself tied up in knots. I tried to calm down by telling myself Sam was worth anything I had to face from others, including possible ridicule and derision for being gay. Sam accepted me as me; everybody else would just have to deal with it.

I decided Todd would be the best one to call. He was younger and hopefully more willing to accept a gay client. Larry was old school, and I was less sure of the outcome with him. Denver was three hours ahead of my current time zone, so Todd should be in his office. Just as I was about to dial him, my cell phone rang. It was Sam.

"Pamela's Pancake Emporium. We stack 'em higher. Would you like to make a reservation?" Sam chuckled at my stupid sense of humor.

"Funny, Jack. How's my favorite guy this morning?"

"Great, now I'm hearing your voice. Missin' you somethin' awful this morning, Sam."

"Yeah, I hear ya. I miss you, too. Can't wait to see you later today."

"And when is that gonna be, big guy?"

"I called Tommy, and he needs me at the shop for a couple of hours this morning. That's where I am now, waitin' for him. As soon as I'm done here, I can head over to you. Maybe get some lunch together?"

"Sounds perfect, Sam. Take your time, just hurry up!"

Sam laughed. "See you soon, little man."

"I'll be here waiting, Sam. Bye," I said, ending the call.

I noticed immediately I was now calmer on the inside. Sam had an amazing effect on me. Talking with him had restored some of my personal confidence which had been slipping away earlier. It was time to call Todd and let him know what I had been up to in Hawaii, while he was toiling away in his office, making me millions.

I located his office number in my phone and dialed, listening to the strange clicks as satellite circuits connected me to the mainland. Todd answered on the second ring.

"Todd Martin," he said.

"Hey Todd, it's Jack Schaeffer. How are you?"

"Jack! Hey man, how're things in Hawaii? Gettin' any?"

"Uh...not exactly. What are you up to?"

"Same shit, different day. Working for the man. Hey, wait a're the man I'm working for. I almost forgot." I could hear the laughter in his voice. I liked Todd. He didn't take it all so seriously, which was good for me.

"Ha ha, Todd, very funny. You making me a lot of money?"

"Every day, kid. Every day. So seriously, what have you been up to on your vacation?" I hoped he could handle the bombshell I was about to drop.

"Well...I met someone," I said nervously.

"Met someone? What does that mean?" he asked.

"Well...I met someone here in Hawaii and we are kind of in a relationship of sorts now. I think it might be getting somewhat serious."

"Jack, that's fantastic. Tell me all about her."

"'s the thing. Umm...she's a he." I waited silently for it to register.

"She's a he? You mean...oh...I get're telling me the person you met is a guy, not a girl.'re gay?" he asked.

I stepped into my moment of truth. "Yes, Todd. I'm gay. I hope it doesn't freak you out."

He answered with no hesitation. "No way, Jack. Doesn't bother me at all. I've got a gay cousin and a gay least that's the family rumor. And I had two friends in college who turned out to not only be gay, but told me they had been lovers right under my nose for three years. I was totally blind to it. 'Course, I spent most of my college years chasin' girls myself, so what other guys were doin' with themselves didn't really register."

"So you're okay with having a gay client? You aren't going to jump ship on me?"

"Hell no, Jack. I like this gig. The only way I'm jumpin' ship is if you turn out to be a real asshole, which I don't see happening. So nope, I'm in it for the long haul, as long as you'll keep me around."

I laughed, feeling a lot more relaxed now. "Keep making me millions, Todd, and you'll be around for a long time." Now he laughed.

"So tell me about your guy, Jack. What's his name?" Todd asked.

"His name is Sam Wainwright, and he's a year younger than me. He's the pool boy at the place where I'm staying." I could instantly hear Todd's superior brain start processing that significant piece of data. I was afraid it might not compute favorably for Sam and me.

"A pool boy? You went and fell for the pool boy? Jack, I'm sure he's hot and everything, but don't you think you should be aiming a little higher?" Todd asked.

"He's a lot more than a pool boy, Todd. It's just the thing he's been doing while waiting to start law school in the fall. He has a full ride to Washington University and starts in August. He graduated from UCLA a year ago and took a gap year. A friend of his offered him the job doing pools in Hawaii. Who wouldn't take it?"

"Well, after you fill in some of the blanks, yeah, I could see me jumpin' at it, too. What else about him? How did this become a thing between you guys?"

I quickly filled Todd in on the highlights of my meeting Sam and the progression of our relationship. It only took a couple of minutes as there wasn't much ground to cover.

"So, Jack. Sam sounds like a great guy, but how much do you know about him? Do you know anything about his family? His past? Any connections? Future plans?"

"Gee, Todd. You don't ask for much, do you?" I replied.

"Well, Jack. It's part of my job to protect you and your assets. And since you don't know a whole lot about this guy but are starting to get serious with him, it makes me a little nervous. I would want to check him out a little. Make sure he's legit."

"Legit? What do you mean, legit?" I was getting slightly irritated.

"Nothing bad, Jack. I would just like to know more about his background. Make sure there are no real surprises lurking in his past which could hurt you or your interests." What he said made sense, and from his perspective, I could understand what Todd wanted to do. But it still rankled a bit.

"Todd, I get what you're saying. And I agree this is very sudden and totally unplanned. But I really don't think he's dangerous or scary. He's...sweet and nice. He's a really good guy, Todd."

Todd softened his approach a little. "I'm sure he is, Jack, or you wouldn't be with him. I can't imagine you being with an asshole or total loser. But let me ask you this. Has he asked you about your money yet?"

"No. Not at all. All I told him was I was in Hawaii for a vacation and I was starting a new job in Denver after it was over. He's focused on law school, not my money, Todd."

"You don't think he doesn't wonder how a kid of 23 or 24 can afford to stay at an incredible place like that house? I mean, come on, Jack. If he has a scholarship to law school, he can't be stupid. You're driving a Beemer."

"No, he's definitely not stupid. But honestly, I don't think he cares very much about money. We had a conversation about it recently and mostly he believes people should have to earn what they have. He doesn't have a lot of use for people who inherit wealth and then lord it over other people. He really has a problem with people thinking they're better than others because they have more. He's is definitely not the kind of guy to chase someone else for their money, Todd. If anything, my having money will be a big problem for him."

"So he doesn't know and the subject has never come up?" he asked.

"Not once. And to tell you the truth, it's the real reason I called you. I'm in a pickle. I really like this guy, Todd, and I'm hoping this relationship, or whatever it is, continues. But at some point, I have to be honest with the guy, don't I? How do I tell him I'm worth more than I can comprehend? And what if he can't handle it or is threatened by it somehow?"

Todd was silent for a few moments as he thought about my questions. Then he answered. "Jack, if you're seriously intending for this relationship to continue past Hawaii, then yes, you probably do need to tell him something. I'm not sure how much detail to divulge - I'd have to think on it some more. But any relationship needs to have trust, and you aren't going to get too much further along before he's going to discover something is up. If he visits you in Denver, which I would imagine he would, then right there he's gonna see the house and know there's more to the story. So yeah, I think you need to tell him. Just...maybe not the full picture, ya know? Keep it to the highlights so he gets the idea you have more than you'll likely need, but not the full amount, maybe. Just how serious are you about this guy?"

"I'm not sure, Todd. It's confusing. I feel...well...all kinds of things I've never felt before. I know I want him in my life. I can't imagine him not being a part of it. Already he's my best friend, Todd. How does this kind of thing happen so fast?"

"Do you love him, Jack?" Todd asked softly.

I paused. I know I needed an answer to the question, but how does somebody know if what they feel is love or not? "Todd, I don't know. Maybe. How do you know it's love and not lust or something else?"

"Well, I'm no expert, believe me. But I can tell you, for me, when I met Margie, it was totally different than any other feelings I ever had for another girl. The physical desire was there instantly, but there was something else. It was...a longing to know her. To understand know what made her happy and what made her sad. I never wanted to leave her side. I couldn't get enough of her. She was this huge mystery I needed to solve, and I'm still working on it six years later. I just knew she was different, and I was hooked. I didn't even try to fight it, like some guys I know. I just went with it. She turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to me, Jack."

I realized, as Todd told me about falling in love with Margie, I really did feel many similar things about Sam. I certainly had the overwhelming physical desire - no doubt about that. But I also wanted to make him happy. He deserved to be happy. And I so wanted to be with him always. I didn't even care what we did, as long as I was with him to do it. Before I met Sam, I was content to be alone. Not anymore.

"Todd, I feel a lot of the same things for Sam. I know it's very sudden, and I don't know him all too well, but I would love to spend the rest of my life learning all there is to know about him. I need to be with him. That's all I know."

Todd, who was generally a not-so-serious guy, suddenly became serious and direct. "Jack. If you feel this way about him, and you want this relationship to go somewhere beyond next week, then you need to tell him. About your life, your inheritance, and need to tell him how you feel. Then let him decide. If Sam feels the same way about you, Jack, I gotta believe he will get past the money and pursue you for you. But you gotta give him a chance, or you'll never know."

I knew he was right. I had a feeling Todd was almost always right. But it was a huge step, and I desperately didn't want to scare Sam away. "I agree with you, Todd. But what if he can't handle it. Or worse, doesn't feel the same way about me. I mean...I think he does. He's kind of said he does. But I don't's scary to think he may bail on me."

"Jack, I remember the first time I told Margie I loved her. We had known each other maybe two weeks, just like you and Sam. I knew the first night I met her at a party she was the one, but I made myself wait to say anything. I lasted a whole two weeks before I told her. I couldn't wait any longer. I was so sure she would think I was a flake and an idiot, but she didn't. Instead, she just looked at me, and then started to cry. Told me she had waited her whole life for someone to love her, and there I was, standing in front of her. Don't tell anyone I told you this part, but I cried, too. Just a little bit."

I smiled to myself. Todd was an awesome guy. He and I were going to get along very well. I made my decision. "Thanks, Todd. I appreciate the advice. I'm going to tell him. About the money...and my feelings. Just maybe not at the same time. I don't want him to confuse my feelings with my bank balance."

"Sounds like a good plan, Jack. Let me know how it goes. But I think Sam will surprise you and be fine with the money. And with you. I hope so. He sounds perfect for you."

"Thanks again, Todd. I knew if I called you, you'd have some good advice. Now get back to work. I pay you to make me money, not gab on the phone about love and mushy stuff."

Todd laughed. "Yes sir, boss. I'm on it. Take care, Jack. And call me if you need anything."

"Will do. Bye, Todd." I ended the call.

I looked at the phone in my hand and realized there was someone else I wanted to talk to. I hoped I could catch her before lunch time. Thankfully she answered right away.

"Law offices, Sharon speaking. How may I help you?" Her voice immediately put a smile on my face.

"Hi, Sharon. It's Jack Schaeffer. Remember me?" I asked.

"Of course I do, Jack. Don't be silly. What are you doin' with yourself now, baby?"

"Well, I took your advice and sent myself to Hawaii on a vacation. I'll be here another 10 days or so. Oh, and I quit my job in Chicago and I'm moving to Denver and I'll be working with Larry and Todd and I met a guy."

"What? Whoa...wait a minute, Jack. You're goin' too fast for me. You're moving to...hold up! You met a guy? Is this a romance you've got goin', Jack?" I could hear the smile in her voice.

"Yeah...I think so. He says he really, really likes me. And I know I like him. The attraction is there between us for sure - the only thing we did was kiss, though. I'm trying to be very careful. I don't want Billy to kick my butt when I see him. It happened just like you said it would, Sharon. He found me! I was literally asleep on a couch and suddenly there he was."

"Oh, Jack, I'm so, so happy for you, baby. Tell me all about him."

So for the second time in an hour I was retelling the story of how Sam and I met and what had transpired between us. This time I included more about the emotions and some of the more romantic things which had happened. I didn't want to shock Todd with too much detail, so he had just received the highlights. I knew Sharon would understand and appreciate the feelings and emotions. Besides, I wanted a woman's perspective on this love thing, and they like mushy stuff, right?

"He sounds wonderful, Jack. It's all very romantic and special. Billy will be thrilled for you. He told me just the other day he was wonderin' how you were doin' and whether or not you had found someone for yourself. Can I tell him? can tell him yourself. When do you get back?"

"I come back a week from Saturday. If I can tear myself away from Sam to do it."

"Uh oh. how serious is this thing with you and Sam? Tell me the truth now, baby. Do you love him?" She must have sensed something in what I said, or maybe it was a mother's intuition, because we were now at the real heart of the matter.

"Sharon, I'm not sure. But I think I do. I don't really know, because it's all so new to me. I've never felt this way before, about anybody. The idea we won't be together after next week...well...I can't think about it. It's too painful. Neither one of us has brought it up. I can't imagine Sam hasn't thought about it though. Oh, Sharon...what do I do?" I could hear the whine start to creep into my voice.

"Jack,'s gonna be okay. Don't worry. If you guys really do love each other, you'll figure it out...together. Talk to him, Jack. If he's as great as you say he is, then at least give yourself and Sam a chance to make it work. Jack, listen to me, baby. You need to start trusting yourself. I know it's all new, and you're afraid of making mistakes. But from what you're tellin' me, I think you are definitely in love with Sam. You sound just like Billy did when he was bringin' Jerome around the house. He was a lovesick puppy, always afraid he was gonna do somethin' wrong and Jerome would vanish like he wasn't real or somethin'. It won't happen, Jack. Not if you're honest with him, which you always will be because I know my Jack, and I know you are a good man. Sam knows it, too. I know he does."

"Do you really think I can do this, Sharon? I don't know the first thing about being in a relationship. I know I sound like a big baby, all whiny and everything, but I can't bear the idea of hurting him or screwing up his life or something worse. He's been so good to me. He's like my big protector, always watching out for me. And when he holds me in his arms...Sharon...I never want to leave. I can't describe it. It's like I'm home for the first time in my life when he has his big strong arms around me."

Sharon laughed gently. "Oh, Jack. definitely in love. Now you sound like me with Big William. I resisted that man's advances for two years when we were in school. Then the summer after we graduated high school, he asked me to a picnic at the town park. I thought it was gonna be a crowd of people, but was just for the two of us. At first I was put off and felt a little manipulated, but he begged me to stay long enough to hear what he had to say. He was so sweet about it, I had to let him talk. When he was done tellin' me about his feelings and his dreams for us, I just walked up to him close like and he opened up his arms and pulled me in. And yeah, Jack. I know exactly what you're feeling with Sam. I never wanted to leave him after that. We were married in less than a year."

Her story about Big William made me want to cry. He was gone and she was now alone. I suddenly wished I was there to give her a big hug, just like she had given me so many times. Sharon was such a special lady. And a true friend.

"That's so beautiful, Sharon. You guys really loved each other, didn't you?"

"Yes we did, Jack. In most ways, I still do love him. I don't think true love for a spouse really ever ends. You might find room in your heart to let someone else in after one or the other passes, but I never did. Big William was all the man I ever needed. When he was gone, it hurt for a long time. I wasn't sure I would ever be the same. But then one day I realized even though he wasn't with me such as I could see him and touch him, he was always with me in my heart and soul. Jack, when two people love each other, and spend a big part of their lives together, they kind of merge into something or someone new. You rub off on one another - you carry a part of the other person's soul in your own. You'll understand what I'm talkin' about someday. I see it in Billy now. He and Jerome have been together for a while, and I see Jerome in Billy, and Billy in Jerome. It's a beautiful thing. Love changes you."

"Wow, Sharon. You make it sound so easy and perfect. Maybe I can do this." She laughed at my new found eagerness.

"Well, don't forget, Jack. Relationships take hard work. And sacrifice. You have to be willing to give up some of your will and your ways to get the full benefits. There is nothing more satisfying in this world than seein' a smile on the man you love and knowin' you put it there. It made me happier than anything Big William could ever do for me. God, I loved that man." I wasn't sure, but it sounded like I heard a sniffle or two.

"I'll remember, Sharon. I promise. And I think I know what you mean about being the one to put a smile on his face. I've seen it happen with Sam, and you're right, it's magical. Don't ever tell him, but it makes me feel powerful, like I can do something to him that's good and wonderful and he can't stop it. I love it." I heard Sharon chuckle.

"Well, be sure to use your newfound powers for good, now. And just love him, Jack. Love Sam like he deserves to be loved. Make it all about him as much as you possibly can, and if he in turn will do the same for you, you'll both be happier than you could ever imagine."

"I so hope I can do this right, Sharon. I hope I get the chance to. I have to tell him about the money stuff today, and I'm a little worried he might not be happy about it."

"What? Who wouldn't be happy with having millions of dollars?"

"Are you forgetting who you're talking to, Sharon? I'm the guy who ruined a perfectly beautiful trash can giving up my lunch when I found out. But I think Sam's reaction will be different. I'm worried he will think less of me as a man."

"How so, Jack?"

"He has some strong ideas about people being responsible for their own lives, and working for a living and having character. He grew up around privileged people who didn't treat him very well - kinda looked down on him cause he didn't have what they had. It hurt him, though he tried to be above it all. His father taught him to win with character. It's one of the things I love the most about him, Sharon. He's such a decent and good guy, and expects nothing in return. I've seen him do the right thing because it's right, even when it's gonna cost him a ton to do it. He makes me want to be a better man."

"Wow. Sam sounds like the real deal. But you listen to me, Jack Schaeffer. I told you once, and I'll keep tellin' you until you get it through that cute head of yours - you are also a good man. You are full of character, Jack. Why, you're one of the most caring and giving people I know. And I'm sure Sam has seen it in you and if he hasn't, he's not payin' attention. You know what I think? I think if you and Sam have a life together, the world is gonna have two men working to change a whole lotta lives for the better. I can't wait to see it." Now I really wanted to cry.

"Sharon, I'm so glad I called you. You always make me see myself through better eyes. I want to be all you say I am. And you're right. It's my dream Sam and I can change the world together. I have no idea how to go about doing it right now, but we can figure it out. Sam's brilliant and I'm...well...loaded. Right now, I have to figure out what to say to him and when to say it. It's going to be a very interesting next few days."

"You're gonna do fine, Jack. I'm so proud of you. Look at you, you've come so far from the scared little boy who stood at my desk a few weeks ago. I knew you had it in you, Jack. You just needed some encouragement and a few people around you you could trust who would let you be you. That's really all any of us need. And it's my privilege to be one of the people you trust, Jack. It means a lot to me."

"I love you, Sharon Adams. I do. I could not be living this life right now without you putting me back together at my worst moment. I'll be forever grateful to you for that. And for being my biggest cheerleader. You're the best!"

"I love you, too, Jack. Just you remember to love yourself a little, too, along the way. You're a good, good man, Jack. Now I've got to run, Clyde has me doin' a mountain of paperwork today. You take care of yourself, and call me anytime."

"Thanks again, Sharon. I'll call you before I get back to Denver and then come take you to lunch or something."

"That would be great, Jack. I'd love it. Can't wait to see you again. Bye." She hung up.

I stood there for a few minutes and let it all sink in. I was in love with Sam Wainwright. There was no denying it. The feelings were real and they weren't likely to change. Did Sam feel the same way about me? I thought he might. I certainly hoped he did. If I could get him past the money thing, we might have a shot at forever.

I also wondered how much I was going to need to change to be what Sam needed me to be. I was willing to make it all about him, as much as I understood how to, because deep down, even though there was a lot I didn't know about Sam, I did know he would definitely make it about me. He wouldn't be able to help himself.

The doorbell rang, breaking me out of my reverie. Sam was here! My heart started racing and the smile on my face almost hurt. I nearly skipped to the front door and opened it, ready to see the sexiest man alive. And nearly fell over when I saw Tommy supporting Sam like a crutch, Sam grimacing in obvious pain.

"What the...?" I blurted out. "What happened?"

"I'm fine, Jack. Really. I'm fine." Sam gave me a smile which didn't quite hide the fact he was in obvious pain.

"Well...don't just stand there, Tommy. Let's get him in here and sit him down somewhere." Together Tommy and I hobbled alongside Sam as we made our way to the lanai, where we seated Sam on a lounge chair, his legs stretched out in front of him. His ankle was wrapped tightly in an ace bandage, his flip flops fallen to the floor beside the chair. Man, his size 13 feet were big. And sexy, too. Get a grip, Jack. He's injured for crying out loud.

"So will someone please tell me what happened to the big guy, here?" I said, as I propped his injured right leg gently with a cushion. I was working overtime trying not to overreact and smother Sam, but all I wanted to do was put my arms around him and kiss all his pain away and make him feel better.

"Jack, it's nothing, really. Just a sprain. I'll be fine tomorrow. You'll see." He reached out and grabbed my hand and held it, gently pulling me down to sit beside him. I was searching his eyes and realized he was telling me the truth, or at least how he truly saw the situation. So I turned to Tommy.

"So what dumb thing did he do to cause this to happen? Trip over these giant fins he calls feet?" Tommy laughed loudly. I was trying to make light of it, but inside I was distraught and worried about Sam.

"Not quite, Jack. But close. Actually, it was my fault. We were stacking buckets of chlorine tablets to consolidate inventory. He tripped and fell against the stack, and then I pushed too hard back from the other side to balance it out and the top bucket fell against his ankle. It started to swell right away so I put some ice packs on it and made him go to the immediate care center near the shop."

Sam piped up. "Which was a total waste of time, like I told you it would be. What did they do? Wrapped it up, gave me Tylenol and told me to ice it and keep it elevated for a couple of days. Classic. Exactly what I said they would do. We could have saved the 700 dollars they'll probably charge me now, and for what? A ten dollar ace bandage and I had a whole bottle of Tylenol in my truck."

"Would you just can it, Sam? Give it a rest. I told you, the company requires anyone injured on the job to at least go to an immediate care center and get checked out. It could have been broken. Worker's comp will take care of the bill. You're lucky I didn't drag your ass to Honolulu General and make you sit in the emergency room all day and wait your turn. God, you can be a real pain in the ass." He sounded tough, but he was smiling at Sam, and Sam was smiling back at him. These two loved each other as best friends should. I was a little jealous, but only a little. Sam wanted something from me he was never going to get from Tommy.

Sam's ankle was swollen underneath the bandage, but being off his feet with the leg elevated, he was feeling a little better. There was less strain around his eyes. I was staring into those deep blue eyes, and he was intensely focusing on me like he does. I was quickly lost in them.

"Ahem...should I get you two a room?" asked Tommy. Sam and I broke our gaze, blushing furiously. Busted.

", well. Glad you're feeling better, Sam." I patted him quickly on the thigh. "Looks like you'll live. Anyone care for some lunch?" I asked as I quickly stood up to do anything but sit there feeling embarrassed.

"Jack, sit your ass back down by Sam for a minute. And both of you stop being stupid. I know you're into each other. You'd have to be blind not to see it. I'm cool with it. I was just giving you some crap, Sam, like you give me all the time." I sat back down next to Sam slowly. I didn't want to accidentally bump his leg.

"Just so you know, Sam here went on and on this morning about Jack this, and Jack that, and how much you helped him yesterday and how you're the greatest and blah, blah, blah. I wanted to puke." He was nearly laughing in his mock disgust, and I was loving it.

I turned to look at Sam. His blue eyes flashed and crinkled in the corners as he tried not to smile. He wasn't embarrassed at all about Tommy spilling the beans. I was suddenly all warm and squishy inside. "So Sam, does this mean you like me?" I asked, with my own smart ass grin.

"Not even a little bit, you jerk." He replied, but grabbed my hand with both of his and held it tightly on his stomach. Perilously close to his crotch if you ask me, but I wasn't going to suggest he move it for all the money in the world.

"So Jack...uh...about lunch. As you can see, I'm not exactly up to taking you anywhere this afternoon. Any ideas?" Sam asked.

"Well...I think I have ingredients to make some burgers on the grill. Maybe Tommy could go to town to get some other food to go with them?" I said, looking at Tommy and hoping he would get the hint to give Sam and me a few minutes alone. He did.

"Sure thing, Jack. Tell me what you need and I'll grab it for you. Do you mind if I stay for lunch with you guys? I'll leave right after."

"Of course not, Tommy. Stay as long as you want...or until I throw you out, whichever comes first," I replied with a smile.

Sam laughed out loud and Tommy just rolled his eyes. I stood up and moved to the kitchen. Thankfully with the open layout of the lanai, I could still see and talk to them while I moved about, checking my food supplies. I had plenty of hamburger meat, some pickles, one onion, and that was about it. Looked like I needed everything.

I pulled out my wallet and extracted two hundred dollars in cash. "Tommy, here's what I would do. I would go down to Whole Foods, find a helper person, and tell them you need a picnic for three. We have the burgers, we need everything else. Buns, condiments, sides, whatever you want. If you can, get food which is already prepared so we can eat faster. I don't know about you guys, but I'm hungry. Oh, and get some kind of potatoes. Maybe frozen French fries we can bake. The big guy likes potatoes." I handed him the money.

Sam piped up. "Jack, you don't have to do all that. I was supposed to take you to lunch."

"Sam, I know, and you can take me tomorrow. Or whenever you can actually drive again. Until then, I've got lunch."

"Uh...Jack? Did you know you just gave me $200?" asked Tommy.

"Yes. Whole Foods is a little pricey, and I have no idea what you will need. But that should cover it. If you need more, just tell me and I'll give it to you when you get back." Sam and Tommy exchanged a look which I tried to ignore for now. I knew an uncomfortable conversation about money was coming up soon, but right now I wanted to get Sam fed and taken care of. While I hated the idea he was hurting, his injury may work in my favor. At least he couldn't run away from me today.

Tommy shrugged his shoulders and departed. I went back over to Sam and sat down next to him again. He immediately grabbed my hand and held it like before, closing his eyes and breathing a deep sigh of relief. Maybe I was good for him, too.

Sam talked to me through closed eyes. "You know, Jack. You don't have to keep buying me expensive meals. I'm a simple guy. We could have gotten pizza."

"I know, Sam. It's just burgers and fries. But it's better for you than pizza and...I don't's just my way of helping, I guess. I can't make the pain go away."

"I know something which would take the pain away, Jack." He trained his unbelievably sexy eyes onto mine.

"Yeah...what's that, Sam?" I asked in a whisper.

"You could kiss me," he said with a sexy smile.

Without hesitation, I leaned over, careful not to put any of my weight near his injured leg, and gently kissed him. We both exercised significant restraint, but there was still a lot of heat in our kiss. And the next one. And the one after that. I wanted to put my hands all over him but I kept them to myself, barely. For his part, Sam kept holding on to my one hand already in his iron-fisted grip and was squeezing it off and on as he rode the waves of his own excitement. We were both rock hard in our shorts, neither one attempting to hide it anymore. Finally I pulled back to take a breather.

"Fuck, Jack. I can hardly stand it. Your kisses are so intense. My whole body is trembling right now. How do you do that to me? And by the way, I told you it would work. I can't even feel my ankle." He was grinning at me like a kid in a candy store.

"That's because all the blood in your ankle moved up to your dick, Sam." He burst out laughing as he looked down to see the obvious bulge in his shorts. I had a matching one in mine.

"Well then, I guess you'll just have to keep kissing me and not stop until it's all better."

"Don't think I don't want to, Sam. But if I keep kissing you right now, Tommy's gonna walk in on a lot more than he really wants to see." I looked down at his face, overcome by how handsome and beautiful he was. "God, Sam. You are so sexy and gorgeous. I want you so bad. But we can't. You're injured..."

Sam slammed his one hand down in frustration on the lounge chair, startling me. "Damn it, why did this have to happen today? I wanted to take you hiking this afternoon after lunch. Then I was gonna bring us back here and we could clean up and then maybe go to a great place for dinner and just hang out and talk. Then I have to go and do something stupid like sprain my ankle. Fuck!"

"Sam, we can still do...well, not the hiking part. Or the lunch...or the dinner. But we can still talk. We can stay right here all evening and talk. And I'll take you home later. It'll be fine. Let me help you, okay? You helped me the first day you met me with my headache. Please let me help you with your...ankle ache."

Sam sighed. "You're too good to me, Jack. I'm gonna get spoiled, I know it."

"Is that such a bad thing, Sam? My guess is you take care of nearly everybody in your life. Can't one person take care of you? Let me be the one, Sam." I said. Sam looked at me, his electric blue eyes dancing, and his hands holding mine even tighter.

"You're a very special guy, Jack. Thank you for being my friend. I...uh...I just…" He stopped talking and sighed again. I understood what he was trying to say. I wasn't quite ready to say it either, but I knew. I leaned down towards his face so our foreheads gently touched.

"It's okay, Sam. I get it. You're special to me, too." And I kissed him again. We lingered there, our lips lightly brushing each other's, teasing, probing, wanting. When the passion threatened to overflow again, Sam was the one to pull back this time.

"Wow, Jack. I just found my new favorite thing to do," he said with a smile.

"Me too, Sam. But now I need to get a move on. Those burgers won't make themselves and Tommy's gonna be back soon. Can I get you anything? Water or something to eat while you wait?"

"Bottle of water would be great, Jack. Thanks," he replied. I grabbed his water from the fridge, made sure the pillow under his leg was in the right position, and headed back to the kitchen. I pulled the raw hamburger out and put it in a stainless steel mixing bowl. I added some garlic salt, regular salt and pepper, and some Worcestershire Sauce I found in the door of the refrigerator. I mixed it all up with my hands and then made six large hamburger patties, two for each of us. Burgers done, I thinly sliced the onion and set it on a plate and I was finished. There was nothing else to do until Tommy returned, so I went back and sat on a lounge chair facing Sam's. I figured I'd behave myself and keep a bit of distance between us for a while.

Sam appeared to be sleeping, so I contented myself to sit and watch him, admiring his physique and the way his internal character seemed to somehow ooze out of him. I don't know how I could see it, but I did. He was such a fascinating man. And sexy. Man, he was hot!

"What are you looking at, Jack?" he asked, through closed eyes.

"A sexy man," I replied. He smiled. It made me so happy to put a smile on his face. Like I told Sharon earlier - it made me feel powerful.

We sat there in a comfortable silence, enjoying one another's presence and the feeling of contentment it brought. I was dozing when the doorbell rang. I jumped up. "It's probably Tommy," I said as I headed to the door. I helped him bring in all the bags from Whole Foods. He had enough food for three meals.

"I bought a bunch of different foods, Jack. I hope you don't mind. I figured you guys might be holed up here while Sam recuperates." Tommy gave me a knowing wink and I looked down and blushed. Tommy was thinking along the same lines I was. The fact he would help stock the larder in support meant he really was okay with Sam and I being together, which meant a lot to me.

"Thank you, Tommy. I really appreciate it."

As we put the groceries away, at one point Tommy leaned in closer to me and whispered. "Jack, Sam cares about you very, very much. You're all he talks about. Please be good to him. He's still a little scared I think."

"He's not the only one. But I promise you I will be good to him. I care about him a lot, too."

"I know you do. I'm glad you guys found each other. Sam has needed a guy like you his whole life, and I think you could do no better than Sam. I hope you guys can make it work. I'll help in any way I can." I had to turn away as the tears threatened to fall. Tommy was an amazing friend.

I made myself busy getting the grill warmed up. Tommy agreed to do the actual grilling while I put everything else together. In short order we had burgers, crispy French fries, macaroni salad, and all the fixings for a picnic feast. Tommy had even purchased some fresh cut watermelon which was already chilled, just the way I liked it.

I set everything up on a small table near where Sam was laying, watching us. I would glance at him every few seconds and he was always smiling at me. Oh yeah, Sam had it bad for me. I couldn't stop smiling myself.

I made a burger for Sam according to his instructions. He wanted sliced tomato, a little mayo and mustard, and pepper jack cheese. And of course he wanted his plate filled with French fries, ketchup on the side. I handed him his plate and another water bottle, and then made my own plate. My burger was identical to Sam's.

The three of us sat and ate and laughed at stories Tommy told about working with Sam in the pool business and some other crazy fun they had gotten into in college. It was so cool to sit there and listen as some of the pages of Sam's life were beautifully filled in for me. Every word served to convince me this was the guy I wanted to be my forever love.

Tommy looked at his watch and decided he needed to be going soon. He and I made quick work of cleaning up the kitchen and putting everything away. "Sam, you gonna be okay if I leave you here with Jack? You gonna behave yourself and keep your leg up?" Tommy asked.

"Yes, I promise. I'll be fine, Tommy, don't worry. Jack will take good care of me." I nodded in agreement. I certainly planned to.

I walked with Tommy to the gargantuan front doors. "Thanks again, Tommy, for running to the store. Hey, I almost forgot. I'm sure I owe you more money for all the food."

Tommy put his hand up. "Jack, you gave me more than enough money. The little bit extra I added was because I wanted to. We're good." I nodded to him and Tommy turned to leave, then stopped.

"Jack. I know it's really none of my business, but Sam told me all you guys have done is kiss." I nodded again, trying not to be embarrassed, then realizing I had nothing to be embarrassed about. " me a to him. Let him know how you feel. Be honest with him. You guys just met and you're leaving in a few days and...I would kill me, Jack, to see him hurt again. Please don't leave him with false expectations, okay. I know you won't do it on purpose, you know what I mean?"

"Yes, I think so. I'll talk to him - tonight - I promise. I planned on doing it anyway, but now I definitely will. And Tommy...thanks for being his friend. And for being mine, too." We fist bumped and I watched him drive off from the door.

When I returned to check on Sam, he was asleep on his lounge chair. His leg looked like it was in a good position, so I didn't touch him. I found my IPad and sat in a chair a little further away so I wouldn't accidentally wake him up, but still be close enough to keep an eye on him. He wasn't exactly ambulatory. I hoped he was right and his ankle would be okay in a day or two. I hated the idea of him hobbling in pain.

I must have fallen asleep instantly because my IPad was still on the same page of my book when I woke to Sam trying to stand up and cursing under his breath. "Sam...hold on a minute. I'll help you," I said, hauling myself up and over to him.

"I'm sorry, Jack. I didn't want to wake you, but I gotta piss really bad. Can you help me to the bathroom?"

"Sure, let me get alongside you lean on me...I have you. And now we move." Together we stutter-stepped past the TV lounge to the bathroom. As we walked Sam's hand kept brushing the small of my back like he does. I knew he was struggling to walk, but man it felt good to be next to him, holding him. Once at the bathroom door, Sam said he could take it from there, but I still helped him to the toilet and stood him upright in front of it.

"It's all you from here, big guy. I'll be outside when you're done. And watch your aim. I don't want to have to clean the floor later," I said with a grin.

I shut the door behind me and gave him some privacy. When I heard the toilet flush, I waited 30 seconds and then knocked. "Come on in, Jack. The show's over."

"Darn, I missed it?" I said mockingly as I entered. I positioned my shoulder under his so he could lean on me again and together we negotiated the bathroom door without falling down and then I had a bright idea.

"Sam. Whadda ya say I put you here in the TV lounge for now? These couches would be a lot more comfortable and we could watch a movie or something if you want."

"Yeah, sounds good. My ass was starting to hurt on the lounge chair out on the lanai. And...I hate to ask...but could you get me some ice for my ankle. I think it's starting to swell again and it hurts."

"Of course. Here, let's get you comfortable and your leg back up. It will help take the pressure off. Then I'll get you some ice." I maneuvered him onto the chaise lounge end of the leather sectional with his back upright and his right leg slightly elevated in front of him. He was instantly feeling better. I handed him the remote and went in search of ice.

In the kitchen I pulled out a large plastic baggie and filled it half full with ice from the freezer. Then I added cold water until the baggie was maybe 3/4 full, but with room to still be flexible. I had read about this trick somewhere before. I grabbed a thin dish towel and took it and the makeshift ice pack back to the TV room.

I gently laid the dishtowel over Sam's swollen ankle so the ice cold plastic baggie wouldn't stick to any exposed skin - it looked even more bruised and sore around the edges of the bandage. I rested the ice pack on the largest area of swelling and held it there with no additional pressure, sitting on the sofa next to him. The TV was on, but Sam was only watching me. I looked at him and smiled, and he smiled back.

"Jack, I'm sorry this happened and now you have to take care of me. But...I can't think of anyone I'd rather have help me than you."

"Sam...I told you. I want to take care of you...and thank you for letting me." I grabbed his hand and held it, as a tidal wave of thoughts and feelings rolled through my soul. It was a tender moment - a time of vulnerability for Sam - and I appreciated it for all it was. I almost told him how I truly felt but at the last second held back. I needed to get the money talk out of the way first.

I moved around to sit next to Sam, leaning up against him. He sat higher than me by two inches, so I fit under his arm easily, which he put around me and pulled me in closer to himself. He was warm and comfortable. I loved how he smelled too - unmistakably masculine. I put my head back on his chest and relaxed into him. He put his other arm around me in a reverse hug and I melted. No place on earth was better than in Sam's arms. I sighed deeply.

"Comfy?" Sam asked.

"Yes. This is the best. I've wanted this all day."

"Really? Why?"

"Because, Sam. Ever since you first hugged me like this on the beach the night I told you I was gay, I have craved your arms around me. I don't know how to describe it really. It' belong here. Like I don't really fit quite right anywhere else. Is that weird?"

"No, Jack. I think it's great. And you can stay right here in my arms forever if you want to." I couldn't help it. I started to cry, great big happy tears. He loved me. I knew he did. And he wanted forever, too.

Sam realized I was crying, and became concerned. "Are you okay, Jack? Did I say something wrong?" I patted his top arm and shook my head.

"No, Sam. No. You said everything just right. You might as well know, I seem to have this quirk where I cry when I'm happy. I get overwhelmed with the good feelings and the tears just flow. It's silly, I know, but I can't help it. It just happens. And...when you said I could stay here forever...well nothing would make me happier, Sam." I turned my head to look up at him, and he pulled me a little to one side and bent down to kiss me. There was something new in his kiss. There was love in it. It literally felt different. Beyond passion, beyond raw animal lust. Love felt overwhelmingly wonderful.

After a few moments we broke the kiss and I put my head back on his chest again, unbelievably content and relaxed up against him. I could feel him relax, too. We both sighed deeply at the same time, and it was funny. We started giggling. It was fun and just right.

At some point we settled in to watch a silly sitcom on the TV, chuckling and laughing together occasionally. During a commercial break, I reluctantly jumped up to use the bathroom myself, and distinctly heard Sam's stomach rumbling.

"Geez, what are you hiding in there? Godzilla?"

Sam laughed. "Nope. That's all me. And I think it's telling me I'm hungry."

"Okay. When I get back, I'll see what I can pull together for us. Give me a minute." I did my bathroom business quickly and stooped to give Sam a quick kiss as I moved past the TV lounge, because he was too damn sexy to just walk past. He sat there grinning at me, knowing he had my motor going again and feeling very proud of his sexy self.

Tommy had done a little more than I realized in the grocery department. There were two decent sized steaks in the meat drawer in the fridge, ingredients to make a good salad, and two of the twice-baked potatoes which Sam loved. I guess Tommy paid attention to his friends. I went to tell Sam the good news.

"How about a steak, twice baked potato, and salad? Will that work for you, Sam?" I asked.

"Yeah! Sounds perfect. You have all that?"

"I do now. Tommy brought it all back with him this afternoon. I had no idea. He's a good shopper." I turned to head back to the kitchen, but Sam stopped me.

"Jack." There was something in his tone which compelled me to turn and look at him. He stared at me, looking deeply into my eyes, trying to read something or understand something in me. I said not a word, but let him look, all the while getting more and more nervous. He looked and sounded upset.

He suddenly relaxed and I felt instant relief. "I'd help you in the kitchen, but I don't think I'll be much use. But can you help me get back out there so I can watch you do all the work?" He was grinning.

I helped Sam to a lounge chair which faced the kitchen area so he could watch me put dinner together. There wasn't much to it, really. I fired up the grill, seasoned the steaks with salt and pepper and garlic salt, and put the potatoes under the broiler. I was getting to be an old pro with the broiler. Once the steaks were sizzling on the grill, I put together a simple salad and tossed it with a Tuscan Italian salad dressing I had purchased earlier. The timer dinged on the oven and I had the potatoes on a hot pad just in time to get the steaks off the grill. I served everything up on two plates and carried them over to where Sam was sitting.

"This looks and smells fantastic, Jack. Thanks. If we were at my place you'd get takeout pizza - if you were lucky." He smiled as he chewed his tender and juicy steak.

"I'd take it, just to be eating a meal with you." I replied.

"Well, I don't know, Jack. We seem to come from two different worlds. Even those hamburgers today were gourmet. I don't see you eating Ramen noodles and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches." I know he didn't mean it, but he was getting close to hurting my feelings. I suddenly felt judged for wanting to serve him good food.

"Listen, Sam. I...haven't always been able to buy food like this. I just wanted to make it nice for you. I'm sorry if it made you uncomfortable. I wasn't trying to one up you or anything. I've enjoyed our time at the pizza place more than anyplace else we've been. I just..."

Sam must have realized he had struck a nerve, because he back-pedaled quickly. "I'm sorry, Jack. I didn't mean to's just, know how I feel about people who look down on me because they have money...and...uh...when you gave the money to Tommy today...I guess...I don't know...I got scared I was way out of my league financially. And I...want to be with you, Jack. But I won't have that kind of money for a long time to come still." Now he was the one distraught. I was starting to hate money.

"Sam. Just wait a minute...just...wait. I need to tell you something. I've been waiting for the right time, and I guess it's now. You said last night we should have nothing hidden from each other, and I agree." He nodded and waited. "But there is something - a big something - you don't know about me yet. But I need you to agree to just listen until I'm finished, okay. I've never had to tell this story, so it may take a while, okay?"

"Jack, it's okay. You don't have to..."

"Yes, I do, Sam. I do, and you deserve the whole truth about me. I just hope when you know it all you'll still want to be with me like you said. Will you just listen?" He nodded. I took a deep breath and began.

"First of all, I do not come from money or privilege. I had even less than you growing up. I went to public schools. My parents divorced when I was 8 and we had it rough at times. My mother did the best she could, I guess, and we had clothes and food and a clean place to live, but not much else. I worked a cleaning job and at McDonald's in high school. I put myself through college; there was no one helping me."

"Up until a few weeks ago, I was in a dead end job, living in a simple, one-bedroom apartment, driving a ten-year old car, which I had just paid off, and staring at a student loan of over $16,000. And then I got a phone call..."

I proceeded to tell Sam all which had transpired after the call, right up until the time I arrived in Hawaii. He knew most of it from there. When I was done, he was looking at me with his trademark deep, penetrating stare. I locked eyes with him, willing him to see the truth in me - I would never judge him because of money. He studied me for a long time, but I never felt uncomfortable. It was Sam being Sam. I waited for his verdict.

I saw the nod of his head, and I knew I had passed. I blew out a huge sigh of relief. "Jack. That's some story. I can't imagine how you must have felt finding out about your birth mother, and the inheritance. It must have been overwhelming."

"Oh, you have no idea, Sam. I left out the part where I literally threw up when they told me about inheriting the money. I just couldn't handle it." I had purposely omitted details about how much the inheritance entailed, and I instantly realized I had said too much. Sam was on it in a heartbeat.

"Jack, I know it's really none of my business. But what exactly did you inherit that would make you get so upset you'd throw up?" Decision time. How far do I go?

It was my turn to study Sam's face. I looked across the space between us to the man I loved and wanted to spend my life with. It really made no sense to not tell him, if we were going to be together. I was almost certain he wanted to be with me, too. We had a lot to work out, but the money should be a help, not a hindrance. Hopefully. I swallowed and forged ahead.

"Well,'s a lot. A whole lot. Like, I can't really comprehend it. I don't even know the exact amount. It changes daily, from what I understand." Sam mouth was now hanging open.

"Ballpark it for me, Jack."

"Uh...well...Sam, it's just a number. It doesn't mean anything, really."

"Jack. Please? Just tell me."

I had to tell him. I had to. So I blurted out, "Over 500 million."

"Are you shittin' me? You're worth over 500 million dollars? Fuck. Me." Sam became very agitated, exactly what I had feared. He tried to stand up and pace but couldn't, which only frustrated him more. My heart was breaking because I could feel him pulling away from me.

"Sam. Sam! Sit down, please, before you hurt yourself." Apparently I wasn't the only one who freaks out over money. Thankfully my shouting at him caught his attention and he stood there, glaring at me.

"How do am I supposed to...Jack?" Sam collapsed onto his chair, his bum ankle all but forgotten in the moment. He put his face in his hands and hung his head, like he was defeated. This was worse than I had feared. He looked broken somehow.

"Sam? Sam. Talk to me. I know it's a shock. It was for me, too. But I'm here, Sam. Please. Talk to me." I was imploring him, trying not to lose it myself. I could feel forever slipping away.

Finally, he slowly looked up at me. There were tears in his eyes, and my heart broke. My own tears fell as I looked into the pain etched on his face, knowing it wasn't from his ankle.

"Jack." He tried to start, but had to stop for the lump in his throat. He swallowed and tried again. "Jack. I wanted to be the one to take care of you. To provide for you and cover you and you would need me and I would always be there for you. But you don't need me, Jack. And I could never, ever provide for you with that kind of money. I'll never see a tiny fraction of that. Where does this leave me, Jack? What am I supposed to do here? Help me understand, Jack."

He was openly crying now, nearly sobbing. I did the only thing I could think of. I jumped up, crossed to him, and threw myself into his arms. He instinctively held me tightly. Through my own sobs, I fairly shouted at him. "This! This, Sam! You can hold me and make me feel safe. You can love me and believe in me and help me not be scared, just like you have ever since the day I met you. I need you, Sam. I do. Money can't buy what you give me - it's priceless. I'm lost without you, Sam. Please, you have to understand that. I have nobody. I do need you, Sam. I do. Please..." Sam's only response was to hold me tighter, and we both cried until there was nothing left. Even after the waterworks had ended, I still clung to him, terrified if I let go it would be the last time I would ever be in his arms. But I had one more thing I need to tell him. It might as well be now.

I leaned back, loosening his hold on me a little, but still not breaking the connection. I put my hands on his chest and stared at them, trying to see his heart inside. I wanted to put mine in there, too, so they could always beat side by side. I sighed and looked up at him.

"Sam. I have one more thing I need to say to you." He tensed, like he couldn't handle one more thing. "No no no no. It's not bad, I promise. At least I don't think it's bad. Look, this whole relationship with you is so new and wonderful to me, and I really don't know what I'm doing. I'm so sorry if I hurt you by telling you about the money, or not telling you sooner, or whatever. I'm trying to figure this out as we go. But I do know some things. Some things I'm crystal clear on. I do need you, Sam. And...I've wanted to spend the rest of my life with you since that first night on the beach. Even if we are just friends, I need you in my life. I won't accept anything less, Sam. If the money is too much for you and makes you too uncomfortable or you can't be who you need to be, I'll understand. We won't be more than friends. But I WILL be your friend, Sam. Forever. Please don't let something like money ruin our friendship."

Sam was wanting to say something, but I gently put a finger to his lips to ask him to wait until I was finished. He nodded. I continued.

"But the truth is, Sam. I want more. I want it all. I want us to be a couple and build a life together and change the world together. I don't have the foggiest idea how to do any of it, but it's what I want. More than anything else in the world. And Sam, I swear to you, with all I am, if having this money will prevent us from happening, then I will give every last cent away to the charities of your choice. Sam, I want you. I I didn't ask for the money. I never wanted it. I just want to be with you, Sam. That's all I want. I love you, Sam. I love you with all my heart. Please, Sam...please love me back."

I was looking down now, waiting for his response, hoping against hope he heard my heart. He was silent and then I saw, rather than heard, his tears start to fall again. I couldn't look at him. I was too afraid of what I would see in his eyes. I couldn't bear him leaving me. My own eyes filled again.

Suddenly he reached up with his hand and gently lifted my chin so I had to look at him. His radiant blue eyes were positively glowing with fire in them, like he was lit up from within. He looked at me, a slow sensual smile spreading across his face.

"Jack Schaeffer, I do love you. I've loved you since I first laid eyes on you. I knew you were special from the very first day. And then when you trusted me and told me you were gay, well...I knew you were the one. The one I had been waiting for. I've been scared to tell you because I didn't want to overwhelm you with my feelings. But Jack, I don't have words to tell you how strongly I feel for you and want you in my life. I want forever with you, too, Jack. I want to come home from school or work and yours is the face I see and the lips I kiss. Oh God, Jack, I want to kiss you forever and ever. I want to love you and make love to you and be with you always. I want to grow old with you and live amazing lives together and change the world together. It's not about the money, Jack. I don't care about the money, I just need you to need me. That's all. Because I need you, Jack. Please...please need me back."

I nodded my head furiously up and down. I was smiling and crying at the same time, just overwhelmed with emotions. I didn't trust myself to speak anymore. So I used my lips for their better purpose and I kissed him. And he kissed me back. I needed him and he loved me. We were going to have forever.

We were both exhausted, emotionally and physically. Neither one of us had finished our dinners, and frankly, I didn't think I could or should put any more food in my stomach. Sam said he was finished as well, so I grabbed the plates and took them to the kitchen, getting back to him as fast as I could. He was smiling again, looking happier than ever. We had weathered our first storm and come out of it stronger, I think. At least there was nothing hidden anymore.

"Sam, do you want me to take you home tonight, or do you want to stay here?"

"Geez, Jack. You don't waste time, do you. Tell a guy you love him and just expect him to jump right into bed with you." He had a smart ass grin going. I blushed, not realizing what I had just suggested.

"I just...hey, I didn't mean it like that, you jerk." I hit him with the chair cushion next to me. He was laughing hysterically. I started laughing, too. God, I loved him.

When we calmed down enough, I tried again. "Sam. Would you like to stay here, in this house, in a separate bedroom from mine, for the night?"

"No. But if a separate bedroom is my only option, then fine, I'll take it." He acted all put out, but he was smiling at me.

"So you don't want me to take you home?" I asked.

"To tell you the truth, Jack, my ankle is killing me. I think the drive would be pretty painful tonight. Maybe tomorrow?"

"Whatever you need, Sam. Let's get you back to the TV lounge for now and get your leg propped up. I'll get some more ice going as well. It looks like it has swollen up some more."

"Sure feels like it. The ice would be good." Together we moved back to the TV lounge and I went to the kitchen to make another ice pack. I returned to find his leg on a pillow, properly supported. He smiled at me and seemed comfortable enough under the circumstances. I put the ice pack on his ankle gently and then headed back to clean up the kitchen while Sam channel surfed.

I made quick work of the kitchen, putting all the dishes in the sink for now and wiping things down. I returned and sat down next to Sam on the couch and snuggled up against him. His arms came around me, and I sighed heavily. "That, Sam, is why I need you. I need your arms around me as much as possible." His squeezed me a little tighter.

"There's not much on TV worth watching, Jack. How about a movie?"

"Sounds great to me. Whatever you want to watch is fine." I was just content to be next to him. He picked an action/suspense movie which was enjoyable. But after more than two hours I was beat, and I need the bathroom. Sam did, too. I helped him to the bathroom like before, then ran to mine while he used his. Then we had to figure out sleeping arrangements.

I was trying to decide which bedroom to put him in when I realized I just wanted him in mine. His leg was injured, so I didn't think we would be getting into any mischief, but why should we sleep alone? We had pledged our love to one another, we wanted a life together, so why not start it now?

I heard Sam flush the toilet and I waited a few seconds in case he was still zipping up, and then opened the door. He was waiting for me and we exited into the hallway.

"Which room are you putting me in, Jack?" he asked.

"You'll see. This way." I steered him in the direction of my room. When we arrived at the doorway I stood him up against the door jamb and looked at him.

"Sam, I want you to spend the night with me. I know we said we were going to go slow, so I'm not asking to have sex with you. Your ankle is hurting and I wouldn't want to take a chance on you getting injured any further. But Sam, I don't want to sleep alone. Not anymore. Whadda ya say?"

He just nodded, grinning like a crazy man. I guess that was a yes, then. I helped him over to the bed, and he sat down on the edge of it. Then I realized we had another problem. He had no other clothes or toiletries with him. I don't think either one of us had thought this through.

"Uh...Sam? What do you need by way of toiletries or bed clothes? I might have something you could wear." His answer was to look at me with a serious face.

"Jack, I don't usually wear anything to bed. What about you?" I shook my head, acknowledging I slept nude as well. Interesting turn of events.

"I could use a toothbrush, though. That should do it for now." I thought I had seen some extra new toothbrushes in a closet when I was exploring my first day. Sure enough, I found one in another bathroom. I helped Sam to the sink and put the toothbrush in his hand.

"Do you need me to hold you straight while you brush?" I asked.

"There's nothing straight about me when you're around, Jack." We both burst out laughing. Sam was funny. And sexy as hell. How was I going to keep my hands off of him while he was lying next to me naked tonight?

While he brushed, I washed my face in the other sink and brushed my teeth. Then we went back to the bedroom. We were standing next to the bed, looking at each other, realizing the moment of truth was upon us. We were going to be naked together for the first time.

"Do you want me to turn out the lights, Sam?" I asked.

"Don't you dare, Jack. I've waited for this for a long time. I want to see you - all of you." I nodded in agreement and with slightly shaking hands slipped off my socks, then my shirt. When my chest was exposed, Sam made a sharp, gasping inhale. There was a growing bulge in his shorts now. I could feel my own cock growing.

I slowly took my belt off, not trying to tease but slowing the moment down just the same. Then I undid the button holding my cargo shorts together at the waist, and pulled down the zipper. The shorts slid down my thighs and I carefully took them off, trying not to fall on the floor. I was down to only my black boxer brief underwear. Sam was nearly panting now, a wet spot on his shorts seeping through. I saw it and my underwear tightened in the front as my own cock hardened further.

I moved over to Sam. It was time to help him get undressed. I pushed him so he sat down on the bed, his eyes never leaving mine. He was watching what I was looking at. I took his socks off, and then I helped him remove his t-shirt. I had seen his naked chest at the beach, but being this close to it, I just had to touch it. I reached out and ran my fingers through the thick, dark brown hair, barely resisting touching his nipples. Now I was the one panting, my dick leaking pre-cum every few seconds. I helped him stand up. It was time for the pants to come off. This might be a challenge.

I pulled his belt off easily enough. Then I waited for him to undo his shorts. He wasn't moving to do so, so I looked up at him. His eyes were on mine, and he glanced at my hands and back to my eyes, telling me without words he wanted me to do the honors. Well, okay then. I reached for his waist, my hands visibly trembling. I somehow got the button undone, then aimed my hand toward the zipper. All I was cognizant of was the huge bulge right under my hand. The wet spot was the size of a quarter, and up this close, I could see whatever was behind those shorts was pulsing.

I gingerly grabbed the zipper pull, and started moving it downwards. Once open, I could see Sam had on blue boxer briefs, like mine. His cargo shorts suddenly just fell straight to the floor and I was face to face with his large cock hidden only by the thin covering of underwear, now even more revealing with the pre-cum drenching the fabric. He was definitely bigger than me. The head of his uncut cock was clearly outlined in the wet area. I helped Sam carefully step out of the cargo shorts without hurting his ankle or suffering any other mishap, and we were now both down to our underwear.

I looked up at Sam, his fiery blue eyes glistening, his mouth serious and sexy. I had never seen this face. It was fascinating, and I studied it as he had studied mine so many times before. He wanted something, and I realized in a flash what it was. He wanted sex. With me. He hungered for it. My heart started racing faster than ever as I realized I wanted to give myself to him. Desperately. I needed to do it.

With no hesitation, I reached for the waistband of my underwear and pulled them down and off. I tossed them away and stood before Sam, watching him watch me, my cock rock hard and leaking. I was standing naked and unashamed before him. He kept a continuous connection with our eyes as he slowly pulled his own underwear down, stopping only to release his cock from the waistband when it got stuck. I wanted to look down at his dick but Sam's eyes held mine in a virtual vice grip. When he had his underwear completely off, he looked down at my dick again, giving me license to look at his.

It was a thing of beauty. Perfectly proportioned, the head flaring slightly wider than the straight, thick shaft, and maybe an inch or two bigger than me, solid and veiny and pure manhood. It now pointed straight out and upwards at a slight angle from the ground, each heartbeat causing it to pulse up and down. My own breathing became erratic and I realized I needed to sit down before I fainted, so I sat on the bed next to Sam, trying to calm down. Sam followed me, moving slowly up to sit right next to me, his hairy legs touching mine, our throbbing dicks less than a foot apart now. I put my hands on his chest and he did the same to mine. I held my hand over his heart and felt it pulsing under my touch. Sam moved his hands slowly around my chest, before settling his palms on my nipples. I was panting and moaning now, my dick leaking like a sieve.

Sam locked eyes with me again, his hungry look more pronounced, and then he leaned in to kiss me. It was gentle, but full of passion and promise. I kissed him back, our lips caressing and exploring as if it was our first time again. I closed my eyes and gave myself to the sensations now coursing all through my trembling body. Wherever Sam took us tonight, I would follow.

His tongue brushed my upper lip, and my own darted out to meet it. Our passion and desire ratcheted up several notches as our tongues became more demanding and aggressive. Sam gently but firmly leaned against me, pushing me slowly backwards and down on the bed, never breaking our kiss. My hands were now roaming unrestrained, touching and caressing and exploring. Sam's were doing the same.

I brushed across his hard left nipple and Sam gasped into my mouth. I touched it again lightly, and he gasped again. I very softly rubbed across his other nipple with my thumb, this time eliciting a loud moan. He was trembling all over now. I continued my nipple exploration, guided by his gasps and moans. He finally grabbed my hand to indicate it was too much too soon. I smiled and moved on.

Sam went back to kissing me. Man, he liked to kiss. Then his hand grazed my nipple...and I understood his reaction. The feeling was electric, and I felt a tingle all the way down into my dick. Each time he touched or rubbed a nipple, my cock would jump, and another drop of pre-cum would ooze out. Before long Sam had me writhing under him, unable to control my body movements. I was moaning and groaning in pure pleasure.

Sam rolled over onto his back, pulling me on top of him. I was aware our rock hard cocks were now touching, sliding against each other on an oil slick of pre-cum. Sam's tongue had taken over my mouth as I continued to grind my crotch against his. Our breathing became more labored, more frantic. The feeling of my sensitive cock sliding against Sam's had me riding on the edge now. Sam started pushing up against my dick with his own, his movements more insistent and urgent. He suddenly reached up to my nipples and squeezed them and I screamed into his mouth as I came between us, shaking violently throughout the entire orgasm. Seconds later, while I was still shooting and spasming, Sam started moaning and shaking all over and I felt his cum spurts blasting against my abs and cock.

We stopped moving, laying perfectly still, slowly catching our breath as our bodies recovered. I was deliriously happy and completely exhausted. Sam seemed content to have me lay on top of him, and I certainly didn't want to move. For once I didn't try to analyze what just happened and let myself just be in the moment. And what a glorious moment it was, too.

After a few minutes, I became aware Sam was in some discomfort. I thought it was me laying on him, so I quickly rolled off, but it was his ankle. He smiled at me through the pain and tried to ignore it.

"You okay, Jack?" he whispered.

"Hmm hmm. Really good, actually. I feel great, Sam. How 'bout you?"

"Oh man, Jack. You were awesome. I can't believe what we just did - we came together, at the same time. It was the best ever for me."

I looked down at our torsos, now covered in cum. I was getting a little cold and I knew Sam was in pain. As much as I didn't want to move, I had to. I stood up and went to the bathroom, returning with a warm washcloth. I gently cleaned off the mess on Sam's chest, abs and genitals, then did the same for me. I returned from disposing of the towel with two Tylenol and a water bottle for Sam. He took them gratefully, looking at me with love in his eyes.

I turned off the lights and settled back in the bed, all snuggled up against Sam, my head resting half on his chest, my hand slowing playing with the hair between his nipples. I felt warm and secure and at peace with his arm wrapped around me. They say you never forget your first time, and I knew it would be true for me. It had been beyond anything I had ever fantasized. I had a feeling everything with Sam would be better than I had hoped before. I drifted off to sleep happy and content, laying in the arms of the man I loved.

Author's Note: If you are enjoying this story, please take a moment to comment in the Forum on CastleRoland – you can click the link labelled "Forum Discussion" just under the story synopsis at the top of this page. Or, if you prefer, send me an email to I would love to hear your thoughts about the story.

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