LS Valentine Challenge 2006

    Can’t Help Falling       -      A Romance      -     by    lucel

        What was that about ‘pride’ and ‘falling’?  Or was that ‘love’?

            David/Jamie      Hand


San Francisco was shivering under a light drizzle, fairly typical for a misty Monday in February.  The lunch crowd huddled into the warmth of Sam’s Diner, with the lucky ones filling every table, booth, and counter stool.  Others were standing to wait just inside the door and even down into the main aisle.  The slightly damp clientele included many regulars from the surrounding Russian Hill neighborhood as well as from businesses up and down Polk Street and nearby Van Ness.   Some were relaxed and grungy, some wore more formal business attire ranging from Brooks Brothers to Armani.   Added to the mix were some shoppers, some tourists, and a couple of young street hustlers eating soup and crackers at the end of the counter.   


Even on this gray day, the diner’s long cheerful room was bright with retro chrome fittings, rich red tablecloths, and mellow old leather booths.  Four waiters in jeans and Sam’s distinctive black “red letter” tees moved quickly among the tables and booths.  Taking orders; serving drinks and  Sam’s famous burgers, salads, borsht, and blini; expertly avoiding the occasional groping hand; they made sure each customer got the kind of easy service Sam wanted in his diner.  Sam himself was a big Russian bear of a man firmly ruling the diner while cooking Sam’s Famous Food with care and genius… and the help of his two strapping nephews, Ivan and Sasha.  Their sister, Olga, handled the register and took care of seating.


One of the waiters was deftly adding pear slivers and small chunks of gorgonzola cheese to the salads he was making at the salad station set up about half way down the row of booths.  Though he was nice looking, there was nothing too noticeable about him except for his dark auburn hair, which tended to curl rebelliously no matter how hard he tried to keep it smooth and neat, especially when he was working at the diner.  Sam enjoyed making a fuss about it, usually finishing with a big grin and muttering something about how “no self-respecting Russian should have hair that ‘devil’ color, especially with such dark blue eyes”! 


And Jamie would reply, “Well, Sam, I’m as American as your diner.  Great Great Grandda Ivan Petrov came from Russia during the San Francisco Gold Rush.  My mother came from Scotland with her folks after World War II.  She named me Vasilly James McKenna Petrov after my Dad and hers.  Since my Dad was ‘Vasilly,’ they always called me ‘Jamie’.  But I’m also a Petrov born and raised on Russian Hill -- as you well know.” 


It was true.  He had lived at the Petrov place on Filbert Street within sight of the San Francisco Bay all his life.  His great grandfather, the first Vasilly, had profited in land redevelopment after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.  He built a home for the Petrov family on Russian Hill in 1908.


Just now, Jamie appeared to be laying an artistic julienne of pickled beets across the top of each special house salad.  Actually, he was multi-tasking… and worrying:  He was watching for any of his orders to appear in the “order up” window…  And he was watching out for all of ‘his’ tables and customers…  Plus, he was watching the clock and hoping hard that Larry would finally arrive to relieve him.  Today Jamie had helped Sam open up before breakfast, and it was almost an hour past the ‘official’ end of his shift.  And finally, as the muted roar and clink of the lunch rush surged around him, he tried once again to see some better way of dealing with his problems. 


Nothing had changed, and he could feel himself getting emotional once again.  He stilled, closed his eyes, and took one deep breath… then another.  When he was in control again, he opened his eyes and looked quickly around to see if anyone had noticed.  He was glad that most people only see waiters when they need some service.  The diner was no place for grieving… but he missed his mother terribly, even though she had not really known him for the past few months.  He just felt so alone.


Jamie’s father, big Vasilly, had been killed just as U.S. troops were leaving Viet Nam.  Jeannie McKenna Petrov had been strong for her son and her husband’s family and had managed to keep them all together at the family home on Filbert.  Located near the top of Russian Hill, the two-structure compound was designed to house several generations of Petrovs.  Jeannie had taken one front flat for herself, Jamie, and her young sister-in-law, Irene. Grandfather Ivan and Aunt Marie shared the other, with Uncle Vlad and his family living in the ‘behind’ house.  Jamie and his three cousins had played in the back garden they shared.  They all enjoyed gathering for family events and holidays.


Granpa Ivan was famous for his stories, and Jamie loved going for long walks with him, especially down to Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory.  When Jamie was 11, Ivan went to sleep one winter’s night and never woke up.  Soon after, Aunt Marie moved into the Orthodox Church’s retirement home with two of her friends.  With the smaller family, Jeannie was able to arrange with a realtor to rent the vacant half of the main house.  Then Irene married a young soldier from the Presidio, and they were soon moving to a new post in Washington, D.C.


When Jamie was just starting high school, Uncle Vlad’s wife, Anna, inherited her father’s hardware business, and they left for Colorado soon after to run it and take care of Anna’s mother.  After Uncle Vlad left, Jamie and his mother were also able to rent the ‘behind’ house, which brought in just enough to cover increasing bills and living expenses.  To help out and earn a little pocket money, Jamie approached Sam about a job at the diner and was hired first as bus boy, then as a waiter.  He still found time for school and to help with the maintenance work on the rentals… and he found he had a passion for music. 


At school, he discovered the clarinet-- it felt so natural in his hands-- and he could soon play well enough to join first the band, then the jazz group.  And he loved drums, any drums.  He loved the sound and feel of the riffs and rhythms, and he loved to go down to Ghirardelli Square where percussion bands formed and reformed to play for fun and tourists on the weekends.


Then just before graduation, Jamie came home one day to find that Jeannie had been taken to The Presidio Hospital, where her fainting and ‘little spells’ were diagnosed as a brain tumor.  As the possibilities for treatment failed, Jamie did all he could to take care of her and keep her spirits high.  When she could no longer move from floor to floor or even from room to room, Jamie moved them into the smaller one bedroom suite at ground level.  It had been finished off early on for a young bachelor of the family, and they had kept it for family visitors.  Jeannie liked being able to see and talk to Jamie from her bed by the garden window.  While she still could, Jeannie saw to final arrangements and financial planning with a young lawyer recommended by Father Chris at the Church. They rented their old apartment, with Jamie acting as on site manager and the lawyer handling paperwork for the three rental units. 


With medical bills and living expenses and the certainty of future long term care costs for Jeannie, Jamie had not been able to consider college or any other training after graduation.  He was glad to be able to work full time for Sam since he could arrange his shifts to care for his mother.  Jeannie was able to live at home for five fairly good years with Jamie’s help.  Then a series of strokes made long term care necessary.  At first Jamie and she could visit, but then Jeannie retreated into her own world of shadows.  A last stroke had finally taken her away last week.  Jamie knew it was coming, but it was still a shock, though he was glad to think a spirit as vital as hers was finally free. 


And now?  What would he do now?  Friday he had received a special delivery notice from the bank to quit the property on Filbert.  As expected, it had passed to the bank to repay the reverse mortgage they had obtained when medical bills began to mount.  He only had until February 15, just one week away.  Jamie felt as though he had been living in a misty bubble, which only now had burst.  Here he was, 24 years old, and he needed a plan, something solid that would let him move on with his life…


Something solid in the form of Sasha’s urgent hand pulling him around brought him back to the diner and the four beautifully finished salads sitting in front of him.  “Jamie, Sam’s steaming.  Your goulash orders have been up for ages… Get going!” 


With a rueful shake of his head, Jamie loaded the salads on his tray and hurried to the order window to pick up two platters of Sam’s special goulash and noodles, piping hot and fragrant with paprika and onions.  Quickly he redistributed his tray then raised it gracefully above his head.   Goulash for Table Three, Salads in Booth Four…he moved carefully through the crowd waiting in the central aisle. 


He was just looking to see where the nearest tray rack was when he found himself tripping off balance and beginning to lose control of his tray.  Someone had backed into him as he passed.  Desperately he pushed forward trying to get under the heavy laden tray  which only served to give it a spin as he fell forward.  It launched upward spewing salad, plates, goulash, and noodles as it flew across the room nearly clipping several seated customers before landing with a reverberating crash!


Jamie’s forward momentum drove him into an unsuspecting man who had just stood up to leave.  They both crashed into the next man who was able to slow their fall somewhat.  The next thing Jamie knew he was spread out on top, nose to nose with a stranger whose eyes flew open in shock.  Jamie tried to scramble off him, but their arms and legs were tangled, and all he did was somehow manage to grind their cocks together in a most suggestive way.  He realized, too, that there was something the matter with his left arm… he couldn’t seem to move it!  He blushed bright red and could only moan in pain and frustration.  His ankle hurt… He was starting to panic…


“There, there.  Softly now… just take it easy, and we’ll get up.”  The man under Jamie had somehow managed to steady the agitated young waiter with one arm sliding around his waist in a very solid, comforting way.  Jamie noticed from his very close vantage point that the man had interesting eyes that were either blue or gray, he couldn’t decide which.  He could see, however, that they seemed very kind and concerned right now.


Suddenly the people from Table Three were kneeling beside them, helping to untangle arms and legs.  “Are either of you hurt? That was a terrific fall,” said a young man about Jamie’s own age as he knelt beside them.


“I don’t know,” Jamie said, “but my left ankle hurts, and I can’t feel my arm…”

”How about now?” The taller man gently pulled Jamie’s arm free of the tangle and straitened it.  “Can you feel it now?”


“Yeah,” said Jamie, “it feels fine.   I guess I was just confused by the fall…”  He felt someone gently moving his ankle, which began to throb.  “Hey!  That really hurts.  I must have done something to my ankle.”  He was conscious the entire time of his partner in havoc.  He found it easier to rest his aching head on the man’s solid chest than to keep looking into those very disturbing eyes.  The man seemed to gather him closer, or was he imagining it…


“OK,” said the young stranger, “my partner and I are going to lift you up and sit you down in this chair.  Try not to put any weight on your ankle.  OK, now, one, two, three…”


Jamie felt himself lifted up then helped into a chair.  He felt bereft… he felt confused… he felt embarrassed.  All around the diner, all the staff, including Sam, were handing out damp towels, apologizing to excited customers, and cleaning up.  His eyes fell on the young man who had helped him up.  He gave Jamie a quick smile then turned to help the other man on the floor.  After a brief check, the young man pulled him to his feet, and they both turned towards Jamie.  The young man’s tall partner came up with a petite older woman who was certainly related to them. 


“Is there a staff room, somewhere private, where we can check you out more closely?  My Auntie Mir is good with injuries-- I’m a dancer, and I get injured all the time.  My name is Nat, by the way, Nat Pacheco.  This is my Aunt Miranda, and this is my partner, Ray Jennings.”  He was oddly formal in his introductions, almost bowing as he presented the others.


“And I’m David Blair, when I’m not pressed into service as your emergency mattress,” said the man who had been on the floor. “I actually live up Russian Hill, not too far from here.”  The man smiled and stood next to Jamie as though needing to be near him, ready to help.


Jamie gave himself a little shake, as if to clear his head.  “Well, I’m Jamie Petrov, at least I was a few minutes ago…  We do have a little break room in the back.  Sam probably won’t mind if we go back there… will you, Sam?” asked Jamie as Sam came up to their little group.


“Will I what?” Sam growled.  “Are you hurt, young one?  That was a nasty fall… I saw it all from the kitchen.”  He could see that Jamie was quite shaken up.


“It’s just my ankle, Sam.  The lady wants to look at it for me, and we should probably be certain this gentlemen isn’t really hurt, either.  I really crashed into him…”  Jamie looked at David with remorse and concern. 


 “I’m pretty sure there’s nothing wrong with me, but it wouldn’t hurt to check…”  David smiled warmly at Jamie and watched with delight as Jamie blushed bright red-- again. 


With David on one side of Jamie and Ray on the other, Sam led the odd little group to the staff break room.  Everyone they passed wished them well and tried to console Jamie.


“Take it easy, Jamie…”


“No one was really hurt, don’t worry…”


“That was some floorshow!”


With a chuckle that startled Jamie, David said, “Next time, just try to leave me out of it, OK?”


“I really hope there won’t be a ‘next time’!” said Jamie vehemently.  "I have
never been so humiliated in my life."


Sasha saw them coming and hurried to open the door to the break room.  Nat pulled out one of the chairs, and Ray and David eased Jamie in to it.  Aunt Miranda knelt down to feel Jamie’s ankle but was hampered by Jamie’s trainers and snug jeans.


“Nat, help me get the poor boy’s shoes off, then maybe we can slip him out of his jeans so I can have some working room.”  By the time the shoes were off, Jamie realized what Miranda intended.


“You want me to take my jeans off?”  Jamie fairly squeaked with embarrassment, and to his dismay, he could feel himself blushing yet again.  He couldn’t understand it.  He was gay, and since high school, he had learned to take pleasure where and when he found it.  Nudity had never been a big issue with him.  He couldn’t look at David. 


“Well, I could cut them away, but the jeans wouldn’t be good for much except cutoffs afterwards,” Miranda said with a somewhat acerbic smile.  “Come on, son, let Nat and Ray help you.”


The kindness in Miranda’s voice when she called Jamie ‘son’ made Jamie tear up even as he gave in to them.  He was surprised when one of Sam’s red aprons dropped over his shoulder to drape on his lap.   “Don’t worry, Jamie,” David said coming up behind him and resting comforting hands on his shoulders.   “All of us only want to help you.” Without seeming to notice the tears, he passed Jamie his own handkerchief.  


Miranda was all business.  “Now Ray and Nat, you two back me up here.”  Jamie and David watched with interest as Ray and Nat linked arms, then knelt down just behind Miranda, each of them reaching out as if to touch her.  She very gently felt Jamie’s leg and ankle, then pulled back and repeated the process leaving just a quarter inch between her hands and Jamie’s skin, humming all the while.  Suddenly, a blue spark snapped in the air, and Jamie felt a kind of heat.  Miranda pulled back, and Ray and Nat smiled and stood up. 


Miranda dusted her hands.  “There now, how does that feel?  Does it still hurt?”  She studied Jamie’s face anxiously.


He was thunderstruck.  “It’s… it’s all gone.  It doesn’t hurt at all…” He wiggled his ankle back and forth to show them all.  “How did you do that?  What happened?” 


Nat grinned, looked at Ray, then answered Jamie.  “I told you, sometimes Auntie Mir is a healer… she could feel what was wrong, and it was something she could see to fix…” 


David said, “I’ve heard of such things, but I’ve never seen it really happen.  You were terrific.  How…”


Miranda gave a pleased little laugh and a shake of her head.  “Oh, it runs in our family.  We’re gypsies, you see, at least Nat and I are.  But Ray is at least an honorary gypsy by now… and something more as well.  We own a club over in the Haight-Ashbury.  It’s called The Gypsy Cavern.  You should come to see us some time.”  She looked at Ray and Nat.  “And speaking of time, we really have to be on our way… Stay in touch, Jamie.”  She handed him a small business card.  “We will be seeing more of you and David… Come on, Nat.” With a swirl of her skirt and a flip of her scarf, she was gone. 


Nat shrugged in amusement and said as he followed, “We really do have people waiting for us.  But give us a call if you need anything.”


Ray took one of Jamie’s hands in both of his.  “I know you’ll feel better soon, Jamie.”  Ray’s warm brown eyes seemed infinitely kind.  “She had a quick and good passage, and there were many waiting for her with love.  They know how you helped, and they care.  You have nothing to regret, Jamie.  One thing I have learned:  Love continues.”


Jamie could only look at Ray with cleansing tears streaming.  Ray gave him, and David, one last smile.  “We will be seeing you both soon.”


Neither David nor Jamie knew what to say, they were just glad to be there together.  Then Sam came to the doorway.  “They said you were OK, Jamie, so I called a cab to take you home.  Larry is finally here, and you should have left an hour ago.  The Diner will pick up the tab.”


“Thanks, Sam.  I’ll be glad to go home and rest.”  Jamie drew up his jeans, then bent to put on his shoes. 


“Here, let me,” offered David.  “I wouldn’t like to see you get dizzy again.”  He knelt down to help.  “I wish I could see you home, but I have a very important meeting in an hour that can’t be put off.”  Jamie found himself mesmerized by David’s blue gray eyes.  “Would it be OK if I call you later this week to see how you are?  You are in the book?”  He smiled when Jaime nodded.  “Well then, I’ll say good-by for now.”   


As David turned to the doorway, Sam asked, “Are you all right?  You were part of the goulash ruckus, weren’t you?”


David grinned and winked at Jamie.  “Yeah, I was the mattress, but I’m fine.  It was just an accident.”  With that he was gone.


Jamie spent the next couple of days trying to figure out what to do on the fifteenth when he had to quit his home on Filbert.  He knew he could stay at the hostel at the Church for a few days.  And Sam had helped him find several of the old Russian families with single rooms to rent, but the idea of paying to join a family had little appeal.  His Uncle Vlad had discouraged any idea he might have had of going to Colorado:  he was welcome to stay with them, but there was very little possibility of work.


He would have liked to go college, but the money just wasn’t there.  Joining the military was a possibility, but Jamie just couldn’t imagine it.  He had known since he was sixteen that he was gay, and he did not want to hide that in a military setting.  With all of his family problems and responsibilities, he had not been able to take the time for more than quick, casual encounters or to find someone interested in a more permanent relationship with a skinny redhead with no prospects.  And he wanted to stay in San Francisco, he wanted to stay home. 


At first after the goulash episode, he thought David might call him, and Jamie was disappointed when he didn’t.  When he thought about being so close to David’s lean form, Jamie could not help blushing.  He dreamed about David’s kind hands and being held in his arms.  He didn’t even know the man.  Why was he so much in his thoughts?


Sunday was fine and sunny, and Jamie went to Ghirardelli Square to lose himself in some drumming.  When the session broke up, he decided to go home.  Luckily the Hyde Street Cable Car had just finished turning for its return to Market Street.  He began to hurry as he saw the Engineer and passengers climb aboard, then ran full tilt to leap on just as it began to pick up speed.  For a terrible minute he teetered on the edge of the first step desperately reaching for anything to keep him from falling off.  A tanned muscular arm pulled him up and a second one gathered him bodily in.  Jamie was trembling with adrenalin and reaction, and it took him a minute to realize he was sitting on one of the outside benches on a man’s lap!


“What-- David!”  Jamie recognized the man and started to blush, smile, and stammer all at once.  “How-- what-- why-- you’re really here--?”


“Well, I’m on my way home, and a good thing it is, too!”  David’s ready smile had a quizzical cast.  “It seems you needed catching yet again…”  He tightened his grip on the younger man as the cable car swung around the first turn with the Engineer ding, ding, dinging the bell.


Jamie was suddenly aware of the amused and interested glances of the other passengers.  Blushing furiously but somehow very comfortable in the strong arms, Jamie said, “I appreciate you grabbing me, but I can sit in my own seat now…Let me go, David!” 


“Not a chance!  I’m going to make sure you get home in one piece, and I like having a warm redhead on my lap… I may have been a little hasty in not wearing my jacket this morning.”  He gave Jamie another little squeeze.  “And I need to talk to you… so just relax and enjoy the ride.”


“Relax?”  Jamie muttered in disbelief, “with all these people watching?  I have never been so humiliated in all my life!”


David chuckled and held Jamie so his head rested comfortably on David’s shoulder.  All too soon for both men, David realized they were coming up to Filbert Street, and he pulled the line to signal the Engineer to stop. 


Reluctantly, David released Jamie, steadied him as he stepped down off the cable car, then followed him with a little leap down.  They waited for the cable car to pass then crossed over to Filbert Street and walked to the big Edwardian at 1154 that was the Petrov home.  The day was clear enough for them to see the bay, the Bay Bridge, and the Coit Tower on the neighboring hill.  The lighthouse seemed to be standing guard over North Beach and the city skyline.  Jamie was surprised when David turned with him to go into the house. 


“This is where I live, at least for now,” said Jamie.  “It’s my old family home.”


And David replied, “Yes, I know.  I do, too.”


Jamie shook his head, a little confused.   “You do what?”


“I live here-- in the apartment on the left.” 


Jamie stopped at the foot of the staircase to the front door.  He noticed that David’s broad grin made his eyes crinkle.  “But you can’t live here.  I would have noticed.  I mean-- I take care of the rentals.  I’ve been in there to do maintenance-- I helped the lady change the levels on the kitchen cabinet shelves when it was first rented.  I’ve never seen you…” 


“Jamie.” David stepped closer and reached for Jamie’s hands.  “You have been too busy to do anything this past year but what you were doing.  The lady you met is my weekly cleaning lady, and I have been spending a lot of time at work helping to get our new partnership up and running… I’m the ‘Blair’ of Williams, Sterling, and Blair… My partner, Steve Williams, was actually your mother’s lawyer and is now the lawyer for you and the estate.  He told me I should look at this place when it came up for rent, and Jamie, I’m so glad I did.  Come inside and let me tell you why…”


Jamie let David lead him into the large apartment, now furnished in a sleek city style that was at once modern and comfortable.  They sat on a small rattan love seat surrounded by big plants on the sun porch overlooking North Beach and the Bay.  David never quit holding Jamie’s hands.


“Jamie, I couldn’t help watching you since I’ve been here.  I’ve seen how hard you work and how you cared for your mother.  And I’ve heard about you all over the neighborhood.  Did you know how well respected you are, how much everyone likes you?”  David gave Jamie’s hands a little shake.


“No, I-- I never…”  Jamie could feel himself tearing up again.  He had been feeling so alone, with no clear purpose.


“Well, it’s true.  And I loved watching you, though you seemed to get thinner and more worried before my eyes.  Then the other day at the diner, when I actually held you, I realized that I love you and want to take care of you.  And I want to hire you…”


“What?!  You tell me you care for me, then you tell me you want to hire me?  Do you think I’m one of those street boys who hang out at the go-go bars on Columbus or at the end of Polk?  I’ve never been so humiliated in all my life!”  Jamie leaped to his feet shivering with rage and disappointment.  Tears streaked his cheeks.  It was all too much, too fast.  But he didn’t resist when David stood to gather him into his arms once again.


“Now calm down, calm down, Jamie.”  David rubbed comforting circles on Jamie’s back, then pulled him back down onto the little sofa.  “Of course, I didn’t mean that.  I want to hire you as manager for this little apartment enclave.  I offered for it, and my offer was accepted.  The deal went to closing the same day you ran into me at the diner.  But I did something rash… After being with you just before, I decided at the meeting to put you down as co-owner, as my partner on the deed.”


Jamie could not believe what he was hearing.  “I’m on the deed?  You mean the Petrov home is still in my name, too?”


“Yes.  Now, won’t you make an honest partner of me?  As the poet says, ‘Come live with me and be my love’-- I want you to be free to go to school, to enjoy life without too many heavy problems.  I won’t have to worry about the new investment, and you can lean on me.  You can count on me to keep you from ‘falling.’  I’ll make the decisions for us, and you can help me be sure they are good ones.  We’ll discuss what we expect from each other, and I will be there to be sure you remember to do what’s good for you and for us, even to punish you, spank you, if necessary.  What do you think?” 


Jamie’s blue eyes were big and dark, and he was pale.  “I just can’t believe it,” he said.  “I have been thinking about you, wanting you to call, wanting to feel you next to me again.  But I thought I was just dreaming when I thought of us together, that there was no chance to find you in my life.”  Jamie shook his head.  “And now to find that you want me, that you have already named me your partner... I’m overwhelmed.” 


Jamie stood and walked to one of the view windows.  David followed and put his arms around Jamie’s waist, resting his chin on Jamie’s shoulder.  Jamie reached up to touch David’s cheek, then turned around, his cheeks flaming.  “You know I have been with lots of men, but I haven’t had much experience with relationships…well, almost none, actually,” Jamie admitted looking down. “I’m not sure I would know how to be a good partner.”


David laughed and gave Jamie a little shake.  “Well that’s the least of our worries-- we can discover everything together.  When you move in… you want to be with me, don’t you?”


“Oh, David, I do, I do.  It sounds like heaven…  If I were with you, I wouldn’t have to worry about what each day would bring because we’d be facing it together.  When my Mom was sick, I never had anyone to share problems, help me see what I should be doing.  And I know it would be good to have some clear cut rules to help me organize better.”


David pulled Jamie close, then pulled back a little.  “This is very serious, Jamie.  And I want you to be sure you understand.  For example, I think you deserve a spanking for that stunt you pulled on the cable car today.  You could have been killed leaping for it as it was pulling away and picking up speed like that.  What if you had really fallen?  You could have been crushed by the back wheels!”  He looked at the young man who had come to mean so much to him.    He decided to take the risk.  “Would you agree to a spanking?” 


Jamie understood that this was not a game.  There was an intensity to David that Jamie had to respect.  In a strange kind of way, Jamie wanted David to value him as much as this. And he wanted to be worthy of David’s serious attention.  It had been a long time since anyone had called him to task for anything.  Almost whispering, Jamie said, “Yes…”


David took his hand and led him back into the living room.  He sat on the leather sofa and pulled a slightly resisting Jamie close, undid his jeans, and drew Jaime down over his lap in one smooth motion.  With almost military precision, David pulled down Jamie’s jeans and underwear.  Jamie whimpered and started to pull away, but David held the younger man tight and close.  He rested his right had on the firm young bottom as he said, “Hush, now, Jamie.  It will all be over soon.  I want you to tell me why we are doing this.”


Taking a hitching breath and resting his flushing hot forehead against the cool leather of the sofa, Jamie was just able to answer.  “I did something dangerous and stupid when I jumped for the cable car without thinking… Oh, David, let me up… I have never been so humiliated in all my life… Ohh…”


David’s answer was to begin a measured series of hard spanking swats that didn’t stop until Jamie’s butt was a fiery, uniform red and Jamie’s pleading had dissolved into tears and sobs.  David hated to begin with Jaime this way, but he wanted the young man to know how important he was to David, that David would do everything he had to do to take care of Jamie, and this was love, too.


David helped Jamie up and just sat with him rubbing soothing circles on his back, murmuring love words and finally saying, “Jamie, I’m very proud of you.  I’ll try to be worthy of your trust.” 


Jamie could only nod and snuggle closer to…his partner.  He must have drifted off to sleep because the next thing he knew it was dark.  He wore no clothes but instead was tucked into a soft woolen blanket, and David was carrying him down the hall to the big master bedroom at the end.  The lighting was soft and mellow, and Jamie welcomed the warmth from the fireplace.  David laid him down gently on the big four poster, which was already turned down.  He gently took away the wrap and pulled up the covers.  The fine cotton sheeting felt like silk to Jamie’s heated skin, and he was intrigued to see that the sheets were a beautiful shade of deep purple.


Jamie had no idea of how beautiful and strong he looked to David as he returned to the bed with an open jar of ointment.  “Here is something to help take the sting away… why don’t you turn over so I can rub some in for you.”  His voice was a caress as he pulled back the covers.  Jamie felt himself flushing as he looked into David’s eyes, which were so full of love and a kind of wonder. 


“You are so beautiful, Jamie,” David breathed.  “I love your eyes and hair and how your skin looks next to the purple of the sheets…” 


Hesitantly, David reached to touch him, waiting until his young partner shyly nodded permission.  Despite being slender, Jamie’s chest was firm, yet rounded and rippling with muscle down to where his ‘happy trail’ began at his flat stomach.  More dark auburn curls surrounded his surprisingly thick cock, which was lengthening visibly as David caressed him for the first time.  He gently stroked Jamie’s velvety balls, then lightly held his smooth, hot cock until the slit bubbled with precum. 


Jamie moaned in pleasure, and David bent to kiss him, first gently caressing his full lips, then deepening the kiss until they were both moaning.  They separated to breathe, and David pulled back shaking his head.  “Here, let me get this ointment on you.  Then maybe I can join you…”  David let that thought hang in the air as he smiled at his young partner, who slowly smiled back. 


Jamie turned over and looked back over one shoulder.  “Will it hurt?  Oh, that feels wonderful…”  David was glad to see that the color was already fading from Jamie’s well-rounded bottom.  Gently he kissed each full cheek.


“Jamie, I want to join you-- will that worry you?  I need to be part of you and to know that you are a part of me.” 


Jamie turned back to face his new partner.  “David, there is nothing I would like more… may I watch you undress?”  Despite his experience, Jamie was blushing adorably, but he was looking David straight in the eye. 


David chuckled to feel his own cheeks warm up.  Quickly, with a graceful economy of motion, he kicked off his shoes, pulled off his shirt, and stepped out of his pants and underwear.  He was tall and well toned without being bulky.  In fact, though he was over six feet, he gave the impression of being powerful and compact because he was also very well proportioned.  His face was clean cut and could have seemed cold if it were not for his expressive mouth and blue gray eyes.  The warm brown of his stylishly cut hair was echoed by his happy trail and the silky curls framing his big beautiful cock, already fully extended and leaking precum at the sight and thought of Jamie. 


Wordlessly, Jamie held out his arms.  David became impossibly harder and was quick to respond to the young redhead’s invitation.  For each of them, the feel of the other’s embrace was like finally coming home.  Every touch and kiss was a caress and an affirmation of all they wanted and all they meant to each other. 


At first David took the lead, lovingly kissing Jamie’s forehead, eyes, temple, nose, ears, and neck, and finally delving deep into his welcoming mouth.  Then he gasped when Jamie caressed and nibbled his nipples.  He was thrilled when Jamie kissed his way down to lave and caress his cock, first licking at the rosy head, then the large vein throbbing beneath.  David could hardly breathe when Jamie took his entire tumescent cock down his velvety throat. He was just able to withdraw and pull his young lover back to another soul searing kiss. 


Gently David laid Jamie down and put his legs over his shoulders.  Reaching into the bowl on the bedside table, he pulled out a condom and handed it to Jamie.  “Put it on me,” he told the younger man.  “I want to be sure you are safe… that you are with me always…” 


His hands shaking, Jamie did as he was told while David warmed some lube on his fingers.  He caressed Jamie’s full bottom, deftly separating his cheeks so he could lave and kiss his sweet pucker until it opened slightly.  Carefully and with love, David inserted first one finger, then two, and finally a third, scissoring to loosen Jamie’s tight channel, stroking for his prostate to give him pleasure.  Finally David generously lubed his own condom covered cock and slowly entered Jamie’s hot channel for the first time. 


Jamie’s first gasp of pain was quickly followed by a delicious moan of pleasure, and David was encouraged to establish a strong rhythm.  Jamie was soon moving to meet David’s every thrust until they both saw stars.  With a final surge, David filled the condom with the force of his cum, and Jamie’s orgasm covered their bellies as David collapsed on top of him. 


Neither wanted to move, but Jamie remembered another moment out of time and started to giggle.  A bit bewildered and a touch aggrieved, David asked the ear next to his mouth, “What is so funny?”


And his young partner answered, “I’m just wondering if it isn’t a very good thing that I can’t help falling… because this is the best, the proudest I have ever been in my life!”


The End