Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Shermin Heights Short: Read My Mind: The Finale

Well, this is the end of Shermin Heights guys!  Boo hoo, I know.  I'm right there with you.  :/  But it's been a good ride and I really hope you enjoy the finale.  Just a heads up...  If you have a habit of reading and listening to music, here's a few tunes that go along with the story.


Perry and Adam on the dock:  Let It Be (Feat. Veela) - Blackmill (soooooo goood!)
 
 
When The Heavy Petters take the stage at night:  Blue Cassette - Friendly Fires (this is one of my faves!)
 
 
 
Okay... enjoy.
 
XOXO NIGHT TEMPEST
 
 




 


READ MY MIND: PART 4: THE FINALE




Before they attracted attention to themselves or to the house, from late night drinkers across the street at Henrie’s Place, Perry pulled them to their feet.   “Come on,” he whispered, not sure what he could possibly do to make Adam feel better.  Actually, Perry did know, but he wasn’t sure if he was ready for that step.  For the time being, this would have to do.

Adam, like a puppy, was led to Perry’s truck.  Against the dirty parking lot of Henrie’s, it shined a dark blue in the waning light, barely this side of the horizon.  An orange cast washed over them both as Perry helped Adam into the cab.  He shut the door, pausing with his hands splayed on the window to stare at the distraught blond.  Their eyes met, and the emptiness they both shared, called to be filled.  Perry didn’t know what to say, how to react to that look, or what to do.  He settled for breaking their connection, and going around the truck before getting in.

Perry turned the keys and the engine roared to life.  Two men waved from the front porch, raising a beer their way.  He smiled back weakly before pulling out of the lot as fast as he could.  “Seatbelt,” he reminded Adam.

“Where are we going?”  Devoid of emotion, Adam leaned back into the seat, clicking his belt into place.

Perry spared him a quick look.  “Does it matter?”

Adam shook his head.  “I just want to get the fuck out of here for a while.”

Reaching over, Perry made a brave move and put his hand over Adam’s.  “One step ahead of you.”

~~~~~

“What is this place?”  Adam allowed Perry to help him out of the truck, not that he needed it.  He just wanted the touch.  As Perry separated their hands and walked a few feet away, Adam took a look around.  Deep in the woods, hot and full of mosquitos, was a rundown house.  Small. Really, really small, the home only had about three windows that he could see.  Painted wood slats made up the siding, helping the structure to blend in with its surroundings.  A neutral brown, that if you drove past it fast enough, you’d miss it all together. 

Adam walked past a ripped up window screen on the ground.  He looked back to Perry, trying his best not to freak out.  “Perry, where are we?”

Hands on his hips, with his back to Adam, Perry cleared his throat.  “Back in the seventies, this was the home of Barb and Harvey La Maine.  They owned the Little Heights Summer Camp, but stayed here all year round.”

Okay.”  Adam walked to stand next to him.  He followed Perry’s stare, finally seeing the other small houses or cabins rather, now that he knew the backstory. Squinting harder, he saw a peek of the water from a small opening in the trees.  “So, why are we here?”

“Barb La Maine, formerly Olivette, is my aunt.  She and Uncle Harvey loved this place so much, but as they got older, and Sherman couldn’t compete with the tourism of the bigger cities, they closed down the camp.  Then finally put it up for sale. That was almost fifteen years ago, Adam.”  He went silent, watching Adam out of the corner of his eye.  The tension, of an unsaid flavor, could almost be cut with a knife.  They both had things to say.  He wanted to comfort Adam, who had calmed a lot since they left, but was still vulnerable.  Adam kept pushing him and pushing him.  This was one of those now or never situations.  For him and for Adam, he had to do this.

Adam shook his head.  “That still doesn’t explain why you and I are standing here.  I wanted to get out, you took me to this place, and I have the feeling you want to say something, but you won’t.  I’m sorry, Perry.  I’m already drowning in my own problems.  If you’re going to just be another one, I can’t be here with you.”

“You asked where we were, and I told you.  The why will come a little later.”  Perry turned, facing Adam.  “But first, why were you crying?”

“It doesn’t matter anymore.”

“It does.”

Adam studied him.  He tilted his head a fraction of an inch, like that could help him see through Perry’s head and into his mind.  “Why does it matter to you?  Aren’t you too man to deal with shit like this?  Because real men don’t talk about their feelings, or cry, or go through hard times… or at least according to you.”

“Now, hold on there.  I never said any of that.  Don’t you go sticking me into some category you made up all by your own damn self.  I got feelings, too.   I know what it’s like to feel like you done fucked up and been fucked over so many times you don’t know which way is up.  I’m trying to help a brother out, get it off your chest is all.  Stop pushing me away when I ain’t done nothing wrong.” 

“Brother?”  Adam’s nostrils flared.  “Just great.  Perry, take me to the B and B.  I’m done here.”

“What do I have to do to get you to be civil to me?” Perry blocked his path to the truck.  “I’m trying, Adam.  You can’t just shove your fear down my throat and expect me to chew it.  I didn’t do anything.  I’m not him.”

Adam stilled.  “What did you just say?”

“I’m not Todd, Adam.”  Perry’s whole body tensed.  “Not by a long shot.  I’m not a fancy dresser.  I don’t cut my hair every other week.  I don’t have a college degree or a sexy car.  I don’t have any experience with another man, nor have I thought about it until you rolled into town.  I don’t always have the right words and I usually try to be quiet for the most part, because I don’t want to sound stupid.  I’m not rich.  I’m not a city boy.  And I’ve never felt so horrible for being me in my entire life, because I’m not what you want.  But I’m trying, Adam.  You just gotta give me a minute.”

“What does that mean?”  Adam could barely breathe.

Perry adjusted his ball cap, squeezing the brim out of habit.  “Can we just be real with each other?  I’m tired, not with you, but with all of this.  I hate dancing around things.”  He walked past Adam, sitting on the dirty, front porch steps.

Adam joined him, plopping down on the top step.  “So…”

“I’m not going to lie to you, Adam.  I done lied to my mama about it, and that’s bad enough.  I’m attracted to you.”  Perry stared at the ground.  “Alright, I’m being honest with you.  It’s your turn.”

“I thought you were too man to…”

“Adam, for crying out loud, I’m trying.  Please, cut me some slack.”

Flabbergasted, but keeping it from his face, Adam crossed his arms over his knees.  “I’ve begun to realize, or more like had a breakdown.  This is my turning point.  This is the big chance I’ve waited for all of my life to do something amazing, to take a big leap.  But everything around me seems to be falling down.  Todd, he hurt me so bad.”  Adam put his forehead to his arms, drawing his knees up.  “The way your dad looked at me… it broke me a little, like I’d disappointed him beyond repair.  I’m scared that my being here has changed everyone’s lives, and not in a good way.  I’m … scared of whatever is happening between us, because you may be attracted to me, but what does that mean in the long run?  I’m overwhelmed and I don’t have anywhere to turn.  I’m stuck in this situation, and I’m the only person I can rely on.  Do you understand?”

“No.  I don’t.”  Perry scooted over, aligning his thigh with Adam’s.  “Because you aren’t alone, Adam.  I said I wanted to be real with you.  This is me.  This is who I am, and despite what how I might have come across the past few days, I do like you.  You remind me of me, and that makes me comfortable.  Sure, I’m scared like you are, but for different reasons.  I’m scared that I’ve never felt this way for another man before.  I’m scared that by putting that out there, you’ll think I’m lying, and run away when this is all over.  I’m scared that I don’t have anything to offer you, except me, and an apology.  I just wish you’d hear what I have to say.”

“And what do you have to say, Perry?”  Adam looked up, enraptured by Perry’s eyes.  If he’d ever wanted a man to look at him at a certain way, it would be this way, like he was it.

“I did a lot of thinking after you left today.  I did wrong by you.  I offered you friendship.  I opened up to you and you did the same, and then I let you leave thinking you did something wrong.  Friends don’t do that, and neither do people that care about you.”

“Perry…”

“Nah, here me out.  I hated watching you make a stand all on your own while we stood back and did nothing.  It takes a strong man to go on camera and stick up for himself and a bunch of other people that he’s never met before.  I’ve never had a cause like that before.  Guess I’ve been pretty sheltered and fortunate living in a small town like this, but you’ve been out there this entire time fighting for what’s right.  That’s a real man, Adam.  No matter how small you feel right now you’re a bigger part of the world than you know.  I ain’t done nothin with my life, but I want to now, because of you.  That’s why we’re here, Adam.  This is what I have to offer you.”

Adam shivered as Perry’s arm slid around his shoulders.  “What are you talking about?”

“After you left, I was sitting there thinking about Leighton, and how they called our home a gay shelter.  What’s wrong with that?  Why can’t there be a place that’s a safe zone from the rest of the world?  Why can’t those men and women have a beautiful place to go, to be themselves?”

“I’m not following.”

Perry smiled.  “I called my Aunt Barb and told her what was doing.  Of course, she already saw the news.  Broke her heart, you know?  Anyway, we got to talking, and I asked how much she would sell me this place for.”

Things clicked in Adam’s mind.  A smile betrayed his broken heart.  He leaned into Perry.  “And what did she say?”

“Well, we got ten acres, six cabins, the main house, and the dock, including all the smaller facilities for 75, 000 with a little family discount.  Nobody else wants the place.  It’s too much work, they reckon.  But I was thinking about it, and if you’re on board, maybe the proceeds from the festival could go here.”

“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”  Adam almost melted as Perry turned into him, embracing him with both arms.

“I don’t have nothin else, Adam.  You’re talking about a turning point, and a cause, why not start here?  You wanna run an LGBT retreat with me?”

The answer came immediately with no hesitation.  “Yes.”

Perry licked his lips, grinning from ear to ear.  “I thought you might say that.”  He leaned down, stopping an inch from Adam’s lips.  “And I thought that might make you smile.”  He closed the distance and kissed Adam Jackson like a true southern gentleman, sweet and smooth, like an icy cold glass of tea on a hot day.  Perfect.

~~~~~

Leighton moved out of town today.  They left all of their signs behind.  Picking up every piece of wood and cardboard to put in the trash, felt like a victory.  The process was cleansing in a way, and uplifting for the town as a whole.  By no means is Leighton finished with these people, or us, but it gave everyone a chance to breathe.  This town has had its first taste of the outside world.  Most of them were born here, and have lived here their whole lives.  They value family, and their ability to connect with each other, taking any obstacle head on. 

In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve grown to love each and every person I’ve encountered.  The way they don’t question who you are or bother with the details until they need to, it’s beautiful.  Coming to Shermin, you’re greeted with a hug and a smile. It’s like coming home to a place you’ve never been before, and after having this feeling, I can’t let them go.  I want to make things right in my own life.  I want to nourish this purpose that’s come to light in my heart.  I want to get to know them better, share laughs with them, and be one of them.

There was always something missing in the city for me.  After some reflection, I realized it wasn’t a man, or a job, or anything cookie cutter that we expect in life.  It was this place and the magic that comes with it.  I’ve bared my soul to these people.  They’ve seen me at my worst, and hopefully, they’ll see me at my best.  I want him to see me at my best, because he is more of a man than I can ever hope to be. He was honest.  He was caring, and he put himself out there to make me smile.  That… is a real man.

My heart isn’t fully healed yet, but that’s okay.  It’s alright to grieve the loss of another by your side, but only when you’re honest about it.  That’s when you find others around you, people that come to your aid, and better your life.  I want to pass that on to you.  I want to invite those that are hurting to come and share who you are with me, and with this town.  I want you to feel the warmth of these people, and the magic they’ve created here in Shermin. 

To those of you who have been so kind, donated your time and your efforts to making this festival possible, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Our cause is big, and our opportunities are small. Without you, this would not be possible.  To those of you who have been by my side from the beginning, who have shared in my joy and my pain through my writing, I thank you even more.  Without you guys, I would have given up my daily cause a long time ago.  I would be just another boy stuck in a rut, with no support system to get him by.  But to you other boys, that don’t have the support they need… I’m here for you, too.

This festival started as a means to show up Leighton, but it’s turned into so much more.  All the puzzle pieces have come together to construct a picture of the future of Shermin Heights, and of the community as a whole.  And I’m proud to share with you that we now have a cause worthy of your donations.  The link and information will be provided on The Out homepage.  I hope you’re all as excited as I am.  I hope this little bit of news will warm your hearts and give you hope.  Thank you again for giving me the drive I needed to make this happen.

With all my love,

Adam

~~~~~

Saturday grew closer every passing minute, and Adam became nervous.  Perry was still by his side, but they were taking things slower than a Kentucky summer afternoon.  They’d only shared one other kiss, and that had been quick and right before he had to go inside for bed.  He wondered if Perry would be willing to take things up a notch, but he was also scared of pushing him away.  They hadn’t told their families.  They hadn’t told Perry’s friends. Their minds were too focused on the festival and all the work that needed to be done.

But as he sat there, looking over the final set-up list for Saturday, all by himself on the porch of the B and B, Adam really wanted Perry to be with him.  It wasn’t hard to make a phone call, and see what the guy was up to.  It shouldn’t be hard to spend some alone time together, and see what happened from there.  But his nerves were getting the best of him.  And if he was being honest, he knew Perry was nervous, too.  Although, if they were ever going to make this work, have a real relationship if that’s what this was, he needed to tell Perry that’s what he wanted. The poor guy wasn’t a mind reader.

Grabbing his phone from his shirt pocket, Adam dialed Perry, and leaned against the porch railing.  The dial tone went on and on.  Then came the voicemail and his heart broke a little.  Perry was probably busy or maybe he fell asleep.  Disheartened, Adam was about to put the phone back, when it buzzed in his hand.

He smiled.  “Hello?”

“Sorry, I was helping Mason put some things in the truck for Saturday.  What’s up?”  Adam closed his eyes at the sound of Perry’s voice, rich with a twang that lit his body up.

“You busy later?”

“Uh, no.  Did you need some help over there?”

“No.  Everything’s pretty much set for Saturday.  I just thought you and I could hang out a little, if that’s alright with you.”

There was a long pause.  Adam bit his lip and stood up straight. Fuck.  Now he’s scared, he thought.  What do I do?  Think damn it. But Perry took his fear away. “That sounds fine.  Let me go clean up a bit first.  An hour sound good?”

“Yeah, sounds great.”

“Okay then, I’ll be round shortly.”

“Okay,” Adam whispered, scared he was going to overdo it.  He put the phone to his chest and slid back onto the porch railing.

A little over an hour later, Perry rolled up to Merna’s.  He’d donned his cleanest boots, a plaid button up with the little pearl snaps that his mama called formal, and jeans that had been sitting in his closet since last Christmas.  They were a little tight, but they didn’t have holes like the others.  He was nervous that he’d overdone it with the outfit.  Hell, he had no idea what they were going to do, or what this even was.  Was it a date?  Was he supposed to have planned something?
“Shit,” he muttered, closing his truck door before trying to find space in his back pocket for his keys.  He settled for his shirt pocket because no way no how were the keys going to fit in his jeans.


Adam came down the porch steps.  Perry noticed the smile first.  Then he saw the confident bounce in Adam’s step.  He looked different, happier than a few days ago.  What had changed?  Curious, Perry offered a smile back and greeted Adam on the gravel drive.

“What are you all happy about?”  He grinned.

Adam’s face fell.  He looked around, stuffing his hands in his pockets.  “Nothing, I guess.  You, uh, you look nice.  Going somewhere later?”

“Not that I know of, I just…”

“You got all dressed up for me?”  Adam wouldn’t look at him.

“Yeah, I guess I did.” Perry shrugged.  “Did I do something wrong?  This too much?”

The blond shook his head quickly.  “Nope.  Uh…”

“What is the matter?  You looked happy as a clam coming down those stairs and now you look like I kicked your dog.”

Adam blew out a long breath.  “I’m thinking about this too much.  Are you scared of hanging out together, just the two of us?”  He finally looked up.

“Now why would I be scared of you?”

“Because I want to, um, I don’t know.”

“You want to, um, what?”

“Take things a little further, maybe.  Talk about us?”

“Oh.”  Perry nodded. “Okay.  We can do that.”

“Could we go somewhere else?  I’ve been cooped up here all day, and it’d be nice to have some privacy.”

Perry laughed.  “The old birds pecking ya too hard?”

“Something like that.”

“Alright, get in.”

They drove down Main Street and took a right at the public boat dock.  Neither of them said a word, enjoying the tranquil hum of the truck engine, and the scenery that Shermin offered.  When they got to a small park sign, Adam smiled, thinking this would be the perfect place to let it all out.  Four parking spots, a picnic table, and a well-used swing set were all he could see. 

“Come on, I didn’t take you here to swing.”  Perry winked, opening the door and going to the truck bed. He opened the metal box near the window and pulled out a beat-up blanket that he used to wrap up heavy cargo so it didn’t scratch his paint. “Pull back the seat and I got a bottle of whiskey somewhere in there.”

“You drive around with liquor in your truck?”  Adam frowned.

“No.”  Perry rolled his eyes.  “It was a thank you gift from Matt and Mason.  They just gave it to me today.  Never been opened, but I thought a few sips wouldn’t hurt tonight.”

“Oh.”  Adam reached blindly behind the seat, wiggling his fingers until he touched glass.  “I didn’t mean you were a…”

“Will you stop that?  You’re always thinking too much.”  Perry carried the blanket around the truck, waiting for Adam to stand up.  “I’m not nervous until you get that way.”

“Sorry.”  Adam smiled to himself.  “I keep thinking you’re going to run.”

“Thought about it, but you know what?  I don’t really want to.”

“So we’re cool?” 

Perry chuckled.  “What are you, in junior high?”  He walked past Adam, leading him away from the open park and onto a trail that was barely visible.  Adam saw the little sign for the water, and his heart raced.  This was a date, he confirmed.  Perry was okay with this. “Me and the boys come out here every so often.  Ain’t much to do around here, so we shoot the shit around town.  This place is nice.  No one really comes this way too often.”

“I see that.” Adam swatted a small branch away from his face, stepping into tall grass.  The path was barely there, but it was there.  A mosquito buzzed near his ear and he batted it with his hand.  “Is there a beach?”

“Nah, just rocks mostly.  But there is an overlook.  Come on.”  Perry grabbed his hand, tugging him through the last leg of the woods.  The trees dwindled, creating an opening that took his breath away.  A decent sized dock with a waist height railing sat on the water, connected to the path.  The river that ran around town fed into a lake that gleamed with the setting sun.  Not one house or boat marred the natural beauty of the place.  It was wild, untamed, and most of all, peaceful.

Adam’s hand slipped from Perry’s to get a closer look.  He leaned onto the railing and smiled.  “I didn’t know there was a lake here.”

“It’s actually a pond by city standards, but we call it a lake, too.  The path there is owned by the city, but the water and the dock here belongs to the camp, technically.”

“The camp, seriously?”  Adam beamed, setting down the whiskey.

“Yeah.” Perry dropped the blanket.  “Right over yonder,” he pointed to the west,” past that patch of trees is the first cabin.  Pretty cool, huh?”

“This would be perfect, Perry.  I can’t believe this property has sat as long as it has.” 

“Well, they’ve had offers before, but it was some big chain resort that wanted to plow the woods and start fresh.  Aunt Barb wouldn’t sell, thought they were out of their minds for trying to ruin this.  And I know she wanted to sell it to one of us, knew I always had a soft spot for the place.”

“Why didn’t you?  Buy it sooner, I mean.”

Perry stared out over the water.  “Didn’t think I had the brains to run a place like this.”  He shrugged.  “Besides, I had to help my daddy at the lumber yard.  That’s where the money’s at.”

Adam groaned, standing up straight.  He turned Perry to him.  “You are not stupid.  I wish you’d stop saying that.”

“I ain’t had no-one tell me different my entire life, Adam.  Not until you.  I didn’t have a reason to buy that place, or someone who would help me run it.”  Perry looked away.  “I ain’t ever had a purpose before, but here you are, ready to up and move here to this small ass town, telling me I’m something and that you like me.  I just ain’t had that before.”

“I’m just as scared as you are, Perry.”  Adam reached up, bringing those eyes back to him.  “But this feels right, not just you and me, but this place and what we want to do with it.  It feels really good.”

“You ain’t just sayin that?”

“No,” Adam whispered.  “Perry?”

“Yeah?”

“I like you.”

Perry grinned wide, his cheeks flushing a bit.  “Hell, I like you, too.”

“Then kiss me, like you mean it.”

“I already done kissed you.”  Perry took a deep breath.  “But you want more, don’t you?”

“Do you?”

Perry thought about it for a second, not because he didn’t want to, but because of the changes to his life Adam would bring.  His eyes grew serious.  His hands itched.  “Promise you won’t run away.  If this festival gets out of hand, and things don’t go perfectly, promise you won’t up and leave.  I’m making serious changes to my life for you, and for me, and I have to know for certain that when the dust settles, I won’t be on my own again.”

“That sounds like a relationship to me, Perry.”

“That’s what it was supposed to sound like.  I can’t promise you the world, Adam, but I can give you myself.  That’s about as honest as I can be.”

“Honesty is just what I’m looking for.  I’ve been lied to way too many times.  I’m not here to hook up and go back home.  I want this to be home.  I’m in love with Shermin, and so far, I’m in like with you.”

Perry sniffed hard, his eyes watering, but he kept himself in check.  “That’s good, because I’m in like with you, too.”

He pulled Adam against him, loving how their hard bodies aligned.  The heat of another man, the rightness in his chest coupled with the arms that went around his waist, made him feel like a man—a  man who had needs and feelings, a man who wasn’t alone, and a man who was smart enough to make this work.

“I think I’m gay.”  He smiled into Adam’s hair.

“No.  I think you’re into me, and only me.  That’s only a little gay.”

“But what I want to do to you is probably very gay,” Perry argued softly.  “Then again, I don’t know much in that department.”

Adam lifted his head.  “Let me show you,” he husked.  “Kiss me first.”

“That, I know how to do.”  Perry tilted his head, bringing his lips to Adam’s mouth.  Unlike the first two kisses they’d shared, this was anything but innocent.  Adam fit right into his arms, molded to his hands, as their mouths opened in unison.  The texture of a man’s tongue was as soft as a woman’s, but Perry tried not to compare.  Wet and silken, Adam’s tongue slid over his while capturing his upper lip with his mouth.  Their lips closed, sealing them together, before the hunger grew to a new height. 

Perry pressed his mouth firmly to Adam’s, needing to memorize the taste of sweet tea with mint.  He bathed the roof of Adam’s mouth with his tongue, feeling the shiver run through the man’s body, swiping away the taste of him into his own mouth.  Lost to the world around him, Perry let his fears evaporate.  It was okay to be aroused by this man and all that he offered.  It was okay to find him beautiful and tell him that with his hands and mouth.  It was okay to inhale his scent and groan with longing to see what was under those clothes.  This, him and Adam, it was all okay.

Adam’s lips moved to his neck, dancing over his day old stubble, sucking at his Adam’s apple, which was so ironic it hurt.  The snaps on his shirt gave way to quick fingers, baring his chest to the setting sun.  A parade of hard, firm kisses lit his body up, trailing down his chest, capturing a nipple. 

“Adam,” he moaned.   “My legs are shaking,” he admitted.

“Good,” Adam purred back, pulling away hurriedly.  He pulled his thin shirt over his head, making sure not to whip it into the water.  “Help me.”  He grabbed the blanket, noting Perry’s dick, hard in his jeans as he bent over. 

The blanket, held on each side, snapped into the air, coming down to the dock in a perfect square.  Not wanting to lose the heat they’d created, Adam kicked off his tennis shoes and kneeled on the fabric.  He held his hand up to Perry.  The country boy kicked his boots off, making sure to shed his shirt before he dropped to his knees.

“This is taking it a hell of a lot further, Adam.” His rough response surprised him.  There was twinge of something dark to his voice, but Adam didn’t look scared in the least.  He looked excited.  Just like him.

They crawled to each other, meeting in the middle with a kiss.  Something took over Perry, just like the adrenaline that filled him before a fist fight, he was filled with a buzz of pent up energy.  He rolled Adam onto his back, admiring his tight, fit body.  Not too muscular, but strong where it counted.  The bunch of his abs as he spread his legs for Perry and the way his arms flexed as he raised them above his head.  Perry was mesmerized.  He ran his hands up Adam’s sides, loving the power he had over the man.  The heel of his palm smoothed into the dip of Adam’s pits, traveling up and over the silkier skin of his arms.  His hands eventually locked around Adam’s wrists while pushing his erection forcefully against him.  Their eyes were unwavering, locked on each other as Adam let him explore.  It helped to ease the tension in the back of his mind, but he wasn’t a baby. 

Now that he’d decided what he wanted, he was going to go after it.  Adam, in his short time in Perry’s life, had taught him that.  Yeah, he was a man, but men wanted just the same as women.  They wanted hearts to share, goals to achieve, and arms to wrap them up after a long day.  Right now, and probably for a long time, he wanted Adam Jackson.  His lips were drawn the man’s collar bone, where he became a slave to the taste of Adam’s skin.  He ran his hands up a foreign chest, his palms massaging into Adam’s nipples. 

Adam groaned, out of his mind.  The warm evening floating around him, heating him up even more, Perry’s mouth on his neck, his hands on his sensitive nipples… it was so much to take in.  They were outside, in a public place, sort of.  What should have scared him only excited him.  He liked how spontaneous and sincere Perry was, in the moment and passionate.  With words, with his eyes, or with the way he put his hands on his hips, Perry was unlike any other man he’d ever been with. 

Todd could kiss his ass.  That bastard had never taken the time to indulge like Perry did.  He’d never kissed him until he was dizzy.  He’d never taken the minutes needed to make a connection before they jumped in bed.  This… Adam smiled with his eyes closed, was better than foreplay.  This was touch.  This was need.  This was care.  This was a real man.  As his belly button was bathed, nipped, and treated to minutes of tender care, Adam buried Todd in his mind.  He gave Perry the room needed to grow in his heart, because it was all his.

Perry stopped just shy of Adam’s jeans.  He kept rubbing circles with his thumbs into Adam’s skin, keeping him busy while he decided just what the fuck to do next.  “Go big or go home,” he whispered to himself.

“What?”  Adam murmured dreamily, letting his eyes open to the colorful wash of sky above.  Turning a deeper purple, melted with the most beautiful orange he had ever seen.  The smell of the lake and the lap of the water against the rocks got to him.  This was perfection.

“Nothing,” Perry rubbed his stomach, and took a deep breath.  With both hands, he pulled Adam’s jeans down, making sure the elastic band of underwear was hooked under his fingers.  The look on Adam’s face was exactly what he wanted, to reflect his own feelings, both excited and nervous.  “I think it’s supposed to go like this,” he whispered, freeing Adam of the last piece of clothing.  He lay naked on the blanket, unmoving except for the rise and fall of his chest. 

“Like what?”  Adam swallowed, resisting the urge to cover up.

Perry exhaled loudly, studying Adam with hunger.  “Like this.” 

Perry mustered the courage needed to grab Adam’s length and run his tongue over the head.  The taste was different, to say the least.  A little musky, headier than he’d expected, Perry closed his mouth to experience it fully.  The flavor wasn’t bad, just unexpected.  He could go for some more, he thought, smiling.  Again, he licked Adam’s cock, paying attention to the head.  Perry liked to rub his own dick, what man didn’t?   But he especially liked to rub his thumb over the slit on top.  He could only imagine how good it felt for Adam, sans thumb, with a tongue instead.

Feeling bolder, and fueled by the ragged moan from Adam’s lips, Perry opened his mouth and took the head inside.  Almost instantly, he felt the flesh in his mouth grow in size, testing his limits as he took more.  His fist closed around the base of Adam’s cock, he bobbed up and down on the first few inches.  He wasn’t ready to be a complete champ and try to choke himself with more.  This seemed good enough.  He could tell Adam was enjoying it.  Hell, he loved it. 

Opening his mouth wider, Perry slipped his fist down a little.  He could do this, make Adam feel good.  He deserved more.  He deserved to be taken care of, happy for once.  Perry was a giver.  He’d given all of himself and locked the other part away, because he thought it wasn’t any good.  He wanted to make others happy around him, but he never knew the proper way to go about it.  This was the first time he wanted to share that other side of himself with someone.  The first time he knew for certain, this was the right way to go about things.  Taking Adam deeper into his mouth, he closed his eyes. 

Hands in his hair set him on fire.  A light sheen of sweat began to appear on the small of his back.  Adam did things to him that no woman ever had.  Adam made him nervous, made him think, and made him like himself.  He had it bad.  So bad, in fact, that he was willing to go above and beyond what Adam was expecting.  Perry pulled off Adam’s length, licking from base to head, completely into it now.  He wasn’t great, but he was eager to please.  Sloppy and with wet lips, he rained kisses up Adam’s chest, until he was face to face with Adam again.

Adam grabbed Perry’s face, settling him onto his chest.  He rubbed against the denim from underneath, arching his back as strong arms held him together, and lips joined with his.  “Want you,” he managed between gasps for air.

“What do I do?”  Perry propped up on his hands in a push up on his knees.  His ripped chest made Adam salivate.  He gave Perry a funny look, covering his eyes, only a tiny bit embarrassed.

“You can start by taking off the pants.  Being naked usually helps.”  Adam blushed, putting his forearm across his face.

“Aren’t you supposed to see this part?”  Perry unbuttoned his jeans, pulling down the zipper.  “I thought you liked my naked ass.”

Adam’s arm slid to his chest.  He propped up on his elbows with lust filled eyes.  “Take it off, Olivette.”

“I knew you liked me naked.”

“Who wouldn’t?”  Adam exhaled.  Jeans sliding down over those hips, that ass, yes Lord… he could die a happy man.

“I am pretty sexy, aren’t I?”  Perry teased, shimmying the rest of his jeans over his ankles. 

“Uh huh.”  Adam tried not to whistle at the cock that stood to attention a few feet from his face.  Uncut, not too big, but a whole lot of right, he licked his lips. 

Perry cocked a brow then smiled.  “This what you want, Jackson?”  He fisted his cock, stroking down to give Adam a view of the head.  “I think it wants you, too.”

“Looks that way,” Adam purred.  “Let me show you how it’s done.” 

He got to his knees, crawling to Perry.  He dipped his back, pushing his ass out as his eyes glanced up.  He wanted Perry to get a real good look.  He wanted this man to be just as weak as he felt.  Damn, he was sexy, Adam thought.  Flattening a hand across Perry’s erection, to hold it to his stomach, Adam went lower.  He licked the silky skin of Perry’s balls. Cupping them with his hand, he rolled them, sucking one at a time into his mouth.

“Fuck, boy,” Perry groaned, shutting his eyes with his head back. 

Adam smiled, licking up to the head of Perry’s cock. He spit on it, giving it a few strokes before diving right in.  His mouth sucked hard, drawing out a bead of fluid onto his tongue.  Relaxing his lips, he squeezed the base with his hand and bobbed onto Perry’s length, right down to the root.

“Holy shit!”  Perry looked down to see those blue eyes staring up at him.  He put a hand to the back of Adam’s head as one locked around his thigh, biting deep.  Adam smiled with his eyes, going down to the base again, gagging before pulling back.  His ass pushed higher into the air and Perry couldn’t resist.  He leaned forward, pushing his cock deeper into Adam’s mouth and smacked that ass hard.  Adam moaned, sucking harder to show he liked it.  Keeping his balance with one hand, he pushed Perry back up.

“Like this,” he laid out on his back.  “Turn around and straddle me.”

Perry’s brow rose, but he didn’t question it.  He wanted that mouth on his cock again.  He wanted to give Adam what he wanted.  Lowering his dick to Adam’s mouth, he spread his knees and groaned.  Perry arched his back, naked as the day he was born, looking out over the water.  He wanted a house, right here where they were fornicating under the open sky.  He wanted to wake up every morning and feel this, with their home at his back.  He wanted Adam to moan like this every day.  He wanted to taste his man straight out of bed and then have a cigarette right here, on this very dock.

A little scared that he was jumping ahead of himself, Perry shook it off.  His hips began to roll towards Adam, sliding his cock against the other man’s tongue and deep into his hot mouth.  Perry made his way back down, balancing himself with his hands.  He kissed Adam’s cock, giving it a little attention until it was made very clear, with a lift of Adam’s ass, what he wanted.  Perry took a few deep breaths before spitting onto the little hole, inches from his face.  Adam moaned around his cock, sending pleasure to his very core.  The vibration almost made him explode right there.  But again, he had a mission—one that involved preparation for the real thing, sex with another man.  He could do this.  As his finger rubbed the bead of moisture into Adam’s hole, Perry sank back into the heat of the moment.  His thumb pressed hard over the bud, massaging deeper and deeper until it sank inside. 

“Fuck,” he whispered, feeling the heat surrounding his thumb.  The tight pull begging him to go further inside.  If this was just his finger, he could only imagine what his cock would feel like in there.  Inside of Adam, he groaned.  God, he wanted it more than anything. 

His cock slipped from Adam’s mouth.  “More,” the blond begged.  “Please, Perry.  Stretch me.”

After dipping his finger in and out of Adam, Perry pulled his thumb out completely, replacing it with two fingers.  “Like this,” he asked, bending over to look between his legs.

Adam arched his back, immediately grabbing Perry’s dick in response.  “Mmm.”

“Feels good, Adam.  Feels so fucking good.”  Perry positioned himself lower, adjusting his arm so he could suck and use his fingers at the same time.  He felt like he’d never get enough of this, two men out in the open with no boundaries.  He felt so free, and he couldn’t have asked for a better partner than Adam.  Perry liked how Adam was shy, a bit of a brat, but a little dirty behind the curtain.  He liked dirty just fine.  But there was still a connection between them, he thought, sliding his fingers in and out, running his mouth up and down Adam’s cock.  They were different, yet, the same.  They were perfect for each other, truthfully.

He was rolled over with a lock of legs, landing him on his ass.  Adam’s backside was in his lap as the man slowly sat up, rubbing against him.  Their hands found one another’s, sliding them up Adam’s chest.  “In me,” Adam whispered, slipping his head back to fit against Perry’s shoulder.  “I can’t wait.”

“Me neither,” Perry growled.  “I want to see your face, though.”

Adam quickly turned, straddling his lap.  “Better?”

“Perfect.”  Perry fisted the hair at the back of Adam’s head, crushing their lips together.  “Perfect,” he breathed into Adam’s mouth.

“Fuck me, Olivette.”  Adam gave him a coy stare, running a hand up his chest, twisting his fingers through the patch of hair between his nipples.

Perry hoisted Adam up.  “Gladly.”   Using one hand, he held onto Adam’s hips, and with the other guided his cock to the heat between those full cheeks.  “Sit down, baby.”

Adam braced his hands on Perry’s shoulders, staring him right in the eye.  His breath hitched a little as the head pushed inside, slowly stretching him open.  His mouth opened in surprise, even though he knew it was coming.  The last light of the sun slashed across the dock in a marvelous orange, cutting into his eyes.  Perry had never seen anything more beautiful in his entire life than the pleasure in Adam’s eyes.  He pushed up with his hips a little, urging the last few inches inside, where it was so hot and tight that he never wanted to leave. 

When Adam was fully seated, seeing stars in Perry’s eyes, he rotated his hips.  It felt so good, so full, and just right from this angle.  “Perry?”

“I’m fine,” he assured Adam.  “God damn, I’m more than fine.  Keep going, baby.”  Adam lifted up, rolling his chest against him like an exotic dance.  “That’s it, Adam.  Ah, hell yeah.”

Adam bit his lip, using ever muscle in his thighs to slowly lift up.  “You like that?”

“Like is being disrespectful.  I love it,” Perry admitted freely.  “Dance for me, baby.”

Adam closed his eyes, letting his head fall back as he fucked himself on Perry’s cock.  Slow at first, he slid up the rigid length then down, giving every lap a good rotation of his hips before he surfaced into the air again.  But as hands drifted to his hips, picking up his pace, Adam craved more.  He looked down the few inches separating them.  “Make love to me, Perry.”

“I thought it was like.”  Perry swallowed.

Adam’s breathing came quicker, his ass slapping against Perry’s thighs.  “Does this feel like, like to you?” 

Perry shook his head, taking over.  “No,” he groaned.

“Then take me, damn it.” 

Adam was shoved onto his back.  The wind knocked right from him, but in a good way, he took the pain of his fading bruises into himself and held on.  He couldn’t stop smiling.  A tear ran down his cheek as Perry pushed his thighs up and took him like the man he was, not angry hard, but hard enough to feel the ‘like’ reach his cock. 

 “Yes,” he murmured.  “Yes.  Yes!”  His back arched.  His ass was grabbed from underneath, gripped as Perry’s cock began to piston into him, touching every part he’d thought he’d been missing.  His body sang.  His cock drooled on his stomach.  He had to touch it. 

Perry saw the buildup slide through Adam’s eyes, the hand grip his cock, slicking up and down in a fury.  “Me too,” he grunted.  “Soon.”

Soon came ten minutes later.  Perry’s arms were ready to fall off his body from shaking so hard.  He had to set Adam down for the home stretch.  He wanted to eat the cries of his release away with his mouth.  He wanted to hear it up close—the pleasure he’d caused.  He jerked, pumping into Adam a few more times until he grunted and pulled out.  Leaning down over Adam’s chest, he came, releasing thick ropes of white over his lover’s skin.  Adam pulled him down, kissing him hard.  He opened his mouth with a cry, his own semen mixing with Perry’s on his chest. 

Perry’s arms locked up, staring down at Adam, both of them breathing heavy.  Neither could speak just yet.  When his arms refused to hold him up any longer, Perry rolled over onto his back, sprawling out.  He reached for Adam’s hand, holding it to let him know what he meant.  After the sky turned a deep shade of blue, the sun gone down, and the trees silhouetted in the distance, Perry smiled.

“I don’t know about you, but I think that was pretty gay.  I’m sure I qualify now.”

Adam looked to the side, grinning.  He busted up laughing.  “Welcome to the club.”

Perry scooted closer, wrapping Adam in his arms.  “Do I get a t-shirt?”

“I like you without one.”

“Smartass.”

“And don’t you forget it.” Adam wrapped his leg around Perry’s, closing his eyes.

A few yards away, Joe Mayfield and his two buddies grabbed their backpacks and headed back out to the main road from the woods.  Joe’s nostrils flared as he flicked through the pictures on his camera, slowing the group down.  “I got you now, Perry Olivette.”

He gave a cold grin to his boys upon looking up, flipping the camera around for them to see. 

~~~~

Adam met Charleston in the parking lot of Henrie’s Place.  Noah and Jamie were in Miss Merna’s yard, handing out volunteer t-shirts. Matt and Mason were helping Henrie direct the organizations and businesses to their booths or stations.  And his mother and father were down at the very end, setting up the craft fair and new age emporium tent. 

“Good to see you, man.”  Adam stuck out his hand. 

A young guy with long hair in dark brown dreads gave his hand a firm shake.  “You look good, Jackson.  What have you been up to?”

“This.”  Adam gestured around him.  Rainbow banners blew in the wind as if on cue, decorating the front porch of the bar. 

“I can see that.  I meant what have you been doing to make you so happy?  You’re practically glowing.  You aren’t pregnant, are you?”  Charleston let out a deep laugh, sucking it back in, in the most obnoxious way, but it always made Adam laugh.

“Pretty sure that’s not possible.”

“Anything is possible.”  Charleston put his arm around Adam’s shoulders.  “I’m sure one day in the future, they’ll be able to get anyone pregnant.”

“I forgot how strange you are.”  Adam chuckled, going to the back of Charleston’s one ton van.  Painted a shiny black, red rose decals lined the back windows.  The artist opened the back with a rattle of red beads hanging from the ceiling.  Four men waved back at them from the inside.  “I see you brought everyone.”

Charleston’s band, The Heavy Petters, was the epitome of alternative hipster indie jelly.  They had a huge following in Frankfort and some of the surrounding areas.  It was kind of nice to see a little city support here from his home town, and to know that Charleston was down with the festival.  He was a big name, a guy with a lot of money that had influence over the younger gay crowd. 

“So, the dude in the blue suit, and that is a killer suit bro.”  He made a clicking noise, pointing to Henrie.  “Yeah so, blue suit says your honey pot is up to 11,000 already. You little sweet peach, Jackson.”  Charleston gave him a kiss on the cheek, slapping his shoulder.  “We’re gonna start setting up the equipment on stage for later.  This is so exciting.  A small town pride.  Never heard of such, but I dig it.  I’m already feeling the love and shit.”

“This isn’t pride, Charleston,” Adam quickly corrected him.  “This is a fundraiser for the New Heights Retreat.”

“Call it what you want, but I saw dudes in tiny underwear and feathers.”  Charleston shrugged, giving his dreads a flip.  He raised a hand and laughed.  “Well, hey beautiful.”

“Who are you…”  Adam turned to see Granny Ella Mae wearing a full headdress with silver and white feathers.  She was beaming as a half-naked man covered in tribal paint whispered to her and her quilting friends.  Adam looked up higher, making a visor out of his hand to read the newly erected sign.  Quilts by Queens.  “Oh my God,” he chuckled. 

“Hell yeah, they got pie.”  Larry, the drummer, directed the rest of the band across the street.  “Good lookin out, Adam,” he called over his shoulder.

“Hey.” He received another slap to the back, knowing it was Charleston again.  “This is amaze-balls, man.  Gonna be one hell of a party once they let the people in, you know?”  And in his simple, free spirited way, Charleston gave him the smile that made boys everywhere melt into a puddle.  “You do great things, Adam.  I’ll catch ya later.”  In a blur of tie-dye, Charleston raced across the street to join his hungry friends.

The people?  Adam looked at the time on his phone and his eyes went wide.  Was it really noon, already?  He adjusted his pink volunteer t-shirt and went to hand out the last of the credit card machines.  A local cell phone company had donated the phones and credit attachments that would place the funds directly into the New Heights Haven account.  Volunteers from The Out would man every booth and tent, keeping a tally on the account for the big screen over the stage.  Their goal was 75,000, but with 11,000 already in the bank before they even opened to the public, Adam was confident the amount would surpass their goal.

He jogged past the charity booths, where they’d allowed separate donations to be made to LGBT non-profits and one non-denominational church.  The Shermin Shack had set up a line of fry cookers outside, getting the fish fry ready for guests, and the mayor was barking out orders to the beer tent down from the corner store.  A big label underwear vendor had boys in barely there undies manning a booth next to that, followed by a tent full of giggling book vendors.  They were probably already drunk.  He suspected anyway, judging from the bottle of wine they were passing around.  He smiled, stopped and looked around at more than fifty little booths and tents that had all come to donate their product and time to support him and others out there like him. 

A young guy with a purple faux hawk and a headset practically jumped in his path.  “Are those the credit card thingies?” He pointed to the bag slung around Adam’s chest.  “I can take them.  This side didn’t get them yet.”

“Sure, that would be helpful.  What organization are you with?”

“Club Dieux in Frankfort.  We rented out the screens for the stage.  You?”

“I’m Adam, the organizer.”  He pulled the bag over his head.

“Oh my God, from The Out?”  He shrieked with joy.  “Dude, can I get your autograph?  I have a marker here somewhere…”  He felt up his ass until he produced a marker.  “Right here.”  He bit his lip and held up his shirt.

“Uh…”  Adam looked around.  “How about the arm?  I don’t think my boyfriend would like that too much.”

“Boyfriend?  What?  You mean the other guy?”  His blue eyes sparkled.  “I was just catching up with your blog last night.  Is he here?  He must be.”

“He’s around here somewhere.  But let’s keep that between you and me, alright?  He’s not big on being the center of attention.”

“I will if you sign my chest.”  The volunteer waggled his brows.  “Pretty please?”

“Okay, fine.”  Adam snatched the marker, popped the cap and scribbled his name on the boy’s bare chest.  “Good?”

“Awesome!  This is so cool.  Love your work.  It makes my day, it really does.”  The boy hopped up on his toes, gave him a kiss on his cheek and ran away to the Club Dieux booth with the bag.  Adam watched him for a minute, making sure he handed out the others.  Happy that the boy moved on to the next booth, he turned and found himself face to face with Perry.

“Shit, Perry he was just being enthusiastic is all.  He was a fan and some of the younger guys have a lot of energy and…”

Perry waved a hand.  “I don’t care about all that.  I’m nervous.”  It showed, too.  The way his eyes flicked around.  His hands sunk deep in his pockets, he was scared.

“Okay, let’s grab a seat, and take a breather.  I’m thirsty.”  Adam led Perry behind the Shermin Shack where a cooler for volunteers had been set up.  Thankfully, no one was around.  He pushed onto his tip toes and gave Perry a kiss.

“Whoa.  Hey now, cool your dick for a second.”  Perry took a step back.

Adam dropped to his feet.  “What?” 

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.  Look, I like you, and I want to be with you, but can we not do that until this is over?  I want to talk to my parents in private, you know?  I don’t want them to get an eyeful before they know what’s going on.”

“Are you serious?”  Adam took a step back.  “Perry,” he leaned in, looking both ways first, “we had sex on a public dock yesterday and you’re worried someone might see us kiss?”

“No one was out there.  That was just you and me.  Can’t you do this my way, just for now, please?”

Adam’s face fell.  “So you’re ashamed of me?  Is that it?”

“God no, I just…”

“Not sure you want to come out today?  You don’t want to show these people what a gay couple looks like and leave me hanging on the most important day of my life?”  Adam hung his head.  “I knew this was too good to be true.  You’re man enough to fuck me, but you aren’t man enough to show you care.  I know you’re new to this, and you’re scared, but you said you had my back.  Kissing me in public, holding my hand, that’s support to me, Perry.  That’s a real man, not just a dick to fit into a hole.”

“Adam, I’m terrified.”  Perry tried to touch him, but Adam shied away.

“You don’t think I am, too?  I’m putting my face up there for a cause.  I’m putting my reputation and my life out there for the world to see, not just on a website.  I’m trying to make a difference and show these people that it’s okay for me to be in love with another man, because we’re just like everyone else.  But you’re not ready for this, are you?  It’s all good in a small town where no one can see, but where I come from, in the bigger part of the world, I had to see their faces and sneers when I held a man’s hand.  I’ve had to deal with that all of my life.  I thought you got it, what we’re here for today, but you don’t.”

Adam walked away, throwing his unopened water bottle into the cooler on his way. Perry’s open mouth closed and his heart burned.  Could he be what Adam needed and be himself all at the same time?  Sex was one thing, heat between them and a real connection, but the afterwards, the relationship that he had to show everyone he knew… that was the hard part.

~~~~~~

People from as far as New York and Seattle had flown in to make the festival.  A few thousand packed Main Street and the surrounding areas littered with booths.  Charleston’s band played popular songs with their own twist well through the afternoon.  The local news and a national affiliate had shown up to interview the locals, and so far, Leighton had stayed far away.  Adam, heartbroken but hiding it, ran a hand through his hair before shaking out his hands.  Kayla Montgomery from Channel 5, donning a rainbow scarf over her black sweater, ran over the interview with him one more time.

“Ready?”  She smiled.

“I’m nervous,” he admitted.

She nodded to her cameraman, and he stepped away for a second.  “Adam, I have to tell you.  This event has been so inspiring to so many people, myself included.”

“Thank you.”

“No, I mean truly inspiring.  My partner and I have decided to make the move to Washington after all.  I got a job offer there a few months ago, and we’ve been bouncing back and forth over whether or not to accept.  I’m going to be a political reporter, and follow the president, now that he’s crusading for gay marriage.   I want to show them that love is love too, Adam, all because of you.”  She placed a hand on his shoulder.  “We’re going to get married this fall, and we’d like you to be there.”

Tears filled his eyes and he immediately embraced her.  “That’s amazing, Kayla.  I think I needed to hear that.”

“So, Mr. Wonderful, you ready for that close up now?”  She pulled back, staring at him like he was made of gold.  It warmed his heart more than he could explain. He searched the crowd for Perry, knowing he wouldn’t be there, and nodded.

“Let’s do this.”

“Alright.  Greg!  We’re ready,” she called.  The cameraman nodded and held the camera steady on against his shoulder, lining up the shot. He gave a three count signal with his fingers and they went live.

“Live from the Shermin Heights Love is Love Festival, I’m Kayla Montgomery.  Standing with me is Adam Jackson, the event’s organizer, and veteran blogger for The Out online magazine.”

“Hi, Kayla.”

“Tell us what’s been happening all day, Adam.  You’ve sure got a crowd here.”

“You bet.  I’m not sure on the official number, but last I checked we had over two thousand visitors in and out of here today.”

“And the donations?”

He pointed to the mammoth screen behind him.  “In support of the New Heights Haven, opening next spring here in Shermin, to support LGBT youth during the summer, and as a retreat to couples during the rest of the year, we’ve surpassed our 75,000 dollar goal to 92,000.”

“That’s incredible.  Is that from sales here at the festival?” 

“And with the donations to The Out directly, yes.”

“Tell us about the atmosphere here, how are the locals taking the gay friendly event?”

“We’ve had so much support from the locals.  They just want to give, and bless their hearts, they’ve truly come through for us.  We’ve even got the older ladies, the local quilting bee, hanging with us tonight.”  He stopped to smile, feeling his words to the core.  He could do this, with or without Perry.  But man, he wanted him near.  “The vibe here is completely accepting and the mayor is in talks about making the event annual.  If that doesn’t answer your question, I don’t know what does.”

“We’ve been viewing the blog today, and the outpour of support is tremendous to say the least.  You may very well have to make this an annual event.  The event aside, what would you like to say to those at home watching, who might be a bit skeptical about same sex relationships?”

“I’d say that this our loving the same sex hasn’t harmed anyone.  That we’re like any other person you’ve ever met.  Some of us are a little colorful, but they just want to express themselves.  I’d say that we want to love one another the same as you, grow old together, and fight over the remote.  We want to raise our children and carry on a legacy of tolerance and hope.  We want to be your coworkers, your friends, your professionals and it shouldn’t matter who we come home to as long it’s a stable and loving relationship. 

“I’d say that some of us are your sons and daughters, your best friends, your family, and that you shouldn’t push us away.  I’d say that some of us live life in pain because we’re outcast for being human.  I’d say that the next time you see someone giving a gay couple grief, you step in, and stand up for them.  I’d say you should give us a smile, and show us you’re above the age old taboo belief.  I’d say that the bibles says ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.  Would you like to be bullied, broken, or beaten?  Would you like to be judged, criticized, or looked down upon for loving your husband, your wife, your girlfriend, or your lover? 

“No.  I don’t think you would.  That’s why we’re here today.  To show this world that we are just people who want to have fun and share this joy from today with anyone who will listen.  That’s what I’d say, Kayla.”

“And I think you said beautifully,” Kayla responded, misty eyed.  “Thanks, Adam.  We’ll be back shortly when the band The Heavy Petters takes the stage for their final concert of the night.  I’m Kayla Montgomerey, Channel 5 news, live in Shermin Heights.”  The cameraman flicked his hand and cut the feed.

He lowered the camera and nodded.  “That was great, Adam.  Good luck to ya, man.”

Adam felt the high of being live wane.  He turned away, lonely amongst the crowd that brought energy to this small town.  Covering his mouth, he began to cry.  Not just for the difference he’d made, but because he missed Perry so badly it hurt.

~~~~~~

Joe Mayfield and his buddies stood in the middle of the crowd gathered around the stage.  He was about to make his daddy’s day when that screen above showed pictures of what the gays really did behind the curtain, how disgusting it was.  Not to mention, he’d make a fool out of Perry Olivette and that good for nothing piece of crap, Adam Jackson.  Coming into town, spouting his love is love bullshit?  Nope, Joe grinned.  Let’s see how in love with love he was when he got an eyeful of his own mouth full of dick.

Joe had to wear one of those stupid volunteer shirts and a ball cap to hide his eyes, but he’d gotten close enough to the laptop running the video screens to make the switch, from whatever the band had going, to the eye popping porn that Perry had practically spoon fed him.  He rubbed his hands, happy as a clam.

“Close your eyes boys, it’s about to get real dirty.”  They all laughed, elbowing the dancing tourists away from them.

~~~~~~

Perry stood to the side of the stage, numb to the core.  All day he’d watched couples openly kissing and showing affection, right in his home town.  Once or twice, he’d thought about finding Adam because his heart itched to be near him, but once his mama and daddy showed up, he pushed the idea away.  What would they say?  How would they react?  It was one thing to have gay friends, but a gay son?  He just wasn’t sure.

The screen kept rolling numbers like it was ready to explode.  In the last fifteen minutes, another 20,000 had been put into the account.  All for the place he and Adam wanted to start together.  But because of his fears, Perry wasn’t sure there would be a retreat anymore.  Because he couldn’t show the world how he felt about Adam, he would let down all of these people, and those kids who were looking forward to spending a hate-free summer with them.  To all of those couples who wanted a getaway, to be themselves, and embrace their relationship… he was letting them down too.

“Excuse me, sir.”  A little purple haired man pushed past him.  He stopped and turned around, eyeing Perry up and down.  “God, I love you country boys.  So cute it hurts.  You single?”

Perry cleared his throat.  “No.  Sorry.”  He looked away, surprised with himself.  He wasn’t single now, was he?  He was with Adam. Wasn’t he?

“Too bad, because you are totally husband material.  With that little pearl snapped shirt,” the boy made a delighted squeal, “I could just cook for you all day.”  He sat down behind a laptop, moving his finger over the mouse pad.  “I mean I… oh my.”  The boy blushed and looked at Perry again.  “Oh my, my, my… Lord have mercy.  Wait.”  He squinted closer to the screen.  You’re Adam’s boyfriend?”

“Uh…”  Perry choked, not even making the connection between the laptop and Adam.  He was so tense he could explode.

“Honey, not to say I don’t enjoy this.”  He gestured to Perry’s body. “But don’t you think this is a little bold for a family event?  Underwear models are one thing, but this…”

“Excuse me.”  Perry practically flew from the stage.  So uncomfortable he wanted to vomit, he made for his parents.

~~~~~

The crowd went nuts as The Heavy Petters took the stage.  Charleston, with only a pair of flowing linen pants and his beaded dreads, grabbed the mic, holding his guitar with the other hand.  “First off, what’s up Shermin Heights!”

The crowd screamed.  A huge groupie pack jumped around near the front of the stage.  “That’s what I thought.  We thought we’d celebrate our 112,000 dollars in donations by playing for you tonight.”  The crowd went crazy again, this time chanting the band’s name over and over.  “We’ve been playing top forties all day, and we’re tired of it, how about some original stuff?”  Again, the crowd knew no bounds and started jumping up and down.  “This is our favorite song and it goes out to Adam Jackson.  Without him, you wouldn’t be standing here right now.  One, two, three, four…”

A funky synth lit up the air, and Charleston leaned into the mike, belting out a few bars until a drum circle stepped forward to rock the house.  Behind them, on the big screen, a few fast moving graphics brought the energy to the music and the crowd went wild.  Adam stood to one side of the stage, a look of longing in his eyes for Perry, who stood opposite him on the other side of the stage, flanked by Willa and Pop.  He wiped his eyes, about ready to turn away, when the drums flared to life again and the screen faded in a picture of him and Perry locking lips.  A heart around their faces, the power in their kiss, was shown to the crowd.

They went wild, pumping their fists, and feeling the love as the pictures kept coming.  One after the other, cropped pictures of their faces, their private kisses and looks made it to the screen.  Adam started to cry.  He couldn’t help it.  The pictures were so damn beautiful and terrifying.  Someone had been watching them.  Someone had seen their first time and most likely the originals showed a lot more than kisses.

Perry’s heart stopped in his chest.  He felt his mother’s hand slide into his.  He heard his daddy’s sharp intake of breath.  He watched Adam crumble across from him, all to the beat of the drums. 

“Pop, I…” He turned, tears streaming down his cheeks.  “I…”

“You what?”  Pop crossed his arms.

“I love him.”

Pop nodded, taking it in.  He looked across the stage to where Adam was turning away, a complete mess.  “Then go tell him that, because obviously he don’t know.”

Perry choked, barely able to see through his tears.  “But don’t you…”

“A real man ain’t afraid of nothing, not even his own daddy.  You think I love them boys, gay or not, but I wouldn’t love you?”  Pop shook his head.  “You’re my son, Perry.”

“Honey, go,” Willa whispered in his ear.  “We’ll be right here, always.”

Perry’s heart started again, racing like a rabbit as he watched Adam melt into the crowd.  Without another thought, he started to push his way through the throng of groupies.  People shied away from the man on a mission, and he almost forgot to breathe as his hand reached out, latching onto Adam’s arm.  He whirled his man around and stared into his eyes.

“Come on,” he shouted above the music, dead set on making Adam know how he felt.

Adam, tears and all, was dragged past the little purple haired guy from earlier in the afternoon.  He heard a happy cat call his way as he was pulled up the stage stairs and in front of the crowd.  The band kept playing and Charleston gave them a thumbs up. 

“I ain’t afraid of nothing, not even of loving you.  I’m sorry I was an asshole.  But I can’t hide it no more, Adam,” Perry said loud and clear.  “You’re mine and I don’t care who knows it.”

Adam sobbed.  His cries were cut off as Perry dipped him back and kissed him in front of God and everyone.  The Channel 5 camera aimed directly at them, Perry continued to kiss Adam like he meant it, tongue and all.  When he pulled Adam up to standing, the packed crowd screamed so loud, it was deafening.  The Heavy Petters smiled, playing their hearts out for the cause.  Adam and Perry were what this entire day was about, love.

The boy behind the laptop shook his head, pulling out a forgotten memory card in the laptop.  He put it in his pocket, making sure to give it to the happy couple on stage later.  No idea who would put these on the laptop, or why, but he was pretty sure they didn’t want these pictures getting around.  Unlike what most people would think when they saw the pictures, he knew it wasn’t porn. It was two men in love.  He sighed, hopeful that he would find what these men had together… the real deal.

~One Year Later~

Perry held his morning cup of coffee as he padded out onto the porch overlooking the water.  He stretched like a cat, more so for Adam’s benefit than anything.  Cutting his eyes to Adam, he grinned. “I’m surprised you’re up right now.  You tossed and turned so damn much, I thought you was trying to dance with me.”  He sat at the outdoor table, right outside their bedroom window.

“Funny.  I’m stressed.  How am I supposed to get through today like this?”  Adam groaned, putting his head on the table.

“They’re teenagers, not the apocalypse, Adam.”  Perry looked out at the water, checking up on the line of colorful canoes they’d put up two weeks ago.  His eyes drifted to the newly manicured shore, with the flag pole and neat little walkways for the campers.  “Everything is gonna be just fine.”

“How can you say that, Perry?  Forty teenagers, I repeat, forty.”  Adam lifted his head a bit, opening one eye.

“Because you are everything to them.  They worship the ground you walk on.  Plus, we do have other people to handle them, you know, those camp counselors we hired?”  Perry snorted.  “I remember because I wrote their checks last week, cheap my ass.”

“I forget they’re here.” Adam snagged Perry’s coffee.  “I forget everything these days.”

“That’s because you’re a stress case.  But that’s why you have me, right, because I know how to fix this?”  Perry took his coffee back, taking a nice sip before he put down the cup, and hauled Adam to his feet.

“You do, huh?”  Adam gave him the eye.

Perry turned Adam around, making him look at the water.  “One year ago, I made love to you right on this very spot.  Since then, you’ve lived up to the man I always saw in you and more.  You are the heart of this place, and as much as I want to take credit, this is all you.  This beautiful place in the world exists because of you, baby.  They’re coming here because they like who you are, not because they want to see you try and live up to something you’re not.  You’re real, you’re honest, and you give so much love that it’s hard to believe you have enough left for me.  But you do, and you know what?”

“What?”  Adam grinned, leaning back into Perry’s chest.

“I like you.”

Adam laughed.  “I like you, too, I guess.”

Perry frowned.  “You guess?  Now you look here…”

“Perry?”  Adam turned to see Perry’s face.

“What?”

“You know what would really relax me?”  He bit his lip, encircling Perry’s waist with his hands.

Perry waggled his brows.  “Boy, you done read my mind.”

Adam shrieked with laughter as Perry bent and hauled him over his shoulder.  “I didn’t mean like that, you oaf.  Put me down.  I can walk.”

“I can get you in bed faster this way, thank you very much.” Perry carried his boy through the open French doors and tossed him on the bed.  “Plus, I like picking you up when you’re down.”

“How poetic.”  Adam reached for Perry as he crawled between his legs.

“I like to think I’m pretty romantic.”  Perry dropped his lips for a soft kiss.  “Or else you wouldn’t like me.”

“Perry, I don’t just like you.”  Adam ran a hand through Perry’s hair, relaxing into the bed.  “I love you.”

Perry dipped down, hovering just above Adam’s lips.  “Love you, too,” he whispered, and kissed his boy like a real man.

 
THE END.

24 comments:

  1. this is the best birthday present ever, I love this series and im glad Perry finally figured out he loved Adam. Love all your stories and im impatiently waiting for Cade's book. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Perfect, perfect, perfect!!! Absolutely beautiful and so many hilarious lines. Good job, girl.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Repeating your own words "Love your work. It makes my day, it really does". Love these boys. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I Love Shermin Heights!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can only say 'awww'. Brilliant as always.

    ReplyDelete
  6. A perfect ending! I love all the Shermin Heights stories, but Perry and Adam became my favorite. And I can't wait for Cade to be published! I am very excited to read the changes to Cade and have my own copy to read whenever I want!

    Thanks again Night for another amazing story!

    ReplyDelete
  7. BEAUTIFUL, FULL, LOVING, AMAZING ENDING! Thanks sooooo much! :o)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can't believe it took me this long to start reading Shermin Heights. I love these stories. I'm always sad when it's over. Super sweet ending though.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love, love, LOVED it!!!! I love the boys of Shermin Heights! I love the way this ended. Thanks for another FANTASTIC story, Night!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Loved it! Loved it loved it loved it!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just BEAU-TI-FUL

    ReplyDelete
  12. Perfect....... I am sad it ended though

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a beautiful story. I think they're my new favorite couple! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Amazing as always, a perfect end.
    Cking

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am so sad that Shermin Heights is over because I love all the people there. It is exactly the place I would love to live in if I could. I'm so glad that everything worked out for Perry and Adam. I can't wait for Cade to be published. Thanks for taking time out to finish this.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank God for the purple haired Club Dieux guy and his editing. Great story, Night.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'll miss the boys bur you ended it on a beautiful and perfect note. Now I look forward to whatever you're working on next.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Happy Holiday Night! Thanks for the treat :-)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Miss Night ... what to say ... your words make me teary in a very good way! Thank you for pouring your emotions into stories that you continue to share with us for free. YOU are Amazeballs!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Amazing as always! I don't know how you find the time, but I truly appreciate your stories and the effort and talent (and love!) that you put into each and every chapter of each and every story! I 'll miss our country boys from Shermin Heights, but I know you'll give us a new story that we'll love just as much! Luv ya Night!
    Scottie

    ReplyDelete
  21. MY FAVORITE STORY of all the Shermin Heights amazing :D great job! I love Perry <3

    ReplyDelete
  22. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. While Cade remains my favorite of all of your stories, this is by far my favorite Shermin Heights story.

    Looking forward to your next masterpiece!

    Happy New Year!!!!

    Be well and stay happy,
    Jim

    ReplyDelete