July 22-23, 2005
by Matthew Haldeman-Time
I am writing about men having sex with other men. You must be eighteen or older to read my fiction. This site is for consenting, responsible adults only.
He should have brought his briefcase. He could spend this time grading reports. He could spend this time revising his lesson plans. And he had to-
Alec’s train of thought was derailed as he noticed someone walking into the café with an armload of books. Someone tall and tan with nearly blond hair. Someone with immaculate posture and high cheekbones. Alec wasn’t close enough to see, but he knew that this someone had green eyes and thick clusters of almost-blond lashes.
Chad. Chad Parker. Alec was on his feet. “Chad?”
Chad turned, and when those green eyes found him, they widened with astonishment. “Alec?”
“Oh my god.” Alec came around the table. “What are you doing here?”
“I live here,” Chad said. “I mean, I live in town, in Caperfield. I shop here, I just came in to pick up some books and meet someone.” Chad’s gaze scanned him with amazement. “Do you live around here now?”
“Yeah, over on Madison, I’m here to meet somebody. I can’t believe - - five years ago?”
“Five,” Chad agreed. “God, you look good.”
“You’re gorgeous,” Alec said. “Not that you weren’t before, I just,” god, he was regressing into the hormonal teen he’d been when they’d first met. “Do you have time to sit down?”
“I don’t know,” Chad said. “I’d love to put these books down, but I’m here to meet someone. It’s,” he blushed under his tan, “it’s kind of a blind date.”
“Are you kidding?” Alec asked. “Me, too. I’m…” Wait.
Chad’s jaw dropped.
“You’re the sexy English teacher,” Alec said.
“Language arts,” Chad said, like it was an automatic correction. “You’re the hot body. He said your name was Al. I never would have guessed…” Chad looked as surprised and uncertain as Alec felt.
“It’s nice to know that Simon thinks I’m hot,” Alec said. “He always calls me Al. I’ve stopped trying to explain that it’s Alec.”
Chad looked hesitant. “What do we do now?”
“Well… I have a table, and you have books to put down, so we might as well sit down and get to know each other. Again.” Get to know Chad? They’d been lovers off and on for three years at Stromin U. Sometimes boyfriends, sometimes a quick fuck, sometimes going weeks or months without really being much of anything to each other. After graduation, they’d completely lost touch.
They sat at the table.
“Language arts?” Alec asked. He read the spines of Chad’s books. “You always did have a thing for those Victorians.”
“Those are for me,” Chad said. “I teach eighth grade. That means one slow-paced bildungsroman after another. In my district, no one teaches anything interesting until ninth grade.”
Trust Chad to drop literary terms into regular conversation. “Which district is that?” Alec asked.
“Sloane,” Chad said. “I’m at Lasher Hill Junior High.”
“What are you doing in that age group?” Alec asked. “Junior high kids are monsters.”
“Yes, but they’re my monsters,” Chad said. “Simon said you’re at Gracie Lawrence High.”
“Tenth grade,” Alec said. “Social studies. Right now we’re on the sixties. It’s civil rights week.”
“A whole week for civil rights?” Chad asked. “That’s generous.”
Alec smiled. “You suck at sarcasm. You never pull it off.”
“I can’t believe I ran into you,” Chad said. “You look great.”
“I can’t believe we were set up on a blind date,” Alec said. “Blind dates are for strangers.” “You are a stranger,” Chad said. “You’re a real teacher now, you’re a whole different person.”
“You never did think that I’d manage to graduate,” Alec said.
“You never studied!” Chad exclaimed.
“You did way too much work in college,” Alec said. “You read everything that you were assigned, you handed in every paper-”
“And I showed up for tests,” Chad said. “How silly of me, not to treat my expensive education like a frivolous, extended party.”
Alec grinned. He was so happy to see Chad again, he enjoyed renewing their old, tired fights. “It’s so good to see you.”
“Don’t use so as an intensifier,” Chad said, but he had that pleased blush that Alec remembered.
“Tell me what you’ve been doing for these last five years,” Alec said. “What’s changed? What’s different? Don’t tell me that you’re still into competitive Scrabble.” Chad had been the best possible combination of hot and geeky, nerdy and sexy. Alec had gotten turned on just watching him study. Of course, after Alec had acted on that arousal by dragging him away from his books for sex, Chad had tended to get dressed again and go back to studying. Or, as Chad would have said, “resume” studying.
“I had to give that up when I took over the drama department,” Chad said.
Immediately interested, Alec asked, “You head the drama department?”
“I am the drama department,” Chad admitted. “We’re in the middle of rehearsal for Our Town. It’s going well.” His gaze was curious. “What about you? What have you been up to?”
“Nothing glamorous,” Alec said. “I grade papers a lot. And I seem to have become the assistant symphonic band director. And I supervise the hiking club.”
“The band?” Chad asked. “You’re in the band?”
“It’s not even the marching band,” Alec said. “It’s the sitting down onstage band.”
Chad’s smile made Alec feel nineteen again. “Why are you in charge of the band? You don’t even play an instrument.” “I do now,” Alec said. “Once I stopped playing Super Mario Bros. eighteen hours a day, I needed something else to do with my time, so I picked up a trumpet. My students found out, the band director found out, and suddenly I was passing out sheet music and learning how to conduct.”
“I can’t believe it,” Chad said. He was laughing, but happily, not derisively. Derisively, that was another one of those words that Alec wouldn’t have used in a sentence before he’d met Chad. “That’s fantastic. What about the hiking club?”
“Hey, it’s not one of those slow and educational nature walks,” Alec said. “We go on real hikes that use real muscle. Some of the kids found out that I’m a rock climber, and they wanted me to take them with me, but their parents weren’t crazy about the idea, so this is our compromise.”
“You still scale mountains?” Chad asked. “That’s great.”
“You used to hate it,” Alec said.
“I loved it,” Chad said. “It was sexy.”
Loved it? Sexy? “You said that it was dangerous and life-threatening. You thought I’d fall and kill myself or something.”
“You’re teaching, you sponsor a club, you’re the assistant band director.” He marveled, eyes bright. “That’s terrific.”
Chad genuinely seemed proud of him, and that made Alec proud of himself. Chad knew what a slacker and screw-up he’d been in college, knew how unfocused he’d been. Maturity had finally kicked in, though, and it was paying off, and he was glad that Chad could see that he was trying to contribute something. It made him wonder how much Chad had changed during their years apart. “Do you still read eighteen newspapers a day?”
Chad smiled. “Not every page.”
Alec laughed. “You were the only guy in our dorm subscribing to The Wall Street Journal and National Geographic.”
Chad’s smile widened. “I like to stay informed.”
Something was different, but Alec couldn’t put his finger on it. He wouldn’t have minded putting his finger on Chad. Finger, hell, how about his entire hand? Chad had been one of the hottest guys on campus. Deliciously easy to arouse if approached the right way - - and Alec had been sure to learn the right way. An enthusiastic bottom, a wonderfully aggressive top, with a curious, investigative tongue and a tendency to moan Alec’s name with every breath.
Chad’s inability to stay quiet during sex had meant that every time they made out in the library, they got caught. It had been more than worth it.
“It’s great to see you again,” Chad said. “You look hardly a day older. I didn’t think I’d see you again, when you went home after graduation.”
“Me, what about you?” Alec asked. “I only lived three hours away. You’re from Montana.”
“I spent a year working out there, but it didn’t seem like home anymore,” Chad said. “I grew up at the university, I learned who I was there, all of the major landmarks of my life were there. Montana wasn’t who I was anymore. I knew that I couldn’t go back to college, but I thought that coming back here might give me a better sense of myself. I moved back and got the job at Lasher Hill.”
“I tried subbing in the districts around home, but I couldn’t get a position, so I applied out here,” Alec said. “I had no idea you’d moved back.”
“If I’d known you were here around town, I would have called you,” Chad said. “Are you still in touch with anybody?”
“Just Susanne,” Alec said. “She e-mails me once every few months to tell me that she’s potty training her kids.”
“Susanne has kids?” Chad asked. “Have you called the police?”
Alec laughed. “You always hated her.”
“She’s a danger to herself and others,” Chad said firmly.
“She didn’t really set your hair on fire,” Alec said.
“She tried! She threw up on my keyboard on purpose, I saw her aim for it. Remember when she tossed all of my clothes out of my window?”
“I helped you find them,” Alec said.
“She told that shuttle driver to aim for me, everyone said she did. Do you know what it’s like to have one of those things come right at you? I could have been killed.”
“It barely grazed you,” Alec said. “It was dark.”
“She made him turn off his headlights!”
“He got fired,” Alec said.
“I had to go to the hospital!”
“You only had a few bruises.” Alec smiled. “I kissed them all better.”
Chad’s smile was bright with the memory. “That nurse threw you out of the hospital.”
“But didn’t you feel better?” Alec asked.
“Much better,” Chad admitted, blushing.
“We had the best times together,” Alec said. “You were one of my favorite boyfriends.”
“I was seven of your boyfriends,” Chad said.
“Six,” Alec said.
“Seven,” Chad said.
“That one doesn’t count,” Alec said. “We were only together for three days.”
“Of course it counts,” Chad said. “You always wanted to pretend that it wasn’t official, but on Tuesday, you asked me if I wanted to try being your boyfriend again, and I said yes, and that counts.”
“We were drunk,” Alec said. “We broke up again-”
“Because I walked in on you and Tony!”
“I was there to see you,” Alec said.
“And since I wasn’t there, you fucked my roommate,” Chad said.
“He was hot,” Alec said.
Chad laughed. “That’s what I loved about you. You were an unapologetic ass.”
“I wasn’t an ass,” Alec said. “I was self-centered and boy-crazy.” He smiled, filled with warmth as he gazed at Chad across the table. “And you were the boy I was craziest about.”
Chad smiled, too, lowering his gaze shyly. “I was crazy about you, too. You were irreverent and egocentric, you always went to parties and never went to classes, you had sex with anyone you wanted and scaled mountains in your spare time. I was fascinated.”
“You were so responsible and so hot,” Alec said. “No matter who else I went out with, I always came back to you sooner or later. Why didn’t we ever stay together?”
“I wasn’t responsible, I was stress-filled and anxiety-ridden,” Chad said. “We didn’t stay together because our hormones kept discovering other people. We didn’t know how to stay together, and we had no reason to do so. There was no incentive to settle down in a stable relationship.”
“And now we’re boring adults with steady, boring jobs. We’re practically role models. I’m a band geek. I don’t pick up guys in bars anymore. We’re being set up on blind dates.” Alec stared at Chad. “What happened to us?” “Cut the drama,” Chad said. “You love your life. Of course we’re different now. We’ve matured.”
“How can you tell if I love my life or not?” Alec asked.
“Alec, you volunteered to assist the band. You’ve sponsored your own club. You would never be involved to this extent if you weren’t enthusiastic about you were doing. Your students must love you.”
“Of course they do,” Alec said. “I don’t bore them into comas, and I’m the best-looking teacher in the school. Your students probably love you, too.”
“They do seem fond of me,” Chad admitted. “Although they continue to insist that I grade too strictly.” “I’m sure you do.” Chad had spent a stupid - - or, as Chad would say, “inordinate” - - amount of time studying, and probably expected his students to work just that hard. Alec had always suspected that Chad could get straight A’s with only half the work, but Chad had been too stressed out about school to risk it. Chad had been stressed out about a lot of things. Right now, Chad looked pretty relaxed. Less tense around the eyes, looser in the shoulders. Alec loved it. “Where did all of your anxiety go?”
“Have you ever tried to direct sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in a musical?” Chad asked. “Have you ever been backstage on opening night? Someone’s in the bathroom with nervous diarrhea, someone’s put his foot through the backdrop, someone won’t go onstage because she discovered a new zit, the leads aren’t talking to each other because he invited someone else to the dance, no one remembers any cues, no one remembers any lines, and a tiara’s missing. Add in a few stage mothers, stir well, and I was five seconds away from quitting before the curtain rose.”
And he’d thought that the band was bad. “What happened?”
“We had a great success,” Chad said. “The audience loved it. Everyone in the production had a great time. I’ve never been more popular.” He smiled. “I learned that I can’t control everything, I can’t plan ahead for all contingencies, and when things go badly, I can handle them. Also, there’s nothing in my life as serious as the tragedy of an eighth grader with an unexpected pimple.”
Alec laughed. “In tenth grade, our main struggle of life is getting a driver’s license and getting a car. There’s no heartbreak like failing that test.”
“I remember that drama,” Chad said. “I practiced parallel parking until my mother told me that I was wearing the tread off of her tires.”
“What are you driving these days?” Alec asked.
“A boring teacher’s sedan,” Chad said. “What about you?”
“The flashiest sports car in the parking lot,” Alec said with a grin.
Chad smiled. “Of course.”
Alec propped his chin on his hand, just gazing. “I must have missed you, because it feels so good to see you.”
“You can see me again,” Chad said with a warm smile.
“If we were nineteen, we’d be fucking in the restroom right now,” Alec said.
“You’d be telling me to stay quiet and I wouldn’t be able to.” Chad shivered with pleasure at the memory, and Alec wanted him. “We’re not nineteen anymore,” Chad said. “We’re mature adults.”
“How mature?” Alec asked.
“No sex on the first date mature,” Chad said.
“First date?” Alec repeated. “This isn’t our first date, you’re my boyfriend!”
“I’m not your boyfriend anymore,” Chad said.
“I want you to be.” Alec meant it. “Tell me you’ll be my boyfriend.”
“We barely know each other,” Chad said. “We haven’t spoken in five years.” “So we have a lot of catching up to do,” Alec said. “We can catch up as boyfriends.”
“You’re just saying this so I’ll have sex with you,” Chad said.
“Of course I want sex, I’ve always wanted you,” Alec said. “But I want you to be my boyfriend, too.”
“We never stayed boyfriends in the past,” Chad said.
“We’re mature and stable now,” Alec said. “I’m on this date because yeah, I’m too busy to find guys on my own, but I’m also not interested in picking guys up in bars or hitting on guys in clubs. I used to try to pick people up during the normal course of life, but there are only so many times you can ask out guys in the supermarket checkout line.”
“I know what you mean.” Chad studied him with warm green eyes. “I won’t agree to be your boyfriend tonight. Ask me again after our second date.”
“Okay.” Alec grinned. “Second date. When?”
“I don’t know. Whenever I’m not in school, I’m in rehearsal. Whenever I’m not in rehearsal, I’m at home, grading essays.”
That sounded like Alec’s life. “We could grade together. You can come over on Saturday. You bring your essays and I’ll make lunch.”
“Really?” Chad looked interested. “It would be nice to have someone to talk to about the atrocity of eighth grade penmanship.”
“It doesn’t get any better by tenth, trust me.” Alec couldn’t believe that he was looking forward to such a domestic scene. “How’s eleven?”
“Eleven o’clock sounds great,” Chad said. They exchanged addresses and telephone numbers. “Do you grade like you used to study?”
“I didn’t used to study at all,” Alec said. “But if you mean should you expect to see papers stacked and scattered everywhere, yes.”
“Controlled chaos,” Chad said, rising.
“I assume you have neat little labeled piles?” Alec asked, taking a few books from the top of the stack.
“With color coordinated sticky tabs, yes,” Chad said with an unashamed smile. They walked to the front doors together. “I carry less anxiety, but I still put stock in organization.”
“Try not to get your organization on my chaos,” Alec said.
“Try not to get your chaos on my organization,” Chad said as they crossed the parking lot. “This is my car.” He looked over a row. “That one is yours?”
“Nice.” Chad unlocked his car and put his books in the backseat, taking the few from Alec and adding them to the pile.
“Why didn’t you get a bag?” Alec asked.
“I didn’t need one.”
“You still take cloth sacks to the grocery store, don’t you?”
“Of course.” Chad faced him. “I’ll see you on Saturday.”
Alec kissed him. Chad kissed back slowly, hands settling on Alec’s waist. It felt incredible, not just because Chad was a great kisser, but because of the familiarity of it. He knew Chad, got hot from each familiar curve of Chad’s lips, knew that the tightening of Chad’s hands on his waist meant that Chad wanted more tongue. When soft little moans began to escape, Alec lifted his head, watching Chad’s eyes flutter open.
Chad licked his lips. “Saturday.”
“Saturday,” Alec agreed.
Chad removed his hands from Alec’s waist. “You could call me between now and then.”
Alec grinned. “I’ll call you Thursday if you call me Friday.”
“Okay.” Chad kissed him, possessing his mouth, one hand rubbing slowly up his chest. “Bye.”
“Bye,” Alec said, kissing him back. If they’d been in college, Alec’s hands would have wandered a lot more. But Alec managed to restrain himself, and when Chad broke the kiss and pushed him away, he relented. “Bye,” he said again.
Chad got into his car.
Alec backed up to let him pull out of the parking space.
Chad’s window rolled down. Alec stepped closer. Chad reached up, and he leaned down, and their mouths met again in a slow, simmering kiss.
Alec had let a good thing go before. He’d been distracted by other bright, shiny things. Now he’d gained a little more focus, and he could see that Chad was the brightest and shiniest one of all.
Chad was about to be his boyfriend again, for the eighth time.
This time would be the last time.
Alec wanted this time to be forever.