By Papa Werebear, writing as Bjorn Torson
I came home around 5 p.m. or so with two airline tickets and two tickets for Disneyland. It was Friday and I wanted to celebrate with Jeff and give the tickets to him after dinner tomorrow night at his favorite restaurant. Jeff wasn’t home; his pickup wasn’t in the driveway when I pulled up. The trip was a Valentines Day surprise for Jeff for the weekend after next. I walked into the house, and stripped off my postal uniform while thinking about the hotel reservations I’d made way back around the first of November. I went through the house to deposit the clothes in the hamper in my bedroom, Jeff has his own room and we like it that way. We’re both value and need our own space. Intimacy is not a problem, if we want to sleep together; we either go to my room or Jeff’s. 'He must be out shopping or something,' I thought as I stepped into the shower.
After a good hot shower and toweling off, I padded naked into the kitchen for a cold beer from the fridge. The curtains were drawn back, but the trees, bushes and high fences didn’t permit an unobstructed view into our house. Well, it’s really my house, Jeff had moved in with me three years ago and now that the new laws in California permitted mutual "married" ownership of property by same sex partners, I wanted to put my love on the mortgage. He was extremely reluctant and wouldn’t say why. I tried to get it out of him, but he just stubbornly clamed up. I figured that he was just not ready for a full commitment. You’d think with a world full of guys who just want to fuck around that a faithful man like me would be snapped up because I want a permanent relationship. Well, maybe after the trip Jeff would change his mind; not that, that had anything to do with why I planned the surprise, but it couldn’t hurt.
I went into the living room and turned on the tube, sipping on the beer. About an hour or so later, I began to wonder what was keeping Jeff. He gets home around 4 p.m. or so and if he has any running around to do after work, he usually waits until I get home and I’ll go with him or he’ll go out immediately and be back a little after I get home. 'He probably stopped off at the bookstore,' I thought. 'He can spend half the day looking at all the books.'
I was just headed back to the fridge to get another beer when I heard a knock at the door. 'It’s probably Jeff with an arm full of groceries and he can’t get his keys out to open the door,' I thought. "I’ll be there in a minute," I said and went back to grab a pair of shorts and a black T-shirt. I answered the door, but it wasn’t Jeff.
"Hi, Dan," I said.
Dan had lived next door to me since we were kids. My dad divorced my mother when I was about five and he had gained custody of me because my mother wanted to take me out of the country; out of visitation range. She gave up all rights to me to live in Italy with her new boyfriend and frankly, I felt abandoned. Dad left me the house and what savings he had ten years ago. He just died in his sleep.
Dan’s dad died a year later from cancer and left him the family business and left the house to his mother. His mother had moved up north to live with Dan’s sister. She said the house held too many memories for her, so she signed it over to Dan. Dan was my best friend and hadn’t abandoned me when he discovered I was gay, like so many of my "friends" in high school.
Dan was a Bear to drool over. He was just shy of six foot at 5’ 11 ½" and had a full black beard that merged with is chest fur, soft blue eyes and lots of muscle from working as a mechanic and tow truck driver at his father’s garage. I’d seen him plenty of times without his shirt, he had a nice thick pelt all over. He had a wolf tattoo his old girlfriend convinced him to get, years ago, on his right bicep. If Dan had been gay, I probably never would have met Jeff. I would have seduced him and settled down with this ursine hunk a very long time ago. But Dan was straight despite what our high school peers had accused him of because he was friends with me.
After Dan started putting on tons of muscle from working part time in his dad’s shop and working out with weights, he was playing football and had grown the thick full beard he’s had since our junior year, they stopped calling him "Butt Buddy"… to his face at least. He looked more manly than most of the male teachers, even the coach. The girls finding him irresistible helped too and his reputation as a stud became a murmur throughout the school. Dan was always a gentleman about his affairs, though, and ignored the gossip hounds.
They stopped pushing me around too, because I grew to be just a little taller than Dan and in my sophomore year. I started working out, too. I wasn’t as furry as Dan, but I managed a nice bit of chest fur and a beard in my senior year. Yeah, I was a fag, but I could put my fist through the other side of any asshole’s head if he wanted to pick on me because I was queer. Once, three guys ganged up on me to kick the shit out of the fag. I almost got it kicked out of me too, but Dan showed up like the cavalry and busted some heads. They ran away yelling "Butt Buddy" and he said he’d kick their asses again if they didn’t shut their holes.
I asked Dan once, while we were both sneaking one of his dad’s beers, if I made him uncomfortable by looking at his body.
He said, "Well, I do feel a bit like a slab of meat, but you can’t help looking at guys any more than I can at girls. Men are the same, gay or straight; we think with our cocks."
We laughed. I think that is when I first realized that I loved Dan, not just lusted after him, but the lusting didn’t diminish with that realization and Dan honestly didn’t mind. He knew that would be as far as it ever would go. We hugged, wrestled and punched each other in the shoulder just like we had always had. The physical contact didn’t end just because he knew I appreciated his body.
"Well, come on in." I said.
"I’m not interrupting anyth…" he began, I cut him off
"No, you’re not. Jeff and I don’t start the mad, passionate, kinky, whipped cream and leather sex until around eight in the evening or so; after dinner has had a chance to settle," I said to be a smart-ass.
Dan blushed; a gorgeous crimson and smiled that beautiful smile I had loved since he and I were children. Then he socked me in the shoulder like he always did when I embarrassed him, not hard, but not soft either.
"I was going to ask if I was interrupting dinner, but you had to leap into the gutter, didn’t you," he said and socked me again, just for good measure.
"Ow!" I mock protested, with a whine.
"Wimp!" he said.
"Leap into the gutter? You can’t leap into what your already neck deep in," I said in a looking-down-my-nose manner.
He chuckled and hugged me as he came in the door. God! I loved how Dan smelled, sweat, motor oil and "Old Spice", but he didn’t over do it. It turned me on partly because I associated it with my dad because he used to use it. Yeah, it was cheap after-shave, but I don’t know, it just smelled warm and comfortable. Jeff was too snobby to wear it, even though it turned me on.
Dan sat down on the couch and I offered him a beer.
"Sure… and some chips and dip… maybe pizza too… and how about a foot rub." He said and smiled that smile again.
I flipped him off as I headed off to the kitchen. "Fuckin’ smart-ass!" I said as I went.
"Yeah, and the rest of me is pretty smart too," he chuckled.
I got the beer and as I headed back I saw an envelope on the breakfast nook table I hadn’t noticed earlier. It was getting darker outside and Jeff still wasn’t home.
"Well," I thought, "it’s Chinese food tonight. Jeff’s not going to be in a mood to fix dinner when he gets home." I picked it up and headed for the living room.
"Here," I said as I handed Dan the Beer.
"What? No chips? What kind of host are you anyway?" He smiled again.
"The kind that’s going to kick your butt out if you keep it up," I said like I was serious.
We laughed; it was a game we’d played since childhood. Dan grabbed the remote and began channel surfing as I opened the beer and took a sip.
I set the beer down on the coffee table and opened up the envelope with my name on it in Jeff’s handwriting. I read through it once, then two more times. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Jeff had dumped me and apparently packed up and left while I was at work. There was a cold knot in my stomach and I was shaking slightly, my eyes were a bit bleary.
"What’s the matter, Eric?" I heard Dan say through the thoughts screaming in my head.
"Nothing… Uh, I’ve got to go check something."
I got up and headed down the hall to Jeff’s room. I still couldn’t believe he was gone. Perhaps this was some cruel tasteless joke he was playing on me. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to forgive him if it was but I was willing, even at this moment, to try.
I got to the room and hesitated at the door with my hand on the doorknob. It seemed to take forever to open the door. I turned the light on and looked at the empty room; the vacuum cleaner was standing in the corner and the window was wide open to air the room out. The room was as cold and empty as my heart. Jeff had cleaned the room, not even leaving a trace of himself behind. I remember shutting the door behind me and walking back to the living room in a daze.
"What’s up buddy?" I heard Dan say from some distant unreal shore of reality as he turned the TV off.
I sat back down on the couch and buried my face in my hands. I was OK. I was maintaining some composure. When I felt Dan’s warm arm around my shoulder and he asked again "Eric, what’s wrong? Eric, buddy, talk to me."
I lost it. I started sobbing like I had when I was a kid and someone had hurt my feelings. He pulled me to his chest and started rocking back and forth with me and the tears kept coming. Dan picked up the letter and read it over my shoulder as I sobbed on his chest.
"That bastard!" he said with a growl. "How could he!" He rocked me in his arms for quite a while, and then he pushed me away from his chest and lifted my head with two fingers under my chin.
"Look at me!" he commanded. I snapped out of my self-pity and grief briefly. "I want you to go down the hall and take a shower."
I shook my head and began again.
"Stop it! The fucker isn’t worth it, not worth one tear!"
He got me to my feet and walked me down the hall and to the bathroom. "Now, get in there and take a shower," he said like he was my father, ordering a reluctant child.
I was numb and didn’t even realize I was undressed in front of Dan until I was in the shower. I began washing up and I heard Dan mutter some choice curse words as he left the bathroom. The water was warm and I wanted it to wash my memory, my grief, and my hurt away. I began to cry again. Dan heard me as he came back in about ten minutes later.
"Eric, get out of there now and dry off… and stop crying," he said firmly in that same fatherly tone.
I did what he said dutifully and without question. I felt like a robot. I toweled off and Dan handed me some of my clothes he’d grabbed from my closet.
"Get dressed, we’re going out and getting you shit-faced drunke sai,” he said, more gently.
I dressed numbly and we got in his truck and he drove. We stopped by his bank and we drove around for quite a while; not talking as we listened to the radio on low. He pulled over and looked over at me; I was staring blankly out the passenger window.
"Hey, Eric, look over here." I did. "Good… no teary eyes."
He got back on the road and around the corner he pulled into the parking lot of a bar. I didn’t even notice which one. We went in, it was really slow. There were maybe three other guys and the bartender there.
"Hey, Dan!" The hulk behind the bar said. "What will it be?" Bottle of Glenlivet, no make that two, over in the corner."
"Who died?" He said as we walked over to the corner table.
"Just shut up and bring us the bottles and keep the beer coming, Mike," Dan growled.
Mike, the bartender, was a huge grey bearded, bearish man that I wouldn’t talk to that way in a million years by the look of him, but he said quietly. "Sure, Dan, no problem. What brand of beer?"
We had moved to the end of the bar and Mike had come from behind it. He was huge!
“You pick it, Mike. Something pale and real, I think, nothing heavy or dark. I trust your taste," Dan said in a softer, friendlier tone.
"Also, we’re planning on staying until closing and we’re not going to be in any condition to drive. Here’s my keys. Could you call a cab for us when we’re done and would you mind driving my pickup back to my house?" Dan handed Mike the keys.
"Sure, Dan," Mike said with a grunt.
"You can stay over at my place and I’ll drive you back, when I’m in a condition to do so, tomorrow," Dan said.
Mike smiled and winked, "Anything for a friend."
"Thanks, Mike, I owe you, big," Dan said, patting Mike on the back.
"Well, not yet, but you’ll pay up before you leave." Mike chuckled as he turned to go get our drinks and we headed for the corner booth.
"I’m pretty close friends with Mike," Dan said as we sat down. "I feel a bit bad about barking at him back there, but I didn’t want too many questions; Mike’s a great guy, but I sometimes he can get a bit nosey. It’s mostly out of concern, not meddling. I did almost the same thing to him when I broke up with Carla, which is why he asked ‘Who died’. I must have drank damn near two bottles of Scotch the night she broke up with me, don’t even remember passing out, but Mike said he put me in the back room and made sure I didn’t drown in puke. He drove me home and was fast asleep at my place when I woke the next afternoon. Anyway, I didn’t think you’d want to discuss things with a total stranger, even though he’s a buddy of mine."
I started to mist up again, not over Jeff, but because I realized how sweet and protective Dan was being to me.
"Look, the beer hasn’t even gotten here yet, you can’t start crying in it until it arrives," he said.
That made me laugh; he always found a way to make me laugh.
"Good, at least your sense of humor is still intact," he said softly.
Over the next several hours we got heroically drunk and I pushed my limits because I didn’t give a shit anymore, but I didn’t get sick. I discretely cried a bit and Dan kept joking until I felt better.
Mike would come over occasionally and by the end of the night, I knew him better. He was a nice guy and I felt I’d like to get to be friends with him. Dan, as always, was unafraid to show how close he was to me in public.
"Aren’t you afraid the guys here are going to think you’re gay?" I asked after a long silence while two of us were drinking beer and shots of scotch.
"I don’t give a shit what the other customers think," he said.
"What about Mike?" I asked.
"Mike doesn’t care and wouldn’t if I was here on a date with you. I’m his friend and you’re my friend and that’s good enough for him."
We reminisced about our childhood and our folks and people we knew. We talked about Jeff and what a bastard he was for leaving like a coward and how he’d stabbed me in the heart every five minutes, as drunken people are want to do.
Dan reminded me that he’d be there for me, just like I was for him with Carla. Though it was repetitive, because he said it every time I called Jeff a coward, I didn’t mind. This straight man was expressing love for me Jeff never quite did, I saw it in his bloodshot eyes; a deep real love of one who cared about another. It soothed and softened the hurt that Jeff had inflicted. I wanted to kiss him, but even as drunk as I was, I knew that was out of the question.
I remember Mike calling last round and he came over later and told us he was calling a cab. He closed up and we got into the cab. He must have followed us over, because he helped Dan get me into my house. I passed out about the time I hit the pillow.
The next afternoon I woke to two warm lips on mine.
It was all a bad dream, Jeff had never left! But there was something wrong and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I opened my eyes and as my vision came into focus I was staring into soft blue eyes set in a furry black bearded face. I was lying there in his arms; he was naked and so was I.
"What the Hell! Dan?" I was shocked.
"Surprise, Eric!" he said with a smirk.
"You’re gay?" I said, incredulously.
"No, I’m bisexual. I like women, but I’ve always loved you. I came to terms with that when Carla dumped me. She was always jealous of the time you and I spent together. I realized in my drunken stupor the night she left me that I loved you and that’s why I spent so much time with you. I realized I’ve always wanted to be near you.”
“I also found out that night that Mike was gay; he didn’t just sleep on the couch when he took me home. ‘Mike’s Hideout’, the bar you and I went to last night, is a Bear bar. Usually it’s full of big furry men but it was kind of empty last night because of a big Bear gathering in San Francisco this weekend."
"Bear bar?" I said.
"Yeah, Bears. Big furry guys like me. I’m shocked you didn’t know. Of course, you were with Jeff and he’s kinda twinky. I guess I’m not surprised you’ve never heard of Bears after all."
"Twinky?" I said.
"Furless, beardless, slim and worried about getting’ fat and always over-dressed… twinky." He smiled.
"But, Carla left along time ago, why didn’t you tell me then?" I said.
"I never was able to get up the nerve and about the time I did, Jeff fluttered into your life like some pretty butterfly. I know you’re vulnerable right now, but it’s not like you haven’t known me all your life. I decided to strike now, before you fell for some other twink. I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, but," he smiled again, "you have to grow a beard like you did back in our senior year or I’ll never be able to show my face in Mike’s bar again."
He French kissed me and even though my head hurt from the hangover, I didn’t care.
"Why did you shave it off?" he asked.
"I started looking for work," I said. "and Jeff never liked me with stubble and liked beards less."
"Well, I’ve jacked off more nights than I can count looking at your senior picture in the year book." He grabbed my stiffening cock and I grunted with pleasure.
"OK, OK! I get the point; I swear never to shave again," I said.
"Good!" He said and then he proceeded to ravage me.
I loved every minute of it, even though it made my head hurt.
Mike came in about an hour later and we spent a good portion of the afternoon exploring the possibilities of three hairy men in a bed. Sort of a thank you and get acquainted thing. He took Dan’s truck back home. We’d go get it later with my car.
We were lying there afterward and I suddenly remembered something.
"Dan?" I asked with a wide grin. "How would you like to go to Disneyland for Valentine’s Day?"
Happy Valentine’s Day!