Brian looked at Mame, hoping he wouldn’t guess his roommates were gay, and said, “Let’s go out. I know of a nice restaurant I think you’ll enjoy.”
Mame turned away from the mantel and the photographs he had been examining and said, “Okay.”
Justin appeared in the doorway and asked, “Are you going to introduce me, Brian?”
Brian met Justin’s gaze and flinched at the expression on his face. He hadn’t decided what to do about telling his brother about Justin. “Yes, Mame, this is Justin. Justin this is Mame.”
Mame came forward to shake Justin’s outstretched hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Justin. I can see from the photos on the mantel you are good friends with Brian.”
Justin smiled, and said, “Yes, we’re best friends.”
Brian gathered his courage, deciding to tell Mame the truth, and turned to his brother. “Mame, Justin is my husband.”
Mame smiled and said, "Thank you for being honest with me, Brian. I knew you and Justin were more than just friends.”
Brian met his brother’s gaze and asked, “You’re not mad at me?”
“No, I’m not angry with you. I’m also married to a man,” Mame said. “When I saw the photo of you and Justin, I could see there was a special connection between you, like there is between me and Nasir. We love each other very much. I am happy you have found Justin.”
Justin smiled at Mame. He walked over to put his arm around Brian’s waist, pulling him close. “Thank you for accepting us as a couple.”
Mame said, “You’re welcome. Brian, I want you to meet my husband, Nasir. He is outside, waiting in the car. I wanted to know how you would react to me being married, first. I didn’t want to subject Nasir to anything ugly. He is very special to me.”
Brian nodded his head as his brother’s words sunk in. His brother was gay, too, and was married to a guy! He said, “I understand completely. I feel the same way about Justin. Go and bring Nasir inside. I want to meet the man who stole my brother’s heart!”
Mame, grinning broadly, quickly covered the distance to the door and stepped outside. He waved to Nasir to come inside. Nasir got out of the rental car and approached Mame. He was a slender man with jet black hair and eyes with a hawk-like nose and a brilliant smile. His honey colored skin was smooth and supple. He barely reached Mame’s shoulder in height. Mame took his hand and led him inside.
Nasir looked up at his husband. “Is everything okay?”
Mame said, “Yes.” He squeezed Nasir’s hand, reassuringly. “Everything will be alright.” They entered the house and made their way to the front room, where Brian and Justin were waiting for them. He said, “Nasir, this is my brother, Brian, and his husband, Justin.”
Nasir’s eyes widened in surprise, then he smiled and said, “It’s nice to meet you.”
Brian came forward and pulled Nasir into his arms. “I’m glad Mame has found you.”
Nasir was overwhelmed with the joy he felt. He never dreamed his husband’s family would ever accept him, let alone welcome him with open arms. Tears began falling down his cheeks, as he returned Brian’s hug.
Brian released Nasir and held him at arm’s length. “Mame has found quite a handsome young man.”
Nasir blushed and said, “Mame is the handsome one.”
Justin said, “Yes, he is, as is Brian; however, you’re just as handsome.” He took Brian’s place and wrapped his arms around the smaller man. “Welcome to our home, Nasir.”
Mame turned to his brother. “Thank you for welcoming us to your home. Nasir’s family has disowned him. He suffers too much because of their rejection of him.”
Brian said, “Let’s go to the family room where we can relax and talk.” The four men went down the hallway into the family room. Once they were comfortable, Brian asked, “Does our family know you’re married?”
“No,” Mame said. “Just as they don’t know you’re married to Justin.”
Brian said, “I’ve kept it a secret from everyone, until now.”
Mame said, “Your secret is safe with us, as ours is with you. What are you going to do about Darya? Mom said Dad is out of the hospital, but she is worried about him; so, they may decide you have to come home soon to marry her.”
Brian winced. “I don’t know what to do about her. I had hoped you could take my place; but, you’re obviously not going to be able to do that. Maybe she can marry our brother, Rohit. He’ll be 21 this year.”
“You don’t think our parents would try to kidnap one of us and force us to marry her?” Mame asked, a worried look on his face.
Brian thought for a moment. “You know they would, Mame. However, if they knew we were married to men, they would have us killed. Then it would fall to Rohit to marry Darya.”
Mame nodded his head. “That is true.”
Nasir asked, “Would they really do that? I mean kill you?”
“Yes, they would,” Brian answered his brother-in-law. “It would be a matter of family honor.”
“Our parents are fanatical when it comes to the family and its reputation,” Mame said.
Justin asked, “So, what are you two going to do?”
Brian said, “We won’t tell them and hope they don’t send anyone to force us to go home.”
Nasir said, “That’s not very comforting.”
“No, it’s not; but, we don’t have any other choice,” Mame said. “At least, we aren’t dependent on them for money.”
Brian agreed. “Yes, we are fortunate our parents set up accounts in our own names long ago. As soon as I turned 21, I had their names removed from my bank accounts, etc., to ensure they couldn’t leave me penniless.”
“I did the same thing,” Mame said. “I even switched banks and made sure my parents don’t know where I am. I keep in touch with them via text messages, but nothing more than that.”
“Is that when you reached out to me?” Brian asked.
Mame nodded his head. “Yes. I thought you would be more accepting than our parents, and I was right.” He smiled at his brother.
“How long can you stay with us?” Brian asked.
“Only a few days,” Mame said. “I have to be back at work on Monday.”
Brian asked, “Where are you staying now?”
“We’re in a hotel not far from here,” Mame said.
“Then, check out and come stay with us, until you have to return to Chicago,” Brian said.
Justin echoed that invitation, “Please stay with us. I’m sure the rest of the guys would agree to it.”
Mame’s eyes shone with unshed tears. “Thank you, Justin. I am so happy.”
Nasir said, “We should go get out things before we have to pay for another day at the hotel.”
Mame agreed, “Let’s go, so we can return very quickly.”
The two men practically ran out the door to return to their hotel. After Mame and Nasir returned with their belongings from the hotel, they spent the rest of the day getting to know each other.
Later, Justin followed Brian into their bedroom, closing the door behind him. Justin said, “I think we need to have a plan of action, should your family decide to force you to return home.”
Brian sat down on their bed. He looked up at his husband. “I agree. After I finish my doctorate, I think we should move to Toronto. It would throw my family off the scent and we would be close to our friends.”
“What about your brother?” Justin asked. “I like him and Nasir, but I wouldn’t trust him not to throw you under the bus, if your parents put pressure on him.”
Brian nodded his head. “Mame is like that. He’s always been more interested in satisfying his own needs than looking out for others. Nasir seems like a pretty stand-up guy, but he’s dominated by Mame.”
“Yes, he is. I just hope Nasir doesn’t get hurt. Nasir is clearly in love with Mame; but, I’d wager Mame isn’t in love with Nasir, given what we’ve seen today,” Justin said.
Brian grimaced. “Mame has always been self-centered, that’s why I’m not sure why he sought me out. I think he’s been sent here to find out what I’m doing and he’s probably reporting back to my parents. He thinks they’ll let him alone if he gives them what they want – me.”
Brian was troubled by Mame’s sudden appearance on his doorstep. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but something wasn’t right. Maybe over the coming days Mame would let slip what his true motives were for being here.
Mame looked around the room he and Nasir would be using during their stay with his brother and his husband. Nasir sat down next to him on the king-sized bed and asked, “What are we going to do?”
Mame said, “I don’t know.”
Nasir said, “You promised your parents you would report back on Brian’s activities.”
“I know,” Mame said. “I think I’m going to tell them he’s working on his doctorate and leave it at that.”
“Why? You’ve never had feelings of compassion for anyone else in your life, not even for me,” Nasir said. “Don’t tell me you’re going soft on me!”
Mame said, “Don’t even go there with me, Nasir. You know I don’t love you and never will.”
“So, why did you marry me?” Nasir asked, already knowing the answer.
“You’re great in bed. I like fucking you,” Mame said, with a smirk.
“But you could have had that without marrying me,” Nasir said.
“Yes, but I didn’t want to share you with anyone else, so I married you to guarantee I was the only one who got to fuck that sweet ass of yours,” Mame said, leering at his husband.
Nasir leaned in to kiss his husband. “I’m glad you married me because I love how you make love to me.”
Mame ran his hands over Nasir’s body as he thought about what he was going to report to his parents. Reaching a decision, he said, “I’m not going to rat out Brian to my parents because I want to ensure I have some leverage against him, when the time comes. I want the entire family fortune and I want total control of all the businesses my family owns; but I don’t want to marry Darya. I have to keep Brian around to take care of that problem for me. Otherwise, I’d let my parents know he’s married to a guy and they would put a contract out on his life. They’ve done it before. Dad hired a hit man to take out his older brother when they found him in bed with another guy. Brian doesn’t know about that. I overheard Dad talking to the hit man and saw the money Dad paid the guy when he came back to report the job was done.”
“What are you doing to do about your parents?” Nasir asked.
Mame said, “I’ll arrange a little accident to take them both out of the picture. But, that will have to wait until the time is right. I want to make sure there’s no way Brian can refuse to divorce his husband and return to India to marry Darya. I want him to come voluntarily, instead of being kidnapped. He’s just as stubborn as I am, so if he’s forced, he’ll find a way out of it. However, if he does it on his own, then I won’t have to worry.”
“What about your little sisters? Won’t you need to marry them off?” Nasir asked.
“Sure, but I’ll make sure they don’t have any claim on the family businesses, or the family fortune,” Mame said.
“It sounds like you have it all planned out,” Nasir said.
“Of course,” Mame said, smiling. “I’ve even planned out how to make sure my family accepts you as my spouse, especially after my parents are out of the way.”
Nasir looked at Mame in surprise. “How’s that going to happen?”
“I’ve been working on my grandmother. She believes my father has ruined us by selling out to Darya’s father. I think she’ll back me when the time comes, and I’ve made sure she knows I won’t allow her or anyone in the family dictate to me who I’ll have as my mate,” Mame said, as he pulled Nasir into his arms.
I drove myself to work the next morning with trepidation, wondering if I was next on the chopping block. My interview with my new boss, Rene, had been uneventful, especially compared to Duane and Mason’s! I still wondered why I hadn’t been fired for being gay, as well. According to Duane, she had been particularly offensive during his interview with her, making sure he knew of her hatred for gays.
I left the Land Rover in the underground parking, taking Duane’s usual spot, and took the elevator to the ground floor. I just had a bad feeling I was going to be the next one fired for being gay, so I expected to be zapped at the security station as I went through the turnstile, wondering if they had revoked my security clearance. I breathed a sigh of relief when I cleared it. I walked across the marble foyer and took the elevator to my floor. As I walked past Rene’s office, she looked up from her desk and waved to me through the open door. She seemed friendly enough. Shrugging my shoulders, I made my way to my cubicle and sat down. I turned on my laptop and stared at the screen as it booted up.
I was startled out of my reverie by a deep voice behind me. “Things are much better around here without those faggots.” I whirled around to face Tom, ready to punch him in the face. Seeing my angry expression and raised fists, he backed up. “Whoa there buddy! I didn’t mean to offend you.”
I reluctantly lowered my firsts and gave Tom a disgusted look. Tom was a tall, balding man in his late forties. He is about 6’2 (183 cm.), with a fat round face with light brown eyes set deep in his face, a porcine nose and a crooked smile. He was a former sergeant in the army, but had let himself go, physically. Duane had often commented he looked like a pregnant woman with his gut hang over his belt. He wore jeans and a white golf shirt that fit too snuggly, emphasizing his big belly.
I caught a whiff of alcohol as he leaned closer to me to say, “I got those nasty faggots fired.”
I looked at him in surprise. “How do you figure that?”
He grinned. “I told Rene they were fucking homos and she did the rest.”
I said, with heat in my voice, “I’m gay, too. Are you going to tell Rene so she’ll fire me, since you hate homos?” He laughed, his belly bouncing up and down in front of my face. The very sight of him made me sick! His next words shocked me. “No, I like you. You don’t put on airs like they did. I knew you were a homo from the first moment I laid eyes on you.” He looked me over from head to toe. I had to resist the urge to give the jerk a black eye for daring to look at me that way. He grinned broadly, before continuing, “Duane and Mason pretended to be all macho and manly. I thought they were my friends. I thought they were straight, until I saw them kissing in the elevator a few weeks ago. I can’t stand people who aren’t honest about who they are. I hate being played for a fool.”
I stood up and stood toe to toe with the creep. “What you did was wrong, Tom. They didn’t deserve to be fired for being gay. Everyone desires to be treated with respect and dignity.”
He backed away from me, but said, defiantly, “I’m not sorry I got them fired. They deceived me, Glenn. They shouldn’t have done that.”
“They didn’t deceive you, Tom. They just weren’t throwing their sexuality in your face.” I gave Tom a searching look. “So, what stopped you from doing the same to me?”
“I like you,” Tom responded.
His admission caught me completely off guard. How could he be so hateful to Duane and Mason and then expect me to accept the fact he liked me. I backed away from him. “How can that be? I thought you hated all faggots.”
“I do; but, I think you’re cute and funny. Most of all, you’re honest with people. You don’t pretend to be anything but who you are. I’ve known you’re queer since your first day on the job,” Tom said.
I just shook my head. This jerk was such a mass of contradictions. How could he hate all gays; but, at the same time, find me cute and funny? What a messed up guy! I intentionally turned back to my computer, hoping he’d get the message and move on.
Tom didn’t leave. Instead, he sat down in the chair next to my desk. “Aren’t you going to ask me why I think you’re cute?”
I looked over at him and shrugged. “No, but I’m sure you’re going to tell me, anyway.” I really didn’t want to know. This guy was not my type nor did I want anything to do with him because he had gotten my friends fired!
His eyes met mine. “It’s the way you walk. It’s so sexy.”
I smirked. “I thought you hated homosexuals, yet you sit here and talk about how sexy you think I am. Sounds pretty gay to me.” As usual, the most homophobic guy in the office turns out to be a closet case – well maybe not so much now, since he is openly flirting with me.
Instead of responding to my statement, Tom looked at his watch and said, “I’ve got to go. I’ll catch up with you later.”
He stood up and left my cubicle. I pulled out my cell and dialed Duane. He answered, and I said, “You’re not going to believe what just happened.”
Fortunately, I didn’t see Tom the rest of the day. As I drove home, I debated whether I should quit my job or not. I was still worrying about it when I walked through the door of our condo.
Rick was in the kitchen and shouted, “I’m in here, babe.”
Seeing me, he pulled me into his arms and kissed me, passionately. “How was your day?”
“It was a really weird day for me. You won’t believe what happened,” I said. I related the events of the day, then asked, “What do you think I should do?”
“I think it’s up to you, babe. I’m okay if you stay, and I’m okay if you decide to quit and find a new job. However, it’s always easier to find a new job when you already have one,” he said.
“Yeah, you’re right. Duane and Mason had another interview today,” I said. My phone chimed and I pulled it out to see I had a text message from Duane. I tapped the screen to open it. “We got the job!”
I pushed the reply button. “Great! When do you start?”
The reply came back, “Next week!”
I looked up at Rick and grinned. “The guys are moving to Seattle. They start their new jobs next week.”
Rick smiled. “I’m happy for them. Invite them over to dinner. It will be ready by the time they get here.”
I sent the invitation and got the answer back, “We’ll be right there!”
Rick said, “Go change your clothes and get comfortable, while I put the finishing touches on dinner.”
I left the kitchen and did as Rick asked. I returned to the kitchen to watch Rick put together a green salad. I love watching my stud in the kitchen, especially when he’s cutting up vegetables. His tight muscle shirt shows off his chest and abs to perfection as he wields the knife, making quick work of the celery, carrots, and radishes. Next, he attacked the broccoli and bell peppers. He looked up from his work and grinned at me.
“Will you wash the lettuce?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said. I walked over to the fridge and pulled out the romaine lettuce and the spring greens Rick favors. I hate spring greens, but tolerate them because Rick loves them so much. I wash the greens and the lettuce, putting them in the colander to drip dry.
Rick looked at the greens and laughed. “You’re not going to complain about the spring greens?”
I grinned up at him. “Not this time, because you aren’t trying to get me to eat some of those weird types of lettuce you pick up sometimes.”
Rick looked thoughtful for a moment. “Well, there might be some of that in the bottom of the fridge.”
I punched him in the shoulder and said, “Don’t even go there! What I’ve put in the colander is good enough.”
Rick laughed. “You’re so predictable.”
I said, “But you love me anyway.”
Rick leaned over and kissed me, and said, “Yes, I do, babe.”
He dumped the lettuce and greens into the salad bowl and added the chopped vegetables. Lastly, he diced a tomato and added it to the bowl. He looked at me and asked, “Should I add bacon bits and dried cranberries?”
I shook my head. “No, just put them in a bowl on the table along with some shredded cheese. That way, we can add them if we want them. I hate it when they get soggy and that’s what happens when you put them in the salad.”
He nodded his head in agreement. “Okay.” He pulled out three small bowls for the three items I had mentioned. I took the salad and placed it on the table while Rick brought over the bacon bits, dried cranberries and the cheese.
I said, “You didn’t put any olives in the salad.”
Rick stood next to me and said, “I’m sorry. I forgot.”
I said, “I’ll get them.” I walked over to the pantry and pulled down a can of black olives from the shelf. I love olives! I opened the can and drained off the water. Rick took the olives from me and added them to the salad.
I grinned at him and said, “Thanks, babe. I know you’re not overly fond of olives.”
He said, “They’re big enough, I can pick them out.”
There was a knock on the door. “That will be Duane and Mason.” I said, as I went to let them in. I opened the door and said, “Come in, guys.”
They both hugged me, but Duane held me a little tighter. He pulled back and said, “I’m going to miss you, Glenn.”
“I’m going to miss you, too,” I responded, trying not to get emotional. “Rick has dinner almost ready.” I turned to follow them into the kitchen.
Rick handed Mason a stack of plates. “Here, set the table.”
Duane said, “I’ll get the silverware.”
“And I’ll get the glasses,” I said.
In no time, we had the table ready and were sitting down to eat. Rick had baked some chicken and potatoes to go with the green salad and steamed asparagus. It was a nice meal and the company was even better. After dinner, everyone pitched into clean up.
Later, we adjourned to the family room to talk. Mason was snuggled up against Duane as I was with Rick. Mason said, “We’re leaving the day after tomorrow. The movers come tomorrow to pack everything up. Would it be okay for us to stay with you tomorrow night?”
Rick said, “Certainly. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Duane smiled. “We’ve really enjoyed our time here in Atlanta, especially after we met you guys and your friends.”
Mason said, “I’ve loved everything here, except the job.”
Duane said, “That’s not true, babe. We loved our jobs at first; then we met Tom. He’s been the bane of our existence for some time now.”
“He’s the reason we started looking for jobs when we did,” Mason said.
“And I’m glad we did!” Duane said. “Or we would be in a world of hurt right now.”
Mason agreed, “You’re right.”
Rick asked, “So, what will you be doing in your new jobs?”
Mason said, “We’ll be working on security software.”
Duane said, “That’s all we’re allowed to say.”
Mason shrugged. “Duane is always more cautious than I am; but, he’s right.”
“Do you need us to help you with your place?” I asked.
“No,” Duane said. “We’ve got a realtor lined up to sell the place and we’ll be moved out the day after tomorrow. We plan on driving straight through, though.”
Mason said, “We’ll take turns sleeping, the other one drives.”
I gave them a worried look. “Shouldn’t you stop and get some proper rest?”
“Well, we could make a stop about half way,” Duane conceded.
“But we want to get there with enough time to find us a new place,” Mason said.
“We don’t want to pay to store our stuff, if we can help it,” Duane said.
Mason said, “Our realtor recommended we check out West Seattle. He said he had gay friends who lived there and they really like it. He gave us their phone number.”
“What time are the movers coming tomorrow?” I asked.
“They’ll be here at 8 AM,” Duane said. “We’re paying a little extra, since we’re having to move so quickly.”
“I can’t believe you’re leaving so soon,” I said.
“Well, it couldn’t be helped since we were fired yesterday,” Duane said.
Mason said, “Juan called us today. He managed to get a new job with a law firm in New York.”
“I didn’t know he was a lawyer,” I said in surprise.
Duane said, “We didn’t either. His partner, Richard is a lawyer, also. Apparently, Richard’s family has connections with the law firm they’re joining.”
“It must be nice to have such good connections,” Rick said.
“Yes, it does,” Duane agreed.
We spent the rest of the evening with our friends. After they left us, Rick pulled me into our bedroom and said, “It’s time to put you to bed.”
I nodded my head. “I’m so emotionally drained, Rick.”
Rick gave me a lecherous grin. “I think I have the perfect solution to restoring you to perfect health.”
A thrill of anticipation went down my spine, as he slowly undressed me. His kisses burned my skin and set my blood on fire! By the time he lifted off my feet and carried me to our bed, I was more than ready for him to make me his.
Music for this chapter:
The Tenors – Under One Sky - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAXmrIPHG3U
The Tenors – A New Day’s Begun - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR0ft8ahWbg
The Tenors – Lead With Your Heart - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_En2FVuIzhM
Number of People Killed by Police - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/01/police-killings-numbers_n_7486476.html
Treatment of Youth in Prison - http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/cruel-and-all-too-usual/