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The One Who Almost Got Away

Copyright 2019 J.T. Evergreen


Published by J.T. Evergreen

at Smashwords


This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Smashwords.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Khris Lawrentz for his tireless proofreading.


Stalked

As told by Russell Martin


I wasn’t stalking him. Well, at least not according to the dictionary which defines stalking as pursuing or approaching stealthily and I was doing neither. I was observing; admiring from afar. I was being a good boy.


“No, you weren’t. You have a dirty mind, and he was probably running through it … naked.”


“Thank you, Hank. That may be true, but I’m still a good boy.”


Jerry, of Hank and Jerry, sat down across from me with his cup of coffee. “You said you had an erection for three days after you first saw him.”


“I was kidding. But, if you could see him … all seven feet of him, you’d understand why I said that. I think he’s Spanish.”


“Spanish? Yummy. Seven feet?”


“Give or take an inch or two; and built like a brick shit house … with every delicious brink in place. He’s like a walking Popsicle … and me with no licking privileges.”


“All right, you can stop. It’s too early to be thinking about this guy and his bricks.” Hank chuckled and sipped his coffee. “So, what are you going to do about your Spanish hunk? Just talk about him like you usually do with all the other guys you’ve found interesting?”


“Probably. I’m just too shy to do anything.”


“Do you know where he lives?”


“No.”


“Well, why don’t you follow him?”


“What if he spots me? Then what?”


“Then you tell him the truth?”


“What truth?”


“That you’re looking for a life-partner.”


“No, I’m not.”


“Yes, you are.” Hank and Jerry responded in unison, then laughed.


“Well, it’s not likely to happen.”


“So, what’s the worst that could happen?”


“He could laugh at me and walk away.”


“Yeah, I guess that is the worst that could happen.”


I thought maybe you guys could help.”


“Help? What do you mean – help?”


“Maybe you could strike up a conversation with him and I could just happen to drop by.”


“It’s the height thing, again. Isn’t it?”


“No, it isn’t.”


“Of course, it is. It’s always the height thing with you. You’re afraid you’ll look funny standing next to him especially if he’s 7 feet tall – give or take an inch . How tall are you? I forget. Five, eight?”


“Five, nine – with my lifts. And I will look funny standing next to him. I hate tall people.”


“Even me?” Jerry smiled.


“You’re not tall.”


“I’m taller then you.”


“How about me?” Hank weighed in.


“You are too tall, but tolerable – as long as you’re sitting down.” I had to laugh at that myself. “What am I going to do?”


“Leave it to Kismet is my suggestion.”


“Jerry, you always say that, and you don’t even believe in Kismet let alone know what it means.”


We had a good laugh and then glum set it. I thanked them for coffee and said my good-byes. I’d have to figure out what to do about my seven foot Adonis by myself. I could control my daytime fantasies. It was the nighttime dreams that got scary.


Holy Christmas, I was doing things to him I’m sure the Holy Father would never approve of in this lifetime or the next. But Father Stephen, on the other hand, didn’t seem to be too concerned during my confessional visits. My penance was usually a couple of Hail Mary’s and I was good to go. I could see through that confessional screen and the expression on Father Stephen’s face seemed to be one of contentment. I wondered if he was enjoying what I was confessing. I called it the celibacy effect look or more accurately the celibacy defect look. I made sure he was in the box whenever I came to confess.


Father Mike, on the other hand, was to be avoided at all cost, even to the point of risking the fires of hell. The one and only time I confessed to him, he dropped that Bible of his, twice. And when it hit the floor you could hear it throughout the sanctuary. As I left the confessional cabinet, I heard him open his door for a few seconds, probably to get a good look at the depraved creature whose sins he had just forgiven. The looks from the parishioners waiting to confess were also interesting. I wasn’t a bad boy, but I seemed to be reaping all the rewards of one.


One afternoon, my obsession of watching him as he passed by, finally caught up with me. When he looked my way, I looked away so fast I almost got whiplash. I don’t know why I did that. A park is a public place. I guess I can look at anyone or anything I choose to look at. My reaction was probably out of guilt – I had ravaged his body so many times in my mind I couldn’t help but feel guilty. I casually looked back at him.


He stopped, turned, and began walking toward me. Holy shit, now what? I looked down at the book I was holding as he approached.


“Hi.”


I innocently looked up, “Oh, hi.”


“May I join you?”


“Sure,” my heart stopped, then shifted into high gear. I was on the verge of gasping.


He sat down and smiled a most beguiling smile.


Oh, jeez, I smiled back. He was better looking up close. Drop-dead gorgeous was more like it. I couldn’t think of a bloody thing to say so, I looked down at my book and then realized it was upside down. I turned it around.


He laughed. “I’m Andre.


“I’m Russ.”


“You know, you’re not fooling me.”


“What?”


“I walk this way every afternoon and you’re always here – loitering, watching me.”


“I’m not loitering.”


“Of course, you are. Reading your book upside down is a dead giveaway, but it’s okay.”


“So?”


“Are you as interested in me as I am in you?”


Oh boy, “I …”


“Sorry, guess I must be mistaken.”


“No, you aren’t …”


“Aren’t what?” he broke into that lopsided grin if his, again.


I laughed nervously. “… mistaken.”


“Then I can assume you’re as interested in me as I am in you.”


“Are you always this direct?”


“No, but I know what I want … and usually get it.”


I could not help myself. I broke into laughter. “Yes, I am interested, but I have to warn you.”


“About what?”


“I never do anything on my first date.”


He smiled. “Neither do I.”


“So, now what do we do?”


“Get the first date out of the way, I guess.”


“Any ideas how?”


“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.”


I said nothing and waited.


“There’s a French Restaurant on Clement. Join me for dinner?”


“Ok. Only if we go Dutch, just in case you turn out to be a frog.”


“Me, a frog?” He laughed.


He had such a beautiful face, I was pretty sure I would fall in love before the evening was over.


“What’s the smile for?”


“There’s an angel on my shoulder whispering in my ear.”


“That’s cool. Is it a boy or a girl angel?”


“I don’t know. Do angels have a sex?”


“Probably not, but if they do, I’d prefer a boy angel.”


“Yeah, me too. Shall we go?”


“What’s he whispering?”


“Little nothings.”


“About?”


“You.” I was being corny but it seemed to be working.


“Naughty or nice?”


“How about … none of your business?”


“Ok, but I’ll eventually find out. Shall we?”


“Yes, let’s.” He got up and extended his hand. I took it and felt his strength as he pulled me to a standing position. I had to look up to see his face. Thank God he didn’t laugh. I felt better about his height. His hand was warm and comfortable. I hesitated from letting it go.


He began bumping into me as we walked. I thought it presumptuous, but I liked it.


“You have a boyfriend?”


I decided not to play hard to get which I usually did on first dates. “No, I don’t.”


“Would you like one?”


“Well … as a matter of fact, I am looking for a partner.”


“Wow. You don’t beat around the bush do you?”


“Look who’s talking. How long have I known you – a whole seven minutes and you ask a question like that.”


“Do you think I’m partner material?”


“Play your cards right and we’ll find out.”


“To be honest, so am I.”


“So am you what?”


“So am you what? Where did you learn English?”


“Hey, I’m a product of the American educational system.”


“Yes, I’m also looking for a partner.”


“Fair enough. Glad we got that out of the way. I’m not very good at guessing or dodging issues.”


“Neither am I. There it is,” he pointed across the street. “What do you think?”


“Looks very French.”


He chuckled, “They have an outdoor dining garden in the back. It’s a perfect evening for dining al fresco.”


“Sounds good. Do you speak French?”


“Yes.”


“Fluently?”


“Yes, and you?”


“Are you kidding? I can barely speak English.”


“Ah, yes. The American educational system. I almost forgot.”


“I wish I could forget. So, where were you educated? Don’t answer that.”


“Why not?”


“It’s probably in Europe somewhere, and you’re probably a hell of a lot smarter than I am.” I looked away from him.


“Do you want me to tell you or not?”


“Yeah, you may as well.”


“It’s not that big of a deal.”


“Maybe to you it isn’t.”


“Why don’t we just enjoy a meal together?”


“No, I want to know.”


“Ok, I was schooled in Switzerland.”


I could not help but notice the classy way in which he said it. It was his classy ways that bothered me. “And what other languages do you speak – fluently?


“Russ, come on.”


“No, tell me.”


“Four.”


“And, pray tell, what do you do for a living?”


“I’m an international lawyer.”


“That’s swell. I’m very happy for you. I just lost my appetite. You have a nice life.” I turned around and walked away.


“Wait a minute, Russ. That’s not fair.”


“Oh, yes it is. Good-bye. Don’t call me. I’ll call you.”


“You don’t have my number.”


“Oh, yes I do.”


“Jesus, Russ. I’m so fucking lonely it hurts. Give me a chance, please.”


I stopped dead in my tracks. The sadness in his voice got me. I turned around and almost cried when I saw the hopeless expression on his face, “Ok. Just dinner. And you pay. You’re obviously richer than I am.”


“Deal!” He took my arm and steered me to the entrance of the restaurant … probably didn’t want to take a chance on having me bolt.


“Bonsoir, Maurice, une table pour deux dans un coin tranquille s’il vous plait.”


“Maurice? You’ve been here before.”


“No, I haven’t. All head waiters are called Maurice.”


I began to laugh.


The evening could not have been more perfect. Andres asked what kind of food I preferred. I told him to surprise me. And surprise me he did. First came Soupe á L’oignon – onion soup, but what onion soup. A small plate of Nicoise salad was slipped in before I finished the soup. I had never had tuna in a salad but it was ok. When I heard the name of the main dish, Confit de canard, I thought – oh, boy. It was duck like I’d never had before.


I stopped him when he was about to order Champaign. “Andres, I don’t drink alcohol, but you go ahead.”


“No, of course not. Wine?”


“Something light, please. Rosea if they have it.”


He looked at Maurice, “Puis-je avoir la liste des vins s’il vous plait.”


And finally came the Tarte tatin which turned out to be an upside-down apple tart which, Andres explained, was a mistake made by some cook named Tatin back in the 1800’s and it became quite famous as a result.


I was full to brimming when the coffee arrived with a small bowl and tiny spoon. “What’s this?”


“Chocolate.”


“In my coffee?”


“Yes, try it. I think you’ll like it.”


And I did.


We were accommodated above and beyond the call to duty by the wait staff. Probably because of the way Andres handled himself. He was so continental and comfortable in this setting. I loved listening to him conversing nonchalantly in French. He belonged, and I did not. I commented on how everyone spoke so softly. He gently told me it's the way of the French.


“Not loud like most Americans. Right?”


He laughed, “Right.”


I watched every move Andres made and followed his lead. All those forks and spoons and knives and glasses. I had never seen a spoon that large. I wasn’t sure what it was used for until I saw Andres pick it up. The one thing I did know was how to ladle soup from the bowl. I was hesitant to use the beautiful oversized linen napkin. I felt guilty about soiling it.


Under the circumstances, I did remarkably well, but I wasn’t all that comfortable and I think he knew it. I appreciated his attention but knew I’d never accept another invitation to a place like this. You have to be born into it. I was born into McDonald’s – paper napkins, plates, and plastic spoons, and cups.


I was somewhat relieved when the meal and the evening came to an end. He said a few parting words to Maurice – in French, of course, and discretely handed him some folded money. I smiled and tried to look like I understood their conversation. I followed Andres out to the walkway.


He stopped and turned to me. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have taken you there.”


“No, you shouldn’t have, but it was enjoyable. Thank you.


“Russ, I’d like to see you again.”


“Why, for heaven’s sake. Andres, you outclass me a hundred to one just in case you haven’t noticed.”


“That’s not fair.”


“Perhaps not, but it’s honest and you know it as well as I do. I’m hoi polloi and you’re not and never will be.”


“So, you won’t give me your phone number?”


“No, you may have it, but think carefully before you use it. I meant what I said about looking for a partner and it’s a big deal with me. You make a marriage together. No one hands it to you. And it requires 24/7 attention to make it work.”


“That’s what I want also.”


“No, Andres. You may think that’s what you want, but I don’t think someone like you is up to it. You’re jet set and probably have jet fuel in your veins.”


“You’re wrong, Russ. I need to love and be loved like everyone else.”


“Andres, how much time do you spend overseas with your work?”


He knew the answer but said nothing.


“My point exactly.” I handed him my card. “Here, take this. All the information you need is on it. If you give it some thought you’ll agree that using it would be a mistake. And I’m in no mood to be fucked with intellectually or emotionally. I’ll kick your ass if you screw with me.”


He looked at the card then at me, “Is that a promise?”


“Metaphorically speaking, yes.” I grinned.


“I’ll keep it in mind.” He grinned back.


His grin was so sad, I almost retracted everything I had said.


We walked together for several blocks. He kept bumping into me. “Will you please stop doing that?”


“Sorry, it’s just that I want to touch you.”


“I never should have said it.”


“Said what?”


“About not doing anything on my first date. I should have taken you home and fucked your brains out. I certainly wanted to.”


“We could still do that.”


“Too late. I know too much about you now. You won’t be around for very long.”


“If you think you can get rid of me that easily, you’ve got another think coming.”


“By morning you’ll see I’m right.”


We reached the corner where we were about to go our separate ways. We shook hands, but he didn’t let go of my hand. “What?”


“May I kiss you?”


He looked so pathetic I said “OK.” I hung onto his hand so he couldn’t get that close. I’d allow a peck but didn’t want him French kissing me. Who knows what I would have done with his tongue halfway down my throat.


We kissed. As he backed away, I made it quite clear, “If you ever do that again, please keep your eyes open.”


He smiled gratefully, “I will. I promise.”


"My hand. May I have it back?"


"May I kiss you again?"


"Oh, all right, but remember what I said."


He smiled and moved in.


When I got that close before I could smell him, and I liked it. His eyes were really beautiful and he didn’t force his tongue


"Thank you."


"You're welcome. My hand, please?"


"Oh, yeah."


The next morning, I half hoped the phone would ring. It didn’t. By the end of week two, I knew I had been right and it would never be. In spite of being right, I felt lonelier than I had in a long time. I kept thinking of that last kiss. I wanted more. I wanted him. He definitely wasn't a frog.


But, I was right. He was just a hit and run kind of guy. It was better to end it before it turned into a disaster.


I wondered if he would ever come back. Probably not. Now, what the fuck do I do?


My phone rang. “Hello.”


“Russ?”


“Andres.”


“How are you?”


“I’m okay. How are you? Where are you? I’m getting feedback. Sounds like you’re in a tunnel.”


“I’m in Prague.”


“Prague? That’s cool. How’s the weather?” I couldn’t think of anything else to say.


“It’s very nice here. It’s midnight and I’m about to retire.”


“Ah, it’s noon here – time difference. So, why are you calling?”


“I’m flying back tomorrow.”


“Well, I don’t envy you. It’s a long trip. I don’t care for flying that much.”


“I’m stopping off in New York for a day, then heading back to L.A. the day after.”


“Andres, you didn’t call to explain your itinerary. What’s going on?”


He was silent for a few seconds.


“Andres? This is your dime. Talk to me.”


“Can you meet me in L.A.? We can drive back to San Francisco along the coast. I have a small place in Shell Beach. We could stop there.”


He had to be kidding. No way am I going to L.A. What is he – nuts?


“Russ?”


“Yeah, I’m here. Andres, that’s a really nice offer but I can’t get away. I’m hoi polloi, remember. I work 9 to 5 and I can’t afford such a luxury right now.” I could afford it, just didn’t want to make that kind of a commitment.


“I can arrange for your passage.”


“What’s in L.A.?”


“We have an office there. I have to stop for a partner meeting.”


“Just out of curiosity, who do you work for?”


“Winston and Strawn.”


“A law firm, no doubt?”


“Yes.”


“Are you a partner?”


“I’m going to be. That’s what the meeting is about.”


“So, it will be Winston, Strawn, and Costa?”


“No, that’s not how it works.”


“Do they know you’re gay?”


“Well, yeah. Sort of.”


“What does that mean?”


“It’s never been discussed.”


I wondered why I was even talking to him.


“Andres, that’s a really nice offer, but I don’t think so. As I said the last time we met, you outclass me. Makes me uncomfortable. I’d always be fighting with myself to live up to your standards. I don’t want to do that. I’m very comfortable with who I am.”


“Russ.”


“No, Andres. I don’t understand why you’re so persistent. You’ve got the world by the tail. You’re drop-dead gorgeous, smart, well-educated and probably moneyed. You could have anyone you wanted. Why me for God’s sake? And besides, you don’t know anything about me. I could be your next frog. Then what? You’d dump me and move on. No thanks.” I wondered if I could have been more pathetic.


“That’s not true, Russ. I know more about you than you think.”


“One dinner does not constitute knowing me better.”


“I’m friends with Hank and Jerry.”


I was struck dumb for a few seconds. “Oh, my God. I don’t believe it. Did they put you up to this?”


“No, it's not like that. They are just trying to help.”


“Help? What do you mean help?”


“They told me all about you – how lonely you are. It seemed like a good match.”


“For who? God dammit! I don’t believe they did this.”


“You’re angry. I shouldn’t have told you. I’m sorry.”


Dumped

“Go fuck yourself!” I hung up.


Oh, God. I can’t believe I did that.


I was cruel to Andres which isn’t like me. I could not come to grips with what I had done. How do I apologize? I walked over to Hank and Jerry’s apartment.


Hank answered the door, “Jerry, look who’s here. Mr. Smooth.”


“Hi, Hank.”


“Come in, Prince Myshkin.”


“Not funny, Hank. Hi, Jerry.”


“I just got off the phone with Andres.”


“Oh, God.”


“What happened between the two of you?”


“I don’t know. I got scared and blew it.”


“Scared of what?”


“Everything. He took me to that French restaurant on Clemente.”


“The Chapeau?”


“You know about that place?”


“Yes, we eat there quite often.”


“Jesus, I felt so out of place.”


“Why for heaven’s sake?”


“It was Andres. He was so comfortable there and spoke French so beautifully. I felt like a foreigner sitting with him.”


“I got the feeling from our conversation a few minutes ago that he’s really hurting.”


“I told him to go fuck himself.”


“Why?”


“I was afraid I’d turn out to be his frog and he’d dump me.”


“That’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever heard. Hank and I can fix this. When’s he coming back?”


“Tomorrow. He’s stopping in New York and then heading to L.A. for a meeting. He wanted me to meet him there and drive back. He mentioned Shell Beach.”


“That’s right. He has a cottage there.”


“What am I going to do? I feel like such an idiot.”


“Well, you got that right. But I think we can fix that.”


“How? I don’t think saying, I’m sorry, will be very effective.”


“That’s true, but . . . if you show up in L.A. you may still have a chance.”


“I don’t know where he'll be. He mentioned his law firm. I’ve forgotten the name.”


“Winston and Strawn.”


“That’s it.”


“I know where it’s located. Wait a minute. I’ll be right back.”


“Where’s he going?”


“Probably to make a phone call.”


“For what?”


“To help fix it, you idiot.”


A few minutes later, “Ok, here’s the scoop. He’s arriving in L.A. on Wednesday, is staying at the Sheraton. The meeting is Thursday morning and he should be through by noon.”


“What am I supposed to do?”


“God, Russ, you really can be clueless sometimes. Go get a plane ticket and stand in front of the law office and hope he doesn’t deck you when he comes out.”


“I don’t know.”


“Russ, we’ve known Andres for a long time. He’s perfect for you.”


“Why didn’t you tell me about him?”


“I don’t know. Hank, why did we decide not to tell him?”


“When we found out you were stalking him.”


“I wasn’t stalking him.”


“Yes, you were. The day we were in the park, you pointed out where you were stalking him.”


“Well, I didn’t mean it.”


“Anyway, once we knew you were on to him, we thought it would be more romantic if you discovered him on your own.”


“Well, that didn’t work out very well.”


“Sorry. But this will fix it.”


“You keep saying that.”


“Here.” Hank handed me his phone. “Reservation?”


After the reservation was made, they sat me down and told me all about Andres and what they had told him about me.


Andres was an only child of a wealthy influential European family who provided every educational advantage, primarily to get him out of the way. Their prearranged marriage left his father emotionally absent while his mother, a flourishing socialite, offered little emotional stability to their lonely son.


His coming of age sexual experience happened while enrolled at the military school, École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr. He kept it a secret from his parents until they found out what his sexual preference was while he was in the law college, Académie de droit d’Aix-Marseille. Its exchange program brought him to America. He immigrated to the United States after graduation, where his career flourished but not his personal life which was all but non-existent due to his workload and the extensive travel it required.


He met and became friends with Hank and Jerry through mutual acquaintances. Their friendship grew to where he finally asked them for their help in finding a life partner. They knew he wasn’t a bar hopper so they agreed to help. They subsequently decided that I would be a perfect match for him but decided not to tell me about it. They apologized for their faux pas and vowed to make it right.


Second Chance

The plane arrived in L.A. Thursday morning. A little after 11 a.m. I stepped out of a cab in front of Andres’s law office on Bunker Hill which was awkward so, I entered the building and spoke with the receptionist.


“Good morning, my name is Martin and I’ll looking for Mr. Costa.”


“Yes, Mr. Martin. I gave the message to Mr. Costa. He’s expecting you.”


“Message?”


“It was here when I came in this morning. I passed it on to him when he arrived. He should be finished with his meeting very soon. Please, make yourself comfortable. Would you like a coffee?”


“No, no. I’m fine. Thank you.” The message had to be from Hank and Jerry, trying to – fix it. God only knows what his reaction was.


A group of well-dressed men moved down the stairs to the reception area. They seemed to be in a good mood, laughing, shaking hands, patting Andres on the back. I held my breath.


When he saw me, he excused himself and came to where I was standing.


“Russ, I am so happy to see you.”


I think tears were welling in his eyes. “Hank and Jerry set me straight about everything. Can you forgive me?”


“I already have. Come on, let’s go. Where’s your bag?”


“Right here.”


“Wait just a second. I have a couple of farewells I have to make and then we’ll be on our way. You are going back with me, right?”


I almost said, ‘You bet your ass I am.’ Instead, I smiled and whispered, “Yes, I am.”


We were on our way and out of L.A. by two o’clock, chatting back and forth, putting all the broken pieces back together.


I could hear the ocean as we pulled into the driveway of his Shell Beach cottage. It was bright yellow with purple shutters and front door. Old growth flowering bushes were well placed, adding to the charm of the place. It was perfect.


“As we approached the front door, “Andres?”


“Yes?”


“Please, remember … I don’t do anything on my first date.”


Andres broke into a grin. “We’ve already had our first date, remember?”


“Oh, yeah, that’s right.” I feigned surprise with a smile.


“Come on in. Put your stuff down and we’ll go for a walk along the ocean.”


It was twilight, my favorite time of the day. Holding hands with someone I was coming to love and respect, and watching the sun disappear over the horizon of the ocean was inspiring.


“I was right, wasn’t I?” Andres gave forth a knowing smile.


“About what?”


“Knowing what I want and getting it.”


I laughed and held his hand tighter. “Yes, you were right.”


“What’s funny?”


“My angel.”


“I almost forgot about him.”


“He thinks you’re an okay guy.”


“Is that right. Here, give this to him with my thanks.” He leaned over and pecked a kiss on my cheek.


“OK … consider it done.”


Andres gently bumped into me. “Again, please.” We were having such a good time.


He couldn’t resist, “Tell me.”


“Tell you what?”


“Do you think I’m partner material?”


“What do you think?”


“I know what I think. I want to know what you think.”


“Yeah. I think you are.”


“Let’s go back to the cottage.”


“Good idea. I’ll race you.”


‘You’re on.”


We were making coffee and sandwiches in the kitchen in silence when I smiled and wondered if he likes to cuddle.


“What are you smiling about, Mr. Martin?”


“My angel asked me if you like to cuddle.”


“And, what did you say?”


“I said we’d have to wait and see.”


“You can tell him it’s one of my all-time favorite things to do.”


“Andres.”


“Ya?”


“I want to know something.”


“Sure.”


“Do you think I’m partner material?”


“I thought that was settled.”


“I just want to make sure.”


He came around the counter, wrapped his arms around me so tight I almost gasped, then looked into my eyes with such intensity it frightened me. “Does that answer your question?”


I began to laugh, “Yes, it does.”


We settled at the kitchen table, enjoying our first meal together since the French encounter. Slowly the reality of ‘us’ began to overtake me. I stopped eating and just smiled at the man sitting across the table from me.


Then he stopped eating and gazed at me. “There’s something on your mind.”


“Yes, there is.”


“What is it?”


I hesitated and looked down at my hands resting on the table before me.


“Russell?”


I looked up into his waiting face as my heart spilled out onto the table. “I want to be married … to you.”


He slowly reached across the table with those beautiful hands. I met them with mine which he embraced and held tight. His voice was barely above a whisper, “I’m already there. I’ve just been waiting for you.”


I wasn’t prepared for that. I shook my head slightly, “I’m such a fool, Andres. I…”


“Not another word.” He stood up, came around the table, and extended his hand. He took my hand and pulled me into an embrace. His strength and scent intoxicated me. What flowed between us at that moment was so strong I had difficulty standing.


He whispered in my ear, “No more goodbyes for us.”


“You mean it?”


He smiled and drew me closer.


THE END

About the Author J.T. Evergreen

OCCUPATION - Retired from the grind. Reflecting on successes, failures, and regrets. Exploring new aspects of self, writing that book which will get me an Oscar, staying out of trouble - well, small amounts of trouble are ok. Bringing joy into people's lives with random acts of kindness - the ones who aren't expecting it are the best.

ABOUT ME - Alone in blessed singleness. Wicked sense of humor, enjoy my own company, glad I'm not young any longer. I do miss the intimacy of being in love. Enjoy the possibilities of every moment, an imagination that won't quite, a master weaver - give away everything I make, excellent portrait painter, a national treasure - though no one agrees with me, a good listener, intuitive, a good conversationalist, avoid boredom and boring people at all costs - that's a career all by itself.

INTERESTS - Intelligent conversation: hard to come by these days, metaphysics, mysticism, my pups - Charlie, Max, and Bailey, seeing the funny side of life, going to Macy's at Christmas time - kicking Santa and punching an Elf. If I had a singing voice, which I don't, I would sing all of the time, wherever I was - even in WalMart. Wouldn't that be enchanting? When I receive the Oscar for the book I'm writing, I will have some baritone sing On A Clear Day, and I will lip sync his voice. It will wow the audience.

LOVES - Color and lots of it, strawberry jam, hiking up Yosemite Falls, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, sourdough bread, only made in San Francisco. Hearst Castle, Big Sur, sea air, Adams peanut butter, chocolate milk, rainy days, canaries singing, chocolate chip cookies my mother made, Greek yogurt with honey - oh, yum. Laughter. I make it a point of doing this many times a day.

HATES - Stupidity, insensitivity, bad table manners - come on, how difficult is it to hold a fork properly - it's not a shovel for God's sake. Snow, ice, slush, freeway traffic, lima beans - what was God thinking, sleepless nights, people who are late, texting - it's a cop-out, alcohol, red meat,

FAVORITE BOOKS - The Spiritual Journey of Joel S. Goldsmith.

FAVORITE MUSIC – Joplin’s Peachrine, Ahmad Jamal - Country Tour - the absolute best jazz - never tire of it. Someone Waits for You – Carly Simons, Helen Kane singing Button Up Your Overcoat and I Want to Be Bad – I relate to the lyrics. And the Tenor who sang Springtime for Hitler in the Zero Mostel version of The Producers. No one seems to know who he is. What a voice.

FAVORITE FILMS – The Celluloid Closet, Witness for the Prosecution, It Could Happen to You, Maltese Falcon, Inherit the Wind, 12 Angry Men, Harold and Maude, Murder on the Orient Express, Hope and Glory, Sorry Wrong Number, Speed, Practical Magic, Apollo 13, Where the Red Fern Grows, The original Producers - touch me, hold me - Estelle was terrific, and Zero - what can I say.

FAVORITE QUOTES – The poetry in writing is the illusion it creates: by me. Lord Chesterfield: “Sex: the pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.” The saddest words of tongue or pen are these - It might have been - indeed they are. If you want to make a success out of old age, you better start now: my mother when I was 15. On a clear day, you really can see forever - you just have to look. I may be rancid butter, but I'm on your side of the bread. Inherit the Wind.

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

Omar Khayyam


Other books by J.T. Evergreen

Short Stories to Celebrate the New Year

Alone at the Beach 25 short stories to keep you company

Home Alone 8 Great Stories to keep you company

Born in the Twilight

Injun Summer



This’nThat

Short Stories for a Summer’s Day

Holiday Short Stories

With All My Love

Father Frederick Monahan



Shangri la, Stepping Stones to God

I’m Gay Mother – Get Over it

The Olde Book Shoppe

Naked Before God

The Italian Call Boy



The Silence of Healing

Death of a Pope Birth of Hope

The Best Short Stories Ever

My Love Affair with Father Tomas McTavish

Father Gibbon with Sister Mary Magda in development



I get choked up when I re-read some of my stories.

I’m told that’s a sign of being a good writer.


Connect with J.T. Evergreen


Thank you for reading my book!


Friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JTEvergreen

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JT6148


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https://www.linkedin.com/in/jt-evergreen-7a331517a/detail/recent-activity/



Here’s a collection of tunes to send you on your way. Cheers, JT

 http://chirb.it/kps29B ,  http://chirb.it/NJwxIp ,  http://chirb.it/7q7G2y

 http://chirb.it/vd2Cyp , http://chirb.it/2BqBKf ,  http://chirb.it/PzmBa1
 http://chirb.it/gPmcnH ,  http://chirb.it/mqJgeP ,  http://chirb.it/h4em9h

 http://chirb.it/dr8rkr

That's all, folks. Thanks for reading this story.


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