Jump to content
  • Join For Free and Get Notified of New Chapters!

    Are you enjoying a great story and want to get an alert or email when a new chapter is posted? Join now for free and follow your favorite stories and authors!  You can even choose to get daily or weekly digest emails instead of getting flooded with an email for each story you follow. 

     

    CarlHoliday
  • Author
  • 2,973 Words
  • 1,143 Views
  • 11 Comments
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
2019 - Fall - Raincheck Entry

Squall Line - 1. Squall Line

The alarm startled Philíppe out of a familiar traveling dream with Andrew, Gerald, and Franco. He was never certain where they were going, but Andrew kept assuring everyone in his Mercedes S 560 that he knew the way. As usual, Gerald and Franco were sitting in the backseat talking (or, rather, whispering) about something that only concerned them, though their intermittent soft chuckles were disconcerting. They were always like that, keeping trivial secrets from Andrew and Philíppe. The only troubling part of the dream was that Philíppe didn’t recognize the highway they were on. Well, there was another troubling part of the dream because Andrew was dead, having been killed when his S 560 had been caught in the middle of an uncontrolled railroad crossing. Witnesses said he kept honking his horn. trying to get the cars in front of him to move a little bit forward, tighten up the line. Andrew was probably so angered by those cars that he didn’t hear the SD70ACe locomotive’s screeching emergency brake and horn blaring; it was still running over 50 mph when it struck the car. Only a few pieces of Andrew or the Mercedes could be gathered together to make a recognizable whole. It was a familiar dream, and his psychiatrist said it might eventually go away on its own, or he would just have to come to terms with it, whatever that meant. Franco, who was a pediatrician, always said that was simple textbook psychiatric gobbledygook, and Philíppe should find a new analyst.

Philíppe rolled his feet around and down onto the cold floor as he pushed up into a sitting position. Why he hadn’t yet bought a rug to keep his feet off the oak hardwood before he put his slippers on was just another of his long line of procrastinations. After Andrew died, Philíppe, Gerald, and Franco still tried to do things together, but there was always a problem of having to deal with a missing man. Package vacation deals always seemed to be priced based on two sharing, not two sharing with an extra who always had to pay a single premium fee. Philíppe and Gerald were always willing to take the single, but Franco said he always felt more comfortable sleeping with Andrew than the other two. This went on until they were in their mid-forties, quickly approaching the cutoff for an active social life in the youth-oriented gay community. Well, there were the daddy bars, but the men who went to those places were actually old and lying in wait for a twenty-something who was with older friends who brought him to entice the regulars.

One Friday evening at Walt’s Bar and Grill, Gerald and Philíppe were waiting for Franco to arrive so they could have a quick meal before going to the opera. They were through their first definitely-arid Beefeater martinis when Gerald glanced over at the front door and saw Franco walk in with what looked like an underage child. The man hanging on Franco’s arm couldn’t be many hours over twenty-one. Gerald nudged Philíppe’s bicep and said, “Look what the cat dragged in.”

Philíppe looked over at the front door and saw Franco, who wasn’t wearing a suit, and neither was the child on his arm. The boy was so short and slender he could have played a waif in a forties or fifties war movie. His blond hair was shorn on the sides and back of his head, while the top had been waxed into an unruly mop. He was wearing a light green pocket polo, plain front khakis with a thin black belt, and what looked like black Converse high tops. As he and Franco came closer, Philíppe could see the spots on the boy’s cheeks that had been covered with a thin layer of Clearasil. Where had Franco found this child? Or, more importantly, why had Franco gone out looking for this boy or someone like him? Franco always seemed to be only interested in men ten or so years younger than him, but definitely not in their early twenties.

Of course, the night had been a disaster. Franco and his child—whose name was either Brent or Bwent depending on who said it—came right over to the table, and Franco covered the introductions. Gerald, who normally was never outgoing toward strangers, took an immediate liking to Brent, or Bwent, talking to him as if he was a lost cousin from back in Bismarck, North Dakota, and drawing out the most intimate secrets of the young boy. That left Philíppe to talk with Franco. He wanted to find out where Franco had found this urchin and why he (Franco) thought he could have a meaningful relationship with someone so young. Unfortunately, Franco took umbrage that Philíppe could assume that he had a seemingly repugnant interest in Brent. Franco acted as if Brent was an innocent at this stage in their affair, but might be willing to delve into something more in line with Franco’s idea of a sexual relationship. Philíppe tried not to say anything that might give the impression he suspected Franco might expect something that Brent might not want to do. Although Franco wasn’t fully into BDSM, Philíppe knew his friend could be very domineering in any relationship. Plus, he knew that Franco wasn’t beneath hitting a sexual partner, not just slapping, but closer to a tight fist on the face or high in the abdomen, especially with those masochists who expected that sort of thing.

Philíppe and Gerald had gone to Madame Butterfly (in Italian) and afterward went to the lounge at Estrella’s on the fifty-second floor of the Washington Tower. Since it was a slow night, they were able to get a four person booth over by the south-facing window where they could watch the airliners going into the airport. They ordered Rusty Nails with 18-year-old Dewar’s and tried not to look at each other. Finally, Philíppe couldn’t be quiet any longer and said, “Do you think it’ll last?”

“What?” Gerald said.

“Franco and Brent; do you think Franco will be able to keep the boy?”

“Nah, you know what Franco’s going to bring to the relationship. The only way I see Brent hanging around is if he already has a street rep and has heard what Franco might expect of him.”

“Well, I certainly haven’t seen him anywhere up on the Hill, near my condo.”

“Well, he is from out of town and hasn’t been here that long,” Gerald said and then took a sip of his drink. “Have you ever thought of trying a different blended Scotch in these cocktails?”

“What, Johnnie Walker Black Label?”

“Well, maybe not that.”

“Then what?” Philíppe asked and then smiled. “We certainly wouldn’t want to ruin a single malt.”

“How about The Glenlivet?”

“Certainly not anything over their 12-year-old.”

“Exactly,” Gerald said. “Why are you so particular with your single malts?”

“Picky, I guess,” Philíppe said and then took a sip. “Same thing with tequila and mezcal. Do you want to come home with me?”

“When was the last time I did that?” Gerald asked. “Don’t we always go to my place?”

“Yes, but why not mine?”

“No reason that I can think of.”

“Want to go now?”

“I’m not finished with my drink.”

“There is that.”

They went to their own apartments that night, but over the next three years or so, Philíppe and Gerald ever so slowly became a pair in the aging gay community up on the Hill. If one was invited to a barbecue, gala, or some sort of party, the other always seemed to eventually be put on the invite list. Everyone enjoyed their presence at parties, especially after Franco dropped out of sight after a rumor went around his young boy had moved back home; Gerald never told Philíppe exactly where that was. Eventually, it was discovered Franco had gone to Tuscany and had been practicing medicine without a license until the Italian authorities hauled him off to jail.

*****

Philíppe picked up his robe from the footboard post and paused a moment to listen to the sound of rain drumming on the roof before putting it on. The robe had been a Christmas present two years ago when he and Gerald went to Paris for the festivities. Sadly, Philíppe had completely forgotten to buy a present for Gerald. The following day he went to the concierge and got the address to the nearest Cartier boutique. Traffic was horrendous, and it was raining so hard umbrellas were nearly useless, but eventually the taxi stopped in front of the store. The doorman came out with an umbrella and walked Philíppe to the awning over the door. Inside, it was as if no one in Paris had received a Cartier bauble or ring for Christmas and wanted to return or exchange it. In only a matter of minutes Philíppe found a bracelet that, he thought, was perfect for Gerald—a white gold adornment on a black leather band. Philíppe had it boxed, wrapped, and topped with a bow.

When Philíppe returned to the hotel, the young woman at the front desk informed him that the other gentleman in the room had checked out.

“Does Monsieur wish to stay?” she asked.

“Uh, yeah, just for one more night,” Philíppe said. “We were going to Innsbruck in the morning. Maybe Gerald has gone early.”

But Gerald hadn’t gone to Innsbruck or anywhere near it. As Philíppe went up to the room, Gerald was just getting on the train to London, where he would transfer to a train to York to see his Aunt Lily. Of course, she would insist he stay through New Year’s and, of course, he would say yes. Philíppe was at a total loss as to what he should do. He definitely didn’t want to go to Innsbruck alone, mostly because he didn’t know how to ski, board, or skate. You don’t learn those things as a child growing up in Key West. For what it was worth, going back to Seattle was the only logical thing he could do. After entering his room, Philíppe took out his cell and called Air France to change the departure date of his ticket. Gerald would have to figure out his own way home.

Gerald didn’t call Philíppe until nearly the following Fourth of July and then only to say he would be spending the holiday weekend down at his cousin’s condo in Bend. It didn’t really matter that Gerald was going to be out of town, because Philíppe was in the process of selling his start-up software business to one of the giants in the business. Initially, they had offered him a strictly stock deal, but he countered with a cash and stock buyout, which he figured would be very tempting to their bottom line. They took the bait, and now he was living in his dream home down at Grays Harbor with an unobstructed view of the beach and ocean. Besides being at ground zero for the threatened tsunami after a quake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the downside of living at the beach was being two hours from Seattle.

Philíppe walked out to the kitchen, put coffee into the maker’s basket, pushed it in place, poured water into the reservoir, and turned it on. He turned to look out the window at the sheets of rain coming in off the ocean. The squall line was still miles out, but it was already raining. Maybe, there would be clearer weather after the squall passed. It wasn’t unheard of, but it was unlikely, at least as far as Philíppe had experienced since moving in nearly four years ago. He went back to the coffee maker and poured some into his mug. Unexpectedly, his cell began to chirp.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Bud, want to go to the Huskies-Ducks game next Saturday? Old man Simpson gave me some tickets.”

“Who is this?”

“What do you mean by that? How quickly we forget our closest friends.”

“Okay, closest friend, enlighten me a little here.”

“Oh, come on, do I have to say my name?”

“I would appreciate it,” Philíppe said. “Because quite honestly, I can’t remember your voice.”

“Gerald, you know, your roomie at U-Dub and various other accommodations as we aged.”

“Gerald, is this really you?”

“None other. Honest, this isn’t some prank call from a couple of eight-year-olds.”

“Uh, let’s see, when will this game be played?”

“Next weekend.”

“Oh, I guess I’d better make reservations if there are any to be had,” Philíppe said.

“Hey, don’t worry about reservations at some hotel downtown,” Gerald said. “You can sleep at my place. I’m sure Mikey won’t mind sharing.”

“Mikey? Who’s Mikey?”

“My nephew.”

“It’d be nice if you could come down here this weekend so we could make plans for my visit next weekend,” Philíppe said. If he had to drive to Seattle, it was only right that Gerald should come down to the ocean. “You could bring your nephew. I have a guest room.”

“And Maryanne, my niece.”

“There’s a story in that, but I can accommodate more. How old are they?”

“Maryanne is fourteen, Mikey is eleven, and Kyle is eight. Sorry about not including him with the others, but it always seems to end up with ‘and Kyle, too’.”

“Where did you get these kids?”

“Their parents, my sister, Karen, and her husband, Lew, were killed in an attempted carjacking.”

“Attempted?”

“Yeah, the perp ran away when he realized the backseats were full of crying kids,” Gerald said. “They were on their way to Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday party. They had me in their will to take care of the kids until they were adults. And, actually, it wasn’t that much of a problem considering the room I have in my house. All I had to do was repurpose a couple rooms into bedrooms. I tell you what, how about I check with the kids and see if they have anything coming up and I’ll call you back? Oh, and one very important thing, I’ll have to sleep in a separate bedroom.”

“You’re not out to the kids?” Philíppe asked.

“It’s never really come up. Well, you know, we’re both over fifty-five. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been to a gay bar in years. And now, with the kids here, I can’t be bringing anybody home. Okay, I’d better go take the survey and see what the kids say.”

Philíppe stood where he was, listening to dead air and watching the squall line inch its way toward the surf. Through the rain he could just see two surfers wearing blue wet suits working their way out to catch a wave. In many ways he envied them and their supposed friendship. There were so many things unsaid when he spoke to Gerald. Why was he living in a house? Where was this house? Well, Seattle was rather liberal and a single man could live alone in a house without too many neighbors whispering inuendoes. It’d be the old biddies and their grouchy husbands who nobody ever listened to anyway.

He walked back into the kitchen to see about breakfast. Since it was Wednesday, the menu was usually two fried eggs, a couple of links of sausage, and nine-grain toast with butter. He went to the fridge, pulled out two eggs, and the butter dish. In the freezer, he would find the container he kept the sausage in. He pulled out two and set them on the counter. He took down a plate for the sausage. Then his phone chirped.

“Hello?” he asked.

“Philíppe? It’s Gerald. Say, um, I don’t know how to say this. Kyle was standing at the door to my bedroom and heard most of our conversation. He asked me point-blank if I was gay. Plus, Maryanne reminded me she has soccer meets on Saturdays. I guess I’m going to have to give you a rain check for this weekend and for the football game. Plus, with all the kids upset that I’m gay because they go to this Baptist church, and well I guess you know how that is. So, right now my life is in a death spiral. Talk to you soon.”

“Yeah, sure,” Philíppe said into dead air.

Philíppe looked at everything he’d set out for breakfast and put the eggs, butter, and sausage back. He went over to the cupboard where he kept the china and took down a bowl usually used for serving vegetables. In the cabinet on the other side of the cooktop, he pulled out the box of Cocoa Puffs. He poured the cereal into the bowl, almost filling it. He took the milk out of the fridge and poured nearly too much over the cereal. After filling his mug and getting a spoon out of the drawer, he took the bowl and mug over to the dining room table. Through the rain he could just see the two surfers coming in toward shore. The squall line was close behind them. He could just see a spot of blue sky through the rain and clouds.

Yes! He would go for a long walk on the beach after breakfast to clear from his mind the detritus Gerald put there. Then tonight he would go to one of the restaurants in town that he hadn’t visited since moving in. If he was going to live down here at the ocean, he needed to get out and maybe make some new friends.

Philíppe looked up from his cereal just as the squall line was sweeping over he house. Sunlight filled the dining and living rooms startling him. There were a few showery clouds following, but not enough to postpone his walk.

The End

Thanks to Sharon for editing my story.

Copyright © 2019 CarlHoliday; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 14
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
2019 - Fall - Raincheck Entry
You are not currently following this author. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new stories they post.

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

I feel for Philippe. It seems everyone has fallen to the wayside and he is left alone. You see the friendships fall away. I was ticked at Gerald. First he leaves Philippe alone while they are on vacation, only to try and renew the friendship on a whim. Gerald has a family and needs to decide what he wants. In the meantime,  Philippe is entering his golden years in a house he wants, but alone. Sad situation. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment

Thank you for your nice comment. I found this story quite easy to write. I'm not exactly in the same situation as Philippe, but close enough to build a core that permitted the correct additions to make a story. And, yes, there is a Gerald, too, but like me he has been modified enough that any recognition on his part is negligible.

  • Like 4
Link to comment

This story left me with a lot of questions, but this does not detract from the liking. Was Gerald not out to his sister and her husband ? If yes, why did they decide to put him in their will as responsible for their kids, since they apparently brought them up as Baptist-churchgoing bigots. :o  And why did Gerald let them continue at the church rather than wean them away from hate ? Or did he only just take on the job as guardian ? In any case, he should tell the kids to enter the 21st century and become proper humans, preferably by paying for them to see a good therapist - which they should be doing anyway, if they witnessed their parents getting killed.

As for Phillippe, I like his sensible and calm attitude. He tries to get the best out of his life and doesn't wallow in useless regrets. It seems like the calls from Gerald may be the push he needs to be more active in shaping his future. Friendships can be more valuable than romance at our age.

  • Like 3
Link to comment

Thank you for your interesting comment.

Unfortunately, this story really wasn't about Gerald and all of his failings. I've know single men who when asked why they've never married say, "I haven't met a woman I'd like to marry." And, that is usually sufficient for most people. I was in the closet to a lot of people as I aged and when I came out a lot of those friends no longer cared about me. It was as if I no longer existed.

We can assume Gerald was not out to his family and when his sister's will stipulated him as guardian of her children, well, what can I say. He says he hasn't been to a gay bar in a long time, so he wasn't out to the kids either. Only when Kyle overheard the conversation between Gerald and Philippe did the secret get out.

As far as Gerald trying to take his niece and nephews away from their church and either allow them from attending a "more" liberal one or not attending church at all is rather extreme. I can almost see one or another of the older children either talking to their pastor or possibly even calling CPS to escape living Gerald. You might say that's fodder for another story.

  • Like 3
Link to comment

I enjoyed your story. Enjoyed because it is well written and it gives me insight into someone's life. It is not as you say about Gerald, but enough questions are raised that you most certainly could write that.

Phillipe i feel for because friends have moved away, or died. Yet, I also have hope for him because he continues to see a future, rather than wallowing fully in the past. Nothing wrong with a good wallow, now and again.  But Phillipe is ready to go out and make new friends and there is no reason why he couldn't.

Thanks for this. I did enjoy reading it.

  • Like 2
Link to comment

I feel badly for Philippe, as he seems left all alone. Gerald leaving him in Paris like  that seems very painful. I liked how you used light and the squall line as a metaphor for what Philippe has gone through and what he might get experience. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
8 hours ago, Mikiesboy said:

I enjoyed your story. Enjoyed because it is well written and it gives me insight into someone's life. It is not as you say about Gerald, but enough questions are raised that you most certainly could write that.

Phillipe i feel for because friends have moved away, or died. Yet, I also have hope for him because he continues to see a future, rather than wallowing fully in the past. Nothing wrong with a good wallow, now and again.  But Phillipe is ready to go out and make new friends and there is no reason why he couldn't.

Thanks for this. I did enjoy reading it.

Thank you for your nice comment.

Yes, Philippe is moving on. You might say his lifelong dream was to own a place down at the ocean. Where this story takes place there is a large dune structure the overlooks the beach. Philippe's house is up on that dune. Plus, there is a sizable community to become a part of and Philippe will have a happy end of life story there.

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
2 hours ago, Parker Owens said:

I feel badly for Philippe, as he seems left all alone. Gerald leaving him in Paris like  that seems very painful. I liked how you used light and the squall line as a metaphor for what Philippe has gone through and what he might get experience. 

Thank you for your comment. I don't feel sorry for Philippe because he made a choice in life to move away from the city to a rather isolated community that has the benefit of a great beach. Also, there is his on and off relationship with Gerald. They were an item and then it ended, probably as many relationships do. I've seen it many times where two gay men age together until they come to that certain age where one will go looking for a younger man and leave the other standing on the front porch wondering what went wrong.

Gerald almost came back into Philippe's life, but couldn't because he wasn't out to his family and didn't want to jeopardize his relationship with them by reuniting with Philippe. Personally, I feel sorry for Gerald because closets can be quite suffocating.

And, thank you for pointing out the metaphor of the squall line. Honestly, I didn't purposefully do that.

  • Like 2
  • Love 1
Link to comment
On 12/14/2019 at 11:18 PM, CarlHoliday said:

 I can almost see one or another of the older children either talking to their pastor or possibly even calling CPS to escape living Gerald. You might say that's fodder for another story.

At least that would get rid of them. Why would Gerald want three bigoted brats in his life? And don't tell me it's because they're family. Neither they nor their parents appear capable of loving family unconditionally, so why should he have to ? Especially, if it is costing him his chance to reconnect with Philippe. Of course, for Philippe's sake, I don't mind, since he may be better of without Gerald.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
22 hours ago, Timothy M. said:

At least that would get rid of them. Why would Gerald want three bigoted brats in his life? And don't tell me it's because they're family. Neither they nor their parents appear capable of loving family unconditionally, so why should he have to ? Especially, if it is costing him his chance to reconnect with Philippe. Of course, for Philippe's sake, I don't mind, since he may be better of without Gerald.

I have a feeling you really do want me to write a story about Gerald and his relationship with his family and his niece and nephews who come to him as a result of their parents' death. Of course, you have to relinquish assumed editorial control in that possibly the children won't be as bigoted as you seem to think they are.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

I would be happy to read a story where Gerald's niece and nephews turn out to be sensible and kind, once they get over the surprise of their uncle Gerald being gay.

But to be honest I'd rather read about Philippe meeting someone nice when he makes the effort to leave his shell. ;) 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on.  We get it, because we feel it too.  Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..