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New Year's Day - 1. Riley

Riley tugged the ball cap a little lower as he stepped through the door, trying to keep the upper portion of his face in shadows. He did not think anyone would recognize him but wanted to remain anonymous as long as possible. He was ready. As ready as he was ever going to be. His resolution for the year was to be honest, and this was the first step. Nerves knotted his stomach, but he drew a deep breath and approached the bar. Spying an open stool, he made a beeline for it.

“Happy New Year, handsome. What can I get you?” The bartender was a bear of a man, wearing a black and white striped referee shirt with hairs curling over the shirt’s neckline, and a whistle hanging from a black cord. He was attractive for being an older man.

“A Corona, please.” A smirk crossed Riley’s face when he automatically ordered his favored summer beer in the middle of winter. Back home in Macon the temperature was thirty degrees colder than in warm South Florida.

“Coming right up.” The bartender pointed at the door behind the bar next to Riley’s stool. “Kitchen’s open if you get hungry.” He nodded at the menu stuck between bottles of ketchup and mustard.

“Thanks. Maybe a little later.” He took a swig from the icy bottle and glanced at the mirrored wall behind the bar. Searching online to find a place to watch college bowl games a few days before, he had settled on GYM Bara gay, sports, watering hole in Wilton Manors.

Except for a couple of women who looked capable of putting a beatdown on him, the patrons were all male. He assumed the females were lesbians. Considering his size, Riley was seldom intimidated; he grinned realizing the two scared him a bit. Maybe the oversized boots both wore was the reason.

College team flags draped under the ceiling created a canopy effect reminiscent of Bedouin tents he had seen in movies. Additional banners hung from the edges, covering any wall space without a television set or neon sign extolling one liquor brand or another. Tipping the bottle to his lips, he was surprised it was empty. He raised it towards the bartender, requesting a second. That one he promised himself he would nurse for a while; he was not opposed to day drinking but getting smashed in the early afternoon on the first day of the year was not part of the plan.

“Here you go, stud.” The bartender placed a fresh beer on the coaster and wiped a non-existent spill from the lacquered wood surface. “I’m Tim, by the way.”

The young man bumped the proffered fist. “Riley here. Nice to meet you.”

“Where you visiting from?”

“What makes you think I’m a tourist?” The first beer relaxed Riley sufficiently he felt comfortable engaging in a little banter.

“One, I recognize most locals. Second, you’re pale as shit, dude. We at least get tan faces and arms from walking around.”

Riley’s hearty chuckle made the bartender grin. “Yeah, it’s been a pretty cold winter back home so far. Can’t remember the last time I stepped outside in shorts and a t-shirt. I’m from Georgia.”

“And what” A customer leaning over seated patrons caught Tim’s attention. “Be right back,” he told Riley.

The beers were doing their job; Riley felt looser and pushed the ball cap higher on his head. He glanced at the mirror again before swiveling the stool a hundred eighty degrees. The crowd had grown since his arrival, but the bar was far from full. He was certain that later, when those still recovering from a night of partying arose, the place would be packed.

One guy appeared to be in his eighties and a couple others he bet carried fake IDs; they did not look old enough to drink. In between, it was a mixed group. A few bears, a handful of gym bunnies, and a sprinkling of skinny, effeminate twinks. Riley shuddered. He knew it was wrong and maybe a sign of internalized homophobia, but less-than-masculine guys bothered him. Something else to work on in the coming year.

When he turned around again, Tim stood in front of him with his hands on the bar. “I was going to ask what brought you to our wonderful town.”

“Football.” Riley realized where the chitchat could lead but decided to be truthful. That was the purpose of walking into a gay bar for the first time in his life while his team returned to campus. “I was in town for the Orange Bowl game last night. My team lost, so I didn’t do much celebrating.”

“I watched the game. Duke did a number on you guys.” Another patron caught Tim’s attention and he excused himself.

A couple of Hispanics stood behind Riley, talking in a mix of English and Spanish. The Georgia man studied them in the mirror; he found them attractive. Skin a tad darker than most others around them without a visible tan line in the skin-tight tank tops they wore. Riley wondered if they were uncut.

“Jeezus!” Riley tried to make himself invisible; he had said that aloud. Two beers and his mind was in the gutter. He had to cut back on the internet porn. As a teenager attending Rutland High School, he had accepted he was gay. However, Macon was a southern town, his parents were Baptists, and he had decided he could not do anything about his sexuality while still in school and living with his family. He was scared of them reacting negatively.

Four-and-a-half years in Athens at the University of Georgia did not relieve him of his virginity. A highly priced recruit, he spent the first year practicing and sitting on the bench but not playing. He joked he risked injury by getting a splinter on his ass. The lack of pressure allowed him to concentrate on his studies, and he entered his sophomore year with one of the highest grade point averages on the team.

Being red-shirted his freshman year, Riley was able to play as a fifth-year senior after he already had his degree. The last semester he took the minimum number of credits required to keep him eligible to stay on the team. They had all been easy classes.

Riley refocused his attention on the television screens showing college football games. It was becoming harder to pay attention as the crowd in the bar grew. Accidental, and sometimes he suspected intentional touches when guys ordered or retrieved cocktails aroused him. He had to adjust his groin more than once.

“This one’s on the house, my friend.” Tim placed a fresh Corona in front of Riley. “Hopefully it’ll help ease the pain of your Bulldogs losing last night.”

“Thanks.” Riley tipped his ball cap at the bartender. “I got pounded into the turf so many times last night my body’s still aching.” Duke’s defensive unit had spent more time over the scrimmage line, in the Bulldog’s backfield, than on their own. The UGA quarterback, ball carriers, and receivers were frequently tackled for losses.

The comment made Tim gawk. “You played? You’re on Georgia’s team?” Surprised, the bartender lowered his voice so others would not hear.

“Crap! I didn’t mean to mention that.” Riley was glad nobody else had apparently heard. The last thing he wanted was some of these men trying to score with a football jock.

“Damn! How big are you man?” Tim’s eyes raked over the football player’s body as if seeing him for the first time.

“Six four, two-twenty-five.”

“Fuck! Big, good-looking jock like you? You’re probably a hot top.” Tim leaned in closer and grinned. “I’m a bottom in case you’re interested. Daddy could give you the ride of your life.”

The hand running down his back before coming to rest atop his ass made Riley jump even before he heard the groper speak.

“Forget it, dude.” The voice was deep and the tone jocular. “I have a feeling Riley Knight’s a big ole bottom. After all, he is a wide receiver.”

“MARTINEZ!”

Copyright © 2020 Carlos Hazday; All Rights Reserved.
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My deepest thanks to @mollyhousemouse and @Defiance19 for their assistance with this story.

Story Discussion Topic

Working on a short story about a couple of college football jocks. Anyone interested in reading it?  

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Chapter Comments



2 hours ago, Tonyr said:

Good start, anxious to see where you're leading this time around.

HNY!

My usual HEA ending, of course. :)

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Hey, Carlos. Your 2018 story "Tomorrow" is flagged "Contributer has not yet released this story." I remember it as a good one, right out of the day's news. Are you revising it?

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7 minutes ago, frosenblum said:

Hey, Carlos. Your 2018 story "Tomorrow" is flagged "Contributer has not yet released this story." I remember it as a good one, right out of the day's news. Are you revising it?

Tomorrow was part of an anthology so I can't fiX it. I tried to do something I'm not allowedto, screwed it up, and @Renee Stevens will have to work her magic.

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Well, wish I could say you got Macon wrong with regards to the homophobia, but well we just had our first pride event in 20 years.... Also damn notifications didn't let me know this was up!!

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3 hours ago, Wesley8890 said:

Well, wish I could say you got Macon wrong with regards to the homophobia, but well we just had our first pride event in 20 years.... Also damn notifications didn't let me know this was up!!

Macon is Southern and smaller than the locations I usually set stories in. No way can it compare to New York, Washington, or Miami. The fact you had a pride event alone means there's movement in the right direction. SOrry about the notification for this chapter. Something went wrong. Hopefully you got one for the second chapter. Next one coming up on Sunday.

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Okay, I like Riley, am I gonna like Martinez? I like the members of your support team for this one.

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17 minutes ago, dughlas said:

Okay, I like Riley, am I gonna like Martinez? I like the members of your support team for this one.

Martinez is an acquired taste. Like me. LOL

Your day today? Hope it's a great one. And for the record, I think you owe me something.

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5 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Martinez is an acquired taste. Like me. LOL

Your day today? Hope it's a great one. And for the record, I think you owe me something.

It is and was thanks.

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