The next Saturday, there was a knock on their dorm door. Both boys were knee-deep in their books. Paul answered the door. It was his grandparents. Being excited, he invited them in and quickly introduced Adrian to them. “Grandfather, Grandmother, this is my boyfriend and roommate, Adrian. Adrian, these are my grandparents.”
“Adrian stood and extended his hand, “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Paul has told me a lot about both of you, and I feel like I’ve known you for a long time.”
Paul’s grandmother whispered to Paul, “He has manners as well as being very good looking.”
“And he’s smart also, Grandmother.”
“Is it too late to get something to eat? I missed my usual farm breakfast this morning.”
“Adrian, why don’t we take them to the cafe in town?”
“Let’s go if you don’t mind walking.”
Walking into the cafe, I led them to a table by the window. “Paul, Adrian, what are you doing here? You aren’t working today.”
“Hi Dave, these are Paul’s grandparents who just arrived and were hungry, so we brought them here for a country breakfast.”
While Paul introduced his grandparents to Dave, I went and got four cups of coffee. Dave just looked at me and smiled. I knew he was okay with me doing that.”
“Adrian, if you want to take their order, do it. I’m here by myself, and it would give me a short break.”
I set the coffee down, went, and got four menus. “I’ll take our order; the boss wants a break.”
Paul took the pad and wrote down the orders; I took the pad back to the boss and calculated the bill. “When the order is ready, I’ll take it to the table.” He just nodded and went to work filling the order.
“He’ll let me know when the order is ready, and I’ll get it.”
“Do you work here?”
“Yes, Paul and I both work here. I need the money, and Paul is good enough to keep me company. The owner is a nice guy and makes concessions for us since we’re still attending classes.”
“Paul, looking at me, smile; I winked back. I liked his grandparents. Seeing we needed a refill, I went and got the coffee pot and refilled the cups. When I took the pot back, our order was ready.
We ate slowly, which I guess was Paul’s grandparent’s idea. They wanted me to tell them all about myself and my family. I proceeded to tell them about my mom and dad and what they did, my brother and what he was studying, and my sister what she did. “I’m the youngest, and I guess, according to my parents, the education well has dried up. I’m on a 50% scholarship, but I still need funds for living and the rest of my school expenses, so I work here part-time.”
“I’d thought with the work your parents do; they would’ve saved up enough money to cover all of their children’s college expenses.”
“They always told me that the funds were limited since they paid all of my brothers and sisters expenses. That’s why I studied so hard to get a scholarship. If I played football, I probably could have gotten a football scholarship, but that would only cover 50 percent as well. The college wouldn’t combine them, and so I choose the academic route. I was okay financially until Dad told me that he couldn’t continue to give me an allowance.”
“Did you question him about it?”
“I did one time and was told it was too bad they couldn’t print money. I’m not on the best terms with my family and never have been. I think I was an accident and not wanted. When I ask about anything, I was just told the minimum, and that was it. I found out what my parents did for a living from friends at school.”
Paul’s grandmother had tears in her eyes. “Does your family know about you and Paul?”
I must have had a shocked look on my face. “I’m sorry, I thought Paul told you that he told us about the two of you.”
I looked at Paul, “It’s okay. Relax.”
“No, my parents don’t know about Paul and my relationship, at least I don’t think so. I wonder if someone said something about me being gay, and that’s why they have stopped supporting me.”
“Have you told anyone about being gay?”
I was ready to answer, and then as if someone hit me between the eyes, I remembered the magazines. “What’s the matter?”
“I had magazines that I hid under my bed’s mattress. I’ll bet they have removed all of my furniture and converted my room into an office for my dad. He always talked about doing that. If he did, then he found the magazines. They weren’t sex magazines, but they had pictures of men, and some were underwear advertisements. I’m sure that’s why everything has stopped.”
“When we finished eating, Paul took the check and paid the bill while I bussed the table. “Thanks boss, lunch was great.”
Walking back, Paul and I gave his grandparents a tour of the college. They remarked that the campus reminded them of their college campus when they were students. That led to a discussion of college activities, the comparison between then and now, and the increased fees. It was hard for me to believe that each credit was only 15 dollars when they went to college compared to the 250 dollars now.
“College is expensive if you’re on a limited budget. Scholarships help, but as you know, they don’t cover everything. Adrain, I have a proposition for you, I’ll loan you the money you need to cover your college costs. Once you finish and start working, we’ll work out a payment plan to reimburse me. Since you and Paul are such good friends, it’ll be interest-free. What do you think?”
I looked at Paul, he had a big smile on his face, and his head was bobbing up and down, “Say yes”.
I had tears in my eyes as I looked at “Paul’s grandparents. They were willing to do this for me when my parents weren’t. “That’s a very generous offer, but you don’t know me. We just met.”
“If Paul likes you, then we do too. Paul has been more than a grandson; for us, he’s like a son. If Paul says you’re an okay guy, then you’re an okay guy. If you don’t want to agree right now, think about it. Summer school isn’t over but as soon as you need to pay for the semester, let us know.”
I needed to discuss this with Paul. Looking at Paul and seeing the twinkle in his eyes, it dawned on me that this was a set-up. He had already talked to his grandparents, and that’s why they are here. “Paul, you have talked to your grandparents about me and asked them here, didn’t you?”
“Yes, Adrian, I did. I hope you aren’t mad. But I wanted you to finish college, and I want us to be together. If you left before graduation, I’d lose you, and that’s something I don’t want. Please accept my grandfather’s offer, for me, at least.”
I wasn’t mad at Paul. This was an act of love. How could I be mad at him? “Mr. Smiths, I accept your offer.”
Paul jumped into my arms and kissed me. He was happy, no doubt about that. I shook his grandfather’s hand and ended up in a hug and kiss on my cheek from his grandmother. The rest of the day we chatted about their home, Paul’s antics when he was a young man, and of course how happy they were to see Paul with his beau, as his grandmother put it.
That evening as we laid in bed, “Paul I don’t know what to say. The day I bumped into you at registration was the luckiest day of my life.”