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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. 

The Barnstable Chronicles: Charlie Danner Finds His Way - 3. The Musician (Part 1)

I think this might be my favorite chapter I've ever written. EVER! I sure hope you like it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
A couple of you readers out there may find some of your comments worked into the story. It's my way of showing that your comments really DO help me continue with my writing.
Let me know what you think about this chapter by leaving a comment at the end!
Enjoy!
Geoff

Okay, so this was a little awkward. I’m walking outside to my car with a guy I hardly know. Wait, a cute guy I hardly know. And why do I have to add the word “cute” when I should still be in mourning for my dead relationship with what’s-his-name? Maybe because he is cute?

And daaaaaaamn, can this boy play the piano! Holy shit! We walk out the door of the theatre and are blasted with a gust of Northwind. I think this is the only thing I hate about living on the Cape. The wind is just brutal in the winter. Brutal!

Instinctively, David and I grab on to each other so we don’t get blown across the parking lot. We pick up the pace and half run/half walk to my little blue Civic. I press the fob and unlock the doors, and we get in as fast as we can.

Of course, it’s freezing in the car, so I turn the key. It takes a couple of tries, but it finally turns over and starts up. It takes a little more than a teeth-chattering five minutes for the engine to warm enough to begin generating heat.

Of course, our breathing has caused the windshield to fog up, so we have to wait a few minutes more for the defroster to do its work.

We’ve not even spoken a word since we’ve been in the car. We’ve been sitting in the car, chattering our teeth for about ten minutes when we begin to feel the glorious heat fill the small space.

The chattering has finally stopped when I feel suddenly drawn to look over to David. Apparently, I was drawn to look at him because he was looking at me. For a moment, our eyes locked. David smiled at me with a twinkle in his eyes. I forced myself to look away.

“Sorry. I just enjoyed watching you try to get the car warmed up. You looked so determined.”

“Of course, I was determined! I was freezing my ass off. Plus, I had a guest who was freezing his ass off. I was trying to be a good host!”

We both laughed at the stupidity of that comment. Oh, fuck me. David did that cute giggle thing again. I looked over at him—again.

“Are you okay now?”

“Yeah, I just hate these cold snaps we get. But I’m getting warm now.”

“Cool. Let’s head over to the party then!”

Shit! I left the address and map in the costume shop! “I’m sorry, David. I left the info on the party in the costume shop.”

David opened his coat and reached into his jacket. “Tada! I still have mine!”

“Now, you are the lifesaver!” Our hands touched when he handed me the paper, and I’m pretty sure we both felt that little burst of energy since we suddenly were looking into each other’s eyes.

“Sorry.” I broke the eye contact this time and put the car in gear as we headed to the party.

“David, if you’d like to listen to some music, feel free. There are CDs under the armrest.”

“Would the radio be okay?”

“Whatever you like. You’re my guest.”

David tuned the radio to WGBH, the Boston NPR station. There was a jazz program on with some fantastic pianist playing.

“I wish I could play jazz like this.”

“You’re an amazing pianist. I’m sure you could play anything you wanted.”

“Well, if it was printed on paper, or I had it memorized. But I just don’t have the right kind of brain to improvise and do this stuff.”

“Wow. That’s interesting. It’s not so different from sewing, I guess. I guess I’m a jazz stitcher. If I have to use someone else’s pattern, I’m usually bored to death and find the work tedious. But if I’m working on my own design and even creating as I go, I’m in heaven.”

“Hey—it is kind of the same.”

We stopped talking and enjoyed the music. I never listen to this type of music, but I have to say I was really enjoying it. I looked over at David, and his eyes were closed, and his head was moving to the groove. It was kinda neat to see him so into it.

About ten minutes later, we were nearing Cam’s house. I was able to park in front and on the street, which was totally cool. Mom calls this “Doris Day Parking,” referring to those old movies. No matter where she was driving her station wagon, the best parking space was always waiting for her. But I digress—

As soon as I cut off the engine, I looked out the front and saw Frankie with his phony girlfriend and his jock friends who were also in the show. All the good energy from the last fifteen minutes suddenly deflated from my body.

“David, you can go on in. I’m just gonna sit here for a while.”

“It hurts a lot, doesn’t it?”

What the fuck? Did David know about Frankie and me?

“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You and Frankie. You guys broke up, didn’t you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Hey, I’m pretty sure no one else had any idea about you guys. Well, maybe Cam and Ian, but I doubt it. They are so into each other they hardly notice that other people are living in the world around them.”

“Oh, my God. Frankie would die if he learned anyone knew about—well—if they knew about him.”

“Charlie, don’t worry about this. It’s like a code of honor with me. I don’t out people. Our lives are hard enough the way it is, but I can only imagine how hard it is from someone like Frankie.”

“How did you know?”

“It was subtle things—things like seeing how you looked at him when we started working on the show. And then I could see how you would look at him for the last couple of weeks. It’s something I could pick up on, but everyone else has no idea.”

I just sighed and put my head on the steering wheel. “I’m such an idiot.”

“Nah, I don’t think so. Frankie broke your heart, didn’t he?”

“Yeah. In the worst way, too. He didn’t even have the balls to do it himself. He had his best friend come over to my house to deliver the news.”

“What the fuck? Oh. Sorry. Language. But—what the fuck? That’s worse than breaking up by text or email!”

“Tell me about it. I should have known it wouldn’t work out. Frankie’s so deep in the closet we would never be able to have the kind of relationship I wanted to have. But still. It hurt like Hell, and this being my first relationship made it hurt even more.”

“Charlie, look at me.” I did what he asked with my teary eyes. “I’m not going to tell you all those cliché things people say to try to make you realize that things will get better. But I can tell you from my own experience, it will. There’s no way to tell how long it will take. Only you will know that. And the cool thing is that all the things you learned from your relationship with Frankie will only make the next relationship even better.”

“I don’t think I want a relationship again for a long, long time. I can’t go through that pain again.”

“Of course you can’t. I felt the same way for so long after my first boyfriend dumped me.”

“So you’re gay, huh?”

“Really?”

He giggled. I giggled. It was kind of cute, actually. Just then, my stomach growled.

“Guess I need to eat something.”

“Let’s go in. The house looks pretty large. I bet we can find a place to hang that’s away from anything, or anyone, that might make you feel uncomfortable.”

“Okay, let’s go in. And David?”

“Yeah?”

“Thanks for talking with me. I feel a little better already.”

“Oh, we’ve just started. We get to talk as much as you want to put up with me tonight.”

“So, you’re just gonna go and keep saving my life tonight?”

“It would be my pleasure, Charlie Danner.”

We got out of the car and walked up to the front door. David rang the doorbell, and in no time at all, Cam and Ian (sigh) opened the door to let us in. Ian took our coats and told us they would be kept in Cam’s room. Cam led us to the kitchen, where the island was brimming with food. There were sliders, veggies, a crockpot filled with steaming chili, chips, dips, and a ton of other snacks. There were sodas and punch on the counter next to the sink. We were set!

I heard Frankie and his crew in the great room—just off the kitchen. David and I went into the living room and joined one other small group of people. They were some of the younger people in the cast and seemed to be more than intimidated, having two Seniors walk into their little sanctuary.

After only a few minutes of whispering to each other, they gathered their empty plates and left. David and I were alone. Sweet!

We chowed down on our food. Damn, I was hungrier than I thought—so was David.

“So, do you have a boyfriend now?”

“It’s weird. I don’t have a boyfriend, per se. But there’s a guy in Boston. Parker. He’s a pianist, too. We compete together. Have been since the seventh grade.”

“You compete?”

“Oh yeah! It’s my favorite thing to do. Parker and I travel all over New England in the Spring. Our moms travel with us, and they became best friends, too. They share a hotel room. Parker and I share a room.”

“So, you and Parker—”

“We instantly became best friends. We had so much in common. I mean, there weren’t a lot of competitive seventh-grade pianists. By the time we were in ninth grade, we were pretty much winning the competitions in our age groups. We both pretty much won the same number of times.

“On the last competition that year, it was taking the judges forever to make their decision. When they finally called us out on stage, they ended up declaring a tie, and we both got gold medals. It was so cool!

“Our moms took us out to dinner at a super nice restaurant, and they even let us have a sip of their champagne cocktails so we could really celebrate. When we got back to our room at the hotel, we were both so pumped there was no way we could sleep.

“We finally made our way into our beds. We would always leave the bathroom light on so we wouldn’t trip over our stuff if we had to get up in the middle of the night. I looked over at the other bed and saw Parker looking over at me.

“He asked me if I was having trouble sleeping, which I was. He told me the only way he was going to be able to sleep was to jerk off. It kind of shocked me at first, but then I felt my dick getting hard just at the thought of Parker jerking off in the bed next to me.

“So, we stripped off our underwear and started stroking. I was totally mesmerized by Parker’s hard dick. He looked over at me and made some kind of comment about my dick being bigger than his. He wanted a closer look, so he asked me to sit in his bed beside him.”

No, I was not going to get hard as David told me his story. But I couldn’t help but wonder how large his cock was? Oh, God! I’m so bad!

“Well, before long, we were doing each other—and that led to more stuff. And since then, we’ve pretty done everything two boys could do.”

“But he’s not your boyfriend?”

“No. We’re best friends, but the distance between here and Boston just would make it too difficult to maintain a relationship. Especially since, during the time we aren’t competing, we might see each other once a month.”

“Would he be your boyfriend if the distance wasn’t an issue?”

“Not now. We’re pretty solid with the way things are now. And we’ll be going our separate ways for college.”

Just then, Frankie walked into the room. Fuck! Just when I was starting to feel good again.

“There you are! Why do I feel like you are avoiding me, Charlie?”

“Hello, Frankie. It’s ironic as Hell to hear that from the person who didn’t have the balls to dump me in person.”

“Charlie—”

“No, Frankie. David and I are having a conversation. We’re in here so we can hear each other. You don’t have the right to come in here and make things about you.”

“Charlie—”

“Frankie. You know, Charlie doesn’t want to talk with you right now. It’s probably best if you go back to your friends in the other room.”

“What? So you and your boyfriend can hide out here and make out?”

“Charlie and I are not boyfriends. We hardly know each other. But we’re getting to know each other. And as you probably know, Charlie is one amazing guy.”

“Charlie?”

“Go, Frankie. I can’t see or talk to you right now. This is the choice you made. I’m handling your choice. Maybe you should, too.”

Tears started falling out of Frankie’s eyes as he turned away. Instead of going back to the family room with his friends. He walked out the front door—without a coat. He wouldn’t be out there long.

“I’m sorry you had to see that, David. You don’t deserve that.”

“Look, it’s none of my business, but it seems to me that Frankie wants to exist in two different worlds at the same time. He’s already shown that he can’t handle that.”

“And he just had to turn on the tears. He knows that gets to me.”

“It’s because you truly care. You have a huge heart, Charlie Danner. I’ve never seen anything like it. You’re the sweetest, kindest person I’ve ever met. Before tonight I barely knew you. But after spending just a little time with you, in some ways, it feels like I’ve known you my whole life. How do you do that?”

“I don’t do anything—”

“No. I mean, I’m usually uber-shy. I hate meeting new people. But with you, I immediately felt comfortable. Safe, even. I mean, I took my pants off in front of you within two minutes of meeting you!”

We both giggled again. I kind of like how David does that—makes me giggle with him.

“Thank you again, David.”

“What for this time?”

“You saved my life again. Well, you saved me from Frankie. You keep this up, and I’m going to owe you for the rest of my life!”

“Oh, stop it! I only did what a friend would do for a friend. Besides, when I saw you hurting when he came into the room, I started to hurt, too.”

He took my hand in his. The first thing I noticed was the warmth. It’s funny. The heat from his hands seems to travel through my whole body. I felt calm—safe. I mouthed “thank you” to him. He smiled at me with the warmest, most gentle smile. For the first time in weeks, I felt content and happy.

I couldn’t believe it when I leaned forward and kissed him. Nothing passionate, nothing urgent. Just a sweet, simple kiss. Oh! Nice, soft lips, too! Then I panicked.

“I’m sorry, David. I shouldn’t have done that. Please don’t think I’m trying to hit on you. It just seemed—at the time—the right thing to do.”

David cupped his warm hands on my face. “Charlie, you don’t have anything to apologize for. I know you weren’t hitting on me. That was the sweetest kiss I think I’ve ever had, by the way. And just so you know—if you were hitting on me, it would be hard—but I would turn you down.”

“Gee, thanks!”

He smiled and giggled. “Stop it! I think you are a beautiful boy, Charlie Danner. But I respect myself far too much to be a rebound romp in the bed.”

“I think your pretty awesome, too. David. How are we the same age, and you are so much wiser than me?”

“Maybe it’s because I’ve been competing with older kids my whole life. Maybe traveling around with Parker has helped me see things that we all see—but just in a different light?”

“Well, just sitting and talking with you—just being with you, I haven’t been this happy and content in a long time. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but someday I’ll be ready to venture into relationship land again. I just hope that it’s with someone like you.”

“It will be exactly what you need, Charlie. I have a good feeling about that. Can I give you some advice that was given to me by another pianist a couple of years ago?”

“Sure.”

“Relationships are a lot like a complicated piano piece. You can dive right into it and sight-read the crap out of it. Most of the components will be there. It might even sound good at the time. But it’s just notes and sounds with the mechanics of the piece. But when you take your time with it. When you learn the nuances of each phrase and find the subtle differences hidden on each page of music—when you take the time to learn everything you can and then commit it all to memory—that’s when you have a piece of music that will live with you—and in you—for the rest of your life.

“So, you can jump too quickly into a relationship, and it would be like sight-reading the music. But when you allow yourself to take the time you need to learn everything you can about the boy you want to be with—learn his subtle nuances—learn what’s behind the different looks he gives you. When you realize that you’ll never stop learning about him and commit what you do learn to memory, you will find yourself in the most beautiful relationship you can find.”

“Do you have a piano piece like that?”

“Yeah, I do. Chopin’s ”Nocturne in E-flat” is one of the most emotional and beautiful pieces he wrote. I think what I love about the piece is that it’s not the most technically challenging piece, but it leaves room for so much emotion.”

“I would love to hear that sometime.”

“I would love to play it for you.”

“You know, there’s a piano in this room.”

David smiled at me, leaned in, and duplicated the sweet kiss I gave him. “Okay.”

He went over to the grand piano and sat down. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and placed his hands on the keys. His hands, by the way, are beautiful. I’m pretty sure I’ve never noticed anyone’s hands before. And then he started playing.

The piece was hauntingly beautiful, and I could see the emotion in David’s body. I could hear it in the music. At one point, it didn’t even sound like a piano to me. It was almost like an entire orchestra was playing. It brought tears to my eyes. I’ve just never heard or seen anything like it.

Near the end of the piece, there was this section where he was just playing a series of notes with one hand. They started out fairly simple but developed in to something so fast that his fingers were actually blurred as they moved over the keys. He later told me that it was called a cadenza.

When David finished the piece, I just sat there—stunned. I looked up, and there were about fifteen others just standing there. Our jaws were hanging open. After about five seconds of pure silence, someone started applauding, and that launched the entire room.

David smiled and blushed and thanked his audience. Some people were asking for more, but David kindly said that that was all he had tonight.

I was stunned. I was still just standing there in awe of what I just heard. After telling me about learning the nuances and emotions of a piece of music, David just showed me what he was talking about. Even more importantly, he showed me how he would be in a relationship.

Now, I know I’m nowhere near ready to be getting into a relationship right now. And honestly, I don’t even know if I would ever end up in a relationship with David. But I do know that David and I formed a special bond tonight. I do know that I will love building on that bond. If we end up merely good friends, I know that it will be a friendship that will last a long, long time.

If we are to end up in anything beyond friendship, I know that it won’t be something either of us wants to jump into before we are both ready.

As the crowd started to thin out, there were still several people wanting to talk to David. I could tell he was starting to get a little uncomfortable, so I leaned in and whispered into his ear.

“Would you like to get out of here?”

“Yeah, let’s go find our coats.”

We got into the car and shivered while we warmed it up again. This time it took about fifteen minutes for the teeth to stop chattering. I liked that David and I both didn’t try to talk while we were trying to get warm. I like a lot of things about David, now that I think about it.

I looked over at David and smiled. “Thank you, David.”

“I should thank you, Charlie.”

“Why? You opened my eyes to so much tonight. For the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful again. If you were to vanish from the face of the earth tomorrow, I would still be a changed person from what you showed me tonight.”

“You showed me a lot, too.”

“What? I didn’t show you anything.”

“Oh, yes. And that’s what makes you so amazing, Charlie. You don’t even have a clue. There’s something about you where I feel safe. I can let down my walls and totally be myself with you. Do you know that for the first time in my life, I played for someone other than myself—or a judge? It was the most amazing thing. I found things in that piece that I never saw before—because you were there.”

“David. I want you to completely understand that I’m not hitting on you and trying to make you feel things that aren’t real, but would you come with me to my house so we can just keep talking? I don’t think I’m ready for this to end right now.”

“I’d like that. Let me call Mom and let her know.”

He made the call. It was short and sweet. No lies. No drama. Another thing I liked about David.

We got to my house and went back to the kitchen. I raided the fridge and decided to make us a late-night breakfast. David told me his favorite breakfast was French toast. Luckily, that was one of my specialties. He loved my secret ingredient—I add cinnamon to the coating.

After we ate, David helped me clean the kitchen, and we went into the great room. I started the fire, and we sat on the floor and talked—and talked—and talked.

By the time either of us looked at the clock, it was 3:15 a.m. I panicked, thinking about getting David home, but he was so chill. He told me that his mom had asked if he was spending the night, and he told her probably. I do remember him saying that.

I took David up to the guest room. Normally, I would have taken him to my room and into my bed. I kind of wanted to do that, thinking about it. But I kept hearing his comparison of relationships to a piano piece. I definitely didn’t want to rush into things.

I showed him where everything was, including the steps leading up to my room.

After David was settled in, I leaned into him and thanked him for a wonderful night. I kissed him on the lips—very chaste and sweet—so that you know.

I went up to my room and did my pre-bed routine. I slipped under the covers and lit a joint. I was feeling pretty mellow and so much more relaxed than I have in a long, long time. And for the first time in weeks, I slept through the night without a single bad dream. Instead, I dreamed about possibilities.

There you go! Charlie has a new boy in his life. We don't know where this is going to go yet, but things might get interesting when Parker and his mother come to see David play for the musical.
Again, please leave a comment! Who knows, it may just end up in a future chapter!
Geoff
Copyright © 2017 FlyOnTheWall; All Rights Reserved.
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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. 
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I don’t understand what Frankie was trying to accomplish. His friends were in a room nearby and could have walked in on the conversation at any point. If he just wanted to push his relationship with Charlie further into the closet, why didn’t he say so and let Charlie decide what he wanted to do. Who knows, maybe Charlie would have gone along with it – I doubt it, but who knows?  ;-)

 

It almost felt like Frankie might have wanted to venture Out of the Closet or something. If that was the case, he needed to dump the fake girlfriend first! And a party is the wrong venue to do any of that!  ;-)

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16 minutes ago, FlyOnTheWall said:

I have thought about Vic and Hayden. That will be a tough one to write with Hayden passing away. That one might take a while to figure out.

twatopotamus??? Really??? LOL

OK so I actually have to give @tinytoes credit for that. She response to one of my stories and there was a picture that said be a unicorn not a twatopotomas.

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I’m happy to see Charlie not rush. Rebounding never solves anything. It leaves you in a temporary and unfulfilled space. What Frankie did sucks, in ending it. It will always be hard for him. Being an outside observer to what he wants.

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Geoff, I have to agree with you about the chapter; it felt very special - almost as though I were experiencing the scene myself.  Beautifully done.  That you artfully incorporated one of my favorite Chopin Nocturnes made it even more magical for me.  Perhaps because I’m a pianist (and endured some of those piano competitions growing up) and know that piece so well, I could hear it in my head as David played.  You inspired me to pause reading while I stopped to listen to my favorite Rubinstein recording of that deeply emotional masterpiece.  Sublime.  Great musical choice. Excellent chapter.

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On 12/19/2017 at 1:23 AM, tesao said:

Geoff, I have to agree with you about the chapter; it felt very special - almost as though I were experiencing the scene myself.  Beautifully done.  That you artfully incorporated one of my favorite Chopin Nocturnes made it even more magical for me.  Perhaps because I’m a pianist (and endured some of those piano competitions growing up) and know that piece so well, I could hear it in my head as David played.  You inspired me to pause reading while I stopped to listen to my favorite Rubinstein recording of that deeply emotional masterpiece.  Sublime.  Great musical choice. Excellent chapter.

Tesao,

I am SO sorry! I typo'd on the title of the Chopin piece. It's really the Nocturne in Eb, which is a piece I worked on in College. I corrected it here, but I sure hope you still enjoyed the chapter!

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31 minutes ago, FlyOnTheWall said:

Tesao,

I am SO sorry! I typo'd on the title of the Chopin piece. It's really the Nocturne in Eb, which is a piece I worked on in College. I corrected it here, but I sure hope you still enjoyed the chapter!

 

 Please - no need to be sorry! They’re both great, though I admit I prefer the Nocturne in Db major personally.  

 Thanks for the clarification, though, as your description of certain passages of the Nocturne didn’t quite match with the D flat!  ;-)  Now it makes more sense.   I hope you don’t mind if I exercise reader’s license (is that a thing?) and continue imagining sweet, sexy, sensitive David playing my favorite Nocturne instead.  ;-)

 

 Still, an amazing chapter. 

:worship:

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Charlie is a great character, and David seems to compliment him nicely. I can't help but feel a little sorry for Frankie, even if he was a jerk in how he broke things off with Charlie. Gay fiction moral: never fall for the guy in the closet. It rarely works out. I'm guessing it's another case of art immitating life. Thanks.

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You are a master at character nuances, I already love Charlie, I dislike Frankie, I love Liz, and now out of the blue, comes David. I already want to love him, but according to him, I need to wait and watch what happens. I have very high hopes for this potential relationship. Thank you for being a genius in story telling. ❤️

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Glad Charlie is so resilient, we always knew he was strong.I still cant hate Frankie,actually felt sorry for him in that party scene,my bad.

David describing relationships as being like a complicated piano piece was very cleverly done. Be interesting to see where you take this particular piece.

Thanks for another great chapter.

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