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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. 

Stepping Out in Faith - 11. Chapter 8

Warning: This chapter may contain sexually explicit content. Reader discretion is advised.

Marcus sat down gently across from his mother while she studied him with an astute eye.

“What?” Marcus asked. Sometimes he hated how easily she could read him.

Cheryl narrowed her eyes and took a sip of her Bellini.

“You had company last night? Was it Charles?”

“No, I only went on a couple of dates with Charles.” Marcus frowned. “How do you know whether I had company last night?”

“Why aren’t you still seeing Charles?”

Marcus rolled his eyes at his mother’s evasion.

“I don’t know. He’s a nice guy, but...” He shrugged.


“I don’t know. There just wasn’t a spark—and stuff.”

Cheryl raised an unimpressed eyebrow. “You should give him another chance. He’s a good guy.”

“I know he’s a good guy, but that’s not the point.”

She set her jaw and glared at Marcus. That was her way of admitting defeat without actually admitting defeat.

“So, who were you with last night?”

Marcus couldn’t stop the grin that spread across his face as the image of Andy sitting in that armchair sprung to mind: head tilted back against the headrest, feet tucked neatly under him, and half-lidded eyes smouldering with emotion.

He had gone back to that sketch afterwards and added additional shading while he remembered the feeling of Andy sliding into his ass. Andy’s mix of innocence and sex was a dangerous combination that Marcus was quickly getting addicted to.

“No one, nobody.”

Now both eyebrows went up. “Who was it?” She asked again.

Marcus took his time answering; he didn’t want to spoil the budding—whatever it was—by sharing Andy with someone else. Taking a big gulp of his Bellini, he suddenly found the silverware to be utterly fascinating.

“Just Andy.” Marcus’ smile widened at the mention of his name.

“The priest?”

He frowned at Cheryl’s indignation. “His name is Andy.”

“And he’s a priest, the one with the—you know, his first time?”

“Yeah, him.” Marcus rolled his eyes and shifted in his seat. Part of him didn’t like to be reminded of that. And yet, there was also a weird little part of him that thrilled at knowing that Andy had never been with another man before. Marcus didn’t want to dwell on what exactly that meant and just how fucked that made him.

“I thought he was a one-night stand.”

Marcus bristled at the description. “It’s been more than just one night.”


He didn’t like her tone. “Do you have a problem with this?”

Cheryl leveled her best glare at her son, who was wise enough to shrink back into his seat. “What I have a problem with is you getting involved with a man who clearly has issues that he needs to sort through. My problem is I don’t like you getting attached to someone like that when Charles is a perfectly nice man who was interested in you.”

“I’m not getting attached.”

“Yes, you are. You don’t bottom for just anybody.”

“Mom!” Marcus looked around to see if anyone was close enough to overhear. “That is completely inappropriate!” He leaned in and murmured under his breath, “How did you know?”

Cheryl sat back in her chair, with arms crossed and a satisfied grin. “I’m your mother, and I’m observant. You sat down rather gingerly earlier.”

Marcus buried his face into his hands and wished the floor would open up and swallow him whole. This was one of those times when he would rather his mother not be so open about his sexuality. There was such thing as too much information, but apparently his mother had not gotten the memo.

“But really, Marcus, do you think this is a good idea? Do you honestly see this ending well?”

Marcus sat back in his chair and crossed his arms, a mirror image of his mother.

“I know what I’m doing, Mom.”

“Do you really?” Skepticism dripped from her voice.

“Look.” Marcus sighed. “Sure, he’s in the closet. And I’m not expecting him to come out for me. It’s just... I like spending time with him—”

“Spending time in bed with him.” Cheryl clarified.


She raised her hands in defeat and let Marcus finish.

“It’s not like we’re a thing.” The words threatened to choke Marcus as he spoke them. “We’re just hanging out.”

She didn’t look like she believed him. He didn’t blame her, because he didn’t really believe himself, either.

“Just promise to be careful, okay?”

“I’m always careful, Mom,” Marcus responded with a glint in his eye and a raised eyebrow.

“That not what I meant.” She glared at her son. “I meant, be careful with your heart.”

“I know, Mom. I will be.”



Marcus sat on the steps in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and checked the time on his phone. He tapped the device rapidly on his palm and scanned the crowd of tourists for that mop of brown hair. Not quite able to contain himself, he stood, shook out his legs, and checked his phone again.

It read the same time as when he last looked.

Stuffing his phone and his hands into his pockets, Marcus sighed. He didn’t like how fast his heartbeat felt or the queasiness in his stomach.

Don’t be stupid, he told himself. It’s just two guys hanging out.

Right, two guys hanging out at the Met. Marcus didn’t hang out with his friends at the Met. He didn’t even bring dates to the Met. The Met was just for him—and now him and Andy.

He stared down at his feet. This was stupid, he shouldn’t have asked Andy to meet him here.


Marcus turned at the greeting and lost his train of thought. That tended to happen every time he set eyes on Andy; apparently, this time was no exception. Andy had that shy little smile going and a twinkle in his eye. It settled Marcus’ stomach and eased his racing pulse.

“Hey,” Marcus responded. Then he took a moment to enjoy the blush that highlighted Andy’s cheeks.

“Sorry to keep you waiting.” Andy’s voice sounded a little lower and huskier than it did a minute ago.

“No, I just got here.”

Marcus didn’t make a move to head inside the museum; Andy and his little blushes were too distracting. He was content to just stand there and stare into those beautiful brown eyes all day.

“So, um… are we going inside?” Andy asked.

“Right, yeah. Sure.” He reluctantly tore his gaze from Andy and led the way up the steps.

“I haven’t actually been to the Met since moving to New York,” Andy confessed.

“Yeah? It’s a great museum. You could spend days in here and never see everything.”

“What kind of art do they have here?”

“Everything. Literally, everything.” Marcus grabbed a map and handed it to Andy. “Take a look and see if anything seems interesting.”

He watched as Andy scanned through the listings of exhibits and tried not to stare at the way Andy bit on his lower lip in concentration.

“There really is everything,” Andy said. “I have no idea where to begin.”

“Well, most people like the Egyptian exhibit if it’s their first time. It’s pretty cool but tends to get crowded.”

“Where do you like to go?”

Marcus thought for a moment and shrugged. “I like to pick random wings and just wander. I’ve found some of my favorite pieces just from wandering the halls.”

The smile that spread across Andy’s face made Marcus’ heart tumble. “Then let’s wander.”

Marcus picked an empty-looking stairwell and started climbing. Despite being a member of the Met and visiting so often, he still hadn’t discovered all the hidden treasures the museum had to offer. That was why he loved the place so much: every visit was like a brand new adventure.

He guided them down hallways and through doors until they came out in a series of galleries. There were only a few visitors in this section—exactly how Marcus liked it.

“This must be the European-painting wing,” Marcus whispered. They entered the first gallery, displaying oil paintings of portraits, still lifes and landscapes. “Everything’s organized by date of production rather than by subject or artist. So the style of painting tends to stay consistent in each gallery, but the subject might vary quite a bit.”

Andy nodded, his attention focused on the art.

Stepping back, Marcus observed as Andy floated from one painting to the next. Marcus loved art, and he hadn’t been down this series of galleries before, but his eyes were drawn to the most intriguing image in the room: Andy’s face, filled with wonder as he gazed in awe at the works on the walls.

Don’t stare, he told himself, but it didn’t work. No matter how hard he tried to concentrate on the paintings, his eyes inevitably drifted back to Andy. It wasn’t just that Andy was beautiful, because he was. It was also the way Andy stopped in front of each painting, and gave it his full attention as if pondering the artist’s message. It was his small smile and gentle nod as if acknowledging the artist’s work before he moved onto the next painting.

Marcus had seen hundreds of tourists speed-walk through galleries, barely glancing at the walls as they tried to do all of the Met in one day. They didn’t understand that art wasn’t something one could do; art was something one absorbed. But Andy seemed to understand this, and Marcus’ heart tumbled again.

“I have a confession,” Andy whispered. “I don’t actually know anything about art.”

Marcus cocked his head—could have fooled him.

“This stuff is interesting because I can tell it’s a landscape or a portrait or flowers.” Andy continued. “But some of the more modern stuff is just beyond me.”

“Yeah.” Marcus nodded. “A lot of people feel that way. But I think that’s the beauty of art; not every piece has to work for everyone. Sometimes a piece just speaks to me. It doesn’t have to be of a particular subject or a style or anything; it just makes me stop and stare at it. I don’t always know why, but it’s like something about the art has connected with my soul.”

Marcus cringed at his own corniness, but Andy was grinning at him with warm, emotion-filled eyes. He ducked his head. “It’s stupid.”

“No, it’s not stupid. Art is more than just something pretty to look at, isn’t it? Sounds like it’s very personal for you.”

“Yeah, it is.” The sharing just poured out of him. “I come here a lot. I find it helps me think or decompress or just process emotions, even happy ones. Sometimes I can visit a gallery multiple times, and depending on my mood, I’ll see different things in the art. It’s like the art is dynamic and my perception of it changes as I change.”

“It’s like you’re communicating with it. You’re communing with the art.”

Marcus considered the description. “Yeah, that’s exactly it.”

Andy understood, Marcus realized with some degree of surprise. He used to try to explain to his friends why art was so important to him, but none of them really got it. But Andy understood.

Ever since that night at the LGBT Center when Andy sang with Sophie, Marcus had been carrying around a knot in the middle of his chest. And through every encounter with Andy since, that knot had grown, feeding off of Andy’s shy smiles, his wonder-filled eyes, his innocence, his willingness to bare all and open himself up to Marcus—and now his intuitive understanding of what made Marcus tick. Andy was genuine and sincere. In a city where everyone built walls and erected fake façades, Andy was the only real person Marcus had met in a long time.

He had told his mother that he knew what he was doing. But he didn’t. Because he knew it was a bad idea to fall head over heels in love with a closeted priest who was ashamed of his own feelings and unable to come to terms with who he was. Yet, here Marcus was, falling head over heels in love with Andy. And Marcus feared that it was too late to turn back from the cliff.

A deep flush spread across Andy’s cheeks, and Marcus realized he had been staring. He took a step back to create a little space between them, even though his whole body yearned to take a step forward.

“Come on,” Marcus said. His voice was hoarse, and he cleared it before continuing. “There’s more this way.”

They moved into a wing that housed musical instruments.

“Wow, this is cool.” Andy approached a display that housed a series of stringed instruments that looked like sitars. Marcus grinned at the way Andy leaned in close to the glass and diligently examined each instrument.

When the idea of bringing Andy to the Met had first popped into his head, Marcus knew he had to bring Andy to this exhibit. And he was certainly not disappointed. Andy moved slowly from one display to the next, stopping especially long at the piano-like instruments and reading every single description provided by the museum.

“It’s amazing to see how different cultures that had no historical contact with each other were able to produce instruments that were so similar. Like the idea of blowing air through different length tubes to create sounds, for instance,” Andy pointed to a display of wooden flutes, “is found in ancient civilization all around the world. These are cultures that had very little in common, and yet they all figured out the same way to make music. It’s almost like they all figured out a common language to communicate in.”

Marcus had to physically suppress his chuckle as he watched Andy talk animatedly about musical instruments. So caught up in the exhibit was Andy that he didn’t even notice Marcus’ reaction.

“You know, I never liked the sound of the harpsichord,” Andy said in front of a white-and-gold instrument that looked like a piano. “I always thought it sounded like those awful kids’ toys.”

“I don’t think I know what a harpsichord sounds like,” Marcus admitted.

“No? Don’t worry, you’re not missing out.” Andy waved at the instrument dismissively and moved on.

They entered the next room, which held a giant mahogany organ with golden pipes that extended up toward the ceiling.

“That’s beautiful.” Andy’s voice was just above a whisper. He stood some distance away, and his eyes traveled over the entire structure, studying it the way Marcus liked to study a piece of art. “I wonder if it still gets played.”

“I think it does.” Marcus lowered his voice to match Andy’s volume. “On special occasions.”

“Good, it’d be such a shame if it didn’t.”

After a few more moments, Andy heaved a big sigh and turned to Marcus. “Sorry, I think I got carried away there with the instruments.”

“No worries.” Marcus chuckled. “It’s kind of cute.”

He was rewarded with a tinge of red on Andy’s cheeks, a shy smile and a duck of the brown-hair head. When Andy glanced back up through thick lashes and half-lidded eyes, it was just enough to give Marcus the last push he needed to fall over the edge of the cliff. His heart skipped a beat, and he had to blink to hold back the strange emotions welling up inside of him.

“Um…” Marcus cleared his suddenly choked-up voice. “Do you want to see more? Or are you ready to go?”

“I think I’m good. We’ve already seen so much. I’d rather let it all sink in than overload my brain with anything else.”

“A man after my own heart,” the words slipped out before Marcus realized he had said them. He shot a quick glance sideways, afraid of how Andy would react. It’s just a turn of phrase, Marcus told himself, but he knew there was a deeper implication. He wondered whether Andy would pick up on it.

Those doe eyes were wide, and Marcus read some uncertainty in them, but no rejection or outright hostility. Then there was that shy little smile again, and Marcus let out the breath he had been holding. Maybe Andy had caught the implication in his words, but he seemed okay with it, and that’s all Marcus could ask for.

They stepped out into the evening dusk that the setting sun had painted a vibrant pink.

“It’s not too late yet. Want to take a walk through the park?” Marcus suggested.

“Sure, that sounds nice.” Andy smiled. They set off toward the entrance of Central Park, just behind the museum.

The air smelled like summer, perfumed by the fragrance of freshly cut grass. The trees were a lush green, and the rustling leaves mixed with the sounds of giggling children running across the fields. They found a path and followed it at a leisurely pace; neither man wanting to end their time together.

A quick glance down and Marcus saw Andy’s hand swinging casually by his side. He itched to grasp it in his own and feel the warmth as they strolled in the park. Instead, Marcus stuffed his hands safely into his pockets.

This isn’t a date, Marcus reminded himself. It’s just two guys hanging out.

Right. Two guys hanging out at the Met and then taking a stroll through Central Park. Marcus let out a silent sigh. Who was he kidding? He knew in his heart that this was a date even if he didn’t want to admit it out loud.

“I always like walking through the park after the Met.” Marcus broke the silence. He was in full sharing mode today. “I think it helps me digest everything I’d seen in there.”

Andy nodded, knowingly. “It’s like that wooded area I used to go to in high school.”

Marcus’ memory flashed back to that night in his apartment when Andy had opened up to him on the couch. “Yeah, something like that.”

The sweet grin on his lips told Marcus that Andy wasn’t as bothered by the memory of the wooded area as he might have been before.

“So, you do this a lot, huh?” Andy asked.

“Yeah, at least a couple of times a month.”

“Do you always come alone?”

“Yeah, I do. Actually, I’ve never brought anyone here before. At least not like this.” Marcus confessed. He hadn’t meant to do that either, but with Andy, all his secrets were coming out.

“Really?” Andy stopped walking, and Marcus turned to face him. His eyes were big with wonder again. “Not even Stephen? Or your mom?”

“Nope.” Marcus laughed. “Definitely not Stephen or my mom. I don’t think I could make Stephen come to the Met unless they had a gay-porn exhibit, and I’d never get a moment of peace if my mom came along. No, I’ve never asked anyone to come with me. Until you, of course.”

This last part was said quietly, like he was a teenage boy confessing his feelings to a crush for the first time. Marcus’ heart raced a little too fast, and he had an urge to run away in case Andy didn’t return the sentiment. But he read nothing but gratitude in Andy’s eyes—gratitude and something else that Marcus couldn’t quite place.

Then Andy put a hand on Marcus’ arm. It sent a jolt of electricity to the center of Marcus’ chest and made it difficult to breathe. He itched to pull Andy close and ease the restless longing in his heart.

“Thank you for sharing this with me. It means a lot.” Andy’s voice was quiet, like he was whispering a precious secret to Marcus.

A simple touch, simple words and a warm smile—that was all it took for Andy to put Marcus at ease. Andy was a breath of fresh air, and Marcus breathed deeply.

Fuck. He was in so much trouble.

Like! Comment! Tell me what you loved and what you hated. I love hearing from you!
Copyright © 2017 Hudson Bartholomew; 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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Chapter Comments

Andy seems more at peace in this chapter. It seems he is slowly coming to accept himself, though perhaps not ready to take the next step just yet.  I am eagerly and patiently awaiting each successive chapter.



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On 7/23/2017 at 10:17 AM, Wesley8890 said:

I'm just so enthralled with these characters. They've wormed their way into my heart. Andy's innocence and Marcus' adoration of him blows me away:worship:


Thanks so much!! It means so much to me that you like the story :) 

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On 7/23/2017 at 2:50 PM, pvtguy said:

Andy seems more at peace in this chapter. It seems he is slowly coming to accept himself, though perhaps not ready to take the next step just yet.  I am eagerly and patiently awaiting each successive chapter.




Thanks so much Tony! :) 

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On 7/24/2017 at 2:38 PM, Dyaus said:

I feel so connected with Marcus!!! Great writing!!! :)


That's awesome! I love hearing that :) 

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Ooohhh... They so need to talk. Andy has got to realise Marcus is falling for him. It's decision time, before he ends up hurting Marcus severely. 

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7 hours ago, Puppilull said:

Ooohhh... They so need to talk. Andy has got to realise Marcus is falling for him. It's decision time, before he ends up hurting Marcus severely. 


Oh, but what's a little hurt to crank up the drama?? :gikkle: I'm terrible, I know.

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Mom is right and wrong.  Right about Andy having to deal with issues and wrong about Charles.  There was no spark with Charles, but an inferno with Andy.  I'm glad Marcus realizes he's falling love.  He has to deal with issues, too.  They both do,  Who better to deal with them that the one that loves you?  They do love each other!

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They are definitely falling in love. This is going to be a grand romance, the love of each other's lives. ❤ 

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