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Chapter 15: A New Year
“Come on Rob, we’ve got a long day ahead of us.” I said as Rob finally finished getting dressed.
“Sorry Bobby, I’m just being lazy.” Rob answered as he followed me out the door and out to my Jeep. I opened the passenger door for Rob and gave him a wink before I walked over to jump in on the driver’s side. This would be the first time I would be heading back to my hometown since I’d moved. I decided to drive north and head up the Delmarva Peninsula on the way to visit my grandma. The scenic route would be more relaxing than the interstate. Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic and we made the rural drive with relative ease. Rob was thirsty and I needed to use the bathroom so I pulled into a gas station, we were only 10 or so minutes away, but this would give us a chance to stretch our legs.
Rob followed me into the bathroom and we walked to neighboring urinals. I couldn’t help but glance over at his flaccid penis as the strong flow eased out of it. I don’t know why but my bladder got shy and couldn’t use the bathroom. Rob winked at me and went to wash his hands. The sound of the running water finally eased my shyness so I could take care of business. When I exited the restroom, Rob was getting a fountain drink and I walked over to join him.
“Bobby! Bobby Thompson!” Startled, Rob and I turned around to see who was calling me.
“Hey Lisa, how’ve you been?” I asked, surprised to see Lisa from my old school’s swim team.
“I’m pretty good Bobby. What brings you back in town?” Lisa asked.
“Rob and I are just going to go visit my grandma.” I replied and watched a devilish smile cross Lisa’s face.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Rob.” Lisa purred to Rob. Rob held out his hand and Lisa shook it. “You single Rob?” She asked continuing her seduction. I looked at Rob and he grinned and nodded his approval.
“Actually Lisa, Rob’s my boyfriend.”
“Get out!” Lisa exclaimed. She surprised me when she shoved me against my shoulders and forced me back into Rob’s grasp. He held his hands on my hips, steadying me while I tried to compose myself.
“I’m sorry Bobby, I just… I just had no idea. I mean… Wow.” Lisa stammered. “Good for you Bobby.” She added as she eyed Rob up and down.
I heard Rob chuckling before I spoke. “It’s okay Lisa. It was good seeing you, but we need to head out.”
She gave me a quick hug. “Bye Bobby, it was good seeing you too. Nice to meet you.” She added to Rob as she blushed and turned her head. Rob quickly paid for his drink as we headed out to my Jeep.
I decided to fill Rob in on some information on my grandmother before we got there.
“My granddad died before I was born.” Rob nodded and intertwined his fingers with those on my right hand. “She’s hilarious. She’s always been very supportive of me, but she’s very conservative. I don’t know how she will take this.” Rob pulled my hand to his face and kissed my knuckles.
“It’s okay Bobby, we’ll get through it.” I was reassured by Rob’s confidence as I pulled into the driveway. The neatly manicured lawn and flower beds complemented the two story Victorian style house. She hired neighborhood kids to cut the grass, but she meticulously maintained her flower beds to perfection. Rob retook my hand as we headed up the driveway. I reached out and rang the doorbell as Rob released my grasp. I shook my head and took his hand.
“Let her see.” I said. Grandma opened the door with her typical effervescent smile.
“Bobby! Come here my boy.” She said as she pulled me into a tight embrace. If she had seen us holding hands, she didn’t let on. I squeezed her back until she finally relented. Her white hair was done in perfect curls and she had a slim figure, but wasn’t frail. She was a several inches shorter than me.
“Grandma this is-,” before I could introduce Rob she had pulled him into an embrace. Rob’s face was a mix of shuck and humor. “Rob this is my grandma.”
“Nice to meet you ma’am.” Rob said smiling down at my grandmother. She quickly rushed us inside and we were sitting at her kitchen table where she had an assortment of cakes and cookies.
“You boys want lunch? I can make you something. I have some country ham biscuits.” She quickly placed a platter in front of us. Rob happily took an offered biscuit.
“These are delicious.” He said looking warmly at grandma. We exchanged small talk and ate entirely too much food before I decided to let her know about my relationship with Rob.
“Grandma, I need to tell you something.” I nervously said.
“Okay Bobby, go ahead, you can tell me anything.” She encouraged, the smile never leaving her face.
“Well the reason we didn’t come over for Christmas… Well I didn’t want to do this in front of everyone. I thought it would be better if we told you one-on-one.” She looked excited but nodded for me to continue. I looked at Rob and was rewarded by a strong, secure smile. “Rob is my boyfriend.” I almost blurted it out anxious to share the news.
“Oh bahis firmaları Bobby. I’ve been waiting for you to tell me.” Grandma got up chuckling and walked across the room to her refrigerator. I watched as she removed a magnet and retrieved the piece of paper that was under it. She smiled as she sat down at the table placing a photograph in front of me. “I’m so happy you’ve found someone Bobby. I prayed for years for you to find a nice girlfriend, but I’m so happy you found Rob.” She gave Rob a sincere smile as I looked in shock at the photograph. It was from the state championship football game the previous day. Rob was holding me as I gazed into the endless depths of his eyes. Thankfully, it was before the infamous kiss.
“How? Where did you get this?” I asked dumbfounded as I handed the picture to Rob.
“Can I get a copy of this?” Rob asked and grandma laughed. I smiled at Rob’s humor and let the nervousness leave my body.
“I’m sure Emily will print one out for you.” Grandma answered smiling at Rob.
“Emily…” I was dumbfounded that she had shared this secret with grandma.
“She emailed it this morning. Don’t be mad at her Bobby.” Grandma started. “Last Christmas when Emily stayed with me for a week I learned a lot about you. I was trying to figure out why you didn’t have a girlfriend, and she finally broke down and told me that you weren’t “into girls.” She made me promise that I wouldn’t say anything to you or your parents. I’ve been waiting for you to tell me Bobby. She’s been keeping my abreast of you two for a couple months now.” Grandma got up and motioned for us to follow her into the living room.
Rob was trying to hide his smirk and I was just shaking my head. We followed her into the other room. She was sitting down in the middle of the couch.
“Come sit beside me boys.” She said as she patted either side of her. We took the seats sandwiching her between us.
“Bobby is very picky Rob, so I know you must be something special.” She gazed at Rob with an intense gaze. “If you do anything to hurt him, you’ll have me to answer to.” I chuckled and Rob smiled and nodded. “Bobby.” She said as she turned her gaze to me. “I’m so glad you’ve shared this part of your life with me. Remember this, no matter what happens, I love you.” I could feel my eyes starting to water as she pulled me into a hug. “I’m so happy for you Bobby. Love is a beautiful thing.” She patted my back as I tried unsuccessfully to fight the tears from escaping.
The remainder of the visit was very upbeat, but it was starting to get late so we said our goodbyes. We headed back to the kitchen and I watched as grandma proudly displayed the picture on her refrigerator.
“You boys come back and visit.” Grandma said giving us each a hug and a kiss on the cheek before we made the journey home.
Rob suggested that we all ride to school together, and it made no sense for us to take two cars. Emily decided she was going to catch a ride with a friend and I rode to school with Rob in his truck. It had been a fun and eventful winter break, but it was time to get back in the daily grind of school. There was a fresh coating of frost on the grass as we headed into the school. I didn’t hear any sneers through the commotion that came with the first day back. Rob swatted me on my butt and headed off to his locker as I stopped at mine.
“Hey Becky, how was your break? ” I asked my locker neighbor.
“Fine.” Becky’s response was short and she immediately closed her locker and trotted down the hall without another word. The first half of the day went as usual. It wasn’t until lunch when I noticed some changes. Rob and I sat in our normal seats. I was happily enjoying my grilled cheese sandwich when I noticed a few people who used to sit at our table were no longer there. Katie sat beside me and her boyfriend Billy had joined our table for the first time. He sat across from her and beside Rob. I looked around wondering where the others had gone. I was surprised to see Becky and two of the guys who usually sat with us sitting next to Eric. I cringed inwardly and nodded for Rob to look.
“If they want to sit and be hateful with Eric, there’s nothing we can do about it.” Rob said as he placed his feet on either side of mine under the table. I was sorry that some of Rob’s friends didn’t want to hang around with us anymore. Becky was alright sometimes, but to be honest, I was glad that she wouldn’t be stalking around Rob anymore.
We were about to pull into the driveway when Rob noticed something odd.
“Why is my uncle here?” He asked as I noticed the old red and white Chevy pickup truck pulled in the driveway behind my Jeep. I shrugged as we pulled into the driveway and parked. Rob’s uncle was in the driver’s seat of the truck, seemingly waiting for Rob to show up. Rob opened his door and I slid out and waited by the passenger door as Rob headed towards the back of the truck and towards his waiting uncle.
“Uncle Charlie, kaçak iddaa what’re you doing here?” Rob asked as his uncle got out of his truck and reached for Rob’s hand. Rob obliged and they politely shook hands.
“Can we go somewhere and talk Rob?” His uncle asked as I nervously shuffled to the front of the truck.
“Sure come on in.” Rob said smiling and I followed them into the house.
“Can I get you something to drink sir?” I asked trying to be a good host.
“I’d love a Coke if you have one, and please call me Charlie.” Charlie said and I quickly went to the fridge and pulled out a Coke for Charlie and Rob.
“I’ll be upstairs.” I whispered to Rob as I handed him the drink. I started to walk out of the room but felt Rob’s hand grab the waste of my jeans, stopping me before I could exit the scene.
“Stay Bobby.” Rob whispered. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he wanted some moral support. I glanced at his Uncle Charlie who gave a small nod before I took up a seat next to Rob on the couch, as his uncle sat in the chair opposite.
“Rob, your dad came to talk to me, and to be honest I was surprised by what he said.” Uncle Charlie quickly shifted his gaze between the two of us and I felt Rob’s body tense before Charlie continued. “I’m very sorry for the way my brother treated you, but I’m not surprised. You didn’t get to know your grandpa much before he passed, but he was a real hard-ass, your dad picked up many of his traits.”
“Uncle Charlie, I don’t mean to be rude, but why are you telling me this?” Rob asked with confusion in his voice as he was trying to figure out his uncle’s motives.
“I just don’t think your dad did right by you. In all the years I’ve known you Rob, I’ve always thought you were a great kid. I’ve never had a bad thing to say about you. You’ve always helped me around the farm when I needed a hand. I think you are very brave.” Charlie’s green eyes shifted to me, and I noticed that Rob and his uncle had the same eyes. “Both of you.” Charlie returned his gaze back to Rob before continuing. “Rob, I’ve been denying myself for years, but I’m gay.” Rob’s mouth was agape as his uncle continued. “I’ve never told anyone, or ever acted on it. After hearing what happened to you, well that was the final straw.”
“Uncle Charlie?” Rob started but was cut off.
“I tried to explain to my brother that it wasn’t a choice. He went off on a tantrum calling me an abomination. I decked him in his eye. I bet he’s got a right good shiner about now.” Charlie chuckled. “Well he knows you’re not the only different one in the family. I just hope it helps him accept it. I dunno Rob; I just thought you needed to know.”
“I, I had no idea.” Rob managed to stammer out.
“I had no idea about you Rob. Guess we’re good at keeping secrets. I’m just sorry that I waited all of these years to accept that I wasn’t a freak. In a way I owe the two of you a lot of thanks. I’ve been a coward, unable to accept who I was. It took you two to realize I was being stupid.” Charlie shrugged and grinned at us. “So thanks for that.” I scooted closer to Rob now that the tension seemed to leave the room.
“Well thanks for trying to stick up to me. Do you think dad will ever come around?” Rob questioned.
“You’ve always been my favorite nephew Rob. I’ll do anything I can for you. As for your dad coming around to accepting what you-” he paused before rewording his statement. “What we are, I don’t know, I think he was worried that it was somehow his fault. He doesn’t understand how it is. We were raised to think that it was a sin, and unnatural. He doesn’t, or chooses not to, understand the nature of things. “
“I’m your only nephew wise guy.” Rob chuckled. “Well I’m glad you’ve decided to share that with us Uncle Charlie.”
“Well I can tell that you’re happy here, but if you ever need a place to stay, my door is always open to you Rob. You too kid.” Uncle Charlie said nodding at me.
“Oh my God. I’m an idiot. Bobby, this is my uncle Charlie, Uncle Charlie, this Is Bobby, my boyfriend.” Rob said shaking his head and I patted him on his back to let him know it was okay.
“Nice to meet you Bobby.” Charlie said with a genuine smile on his face.
“Nice to meet you too, Charlie.” I replied as Rob put his arm around my shoulders.
“Well I better get going.” Charlie said as he stood up from the chair. We rose as well and shook hands and walked him to the door.
“See you around Rob, Bobby.” Charlie waved as he hopped into his truck and drove off.
“Well I wasn’t expecting that.” I sighed and plopped on the coach as Rob walked into the kitchen.
Rob chuckled, “You weren’t? Imagine how I feel.” Rob handed me a bottle of water as I picked up my legs and put them on his lap when he sat down. “That’s a hell of a revelation.” I nodded in agreement.
The front door opened and we both looked as Emily came in and sat in the chair beside us, discarding her bags on the floor beside her.
“Eww, this kaçak bahis chair is warm. Who was here?” Emily was showing disgust at the warm seat below her.
“Rob’s uncle came by to talk to Rob.” Emily nodded, settled back into the chair, and turned to the TV, deciding not to interrogate further.
“I’ve got a bone to pick with you Em.” Rob cut his eyes at me and I smirked before continuing.
“Uh, what’s that Bobby?” Emily asked as she shifted to look at me.
“I cannot believe you told grandma. I can’t believe she’s known all of this time. She even has a picture from the other day on her fridge of Rob and me. Why didn’t you tell me?” I was wavering expressions and feelings from betrayal to happiness.
Emily erupted in belly laughs. “I’m sorry Bobby, I can’t lie to her. She kept asking me if you had a girlfriend and I got tired of making excuses for you. She seemed like she didn’t care. How was she yesterday?”
“She was great!” Rob answered smiling between the two of us. I nodded in agreement.
“Well next time I have a secret that I don’t want grandma to know, I’ll have to tell Rob, not you.” I mused.
“Oh, I’ll probably tell her if she asks me.” Rob chuckled as he rubbed my shins through my jeans.
The following day after school Rob pulled into the deli to talk about a job. I watched as he ran out to my side of the truck and I rolled down the window for an excited Rob.
“Drive home babe, I’ll be off at 8:00!” He turned around and ran back inside before I could utter a word in response. I smiled as I rolled up the window before sliding behind the steering wheel. ‘Of course Rob got the job, who wouldn’t hire him? He’s perfect.’ I thought as I made the drive home. When I returned home there was a familiar car in the driveway but I couldn’t place it. Sitting in the living room across from my mom was a lady that I couldn’t place until I heard her speak.
“Good afternoon Mrs. Johnson, how are you?” I questioned as I sat beside my mom on the couch.
“Hi Bobby, I’m good, thanks. I came to speak with Rob and drop off this letter that came for him.” Rob’s mom smiled warmly at me as she patted the legal sized envelope in her lap.
“Oh, Rob just got a job. He’s working at the deli until 8:00.” Both my and Rob’s mom looked surprised at the news. “He wanted to save some money for college, today is his first day.” I tried to fill them in on the situation.
“Well that’s nice. I’ll leave this here with you Bobby, please tell Rob that I came by and that I love him.” Mrs. Johnson said as she stood up. “I better get going. Rob’s father will be home soon.” Mom and I smiled warmly at her as she placed the envelope on the coffee table and headed out the door.
“When did Rob apply for a job?” My mom asked shifting her position to look at me.
“Um, well, he picked up an application over break. I didn’t know he had turned it in. We drove there after school and he ran out and told me to pick him up at 8:00. I didn’t have time to talk to him about it.”
“That’s very responsible of him. He didn’t have to though. Your father and I really like Rob.” She shrugged and took a sip of the tea she was drinking.
“I know.” I said smiling at her admission. “I told him that, he feels like he’s taking advantage of you, wants to save money for college so he doesn’t have to be so dependent on you. It’s a good idea, I was thinking about getting a job too.” I stated as she patted me on the knee.
“If that’s what you want dear. If either of your grades start suffering I will make sure you both have more time to study.”
I was in my room sitting at the desk working on some homework when my phone started vibrating. ‘Don’t forget to pick me up babe.’ I smiled at the message, like I could forget picking up my handsome boyfriend from his first day of work. ‘Who is this?’ I texted back and actually laughed out loud at my joke before looking over at the clock. I still had ten minutes before I needed to leave. I finished the calculus problem I had been working on and headed down the stairs. I had parked Rob’s truck behind my Jeep because Rob’s mom was in my usual spot.
“Crap.” I muttered to myself as I headed inside to exchange my keys for Rob’s.
The journey to the deli was quick and Rob came out the door when he saw me pull up. ‘How was your first day Robbie?’ I asked as he climbed in the passenger seat of his pickup.
“Good babe. I made fifty bucks.” His grin was huge as he looked over and took my hand.
“In four hours? That’s awesome Rob.” I smiled and strengthened the grip between our hands.
“Yeah they had me doing a little bit of everything. I was making sandwiches, sweeping the floor, cleaning tables; they even let me wait on a few tables. The salary isn’t good, but they let me split the tips. I got a $10.00 tip from two old ladies eating pie and drinking coffee. That’s almost what their whole bill was.” Rob was gushing with pride as he spoke.
“Oh I’m sure you were flirting with those grey hairs to get such a tip.” I laughed as I turned onto the road to our house.
“Jealous Bobby?” Rob laughed as he squeezed my hand.
“Tremendously.” I smiled and pulled his truck behind my Jeep.
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