By Owen Hudson September 2007
Mason soon became my best friend. In fact he was my only friend. Having a friend was new to me. This was an experience that I was very much enjoying. Mason made me feel complete, and I liked that feeling. I still loved George, the man I called grandpa, as much as ever. I was falling in love with Mason, but I knew that Mason couldn't love me the way I loved him. He was straight and I was gay. But, I could at least have a best friend.
I had the weekend off and was in my trailer doing homework when I heard a knock on my door. "Come in, Grandpa," I said without looking up.
"Do I look old enough to be your grandpa?" Mason asked with a laugh.
"How did you know to find me here?" I questioned Mason.
"Your grandpa said that you were here," Mason said. "He said that this was your own little place that you liked to come and study, and to get away."
I offered Mason a coke and we then sat and chatted for a while. We chatted about school, other kids, but mostly just enjoyed each other's company. I enjoyed Mason's company, and found him easy to talk to. Soon the conversation came to girls we thought were hot. I knew I was gay but I could still appreciate beauty. "You know that Chelsea Benton has the hots for you?" Mason asked.
"No she doesn't," I argued.
"Sure she does, just look at the way she falls all over you," Mason said.
"I'm sure it's nothing the way Carla Putnam undresses you with her eyes," I countered.
"Hey, you're the one that has all the looks," Mason contended. "I'll bet all the girls at your old school were ogling over you."
Not wanting to discuss my past, I quickly attempted to change the subject by asking, "Do you have your essay written for English?"
Mason had a serious look on his face when he asked, "What's your story, Jeff?"
"It's an essay, dummy," I laughed nervously. "It isn't a story."
"I'm serious," He said. "You're hiding something from your past. You mention your mother, but the only person I've met in your family is your grandpa. You change the subject when I ask anything about your life before you came here."
"Look Mason, I don't get along with my mom and she's never around. I love my grandpa and he's all I need," I said, knowing this part was true. "I really don't want to talk about it."
"Jeff, you don't have to hide anything from me," Mason assured me. "I don't care about your past. I know the person that you are. Sometimes I can tell that your mind is a million miles away. I can tell that there is sadness still there."
I wanted to tell Mason my story, I had kept everything to myself so long that I wasn't sure that I could. Suddenly all my defenses came down and I began to sob. I began to tell Mason my story. I told him of my abuse. I told him that I was a runaway to get away from the abuse. I left out the part that the kiss from Tom that had caused me to become a runaway.
Mason was crying with me after I told my story. When I had finished I said, "You have to promise that you'll never tell anyone."
"I promise," he said. "But, I think you should tell my dad."
"No, I can never tell anyone," I said. "Besides you, George is the only person that knows."
"George?" Mason questioned. "He isn't really your grandpa?"
"No, when I came here from Illinois I took part of what money I had and bought this trailer," I explained. "I rented a lot from George. Eventually I began to trust him and told him my story. As far as I'm concerned, he is my grandpa."
"You should tell my dad," Mason insisted.
"Why should I tell your dad?" I asked. "What purpose would it serve?"
"Since he's an attorney, maybe he can figure out a way for George to legally adopt you," Mason said. "Then you wouldn't ever have to worry about your parents taking you back to Illinois."
"They'll never take me back," I said. "If they ever tried I'd just run away again."
"Then I'd lose you," Mason said. Then to my surprise he pulled me into his arms and kissed me. He then pull back and said, "Oh shit Jeff, I'm so sorry."
"I'm not," I said and then kissed him back.
Mason and I talked about what it was like being gay our plans for the future. I then asked him if his parents knew he was gay. "Yeah, they know," Mason said. "They've know since I was fourteen."
"They're okay with your being gay?" I asked as I wondered what it would be like to have parents like Mason's.
"I think they would have been happier if I weren't gay," Mason said. "But, they still love me and treat me the same as they always did."
"Your parents are so cool," I said. "I used to watch TV and see a happy family and would pretend that I was part of that family. I would pretend that I was coming home from school and my TV mom would greet me with a snack of milk and cookies. My TV dad would come home from work and play catch with me."
"I'm so sorry that you had parents that were so fucked up," Mason said with tears in his eyes. "Nobody deserves to go through what you've gone through."
"Don't be sad for me," I said. "I found a great grandpa and a handsome boyfriend. Look, I even have my own palace."
"Boyfriend?" Mason asked in surprise. "Am I really your boyfriend?"
"Is that okay?" I asked.
Mason answered my question with a kiss.
The next day I was on cloud nine when I went to school. I parked my bicycle and immediately went looking for Mason. When I found him Carla Putnam had him cornered at their lockers and was attempted to work her charms on him. Little did she know that she lacked the equipment to get his attention. I decided to give my boyfriend some help. "Hey Mason, how did your date with that girl from Springdale go?"
I'm not sure who was more surprised, Carla or Mason. When Mason realized what I was up to, he said, "It went great. She has a great looking friend that I'll have to introduce you to." Carla then slammed her locker shut and stormed off in a huff. "I could hug you for that," Mason said with a big grin across his face.
"Later," I whispered. "Later."
"Doing anything tonight?" Mason asked as we walked to our first class.
"I have to work," I said. "Why do you ask?"
"I thought maybe you could come over to my house," Mason said. "When are you off again?"
"Not until Thursday," I said. "Maybe we can do something then."
I could tell that Mason was disappointed, but boyfriend or not I still had to work. After school I rushed home to do a little homework before going to work. As I was getting ready for work George came to my trailer to see how I was doing. I told him that Mason wanted me to come by, but I had to work.
"Why don't you go by after work?" George asked. "It wouldn't be that late."
"Because he way over on the east side of town and it would be too far to ride my bike that late at night," I said.
"Well maybe you can see him on your day off," George said.
"Yeah, I plan on it," I said. "Now I had better get to work."
The next day was one of those cold rainy days that made one want to snuggle under a blanket with a good book. Mason gave me a ride home; otherwise I would have been soaked before I got home. Since I had to leave my bike at school, I would have to walk to work. However, I didn't mind, since I had a rain suite to wear. When I was getting ready for work George knocked on my door. "What are you doing out in this rain?" I asked.
"I came to ask you if you thought you were going to walk to work in this rain," George replied.
"Sure, I am," I answered. "I have a rain suite."
"When the weather is like this, you should drive," George said.
"Grandpa, I can't drive your car," I argued. "Your insurance wouldn't cover me."
"No you can't," George said. "But, you can drive my truck. I talked to my insurance agent and I was able to drop the coverage to liability and add you as a driver for no increase in rates. Here are an extra set of keys and you can just consider it as yours until you can get your own. I rarely drive it anymore since my wife died."
When I think back, I now realize that George was crafty and made me think that coverage for me wouldn't cost that much. Auto insurance for teenage driver cost a bundle. I hugged George and thanked him for allowing me to drive his truck. The truck was an older model, but had been well taken care of. I would still ride my bike to school and work when the weather was nice. I still wanted to save my money for my own car.
When my shift was nearly over Mason arrived and said, "I came to give you a ride home. I didn't want you walking home in this rain."
"Thank you," I said. "But, that wasn't necessary. I drove Grandpa's truck. If you want to stick around until I get off work we can do something."
"I'll just go hang out with your grandpa until you get off work if that's okay with you," Mason said.
"He would like that," I said. I was proud that my boyfriend liked my adopted grandpa.
When I arrived at George's house after work, I found Mason and George laughing and apparently enjoying each other's company. When Mason saw me, he looked up and said, "Hi Babe."
"Hi Son," George said. "I've been enjoying your boyfriend's company. I was surprised by that statement, but I was pleased that he accepted our sexuality without question.
After chatting with George for a while, Mason and I went back to my trailer and made out for a while. We hadn't advanced our relationship beyond kissing and making out. We both decided that we should go slowly in our relationship. Mason kissed me good night and then said, "You and George are invited to my house for dinner your next day off."
"That sounds good to me," I said. "But, I'll have to ask Grandpa."
"I already asked, and he'll be there," Mason said. "Mom and Dad like you and they want to meet your grandpa.
"How much have you told them about me," I asked with concern that Mason may give out too much information about me.
"Just that your mom really isn't around and that your grandpa sort of takes care of you," Mason said. "But, I really think you could trust my parents."
"Maybe I can," I admitted. "But, I think that the fewer people know that I'm a runaway, the better off I am."
I was pleasantly surprised at George's social skills. He charmed the Box family, and one would never have guess that he grew up in a two room shack. I guess we both had learned a lot. I guess I too had begun to develop my social skills, thanks to Mason and my adopted grandpa.
After dinner George chatted with Mason's parents over coffee, and Mason showed me his weight training equipment. He offered to help me get started on a weight training routine. We decided to begin immediately, and when he took his shirt off I saw his nude upper torso for the first time. Needless to say, I was impressed. I had felt his firm body through his clothes when we were making out, but I'd never seen him with his shirt off.
"We'll have your body looking every bit as good," Mason assured me. "You have the right framework and with some weight training you'll look as good. With your looks I might have to put a leash on you thought."
"Don't start getting kinky on me now," I teased.
"They are good people," George said as we were driving home from dinner with Mason's and his parents. "I think if you ever needed help they are people you could count on."
"Grandpa, I'm sure you're right," I admitted. "But, right now the only people I want to trust are you and Mason. Maybe some day I can learn to trust people. I'm just not willing to take any chances until I'm eighteen."