Friday, September 11, 2015
Brody & Harry: Their Beginning
Brody hadn't felt so nervous on a date in years and this was just a casual dinner date with Harry. He turned to the security guard and said, "Do you mind if I suggest a place to eat?"
Harry shook his head. "No, I'm fine with that."
"Great," Brody said. "I know a comfortable little place that serves a great Philly cheese steak and a mean meatloaf." The bank teller rolled his eyes. He hadn't sounded so eager since he first came out.
Harry smiled. "Sounds good...where and what time?" Harry was mentally going through what he might wear and hoped it wasn't anywhere fancy. He didn't have anything appropriate for that.
"Owen and I were going to have dinner together, but it looks like he has a date and our plans have changed. Do you want to just head on over to the restaurant now?" Brody hoped that Harry would just say yes. He really did love a man in uniform, but he also understood wanting to get out of your work clothes.
Harry wiped his hands on his trousers as they were sweating and he said quietly, "Sure...if my goin' in uniform won't be a problem?"
"Oh, no problem at all. Cedars is an all-night cafe that mainly caters to the working man. A lot of the customers work at the factory and they come in their work clothes too," Brody said. He liked reassuring Harry. The man was a bit older than him, but there was something about him that drew Brody to him.
Harry straightened his jacket and nodded. "All right...it sounds good. Shall we drive separately? I can follow you."
The younger man looked at Harry. He wanted the security guard to ride with him, but the man looked tired. He should eat and then get home and go to bed. Brody spoke his thoughts aloud, "Yes, follow me that way when we are done, you can go home and get some rest."
Harry gave the bank teller an odd look. "I'm not that tired Brody, but I'll follow you."
Brody disagreed, but kept it to himself. The men walked to the parking lot together. Fate must have been on their side as they were parked closely together. "I'll see you in a few." Brody watched as Harry got in his car. Then getting into his own, the younger man took a deep breath and told himself to calm down.
Harry got into his car and took a deep breath. His going out with Brody was coming true, but what would the man think of him? He was after all older than him and not as educated...and well what would he really want with someone like him? He was almost tempted to just drive on home and forget all about this, but he was also a man of honor and he did say he’d have dinner with him. The security guard watched Brody leave the parking lot and followed him at a safe distance.
The few miles sped by and soon Brody was pulling into the parking lot. He found a parking spot close to the door and signaled Harry to pull into it. Brody didn't mind walking a distance to the restaurant. After all, he sat most of the day at the bank window. That was why he made a point to go to the gym at least 3 days a week. But the security guard was on his feet all day. Parking and walking over to where the other man was waiting, Brody gestured for Harry to walk with him. He allowed himself a bit of indulgence as they walked together. The younger man placed his hand on the small of the older man’s back.
Harry wondered about Brody waving him into a parking space close to the restaurant. He was used to walking all day while the other man sat at the teller window. He didn't argue though and pulled into the space. He wasn't used to being taken care of in even a little matter like this. As they walked together Harry felt Brody's hand on the small of his back. He stiffened at first, but forced himself to relax. After all he did want to spend time with the bank teller even though he was rather nervous and a bit scared about the whole thing. Imagine that...him a big bad security guard scared of a little date. He mocked himself.
Even though the restaurant was crowded, they were seated fairly soon. "The food here isn't gourmet, its simple home style food. I usually have their special," Brody said.
Harry nodded, relaxing as he looked around at the working man atmosphere. "Then I'll just have the special too." He told Brody.
The other man nodded at Lisa, the night shift waitress, and quickly gave their order. After she left, Brody looked at Harry. The poor man looked nervous as well as tired. Brody wanted to soothe the security guard as well as get to know him. But he also wanted to let Harry know he wasn't looking for a one night stand. "This is nice, Harry," The younger man started. "I'm tired of the wild one night stands. Been there, done that, have several t-shirts to prove it." He hoped that the bit of humor would ease the seriousness of his voice.
Harry gave Brody a nervous smile and said, "I'm glad. I'm not into one night stands either. I've not had much experience in these things." He confessed, flushing a bit at the revelation and again wondering to himself what the hell he was doing here.
Brody didn't want any secrets between them. He had a good feeling about Harry so he was willing to be completely open with him. "I'm afraid that I had too many. After high school, I started college. That's when I came out and I hit the scene pretty hard. I majored in partying and dating and within two years, my grades were so dismal that I dropped out. I don't regret a thing. I learned a lot and I know who I am."
Harry looked down. "I'm afraid I haven't dated much, mostly dreamed from afar."
"That's ok," Brody smiled softly at the other man. "I think everyone experiences life in their own way."
Lisa came over with their plates laden with the meatloaf special. Brody pushed the ketchup toward Harry. "It’s good meatloaf, but made great by putting ketchup on it."
The other man nodded. "Thank you Brody." Harry put some ketchup on his meatloaf, but sparingly. He didn't like to just taste ketchup on his food.
Brody smothered his dinner with the red tomato sauce. "You don't like ketchup?" he asked.
Harry wrinkled his nose seeing the younger man smothering his food with the red sauce. "I like it just fine, but I rather taste my food and not just eat ketchup." He said quietly, and then bit his lip, hoping he hadn't just insulted the man.
Brody laughed. This shy man had a bit of snark in him. "I'm of the belief that everything tastes better with either ketchup or hot sauce.”
Harry nodded. "I can see that, I'd rather use them to enhance the flavor. I'm not in favor of disguising the taste of my food."
Brody smiled to himself. The other man looked so delicious sitting across from him. He wanted to know everything he could about the security guard, but he didn't want to scare him off.
The two men swapped their life stories as they ate. "I grew up here, went to the local college for those 2 years, and my parents and sisters still live here." Brody shared.
Harry nodded. "I've lived here my whole life; finished high school went to the police academy and came to the bank to work security. My father is gone and my mother worried too much for me to be on the police force. I'm an only child." He didn't mention that now he cared for his mother who was in a long term assistive care facility.
"That was thoughtful of you, to think of your mom's worries," Brody said in approval. "I'm the middle child. One sister older and one younger. My parents are still living in the house I grew up in. My sister is married and has 3 kids of her own. Which is nice since mom and dad know I won't be giving them grandkids. It must be tough being an only child. Does your mom worry about grandkids?"
Harry said, "It must be nice to have a family to be around." He didn't answer the question about his mother.
Brody heard alarms going off. Harry was skipping around an issue, but what issue was it? Did his mom know he was gay? Was there a strain in the relationship? As much as Brody wanted to get to the bottom of this, he knew it was too soon. In the past, his relationships had shown him that he liked to take on more of a protective role with his partners. But Harry wasn't his partner. Yet. Brody let it go for now. He signaled the waitress over. "Would you like dessert, Harry?"
Harry shook his head. "No thank you. I need to keep fit."
"You're on your feet all day long, Harry. You stay fit," The bank teller complemented the security guard.
Brody knew he was in constant battle with his own waistline. He would never be one of those men with rock hard abs, he had a bit of softness around his middle, but he wasn't overly big. "I asked you to dinner, so I will pay," Brody said in a stern voice soften by a smile. “I really enjoyed this Harry. I'd like to do this again."
The security guard gave the younger man a shy smile and said, "Thank you Brody...I'd like that."
The bank teller wanted to taste Harry's lips, but remembered what the other man had said about not dating much and didn’t want to end things before they had even begun by being too forward and moving too fast. Instead he settled with making a second date. "Would dinner tomorrow night be too soon?"
Harry hesitated, knowing that he visited his mother at the home each night before he went home. "Okay," he said, making a mental note to go by afterward like he planned to do tonight.
Brody watched as Harry got into his car. He walked slowly back to his own vehicle and started it up. He felt good. Better than he had in a long time after a date. Maybe this was a good sign of things to come.
Harry got into his car and pulled out of the parking lot, turning the vehicle toward the assistive living facility his mother lived at now, planning to visit her before he went home to his lonely apartment.
Brody watched as Harry walked across the lobby. They'd been going out now for several weeks, and the bank teller couldn't be happier. He knew deep down, he'd found the man he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. But didn't know how the security guard felt. The slightly older man seemed to enjoy spending time with him, but Brody felt as though Harry was holding back.
The security guard smiled at Brody as he walked by. He had gotten into the habit of catching the other man's eye as he made his rounds whenever he passed the bank teller’s window. They had a date tonight again...he glanced at the clock and wished it would move faster. About then his cell phone buzzed. He took it out and read the text message he just received. It was from the assisted living home his mother was at. She had taken a fall and they were informing him, but they asked that he come by because she also wasn't doing very well and was rather upset by the incident. He texted back that he'd stop by as soon as he was off work. He made another circuit of the bank and when he walked by Brody's window said quietly as he stopped, "I need to break our dinner date tonight. Somethin' came up. Can I take a rain check?"
Brody schooled his face not to show his disappointment. He had been looking forward to another night with Harry, not just for the ever increasing emotional feelings they'd been experiencing, but also because he just enjoyed the other man's company. "Sure if you have to cancel. Can I ask why? Is there something I can help with?" the bank teller asked.
Harry said, "Somethin' personal came up. Tomorrow night should be just fine." He evaded Brody's question.
The other man looked at the security guard intently. He knew the man was holding something back. Were they at a point, Brody could call him on it? He gave Harry a small smile. No, they weren't at that point yet. They hadn't talked about being exclusive, although the young man was pretty certain the slightly older man was only involved with him. And Brody wasn't seeing anyone because he'd fallen helplessly in love with his man in uniform. "Ok, Harry. But you know, I can be here for hard times as well as being a fun date" Brody said, vowing silently that the next time they were together he was going to bring up their "relationship". Brody even thought of the word relationship in quotation marks.
Harry's eyes skittered away from Brody's face. "Sure, but it's not anythin' I can't handle on my own...We'll just get together tomorrow...if I can't I'll let you know."
“Ok, Harry, but if you need me tonight, just give me a call. I'm just going to get some take out and eat at home."
The other man nodded. "All right...then we'll meet up tomorrow."
The end of the day came too soon for Brody, especially since he knew he wouldn't get to spend time with Harry tonight. Counting out his cash drawer, the bank teller saw the security guard continually checking his phone. The closing routine was done quickly and Brody was walking out the door. Before Harry could pull the door closed behind him and lock it, Brody called out, "I'm serious, Harry. If you need me, call. Even if you don't need me but just someone to talk to. Call. Me."
Harry arrived at the assisted living home shortly after he left work. He checked in with the nurse who explained everything to him and he nodded. “Thank you.” He said and headed to his mother’s room. When he got there she was upset.
“I want to leave this place…I want to go home,” She told her son.
Harry was glad his mother recognized him tonight. Some night she called him Charley, thinking he was his father. “I’m sorry Mom, but this is the best place for you.”
“You just want to get rid of me...I’m such a burden.” She began to cry.
Harry sighed and went to her and hugged her tight. “You know that’s just not true Mom.” He said quietly, stroking her hair and gently wiping her tears with a handkerchief. He really hated these times. He felt so helpless.
After a while Millie settled down. Harry had made sure she had eaten her supper and when she finally fell asleep after the nurse had come in to give her the nighttime medications, headed home.
Driving through town, Brody couldn't decide where he wanted to go. Any drive thru would do, but none sounded good. Finally deciding just to grab a bucket of chicken, Brody slowed down to do a U turn and back track to the Kentucky Fried Chicken place a few blocks down. Looking both ways, and slowly making his turn, the bank teller saw a familiar figure walking in a parking lot. It was Harry! Brody slowed down and notice the sign for assistive living. His boy looked defeated, Brody thought, not even realizing he was thinking of Harry as his boy. He pulled into the parking lot and stopped at the security guard’s car. Getting out, Brody said, "Harry, what are you doing here? What's wrong? You look exhausted."
Harry left the care facility. It had been a bit rough, but he had calmed his mother enough that she finally went to sleep. He trudged back to his car and started when he heard Brody's voice. "Umm...what are you doin' here Brody?" He asked in return.
“Harry," Brody said in a stern voice. "That's what I asked you. I think we've grown close enough that if you have a personal problem, you could come to me for help. At the very least tell me what is going on."
Harry bit his lip and shrugged. "It's nothin' much."
Brody decided now was the time to push a little. Harry was hedging, but he wasn't telling Brody to piss off. That made the bank teller think that the security guard wanted him to push a little. "OK, Harry. We are done playing this game. Now, I'm going to tell you how it will be. Secure your car and get in my vehicle. Have you even eaten?" Brody held back his curse when Harry shook his head no. "Fine. We'll get some chicken and then go to my house. We'll eat and then you will tell me what exactly is going on. No more delays. No more hedging. Then we'll figure out what to do next."
Harry's bright blue eyes widened at Brody's orders. "Umm...Brody?" He asked hesitantly.
"You have something to say?" Brody asked not unkindly, but with a quirk of his eyebrow. He didn't mean to lift the one eyebrow; it just seemed to happen on its own.
Harry squirmed. "Are you mad at me?" He asked quietly. "If you're mad...I can just go on home." He told Brody softly.
"No, Harry. I would really like you to come home with me. I'm not mad at you, but I am concerned," Brody said and held the door open for Harry.
Harry looked at Brody and then pocketed his own keys. "I'll need to come back and get my car. I can't leave it here overnight." He told Brody quietly as he slid in beside him.
"Sure, Harry, I can bring you back here. I'd just like to get a little food in you and make sure you are ok," Brody said. "Are you good with KFC?"
Harry nodded. "Sure...I don't often do fast food, but I can get roasted chicken or a pot pie."
Brody smiled at the man sitting beside him. He knew he'd come off a little strong earlier but his concern for Harry had him in protective mode. Pulling out into the traffic, he drove the couple of blocks to the restaurant. The soft music on the radio seemed to be calming Harry. Brody hated to break the easy silence, but he had pulled up to the window. "Do you want the pot pie or the roasted chicken?"
Harry considered and said, "The roasted chicken with coleslaw and green beans please."
Brody repeated Harry's order into the speaker and included his own of a bucket of extra crispy chicken, mash potatoes and coleslaw. Turning to Harry, he smiled sheepishly. "This way I don't have to cook tomorrow night either."
Harry nodded and then said, "It's not very healthy to eat like this."
Pulling up to the window, Brody said, "I'll work out an extra day this week." Quickly paying, they were soon back on their way to Brody's house. Turning down the street he lived on, Brody turned to Harry and said, "you don't look like you need to watch what you eat too much, Harry. You are fit, and you don't have any weight on you to spare."
Harry said, "It's because I watch what I eat."
Brody laughed at the quick reply. "Ok, Harry. Come on, let's go in and eat." Brody grabbed the bags of food and waited while the other man got out of the car. He felt calmer now that he had Harry walking in beside him.
Harry walked alongside Brody, although he’d been there before he found himself observing the place the younger man lived out of long habit. He looked out for Brody’s safety and anything that looked out of place or a potential threat.
Brody unlocked the door and dropped his keys in the bowl that sat on the little table beside the front door. "Come on. Let's eat properly in the kitchen, but let’s use paper plates. I like to live dangerously once in awhile."
Harry stepped inside and glanced around and then nodded. "Sounds good to me. Throw away plates and not much clean up."
"Go ahead and sit down. Let me just grab the plates." As Harry sat down, Brody grabbed a couple of paper plates, but real utensils. "Here. I can use paper plates, but I can't stand plastic forks and spoons. I have soda, tea, and water. What would you like to drink?”
Harry seated himself and smiled. "The plastic stuff has a tendency to break and water will be just fine."
Getting Harry and himself each a tumbler of water, Brody sat down. He handed over Harry's order and put a couple of pieces of chicken on his plate. "This is nice. Just a quiet dinner with the two of us."
Harry nodded. "Yes, I've enjoyed our dinners together."
Brody looked at Harry as he ate. He could see the tension had lessened, but it was obvious that the security guard was still stressed. The bank teller tentatively broached the subject. "So, do you have a relative in the assisted living home? Your grandpa or grandma?"
Harry stiffened at the question. "Yes." He said and began to pick at his food.
Brody was alarmed at Harry's body language. The man had become so stiff the bank teller was afraid that he would shatter. Reaching over the table, Brody grasped Harry's hand gently but firmly, hoping to convey support. "Harry, I don't mean to pry into your private life. I just thought, well, I thought we were growing close enough to share some of our burdens."
Harry looked into Brody's eyes searching for a moment and then looked down quietly and said, "I suppose you're right Brody...it's my mom." He said in an almost whisper.
Brody swallowed hard. Harry's mother? Oh, the poor man. The younger man didn't know a lot about health care, but knew that a resident in an assistive living situation was usually pretty impaired and not able to live on their own. Squeezing Harry's hand in comfort, Brody said, "Oh, honey. I'm sorry. Tell me about it? Please? I have big shoulders and can carry some of your burdens."
Harry bit his lip at the endearment and then said, "She's been there for about a year now. She has dementia and sometimes believes me to be my father. She fell today and was upset...I see her everyday after work." He confessed.
Brody took a drink of water as he thought about what Harry had to say. He'd been going every day to see his mom, and never told him about it? Brody held back the words he wanted to say, this man didn't need to be scolded. He needed to be shown that Brody would be there for him. Like his father said, actions are what matter. "You see her everyday?" He asked in what he hoped was an encouraging manner.
Harry nodded. "Yes, even after our dinners. It's why I usually like to go after work because then it's not too late to go see her afterward. Today...well it was different."
"Dementia? So, I don't know much about it, but it affects her balance and muscle control as well as her memory? What was different?" Brody asked knowing it was the memory that was the hardest for family members.
Harry nodded. "Yes, dementia is all that and what was different today was that she fell and was still upset afterward.”
Brody nodded. “That’s a shame. Is she all right? Are you done eating?" Brody asked. At Harry's nod, Brody quickly threw the plates away and put the left overs in the refrigerator. "Come on; let’s go sit on the couch." Brody held his hand out to Harry.
Harry had picked apart his meal and was relieved to see it end up in the trash. He said, “Yes, she’s all right. I left her sleeping.” He put his hand in Brody's trustingly.
Brody pulled Harry along with him to the living room and the large sectional couch. Sitting down, the younger man pulled the security guard into his arms. "Harry? I want...no, I need to talk to you. I know it’s too fast and probably will scare you away, but I'm falling in love with you." Brody said. He paused just enough to let Harry understand what he was saying. "I'm not trying to put more on your shoulders. Especially after what you went through today. But you need to know I’m here for you during the hard times as well as the good ones."
Harry looked at Brody a bit stunned. "F-fallin' in love...with me?" He asked.
Brody reached out tentatively and stroked Harry's jaw. "Yeah, Harry, I am. You are sweet, and kind, and someone I think I'd like to be around more."
Harry blushed a bit. "I-I'm glad...I've wanted to spend time with you and get to know you now for some time too, but I never dreamed...that you'd fall in love with me." He said quietly. "It sort of scares me."
"Then we'll take it slow. I don't want you to be scared," Brody assured him. "Will a kiss scare you?"
Harry smiled. "No...I don't think a kiss will scare me. I haven’t done much kissing…I hope you won’t be disappointed."
Brody leaned forward and gave Harry the gentlest of kisses. He smiled. “No, I’m not disappointed.” He reassured and then he said, "I know you have to go back and get your car, but I'd like to hold you just for a little while."
Harry returned the gentle kiss and then smiled. He nodded at Harry's words. "I think I'd like that." He said shyly.
Brody settled back and pulled Harry into his arms. He reached beside him, picked up the remote and turned on the television. He had left it on the news channel but quickly changed it to a soft music station. He sat there quietly holding Harry and listening to the music. He wanted to talk more about the pressures Harry was under, but knew the best thing he could do now was to get the man to relax.
Harry unconsciously snuggled up to Brody. He liked being held he discovered. No one had done this for him since he was a child and it gave him a sense of security. He found himself relaxing and leaning into the bank teller’s arms. "This is nice." He told Brody softly.
"For me too, Harry," Brody said. "I like to hold you. When you are in my arms, I feel like I can protect you."
Harry frowned slightly. "Protect me Brody? Isn't that my job...after all I am the security officer?"
Brody smiled and kissed Harry's hair. "Yes, it is your job, but who is there for you? Who protects you? I'd like you to think about how it'd feel to know someone has your back."
Harry looked up at Brody with his bright blue eyes. "I never thought about that...I've always been very self sufficient. It might be nice to have someone to have my back."
Brody leaned down and kissed the other man again. "I know you need to get your car. Its getting late and we both have work in the morning. Why don't I drive you back to the home?"
Harry nodded. "All right, although I think I could get to like being held like this."
"Why don't we work on making this a habit then, huh? How about for the next couple of nights, you come over here. We'll have dinner, cuddle a little, and just act like an old married couple," Brody said. Then before Harry could say anything he continued, "That's after you see your mom." The younger man wanted Harry to learn to trust him. To know that Brody was there for him for the long term. And by being together more often just the two of them, maybe Harry would open up to him and tell him more about his mom.
Harry smiled at Brody. "Okay, why don't I call you when I'm ready to leave and we can meet and perhaps pick up something for dinner like we did tonight and then come here, eat and then cuddle...or you can come to my place?"
"We can do that too," Brody conceded. "We could also cook together once in a while." The bank teller really didn't want to let go of him, but he knew that the security guard needed to get his car and get some rest. Giving him another kiss, Brody said, "Come on, whelp. Let's get you to your car."
Harry smiled at the endearment. "All right Brody." He slid off the other man's lap a bit reluctantly.
As they stood up, Brody's hand went to the small of Harry's back. He'd love to let his hand slip a little lower but he needed to go slow. Brody kept his hand on Harry's back and guided him out the door. Once to the car, the younger man opened the door and stole another kiss right before Harry sat down.
Harry returned the gentle kiss and smiled as he slid into the car.
Brody walked around and got in the vehicle. The ride back to the nursing home was much easier than the ride to his house. The night was nice and Brody felt that they had taken a step forward in their relationship. Soon he was pulling into the parking lot and right beside Harry's car.
Harry smiled and shyly touched Brody's cheek. "Thank you Brody for tonight. It was what I needed even if I didn't think so at first."
Brody took Harry's hand in his own and squeezed it. "Harry, it’s ok to need someone. Especially if that someone likes to be needed." The bank teller kissed his man in uniform once more and then got out of the car.
Harry smiled after Brody kissed him. He climbed out of the car and waited for Brody before opening his own door.
Once Harry was in the vehicle, Brody leaned down and said, "I'm sure you'll want to visit your mom tomorrow evening, so how about if I grill some steaks. I could have salad, rolls and steak ready and waiting for you. Then we could have a nice dinner and you could relax the rest of the evening."
Harry smiled. "That sounds very good...it's a date." The security guard said and winked at Brody with a grin.
Brody laughed as Harry started the car and drove away. Oh, that boy had more mischief inside him than he let on, the younger man thought. As he got into his own car, Brody sent a silent prayer to whoever was listening that he could unlock just a little bit more of that mischief in Harry.