Adam North has never seen a good marriage. His friends and past boyfriends are commitment-phobic and his parents were not together long at all. After spending years jumping from job to job, he settles in NYC where he meets Jack one night at a New Years' party.
Jack and Adam soon fall in love, but their relationship is far from perfect. After three years, the inevitable happens: he and Jack split -- but so do Jack's parents, David and Linda. While Adam has always harboured a small crush on his father-in-law, David, he thinks nothing can ever come of it.
As Adam soon finds out, all that he previously knew of marriage -- good or bad -- has been wrong. David is a kind and gentle man, forced into a life that he was not ready for, and now that he is on his own, he longs for his own freedom. Can both men find their freedom together, and in the process, create something much better?
"So," he said, and gestured with a tilt of his head. "Shall we go inside?"
We sat at the back of the movie theatre. Most people who were here -- and there were not a lot of us -- were in the middle and center aisles. We had the entire back row to ourselves, plus a few more rows in front of us. I still sat next to him, the popcorn and the candy between us, almost as if we'd planned the whole thing. We watched the movie and ate in silence for some time. It was only as we finished the bag, and David discarded it on the empty seat next to him, that I felt him shift closer.
A girl was running for her life on the screen. She screamed and Michael grabbed her. My heart rate was even, normal, despite all the screaming.
But the moment David put his hand on my knee, my heart started to pound.
Was this a mistake? Intentional? He started to rub his palm against my knee, going back and forth, and removing all doubt. Intentional. He was touching me, and it felt so good. It was just my knee and a few inches above it, but I was already getting hard. I shifted, and he moved his hand away. I cursed under my breath, hidden by the screams of the victim onscreen, so he did not hear.
"We don't have to stay," he said, leaning close to me. He smelled like popcorn and whiskey. He was not drunk, but I could tell he'd needed something to promote courage. "We can leave if you want."
"I don't know where to go."
"We can get a place."
"We ..." I didn't finish the statement. I turned to meet his mouth, realized how close he truly was to me, and that there was nothing left to do but kiss him.
The embrace was soft. Our noses brushed together before he slipped his tongue next to mine. The first contact sent a powerful thrill through me. I felt him, and my desire for him, from the top of my head to my toes and then back again. I would have pressed my own tongue into his, tasting more of the whiskey and popcorn and candy, but another scream sounded from the movie.
And it sort of killed the mood.
"Shit," I said. "I don't know what to do."
"I don't either," he said. And this was a confession. Not that he wasn't sure of the dramatic implications -- like I was -- but that he'd never been with a man.
He shrugged. He shifted away, and looked back at the screen. "I've been with guys. Before Linda. Always more like a youthful discretion than a relationship. And never sex, always the stuff around it. You know?"
I nodded. I did. "Think we all start that way."
"But some of us get married. Have families. Try to be normal."
"You and Linda were happy once," I said, though it came out as a question.
"Yes," he said, nodding. "It was a good marriage. I regret none of it. But I do think it's over now."
I let out a breath, utterly relieved. A good marriage. They did exist, then. But sometimes they ended, and that was okay. So much better if that entire marriage hadn't been a fake, a ruse. Sure, it was crumbling when I stepped on the scene, but it was not my fault.
"I think I overstayed my welcome there," he added, and there was so much history packed into that line. I could see the family lineage in small scenes, like a play written by Edward Albee. I could see it all so clearly because I'd heard and seen and been present for so much, thanks to Jack.
Then I remembered Jack.
"Fuck," I said. "I don't know what to do."
David squeezed my knee in support. "Cheating is always hard. And I take it from what I overheard before I left, that Jack's been unfaithful."
"Yeah. But it's not the cheating that's getting to me. Though I'm mad at that, too," I said, whispering. I hoped our conversation wasn't disturbing people in front of us. But when I looked, I saw they were all making out. "I just ... I don't want to get sick."
David nodded slowly, understanding my own dilemma in small bursts. He still rubbed my knee, then navigated up my thigh. Oh. My desire panged with my hitched breath. I wanted him to fuck me. I wanted to fuck him. I wanted to feel him the same way I loved men feeling me -- but I couldn't. I still felt like I had been scorned. Like I could be a walking disease, like a little Michael Myers was wandering around in my blood, and I could kill whoever I touched.
"I may be worried for nothing," I said, mostly trying to calm myself down. "Jack's smart. He wouldn't put us both at risk."
"He is smart. But love or something like it does make us really stupid, too."
I couldn't argue with that.