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SUMMARY: Landon Bridges is freshly christened history professor at the University of Maryland. He loves teaching, believing it both a noble calling and a way of helping his young charges become wiser and better human beings. Sadly, being both odd and socially inept, Landon’s not a very good teacher. Then he suffers a devastating personal setback, one that leads him to contemplate taking his life. What happens next will surprise and delight you. Please note that italics are typically used to indicate what a character is saying or thinking to himself.
WARNING: This story is a work of adult fiction and intended for mature audiences only. Unless otherwise noted, all of the characters in the story are fictional; any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. While some of the places described or mentioned in the story are fictional as well, others may be real. However, some liberties may have been taken with the truth to enhance the story. Please note that the story may describe, depict or otherwise include graphic portrayals of relationships between men and/or adolescent boys that are homosexual in nature. If you do not like or approve of such discussions or it is illegal for you to read such material, consider yourself warned. If you continue to read this story, you are asserting you are fully capable of understanding and legally consenting to reading a work of adult fiction.
NOTICE: This story is my property and protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. It may not be reproduced in any form without my written permission. You may download a single copy to read offline and to share with others as long as you credit me as the author. However, you may not use this work for commercial purposes or to profit from it in any way. You may not use any of the characters or fictional places in the story in your own work without my explicit permission. Nor may you use, alter, transform, or build upon the story in any way. If you share this story with others, you must make clear the terms under which it is licensed to them. The best way to do that is by linking to this web page.
NOTES: Please check these notes every week. If there’s something I want to alert you to as I post each chapter, this is where I will I do so.
I was approaching my automobile after leaving the establishment when I heard words directed at me from somewhere nearby.
“Psst. Hey you, Mister; over here.”
Looking around, I couldn’t see anyone in the darkness.
“Over here, Mister,” the voice urged again.
Taking another look I saw a young lad in the shadows. At first I thought he might be a student at one of the local colleges, but a second glance left me less certain of that as he seemed a bit young.
If he’s a student all, Landon, he must be a freshman.
“Good evening,” I said. “Is there some way I can be of assistance?”
“No, but I can be of assistance to you if you’re interested in having a good time,” he replied. “Are you?”
Coming from someone I barely knew, it seemed an odd question. But I didn’t want to rudely dismiss such a friendly gesture.
“Ordinarily I would be, but I’ve just had a most delightful time in that establishment over there,” I replied, pointing from where I had come. “I was about to go home given the lateness of the hour, but appreciate your most generous offer. If I can help in any way, I’d be happy to do so.”
“Uh, well, if you’re not interested in having some fun, I doubt it,” he replied; “unless you’d be willing to give me a ride across town to the Café Palermo. I’ve been hanging around this club for an hour and haven’t had a single customer. It’s been a complete waste of time.”
“What a shame,” I responded, empathizing with his plight. “What kind of customer are you looking for? Perhaps I can help.”
“I doubt it,” the kid said, looking back at me strangely. “You don’t look the type. But it don’t matter; the only thing that matters is me getting back to the Palermo so I can make some bread tonight. Can you give me a ride, Mister?”
“I don’t know where that cafe you mentioned is,” I responded, “but I do have a vehicle and would be happy to give you a lift. Do you think you can direct me there?”
“Yeah, I can do that,” the kid said. “I can direct you. I can do whatever you want me to do assuming we come to some kind of arrangement.”
I didn’t understand what he meant, but he seemed like a nice enough lad and I wanted to help. Walking to my automobile together, we were on our way across town soon enough.
“I don’t mean to be presumptuous,” I volunteered, trying to engage my youthful companion in conversation, “but you said something about making bread.”
“Are you a baker perchance? If so, do they have a good selection of breads at this cafe I’m taking you to? I may pick up something for the morning if they do. It’s hard to find quaint little cafes in the United States that still make their own bread like in Europe. Is this place we’re going to popular? Does it have many customers?”
“No,” he responded giggling, as if my remarks had amused him somehow. “I’m not a baker, Mister. Let’s just say I’m in the hospitality business.”
“I was trying to upgrade my clientele by hanging out at that club where we met,” he added. “I should have known better. As for the Palermo, yeah; it’s popular and there’ll be a lot of customers there. I’m sure you could pick up something to snack on tonight, but probably not bread at this hour.”
“I have to confess I don’t know much about the hospitality business,” I replied, glad to learn he was gainfully employed. “But, then again, I suppose giving you a ride to the Café Palermo is something like being in the hospitality business myself. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“Uh, well, no; I don’t think so,” he responded. “There’s a difference, but I appreciate the ride, Mister. By the way, my name is Woody. What’s yours?”
“Landon,” I responded; “Landon Bridges and I’m delighted to make your acquaintance. Is that Woody as in Woodrow Wilson?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “Who’s Woodrow Wilson?”
I remember being disappointed; profoundly disappointed.
What are they teaching in the schools these days, Landon, when a young lad like this doesn’t even know who Woodrow Wilson is?
“He was an American President earlier this century,” I responded.
“Not one I especially admire, but an important one,” I added, implicitly chastising the youth although I regretted that the moment I uttered the words.
“But he died many years ago so perhaps it’s not really important after all,” I added, trying to make up for my rebuke.
“You’re right,” he replied. “If the guy’s a stiff, he’s not going to help me much. Fortunately, I have you to give me this ride; that makes you more important than Woodrow Wilson, Landon, a lot more important.”
I remember being amused at such a droll comment.
Think of it, Landon; you’re more important than Woodrow Wilson to this young chap. That’s quite a compliment.
Looking over, I smile at the lad. If anything he seemed somewhat younger than my initial assessment and that bothered me given the hour.
“It’s a bit late to be going to another establishment across town at this time of night, don’t you think?” I inquired. “Could I give you a ride home instead?”
“Your home?” he asked. “Sure; assuming we can come to some kind of agreement on price.”
“No; you misunderstood,” I replied. “I was just thinking it seemed a bit late for you to be out. I’d be happy to drive you to your home if you need a ride; and I certainly wouldn’t charge you to do so. Paying me for a ride? Perish the thought!”
“Uh, well, that’s nice of you,” Woody said, “but it would take forever for me to get home, if I could get there at all. That’s why I’m going to the Palermo. I’m looking for a friend who can, uh . . . who can put me up for the evening.”
“I see,” I responded. “That’s nice to know; that you have friends willing to put you up while you’re away from home. You can never have enough friends, Woody, especially good friends willing to help out in a pinch.”
“Um, yeah, I suppose,” he said; “not that they’re really friends. More like business associates you could say.”
“But now that I think about it, I don’t suppose you’d be willing to put me up for the night, would you?” he added. “I mean, like I said, I know some guys at the Palermo who’ll do it, but it’ll cost me one way or another and I’ll probably be up half the night before I get any sleep. I was out late last night, up early this morning, and right about now I’m exhausted. I need some zzz.”
“Zzz?” I asked, curious.
I had never heard that word.
“Yeah; that would be sleep to you, I guess,” he responded. “By the way, did anyone ever tell you you’re a little strange, Landon?”
I remember chuckling.
“Yes, I’ve heard that before,” I replied, “and more than once to be entirely truthful. I don’t know why people say that about me, but who knows? Maybe they’re right. As for your specific question, yes; I could put you up for the evening if you need a place to stay.”
“I do,” he said.
“It wouldn’t be much,” I cautioned, “just a sofa bed in the living room; and it’s not the most comfortable sofa bed either to be honest about it. But it’s definitely serviceable.”
“A sofa bed?” he said. “If we go back to your place, you’re going to want me to sleep on a sofa bed?”
“Yes,” I responded. “I apologize for that, but I only have a one bedroom apartment and I’ve never had guests before; so, alas, that’s the best I can do unfortunately.”
“Playing hard to get, huh; is that it?” he said. “Two can play that game you know, Landon; a sofa bed would be fine if that’s where you want me to sleep. I’ll sleep wherever you decide. We can talk about it when we get back to your place.”
By now I had turned my automobile around and made my way back to Capitol Hill. Soon enough I was on North Michigan Avenue and headed toward Maryland.
“I don’t mean to be nosy,” I said, “but, as I mentioned before, it seems a bit late for you to be out at night. This hospitality business you’re in; does it really require you to work this late in the evening?”
“Yeah; it does,” he responded without further elaboration.
“I see,” I said. “Well it seems a shame that a fine lad like you should have to be working at this hour of the night when you really should be in bed. I tell you, Woody, it’s a strange world we live in these days when young boys like you have to work at hours like this.”
“Tell me about it,” he replied; “a strange world indeed. And one filled with lots of strange people as well. You meet a lot of strange people in the hospitality business.”
We got back to College Park soon enough. I found Woody a towel and a toothbrush, showed him where the bathroom was located, and encouraged him to make use of the facilities. While he did, I found some fresh sheets, opened the sofa bed, and made it as comfortable as I possibly could.
From the living room, I could hear Woody taking a shower. When he finished, he emerged wearing a towel around his waist and a grin on his face. Cleaned and scrubbed, he was a handsome lad indeed. There was no denying that.
“Ah, there you are, Woody,” I said. “I’ve made the sofa bed for you. Like I said, it isn’t the most comfortable bed in the world, but the sheets are clean, the pillow fluffy, and I’ve placed a blanket at the bottom of the bed in case it gets cold during the evening. I suspect it will. Is there anything else I can do for you before going to bed?”
“Um, well, I don’t know, Landon,” he replied, and by now it seemed to me the grin on his face was quickly becoming a smirk. “Are you sure there isn’t something I can do for you?”
“No, not that I can think of at the moment,” I responded; “although I certainly appreciate the offer. It’s very generous of you, especially being my guest. But I’m fine.”
“Really?” he said, confused. “There’s nothing I can do for you? I mean, if you’re looking for a discount, we can talk about that.”
“No, no,” I said, equally confused. “Like I said, I’m fine. I’ve had a bit of a stressful day, Woody, so I think I’ll fall asleep quickly tonight.”
“I see,” he responded, shrugging his shoulders; “and this is where you want me to sleep, on this sofa bed? Is that what you’re telling me? ”
“Oh, drat,” I responded. “Now you’ve made me feel guilty.”
“If you think this sofa bed is going to be too uncomfortable for you, I suppose you could sleep in my bed instead,” I added, looking over at him and smiling.
“Ah, yeah; your bed,” he said. “I see; that’s my other choice, is it? Why am I not surprised?”
“Yes,” I responded. “You’re welcome to my bed. It’s the least I can do as a good host; though I’ll have to get my pillow from it for the couch. I don’t mind sleeping out here on the sofa bed myself. I’ve slept on it before. But I’ll have to insist on keeping my favorite pillow. I can’t sleep without it.”
Woody looked at me oddly again as if he didn’t understand what I was saying.
“I see,” he finally responded. “You weren’t kidding, were you? You were serious. Oh, well, never mind; this sofa bed is fine for me. I’ll sleep here. Do you think you can give me a ride back into town in the morning though? I should have asked before I came out here, but I was tired and forgot.”
“Certainly,” I replied. “That won’t be a problem. Unless . . .”
“Unless what?” he said, looking over at me even as his face tightened momentarily.
“Oh, nothing,” I said. “It’s just I was thinking of going on a hike tomorrow and I was wondering if you might like to come along? I’ve been meaning to go hiking for a long time, but what with my new job and all, I’ve never gotten around to it; and it’s always more fun to go hiking with someone, of course, not alone. But I realize it’s presumptuous of me to even inquire, especially at this late hour.”
“Can I ask a question?” he said.
“Of course, Woody,” I responded. “Ask away.”
“That word; presumptuous. That’s the second time you’ve used it tonight. It’s like your favorite word. What does it mean?”
I remember chastising myself. It was a big word and I had assumed his vocabulary was as extensive as mine. But he was young and I had obviously been mistaken about that.
“Um, my bad,” I responded. “It means I was assuming too much; assuming you might be free to go hiking with me even though I’ve only given you short notice.”
“I see,” he responded. “That’s okay. I’ll have to think about it, but I might be available to go hiking with you tomorrow. You’re different from the rest the guys I know, that’s for sure. It might be interesting to find out what makes someone like you tick. That’s assuming I still feel the same way in the morning and you can take me back to Washington afterwards.”
“Splendid!” I exclaimed. “I hope you’ll feel up to it in the morning, Woody. To me autumn is the best time of the year for hiking; indeed, the perfect time. And rest assured; I can take you back to Washington after our little communion with nature if you decide to do so.”
“Whatever,” Woody replied.
With that I turned off the lights in the living room and retreated to my bedroom. I remember thinking the evening had been a most interesting one. I had visited a new establishment, one with strange customs, made a friend with someone in the hospitality business, and possibly found a hiking companion for the following day.
Unlike the rest of my day, the evening seemed to have been a complete success and that was a new feeling for me.
I was surprised when I woke up the following morning. Woody had joined me in bed at some point during the evening. I remember thinking I should have insisted on taking the sofa bed or at least put out more than one blanket. The apartment was definitely chilly.
Nor was sharing my bed with Woody a problem; it was a king sized bed and Woody was sleeping over on one side of it. He was only wearing his undergarments and I was reminded again what a fine looking lad he was. Indeed, there was something vaguely appealing to me in his appearance. As I sat there trying to put my finger on it, I found myself surprised as my penis suddenly began to enlarge.
Oh, drat, Landon; how embarrassing. You don’t want the lad to see that.
It had happened before on various occasions over the years. I never understood why or what it signified; just that it could be embarrassing depending on the circumstances.
Trying not to awaken Woody, I gathered my clothes and went to the bathroom where I quickly showered and shaved. By the time I was dressed and returned to the bedroom, Woody was awake and sitting up in the bed with his arms crossed behind his head.
“Good morning, Woody,” I said. “I guess that sofa bed was as bad as I feared.”
“It was okay,” he responded, “but it got cold out there during the night. I hope you don’t mind me coming in here.”
“Of course not,” I said. “I would have suggested that last night except it would have been presumptuous for me to do so. You see, young Woody, there’s that word again; presumptuous. I suppose it’s foolish, but I was concerned you would think badly of me if I offered to share my bed with you.”
“I might have,” he agreed. “But now that I’ve gotten to know you better, you don’t seem like a bad person to me, Landon; just strange. In any event, since you’re up, I guess I should get up as well. Do you mind if I use the bathroom? I might take a longer shower this morning since I haven’t had one in a couple of weeks and it felt good to take one last night, however brief.”
“Do you want to join me?” he added, smiling.
“I’ve already taken my shower,” I replied, “but you’re more than welcome to do so as well. And let me be the first to say I admire your effort to save water. People in America waste too much water and we need to do better about things like that; to be less wasteful. But, then again, I suppose I’m preaching to the choir, aren’t I, Woody? You’re already doing your part to save water.”
“If you say so,” he replied, shaking his head as if amused.
“In any event, I’ll make breakfast for the two of us while you shower,” I added. “What would you like to eat?”
“Hmmm,” he said, rubbing his chin, his smile becoming a grin. “What would you like me to eat, Landon?”
“For someone still growing like you, definitely something healthy,” I replied. “However, your choices are limited I fear. What I can offer are Cheerios, milk and some bread and jam; I also have bacon and eggs, but they’re less healthy, of course. And fresh fruit; I have lots of fresh fruit. That’s what I can think of off the top of my head. I may have more.”
“Fresh fruit,” he said, smiling at me. “That sounds good; I love all kinds of fruits.”
“Oh, and I may have a sausage too,” I added, belatedly. “I could whip it up for you if you like.”
“I see,” he said, and by now I could have sworn he was smirking at me.
“I don’t know, Landon” he continued. “I could probably use a big sausage right about now. Is yours big or small?”
“I don’t really know,” I responded. “I’ve never looked at the package it came in that closely.”
Suddenly he burst out laughing.
“You’re too much, Landon,” he said. “Bacon and eggs sound good; and the fruit too. I think some fruit would definitely be appropriate this morning.”
He showered while I made breakfast and then I watched while he devoured everything I put in front of him. He seemed to be quite hungry for such a small lad because he asked for seconds of just about everything. In fact, I was running low on some of the things he seemed to like when the idea occurred to me again.
“You’re sure you don’t want that sausage?” I asked.
Something must have gone down the wrong pipe at that moment because he started to choke and had a difficult time keeping everything in his mouth rather than spewing it all over me.
“Not at the moment,” he gasped, having regained control; “perhaps later.”
“Fine,” I replied. “Are you still interested in going hiking with me today?”
“Sure,” he said. “I think that would be interesting, maybe even fun; and it’s not like I have anything better to do before tonight.”
“That’s the spirit,” I replied. “Let’s go to it then, lad.”
And so that’s what we did on Saturday. We went hiking.
It was a splendid day for a walk in the woods. Woody kept up with me easily and proved to be an excellent hiking companion. Eventually we reached the top of the mountain and found a place where we could take in the breathtaking scene in front of us.
“Can I ask something, Landon?” he said, as we sat there.
“Certainly,” I responded.
“Are you gay by any chance?”
It seemed an odd question, one that took me by surprise.
“Sometimes,” I replied.
“Sometimes?” he asked, looking strangely at me. “Not all the time; just sometimes?”
“Well, you know, I try to be gay, Woody,” I replied. “But at times my problems seem overwhelming and I give into despair. It isn’t always easy to be carefree and happy when you’re an adult.”
“I see,” he responded. “And exactly what problems seem so overwhelming to you, Landon?”
“Oh, well, I don’t really want to get into that,” I said. “It would be far too depressing; and I’m actually feeling quite gay at the moment. Going hiking with you today has lifted my spirits immensely. Thanks for coming with me, Woody. This has been the best day I’ve had since arriving in Maryland.”
“Uh, well, I’m glad to hear that,” he replied; “surprised but glad. You do know I wasn’t asking whether you’re feeling carefree and happy. I was asking whether you’re a homosexual. Gay’s the word some of the people I know who are homosexual like me to use these days.”
“Really?” I said, surprised. “I’ve never heard the word used that way. But as for your question, the answer is yes. I am homosexual, Woody. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, no reason really,” he responded. “I thought you were. I mean, that club last night is a gay bar. Did you go there to meet a friend?”
“No; not at all,” I responded. “The truth is I didn’t even know it was a club for homosexuals; or should I say gay people? I’m new to Washington, Woody, and don’t have any homosexual friends. Truth be told, I don’t have any friends at all, either here or back in New England where I’m from. But I’ve always thought it would be nice to have some friends, especially one who was homosexual like me.”
“I’m gay,” he responded, “so now you have at least one friend who’s gay.”
“Are you?” I asked, surprised. “I wouldn’t have thought that. Not that there’s anything wrong with it. It just seems surprising a young chap like you should be my very first friend and gay, as you put it, as well.”
“So you’re really telling me you’ve never had a gay friend before?” Woody asked.
“I assure you I’m telling the truth,” I said.
“And what about sex, Landon; have you ever had sex with anyone?”
I remember blushing when he asked and he started to laugh when he saw my face reddening; although not in a mean way.
“I’m afraid I’m something of a naïf when it comes to sex, Woody,” I said.
“A naïf?” he asked.
“Oh, sorry; another one of those strange words, I suppose. It just means that I don’t know very much about sex.”
“I see,” he responded. “That does seem strange given your age, but I suppose there’s nothing wrong with it. Do you ever plan to have sex with someone?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” I responded. “I’ve never thought about it that much. They say you don’t miss what you’ve never experienced and I suppose that’s the truth in my case. Having resolved long ago never to marry, what would be the point of leading some poor girl on by having sex with her?”
“Uh, well, you do know it isn’t just men and women who have sex, Landon,” he said; “don’t you? Men can have sex with other men, women with other women; even a naïf like you must know that?”
“Oh my goodness,” I replied. “I didn’t know, Woody. No one ever told me, at least until this very moment.”
“That’s very hard to believe, Landon,” he said. “But if I had to believe it about someone, it’d be you. You’re definitely different. Maybe that’s why I like you. You’re so smart about some things, but not about others.”
I wasn’t sure what to say in response to that. On the one hand, I felt foolish knowing so little about sex. But I was happy to hear Woody actually liked me for that reason. No one had ever liked me before in my life for any reason.
We continued sitting there staring into the distance for a long time, but eventually I found myself curious and returned to the subject.
“What about you, Woody? Would you consider it impertinent if I asked whether you’ve ever had sex?”
“I wouldn’t know,” he responded, smiling at me, “because I don’t really know what impertinent means. But as for the question, yeah; I’ve had sex. I was just thinking about that. Here you are older than me and you’ve never had sex at all. I’m younger, but I’ve had sex with a ton of guys; probably a lot more than someone my age should have.”
“I see,” I responded, not certain I should press the point but too curious to prevent myself from doing so. “Did you like it?”
“Sometimes,” he said; “if the guy treated me okay and didn’t try to cheat me out of my money.”
“I see,” I responded, confused.
What does money have to do with sex, Landon?
Sensing he didn’t want to say any more, I suggested we start down the trail.
Later, when we reached the bottom, we stopped nearby and had lunch together. Once again Woody proved ravenous, eating everything he ordered and half of my order as well. Realizing how hungry he was, I was happy to let him do so.
Then I drove him back into town and dropped him off at the establishment he had mentioned the previous evening; the Café Palermo. From the outside it wasn’t anything like I had imagined the place. It certainly wasn’t like those cute French bistros I had enjoyed so much during my year studying abroad.
I remember thinking it wasn’t in the best part of town and was reluctant to leave Woody there by himself, but he assured me he would be fine.
“Thanks for putting me up last night, Landon,” he said. “I appreciate it; and, uh, if you ever need a hiking companion again, let me know.”
I remember feeling bad we were parting. Woody was the first person in the world who had ever said he liked me and by now I liked him as well.
“Thank you for doing it with me, Woody,” I replied. “I had a wonderful time; so much so I was thinking of going on another hike next weekend. There’s a place in Maryland called Cunningham Falls that’s been highly recommended to me. Would you be interested in coming along perchance?”
“Which day are you going,” he asked; “Saturday or Sunday?”
“It could be either,” I said. “If you’re interested in joining me, I could go either day. Which day works better for you?”
“Sunday,” he said. “Friday and Saturday evenings are kind of busy when you’re in the hospitality business and you don’t want to get too tired out before hand.”
“Fine; then it’s settled,” I said. “Sunday it is.”
“I’ll give you a call next Saturday evening to let you know whether I can make it for sure,” Woody replied. “Sometimes things come up in the hospitality business and you have to change plans pretty quickly. But I’ll try to call; assuming you plan to be home, not out and about having a gay time.”
“No; I’m afraid there won’t be any carousing for me next weekend,” I replied, amused at his choice of words. “I’m giving my students an exam next Friday and plan to spend Saturday grading them. So, yes, call by all means; but do you have my number? I don’t recall giving it to you.”
“It was on your phone,” he said. “I wrote it down just to have it so I could call whenever this dump gets its next shipment of bread in.”
“Oh, thank you,” I responded.
And then, seeing the grin on his face, a light suddenly went on inside my head and it occurred to me that perhaps young Woody was pulling my leg.
“I’m looking forward to that,” I added; “to hearing from you, I mean. You should feel free to call even if the next shipment of bread is delayed; or never arrives for that matter. I would love having another chance to talk to you, Woody. It’s very nice having a friend, especially a fine one like you.”
He looked at me, smiled, and then nodded his head as if acknowledging he understood what I was saying.
Then he turned quickly and disappeared inside the place.