If You Could Do It Again… Ch. 01-02

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Brunette

Hi all, this is an edited version of the first part to my story. Just wanted to get all the mistakes out! Thanks to Juls and Nomoretears for their support and technical help on this one! 🙂 As always, Vote and Comment!

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Paul sighed and stared out over the water. The Hudson River rushed by him as he stood on the back porch of his friends Todd and Eric’s house. Remnants of the party blew about with the gusty fall air so that napkins and party hats floated on the wind with crisp, dried leaves. The early evening sun shone down on him, but was starting to get too weak to fight off the New York autumn cold. He lifted a hand to his mouth and took a drag of his cigarette. He heard the glass door slide open and shut behind him. It would be Todd, he thought.

“Those things’ll kill ya.” Todd said.

“There are worse ways to go.”

“Not many. Eric’s aunt had emphysema and toward the end she could barely breathe even on oxygen.” Todd came to stand next to him. “Scary shit, man. Nothing I’d want to go through.”

“Don’t forget we get to pay ten bucks a pack for the privilege.” Paul said and took another drag.

“I’ve always said you were a smart guy, Paul, but so stupid about some things.”

“Hey, I can’t be perfect. It would put too much strain on the rest of you little people.”

“That reminds me, I’ve also always said you’re a bit of an asshole.” Todd said with a grin.

“Thanks, sweetheart. Just for that I’m taking you out of my will.”

“You’d never do that.” Todd said, confidently.

“Oh no? Why not?”

“Cause you have no one else to leave it to. Course, I’m sure the government would appreciate fourteen million dollars.” Todd chuckled.

“Sixteen.”

“Sixteen what?”

“Sixteen million dollars.” Paul said and no longer felt a single emotion at the statement. Not happiness in acquiring the money, or even the satisfaction that he was more financially solvent than most states in the union. It was just a statement of fact.

“Wasn’t it just fourteen not too long ago?”

“It was, but there was a payoff with an investment that I had entirely forgotten about. Some land I bought in El Salvador years ago, thinking for some stupid reason that it would be a nice place to retire to. Apparently there’s oil on a neighboring tract of land and the only way to get large machinery into the area to get to the oil is to go through my land. Thus, I have more money now than I did then. Whoppdie fucking do.”

“Hey, if making more money is making you miserable you can always let me share your burden.”

“Every time I offer you money, you refuse.”

“Well, I figure every multimillionaire needs at least two friends that don’t use him for money.”

“One, you and Eric are my only friends and two, that’s bullshit. You love your life. You love your husband, you love paying bills and bitching about the small stuff. Your house is a home, while my house is a show place. That’s why you don’t want the money. That’s why if I die first, you will tuck away a couple million so you don’t have to worry too much but donate the rest to charity.”

“Bet you can’t guess what charity we’ve decided on.” Todd asked with a smirk.

“The Alzheimer’s one.” Paul said simply and was rewarded by seeing Todd’s smirk disappear.

“How did you know?”

“Because every time that commercial comes on with the woman who talks about what it’s like to start forgetting stuff, you get all weepy.”

“It’s weird how well you know me.”

“We did date.”

“For six months and that was nineteen years ago.” Todd said.

“Nineteen? Really?” Paul said, aghast and disgusted.

“Yeah. I dated you and then I met Eric and we’ll be celebrating eighteen years this coming July.”

“Jesus. I thought it was only ten.”

“Yeah, no. It’s nineteen. We’re getting old, kiddo.”

“Apparently.” Paul said, gesturing toward the party favors. “You didn’t have to do that, by the way.”

“Course I did, it’s October 10. It’s not every day that someone turns fifty and you can’t turn fifty without a party.”

“I don’t think anyone should have to turn fifty if they don’t want to.” Paul sighed again.

“Well, you’ve got enough money to try and turn back the hands of time.”

“I only have sixteen million. I somehow think that it wouldn’t be enough.”

The door opened and closed again. Paul knew it was Eric and watched with a small twinge of jealousy the way Todd turned to his lover and brightened.

“Hey babe.” Todd said and they wrapped their arms around each other.

“What are you guys talking about out here?”

“Time.” Paul said. “Money.” Todd said at the same time.

“Interesting conversation.” Eric observed. “What brought that on?”

“Oh I was just feeling old.” Paul said.

“Bullshit. You were feeling lonely and you’re only just realizing that you have no one to share your life or your large…. fortune with.” Todd contradicted.

“Lonely? I’m not lonely.”

“I may not be as old as you are, Paul but I am casino şirketleri a psychiatrist. I know loneliness when I see it.”

“You’re four years younger than I am, Todd. Not exactly a spring chicken yourself.”

“That’s true, but I’ll always be four years younger than you are so my statement stands. Both of them actually. You are one of the loneliest people I know and my heart breaks for you.”

“I’m not saying I’m lonely, but even if I were, there’s nothing I could do about it. I’m too old to go to the bars again, too young to go on a gay cruise for seniors. I don’t feel like going through the humiliation of blind dates and too disinterested in being a sugar daddy. So that basically leaves me where I am. Alone.” Paul took another cigarette from his pack and lit it.

“See? Lonely.”

“Alone is not lonely. Alone just means that there’s no one with you, lonely means you’re pissed that no one’s with you.”

“He’s right, honey.” Eric said.

“Shut up, baby.” Todd frowned.

“No, he’s right. That’s what alone and lonely means.”

“Thank you, Eric.” Paul nodded as if he’d won the argument.

“But he’s wrong about which one he is. He’s alone and lonely.”

“Thank you, Eric.” Todd smiled as if he’d won the argument.

“Oh fuck you both. Queers in relationships are as bad as breeders. They all think the world should be in one.”

“Not the world. There are a lot of people I wish weren’t in a relationship. But there are a few people I think need one desperately and you’re at the top of my list.” Todd said and turned to Eric still had his arms around him. “Wouldn’t you agree, baby?”

“I would. You really need to find someone, Paul. I’d hate to see you all bitter sitting on your money like it’s the only thing worth living for.”

“Do I do that now?” Paul was genuinely hurt. “Do I sit on my money? I give to charities that I think deserve it, I give to friends when they’re down on their luck. I enjoy my money. I took us all to Puerto Rico last Christmas. We had a blast.”

“We did.” Eric agreed fervently. “That was awesome!”

“Start thinking about where you’d like to go this year. I was thinking somewhere in Asia. Sri Lanka, maybe or Thailand.” Paul suggested.

“Oh babe, he’s gonna take us to Thailand!” Eric said, his eyes bright with childish excitement.

“Eric, we’re not talking about vacations!” Todd admonished. “But I’d rather go to China.” He said on a side note. “We’re talking about Paul living his life without anyone and trying to fill the void with money.”

“Well, we could just not talk about it at all.” Paul said and looked back out over the river.

“Paul, there’s no one you know that you’re interested in?”

“No.”

“What about dating sites?” Eric suggested.

“Please! They’re worse than bars.”

“What about people you used to know?” Todd asked.

“Well, there is this guy that I knew once but he’s taken.” Paul grinned at his ex boyfriend who was still wrapped in his lovers arms. Todd grinned back.

“Yeah, right. We were never serious. Our relationship was always friendly.”

“I remember some times when it wasn’t so `friendly’.”

“Hey! I’m standing right here.” Eric said without true heat. He’d never had a problem that Paul and Todd had once dated but that didn’t mean he wanted to hear too much about it.

“What about Dylan?” Todd said and Paul’s face fell.

“Who?” Paul hadn’t thought of Dylan in a very long time, but when the name was mentioned Paul knew exactly who Todd was talking about.

“Don’t give me that shit. You know who I’m talking about.”

“Who’s Dylan?” Eric asked.

“Yeah, Paul. Who’s Dylan?” Todd asked in a voice which suggested he knew.

“Dylan’s a memory. Someone I knew from my past who is better left there.” Paul angrily flicked the last of his cigarette over the railing and desperately wished he could light another one without showing the stress he felt from the conversation.

“Dylan is the voice in the back of Paul’s head that whispers shit when he starts getting close to someone.” Todd answered sagely.

“Dylan is not the reason I’m alone, Todd.”

“No, Paul. You’re the reason you’re alone.”

“How do you know about Dylan?” Paul asked.

“I found some letters you wrote to him once. They had never been mailed.”

“You went through my stuff?!” Paul yelled.

“Yeah, like nineteen years ago when we were dating. I’m sorry. Get over it. Now tell us about Dylan.” Todd ordered and Paul sighed again.

“He was a boy I grew up with back in Denniston.”

“Where the hell is Denniston?” Eric asked.

“It’s no where. It was wiped away in some floods in the early eighties. The town’s completely demolished and no one’s rebuilt it for good reason.”

“Ok, where was Denniston?”

“Upstate New York.”

“I never knew that.” Todd said, amazed that he had never known where his ex boyfriend had been from. “I thought you were from Westchester or the city or something.”

“Yeah, I moved there when casino firmaları I was nineteen so I just thought it was easier to let people think I came from there.” Paul said feeling uncomfortable speaking about his history that he had tried to hard to bury.

“Why?” Todd asked.

“To say Denniston was rural would be kind and to say that my family were the trailer trash of said rural community would be a flat out lie. We didn’t even have a trailer. We lived in a shack that was tucked up into the hills. We didn’t own it, but whoever did didn’t bother to kick us out so we stayed. Or squatted rather. You can imagine why I wouldn’t want to share that with people.”

“So you came from…. humble beginnings.” Todd had thought hard to find a nice way to describe Paul’s early years. “So what?”

“Dylan was my best, first and only friend. He was also my first love.”

“He didn’t love you back?” Todd asked.

“I don’t know. I never told him.”

“Why not?” Eric asked.

“Dylan was from the richest family in our area which isn’t saying a lot. But I was from the poorest. He was out of my reach so I never told him.” Paul admitted.

“If you could do it again, would you? Would you tell him that you loved him?” Todd asked.

“Yeah, probably.”

Paul drove home and watched the automatic gates that led to his house swing open. He parked his B.M.W. in front of the garage and walked up the steps to his front door. All the lights in the house were off and as he stepped inside the silence reminded him that, despite some plants he was the only living thing in the house. He put his coat in the closet and went to the living room to watch some t.v. before bed. He was feeling rather tired and knew it wouldn’t be long before he headed up stairs. Three hours later, he was staring at the television still unable to make himself retire for the night. He wondered what was keeping him up and could only describe it as a vague feeling of anxiety. Like he was supposed to do something that he hadn’t, or that he wanted to do something but he wouldn’t.

Paul shut the television off and went to his office to check some emails and give a quick look over his portfolio. He hoped that would do the trick and bore him enough to help him sleep. It was either that or warm milk and being lactose intolerant, that wasn’t an option. The emails popped up on the screen and he read them thoroughly but they didn’t seem to tire him, neither did going over his investments. He shut down his computer with disgust and leaned back in his chair. He looked about the office in the dim light of his Tiffany desk lamp and his gaze was caught by something set on his wall of bookcases.

`That’s why I can’t sleep.’ Paul thought. `Mother fucker.’

Paul stood and headed over to take a small wooden box that had sat untouched among his books since he had moved in. It wasn’t covered with dust thanks to his cleaning service, but he knew that it hadn’t been opened in years, or at least since Todd had rifled through it nineteen years ago. Paul couldn’t remember the last time he had gone through that box. It opened with a creak and Paul brought the letters out.

They were yellowed with age and a few had stains from before he had placed them in the box to protect them. Paul took the first one and unfolded it. The penmanship was atrocious, the spelling was even worse. Even though he had been eighteen and nineteen when he had written them, his schooling had been so poor that he had had to take remedial classes for two years before being at college level.

Deer Dilan, Yu havnt bin arownd much latly sinse yur wurkin at yur dads shop. I miss yu. I dont no y I have thees feelings but I do no that I love yu. I bet my pa and ma wud beet the livin shit outta me if they new I did. I wish yu were heer with me.

In another one he had written:

Deer Dilan, I saw yu the other day swimin down at bakers pond. I wantid to talk to yu but yu was with yur frends and I no they dont like me. They think Im trash but I no yu dont. Yu dont treet me that way. Its won of the reesons I love yu. That and yur butiful too!

In yet another, Paul noticed the penmanship had improved as did the spelling. He knew it was written after he had moved to New York and was enrolled in the program for disadvantaged kids who needed help to prepare for either vocational school or college.

Dear Dylan, I heard from your sister that you got into Duke just like you wanted to. I think that’s great! I’m so prowd of you. I wish I could tell you in person but I don’t think I’ll be able to get to North Carolina anytime soon. I don’t think it’s a good idea if we see each other anyway. I’m not even in college yet, just this class for stupid people. I know that I’m not even going to send these letters. I justwanted to tell you how I feel and this is the best way I can even though you’re never going to see them. Maybe someday when I’m rich and famous I’ll find you and tell you. I still love you. I will always love you. Paul

By the time he had finished the fourteen güvenilir casino letters, Paul had tears in his eyes. They splashed on the paper leaving wet spots and smearing the old ink. He chuckled at himself and shook his head at the wealth of emotions still in his heart after all that time. He had been cursed to find his one true love at such an early age and to have that love reject him. Paul realized that everything he had done in his life from that moment on had been for Dylan. Todd’s question came back to him, `If you could do it again, would you?’.

“Yes.” Paul answered out loud. He suddenly felt tired and emotionally drained. He went upstairs and undressed before laying in his bed. It was a large bed, more than enough for two people much less just one, and it had never felt so big or so empty. His large bedroom echoed the sound of the small fan he used for white noise to help him sleep. He turned off the light which stood on his end table, closed his eyes and was soon asleep.

Paul woke to the absence of the fan he slept with, sounds of birds chirping and the feel of sweat running down his face. His room felt like it was two hundred degrees. `Shit,’ he thought. `The power must have gone out during the night. But the generator should have kicked on automatically.’ He then realized the side he was sleeping on ached hard as if he were sleeping on a floor. He hadn’t slept on the floor since….

Paul’s eyes flew open and instead of seeing his large, opulent bedroom he saw a dirty, dingy wall. He spun his head around and saw the rest of the little shack he had grown up in back in Denniston.

“What the fuck?” He said and his hand flew to his throat that had made sounds he hadn’t made in thirty two years. “What the hell is going on?” He asked himself in a voice better suited to an eighteen year old.

“What are you carrying on about over there?” Another voice interrupted his thoughts and he looked over to see him mother sitting at their small kitchen table.

`Impossible!’ he thought. `This is fucking impossible!’

It was on shaky legs that he stood and he looked over his body with interest. He was thin. Not that he’d been obese before falling asleep but his age and wealth had left him a little softer than he had been. He stood tall, but not quite his full six foot two and though his shoulders had widened he hadn’t filled out with muscle yet. His hands were no longer filled with the aches of mild arthritis but with the strength of youth. His bare chest was broad, strong and covered with the beginnings of the black fur mat that had covered his body since he came of age. He ran a hand through his hair and found it black with no hint of gray and almost shoulder length. The dark and dirty jean shorts he wore were a size too small and encased his large frame tightly, showing off his large package swollen with a piss boner. He needed to relieve himself though he was too shocked to find himself in this fucked up dream that he pushed the need to the side. He wanted to find a mirror to see his face but knew there would be no mirror in the shack. Paul heard a cough and turned back to stare at his mother as she drank her morning coffee and had her first cigarette of the day.

“What are you staring at?” She asked in her usual grumpy and tired voice.

“You’re dead.” He answered simply.

“I’m what?”

“You’re dead. I went to your funeral. I paid for the fucking thing, casket and all.”

“Well fuck you too, you son of a bitch!” It was her favorite insult for him though she never understood the irony of a mother using it on her own son. Paul walked over and pulled out the chair across from her and sat down. He was instantly deposited on the floor next to the overturned chair.

“You fucking moron! That chair’s only got three legs. If you can’t sit on it right sit on the floor before you go breaking any more shit!”

“I forgot.” Paul said and sat the broken seat on it’s remaining legs before sitting gingerly on it. “What’s the date today?”

“Date?” His mother looked at him as if he had lost his mind.

“Yeah, the date.”

“I don’t know. I think it’s May.”

“What year?”

“Boy, you feeling ‘specially stupid today? It’s nineteen seventy nine. You’re sure in a mood.” His mother said as she lit another cigarette with the one she had just finished smoking.

`Nineteen seventy nine?’ Paul was astonished. `There was no way.’ Yet here he was sitting across from his mother.

She was exactly as he remembered; tired of life, gaunt and thin with stringy hair and dull brown eyes which were tinged with yellow. She would remain here till the end of her days, surviving the flood that wiped out the entire town which sat lower in the hills, only to die a few years later of uterine cancer. Paul would have just closed his first big deal for Hathaway Inc. and would use his bonus of ten thousand dollars to send his mother to the afterlife in style. He hadn’t been close to his mother, not many people in the world could say they had been close to Connie Stark, but she was the woman who had given birth to him and occasionally protected him from his father’s beatings. She deserved something. He had just started to wonder where his father was, when the door to the shack slammed open and a large man entered.

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