BEGINNERS

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Sheila introduced us, but I don't think she knew what would happen when Walter and I met. After all, Sheila didn't know I was gay. No, that's not right. Deep down, I didn't know.

I didn't even know I was gay.

Sheila and I met first, because there was a weekend cleanup project and the Marines on base were "encouraged" to help out. Sheila was a civilian, but she was a retired Army nurse, so she had a lot of free time. We just totally clicked right away. And I guess she thought it was funny that a young guy like me loved reading romance novels as much as she did.

Well, when the cleanup project was over, the other Marines all went out to grab a few drinks. I really didn't want to go into town with them. Not that I didn't like a drink now and then, but I didn't like the way the guys talked about women. All that talk about tits and pussy just made me feel sick to my stomach. I thought it was just nasty hearing the filthy words.

Sheila wasn't like that. She was elegant, a real lady, though she could haul heavy trash bags and swear like a sailor. Anyway, her house was near the beach, and she invited me over. The two of us were talking about who our favorite romance author was – I said Mary Balogh, but Sheila picked Jo Beverly – and all of a sudden there he was. Walter.

He said he was a podiatrist, which is a doctor who studies people's feet. He told a lot of stories about sports medicine. Walter could make anything sound interesting, even Athlete's Foot. He made me forget how much I hated sports.

He was older than me, but he still had all his hair and lots of muscles. Walter looked exactly like a doctor in a movie would look – tall, dark eyes, really intense, sort of powerful, but kind and gentle underneath. He seemed to like Sheila a lot – the two of them kissed and joked around like they'd known each other forever.

Well, when Sheila went inside for a minute, Walter started asking me about the Marines. And it was funny because I was never really that proud of being a Marine until that day. I just was too used to being told I was a slack, a waste, stuff like that. I got a lot of that from staff NCO's with bald heads and big bellies, guys who hadn't run a PFT in years.

But Walter didn't talk like that at all. He was really interested in my PFT score, how many sit-ups I could do and how fast I could run my three miles. He kept asking questions about how often I worked out and whether I watched my diet – not like he was nosy, but like I was an interesting and fit young man who took pride in his appearance. The more we talked the more I felt like someone finally got who I really was. Someone who didn't care about how much pussy I got.

When Sheila came back out on the lanai – that's what they call a patio in Hawaii – I was listening to Walter talk and didn't even notice she was there for a minute or two. I was lying on one of the lounging chairs and he was just sitting at the other end and telling a story about snorkeling on Maui. Walter made me see all the fish, blue and gold and orange, and the two of us swimming under water together.

"Wake up, beautiful!" When Sheila laughed she always sounded like she had a ton of gravel in her throat. It was annoying sometimes. But then she asked Walter why he didn't take me snorkeling, or golfing with his doctor friends.

"What do you say, Jamie?"

For the first time in my life I felt like something good was going to happen to me. But I was so scared that Walter wouldn't like me. I wasn't a doctor, or a successful professional man.

"Do you mind – do you mind teaching a beginner?" I asked. My voice was as croaky as Sheila's.

"I love beginners." That was when he looked at me, and I knew nothing would ever be the same again.

A/N: This story could be a one shot, but I would love to add more chapters if I get some really positive reviews!