Chapter Nine: Sid's Warning

I woke up late the next morning, and for a minute or two I just couldn't remember where I was. While I was stretching and yawning I figured out that I was lying on the couch in Sheila's living room, but the house was quiet. Sheila wasn't there. Before I could figure out where she was someone knocked on the door.

"Hey, Jamie! Wake up, beautiful! Rise and shine!"

At first I thought it was Walter. The fist pounding on the door and the voice yelling my name both got my heart pounding like mad. But when I got to the door it wasn't Walter at all. It was only Sid, the fat guy we'd played golf with the other day.

"Got any coffee?" Sid asked, looking me up and down with a little smile. His bright, shiny black eyes were wide awake and very alert, really taking everything in at a single glance.

"Uh ... maybe, I guess. Won't you come in?" I was very confused, and still just waking up. Was I supposed to invite strangers into Sheila's house without her permission? I was also starting to realize that I was only wearing a pair of skimpy briefs.

"Sheila gave me a ring right after breakfast, beautiful. She said you needed a ride back to Walter's place. So you crashed here last night, huh? Sheila said you were pretty sore about missing the party!"

"I didn't even know there was a party." I followed Sid into the kitchen, rubbing my eyes and wondering if I sounded overly sulky. It seemed like Sid just put my grouchy behavior down to sleepiness, however. Before long he had coffee going and was humming a little tune while he made me some bacon and eggs.

"There's something you should know about Walter," he said, after I quickly wolfed down my breakfast in three or four bites. Sid was sitting right across from me at the tiny kitchen table. Space was so tight that our knees kept bumping under the table.

"He's not that into me? That's no big deal." I smiled just to show I was in control. "I'm just staying at his place till I find a job."

"No, no, no baby, that's not it at all!" Sid reached under the table and patted my knee, his hand sort of squeezing for a moment. "Walter's gone wild for you, Jamie. He thinks you're exactly the type he's been looking for. You know, young, golden-boy type, innocent, just starting out on the gay scene. It's just that . . . well, Walter's been on the scene for a long time. We all have. And there are nights when . . . well, things can get a little crazy." Sid slapped my knee, and then quickly refilled my coffee cup.

"Yeah? Well, I'm not the innocent type. And I don't like being protected from things." I frowned, sipping the steaming hot coffee. Sid had made it just the way I liked, strong and black.

"Walter's parties are pretty wild," Sid said doubtfully. "I mean, there are group scenes. Fantasies. People submit to certain things. In that kind of crowd, Jamie, a kid like you would be too great a temptation. Walter might be able to protect you from the other guys . . . maybe not from himself."

"Great." I shuddered, not wanting to hear more. But in my mind I was wondering what it would be like to submit to Walter . . . not the gentle Walter I knew, but this other, dangerous stranger.

"So for right now, kid, it's probably better for you to take things nice and easy . . . let Walter bring you along slow and gentle." Sid's hand slid up my knee again. "You'll really love it, baby."

"Walter can bring me along any way he wants," I said, pushing Sid's hand away. "I'm not a group project."

"Right, right!" Sid laughed like I hadn't just shot him down. But he backed off, piling the dirty dishes into the sink with a lot of clatter. "So what do you say, are we going back up to Walter's?"

"After I take a shower," I said. All of a sudden I felt very dirty.