When Jase left to pick up Betsy, it was almost eight o'clock at night. Isabelle and Judah weren't due home for at least a couple of hours and Luis wasn't sure what to do with himself. He tried reading. But he couldn't concentrate. He tried watching TV. But there was nothing on that interested him. He was ready to go upstairs to bed when he heard the rumble of a motorcycle entering the driveway.
He went outside front and found Alec sitting on his motorcycle near the front door. Alec smiled at Luis and asked, “Wanna come into town with me? There's a great band playing tonight. I saw Jase and his friends driving around. I figured you'd be here alone.”
Luis smiled. The last person he expected to see what Alec. He thought Alec was still mad at him for rejecting him up on the ridge. “I'd love to come. I have to let the dogs out and I'll be right back.”
Alec reached for something, fumbled for a moment, and then held up an extra helmet. “I brought along an extra this time.”
When they rode into town, Luis didn't wrap his arms around Alec like he had the other night. He held the bar behind the seat and leaned back while Alec drove at a slow, even pace. They parked outside a little bar near the docks in town. Luis wasn't familiar with the place, and it wouldn't be there in the year 2011. When they went inside, the bar was dark and smoky and the band had already begun to play. Alec led him to a small dark booth in the back where they could still hear the music and talk at the same time. On the way, Luis saw Jase sitting with Betsy Melchiorri and his friends from school and he nodded.
This time Jase didn't glare at him because he was with Alec. He didn't clench his fists and his face didn't get red. He nodded and smiled. He waved at Alec, and then turned back to his friends without giving it a second thought. Though Luis felt a slight pull in his chest, he knew this was the right thing for Jase to be doing at the time.
Luis ordered a beer instead of a martini because that's what Alec ordered. After the waitress set the drinks in front of them, Luis glanced at Alec and said, “I'm glad you're not mad at me. I was afraid you might be.”
Alec took a big gulp of beer and laughed. He wiped his lips and said, “I wasn't mad; just frustrated, is all. I don't meet guys like you all the time, especially not around here. I hope you're not mad at me.”
“You're one of the nicest guys I've ever met,” Luis said. “Of course I'm not mad at you.”
“After graduation I'm taking a year off and moving to Cape Cod,” Ashton said. “I want to be a writer and there's this little town called Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod that's filled with guys like us. I read about it in a magazine.”
Luis's eyes lit up. He'd been to Provincetown and he knew it well. “I think that's wonderful. I also think it's a good idea to take a year off and figure out who you are, too.” Luis knew most gay men, especially in the 1980's didn't experience a normal puberty. While all their straight friends were out having normal fun, gay kids were home looking out the window wondering what was wrong with them. Most gay men needed time to grow up and adjust after high school. For some, it was like having a crash course in puberty in their early twenties.
“Come with me,” Alec said. “There's nothing for you here. I know you have a thing with Jase Nicholas and I'm not going to ask any questions about it. But Jase isn't going to ever come out of the closet. He'll get married one day, try to live a normal life, and then play around with guys on the side every now and then when no one's looking. It's classic and it sickens me. It's not the kind of life you want, Luis.”
“I don't,” Luis said. “But don't underestimate Jase. He's still young, too. And I'm not planning my life around Jase either. Just so you know.”
“Then come with me,” Alec said. “I've already lined up a job on a fishing boat and I've found a room to rent that's not too expensive. I can get you a job on the fishing boat, too. There's a full size bed in the room and plenty of room for two. When we aren't working, we can spend the rest of the time in bed together.”
Luis smiled. He was so handsome. “You're adorable, Alec. I wish I could take you up on the offer. But I can't.”
Alec's eyes grew wider. “Why not?”
Luis shrugged. “I can't swim. I'm terrified of water. I could never work on a boat.” He didn't know what else to say.
Alec blinked. “You don't have to work on a fishing boat. I'm sure there's other work for you there. You can get a job in a restaurant. It's a tourist town all summer.”
Luis took a sip of beer and leaned forward. He gazed into Alec's eyes and smiled. “I think you should do this. It's the best thing for you to do at this point. I'm sure you're going to be a wonderful writer. But it's not for me. I think I'm going to go home again, to Tennessee. I'm missing my old life a lot lately.”
When Alec heard this, he shrugged and finished his beer. The band started playing a Madonna song and a familiar voice drifted through the bar. Luis went up on his knees and turned around in the booth. He gazed through the smoke, across the bar, and saw Jase standing on a platform in front of the band. Luis had forgotten Jase had once told him he wanted to be a singer. At the time, Jase laughed and said he referred to this as a silly teenage fantasy. But now that he was singing Madonna's Crazy For You Luis realized Jase had a nice voice. It wasn't professional; it needed work. But it wasn't a voice that would have made anyone get up and leave the room.
Alec yawned and said, “He's not exactly Frank Sinatra, is he?”
Luis was on his knees now, with his elbows against the back of the leather booth and his gaze fixed on Jase. He ignored Alec and said, “I think he's wonderful. It's one of the best versions of the song I've ever heard.”
After breakfast on Monday morning, Luis went outside with Jase to walk Millie and Mollie before they left for school. Luis had come home early on Sunday night. Though Alec tried to get into Luis's pants several times, Luis kept turning him down. Jase didn't come in until after two in the morning. Luis was still wide awake; he pretended he was sleeping. Jase stripped down to his boxer shorts and climbed into bed gently so he wouldn't disturb Luis. Without saying a word, Jase moved closer to Luis, put his arm around him, and held him all night.
In the morning, Jase got out of bed early and took his morning shower. Luis waited until Jase was dressed and then he took his. They didn't have sex again; they didn't actually speak at the breakfast table. Isabelle and Judah were eager to tell them all about their weekend excursion to Anchorage. They didn't have a chance to speak until they were outside with the dogs.