Everyone Should Be So Lucky, Part 1
Joseph had always hated his name. His Ã¼ber-religious parents had give it to him, probably hoping, praying, that he would act more like his namesake, and less like the fag that he was. He knew some gay men could pass, easily, for straight, but he stood out as much as a naked man at church. He felt naked, stripped of any chance of blending in with the normal straights. It had taken him a year of living in the big city to realize that his parents were wrong, that he was fine as he was, as gay as he was, and there was no reason to hide what he was.
He’d made friends, gotten a job at a gay-friendly pop and pop coffeehouse, and here he did blend right in\’the city was chock full of gay men\’gay men that Joseph was terrified of approaching. He hadn’t even tried to date, although he’d gotten a few offers, but the men the offers came from were neither polite nor sweet, and they certainly weren’t subtle. Joseph was only nineteen, and these men were too old to be of interest. Besides, he wanted to be liked, not just lusted after (although if the two were combined, that was more than OK by him).
It had never registered to him that he was attractive\’his parents had hammered the polar opposite into his head, and it had taken his friend Amy to set him straight, one evening after he’d gone off about how he didn’t get why he got so much attention. She had pulled up some pictures of a Calvin Klein model on her computer, and handed him a mirror, saying, “Compare and contrast.” Joseph had realized that he did look quite a bit like the model\’shaggy, chin-length blond hair, a delicate chin with a slight cleft, bright blue eyes and full lips. “See?” Amy had said.
“Yeah, I guess,” Joseph had replied.
He’d failed to get a big head about it. So he was attractive\’so what? It didn’t mean he was getting the attention he wanted to get\’attention from Ari, the exceptionally cute guy who’d just started working Tuesday through Saturday. The first thing that had caught Joseph’s eye was Ari’s lustrous, blue-black hair, which brushed his shoulders when he let it down. He’d heard of people having hair that color, but hadn’t seen any up until then. His face was just as lovely as his hair, with almond-colored eyes, thin but shapely lips\’lips that always shaped themselves into a charming smile whenever he caught Joseph looking at him. Any time they shared a shift was a good day for Joseph\’Ari was very sweet to him, and not creepy like all the older men who had given Joseph so much unwanted attention in the clubs and at the coffeehouse. Ari couldn’t have been much more than twenty-one or twenty-two but he seemed very wise for his age, not unlike Joseph. A friend had once told Joseph that he was an old soul and Joseph was certain the same was true for Ari. He felt a connection to Ari, and he hoped that Ari felt it too, but Ari had never said anything to imply that he did.
It was a Wednesday when Joseph finally worked up the nerve to ask Ari out. They’d both been having fun, messing around behind the counter, and Ari had reached over and tousled Joseph’s hair\’it was the very first time Ari had ever touched him. While they were closing up for the day, Joseph approached him, after all their other co-workers had left. If he was going to do it, he would ask him now, or forever hold his peace.
“So, um, Ari, I…I was wondering if you’d like to…if you’d like to…” Joseph glanced away from Ari’s face. Damn, this was hard\’his first time asking out a guy, and he was screwing it up, royally.
“Spit it out, son,” Ari said, and tousled Joseph’s hair again. He locked eyes with Joseph, and smiled, and then, before he knew it, Joseph was experiencing his first kiss. Fireworks, there had to have been fireworks.
Ari pulled back from him. “I’ve had my eye on you for awhile, Joseph. I’ve definitely had my eye on you. Ever since you walked in that door. I felt something, between us, and I hope you felt it\’feel it\’too.”
“I do. God I do. This is…this is going better than I thought it would. I thought\’I thought you would turn me down, and then I’d be stuck working here with you, looking at you every day, and not being able to\'”
“Able to do this?” Ari asked, and pulled Joseph into his arms, kissing him. Ari’s lips were soft, and he tasted slightly minty, slightly sweet, and it felt unbelievably good to be in his arms. Then Ari placed his mouth next to Joseph’s ear, and whispered, “Would you like to go back to my place?”
Joseph didn’t have to think it over for a second. “Yes. Yes, I would definitely like that.”
To be continued…