Brett is now facing a long future alone at his home in Santa Barbara, CA. Just as his hopes for a happy future hit rock bottom, he receives an unexpected call from his cousin Bobby, telling him to come back home to the Arizona ranch where he grew up with his cousins. Reluctantly Brett agrees to go back, at least for a visit, but then Bobby promises him a big surprise that could change his life. So now he must decide to risk everything when his private fantasy dreams and elusive wishes all threaten to come true.
Brett and the Beginning
Soaking wet, I closed my car door and slumped in my seat, shivering in the blast of cold air when I started the engine. I prayed that the car’s heater would warm me up after the long walk in the rain to the parking garage.
It had been yet another very dreary and painfully boring day at the office, and I am feeling almost too tired to drive home.
It is a gloomy dark winter evening in the Santa Barbara, California area, and of course it is freezing cold (at least to me), and still pouring rain, thank you El Nino. I knew there would be accidents and traffic jams up the ass to clog my north 101 commute back home, making it much more time consuming than it had to be.READ MORE
I could only hope that Peter pulled something together for dinner and had a large glass of red wine waiting for me. I knew there was a fat chance of that since he seemed remote and in a snit about something when I left for work this morning. When I said goodbye before I left, he was pissed at me for interrupting him, since he already was entrenched in his workout room doing his mandatory Yoga routine, the same one I do religiously at night.
So, it has taken me an hour and twenty minutes to drive the twelve miles to my house due to accidents on northbound 101 from Carpentaria. When I arrived, the house was completely dark.
I was surprised because Peter always left the lights on for our, really his dog Amy, and hadn’t said a word about going out, or texted anything about that. I pulled into the garage and saw that his car was missing, but I just figured he had probably gone to the store and became stuck in the same traffic that held me up, explaining the dark house.
When I unlocked the garage door to the house, the alarm wasn’t on and that was really strange because Peter tended to be paranoid about people trying to break into the house. Starting to feel chills and not from my still wet shirt, I put my work laptop and briefcase on the laundry room counter and flipped on some lights as I walked into the kitchen.
I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a sheet of paper sitting near the sink along with a set of keys. I could feel my blood run cold and then it dawned on me; Amy wasn’t in the house and I was alone.
With trembling hands, I picked up the sheet of paper and instantly recognized Peter’s distinctive script.
Look man, I am sorry to do this by a note, but I am fed up and just can’t do this with you anymore. There is no blame here, but after six years of neither of us feeling good, this has to end for me and for you. I’m sad about Amy, she will really miss you and you were always so good to her. I know right about now you must think I’m a fucking asshole, but she came to your house with me, and I can’t leave her behind.
I don’t want anything from you other than my own stuff, and I’ve left the thoughtful jewelry you have given to me over the years in the bedroom nightstand. This was always your house and yours alone, and since the house was from your parents, I respect that.
I left this way because I want it to be a clean break and be over. I don’t want to talk about it with you, and deal with any endless drama. There is no point to rehash this for as you know in your heart, we are finished and have been for a very long time.
We both know our relationship has been dead for the last several years, but neither of us could face it so I finally did and made my decision to leave.
I need you to know that in no way do I consider this your fault Brett. We both are to blame for continuing to beat a dead horse. You also need to know I do not hate you or have bad feelings for you as you were always, and I mean always good to Amy and me but in the end, we were just guests in your home.
In many ways, I still care for you Brett, but I just can’t go on living with you and pretending we are happy together anymore. For now, I don’t want to communicate with you in any way. We both need to break cleanly from this and try to start over in a new direction. Someday I am sure we will talk again but not now.
I know the elephant in the room is that you are wondering if I have found someone else. The answer is yes, I been communicating with a man that makes me feel alive again. I know that makes me a shit in your book, but out of respect for you, even if you don’t believe me, I have not taken things with him beyond the close friend stage, and we have not been sexual.
However now we can move forward together since I am no longer in a relationship. I am sorry for the pain this probably causes you but we both need to live again. I am moving to the Bay Area today to be with him, and he has been very patient while I worked through this very hard decision.
I repeat to make it very clear; this was not a casual sexual fling but a well thought through choice. I do not mean to hurt you by telling you this, even though knowing you, it will. I felt however that you deserved the candid truth that I still care, even if you think I’m a total shit.
You are a good person Brett. Please never doubt that. I know you will be better without me being the millstone around your neck, who is making you unhappy and holding you back from your real dreams.
Find someone who will care for you and will love you like you deserve Brett, please don’t waste precious time on making this happen. I know in my heart that the man to complete you is out there somewhere, and he will make it all come together in the way you have always deserved.
So, for now, I say goodbye and only wish you well and happiness. I feel deeply for you and will think of you often for the good person that you are and have always been to me. Please try not to hate me for this, as I know someday you will see that I am right and will be thankful for this break.
Be safe and take care,
Okay, to say the least I am numb, and to tell the complete truth? I miss Amy more than I miss Peter, sad but true. In addition, he was right. After reading his note again, I only felt empty but then again, this was nothing new as I’d felt empty for a very long time.
I walked through the rooms in my house, and it was as if Peter had never been there, and all traces of him were gone. He had even cleaned the house, a first for him, before he left and had taken the only framed picture, we had of us together. The jewelry was where he said it would be but no surprise there, I already knew he was at least truthful.
Peter had never been one to care much about possessions and did not contribute to much around the house. About the only thing we really had in common was gardening, and at that he excelled.
I personally have a BA degree in Botany and a graduate degree in Xeriscapes, but the call of the golden handcuffs pulled me into the corporate world as a programmer due to my minor in computer science. I had met Peter at a local nursery and our love of plants made us click, at least for a short while.
Peter had never been one to hold a steady job and basically supplied our groceries as his part of the deal here. Sex between us was never memorable and faded away soon after he moved in. Sadly, I cannot even say that I remember the last time we were intimate; it had been many years ago.
I do not think either of us was impressed and my hand certainly did a better job of it sadly enough. All this circular reminiscing sounded very sad, even to me.
I finally finished the tour of my large house and confirmed the fact that he was indeed gone from my life. I now understood the only thing I missed about Peter was having someone to talk to when I came home, and of course, his wonderful dog Amy.
With a sigh, I walked into the kitchen, opened the fridge to pull out a bottle of wine, and discovered that while he didn’t want any of the items in the house, he’d just about cleaned out the case of wine I had purchased the previous week, the prick.
At least he left a couple of bottles, however the food was also scarce. I just needed to take some time to realize how easily I got off materially at least.
I grabbed one of the two remained wine bottles, opened it, and then after getting a large glass from the cabinet, poured myself a heathy amount, and made a silent toast to my empty and now very quiet house.
As I glanced around the now unusually clean kitchen, I saw it; a single purple squeaky ball that was one of Amy’s favorites. I set my glass down on the counter, stooped down to pick it up, and pinched it until it made its usual cheerful squeak.
Feeling a deep pang of sadness, I sat back down on the barstool, put the ball next to my wine glass, and then folded my arms on the counter to lean over and cry.
I must have sobbed for a good ten minutes or so when my cell phone rang. I thought it might be Peter, so I grabbed it and said hello, attempting unsuccessfully not to sound like I’d been crying.
“Brett, hi it’s Bobby. What’s the matter, why are you crying?” he asked, as suddenly all the light humor drained out of my cousin’s deep voice.
“Guilty I have to admit, but what prompted you to call? You never call me just to talk, so is something wrong or do you want to give me a lecture about something I should or shouldn’t be doing?”
“Nothing wrong here but it sounds like something is wrong there. I had a cryptic text from Peter the loser just now, and he asked me to call you immediately. He said that by now you probably needed someone to talk to you. What the hell is that all about Brett? Why doesn’t he just talk to you himself or is he on another type of Zender bender?”
“Peter and Amy are gone Bobby, they left today while I was at work. He explained why in a note, and he didn’t want a thing except for the booze, the food obviously, and his dog Amy. He took Amy with him because she was his to begin with.”
There were a few moments of deadly silence as Bobby built up steam for the explosion.
“Fucking worthless jerk. Did he say why?” Bobby raged at me, and I could just about imagine the outrage on his handsome face.
I could certainly hear the anger and frustration in his voice adding to my mental picture of him. Even though we don’t live close to each other right now, I grew up with my older cousin after my parents were killed in an accident. He has always been much more than a cousin to me and watched out for me like an older brother. Their premature death was also the reason I own an inherited house overlooking the ocean in Santa Barbara in California.
Following their deaths, I went to live with my Mom’s older sister Jo and her family that included my cousin Bobby and his elder sister Lana. He is seven years older than I am forty-two to be exact, completely outspoken, and opinionated, and fiercely protective of me.
Upon meeting him, he did not like Peter one bit. Bobby lives in Arizona on a lot of acres that has been in his family for generations, and is very out and very Gay, and now very pissed that someone hurt me.
I held up my hand even though no one could see me.
“Don’t get going Bobby, he left me a note telling me why and even though I hate to admit it, he is right. He was a nice guy, but we didn’t have the spark in our relationship for years now, and what was left has been fading away. To tell you the truth, I miss Amy much more than I miss him, at least right now,” I told him, and heard a heavy sigh on his end, and I knew he was holding back saying ‘good riddance’.
“Well that tears it and confirms what I always thought; the guy has no balls. If he wanted out, he should have faced you like a man, and not act like some simpering little wussy,” he began his rant, but I cut him off.
“Enough Bobby I feel bad enough as it is. He was about your age as you know, and I think he might have been having some kind of middle age crisis and wanted a change,” I told him.
“Probably too much pot,” he shot back.
“Probably it is that as well, I won’t challenge that one bit. It is a shock but like I said, I miss his dog more than him. Other than his books, clothes, and other things he brought with him when he moved in, he took nothing. He did take the booze I just bought, and cleaned out the fridge, however. While he was here, he turned a very average back yard into a gorgeous retreat, so there is that.”
“What about sex,” he asked me abruptly, surprising me.
“He said he wasn’t having any with the other guy out of respect for me until he ended it with me,” I answered trying to hold onto the last vestiges of my dignity.
“So, the fucking prick did have someone else on the side, the bastard. No dummy, you, and Peter in the sack. Were you having sex together at any time recently? If so, tomorrow get your ass down to your doctor, and get tested for everything right away. Actually, go get tested anyway if it has been a while. If he has been sniffing around the Internet for some fresh desperate meat, you never know what the hell he might have brought home to you. In addition, yes, I can hear you trying to talk but I’m firm on this one; get your ass tested, literally. What he says and what he does are two things Brett; he just dumped you and admitted there is someone else. That brainless rude fucker has already proven to you that he can’t be trusted,” he told me firmly.
I sat there stewing about his words for a few seconds and I hated to admit it, but he was right. If he had been cheating on me if only by just seeing someone without sex, there is no way he could ever be trusted about anything.
Considering how down I felt at the moment, I was hoping to hold onto the nicer things Peter said in his note. However, he was out deceiving me, and I had to be an adult about this and deal with it.
“Okay Bobby you win, you are right, and I’ll do that. I haven’t had sex with Peter for over five years or so, I just don’t remember exactly. You do have a good point; in that he has just proven that he has been skanking around and lying to me. His note is probably another ploy to justify his actions toward me and is just a bunch of crap as well.”
“Good boy, for once you are listening to your loving cousin, however you know Lana and she is going to blow a gasket when she hears about this,” he snickered, and I was glad to finally hear the relief in his deep voice.
“Older loving cousin, right,” was all I could say, but loved to hear his outraged intake of breath.
After I got off the call with Bobby, I went online to schedule a doctor visit for the next day. Oddly enough, I was feeling somewhat hungry, so I called the Chinese restaurant down the hill from me and ordered food for delivery, and then went to my office with a fresh glass of wine to wait for the food.
On a whim, I searched for houses in my neighborhood that were for sale, comparable to mine and went into shock. My grandmother had bought this place around 1950, several years before I was born. When my parents died, I inherited their estate, and my dad had always been a huge believer in insurance and had taken out a policy to pay off the house mortgage they had used to renovate the house from the ground up. He wanted to make sure his family was secure in the event of his death and had life insurance policies on both himself and my mom.
As my guardian, my Aunt Jo had invested their life insurance policies and placed them in a trust for me to access for college but ended up paying for it herself. The trust reverts to me on my thirty-fifth birthday this year, leaving me very comfortable indeed.
While I had been working, I invested what would have been a house payment in company stock, and again when I went to a startup that later became one of the larger tech companies. So now, perhaps Peter had done me a favor after all by freeing me to begin again.
He had shaken me out of my complacent life and started me toward something new, but what?
Following a long and restless night, I called into work early the next day and requested an emergency leave. I had just over a month in accrued PTO and decided to take three of those weeks off to get my head straight again.
Following that, I went to my doctor’s office for tests and then went grocery shopping for the basics. I was doing fine on automatic until by force of habit, I walked down the dog food aisle and almost lost it right there in the store. I could not get out of there fast enough to try to hide my tears.
Three days later, I was just about to pick up my phone when I received an unexpected and irate text.
‘WTF Brett. Where the hell are you, the fucking moon? This will be your last chance to call me with an update before I hop on a plane and wring your damn neck. Lana and I are worried sick about you and your fucking silence. So, call me bitch, and do it NOW.’
It was from Bobby of course, and I couldn’t help but smile that someone still cared about me.
“Hi there Sweetie, sorry I haven’t called but I’ve been waiting for my results and have been in kind of a funk,” I told him, but did not expect his freaked reaction.
“Brett, oh my God are you okay? I am so sorry to have come at you like that, what was I thinking? What were the results? Did that bastard,” he began, but I realized his problem and cut him off.
“Hold it Bobby, I’m perfectly fine. I had them check everything and I have no worries on that score. I was actually just down missing Amy in this quiet house. So no, he didn’t give me anything by cheating on me. In all honesty, I did believe him when he said he did not. It just gets lonely here in this big house and it has been raining, dark, and overcast for days now,” I explained.
“Well that’s a relief, we’ve been worried sick about you and believe me I’ve never thought that asshole was reliable. I’m glad he proved me wrong, at least about that. So why are you sitting there in the gloom? I got your text about the tests being scheduled, and that you’d taken several weeks off work, so again, why don’t you come back home to the sunshine, Sunshine?”
“Oh, Bobby I don’t know if I feel like making the trip over there right now. I’d love to see you both again and all, but I don’t know if I can make it over there at this time,” I started to say, but as usual he cut me off.
“Let me make it clear to you Brett. Get off your ass, come home, and if you are a good boy, Bobby has a big surprise for you, a really big one,” he snickered.
“For that raunchy comment alone I shouldn’t come,” I countered, starting to smile at the games we play.
“Aww you’re going to hurt my feelings you know. If I didn’t have the crew around our ranch I’d be alone as well, but they aren’t as much fun to be around like you are,” he told me, still chuckling.
“Right Bobby, so what is the big surprise?”
“Not so fast baby, only when you get here and not before. Now go get packed and I’ll see you when you get here. Text me when you leave so I can worry about you driving over here unless you want to fly,” he mentioned, his voice trailing off as he spoke.
“You know I’m not crazy about planes because of my parents, and while I’m over there I’ll need a car and I sure don’t want to rent one,” I said quickly before I realized I’d walked into his trap as usual.
“Great, then you can drive over here, and I can’t wait to see you and share my overly huge surprise. So rather than sit around and change your mind, you get off this call and go pack. I will expect another text from you once you clear LA, so I won’t have to wait so long to see you. Be safe baby boy and we will see you soon. I’ll have the champagne chilling and the glasses in the freezer so Lana and I can celebrate your homecoming and discuss your gigantic surprise. She’s going to squeal when she finds out my older sister’s little boy is finally on his way back home again,” he said, ending the call, and with me starting to feel like I’ve been railroaded all over again.COLLAPSE
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