where the writers are
Charles

It was a dark, stormy night. The air was moist and the wind that frolicked around the trees in rushed curlicues bit into one’s skin the moment one stepped outside the door. I sat in the computer lab, chatting online and piecing together a story which sat unsure in the pit of my stomach. I saw him out of the corner of my eye as he approached. He came in with someone else, another Latino man, shorter, darker man and slightly heavier. Charles was tall and lanky, and what drew my eye to him was his beautiful pointed nose. As they sat down at the computer terminals opposite mine, I couldn’t help but to stare in his direction. He wore a tan colored tshirt and jeans, obviously just coming off of work, a baseball cap atop his head. My hands began to tremble and my heart raced as I silently swooned. I knew I had to speak to him. After a few minutes had passed, I decided to strike up a conversation. I worked on my story a few more minutes, adding a few sentences here and there, calming my nerves at the same time. I worked up the nerve and looked in his direction. He was casually joking around with the man sitting next to him, who I made out to be his brother-in-law.

“How’s it going?” I asked, flashing a million dollar smile. He stopped to look at me, smiling back and spoke.

“It’s good! It’s all good, real good. How are you?‿ I loved the melody of his voice.

“I’m fine. What’s your name?”

“Charles,” he said, the music still flowing out of his voice.

“I’m David,” I replied, intoxicated by his energy. He extended his hand and we shook, a firm grip in his handshake. “ Do you live here at the complex?” I asked.

“Yea. We live over in the corner there.” I nodded my acknowledgement of his answer. He put me at great ease and made me drunk with his jubilant spirit.

“So what do you do here in town?‿ I asked, after enjoying his aura for a while.

“I work construction. I just moved up here from El Paso to work for the Kings.‿”

“Who are the Kings?‿ I asked, ignorant.

“The people that own this place.‿”

“Ah,‿” I said. I had lived there for five years and never known who owned the place. I

asked him if he liked jazz and invited him to come and listen at the piano bar that played live jazz on Thursday nights. That was the beginning of my friendship with Charles. In that moment we began a slow, erotic dance encompassing friendship, one in which I would find a most incredible lover.

That Thursday I arrived at the piano bar alone, coming from studying at the library on campus. I selected a table near the front and sat down to wait and see if Charles would come. The music started and the shrill keys of the piano burst into “When Sonny Gets Blue.” It was my favorite number. I closed my eyes and started to drift along with the music when I felt someone approaching me. When I opened my eyes, Charles was standing next to the table, dressed in blue jeans and a tan shirt. He looked adorable.

“Hey,‿ I said, pulling the chair out from the table for him to sit.

“Hey there! Thanks for inviting me. I dig the music already.” He sat next to me. I could feel the bristle of the hairs on his arm against my skin. The song ended and they drifted into another number. The music was especially mellow that night and the atmosphere in the bar was loose and pleasantly bacchanalian. People were swaying and the feeling of the crowd was ambrosial. Charles began making cat-calls at intervals while the trumpet played. He broke the reserve of the typically cold, conservative room and I fell in love with him. That night, after the show was over, I rode home with Charles in his red, worn with age truck. My eyes were glued to the figure of his profile in the half, dark light. I loved his perfect roman nose. A smile crept up on my face.

“ You enjoyed the show?‿ I asked.

“Ahh, I loved it!‿ His face lit up. “I love live music, man. And Jazz is the greatest.”

“I very much agree.‿ I said. “Would you like to go again next week?” I asked.

“Sure thing man.” He said. We drove along a little bit in silence. “Do you mind if I light up one of these?‿ He asked, pulling a joint out from his glove compartment.

“No, not at all.” He lit it and took several puffs.

“Would you like a hit?”

“No thanks,” I declined, nervous at never having tried anything like it before. He dropped me off at my apartment and made his way home. The night had been beautiful and pleasant.

The next week, the aura of the club was free and open, and a soft light made the oak panels that made up the walls of the place glisten. The jazz band that played that night was on fire and the assembled crowd was soon on their feet, dancing. Charles stood out from the center of them. I got into the groove of the party and began dancing too. I felt lithe and moved in tune to the saxophone that formed the heartbeat of the music that was playing out on the floor. That night, I felt I had been taken to another level and I decided that I would make my interest in Charles known to him.

After the show, I invited him back to my place to listen to some jazz. We climbed the three flights of stairs to my apartment and I ushered him in, turning on my stereo while I poured some wine. Chaka Khan started to sing from my stereo and as I brought him his wine, we began dancing, pulling in close as we moved to the beat. After the number was over, I asked him what he would like to hear as I was unsure of what to play. He was unsure as well, at which I invited him to come browse my music collection to see what he liked. He walked towards the counter where my CD collection sat and I sat my glass of wine down and followed him there. As I stood behind him, I was mesmerized by his scent and a river of sensation rocked my entire body.

“You are really cute.” I said, a smile taking to my face.

“Thanks,” he said, filtering through my CD collection, still floating off of the high of the evening. I placed my hand on his ass and turned slightly towards him.

“Hey, no don’t do that. I’m straight,” he replied.

The revelation threw me for a whirl. The feeling was still high, though I felt a bit dampened by his pronouncement. Something though, made me choose to continue my advances. He selected a CD and put it on to play, then we went to sit back on the couch. As the music played, I let my hand slip into his lap. For a few minutes, we simply continued to groove to the music and I felt him loosen a bit. As I reached the inside of his thigh he stopped me. “Hey, slow down their partner. I’m sorry I’m not much game tonight, but I like women.”

“I see.‿ I said, retreating my hand slightly from his thigh. A few minutes later, the music still playing, I began to stroke his chest.

“You’re really into me aren’t you?‿ He asked, a grin on his face.

“ I am.” I replied honestly, my hand swirling around his chest and playing with his stomach through his shirt. I turned and kissed him. His mouth was sweet and I relished the sweetness of his lips, his tongue, and his throat. With both hands I began to roam his body and soon my mouth left his and went to his ear.

“Oh my god, what’s happening here?” He asked as a frenzy started to form as we kissed and explored.

“ Relax,”‿ I said. “It’s just two people appreciating each other.”

“Is that all it is?” He asked as the front of his pants came open.

“That’s all,‿ I replied. What had begun as a beautiful evening, developed into a beautiful night as Charles and I sailed the heights of his masculine glory. He began to get nervous as we went along.

“Are your doors locked?” He asked. I reassured him as I kissed the inside of his thigh. Charles fretted for a few more moments and then fell into the web of our lovemaking.

After hours passed, we slowly arose from the couch, rearranging our clothes. Charles prepared to go home. At the door, I embraced him and he returned the embrace.

“Do you want to go to the piano bar this Thursday?” I asked.

“Sure!” he replied, his joviality returned a bit.

“It’s a deal then.” I smiled, wanting to kiss him. I brushed his arm lightly and then he left, headed towards his apartment at the back of the complex. I headed back towards my bed in a daze, completely in love, ecstatic that the night had turned out so incredibly. Over the next three months, we became very close, growing as friends as well as lovers. We frequented the nightspots around the tiny college town, sought out the jazz and blues clubs, and spent lots of time in my apartment, dancing to the music blasting from my stereo. He introduced me to House Music and I refreshed his love of jazz and each night we made love to the sound of Chaka Khan’s voice rising through the crescendoes of “Papillion.” One night, we decided to make our way across to the other side of town where we had heard a great blues band played every Friday. That night we packed into his red truck and made our way to the club only to find a comedian was standing in for the lauded blues band. A group of my friends were sitting at a table in the back and I caustically made my way back to their table to say my hellos and introduce Charles before we went into the corner room where the main act was playing. All of the seats in the room were taken except for a table up at the front. I peered over the crowd nervously as Charles and I took our seats. The comedian spotted us immediately and approached us in the middle of his comedy act. “Look at these two-late as usual! What a lovely couple though, eh?! Tell me, what is your name?” he stuck his microphone in front of Charles. “Charles,” he answered, a wide grin overtaking his face as he blushed. I smiled as I watched, completely in love with him. The comedian riffed on us a few more minutes, setting Charles into giggles, his head down on the table. Our thighs met under the table and I leaned into him to share his laugh. I had never felt as fomfortable in my whole life as in that moment. It was a beautiful moment for both of us. Over that next week. I didn’t see much of Charles at all. On Saturday, I ran into him as I made my way into the clubhouse to write for a while.

“Charles!” I exclaimed, happy to see him.” How’s it going?” He bit his lip a bit as he looked at me.

“Its going ok, I suppose.” He paused.” I’m moving in a week.” The breath left me as he uttered the words. I had enjoyed Charles so immensely, the thought that we woudn’t be together forever never entered my mind. I tried to take it in easy.

“Where are you going? What happened?”

“The King’s are messing with my money. A friend of mine found me a better job back home in Texas.” I touched his face. I wanted to keep as much of him as I could. A few nights later, when we hung out, I loaned him my Chaka Khan and as the rain treckled heavily outside, I sent him home with my huge umbrella. He gave me some of his house music. We made love in the light of a new moon. That next Saturday, I spent the entire day sitting in the park, writing in my notebook and finally drifted home as the sky drew dark. I bypassed my apartment and made my way for the clubhouse. Charles was sitting at the computer terminal.

“Whatsup?” I asked, glad that I hadn’t missed him. I stood behind him and folded my arms around his neck, rubbing his chest. I wanted to make love.

“Typing up a resume.” He said, looking very perplexed.

“I’ll help you.” I said, resolving to make myself of some use instead of clawing into him. I sat down at the terminal and over the next hour, he dictated to me his work history as a sales clerk, computer salesman, concert stage staff, construction worker, disc jockey, and jewelry store clerk. As we finished, I invited him back to my apartment. He declined. As we gathered our jackets and made our way to the door of the clubhouse, I bid him goodnight and hoped that I would see him again the next day. As we made our way through the door, he swept me into his arms, hugging me tight. I could feel his breath against my skin. I returned his embrace. As we let go of each other, I waved back at him and he smiled. After that night, I never saw him again.