New City, New Life

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“I’ll give him your number anyway!” my mother said as she hugged me tightly in the airport terminal.

It didn’t matter how many times I told both of my parents that I was moving out to L.A. to get a fresh start. I wanted to relocate somewhere that I didn’t know a single person…a way of reinventing myself and taking a new path in life. That didn’t matter to my mom. “I’ll worry to death with you being in a strange city not knowing anyone! Linda’s best friend from college, Ted, lives out in L.A. Maybe you can at least meet up for dinner every few weeks and go the the movies, or something.”

“Mom!” I was incredulous. “Linda’s 62. That means Ted’s around that age too.”


“What are we gonna have in common? Besides, I’m sure he’s not going to want to have to entertain some 34 year old kid.”

Mom just gave me a look of disapproval. “Hon, Ted’s a very nice man. I’m sure he’ll be glad to show you around L.A. I’m not saying you have to become joined at the hip and spend tons of time together.” All I could do is sigh heavily and roll my eyes. There was no getting through to her. “I don’t care what you say. I’m going to have Linda give Ted your number.”

“Yeah, yeah…” I said, dismissively. We proceeded to say our goodbyes and then I boarded the plane and headed westward to start my new life.

It took me a couple weeks to get settled-in in my condo and get acclimated to my new job, but I was finally starting to feel like I was “home.” I’d just gotten home from work one evening when my phone rang. I pulled it out of my pocket and didn’t recognize the number, so I promptly hit the “Decline” button, tossed the phone on my bed, and went about changing out of my work clothes. Nearly a minute later, I heard my phone beep, indicating that whoever had called had left a voice mail message. I picked my phone back up and put my voice mail box on speaker phone, assuming it was something related to work.

“Hi, Jason. This is Ted Masterson.” I rolled my eyes. I figured Mom would forget about giving my number to him. Apparently, I was wrong. “I’m a friend of your mother’s. She said you had just recently relocated here to L.A. and might want someone to show you some of the city’s finer points. If you’d like, we can meet for dinner sometime. I know a couple of nice restaurants near your condo…” Really?! She told him where I live?! “When you get a chance, get back to me if you’d like to get together. I look forward to hearing from you.”

It may have been rude of me, but I immediately deleted the phone messages. I was more than a little irked that my mom had given this man my contact information when I was so adamant that I didn’t want her to. I’m a 34 year old. I know how to make friends and meet new people when I’m ready to. So… I just went on about my business and my life.

Then, two weeks later, another call comes into my phone. This time, I recognized the number. “Hello?”

“Hey, sweetie!” came my mother’s excited voice on the other end. “How’s life out in Hollywood?”

I had to laugh to myself. My mom was just like me before I moved out here. People who aren’t from here have no concept of just how big L.A. actually is. I didn’t live anywhere near Hollywood or even Beverly Hills. But when you’re not from here, just assume all parts of the city are within a few miles of each other. “Everything’s great out here, Mom!”

“Good! Have you gotten all settled-in in your new place?”

“Yes. I’m all squared away…”

“And your job… How’s that going?”

What is this, 20 Questions? “I’m loving it. Things couldn’t be better! How are things back home? How’s Dad?”

“Everything’s great here! Your father had to work late, but he wanted me to tell you he misses you. We both can’t wait until you come back home for a visit. Or until you invite us out to visit you. Hint, hint…!”

I rolled my eyes. “Real subtle, Mom!”

“Well, you’ll never invite us if I don’t prompt you to!”

“Give me a little more time to get my bearings here. Then, you and Dad can come out and I’ll show you around.”

“Speaking of getting your bearings, I understand that Ted called you a couple weeks ago. When are the two of you meeting up?”

“Fuck!” I mouthed to myself and shook my fist in frustration. “Uh… We’re meeting later this week for dinner.”

“Don’t lie to your mother, Jason. I already know you never called him back.”

“What…did you wiretap my condo, or something?”

“Never mind that. I don’t want you to be out there without a friend.”

“Mom, please. I’m making friends at work. It’s only a matter of time before I meet more people. I’m going to be fine!”

“Just, please call Ted. I think the two of you would really hit it off and he’s more than willing to show you around and introduce you to people.”

I could see this was a battle I was never going to win. It was either keep saying no and constantly be pestered about calling this man, or call now, get it over with, and then be done with him. “Fine. I’ll call him back later.”

“How about now? I talked to him right eryaman escort before I called you. He’s expecting your call. “

“Fine, whatever…” I felt like an eleven year old being scolded by a parent.

“And try to sound at least a little polite when you call him.”

“Yes, Mother dear,” I said in a mockingly cheerful tone. A short time later, we ended our call and I went back through my received calls until I found Ted’s number.

“Hello? Ted Masterson here!”

“Hi, Ted. This is Jason Fisher. My mother is a friend of Linda Thomas’. I believe you called me a couple weeks ago and I neglected to return your call.”

“Yes! Hi, Jason! I’ve been waiting to hear from you!” Was that desperation I was hearing in his voice? I could picture him right now: disheveled hair, wearing half-glasses with the little chain that connected to the frames and dangled behind the head, a moth-ridden cardigan with corduroy patches on the elbows, and an afghan covering his legs, standing in his kitchen making dinner for his 20 cats. I had to stifle a laugh as he kept talking. “I hear you’re looking for a friend to show you around the city.”

“Yeah, maybe. It might be nice to have a friend to hang out with every once in a while.” Damn my parents for instilling kindness and manners in me, growing up!

“Great! How about we get together for dinner? Are you free tomorrow evening?”

Unable to quickly think of any plausible way of getting out of those plans quickly enough, I reluctantly said the only thing that came to mind. “Sure. That would be great!”

“Perfect! I know a great seafood place over in Newport Beach. I’ll text you the address!”

“Um, actually, I don’t have a car out here yet.” I was praying that he’d decide I was too much trouble to deal with and he’d call this whole thing off.

“Oh. That’s no problem. I can swing by and pick you up!” Did I say 20 cats? I meant 50 cats!

“Are you sure? I don’t want you to go out of your way.”

“Hey, it’s no problem at all. You’re the son of my best friend’s friend. I’m glad to do it. Listen, I’ve gotta run…” Muffin, Socks, Mr. Whiskers, Winston, Fluffy, and the rest of the clowder must be anxious for their Meow Mix. “Text me your address. I’ll pick you up tomorrow. Is 6:00pm all right?”

“That’s fine.” I tried to sound cheerful.

“Great! I’ll see you then. Bye, Jason!”

“Bye!” After I texted him my address, I brought my pillow up to my face and screamed into it. After I’d calmed down, I realized that it was only going to be one evening out of my entire life. I could get through it. Afterwards, we never had to see each other again.

The whole next day, I had a knot in my stomach. You know how you feel right before you have to do something that you don’t want to do and you’re a wreck about it. It was 10 ’til 6 and I was actually ready to send Ted a text and beg off of dinner tonight when there was a knock at the door. Damn him for being early!

As I went to open the door, I gave myself a laugh, wondering what color cardigan he chose to wear for dinner tonight. When I opened the door, I’m sure my mouth dropped all the way to the floor. This couldn’t be Ted. The man standing in front of me looked more like an older Sam Champion than the feeble Mister Rogers-looking fuddy-duddy I was expecting. A button-down striped shirt underneath a dark blue sports coat, salt and pepper hair that had turned more salt than pepper, and a smile on his face so wide that I couldn’t help but smile back at him.


“Hi!” he boisterously extended his hand to me. “Jason?”

“Yes. I’m Jason Fisher. Nice to meet you!”

As we stood there in my foyer, making small talk, I felt ashamed of myself for having such a negative opinion of the guy. It was actually very striking how good-looking he was. Broad shoulders… And, despite what looked like a little middle-age spread, he looked like he kept himself in decent shape. I gave myself a mental shake. I needed to slow down. If I wasn’t careful, I was going to develop a crush on Ted Masterson.

That night at dinner, the food was incredible. But the company was even better. It was as if the universe was punishing me for all of the terrible “confirmed bachelor” stereotypes I’d developed in my head about Ted. We talked to each other as if we had known each other for years. We talked about my life growing up, what I’d studied in college, what I did for a living and if I enjoyed it. We talked about what hobbies I had and what I did for fun. I got to hear about his childhood, which was a lot more interesting than you might expect. As a military brat, he lived in various places in Europe and Asia when he was young and I sat in rapt attention as he spoke about growing up in those places. For part of his young adulthood, he pulled-up stakes and moved abroad, living in Spain, Italy, and Brazil too. Ted had led quite a life!

I have to confess, for part of the time he was talking, I zoned-out a little bit…not because I wasn’t interested in what he sincan escort was saying. It was because I realized just how attractive Ted was. Though I had no “hard-fast” preferences when it came to guys, I had dated my share of guys older than me back home. Many of them had been as attractive – or maybe more attractive – than Ted, but had practically zero personality. And some had personality to spare, but I wasn’t especially attracted to them. Ted had checked all my boxes. But I was getting ahead of myself. I didn’t know which side of the fence he fell on. Love life – mine AND his – was the one subject neither of us had broached yet.

Just when I was about to ask him about his romantic pursuits, he looked at his watch. “Oh, wow! I didn’t realize it was this late! I should get you back home so you can get in bed for work tomorrow. I should probably hit the sack too!”

At first, I thought maybe I’d read the temperature of our evening together incorrectly and he was preparing me for the brush-off when I looked at my own watch and saw that it was almost 9:30. We’d been sitting there for about 3 hours.

About half an hour later, were in the parking lot of my building, looking at each other in his car. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but I thought for a moment that he was going to lean in and give me a kiss when he extended his hand for me to shake. “Jason, I had a great time this evening. I’m so glad we finally were able to get together.”

Smiling…trying to hide my disappointment, I shook his hand. “Me too! I can’t remember when I’ve had a better time at dinner.”

“Great!” he said, grinning from ear to ear.

As I opened the door and started to get out of the car, he put his hand on my shoulder, sending tingles throughout my body. “How would you like to get together over the weekend? I went in with a couple of other guys and rented a boat over in Marina Del Rey. Maybe we can get out on the water for a little bit.”

“I’d love to. It sounds like it’ll be a blast!”

“Perfect! I’ll text you with the information and plan to pick you up on Saturday, once I firm-up the time.”

“Okay. I look forward to it.” We said our goodbyes and I headed up to my condo. Like a gentleman, he waited in the parking lot until I got to my door and got it open. Once inside, I felt a little bit like a wreck. I’d broken the one rule I’d set for myself once I’d finally laid eyes on Ted: don’t fall for him. Worse yet, I was getting mixed signals. He shook my hand instead of kissing me. We didn’t talk about our love lives, so he doesn’t know I’m gay and I don’t know about his orientation. But, he wants to get me alone on a boat on Saturday afternoon. It definitely occurred to me that something other than touring the marina and the coast might happen in his boat on Saturday.

Unfortunately, that was not to be. I made sure to take a pill a couple hours before Ted picked me up to go to Marina Del Rey. I get seasick and wanted to make sure that I at least appeared as if I had my “sea legs” once I got on the boat. However, we hadn’t even been on the boat long enough to have much of a conversation when I began to feel that familiar queasiness that happens when I’m out on the water. Ted was a good sport about turning the boat around and heading back in. However, no sooner had we reached the marina and gotten his boat docked than I was leaning over the side. He was really sweet to kneel down next to me, rub my back, and be supportive, but I was incredibly embarrassed. Aside from the fact that I was still in a daze from being sick, I don’t think I said two words to him on the ride back to my house because I was ashamed that I’d ruined what was probably going to be a great afternoon on the water.

“Do you need me to help you up to your condo?” Ted asked as he pulled into the parking lot.

“No. I’ll be okay,” I smiled weakly.

“Are you sure? You seemed a little wobbly at the marina.”

“Yeah. I can make it. Listen, Ted… I’m sorry for ruining the day today. I took a pill before you ever picked me up earlier. I don’t know what happened.”

He reached over at patted my knee. I looked up at his face, which I’d been trying to avoid looking at out of sheer embarrassment and he was smiling at me. “It’s okay, Jason. Not everyone’s a salty seaman at heart. You’re obviously a ‘land lubber’ and I’ll just have to lov….uh, accept you for who you are!”

When he started to laugh at his own remark, it broke the tension and I began to feel a little less crappy about ruining the day. For the first time since we got on the boat earlier, I smiled back at him. Then, I got out of the car. As before, he waited until I got the door to my condo unlocked before he left. When I got inside, I headed directly for my bed and crashed.

When I woke up, I grabbed my phone on my nightstand to see what time it was and was amazed to see that I’d slept the rest of the afternoon and all night. It was now 8:00am the next morning. On the view screen, I saw that I had a text message waiting for me. etlik escort It was from Ted! “Just checking in on you. Hope you’re feeling better. Let me know if you need anything.” He’d sent it at around 9:00pm last night. Sweet…

Grinning to myself, I thought, “Yeah. I need to spend a relaxing day on the couch, making out with you.” Instead, I texted back. “Feeling much better. Got inside & crashed on my bed. Just woke up 5 mins ago. Tks 4 checking on me.”

I got out of bed and headed to the bathroom to brush my teeth and grab a shower. When I was done, another text from Ted was waiting for me. “Glad ur better. I’m sorry we didn’t get to hang out yesterday. How bout some breakfast to make up 4 it?”

“I’m starved!” I texted back. “I’d love it.”

A couple minutes later came his response. “Cool. On my way to ur place. See u in a while.”

About an hour later, he was at my door with two grocery bags in hand. “If you’d called me, I would’ve met you out in the parking lot,” I said to him.

He held up both grocery bags. “You misunderstood, my friend. I’m not taking you to breakfast, I’m MAKING you breakfast. You need some protein to help your body heal from yesterday. I wasn’t sure what type of food you had on hand here, so I stopped by the store on my way.”

“Ted, you don’t have to make me breakfast. We’re just getting to know each other right now.”

“I know I don’t HAVE to. But I want to. I feel bad about yesterday. This is my way of making it up to you.”

“You shouldn’t feel bad. I’m the one that ended the day leaning over the side of your boat.”

He just smirked at me. “I’m told I make a killer omelette. You’ll weep…”

I laughed back at him. “Okay, okay. With a comment like that, I HAVE to let you make breakfast now.”

As he made me breakfast and I sat at the kitchen counter, we chit-chatted with each other and I found myself thinking that this is the type of morning I’d love to have every weekend…just spending time with my man. I know “my man” probably couldn’t be Ted, because he was straight, for all I knew. But this time together while he was making me breakfast made me realize this is the type of life I wanted for myself with someone.

Just a few minutes later, we were sitting on my sofa, eating the meal he’d prepared. Okay, so we weren’t making out, like I’d hoped earlier that morning. But this was the next best thing. Being with Ted and talking to him was the easiest thing in the world. I know it sounds like a cliche, but it really felt like we’d known each other for years. Finally, though, we got around to the conversation that I wished we’d had earlier in the week when we met for the first time.

“So, Jason. Tell me… Do you have anyone special in your life who you’re seeing?”

“No. I was dating a few people when I was back home. But there was no one serious. When I decided to pull up stakes and move out here, I broke all of that off. I’m starting a new chapter of my life. I wanted to start it clean without any long distance entanglements.”

“That’s a smart move. I’ve done the long-distance thing before and it rarely works out well.”

“What about you, Ted? I’m sure you’ve got a line of people waiting to fill up your dance card. I can’t imagine that special someone in your life is too happy that you’ve been spending the last couple days with some snot-nosed kid from back East.”

He chuckled at me. “Okay, first of all, 34 does NOT make you a kid. You’re all man!” After an awkward pause, he continued talking instead of addressing that remark. “As for my love life, it’s woefully non-existent…”

“What?!” I exclaimed, genuinely surprised. “A handsome man like you doesn’t have someone in his life?!”

He blushed at my compliment. “No. I don’t. I’ve focused too much on work. And now… Well, I don’t really put myself out there like I should. But enough about me…” he changed the subject. “You’ve been out here a few months already and you REALLY don’t have a boyfriend yet? That’s a crime!”

I was floored. I didn’t think he knew. “You know I’m gay? What…do I have a flashing neon sign above my head or something?” I looked around, teasingly.

“Yes,” he said. “Right next to the one that says ‘land lubber’!” After we both had a good laugh, he explained. “Actually, Linda told me.”

Before he could say anything more, I piped-up. “You know. Usually, I don’t like other people talking about my business…”

“Don’t be mad at her, Jason. She only told me because she and your parents thought, not only could I help you get acclimated to the city, but I might be able to help you make connections here since I’m gay too. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that I don’t get around as much as I used to when I was younger. I don’t really know anyone on the scene who’s around your age.”

Hell, I’d just found out that the guy I had developed a crush on might be available to me after all. I might as well make a subtle move and see what happens. “That’s okay. I’ve been known to date a mature guy when the chemistry is right.”

For a moment, time seemed to freeze. We gazed into each others eyes. And it seemed as if Ted and I might be about to have a “moment.” Unfortunately, he broke the spell. “Uh… I think I’d better clean up the dishes and hit the road. I’ve got some errands I have to run. He got off of the sofa and took both of our plates into the kitchen.

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