Copyright 2011 Theo Fenraven
It started on the internet, at the gossip sites, and quickly spread from there. By mid-morning, those sites that followed Will had the pictures up and comments were pouring in. Many of them simply stated, “Knew it all the time,” as if to say “big deal, who cares.” I liked those best. Some of the girls and women were sad that he could never be with them, but even they were not overly upset. I saw very few negative remarks. Perhaps he had been correct, that confirming his orientation would be all right.
Then the phone calls started.
His publicist: “You could have warned me. The goddamn phone has been ringing off the goddamn hook all goddamn morning. How many interviews do you want to do?”
His brother, Michael: “What the fuck?” followed by laughter.
His agent: “This opens up a whole new area for you. I’m going to make a fortune! My wife and kids thank you.”
His mother: “Is Jamie okay? Are you all right?”
David: “Anything you need, I’m here for you.”
His last director: “You might have waited until after the movie opened, but hey, love you anyway. No one really cares, you know. Is Jamie coming with you on the tour?”
The actress who gave him his first break by hiring him to be on her vanity show texted: “About time, girlfriend! Kiss kiss.”
A man whose name I would not reveal: “You fucker! Why didn’t you do that when we were together? Asshole.” Pause. “If you break up, call me. Love you!”
We were outside under the pergola, eating lunch. Will had wanted to escape the phones, and so he had left his cell in the house. I had made spicy couscous and a garden salad. We were both surprisingly hungry. Things had gone better than either of us hoped, though we were sure the media firestorm would continue for some time and, possibly, never quite die down. Overall, Will was pleased with how the news was being accepted.
“They’re gonna want to speak to you,” he said.
I shook my head. “Please, no. I am not comfortable talking about such things to strangers. You may speak for me.”
“If it was important, and I asked you, would you? For me?”
I shivered inside at the thought, but I could deny him nothing. “Yes. I love you.”
He leaned over and kissed me. It was a sweet kiss, full of love and tenderness, and my insides melted. He was everything to me. I wished never to be parted from him, for any reason, but I knew someday it might happen.
I pushed the thought away. Some day was not today. I kissed him back, loving the way he smelled, the way he tasted. “Make love to me,” I requested.
Smiling, he said, “Now? Here? Before we finish lunch?”
He was teasing me. I climbed onto his lap, something he enjoyed. “Any time, anywhere.” I kissed his neck, stroked the stubble, pushed a finger into his mouth. I felt his excitement beneath me as his teeth gently chewed my flesh.
We finished lunch about two hours later.
The whole “Will is gay” thing ran its course and dropped to acceptable levels within a few weeks. In the meantime, I registered for new classes and continued my quest to complete the undergraduate courses I needed to do the work I dreamed of.
I accompanied Will more frequently as he fulfilled obligations and supported his wide circle of creative friends. People became used to seeing us together, and I became more comfortable being seen. I doubted I would ever be as at ease as he was in front of cameras and microphones, but I picked up a few things from him and managed to hold my own. I did, however, refuse to give any interviews about our relationship, despite a waterfall of requests. Even Will, who was open about so many things, kept his own counsel when asked questions he deemed too personal.
I accompanied him on the whirlwind film tour, taking along a pile of books and class assignments, which I completed in hotel rooms or restaurants while he was busy being Will. Computer access made everything much easier. The opportunity to travel, even though everything moved very quickly, was priceless. I took many pictures and started a journal.
When we returned to Los Angeles, I was again immersed in college life, and Will pondered which projects he would tackle next. That director had been correct; no one cared who Will slept with. He was as in demand as ever.
A new peacefulness came to him when he realized he could now enjoy a freedom he had previously denied himself, that of being himself more fully than at any time in his past. No longer having to hide something as basic to himself as his sexuality freed him in ways that were astonishing. He became even more fearless in his career choices, and his growth as an actor was phenomenal.
The next few years were hectic and productive ones. I was pushing myself hard toward graduate work and Will was firmly entrenched in his acting life, but we always knew the other was there, waiting at home in the peace and quiet of the bed we shared. If anything, our love for each other deepened and grew. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and I treasured it above all other things. Nothing was as important to me as his happiness and well being, and he gave me many reasons to think he felt the same toward me.
Just before my graduation, we spoke of our future. “You realize I must now attend school in San Diego,” I said to him one evening over dinner at a favorite restaurant.
Frowning slightly, he nodded. “I know, and I’ve been thinking about that.” He paused while the waiter stopped by to inquire if we needed anything. Will smiled, said no, and thanked him. When we were alone again, he continued, “That’s a two hour drive south of here.” He looked at me from under his beautiful eyebrows. “That’s too much driving in any one day.”
I had registered in the ocean biosciences program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and I was very excited to begin, but my stomach hurt at the thought of being away from Will. “You have a solution?”
“I think you should rent a place in San Diego, spend the weekdays there, and then come home on weekends. How does that sound?”
I watched him cut into his steak. “Lonely.”
“Sweetie, you’re going to be occupied, out on the ocean a lot, doing research, writing a dissertation…” He glanced up again. “You will be too busy to be lonely.”
I touched my hand to his briefly. “I would miss you every minute.” Swallowing, I said in a much quieter voice, “I do not wish to be parted from you.”
His eyes warmed. “It’s only temporary, and I can come and stay with you when my schedule permits.”
“But afterward….” I trailed off. Suddenly I was no longer hungry. “I will get a job, and chances are excellent I will be away for weeks, maybe months at a time.” Tears filled my eyes. “What will we do then?”
“We’ll work it out,” he promised. “Jamie? Let’s just take this one step at a time.” I nodded, unable to speak. “Sweetie, I love you. Life is long. It’s okay to be apart once in a while as long as we end up together again.”
I picked up my fork and started moving things around on my plate. He was right. It made sense to take a place in San Diego while I worked toward my PhD, and a job was still at least two years away.
I wondered if he would become so lonely from missing me that he would go to bed with someone else, but I did not want to bring it up because to do so might make that possibility a reality.
My Will knows me so well. Just a few days later, as we were preparing for a trip to San Diego to acquire an apartment, he sat me down on the bed and said, “I have something for you.”
He left the room, and I waited, looking around. So many happy things had happened in this house. I would never in a million years have thought working for Will would have led to the rest of my life. Not just that we were together, but because he had encouraged and supported me in the pursuit of my education. I knew it was expensive, and I was keeping careful track of everything, fully intending to repay him someday.
He returned and knelt between my feet so he could look me in the eye. “You have been concerned that our separations might lead to outside involvements”―my eyes widened in surprise and he smiled—“but you need not worry about that. I want no one but you, sweetie.” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a ring and, taking my hand, slipped it on my finger.
I cried too easily, and he always seemed to know how to trigger that response in me. Tears were trickling down my cheeks. “Thank you, my love.” I fell into his arms.
And so we continued to move forward as a couple, though for a long time, we operated in different geographic areas. Will mostly stayed in Los Angeles, and I spent much of my time in San Diego, but we got together as often as possible, to touch and talk and be with each other.
I loved San Diego. It was a beautiful city, and I hoped one day perhaps Will and I could live there permanently. People were happy there, because the weather is perfect every day. Although I was taking many classes, and studying and writing all the time, I liked it there very much. But then I visited Paris with Will on my 36th birthday and fell in love with that city, too. There were too many beautiful places in the world, and life was too short to enjoy them all.
Eventually, my dissertation was finished, I passed my last classes, acquired my PhD, and it was time to get a job. I had many offers to choose from, and initially, Will was not helpful. He insisted the decision be mine alone, not wishing to unduly influence me with his opinions. I, however, would not let him get away with that. We were a couple, a team, and I needed his input.
“You’re leaning toward Hawaii, aren’t you?” he commented one night in bed in the Los Angeles house, his arms around me. Oliver lay on his stomach and Kaz was pressed against my side.
A new research program was starting on Maui soon, involving in-depth study of dolphins in the wild. The job would take me to isolated places and I would be at sea often and for weeks at a time. I badly wanted to participate in this study and Will knew it, because he knew me so well.
“It’s what I’ve been working for all these years.” I turned into him and inhaled his scent. “But it will mean being apart for much longer periods of time than we are used to.”
He sighed and his hand drifted down to rest on my abdomen. “I’ve always wanted to have a home in Hawaii.”
I laughed and rolled onto my side so I could kiss him. Kaz groaned in disapproval and adjusted himself to our new configuration, lying lengthwise along my back. “If you come with me, I will happily take that job.”
“I’ve been thinking of taking a year off, maybe do some writing. Hawaii would be a good place to do that.” He moved his hand lower.
“I love you,” I said into his mouth before slipping my tongue into it.
“I love you,” he repeated, pulling me close.
Kaz and Oliver departed, recognizing from long experience they were in the way, and Will and I got down to serious lovemaking.