Title: A Better Future
A new future for Jonah and Samuel
Jonah looked around the room; it looked the same as it had two years ago. The bed was neatly made, there were no personal items on the night stand or dresser, and 2 suitcases sat on the floor. The room may look the same, but Jonah knew he wasn't the same man he'd been then.
He'd been a man controlled by fear. Every action carefully thought out in order to keep Samuel safe. Jonah wasn't proud of all he'd done, but they'd made it out of the ultra conservative and religious country they'd lived in before and they had found a better way to live their lives. They'd found a safe refuge so that they could rest and heal. The men who ran the safe house had shown Jonah that discipline shouldn't come from fear. The best thing they'd given Jonah and Samuel was the opportunity to discover their love for each other.
Jonah felt as though he'd lived more in the last 2 years than he had the 27 years before in Texas. Jonah and Samuel had applied for and been granted citizenship. They'd taken and passed their driving test and had their driver's licenses. Jonah had joined the faculty at a small private college nearby. The safe house had refused any kind of payment, which had allowed them to concentrate on their relationship and their freedoms.
Giving a small smile, Jonah knew that this place had given him the opportunity to come to terms with his past, learn how to live in the present, and now he and Samuel were starting down the path to their future.
"It's totally different, isn't it?" Samuel said quietly.
"The room? It looks exactly the same as it did when we moved in," Jonah said looking around the room again.
"No. Us. We are different." Samuel shoulder bumped Jonah.
Jonah's stomach twisted at the shoulder bump. That was an action of times past; when both men were so very cautious not to let any hint of their relationship show. Jonah felt a pang of sadness that Samuel would resort back to those hidden signs of affection. But Samuel was right, things were different now, and Jonah wanted to lead his love into a new world of freedom, where affection didn't need to be monitored or hidden.
Jonah turned toward Samuel and wrapped his arms around him in a tight bear hug. He continued to hug him and when Samuel started to squirm a bit, Jonah devoured his boy's mouth. He pushed his tongue into the welcoming mouth and let his hands slide down to cup the firm denim covered ass. Jonah was determined to lead Samuel by example. He vowed again that he'd touch his love as often as was possible. When Samuel's body relaxed in surrender to the loving assault, Jonah released him.
"Tell me how we are different?" Jonah asked. He knew the answer but he wanted to reinforce these differences for both of them.
Samuel looked into Jonah's eyes. This wasn't the first time they'd done this. The younger man started to list the differences. "I'm not afraid. Not of the future. Or of you."
Jonah's heart both broke and healed at that statement. Broke because Jonah knew he'd used Samuel's fear of him as a tool to keep him safe. And yet that horrible wound was healed when Samuel freely admitted that he was no longer afraid of him.
"There's are no deceptions this time. We aren't hiding who we are. We know what's in store for us." Samuel continued his list of how this move was different from their last. "We know where we are going."
Jonah smiled, yes they knew where they were going and they were going without deceptions. Last summer a vacationing couple had come to the resort that had housed Jonah and Samuel and had commented on the new art that had been hung in several community rooms. The men owned a gallery in a small resort town in the Ozarks. When the owner introduced Samuel as the artist, the ball had been set in motion. The two men had commissioned several paintings of Samuel's. Jonah had known that Samuel was extremely talented but even so, he was shocked at the amount of money the pictures brought.
A number of trips to the small town to see the gallery and the men had fallen in love with the community. The quaint town was nestled in the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas and held an eclectic group of people: aging hippies, young free spirited people, couples raising their growing families, and a large gay population.
On one of the trips, the two men who'd first seen Samuel's work, mentioned that the local high school was hiring a math teacher. Jonah remembered how he'd secretly made all the arrangements to leave Texas and knew he didn't want to hide anything from Samuel again. So Jonah sat down with Samuel and they talked about the teaching position. Together they made the decision that Jonah would talk to the school the following day.
Jonah smiled in remembrance of how excited the staff had been to have a university professor apply for to their small school. The school board worried about the pay cut that Jonah would have to take, and eagerly explained the low cost of living in the area.
By the time Jonah and Samuel were on their return trip to the resort in Vermont, a new future had been laid out for them. Jonah was going to teach math at the high school and Samuel would continue to show his work in the gallery. The two men who'd first discovered Samuel, had a small loft on the second floor of their store and were letting Jonah and Samuel live in it until they could find a home to buy.
Today was the day they were leaving the safe house. They were leaving with happiness and anticipation for what the future held for them. Jonah smiled and once again hugged Samuel. Whispering into his boy's ear, Jonah said, "Yes, we know where we are going-we're going to a better future."