Justin's Life...

~ January 2001 ~
~ January 23rd - 30th ~

January 23, 2001 - Tuesday

1400 miles later, I'm fairly certain I've picked the apartment complex in which I want to live. Tonight, I'm heading down to San Diego to have dinner with Bryce and check it out during the evening, but if all goes as planned, I should be back in San Diego tomorrow or Thursday picking out the specific unit I want to rent.

But my mind hasn't been on apartments for the last few days... Indeed, this past weekend has been "adventurous" to say the least. Saturday morning, I took Mom to the airport, and Saturday night, I flew to San Jose, completely unplanned, to meet Mr. Aforementioned Online Guy, A.K.A. Steve.

It all started like this...

Justin: you need a break... trip to LA for the day
Steve: :P
Justin: I was actually thinking about flying up Monday morning and then back Monday night
Justin: seemed like it would have less potential to be awkward if I didn't spend the night... less likely to get killed (by your ex with whom you still live)
Justin: ;-)
Steve: :)
Steve: nah... i don't think he would kill ya
Justin: just mame(sp)
Justin: ?
Justin: dude... just fly down tomorrow
Justin: skip that ski trip
Steve: brb... gotta get some tylenol (headache)
Justin: your friends will understand
Justin: you need the break
Justin: I'm gonna buy that ticket again if you don't
Steve: huh?
Steve: please come visit me :P
Steve: it would be much better
Steve: and i won't go snowboarding tommorrow
Justin: are you sure it's not going to be like TOTALLY awkward?
Steve: and he won't be upset
Steve: i just asked him
Justin: 'cause I would... but it seems like I'd be walking into a volitale(sp... brain failing) situation
Justin: so why don't you fly here, then?
Steve: he said that he doesn't care
Steve: i swear, it would be much easier for me
Steve: and it would be fun
Justin: then, I ask again... here, where there's no possibility of an awk. situation, why not ...
Justin: hmm
Justin: I mean, I've been there... on the other end
Justin: it's AWKWARD
Justin: you'll be all into Justin
Justin: Justin'll be all into you
Justin: and he will be feeling bad, even though you've broken up
Justin: w/ Larry, these things came up
Justin: because of the whole "third" thing
Justin: and it was always awkward
Justin: even with Larry keen on the idea of a third
Justin: still it was like I was paying too much attention to the other guy
Steve: yeah, but i don't wanna do anything except see u.. in person
Justin: and I know given all that's going on with you two, that it'll be that way
Justin: doesn't matter... just seeing me
Justin: you'll be too playful
Justin: no matter if you're distant
Justin: it'll still be too playful in his eyes
Steve: :(
Justin: I've just been there dude
Justin: needless to say, I REALLY want to see you
Steve: :'(
Steve: i know that it could be awkward here, but i feel even worse TOTALLY blowing him off to fly to LA
Steve: see
Justin: I thought you were going with your friends skiing?
Steve: everything sucks
Steve: no.. w/him
Steve: just us two
Justin: yeah, it does... and soon you're going to attribute the suckiness to me
Steve: remember? i don't have any REAL friends up here
Justin: hmm... damn
Steve: HEY
Steve: why don't we all meet in Las Vegas tonight?
Justin: you wanna?
Justin: Noam would be game, too
Steve: yeah!!!
Justin: if you want
Steve: cause there would be less focus on just us too
Steve: hold on a sec
Justin: k
Steve: looking for flights
Steve: shit... nothing to fly back on
Justin: would it be less awk with Noam?
Steve: i don't know
Steve: cause it might seem like we're trying to hook them up
Steve: heh
Justin: looking at flights here, too
Steve: k
Justin: can you fly back early Monday morning?
Justin: all Burbank flights are similarly booked for tomorrow
Justin: but early Mon. morn is clear here
Steve: was looking.. hold on
Steve: just late on monday
Steve: which wouldn't be too good
Justin: the early flights are booked?
Justin: and SFO doesn't work?
Steve: it does.. but
Steve: it's like 260
Justin: oh...
Steve: which is kinda high
Justin: yeah
Steve: how much is LA?
Steve: to LV
Justin: $85 each way
Justin: checking travel.yahoo.com for ya
Steve: hey.. i just told him that i was thinking about going to LA tonight.. he acted all upset
Justin: with him going too?
Justin: I mean, did you say with him going too?
Steve: but then i said well if justin comes here, won't it be awkward?
Steve: and he said..
Steve: "no. why would it be awkward??"
Steve: no .. i didn't invite him
Justin: oh, I thought that was the point
Steve: come here tonight
Steve: it'll be a trip to see if we're compatible as friends
Steve: :P
Steve: so he won't get upset cause he knows i'm dying to make friends
Steve: please, please, please
Steve: i don't have any friends that have seen my new place :P
Steve: (except work friends, but i don't count them)
Justin: thinking
Steve: X-( -- DO IT!!!!
Steve: :P
Justin: you first
Justin: ;P
Justin: still thinking
Steve: he asked where u were gonna sleep
Steve: i said the couch and he said, "OK"
Steve: he said it would probably be fun
Steve: if we all went to a movie
Justin: I don't know if I'm accurately expressing HOW hesitant I am to spend the night there
Steve: u r
Steve: but i'm trying to convince u
Steve: wanna speak to him?
Steve: :P
Justin: no
Justin: still thinking
Steve: he said he would be much more comfortable w/u coming here then me leaving him alone (when we had plans)
Justin: still thinking

And then the phone rang. It was Steve, saying that I should just get on the plane and fly up there. Long story short, I booked the ticket on Southwest, quickly threw a change of clothes in my suitcase, then headed out the door.

When I got to the airport in San Jose, Steve picked me up at the curb and off we went. I thought it was a good sign that his ex- hadn't come along to pick me up, but when it was three A.M. and no one had gone to bed, I knew the rest of the trip would be anything but pleasant. Although they'd broken up, his ex- obviously didn't think Steve should alone with me, and when the six A.M. hour rolled around, Steve's ex- left the house upset. By seven, Steve and I were teetering between wanting to make out and fearing his ex-'s wrath. For me, I pictured that wrath as a gun coming through the door... and there was no way I was comfortable enough to fall asleep. I'd heard of stranger things than a closeted ex- killing his boyfriend and the guy he thought broke them up. Should we go to a hotel? Or maybe to Steve's uncle's vacant apartment in San Francisco? Or maybe we should just stay awake?

I had no clue, but I asked if Steve's ex- had a cell phone so Steve could call him and see what was up. He did... and the response was that he wasn't coming home until I left. I had become the Wicked Witch of the West, but at least I was fairly certain my physical safety would be ok for a few hours rest. I jerry-rigged the door with a chair and ottoman, then fell asleep, on top of the covers, fully clothed... just in case he broke in, he could see we weren't "in bed" together.

Three short hours later, we awoke, layed and hugged in the bed for a while, took showers, then headed out. After having lunch and goofing at the mall, Steve still didn't want to go home... and I certainly wasn't comfortable there. Instead, he decided he'd go stay at his uncle's apartment in San Francisco for a few days, just to give things some time, but when we got there, the key wouldn't open the front door. I suggested that Steve fly down to L.A. with me for the next day to take a break, and a short phone call to Southwest later, my reservation had been moved and his added. We took a horribly old plane to LAX, got out, came to the apartment, and fell immediately asleep.

Yesterday, we had lunch at Universal Citywalk then dinner with Noam in Burbank before I put Steve back on a plane to San Jose. It was just such the nice time... but I think Steve said it best when he wrote me an e-mail after arriving home:


Just wanted to thank you for all the gifts this weekend and let you know that I had an amazing time.

I feel so lucky to have met someone who is so together and seems to know exactly how they want to live their life. On the plane, all I could think was how great it was to want to kiss you goodbye and not have to worry about your reaction or anyone else's in the whole damn airport. It was like you opened a door for me, let me peek into to the life of an awesome gay guy, and now I don't want it to shut.

So now I'm kinda stressing over how things are going to work out between us, but all I know is that I hope I come away with a good friend to talk to that really understands how I'm feeling.

talk to u later,

Although Steve had been with his ex- for three years, he'd never been exposed to someone who was comfortable with being gay. They were both in the closet when they met, and except for Steve's doctor, his ex- was the only other person that knew he was gay... until he met me. And now he's at the point where me kissing him in the parking garage was actually fun, where his sleeping on my shoulder in the plane was koool, and where he actually likes himself. I'm so incredibly proud of him.

Heck, shortly after he got home last night, he wrote this e-mail to his gay uncle and carbon-copied me on it.

So I lied, I don't have any info about setting up free internet services, but there's something else I wanted to tell you.

I'm including a picture of me with my friend from LA, Justin. He's such a great guy and seeing the way he lives his life has made me realize that I want to me more truthful to the people in mine.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm gay. You're the first person I decided to come out to because I have a good feeling that you won't think any differently of me. I plan to tell Mom and Dad pretty soon, but I need a couple of days to think of the best way to tell them.

Anyway, give me a call if you feel like talking.

Your big gay nephew,

Attachment: steveandjustin2.jpg

He even said I could post the pictures we took goofing around... quite a step for a guy who'd only come out to two people just two days ago.


January 24, 2001 - Wednesday

A lot of the time, I think I need to be verboten to express emotions, yet this morning, Steve expressed a great deal of emotion with one simple phrase, "all because of you."

Actually, I was still in bed when the phone rang. It was him, calling to tell me that his uncle had called this morning to say that he was completely shocked. Steve went on to tell me how the conversation went, then said it was "all because of [me]." I got the hugest smile on my face. What an incredibly nice thing to say. Short, sweet, but incredibly nice.

And then, this afternoon, I got a notice on my door saying that flowers had been delivered and were waiting in the lobby. I was pretty much expecting them as Steve and I talked about sending flowers last night (a boy needs some training), but when I got down to the lobby and saw a dozen long stem red roses, I was taken aback. I smiled the entire trek from the lobby to my apartment, amazed at how large the vase was... and that they were red roses.

And then I read the card...


Aside from being extremely cute and having such a sexy body, you're one of the kooolest guys I ever met.

Yours truly,
X-Rated Nickname

I immediately sent an e-mail to express my gratitude:


I only thought I had a huge smile on my face as I was walking back from the lobby with a dozen roses... reading the card, I now look somewhat like The Joker. Needless to say, I was expecting flowers, but I'm blown away... I can't remember the last time someone sent me a dozen roses. It's been years. And the card... I can't believe you put that... or that they wrote it. ;-)

Thank you oh so much... you've have just TOTALLY made my day. I'm still grinning ear to ear.

You're awesome,

Needless to say, random smiles have filled my day.

The flowers are HUGE (11" vase, 22" tall total).
My foot's in the picture for size comparison.


A little over an hour and a half ago, I was talking to Steve on Instant Messenger. I said that I wished he was here; that I needed a dinner partner, and the next thing I knew, he said "check your [e]mail." I did... and found a Southwest Airlines Ticketless Itinerary confirming a flight TONIGHT to LAX from San Jose and returning tomorrow morning!

I can't even really believe it, but I'm heading to the airport in about an hour to pick him up!


January 26, 2001 - Friday

Steve arrived at the airport around 10:30PM and we had a late dinner at Jerry's Famous Deli in Studio City. During the meal, Steve kept smiling and remarking about how he couldn't believe he was here, and we shared a Black and White (a vanilla milkshake in a chocolate lined glass), too. I actually did think, "I can't believe we're sharing a milkshake in the middle of a crowded (straight) restaurant," but continue to share it, each with a straw on opposite sides, we did.

Afterwards, we came back to the apartment, teased each other for a bit, then fell asleep around 1:30AM. Then at 7AM, the alarm went off, and by 9AM, he was back on his way to San Jose. All rather incredible really... I mean, I can't believe he flew in just for the night. That's the kind of stuff you see in the movies and think it never happens in real life. It's still too early to tell, but as an e-mail I got the other day said, I think I might have found a keeper.


According to plan, I drove to San Diego on Tuesday night then had dinner with Bryce before checking out the selected apartment complex. Then yesterday I drove back down and picked out the actual unit I wanted to rent. I filled out the paperwork, left a deposit, and today I gave 30 days notice on my current place.

I thought things were going to change before... but now it's obvious that they are. Heck, if my application is approved, I'm going from this utter dump to an apartment with an assigned underground parking space (as opposed to on-the-parking-structure-roof first-come, first-served/last come [like after 8PM on a weeknight], give your key to valet and they'll move it all night on the first floor), a washer and dryer in the unit (as opposed to one washer and one dryer per floor, to be shared with 15 other apartments), and an "ice-maker ready" refrigerator! It'll even have an assigned GUEST space. I can't wait!


January 29, 2001 - Monday

Back in December, I got an e-mail from a guy, Brandon, who'd found the website and who was "wanting to get to know someone who isn't a nymphomaniac." He seemed like a genuinely nice guy and over the next couple of weeks, we exchanged quite a few e-mails and he sent me a couple photos of himself in a Christmas card. I, in turn, had offered to fly him in to L.A. for a weekend, and he had, eventually, accepted. The travel date of January 27th was agreed upon, and the ticket was purchased.

Yet between the time Brandon agreed to fly to L.A. (on January 14th) and the time he actually flew here, I met Steve... and we'd really hit it off. If I'd met Steve before I'd extended the offer and purchased the ticket for Brandon, I almost certainly wouldn't have had Brandon visit, but to cancel his trip just didn't seem right. I had been very forthright to each of them about the other and he was flying here on the pretext of being friends, so I figured it'd just be a nice weekend; friendwise.

So, long story short, he arrived Saturday morning in Burbank, and the two of us headed towards Universal Citywalk to have lunch. During the drive and the ensuing conversation at Wolfgang Puck's, he's seemed nice enough, but there was no hook, no snap. My "let me tell you exactly what I'm thinking" personality was a stark contrast to his complete reservation. Indeed, he had been quite hesitant about the trip initially and only randomly decided one day to make the trek, which should have been an indication of his reservedness, but as we moved into hour three of our meeting, it was obvious that if I focused exclusively on him for the weekend, I'd end up completely frustrated at trying to see the real him.

Also, I very much wanted to see Steve again... but it was his ex-'s birthday and the two of them had plans. (Upon arriving back at the condo on Monday, Steve and his ex-, Carlos, had a long conversation about their relationship. Carlos had been upset because he thought I was coming there as a friend and he'd felt like Steve had lied to him... but with everything out in the open, he was fine with me.)

So, anyway, I started thinking and came back to that idea of going to Vegas; I called Steve, did a little convincing, and the next thing I knew, Brandon and I were on the way to LAX to pick up Steve and Carlos. From there, the four of us drove to Vegas, to arrive on the Strip around 10PM. We gambled for a while then fell asleep around 3AM before heading back to L.A. around 11:30AM the next morning. It was so random... but it was fun, and like I'd thought, the car trip itself was the best part. (I'd practically insisted that if we were going that Steve and Carlos fly down to L.A. and we all drive together.)

Sure, we all left with more money than with which we started, but it was the bonding of the drive that really made the trip worthwhile. True, Brandon never really joined in much, but he did allow glimmers of himself to show through when we pushed. And even being the non-kissy-of-friends person that I am, I gave Carlos a kiss on the cheek in the car just to show him what an awesome time I had.

And of course, hanging out with Steve was fun, too. He's got an adorable good-hearted bad boy inside... and I'm enamoured with the way he treats me, like I'm the greatest person in the world. In fact, we're both having very positive effects on the other: I'm actually very much liking life again (in part due to the move to San Diego, but in part, too, due to Steve)... and my presence in his life is making some real changes for him, too: When he arrived home last night, he wrote his parents an e-mail coming out to them... and he thanked me again today for being the catalyst.

Life is good.


January 30, 2001 - Tuesday

I got approved for my new apartment in San Diego! So come Thursday, I'll be down there signing a lease... and by the 26th of February, all my stuff will be transported to my new residence in San Diego! I'm so incredibly psyched! I called and had the electricity turned on and got a new phone number there, too.

Things are just so freaking great! It's hard to believe.

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© 2001 Justin Clouse
Justin's Life...Justin's