Veiled Security

Carolyn LeVine Topol

 

Chapter 1

Del stood in a sea of scarlet red caps and gowns, receiving congratulations from professors, friends, and acquaintances, his eyes searching for the one dark-haired, muscular figure who meant more to him than anyone else. Only one person could possibly make this day truly complete, yet he was nowhere to be seen among the crowds of students and families celebrating together.

“Wendell!” A bellow heard from a short distance away grabbed his attention. Del spotted his father and mother winding their way through the massive throng of bodies that had attended the Boston University graduation exercises. Despite the distance, he could see their broad, toothy smiles.

Today was the moment of truth. He would finally speak frankly with his father and mother, no longer concealing the issue at hand. It was too important to him, to Joey. Del had promised Joey he would be totally honest with his parents about everything so he could start his new life with a clean slate. It was more than just his life; it was now going to be their life together. No more lies, including those of omission.

Del continued to look through the crowd as he awaited the pat on the back his father would certainly offer in his inimitable style. Where was Joey? They were supposed to meet immediately after the program.

As his father approached, Del braced for the inevitable wallop. “Wendell, my boy”—followed by the firm and expected manly smack—“your mother and I are so proud of you.”

“Thanks, Dad.” Del offered the best smile he could muster for them.

“Sweetheart, you look so handsome in your cap and gown. The color goes so well with your fair skin and beautiful blue eyes. Let’s step to the side so we can take some family pictures.”

“Mom, I’ll be with you in a minute. There’s someone I want you to meet.” Del continued to gaze among the bodies of celebrants, hoping his six-foot-tall stature would aid his search, but there was still no sign of Joey. If he could only make contact with those deep brown eyes that gave him confidence and the feeling that he was important and valued!

Feeling his cell phone vibrating in his pants, Del hoisted up the awkward gown and dug into the pocket of the black jeans he had chosen to wear underneath.

Looking at the caller ID, Del felt a combination of concern and relief. “Hi. Where are you?”

“I got sidetracked by my mother and sisters. Then a couple of professors came by to share what a great talent I am with my mom. It’s fucking embarrassing.” Joey chuckled.

That laugh was an aphrodisiac, and Del could actually feel his cock twitch just listening. Del’s nervous tension began to wither away as he connected with the beautiful voice he’d grown to love. “Okay, well, I’m with my parents now.”

“Are you going to have lunch and tell them?”

“I kind of hoped you’d be with me when I did.”

“Do you think that’s wise?”

Del remained silent, knowing that Joey was much more savvy when it came to communicating anything to anyone, whether it was through words or music.

“Look, talk to your parents. I know your dad can be difficult, but…”

“Difficult!” Del began to tense, gripping the cell phone tight enough to cause his hand to turn red.

“Okay, he’s a shitload more than difficult. But you’re his only child; he’s not going to turn his back on you. Besides, I’m sure your mom will have a say in the matter.”

“My mother has never had a say in anything when my father’s in the room.”

Joey laughed. “Stay cool. I’ll meet you at four o’clock at the student union—our booth in the back.”

Del stood quietly, deeply disappointed that he wouldn’t get to see Joey and spend the afternoon in a group. Instead, he would remain uncomfortable, left alone with his parents.

“Are you going to be all right?” Joey’s concern was evident and somewhat comforting.

“Sure. I’ll see you later, at four. Can you come to my room instead? I’m not sure what condition I’ll be in after the big confession.”

“Sure thing. Four o’clock—sharp.”

Del laughed. “Does that mean you’ll show up by four thirty?”

“I’ll be on time. I know this is an important day for you.”

“And you.”

“I wasn’t referring to graduation.”

“I know; neither was I.”

“Bye.”

“Bye.”

Del turned back to his parents, who had been chatting about the best way to get to a specific restaurant that they both liked for lunch.

“Everything set with your friend, honey?”

“It’s all set, Mom.” They started walking toward the exit of the immense field that was rapidly emptying of students and their guests. “Listen, Mom, Dad—there’s something we need to talk about at lunch, something important.”

“Well, my boy, I would imagine there’s lots to talk about now that you’re going to be an important mover and shaker in the business world. I have a few important things to bring up too.” Richard Mathers winked at his son, and Del was taken aback, a sick feeling developing in the pit of his stomach, wondering what his father could possibly have in mind. Whatever it was, a surprise from his father would surely throw a wrench into Del’s planned revelations.

He felt as though he was being smothered and wished, not for the first time, that he had any father other than the one he was about to join for lunch.