Their voices carried down the hall from the family room to the kitchen.
“Damn! This’ll be our fourteenth straight weekend of fishing,” Vijay Murty said excitedly.
His wife, Hetal, looked at me across the kitchen table with a warm twinkle in her eyes.
Another man’s voice said, “Kapil, is your brother a gay?”
“Gosh, keep your fucking voice down. The women can hear you,” Kapil replied amid snickers from the others.
My brother wasn’t speaking to God, of course. He was speaking to Shiv, one of his good-ole’-boy fishing buddies.
“Well, shit. He acts gay.”
“He just doesn’t like to fish.”
“That’s what I mean. Any man who don’t fish ain’t a real man.”
I heard the whoops of the crowd and Kapil’s heavy footsteps before he slammed the door leading down the hall.
“My signal to leave,” Hetal said, pushing back from the kitchen table.
“Me, too,” Jyotika chimed in. “Can we do anything before we go?”
“Oh, no. It’s all done,” Damayanti replied as she stood. “Priya’ staying over. She doesn’t want to be alone while the guys are gone. Samantak will be here this weekend. He’ll keep us company and baby-sit tomorrow while we shop.”
Hetal and Jyotika each kissed me on the cheek before going to the family room to say goodbye to their husbands. Damayanti saw her guests out as Priya sat at the table with me. Priya was the new woman in the group because her husband was the new fisherman in the club. Priya was just twenty, although Shiv was thirty-two, the same as Kapil. She was average in size and shape. She had two distinguishing features. She was very quiet and she was seven months pregnant.
Shiv wasn’t the first of Kapil’s friends to find humor at my expense. Kapil could have put an end to it if he wanted to. But he didn’t. Kapil didn’t think of me as one of the guys. Whatever he did for me was because I was his half-brother and, on her deathbed, Mother asked him to watch out for me.
He and I are not alike. Kapil’s seven years older. He’s a big, burly, outdoor type who owns a construction company. I’m shorter and slightly built. Kapil employs me as his office manager while I get my master’s degree. His face would be called ruggedly masculine. My face is pretty. Not handsome. Pretty.
To top it off, there are our names. He’s Kapil. It’s short, strong. I’m Samantak. Mother named me James William. Nobody calls me that. They don’t call me James or Jim or even Jimmy. It’s Samantak. It’s always been Samantak.
“Baby, we’re leaving,” Shiv shouted from the doorway. Priya arduously stood to go kiss him goodbye. Shortly, she returned with Damayanti.
I like Damayanti. She’s Kapil’s age. They’ve been married ten years and have two children. She’s a good woman, with a ready smile and a warm heart. She understands Kapil and his friends. She loves him in spite of his faults, or, maybe, because of them.
“Ask him yourself,” Damayanti said to Priya as they reentered the room.
“Ask me what?” I said.
Priya turned beet red again. She couldn’t look at me.
“What is it, Priya?” I said.
“Samantak, are you, I mean, well…”
“Am I what?”
“Are you a queer?”
“That’s not a nice word, Priya. Homosexuals prefer to be called gay.”
“I’m sorry,” she gushed as she flashed red again. “I didn’t mean anything bad by it.”
“No offense taken. Sit here and we can talk,” I said, pulling a chair back from the table.
Damayanti had been watching with an amused smile. When Priya hesitated, she gently pushed her toward the chair.
“Sit and talk with him, Priya. He’s interesting. Have you ever talked to a man before?”
“Not really. Shiv’s not much for talk unless it’s about his hobbies. My daddy’s the same way,” she said as she lowered herself into the chair.
“Samantak’s a good talker. Talk to him. Talk all night if you like. I’m going to get ready for bed.”
It took awhile before Priya came out of her shell. Once she got started, Priya herself was quite a talker. When Damayanti returned in her nightshirt, she saw we were engrossed. She excused herself and went to bed. We talked about everything except my sexuality. Priya didn’t want to hurt me by asking. There was a warm and very sweet woman inside her. It was a pleasure to see her come alive.
Time flew and it got late. Priya yawned, a big one she didn’t even try to stifle. She stretched and rubbed her back, trying to reach the lower part of her spine.
“Backache?” I asked.
“Yes. My momma says the worst part of being pregnant is the backaches. They’re even worse than the delivery because they last longer.”
“I’ll rub it for you,” I said.
She froze to stare at me. I imagined the wheels spinning in her brain. Finally, she smiled shyly.
“Well, since it’s you, I guess it’s all right,” she said.
She laboriously stood and I followed her down the hall. I waited outside the guest bedroom until she called me to come in. She wore a thick cotton nightgown, which came to her knees. It fit tightly across her bloated stomach.
“You look beautiful,” I said.
“No, I don’t. I’m ugly,” she snapped. She blushed and looked away shyly. “But it’s nice of you to say.”
“You’re beautiful. What makes you think you aren’t?”
“Pregnant women are ugly. That’s what Shiv says.” Her tone indicated a sureness of knowledge, as if quoting the Gospel according to Shiv.
“Shiv’s wrong. Pregnant women are beautiful. You’re beautiful-a beautiful flower about to bloom.”
Her tender face told me what I’d said pleased her, but she didn’t believe it. She gave me that shy smile again. “Come rub my back, Samantak,” she said.
She lay on her side with her back to me and I began to rub through the cotton of her nightgown. She was silent as I worked the lower part of her spine.
“I’ve never met a man like you before,” she said quietly. “A man who thinks I’m beautiful. Who likes talking to me. A man who likes me.”
“Shiv likes you, doesn’t he?”
“He likes what I do for him, I think. He’s never said. I don’t really know if he likes me. You know what I mean?”
“I understand. I like you, Priya, and I like talking to you. You’re a lovely woman.”
She sighed. It was almost a sob.
“Say, this backrub’ll feel a lot better if I get some lotion and rub your bare back,” I said.
She hesitated the longest time before saying, “All right.”
When I returned with the lotion, she was on her side again wearing only her bra and panties. I started at the base of her spine. Her tension and pain were evident. Gradually, her muscles loosened. I slowly worked my way up her back. As I massaged, we talked intermittently. A question from her, or a short comment. An answer from me. Little pieces of conversation.
She tensed when I undid her bra. The soothing effects of my hands on her upper back quickly banished that tension. I did her shoulders and neck.
“That feels so good,” she murmured. She sounded relaxed and tired. “My back doesn’t ache for the first time in days.”
“I’m glad, Priya. Roll over and I’ll do your legs.”
She rolled over with one hand keeping her bra in place. I spent a lot of time on her right foot. Slowly and thoroughly, I worked my way up her leg. When I looked at her face again, her head was propped on her hand. She was watching me over her stomach. Her eyes were puffy, her lids heavy. The right corner of her lips twitched and turned up.
“You’re a sweet man, Samantak. The sweetest man I ever met.”
I smiled in response, but didn’t reply. She wasn’t finished talking yet.
“But-you’re not gay, are you?”
“No,” I answered.
The other corner twitched and she smiled. “Good,” she whispered. She slipped off her bra and dropped it to the floor. Her nipples were dusky pink and erect.
I didn’t change the rhythm of the massage. I continued slowly. There was a mother’s loving, passive softness to her face when I gently rubbed her stomach with lotion, working it into her skin. Twice I felt movement of the little body inside her. I wondered if Shiv ever took that pleasure.
Her eyes closed and she groaned when I massaged her breasts. She lifted her hips willingly when I tugged on her panties. I reached for the lotion.
“I’ve had enough massage, Samantak,” she whispered.
I undressed and lay down by her, sliding my legs under hers to form a T.
“Shiv says the man’s always on top. I should’a known that’d be different, too.”
I snuggled my cock head between the lips of her sex. Her eyes opened widely when I stopped. I kissed the palm of her hand. She smiled and tightened her legs, drawing me into her. Her eyes never left mine. Her smile never ceased. We were slow and gentle. I was surprised how quickly she orgasmed and how soon her second orgasm came. Her face was indeed beautiful as she squeezed my hand. Her eyes started to close in sleep. I slipped out of her, still hard and unfulfilled.
“I’m sorry you didn’t cum. I’ll make it up to you next time. I promise,” she murmured.
“Don’t worry about it. I loved it,” I replied. I kissed her lips lovingly.
“Me, too. You’re magnificent,” she said as she drifted off to sleep.
I gathered my clothes and quietly eased out of the room. I padded down the hall, opened Damayanti’s bedroom door, and found the bed in the dark. When I climbed into bed, she pressed against me. Her nipples were hot diamond points against my chest. Her hand seized my cock.
“Oh, good. You’re still hard.”
“I’m surprised you’re awake,” I said as my hand caressed the cheek of her ass.
“I couldn’t sleep. I masturbated thinking about you with Priya, and that just made me hornier. I need a long, hard fucking.”
“Be quiet, woman, and get on your back,” I said in a pompous baritone.
She laughed bawdily as she rolled over and pulled me between her legs.
“What will we wives do if you decide to become a ‘real man’ and take up fishing?”