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Thanks everyone for your comments. I didn’t know people would miss Noah so much until I got caught up writing the new series. I got a flurry of messages demanding to know what we’re up to. I’ll be a little better about updating this one. 🙂
[Now that it’s raining more than ever
Know that we’ll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella]
“What’s wrong, Noah? What hurts my love?” Navid squatted down in front of me in his business suit. He looked so handsome and grown. He barely resembled the easygoing foreign muscle-jock I’d met a year and a half ago.
He never just flopped his black hair back anymore. Now he had it cut shorter, gelled into spikes combed to the right. It was thinning in some places. It looked good though, added to his daddy appeal. Graduation, a career, the little home we shared were turning him into a man. I felt like his child sometimes when he picked me up from campus.
I knew he wanted to lift me up from where I perched atop a low wall that held in the plants outside the health building where he usually met me. I had my knees drawn up into my chest with my arms folded across them. My chin was resting on my knees when he found me. He was on the phone, but quickly finished up when he saw my face and came to squat in front of me.
“I failed… I failed,” I said quietly. I was beating myself up pretty badly and lost in my thoughts. I needed a hug, but didn’t feel like I deserved one. I wanted him to yell at me. I reached down to take the folded paper out of my pocket. It was the grade sheet from my project for the Biology class. Science always bites me in the bottom, and not in an enjoyable way like Navid does.
“You work hard to study for this, my love. I hate that you hurt,” Navid whispered.
“It sucks. I did my best and… it sucks,” I sighed. I had a hard time meeting his eyes.
“Well… I tell you this, Noah. Taking five classes is hard for you. You are good boy who does too much. You take care of the home for perfect condition, take care of me, and then take five class. We try this and it does not work, so next semester we know. Ok?” Navid explained.
I wasn’t in the mood for an “I-told-you-so” speech, even if he looked handsome squatting in front of me and putting his hands on my legs. Was he saying he expected me to fail? I always suspect he just has me in college so he knows where I am during the day, something to keep me entertained. Did he really not expect me to succeed?
He squeezed my right calf muscle and looked at me with sad eyes. He knew I wasn’t happy. He got that fatherly look like he just wanted to give me whatever it was that would pacify me.
I just shook my head. I didn’t have it in me to argue with him. He knew his answer didn’t make me feel better. He stood and offered me his hand.
“Come, my baby. We get take-out food tonight and I make you feel better at home,” he said in a low voice. I sat there for another minute berating myself in my head for imaginary things I could have done to get a better grade. In reality I’d done my best. I hate science.
“I’m going to fail and have to take it all over again. I wasted your money on tuition. All this work was for nothing,” I looked at his eyes. He was trying to figure out what to do with me. I always felt like I was his child when we had these talks. He was so authoritative, parental.
“Noah please. We talk about this at home. I am hungry and tired for day and need hold my baby at home. You always feel better in my arms.” He sat down next to me and put his arm around me. He pulled me against his side and laid his head on mine even though people were passing by and could see us. “Do you want I carry you? I will do for you, but please is time to go home.”
“I belong at home? That’s where I should be the rest of my life? I should stop wasting your money on classes?” I whispered. The tone of his words made it seem that way.
“What you are saying? What waste of money? You always belong in my home with your protector, my love. You always have place in my arms,” Navid brushed back my hair and tried to comfort me. I sighed. He was confused by my response. He wasn’t trying to pick a fight so why did I feel defensive?
“Let’s just go home then so I can be your quiet boy who just smiles and says ‘Yes sir!’ to whatever you wish. I don’t need to be smart there,” I said and put my feet down on the ground. Navid slipped off my backpack and carried it. He never let me carry things.
We started towards the car, but then he stopped and turned back towards me.
“You are not happy with this,” he said and turned to look at me.
“I belong at home, not learning anything, just being your obedient boy,” I echoed his sentiment, but then it hit me that he wasn’t saying that at all. I was so busy beating myself up in my head that I had started to take it out on him.
“That is not what I say… You are smart boy! So capable! What did professor say when bayrampaşa escort you talk to him about your grade?” Navid asked, realizing he’d made my hurt worse.
“I couldn’t talk to him, Navee… I just left! He’s so mean! I wouldn’t even know what to say. That’s the grade he gave me. I would have just cried in front of everyone,” I reasoned.
“Noah you have to talk to the teacher to find out what you can fix! They are paid to help you grow and instruction. This failing mark is not carve in rock. You negotiate! Let us go talk to your professor. I have him two years back. He is very nice man. Maybe he tells you how to fix this for best grade,” Navid said and turned back towards the campus.
“No! We can’t go talk to him! I’ll look like an idiot for bothering him. He hates me!” I protested.
“He is not mean. He wants that the students take this serious. He wants that they respect him as professor and not behave like bad children in his course. You are serious student. You sit in front row and study hard. You are early every day and never skip away the class. He will help if you ask with respectful attitude,” Navid assured and led me to the science building.
I’d never gone up to a professor’s office before. It seemed scary and off limits. It was late afternoon so I prayed that he was already gone for the day. Navid knew right where his office was. When we approached, the door was open and some old orchestra music was playing.
“Professor Redman? I don’t know if you remember me. I took your class a few years past,” Navid said as he peered into the open door. I felt like I was back in high school with my dad having a parent conference.
“Navid Naseri! Of course! How are you? I still have that article you sent me that your father wrote. Very interesting research! Come in, come in!” A jovial voice sounded from the room. It didn’t sound at all like the guy who barked lectures from the front of the auditorium class.
“Terrific! I graduate last year thanks to your help, sir!” Navid turned on the charm. “Do you have time to talk? I know you are very busy!”
He invited him inside and I followed. His smile turned to confusion when he saw me, but they made happy small talk and Navid opened him up. I could see the professor’s eyes begin to glow as Navid praised him and recollected old times in his course. He was working his charm. It was like watching two old friends. They ignored me as I sat by his side. Finally though Navid turned to the topic of me.
“I am tutoring Noah here. He is very troubled for his grade. He tries very hard but maybe he misunderstands what to do? I try to work with him on his science. We always review your lectures from the notes he takes. You always explain things so perfect, but he still need to review from the textbook with me. He wants to know how to be successful in the course,” Navid took the grade sheet with my failure and handed it to the professor.
He put on his glasses as though he hadn’t seen it before. He went over to a box and pulled out the nice presentation folder I’d prepared with Navid. We used one of his clear plastic business presenters and even made a cover page in color. We’d worked hard on it together. The professor brought it back and thumbed through it with Navid. They looked over my errors.
I didn’t say a word as they discussed my project and where I had gone wrong. They were men, grownups, negotiators. They formed a connection I didn’t share. Navid turned on the charm again and the professor began to soften on my work.
He said he had seen me working hard and taking notes in class. Navid pointed out that I never missed a day. The professor admitted that an assistant had graded some of the projects and was probably too hard on me. He also said I needed to speak up in the class and answer some questions when he asked them to show I was paying attention. Navid had told me that a hundred times. He looked over at me with those I-told-you-so eyes. Once again I felt like I was in grade school with my dad going to parent-teacher conferences.
The professor gave me a few things to redo from the project and Navid assured that we would spend the weekend fixing it. The professor smiled and said I should do just fine in the course. He agreed to give me a fresh grade when I turned it in. I couldn’t believe that worked. Navid was my hero. He really could fix anything. They went back to small talk about Navid’s career and how the Dodgers were doing this season. I tried to smile and nod, but I had zoned out.
“Well thank you so much, sir! I know my Noah will work harder. He just need the direction and guidance to do better. I tell him to speak up and talk with professors. These young generation does not know to do that,” Navid assured. The professor agreed and ranted for a few minutes about my generation. With that we all shook hands and left.
“You were SO awesome in there! You were crazy good! He was ready to give me an A! We could beykoz escort have gotten anything,” I squealed as we bounded down the stairs.
“I am your man. This is what I do. I make things work so everyone is happy,” Navid laughed as though surprised by my response and lack of confidence in him.
“He is going to let me redo it and get a better grade! I can’t believe you got him to do that. You’re the best! How did you even do that?” I glowed. Navid beamed with pride. He adjusted my backpack on his shoulder and then took my hand as we walked to the parking garage.
“Noah this is what I do all day. I make people find good solutions and everyone is happy and… I believe in you Noah. You do not waste my money here. You are very smart boy who will do great things. I believe in you. I always believe in you. You do not believe in your own self,” Navid said as though I hadn’t been paying attention the last year.
“I’m sorry I got all upset with you. I know you love me and you work so hard for us. I just freaked and… you saved me. You always save me,” I apologized.
“I deserve reward for do good for my baby?” Navid asked as though there was any doubt.
“Dude! Seriously big reward. Whatever you want,” I said. I wanted to squeeze his bulge, but having him hold my hand as we walked on campus was a big enough step for us. Public indecency could wait.
“I have surprise in the car! Is great excitement for you!” Navid said happily. He put his hand in the center of my back and nudged me towards the parking garage where he parked every day and walked to get me. He didn’t want me waiting in the pick-up line with the other car-less students.
He could have just pulled up to pick me up from class, but he always liked to come get me. He paid the $200 for the pass each semester. He liked to work on his laptop sometimes in the student lounge and use my code for the wi-fi. It reminded him of less stressful days when he was just a student there, and didn’t have a boy to support, a mortgage to pay. I’d find him near the coffee place going over deals or talking to clients on the phone. He was usually there before me, but sometimes he would get stuck somewhere and I’d sit and wait for him.
He put my backpack in the trunk next to his work bag and opened my door to let me in the passenger side…. helpless little me. I knew better than to open the door myself. I let him be the gentleman. He closed the door behind me and got in the car to drive away. He flipped to the news station on the radio and started driving towards our house with no mention of the surprise. He hummed a little tune and commented on the weather report.
“Well? Surprise? Where is it?” I demanded and grabbed his thigh. I loved these suit pants on him. They were just tight enough to show his thick, muscled thighs and hug his impossible-to-hide bulge. He always seemed to close big deals when I laid them out for him in the mornings.
“I have it here somewhere I think…” Navid laughed at my eagerness and fished for something in the side pocket of his car as he drove. He got a sudden look of disappointment.
“Oh Noah!” Navid said as we stopped at a red light. “I think it is with the trunk. I don’t find it here. We will be home soon.” He looked at me with apologetic eyes.
“Well what is it? You can’t do this to me! Tell me! Please now!” I howled. I wanted my surprise. I could be a total brat with him. He encouraged it. It made him laugh and pet my head. He said I was a perfect Persian princess when I demanded gifts from him.
“You will wait, my impatient baby. We are home soon. You will get surprise and I get my reward. THEN we get to work on your science! You will be great scientist by the end of this weekend.” Navid joked.
I fumed quietly in the passenger seat, but I held his hand tightly. I couldn’t be too mad at him.
“Maybe I can change my clothes first? This suit is hot and long day,” Navid said when he locked the front door behind us.
“Please! No…” I whispered, but then I thought about what he’d just done for me. I couldn’t really refuse. He’d done his job for me that day. I needed to be kind to him.
“Almost, Noah. Be patient, ok?” Navid asked.
“Ok, but hurry please?” I followed him up the stairs. We went into our bedroom and he set his work bag on top of the dresser. I wanted to go dig in it for my surprise. He checked something on his phone as he struggled out of his suit as if I wasn’t there waiting for what he’d promised. He was being intentionally slow and kept looking at me with that mischievous smile. He loosened his tie and unbuttoned his shirt.
“Please!” I whined as he was fumbling with his pants. I couldn’t take it anymore. He let his pants dropped and stepped out of his shoes as he took them off. He stood in front of me looking sexy as fuck in a pair of tight, mocha briefs that nearly matched his skin. He peeled off his socks and tossed them towards the hamper. They missed, beylikdüzü escort but it was an admirable attempt.
“Ok, my love. My whining baby boy. Is time for your gift,” Navid laughed and went for his bag. He brought over a long flat black box tied with a white ribbon. He knelt on one knee in front of me.
“You’re proposing?” I squealed excitedly and put my hands up to cover my mouth.
“No. Oh baby, no you misunderstand… Just… just open!” Navid rolled his eyes. Sometimes he accidentally stumbled into the customs of my culture in ways he didn’t intend.
“Oh, sorry,” I laughed and untied the ribbon. I opened the box and inside there was a small, black leather portfolio with a white cursive inscription.
“Noah, I’ll travel the world for your love,” I read out loud as I traced a finger over the cursive script. I picked it up and opened it to find my new passport inside.
“It came,” Navid said. “I had the case for it picked out a month ago. Now you can go with me when I travel. We won’t need for worry. Look at back!”
I turned it over to the back. It was engraved with, “Noah Naseri” and had his cell phone number and email address.
“You gave me your last name? I’m not Noah Kinney anymore?” I laughed.
“You’re my boy. I don’t want doubt that you’re part of my family, that I am responsible party for you. This will matter when we go through international customs. They will honor small clues like this in my parts of the world,” Navid said.
“It’s beautiful! It’s so perfect! I can’t wait to go somewhere… Um I mean I hope we don’t have to go anywhere,” I remembered that it was for emergencies in case Navid was asked to leave the country. So far that hadn’t happened. He was doing well with his business and things seemed to be going back to normal. I leaned forward and kissed him. I didn’t deserve such a thoughtful and loving man. He took care of me so well.
“Keep looking! More is in the box!” Navid said excitedly. He bit his lip as he watched me with joyful eyes. He leaned down and kissed my knee then put his chin on it to look up at me as I took a note from the box. His lips spread into a smile anticipating what I would read.
“I owe you one super exciting trip this summer to a secret destination,” I read the note aloud.
“Yes! My parents will come with us and bring my family so you meet everyone. We will have best summer ever. All my loves in one place! You will get full experience of crazy Naseri tribe! All family will be there and you will be with me,” Navid spoke rapidly with excitement.
“Everyone?” I asked and pictured myself surrounded by his culture. I couldn’t wait.
“Hopefully. These things hard to plan, but there are many countries neutral for Iran and the US. We are prepared! See your handsome little picture? My light California boy smiles happy,” Navid opened the passport and showed me. I did look happy. I remember him taking me to get the pictures made and then to apply for the passport.
“Next we just need decide how we make us legal couple. I don’t wish that we are separated when we travel… It will be easier for us if…” Navid started.
“If we get married? What about your parents? Wouldn’t they freak? What about having everyone there? Would we have like a wedding and stuff?” I asked. We hadn’t ever really hammered this out. I’d actually suggested that they might take it better if they found out about us if we got married. A friend had suggested it, but Navid didn’t really discuss it.
“Well… They will be upset when is revealed. But… I know it will be easier if they know you and I have commitment to each other. Is better to explain that I am with my boy with commitment instead of I am with my boy enjoying his beautiful body. I think about this often. Is it not better to at least tell them that I have made commitment to the boy they love instead of I take advantage of the boy they love? They do love you, Noah,” Navid assured.
I knew how they felt about me. I’d spent a lot of time talking to his father. He liked to skype with me over the internet. We talked about a lot of things but always danced around the topic of what I meant to his son, what I was doing taking care of his son’s home. We talked about everything but that. I spent more time than Navid talking to his father. I couldn’t imagine him not wanting me for a son-in-law.
“We could also do other means…” Navid started. His smile flattened out to indicate he didn’t think I’d be receptive to what he had to say.
“Like… what? Domestic partners?” I asked. Since marriage was now legal, I didn’t think anyone still did that.
“Well no… Karim propose it as way to not upset my parents…” Navid said slowly as though he knew I was going to be pissed when he finished his thought.
“Like?” I prodded impatiently.
“I can adopt you. Is legal in this country even though you have more than 18 years of age. Is a way to say I am your caretaker and anything I have belongs to you. You would have my name… you would be my boy and… my parents they will understand this better,” Navid explained.
“Your child? Really? You want me to be your child? How is that… I mean why would we… Er… That’s kinda weird, no?” I asked. I pulled away from him.
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