The Boy Next Door didn't really live next door. He lived at one of Lane's mother's rental properties, a five-unit building on La Jolla. When Rosa got sick in the summer of 1992, it became Lane's job to distribute the paychecks to her employees, including the Boy Next Door, who was in charge of mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges at his apartment.
One day when Lane was busy, he asked me to do it.
I found the Boy Next Door -- we'll call him James -- cutting the hedge around the building while his pet beagle watched.
He was as tall as me, shirtless: a slim, tanned physique, hairless, small nipples. Curly brown hair, a round face with blue eyes. A cute college-aged twink. I thought.
"Hi, are you James? I'm Boomer, Rosa's son's um...roommate. He sent me over with something for you."
"Sure, I've known Lane for a long time."
"Oh, how long have you worked for Rosa?"
"A couple of years now," James said noncommittally. "How is she?"
"Not good. She can't get around too well. She mostly stays in the house now. We had to hire a live in nurse."
"That's too bad. She was always nice to me, brought me cookies on Hannukah."
What a mature conversation!
"How long have you and Lane been boyfriends?", James continued, taking the check from my hand.
Only gay guys would use the term "boyfriend." I sighed with relief: one of us! "A little over two years."
"That's cool," he said, giving me the face-crotch-face gaze of a blatant cruise. "I'd like to have somebody like that someday."
"Um...we have an open relationship." It was rather an obvious gambit, but I was only 31 years old, not yet a twink magnet, and I found the attention of this Cute Young Thing flattering. Besides, I wanted to one-up Lane, who dated a 19-year old beach boy just last month.
"So you can date other people?" James said, pretending to turn his attention to the dog. "Like maybe you could date me?"
"Sure. How's Friday night? We can have dinner at the French Quarter, then go cruising at the Gold Coast..." I began.
James frowned. "Well, I'm too young to get into bars."
"Oh, ok." He must be nineteen, I thought, the same age as Lane's beach boy. "A movie, then?"
"Ok. I wanna see The Mighty Ducks."
It was a G-rated Disney movie starring Emilio Estevez, aimed at an audience of kids. That should have given me a clue, but it didn't. "The Mighty Ducks it is. I'll pick you up at your apartment at 6:00."
"Um...let's meet at the Pollo Loco, ok?" A fast food place across the street from the French Quarter, and about five blocks from his house.
"Ok. And just so you know," I said, "For the bedroom activity, Lane has to be there. If you're not into sharing, he can just watch."
James grinned. "That's ok. I like Lane And I've never been with two guys before. It will be hot.." He reached out and grabbed my hand. I leaned in for a kiss, but he moved his head away. "Not here," he whispered. "My...um...neighbors don't know I'm gay."
We exchanged phone numbers, and I said goodbye and went on to deliver the other paychecks.
That night I told Lane that I had met a Cute Young Thing, but I didn't say it was James from his mother's property. I wanted it to be a surprise. But I did say that there would be a present for him in bed when he got back from synagogue.
On Friday night James wore a muscle shirt that displayed hard, firm muscles, and very, very tight jeans. I think he put some socks in there.
At Pollo Loco I tried to get him into a conversation about his classes, but he was noncommittal. Instead we talked about tv: he was a big fan of The Simpsons and Tiny Toons.
Ok, Tiny Toons was a kids' show on the WB Network, but lots of adults in West Hollywood watched for the gay subtexts. "Hey, you're never too old for Warner Brothers animation."
Next came the very boring Mighty Ducks. We sat in the darkness, our knees pressed together, our arms sharing a single arm rest, eating out of a single box of popcorn.
The movie got out at 10:00. So did the synagogue service. I figured Lane would get home before us, so I brought James in and said "Surprise!"
"Well, I guess he's not home yet. We'll have to wait." We sat down on the couch and turned on the tv. I put my arm around James and went in for a kiss. Instead he moved his head down and started unbuttoning my shirt and kissing and fondling my chest.
"Hey..um...Lane's not here yet. We should wait."
"He can watch when he gets home. Come on." He stood and took my hand and pulled me toward the bedroom.
At that moment Lane came in. "So, who's the big surprise..." He stopped stared open-mouthed at James.
"Hi, Lane. Boomer said it was ok for me and him to go on a date."
"Um...he's 19, isn't he?" I said in a small voice, suddenly feeling very embarrassed.
"19? Boomer, did this conniving scalawag tell you he tried to make me last year? When he was --what was it, 14 years old?"
My heart sank as I realized what I almost did. 14? So this year he was...15? "What. No, he's 19. He..."
James grinned sheepishly. "I'm fifteen and a half. I figured by the time you found out, you'd be so turned on you wouldn't care."
"Not care about committing a felony?" I said angrily.
"Oh, come on, it's illegal just to be gay. I'm not going to tell anyone. And I'm bigger than most guys my age. Wanna see?"
"No! Do you know how much trouble you could have gotten me into, you reckless idiot! Don't you have any sense of propriety? This isn't a game! Now get the f*** out of here!"
James hung his head.
"Wait -- he's just a kid. He doesn't know any better." Lane went over and drew James into a hug. Misunderstanding, he tried to kiss him. "When's your birthday, James? When do you turn 16?"
"Ok, your eighteenth birthday is March 5th, 1995, in two years and six months. That's when we'll finish this date. Mark it on your calendar. You, me, and Boomer will spend the night together. But not even a grope until that moment."
"Well, maybe a hug," I said, drawing us into a three-way hug.
Then we all drove to the French Quarter and had sundaes.
Lane and I figured that by the time March 5th, 1995 rolled around, James would forget all about us.
But he didn't.
Next: The Last Half of My Scary Date with the Teenage Lawnboy
See also: Hit on by a High School Boy; Artan the Beach Boy