Why Can't I Be Loved? - Cover

Why Can't I Be Loved?

by Laptopwriter

Copyright© 2022 by Laptopwriter

Romantic Sex Story: Raised in the system, he had issues. Can she help him?

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Fiction   .

I was less than three days old and twenty minutes away from dying of hypothermia. My name is Carter Larrabee.

Larrabee is the name of the street in Chicago where they found me in front of a police station. Carter was the brand name of the blanket they found wrapped around me. It was the only protection I had from the ten-degree winter cold that night; at least that’s what they told me years later at the Cook County Children’s Home.

My very first memory is of the beating I received at the hands of a foster parent when I was not quite three years old. That’s also the first time I remember being in a hospital. For the next fifteen years, I was in and out of four more foster homes and was subjected to some form of mental or physical abuse in every one of them.

I was placed in the last home when I was fifteen. They needed a strong boy to do chores around the house. For the next three years, I lived a tolerable existence, then I turned eighteen and the monthly room and board checks from the state stopped coming. He at least waited for good weather before my foster dad drove me to a homeless shelter not far from the police station where I was discovered. I guess irony would call that “full circle.” I had a small suitcase of clothes and fifty bucks he gave me as an afterthought. “You’re on your own, now,” he said as I exited the car, “good luck.” Then he drove off.

Being in and out of different neighborhoods and attending different schools, I didn’t get much book learning, but what I lacked in education, I made up for in street smarts. For a while, I stood on the sidewalk and watched the wretched poor as they entered and exited the building. I peeked my head inside and immediately knew I needed other accommodations.

I walked the streets looking for work during the day and snuck into the emergency waiting room of the Cook County Hospital at night to sleep in one of the chairs. That lasted almost a week before they caught on.

I had just fallen asleep when I heard a man’s voice somewhere off in the distance. It got progressively louder as I was shaken awake. I looked up and saw a male orderly and a nurse standing over me. I could tell by the scowl on the nurse’s face that she was not the benevolent type. “I saw you here last night. This isn’t a flophouse you know. You can’t just walk in and spend the night,” she angrily stated.

Although the chairs were not made for sleeping, it was still better than that flea-bitten homeless shelter. I was hoping to play on their sympathies. “I’m sorry; I have nowhere else to go.”

“The parks are full of benches,” she snidely quipped. “If I see you here again, I’ll call the police.” She turned to the orderly. “See he leaves the building and let me know if you see him in here again.” With those parting words, she turned and practically goose stepped down the hall.

The orderly looked a little embarrassed but walked me outside anyway. “You don’t look like a bum,” he said, looking at my clothes. “What happened, how come you’re sleeping in here?”

I gave him a very brief synopsis of my plight. “Damn,” he replied, “that’s rough. Listen, I have a friend who would put you up but he’s gay; at the very least, he’d expect you to blow him when he wanted it.”

Growing up, I had been subjected to all kinds of abuse, but I wasn’t about to get on my knees for anyone, including this guy’s friend. “I appreciate the offer, but no thanks,” I told him.

He pulled a pen and piece of paper from his pocket and started writing. “Okay, but if you change your mind call me,” he said handing the paper to me. “I think he’d really like you.” I dropped the paper in the first garbage can I came to. Now what, I thought.

It was almost midnight and I was tired; no way would I be able to walk the streets until daylight, but then I didn’t see any other choice. I was just passing a small restaurant called Plato’s Place when the door opened and a guy came out, sweeping some of the dirt from the inside to the outside. He startled me a little. When I looked over, I saw a sign on the front of the building saying “Room for rent.”

“Hey, Mister, how much to rent the room?”

He looked me over before saying anything. “How old are you?”


“What are you doing walking the streets this time of night?”

“It’s a long story, Mister. What about the room?”

“Two-fifty a week,” he replied. “That includes the shower in the bathroom down the hall.”

“How much for just tonight?”

“I don’t rent it out by the night, son. I run into too many problems that way.”

“I wouldn’t give you any problems, honest. I just need a place to spend the night.”

“Sorry,” he said, shaking his head and going back to his sweeping.

It just wasn’t my night. I turned and started to walk away when I thought of something. I turned to face him again. “Hey, how about if I work it off? I’ll clean your place until it shines like new, then you let me sleep for a few hours in the room.”

He stopped again and kind of hung on his broom while he gave me another look. “Can you wash dishes?”

“I can wash dishes so clean they squeak. I can also polish silverware, run a vacuum, dust furniture, mop floors ... you name it,” I bragged with exuberance.

“Come with me.”

I followed him inside. The place was bigger than it looked from the outside. There were four booths along one wall and six or seven square tables scattered around the floor; each one accommodated four people. In addition, there were more, two-person tables on the other side of the room and a counter with another ten stools right in the middle.

We walked between a couple of the tables, passed the counter and turned the corner into the kitchen. I’d never seen a kitchen so big ... or so dirty. There were dishes stacked up on every flat surface he could find.

“My night shift dishwasher called in sick three days ago and I haven’t seen or heard from him since,” the man said. “My daytime guy comes in at seven, but in the meantime, I need clean dishes for the morning rush when I open. Since you’re so hard up for a place to sleep, I’ll make you a deal; I need at least half of these washed by morning. You do ‘em and you can sleep in that room until you’re good and rested, then I’ll give you breakfast before you go.”

It was certainly the best offer I’d had in a while. “You got yourself a dishwasher, Mister.”

“My name is Stan,” he told me.

“Glad to meet you, Stan, my name’s Carter ... Carter Larrabee.”

“Larrabee, like the street?”

“Yes, Sir.”

He looked at me suspiciously. I assumed he thought I was giving him a phony name. “You running from the law, Boy?”

“No, Sir, I was named after the street. Like I said, it’s a long story.”

“You’ll have to tell me sometime. Come on, I’ll show you the room.” We walked across the hall and up a flight of stairs. The second floor wasn’t much. It was mostly just storage for a bunch of old restaurant-related stuff, but he had converted one room to a bedroom, or maybe I should say a room with a bed. He did have a small desk along one wall. There was a window in the wall opposite the door and the bed was against the other wall.

“This is it,” he commented. “The bathroom is down the hall,” he mentioned with a nod of his head, indicating the direction. “You’re welcome to use the shower before you go,” he told me, “but for now, get started on those dishes; the faster you get them done the faster your head hits the pillow.”

I followed him back down and took another look at what I’d gotten myself into. It was a lot of work for a few hours of sleep and breakfast, but if the other guy didn’t show up, I was hoping to get his job.

“I have an apartment in the back,” Stan told me, “so try and keep it down as much as you can, will ya? Remember, I need at least half of the dishes done. I’m up around five, so if you’re done before that, you don’t have to wait for me, just go hit the sack.”

“Yes, Sir,” I answered as he headed toward his apartment. I found a big apron and some rubber gloves in the corner. I assumed they were for the dishwasher. One thing in my favor was the biggest double sink I’d ever seen. I could easily load fifty or sixty dishes in one side. I filled it with the hottest water I could stand and added enough dish soap to choke a horse. I got busy scrapping the leftovers in the garbage before submerging each dish into the hot water to soak.

It was almost five o’clock by the time I put the last dish in the drying rack. I could hear Stan moving around in the back. I really wanted to make a good impression so I looked around and found a closet full of cleaning supplies. I scrubbed the countertops until they shined then mopped the floor. By the time Stan came out from the back, I had everything sparkling clean.

He was surprised when he saw I was still working. As he looked around, I could tell he was impressed; I could see it in his face.

“Not bad, kid, not bad at all. Did you get any sleep?”

“No, Sir, I worked straight through.”

“You did ... why? I told you Jack, my daytime dishwasher, comes in at seven. I only needed enough dishes to cover the morning. I wasn’t expecting you to clean the whole kitchen.”

“I was always told any job worth doing was worth doing right, Sir.”

He chuckled at that. “Kid, you’re a rare breed in this day and age, let me tell ya. Now, what do you want for breakfast, pancakes or bacon and eggs?”

“Oh, wow,” I said, “I haven’t had pancakes in years.”

“Pancakes it is, and I’m pretty sure I told you my name is Stan, so let’s cut the sir crap, huh?”

“Yes, Si ... Stan, thanks.”

Stan walked over to the big grill in the middle of the kitchen and turned it on. “It’ll take a few minutes for this thing to heat up; why don’t you go upstairs and wash up.”

I could smell the pancakes as I was finishing. I hadn’t realized how hungry I was until then. By the time I was done devouring breakfast, Stan’s staff was coming in. The day shift had two waitresses, Holly and Colleen, Jerry, a second cook, and the dishwasher, Jack. He introduced them to me as they strolled in. He also said he had a second shift who all started at three. It was a little after seven when I finally hit the sack. I didn’t even remember my head hitting the pillow.

It was approaching three o’clock by the time I felt human again. I wandered downstairs to find Stan. He was too busy to talk at the moment, so I sat at the counter and ordered a Coke. I looked around and saw a waitress I hadn’t been introduced to yet.

Damn, she was stone-cold gorgeous, with shoulder-length blond hair and piercing blue eyes I could see from where I was sitting; without a doubt, she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. The other two waitresses were older and the bottom of their uniforms were conservative in length, but the blond had obviously shortened the skirt on hers. It was a good four or five inches above her knees.

I watched for a few minutes as she smiled and flirted with the customers while taking their orders. For a few seconds, I fantasized about her flirting with me like that. Looking back, I think that was the most melancholy moment I’d ever experienced.

For the first time in my life, I was entirely on my own. I had no job, no place to live, and no income, but that wasn’t the worst of it. The worst part was that I’d never known what it felt like to be loved, not even by a parent or a sibling. Obviously, the woman who bore me didn’t love me; if she had, she wouldn’t have left me in the cold to die. No, to me, love was just a word. Oh, I knew what it meant but had no concept of the emotion itself, not given or taken.

Not having a job, a place to live, and no income--I was hoping to quickly rectify that if Stan’s nightshift dishwasher didn’t show up again, but finding someone to love--even harder--finding someone to love me ... well, at that moment I felt the chances of it ever happening were completely inconceivable.

“Carter... “ Stan’s voice boomed from the kitchen, “You wanted to talk? Make it quick, I have about two minutes.”

I jumped off the stool and hurried around the corner. “I was wondering if you’ve heard from the other dishwasher?”

“Why, you want the job?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“I don’t know, you don’t seem to take directions very well.”

I couldn’t imagine what he was talking about. Hell, I did everything he wanted and more. “Sir?” I asked.

“How many times do I have to tell you to call me Stan before you actually start doing it?”

“I ... I’m sorry, Stan. I ... all my life I’ve been told to call my elders Sir or Ma’am, but I swear ... I’ll try harder. Please, Stan, I really need the job.”

“I know you do. You’re hired. I was paying Arnie four-tweny-five for a 6-day week. Since you have no place to stay, I’ll pay you seventy-five bucks a week plus room and board. I think that’s fair.”

To me, it sounded like a fortune, but even if it hadn’t, I was in no position to negotiate. “I’ll take it,” I almost yelled.

“Hey, Andy,” he yelled over to the second shift cook, “this is Carter. He’s our new dishwasher.”

“Good,” he yelled back, “glad to meet you.” He was a man of few words and went back to his cooking.

Stan looked at the big clock on the wall. “Your first day and you’re already twenty minutes late,” he bellowed. “From now on you start at three and work until eleven with a half-hour lunch break at seven. That’s the end of our dinner hour and things slow down considerably after that.”

I thanked him and started toward the sink but he stopped me. “Hold on, have you eaten anything since this morning?”

“No, but I’m not that hungry. I can wait until seven.”

“Bullshit, go out there and order what you want from the menu. Just don’t take forever.”

My half-drunk Coke was right where I left it, so I took the same seat just as my fantasy girl walked around the other side of the counter to put her orders in. There was a big open window in the wall between the waitress’s area and the kitchen. Mounted from the top of the window was a carousel-like thing that was accessible by both the cook and the waitresses. They would first call out their orders then hang the ticket on the carousel and spin it toward the kitchen. Stan would rip it off the hanger and lay it down so he could read everything the customer ordered. Depending on who was busier at the time, he’d either hand it to the other cook or cook it himself.

I watched her short skirt ride up the back of her legs even further as she stretched to hang up her tickets. When she was done, she turned around and smiled at me. I could feel my heart beating faster. I wondered if that’s what it felt like to be in love.

“What’ll you have?”

I knew it wasn’t personal, it was her job, but was she really talking to me? I sat there dumbfounded. I couldn’t speak. Hell, I had a hard time breathing. “Ah ... I, ah...”

“Do you need more time?”

I shook my head no. I knew what I wanted; I just couldn’t get the words out. Her smile stretched even wider. She knew ... I could feel my face getting flushed as I realized she knew why I sounded like such a ditz. How embarrassing but I couldn’t help it. I finally forced the words from my throat. “Ah, just a ... a hamburger and fries, please, Ma’am.”

I saw the way she looked at me when I called her ma’am. Shit, she was probably only four or five years older than me. I have to stop saying that, I thought; people are going to think I’m weird.

Later, I found out my goddess’ name was Cathy. She worked from eleven to seven so she could help with the lunch and dinner crowd. I could tell the other two night-time waitresses, didn’t like her much. I think they were just jealous.

I wolfed down my food and started on the dishes. They were already starting to pile up. In the last house where I stayed, I not only had to do the dishes every night but every other household chore they could think of, and I had to do it for free. It was hard to imagine getting paid all that money just for doing the dishes.

At seven, Stan yelled at me to take a break and get something to eat. I turned the corner just in time to see Cathy’s back as she left for the night. I introduced myself to the other two night-time waitress, Angie and Lois, and ordered a fish sandwich for dinner.

I knew it was stupid, but I couldn’t get Cathy out of my mind. For the rest of the night, the more I thought about her the more depressed I became knowing I would never have anyone in my life like her. By the time I was getting ready for bed, I had tears in my eyes. It wasn’t the first time I had pined for an unrequited love.

I was in the third grade when I first realized there was something wrong with me, something that made me unlovable. Her name was Linda. She had beautiful red hair and I really liked her but somehow, the kids in my class, including Linda, found out about my mother leaving me at the police station and taunted me all year. At first, it made me mad, but after a while, I realized they were right, if your own mother doesn’t want you, nobody else ever will.

The next morning, I awakened to the sound of voices and clanging dishes from the floor below. I had no idea of the time but the restaurant was obviously open so I knew it was past seven. I got up, pulled on my pants, and walked down the hall to take a shower. The bathroom was pretty small. There was a toilet, a sink, a small shower and not much floor space in between. I started taking my pants off when I noticed there were no towels. Damn, I cussed under my breath. I hadn’t had a shower since I was dropped off, and I was really looking forward to it.

I reached in my pocket to see how much money I still had from the fifty ... nine dollars and change. Not much, but I remembered passing a Salvation Army Store the other night. I wondered if they had towels.

I went downstairs to get some breakfast. Stan smiled at me when I walked by the kitchen. About twenty minutes later, and with a full stomach, I took off in search of that store. I couldn’t remember exactly where it was so it took me a little time to find it. I looked around. They had a lot of stuff and I wished I had more money. I finally found stacks of towels. They were only two dollars apiece, so I went through them and picked out the two fluffiest.

I was headed for the check out when something else caught my eye. It was an old-fashioned shoe-shine box. I opened it and there were several colors of shoe polish, some rags, and a brush inside. The price tag said five dollars. Hell, I didn’t have anything to do during the day ... I could shine shoes for extra money.

The first thing I did when I got back was take my shower. Damn, it felt good. I didn’t time it, but I’ll bet I was in there a good ten or fifteen minutes. I felt like a new man as I stepped out and started drying myself off.

I had been wearing the same pants all week, so rather than put them back on, I picked them up from the floor and threw them over my shoulder. I wrapped my wet towel around my waist and tucked the corner inside, but it was so loose it was slipping down. I tried cinching it up tighter but no matter how snug I got it, it would loosen up again as soon as I moved. I was thinking I’d have to hold it in place with my other hand, but then I thought, why bother? There’s no one up here except me. It’s only about twelve feet back to my room, what am I worried about. I just held the towel in my hand and started down the hall, naked as a newborn.

I had almost reached the doorway to my sanctuary when I got the shock of my life. A young girl about my age charged up the stairs and came to a screeching halt right in front of me. Traumatized, we both stood there, frozen like two deer caught in headlights, just staring at each other. It wasn’t until I realized her eyes were glued to my crotch that I remembered I was naked.

“Jesus,” I yelled as I quickly covered myself with the towel and backed against the wall. She giggled as I carefully sidestepped my way along the wall and ducked into my room, closing the door behind me.

A lot of good it did. She walked in on me before I had a chance to put anything on. “Hey, get out of here,” I yelled again.

“You must be Carter,” she casually replied.

I was anything but casual as I covered my cock and balls with both hands. “Who are you?”

“I’m Serena,” she answered.

“What are you doing up here? Nobody is supposed to come up here.”

“Dad said I should come and get you to come down for lunch.”


“Yeah, Dad, you know, Stan, your boss, the guy who owns the restaurant you work at.”

“I ... I didn’t know he was married.”

“He’s not, not anymore anyway. He and my mom are divorced.”

I couldn’t believe I was standing there naked having a conversation with my boss’s daughter. “Well, get out of here, will ya. I have to get dressed,” I told her.

“Carter, I’m nineteen, I’ve seen a naked boy before.”

“Not this boy,” I shot back.

“You wanna bet,” she replied with another giggle.

I’m not quite sure what was more humiliating, me standing there naked or the hard-on I could feel growing from behind my hands. “Come on,” I almost begged, “get out of here so I can get dressed.”

“Oh, okay,” she replied, reluctantly. “I’ll meet you downstairs. Don’t take too long though or I’ll come back up and get you,” she said with a smile.

She left the door open on her way out so I didn’t move my hands until I heard her descending the stairs. God, was I embarrassed. The last thing I wanted to do after that was face her again, over lunch. I sat on the bed and contemplated jumping out the second-story window headfirst.

I put on a clean pair of pants and shirt, combed my hair, and took a deep breath before going downstairs. Stan saw me as I passed by the kitchen. “She’s waiting for you,” he called out with a smile. I just smiled back and waved.

As I entered the restaurant, I scanned the room, but the first person I saw was Cathy. My heart skipped a beat again. As she moved, I saw she was taking Serena’s order. I felt incredibly self-conscious as I approached and slipped into the booth opposite Serena. Cathy turned to take my order, and I saw her laugh inwardly to herself when she recognized me. I was sure Serena had told her about catching me naked and the two of them were having a good laugh at my expense.

Admittedly, I had a chip on my shoulder. All my life I’d had people belittle and laugh at me but it really hurt when I saw that look in the eyes of my goddess. Then I thought, what did I expect? It made me even angrier than I was. Serena noticed my attitude immediately as I gave Cathy my order. It must have been something in my voice.

“Jesus, who pissed in your Cheerios?” She said as Cathy walked away to hand in our orders. “Are you still pissed because I saw you naked?”

“Shhh,” I whispered, “you don’t have to blab it to the whole restaurant,” I admonished.

“I haven’t told anyone,” she replied.

“What about Cathy just now?”

“No, of course not.”

“Then why was she laughing at me when she took my order?”

“She wasn’t laughing, she was smiling. She smiles like that at everyone. Christ, are you always so paranoid?”

Okay, maybe I WAS being overly sensitive. I had to learn that not everyone in the world were like most of the people from my past. I apologized and thought I’d change the subjet.

“Does your dad know what a pervert you are?”

“Absolutely not. He thinks I’m more of a pervert than I really am,” she said with a laugh. I didn’t want to, but it was hard not to smile at that. “Wow, is that a smile I see?” She teased. “Dad says he thinks you’ve had it pretty rough but I know he likes you and he’s usually a pretty good judge of character, so come on, tell me about yourself. Based on what I just saw, I have a feeling Dad’s right about you having a tough life so far.”

I really wasn’t in the mood to tell my life’s story. “There’s not much to tell.”

“Oh, come on,” she replied, “Dad says you’re eighteen. How come you’re living alone? Where’re your parents?”

“Beats me,” I answered, “never met them.”

She looked a little confused. “Never met who?” Then it dawned on her. “Your parents?” She gasped out in shock. “How can you never meet your parents?”

Whether I was in the mood or not didn’t seem to make much difference. It didn’t appear she was going to stop asking questions, so I thought, what the hell...

“Well, not that I remember, anyway,” I answered. “My mother left me in front of a cop house when I was three days old. When I told your dad my last name, I’m pretty sure he thought I was making it up, but I was found on Larrabee Street so that’s what they named me.”

“Oh, my God, Carter, that’s horrible. So, where have you been living all this time? Did somebody adopt you?”

I had to chuckle. It’s the life-long dream of every orphan: to be adopted into a loving family; the truth is, it rarely happens that way.

“No, I was never lovable enough to be adopted. I was placed in a few foster homes, but it never lasted that long. Most of the people just wanted the money they get from the state or somebody they could put to work as a housekeeper.”

“Jesus, Carter, I ... I can’t even imagine living like that. I thought I had it bad when my folks got divorced but...” Her words were lost in thought as she tried to envision the atrocities of my life. “Does my dad know all this?”

“No, and I appreciate it if you didn’t spread it all over town. I don’t need...”

“I won’t say anything,” she said, anticipating what I was going to say, “but you should tell my dad. Maybe he can help you some way.”

“He’s already helped me—a lot. You have no idea what it means to have a place to sleep every night, a place of my own ... kind of.”

“And I invaded that space, didn’t I?” Serena said, now having some idea of how I must have felt.

“You didn’t know,” I countered.

“Yeah, but I shouldn’t have just gone up there like that. I should have yelled or knocked on the wall or something. I should have warned you some way. I’m really sorry, Carter. I’ll never do that again, I promise.”

“Thanks, Serena, I appreciate that.”

Just then, Cathy came with our food. She looked at me again as she set it down on the table. “So, you’re here two days in a row. Are you a friend of Serena’s?”

Serena answered before I had a chance to open my mouth. “He works here, Cathy.”

“He does?”

I finally broke out of my trance and spoke. “Yeah, I’m the new dishwasher.”

“Oh, okay; I guess I’ll be seeing a lot more of you then.” She smiled and my heart melted. “Well, welcome aboard,” she said as a couple of guys came in and sat in her section. She excused herself and walked over to take their order. Serena noticed I was still staring.

“You can close your mouth now,” she commented, “you’re catching flies.”

“She’s really nice.”

“Yes, she is. We struck up a friendship when she first started here,” Serena replied. “A little old for you though.”

I chuckled, “I’d never have a chance with anyone like her anyway. I think some people are just destined to be alone all their lives. I used to dream about having a family someday. A real one, you know, like a wife and kids, all that stuff, but I don’t really think it’ll ever happen, not for me; I guess I’m just not the type.”

I’m pretty sure the look I saw on Serena’s face was one of pity, and although I did kind of pour my heart to her, I wasn’t looking for pity so I changed the subject again.

I found out she and her mother still lived in the same house she grew up in. Her dad fixed up the apartment in the back of the restaurant a few years earlier when he and her mom split up. She didn’t say why they divorced, but I got the impression she blamed her mom more than her dad. I could tell she took it pretty hard when Stan moved out, but I think she was embarrassed to say so after knowing what I’d gone through.

Over the next couple of months, Serena came by the restaurant a several times a week and we’d have lunch. I really liked her. She was fun and easy to talk to. Unfortunately, she was going to college in the fall. I didn’t tell her how I felt, but she was the first and only real friend I’d ever had. I cried in my room all night after she left.

In the meantime, I had talked Stan into giving me a little space in the corner of the restaurant that was too small for a table. I found an old wooden chair in the storage area and built a small shoeshine stand from some scrap lumber. Stan took ten percent as rent for the space, but even after deducting Stan’s cut and my supplies, I was still netting between twenty-five and thirty-five dollars a day, shining shoes. Stan loved it because people would sometimes see the sign I put in the window, come in for a shoeshine, and stay for lunch.

Stan helped me open a savings account in the bank down the street. Hell, I was bringing in over three hundred a week and still had free room and board. The money piled up in no time.

It was mid-November and old man winter was already setting his sights on Chicago. I put my ‘out to lunch’ sign across my stand and walked over to the counter for something to eat. Cathy was there and started to take my order.

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