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"Black velvet and that little boy's smile.
Black velvet with that slow southern style.
A new religion that'll bring ya to your knees.
Black velvet if you please."
- Black Velvet, Alannah Myles
Jesse is a typical Southern boy, named after both his grandfathers, and names which had been passed down through the families for generations. He grew up in the small town of Blacksburg, South Carolina, when his parents moved there from Charleston when he was just a baby. He was an only child until the age of 10, when his parents surprised him one day by telling him he was going to be a big brother and had a baby sister on the way. Jesse's parents were both strict Catholics and raised with deep love for their faith. His dad is the Principal of the local high school and his mom is a doctor, and family practitioner for the small town. Because of this, his parents have always been well-recognised and upstanding citizens of the town, very much involved in their church's activities. Whilst Jesse conformed until his teens, his faith in his religion began to falter when it dawned on him that he might have very real feelings for his best and childhood friend, Damien Larson.
There was also the added difficulty that Jesse's parents were very overprotective of him, and there was a very fine line between overprotective and overbearing. When Jesse was only 7, he contracted meningitis and nearly died from the infection. There was a lot of complications in his recovery, and as a result, he developed epilepsy and his parents began to try to wrap him in cotton wool, for fear he would harm or embarrass himself with his seizures. His condition is controlled these days as well as it can be by medication and certain diet restrictions, but he will never be seizure-free and he just deals with it. He wears a leather and silver Medic Alert bracelet, and all his family and friends know what to do if he has any fits. It's just his lot in life, but it made his parents try to unconsciously suffocate him from being who he really was even more.
Of course, being from the South with very traditonal family and religious values, there was no way Jesse had any intentions of 'coming out'. He wasn't even sure he was gay, or maybe a little bit gay. Maybe it was just a sheer lack of decent girls in the town to keep him interested, after all? He stifled away those thoughts and feelings, being the loyal son he was and the picture perfect boy next door. He sunk himself into his love for music that he had since a child, and shared with Damien. However, where Damien wanted to be a star and take his music to a professional level, Jesse never had the confidence for it and wasn't much of a fan of being in the spotlight. Instead, he enrolled in the College of Nursing with the University of South Carolina and somewhat followed in his mother's footsteps in the medical field. He continued to conform, day in, day out, until one day his folks sat him down and all but told they were going to set him up with the daughter of the local police lieutenant, complete with how gorgeous the wedding would be and what beautiful grandbabies they would make together.
Needless to say, Jesse flipped. He freaked out and panicked, knowing that he didn't have any interest in girls, let alone wanting to marry one and make babies with one (when he wasn't even sure he could physically make it work with a chick anymore, after losing his virginity at 18 in a first time that kind of sucked when it did nothing for him). With just six months left to go of his Nursing degree, Jesse held them off, making excuses about being busy with college and even faked a few illnesses to get out of being set up on dates. It was just after his graduation with his Nursing Degree that Jesse packed up a few of his belongings, jumped in his old car, and set on the long road to New York where his old friend (and old crush), Damien was now living happily and chasing his dreams, in the wake of Damien telling him he needed an experienced guitarist and keyboard player for his band.
Jesse doesn't know what he's going to do when he gets to New York. He doesn't even know where he's going to stay, and all he could do was leave his parents a letter explaining that he needed out of their town and needed a fresh start. Still firmly in the closet and his upbringing making him fear coming out, Jesse has come to seek some guidance from his best friend, whom, at this point, isn't aware has proudly come out and into himself in New York and in the early days of his first relationship with a guy...