Uncles And Friends
by Jack Scribe
The time spent with Brent and Doug for Valentine's Day weekend was amazing. They mysteriously mentioned that the guest bedroom was occupied but had arranged for us to stay in a pre-paid suite at the Westwood Marquis Hotel, across from the UCLA campus near their condo. Our plan was to have cocktails and a casual dinner at the condo after we checked into the hotel late Friday afternoon. Saturday night would be a more formal Valentine's Day Dinner at a restaurant in Santa Monica.
Dave and I were very surprised to be greeted by a smiling, handsome teenager at the door when we arrived. Brent and Doug proudly introduced Bryan Martinez as their son, and little brother, respectively. When Bryan was encouraged to consider us - his new guardians' best friends - as uncles, Dave became very emotional with the thought of his nuclear family growing. Although we had met Bryan at the hospital, the guys had saved this news as a surprise. We both were excited for everyone...dads and son alike.
The five of us relaxed with cocktails - and one Diet Coke - in the living room and soon were enveloped in a relaxed atmosphere of family as the explanations to this new development were offered. When Bryan brought up his swimming aspirations, Dave and he immediately bonded. Before Bryan departed to go to the movies with one of his friends, the two aqua-athletes were freely speaking in swim-terms and competitive times. The friend's mom was driving and Bryan promised to be back before 10:00 p.m. With the energy of a typical teenager, Bryan said goodbye and bounded out of the condo when the doorman called that his ride had arrived.
During dinner, the guys gave us the rundown on Bryan's brutal assault by his father and why he was living with them. Brent and Doug concluded by adding that they were quite positive about their ability to obtain permanent custody of the young man by Easter. We told them that Justin Palmer would be coming back to San Diego for Spring break and that they should bring Bryan down for a long weekend.
Saturday was hectic for Brent and Doug. Brent was required for a full day of re-shooting some added scenes to the movie, and Doug was busy working with the film editor. That left the new San Diego uncles to spend the day with Bryan. By the time we had explored Century City Mall, checked out the UCLA campus and cruised the trendy Melrose Avenue shops, our nephew felt very comfortable with us. When we were ready to return home on Sunday, the three of us had shared confidences with each other that only good friends or family reveal.
"I assume the L.A. train will be on time," Dave said as we pulled into the San Diego AMTRAK Station parking lot Thursday afternoon after Easter. Bryan was traveling alone to join us to start the spring break festivities because Doug couldn't get away from the studio until late Friday night and Brent was committed to a quickie press junket in Toronto. Brent would fly from Toronto to San Diego late Sunday afternoon, and they would all return to L.A. Tuesday. Brent had four days of filming the last episodes of Friends before tackling the final push of the school year.
"If everything goes well, we have just enough time to pick up Bryan before going over to the airport," I replied. Bryan's train got in at 4:40 p.m. and Justin Palmer's plane from Minneapolis arrived at 5:15 p.m. Unlike most cities, the airport was located near downtown San Diego, as well as the old, mission-style, railroad station.
"I'm really happy that you don't have to work evenings this weekend or next week," Dave said with a smile on his gorgeous face.
I was two weeks away from the pre-opening training for the new restaurant, 'El Padre', and still was working daytime hours. That would all radically change very soon. "Get ready to become a restaurant widow cuz this opening is going to take a lot of time." We both grinned as we heard the train horn in the distance. "What are you going to do with these two young bucks tomorrow?"
"I've just got one Friday class in the morning," Dave replied, "but it's an important test. So I'll drop off the guys at the student union while I take the test. Afterwards, I plan on bringing them to the gym and pool for some good workout time and lap swimming. When I spoke with Justin, he was excited about meeting Bryan and was going to bring his workout gear and Speedos." Justin, with Dave's encouragement, had become more serious about competitive swimming.
"How about lunch?" I asked. In the distance, we could see the Surfliner approaching.
"Probably have a sandwich around 1:00 p.m., tour the campus and check out La Jolla. I promised Eunice Palmer that I'd have Justin back by 5:00 p.m.," Dave said. Eunice was going to entertain her grandson tonight so that Justin could spend Friday evening with Bryan and us. Her health was becoming frailer, I felt, when I spoke with her earlier this week.
"Any idea what she wants to speak with us about Saturday morning?"
"I can only imagine," Dave shouted because of the train's arrival, "but we both know Eunice is slipping and she's concerned about Justin."
The shiny, metallic train pulled into the station and glided to a stop. Scores of passengers were disembarking as we scanned the crowd for the sight of our young houseguest.
"Hey, Uncle Mike, Uncle Dave," we both heard, coming from one car behind where we were standing. Bryan - decked out in a Dodgers cap, tee, baggy cargo pants and sneakers, with a backpack and gym bag - was waving at us. We smiled, waved back and started walking through the crowd.
"Bryan," Dave said, "get over here and give your uncles a big hug."
When we got together, Bryan, grinning broadly, dropped his gym bag and infectiously grabbed both of us for major hugs and sloppy, wet kisses on the cheeks. "Man, I've been looking forward to this week for a long time," he said excitedly. "This may sound kinda dumb, but I've never been to San Diego."
"Then we're goin' to have a great time," I replied. "But first, we've got to move it. Justin's plane is due very soon."
"I just hope that Justin and I get along." Bryan's smile, for the first time since he arrived, had lost some of its radiant luster.
"You're both about the same age, are swimmers, and are..."
"Gay?" Bryan asked, interrupting me.
"I was going to say 'intelligent'. Any other information you've got to get from Justin," I concluded with a wink.
"Oh, Uncle Mike, alright. I guess I'll figure out how to ask that question when the time is right."
It occurred to me that Dave and I had really not thought out the challenges of hosting two curious, young, gay males with hormonal-overdrives. "I'm sure you will," I replied as I grabbed his gym bag. "Let's go over to Dave's Mustang and get moving." As we walked to the parked open-top convertible, Bryan pumped us with questions about the spring break week activities. After stowing the bags in the trunk, our young nephew jumped into the back seat and we departed for Lindbergh Field.
Brent told us that Bryan was physically healed and had embraced his new guardians and their home without reservations. Fortunately, for Bryan, the father had entered a guilty plea and would be dealt with by the courts next month. As we pulled into the airport entrance and the arrivals lane, I marveled at our L.A. friends' generosity and love. In spite of a horrendous, heavy schedule, they found time for their new son, and Doug said that Bryan now officially called both of them dad.
"There he is," Dave said.
Standing curbside was a Justin Palmer who was taller and more muscular than when we had last seen him in January. I waved as Dave maneuvered over to the right lane.
"That's Justin?" Bryan asked enthusiastically.
"Yep, our buddy," I said while Dave pulled over.
"He's a good looking guy."
Although Bryan was wearing sunglasses, I knew that his eyes were as wide as saucers. "Yep. I think you two will become good friends," I said as the Mustang came to a stop. "Justin, great to see ya." I opened the passenger door, got out and gave our young, strapping, Minnesota friend a big, affectionate hug.
Dave popped open the trunk, walked around to the curb and shook his hand while giving him a big smooch on the cheek. "Welcome back, champ." Noticing that Bryan had gotten out of the back seat, he continued, "This is the guy I was telling you about. Justin Palmer, meet Bryan Martinez."
"Hey," said Bryan as he initiated bumping fists. Justin smiled, grabbed Bryan's hand and firmly shook it.
When the teens stood next to each other, it appeared that Bryan had also grown some. He was only about an inch shorter than Justin.
"Hi, Bryan. Since Mike and Dave mentioned that you were coming down for the break, I've really looked forward to it. I think we'll have fun." Justin turned on a glowing smile.
'Must be something in the water in Minnesota?' I considered, thinking of Dave and his smile that had blinded me three years ago.
"Um, I feel the same way," Bryan replied. "Since I've never been to San Diego, maybe you can show me some things to do?"
The smile was returned and Dave and I both noticed some positive chemistry in the mix. We also couldn't help but observe that our young charges' crotches were stirring.
"Okay, guys, you two in the back," Dave said, as he grabbed Justin's luggage and wedged the bags into the trunk.
"First stop, Mrs. Palmer's house," I said as we pulled away from the curb. At one point I turned around and was pleased to see the two young guys laughing and chatting away. Justin caught my eye and gave me a thumbs-up. Bryan, picking up on our silent communication, duplicated the thumbs up sign with a big smile. 'Oh, yeah,' I judged, 'these two are going to get along just fine.'
"The introduction went well. Bryan and Justin are going to have a lot of fun this week, and I know that Eunice approved," I said as I got into bed. We had watched TV after eating pizza and called it a night around ten. Bryan was in the smaller guestroom and was welcomed to watch more TV. I was impressed when he said he'd 'take a pass' because he needed to finish Jules Verne's classic, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, for his English lit class.
"I'm not sure what you mean by 'fun'," Mike said as he playfully ran his hand over my chest and tweaked a nipple. "Those two may need a little monitoring and guidance."
"Yeah, I picked up on that at the airport. If the crotch bulges are any indication, those two are amply endowed."
"Babe, the only endowment I care about tonight is yours," he replied with a hungry gruffness.
I welcomed Mike's lips and tongue as he lapped around my pecs and underarms before moving up for a full-frontal attack on my ears. "And 'Davey' cares about you," I mumbled as he explored my body.
"Umm, you taste good...everywhere."
"You haven't tried everywhere, yet," I answered in a playful, challenging tone.
As he kissed me I reached down and grabbed his now familiar, hard, dripping cock. I tugged up and down while his tongue assaulted my mouth. As our tongues played with each other I moved my hand down to his scrotum and slowly rolled his cum-bearing nuggets.
"You know how to handle a man," Mike said as he raised his head and smiled.
"I know how to handle my man...the question is, do you know how to handle yours?" I giggled wickedly.
"That topic isn't even open for discussion." Mike slowly feather-kissed his way down my chest and abs, stopping only when he arrived at an alert 'Davey'. "Looks like my man is paying attention," Mike said before he slowly took 'Davey's' knob into his mouth. He tongue twirled around my hard dickhead as he hungrily consumed my dribbles of pre-cum.
"Oh, yeah, babe," I yelled in response. While he kept 'Davey' occupied, Mike took his wet fingers and started our well-practiced ritual of tempting the wrinkled ridges of my anal orifice with firm massage strokes. "Uhh, shit..."
"Naw, it's 'oh, fuck', lover," Mike growled before he pushed my legs up.
While I pulled them up further, he replaced his fingers with an eager tongue. God, I loved his rimming style. It was unsaid by either of us that the back area needed to be clean at night. Unlike some who loved the musky, funky flavors, neither of us was in that category. I shivered in lust and love as he deeply darted in and out of my chute, his tongue finding different areas to pleasure me.
"Mike, I want you on your back," I said as I put down my legs. I swung around as he eagerly took my place. I positioned myself with my butt over his crotch, facing him, as he grabbed the lube and coated both our dicks.
He pushed his hard, hot, slick cock straight up and held it while I lowered myself, growling, "Urghh," as I was impaled. "I think sometimes you're a control freak, but I love it," he murmured as my ass cheeks grazed his trimmed pubes.
I smiled and slowly rotated his cock around in my chute and said, "Enjoy the ride." I smiled as I gently grabbed his shoulders for support. Thus in position, we both began to experience the joy of pleasing each other. Mike knew that I really craved him deep in me and I knew exactly how to milk him into blissful submission.
I had plenty of time before leaving for work, judging from the clock on the coffeemaker. It was only 7:15 a.m. and I didn't know if I'd see our young guest before I left for the construction site.
"Morning," Dave said, stifling a yawn. We both were in the morning uniform of gym shorts and a tee. I smiled, kissed him and poured coffee for both of us.
"Hey, tiger," I replied with a wink and motioned him to sit at the table that I had set with juice, cereal and milk.
"That was some tiger in my tank last night," Dave answered, laughing as he sat.
"And that wasn't tiger milk," I said as I joined him.
"Ewww, TMI, babe. This is too 'X' rated for the daytime." We both smiled and started our morning breakfast.
"I've got the architect meeting with me Monday morning at eight," Dave said. "Can you join us for a while before going to work? It'll be to review the final floor plans and layout."
We became inspired to plan an add-on guest cottage in the back yard area after seeing what Brent and Doug had done to their condo. "I'll make time. The guy said he'd walk the plans through the city building department. We should be able to get the permits in a couple of weeks and break ground in May." The idea was to have a completed structure ready for interior installation by September.
"Thanks for indulging me, Mike. I gotta a feeling that we're going to need this addition sooner than later." The plan was to erect a double carport on the side of the house and build behind it a 900 sq. ft. freestanding cottage with a master bedroom, bath, den/living area and a wet bar with a microwave and under-counter refrigerator.
"I hear ya. I like the idea of the plumbing rough-ins for an outside toilet and shower facility." Phase II, next winter, would be construction of a lap-pool. 'The large backyard has come in handy,' I thought, 'because we can build the addition and still have plenty of room.' I had willingly come to accept Dave's money on special projects. For the most part, my partner was very frugal and this would be a good investment by increasing the value of our home.
"Hi, Uncle Mike, Uncle Dave," we heard from the doorway. Turning, we welcomed our slightly awake teen nephew wearing board shorts with a tank top that was molded to his tight torso.
"Come on over here and properly greet your uncles," Dave said, standing.
I did the same as Bryan padded over and hugged and kissed each of us.
"Is cereal alright?" I asked. "This is pretty much the way we start the day."
"That's super. Just so it's not Fruit Loops or 'Capt'n Crunch," he said with a grin as he sat down in a gangly sprawl.
"We're part of the granola, tree-hugging crowd," I replied with a smile. I couldn't help but notice that Bryan was definitely filling out physically as the man he was becoming. 'He was going to make some guy very happy,' I thought, noticing a very full crotch below a defined six-pack. "You want a banana?" I gestured to the fruit basket on the counter. 'Whoops,' I wondered with a smile, 'was that a Freudian slip?'
"Yes, I'll get one," Bryan replied, getting up from the table, "So, the plan is for Justin and I to go to UCSD with you, Uncle Dave?"
"Yep, that's the plan. Bring your gym bag so we can work out and do some lap swimming. We should also have time to take a fast tour of the campus and check out La Jolla. Then we'll all get together later with Doug and Mike for dinner."
"Great. This is all new to me," Bryan replied with energetic enthusiasm as he returned to the table and starting peeling the banana.
"We'll leave in a half-hour, and I suggest a fast shower after breakfast. You shaving yet?" Dave asked.
"I've got an electric shaver for touch-up. It's mostly the chin," he answered, rubbing his face.
"That'll change very soon. Why don't you do that this morning? It'll be one less thing to worry about tonight?" I said.
"You got it, Uncle Mike," he replied before wolfing down his first feeding.
The rest of the day proceeded as planned. Bryan and Justin were naturals as compatible friends. When we went over to the locker rooms to change into our workout gear, neither was particularly modest. I wasn't surprised when I confirmed my suspicions: each young man, cut, had nothing to be concerned about in the size department.
Justin had gone out for the swim team and had pleased the coach with his progress. Bryan was happy to be back in the water and challenged his new friend to competitive laps. He had completely healed and was back on a training regimen. They loved it when I - the old guy - held my own for several laps.
That evening, after Doug arrived, we all went out to one of the Connor Group restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter to take advantage of Mike's management discount card. Doug mentioned, when the young guys went to the restroom, that he noticed a real budding friendship between Justin and Bryan. We all agreed to observe where the two were taking this relationship and be available for the boys seeking advice...if necessary.
We returned to the house and decided to turn in for the evening. Mike and I had a meeting with Eunice and her lawyer in the morning, and Doug was really beat from the week. He volunteered to take the guys shopping in the morning and join us for lunch.
Mike was in the bathroom and I was about to close the bedroom door when Bryan arrived, grinning broadly, wearing the uniform of the night...briefs.
"Hey, have a good day?" I asked, cheerfully.
"The best," he said enthusiastically. "Justin and I really are getting along well...he's a neat guy. And I also want to thank you and Uncle Mike for, you know, being a part of my new life. It's really cool that you've made me feel so comfortable...just like my dads."
"We're going to be part of your life for a long time." I replied as I took Bryan and gave him a big hug. He responded by almost knocking the wind out of me. "Hey, big guy, you don't know your own strength."
"Sorry, Dave. I love my San Diego family so much. Oh, and speaking of 'big guy', I now know why Uncle Mike is always smiling," he replied with a chuckle.
I smiled, realizing that he had checked me out in the locker room. "Yikes, no comment," I said with a wink that sent him laughing harder. "Good night, buddy. We love you, too." I kissed him on the cheek, gently bumped his fist and added, "FYI, there are no complaints." I playfully slapped his shoulder and closed the door. I heard louder laughter echoing in the hallway as Bryan returned to his room.
I smiled as I padded over to the bed and thought of Russ and me - ten years ago in St. Paul. 'Those years have gone by so fast.'
Doug and Bryan stepped in briefly to pay respects to Mrs. Palmer and then departed to the mall with Justin. We confirmed that we'd all meet up back at the Palmer house at noon and go to lunch.
"Boys, thanks for meeting me this morning," Eunice Palmer said.
"No problem. Whatever you need, we're ready to help out," Mike replied.
"What can we do?" I asked. We were both very concerned about Eunice's declining health. She stayed in the chair when we arrived, saying that it was too painful to move around very much.
"My lawyer will be here momentarily. The reason..." The doorbell interrupted her. "Dave, would you be a dear and answer it?"
"Yes, Ma'am." I went to the door and let in a gray-haired, distinguished man. He was dressed casually - for an older man - and was carrying a briefcase.
"Hello, I'm Henry Martin," he said, extending his hand.
"Dave Swenson." I smiled and shook his hand and stepped back to allow his entry.
"Eunice, I wish we were meeting under more pleasant circumstances," Henry said as he walked over to Eunice, took her hand and kissed her gently on the forehead.
Mike and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows.
"Thanks for interrupting your Saturday," Eunice replied.
Without missing a beat, Henry turned to Mike. "And you are Mike Cole?"
"Yes, Sir," Mike answered and shook Henry's hand.
"Let's sit with Eunice, then."
Following his request, Mike and I brought chairs from the dining room and arranged them around Eunice.
"You two are probably too young to remember Frank Sinatra's song, 'I Did It My Way'?" she asked.
"I remember the song," I replied, "and something like, 'Regrets, I've had a few...' or, close to it?" We all nodded.
"Not to belabor the point, and with apologies for the dramatic, but my time in this world is drawing to a close. To say my health is failing is an understatement," Eunice announced, her eyes welling up with tears. She shook her head and looked down at the floor.
"Eunice, allow me to continue," Henry said.
She sighed, repressed a sniffle and nodded in agreement.
"Fellows, the bottom line is...there needs to be a plan that allows Mrs. Palmer to leave this place with a peace of mind that her responsibilities were kept. We are speaking of Justin." Mike and I looked at each other and exchanged a knowing look at the counselor.
"How much time is left?" Mike asked quietly.
Eunice looked at Henry and shrugged. He nodded his approval for her to answer.
"The doctor says that I have less than a month to get everything in order. I have almost everything covered except what happens to Justin." Eunice paused, took a deep breath and continued. "Boys, I want you to be his legal guardians. Both of you. I can't think of two finer people to help Justin continue his journey into manhood."
You could have heard the proverbial pin drop.
"What Mrs. Palmer proposes is for you - both of you - to be Justin's guardians until he reaches the age of 18. As you know, his education is already funded through high school. And Eunice will have a small estate available for the expenses to look after his college years."
"I...don't know how to...respond," I said haltingly. "I mean, it's no secret that your health is not up to par. Mike and I had thought that this day might come...just not quite this soon...and we are also concerned about Justin's fate. We really do look at him as part of our family."
"Eunice, Henry, I speak for Dave when I say that we will do whatever you want. We treasure Justin's arrival in our lives last Christmas. Legally, Henry, what rights do two gay men have with a minor male?"
"It's basically a decision that is in Eunice's hand. You two have no criminal past to disqualify you, and you're both very responsible adults. We are proposing that you be appointed guardians of Justin upon Eunice's departure. There are no other close relatives to contest the document." Henry was very confident in his statements.
"How does Justin feel about this plan?" I asked. Henry and Eunice looked at each other. She acquiesced to the lawyer.
"He's only aware that his grandmother is not well. Being away at school in Minnesota has shielded him from the current situation here. Eunice told me that the reality hit home last night when he returned from school."
"Okay, 'bottom line', as you said. Mike, shall I speak for both of us?"
"Mike and I are ready to step up to the plate and accept Justin as guardians, parents...whatever you want to call it. We've talked about this situation. In fact, we are expanding the size of our house." Everyone was listening to my statement very carefully. "Henry, we are fortunate not to have to worry about finances. Whatever estate Justin inherits will be targeted for his education. If this plan goes forward, Mike and I will make sure that he has a stable home and gets a college education."
Eunice was grinning broadly at my pronouncement.
"You've just made an old woman very happy. Come over here so that we can shake hands."
We both rose from our chairs and moved to either side of her. Simultaneously, we took a hand and leaned down for a kiss on her cheek. "God bless," Eunice said as she lightly squeezed our hands.
For the next hour we read all the legal documents Henry's office had prepared. He was witness and affixed his notary seal to each signed copy. We were talking about Justin's future when we heard the front door latch opening. The door opened and in bounded the young man, followed by Bryan and Doug.
"Hi, Grandma. Wow, did we have a good time at the mall," Justin said as he started to walk over to kiss Eunice. He stopped when he realized that there was an additional person in the room. "Umm, 'hi', Mr. Martin." He kissed Eunice and went over to Henry and shook his hand.
"Justin, I don't think we've seen each other since last fall. I suppose it's a clich to a guy your age, but you really have grown." Henry and Justin smiled warmly at each other before Justin introduced Bryan and Doug.
"Doug, I wonder if you and Bryan would wait outside, just for a few minutes? I've got a little family business to finish," Henry asked.
I smiled and nodded to Doug and Bryan.
"Sure, no problem...we'll enjoy a little San Diego sunshine," Doug replied, as he and Bryan exited the house.
Justin's face was shrouded with an expression of concern as he sat down next to Eunice.
"Dear, the men in this room have helped me take the next step in your future. As we discussed last night, my health is slipping and the doctors really don't give me much longer." She paused and let this sink in. Justin, eyes wide open, was glued to every word. Eunice looked over to Henry and silently acknowledged for him to continue.
"I prepared some legal documents that have just been signed by the people in this room. Basically, Dave and Mike have agreed to be your legal guardians if God takes your grandma away. I know that you've been aware of her failing health. Legally, this step is in order for your future. I guess the question to ask is this: would you be agreeable for these two men to be your guardians until you reach the age of 18?" There was complete silence, only broken up by traffic in the distance, while Justin pondered the situation and question. Slowly, he inhaled and let out an audible sigh.
"Grams, I guess I've known that this day would be coming. With no more Palmers in my future, a true-blood family is out of the question. I gotta tell y'all, I've come to love Dave and Mike, very much." After looking at each of us, he turned his full attention to Eunice. "I'll always love you, Grandma, wherever you are. And to answer your question, Mr. Martin, I would be very proud to call these guys my guardians."
Without any thought, Mike and I stood and eased into a group embrace with Justin.
"Be assured that Mike and I will look after you. Henry is handling all the legal details. Please know that we won't let you down."
"We plan on being a part of your life for a long time," Mike added.
Justin nodded silently with an understanding expression.
"Boys, why don't you all join your friends for lunch? Henry and I have some other business to attend to and then I'm going to take a nap. Justin, don't worry about me. The result of this morning's meeting gives me much peace of mind."
"Okay, Grams." Justin walked over and kissed her affectionately on the lips. Witnessing the contented smiles on the Palmer's faces, I sensed that this was a silent seal of approval by both parties. "You going to be okay?"
"Now that I know that Mike and Dave are going to look after you. I love you, Justin. Now git," Eunice said with a backhand wave.
"Maybe I should stay here, instead?" Justin raised his eyebrows in a questioning, caring expression.
"No. We'll see each other later." Eunice's firm tone in her voice communicated that the topic was closed for discussion.
"Let's go, then. I've got so much to talk about with you guys, Doug and Bryan." Leading the way was a confident young man who was beginning to understand the charted course for his immediate future.