A few days later, David's POV
I woke up a little after 5am. Going back to sleep was not even a remote possibility. It was one of those mornings when I felt rested. Normally, Peter was the one first out of bed but his breathing was regular, deep, and rhythmical. His mouth was wide open, his face slightly tilted away toward the wall on the other side of the bed, not easily accessible.
I worked my way out of bed, grabbed the crutches and headed into the bathroom where I peed and brushed my teeth. I looked into the mirror and quickly had to turn away. Heh heh heh, my hair was tossed and turned, wafts of hair stuck out here and there, one side was plastered to my head. And I needed a haircut.
Just then, as I was taking inventory, Andy entered the restroom scampering to the toilet where he pointed down his maleness and let loose. He turned to me smiling, "Ahhh what a relief!" At the end of his pee he pushed down hard. From his butt he released a long winded fart to be proud of. I rolled my eyes up into my head and made pretend that I was totally gagging.
He shook his fully hard cock several times. He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders, holstered his man gland, snapped his underwear against his body, flushed, washed his hands and tugged on my elbow. When I turned to face him he quickly kissed my lips and scampered off toward his room. He turned to face me when he arrived at the doorway into his room.
He said, "David, I love you. I don't care what they say."
"Love you too. Want me to tuck you in?" I said grinning knowing he'd never go for it. That is until he continued to stand there… as if he were waiting.
I took off down the hallway and soon arrived in front of him. He took my elbow in his hand and led us into the bedroom. "Harry's hogs the covers, David. I swear he does."
I surveyed the situation. Fumbling around in the dark I found that the sheet and blanket were indeed wrapped around his upper body. I felt down his form looking for the ends of the covers so that I could pull them free but all I felt was his skin and underwear covered butt. I poked his butthole with my finger in an effort to get him to turn over or something so that the covers could be freed.
No go. His breathing never changed.
"Harry, wake up." I said jiggling his arm.
Simultaneously, Andy repeated my command.
The poor boy was dead to the world so rather than waking him I retrieved another sheet from the bottom dresser drawer, draped it over Andy's form and told him to guard it with his life. He thought that was funny then in a whisper he said into my ear, "You said I could ask you any questions, right?"
"Yeah, what's on your mind?"
"Uhm, well, Harry and I jacked off before we went to bed… is that okay? I mean are you sure?"
"Well yeah dufus."
"See, you're making fun of me. Sorry I asked." Andy said then rolled over facing Harry's back.
"Hey, if your big brother doesn't make fun of you then who will? Pray tell a stranger do it cuz I'd have to kick some serious ass. Lighten up dude. Let me tell you something very serious, turn over so I know you're listening." I said then firmly assisted his repositioning so that his face was pointed toward mine.
"Andy, listen to me very carefully… <Andy nodded>… if we stop kidding around with you then you need to know that something's up, okay? I'm serious. We're all your older brothers and it's our job to rib the younger brothers. I had to learn the 'code' with Jeremy. He was ruthless dude. So get used to it."
"David, I mean… well, my bigger brothers… they teased me all the time… I got sick of their shit man. Nobody fucking takes me serious." Andy said seriously.
"Andy, it's like this… hear me out… okay? <Nod>. We've had some serious shit happen in this house, in our family. We take those things dead serious but only to support each other. When we're having smooth sailing, which is most of the time, then we play, have fun, and rib each other. Everybody here's different. You'll learn how to kid right along with the rest of us. But get used to receiving… it's all in fun. Nobody's trying to hurt each other. About your question… you can jack off with anybody you want to so long as they say it's okay, and if you're okay with it. Were you and Harry okay with jacking off together? Yes or no."
"Well yeah or I wouldn't have done it." Andy replied.
"And Harry was okay with it too?"
"Well yeah. No, he didn't touch me… not there… I mean we had our legs wrapped up kinda…"
"So did that feel weird? Did anybody force anything?"
"Nope… okay, I just wanted to know, David." Andy said softly.
I reached around his midsection and hugged him firmly to let him know that I was there for him. We briefly kissed lips then he turned to face Harry's back and I snuggled the sheet around him, kissed his temple, "Love you bro. Just roll with it. This is all real."
With that said I headed to the pool. I noticed that the dining room, where dad had been sleeping since his injury was uninhabited, the hospital bed was made up, and the usual stuff that he kept on a makeshift bed stand was gone. I wondered if he'd moved back upstairs with mom as he had been hoping and wishing for as his mobility had dramatically improved. Hopefully he'd not made the trip by himself. Knowing mom she would have assisted him in any way possible.
I looked outside, saw dad sitting on a chaise lounge at pools' edge. He was alone just sitting and watching the water dance. The look on his face showed that he was deep in thought. I debated about bothering him or going on out to join him.
I slammed down the orange juice and walked thru the doors and out onto the patio deck. Dad looked up, smiled and waved me to join him.
We hugged then I sat down.
"You're up early this morning. Is everything okay?"
"Yup, I'm just up early this morning. Are you okay? I noticed your room doesn't appear to have been slept in."
"I'm good. I made it up the stairs last night. God, it was so good to sleep in my own bed."
"I know the feeling."
After a few moments to take in the water, the sky that was beginning to light up from the sun rising in the east. There were a few wispy clouds on the horizon, and hearing the first birds waking up for the day doing what they normally did, I said, "Is this all real?"
Dad snickered, "I think so. The idea of this all being a dream has crossed my mind a number of times over the past few months."
"Yeah, me too. Our family has grown… I mean who would have thought we'd have so many people added… sometimes I think this is all a dream. Would you, could you ever imagine that so many of us from so many different ways of life would ever join us? It's all good, dad. Don't get me wrong… I'd not trade our lives we have today for anything."
"I know what you mean. David, I never ever thought I'd marry again. Your mom was one special lady. I didn't ever think that I'd meet someone like her. And I haven't. Peggy, I feel the same about her although our relationship is very different. She's her own person just like your mom was. I love her a lot. We're going to be okay."
"Jeremy and I were just talking a few days ago after you guys announced that our new house was moving along. I guess I'm okay with it. There are so many memories here though. Jeremy and I have grown up here."
"I know. At first, I had a little bit of trouble because you're right that a lot of history is in this house but just remember that a home is comprised of people and a house is where those people live. The more I thought about the new place the more I liked the idea."
"I feel kinda the same way. I mean I'm kewl. You're right. As long as we are together everything's cool."
We nodded in agreement.
"How's your bottom this morning… are you getting back to normal and everything?"
"Yup. It's kewl too. Dad…"
"Peter and I made love that way. We're back on track… you were right about the moment and how we would know when we were ready."
Dad looked at me with curiosity written all over his face. I added, "It's different now. I mean we're not in a hurry or anything… well most of the time anyway… we have our moments. We're taking it easy, nice and slow."
Dad smiled, "I kind of thought you guys would… there's nothing like connecting to our mates, and I mean getting to know one another on a much deeper level. I'm proud of you both for the hard work you've done, and I'm really glad you guys are sticking together… it's been hard for you this past several months."
"It's been hard for all of us… but I guess we're pretty strong."
Dad snickered, "You guess?"
It was my turn to laugh, "Yeah, we're strong. We're gentle too."
"I'm going to swim some laps now, okay daddy-o?"
"Knock yourself out."
I got up, dropped my running shorts to the pavement. Dad reached down, picked them up and laid them on the table.
"Dad, can we get a new mattress? The one we have has seen better days. Sometimes I wake up with a back ache. It's not bad or anything."
"Can you wait a few weeks? You guys will all be getting new beds. They are a part of the plan."
"Sure, no problem."
With that said I walked to the edge using my crutches. I sat down, tossed them aside and then dove in, and began swimming laps. I swam 20 then sat on the edge for the cool down period.
Dad said, "We're going to Peggy and Antoine's house this morning to get it ready to put on the market. I think Peggy wanted to get a start on it around 10 or so."
"Okay, kewl. It ought to sell pretty quickly… it's a nice place. I know that Antoine has some things that he wants to pick up."
"Yeah, Peggy has some things to get too. Her mom had some antique fine ware, and plates that she wants to get. Grandma's coming over for the afternoon so we'll pick her up on the way home."
"Sounds good. Okay, I'm going to head in, get Peter up and stuff. Is there anything you need?"
"No, I'm all good. Thanks for asking.
With that I took off upstairs. The bathroom door was closed. The light on the bed stand table was on but there was no Peter in the room … heh heh heh.
At least a million gallons of water sprayed from the shower head as other heads, both small and large, danced to their own beat.
After getting out of the shower, drying off, doing our hair and brushing our teeth we returned to our bedroom and got dressed in all black … jeans, t-shirts, and briefs, the works.
Breakfast was pretty much whatever anybody wanted to eat. The atmosphere around the table was warm, friendly, open, and inviting. Andy, not necessarily a morning person was chattering away about this and that. Juan showed up just as we were cleaning up. He and dad took off for dad's home office to discuss some things not privy to the rest of us.
"Okay guys, get yourselves together. Antoine, we're heading to the house to get the last of our stuff out. Contractors are coming over later today so that it can be put on the market."
Antoine's eyes perked up wide and bright. He and Matt tore off upstairs and soon returned dressed in – all black.
Allen and Angel, who were dressed in all white, also tore out for their room … you guessed it: they returned wearing black socks, shorts and t-shirts.
Andy and Harry were the only ones wearing other than black … except Peggy wore a brightly flowered sun dress after saying that all black was for funerals. Very funny. But not much.
Dad and Juan had to go to dad's office in the city so they took off. We headed for Peggy's home. The people she'd hired to keep the place up didn't do their jobs. The flower gardens were overran with weeds, the grass was long and unkempt, a window pane in Antoine's room had been broken out which we would later find out permitted thieves access to interior of the house.
Peggy called the police. They arrived within minutes to sweep and secure the house and to take a burglary report. The house had been totally ransacked, all the furniture including an antique dining room table had been stolen, and holes had been knocked in several walls. Peggy was understandably worried and concerned because her desk had been rifled through. Both she and the cops were almost positive that identifying information had been stolen. Things can be replaced, houses can be repaired, and the like, but identities are difficult to restore intact.
Dad was going to contact Horace, the grounds and building manager for the Company, to get a contractor out so the house could be locked up tight as well as for arranging repair bids.
With that said and done Peggy began sifting through the mess while the rest of us scattered about doing this and that. Jeremy and Antoine took to the yard while Andy and Harry carefully picked up the shards of glass in Antoine's room and the kitchen.
Peter and I dug into the kitchen to begin the task of boxing up pots, pans, silverware, knickknacks, and other various and sundry utensils, glass bowls, plates, platters, linen, etc., in boxes and sealing them closed.
Doing all of that took the better part of the day and evening. Dad and Juan arrived about 4pm. Juan assessed the damage, took pictures (which we (and the cops) hadn't thought of doing), and looked for patterns. He thought, and dad agreed, that likely the damage and thefts had been done by professionals. The fact that the house was located in an out-of-the-way cull-d-sac with no neighbors in close proximity lent credence to his and dad's conclusions.
Mom ordered pizza delivery since we'd not eaten all day. We hadn't really paid any attention since we had been busy doing this or that.
Needless to say we hadn't picked up grandma nor had the errands been ran. Everybody was grungy dirty, and even dad dug in doing what he could.
Juan, meanwhile, fixed the windows so they were secure to keep honest people honest and the weather out. Dad hired a reputable security company to keep close tabs on the property.
With the Escalade and Jeremy's truck loaded for bear we took off for home where we unloaded into the garage their stuff then everybody headed for showers and relaxation.
Sunday, a week later
Nobody who had stolen the stuff had been identified. The good news was that there was no indication that Peggy's identity had been stolen, and no credit cards or account numbers had been used for unsavory purposes. The damage had been estimated at about $8,000. Repairs had begun. A real estate agent that mom knew had been signed up. Things appeared to be looking up.
That Sunday promised to be a busy day what with Maria, Jesus and AZ's new home christening and all that goes along with that. Although they had seen the outside of their house they had no idea what had been done to the inside. On the days of furniture deliveries Father Ben had conveniently had Maria doing special chores, running errands, or what not.
Almost simultaneously, our property was excavated, the foundation lain, rough-in completed and the exterior built so the interior would not be damaged by the weather, water spray from the ocean, sun, and wind. The house faced south. It was being built about 500 yards from shore, on a hill with the large floor to ceiling windows facing the ocean. Due to construction vehicles all around, threats of nails and other construction materials and whatnot we were not permitted inside the property boundaries.
We arrived at about 8:30am. The plan was to attend Mass at 10am and then at noon their house would have its christening and opening party and ceremony.
We picked up grandma. She was in a really good mood. She made an effort to get around to everyone to give and receive hugs.
Mass was okay, for a church service. The sermon was on forgiveness and hope. Father Ben did a really nice job with it. "The ultimate healing experience is when those aggrieved can forgive their attackers and move on with their lives." Peter put his hand in mine and clasped firmly. I looked down our row and saw Andy paying rapt attention to what Father Ben was saying.
After the service was finished most everybody went downstairs to the basement for a pot luck dinner. Peter, Matt, Harry, Antoine and I went outside to get a breath of fresh air while the people rushed around grabbing their plate full's of food.
While we were outside walking around shooting the shit a procession of black Escalade, Jeep, and Humvee vehicles came roaring into the parking lot. There were no less than 15 of them. Men in black suits exited the vehicles and fanned out searching here, there and everywhere.
A few minutes later the President, his wife and daughters, and a couple of new guys in black suits exited an Escalade and began walking toward the church. When they arrived, Mr. President looked at Peter.
"Hey Mr. President, what are you doing here?" Matt asked skeptically.
"Be quite Matt. Good morning sir." Peter said respectfully then walked to the man and shook his hand.
"Good morning to you too, Peter. It's good to see you looking so happy and healthy this morning. Hello David. It's really good to see you too."
"Yes sir, I agree… it's good to see you too."
Mrs. President said, "Did we miss the service? We got a late start this morning."
Peter spoke up, "Yes ma'am. If you're interested we're having a pot luck dinner. We just came out to get some fresh air. We'll be glad to escort you."
Mr. President looked to one of their security guys, a Secret Service agent, and asked if they could join us. The agent said, "Yes of course sir. We'll sweep the area and…"
Antoine spoke up, "Sir, the area is secure. There are only 6 other families and our own that are here. We are just fine. Maybe you would want to surprise our people in a good way?"
The agent looked to the president for guidance. Mr. President nodded and said, "I'm sorry son I don't remember your name but I do remember your face…"
"My name is Antoine, sir. We will be happy to escort you. Trust me sir. You and your family are safe."
Mr. President smiled, took his wife's hand in his, and said, "Lead the way. We'd be honored to have you escort us. To make our guys feel like they are doing their jobs, could we wait just a moment while they get in position at the doors?"
The lead agent standing next to Mr. President frowned but he got on his walkie talkie thing and gave the orders to secure all the doors that go in and come out of the church. A bunch of agents went scurrying to follow his orders.
The agent said to Mr. President, "Are you sure sir?"
The Commander in Chief looked at each of us one more time before saying to the agent, "Yes, we're fine. If these boys say something then rest assured we can believe them. Who are you, young man?" He added looking to Harry and extending his hand.
"My name is Harry. Harry Cisneros. I'm pleased to meet you."
The President took a double take then smiled broadly and eagerly shook Harry's hand. He said to the agent, "We are more than fine. Young Harry's father's name is Juan Cisneros."
The agent looked at the president. With a gleam in his eyes and with a very casual voice said, "Go right ahead sir. We'll follow up the rear."
Mr. President smiled. He said to me, "Lead the way then."
When we got downstairs, not too many people were paying any attention to us. They were busy in line or eating at tables while talking to friends or family.
Mom casually looked up and her eyes about popped out of her head. She bumped dad's elbow and pointed toward us.
Dad looked up. I know the words "OH SHIT!" were muttered under his breath because he quickly got up and walked to us. Quickly he shook the president's hand and then quickly turned toward the congregation and shouted, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, The President of the United States."
Father Ben, busily talking to someone facing away from the stage turned around quickly and then dropped his plastic plate of food to the floor. The room hushed and everybody froze in place.
I said, "The President is joining us. I hope there's food left."
Father Ben nearly fell over himself as he half ran half walked to Mr. President, introduced himself and led the first family to the tables with bountiful food. When the oldest daughter walked by she leaned into my face and said, "Thank you. It's about time we get to eat some down home homemade food."
I smiled warmly and extended my arms for her to follow her mom and daughter but instead of walking to them she kissed my cheek and pulled me into a hug. In my ear she said, "You're hot, David." During the hug her arms trailed down and cupped my cheeks, the cheeks south of the border.
I moved to release our embrace but Peter beat me to it. He jerked her arms away and said like a Cheetah, "He's all mine. Take your paws somewhere else."
Nobody except us overheard the exchange of words but Andy was giggling wildly. He walked to the girl, took her hand in his then led her to the table where the food was located. He was strutting his stuff. All of Peter's jealous anger left. We both had a good deep belly laugh when his hospitality was largely ignored.
He's pretty quick on the uptake so he walked to us. On his way, he looked all around then reached down in front and mockingly jacked his dick 3 or 4 times. That set us off to laughing hard again. Indigently he said, too loud for comfort, "Damn, I'm the only eligible straight guy around here. Well, fuck her. She wouldn't know class if it bit her ass."
I took hold of his chin, held it firmly and said, "Behave dickweed. If you came to our side then you might have chicks coming to you and grabbing your ass and kissing your cheek. I'm sure the ho wants more than just my cheek and ass if ya know what I mean."
Much to our surprise, and even more surprise to his intended victim, he walked to Harry, put his arms around him and sucked him into a long, lingering and tongue filled kiss. He whispered something into Harry's shocked face and then strutted over to the president's daughter.
That earned him a kiss from her.
Her mother quickly took hold of her daughter's shoulder and led her into line.
I couldn't handle it anymore. Peter about dropped over from laughing so hard. Even Antoine, normally diplomatic and reserve, cackled.
Mom walked over and said, "What are you guys doing?"
We totally lost control. I tried to say what happened but I broke into cackles every time I tried to say something. What sobered me up though was when Harry walked past us and quickly headed up the stairs and to the outside.
Our laughter died down. I said, "I'll be right back."
Peter, recovered somewhat, accompanied me. Harry was walking toward the ocean at a very fast pace, not looking back at our calls to him.
Peter said, "The poor kid. I guess we didn't take his feelings into account. Let's go talk to him."
I replied, "Yeah, we fucked this one up. Remind me to kick Andy's ass when we get home."
We began walking toward where Harry had stopped just in front of the water's edge, staring down at the sand beneath his feet. When we got close enough it was easy to tell that he was crying.
Peter walked to one side while I walked to the other. He jumped when we put our arms around his shoulders but he didn't fight us. In fact he buried his face into my chest and began crying seriously. Peter spooned Harry from behind while I held him in my arms and let him express his emotions.
I said to Harry, "I'm sorry. What we did back there was pretty cruel. Andy was wrong too but I'm sorry that our laughing ended up being at your expense though we didn't mean for it to. Come on; let's go sit on the swing."
Harry didn't resist.
When we were seated, Peter said, "I'm sorry too. In a way, it's funny too. Andy got his feathers beat down pretty bad. Ha, shows what he knows about the girls. The trouble with him is that he's pretty insensitive at times. At other times he's very sensitive."
"I thought he loved me." Harry said sniffling, hiccupping.
"No doubt he does, Harry. If he loves you then he showed it all wrong. Is there something we don't know about?
Peter handed him a Kleenex which he used to blow his nose and blot the tears from his eyes. He stuck it in his pocket. Yuck. He's very environmental conscious though.
Harry replied warily, "I mean we stay up late talking and stuff. He's got his hands or legs touching me all the time. And I guess, well we've been jacking off and stuff too."
"Really?" I asked curiously.
"Yeah, ever since… well you know… oh wait… no… We don't do anything to each other… if that's what you're thinking." Harry stammered.
"You're receiving mixed messages… I can see why you're upset, Harry. I think he loves you in a brotherly way. But what he did down there was totally wrong. We'll call him on it because it was totally insensitive."
"Nah, don't give him any shit. It's no big deal. Really it isn't."
"Yeah it's a big deal. He did something to you with the wrong idea and for all the wrong reasons."
Unbeknownst to us Andy had walked up. He said, "Yeah, I was wrong. Sorry Harry."
After patting Harry's shoulder Andy took off for the beach from where we'd just came from. He stared out over the ocean.
Peter said, "I'll go talk to him. Be right back."
While pulling Harry into my side I said, "Why don't you go fix yourself a plate? We'll be in in a few."
"Okay but don't be too hard on him. I could have pushed him away… I didn't know."
"Harry, stop taking any responsibility for what he did. He was wrong and he knows it."
Harry looked into my eyes, nodded and then took off for the rectory basement without saying another word.
Peter and Andy were talking quietly… at least over the roar of the ocean. I walked up and said, "Harry's fixing him a plate. Andy, what's up? Why did you do that? You were pretty insensitive. I think Harry's receiving mixed messages from you. Talk to us."
"Like what? I don't understand." Andy said clearly perplexed.
"Well, both of you have talked to me about intimate issues… he's basically asked the same questions you asked me the other day… you know… about sleeping together, touching, jacking off together… I just think he's on a different page with you. Like maybe he really likes you… I'm not talking about sex stuff really."
"Look, I said I was wrong. There they are… come on."
Without waiting for us to respond Andy took off for the throng of people exiting the church.
Peter said, "It's just something they'll need to work out. Talk about the Ho…"
I grinned. Without hesitation, Peter and I embraced then did some serious tongue lashing, a few grinds in strategic places, and then came up breathless. When we got to the point of do or die we parted and started walking toward the group. The Ho was looking at us intently… clearly the look on her face said, "What the fuck!"
I looked to Peter grinning my ass off.
Harry, looking from the door of the church, just rolled his eyes. The hurt was gone from his eyes; in fact he was very amused.
Smiling, Peter and I shrugged our shoulders and motioned for him to walk with us. Which he did.
We saw Antoine and Matt escorting Maria, Jesus and AZ to the platform. Dad motioned for us to join him, mom, Allen, Angel and Andy. They were being escorted to seats on the platform so we hurried up but then, in my haste, fell face first into the sand. It was a normal thing. I'd done it many times. Just brush off, get up and get on with it was my deal. However, 3 agents quickly came to my side and lifted me to my feet.
Concernedly, one of the agents asked, "Are you okay young man? You went down hard."
"No, I'm fine. I do it all the time." I replied then knocked on my leg. The new Leg didn't thud like the old ones had done so I raised the hem of my pants and showed him the prosthesis after lowering my sock.
He said, "I would have never known. I'm sorry if I disturbed your dignity."
"Oh thanks. No, no problem. I'm used to my dignity getting broke… so I don't have much." I chuckled. He went on about his business, shaking his head.
After everybody was seated dad went to the lectern and began the ceremony by calling Maria, Jesus and AZ to stand with him. Antoine accompanied them to make sure dad didn't trip, and to interpret.
Antoine really looked nice in his white suit and maroon tie. Matt looked equally nice in his white suit and dark blue checkered tie. They looked really good as a couple.
I looked over to Allen who looked back, smiled widely and gave me the thumbs' up gesture. Angel looked over and wiggled his eyebrows and then turned back forward.
Dad said, "I'm so glad you are all here to celebrate with Maria. She is a very humble woman, proud of her boys and their accomplishments, their resiliency and ability to see forward through the difficult moments they've been given in this lifetime."
He went on to say how her family became enmeshed with ours, how Maria had taken it upon herself to pitch in and 'take over the kitchen' (she chuckled… and nodded a 'definite yes').
Tears freely flowed from her eyes when the foundation was once again mentioned, and how all the good people on the island came around providing support and assistance with its formation.
Meanwhile, from the corner of my eye I noticed that The Ho and Andy were walking toward the beach. Two agents were on their heels, yet following at a respectful distance so as to afford them privacy.
I got Peter's attention and pointed in their direction.
Two older brothers + a younger brother + 1 Ho makes for an interesting challenge to stay focused on what dad was saying.
The combination of his daughter and a boy, largely unknown to him, walking toward the ocean got the President's attention too. His wife, the first lady, and he whispered back and forth then she got up and walked toward the beach. Of course the Secret Service got all anxious and shit and followed her at a close distance.
When she arrived at the beach, (she talks with her hands), she directed her daughter away from Andy and urged him to join us, which he did. As he was taking his seat behind Peter and me he whispered in my ear, "She's a fuckin slut. She wanted to fuck me. That's when her mom showed up… damn."
He sat down. I snickered and whispered his disclosure to Peter. Peter smiled widely and shook his head.
A few minutes later the first lady and her daughter returned. The Ho girl sat obediently, looking straight forward. She was not a happy camper.
Dad then introduced the President.
"Good morning ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. I'm very grateful to be here this morning. I'm grateful that you took us in and treated us as one of your very own. It is not often that we are offered a home cooked meal and fellowship in your family. So thank you again."
"We're gathered here this morning to celebrate a remarkable family, their triumphs over disaster, and their continued giving to the community in which they live. We should take lessons from them."
"Maria, there is no way to erase what has happened. I'm sorry that we can't take away the pain of the loss of your sons. The United States of America is behind you all way, as are we all. If there is anything that we can do for you, day or night, then please personally contact me."
"I was given a task this morning, Mrs. Moreno. But I don't see it as a task at all. Instead, what I am about to do is totally an honor and a privilege. Would you please stand?"
Maria stood then pulled her children into her side.
Mr. President said to Maria, "May God bless you and keep you and your children safe all the days of your lives. Please accept these gifts from your friends and extended family."
With that said mom got up and handed the President a key ring and then stood behind Maria and put her arms on her shoulders.
He then handed the key ring to Maria. Her eyes filled with tears and the boys clung to her sides as they too had tears freely flowing down their faces and onto their blue pin-striped suits. (I knew those boys were suffering beyond comprehension… I'd never known them to wear anything other than raggedy shorts, t-shirts and bare feet).
Peter pointed up on stage. He was really having a hard time keeping his composure. I moved around… I couldn't help but to snicker when I saw the boys in bare feet. Mom looked at me sternly and dad turned around to look at what was so funny.
Jeremy thumped my earlobe. Andy leaned forward and said into my ear, "You guys are dorks."
I leaned back and told him to look on stage to the boys' feet. He did. He snickered too. He was quick to whisper in Allen's ear then into Angel's ear what the observations had been. Okay, so we had a grinning and occasionally snickering row.
Maria smiled then she reached around the lectern, Antoine looked down and laughed. When Maria turned back to the audience, in her hands were her son's shoes… black loafers… and socks.
She said, "My boys, they do not wear shoes. I scolded them into their suits this morning. Sir, my children, they are little naturists at heart. Their big brother, Antoine, had to threaten their lives so that they would wear the ties."
She put the shoes in front of the boys and admonished them to wear the shoes and then she turned to the president and said, "Thank you sir." To us she said, "My family, I cannot thank you enough. I do not know how to repay you."
Angel spoke up and happily proclaimed, "Your burritos say it all. Thanks Maria. We love you."
The group gave her a big round of happy applause. Tears streamed down her cheeks then she turned back to her boys and admonished them some more about putting on their shoes but when they more or less refused she said into the mic, "Boys!"
Grandma, sitting on my left side, got up and was assisted to the stage by Jeremy, Allen and Jason.
She pulled Maria into a hug, patted her back, and said, "This is Maria, my friend. Okay, the next act in this show is watching her open the door for the first time so let's all make our way to the house."
Everybody made their way to the front sidewalk and stopped before a garden. We'd later learn that Antoine designed and helped Jesus and AZ put it together. It was simply beautiful. In the middle were two statues… one was of a small boy and the other was a statue of a larger boy, complete with genitalia. Father Ben had had them specially made so that her lost and dead boys would not be soon forgotten.
When we arrived at the steps leading into the house grandma put her arm around Maria's shoulder and led her to the door. Maria unlocked it, tucked her head down for a moment, crossed herself and then pushed open the door.
Utter and complete amazement and shock overtook her face. Her eyes opened widely as if they had been transformed into saucers. She grabbed hold of her sons, who were anxious to see what was happening, and led them on their first steps into the new world in which they would live.
I need to turn this over to Antoine since mom indicated that the whole thing was very overwhelming to Maria.
I'd seen the interior of the house as a 'need to know' person. I'd done a lot of the bedroom designs for the boys. Each would have their own room, and because they were so close both rooms were joined together by a common bathroom with doors opening into each of their bedrooms.
Both boys put their hands in mine and clasped tightly.
It was all too much for Jesus. He turned into me and buried his face into my chest. He wasn't crying… he was just overwhelmed.
Almost as quickly, though, he turned back around and walked into the huge, spacious, dark wood kitchen and dining room. His eyes were blazing. And then he ran into the main living area which was also wide open and plopped down on a large overstuffed sofa.
As we followed him throughout the house, Maria got little glances of this and that but instead of my hand he was holding… he was basically dragging her around by the coat tails. AZ, the more reserved of the two held onto my hand.
I admonished both boys with instructions to let women go before guys when Maria stopped at the master bedroom, which was hers. She slowly walked in and took in each and every little thing that mom had designed for her. Maria had no idea that each and every little detail had been mastered just for her.
She knelt down on a kneeler, lowered her head and began praying in earnest. I motioned for everybody to exit so that she could have her moment of privacy.
Meanwhile, I led Jesus into his room first. I'd had it brightly colored with a baby blue base for contrast. He stood in the middle of his room taking it all in. He laid down on the carpet and rubbed his face against the soft but sturdy textures, smiling all the while. He then bounced up, ran to his bed and said, "Is this mine?"
"Yes, it's all yours. How does it feel?" I asked.
He looked at it really strange like but then sat down. The mattress was extra soft which nearly swallowed him up. He giggled then laid down in the middle of the bed. He scooted around and found a perfect position. Playfully he closed his eyes and snored a few times.
AZ walked to Jesus' bed, curiosity taking hold of his psyche. He turned to me, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. My brother… he cries at night. I have to rub him to make my brother stop crying."
I knew then why the boy walked around like an old man in the mornings. The air caught up in my throat. He never said anything. He never complained.
I walked to the bed, sat down and rubbed Jesus' chest and stomach. He was totally smiling and happy. My heart did pitter patters knowing that he was comfortable.
"Come on little man. There's more for you to see." I said. He grabbed my arm and pulled himself up.
It was AZ's turn to test out the bed. Playfully, he turned over and quickly acted like he was sound asleep but Jesus didn't buy it. As boys will do he soon started tickling AZ to get out of HIS bed. They both giggled.
I then went to the built in cedar dressers and began opening drawers to show him his new clothes.
His smile went ornery. Oh no.
Within 2 seconds his suit, shirt and tie were scattered about within 5 feet of him. Then in one fluid move his underwear laid at his feet. Wearing an impish smile he reached into one of the drawers containing shorts… he fetched out a pair of bright blue running shorts and put them on. He said, "These are just like yours!"
He then, in one flying leap, nearly tackled me by jumping into my arms and holding on tight. He then began kissing my cheeks, one after the other in rapid succession. I squeezed him tight then urged that he pick up his clothes, which he did. I then walked to the walk-in closet, grabbed hangers and hung up his suit pants, then handed him the jacket and showed him how to use the hanger. Next, I had him grab his underwear and shirt then showed him the dirty clothes hamper in the bathroom. He thought that was pretty kewl.
"Okay, it's your brother's turn." I said.
Jesus turned to his brother and said intently, "This is fucking awesome, AZ. Well, come on!"
AZ's smile would have lit up the western hemisphere. Like his brother, he stood in the middle of his room and took everything in.
He didn't wait to try out the bed before getting undressed. He had been observant, more than I had thought. He went into his own walk-in closet and came out totally naked – then – he tested his bed. Because of his size, I had ordered a very firm mattress to give him support. He was just as happy as Jesus was with his, maybe even more so; it was hard to tell, really.
"Okay… Jesus go put on a shirt. AZ, shorts and a t-shirt. Come on, we've not seen everything yet."
That got their attention though I was sure that they'd be just fine spending all their time just where they were.
Excitedly, AZ opened his dresser drawers. He grabbed out a bright orange pair of gym shorts and put them on. He went and looked at himself in the full length mirror hanging on his side of the bathroom door. He turned around and was smiling broadly.
The boy however had a bit of a sagging problem. I'd ordered those shorts a few weeks ago… and well he was working hard and losing weight… I just hadn't realized how much he'd lost though. He was happy with them… oh no… By the time he'd walked to me his shorts were around his ankles.
I looked in the shorts drawer and found a pair of orange stretch shorts for him to put on. They fit better though they were baggy. He loved them. Too bad. Baggy shorts should be outlawed.
Oh no… he had the ornery look in his eyes just like Jesus had had… he planted his feet but I quickly sat down on the bed not knowing if I could take him body slamming me. While my ribs felt much, much, much better I didn't want to take the chance of re-injury. He sensed that that was what I was doing so he wrapped his legs around my midsection and pulled me into him and hugged me for all I was worth. When he backed up… tears were flowing down his cheeks.
"This is all yours. This is your very own room. Make some really good memories here, okay?"
That earned me another hug.
Both boys were stuck to me like they'd been glued as we went around the house… it was all new to them but they weren't afraid like I thought they may have been.
Mom had entered the house. She was showing Maria around the kitchen, where things were located. Maria was like totally excited because everything had been scaled to her height. Although she wasn't seriously vertically challenged some of the cabinets at our house had definitely challenged her, and she was deathly afraid of those little riser stools.
The best was for last. Not even Maria knew 'it' was there.
Mom said, "Let's go check out the laundry room."
Both boys kind of shrunk in… Like… that's not what I really want to do. They thought something was up though … you see I unbuttoned my coat, took off my tie and unbuttoned the top 3 buttons on my shirt. Instead of tossing off my coat … by the time we arrived in the laundry room I picked up a coat hanger and hung it up neatly. I then kicked off my loafers up next to the wall.
Both boys, Jesus especially, looked at me crazy when I unbuttoned the rest of my shirt down and then loosened my suit pants letting them drop to the floor which I quickly retrieved and hung up, leaving me in my underwear.
"What are you doing Antoine? Why are you stripping in front of our mothers?" Jesus asked totally whacked out, looking at me like I'd lost my last marbles.
Mom patted my shoulder and said, "I think you can take it from here."
Once they left I removed my underwear leaving me naked as the day I'd been born.
Maintaining my cool and reserve was increasingly getting difficult and even more difficult. Finally, I sat down on a solid oak bench, leaned over and took off my socks then said, "You guys have too many clothes on, yes?"
"But why Antoine?" Both boys said at the same time, frowns creating little wrinkles on their foreheads.
"Okay, well if you guys can't figure things out…" I said then went to the door, opened it, and walked outside to the pool deck. I looked to my right… there were 8 naked guys just waiting to pounce.
Jesus walked to the door. "Ohhhhhhhhhh… AZ get your clothes off!" He then took off running and dove head first into the pool.
AZ walked to me. His eyes went huge… I thought they were going to bug out of his head. He ran to the bench, stripped those shorts off in a flash then walked back and said, "Holy shit." His eyes filled with tears and then he went to running… but just before diving in he turned around, ran back to me and kissed my lips hard.
Jesus then started screaming his fool head off… 8 splashes in rapid succession… got AZ into action. He looked at me and said, "HOLY SHIT!" He then took off and did a belly flop, creating one hell of a splash to be proud of. He was out to save his brother who was being dunked randomly and quite continuously. He loved the attention. And he loved having his very own pool.
Christmas Eve, Andy's POV
The air was chilly cold, damp from the heavy drizzle falling from the overcast, heavy, low hanging clouds. It had been cloudy and drizzly all day, keeping everybody indoors and putting the pool out of the question since the heater, not used since I arrived home with my family, had not yet been used.
I'd left the Christmas Eve party mom and dad were hosting because it got too hot, and because there were simply too many people in the house. There were quite a few people I didn't know from dad's work. Quite a few doctors and nurses from where mom had worked were also there.
Mom's pretty kewl. The week before she had gone and bought me a pastel blue sweater shirt from the teen shop at the mall for me to wear on those kinds of days. It sure did feel good. Even with it on I was still cool… yet it felt good all at the same time.
I ran my hand over the chaise lounge chair and found the seat and back cushions totally wet and soggy. Jeremy apparently forgot to put them up since the pool was his responsibility so I pulled them off the frames and took them into the pool room.
Upon entering the room which tripled as a place to keep the pumps, to shower and to get dressed… to say I was surprised is an understatement.
There were two dudes.
They were kissing… man were they kissing. Their eyes were closed. They looked as if they were in pain or something… ya know – their eyelids were closed and scrunched together; they were moaning and groaning (I recognized the familiar sound because Harry was a moaner and groaner when we would sometimes jack off together at night before falling asleep)… and gawd, their hands were deep down inside the backs of their pants… and geezus, their fronts were grinding against each other, kinda like they were trying to put out a fire or something.
Okay, okay, I was starting to feel uncomfortable watching them get into each other (poor choice of words… but hey they weren't fucking YET) so I tossed the cushions into a corner and turned to leave but the taller of the two, the one facing me (if his eyes had been open) said, "Hey kid, sorry about that. We were just…"
"I'll shut the door on the way out." I said then walked out and did as I said I'd do.
After shutting the door I turned around and there was Harry. He'd quietly snuck up behind me and grabbed my ribs, scaring the shit out of me… I wasn't expecting him.
But he let go and asked, "Whatcha up to?"
"Nutten much. I just needed some fresh air. I don't know half the people in there… anyway there are just too many people in there for me. Whatcha up to?" I replied.
"Same here. Other than your family I don't know anybody. Anyway, your mom was wondering where you went. I'm gonna use the bathroom out here… there isn't a waiting line <snicker>…"
"Oh you probably don't want to go in there. A couple of guys are making out and shit." I said laughing.
Harry looked into my eyes, "Really? That's rude."
I chuckled, "It's crude too."
He laughed. For a guy Harry's pretty kewl.
He said, "I'm going back in. Are ya coming?"
Just as I opened my mouth to reply the two guys opened then walked through the door. The shorter one of the two said, "Sorry about that. Anyway, this is your house but we'd appreciate you not saying anything about… you know."
"No problem. If I had a girlfriend then I'd probably be doing the same thing."
Harry touched my shoulder and said, "I'll see ya inside."
"I'll catch up with ya. Maybe we could play the X-Box or something."
Harry smiled and ran toward the house and entered.
"Hey guys, it's no problem. Mum's the word. You guys look good together. See ya around." I said.
"Thanks man. We owe ya. Oh, I'm sorry, this is Stephen and I'm Alejandro. We just became boyfriends tonight."
I giggled, "Geez, I would have never guessed. It's kewl. I have gay brothers. I'm straight but won't hold it over your head."
We had a good laugh then went back into the house.
"Hey little man, we've been looking for ya. The main event is about to start." Angel said pulling me into him for a brief hug. He looked so happy and content. He gives really good hugs too. I kissed his cheek then went to find Harry.
He was in line for the bathroom off the TV room. I grabbed his arm and took him back to the alcove where dad's office was located and pushed him into the bathroom and closed the door. I waited outside, of course, for him to finish then we'd forage out into the crowd.
He exited a couple of minutes later, still drying his hands then tossed the used paper towels into the trash receptacle. He said, "Oh what a relief that was. Thanks!"
With that said I took hold of his arm and headed into the main family room where everybody was gathering together. Mom walked over and pulled me into a hug then kissed my cheek and said, "I'm sorry you're bored, baby boy. There are a lot of people here. I don't know a lot of them either."
Somebody walked up to her and got her attention, yet she never let go of my forearm… which felt really neat. I'm telling you about it because it was one more of those minutes where I felt I belonged, was loved and cared about, and stuff.
Mom said, "John, meet our youngest son Andy. Andy, this is John Brine. He's the director of the outreach program at the hospital."
I looked at him. My blood ran cold as ice. My legs felt like rubber. I said to mom, "Excuse me, I've gotta go to the bathroom."
Without waiting for an answer or anything I took off for the office bathroom, entered, shut the door and locked it. I breathed a sigh of relief as I stood at the sink shaking. My stomach started turning over and over in rapid succession… and then it happened: I leaned over the toilet and twice puked my guts up and out followed by several gasps to eject more… like down to my toenails.
And then, from somewhere, I started crying. Deep sobs escaped from my chest. Tears blinded me as the memories came flooding through my brain.
When the waves of nausea passed to wherever they go to, I stood, flushed the toilet twice, grabbed a washcloth and wiped away the sweat dripping from my face, and then reached into the medicine cabinet to get the bottle of mouth wash so I could rinse away the nasty tastes.
A knock on the door shattered what little serenity the puking my guts up had taken away. I sat on the floor with my back up against the door and my feet firmly planted on the base of the toilet to keep everyone out. I said, "What?" just loud enough to be heard through the door.
"Andy, are you in there?" It was dad's voice.
I stood, unlocked the door and cautiously opened it… looking for 'that' man who mom had been talking to. I didn't say anything; I couldn't say anything because the words wouldn't come out. "Are you okay, Andy? Son, we're getting ready to start… Andy… son, what's wrong?"
He entered the bathroom. I quickly closed the door and locked it.
Dad sat on the closed toilet lid, laid aside the crutches and opened his arms. I sat down on his knee and lost it, my emotions released again. All the while dad was rubbing my back, saying that everything's okay then, and that I should talk to him so that he could fix what needed to be fixed.
"Dad, that guy was a paying customer… his name is John Brine. Dad, please believe me. He used to beat the fuck out of me because I wouldn't put out… daddy, he would rip me in half with that thing between his legs."
"Oh my baby, I'm so sorry. Honey, I want you to stay right here. Do you remember Officer Ramirez? He's one of the good cops… well he's already here for the party…"
Another knock on the door interrupted dad. He urged me to stand then he went to the door and opened it. Harry and Antoine were there. Antoine said, "Come on you guys it's time."
Dad looked at me then back to Antoine. He said to Antoine, "Son, we have an issue that I need to take care of. We're going to have to delay a little while."
Antoine looked around the corner and saw me sitting on the closed toilet. I reached for tissue paper and blew my nose. He walked past dad who was trying to stop him. Antoine took my arm in his, stood me up, and said, "Little brother, what's up? What's the issue? Dad, what's wrong here?"
Just then Matt, Jeremy and Allen entered the hallway. Antoine, meanwhile, sat on the toilet and pulled me onto his knee. I looked at dad. He said, "Boy's, I'm going to handle this. Antoine, you and Matt stay here with Andy. Jeremy, Allen I want you to return to the party. Just say that we have a little delay."
To me dad said, "Andy, I believe you 100%. I've got to call in some other people. Fugi is here too."
Antoine, alarmed said to dad, "Dad, what's going on here? Is my brother in danger? Andy, talk to me."
Dad said seriously, "I will handle this. I will not screw up your day. Do you understand me perfectly clear?"
"Yes sir, I understand."
"Okay, you guys stay here. Andy, I'm sure that Fugi and Officer Ramirez will want to talk to you… it's okay. They're on our side."
Antoine looked firmly at dad but dad said, "Don't Antoine. Don't do it. <to me he said,> Andy, you stay here with your big brother… he'll keep you safe, right Antoine?"
Antoine said, "I swear. But dad, if someone hurt my little brother…"
"No. You will stay here to 'support' your little brother. He needs you right now, okay? Support him… that's all he needs from you."
"Okay dad. Andy, I'm here. I'm not going anywhere."
"John Brine… he's a big wig at the hospital… and he hurt my son?" I said to myself as I walked away from my boys loaded for bear.
Peggy walked to me. I drew her in, kissed her lips then took her into the kitchen. She needed to know. As it were, Mrs. Hashimoto entered the kitchen with her oldest son and his partner. I said to her very quietly, "Would you please ask your husband to join me for a minute? I'm sorry but some very important business has arisen."
Peggy was pissed as all hell at what I told her about Andy and his encounters with a department head. "Honey, stay cool. Mingle with our guests. Act as your usual beautiful self… I love you so much."
Although she really didn't want to leave Peggy walked into the crowd of people gathered for a very special ceremony: the marriages of my boys to their mates for life. We'd planned this special event for them. We'd gotten all of our friends to share in the monumental occasion – just for them.
Not 2 minutes later both Fugi and Ramirez walked into the kitchen. I took them to the patio and briefed them on what was going on and that we needed to take care of the situation immediately, as quietly as possible.
Of course, they both wanted to talk with Andy.
"I'll go get him. We can talk to him out here away from the guests. That asshole needs to be taken down but I don't my boys' special events fucked up. I'll be right back."
I made my way through the crowd. Father Ben walked to me and said, "Is everything okay? The boys aren't having second thoughts are they <smiling>?"
"No Father. This is their day. I've heard no second thoughts. Would you make an announcement… this shouldn't take too long." I said smiling even though I wanted to tell him that I'd likely need the sacrament of forgiveness administered if the situation were left up to me.
I then walked to the restroom where my boys were huddled all around Andy. Antoine was definitely supporting his little brother with his arms around the boy, holding him protectively. Both boys looked up into my eyes. Andy was scared shitless. Antoine was… he had fear in his eyes too. He kissed Andy's cheek then said, "Is it handled yet, dad?"
"Fugi and Officer Ramirez are aware of the situation. Andy, I need for you to come talk to us. You need to tell them what happened so that they have all the facts. Antoine, Jeremy, Matt, I want you to just mingle in the crowd just like you have been. Don't draw any attention, and don't do anything, just act like normal."
After receiving assurances that they would do as requested, for Andy's sake, Andy and I took off. At all times I kept him at my side and looking away from the gathering of friends and family. I did not want him to interact with the asshole at any time.
Andy stayed closed to my side. I had my arm protectively (as a dad would) around his shoulders and made our way to the pool deck.
Fugi said, "Jim, it would be best if we talked to him alone…"
"Andy, I'll be in the kitchen watching you. I promise you that you're safe." I said, hugged him deeply and then went inside and stood at the window watching every move they made, though I didn't need to do that because I would and have previously depended on Fugi to the extent of my life, and the lives of my children.
Fugi said, "Andy, I understand that you have an issue with one of the guests. Please tell me about it."
I told them everything that I told dad and added that the motherfucker had fed me drugs and booze to make me 'compliant'. I told them about how the motherfucker had 'owned' me. I told them how he'd basically 'pimped' my ass. My pay had been: Nice clothes, food to eat, nice digs to 'perform' for the customers, and plenty of sex from him.
"That's all I can remember. Oh… and he told me to stay away from the nurses and hospital people who were doing outreach on the beach. He said he'd know because he was the director of the program. If he found out that I'd told anybody he promised to track me down and kill my ass."
Officer Ramirez said confidently, "Nobody is going to kill you, Andy. He will never hurt you again."
Just then, unbelievably, Mr. Brine walked out with his wife, son and daughter to smoke a cigarette (which we do not permit on our grounds).
As if it happened in slow motion, Fugi and Officer Ramirez walked to Mr. Brine and said, "Mr. John Brine?"
"Yes, who's asking?"
Then he saw me standing in the shadows.
He dropped his glass to the concrete pavement. His wife looked at him with the expression of "What the fuck's going on here?"
"Mr. John Brine, you are under arrest for child sexual abuse, solicitation for child prostitution, and rape of a child under the age of 15."
Without incident he was arrested then led out through the back gate.
When Mrs. Brine looked at me… I thought I was going to die. The look of hatred on her face was enough to make me want to gag again. I started shaking violently. My belly started rumbling and doing flip flops.
"What the fuck was that all about?" She hissed between clinched teeth.
I was alone.
All over again.
Just then dad, Antoine, Jeremy and Jason entered through the door. She was between me and them.
Dad said, "Are you okay, Andy?"
"No, not really."
Antoine reacted first. He walked to the woman and side stepped her however she moved in front of him. Antoine said, "Excuse me ma'am. My brother is in need of assistance."
When she didn't move he simply took his hand and shoved her against the closed fencing and proceeded to walk to me. I said, "Make her go away. She is making what her piece of shit husband did to me my fault."
"Stay here." Antoine commanded.
He walked to the woman and said, "You are no longer a guest here. Neither are your spawns from evil welcome here. Please go. You may let yourself out at the gate, or I will be most happy to escort you off the property."
Jeremy and Jason walked to the lady.
Just then mom walked onto the patio. She said, "Your party is over. Get off of my property before I have you arrested for trespassing."
The lady changed her tune, "I'm sorry. I had no idea. I really didn't. This is a shock to me, please excuse my rudeness." To me she said, "May I come to you for a moment? You are in no danger or trouble… I'd just like to say something to you, from my heart."
My brothers escorted her to face me after I had nodded.
She said, "Young man, I sincerely had no idea. My children did not know either. How could we ever imagine…"
"Mom, we do too know." The teenage boy said from near the door.
"It was horrible, mom." The girl of maybe 12 years old said at his side.
The woman looked at her children, shocked then profound grief overtook her. She was absolutely and totally devastated beyond words. I actually felt sorry for her. Her pain was immeasurable. She walked to her children, put both of her arms around them, and then kissed their cheeks.
Mom walked to the lady, "I am sorry for what has happened here but you need to leave. My boys will escort you to your vehicle and make sure you are seen off properly. Jeremy, Jason… would you please?"
As they were walking down the stairs and into the yard I said, "Ma'am, I don't blame you. I'm sorry this happened to you. Your husband has to be punished though."
I walked to the boy and girl, "Don't let your dad off… hold him accountable, okay, please? And I'm really sorry that it happened to you too. Take care, okay?"
Silently, that broken family walked away, escorted by Jeremy and Jason by their sides to make sure they didn't fall in the slick grass.
Just then Harry walked out onto the deck. He looked at mom then to Antoine then to me. Tears were freely falling down my cheeks at realizing that I just tore a family apart. But then… did I really tear them apart? Weren't they already living a lie? How could you keep something like that from your mom? And how and why would you keep such a thing from your husband.
On second thought… I'd kinda been there done that too. I'd been left with shame, guilt and fear. No, I did not feel ashamed or guilty because of … whatever. My family loved me and that was all there was to it.
Mom walked over and pulled me into her arms and held on tightly. Antoine joined, as did dad, as did Allen and Angel. Harry even walked over so that he was standing in front of me.
Harry said, "I'm sorry Andy. I really am. I know bad things happen to good people. Andy, I know you're not gay and stuff but I'm going to tell you anyway – I love you and I'm proud of you. For what it's worth… well, you know, anyway… well, I just wanted to say it."
I said, "Just this once, okay…" We hugged deeply. I felt something stir inside of me. What I didn't know… I kissed him brotherly like …but… I held on to him in our hug for a few seconds. It just felt right.
With that said and done I said, "Well… as soon as Jason and Antoine get back… whatcha say that we get you guys hitched?"
I was standing by the bar with Peter wondering what the fuck was going on. Dad had only said for us to not go to the pool for any reason. He did not elaborate.
So when Andy, Antoine, Jeremy and Jason reentered the house I could immediately tell that something wasn't quite right. Simultaneously, Peter and I walked to Andy. I said, "Is everything okay, little brother?"
"It's getting there. Do you remember telling me that sometimes life is just really hard?"
"Talk to me later, okay?"
Just then grandma walked to us and said, "Are you guys about ready to tie the knot? Oh my, just wait until Mabel hears about three weddings all at once. She thought she had something going when her twin sons married their wives in one ceremony." Grandma took hold of Andy's arm and said, "Will you escort me please?"
Andy smiled then they disappeared into the crowd, with Andy proudly escorting his grandmother through the friends and family.
I was little bit nervous but then again I wasn't nervous at all, not really. I loved my Peter with all of my heart and soul, and together we'd vowed to spend the rest of our lives together, come hell or high water. I think we were more nervous, maybe, about being the center of attention… but then again we were there to solidify and sanctify our relationship as one person even though we were individuals. While we were our own persons… we functioned as one unit, together.
Allen was smiling. He was so happy yet he was nervous too… we'd talked about why… we were nervous for the same reasons.
Peter and Angel… well they weren't too nervous about anything. They were being our rocks to hold onto.
Matt and Antoine were the only two who totally had it altogether.
Okay enough about nervousness… the time had arrived.
Father Ben and Judge Matheson stood in the far corner of the master front room. Flowers were all over the place… sheesh it looked like a florist shop. Antoine had arranged everything so when he was given an open checkbook… the boy went all out. For being so straight-laced, proper, and very 'straight acting' he turned out to be a full fledged queen extraordinaire. Even at the very last moment he was arranging things 'just right'. (Sorry Antoine, I just had to throw this in… you did beautifully… thank you… I love you!)
It was decided between them that Peter and I would go first. We had nothing to say about the decision except: yes.
Mom and grandma called us into the kitchen area where they pinned boutonnieres to our suit jackets, straightened our ties, buttoned our coats, adjusted our shirts, mussed with our hair… and then kissed our lips with theirs… and then we shed a few tears of gratitude and happiness… which 'ran' the little bit of makeup they were wearing.
The time had arrived.
The music started… our favorite song began playing… which was our cue to walk down the aisle.
Father Ben and Judge Matheson were waiting for us to arrive. They were both smiling broadly, warmly.
When Peter and I joined at the makeshift altar we joined hands and waited for the words we had written to be read at our marriage.
As soon as the song ended, the audience hushed. You could have heard a pin drop on a glass table because it was so quiet.
Father Ben began:
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. We are brought together to witness the marriage of two very find young men that I've learned to know and love over the past few months. Their commitment to each other is readily apparent. All one has to do is to look into their eyes with an open mind to see their love and devotion to each other. Marriage is to never be taken lightly. In God's eyes, marriage between two people is for a lifetime, and beyond lifetimes.
God has no laws or rules about love, devotion and commitment. Two souls join together long before man recognizes a bond forming between those two people.
Ladies and gentlemen, the church in which I am ordained does not permit marriage between two men or two women. Some of the leaders consider gay marriage to be the worst of all sins. I am here today to facilitate the marriage bond between two young men. I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that God approves of their union. So I am here to offer a few prayers thanking our Creator for bringing these two together.
Peter and David have written their commitments on paper and will read them to each other, to God and to those of us gathered here today. David, do you wish to begin?
Peter, I take you as my one and only from this day forward to be my wedded husband, to hold, to cherish, to love until our dying breath, to take care of, to allow you to live your own person, to be with you in times of distress, to be here and there with you in all good things, and to be here and there always for all reasons known to us and unto man. Oops, that should be unto man and woman… sorry mom, grandma."
We heard wet snickers in the audience… I knew they were mom and grandma. I turned to face them, smiled, and then continued:
"No matter what some people think I know that our love is blessed by our Creator. I have this faith. I have no doubt that we'll be just fine."
I looked up from the paper into Peter's eyes. His were wet.
Father Ben then said, "Peter, please share your words from your heart with this young man who is asking for your hand in marriage."
Peter said: "David, I take you as my lawfully wedded husband to have, to hold, to cherish and to love from this day forward. Actually David, I loved you from the very first moment I met you.
I will honor you and support you all the days of your life until death do us part here on this plane of existence. I have no doubt that our souls are joined and that they will live forever."
Peter nodded then turned to Father Ben.
Father Ben said to everyone, "You have heard for yourselves the commitment made by these young men to each other. Is there anyone here who objects to their union?"
After a moment of silence Father Ben continued, "Kewl. Okay… as the facilitator for this service I hereby declare these two young men married in the eyes of our Creator from this day forward. The groom may kiss the groom."
Simultaneously, Peter and I turned to each other then with very wet eyes (and lips) touched first our forearms, then our chests, and then our lips, and then our front sides south of the border and then our knees.
We were totally lost in the moment, into ourselves.
We heard Andy cough. Not a 'legitimate' cough mind you… it was one of those coughs that are designed to break the moment – in half.
We pulled apart then our eyes met. I whispered, "I love you. I always will Peter."
Peter said softly, "I love you too." Then he leaned into my ear and said, "My pants are wet."
"Good thing they're black."
We then turned to face our friends and family.
The applause was thunderous. The ceiling lights began flickering on and off very rapidly. Dad had warned us that the entire ceremony was being recorded live but that there would be a flurry of activity once we presented ourselves.
Andy, our best man, escorted us to the back of the room where we were seated, so that we could witness Antoine and Matt's marriage.
There was to be a 30 minute interlude between ceremonies so Peter and I took off upstairs so he could change pants and underwear.
Mine were wet too but I hadn't ejaculated. The weird thing was that I hadn't felt Peter ejaculate. "You don't know how hard it was to not scream!" Peter giggled.
I seriously wondered why David and Peter took off just before our ceremony.
As if he were thinking my thoughts Antoine said into my ear very quietly, "Peter's eyes squinted. They will be right back."
Oh my God, it took me a minute or two to figure out what he meant… and then I giggled wildly. Antoine smiled then quickly smashed our lips together for a quick kiss. I was sure that he wanted more however David and Peter descended the stairs and entered the room.
Sheesh, I hoped my pants were loose enough to hide that which designates me as male. I had worn bikini underwear. I felt the head of my male gland peeping up and over the top, and it was rather uncomfortable. Discretely, I rearranged my bits all the while looking around the room to make sure nobody was looking. Grandma winked. I started feeling very, very hot. She quickly turned forward. I looked down into my lap… all appeared okay.
Father Ben said, "Antoine, Matt, would you please join me for your ceremony?"
We got up. I walked in one direction while he walked in the other until we met at the altar, in front of Father Ben and Judge Matheson.
He began our ceremony in the same way, using the same words as he used for David and Peter.
Then it came time for our commitment to each other. Antoine deferred to me to begin.
"Antoine Jamaal Garza, I take you to be mine until the end of forever. I shall hold you, protect you, honor you, love you, cherish you, and hold you unto mine. I shall allow you to be your own person all the days of your life. All of this until my dying breath."
I nodded to Father Ben after looking up into Antoine's eyes that were watering, although his smile shined through brightly.
Father Ben smiled. He nodded to Antoine to begin.
Antoine looked into my eyes then to the paper then deep into my eyes. He dropped the piece of paper to the floor. He didn't pay any attention to the paper but took both my hands into is and said, "Matt, I knew from the very first second my eyes laid on you that there was something special between us. I'd never even thought of having someone to walk through life with. I never, not once ever thought that the special someone would be a boy."
Father Ben and Mildred had been quick to tell me that love has no boundaries if we just open our hearts to it, if we just let it flow.
"Before you came along I was ashamed and filled with guilt.
"Since you are in my life I feel complete.
"I take you as my husband. Not only will I honor, cherish, love, hold you … I will walk alongside you all the days of my life until I can no longer breathe."
I broke all tradition and decorum by pulling him into my arms and holding on tightly. My babe, my husband bowed his head into my neck. He shook, like a chill overtook his body, but he wasn't at all cold… if anything he was HOT. I whispered into his ear, "I love you but don't you think we should finish this ceremony?"
He nodded and giggled at the same time.
Harry handed Antoine then me Kleenexes to wipe our eyes dry.
Father Ben said, "Okay… as the facilitator for this service I hereby declare these two young men married in the eyes of our Creator from this day forward. The groom may kiss the groom."
Our kiss was quite a bit shorter than David and Peter's but no less passionate. Antoine held back until the very last second when I more or less forced my tongue into his oral caver and played dueling banjos with his until he gave in (heh heh heh… like that was hard to do).
We parted, turned toward our family and friends smiling genuinely from our hearts.
Although we knew it would happen… the flashes of light was still a surprise.
I'd ever before experienced the moment of clarity that I received during our marriage ceremony. From where we came from, and how our lives crossed, our being together is nothing short of a miracle. We are truly blessed.
I leaned into Allen, "Is this a dream. Is this real that the six of us are really making known our love for each other?"
"Yeah, I know. We've waited for this moment for how long?"
"We've been together almost 3 years. You know, in a way, I wish our biological parents could be here to see our ceremony. I kinda wish they were here to see how real parenting works… you know, to accept their kids' destinies opening up like a flower, ready to prosper."
"I don't feel the same way, Angel. My parents had their chance. They treated me pretty bad. I always wondered if there was something wrong with me. I mean deep inside wrong. Not to worry though… that's in the past… you and I are for the present and the future."
Dad patted our backs which was our cue that it was time… it was time to 'tie the knot'. We leaned in together, kissed warmly but quickly then arose and followed dad to the altar where Father Ben and Judge Matheson were waiting.
Our ceremony began in the same way as had our brothers.
"Allen Raymond Blake, I take you as my husband. I will love you. I will hold you. I will honor you for so long as I shall draw breath into my lungs, and then for a million years after that.
"You understand me as nobody else can do. I promise to carry your example with me so that I can be there for you each and every day of our lives."
I nodded to Father Ben.
"Angel Raphael Blake, we have been together for two almost three years. I've waited for this moment when we could officially express our true desires to spend the rest of our lives together.
"Like you, Angel, I take you as my husband to have and to hold, to honor, to cherish, to love and honor for the rest of my life, and for two millions years past the end of eternity."
Through my tears I giggled, "Three million years past the end of eternity… sorry Father, I had to clarify it better."
Allen, giggling, said, "Five million…"
I replied, "For all eternity past the end of eternity… so there."
Father Ben cleared his throat. We looked away from each other to see Father Ben smiling.
He repeated, "I hereby declare these two young men married in the eyes of our Creator from this day forward. The groom may kiss the groom. May God bless and keep you for all the days of your life."
While our kiss was not as sloppy as our brothers it was nevertheless intense and intimate.
Before Allen and Angel were seated Judge Matheson said, "Boys, young men, would you all please come up here. I have something to give you."
I looked to Peter. We then looked to Allen and Angel and then to Antoine and Matt. We all silently questioned each other as to why the judge would be calling us back.
Nevertheless we got up and walked back to the altar where we stood before him.
Mom and dad joined us.
Judge Matheson said, "David, Peter, Antoine, Matt, Angel, Allen… I have had prepared certificates of the officially recognized 'civil union' that is afforded to same-sex couples who are committed and dedicated to each other, as you are.
There exists a slight issue, as the way the statute is written today a decision must be made by each of you individually and together as a couple.
The issue is that if you accept these certificates then I must advise you that you must also agree to emancipation. Emancipation means that you will be no longer legally dependent upon your parents for support. Additionally, it means that your parents are no longer legally liable for you nor do they owe you financial support.
These certificates are dated today however they can be held in trust with the State Recorder until such time as you each turn 18, or age 25 if you are a full-time student. At that time the State will officially recognize you as practically a married couple with a civil union commitment.
Peter looked at me, nodded. Somehow I knew what his answer was. I said, "We are going to defer until we both reach the age of majority."
Peter said, "Yes. We are going to defer. Please hold them in trust."
Allen and Angel then Matt and Peter made the same decision.
"Congratulations to all the couples brought together in commitment to each other, to their families, under God. May your lives be filled with peace and happiness."
After receiving congratulatory remarks, hugs, hand shakes, cards, gifts and money the guests began leaving. Soon it was just our family… even Maria and the kids left with Father Ben.
The first inkling that something was 'up', so to speak, was when grandma went to each of us individually, gave hugs and kisses on cheeks. She looked to dad who nodded, then to mom who also nodded.
Grandma said, "Boys, waiting in the driveway is a limo. The driver has been instructed to not say one word about where he is taking you. Do not ask him … you will be wasting your time if you do. I think you'll like it. God bless you boys."
After giving and receiving hugs, kisses and best wishes, our family escorted us to the waiting limo. The driver smartly and professionally assisted our entry then curtly returned to the drivers section, put the vehicle in reverse, got us out of the driveway and then headed down the hill and onto the freeway.
We had no clue where we were going though we kind of figured out 'why'.
When the driver exited onto the inter-coastal outer road we figured out that something was up when he slowly drove into the Marriott's Maui Ocean Club, a hotel located right on the beach. It was an exclusive joint, know to cost over a thousand dollars a night.
Allen, struck in awe said, "I think this is where we're going to be tonight."
Hushed silence ensued. And then the driver stopped the limo under the overhang, got out and escorted us from the vehicle. At that point an escort took us from there to the 14th floor. The professionally dressed woman said, "I understand that you were married tonight. Please allow me to introduce you to our honeymoon suites."
With that said she silently opened one suite and invited us in. The place was like a small apartment. It had a small kitchen, a large living and dining room, and one single huge bedroom suite, complete with its own bathroom, wet bar, and a huge king sized bed.
Arranged all around the suite were various huge flower bouquets, arrangements, standing plants… the whole she-bang (country talk for a huge amount of everything, the whole enchilada).
"Does everything meet with your approval?" The lady asked.
"Yes, of course. Thank you. Thank you very much."
"If you need anything, please dial zero."
To Allen and Angel, and Antoine and Matt she said, "Please follow me so that we can get you settled into your rooms. Oh, before I forget… the beach in front of our hotel is no clothing. If this does not meet with your approval, our swimming pool on top is clothed. We want you to be comfortable during your stay with us."
"Thank you ma'am."
After hugs and kisses were exchanged our brothers left to be accommodated and acclimated to their rooms. Peter said, "I'm calling dad."
"I'm getting undressed first… wanna help?"
"No baby. I'm not going to help you … allow me please."
End of Book I
Rewritten & Posted 2/12/2012