Two days have passed since I came home from the hospital. Tonight is the party that I agreed to. A few big things have happened since then but probably the biggest was that my dad invited Mark's Mom over for dinner. For such an intelligent woman you would think she would have known that my dad is her boss. I mean how many Isaac Daniels are there in this area. I will never forget the look on her face when she walked in our door and saw my Dad standing there. She instantly lost all color, but seemed to recover fast. Mark told me later that she was mad at him for not telling her that I was the son of her boss's boss. Like it matters anyway. His response was, "Well Mom, how many Isaac Daniels work with you? I just assumed you would put two and two together." I can only imagine her reaction if she ever found out my Dad was the owner. Since the dinner, Mark has been allowed to stay over less and less, but he is coming over tonight to stay.
It's a weekend and his Mom could not use the excuse of it being a school night to keep him home. His mother is starting to be a pain in my ass, and not the good kind. The other big thing was that my Dad told Social Services that he was willing to take in a foster child again. He is listed as one of the homes willing to take high risk kids, like runaways, abandoned, abused, and neglected children. We don't know if we will get a new foster brother or sister yet, but it's a possibility. The last foster kids my Dad took in he ended up adopting. They were the twins, Scott and Jacob; they were three years old when my Dad took them in. He adopted them because he did not want to give them up. It was 2 years after they came to live with us on Christmas morning that he told us that he adopted Scott and Jacob. I'll never forget their question. They asked, "Does that mean we never have to leave." When my Dad told them that was right they flung themselves across the room and into Dad's lap. It was the best Christmas present he could have given the family.
Well, enough of the trip down memory lane. It's time to get ready for the party. We don't normally have random parties this time of year. We save them for the summer. But everyone seems to think I need a party. When have I ever wanted a party? I would prefer a quiet night with my family and closest friends. But it's a party I get. Maybe I can stay hidden all night in bed with Mark. I really miss Mark. We decided on a pool party, and with CLAIR around we don't need a DJ since it's inside. Normally we hire one for our outdoor party's. Personally I think CLAIR does a better job. She analyzes the mood in the room and alters the music to fit or counteract it. I won't be swimming because of my injuries, which sucks big time. That also means I need to find something to wear. "Angela I need help!" I shout out the door. She comes in and wow, if I were not gay she would have stopped my heart. She looks amazing. She has on this black, gold, and iridescent metallic looking halter dress that looks like shattered glass. "Wow sis, you look hot!"
"Thanks. Now you need some help dressing." she says it as a statement and not a question then she pushes past me. "You know, for a gay guy you suck at clothes."
"Yeah...well…maybe it's a learned thing." I grumble under my breath. Ever since she found out that I was gay she keeps expecting this magic gay gene to turn on that will give me the perfect fashion sense. "Please help me find me something to wear." She walks over to my closet and looks at my stuff. She starts taking out shirts and shorts and pants and setting them on my bed. After about 5 minutes she finally settles on an A&F destroyed slim jeans and an A&F red and black hemlock lake polo and dark leather belt.
"There, that's the best I can do with your limited clothes. Make sure you wear a light gray shirt under the polo" she calls out over her shoulder as she walks out. What she calls limited, most people would consider excessive.
"Thanks Ang." I call out as I start getting ready. I still need help showering since I can't clean my stitches real well without hurting myself. Mark is not here yet so I have to settle for John. Having your boyfriend help you with a shower is one thing, having your 16 year old brother do it, well that's embarrassing. Especially when you pop a boner when you look at said brother naked. He has never embarrassed me about it but still. The first time it happened, he tried to joke about it but that only made it worse. Well I have to suck it up if I don't want to stink for tonight. I go across the hall to Johns room. I knock on the door and wait for him to respond. The door slides open, he's on the phone. I can hear him talking but I don't see him so he must be in the bathroom.
"It doesn't matter if he is gay, not that I'm saying he is." …... "He's still my brother." …... "I could care less what that slut Nicole says or thinks." …..... "I'm not going to disown my brother just because the town slut thinks he's gay because he won't let her ride him like a bucking bronco."........."What do you mean I'm going to go to hell for standing with a fag, and don't ever use that word again." …..... "I have a gay uncle that's why that matters to me." …..... "You know what Megan you can go fuck yourself."....... "Yeah, we are done." He opens the door and sees me standing there. "Sorry you had to hear that Alex."
"You should not have to fight with your girlfriend because I'm a fag. If you want, you can act like you don't know me, if it will make your life easier." He comes over to me and takes me into his arms.
"Alex, I could never do that. You're my brother, that's much more important than some bitch that only wants to date me because we're rich and I'm the quarterback. No matter what people say about you or me, I will never turn my back on you. Also, don't ever let me hear you refer to yourself as a "fag" again. Because if I do, I'll kick your ass from here to the end of the Earth. Got it? I love you Alex, nothing is going to change that."
"Thanks John. You know it's going to get worse if I come out, right?"
"Probably, but who cares. The ones that matter will stick by you and fuck the rest. Now, what is it that you needed?"
"I need help washing my stitches in the shower. I would wait for Mark but he won't be here 'til later."
"No problem bro. I need a shower too. Go grab your towel, we can use my shower." I go and get my towel and stuff for the stitches and come back. I'm nervous when I get back I don't want to get hard again in front of him. He must have noticed.
"Worried about getting wood with me in the shower again?" I nod my head yes.
"Don't worry. Even straight guys your age have a hard time controlling themselves when they have someone else rubbing their bodies. It gets a little better at my age, but not much. If it helps, imagine a naked 80 year old women with saggy breasts is in there with you." The women part was enough the old and saggy nearly makes my puke. He laughs as he sees me turn green. "Sorry, but it should do the trick."
"Yuck. How can you like looking at a vagina let alone touch one or put your mouth on it? They look so gross and people say they smell like fish." He starts laughing hard. It takes him a bit to control himself.
"What's so funny?" I ask him. I really don't see why what I said is funny.
"You, that's what, there is no doubt, you are definitely gay."
I roll my eyes and adapt my most sarcastic voice possible. "Thanks soooo much for clearing that up for me John. I had no clue I liked guys, what a relief to finally know. Now if only I had a really hot boyfriend to give me a shower and sleep with me and well, you don't need to know what else I would do with a really hot boyfriend." I change my voice to act like a I just remembered something and act excited about it, still being sarcastic though. "Oh wait that's right. I do have a really hot boyfriend." My voice drops slightly I'm no longer acting, the next thought is depressing and makes me slightly angry. "He just has a crazy mother who won't ever let him come over anymore."
"OK smart ass, get in the shower." He says while chuckling again. He washes my stitches for me and my back and I do his then we finish washing ourselves. We get out and he helps me dry off and then puts my bandages on. I go back to my room to get dressed. I look at my cologne and decide that if I'm going to be wearing all A&F I might as well wear A&F cologne too. So, I pick out A&F 41 cologne and spray some on. Then, I head down to the pool to wait for people. All the food is there and the back wall is opened to allow people to go outside if they want. Thank god we use Geothermal Power or my Dad would kill us for the wasted energy heating the room while the back wall is open. John comes down wearing just board shorts and thong sandals. He looks hot like always. Angela and the twins come down next. Her in that dazzling dress and the twins, like John, in board shorts and sandals.
As Angela walks out of the elevator hall and into the pool room she says "CLAIR, queue party music mix, route it to the pool room, game room, and outdoor patio speakers." The music starts. "CLAIR, start the party lighting program." The main lights dim and the colored light come on and the strobe starts." CLAIR, reroute drink lines to pool side bar nonalcoholic. Start monitoring for drug and alcohol use and lock elevators to the upper floors to resident level access."
"Music, lights and drinking program started. Bio metric scanning enabled. Upper level access restricted to resident level only." CLAIR responds. That last one could be a problem for me.
" CLAIR upgrade user Mark Emerson Cromwell, Jr. to resident level."
"That request requires your father's approval. Would you like me to page him?"
"Yes CLAIR, please run that by him."
John and the twins get in the pool and I hear my Dad on the intercom.
"Alex, CLAIR tells me you want Mark upgraded to resident. Mind telling me why?"
"Ang locked the upper floors and Mark is spending the night."
"OK I approved it. Tell Mark I said hello and that I will see him at breakfast tomorrow."
"Alex, you have a phone call on line 1 the caller id matches Mark's cell phone." CLAIR announces.
"Thank you CLAIR. Please route it to the pool room phone."
I pick up the phone.
"Hi Mark. Are you on your way?"
"Almost, I wanted to ask if it's OK to bring my little brother, Shawn, he's the same age as the twins."
"Yeah, that's fine. The twins are with us so he won't be alone."
"My Mom wants to make sure there will be adult supervision as well." I can almost imagine his eyes rolling as he says that.
"Yeah, my Dad will be upstairs as well as George, Dolores, Evan, and Dr. Reed. Not to mention the dozen or so armed guards stationed around the grounds. Like all our parties, Dad has an ambulance on standby as well."
"So you couldn't get him to budge on the guards then?"
"Nope. He said that it was important to have them here in case anyone tried anything." I can hear his Mom in the background asking something else.
"My Mom would also like to make sure that there will be no alcohol or drugs there either."
"Tell her that CLAIR is monitoring for it."
"Umm I think I will just say your Dad has got it covered. CLAIR still freaks her out a lot." Yes that was a funny memory; his Mom totally freaking out when CLAIR started talking to her.
"OK. So when are you coming?"
"Soon, my Mom is running out of excuses to keep me home."
"Why is she being like this?"
"I'll tell you tonight. I got to go, the car your dad sent is here. I'll see you soon." My Dad sent a car for him? It was probably one of the road blocks his Mom set up. I can't wait to start driving. I already have my car picked out and everything.
Here we can get a traffic education learner's license at 14 ½ which was the week before school. I finished the driving classes about 2 weeks ago. That means I can drive with someone other then my instructor; which in my case will probably be a heavily armed guard, lucky me. So on my birthday I should be able to get my restricted license, and that means no more driving with my dad or other authorized persons. I can't wait; I have a new Dodge Circuit on order. My sister picked out a Nissan Leaf; she says she needs the room for shopping bags. We get to go pick up our cars next week, so we have time to practice with them. Now that is something to be excited about. I come back to reality when I hear voices, it seems people are arriving. I greet everyone and tell the ones that ask that I'm doing better. When my closest friends get here, I talk to them a little more. Matt seems unusually clingy tonight, almost like he is hitting on me. I brush it off as my mind acting up from all the pain killers I'm on. I also notice that Cody and Dylan seem to be very casually touching each other and seem to be joined at the hip. Now that I stop to think about it, for the last year or so where one goes the other is usually there as well. Even in a group they are always together. I wonder if there is something going on between them? Now that I'm not spending so much time thinking of my own issues, I have more time to observe my friends and I'm seeing things I missed before. Just when I am about to call Mark he walks in, with his brother in his shadow.
"Hi Alex, I dropped my stuff and Shawn's off in your room." My eye brows rise at that last part. He turns to introduce who I assume is his brother. "This is my little brother Shawn. He has to stay over as well. I hope that's OK?" Well, it makes sense why he has stuff then.
"Yeah, no problem. He can stay with the twins or take a guest room."
"I tried to go up to the rooms with him to show him the guest rooms but CLAIR wouldn't let him up."
"When we have a party or a lot of people over we lock down the compound. CLAIR won't let the elevators, doors, or gates work for anyone who does not have a residence level access."
"Then how did I get up?"
"I had Dad upgrade you." I say casual. I see his face light up and he tries to hide it from his brother. "Why don't you show your bro where the changing room is so he can go swimming if he wants, and if you need to change you can, too. Just because I can't swim doesn't mean you can't."
"I'll show him were it is but I don't plan on swimming without you." He walks off toward the changing rooms. I go off to find the twins. They're eating when I find them.
"Jake, Scott!" I call out. "I want you to meet someone." They look interested, sort of, well about as interested as two 10 year olds can be about meeting someone new. I wave over Mark and Shawn. "This is Mark's brother Shawn, you may know him; he's in your class at school." They look at each other and they clearly know one another. I hope that's a good thing.
"You never told me Alex was your brother." Shawn says to the twins.
"We didn't know you knew Alex." Jacob says
"Yeah, you didn't tell us that Mark was your brother." Scott says. Shawn just shrugs it off. And they all go off to the pool together. It has been 7 years since I first heard the twins, and I still get a kick out of how they finish each other's thoughts and sentences.
"Do you have any idea what that was about?" I ask Mark
"Sort of. I heard Shawn talking about a couple of friends he has that are twins. I never thought it was Jake and Scott though. Cool how that worked out though. We ended up lovers and our brothers ended up friends." He called me his lover. I can't help but smile.
"So why is your Mom giving you such a hard time?" He looks around before talking.
"Is there somewhere else we can talk? I think I should tell your dad this too. Can we go talk to him?" I'm confused but agree. We go up to his office and knock. He opens the door and we go in.
My Dad's office is big and very comfortable. He has his desk in front of a glass wall. In the front half of the office is a sitting area with overstuffed chairs, sofas and a glass coffee table in the middle all on a white plush throw rug; the rest of the room is cherry wood flooring. He has several book shelves on one wall and big computer monitors hanging on the other. Both stop before the sitting area starts.
"Hello Mark." He greets Mark with a hand shake and then pulls him into a hug. No need to worry about my Dad liking my boyfriend that's for sure. After directing us to the sitting area he starts talking again. "So to what do I owe this pleasure?"
"Mark said he wanted to talk to you and me together so I brought him up here. I hope that's OK Dad."
"No problem. You know I always have time for you kids. So what is it Mark?" Mark takes a deep breath before starting.
"It's my Mom. She has been giving me a hard time about you, and me coming here, since she came over to eat. She didn't know you were the "VP" of research and design when I told her your name. How she could not have figured that out, I don't know. But, when she saw you at dinner she realized you're her boss. After that, she started complaining about how you're going to corrupt me with your evil ways, and keeps calling you a "fag lover". Sorry for using that word. I know you don't like it. She keeps talking about some anti-discrimination policy you have been enforcing at work for the last year. So she has been trying to keep me away from what she calls "The devils playground" for my own good, of course. She even went as far as to say that Alex getting beaten up was "god" punishing you for your evil ways. She said that "god" was taking your children from you because you don't deserve them and are corrupting them to be evil spawns of Lucifer. The only reason I was allowed to come tonight was that you sent a car for me, and I told her she could not risk offending someone as high up in the company as you." He chuckles a little before finishing his story. "She said she is going to write to The Board of Directors, The CEO, The President, and The Chairman about your policies and have you disciplined for your evil ways because "god" is on her side." I just stare at him in disbelief. My Dad's mouth is actually hanging open and his eyes wide in shock as well. I don't think I have ever seen him stunned into speechlessness before, so this is really big. He clears his throat and then composes himself.
"Well your mother is more of a bitch than I thought." Now it is my turn to drop my mouth open in disbelief. My Dad does not swear very often. When he does he is really mad. He looks sheepishly at Mark. "Sorry for saying that, but it's true." Then he puts on a more professional face and adopts a professional tone of voice. "As for her letter, if she thinks that's going to get her anywhere, she is sadly mistaken." Now he smiles at something he's thinking about and his tone is lighter and more relaxed. "I wonder how she would react if she knew I was the owner, and that the CEO, President, and Chairman as well as the Board of Directors are all personal friends of mine and have been since college. The Chairman, by the way, is Charles Rahal whom you have met and my kids call Uncle Charles." He laughs a little at that. "She is more likely to get herself fired with her letters. Half the board is gay themselves or has gay family and the rest have gay friends. She is digging her own grave with that move. I'm going to have to intervene to save her job if she sends that letter. If it were not for you and the potential of you moving away from us, I would not intervene at all and just fire the hypocrite."
He gets a sad and worried look on his face. "I was holding out hope that your mom would accept you if you chose to come out to her. But I'm afraid that that possibility is looking fairly slim at this moment." He stops to think again. He gets up and starts pacing with one hand bridged over his forehead and the other pinching the bridge of his nose. "If, or when, you tell her I want Alex to be there, and I want it at a public place. I will have some guards follow you undercover in case it gets out of hand." He stops talking again like he's debating about what he's about to say. "I will also notify the Social Worker that I work with for my foster status and my kids. As well as let a judge friend of mine know what is going on in case I need to have an emergency injunction placed on your mother. The last thing I want is for her to try and ship you off to some place that tries to fix and cure young gay men." Mark looks scared at that idea.
"Do you think it would go that far?" His voice shakes with the fear he is feeling.
"I hope not, but it's best to be prepared. It would be best if you told her soon. I could reserve a table at Neptune if you want, all expenses paid."
"What about my brother. I can't just leave him there if things go bad. She would destroy him. If she finds out I'm gay she would send him away to a Bible reprogramming school to make sure he does not follow in my footsteps. I have reasons to suspect he might be more like me and my father then our mother would like." I'm just sitting there listening to all this. I don't think the shock of all this has worn off yet. I don't know how anyone claiming to be a Christian could be so full of hate, especially to her own family. Our church never talks about God hating gays. I was always taught he is a God of love.
"Alex, why don't you and Mark go back down to your party? When it's over come back and we can talk some more. In the meantime, I have some calls to make and files to look up." He stands up and goes over to the monitors and starts bringing up files. Mark and I go back down to the pool. It looks like our pool party has turned into a dance as well. There are teen bodies grinding against each other on the floor below the strobe. There seems to be a game of water polo going on in the pool. Others are outside talking in groups." At midnight the party breaks up and people go home. The family, including Mark and Shawn, head up to the family room to chill for a little bit. CLAIR already shut everything off and closed everything up. It is nice having CLAIR that's for sure. Dad comes down and relaxes with us. When everyone is ready to go to bed, around 12:30, Dad asks Mark and me to join him up in his office.
When we get in he has us all sit down again. I sit next to Mark and hold his hand. My Dad smiles at us then starts. "Mark, I have made some arrangements that will hopefully work out for you and your brother. I have decided that due to the trauma Alex has received I will need to hire a therapist." I look at my Dad confused.
"Dad I don't see how me getting my head worked on is going to help Mark with his nut job mother."
"Well you see this therapist is going to have to live here with us. Probably in one of the condos out back, or in one of the suites up stairs." I'm still not following him it does not look like Mark is either. "Your new therapists name is going to be Liam." Mark seems to be getting something I'm not because he begins to smile.
"I'm still lost. Mind breaking it down for me?"
"Maybe his full name will help. Dr. Liam Kurt Cromwell, Mark's uncle" I'm starting to see were this is going.
"OK, explain more but I think I know where this is going." Mark must have figured it out because he is basically bouncing in his seat.
"Well you see, Mark's Uncle is going to be coming into town to work with you and start a new clinic for trauma victims. It just so happens that Mark's Mom has been transferred to a high security project and will need to move into the living complex at Mt. Olympus. Now she does not know about this yet of course, but she will soon. Now, it is company policy that if a child is currently enrolled in an active term at a school, that the parent must make arrangements to have the child cared for 'til the end of the term." It's all starting to make sense, but my Dad seems to be missing one important part. After the term, Mark moves away. That does not seem like a good thing to me. "Now normally the other parent would just stay behind 'til the end of the term then follow with the rest of the family. In Mark's case there is no father to do that with. The next closest relative would be his uncle who will soon just happen to live here with us. In order for his uncle to be able to sign papers and documents for Mark and Shawn, he will need guardianship at least 'til the end of the term."
"This is all standardized so Mark's Mom shouldn't think twice about signing the papers. What she won't know, is that the documents she will be signing will give Liam Cromwell complete, permanent and irrevocable custody of both Mark and Shawn 'til they turn 18 or emancipate themselves. Now Mark, your uncle will be here tomorrow morning to get settled. When he stops by your place I need you to act surprised to see him."
"The end of this term is January 22nd you have 'til January 8th to tell your Mom about you and Alex. I will be putting your Mom's transfer through the week after Thanksgiving on November 31st. She will be notified December 8th and will start the new project January 8th. That will give her and your uncle time to get to know each other again before she has to find someone to take care of you."
"He is going to be playing a very big part in this. He is going to have to pretend to hate your father and to have joined your mother in her crazy ideas. This way she won't think twice about handing you over to him. So don't be surprised if he acts like your mother. Anytime after the documents are signed and January 8th you may tell her about you being gay, and being involved with Alex. As soon as the documents are signed, a judge and social services will be standing by to ratify and file them. After, you are safely in your uncles care which would also mean mine. I would then no longer feel the need to protect your mother from a certain letter that she is planning to send. Which means she will likely get fired right around the same time she starts her new job since I sent out a new corporate wide policy for zero tolerance to derogatory and discriminating remarks." Mark and I both have our mouths hanging open.
"Isaac, I can't believe you did all this that fast. What if she fights the custody after she figures out we scammed her?" Mark asks.
"The documents are iron clad you don't have to worry about that. If she fights I have the resources to tie it up in court 'til she dies of old age. I have some experience with this kind of thing. Well, time for bed guys. Mark and Shawn have to arrive home tomorrow afternoon and act surprised to see their uncle waiting for them." I get up and hug my Dad and so does Mark. We say good night and head to my room. We get undressed both us strip totally naked, and slip into bed, Mark holding me as I lay my head on his chest. We talk a little about what just happened. We fall asleep both knowing that the next few weeks could mean the difference between us staying together and being dragged apart.