Castle Roland

Forever 2 - Changes

by Jack Schaeffer

In Progress

Chapter 22

Published: 3 Oct 16

FOREVER Book II - Changes
By Jack Schaeffer
Copyright © 2015, 2016. All rights reserved.

"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation." - Robert F. Kennedy, Senator and U.S. Attorney General

It was nearing seven o'clock, local time, when Sam pulled the big Escalade into the restaurant parking lot where we were meeting his parents. The single-story, rectangular gray building was not large. A second restaurant occupied the back half. Fronting the main street, running the length of the parking lot, stood a low rock wall, typical of New England landscapes.

I had skipped lunch on the plane in favor of sleep. I was hungry. And nervous. Might not be a good idea to put food in my stomach. Sam turned off the engine and we sat, waiting for Ben's approval to enter the restaurant.

"You still sure about this?" I asked, squeezing Sam's right hand. "It's not too late to go back."

Sam smiled at me, then leaned over to kiss me. "I've never been more sure of anything in my life."

"Really? Hope you feel that way after dinner. Is it hot in here?" I pulled at my shirt collar.

Sam chuckled softly at my antics. His cell phone dinged in his left hand. He read the text message and said, "Ben says we're clear to go in."

He started to open his door, but I grabbed his arm. "Wait. I need to tell you something," I said. Sam patiently looked at me, his blue eyes dancing in the waning sunlight. "No matter what happens in there, I love you with all my heart, Sam. If I screw this up, I'll make it right. I'll do whatever I have to do to be a part of your family."

His expression changed. I couldn't read it. His eyes still sparkled, but then tears pooled in the bottom lids, and his lips quivered. Crap! Why can't I ever keep my mouth shut.

"Thank you for wanting to," he whispered, as a single tear fell. I leaned over and kissed his cheek, tasting salt and gratitude. I wiped away another tear with a thumb, barely holding my own tears at bay. Sam grabbed my head with both hands and kissed me. It lasted a while, and took my breath away. I had to put my hands on his chest for support.

"Golly," I said, when we finally came up for air. "I think you like me."

Sam caressed my cheek with a tender hand, his blue eyes sparkling in the fading sunlight. "Not even a little bit, you jerk," he said.

I grabbed his scruffy chin and kissed him again. "Mmmm...yeah...I don't really like you either."

He laughed and swatted my thigh. "Good. Now get your hot little ass out of the car. I wanna go see my mom and dad."

Sam's hand hovered near the small of my back as we walked across the parking lot. I saw the vehicle Ben was driving facing out from a parking space near the entrance. There was another man in the passenger seat. Ben's eyes tracked us to the front door. I wondered if I should send dinner out to them. He answered my unspoken question when he raised a sandwich to his mouth. Figures he would have it covered.

Inside, the delicious aromas of Italian cooking overwhelmed my nose. We were greeted by a middle-aged lady with a big smile and even bigger hair. "Welcome to Arturo Joe's. How many in your party?"

"Um...we're meeting my parents," said Sam, trying to look past her into the interior of the restaurant. We could only see a few unoccupied tables by the front window from our vantage point.

"Ah...yes, I believe they're already seated in the dining room. I was told to keep an eye out for two handsome young men. You boys certainly fit the bill. Right this way. Watch your step," she said, pointing to the floor. She grabbed two menus and waved a hand for us to follow. Despite her warning, I tripped on the little step anyway. Thankfully Sam was in front of me and prevented my fall.

He grunted. "You okay back there, little man."

"I'm fine," I whispered to his back, holding onto his shoulders to steady myself. I hoped his parents hadn't seen that. We turned a corner into the main dining room, and from the last booth along the wall, a man facing us saw Sam and stood up. The woman sitting opposite him in the booth turned her head, and there they were - Sam's father and mother.

I don't know what I expected. I hadn't actually seen any pictures of them. Sam's father looked like an older version of his son. Same stature, just a little thicker through the middle, like most men in their fifties. Same hair, worn longer. Same radiant blue eyes.

He took two steps toward us and Sam disappeared into his father's arms. Their embrace lasted for several seconds. The Wainwright men know how to get the most out of a hug.

"It's good to see you, Sam," said Mr. Wainwright.

"You too, Dad. Mom, I've missed you so much," said Sam, pulling his mother into a hug. For the moment I was invisible, a fly on the wall observing a heart-warming family reunion, which was fine by me. The hostess set the menus on the table and retreated.

Pulling back from Sam's arms, his mother smiled brightly at me and said, "Sam, aren't you going to introduce us?"

He blushed as he turned to me and grabbed my hand, pulling me closer. "Jack, this is Curtis and Caroline Wainwright. Mom, Dad...this is Jack Schaeffer."

I smiled, willing my bladder to hold. I squeezed something down there just to be sure. Mr. Wainwright extended a hand and I shook it firmly. Mrs. Wainwright did the same, but I was softer with her.

"It's so wonderful to finally meet you, Jack. Thank you so much for coming," said Mrs. Wainwright. She was two inches shorter than me, and very thin, almost frail looking. But when she fixed her eyes on mine, I knew she was a lot stronger than she appeared. And now I also knew where Sam got that thing he did with his eyes, when he wanted to look into my soul.

I swallowed. "I'm very happy to finally meet you both, as well. Sam speaks very, very highly of you. I'm honored to have been invited."

"Welcome, Jack. Let's all have a seat," said Mr. Wainwright. "Caroline, why don't you move over to this side with me, and Sam and Jack can sit over there." Sam's mother grabbed a sweater off the seat and moved to the inside position on the far side of the booth. Sam motioned for me to get in on our side first. When he was seated next to me, he leaned over to whisper in my ear.

"So you don't get any ideas about running away." He winked at me with a grin. His right leg was touching my left, and I could feel the energy and excitement radiating off of him.

"Sam, no secrets at the dinner table," said Mrs. Wainwright. "So tell me. I want to know everything."

"Hold up, Caroline," said Mr. Wainwright in a deep voice. "Why don't we order our dinner and then we can take our time catching up. What do you think, Sammy? You up for some calamari?"

Sammy? I looked at Sam and smiled. He looked at me and blushed again. "Sure, Dad. Sounds good." It did? What the hell was calamari?

"Mushrooms for you, my dear?" he said to his wife.

"Do you like stuffed mushrooms, Jack?" she asked.

I shrugged. "I'll try them," I replied, aiming for agreeable. My stomach had other opinions.

Our waiter, a big Italian guy named Joe whose nose looked like it was broken in a boxing match, arrived with two drinks for Sam's parents. Hers was pink and fizzy, with a little turquoise umbrella in it. His looked like a martini maybe. There were definitely olives floating on a skewer.

"Would you boys like a drink?" asked Mr. Wainwright.

"No, thank you, none for me," I replied.

Sam sighed. " know I don't drink."

"Oh...right. I forgot. Although how you'll ever survive law school without the occasional cocktail, I'll never know."

"Leave it be, Curtis," said Mrs. Wainwright.

"Right," he said, then proceeded to order our appetizers. Joe's assistant brought a basket of different kinds of breads and a cruet of garlic and basil infused olive oil for dipping. Sam poured some oil on a plate between us, and put a piece of crusty bread on the little plate in front of me. He took two for himself. We all busied ourselves looking at the menu and making our dinner selections.

Sam and his father both ordered the New York Strip steak and a baked potato, with a classic Caesar salad. Like father, like son. Sam's mother went with a baby arugula salad and Chicken Limoncello. I found one of my favorites on the menu - a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad - and something called Veal Josephine. The sauce was made from figs and a balsamic vinaigrette reduction.

Once Joe had refilled the bread basket and taken our dinner orders, Mrs. Wainwright looked right at Sam and said, "Spill. I want all the details how you two met." I smiled. I liked her.

Sam looked at me and I nodded. "Okay," he said. "You and Dad know Tommy got me a job cleaning pools in Hawaii, right?" They both nodded.

"Well, Jack was renting one of the places where I did pool maintenance. We got to talking, and he invited me to stay after I was done cleaning the pool one afternoon. We barbequed hamburgers and talked some more. Things progressed from there." Sam took a drink of water and tore off a small piece of bread, dipped it in oil, and ate it.

"That's it? That's all I get?" asked Mrs. Wainwright.

"Sounds about right to me," said her husband. "You give my son barbeque - hell, any kind of meat - and he'll pretty much be your friend for life." Everyone laughed.

"Which is all I thought we would be - friends," said Sam. "But then it all changed."

"What changed?" said Sam's mother.

"We were supposed to go to a movie with Tommy and some of the guys I cleaned pools with. They bailed, so Jack and I went together, just the two of us. Later, when Jack and I were having pizza, the conversation took a turn, and he told me he was gay."

"You didn't know before?" asked Mr. Wainwright.

Sam sighed. "No, Dad, I didn't. It's not like he has a tattoo or something on his forehead. I hoped he was, but it's not the first thing you ask somebody when you meet."

"So what happened after you found out? Jack, did you know Sam was gay?" asked Mrs. Wainwright.

"Nope," I replied. "To tell you the truth, I had pretty much convinced myself he was straight. But I was sure hoping he would be my friend. Like Sam said, talking with him was so easy. I felt safe with him, which is probably why I told him. I had to tell somebody."

"Sam's the first person you told that you're gay?" she asked, her voice animating her surprise. I was suddenly a little uncomfortable with this new focus in the conversation.

"Mom! Stop grilling him about being gay," said Sam in a low whisper. He reached over and grabbed my hand, and I tried to smile. My heart was racing. I have no idea what my face looked like.

"Oh my...I'm...oh, Jack, please forgive me," she said, reaching a hand toward me across the table. I looked at it, then tentatively reached a trembling hand out to hers. She held onto mine for a moment, then let go. "You have to forgive me, please. I didn't realize."

I took a deep breath and looked at Sam. His eyes betrayed his horror with how things were going. I realized in that moment this whole thing - bringing a guy home for the first time, hoping his family would love me as much as he did - this was much harder on Sam than it was for me. How did I not see it before?

I put a hand on his thigh under the table and said softly, "Let me take it from here." His eyes brightened, and he exhaled, nodding once. I turned to his parents who were staring at us, not breathing.

"Okay, everybody take a breath, before we all pass out," I said. We all smiled and everyone relaxed a little bit.

"Mrs. Wainwright, I'm fine, I promise. Sam watches out for me, because I still get a little verklempt about the whole gay thing. He's helped me a ton to overcome my fears and anxiety about it. Honestly, I'm happy to answer any questions you have. Yes, Sam is the first guy I told outright. A few others guessed, but he...well, like I said, he made me feel safe, and I trusted him."

"When did you two meet?" asked Mr. Wainwright, grabbing another piece of bread from the basket.

"About three months ago," I replied. "I was on vacation in Hawaii."

"So you don't live there now?" he asked, dipping his bread in a shallow bowl of olive oil sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese.

"No, sir. I live in Denver."

"And so do I," said Sam, squeezing my hand under the table. I turned to him, stunned he would drop that revelation so casually into the conversation.

Mrs. Wainwright's eyes became round saucers. Mr. Wainwright looked from Sam to me and back to Sam again.

"I'm sorry, you what?" he said, dropping his piece of bread on his plate.

"I'm living in Denver now. With Jack."

Curtis Wainwright sat back and looked up at the ceiling. When his eyes came back down they were searching for our waiter. He raised his martini glass and Joe nodded from across the room.

"Dad..." said Sam, but his father held up a hand, and Sam stopped talking. His mother looked conflicted, her gaze bouncing around the table from one person to the next.

When his father could find words, they came out sharp and pointed. "We had a deal, young man. You promised me you would take no more than one year off, then you were going to law school. Now you're going to sit here and tell me that you're gonna throw all that away...for what?"

"Dad, let me explain."

"Oh, this is gonna be good. I can't wait to hear the excuses this time." He leaned across the table, his voice a low hiss. "The last time you got involved with another boy he left you in pieces and you had to crawl halfway around the world to lick your wounds. You meet this guy and a few weeks later you're living with him? Do you not have a brain left in your head?"

"Dad!" Sam shouted, loud enough to startle the people at the table next to us. I jumped a little myself. I'd never seen Sam so angry. His outburst did silence his father, though. Mr. Wainwright's jaw was clenched, the veins bulging near his temples. Sam's mother took one look at him and stepped in.

"Curtis, give your son a chance to explain himself," she said, gripping his arm.

"I'm not interested in any more of his excuses," he replied, his eyes never leaving Sam's.

She leaned back and gave him a look that could wilt concrete. "Aren't you the one who taught our children there are at least two sides to every story? So far we've only heard yours. I want to hear Sam's, if you wouldn't mind."

Joe the waiter chose that moment to approach with our appetizers and Mr. Wainwright's drink. Nobody touched the food. Sam's father looked at his martini, then looked at his wife, his eyes searching hers. Holy crap, the whole family did it. Finally he nodded.

"Fine." Turning to us, he said. "Sam, say what you wanted to say."

Sam sighed. He loved his father, that much I knew. But he was struggling now. He was hurt, and he was pissed. The comment about Jeremy was a low blow.

Looking at his bread plate, Sam took a deep breath and fought for control. When he was ready, he looked his father in the eye and said, "You're right. What Jeremy did to me was horrible, and I let it happen. I was stupid, and I paid the price for it. I trusted him, and he nearly destroyed me." Sam looked over at me, then back to his father. "But Jack is not Jeremy. Not even close. This is different, Dad. I love Jack, and he loves me. I know he does. When I asked him to come here with me, he didn't even hesitate. He wants to be with me, and I need to be with him." His voice cracked, and I put my hand back on his thigh to reassure him. He squeezed my hand, swallowed the lump in his throat, and continued.

"As far as what's left of my works just fine. Falling in love with Jack is the smartest thing I've ever done. I get that it might seem too fast to everyone else, but it's not to me. And I don't care what anyone else thinks, I know better. I knew when I first saw him, he was the one for me. Do you remember, Dad?" he said, looking at his father.

"Remember what?"

"Do you remember what you told me?"


Sam sighed. "The night I told you and Mom I was gay. You asked me if I was scared. I said yes."

"You said you were afraid you would never find someone to love you, someone you could love back, like your father and me," said Sam's mother.

"Right. And Dad told me I had nothing to be afraid of. He was out there, somewhere. And someday, while I was working and living my life, I would find him," said Sam.

His father's eyes widened, remembering the past conversation. "And I told you will know he's the one, and nothing and no one will ever convince you otherwise. Just like I knew when I met your mother," said Mr. Wainwright.

Sam sat back and looked at his father hard. "Well...I found him. He's sitting right here next to me. And I know. I know."

I knew, too. Sam loved me. He needed me. And he'd just declared out of his mouth I was the most important person in his life, even more than his mom and dad. I could feel tears welling in my eyes. I squeezed them shut, determined not to cry in front of his parents.

I grabbed Sam's bicep with both hands, and he turned to look at me. There was a renewed confidence in his eyes. He'd made his declaration of independence, and there was no retreat now. Oh, how I loved him for that. No one had ever put me first. Ever.

"Forever," I whispered. He nodded, his face softening.

"Forever," he said.

I wanted to kiss him. Instead I put my forehead briefly on his shoulder, then sat up straight, letting go of Sam's arm. I glanced across the table. Sam's father was watching us, and when he caught my eye, he looked away, uncomfortable.

I shifted my gaze to Sam's mother. Her eyes locked onto mine. I let her in. It was the Wainwright way. Whatever she was looking for in my soul, all she was going to find was a deep, deep love for her son.

As Sam had done so many times, she nodded once. "Things are serious between you two, aren't they," she said.

"Yes, ma'am," I said. "I will do anything...anything...for Sam." I turned to her husband. "Including move to St. Louis and enroll at Washington University. Sam and I start graduate school in August, just like you planned, sir. And I promise you, I will do everything I can to ensure Sam graduates at the top of his class."

This new revelation shocked him, for sure. He started to say something, then stopped. He took a swig of his drink, looked at his wife, looked at Sam, then back to me. His eyes narrowed.

"This is all very sudden. We haven't laid eyes on you in over a year, Sam. Now you want us to be okay with you living with a man we only met five minutes ago?"

"I want you to trust me," said Sam. "I want you to believe I can make big decisions for my life. I'm not a kid anymore. Look, I know this is all a surprise. I'm sorry about that. I should have told you sooner, instead of springing it on you like this. But I had to be sure. I couldn't go through it again."

"Go through what again?" asked his father, looking at his wife for help.

"Oh, Curtis. Honestly, you can be so dense sometimes. He means what happened with Jeremy. Right, honey?" said Mrs. Wainwright.

"Yes. I spent two years with Jeremy, and I never really knew if he loved me. Two days with Jack, and I knew for sure," said Sam, reaching for my hand again. He looked at me, his blue eyes glistening in the soft incandescent light. I so wanted to touch his face, to kiss him. To thank him for believing in me. But even though it felt like maybe the ice was thawing a bit, I was afraid it would offend Mr. and Mrs. Wainwright. I didn't know what I was supposed to do now. Sam's father solved that dilemma.

He folded his hands on the table. "Well, Jack, you have anything you want to add? Sam's been pretty clear where he stands. What about you?"

"Curtis, maybe we should drop this for now. We can have a nice, quiet dinner and talk about the party tomorrow," said Mrs. Wainwright, putting a hand over her husband's.

I knew I liked her. "It's okay. It's a fair question," I said, squeezing Sam's hand. "To be honest, sir, I don't know how I could say it any better than Sam did. I know I love him, but I couldn't tell you how it happened. I've never been with anyone but Sam, and I can't imagine being without him now. I'm a better man because of Sam. I like who I am when I'm with him. Wherever he is, that's where I want to be. He's my home now."

Mrs. Wainwright inhaled sharply. "You really do love my son, don't you." It wasn't a question. She was stating a fact.

"Yes, ma'am, I really do. With all my heart." She grabbed a napkin and dabbed at the corners of her eyes.

"Did I say something wrong?" I asked, feeling queasy.

She smiled. "No, honey, you said everything just right. Sam's lucky to have you." Sam squeezed my hand, smiling again.

"Well, Dad, satisfied?" asked Sam.

"Maybe," he said, his mouth cracking into a slight smile for the first time. "One more question, Jack. Do I have your word you'll support Sam in getting his law degree, as well as any career he chooses to pursue?"

I knew from Sam how much personal integrity meant to his father. It was an important question for him, one I didn't mind answering in the least. "You have my word, sir," I said.

He looked at Sam. "This is what you want?"

"Yes, sir," said Sam. They locked eyes briefly, then Sam's father nodded.

"Very well, then. I'm sorry I doubted you, Sam. It won't happen again. I'm proud of you, son. I always have been. And Jack, promises aside, if you hurt Sam in any way, I'll hunt you down and kill you. Have I made myself clear?"

I gulped. "Yes, sir."

"Good. Let's eat before this gets any colder. Caroline, you want another drink?" He turned to her, and she looked up at him, eyes beaming. He leaned over and kissed her gently.

"I've got all I need right here," she said, pushing plates aside and reaching across the table with both hands. Sam grabbed them in his.

"Sam, you're my baby. You'll always be my baby. Your whole life, once you sank your teeth into something, you never let go. You're just like your father. Stubborn, bull-headed...and usually right." Sam looked at his father.

"She said it," they voiced in unison, smiling at each other. Sam's mother and I rolled our eyes on cue, and we all started laughing. The ice was broken.

We started eating. The stuffed mushrooms were okay. I ate one, unimpressed. I noticed Sam avoided them. He loved the calamari, and insisted I try some. They looked like fried onion rings.

"Here," he said, putting several on my plate. "Dip them in the sauce. They're delicious."

I tentatively took a bite, dripping sauce on my chin. I chewed and chewed and chewed. It had a slightly rubbery consistency, which wasn't bad, just unexpected. It tasted a little like scallops, which I love.

"This is pretty good. What is it?"

"Squid," said Sam's father. I put a hand to my mouth to prevent involuntary spitting.

"Easy, Jack. You just said you liked it," said Sam. I forced myself to swallow the wad of rubber and looked at him.

"That was before I knew what it was. You could have told me."

"What difference does it make?" he asked, grinning.

"I don't know. Let's see...they don't call it squid on the menu, do they? I wonder why?" He smiled at me and put another forkful in his mouth.

"If you try to kiss me before brushing your teeth, you can forget it," I said without thinking. My breath caught in my throat.

"Oh," said Sam's father. "You boys are kissing now, are you? Well that better be all you're doing. If I catch you doing anything more, there's gonna be hell to pay."

My neck and face felt red hot. All the air in the room vanished. I wanted to slide under the table. Sam swallowed his calamari and wiped his mouth with a napkin, giving his father a look. I tried to remember how to breathe.

"Stop it. It's not funny," said Sam.

"Oh, come on, lighten up, son. I'm joking. You're two consenting adults. I get it. Do what you want. You guys can't take a joke?"

"Do you have any idea how hard this is for us?" said Sam. "When I first met Jack, he was scared of his own shadow. I can barely get him to hold my hand in public. Most of the time we don't, let alone kiss. You kissed Mom a few minutes ago. You think we could do that in here? I don't."

His father held his hands up in surrender. "Sam, I'm sorry. I'm not trying to make things hard on you, I promise."

Sam sighed, looking around the room in frustration. His eyes returned to his parents. "Look...I get that I'm being hypersensitive right now. It's just...I don't know, it feels weird. I've never been around the family with a guy before. I want Jack and me to be free to be us, who we are, without everyone freaking out about it, or making jokes. I know that's a lot to ask, but can we try? Please?"

Sam's parents looked at each other. It was a first for them, too. His mother looked perplexed, like she wanted to say something, but didn't know how.

"Mom? Just say it," said Sam.

" realized just now I've never seen you kiss anyone. Your sister's been married for years, and she and David kiss and hold hands and whatnot around us all the time. I'm used to it. But you never did."

"I never brought a guy home, you mean."

"Right. Yes. I remember the first time Kat and David kissed in front of me. It was a first. It's a parent thing, I guess. You see your child doing something only adults are supposed to do, and you realize, they're now adults. It catches you by surprise."

"Are you uncomfortable with me bringing Jack to visit?" asked Sam.

"No, honey. No. That's not what I mean. But it's going to be an adjustment for all of us. It's different."

"Different because we're gay?" said Sam, a slight edge to his voice.

"Yes, Sam. It's partly that. Your father and I don't have any adult gay friends, so I can't say I've ever seen two men kiss, or two women, for that matter. Not as a couple. But mostly you're my baby, and I don't want you to grow up so fast."

"Mom, I'm gonna be twenty-four!"

She smiled. "I know, sweetie, but maybe you and Jack could wait until you're closer to thirty."

Sam threw his hands up in the air in exasperation. He turned to me. "Can you believe this crap?" Out of the corner of my eye I saw his mother crack a smile. She was totally messing with him. Two can play that game, lady.

I turned in the booth to face Sam and put a hand on his chest, then leaned in like I was going to whisper in his ear. He instinctively leaned in closer to me, like I knew he would. I shifted my face and quickly kissed him, just as his father had kissed his mother before. Sam's eyes widened in shock.

"She's teasing you, big guy," I said with a big smile.

"She what?"

"Was that so hard?" asked Mrs. Wainwright. "By the way, nicely done, Jack." She held up a hand and I high-fived her across the table.

"Looks like we can handle it, Sam," said his father, smiling. "Question is, can you?"

Sam blushed and looked down at his hands, trying to hide a grin. "Okay, fine. You got me."

"Sammy, we've known you were gay since you were in high school. We don't have a problem with it. Be who you are. We don't ask Kat and David to limit their affection, we certainly aren't going to ask you to," said Mr. Wainwright.

"Be mindful of the children, please. Try not to overdo it," said Sam's mother.

"We won't, Mrs. Wainwright. Sam and I have an agreement. We try not to make anyone uncomfortable around us."

"Sensible and mature. Can't argue with that," said Mr. Wainwright.

"So you're saying you're okay with me and Jack being reasonably affectionate with each other around the family?" asked Sam.

"Depends on how you define reasonable, I suppose," said his mother. "What you two do in your bedroom is your business. What you do in the living room is mine, and that includes sitting on the furniture in wet swimsuits. You hear me, Sam?"

"Yes, ma'am," said Sam, smiling.

Our salads arrived, and the conversation thankfully shifted to a less personal focus. Mine was delicious. When our dinners were served, I was no longer hungry, but I managed to eat half of my veal. The combination of figs and balsamic vinegar was fantastic.

"How's your steak, Sam?" I asked.

He put another piece in his mouth. "Delithus," he said.

"Don't talk with food in your mouth, Sam," said his mother. He smiled and winked at me.

Sam's parents told a few fun stories about Sam's childhood. Getting stuck in a tree trying to catch a squirrel when he was six. Nearly burning down the deck when he accidently knocked over the barbeque grill when he was nine. His father told the story of Sam shoveling snow in the winter to save up money for a car. He was very proud of his son.

When the time came, everyone declined dessert. I couldn't eat another bite. Sam, along with his parents, ordered after dinner coffee.

"You don't drink coffee, Jack?" asked Mr. Wainwright as he signed the check for the meal. Sam and I offered to pay for the meal, but he refused.

"Nope. Don't like the bitter taste," I said.

"Too bad. You're missing out on one of life's greatest pleasures," he said.

"Sam's enough for me."

"Jack!" said Sam. "You can't say stuff like that to my parents."

"Why not?" said his mother. "I think it's sweet."

"Yeah, your mother thinks I'm sweet," I said, sticking out my tongue at him. Sam rolled his eyes, and his father laughed, splashing coffee down the front of his shirt.

"Ow! Damn, that's hot," he said, wiping at it with his napkin.

"Are you okay, honey?" said his wife.

"Yeah, I'm fine. You boys ready to head to the house?"

"Sure," said Sam. "We'll follow you."

Back in the car, Sam dropped his head on the steering wheel. "What the fuck? That was so not what I expected. I'm sorry, Jack." I rubbed his back and shoulders with my left hand.

"I'm fine. I thought it went well, all things considered."

He reared up, rubbing his face with his hands. "Are you kidding me? It's like my Dad doesn't even know me. Could he have been any more ridiculous?"

I dropped my hand to his thigh. "Why? Because he wants the best for you? I wish I had a dad who cared that much about me. And we did sort of blindside them with the whole living together thing."

Sam sighed. "Yeah, I guess you're right. But I never expected an inquisition. Do you want to leave? We can leave. We don't have to stay."

"No, I don't want to leave. I think they kind of like me. At least your mom does. I don't know about your dad."

"You did great. It's me he's disappointed in," he said, slumping his shoulders. I leaned over the leather center console and put my forehead on his shoulder.

"I could be wrong, but I don't think that's true. I'm sorry it wasn't what you wanted. What can I do to fix it?"

"I don't know, brain surgery on my father to remove the stupid part?"

I smiled and sat back up. "I'm not that skilled. Besides, I think he'll come around. Once he knew you were still going to law school, he settled down."

Sam looked at me for the first time since we got in the car. "You really think so?"

I put my hand on his arm. "Of course. This is your father we're talking about, Sam. This is the guy you've looked up to your whole life. Give him a chance."

"You sure you want to stay? We could ditch the whole plan and run away to New York for the week."

"Right. And have Ben chase us down, just to put a bullet in my ass. No, thank you. Besides, don't you want to see your sister tomorrow? And we've got the boys' birthday party."

Sam's phone rang. "Yeah, Ben?" I could see him in his car across the lot, phone to his ear.

Sam held his phone out so I could hear, too. "Why are we sitting out here, not moving?" asked Ben.

"We're waiting for my parents to pull their car around. I think this is them coming up now."

"You headed to the house?"


"Okay. Later." Ben hung up.

"Last chance, little man. You in?" said Sam, looking into my eyes.

I leaned over and kissed him, my hands on his shoulders. "I'm in. As they say in the movies, Sam: 'follow that car!'" He nodded once, then pulled out behind his parents' gray sedan. I turned around to see Ben pull out behind us. He stayed a couple of cars back. I knew he'd never let us out of his sight.

Only a thin line of blue on the horizon held back total darkness as we drove behind Sam's parents.

"Is it much further?" I asked. It had only been ten minutes, but I was feeling anxious again. And the calamari Sam tricked me into eating wasn't settling too well in my stomach.

"I don't think so. It's on this street a little further down."

A minute later, his parents' car turned into an opening in a tall hedge. We followed along a short driveway and pulled to a stop in front of a very large house. The exterior lights revealed a two-story home with many windows and a long, deep porch. There was a lot of white trim framing gray cedar shingled siding. Another wing to the house extended at a forty-five degree angle, housing a three-car garage with carriage style doors on the ground floor.

We all got out of the cars, our feet crunching on pea-sized gravel.

"Couldn't find a bigger car?" said Mr. Wainwright, walking up with his arm around his wife's shoulder.

Sam laughed. "I know, right? This thing is huge. But it'll be great if we all decide to go somewhere together."

"You boys need any help with your bags?" asked Mrs. Wainwright. "Curtis, give them a hand."

"It's okay, Mom. We've got it," said Sam.

"Come on in, then, and I'll show you to your room," she said.

Sam punched a button on the key fob and the rear hatch opened. We retrieved our luggage and followed Sam's parents inside.

"Leave your shoes by the door, please. Kelly Bertrand asked us to be careful with the new wood floors," said Mrs. Wainwright, kicking off her sandals. Mr. Wainwright grunted, pushed off his black shoes, and headed into the living room and around a corner.

I bent over to remove my loafers. Sam made a noise behind me. Thankfully his mother didn't hear. She was climbing up a wide staircase to the right.

"You okay, Sam?" I asked.

"I'm fine," he whispered. "But stop waving your ass in my face. I'm gonna get a hard on in front of my mother." His grin was wide, his lust palpable. Sam was back to normal.

"I'll take care of that later," I teased, looking down at his crotch and back up to his face.

"You are such a little shit," he said with a grin, as he turned so his mother wouldn't see him readjust his dick to a less noticeable position.

"You boys coming up?" said his mother from the top of the stairs.

"Coming, mother," said Sam, positioning his suitcase in front of his crotch. I tried not to nick the walls with my bag as I followed Sam's sexy butt up the stairs. My arm was ripping out of its socket. Why did I pack so much crap?

At the top of the stairs, Sam's mother turned right and we followed her down a long hallway and around an angled corner. She stopped at a closed door at the end of corridor.

"I think you boys will be most comfortable in this room over the garage. You'll have more privacy this way."

"Mom? Don't Kat and David usually stay in this room?" asked Sam.

"They'll be in the guest room downstairs. Your father and I are in the master bedroom downstairs, as well. You will have to contend with the twins, though. They're going to stay at the other end of the hall. You have your own bathroom, and another one here on this side if you need it. The kids have their own in their room."

Sam put his suitcase on the floor and pulled his mother into a hug. "Thank you," he whispered. She smiled and looked up at her son.

"Sam...I know we gave you a hard time at dinner. I'm sorry. I'm so happy you both came. And I promise, I'll make sure no one makes you feel uncomfortable. That goes for you, too, Jack," she said, smiling at me.

"Is Dad okay?"

Sam's mother grabbed her son's arms. "You let me worry about your father. He'll be fine. He loves you, Sam. He sees it as his duty to make sure all you kids' dreams come true. Something tells me one of them already has." She winked at me, and I grinned.

"What time does Kat get in tomorrow?" asked Sam.

"They should be here by ten. We're grilling out for lunch, and the party for the twins is tomorrow night. You boys better get some sleep. You're gonna need it."

"We'll get settled, then come down and say good night," said Sam.

"Fine. Take your time. We'll be up for a little while. Your father will want to watch the news, and I have some things to do in the kitchen." She patted Sam's face, then took a few steps toward me. I moved to the side to let her pass and she stopped, putting a hand on my arm.

"I hope we weren't too hard on you tonight."

"Not at all. I enjoyed dinner. Thank you for doing all this for us. It means a lot to me."

She looked at me, her eyes glistening. "You and I will have to find time to have a nice little chat."

"I would like that very much."

She slid her hand down my arm and squeezed my hand, then nodded once. She turned and disappeared around the corner.

I turned around and Sam was already in the bedroom. He dropped his suitcase near the foot of the bed, swiveled around the tall corner post, and flopped on his back across the pillows. I carefully closed the door, put my bag down, and climbed on the bed, laying on top of him. He put his hands on my ass and smiled.

"You were awesome tonight," he said. "Thank you."

"Thanks for bringing me. I know I've been a little nuts about it all, but now that I'm here, I think it's going to be a good week. I like them, Sam. A lot."

He looked into my eyes, pushing a hand through my hair. "I like your haircut. It's sexy." We'd both gotten haircuts on Friday at a place called Rooster's in downtown Denver. Sam talked me out of coloring my hair - he liked the natural highlights. The girl who cut Sam's hair flirted shamelessly with him the whole time, but he was totally oblivious. I liked that about him.

I put my head on his chest and he wrapped his arms around me. "Mom's right. Dad's always talked about my dreams and aspirations. Anything I ever wanted to do, he supported me. School, sports, wanting to be a lawyer like him. He's never stood in my way."

"More likely he's knocked people out of your way," I said.

Sam laughed. "Yeah, exactly."

I looked up at my handsome lover. "You know that's all he was doing tonight, right? Making sure I wasn't someone in the way of your dreams?"

He sighed. "I know. I just wish he trusted me with big decisions."

"Maybe now he will."

"I hope so."

I inched up and kissed him. He closed his eyes and moaned. Our hands started roaming, and we didn't come up for air for a little while. When we finally did, we had a problem. Two of them. Standing up beside the four-poster king-sized bed, we were both trying to will our rock hard cocks to deflate as we straightened our clothes.

"Come on, let's get down there before they wonder what we're up to," said Sam.

I grabbed his arm. "I think the jig is up, Sam. You brought a guy home, and he's sharing your bed."

He grinned, pulling me into a hug. "Yeah...I did, didn't I? And he's fucking hot, too!"

"Told you you like me," I said, grinning. I tweaked his left nipple.

He flinched and laughed. "Okay...maybe a little bit."

I grabbed his hips and pressed my growing cock against his. "Your dick says otherwise, big guy."

"Never mind my dick. Get your ass downstairs." He pushed me away and smacked my butt hard as I turned toward the bedroom door.

"Ow! You know I love it when you get bossy," I said, grinning.

He laughed, and as we walked down the stairs hand in hand, I wondered what the week ahead would hold for us.

Author's Notes:

Jack and Sam finally meet Sam's parents. Not what either of them expected. Will they stay? What will happen when Kat and her family arrives? Will the twins like Jack? Will Kat? What does Sam's mom want to talk with Jack about? Stay tuned for more...

Big thanks to the editors for helping me get this out on schedule. Mark, Harry, Tony, and Darryl … thank you, thank you.

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