Okay, everyone. It's been quite a ride, but like all good things, the ride has come to an end. This is the final chapter of Aaron's Journey Down The Long Road. However, it is by no means the last time we'll share in everyone's lives. Watch for Heading Down The Long Road coming soon.
Speaking of ends, I had originally set up my Yahoo! Group as a spam-free place to discuss the stories and hear news about upcoming ones. Unfortunately, Yahoo has decided to start spamming their own groups. Thus I will be shutting it down as of the 15th. I have started a new site, jd4556.blogspot.com where I hope everyone will join me. There isn't much there yet as I am learning the system, but there soon will be.
That being said, please enjoy the final chapter of Aaron's Journey Down The Long Road and please support Nifty.
"It's show time Hank." Alison said to her husband, nodding towards her parents who were being escorted to their table in the fancy restaurant. "Mom, Dad, it's nice that you could join us."
"Thank you for inviting us. How are you Hank?" Her father asked, shaking hands with him.
"Just fine, Pete. Yourself?"
"And how are you doing, Margaret?"
"I'm fine, dear, thanks for asking. Alison, dear, are you expecting others to join us? The table is set for eight."
"As a matter of fact I have some friends dropping by, just for old time's sake."
"That sounds nice, dear. How was your trip to Hawaii? Is it as beautiful as they say it is?"
"The trip was very informative, but any description of Hawaii I could give would hardly do it justice. I would love to live there."
"I understand it can be very expensive."
"Not if you know the right people and are able to get the right job, and speaking of the right people, two of them have just arrived." She stood up and raised her hand signaling the two men who walked into the dining room and made their way to the table. "I believe everyone here knows my brother Justin." She said with pride, watching her father get a little red faced. "Justin, as you may or may not know, just retired from the National Football League. The incredible-looking man next to him is his husband of three years, Tim."
Tim extended his hand towards Alison and Justin's father, pretty sure the gesture would not be returned but he would try anyway. "It's an honor to meet you sir."
"You can take your honor and stick it where the sun doesn't shine. Come on, Margaret, we're not having dinner with any faggots."
"Dad, since you're going to be announcing your candidacy for Governor of Arizona with the support of your entire family behind you. I thought we'd use this dinner as a platform to launch your campaign. If you look around you'll see most of your supporters here and a lot of press." Alison beamed with a smile so coated with sugar you could bake a dozen sheet cakes with it and still have plenty left over for cookies.
At least Aaron won't be here, the little cocksucker who started all this faggy shit. Pete breathed a sigh of relief. He whirled on Alison, eyes blazing with anger. "Alright, but you keep your brother and his paramour out of sight and under control!"
Both Alison and Justin seethed at their father's referral of Tim as a paramour. Just as Justin was about to take umbrage, Alison put a hand on his shoulder. "Relax, Justin. He's gonna get his. This show's just getting started. Wait till act two, which is about to start." She looked around and spotted Aaron and Jay standing in the wings ready to move on her signal. She stood up and tapped her spoon against her water glass in the time-honored tradition of getting people's attention. "Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Thank you all for coming. For those who don't know me, my name is Alison Greenwalt, political editor for the Tucson Sun Tribune. It is my pleasure to introduce to you your next governor, my father, Peter Suarez. Before I turn the floor over to him, there's something I would like to address for a quick moment. You all will notice here at the head table there are two empty chairs. Those chairs would normally be filled with my older brother Aaron and his significant other, but my father chose to throw him out when he turned eighteen because he is gay. My parents did everything they could to make sure that I would never see him again. However, fate can be cruel to some, yet kind to others through a single, simple act."
She motioned to Aaron and Jay. "Aaron, Jayson, come on out here." Her father looked stunned. Aaron and Jay approached the table, hugged Alison, Justin, Tim and Hank in a show of sibling solidarity then took their places. "Now I can introduce my entire family. My parents you already know. Starting from my right is my older brother Aaron and his husband Jayson, both of whom just flew in from Hawaii to be with us tonight. This is my husband Hank. Next to him is my brother Justin who if you haven't noticed, is an identical twin to Aaron, and his husband Tim. They also just flew in from Hawaii to be with us. By the way, Justin was also disowned and disinherited when he came out to my parents. Even though I have two brothers, I'm an only child so for the conservative and right wing among you, you don't have to worry about electing a governor with gay children as he has none. I reiterate the fact that I am an only child. Copies of all legal documentation regarding the disownment and disinheritance of Aaron and Justin Suarez are available for downloading from my paper's website. Now I will turn the floor over to my father."
Pete glared at his daughter. How dare she not only force me to have dinner with these degenerates but embarrass me by using this dinner to further HER political agenda! The press is going to have a god dammed field day with this. How the FUCK am I going to salvage this situation? He fumed as Alison returned his glare with a glare of her own.
You had this coming for a long time, you fucking bastard. You tore Aaron, Justin and my lives apart with your crap. Now it's your turn to have your life torn apart. Alison said to herself with a great deal of satisfaction.
Her father stood up as reporters started shouting questions at him. No sense in denying what I did. Aaron's disownment and disinheritance is a matter of public record, as is Justin's. If Alison hadn't made copies of the paperwork available on her paper's website, the press could simply go to city hall and ask for copies. "Ladies and gentlemen" he began "I will not dispute that I did indeed disown and disinherit Aaron when he came out of the closet, but if you bear with me, I will explain my reasons. In the Bible, Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26 – 27, 1st Corinthians 6:9 – 10, 1st Timothy 1:9 – 10 and Jude 1:7 all condemn homosexuality. In all good conscious I could not stand by and allow my seventeen-year-old daughter to be exposed to such an abominable lifestyle, nor could I risk the possibility of her being molested by her brother. It was for that reason and that reason alone that I took the actions I did, actions that were repeated when Justin also came out of the closet, which I cannot help but believe was the result of him being molested by his brother. It was unfortunately too late to protect Justin, but as you can see, Alison is happily married with three beautiful children so at least I was able to protect her and my grandchildren from being molested and possibly raped." That statement created a considerable uproar.
Aaron jumped to his feet and shouted. "I NEVER TOUCHED JUSTIN IN ANY SEXUAL MANNER, NOR WOULD I EVER DO ANYTHING SEXUAL TO ALISON, HANK OR THEIR CHILDREN! THEY'RE MY BROTHER AND SISTER FOR CHRIST'S SAKE. I'M NO CHILD MOLESTER. IF YOU DON'T RETRACT THAT STATEMENT I'LL KNOCK YOU ON YOUR ASS!" It took considerable effort on Jay's part to restrain him.
At the same time, Justin was on his feet shouting. "AARON NEVER LAID A HAND ON ME IN ANY WAY THAT COULD BE CONSIDERED SEXUAL. HE'S NOT A CHILD MOLESTER ANY MORE THAN I AM. I SHOULD KICK YOUR MOTHER-FUCKING ASS FOR ACCUSING HIM OF THAT YOU SELF-RIGHTEOUS PRICK BASTARD!" Tim had his hands full keeping Justin from attacking his father.
Alison's mom turned a tear-streaked face towards her. "Honey, how could you do this to us?"
"Don't go all self-righteous on me, mom. You knew full well what was going on. Do you remember the day that Justin and I asked you about Aaron and the Air Force? You gave us both two different stories. Did it not occur to you that we would talk about it? We also found out that the school was told that Aaron was not allowed to see either of us and that the recruiter's office was asked not to give us any information as to his location." She reached into her bag and pulled out a bundle of envelopes. "Recognize these? They're the letters that he wrote to us that you intercepted and sent back. He was devastated, thinking that we turned our backs on him. We were devastated thinking the same thing. How could you do this to us, your own flesh and blood? This is something I don't think any of us will EVER forgive you or dad for." She stood up and tapped her water glass again. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid my husband and I have to get back to our children, and my brothers and their husbands are exhausted from their long trips and will want to return to their hotel rooms. In closing I would like to say that my brothers and I will not be endorsing nor supporting our father's candidacy for governor of Arizona. I bid you all a good night." As one, they all left the room. Shortly thereafter they were gathered in Aaron and Jay's suite.
"You were marvelous, Alison!" Justin exclaimed as he hugged her tightly.
"I told you when we were in Hawaii at Aaron and Jay's that stooping to their level was my privilege and I meant it."
"I can't wait to see the headlines tomorrow." Aaron said with a chuckle, grinning evilly.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there was something on the eleven o'clock news tonight." Hank said with an equally evil grin.
"What a cock-sucking bastard." Tim said, tears flowing down his face. "Why didn't you tell me about being disowned and disinherited, baby?"
"Because it didn't matter to me" He gathered Tim in his arms. "You, Alison, Hank, their children, Aaron and Jay are all the family I need and want. As far as Aaron and I are concerned, we're orphans."
"I'm also an orphan." Alison piped up. "Hank and I talked it over and we want nothing more to do with them, nor do we want our kids to be exposed to their bigotry and hatred."
Aaron turned to look at her, stunned. Tears formed in his eyes, but didn't fall. "You really mean that, don't you?"
"Don't doubt it even for a second." Hank quickly replied, vehemently.
"Do you know of any newspapers that are hiring in Hawaii?" Alison asked, jokingly.
"No" Jay replied, "but I bet Tony does."
"Jay, I was only kidding."
"I'm not. There's plenty of room for you and the kids. Quite frankly, I've missed the sound of children."
"What about your son and his family?"
"What about them?"
"Why don't you ask them to move in with you?"
"I have. They love to come visit, but they don't want to leave Provincetown. They both love their jobs. The house they own has been in my late husband's family for generations and they don't want to see it leave family hands, which it would if they moved here. When the time comes, it will be passed onto their son."
"Late husband" Justin queried, which led Jay to tell them briefly about Kyle, how they met and how he died, which brought tears to everyone's eyes. Shortly it was time for the news.
"In our lead story this evening, Peter Suarez officially removed himself from the gubernatorial race at a formal dinner this evening. We have footage of the official announcement." The three couples watched the events of the evening replayed with satisfaction. There was little doubt among them that the same footage was being broadcast over all the other major news networks.
"Your kung fu is strong!" Aaron quipped, quoting a line from the movie "The Core".
"Hopefully this will make the other bigots think twice about doing to their children what our parents did to us."
"Is that why you did this?" Aaron asked.
"Nope, this was strictly for revenge." She said. "We lost out on so much because of them. I want them to suffer like we suffered."
"It's all behind us now, Alison. We're together now, and nothing will ever separate us again."
"Well, that's not exactly true, I'm afraid." Jay said, earning disconcerted looks from everyone. "Some of us have to return to Hawaii at some point in time."
"You shithead! You had us scared for a moment." Aaron pounced on him and started tickling him. Justin caught Alison's eye and they too pounced on Jay and tortured him with tickling fingers until he almost pissed his pants. They finally stopped. "Alison's not the only one who can seek revenge." Aaron playfully glared at Jay who was valiantly trying to get his breathing under control.
Hank glanced at his watch. "Honey, we should get going. We told the babysitter that we'd be home by midnight and it's a quarter to."
"Okay. Guys, wanna meet us for breakfast in the morning? There's an IHOP a block down the road." They all agreed and everyone went to their own accommodations and hit the sack. It was a long but rewarding day for the three couples.
"It's so good to be home" Aaron remarked to Jay.
"Amen to that!" Jay responded. "Welcome to Hawaii, Tim. You and Justin are welcome to stay for as long as you like."
"Thank you. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I've always wanted to visit the Islands but could never afford it. Between the air fares and the hotels it was always out of my budget."
"Well, you won't have to worry about hotel costs since you'll be staying here. We three major house rules; one - if you want to spend your entire time in bed fucking like rabbits, go for it. Two - if you get hungry, eat anything you want unless there is a note on something saying that it's for somebody's lunch or it's for dinner. Three - do what ever(whatever) you want to do and long as it's legal. That's it. Also, I strongly recommend staying away from any commercial Island tours. They're crap and way overpriced. Once Aaron finds out what his work schedule is, we'll take you anywhere you want to go."
Aaron, holding a letter in his hand, spoke up. "My work schedule is not going to be a problem." There was a note of sadness in his voice that Jay immediately picked up on.
"What's going on, baby?"
"Because of drastic budget cuts, my firehouse has been shut down and I've been let go." A few tears escaped. "At least I'm eligible for unemployment. That might hold me over until I can find a job."
Jay pulled him into his arms. "We'll be absolutely fine, baby. There's nothing to worry about. I'm just sorry that you lost the job you loved so much.
"Look, if our being here is going to cause you any financial problems -" Justin began.
"No! You guys' plans are NOT changing. This is just a temporary bump in the road. We're used to them. I wonder if Tony needs any help around the club." Aaron interrupted.
"I agree wholeheartedly. We're not hurting in any way financially. You guys are staying." A light bulb appeared above Jay's head. "I don't know about the club, but I bet I know someone who would take you back in a heartbeat." He smiled a shit-eating grin.
"Grace." Aaron responded after a few seconds.
"It wouldn't hurt to give her a call. You know how much she loves you and loved having you working there."
"Who's Grace?" Justin asked.
"Grace owns a place called Candle Crafts. I worked there for a while teaching candle making."
"When did you get into candle making?"
"My first boyfriend got me into it when I was stationed in Las Vegas. We'll take you by there. The place is amazing."
"That's for sure. As a matter of fact, Grace sent him to San Diego for a month to help his ex and his ex's husband open a franchise. I would have loved to have gone with him, but it was before we had met."
"Why don't we head over there tomorrow and I can talk to Grace while you show the guys around?
"Sounds like a plan. How about we let these guys get settled in and order some pizza. Afterwards we can hit the beach.
"Sounds good." Justin turned to his husband. "Would you believe, Tim, that they have their own private beach? The most beautiful white sand beach I've ever seen."
Jay snorted. "You've obviously never been to the North Shore. It puts our beach to shame."
"I guess you'll just have to prove that." Justin challenged.
"You're on. Why don't you guys go get unpacked and meet us by the pool.(?)"
The next day while Jay was wowing Justin and Tim with the fantasticness that was Candle Craft, Aaron sought out Grace and explained his situation.
After giving him a fierce hug, she sympathized him over the loss of his job. "I'm so sorry about that, Aaron. I know how much it meant to you, how much you loved it. I'm equally sorry that I can't bring you back on board. After you quit when Iukekini died I hired and trained a new instructor. One of your former students actually."
"I understand Grace. Well, I won't keep you any longer. It was great to see you again." He started to stand."
"Sit your ass back down. I'm not finished with you." She ordered.
"Since the overwhelming successes of the franchises, which now include New York, Chicago, Dallas and Orlando, I've decided to open another location. Not a franchise, but a satellite store, this one on Maui. I want you to run it for me. I'm offering you the position of general manager with complete control over all aspects of the store, including inventory and staffing. Everything else such as accounts receivables, accounts payables and payroll will be handled through this store."
"Grace, that's an incredible offer, but I don't know anything about running a Candle Crafts."
"You know more than you think you do. Remember all of those discussions we used to have? Where do you think the business plan for the franchise stores came from?"
"I assumed from you."
"The initial plan was written by me, yes. However, it was significantly modified to include your suggestions and ideas. Trust me, you'll do well. For the first month I'll be there three days a week," she held up her hand, "simply to observe and offer advice if necessary. Construction on the new location is nearly complete and it will look identical to this store. The business and tax license paperwork is right here." She indicated a folder on her desk. "Everything is ordered for the new store. Now there's just one other matter that needs attention." She turned to her computer, and after a few mouse clicks and a little bit of typing, the printer spit out a few sheets of paper which she retrieved and handed to Aaron. "Here's your employment contract. All you need to do is sign here." She indicated the appropriate space. "Oh, by the way, did I mention that your salary will be fifty-five thousand dollars a year and includes four weeks' vacation, sick time and health insurance for both you and Jayson?"
Aaron looked stunned. "Grace, I can't accept this more than generous offer. I don't have an MBA."
"And that is exactly why I want you to manage the new store. I don't want some snot-nosed punk with an MBA that's never worked a cash register or made a candle in their life. I want you."
"But what if I screw up?"
"You don't think I haven't? Of course you're going to make mistakes. You're only human. The question is, if and when you do make a mistake, what are you going to do about it?"
"I'm going to do my best to fix it."
"And if you don't know how to fix it?"
"I don't know. I guess the best thing to do would be to ask you for help and hope you don't fire me over it. I've made some pretty big blunders in my life."
"Aaron, nothing short of embezzlement is going to make me fire you. Now please, sign the contract so we can move forward with getting Candle Crafts Maui up and running."
Tearfully, Aaron took the pen and signed his name. Grace also signed the contract in the appropriate space. They stood and hugged, cementing the agreement. "Now, why don't you go join up with Jay and his friends and tell them the good news?
"How did you know that Jay was here?"
"I saw him come in with you, along with two other guys, one of which, at a quick glance, looks a lot like you."
"Well, there's a very good reason for that. He's my identical twin brother. The guy with him is his husband."
"Aaron, that's so wonderful. I'd like to meet them."
"Well, come with me and I'll introduce them." They quickly located the guys in the studio where introductions, and dinner plans were made.
Later in bed that night Aaron told Jay about his talk with Grace. "I know it's not firefighting, but it's an incredible opportunity." Jay told him. "Are you going to take the job?"
"Like you said, it's not firefighting. I'm not sure."
"Well, take all the time you need. There's no rush to find a job."
"I already signed the contract. I start tomorrow helping Grace finalize the orders and I'll be starting to interview potential employees in two weeks."
"Baby, I'm so proud of you. I know you'll do real well."
"I think so too". After making love, Aaron's last waking thought was Well, I guess the old saying was right. When one door closes, another one opens. He fell asleep looking forward to the new challenges.