By Mickey S

If you are under age, or live in an area where reading stories that include sex between males is illegal, or if you're not into this type of story, please leave. This is a fictional story and all characters and events are a figment of the author's imagination. My thanks to Tim and Drew for all of their help. The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at


Chapter 21

The next morning I left the house as quietly as possible. I walked to the barn thinking about the evening before. It had gone better than I'd expected. Although it wasn't one of Declan's usual nights to be at the farm, I'd invited him anyway. He'd declined, saying the first night of the visit should be a family affair. I knew he was right but I could have used a buffer between me and Babs. I knew she'd like him once she met him - everyone did.

Supper had been a little stilted, but it went okay. Barbara talked to Dad and the kids. The kids talked to Dad, Barbara and me. Dad talked to Barbara, the kids and me. I talked to Dad and the kids. Barbara and I didn't talk to each other. Aside from that, as I said, it went okay - no drama, no attitude. Afterwards, Jake and Lisa surprised me by offering to help with the dishes. Barbara and Dad watched TV and talked while we cleaned up. Then the kids joined them while I took a brandy out to the front porch. It was chilly, but nowhere near as cold as it would have been in the living room if I'd joined the rest of them. And the brandy helped keep me warm.

I was milking my third cow when I heard a scraping sound near the door. I looked up, expecting to see a mouse, but instead saw a sleepy-eyed Jake.

"Can I help?"

"You know how to milk a cow?"

"Grandpa showed me the last time I was here. I think I remember."

"Why don't you try this one? She's still about half full."

I got up from my stool and stepped back to make room for him. He put his hands on the teats and began squeezing them but nothing came out.

"Close, but not quite. It's like this."

I squatted down beside him, brushing against him, actually, and put my hands on his. I was worried about how he'd react to that, knowing Teddy's attitude toward me. But he didn't even flinch. Through gentle pressure I adjusted the way his hands were working the teats and the milk started flowing.

"Yeah, that's it! Thanks, Uncle Silas."

I started on the next cow and about the time I was done Jake finished his. We moved on to the last two cows.

"Teddy said you were gay but didn't mention you had a boyfriend."

"Well, Declan and I were just friends when Teddy was here. It developed into something more after he left."

"That's cool." Jake nodded.

"You're okay with that?"

"Sure, why not?"

We went back to milking. I wanted to ask him about Barbara, hoping to get a clue as to what was going on with her, but didn't want to seem like I was prying.

"Your mother seems unhappy, not like I remember her. Is she okay?"

"Mom and Dad fight a lot. They think we don't notice but it's hard not to." He paused as if uncertain as to whether he should say more. "Dad gambles a lot, mostly on sports. He's been losing a lot lately."

"So they fight about money?" That might explain why Barbara seemed to be obsessed with Dad's will.

"A lot. I think they're having money problems. The past week they've been at each other over how much this trip cost. Plus, Mom joined this weird fundamentalist church a coupla years ago, so she's always judging everything according to 'God's word.' So they fight about money but she also yells at Dad about the sin of gambling."

"It's hard to picture your mother going to church voluntarily. When we were kids we both hated it. I went because it was expected of me, but your grandmother had to practically drag your mother."

"Yeah, well, she never went to any church before, but she loves this place. She took me and Lisa a coupla times but it was just too creepy. Everybody praising Jesus and God with these scary smiles on their faces, like in that movie The Stepford Wives, - the scary original, not the comedy remake. They talk about love but then all they do is criticize and condemn everyone else. They're just too weird."

Now that sounded more like the recent Barbara. She hadn't brought God into any of her criticisms of me but she was sure doing more moralizing than she ever had before.

I spent the day putting up a fence, separating off an acre of the pasture for Declan's horse. That still left the cows with more than eight acres. Declan and I had drilled the holes for the posts and put them in on Sunday, so all that was left was to attach the fencing. Both Jake and Lisa offered to help. I couldn't believe these kids had grown up in the same universe as Teddy, much less the same house. The fence work was a bit strenuous for a twelve year old girl, so I put Lisa to work cleaning the milking room. It didn't take her more than half the morning so she spent the rest of the day with Dad and Barbara. Jake helped me with the fence.

We were just finishing up in late afternoon when Declan arrived with Thelma and Louise. They came across the road to join us and he greeted me with a hug and a kiss. Man, I loved that he was out to his family so we didn't have to keep our affection under wraps. Jake's eyes widened at the kiss but he didn't hesitate to shake hands when I introduced them. Declan looked at the fence.

"I think Brandy'll be very happy here."

We talked for a few minutes and then put the tools away in the barn. As we crossed the road Jake nudged me in the side with his elbow. When I looked at him he grinned, nodded at Declan and gave me a thumb's up sign.

Friday evening was more pleasant for me than the night before had been, due entirely to Declan's presence. Not only was I thrilled to be near him, as always, but whatever tension there had been dissolved by having an 'outsider' with us. Declan turned up the charm just a tad and the kids loved him. Even Barbara warmed up a bit. It helped that Declan's sister Peggy had been in Barbara's class in school, so that meant he wasn't a complete stranger, the evil nurse that she had envisioned, slipping poison into Dad's medication.

Dad, never one for subtlety, pulled Declan aside after breakfast Saturday morning.

"Why don't you and the kids take the dogs for a nice long walk? I've got something I'd like to talk over with Silas and Barbara."

Declan picked up on the hint right away.

"How long a walk do you think the dogs need?"

"An hour should be enough for them."

After they left Dad helped himself to a tall glass of water and then took us into the living room. We all sat, Dad in his recliner, Barbara on the couch to his left and me in a chair to his right.

"Okay, now I'm going to talk about something I hate to talk about, but it's important that I do. Just let me get it all out. I don't want any emotional outbursts from either one of you."  He looked at both of us but we both knew he was talking to Barbara. He was including me just to be fair.

"The subject is money. My money and my will, to be exact. I'm not going to be around much longer so I want to tell you what I'm doing and explain what my thoughts are. Henry Bedell will read you the will after I'm gone, but that's just a legal document. I want you to understand why I'm doing what I am and that I love both of you equally."

Barbara had been tense since before we sat but she relaxed at the word equally.

"First, there's the money from the state farmland preservation program. It was a ton of money, more than I could even imagine, well over a million dollars." Even not knowing much about real estate values I'd guessed it had to be in that range but hearing the number still surprised me.

"The first thing I did was take thirty percent of the money and put it into three trust funds for your kids, Barbara. Henry is the trustee. The only restriction on the funds is that from age 18 to 25 the only thing the money can be used for is their education. If they go to public colleges it should take care of a lot of their expenses."

"How much are we talking about, Dad." That's it, cut right to the chase, Babs.

"Depends on a lot of things, but the income from each trust fund will probably be in the neighborhood of ten thousand a year, give or take. Once they turn 25, they get the income with no strings attached. It's nowhere near enough to live on but it'll be a nice supplement to whatever they earn."

Dad paused and took a sip of water.

"I also set up a trust fund for you, Barbara, with another thirty percent of the money."

"Trust fund? I understand that for the kids, but I'm an adult. I can handle my own money."

"I'm sure you can, but from what you told me yesterday that husband of yours can't. I didn't know about that at the time but now that I do I'm glad I set it up this way. He can't get his hands on the money and you'll have a nice extra income for life no matter what that ass does."

Barbara nodded. She wasn't happy but even she could see the benefit of the way Dad had arranged it.

"And the rest of the money?" Barbara glared at me.

"The rest I just invested and lived off of. The farm hasn't turned a profit in a long time so it helped to have another source of income. Up until six months ago, my will left the farm to my cousin's son, Dave, not that I'm especially fond of him, but he's a farmer who would take good care of the place and keep it in the family. And the rest of the money would have gone to you, Barbara." Dad didn't look at me.

"And now?" Barbara was back on edge. I was certainly curious but with her asking so many questions I didn't have to say a word.

"After Silas had been home awhile, I realized what a good man he'd become and saw how much he loved the farm, so I decided to change my will. I'd always felt guilty about leaving him out. I called Henry to make a new will, but had the second attack before it was done. The thing that scared me the most about that attack was that I might die before I signed the new will. I made him bring it to the hospital so I could sign it."

"Declan said you signed two documents." Dad had already told me about the will but he hadn't mentioned the other document.

"That was your trust fund, Silas. I took another thirty percent of the money and set one up for you."

"And the will?" Barbara wasn't enthusiastic. With ninety percent of the state money in trust funds there wasn't much left to be in the will.

"Anything you want from the house is yours, Barbara. Also your mother's jewelry. The farm and the rest of the money go to Silas."

"What? He gets everything? You can't be serious!"

I already knew he was leaving the farm to me so I was prepared for the outburst. I looked at Dad, hoping this wouldn't turn into a fight that would negatively affect him. But clearly he'd been expecting her reaction and took it in stride.

"I know it doesn't seem fair to you. But think about it. Between you and your kids, you get sixty percent of the money. Silas only gets about thirty-five percent since I've run through some of the principal. I know that when you add the value of the farm, Silas comes up with more than half my worth, but the farm has some negatives as well. I'm also leaving him getting up at five in the morning every day for the rest of his life, fourteen hour workdays several months a year, having to arrange for someone to take care of the cows if he wants to be away for even half a day. Dairy farming is a tough life. You grew up here and should know that, Barbara. You get your inheritance free and clear. Silas is going to be working hard the rest of his life for his."

"Probably not, Dad. We both know how nothing holds his attention for long. He could quit farming at any time and sell the place. Or keep it and rent out the fields. Then he'd have a house, the money and no responsibilities."

"He could but somehow I don't see him doing either of those. Farming's in his blood. He's here to stay. Besides, there's another reason he's getting more than you. I've been generous not only to you but to your kids. And I don't have anything left to give to any kids Silas might have in the future. "

"Get real, Dad. Silas is gay. He's not having any kids."

"You read the papers and watch TV. Gay people are having kids all the time these days. I know it's early on to be talking about that, but I hope if things keep going strong for Silas and Declan they'll find a way to have children someday. I think they'd both be great parents, much better than I was."

"You've changed, Dad, Silas has somehow changed you. I'm not going to argue with you because I know you can't take it, but you're not the father I used to know."

"I'd say that's probably a good thing. And don't go giving Silas all the credit. It's not easy to learn things at my age but I'd like to think I had a little to do with it."

Barbara shook her head. Dad leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes.

"Are you all right, Dad?"

"Yeah, son, I'm fine, just a little tired." He opened his eyes and looked at Barbara. "I've tried real hard not to favor one of you over the other but it's just not possible to split things exactly even. I've done the best I could to make it as fair as possible."

"Well, as long as you think it's fair." She got up and walked out.

Dad smiled at me.

"That went better than I expected."

"You had pretty low expectations then. Speaking of expectations, I wasn't anticipating the trust fund. And I sure didn't expect all of the money that's left after you set up the funds. I don't need all of that. Why don't you split what's left between us?"

"There really isn't all that much. I've been living off it for two years, I bought the truck, and I just had all the buildings painted. It's not like we're talking about a fortune."

"All the more reason to give some to Babs. It isn't important to me but it is to her."

"You can always give her half after I'm gone, you know."

"Yeah, but I think it would mean more to her if it came from you."

"I'll think about it."

After lunch Declan and I went to get his horse. The kids wanted to go to the stables with us but it felt like they were spending more time with me than with Dad so I talked them out of it. Actually, I think Declan's promise to let them ride Brandy when we go back had a little more to do with it than I did.

On the way to Vernon I gave Declan a brief summary of the morning's discussion. We didn't have any secrets from each other. I knew all about his finances and he knew mine. Besides, Dad confided in him and had probably told him more about the will than me.

"Sam knows more about the farm's finances than you, babe. Are you sure it's a good idea to give away money to your sister before you know how much of a money pit the place may be?"

"It's not a money pit. Don't forget, only twenty years ago it was supporting a family of four. Dad has just been underutilizing it for a long time. I've gone over the books and I figure if I increase by another 6 to 10 cows the place could start to turn a profit."

"That would mean a lot more work for you."

"It would be more, for sure. I think if I had that many cows I'd probably invest in milking machines so that would save some work. Of course, I'd have to plant a lot more corn and alfalfa and that's where the real work would come in."

"But there's no rush, thanks to the trust fund money. Why don't we do it gradually? Maybe buy a couple of cows next year and see how that goes. Then later a couple more. There's no point in drastically increasing your workload before you know what you need. Besides, you've got a rich boyfriend to help you out."

"A rich nurse? That'll be the day."

When we got Brandy back to the farm Declan honored his promise by letting the kids ride her a bit. It wasn't much of a ride. Neither of them had any experience with horses, so they were just going to take turns sitting in the saddle while Declan led Brandy by the reins. He was going to walk them down the lanes between the fields and then let them help him groom her.  I wanted to get Dad down to the barn before the kids were done with their rides so I left them and jogged across to the house.

Dad and Barbara were in the living room.

"So, are you ready to meet the horse, Dad?"

"Just a minute before we go. Did you mean what you said this morning about the will?"

I nodded while watching Barbara look back and forth between us, puzzled.

"Okay, then. I hate to make more work for Henry, but he's getting paid for it so he won't  mind. Barbara, your brother has convinced me that it would be fairer if I split the money that's left after the trust funds between the two of you, instead of giving it all to him. It doesn't amount to all that much but it'll even things out a bit."

Barbara didn't take the good news with grace, of course.

"I'm not looking for charity, Dad."

No, she was looking to be given money but didn't want anyone to give it to her. I kept my mouth shut.

"I should have done that in the first place, but to be honest I was pissed off at you and Teddy. I even told Henry I wanted to cancel the fund for Teddy but it was locked in legally."

"You wouldn't cut off your own grandson."

"I would but I can't. That kid has problems. You and Ted should pay some attention to him instead of focusing on your own problems."

"Like I'm going to take parenting advice from you."

"I made an awful lot of mistakes raising you two. It should be easy for you to do a better job than me." Dad paused, cleared his throat and took a sip of water. "Now I just told you I'm leaving you an additional forty thousand bucks. Would it be so hard to say thank you? At least your mother taught you to be polite."

Barbara was quiet for a minute, staring at the floor. I think the mention of Mom got to her. I know it always made me stop and think. When she finally looked up I caught a glimpse of the old Barbara.

"Thanks, Dad, I appreciate it." She turned to me. "And thanks, Silas. I know you didn't have to do this."

"I think it was the fair thing to do. I just want us to get back to where we used to be. We were never close, but we were at least friendly."

Barbara didn't respond to that, creating an awkward silence.

"Good, I'm glad we got everything settled. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a horse I want to meet."

"Are you sure you can go that far, Dad?" Barbara hadn't seen Dad leave the house since she'd been home.

"What do you think the scooter's for? I'm not housebound yet."

Dad shuffled off to the kitchen. We followed and watched him unplug the charger and switch from his oxygen tube to the tank on the back of the scooter. He maneuvered the chair through the back door and down the ramp.

"Dad's not in good shape but he just doesn't give in," Barbara commented as we walked a ways behind him.

"I'm not saying he's okay, but he's not usually as bad as you've seen him. These conversations are really stressful to him and that just sucks out all of his energy. I'm glad we finally got all of the 'business' out of the way."

"So am I, but just because I'm dropping the fight about his will doesn't mean I approve of your lifestyle."

"Lifestyle? You mean, being responsible, working hard, taking care of Dad?"

"Don't be stupid, you know what I mean."

"I can understand your disapproval, even disgust, of my old job. Not many people look favorably on that occupation. But that's over. Now I'm in a stable, loving, monogamous relationship with a great person. You have to admit that's a huge improvement."

"It's still a relationship with a guy, and that's just wrong."

"My relationship with Declan is 100% about love, and love is never wrong."

"Nice platitude, but I think you're really talking about lust, not love."

"You have no idea how wrong you are about that."

Dad had driven the scooter down the lane on the far side of the barn and was just in time to see Declan leading Brandy and Lisa back. As Declan helped Lisa down Dad got up, took off the oxygen cannula and walked over to the horse. He ran his hand over the horse's rump, then walked up next to her neck and patted her lightly.

"She's a beauty, Declan."

"Yeah, I really lucked out with her. I knew nothing about horses when I bought her and I could have ended up with an ornery nag."

"Do you mind if I come visit with her now and then?"

"Not at all. I'm sure she'd love the company. And I need someone who knows horses to tell Silas how to treat her when I'm not here."

Great! Another thing for Dad to give me 'advice' on. I was about to complain when I saw the look on Dad's face. He hadn't taken his eyes off the horse while they were talking. There was an intensity in his eyes as he looked at the horse and there was a slight smile at the corners of his mouth. I knew I'd done the right thing in asking Declan to bring Brandy to the farm.

Supper that night was the most relaxed and festive meal since Barbara had arrived. Uncle Frank and Aunt Mary joined us and they were both thrilled to see Barbara. I'd considered inviting Livy and Sandy, but Babs didn't know them and she might have been put off by another gay couple. As it was she was relaxed, happy and pretty near her old self. She even spoke to me directly several times and was very civil about it.

Sunday morning Jake once again helped me milk the cows, as he had the past two days. He was getting better at it and I found that if I took my time he could handle three cows in the same time it took me. He was a shy kid, polite but not very talkative, especially at five in the morning, but that morning he was even quieter than usual. By the time we started our last cows he'd hadn't said two words other than good morning but he finally cleared his throat.        

"There's something I want to talk to you about, but you've got to promise me you won't tell Mom."

"You keep many secrets from your mother?"

"Not a lot, but I can't tell her this. And I've got to talk to someone about it."

"I hope you're not looking for guidance or advice, because I may not be very much help. Declan would be the better one to talk to for that. But if you want to talk to me, okay.  I've kept my share of secrets in the past and I'm not sure that's always a good thing, but I won't tell her if you don't want me to. I may encourage you to tell her yourself, though, depending on what it is."

Jake fell silent again and went back to his milking. For a minute I thought he'd changed his mind. I'd just about given up when he spoke, very quietly, almost a whisper.

"I'm gay, Uncle Silas."

I nearly ripped off the teat in my hand. That was maybe the last thing in the world I expected him to say. I decided I had to take my gaydar to the shop for repairs. It wasn't working at all. First Declan, now Jake. I hadn't a clue.

"Are you sure? I mean, you're only fourteen."

"How old were you when you realized you were gay?"

"I don't know, it seems like I've always known. Maybe eleven or twelve, I guess."

"Same here. I've never done anything about it. I mean, I know other guys mess around with each other, trying things out, you know? But I've always been too scared, afraid of giving myself away."

"I can relate to that. I kept it to myself until I was sixteen. That's when my mother figured it out for herself. I don't think I actually told anyone until I moved to New York."

"Your mother was cool with it?"

"Yeah, she was. She was a wonderful woman. I wish you could have known her."

Barbara had brought the boys out to see Mom a few months before she died. Teddy was three and Jake was one, so I knew they didn't have any memory of her.

"How do you think my mom would handle it?"

"Not well. Maybe better than your father, but that's not saying much. Last year I would have thought differently, but she's so much less accepting now."

"That's what I figured. Dad used to make nasty cracks whenever your name came up and Mom would defend you, but not lately. It's one of the few things they seem to agree on now."

"I think this is one time it's a good idea to keep a secret from your parents. And I wouldn't tell Teddy either."

"Don't worry, I don't confide in him about anything. We're so different sometimes I think one of us must be adopted."

"So how are you dealing with it?"

"I'm good. It took me a while but you were a big help."

"Me? How did I help? I wasn't even around."

"You came out to see us a couple of years ago. You'd only been there once before when I was little and I didn't remember too much about you but I heard Mom and Dad talking about you being gay before your second visit. I guess they figured at that point we kids were old enough to hear talk about that. Anyway, I kept an eye on you that visit. I'd just realized I was gay and I wanted to see a real live gay man up close, one who was a relative at that. And you were so nice, so comfortable and real, I knew it had to be okay."

"I'm glad I could help, even though I wasn't aware of it. I wish I could do more. I want you to know you can call or email me any time you want to talk. Is there anyone back home you can talk to?"

"Not that I can think of. I keep to myself and don't have many friends. There's a GSA at school but I haven't got up the nerve to go to it yet. I think I will soon."

"You don't have to come out if you join them. Lots of straight kids belong. You can say you're supportive because you have a gay uncle."

"Maybe at first but I don't think I could keep it a secret for long around other gay kids."

"Just be careful who you tell, especially if you don't want word to get back to your parents."

"I will be. And expect to hear from me regularly, if that's okay."

"Absolutely. Anytime you want to talk, I'm here."

When I went back in the house, Declan was still asleep. I lay down next to him for a while but didn't doze off. I wanted to tell him about Jake but the rest of the day we'd be around others. So I just lay there thinking about what a crazy weekend it had been. It was close to seven-thirty when he awoke. While he showered I went downstairs and poured us a couple of mugs of coffee. I was waiting for him when he returned to the bedroom.

"This is nice," he said as I handed him his coffee. "What's up?"

"Why does there have to be something up?"

"We usually have our coffee in the kitchen, so I figure there must be a reason you're keeping me up here."

"There is. There's something I want to tell you that I don't want the rest of the family to hear. Jake just came out to me. He's gay."

"That's what coming out usually means." Declan nodded and sipped his coffee.

"You don't seem surprised. I was stunned."

"All weekend I was thinking there was something about him. I thought it was a possibility."

"You're not supposed to have gaydar. You're only half-gay."

"But I'm wholly in love with you, so that should count for something. "

"Yeah, it counts for a lot, as far as I'm concerned anyway."

"How's Jake dealing with it?"

"He's doing good, a lot more together than I was at that age."

"Times have changed since we were teenagers."

"Yeah, it's only been fifteen years since we were in high school, but I don't think any schools had gay-straight alliances then."

"Too bad ours didn't. Can you imagine if we'd found out about each other all those years ago? We could have been together all this time."

"Or maybe not, Declan. I don't think I was ready for a serious relationship back then. It took a long time to get to that point. We might have ended up having a fling that went nowhere."

"Maybe you're right. We both had some wild oats to sow. And now that we have, here we are, together at the right time."

"See? It worked out perfectly for us."

"So, do you want me to talk to Jake, see how he's doing?"

"If you could get him alone for a few minutes. You're really good at knowing the right questions to ask, then really listening to the answers. You always leave people feeling better after they've talked to you."

"That's why I'm such a good nurse. But you left out my modesty."

"There isn't much of that to leave out."

Declan finally got a chance to talk to Jake alone as Barbara and I prepared lunch. Lisa went out to feed the chickens one last time so Declan and Jake took the dogs for a walk. While Jake hadn't exactly been down when they left he was positively upbeat when they came back. Score one for Nurse Declan.

I had mixed feelings after lunch as they packed the car for the trip to the airport. I would have liked to spend more time with both Jake and Lisa, but not their mother. While Barbara had been more civil since the second talk about Dad's will, that's what she was - civil, not warm. Maybe if she'd stayed another day or two she would have warmed up. Or maybe she would have cooled off again. So it was with a mixture of sadness and relief that I watched them drive off.

That night Declan and I finally got to make love again. The two previous nights we'd limited ourselves to oral sex. It seems the only time we can both be quiet when making love is when our mouths are full. Not that there's anything wrong with oral sex. There were plenty of nights when that was all we did. But sometimes you just have to fuck.

I was in the mood to give Declan a 'fast and furious' pounding, doing the Paul Walker impersonation that client of mine had so loved. God, that was only six months ago but it seemed like years had passed, like it was in another lifetime.

Sometimes it really turned me on to realize that this man who had spent so much of his adult life fucking women got off so much on me pounding him. But most of the time what turned me on was the knowledge that this wonderful man was so in love with me. That night it was a mixture of the two, and when we finally climaxed we were both exhausted.

Declan lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, lost in thought. I was on my side, my elbow propping up my head, watching him.

"A penny for your thoughts."

"Oh, they're worth far more than that." He turned toward me and mimicked my pose. "But, seeing as how I'm in love with you and all, I'll give them to you for free. I think it's time for me to rent out my place and move in here with you, full-time. If that's all right with you, of course."

"You have to ask? So you think we're finally ready for that last big step, that big commitment?"

"Think? I know we're ready. I've known for a long time that you were the one for me, Silas, but there was no rush, neither one of us was going anywhere. But now I want to make it official. I love you and want to be with you forever."

"Well, you're the only one for me, Declan, and that's forever. I've never loved anyone like this before and never will again. You're it."

Declan pulled me toward him and we kissed and embraced. When the kiss ended he held on to me.

"Do you think Sam will mind?" he whispered in my ear.

"Mind? He loves you. You're the only reason he tolerates me being gay."

"Don't kid yourself. The old man loves you, too."

"At the risk of sounding like Dorothy at the end of  The Wizard of Oz, who would have thought when I so reluctantly came back here last spring that I'd find everything I'd been looking for all these years, right here at home? A home I love, a fulfilling vocation, a good relationship with my father, and most importantly, love."

"I appreciate you putting me first, or most important on your list, but I think you're wrong, Silas. The most significant thing is that you found out who you are. Until recently you'd spent your whole life being a chameleon."

"Chameleon? What do you mean by that?"

"You've always tried to blend in, to not call attention to yourself. You tried to be who others wanted you to be, thinking that somehow you'd find yourself that way. But as soon as you stopped trying so hard to please others, you discovered what you really wanted. And then everything else just fell into place."

"You may be right, but I still think falling in love with you is right up there."

I kissed him lightly on the lips and stared into those beautiful blue eyes. Declan broke the spell with a little smirk.

"You realize now I'm going to have to call you Dorothy every time you start to sound overly sentimental?"

"As long as you don't call me chameleon. That part of my life is over."

The End