This story includes explicit depictions of sexual acts between consenting adult males.  If you are underage or it is illegal to view this for any reason, consider yourself warned.  If you find this material offensive, I have to wonder why you came here in the first place.

 

This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, living or dead, is entirely a coincidence. As author, I retain all rights to this story, and it cannot be reproduced or published without explicit consent from me.  This work is copyright Fitz, 2011 2013.

 

I love to hear any feedback you have, be it positive or negative.  Send me an email with any comments or questions at movingonstory@gmail.com

 

I would like to thank Jay Gordon at jaygordonstories.com, for much of the inspiration to write this, in addition to the many amazing stories that I've read by a wide number of authors.  Jay's stories may have given me the inspiration, but all the excellent writers have created a desire in me to write.  Thank you all.

 

My wonderful husband gets a shout out for being so supportive and allowing me to bounce ideas off of him. I would also like to thank my editor, David. All errors that remain are mine, and mine alone.

 

~Fitz

 

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Chapter Thirty-Eight

Friends and Family

 

Saturday morning started with a whirlwind of activity. We had to triple-check that we had everything, and get ready to head out. Tom insisted on driving us to the airport, and I choose to sit in the back with Zach. The entire way, Noah was silent and obviously tense. I probably should've paid more attention to his needs, but I was more concerned with coaching Zach on how to act in the terminal and on the plane. Zach was barely paying attention, though, asking nonstop questions. I realized the effect his questions were having on Noah when he asked if planes ever didn't stay in the air.

I leaned forward and wrapped an arm around Noah's chest as Tom jumped in, claiming he needed Zach to be quiet due to the traffic a bold-faced lie, but Zach didn't know any better. He didn't stay quiet, but it did put an end to his questions.

After unloading our luggage, I gathered mine, but Noah stopped me before I could turn around to grab Zach's, a grin plastered on my boyfriend's face. When I turned to see what was so amusing, I discovered Zach wearing a large backpack and trying to pull a suitcase almost the same size as him. Of course I had to take a few photos before I helped him, and I realized two things: I was already turning into the parent that has pictorial evidence of every single embarrassing moment of a child's life, and I didn't care. Had I thought more about it, I would have realized how much I turned out like my dad, but I didn't let my mind wander there at the time.

We waited in the short line for our boarding passes and got in line for security. I handed Noah his pass while we waited, which he looked over.

"Ok, so I get 'ATL', since we live in 'the ATL', but what's 'BWI'? Shouldn't we be going to 'BAL'?"

I explained how the airport codes worked, and how many are of then correspond to old names, like Chicago's O'Hare (ORD for 'Orchard Field'), while others are seemingly random.

Zach thought it was fun to take off his shoes for the security, while Noah was focused primarily on staying calm. He wasn't showing much emotion, but I could tell a panic attack was bubbling just below the surface.

Once at the gate, and while Zach was occupied with his game, I explained to Noah everything he should expect from boarding procedures to the sounds the plane would make that can be a bit unnerving to first-time fliers. That seemed to relax him a bit, and we talked as casually as possible until it was time to board.

Waiting until the last-possible moment, I took Zach to the bathroom, where he was enthralled by the 'magical' toilets and sinks that turned on by themselves. As we boarded, I offered Noah the choice of either the middle or aisle, and to my chagrin, he chose the aisle. Since he was taller, it was probably a good choice, and it meant I got to sit between my two favorite people, but Steve always wanted the window seat when we flew, so I was always confined to the middle, and had somewhat hoped for a change.

Zach stared out the window, enraptured by the last-minute flurry of activity on the ramp. I passed out some gum to help with the upcoming change in cabin pressure, but failed to remember I was dealing with a little kid. Moments later, Zach spoke up.

"Papa, that was good candy. Can I have some more?"

I acquiesced after explaining to him to just chew it and not swallow. I may have even used the old wives-tale about gum not being digested and staying in the stomach forever, but I don't recall for certain. Noah was as pale as a ghost, so I placed my hand on his. That was a mistake, as I quickly ended up losing feeling as he grabbed it and held on with all his strength.

A stewardess noticed his predicament and asked if he was ok. All he was capable of was a strange combination of a nod and shake of his head. I explained he was just a first-time flier and was a bit apprehensive. Zach quickly piped up that it was his first time, too, but he wasn't scared. After a few minutes, I excused her, since Zach still rambling on about our trip and how much fun we were going to have, and the poor woman was looking for a way to make a polite exit and continue to prepare the plane for departure.

A few minutes later, and right on time, the plane was pushed back from the gate. Zach let out a happy little squeal and loudly announced we were moving. Noah somehow managed to squeeze my hand tighter.

Zach was completely engrossed watching the ground shrink beneath us as we took off, and Noah finally released his death-grip on my hand when we reached cruising altitude. He seemed mostly back to normal for the rest of the flight, except during a brief patch of turbulence that caused Zach to giggle. Even when landing, Noah didn't squeeze nearly as tight. Once we had our bags and were in a rental car en route to my parents', he confided in me that flying was not as bad as he expected. I hoped for my hand's sake, he would be more relaxed for the other two flights on our trip.

I pulled up to my parents' house around eleven, and rang the doorbell. My mom answered the door.

"Oh, Scott, it's so good to see you! You could've let yourself in, though. Your dad is out back, mowing the lawn."

I gave her a hug before making the introductions. "Mom, this is my boyfriend, Noah, and our son, Zach," I said, shooting her a look as I emphasized 'our'. None of the concern she voiced over the phone was apparent in her response, as she warmly greeted both, ushering Zach towards freshly-baked cookies in the kitchen, while Noah and I went out back to greet my dad. My dad saw us, turned off the lawn mower and walked over.

"Hi, Dad," I said, as he approached. His shirt and face were drenched in sweat.

"Hi, Scott, and you must be the new boyfriend. Welcome to our house," he said, sticking out his hand for Noah to shake.

"Um, yes, sir, I'm Noah. Noah Abrams. It's nice to meet you. I've heard a lot about you and your wife from Scott."

"Don't believe a single thing he told you; they're all lies. I don't know where Fey and I went wrong, but somehow Scott turned into the worst compulsive liar I've ever met," Dad responded, giving me a wink.

"Oh, he explicitly said you weren't serial-killing cannibals. So what's for dinner? Zach's in the kitchen, but he might be a bit too skinny to feed four," Noah replied with a straight face.

Dad stared at him blankly for a moment before breaking out with laughter.

"Scott, I think you got yourself a keeper. He's sarcastic and won't put up with my crap. Let's go inside, and I'll wash up real quick. Maybe I can convince one of you to finish the lawn for me later."

That's my dad; always quick to delegate the household chores to his children whenever we came to visit. I don't think a single visit went by where we were not expected to mow the lawn, mulch the beds, or plant flowers. One summer, he even enlisted us to dig a hole so he could install a pond. It was always a source of amusement between Ethan and I, and we regularly tried to one-up each other after visits home with calls telling the other, "You'll never guess what Dad had me do this time!" Ethan will probably always win, though, because he's much handier than I, and he lives much closer, so when Dad desperately needs help, Eth gets called first. Dad's not lazy, but he's quick to put us to work and take advantage of free labor. Neither of us really minded, although some of the bigger tasks, we wished he would just hire a professional to do it instead of recruiting us such as the pond. On the plus side, we found plenty of large stones to use as decorations once it was dug.

As we walked inside, Dad said, "Can I get you guys anything? I have beer and a bottle of white in the fridge. I also have a couple good red wines I can open. There's bourbon, scotch, vodka, gin, rum, and probably some of the tequila that Ethan and Emma brought over last time they were here."

"Jesus, Dad. It's not even noon yet, relax!" I replied, but thought it was closer to being appropriate than the time he offered his full range of alcohol when Steve and I showed up at eight in the morning.

"Well, I'm not going to have any, but you guys are welcome to it."

"I'm just going to have a coffee. You want some, babe?"

Noah just nodded, so I dragged him over to their coffee maker, one of the ones with various coffee pods, and had him choose his blend. Dad went upstairs to take a quick shower, and we sat at the table with my mom and Zach while we waited.

Mom served up lunch when he returned, and Zach quickly endeared himself to them when he called my dad 'grandpapa'.

"I already have a 'grandpa', and Papa said I couldn't have two daddies, and your Papa's daddy, so you're 'Grandpapa'", he told them.

"Little buddy, you're allowed to have two grandpas. I didn't say you couldn't have two daddies, I just wanted you to have a special name for me."

"Oh, but can I still call him 'Grandpapa'?"

I looked at my dad, who had a look of joy in his eyes, and then at Noah, before shrugging my shoulders. I ruffled his hair, as I replied, "Sure thing."

Zach then turned to my mom, and sad matter-of-factly, "So that makes you my 'grandpama'."

Fortunately, it was Noah who mistakenly took a sip of his drink while Zach spoke and not me this time, and he did his best to not spray coffee all over my father, who sat across from him. My mom tried her best to look not amused by the statement, while handing a napkin to my struggling boyfriend.

"How about if you call me 'Gammy'; that's what Scott called his grandmothers. When he was your age, he had trouble saying 'grandma', and that's the best he could do."

"Oh, ok, I like 'Gammy'," Zach replied before happily returning to his sandwich.

* * *

We spent three days at my parents. There were a few tense moments, like one time when my dad accidently called Noah 'Steve', but for the most part it was nice and relaxing. Mom took a huge shining to Zach, as I knew she would, and he followed her around 'helping' with whatever he could. Our first night here, Dad had a long talk with Noah, which my boyfriend later explained was a version of the 'what are your intentions with my son' speech. Dad must have been satisfied with his response, since the two of them were thick-as-thieves, just like he and Steve had been. As expected, by the time we were loading the car up to drive to DC, I was the third favorite of the three of us.

On the last day with them, I tried to apologize for my behavior when I last visited them, and begrudgingly conceded that they were right at the time; I had to find a way to move on, but wasn't willing to listen at the time. They wouldn't hear of it, and repeated what they told me when they'd kicked me out they had been hoping it might push me to begin to change on my own, since they hadn't been able to do anything to help me.

Dad pointed out that I seemed just as happy with Noah as I had been with Steve and hoped I considered Noah and Zach to be permanent additions to my life. I told him in no uncertain terms it would take something huge for me to even consider making any changes to the status quo. I wanted Noah and Zach to be in my life until the end of time.

As we drove to Dustin and Michelle's, Noah told me my father had hinted several times that Noah should 'make an honest man out of me', which made me laugh.

"So are you asking me to marry you?"

"Not at all, you'll know when I pop the question," Noah responded sincerely.

"Let me guess, it'll either be a grand romantic gesture, or it'll be in the middle of karaoke."

"You know me too well, babe. It'll be so romantic and over-the-top that you won't be able to say 'no'," he responded, squeezing my hand and leaning over to give me a kiss.

"Ewwww, gross!" Zach squealed with a laugh from the back seat.

"Then don't look, Zachy," Noah responded before giving me a series of sloppy kisses on my cheek, causing the boy to giggle even more.

"What makes you think I'd ever say 'no' to you?" I asked once he was done goofing off.

"Nothing; I have you exactly where I want you, babe," he replied, giving me one final gentle kiss.

* * *

Unlike with my parents, I remembered to call Dustin as we got close, and they were standing outside as we pulled up to their townhouse. As we walked up to greet them, Dustin punched me on the shoulder, hard.

"Ow! What the fuck, dude?" I asked him angrily.

"Papa! That's a no-no word," Zach immediately scolded, causing the tension to dissipate a little.

"Sorry, man," Dustin replied, "I'm still a little pissed about the way you handled yourself last time you were here. We just wanted to help you, but you were too preoccupied with fucking around."

Zach's eyes bulged, and he immediately glanced to Noah, who just nodded his head.

"Mister, that's a no-no word and you can't say no-no words around me 'cause I'm appreciable! And don't hurt my papa!"

"Impressionable," I corrected absent-mindedly, "and his name is Dustin. He and Michelle are two of my best friends in the whole world."

"Oh, ok. Do you like them better than me?"

"Nope, the only person I like better than you is your daddy, but you're a very, very close second. Is that ok?"

Zach thought for a moment, and Michelle and Dustin got a kick out of him tapping his chin. "Yup, but only for now. I'll change your mind eventually, and then I'll be the favorite!"

"Whatever you say, little buddy," I said with a chuckle.

Our little aside completed, I quickly introduced Michelle and Dustin to Noah and Zach. Michelle introduced herself to Zach as 'Aunt Michelle' before glancing at us to see if she'd overstepped her bounds. We had never really talked about how to have Zach refer to adults; he had automatically started calling me 'papa' and had given my parents, Richard, and Lydia their names without any prompting, but he called Tom, Will, and Sarah by just their first name. In the beginning, it had been done deliberately, so we didn't overwhelm him when he came to live with us after the major upheaval he had already been through. Both Noah and I simply shrugged our shoulders. Dustin followed Michelle's lead, and introduced himself as 'Uncle Dustin'.

Dustin and Noah sized each other up as they shook hands, and I could tell they were trying to see who could damage the other's hand more. Dustin let out a bit of wince, but that's the only indication either gave as to who 'won' the confrontation.

"I appreciate you looking out for my boyfriend," Noah whispered just loud enough for me to hear. Dustin broke into a bit of a grin.

Michelle greeted Noah more warmly than Dustin had, but I could tell she was sizing him up in her own way.

"He's a hunk, wanna trade?" She whispered to me as we gave each other hugs.

"Not on your life," I replied with a grin.

The five of us went inside, and the adults talked while Zach furiously scribbled away at a coloring book Michelle happened to have lying around.

"What? I wanted to make sure my new nephew had something to do while he was here," she said innocently when I gave her a questioning glance.

"I'm really sorry for the way I acted last time I was here. I was irresponsible, and I took advantage of your hospitality," I told them, basically repeating what I'd told my parents.

"I really just wish we'd been able to help you move on," Dustin said.

"Well, in a way, I'm glad we weren't," Michelle replied. "If we had, I'm not sure you would've ever met Noah, and I can see just how happy he and Zach make you. Besides, we were struggling to cope with the loss of Steve as well. In a way, having to deal with your issues made us band together and move on."

We continued to talk for about an hour, or so, when Zach suddenly asked a question.

"Unca Dustin, Papa said you'd show me your pandas while I'm here. Where are they? Can I see them?"

Dustin and Michelle looked at the boy, their faces filled with confusion. Noah was trying to stifle his laughter. I glanced over at his coloring book, and sure enough, he was on a picture of a panda, which must have been what sparked the question.

"Sorry, I told him that 'your zoo' has pandas. He's gone to the zoo in Atlanta twice now, and he's obsessed with them. I told him if he asked nicely, maybe you'd take him," I explained.

"That sounds like a great idea," Michelle said. "Why don't we go after lunch?"

That's exactly what we did. Zach loved riding on the subway. He wouldn't stay in his stroller, so I insisted that I carry him so he didn't get lost in the crowd, but he didn't complain. At the zoo, he needed no prompting to hold one of our hands as we walked from exhibit to exhibit, and seemed to love walking with Dustin and Michelle, as they were his go-to hands. I didn't mind, as it allowed me to walk hand-in-hand with Noah as we took everything in. The panda exhibit was much nicer than the one in Atlanta, but it was also much larger, which meant Zach couldn't get as close to his favorite animal. He didn't seem to mind too much, but Dustin told me that evening Zach confided to him that 'his pandas were nice, but not as good as my pandas'. Besides, Atlanta is home to two panda cubs, which are much more adorable and playful than the adults.

Noah had never been to the nation's capital, so we spent the two days in the city taking in as many of the tourist sites as we could. Zach could have cared less about the monuments, but was always quick to find a way to play and have fun. DC is always a great tourist destination, as most of the museums and monuments are free to visit. Fortunately, there was always a flock of pigeons to chase. Zach's biggest frustration was that we wouldn't let him play in the reflecting pool on the mall.

It was great to rekindle the relationship with two of my best friends. Despite everything I put them through in the recent past, I felt like we'd never been closer. Dustin and Michelle assured us they'd come down to visit us in the near future as we were loading back into the car to drive to Baltimore.

* * *

Emma and Ethan had a condo in a high-rise a few blocks from the Inner Harbor in downtown Blatimore. Like usual, it was hard to find, and it took a while of us circling the one-way streets before we finally found the right entrance to the parking garage. Tensions were high between Noah and I by the time I pulled to a stop, since he had been helpfully pointing out the building every chance he could, even though the street I was on invariably led the wrong way or I was in the wrong lane. Since I had to call Ethan several times, it was no surprise that I found him and Emma waiting for us at an empty parking spot.

"Hey, bro, you found it!" Ethan exclaimed as I got out of the car and embraced him. "I see Noah's still alive, so he must be a better navigator than Steve was," he added with a grin.

"Not by much. Pointing to the right building doesn't get me there!" I replied a little louder than necessary.

"I said 'I'm sorry'. It doesn't help when the GPS directs you to the wrong side of the building from the garage entrance," Noah said apologetically.

I took a deep breath, before acknowledging he was correct. As I gave Emma a quick hug, Noah reached out his hand to my brother, who brushed it to the side and pulled him into a hug. I was close enough to hear when Ethan whispered to him, "I may be laid back, but if you ever hurt my brother, I will hunt you down and kill you."

Noah's eyes bulged slightly when Ethan said that, but he managed an awkward laugh, before replying, "If I ever hurt him, I have a feeling that you'll have to get in line behind Steve."

Ethan broke the hug and looked Noah up and down, stone-faced, before breaking out in a laugh of his own. "Welcome to the family; you'll fit right in," he said. I saw the golden shimmer in Noah's eyes as Ethan said that.

Emma knelt down in front of Zach, who was busy taking everything in. "And you must be Zach. I've heard all about you!"

I happened to be closer to him than Noah, and it was my shorts he shyly grabbed hold of, his other hand in his mouth as he tried to respond. I pulled his hand out and tried to wipe it off as best as I could before asking him to repeat that.

"Are you my new mommy?"

All four adults shared a look of confusion, and Noah and I knelt down on Zach's level.

"What do you mean, Zachy?" Noah asked his son.

"Well, since you took me away, I've gotten a papa, and a grandma, and a grandpa, and a grandpapa, and a gammy, and an aunt, and an uncle. All I need is a new mommy and I have a whole family!" he replied excitedly. I quickly explained all of those to a still baffled Emma and Ethan.

"But you already have a mommy," Noah said, still digging a little bit into Zach's original question.

"Yeah, but she's mean, and I want a new one."

"I know she is, Zachy, but that doesn't mean you need a new one. You know, you already have something very special."

"I do?"

"You have two daddies who love you very much. I bet not too many boys have two daddies."

"They don't? Then they're missing out on a whoooooole lot!" Zach said with a giggle.

"They are, now let me introduce you to these nice people. This is your Aunt Emma, and Uncle Ethan."

The little sliver of Zach's shyness having already been worn off, he quickly ran to each and gave them a big hug.

"Oh, God, please don't give him the idea of calling me 'Auntie Em'! I don't think I could handle that," Emma said with a laugh as we headed to the elevator with our stuff.

"You know you shouldn't give me ideas," Ethan responded. "Where are we going on this vacation, anyway?"

"Yeah, Scott, where are we going?" Noah echoed.

"I wanna know too! Tell me, pleeeease!" Zach chimed in.

"I'm not telling anyone anything." I responded firmly. "Em, Eth, I'm sure you'll figure it out before Noah. Please don't spoil the surprise. Considering Zach's already somewhat guessed it, I'm shocked he hasn't figured it out yet."

"What did you guess, Zach?" Noah asked his son.

"I don't know. Did I guess Papa?"

"Kinda, but you're never gonna figure it out that way, babe. It was well over a week ago now. I'm sure he's forgotten."

We entered their condo, and I was immediately reminded why Steve and I had quickly abandoned the idea of living in a high rise when we moved to Atlanta. It was large enough, but they paid a little more for their place than Steve and I had for twice as much space. There were two small bedrooms, a large living area, and kitchen so small it was barely usable. It wasn't a big deal, since I knew the five of us would be fine for two days. 

 

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I originally wanted to include the entire trip into one chapter, but as I began to write, I realized how much of a disservice that would have done to both segments. There's a bit of a change in the pacing of the story starting with this chapter. Of the remaining chapters, this covers the least amount of time in the story at 'only' 5 days, which is a HUGE change of pace from the 2+ chapters covering a single day that was the norm for a long time. That's also what has led to a lot of confusion in the amount of time that has passed in the story. Noah and Scott first met late July 2012, and it's now the last week of August, so it really has been a whirlwind of activity in a short period of time!!

 

I'd like to thank my readers for all the wonderful comments I have received. A very special thanks to those of you have emailed me. Please, keep them coming!!!!

 

My story is also hosted at http://fitz.thestorycloset.org, http://www.gayauthors.org/forums/story/fitz/moving_on, and on my story website, http://movingonstory.weebly.com. I really need to find the time to update all the bios now that the hearing is over!

 

I tend to update all sites at the same time, but because of the way Nifty works, new chapters tend to show up on the other three sites a day earlier (sometimes two depending on how backlogged Nifty gets with updates) than they do here.

 

The story's Facebook group, 'Moving On' is a good place to also receive updates on the story. Mostly, it seems to be used for me to provide teases or vent mild writing frustrations, but it's welcome to all for whatever purposes that come. It is a 'closed group', meaning nothing posted in the group is visible to nonmembers, and the group does not show up on your timeline for others to see.  However, searching for the group by name will bring up the name and the members of the group, so it is not completely safe from prying eyes.  All content will be kept at a PG-13 level.  All are welcome to join by clicking on this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/226097850809679/.

 

Alright...enough meaningless rambling!  Don't forget to send me feedback, sign up for the Facebook group if you want, and please visit my site!!

 

Don't forget to send me any questions or comments to movingonstory@gmail.com.