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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
– – – * * * – – – * * * – – – * * * – – – * * * – – – * * * – – – * * * – – –
The Holiday Rush
It turns out Noah was right about Zach's Halloween costume requiring creativity. He couldn't decide between Spiderman, Peter Pan, or strangely enough, a princess. The first two were obvious, especially since the Peter Pan ride at Disney had been one of his favorites, but I had no idea where the princess came from. Noah helpfully suggested to Zach that he be all three, then left it to me to solve. After the more obvious methods of combining costume bits were rejected by a picky little boy, I picked up a needle and thread, and sewed pieces of the costumes together. Sure, I could have put my foot down and insisted Zach's costume was fine the way it was – he would have pouted briefly before getting over it – but I wanted to make sure his first Halloween with us was perfect.
My parents were perfectly happy to make the last-minute trip down, and surprised me when they asked if they could stay the week. I informed Terry we wouldn't need her the next week, and she claimed to be delighted to have a week of unexpected paid vacation. Her eyes said otherwise, and I could see just how attached to Zach she'd become, and how much she would miss him.
That weekend, I picked up a few pumpkins while getting groceries. Zach's eyes were wide as he watched me cover the table with newspapers and grab the paraphernalia we would need, but he didn't say a word. Noah walked in the room as I was finishing.
"Hey babe, did you get my – cool, jack-o'-lanterns. Do we each get to do one?"
"Yep, I got three pumpkins... and your deodorant, so you can stop using mine." I realized at that moment just how easily we had settled into our routine. Noah and I had only been together three months, but they had been so comfortable – despite everything we had gone through in that brief time – it felt like we had been together for years.
"Papa, what's a jack-o'-lantern?"
"Well we're going to take these three pumpkins and carve scary faces in them. When we're done, we'll put candles inside and put them outside for Halloween."
"I don't wanna put a scary face on mine," Zach said apprehensively. His lower lip began to quiver, and for a second, I thought he might cry. I had no idea how a scary face carved into a pumpkin set him off, but Noah quickly diffused the situation.
"You can have whatever face you want on your pumpkin," he said, bending down and putting his arm on Zach's shoulder. "Why don't you draw the silliest face you can think of? That way, he'll look funny and make you laugh."
Zach immediately perked up with that idea and excitedly agreed, but Noah wasn't finished. "Is it ok if I have a scary face on mine?"
"Of course, Daddy; he's your punkin and you can put any face you want on him."
"Well I may need your help, then, because I want to make sure mine is extra scary. Do you think you can draw mine too?"
"Ok, I'll make it super-duper scary just for you, but it's not my fault if the face gives you bad dreams 'cause it's your punkin!"
With the minor pumpkin crisis behind us, Noah and I got started scooping the gunk out of the pumpkins with spoons. Zach tried to help with his hands, giggling and complaining about how slimy it was. The whole situation quickly devolved into a pumpkin-guts fight that I may have been responsible for starting by flicking a small amount of pulp at Noah, but I blame him for it, since he retaliated. It only took a few seconds before Zach joined the skirmish. It was messy, and took several hours after we finished carving before Noah and I were certain we got it all, but it was totally worth it.
Zach happily drew faces on all three pumpkins. I told him his was so good I wanted him to draw mine as well, which made him beam with pride. However, he quickly got bored when it came time to carve. At first he 'supervised' us, and was quite the perfectionist, but fortunately he got distracted and began playing with the pulp that was now strewn about the room. He got excited again when we finished and I placed candles in the pumpkins and turned off the lights. Noah and I both agreed Zach's 'silly' jack-o-'lantern was creepier looking than either of our 'scary' ones, but obviously we didn't mention that to our son.
– – – * * * – – –
Monday afternoon, I took Zach with me to pick up my parents from the airport. I carried him inside to meet them at the baggage claim, and as soon as he saw them, he leapt out of my arms. It didn't matter how often he did it, my heart stopped every time he jumped and didn't beat again until he was safely off and running. Both Noah and I had tried to discourage him from jumping out of our arms, but neither of us had been successful so far. I knew it was just a matter of time before he did not land on his feet and injured himself. Maybe then he'd finally stop doing it!
After the cursory greetings, hugs, and my dad repeatedly asking if I was sure he did not need to rent a car, we headed out to the car.
"You said you got a new car; I was half expecting you went all out and got a minivan," my dad teased.
"No way! Noah and I needed something bigger, but I'm gonna fight getting a soccer-mom car as long as I can."
"For the record, you and Ethan were both long done with soccer by the time I broke down for one," Mom said.
"Why did you end up getting one?"
"You and Ethan kept slamming the doors into things when you opened them. We got sick of dealing with it. Plus, it was easier loading things in and out of the sliding doors," Dad explained, before mouthing 'all her', and gesturing to my mom.
We loaded their luggage and started driving. I hadn't thought about the radio, and it was on its usual satellite radio station, uncensored pop. Every time a curse word came across the radio, Zach always giggled, and with my parents in the car it was no exception.
"Scott, I really don't think it's appropriate for Zach to be exposed to that kind of language. He'll come to think it's socially acceptable to use those types of words," my mom pointed out critically.
I sighed. If I had thought about it, I would have changed the station to avoid this.
"No-no, Papa!" Zach said sternly. Unlike when the word was on the radio, there was no giggle.
"Papa, that's another one, stop."
"Scott what the hell are you doing?" my dad asked.
"That's a no-no word, too. You can't say them around me!"
"Fuck," I said. I was really trying to hammer my point home.
"Scott, that's enough!" mom said angrily.
"Imma tell Daddy when we get home. You said it wasn't tattling if you said three or more no-no words. Daddy's gonna clean your mouth out with soap, he told me so!"
I didn't know about the soap part, but I had teased him for tattling on me for my language shortly after he first came to live with me. I had not meant anything by it, but it was during the period where he was positive we would hit him if he misbehaved, and he had massively overreacted. Noah and I decided it wasn't 'tattling' if it was three or more times. It was an arbitrary number pulled out of thin air, and I never hit it before this.
"Thank you, Zachy. Can you tell your grandparents what no-no words are?"
"Sure! No-no words are words like damn, ass, shit, and fuck," he said matter-of-factly.
"Zach, you know better than to use those words," I said firmly, trying not to chuckle at his literal interpretation of my question.
"What? You asked me what no-no words are. Those are no-no words. I know more too, but Daddy and Tom said those were really bad. Do you wanna hear those too, so you know not to say them?"
"No, buddy, that won't be necessary. Can you tell your grandparents why they're no-no words?"
"Oh that's easy! They're words only adults can say, but they shouldn't say them a lot because they're not nice. Even grownups shouldn't say them around kids, and it's important to use words other than no-no words when you're upset because it's more constructful."
"Constructive." I corrected. "That's right; there are lots of other words you can use instead of no-no words when you're upset. They don't hurt people's feelings and they do a better job at telling us how you really feel. Any questions, Mom?"
She stammered a little, before asking, "Why did you giggle when they said a bad word on the radio if you're so quick to correct your father?" Ok, I'll admit my heart melted a little bit when she explicitly referred to me as Zach's father.
"Because he should know that little kids listen to the radio too, and we hear all the no-no words, which he shouldn't say in front of us. If I ever meet him, Imma give him a piece of my mind and he won't know what hit him." Zach said simply, which caused all three adults to laugh.
When we pulled up to the house, I asked Dad to take Zach inside but for Mom to stay out with me for a minute. I waited for the door to close before I said anything.
"Mom, I know I'm new at being a father, and we're both a little lax with Zach. You're just trying to be helpful, and I appreciate that, but please don't ever undermine my parental authority in front of Zach again. If you think I'm doing something wrong, come to me. I may not agree with you, but I promise to listen."
"I understand, hun, and I wasn't trying to undermine you. He does seem to really get the concept of profanities being wrong, but I don't understand why you are exposing him to those words in the first place."
"Part of that is deliberate. Remember how he spent the first four years of his life? His mother was a drug addict and prostitute, who shot up and had sex with him present. He had already been exposed to those words; he already knew how to use them correctly. He hated baths, and the first time I gave him one, he said words that would make a sailor blush, and I'm pretty sure at least one of the things he suggested I do to myself is physically impossible. We decided to focus on teaching him not to use those words, but there was no point in sheltering him from them. We both curse, so it's convenient we don't really have to watch our words around him. I'm not sure what's up with this soap thing, though. This was the first I heard about it."
"Well I think you're doing a fantastic job, sweetheart. It's not always easy, and you won't always make the right decisions. All you can do is try your best."
"And I'm sorry, Mom. Maybe I'm just a little paranoid that Zach will one day decide I'm not really his father and he doesn't have to listen to me."
"He'll stop listening whether he views you as his father or not. It's called being a teenager. Be glad you missed the diaper and sleepless-nights stage and enjoy the time before rebellion sets in."
"Hey, I wasn't that bad!" I protested.
"Not as bad as some of the horror stories I heard, but you were still quite a handful. Neither your dad nor I knew how to deal with you."
"Honestly, I barely knew how to deal with me either. We should probably head inside before someone mounts a search party."
Noah and Dad were sitting on the couch, drinking beers when Mom and I walked in, but being a good host, Noah immediately got on his feet to greet Mom.
"Fey, can I get you anything?"
While he fetched her a glass of tea, Mom and I sat down. It only took Zach a minute to stop playing on the floor and sit between his grandparents.
"Did you have a good time at Disney World," Dad asked him, conveniently forgetting that Zach wouldn't stop talking about it every time he spoke with them on the phone.
"I heard you wrote a book about it. I'd like to see it!" Mom said excitedly.
"Ok!" Zach exclaimed, jumping off the couch to grab it.
Terry had really been working with him on his reading skills, and we had started reading stories to him at night. The improvement really showed, and Zach slowly read his scrapbook out loud to my parents, only struggling a few times each page.
When he was finished, mom got a wicked smile on her face. "I've got a surprise for you and your papa," she said, getting off the couch and grabbing her carry-on bag.
"When Papa was your age, we went on a long trip in the car. When we got back, I helped him make a scrapbook just like yours."
"Don't be silly, Gammy, Papa was never my age!"
"Well this was a long, long time ago," Dad added helpfully.
"Not that long ago," I grumbled under my breath.
"Anyway, do you want to see it, Zach?"
"Noah, come over here so you can see, too."
Slowly Zach read the book out loud. We all got a kick out of the drawings and decorations that were included, and the parallels between my description of favorite rides at Opryland and Zach's at Disney World were eerie.
When Zach read "We stopped next to a golf course and Daddy taught me how to play. We really did," Mom cut in.
"I don't remember that at all."
"I do, but I understand what actually happened now that I'm an adult. I was being a pain in the butt in the car, and Dad had had enough. He pulled over and described how golfers needed silence to concentrate. My guess is it was just a ploy to get me to shut up. I'm guessing the 'we really did' comes from you not remembering it when I told you what to write. I don't know why that has stuck with me, but it did. Zach and I had a few of those where I didn't remember things the same way he did."
"Oh, Daddy, Papa said three no-no words in the car. That means you hafta wash his mouth out!"
"Did he now? Let me talk to him in private first, then we'll see what happens."
Noah and I walked back to the bedroom. As soon as he shut the door, he said, "I'm sorry babe. After you established that it wasn't tattling if it happened three times, Zach asked me what the punishment should be. I wasn't thinking, and suggested washing our mouths out. It slipped my mind to tell you, and it's not like you curse that much in front of him."
"It's fine, I just wasn't expecting it. A little notice from either if you would've been helpful before I tried to make a point to my mother," I told him.
"We could go back out and tell him we did it already if you want. He won't know any better."
"I know he won't, but maybe there's a lesson in it for him. If I accept my punishment with no complaints, maybe he'll do the same in the future. It probably won't work, but we can hope."
Noah called Zach back to our bedroom, and the three of us went into the bathroom. I sat on the toilet and Noah made sure Zach could see before beginning. It was nasty tasting, but not nearly as bad as I pretended it was, really hamming it up for Zach. Noah played it cool, and treated it the same way we acted whenever we punished Zach. He calmly reminded me a few times I had broken the rules, so he had to administer the predetermined punishment.
Zach's eyes went wide with surprise at first, and then fear as I struggled and complained about the taste. When Noah finished, Zach immediately launched onto my lap, hugging me as he began to cry.
"I sowwy I got you in twouble," he got out between sobs. I rubbed his back and cooed in his ear until he began to calm down. I had him sit on the counter while I brushed my teeth to get the taste of soap out of my mouth.
"You didn't get me in trouble, Zachy," I told him when I was done. "We agreed you could tell Dad if I used three no-no words, and I did. From here on, I'm going to do my best to not use any of those around you again, so I don't get in trouble. How does that sound?"
"But he put soap in your mouth and it was icky! If I didn't tell him, Daddy wouldn't do that to you," Zach whimpered, fresh tears beginning to form.
"You did the right thing, even though I got in trouble for it. I'm very proud of you," I told him, wrapping my arms around the boy and kissing his hair.
I carried him out to the living room, and tried to get him to play while I started dinner. Instead he insisted on helping me, although he was more in the way than anything. That night in bed, Noah asked me about it.
"I hope that wasn't too bad. I couldn't tell if you were in hell or if you were playing it up for Zach."
"Don't get me wrong, it was disgusting, but it wasn't the worst thing I've ever tasted. I think I went too far, though, since Zach wouldn't leave me alone for the rest of the night."
"It was really cute though. You can tell he loves you."
"And I love him too, but I love you more," I said, giving my boyfriend one last kiss before falling asleep in his arms.
– – – * * * – – –
The week with my parents proceeded without any further hitches. They enjoyed taking Zach out shopping and to parks, usually insisting on going without us. Noah and I never complained and easily found other activities, usually in the bedroom, to keep us occupied.
Mom adored Zach's Halloween costume, even if he had to explain what he was supposed to be. It didn't help that on one occasion, I jokingly referred to him as 'Princess Spider Pan', a name he immediately latched onto. On Halloween, I convinced them to hold down the fort while Noah and I took Zach trick or treating. Since my street never had a lot of kids, we decided to take him to Tom's neighborhood.
For the first several houses, Zach was shy. One of us would have to ring the bell and prompt him to speak, which came out quiet as he mumbled the words. After a few times, the realization that he got candy for saying 'trick or treat', he began happily running up to each house as we waited in the sidewalk.
"We have to remember to go through his candy before he eats it," Noah said while we waited at one house. "I saw this thing on the news about how some people might poison candy and showed what to watch out for. Things sure have changed since we were kids."
"No they haven't. My parents always went through mine. The messed up part of it is the only recorded instances of kids being poisoned from their candy are from family members. I think it's a ploy to justify parents stealing candy from their children. Don't get me wrong, I intend to find several Snickers bars that look suspicious."
"In that case, snag me a few Tootsie Rolls," Noah said with a laugh.
"Yuck, you're more than welcome to those."
When we got to Tom's house, we joined Zach at the door.
"Well who do we have here?" Tom asked as he opened the door.
"It's me, Unca Tom! Don't you recognize me?"
The three of us were taken back a bit by that; we had never used 'uncle' when referring to Tom. When he had first come to live with me, we stayed informal, and had never felt the need to correct him when the situation became more permanent.
"Zach? Is that you? I barely recognized you! What a great costume," Tom said playing along.
"Of course it's me, now trick or treat!" Zach said excitedly, before poorly whispering to him, "That means you hafta give me candy!"
"Oh, well if I have to, then I guess I better give you some," Tom said, putting several handfuls of candy in Zach's already-overflowing plastic pumpkin.
"Have fun tonight," he added, and I was positive it was more addressed to Noah and me, since we all knew the moment we got home, we would have a sugar-high five-year-old bouncing off the walls.
We knocked on a few more doors before calling it a night. Zach only hit a couple streets, but I was surprised by his haul; in my neighborhood growing up, I was lucky to get more than one piece of candy, but nearly every house had given Zach a large handful.
When we got home, we poured Zach's candy out on the floor and started going through it. Zach got some practice counting and sorting while Noah and I 'investigated' each piece carefully. To be fair, there were a few partially opened pieces we discarded, but for the most part we were merely helping ourselves.
Part way through, my dad joined in, and explained we we're doing it all wrong. His stringent analysis of Zach's candy resulted in our stash being larger than the boy's. Noah and I realized we were stealing Zach's candy and were beginning to feel a bit guilty, so after Dad finished 'helping', I casually slid a decent amount of it back to his pile. Noah and I tried to limit how much candy he ate that night, but every time we looked his way, Zach was opening a new piece. I couldn't prove it, but I was fairly certain it was all my parents doing.
November first, mere hours after finishing celebrating Halloween, Mom began asking for Christmas lists from the three of us. Mom always complained I was hard to shop for, since I would simply go out and buy anything I needed. Zach didn't really grasp the idea of Christmas, but kids are easy to shop for. Noah had exchanged a gift with Will for the past couple years, but otherwise, he had only bought things for Zach – most of which he was certain Willow had returned for cash to support her habits. I promised to email my parents a list once we had a chance to think about it.
My parents stayed with us until Sunday morning. The three of us drove them to the airport, and like last time we parted ways, Zach and Mom got a little teary-eyed. Before they went inside, Mom and Dad confirmed they would be here for Christmas, depending on Emma's pregnancy. If it looked like the baby might make an early appearance, we agreed to travel up to Maryland for the holiday.
– – – * * * – – –
After my parents left, things quickly got back to normal. Early in November, we explained Christmas to Zach, and asked what he wanted Santa to bring him. He thought about it for several minutes and told us all he wanted was wings and a puppy. We tried to get him to think of more things, but that's really all he could come up with. That night, as Noah and I talked about it, he said all he wanted was a Porsche; he already had everything else he ever wanted. I think he was at least partially joking and referring to Sarah, but I wasn't entirely sure. I couldn't think of anything either, so the email of Christmas gift ideas to my parents that I sent simply said 'Zach wants wings, otherwise you're on your own.'
Before I knew it, the time had come to begin baking like a madman, since I had offered to bring dessert to the O'Neil's – well, technically to Tom's house, but even though it was at his home, Lydia was definitely the one in charge.
As expected, there was far more food than the six of us could ever hope to consume in a week, let alone a single meal. I found it strange that I seemed to get along with them better than I had in all the years I was with Steve, but I was glad we had managed to reconnect. Zach loved having a large extended family, and Noah was glad to no longer feel completely on his own, as he had felt since the death of his parents.
"Christmas is going to involve just as much food as Thanksgiving, isn't it?" Noah asked after we got back home from dinner.
"Probably more, once you take into account all the cookies," I responded.
"That's it; we're going on a diet. Between now and Christmas we need to eat healthier."
"Awww, but I'm already getting into the best shape I've ever been!" That wasn't a lie; in the three months we'd had gym equipment, we worked out nearly every day. My stomach was as flat as it had been before, and while I weighed a few pounds more than before my eating binge, Noah assured me it was all muscle.
"I don't mean we can only eat celery and drink water, but we just need to be more careful. Zach looks like he's gaining weight, and I can't tell if he's about to have a growth spurt or getting chubby."
"Ok, fine, but I can still sample the Christmas cookies, right? Someone once told me if you break them in half, all the calories fall out."
"Whatever helps you sleep at night," he responded with a chuckle. "Are we really getting up at two am?"
"Yeah, and it was your suggestion to go shopping with Lydia."
"I don't know what the hell I was thinking. It's not like we need anything from the Black Friday sales. I've never done it, though, and it seemed like a good idea at the time."
"Actually, I had an idea. Steve and I never watched much TV, so we were always fine with the old television and a basic DVD player; it did the job and satisfied us. You and I seem to watch more TV, especially after Zach has gone to bed, and we usually have at least one movie night a week. I was thinking we could get a new flat screen, surround sound system, blu-ray player, and all that."
"That sounds like a great idea! Neither of us has been able to figure out what to get the other for Christmas, so maybe this can kinda be our gift to ourselves. Maybe we can even get Zach that new Nintendo system. You know, that Wii thing?"
"You make fun of my age, but you are so far removed from reality that you sound worse than my parents, babe. It's been out for several years now."
"Yeah, but I think they have a new one, but that might be geared more towards college kids."
"That'd be the WiiU, and it's just the name of the new system. We can look at some of the games. If it looks like there are some decent games for Zach, I think it's a great idea." I didn't tell Noah, but I had a few other gift ideas for him.
"How do you not know these things?" I added with a laugh. Noah just shrugged in response.
– – – * * * – – –
Two am came too early for either of us, and we were both a little grouchy as we loaded Zach into the car. Tom and Richard would watch him while the three of us shopped – well, they would sleep in while he did the same. I was not surprised when Lydia seemed like her usual chipper self at the ungodly hour.
Having never partaken in Black Friday in Atlanta, I wasn't quite prepared for the craziness as we pulled up to the first store. I mean, I had expected crazy, but this was just pure insanity. Still, we managed to find Christmas gifts for nearly everyone in a marathon shopping spree around the city. We also had gotten phenomenal deals on everything we needed for a high-end entertainment system. All told, we got everything for about half of what we would have paid any other day. Even I could put up with the jostling and crowds for that. We agreed there was no sense in waiting a month to enjoy the new purchases, so once we returned home, Noah and I began setting everything up before our adrenaline wore off. That evening, while watching the fish movie for the umpteenth time, Noah and I fell asleep while Zach was joyously watching his favorite movie on the new giant screen.
We took it easy the rest of the weekend, but knew things would be hectic decorating the house and preparing for the arrival of our visitors.
– – – * * * – – –
Noah had never really celebrated Christmas since the death of his parents when he was eighteen, and Zach had never had much of one thanks to his mother. I was determined to go all out making sure everything was perfect for them. Steve and I had been content to throw a handful of lights in the bushes outside and add a tree to the living room, but that wasn't going to cut it this year. This was also the first time my parents would be visiting. While I wasn't capable of competing with mom, especially with only a month to prepare, I wanted to put forth a solid first effort.
We bought an eight-foot Douglas fir, and covered it with lights. After going through the few ornaments Steve and I had accumulated, I chose to discard most of them, holding on to a few that had emotional significance. Most of our ornaments had been hand-me-downs and were on their last legs. Since we had always gone out of town, we hadn't cared. I bought all new ornaments, as well as a little fake tree to put in Zach's bedroom.
Noah got into the decorating as well, finding themed blankets and some inexpensive table settings. He was having a ball decorating, and went to town when I gave him free-reign decorating the exterior. Every window received a candle, the bushes received tons of attention, and he even outlined the roof with lights. A large wreath on the front door was the perfect final touch, and Zach and I appropriately 'ooh'ed and 'ahh'ed the first time he turned the lights on with great fanfare. I did not really care for the inflatable snow-globe in the yard, but I didn't say anything because Noah was so excited about it, I was worried he would throw a Zach-style temper-tantrum if I tried to put my foot down.
About a week before Christmas, I got a call from Ethan.
"Hey bro," he said when I answered.
"Hey! We're getting all set for everyone. I can't wait for everyone to get down here. Please tell me you've already booked your flight."
"Actually, that's why I'm calling. We just got back from Emma's doctor, and I got some bad news."
– – – * * * – – – * * * – – – * * * – – – * * * – – – * * * – – – * * * – – –
I'd like to extend my gratitude to Bobby, Chineche, and Carlos for costume suggestions.
Only three more chapters remain in Moving On. The story is entirely edited and I have no plans on making any additional changes to it. I will continue to post a new chapter every week for the next four weeks! I'm working on the outline for book 2, Moving Forward, but I won't be releasing any chapters until I get everything squared away and the first few chapters written. I hate when I have a period of writer's block and am unable to post updates in a timely fashion.
Please keep the emails coming. I don't make any money off of my story, and the only form of payment I get is knowing that readers are enjoying them. I have received so many wonderful emails (and a few not-so-wonderful, but that comes with the territory) over the last year and half, and I thank each and every one of you who took the time to do so!
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