Thursday Evening, the home of Sylvia Stanley
Ron’s Escalade rolled to a stop in front of the modest Stanley home. Ronnie was in the passenger seat having come without Jerry, who had opted to go with Dan to pick up Tyler at the airport. Ron turned off the engine of the large SUV and killed the headlights.
“Do you want me to wait while you get this guy?” Ronnie asked.
“No, I think it would be nice for you to come with me. We might go inside or just leave directly, but it would be nice for you to meet Mrs. Stanley, his mother. As I told you, she’s somewhat at a loss about Tommy. It would be nice to have her meet you, since you’re so well adjusted.”
“He, he, he,” Ronnie giggled. “Boy, do Jerry and I have you guys fooled.”
“I doubt it,” Ron said with a wink, getting into Ronnie’s lighter mood. “Let’s go.”
The man and his son exited the high vehicle and walked together up the walk to the small porch where a light shone next to the doorway. Ron pushed the doorbell button and a moment later a light went on inside near the door and Sylvia pulled the door open.
“Hi Ron,” Sylvia greeted their visitors.
“Hi Sylvia,” answered Ron. “I’d like you to meet my son Ronnie. Ronnie this is Mrs. Stanley.”
Ronnie offered his hand to the woman and said, “It’s nice to meet you Ma’am.”
“Nice to meet you too Ronnie,” she replied as she joined in the handshake. “Won’t you come in?”
“Just for a minute,” Ron explained. “My brother is flying in tonight, so our visit with Tommy won’t be terribly long.”
Sylvia stepped back from the door, opening it wide as an invitation to the two men. They stepped through the doorway, stopping inside just far enough for the door to be closed behind them. A youth appeared from the hallway carrying a light jacket. Ron and Ronnie turned toward the young man as Sylvia made the introductions.
“Ron and Ronnie, meet my son Tommy. Tommy, this is Mr. Turner and his son Ronnie.”
“Uh, hello sir,” Tommy said taking Ron’s outstretched hand. “Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you too Ronnie.”
“Thank you Tommy. It’s also a pleasure to meet you,” Ron said has he shook the offered hand, then released it.
“Hi Tommy,” said Ronnie, also extending his hand. “I’m glad you could join us for some ice cream.”
“Thanks! I’m glad you invited me.”
Ron and Sylvia were both pleased at the adult demeanor of the two boys. Sylvia smiled, then offered, “I’ve decided to stay home with the other two kids tonight. I thought Tommy would enjoy some time with you without the distraction of us being with you. We’ll take a rain check. Have a good time.”
“Thanks, we will! Let’s take off,” Ronnie said turning to the door. “It was nice to meet you, Mrs. Stanley.”
“Come on Tommy,” Ronnie babbled excitedly as he led Tommy out the door. “Dad has given us a couple choices: 31 flavors or Dairy Queen. What would you like best?”
“Umm, I think I’d like a D.Q. if that’s alright with you,” he answered.
Ron winked at Sylvia. “We won’t be too long,” he advised. “It’s a school night also.”
“Goodbye, have fun with the rascals,” she replied as she waved, then closed the door.
Ron descended from the porch and made his way down the walk noticing that the boys were already at the car. He pressed the key fob, unlocking the doors. Hearing the click of the lock Ronnie pulled open the rear door and said to Tommy, “After you.”
“Thanks Ronnie,” Tommy replied as he began his entry. “Nice wheels!”
At the D.Q
The boys took their banana splits from the counter and headed back to their table at the front of the store while Ron got his cone and stopped to pick up some napkins. Except for Ron and the boys, the store was empty and the employees had gone to the back of the building. The boys were quickly engaged in scarfing down their treats, squeezing in conversation between bites.
“So, what happened to your face?” Ronnie asked bluntly.
Ron gave his son “the eye” for being so callous, as he joined them.
“Uh, …sorry, it was rude of me to ask,” Ronnie quickly added in reaction to Ron’s glare.
“… No, it’s all right, …I guess,” Tommy answered, looking down at his dessert. “Some guys at school beat me up.”
“I hope they didn’t come out any better than you,” Ronnie replied.
“There were five of ‘em. I didn’t stand a chance.”
“Oh,” Ronnie reacted. “That sucks!”
Ron’s eyebrows raised, but he kept his mouth shut.
“What did they beat you up for?” Ronnie asked.
Tommy blushed, then said quietly, “They thought I was looking at them when they dressed in gym class.”
“Heck, it’s only natural to look, even if you weren’t gay,” commented Ronnie.
Tommy’s faced turned a brighter scarlet.
“Did my Mom tell you I was gay?” Tommy asked with anger showing through his embarrassment.
“Not me,” Ronnie said. “I just figured you were gay like us. Everybody my dad knows is gay!’
Ron roared with laughter, easing the tension at the table.
“NOT!” Ron said between laughs.
Finishing his cone, Ron said, “Guys, I’m going to go outside and give Matt a call. Take your time.”
“Uh, could we have a cone too?” Ronnie asked.
“Yes, here’s ten bucks to pay for it,” replied Ron, handing the bill to Ronnie, the bottomless pit. “I’ll take the change.”
“Sure Dad,” Ronnie agreed, accepting the money. “We won’t be too long.”
“No hurry,” Ron said as he pulled his cellular phone from its clip and headed for the door.
The boys took the money and returned to the counter, ordering two large cones. After they were paid for and served they returned to their seats.
“Who’s Matt?” Tommy asked.
“He’s my other Dad,” Ronnie answered. “He’s really a cool guy. He got hit in the head and is in the hospital. He’ll be home tomorrow. You’ll get to meet him when you come over.”
“So there are three of you? And you’re all gay?”
“No and yes,” Ronnie answered. “We’re all gay, but there are a lot more than three of us. There’s Ron and Matt and me, of course. I’m adopted but that’s not why I have the same last name. Ronnie Turner is my given name. Then there is Douglas. He’s our age and was pretty handicapped with birth defect stuff when he came to live with us. He’s a lot better now, and is in the hospital with Matt after he fell hiking and hurt his back. He’ll be home tomorrow too. Nathan and Carl are older, like 17. They lived in Salt Lake City and Tyler brought them home to live with us.”
“Who’s Tyler?” inquired Tommy, getting a bit confused.
“Tyler is my dad’s brother. He’s really his half-brother, but that’s another story. He and his partner Dan live in the guesthouse while their house is being built next door. Their son who lives there with them is Jerry. He’s really cool and he’s my boyfriend.”
“Wow! You have a boyfriend?”
“Yep. We met in the hospital. Jerry had leukemia and had to go to Houston to the hospital with his Grandma who raised him. Tyler and Dan helped her and Dan went to Houston while Jerry was in the hospital. Just about the time he was to get out, all cured, his Grandma died. Tyler and Dan adopted him.”
“Uh, do you do…. stuff with your boyfriend?”
“Well, duh!” answered Ronnie. “I mean we do stuff, but we don’t do the butt-fuck stuff. We might sometime, but right now we’re happy doing other stuff.”
“What kind of other stuff?” Tommy asked shyly.
“You know, kissing, and rubbing and sucking, that kinda stuff. We’re careful to only do it when we’re alone, and we don’t talk about it with anybody. I’m only telling you because I figure you don’t know much about that stuff.”
“That’s for sure,” Tommy admitted. “I mean I never as much as touched another guy. “Sometimes I spring a boner at school when I think about guys, but that’s about it.”
“Nothing wrong with that,” Ronnie said with an understanding smile. “Me and Jerry have that happen to us all the time. Matt calls it a ‘spontaneous erection.’ I guess that just means that we’re horny all the time. He, he, he.”
Ron stuck his head back through the door and looked at the two giggling boys.
“Are you guys ready to leave?” he asked.
“Yeah Dad. We were just talking.”
“Yeah, about sex I’d bet. Okay, put your trash in the receptacle and let’s go,” Ron said backing onto the walk and closing the door.
The boys began to clear the few items off the table.
“So are you coming over tomorrow night to spend the weekend with us?” Ronnie asked.
“Yeah, if it’s okay. I really didn’t want to come at first, but after talking with you, I can’t wait.”
“We’ll have fun Tommy. I promise.”
Ronnie held the door open as Tommy passed through to the waiting Escalade.
An hour and a half later. Ron and Matt’s home
As Ronnie entered through the kitchen door the disappointment that Tyler and Dan had not returned from the airport showed on his face.
“Where are they?” Ronnie asked. “I thought they’d be here by now.”
“Dan said that they’d probably stop off at the hospital to see Matt and Douglas,” Ron answered. “I’m sure they’ll be here soon.”
“I wish they’d hurry up. I miss ‘em.”
“I didn’t know you were so fond of Tyler,” Ron kidded.
Ronnie blushed, then responded with a sly wink, “Yeah, him too.”
“You just saw Dan a couple of hours ago, so you can’t mean him.”
“DAAAD!” Ronnie cried. “You know I meant Jerry.”
“Oh, you mean the shadow has a name?” Ron joked.
“You’re BAD,” Ronnie said.
“Yep, I am,” admitted Ron before he got a bit more serious. “I hope my kidding you isn’t making you mad at me.”
“It’s fine Dad. It’s just that being around Tommy made me lonesome for Jerry. Tommy is so needy. I mean, I felt like when I was nice to him he was gonna hug me and not let me go. He’s a nice guy and all that, but he must not have any friends. It’s like he’s dying of thirst and I offered him a sip of water!”
“I’m sure that’s probably true Ronnie,” Ron agreed. “I told you that I invited him over for the weekend. By then everyone should be home. Douglas will probably have to stay in bed for a few days, and Nathan and Carl are a bit older. That leaves the hosting to you and Jerry.”
Ronnie’s face fell. “I really like him and all that, but do we have to be stuck with him all weekend?” he asked.
Ron paused in thought then spoke, “I guess we could invite a couple of other guys from Thornton over, maybe Eddie Burroughs for Douglas, and Benny Young for Tommy.”
“That’s a great idea!” Ronnie said with enthusiasm. “Why don’t you call them up right now?”
“Alright,” Ron agreed. “Let’s see if we get lucky.”
Ron headed for his study to make the calls. Ronnie hung up his jacket, then headed for the first floor guest bathroom to relieve himself while he waited for Ron to return. Five minutes later he entered the family room and seeing that Ron had not returned, switched on the TV set with the remote near the sofa. He was still channel surfing when he heard the door to the garage open, then close.
“Anybody home?” he heard Tyler softly shout as he, Dan and Jerry entered the family room. Ronnie was already out of his seat rushing to greet Tyler with a hug.
“Hiya Bubba,” Tyler said, sweeping Ronnie off his feet.
“Hi Tyler,” Ronnie said grinning. “How’s my favorite Uncle?”
“Glad to be home,” Tyler said truthfully. “I’ve missed you all.”
“Hey! What about me?” Dan asked Ronnie. “I thought I was your favorite Uncle!”
“You’re my favorite Uncle-in-law,” Ronnie responded quickly, neatly avoiding the conflict. “My heart is big enough for two favorites.”
“Woo! You should be a Lawyer,” Dan laughed. “You sure got out of that one!”
“Heh, heh, heh,” Ronnie chuckled with a wink. “You won’t catch me napping.”
“Unless it’s naked with Jerry,” Tyler kidded.
Ronnie’s face turned crimson as he backed away from the two adult men, then turned and grabbed his boyfriend/cousin. “Oh yeah? What’s it to ya?” he asked defensively.
“I give,” Tyler responded laughing, raising his hands in surrender. I should have known better than to mix it up with you.”
“And don’t ya forget it!” warned Ronnie with another wink and a grin.
Ron entered the room, hurrying to his brother’s side to give him a hug.
“Welcome back Tyler,” he offered. “How was the trip?”
“Mission accomplished, at least in Arizona,” Tyler reported. “Sorry I wasn’t here to help with Matt and Douglas.”
“Not a problem brother,” Ron told him. “Dan and I had all the bases covered. I’m glad things went well in Phoenix.”
“I’ll fill you in on all the details tomorrow at the office. Right now, I’d like a nice scotch and water.”
“I’ll get it,” Ron said, turning to the wet bar. “You deserve some good service. What would you like Dan?”
“I’ll have the same,” Dan replied.
“Me too!” Ronnie giggled.
“In your dreams kiddo,” Ron replied. “Two cokes coming up.”
“Make that four,” the voice of Nathan was heard saying. The sound was coming from the direction of the elevator. The two older boys suddenly appeared in the room giving substance to the voice.
“Hi guys,” Tyler greeted the boys he’d brought back from Utah. “Are Ron and Dan treating you okay?”
“Yeah, great!” Nathan answered as he hesitantly accepted Tyler’s hug. “You brought us to a great place.”
Tyler smiled. “I thought you’d like it.” He then turned to Carl and took the even more reluctant young man into his arms for a welcome hug.
Carl blushed slightly, but was secretly pleased.
“Hey Dad,” Ronnie asked Ron, “What did Eddie and Benny say?”
“They’ll be here tomorrow night and for the weekend. I told them that we’d pick them up tomorrow at 5:30.”
“ALRIGHT!” yelled Ronnie raising his hand to Jerry for a “high-five.”
Jerry raised his hand in response, but had no idea why.
Ronnie could see the puzzled look in Jerry’s eyes and decided to explain.
“Dad and me had ice cream with the Tommy Stanley kid. He’s real nice. Dad invited him for the weekend. You and me were gonna get stuck with him the whole weekend, so Dad suggested we invite Eddie Burroughs over as Douglas’ friend, and Bennie Young over for Tommy. They’re gonna come and we’re off the hook!
“Tommy Stanley?” Tyler asked with a strange look on his face.
Ron saw the look on Tyler’s face and asked, “What’s wrong Bro?”
“Probably nothing,” Tyler answered. “I’ll tell you later.”
Later that evening…
Ron was sitting alone in the family room of the large house, when Tyler and Dan returned.
"Get unpacked and Jerry put away for the night?” Ron asked.
“Yes,” Dan said. “I took care of seeing Jerry showered and off to bed while Tyler unpacked. Sometimes it’s hard to get that boy calmed down enough to go to sleep.”
“You talking about Jerry or Tyler?” Ron queried with a chuckle.
“Ha ha! Very funny,” Tyler said with sarcasm that belied the twinkle in his eye.
“Hey, if the shoe fits…” Ron responded. “Would you guys like another drink?”
“Sure, thanks,” Tyler said. “I’ll have another of the same.”
“One Scotch/water on the rocks, coming right up,” Ron vocalized, “Dan?”
“Umm, I’ll just have a coke please. I have to be alert.”
“Yeah. What the world needs is more ‘lerts’,” Tyler quipped followed by Dan sticking out his tongue at him.
Ron retrieved the requested beverages from the bar, bringing them to the two seated family members.
“Are the other boys down for the night?” Tyler asked after he took a sip of his drink.
“Ronnie is,” Ron reported, “but Nathan and Carl are in the game room. Now that we’re alone, what was the bit about Tommy Stanley?”
Tyler sat back in his chair, organizing his thoughts.
“I got a call forwarded from our dispatch office to the plane on the way back from Phoenix. It seems that the police in Denver have captured Matt’s assailant. They are holding him there for extradition. It’s been quite a chase. We’ve been working on the case since Matt was attacked. We were thrown completely off course by the simplest thing. Does the name Stanley Toms sound familiar?”
“Yes,” Ron answered, “That’s the guy that took the job at Thornton as Activities Director, and the one that attacked Matt. I’m delighted he’s captured. I’d like to deliver the justice myself,” he continued in a sudden flash of anger. Regaining his composure he apologized. “Uh, … sorry, I got carried away. What were you about to say?”
“Well, it seems the Stanley Toms was not his real name. We discovered after going through his files, that his name had been reversed on all the documents. His real name was Tom Stanley. Does the name Tom Stanley sound familiar?”
“Do you mean Tommy Stanley?” Ron asked in shock. “That can’t be! Sylvia said her husband was killed coming back from Desert Storm.”
“It seems that the Thornton Tom Stanley had a brother Darryl, who was in the Air Force. He died in an accident, a few years ago. His wife and kids live in Las Vegas. The oldest son was named after his Uncle. Once we discovered the name change thing, we were able to locate his parents in Kansas. We checked out his sister-in-law, Sylvia, too, but she hadn’t seen him in years. In fact, she was amazed that he had been in Las Vegas. He never contacted her.”
“I’ll be damned,” Ron said in disbelief.
Friday Morning, Ron and Matt’s home
Ron was seated in the breakfast room after his early morning 5-mile jog around the estate’s jogging path. He was glad to be able to get back into the routine that he’d neglected for so long. To his surprise, Nathan and Carl had decided to join him. On their return the three had gone to their rooms and showered, with Ron finishing first. He’d just returned to the breakfast room, poured his usual morning cup of coffee and had barely made it through the first section of the newspaper when the two older boys approached.
“Feel better?” Ron asked, looking up from his paper.
“Yes Sir,” answered Carl. “I’m going to be pretty sore. Running is not what I’m used to, and I thought we’d never get back. I hope I didn’t slow you down too much.”
“Nah,” Ron replied smiling. “I’m a bit out of shape myself and the slower pace was just right for me. We’ll be able to pick up the pace once we get used to it.”
“I thought it was just right,” Nathan said joining in, “I want to start working out again too now that my injuries are about healed up. Is it all right if we use the work-out room?”
“Of course,” Ron replied. “The machines are pretty smart. After breakfast we’ll set you up on an exercise program, and give you a card.”
“What’s the card for?” Carl asked.
“Each one of the machines is hooked to the computer in there. When you stick your personal plastic card in the machine, it remembers your routine and sets itself up for the proper weights and reps. I’ll show you how to change it for when you want to increase either the weight or repetitions. For now, I’d suggest starting out light, just to tone up your body. You can decide later if you want to build up your mass or stamina.”
“Gosh, I never knew it was so complicated,” Carl commented. “I thought you just put some weights on a bar and started lifting.
“It’s only a matter of getting it set up,” Ron explained. “Once it’s up, it’s a piece of cake. We have free weights too if you want to go that route, but they don’t cover all the muscle groups.”
“Whatever you think will be alright with me,” Nathan said. “I worked out before in Utah, but I’d like to get a bit more definition. I’m not interested in having huge muscles though, just a nice firm body.”
“That would be okay with me too,” Carl added. “I never worked out before. Whatever muscles I have are from sports and working.”
“I’ll be glad to work out with you all the time Carl,” Nathan offered. “I have a pretty good idea of what to do, though I’m sure Ron is a better instructor.”
“When you’re finished with your work-out you might want to jump in the hot tub for a nice soak. It will help keep your muscles from getting too sore,” Ron concluded.
Mary entered from the kitchen and seeing the trio at the table, she announced that breakfast would be delivered in just moments. She carried juice glasses that she put in front of the diners, then asked their preferences for beverages. Getting their orders, she returned a minute later with pitchers of juice from which she poured the requested drinks, then left the pitchers on the table.
“With all the excitement around here last night I forgot to ask. How did the check-up at the doctor’s go yesterday?” Ron inquired.
“I felt like I was poked and prodded to pieces,” Nathan said. “I thought we were just going to have blood tests, but after all the stuff the doctor did, we still had to go to a lab and get the blood work done. It wasn’t bad really, but I’m glad it’s over.”
“Me too,” agreed Carl. “I never went to a real doctor before. I was kinda surprised when the nurse told me to take off my clothes and put on that little shirt thing with no backside. It was sure drafty. I was really surprised when the doctor stuck his finger up my butt! If he hadn’t explained what he was doing, I’da hightailed it outta there, draft and all. I sure hope they find out that I’m okay. I mean, I wouldn’t expect otherwise, but it’s kinda scary not knowing for sure.”
“Well, you should know the results in a day or two,” Ron replied. “I suspect that you both are healthy young men, but it never hurts, now and then, to have a good physical exam.”
Just as Mary and Parker entered the breakfast room with the morning’s offerings to place on the buffet table, Dan and Tyler entered the room.
“Mmmmm! Just in time I see,” said Tyler. “Smells wonderful!”
“There’s enough here for everyone,” Mary responded. “I’ll make some more toast. Are Ronnie and Jerry coming too?”
“Yes Mary,” Dan answered. “Jerry just went up to Ronnie’s room to get him. They should be along shortly.”
After getting some coffee and orange juice from the buffet credenza, Dan took a seat next to Tyler at the table.
“What’s on the agenda for today?” Dan asked.
“I’m going to get these two set up in the exercise room with work-out programs after breakfast,” Ron began, “then I’m off to the office for a quick stop. Around 10 I’ll go to the hospital to get Matt and Douglas. I’m not sure when they’ll be released, but I’m sure it won’t be before 10 and it may be even later. We’re not positive yet that they’ll both be released today, but it looks good.”
“We’ll go with you to help,” Nathan offered.
“Thanks guys,” Ron replied. “I’ll be back to pick you up at 10. I’m sure there is no hurry for our arrival there.”
“Dan and I are going to the office,” Tyler reported. “I’m sure things are piled up on my desk.”
“Mine too,” Dan joined in. “I’ve been putting off everything but the critical stuff for a week.”
“When are we leaving for D.C.?” asked Ron.
“The last I knew, we were scheduled for our meeting there on Tuesday at 10 AM. We can either go the night before or ‘red eye’ the flight Tuesday morning,” Tyler answered. “I’m for leaving at noon on Monday.”
“That will work for me,” Ron replied. “We can take our stuff and leave right from the office.”
“I’ll set it up that way then,” Tyler agreed.
Jerry and Ronnie came rushing into the room.
“Sorry we’re late,” Ronnie apologized. “I forgot to set my alarm last night. We’ve gotta hurry or we’ll be late for school.”
“I can drop you on my way to the office,” Tyler offered. “I’d like to get in a bit early anyway.”
“Thanks Dad,” Jerry said as he stuffed his face with a cinnamon roll.
Tyler smiled. He loved it when Jerry called him Dad.
* * * * *