The following is a work of fiction. It may depict consensual sexual acts between males and females of different ages. If you find this type of story offensive or it illegal where you reside please exit now.
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We rang in the New Year as a family, Mark and I, Cody and Kyle, and we even let the boys have a small glass of champagne to sip at the stroke of midnight. It had been a great year and we looked forward to the new one with unbridled lust.
When school started again Mark and I channeled our energy into growing the business. We contacted a Realtor who specialized in business real estate and he set about finding us another location. Our preference was for an existing store that we could take over, but if worse came to worse we were willing to build from the ground up.
In March Cody turned 12 and we had a huge party at Crystal's Pizza and invited everyone he could think of. I bet there were 20 kids there and it cost us a fortune, but Cody had a blast and made out like a bandit with all the gifts he received.
My little boy was fastly growing up and he was proud of it. He made a point of showing everyone who would look the few wispy hairs under his armpits and God only knew where else. I know he showed me his pubes on more occasions than one and they were getting quite bushy. He informed me that his come was now thick and white and there was gobs of it and I laughed at his seriousness.
In May Trey graduated with honors and went to work full time for us, but Brent decided he wanted to have some free time for the summer since he'd be going off to college in the fall. Trey was devastated at first, but Brent promised he'd come back as often as possible and even have Trey come to see him at OU in Norman when he could get away since it was only a couple of hours drive from Tulsa. I wondered how that would work out, but if their love was strong enough I supposed it would survive.
Spring came and the boys' thoughts turned to baseball and outdoor fun and it was all we could do to keep them out of the pool. The weather was nice, but the temps were still a little too cold for swimming. I debated whether to volunteer as a coach since I had the responsibility of the store now, but Mark and Cody convinced me that I owed it to the team and to myself to continue.
So once again I found myself sitting at a table signing up boys for our team. We were lucky enough to get most of last year's team back though Tammy had moved away during the winter, and we added a few new players that looked promising.
Our first practice was to be in two weeks and Cody was as excited as I was. He even had Kyle fired up about Baseball and Mark signed him up as well, but of course because of the age difference the boys wouldn't be able to play together or even against each other. I knew it would be a challenge but somehow Mark and I would have to try to make some of Kyle's games as well even if it meant splitting up occasionally.
One of the new boys was a skinny little kid named Jake and I suspected from the first time I met him and his parents that they were not as well off as most of the other families and I soon learned just how true that was. Our uniforms were more expensive than you might think but we usually found plenty of sponsors to help with the cost, however the boys parents were still responsible for about 20.00 of the cost in addition to cleats and a ball glove. Bats were part of the team equipment and of course all safety equipment like helmets and catching gear.
The boys had two weeks to get sized and order their uniforms and four days before the deadline all the boys had done so except Jake. The next practice I walked Jake to his mom's car and breached the subject with her, but I was in no way prepared for what came next.
With tears in her eyes she said she guessed that Jake would have to leave the team because her husband had lost his job and they didn't have the money for his uniform, let alone shoes and a glove. I almost cried myself. My mom had always managed to provide everything I needed as I was growing up, though we weren't rich by any means, and I couldn't imagine how she felt.
"Look, Mrs. Lawrence, Jake is a very good player. He has shown a lot of potential and I'm even thinking of trying him out as a pitcher. I'd hate to lose him over something like this..so, if you'd be willing I'll take care of all costs for Jake. See, it's sort of selfish on my part I guess...but I'd really like Jake to be on my team."
I could see the look of relief on her face and beside me Jake's sad eyes had suddenly turned into happy ones. Looking up at me he smiled and I knew that I had done the right thing.
"Well..if you're sure. We could probably pay you back later when...when Frank, my husband, gets a job."
"We'll worry about that later. Right now it's very important that you get Jake sized and his uniform ordered. The deadline is in a few days and I don't want him to miss out on our first game."
"I..have to work everyday and I can't afford to miss any days. My husband is busy out looking for work so I don't know how we can do this."
So that's how I wound up taking Jake for his fitting the following day. To make Jake feel more at ease I decided to take Cody along as well and after picking him up after school we drove to the trailer park where Jake lived and picked him up.
The trailer park was exactly what you'd expect and their trailer was perhaps the worst looking one in the park. A rusty old car sat in the yard and your requisite couch sat on a rotting and leaning porch which looked as if it would separate from the trailer at any minute.
We were spared having to chance it, as Jake could bounding out of the house and climbed in beside Cody.
"Hi Jake, are you excited about getting fitted today?"
"Yes sir, coach Rob."
"Excellent, I brought Cody along to keep you company. I don't want you getting bored," I teased.
"Oh, no sir..I wouldn't get bored. I preciate you doin this for me. My folks are real happy about it. They wanted me to play almost as much as I did."
"Well, you're a good player and I have big plans for you this season so it worked out for all of us."
Once Jake was fitted I had him try on cleats and we picked out a glove that seemed right for him. He was a lefty, and that could work to our advantage when he was at bat, but he needed a left handed glove if he was to field properly.
My heart soared as I saw how happy Jake was over his new shoes and glove and he kept thanking me over and over again. I asked him if he was having dinner with his parents and he sort of balked saying that his mom was working and he didn't know what time his dad would be home so I decided to take him and Cody out for pizza.
To say Jake was one happy little boy would have been an understatement. Sometimes we forget how much we have and how little others have and even small things like dinner out mean the world to them. I decided at that moment that Jake and his parents would be my next project.
The next day I put out feelers for a job for Jake's dad and lucked out when one of the regular contractors said he was in desperate need of helpers on a job and that he could guarantee at least six months of work and more if Jake's dad proved to be a good worker.
I called Jake's house and fortunately his father was there, but to be truthful he sounded drunk. I told him about the contractor and gave him the contact information, he thanked me but said very little then hung up. The next day at practice I asked Jake if his father had contacted the contractor and he said he didn't know anything about it.
Two days later I saw the contractor in the store and I asked him if Jake's dad had called him. He said he hadn't heard from him, but that he was still hiring and still interested if he was. As much as I wanted to help Jake and his family they had to meet me half way and I wasn't going to rest till Jake's dad took some responsibility.
The drive over to Jake's trailer park seemed like a long one and by the time I got there I had lost some of my enthusiasm, but since I'd driven all that way I decided to make my stand. Mr. Lawrence met me at the door and I could tell he wasn't all that happy to see me. However he did invite me in.
The inside of the trailer was surprisingly clean despite the fact that the furniture was ragged and the walls scarred. I found a spot on a faded plaid sofa as Mr. Lawrence parked on a worn recliner nearby.
Like Jake, Mr. Lawrence was skinny but the resemblance ended there. While Jake had expressive brown eyes, his father's were baby blue which went well with his dirty blond hair. He was a handsome man, but he would have been more handsome if he smiled more. I supposed he didn't have much to smile about these days, but I was hoping I could change that.
"Would you like something to drink. I don't have anything except Koolaid and water..."
"Thanks, but I'm fine. The reason I stopped by was to talk you about the job I told you about. I talked to Rick, the contractor and he said he was still hiring and was interested in talking to you."
"I....didn't call him because....well...you see....there's a problem with...with applications....I..I need help with those and my wife..she's so busy working..."
At first I didn't get it then suddenly it dawned on me...Mr. Lawrence couldn't read or write. Slowly and with as much finesse as I could muster I breached the subject and with great embarrassment he confirmed what I already knew.
"What if I went with you and helped you fill out the application? I know what documents are needed since I handle hiring at the store my..partner and I manage."
"You, you..you'd do that for me?"
"Well, sure. I'm sure Rick could care less as long as the paperwork gets done. All he wants is someone who will show up for work and do a good job."
"That's me all right. I can do anything and I'm a hard worker."
The following day I went with Jake's dad to the fill out the application for the job and as expected Kent, the contractor had no problem with me helping him out. However he was concerned about Mr. Lawrence not being able to read a tape measure, but Mr. Lawrence assured him that was no problem, it was just words that tripped him up, he was fine with numbers.
Kent hired Mr. Lawrence on the spot and he started that day. I heard from Jake later that he had enrolled in night classes and was working on his GED. About three weeks into the season Mrs. Lawrence handed me a three twenty dollar bills as payment for the things I had bought Jake and though I knew they could use the money I also know it would have hurt their pride if I refused to accept the money so I placed the money in the team fund for use for pizza parties and such.
Jake proved to be as good a player as I had hoped and one of my best pitchers and we had won every game so far. If our luck held up it looked like we might just take home that first place trophy this year. Cody took to Jake as if he had known him forever and he was a frequent visitor in our home. I don't know if Jake knew what kind of relationship Cody and Jeremiah had but if he did it didn't seem to bother him, and I never got any indication that Jake was bent that way and that was probably for the best. It was good for Cody to have straight friends as well as gay one to round his personality out.
Though Jeremiah didn't play ball he never missed a game and was always there rooting for the team and was especially verbal when Cody was up to bat or pitching. Some of the other boys made jokes about it but it was all in good fun and no one seemed to have any problem with Cody and Jeremiah being so close even if they didn't know exactly how close.
The store continued to do well and the prospect of adding a second location still appealed to us but as yet we hadn't found a suitable location. Then one evening we got a call from the real estate agent about a location in west Tulsa that had once been a Handy Dan. We dropped everything and drove over to meet the agent who had the keys and we took a tour of the place.
It was the perfect size for what we had in mind and had good access to the highway and a spacious stock room and receiving area but the only drawback was we would have to start from scratch. Not only complete refixturing, but ordering and stocking and there was no way we could do both and still run the other store efficiently unless we had more help.
We told the agent we'd get back to him and went home to talk it over, but we were pretty sure there was no way to make it work, that was until Trey jumped into the conversation.
"Look, I know I just started working full time, but I know the business inside and out. Heck most of the rest of the employees know their job and don't need anyone telling them what to do. You got Sandy to handle the cash office and checkout, you got Zeke running the floor, at least till he goes off to college in the fall. Look, what I'm saying is..if you and Mark wanted to do this, we'd take care of the old store while you did it."
I looked at Mark and he looked at me and the lights went on in our eyes, "Are you sure about this Trey? It's a lot of responsibility and you may have to work some extra hours."
"You took me in when I had no one and nothing. You gave me a home and more importantly you made me part of this family....Right? So, as part of this family how could I not want to help you guys live your dream. I got my whole life ahead of me and I can't think of a better way to live it than this."
"It just might work," Mark said, "We'd need to talk to a contractor and see how quickly they could get the store ready to fixture, then order the fixtures, but the franchise company can help us with that and the merchandising. We won't even have to take out a loan, my dad said he would finance any expansion at zero interest and I'm going to take him up on it."
"Then...I say...let's do it. We know a half dozen contractors who can do the work and I'm sure they'd all give us a good deal. I know Kent is about to wrap up the job he's working on...."
So, the next day we set the wheels in motion for our new location. Kent was happy to do the work and Jake's dad actually did a lot of the work himself. He turned out to be a skilled craftsman and a stickler for detail and we were very pleased with his work.
A month later we started fixturing the store using contract labor and managed to find a few workers to retain for the new store opening. Merchandising was the hardest part. Imagine filling a huge hardware store with everything from nails to power tools and you get some idea of what we were up against. We had a team of ten new people plus we used some of the employees from the other store and got it done in two weeks.
Trey worked practically day and night and despite what he had said earlier about wanting time off Brent was right by his side most of the time. Even Cody and Kyle helped and once we even had the ball team in to clean up trash and I paid each of them ten dollars.
Our opening day was scheduled for August 19th and it looked like we were right on schedule as the day approached. The Wednesday before the Friday opening Mark and I took one last tour of the store and made a few notes then went home to get some much needed rest. The other store was running fine under Trey's management and Mark and I had already decided to offer him the position of Store Manager.
We felt a little guilty taking the day off while Trey was slaving away at the old store, but we really needed the down time. We had a late lunch then soaked in the hot tub, took a swim and soon our trunks came off and weeks of pent up sexual tension came to fruition.
We did it in the pool, on the deck, in the grass and when we finally blew our loads it was back to the hot tub to relax. We were lounging around by the pool when Trey came dragging in around six. He took one look at us and grinned.
"Well, I'm glad someone is getting some," he said chuckling.
"Thanks to you and your hard work," I added sheepishly.
"Well, it will all be worth it when you get the new store open."
"Speaking of that...Mark and I have something we want to discuss with you,"
"Oh, can it wait till I take a swim?"
"Of course, go ahead and no need to bother with trunks," I added grinning.
Trey quickly stripped down to the buff and after washing up under the outside shower he jumped in the pool. Trey's body was lean and chiseled these days from all the hard work and he was quite a sight naked. I saw Mark give him a good looking over and I smiled. I knew what he was thinking because I was thinking the same thing, but I also knew that nothing would become of it. It was just nice to look now and then.
Trey broke the water and squeezed his nose and shook his head to clear the water from his ears and as he floated at the edge of the pool he looked up at us and said he was ready to talk now.
"Well, first of all Mark and I want to thank you for what you've been doing, taking care of the store and all, and to tell you what a great job you've been doing. So good in fact that we've decided to offer you the position of store manager...that is, if you think you'd like to have it."
The look on Trey's face was one of surprise and joy, but his smile suddenly faded. "Are you sure about this? Do you really think I'm ready for this so soon?"
"Look at what you've done the last couple of months. Sales are good and the other employees love you, heck I actually don't think they even missed me and Mark. Come on, if you don't then it will mean Mark and I have to split up and we won't get to work together anymore," I pouted.
Trey smiled, "I really like the job and if you promise to help me out when I need it....then I guess I have to say....YES!" he shouted excitedly.
"Of course there will be a hefty raise to go with the new position and profit sharing. To start we were thinking ummm....20,000 a year. How does that sound?"
"Twenty thousand? Are you serious?" he said jumping out of the pool to give us wet hugs and in the process pressing his hot hard teenage body against us.
"Yep, plus profit sharing which could be another five if sales hold up," Mark added.
"Wow, oh wow...wait till Brent hears. I can't wait to tell him. I'm gonna go call him right now," he said bouncing off, his cute butt bouncing with each step.
"I think he likes the idea," I teased.
"A little. Hey, he deserves it and....it will allow us to stay together at the new store."
"Yeah, I just hope Brent doesn't go off to college and find someone new and break our boy's heart."
"Well, long distance romances can work if the love is strong enough. We'll just have to wait and see."
"Yeah, I guess and maybe work will keep his mind off missing his honey."
That summer was the greatest summer of my life. Our team won the district little league championship and we opened store number two. The sales were phenomenal and despite our fears not only were the sales at the old store not negatively impacted, but we actually showed an increase the first of week of the grand opening.
Trey continued to do well as manager and everyone at the old store loved him as much as we did. Our new crew wasn't quite as good as the crew at the old store, but we had high hopes for a few of them, especially a young man names Rodney who had come to us from Walmart.
He was 25 and married with no kids and his wife still worked for Walmart but he had left there saying there weren't enough opportunities for advancement. We hired him as an assistant, but it was soon obvious that he was capable of running the store if the need ever arose.
After the opening the store settled down a little, but sales were still brisk and Mark and I stayed on a six day schedule until things leveled out in late September. By then Brent was off to college and the kids were back in school and Mark and I had a lot of time to ourselves.
We spent our days off during the week shopping or fixing up the house and going on short trips and on the weekends we entertained Cody and Kyle. Now that Trey could afford to live on his own Mark and I dreaded the day that he would announce that he was moving out, but so far that hadn't happened. Still we supposed it was only a matter of time before that he felt the need to have a place of his own, but we were determined to be supportive when that happened.
Kyle turned ten and Trey turned 18 and of course Mark and I aged a year as well, but who's counting? We were happy and our world was bright and filled with love. I'd gone from a lonely gay bachelor to a dad and husband and then business man and life just seemed to get better everyday.
Trey and Brent continued to write and call each other and Brent drove back home at least twice a month on weekends and of course he was home for the holidays and the two seemed to be working things out well. Cody and Jeremiah were still going strong and Kyle announced that he had a girlfriend.
I wondered how that would fit in with his and Cody's messing around but no one volunteered and I didn't ask. Of course there was always the chance that Kyle would like both boys and girls and wouldn't that be interesting?
For Thanksgiving we visited my mom and I was shocked when I saw her. She had lost about 20 pounds which was a good thing, but I wondered what had caused such a substantial weight loss. Mom said it was no big deal, that she had just been controlling her diet and I let it go, but in retrospect I wish I had not.
We had a great time that Thanksgiving and when mom hugged us goodbye she clung to Cody for a long time kissing his face and I saw tears in her eyes. I should have known something was wrong, but I played it off to old age and sentimentality and soon I forgot all about it.
Two weeks later aunt Mary called to say mom was in the hospital and asked if we could come as quickly as possible. Fortunately Mark and I were both off work that day, but Cody was still in school. I don't know why I insisted that Cody that go with us, but I am glad I did.
We called Trey to tell him what was going on and I signed Cody out of school early and we were on our way. The whole way there I was nervous and near tears and I was so glad Mark offered to drive. Cody sat beside me looking somber holding my hand and the feeling of sadness and dread surrounded all three of us.
Mom was in Grand Valley, the only hospital in Pryor and when we entered her room she looked up and smiled. She had lost more weight since we'd last seen her and her eyes were sunken and her skin so pale I almost broke down and cried right then and there.
"Mom," I said taking her small withered hand in mine, "What is it, what's wrong?"
"I'm sorry Robert. I should have told you at Thanksgiving, but I didn't want to spoil our time together. It's cancer son and I don't have long."
"No...we'll take you to Tulsa. We'll get the best doctors...." I cried.
"It's too late son. I'm an old woman and I've had a good life, but it's almost over. Don't worry son...I'm going to Heaven and I'll wait for my babies to join me there someday and then we'll all be together again."
I was crying now and Mark was right beside me holding me up, his own tears dropping like pearls onto my neck. Cody was strangely quiet as he approached the bed and leaned down and kissed his grandmother.
"I love you grandma," he said quietly, "Please don't leave us." Then his tears began.
His grandma pulled him into a hug and kissed his face, "I'm sorry little one, but it's my time. I love you more than you will ever know, but it's my time."
We stayed there that way for a long time then as soon as I was able to compose myself I went off to find my mom's doctor and get some explanation of what was really going on. It didn't take me long to find him. His name was Dr. Collins and he had been my doctor until I moved to Tulsa but he still remembered me. We shook hands and he led me to a small room and we sat down across from each other.
"I'm sorry to meet again under these circumstances, but I'm afraid there's nothing we can do. When we opened your mother up the cancer had spread so far there was nothing we could do. It's just a matter of time now."
"How long?" I said numbly.
"She's a strong willed woman but I'm surprised she's lasted this long. I guess she wanted to say goodbye first. I don't think she'll last the night."
I nodded, unable to speak. I shook his hand and thanked him and went back to see mom. Cody was sitting on the side of her bed and they were talking softly while Mark stared out the window at nothing in particular. I came up behind him and hugged him to me.
"I'm so glad all my boys are here," mom said softly, "I'm so glad you have each other and my dear little Cody. I always wanted a grandson and this one is just about perfect in my eyes. You three take care of each other.. .and I'll see you on the other side."
I turned to speak but it was too late, with a sigh she closed her eyes and joined the angels.
Mark grabbed a nurse, but mom had given specific orders in writing not to resuscitate in so there was nothing to do. Dr. Collins came in and gave her a sad look then pronounced her dead. He looked old and tired. I guess he had outlived more than one of his patients, but I supposed it never got easier.
I was numb as we made the arrangements, but fortunately mom had spared us most of the details by having a pre-planned arrangement. As much as I would have liked to have buried her closer to our home, I understood her desire to be laid to rest in the same little cemetery where her mother and father and other family members were buried. And so two days later we laid her to rest near the shores of Lake Hudson in a tiny little cemetery in a town that was once called Dog Town.
The grave side service was simple and uncle Joe gave the eulogy and it brought both laughter and tears to those of us gathered as he remembered his older sister. Cody was strangely quiet. This was his first glimpse of death and how fragile life was and I was glad Bobbie was there with us to help him cope.
She had come to love my mother almost as much I did and she was not only shocked but deeply saddened by her passing. Kyle was there too, but his mom was out of town on business though she did send flowers and her sympathies. I couldn't quite judge Kyle's reaction to mom's death. He hadn't been as close to her as Cody of course, but I still felt that he was grieving in his own way. Trey drove over for the funeral but he couldn't stay long because they were short of help at work.
The pastor of the little church that mom had attended off and on over the years said a few words then before the casket was lowered we each threw a single rose on top of the coffin. It was a lovely ceremony and I liked to think mom would have been pleased. She had touched a lot of people in her lifetime and the turn out was indicative of that.
We drove back to my aunt Mary's and the crowd there seemed even larger than the one at the cemetery and most of them brought food. There was so much food that I wondered what would become of it, but by the time we left that night with a modest sampling of leftovers most of it was gone. I guess death makes people hungry, even if I didn't have much of an appetite myself.
Rather than renting a motel room we had stayed at mom's the last couple of days and when we returned there that night Mark went off to take a shower and Cody off to call Jeremiah leaving me alone. I wandered into mom's bedroom and just stood there staring at her still made bed, the fluffy floral pillows still atop the matching bedspread. In one corner on a trunk I noticed a large stuffed animal, a lion, and suddenly I began to cry.
I had won that lion at the Mayes County Fair when I was around Cody's age and I had given it to my mom and she had kept it all these years. I had seen it many times, but at the moment I realized just how special that silly stuffed animal was to her simply because it was a gift from her only son.
On her dresser there were framed photographs of me at various ages and a few of us together. I picked up one of her holding a small baby and realized that baby was me. She was so young, so beautiful back then, but then she was always beautiful to me. She had given up everything for me. I was her life and suddenly I understood. It was what I felt for my own son and I prayed that I would do as good a job with him as she had with me. I sank to the floor and bawled like a baby and that's where Mark and Cody found me a little while later.
They sank down beside me and hugged me to them, sharing my pain and soothing me with gentle words and their touch. I knew it would take time, but eventually the pain would lessen though I was sure it would never go away.
The next day we began the task of sorting through mom's things. Aunt Mary kept a few pictures and some things that had meaning to her, but I took the rest of the photographs and that stupid stuffed lion. When Cody asked me about it I told him the story and he hugged me close and began to cry.
I knew he had been holding back but now the floodgates were open and it was my turn to soothe his broken heart.
"It's...nooot...fair," he sobbed, "I only just got grandma and now she...she's gone."
"She loved you so much sweetheart. She loved you enough for a lifetime. You still have that love if you just think about it. It's all around you, everywhere you look. She will be looking down from Heaven and watching over you...over all of us till we join her someday."
"Re....ally?" he sniffed, wiping his cute nose....my nose.
I smiled and kissed that nose, "Grandma would want us to be happy, not sad. We'll get through this...all of us as a family."
We left the bulk of mom's things for Mary and Joe to deal with and I told them whatever they chose to do with them was fine by me, that I had all I wanted and they understood. They had buried both their parents and a brother a few years back so none of this was new to them.
Back at home we went back to our life, but there was a sadness in all of us for several weeks. Christmas was fastly approaching and I wanted to move on and be happy, but I was having a hard time. I'd taken to drinking a bit more than usual, a fact the did not go unnoticed by Mark and Cody and one evening Mark sat me down and had a long talk with me.
"Look Rob, I know you're hurting. Your mom was great. I loved her a lot and I feel like I lost my mom too, but you can't go on like this...dulling your senses with wine and moping around. Cody is worried about losing his dad and frankly I don't blame him."
"I'm sorry. You just don't understand. You have your mom and your dad. I never had a dad. All I had was mom and now...now I'm an orphan."
Mark almost smiled, almost but he caught himself, "You may be an orphan, but you are not alone and you are loved. I love you, Cody loves you, Kyle loves you, Bobbie loves you and everyone at work is crazy about you."
I nodded, "What can I do Mark? I just can't forget about her. Sometimes I feel like the worst son in the world. We lived so close to her, but she was lucky if she saw us four times a year. If I had been there more often I might have noticed she was sick and done something about it."
"Rob, Rob...it's not your fault. It's no one's fault. She was healthy, then she got sick and then it was too late. Even the doctor said there was nothing we could have done differently. Let it go. Let her go. She loves you, but she's in Heaven now."
I smiled sadly, "Yeah, if anyone ever deserved to be there...it's her. I promise I'll try harder. I know I haven't been much fun....umm..in bed lately."
"That's not important. When you're ready I'll be there to ease you back into things," he said smiling.
"I think I'm ready.....if you are. Mark...will you make love to me. Make me feel alive again?"
So that was how I finally climbed up out of my well of despair and in the arms of my lover I rejoined the human race. We made mad passionate love that afternoon and when Trey found us still naked and sharing a snack in the kitchen he just smiled and gave us a thumbs up.
Christmas was sad without mom, but there was so much love in my life that I tried hard not to dwell on it. We made a trip to visit my aunts and uncles early in the month and took them their presents but we spend Christmas day at our house...all of us. Even Kyle's mom came that year and we had a huge dinner and opened gifts and sang carols and had as good a time as The Lord Mayor Himself, as Bob Cratchett might say.
Later when our guests had gone home and it was just Mark and I we sat in front of the tree and sipped a glass of wine and held hands. I know now that I would never have been able to get over my mom's death if it hadn't been for Mark and Cody, but I guess that's what family does. I had Mark and I had Cody and though there would be other loses in our life, as long as we had each other we'd go on somehow.
New Year's rang in bright and happy and the pain of our loss seemed to lessen with each day. Both stores were doing well and though we still weren't rich by any means, our income was steadily increasing. Trey continued to thrive as store manager at the old location and he and Brent were still an item even though they didn't see as much of each other as both would have liked.
Cody and Jeremiah were going strong and to my complete surprise Jeremiah's parents seemed to understand and approve of their relationship. Mark and I were more in love than ever and I for one had never been happier.
Spring came and it was back to baseball though I doubted I could repeat our winning streak of the year before. There were a few boys from the old team and some new comers that looked promising and I was looking forward to working with the team again.
Jake was back with us and this year his folks had plenty of money for his uniform and equipment since his dad was now a lead foreman for a big construction company. I liked to think I had a little bit to do with their success, but I'm too modest to say so....lol.
Kyle played ball too and his girlfriend showed up at most of his games with her twin brother who was on Kyle's team. They were a cute couple and from what little bit he had shared with Cody I got the impression that they were serious about each other. I knew from experience that puppy love was just as powerful and painful as the real thing and I did everything I could to smooth the way for the young lovers.
Cody was 13 now and a teenager and he'd hit a growth spurt and shot up 6" practically overnight. He had also grown in other areas as well and wasn't shy about showing Mark and I his new big boy equipment. I guessed he was a good 6" now and his pubes were bushy and so cute you just wanted to pet them.
I guess Jeremiah did some growing too, because Cody often grumbled about never being able to catch up to him in the crotch area and that always made us laugh. He was quite a character and I was very proud of him, especially his honesty and senses of humor. Then it dawned on me, he was a little me in more ways than one. As they say mimicry is the greatest sort of flattery, and he was certainly taking after me in so many ways.
Cody and I spent a lot of time together during ball season, and sometimes it was just us two after practice. If Mark was at work we'd sometimes go out to dinner or just hang out at the house, especially if Bobbie was working and our bond grew even stronger. There were no secrets between us now and so I should not have been surprised when he brought up a new subject one evening as we dined on pizza.
"Have you ever smoked weed dad?"
I almost choked, but I'd vowed to be honest with my boy and I wasn't about to cop out now. "Well, yeah...I tried smoking it once, but I couldn't do it. I did however eat a few weed laced brownies during my party years."
"Really, does that work?"
"Yeah, it did for me anyway. Why the sudden interest, has someone offered you weed?"
"Would that be bad?"
"Well, you're a little young for that. I know you're a teenager now, but just barely. I was a lot older...16 or 17 when I first tried it and even then I wasn't that much into it."
Then he changed the subject, making me crazy. I let him drone on about other things then I slowly worked our way back to the pot thing. He pretended to be bored by the conversation then he grinned and rolled his eyes.
"Okay, here's the deal.....I tried it and I didn't like it dad."
I breathed a sigh of relief.
"But I might someday...when I'm older."
"No rush. Can I ask...who uh, gave it to you?"
"Actually....it was some kids at school. We went to this one kid's house....me and Jer and another kid and we tried it. Well, actually Jer didn't try it. He said he didn't want to and we were cool with that."
Thank you Jeremiah you sweet kid, I thought. If anyone could keep Cody on the right path it was that boy.
"Drugs are pretty serious. I'm glad you felt comfortable enough to tell me about this and I hope if things ever get....well too serious in that area you'll come to me for help."
"Oh, yeah...sure dad. It's no big deal. I just wanted you to know what was happening. Now, for some real news. Jeremiah is 7 inches now."
"Oh, is that right. Still fits I guess," I teased.
"Yep, both ways."
"I guess I never thought of it that way, but as you both grow you learn to accommodate each other."
"Uh huh, I guess you didn't have a boyfriend when you were my age huh?"
"No, that wasn't something we did back then. Things are a lot different these days. Back in my day we just messed around then went off to play tag or baseball."
"Tag? Wow, didn't you guys have video games?"
"Nope, we had virtual reality though....being outside and doing real stuff," I laughed.
"Well....I like both, especially baseball."
"And it shows. You're a very good player and if you wanted to I think you could go a long way in the sport. Have you ever considered that?"
"Well...yeah..sometimes, but I know it's really hard to make it to the majors."
"Well, think about it and if there's anything I can do to help just let me know."
After our talk that evening I told Mark what had transpired but he seemed more interested in our talk about baseball than pot.
"You know I've been wanting to say something for a long time, but I didn't want you to think I was just blowing smoke up your ass. Cody is a phenomenal player. He is so serious when he's out there, yet you can really see that it's his passion."
"Well, yeah I know that, but it's like he said, it's really hard to get into the majors, but with luck he could possibly win a scholarship playing baseball for one of the big schools."
"That's a start. I guess the next step is high school baseball. If he can cut it there, he's got it made."
"Yeah, high school ball is very competitive and you actually have to qualify to play. It's not like little league where everyone can play."
He was quiet for a minute then he grinned, "So he tried pot huh?"
"Yeah, and you can imagine how thrilled I was when he told me he didn't like it that much."
"I used to smoke pot almost every day when I was in college. Sometimes I get a craving...."
"Really? Well...I don't care if you smoke a doobie once in a while. Heck I might take a hit or two. Who knows I might like it now."
"Really? Cool. I might just do that sometime when we have a weekend alone."
"Coming up soon. Cody and Jeremiah have plans next weekend and they don't include us. And Trey is gone more than he's home these days."
"Okay, next weekend is good. I know a guy..."
"I don't need to know who your connection is," I teased, "just get the stuff man and let's get high."
He laughed, "Wow, this is a new side of you dear. It's making me horny too."
"Well, let's go smoke some poles then...flesh ones."
He was still laughing as I drug him off to bed.
We won our first two games, but the third one we lost to a new team that was made up almost entirely of black boys. I asked Cody if he knew any of the players on the team and he said he knew at least two of them, but the rest of them must be from another school.
Their coach was a tall good looking black man named Leo and I was impressed with the easy gentle way he handled his team. I finally got a chance to meet him at a coach's meeting one evening and he seemed like a really nice guy. I commended him on his coaching and congratulated him on his win and he was very humble.
"Heck, it was the boys who did it. Those boys live and breathe baseball. I'm just here for show," he teased.
"Well, it shows in the way they play. It looks like me and my boys have our work cut out for us if we hope to win the championship this year."
"That team you had last year was unbeatable. I watched that final game and it was a doozy. Well, it's still early in the season, your boys will get better."
We talked about our jobs and he seemed interested that I ran a hardware store. He worked for the post office and said he had just bought a house he was fixing up and would be needing a lot of advise on various projects he was undertaking. I told him to come by and I or Mark would be happy to help him.
We wound up going out for coffee afterwards and while I sipped a Coke he had a cup of coffee and a piece of pie. The man was built like a brick house with every brick in place and I could almost feel his sexual energy as I sat across from him. I had been with a few black guys and all of them had been well built and very fastidious when it came to hygiene and taking care of their bodies and it was obvious that so was Leo.
"So is your son on the team?"
"Step son, Ronnie, but I couldn't love him more if he was blood. I married his mom a year ago, but we lost her a few months ago. It's been hard on the boy, but we get along real good and I'm going to adopt him and change his name as soon as I can."
"I'm sorry for your loss. I lost my mom last November and I'm still reeling from that. I can't imagine loosing a spouse."
"Are you married Rob?"
"Well...yes and no," I said turning a little red, "I have a partner...a man. His name is Mark."
"Oh, well...that's cool. If two people love each other don't make no difference what's tween their legs," he said smiling broadly and showing off his perfect white teeth.
I relaxed immediately. He was as charming and easy going as any man I'd ever known and if I hadn't had that perfect partner at home I might have been trying to turn this big sexy stud to the gay side. We talked for a long time and when it was finally time to part he surprised me by giving me a bro hug instead of a handshake. I recovered quickly and hugged back and I swear I felt his hardness against my leg. Who knew, maybe being without a lady to take care of his needs he was open to new possibilities. It was a shame I couldn't help him out.
As always I told Mark everything, including my brief infatuation and horniness and he thought it was cute. Later in bed he let me work out my horniness on him and everything was fine. As we lay there resting, his head on my chest, we talked softly about our day and then Mark brought up Leo again.
"Do you ever miss the variety of men that you had before we met?"
"No, not really. I'm not even sure I'd have the energy for that kind of life now. Oh sure once in a while I see some stud like Leo and he gets my blood pumping but it's so much nicer to come home to one man who can satisfy all my needs."
"Yeah, I agree.....but I'm just saying...if you ever feel like you need to get with someone else all I ask is that you don't leave out one single detail," he teased.
I laughed, "Well I could take pictures."
"Ummm...yeah, will you rub my back dear?"
"Your back, your front...anything you want. Roll over sweetie and let me work my magic."
We won the next game, but just barely, and we took the boys out for pizza. At Ken's Pizza we ran into Leo and his son Ronnie and Mark suggested we invite them to sit at our table. Ronnie went off to sit with our boys and Leo settled his long muscled body into the booth across from us.
"So'd you win, or do you just feed them no matter what?" Leo asked grinning.
"Oh, we won...6 to 5, but a win is a win and I promised them pizza every time they win. Last year cost me a fortune," I teased.
"I bet. I wish I could do that for my boys, but we're on shoestring budget as it is. Most of the boys don't have much home life, but they look forward to playing ball and always have a good time."
"It's good that they have someone like you to help them out. I can see how much they respect and like you by the way they behave at the games."
"I just treat them like I treat my own son and they respond to that. Some of em don't have dads and some of them wish they didn't," he frowned, "but on the field they get a chance to forget all that bad stuff."
"Well, I'd say your team is going to be the team to beat this year. I'm looking forward to playing them again. I think we learned a valuable lesson in humility last time."
"Your boys are good too and it's still early in the season. You know as well as I do that sometimes it comes down to luck no matter how good you are."
"True, true. I'm just glad we get to play and I know my boys feel the same way too. I try to make it fun and they like that a lot. I've seen too many coaches who treated their boys like new recruits at a training camp."
"Yeah, well...that hardly ever works and it's no fun for anyone."
"Sometimes I think I'm too easy but as long as the boys have fun and we win a few games I'm satisfied."
"I think you do a great job," Mark said patting my shoulder, "the boys are crazy about you and they love playing. Heck they even love practice."
"Thanks, my biggest fan," I chuckled.
"So...how long have you two been together?" Leo said sounding a little unsure of himself all of a sudden.
"A couple of years, but it seems like we've know each other forever," I said smiling at my man.
"That's cool. If you don't mind me saying so...you guys don't act like....umm, I mean you seem just like regular guys."
"Well, actually we are. We just like cock instead of pussy," Mark said laughing, "We still like beer and football and working around the house, manly stuff, but when it comes to fun time we don't need women, we got each other."
Leo smiled, "More than I got. Between work and ball I don't have time for any kind of social life and my hand has become my best friend," he laughed.
"Been there, done that," I said sighing, "before I met Mark I was just about to give up on sex altogether. Now look at me, happily attached."
"I guess it's no different than being with a woman. I mean except you don't have to put the toilet seat down," Leo joked.
"That's a big plus. I never understood that way of thinking anyway. Why is down the proper position?"
"I don't know, but it was a sore point with my wife," Leo sighed, "but God bless her soul, I'd put up with it everyday if I could have her back. She was a wonderful women, the best.... and I miss her something terrible."
I reached across the table and patted his hand, "I'm sorry Leo. I know everyone tells you this...but it does get easier as you go along. The pain will never go away, but it will be become manageable given time."
He nodded, "Well, meanwhile I got Ronnie to think about and my job and the team. Hey, I sure have enjoyed visiting with you guys, we should get together some time...go have a drink or something."
"We don't go out much, but if you'd like a home cooked meal maybe you could come over some evening and hang out. I'm a pretty good cook."
"Hey, that would be great. Just let me know. You got my number...right?"
"Yep, you and all the other coaches. Well, it looks like our little party is breaking up so we better go say our goodbyes. It was great talking to you Leo, I'll give you a call and we'll set something up."
When we got home Mark was bubbling over with excitement, "You said he was sexy, but I never imagined he'd be that sexy. Damn, I bet he's packing too. Did you see the bulge in his jeans?"
"Down boy. Don't make me get the hose," I teased.
"Can you imagine what it would be like in bed with him?"
"I don't think either of us have the right equipment."
"Are you kidding, he practically said it didn't matter who was giving him his jollies as long as he got them. That thing about it not mattering what was between your legs."
"Yeah, well...I just assumed he was being polite. Didn't want to ruffle the feathers of the gay guys," I teased.
"Well, I got the feeling he was sending out feelers to see where we stood. Or maybe I was just hoping."
"We're happily married...sort of...remember?"
"Yeah, but I can flirt and fantasize can't I?"
"Yeah, well...maybe it's you who needs something new...not me."
"Are you upset?"
"No, why would I be? We agreed that we should be honest and not keep any secrets. If you find Leo sexy and attractive that's cool with me. In fact I agree, he's quite a stud."
"You are upset. I can tell from the tone of your voice. Look, I'm sorry. I was just teasing about Leo. I would never get with him or any other guy unless it was something we both agreed on."
"I know, I'm sorry. I'm the one who brought up his sexiness to begin with. You were just agreeing with me. But it would be fun to find out what's tween his legs," I said laughing.
Mark shook his head, "You ass you were just busting my balls weren't you?"
"Yeah, a little. I actually got the same vibes you did. I don't mean to sound racist, but black guys are some of the horniest creatures on earth and I bet Leo would welcome a good beejay from either of us sexy gay dudes."
"Or both," Mark sighed, "too bad we'll never find out."
I didn't answer, but I sort of felt the same way. I loved Mark with all my heart, but Leo was one sexy dude.
Two weeks passed and I finally called Leo and set up a dinner date. As luck would have it Cody was with Jeremiah that weekend and Trey had driven to Norman to be with Brent so it was just the three of us. I had been encouraged that Leo had accepted so easily and when he showed up he had a twelve pack of Corona's.
"I don't drink wine, but I figured everyone likes beer," he said grinning.
"Oh my and imported beer as well. I'll go put this in the fridge so it will be ice cold when we drink it later. I hope you're hungry, Mark's cooking on the grill. How do you like your steak?"
"Medium or well..I'm not picky. As long as it's not bleeding," he said as I led him out to the patio and he and Mark exchanged greetings.
"Oh my, you have a pool. I wish I'd brought my trunks."
I started to say he could skinny dip and from the grin on Mark's face he was thinking the same thing, but instead I suggested I could loan him a pair.
"They might be tight in the legs, but your waist looks about the same as mine."
"That would be great. Oh...and you have a hot tub too. Oh my I may have to visit more often," he chuckled.
"Absolutely. Sometimes I bring the boys over and let them swim, maybe you could bring your boys sometime. Speaking of boys, where's Ronnie tonight?"
"He's at a friend's house. But let me get this straight you'd let all those boys use your pool?"
"Well...yeah, why not?"
He smiled, "You don't care that most of em are black...do you?"
I blushed, "Leo, I know this is going to sound trite, but I don't see color when I look at people. I just see people, especially when it comes to kids. I mean there are just as many white assholes as black ones," I added laughing.
"I like that about you. I picked up on it right away, but at first I just thought it was because....because you liked black guys....you know....sexually," he said sounding embarrassed.
I laughed, "Do I really seem that shallow? I do like black guys that way, I also like white ones, yellow ones, red ones and most other colors that way, but what attracted to me was your personality, not your color."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you. Sometimes my mouth gets me in trouble."
"You're not in trouble. We're all friends here and we can speak what's on our minds...right?"
"I like that. Yeah, just didn't want to give you the wrong idea about me. I don't have a problem with you....um liking me that way, but I know you guys are tight and nothing gonna happen that way so it's all good."
I was so confused. What did he mean by that? Was he saying he would mess around if we weren't a couple?"
"Well, uh I will try to treat you like a friend and not a piece of meat if that will help," I laughed.
"Me too," Mark laughed, "and speaking of meat, the steaks are ready."
"Cool, I'll go grab the baked potatoes and salad. Mind giving me a hand Leo?"
In the kitchen Leo apologized again, "I feel like I might have said too much back there."
"No, it's cool. I promise Mark and I think the same way and we love honesty. That's one reason our relationship works so well. We have no secrets and if we get tempted we discuss it and usually that's as far as it goes."
"Usually? So does that mean that sometimes it goes farther than that?"
"Only once, and that was very early in the relationship, but we have had our share of temptations."
"Anything you can talk about?"
"Not really, it was not something either of us is very proud of, but it all worked out. Here, take the salad and I'll grab the spuds."
Back on the patio we joined Mark at the table and filled our plates. The steak was tender and juicy and the salad crisp and tasty. I noticed Leo really piled the butter on his and I wondered how he stayed so healthy looking considering the way he ate, but I supposed his metabolism rate was probably high. For all I knew he might belong to a gym or be a runnner. There was so much I didn't know about him.
"So, Rob tells me you work at the Post Office."
"Yeah, I work in receiving....unloading the bags and sorting. I started as a mailman, delivering mail on foot, but that got old fast."
"I bet, rain sleet shine...."
"Yeah, exactly. It pays well, but it's a bitch. I like what I do now a lot better and I'm inside out of the weather."
"I bet. Well, as much as I like the outdoors I'm glad we have inside jobs too. I guess Rob told you we run a couple of hardware stores."
"Yeah, and I plan on giving you guys some business. I been fixing up this house I bought and there's still a lot to do. Right now I'm working on the kitchen. Mostly clean up and painting, but it's time consuming."
"Well, if you need any advice we're here for you."
"Ummm...steak is great. How bout a beer to go with it?"
"OH, sure...what was I thinking?" I jumped up and ran in and grabbed three bottles of beer and when I returned Mark and Leo were laughing about something.
"What's so funny guys?"
"Mark was tellin me how you two met."
"Oh gawd, how embarrassing. Cruising the bathroom at Pizza World."
"Well, at least it all worked out. You guys are lucky you know....a lot of straight guys don't have it as good as you two do."
"I agree, it has been a fairy tale ending for us," I said rubbing Mark's arm.
"You guys really love each other and it shows in the way you treat each other. Even if you hadn't told me... I think I would have figured it out just from watching you two."
"I'm glad you're cool with it. I hope we can become good friends."
"I'd like that," he said holding up his beer bottle, "to our friendship."
We clinked bottles and took a drink of the cold delicious brew then returned to our meal. Afterwards we loaned Leo a pair of trunks and we all three hit the hot tub. We drank beer and talked and really got to know each other well. Leo was even sexier dressed in trunks, his chiseled chest glistening with water droplets, but somehow we managed not to jump his bones, though I did see Mark adjust his crotch a few times. Afterwards we swam and Leo was like a smooth sleek seal as he skimmed through the water.
This would not be the last time Leo visited us over the years, sometimes alone, sometimes with Ronnie, and a couple of times with his whole team, and a better friend we never had. Our friendship is still strong and later when Leo remarried a sexy girl five years younger than him, she became our friend too.
We finally found time to go camping that summer and we had a great time. We bought a huge tent and all the camping supplies we needed and loaded up my car and headed off to Lake Keystone. We found a nice place not to far from the lake and set up our tent while we still had daylight. As soon as we were done the boys wandered off to check things out while Mark and I set up the lawn chairs and rested in the shade.
Staring out at the lake I was reminded of the many fishing trips I had taken as a boy. My uncles had all been fisherman and though I never really had the patience for it, I enjoyed going along and exploring. While my family was fishing I would wander the river banks or the nearby woods and entertain myself.
When I grew older and discovered masturbation, I would often find a secluded spot and indulge myself. Later when I was a teenager and able to drive I sometimes brought my friends to the river and we fooled around in some of those same spots.
"What are you thinking about babe?"
"Oh, just when I was a boy and we'd go fishing."
"Thinking of your mom again?"
"No, actually I was thinking about how horny I was as a kid and how I used to slip off and jerk off every chance I got," I laughed.
"Think our boys are doing that right now?"
I shrugged, "Could be. Boys will be boys."
"Yeah, and speaking of horny boys....what say we go lay down in the tent and see what happens?"
"What if the boys come back?"
""They'll make enough noise, we can hear them coming."
"And they can hear us coming", I laughed, "It's not like they haven't caught us before," I stood and offered my my hand to Mark, "Let's go."
We stripped down to our undies and made slow sweaty love to the sound of splashing water and birds singing overhead. We had both just experienced spectacular orgasms and were cuddling when we heard the boys' voices approaching. We slipped on our briefs then cuddled back up just as they arrived.
"Dad...Mark...are you nekkid?" Cody giggled.
"No, not completely," I replied, "Come on in and bring us a soda from the ice chest."
When they unzipped the tent door and stepped in they were carrying two sodas each and after handing us one they sat down Indian style across from us. No mention was made of our state of undress or the obvious fact that we had "just come" faces. They were so used to our making love that it was no big deal to them any more.
"Did you have fun? Find anything interesting?"
"There's a cool beach and a place to swim and we built a sand castle. Can we go swimming?"
"How bout it Mark? We could use a little cooling off. I don't want the boys swimming without us. It's too dangerous."
"I'm in. Throw me my bag son and I'll put on my swim trunks."
We were just four guys and any modesty had long since been forgotten. We changed into our swim trunks in front of each other and soon we were immersed in the cool if not all that clean lake water. The boys were hanging onto a rubber raft while Mark and I tread water close to shore. The water got deeper slowly starting out at ankle deep then progressing slowly to over your head, but since we could all swim pretty well by now (yes, I finally learned) there was little danger. Still I liked for the boys to stay close and in sight just in case. I guess I was a little overprotective, but I loved those boys with all my heart and the thought of losing one of them was devastating.
We swam and played till the sun began to set then coaxed the boys out and went back to our campsite. While Mark and I sat sunning ourselves and letting our trunks dry out the boys played Frisbee on the grass. It was such a sweet, sweet day and I think I will remember it for as long as I live. I was with the three guys I loved most in the world and having the time of my life.
We cooked hot dogs and ate around the campfire then roasted marshmallows on the end of coat hangers and told ghost stories. By the time we were into the first story the boys were huddled close on either side of us and hanging on every word. I must admit I loved spinning yarns and I told some especially good ones that night.
When the fire began to die out we gathered up our clothes and drove to the bathrooms and took a communal shower, the four of us bumping around and enjoying the feel of the warm spray on our bodies. We dried off and dressed in shorts and drove back to the campsite and after making sure the fire was out we zipped ourselves in the tent and settled in for the evening.
We had brought air mattresses to sleep on and they covered most of the floor of the tent except for a little area near the door. There we parked our ice chest and bags with our clothing plus some snack items in case we got hungry. The boys grabbed sodas and candy bars and played a game of hangman by lantern light while Mark and I cuddled on our mattress.
"You guys wanna play? It's more fun with four?"
"I'm in if you are Mark."
"I love this game. Who goes next?"
We played hangman with the boys till we were all getting bleary eyed then went out to pee before settling in for the night. As we four stood there side by side letting loose our golden streams into the woods I felt like a kid again. It had been a great day and we had two more ahead of us. Life really was good.
I woke once to hear the boys whispering softly to one another, but I fell back asleep rather quickly. Mark and I were still spent from our earlier romp in the tent and at any rate we wouldn't have attempted anything with the boys right next to us, but I guess the boys felt no such concern.
The next time I woke up I hard the unmistakable sounds of sucking and low moaning and I smiled. I didn't know who was doing who at the moment, but I was sure they would both be getting a nut before they were done.
We cooked breakfast on a little Coleman gas stove I'd bought at Walmart and the boys ate like little pigs. There was something about fresh air and exercise that made food taste so much better and no crumb went uneaten. Afterwards we cleaned up the mess and walked down to the beach and the boys showed us their sand castle from the day before.
Mark and I were just like little kids as we jumped in and helped the boys add to the castle until it was a mega-complex with a heli-port and three care garage. When it got too warm to play in the sand we swam for a while then sunned ourselves on beach towels.
The boys couldn't stay still very long though and were soon up wandering around and exploring. They found some crayfish and Kyle got pinched but he was a good sport and was laughing about it as he showed us the culprit that pinched him.
"They eat those things in Louisiana," I said making a face, "everywhere you go there's crayfish for sale and most of the restaurants have some dish with them on the menu."
"Are they good?" Cody asked looking at the crayfish hungrily.
"God, I don't know. I refuse to east something I fish with."
We all laughed and the boys ran off to see if they could find more crayfish. They soon returned and announced they were starved and we walked back to the camp and had cold cut sandwiches and chips. Mark and I desperately wanted a nap so we made the boys promise not to go in the water till we could join them later and they easily agreed.
Mark and I napped for a while, but it was hot in the tent so we wound up stripping off our swimsuits and one thing led to another and well...we really got sweaty, but it was well worth the effort. As we lay there, the sweat cooling on our bodies we held hands and talked quietly about our life and our happiness.
As I look back on it I think that one moment was the "ah ha" moment of my life with Mark. I had never been so happy or felt so loved and suddenly my heart was just bursting at the seems with love for him. I rolled into him and hugged him tight and kissed him then I cried.
He was worried at first, then when I told him why I was crying he patted me and cried a little himself. I think from that day forward our love was stronger than it had ever been, if that was possible, and I think we both realized that what we had was forever.
We dressed later and went looking for the boys and found them tossing a beach ball back and forth with another boy who looked about Kyle's age. He was blond and tanned and cute as all boys are and had a sunny smile.
His name was Walter and he was there with his sister and grandpa who were sitting under a shade tree not far away watching the boys play. When Cody introduced their new pal to us Walter all but told us his whole life story in one sentence without a breath.
His mom was killed in a car wreck and his dad didn't want him so his grandpa took him and his sister to live with him in Sand Springs and they were there for the day to swim and have a picnic.
We introduced ourselves to his grandpa and sister and they seemed just as open as Walter did. Grandpa was retired from Rockwell and lived outside Sand Springs and raised a few cows and had a massive garden that supplied all their vegetables and then some. He even invited us to come visit and promised he's send us home with enough veggies to keep us the rest of the summer.
We wound up inviting them to have dinner with us and they graciously accepted providing part of the meal from the things they'd brought, which included fresh tomatoes, green onions, and huge ears of corn which we roasted in the ashes of our campfire.
We ate around six o'clock and it was a feast. Grilled steak, baked potatoes sliced veggies and roasted corn. Walter was a cute and funny kid and his grandpa was just as much fun, but the sister, Lorrie, was very quiet. She was a cute little girl with golden locks and a pixie nose, but she didn't smile much. I tried to get her to open up a little but she wasn't having any of my wit and charm.
The kids roasted marshmallows for dessert while Mark and I talked to Mr. Everest, the grandpa, and he told us that Lorrie had been abused by her daddy (his deceased daughter's husband) and that she was very shy around strangers.
I felt really bad for her and I tried to be extra nice to her the rest of the evening, but I supposed she was probably suspicious of all men now that the one man who should have loved and protected her had violated her trust.
We visited till almost nine o'clock, the kids playing quietly in the shadows, and even Lorrie joined them after a while. When they finally said good bye Mr. Everest insisted on giving us his phone number and directions to his farm so we could come get those vegetables and a week later we did just that.
When they were gone Kyle and Cody insisted on more ghost stories but I suggested we take our showers and tell them in the tent. A half hour later as we lay there in our undies Cody surprised me by bringing up Lorrie's abuse.
"I'm curious, how did you know about that?"
"Oh, well...Walter said his daddy messed with his sister a lot and it made her sad."
"Well...how did that make you feel son?"
"Bad, I mean I think it sucks that her dad made her do stuff if she didn't want to and that it made her sad," he said frowning, "I mean no one should ever have to do sex stuff if they don't want to...right?"
"Exactly, and when it's a parent that does that it's even worse than a stranger. A parent should be the one to protect and love them and when they abuse them sexually or physically the child feels like they can't trust anyone any more."
"Yeah, that's bad," Kyle added, "I hate that man...her dad."
"I have to admit I sort of hate him too," Mark added, "I have no use for child abusers of any kind and abusing parents are the worst type of scum."
"I'm glad she lives with her grandpa now. She's nice, and so is Walter. Think we'll ever see them again?"
"I wouldn't be surprised. After all they invited us to come raid the garden," I chuckled, "and they don't live that far away."
"Good, okay...now can we hear some ghost stories?"
The next day was pretty much like the first day except we had to cut it short so we could drive back to Tulsa and get the boys home to their moms. It had been a great weekend but I think everyone was glad to be home, especially us old guys. We'd taken dozens of pictures and the next day I droped them off at Walmart and get them developed and eventually they'd go in our family album which was quickly growing by leaps and bounds.
End of Part Three
I had originally planned to end this story in part three, but due to popular demand I am extending it a bit longer. It was brought to my attention that there was more story to tell here as the boys grew up and Mark and Rob's relationship progressed and I eventually agreed. In part three we see the boys grow a bit older and there a few new characters thrown into the mix. Some will hang on, some will come and go just as in real life. In the next part I will try to spin things toward a conclusion and hopefully wrap it up.
Thanks again to all my readers and especially those who took the time to write and tell me that what I am doing is worthwhile. Your kind words are the only pay I receive, but believe me they are priceless.
I love hearing from you....at firstname.lastname@example.orgKewl Dad
Other stories by Kewl Dad
* Denotes Series, rest are short stories