This is a work of fiction involving a young teenage boy and an older man. It's a story of love and devotion, not a recitation of gratuitous sex. The characters are all figments of my imagination. None are real people, although minor players in the story are based on experiences I have had, and may reflect my bias.
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I received an email from a reader who asked me when our culture would allow loving men to accept throwaway kids into their homes without fear of retribution. The only answer I could give him was that our culture was formed by Puritans, and the resultant archaic laws have not changed all that much since 1620. If those of us who oppose restrictive laws would get out and vote against them (and those who propose them) in a bloc, we might make a difference.
Everyone came to the estate the Friday morning before Labor Day, and we went to the coast as a convoy. Eric and Bobby rode with Josh in his Monte Carlo, which Tom and I had finally been able to convince Carl would be a good idea. Sam rode with me so he could talk privately. I had an idea of what was on his mind, but didn't know what I would tell him. Dennis had called me three nights before to ask what I thought of Bobby and Sam. I told him I didn't want to discuss it on the phone - particularly a cell phone - and that I would make time on the weekend for him. We agreed to have a drink at his favorite watering hole Friday evening.
Sam was uncharacteristically quiet for the first few miles of the trip, and I wondered if he would say anything at all. Finally, he asked, "What's going to happen to me when I'm eighteen?"
"I don't know, Sam," I said. "The rules of the shelter are clear. You'll have to find a place of your own."
"Yeah. I know," he said. "I don't have a job, though, and when I leave I want to take Bobby with me." He blushed a little. He probably thought I was unaware of their affair despite being busted by the pool, and was offering his "outing."
Aha, I thought. This might be more involved that I thought.
"Relax, Sam," I said. "I've known about you and Bobby for a lot longer than you think. Neither one of you has the ability to hide it from someone who has been there, done that. I am also pretty sure you both are thinking of moving in with Dennis."
His mouth dropped open, and he said with surprise, "How did you know that?"
"Well, I saw you and Bobby talking to him on the Fourth. It wasn't just a bullshit session. There was some really heavy stuff going down."
"I guess we were pretty obvious," he said. "Dennis is a nice guy, and I think it would give us a chance to get out of the shelter. It's not that there's anything wrong with the shelter," he went on quickly, "but I have to leave in about six weeks, and I don't want to leave Bobby behind."
"Does Dennis know about your affair?" I asked.
"I'm not sure," he said. "I don't know how he feels about gay guys, but he sorta talks around it like maybe he's gay too."
"I know one thing for sure," I said. "It's almost impossible to make a menage 'a trois work. One or another is almost always hurt eventually."
"I don't want anyone to get hurt," he said. "We just want a place to live with someone who cares what happens to us."
"I know," I said, "but have you thought about what happens if Dennis is gay, and wants to have sex with one or the other of you? How would you feel if the object of his affection is Bobby? How would Bobby feel if it's you?"
"You think it's a bad idea, don't you?" he asked sadly.
"I can't say whether it is or not," I said. "It's not my life, and you have to make the decisions - you, Bobby, and Dennis. All I can suggest is that you and Bobby sit down with Dennis, and hash it all out."
"Will you come with us?" he asked shyly.
"Let's wait and see if that's a good idea," I said. "Dennis called me this past week, and we have made time to talk about it. I'm going to meet him this evening when he gets off work, and go have a drink with him."
"What does he want to talk about?" he asked with a little apprehension.
"From the tone of his call, he wants to talk about you - and Bobby too if I read his intent correctly." I paused to give him a chance to object, and then continued. "I think he wants my guarantee that you won't rip him off, or murder him in his sleep." I chuckled as Sam looked at me with disbelief. "The bottom line is pretty clear," I said more seriously. "If the law ever gets any inkling that you or Dennis is having sex with Bobby, there will be a scandal in that little town that you won't believe. When you are eighteen, you can do whatever you want with Dennis, and nothing can be done in the courts, but put Bobby in the mix, and there will be no way to fix the damage."
Sam lapsed into silence, and thought about what I had said. I left him with his thoughts, and put my attention on the road as we entered the winding curves of the Coast Range. As we descended onto the coast highway, and made the turn toward Lincoln City, I said, "Relax, Sam. It's not the end of the world. I'm sure there will be a way to work out your problems. There always is. Sometimes it's not what we expected, but there is always a resolution."
The convoy pulled into the parking lot just before noon - my truck, Josh's Monte Carlo, the estate van (Carl wanted to watch Josh's driving), and John's Mercedes bringing up the rear. David and Merle were standing there to greet us. We all started unloading our things, and got them put away in short order. We all went around to the front and sat on the seawall. There was a light on-shore breeze, and although it wasn't uncomfortable, it was a reminder that fall was nearing, and there wouldn't be much more of the nice weather.
I had ordered the food for the cookout from Dennis a couple of weeks before, and it had all been delivered. I checked to see that it was properly stored, and started supper. David and Merle were going to visit friends, so we decided to have our meal in the commons room. I had left the wall and the roof closed anyway. I hoped the weather would hold so I could open them for the cookout. Food always tastes better when eaten outdoors.
I went to the bar about six, and Dennis was waiting for me. We shook hands and retired to a booth so we would have some privacy. After we had ordered, and the waitress brought our drinks, Dennis blurted out, "I know you're gay. I think I am too."
"That's something you should know one way or the other before you make a statement like that," I said quietly.
"I guess I'm not very good at this," he said. "I had it all rehearsed, and now it's even started out wrong."
"I've found that the shortest distance to a conclusion is usually a straight line," I said. "Why don't you share where we're going with this. Then we can discuss how to best arrive at the destination - or if the journey is worth the trouble."
Dennis looked at me as though he wanted to crawl into a hole and pull it in after him. "I don't know how to say it," he said almost in a whisper while looking around to see if anyone was listening. "I want Bobby and Sam to live with me."
"If that's what you really want, I think you should probably be talking to them instead of me," I said. "I doubt you would have a problem with Sam. He's almost eighteen and will be of age in a few weeks. In his case, all you have to do is wait. Bobby presents a different problem - a legal one. Sam's status with regard to Bobby will change too, when he becomes eighteen."
"I hadn't thought about that," he said.
"The two of them are pretty much joined at the hip," I said. "Do you really want both of them, or are you interested in just one?"
"I don't really know," he said. "I really like Bobby, but Sam wants to go to bed with me. He told me so."
"Sam is a sexual addict, and would probably go to bed with an iguana," I said. "He believes that love is contained in sex. The truth of the matter is that sex should be the natural outgrowth of a love affair - not the first order of business."
"I don't know anything about that," he said. "I've had an interest in boys all my life, but I've never had sex with anyone. I don't even know what to do." He started to tear up with frustration. "I do have some ideas, though." He gave me a tired smile.
"I doubt that inexperience will pose a problem with Sam," I said with a chuckle. "He's more than willing to take the initiative."
He looked at me with an unasked question in his eyes. "Have you ...?"
I cut him off quickly. "No," I said. "He wanted to once, but I turned him down, and told him what he wanted was wrong - and why. It wasn't a matter of the act being wrong, but rather the circumstances."
"What should I do?" he asked. "I don't want to make a mistake that will ruin my life, but I don't want to spend it alone either."
"I can't tell you what to do," I said. "You're fixated on the sexual aspects when what you really want is someone to care for - preferably someone who cares about you. Think about the other parts of the problem. I think you should assume that if you take them in, there will be a sexual side to it, but you can't spend all your time in bed. Sam needs guidance. He needs a set of rules that are strictly enforced. He also needs a job that will give him a sense of pride in his own accomplishments.
"You, on the other hand, need some guarantees that you will not wind up the patsy in some malevolent plot - not that I think Sam is capable of one, but like all kids who have been on the streets, he does have a tendency to think of his own needs first. You need to consider the ramifications of a sexual triangle. Bobby depends on Sam for more than sex. If you begin to fill those needs for him, will Sam be left out in the cold? How will he react? I can't answer those questions, but you will have to get some of those answers before you make a commitment.
"Remember," I went on, "these boys have been on their own for a long time. They take what will give them instant gratification. You will have to teach them how to plan for a future more than ten minutes ahead. You will have to teach them responsibility, accountability, and perhaps most importantly, empathy. They have to learn to think of the consequences of their behavior before they act. Do you feel up to that task?"
"Why is it so complicated?" he asked rhetorically with tears beginning to fill his eyes again.
"Life is complicated by definition," I said. "All we can do is take it as it comes, and do the best we can."
"Can I come over and take the boys home to talk with them?" he asked.
"I have no objections to a discussion," I said, "but make sure you don't commit to anything in the heat of sexual passion. It's very easy to forget all the things you need to remember when the head between your legs does the thinking."
He blushed, and said, "I've never had the possibility of that happening before."
I smiled at him. "I have a feeling you're going to be overwhelmed with the experience very shortly." I thought for a moment and added, "Are you sure you can afford to furnish them a home? It could be a financial burden too. Is your place big enough for three people or will you have to find a bigger place? Do you make enough to feed them? Are you prepared for the other expenses like clothes, medical care, schoolbooks, and the myriad of things teenagers think are vital to their survival?"
"As manager, I make a pretty good salary," he said, "and my house is a three bedroom that I inherited from my grandfather. I don't think I'd have a problem there."
"Are you prepared to answer all the questions from nosy neighbors," I asked.
"I hadn't thought about that," he said, "although I don't have many. My house is up the hill to the east."
"If you decide to do this," I said, "you and the boys should all be on the same page. I've found there are people in this world who have dedicated their lives to finding a way to make life miserable for others. Except for the gay part, the truth is probably the best course. That way, none of you have to lie to cover another lie - and the public records will bear you out if it comes to that.
"I guess the next thing to do is talk to the boys" I said. "Find out what they want and expect. Don't be afraid to say 'NO.' There is always compromise, but remember, if you cave in on everything, you will not be in control. That could lead to disaster."
"I'll remember that," he said. "So, is it all right with you if I take the boys in to live with me?"
"I have no say in the matter," I said. "You have to talk to the boys first. Get everything straight between you - no pun intended - and then you'll have to apply to the Jeremy Shaw Memorial Shelter to see if they are disposed to allow you to assume guardianship of Bobby. You will have to be licensed as a foster parent before that can happen. You can apply for that next Tuesday if you decide to go ahead with it. I'd advise you to get a good lawyer, and keep your orientation to yourself. There are a some things even your lawyer doesn't need to know."
We wrapped up some loose ends, and I returned to the beach house. Bobby and Sam were waiting to ambush me before I got to the door. They dragged me into their room, and proceeded to question me about my meeting with Dennis. I only told them they would have to be patient, and that I thought he would be talking with them soon.
Dennis drove into the parking lot the next morning just before nine. He asked if he could take the boys to show them his house, and I had no objections. I wondered how he managed to take the day off, but then realized he was, after all, the boss.
Eric was a little put out that he hadn't been invited. I told him there were things they had to talk about, and that he shouldn't feel that they were his friends to the exclusion of everyone else in their lives. He seemed satisfied, and spent the day having a good time with Billy and Josh. They went off in Josh's car for a couple of hours, and Carl was a wreck the whole time they were gone. Tom took him aside and had a short conversation with him about "letting go," but it didn't do much good.
When they returned, they were all in high spirits. Josh told us where they had gone, and what they had done -all good clean fun for a teen - pointed up by interjected remarks from Eric and Billy.
Dennis brought Bobby and Sam back to the house around six - just in time to share our supper. He looked like he was floating on air, and I imagined how they had spent at least some their time. Carl noticed it too, and whispered to me, "Dennis looks all fucked out."
I roared with laughter, and told him, "He probably is. He told me he's never had sex before, and has just spent an entire day with two delightfully willing and dedicated professors of erotica." We chuckled over my description, and finished dishing out the dessert - fresh peaches poached in Sauternes, and topped with vanilla cream.
After supper, I took Dennis aside, and asked him if they'd had time to do any talking about salient issues. He said, "Oh, yeah. I went home last night and wrote down everything we needed to talk about. It was a good thing I talked to you first, though. There were a lot of things you mentioned that I would never have thought of."
His eyes were still glazed over, but he seemed in control of his thoughts. He continued, "We spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon nailing down those rules you talked about." He blushed a deep pink and said, "I guess you can tell how we spent the rest of the day."
"That's none of my business," I said, "nor anyone else's. You should work on controlling your expressions though." I smiled at him, and he blushed even redder.
"I don't know if I can do that," he said. "I never felt like this before, and I want to tell someone about it."
"I know how you feel," I said, "and I suppose if you have to tell it to someone, it might as well be me. At least I won't be as judgmental as one of your checkout girls."
I listened to his narration with good humor, and occasionally offered an "ooh" or an "aah" and sometimes just a grunt. When he was finished, I asked him if he was still interested in a foster care situation for Bobby. He answered enthusiastically, "Oh, yes. I called the shelter, and talked to Ms. Hayes," he said. "I told her I was willing to share my three bedroom home with Sam and Bobby. She was quite nice, and explained the whole foster parent thing to me, and made a tentative appointment for me to talk with her next week. I got the impression she was favorably inclined." He smiled broadly.
"Do you have a lawyer?" I asked.
"The only one I know is the store's," he said. "I don't think I want to use a corporate attorney for this."
"Good thinking," I said. "You never want to get your personal life too close to your business responsibilities. You can ask John. He's a general purpose attorney, and has quite a bit of experience in the field of fostering and adoptions. I don't know if he has the time, but you could ask him. I'm sure he could recommend someone locally if he can't do it himself."
Dennis thanked me, and we joined the rest of the group on the porch to watch another spectacular sunset. Bobby and Sam sat on either side of Dennis with their shoulders just touching. They seemed very comfortable with each other, and talked quietly with an occasional chuckle.
Dennis reluctantly went home about ten - to a house that would never feel the same to him again. We all retired to our respective rooms, and slept well.
John and I had barely had our first cup of coffee Sunday morning when Dennis knocked on the door to the upper level. I got up and opened the lower level door to the beach, and looked up to where he was standing. I called to him, "We're down here, Dennis." He looked terrible. I doubted he had slept at all, and I had to chuckle as he almost fell down the embankment.
"I wanted to see John," he said as he entered the commons room. I offered him a cup of coffee, which he gratefully accepted.
John looked at him and said with a snicker, "Damn, Dennis. You look like you've been rode hard and put away wet."
"I couldn't sleep all night," he said. "The house has never felt so empty."
Remembering Dennis' tale of debauchery, I snickered at the "rode hard" bit, but quickly regained my composure. "Are you going to be here for the cookout tomorrow?" I asked him.
"I don't think so," he said. "I have to work to make up for the day I took yesterday." He was really sad about missing the festivities, and a chance to be with Bobby and Sam again. "I wish I could quit work altogether," he said, "but that's not being realistic." He looked around a little expectantly.
"They're not up yet," I said with a smile.
"Well, I just have a few minutes before I have to go to work, and I wanted to ask John if he could handle the foster care license."
John asked him, "Have you filled out the application?"
"No," he said. "I don't even know where to get one."
"I took Tuesday off," John said, "so I wouldn't have to fight that traffic back to the Valley. I'll pick one up Tuesday morning, and bring it over to the store. We can fill it out, and I'll file it that afternoon."
"That would be great," said Dennis. "Thanks a lot."
John smiled. "Decide if you want to thank me when you get my bill," he said. "I am not the cheapest lawyer in the State."
"Amen to that," I said with a chuckle, "but you get what you pay for, and a cheap attorney doesn't have the track record of wins to get those big fees."
Bobby came wandering in, and immediately got a smile on his face when he saw Dennis. He walked right up to him and laid a very welcoming kiss on his lips. Dennis was a little nonplused, but didn't let his blush obscure his enjoyment. Sam was not far behind, and Dennis got the same treatment from him. A few quiet words of greeting were all he had time for, and he left in high spirits. He would pay for his sleepless night later in the day, but for now he was set to whip the world.
Dennis came by on his morning break the next day. He looked much better, and admitted to having to head for home early Sunday afternoon. He looked well rested, and had a few words with the boys before he headed back to work with a promise to them that he would be back during his lunch break around two.
Bobby and Sam were in high spirits after having been told that John was going to take care of the license. They saw that as a slam dunk, and were already making plans for their move to the coast. Ah, the blind faith our children put in us, I thought.
Every one showed up around one, and I started the grill. We had pretty much the same meal we'd had on the Fourth, and Dennis arrived at two just as the first steaks were coming off the grill. Dixie took one look at the trio, and knew instantly what was going on between them. He got teary eyed, and congratulated Dennis saying, "I think it's wonderful. You'll have to excuse me. I always cry at weddings."
Dennis didn't know quite how to take that remark until Carl said, "It is almost like a wedding party. Maybe we should get our resident Judge-to-Be to say a few words."
John had a good laugh over that, and the whole party relaxed and had a good time. I was a little surprised when Norman and George offered to execute testaments to Dennis' character. John thanked them, and the three of them disappeared into my little office for a half hour or so. When they emerged, John had some paper in his hand which he put in his briefcase after affixing his notary stamp to the documents.
Tuesday, while Billy packed up their belongings, John went to the City Hall, got the application, and went over to the store. Dennis took a break, and they filled it out in the office. John proved himself truly amazing by returning to the store at one o'clock with the license in hand.
When Dennis asked him how he had done it so quickly, John said, "It isn't hard to do when I have a client with impeccable credentials, an adequate income, and a good reputation in the community." He paused a bit, and then added, "It didn't hurt to run into my old college roomy in the clerk's office either." He guffawed, and handed the license to Dennis adding, "The boys will have to be returned to the shelter to be processed out, but you can go over there tomorrow, if you can find the time, and pick them up. I'd call to make the arrangements if I were you. There shouldn't be any problems. If something comes up, give me a call, and I'll take care of it."
In relating the story to me and the boys, John said Dennis had the phone in hand before he cleared the office door.
Bobby and Sam were ecstatic, and got their things together quickly so there would be no delay in returning to the shelter. They wanted to be available if something was expected of them. Carl was glad for them, but Eric and Josh, although happy they had found a home, were a little down at the prospect of having to wait until next summer to see them again.
We convoyed back to the estate in much the same order except Eric rode with me and Sam joined Josh and Bobby in the Monte Carlo. It was a happy, but uneventful journey, and I was glad to get home. The beach house was nice, but the estate afforded things that I missed while away - privacy and security not the least of them. A wealthy man is as much a prisoner of his wealth as the poor man is of his poverty. There are always those who would like to transfer my wealth to their pockets, and a host of security measures were necessary to prevent that. It's very true that the only difference between a prison and a fortress is who has the keys. Then too, in a fortress the cells are bigger, and the food is better.
I purposely stayed away from the shelter the next day. Dennis needed no help, and an appearance from me might have tarred him with a gay brush. He must have gotten up at three AM because Janet told me some days later during one of her routine calls that he had been camped in the shelter's parking lot at six, waiting for the staff to open up.
Tom went to town and picked up the mail, The textbooks for Eric and Josh had arrived, and things got back to the old routine. Carl had made a diligent search for a music teacher for Josh, and had found one who was not only qualified to teach at his level, but was also willing to come to the house. There was no way Carl was going to let Josh drive alone over slippery roads all the way to town and back. Then too, until the organization that had tried to abduct him was tried, convicted, and put away where they could do no further harm, we didn't think it was prudent to allow him to be out alone.
I took the boys with me the weekend before election day, and went to the coast to vote. It was an off year, but I vote whenever I get a chance just to feel like I am a part of the government. We stayed overnight, and visited with Dennis and the other boys for a few hours on Saturday. Both had been put in classes that had much younger students, but they said they were getting along well despite the age difference. Sam said he had looked into the GED program at the local extension center, and intended to switch to that in January. He was also working at the store after school, and was quite proud that he had his own money.
Dennis was all smiles, and I assumed he was satisfied with the way his life had changed. He and the boys were considerate to one another, and I saw no indication that there was anything amiss. Each boy had his own room, and they kept them immaculate. I had my doubts that they slept in those rooms, but didn't say anything. I privately wondered how long Dennis, at thirty-something, could keep up with two teenaged libidos. He seems to be holding up pretty well so far, I thought with a smile, and enjoying the ride.
I invited them to come to the estate for Thanksgiving, but Dennis declined with regrets. He had to work the day before and the day after the holiday, and didn't think he wanted to drive home in the dark over the winding roads after a big turkey dinner.
Eric, Josh, and I drove home the next morning, and arrived about noon. Carl had a lunch ready for us, and listened to all the news from our "Western Annex" as he called it. David and Merle would be coming to the Valley over the Thanksgiving weekend to visit friends and familiy in the area, and I informed him that he and Tom were on the list. They had said they were having dinner with Merles mother, so they wouldn't be here for our feast, but they would stop in on their way home on Sunday.
Eric and I went up the hill to our house about three, and took a nap. It had been an exhausting drive since it was raining the whole day, and the pavement had been a little slippery. As I grew older, I had begun to welcome a little more down time, and Eric still liked to cuddle quietly whether or not he slept.
Well, there you have chapter fifteen. I started to write a long narration of Dennis and the boys' sexual escapades, but deleted it. That isn't what this story is about. If there is a huge outcry to add it, I'll rewrite it and include it as an appendix, but it does nothing for the story line.
I'm going to take a hiatus until after the first of the year. Christmas is not my best time. I have no family left, and lonely old men tend to live in memory.
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