Copyright 2003 by

This is a fictional story of loving between friends, young and old. If you don't like friendship, don't read it. If you don't like love, I'm sorry for you. If you are not old enough to legally read this, find your friend and have him read it to you.


Stocking Stuffer - Spring Break Part 13

"I don't know what to say," I ventured. "He looks at you like he's been hit by a truck. He's got it bad and although he's grown, he's just a boy. Love him right and love him strong. I think Brian watches like the nervous Dad. Tommy is growing and needs to make his choice. Stephy tells us you are right. Hug Brian tonight and let him know you love Tommy. I think it will be all right."

We sat in silence for a while and then reaching out I took his hand and lead him back to the suites. This time I managed to master the doors and shoving him inside, I made him dress in casual clothes and we headed back to the exhibit floor.


We cruised around the booths, all publishers and library carts and stuff. I was distracted by the occasional well wisher, WKE was distracted by his thoughts. He really wasn't on his game and I could tell that our little chat had really sent him far away, or maybe it was the after effects of all that touch to Tommy's skin. He was kind of bumbling, kind of lost and clearly not much good at business. I decided to get him out before the publisher decided he was drunk. Yeah, drunk on love and what might be, I knew. Drunk on fear of what might not, too I guessed.

We headed back up to the suites and once again I fumbled successfully with the door. I shed my shoes and pants and shirt as I headed to the bedroom and came back out once more comfortable in my shorts. I grabbed two beers and was sitting on the balcony when WKE joined me. Handing him a beer we sat in silence, waiting for our lives to begin again.

We didn't wait too long when the door burst open and the thundering hoard of three young boys descended on the suite. I'd barely sat up to turn around at all the laughing joy when I had a lapful of giggling happy boy.

Steph was gobbling at my face and neck and had me wrapped up in his arms and legs like I was so much meat and he the butcher paper. His laughing eyes and nuzzling nose and little dancing fingers on my back made me sigh out loud.

I heard WKE sigh a different kind of sigh, but there was no way I was going to be distracted from my impending disappearance thanks to nibbles. My Stephy's slim and golden frame was glittering with the afterglow of sun and sea. The sheen of oil across his shoulders and back, all that I could see not plastered to my chest, reminded me I had touched him there and touched him everywhere just scant hours ago. It felt like days, but now he in my arms again I was completely alive, completely at peace, completely blessed.

His brilliant diamond-yellow trunks just caught the glow of his precious skin and as I hugged him close I caught his scent. A scent I knew by heart, but this time full and strong of sun and love and coconut.

He must have heard me sniff 'cause now my smelly boy lifted his head off my chest and diving deep into my eyes he said, "I know! I love it too! It's the most heavenly thing to smell like coconut. I never ever smelled it before and it's the best. Thank you Nick! I Love You!"

"Love you too, Tiger." I beamed back.

Confirmed in his irreplaceable love, I glanced around the balcony to see Gene standing with Scotty in his arms almost asleep against his shoulder, Brian holding Mikey and Tommy standing behind WKE, hands on his shoulders, looking across with love and wonderment at his little brother in his 'fathers' arms. "He looks so happy," I heard him whisper.

WKE puts a hand up to his shoulder cupping Tommy's hand and sighs again.

Brian looks at Gene and they both grin, "Let's put them both to bed," he says. "I think they need a little nap."

I think they mean Scotty and Mikey of course, but there must have been some beachside chat, because as they turn to leave the balcony, Brian takes WKE's hand and Gene takes Tommy's and they lead them to the other suite. Stephy giggles like he knew it all along and beams as Brian and Gene come back alone.

"So, any beer left Nick?" Gene asks.

Stephy is up and off like a rocket and back in moments with one apiece for each of us. Climbing back into my lap, he settles in and half way through my beer, he is fast asleep. I'm not moving though, I love his peaceful sleep against my chest.


Scotty leads Mikey stumbling sleepy-headed back onto our balcony in an hour or so and they too climb up into laps and as they slowly wake a semi-silent giggle fest begins. Soon Steph is peeking out from between my arms and giggling back and then the three seem to of one accord pick Gene as their target. Suddenly they are up and pulling at his arms and pleading that he help them shower and get clean for the party. Gene's a little taken aback, but seeing Brian's smile and hearing me tell him to hurry up! He gives in and the scamps have led him to the bathroom. I watch and grin as all three boys have dropped their speedos before they even get to the bedroom. I remember our morning shower and I hope they are as gently with Gene as they were with me, the imps!

The boys come piling out of their shower dripping, laughing, chasing each other with towels and nothing on just as Tommy and WKE reappear from their "nap." Mikey takes one look and shouts out the eternal childish singsong, "Tommy's got a boyfriend! Tommy's got a boyfriend!" and then squeals and dashes for Brian's arms as Tommy blushes, then rushes to catch his little brother.

I glance at WKE and see he has visibly blanched and stopped petrified at what might happen with the sudden exclamation of what he had to know was not a secret.

I put him out of his misery by grabbing Tommy as he went charging past toward Mikey and hugging him close, I led him back to WKE and circled him too in our embrace. "Yeah, Mikey! And a pretty cute one too!" I shouted back, holding the two of them together like a fisherman's prize.

Suddenly Mikey wasn't so sure of his jest. Taking a stilted deep breath he managed to squeak, "Oh!"

Brian's was all over it in a heartbeat and cupping Mikey's chin and forcing him to eye to eye he said, "Yes, Tommy's found someone new to love like you've found me and I've found you! He doesn't love me or you any less and we are happy for him, aren't we son?"

You could watch the swirling of the whirlpools in his head as Mikey took this in. Then hugging Brian tight, he shot a grin across towards Tommy and whispered loud enough for all to hear, "I Love you Dad, I love you Tommy," and then he aimed a laser beam of happiness at WKE.

"Way to go Mikey!" came the chorus of the monkeys and there was a dance of nude thumb licking and pinky hooking and cries of "Jinx!"

WKE's color turned from white to beet bright red!

As if to save him there was a sudden knocking on the door, but our blushing WKE perhaps began to blush some more and said, "Uh, I hope you don't mind, I took the liberty of ordering up some ..."

"FOOD!" three naked streaking omnivores were heading for the door.

"PANTS!" Tommy managed to yell almost through tears and the three flashing moons groaned, but turned aside to Steph and my bedroom's door.

As Tommy guided the room service trolley in the three now barely covered sets of buns were dancing round and round. I thought the poor room service waiter would surely loose a thumb at least to the little piranhas' snapping teeth. He barely made it out of the room alive I think.

There was a huge pile of little smokies, a giant bowl of chips, a tray of carrots and celery with dip, and there must have been at least two cases of cans of beer and pop on ice.

I looked at WKE in wonderment, but he just grinned and shrugged his shoulders saying, "Well I had to arrange the cocktail party, can I help it if some got delivered to the wrong room?"

Gene's snort of laughter, "Way to go!" and knowing look confirmed their worker's bond against upper management. Brian assumed the business owner's outraged look, but stalked over to the cart and tossed me back a beer. He opened his and turning gave WKE a look and draping one arm over his shoulder, handed him a beer and led him toward the balcony.

"We must talk of use of company resources!" he said and gave us all a very broad wink. I felt WKE stiffen a tad even across the room, but I laughed and popped my top and knew Brian was about to make him feel at ease.

The boys of course had nearly covered their once clean faces in chip grease and bbq sauce. It was a howling riot to watch them discover you could use the smokies like dip for the chips. Or better still apparently lay a smokie side by side with celery or carrot, dip all in the dressing and shove them home with both hands. We'd definitely need another run of showers, I wondered if they'd pick Tommy, Brian or even WKE to gang up on this time.

Soon the food was obliterated and tummy's distended with hunger surceased, it was Mikey who looking round with a red streaked face asked the eternal question, "What are we having for supper tonight?"

Gene and I chortled through our beer as Steph and Scotty seemed to discover Mikey's bbq face and then pointing all around and giggling and then racing for the bathroom mirror there were peals of laughter as they discovered each the others and their own.

It was nearly 4:30 and WKE reminded me we could only be a few fashionably minutes late since the cocktail party was in my honor. I groaned and moaned, but headed back to the bedroom to climb back into my suit and tie. Just one more time tomorrow! I vowed forgetting for the moment the dinner and the monkey suit.

When WKE and I returned to the living room everyone was gone but Gene. I raised my eyebrow and he confirmed, "Brian!" and I knew that all four boys were giving him his shower treat.

WKE and I left for the reception and Gene promised they would all be down within the hour as everyone had brought good clothes to mingle at the party. I laughed thinking of the coming raid upon the smokies table and what it might be like among the bored and drinking business set.

The party was a dull and boring as I expected. God I hate a tie! Remind me to negotiate a clause in my next contract against the things. There was a reception line of sorts and after a brief little introduction and the unveiling of a table of the book, I was forced to press the flesh almost full time.

It was the normal group of attendees. The media types shaking hands just to gain access to the bar, the cart and ladder vendors trying to still complete some sale. I shook the hands of a couple of big city Director's of Collections, we used to call them librarians. Then a medium sized school district offered me their Assistant Superintendent of Multimedia, we used to call her a librarian. Some further claspings of Manager of Research Resources, yep librarians again. And then finally a simple, lovely older woman who I'd meet a few times before, she introduced herself as Town Librarian and I could have hugged her and cried. I made sure WKE got her at our dinner table later that night. Just as the line seemed to thin there was some commotion in the hallway and bursting in then stopping dead and looking all the world like four lost sheep, Scotty, Mikey, Steph and Tommy led Gene and Brian in.

WKE was instantly back at the top of his game and sweeping from my side, he gathered up the sheep with moves that would have made a collie proud and led them to and through the line. They each shook my publishers hand and then shook mine. It was so funny it was ludicrous to see them so serious and so handsome in their suits. I tried NOT to imagine the bbq streaked faces and streaking buns of just an hour ago and desperately tried to give them the dignity and respect they were showing me by their beauteous smiles and best behavior.

Then we were free of lines and I could get another beer. I hooted watching the boys attack the buffet table, this time with plates, napkins and even upraised pinkies. The smokies and the business men and women didn't stand a chance!

It was a little after 5:30 and the women had left the cocktails to the harder drinking media men. I hoped it had been worth it, but my publisher was beaming and WKE had paid him and me appropriate court it appeared because he was shaking WKE's hand.

Then our entire tribe was leaving and returning to our suites. The others to dress down for dinner on the town, WKE and Steph and I to dress up. There was another brief interlude of uniform abstraction as Mikey's radar seemed to let him know there were three policemen around a hallway corner. He had suddenly faded into Tommy's side, I had seen it from my place in the rear, and he very carefully maneuvered through our whole group so even if the cops had been paying attention I don't think they would have ever seen that he was even there. Brian and Tommy were completely oblivious, but WKE caught my eye. I shrugged, I didn't know a thing.

Entering our suite, I suddenly found myself completely, utterly and absolutely alone. Everyone had simply disappeared. One moment with me in the hall and as I managed the magic of the electronic key, it seemed to make them vanish. I moped around a bit, but then decided I had had it with the tie and managed to get undressed. As I hung up the suit and took the special bag of tux out of the closet, I saw that Steph's was gone. The entire bag and everything. I was abandoned sure as shit and feeling sorry for myself, I wandered to the beer in just my briefs. It didn't help and I wasn't rescued, so I moped back to the bedroom and began the dreaded donning of the monkey suit.

I admit I was depressed a bit, but as I opened the bag and began to sort it's contents, my heart was lifted right away. The first thing inside the bag was a clear plastic hanging pouch. Inside were brand new stockings and I started to tear up. They were sealed in plastic too, but bore a little note, "Please stuff my stockings? I love you, Steph." it said. God this was going to be hard!

Then another envelope, this time with white silk briefs, yes covered in little hearts and wrapped up with a bow! "True Love!" the note said as if I didn't know!

Then normal tuxedo pants, tailored just for me, but as I put them on I felt the pockets stiff and crinkling against my skin. Oh God, a brand new ten dollar bill in every one.

The shirt had no surprises, except I couldn't find the studs! I buttoned the bottom button and moved on to the shiney black silk cummerbund. I thought I'd faint when I turned it over, it was lined in the finest bright yellow silk and bore a little speedo logo stitched neatly on the right hand hip.

I couldn't guess what the jacket bore, but as I picked it up I could hardly believe my eyes. The lapel was once again the finest silk and on it's underside a running row of tiny bears were chasing snow flakes all around. I cried and cried, what had I ever done to earn such love? To deserve this wondrous gift? I had no clue how I could survive the night, but then the bears and flakes and hearts and magic pants swelled my heart with pride and I knew I'd fill his stockings up with love right back. I'd stand beside him, he the better man than I and I'd only glow with his reflected light. I loved him, I loved him so, I could hardly wait to tell him.

I managed to get the bedroom door open and blundered my way past tears to the living room and right into Gene's waiting arms.

He hugged me close and steered me to a chair. "He's quite a boy isn't he?" he asked.

I could barely groan, "God!"

"Well, I told you he's a live one! He knows exactly what he wants and even the tailors thought his every idea was marvelous. I don't know how he did it! But they would probably die for him, you know?"

"I can imagine," I replied, "I know I would!"

"Well hold on a little longer," Gene grinned. "Wait 'til you see him at least!"

Just then the suite door opened and I realized I had been outmaneuvered once again. My chair was facing the other way and I couldn't see the entrance, but I could tell they all were there although the boys were just as quiet as they had been down at the cocktail party. First Scotty and Mikey came into view, still wearing their suits as if they owned the building. Then Tommy and Brian, walking hand in hand and glowing like I had seen them do; so father and son handsome it almost hurt the eyes. Then WKE in a stunning tux of his own. I watched as Tommy couldn't help but devour him with his eyes. I saw Brian squeeze Tommy's hand, lift it gently toward WKE, seemingly setting Tommy free. Then a little lift of WKE's hand and Tommy just floated across the room and to his side. Then a little pause and everybody turned and watched behind me. There was only one person left. I steeled my heart to not collapse and held my breath.

I still wasn't ready. He drifted into view and I practically imploded. He was so stunning, he was so special, his little smile was so very just for me. If I had thought him beautiful upon the tailor dais standing smiling in just those tiny blue silk briefs, if I had known him devastating in yellow speedo and golden sparkling sun, if I had ever stopped to stare at him draped in bears and snowflakes, I had been barely favored with his gift. Now here in full dinner dress, showing only the skin of his face and hands, I knew the true ecstasy of sight. If I never saw another ray of light, if I was struck blind this very instant I knew I had seen perfection and I'd gladly let my eyes go dark.

I held out my hands and he came forward to me, not into our usual flying hug embrace, but standing quietly before me hands out and holding mine. We both drank in the liquor of each other and I could feel him swell and grow with pride as my love poured first in then out and we shared the deepness of our souls.

His tux was almost the mirror of mine, yet strangely inside out. I saw the bears and snowflakes dancing round the outside of his silk lapel. The cummerbund was the brilliant yellow of mine's inner lining. His shirt studs were not lost, but sparkled like diamonds up across his chest and the yellow tie against his golden throat was embroidered with a tiny yellow rose just at it's center.

Reaching into his jacket pocket he brought forth my studs and placing them in my trembling hand he took them one by one and slowly did me up. His hand stopped once and rested on my chest as if he wanted to be connected to my beating heart just before he closed me up. Then looking over at Brian, he nodded and Brian was there before me, fitting on my tie. I didn't even feel the choking noose as I usually did. The life pouring from my Stephy's hand could not be denied by something so small and inconsequential as a tie.

Then glancing over at Scotty and Mike, Steph nodded once again and each boy brought a little box and held them out to me. He waited and I finally realized I was supposed to take one first. I opened it and almost died. A perfect little pair of diamond covered cufflinks, with my initial N. I knew immediately they were for him and gently taking each sweet hand I snapped them on his wrists. He smiled and took the other box and quickly pecking each boy on the cheek sent them back to Gene and Brian's side. He opened the tiny box and again I knew, I knew before I looked, these were the mates to his, but these would be an S. He snapped them on my wrists and I could not bear it any more I hugged him in and whispered in his ear, "I Love you Steph!"

"I Love you too!" he whispered back.

We might have stood and hugged the entire rest of our lives, but we still had an obligation to attend and WKE gently placed a hand on each of our shoulders and brought us back to friends. I looked around the room and saw the beaming faces. I stood and opened up my arms and suddenly every one was flooding into an embrace. I told them each I loved them so and as they shared their love I overflowed with pride.

WKE lead our silent little trio down to the ballroom and as we entered, he squeezed my shoulder and whispered, "You are the luckiest man alive!" He gave me Stephy's hand and in we walked, father and son, lover and loved, each the savior of the others soul.

The diner was a blur to me, I couldn't keep from staring at my Steph. Thank god WKE and Steph and our wonderful Librarian friend were less stupefied. I remember Steph being almost a gracious host, turning compliments sweetly aside or reflecting them back if possible. He talked of books and other librarian things with our guest and she talked of boyish pursuits like swimming and sailing and video games as if a child herself. WKE had his business radar on full blast and managed a few rounds at other tables, doubtless extolling the virtues of my books.

I don't remember what we ate, I don't remember who else sat with us. I barely remember the after dinner speech and then only because it involved the giving of an award. I was stunned to hear my name. Then like he knew the entire time, Steph took my hand and led me to the stage. He was so gentle that it looked like I led him, but him standing there and holding my hand gave me the strength somehow to find a few words of thanks and thinking of Brian in his store, I managed to praise WKE in public without screwing up his name, I did know it after all!

I endured endless rounds of congratulations and watched as young and old brightened when my Steph gave them his smile. WKE kept a brandy in my hand and somehow I was not so stupefied that I embarrassed him or me.

We arrived back in our suite just in time for Scotty and Mikey to practically attack and pulling us to the balcony they almost exploded just as Disney's Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks lit up all across the sky. I swore I saw Tinker Bell wave her magic wand.


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