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.

This is the concluding chapter to Spring Break. Thank you for the very kind emails. Every writer, like everyboy, likes to hear when they have made someone happy. Tell the other authors if you like their works. My deepest thanks to Mal and Kev for pokes and prods and laughs and tears and sharing along the way. Om ah hum vajra guru padma siddhi hum


Stocking Stuffer - Spring Break Conclusion Part 17

We walked a happy laughing group back to our table on the deck, all our boys jewels of sparkling beauty among the other evening dinner guests. I watched as the boys including WKE and Tommy barely managed to hold their bodies in a chair. They'd sit on feet, then be more or less kneeling in the chair, then almost draped across its back while talking to their mates, then stretching out and up and down and around and in and out. I wondered how their teachers ever kept them in their seats. Perhaps they didn't try: why cage a sunbeam dancing in the air?

The chef had outdone himself when three huge platters of divine coconut crusted mahi-mahi, fried shrimp and crab cakes hit the tables. We served ourselves family style and the rapturous sounds of delighted boy eating scrumptious food may have boosted sales at every table ten percent. As the sun went down and it cooled a little our driver was quickly ready with parrot shirts and everyboy was Polly Proud by dessert.

As we headed back to the hotel, the boys were asleep in one huge pile on Tommy and WKE in minutes. I think I was asleep against Gene's shoulder thirty seconds behind.


I'm not sure how we made it to the suite. I vaguely remember carrying Steph up. I have no clue how WKE and Tommy must have managed.

I woke to the gentle pulse of Stephy's breath rippling across my chest. The rise and fall of his diaphragm and ribcage like the waves of yesterday. Those waves first in then out caressing at the sand. The rhythmic pulse of primal boy connected to the sea, the sea connected to the shifting sand. The sand reflecting back the light, the light the sun's own sweet divine and everlasting kiss. The kiss the gift of all the gods, the gods of boy and man who made this child, this shimmering of light who lay upon my heart and called my soul this morning from its rest. I could not believe how happy I was to lie and watch him breathe. His every breath taking in the scent of coconut and him and me, eternally melded in both our lungs. I knew I would recognize him anywhere like the she wolf for her cub. He was as much a part of me as if I'd sired and raised him. No that was wrong, he was more to me than that because I'd seen the paltry depth of that lauded bond for what a sham it could be on his mother's face. He simply was a part of me, the part I treasured best.

I hugged him and caressed his back. I smoothed his hair, I gently helped him wake. I kissed his eyes and kissed his cheeks and kissed his forehead too. He snuggled back then drifted up to consciousness and looked into my soul and whispered, "Love you Nick!"

I wept my answer back.

We lay in serene peacefulness a while and then mutually seemed to know that moment had just passed. We hugged and broke our sweet embrace and drifted from the bed to bath and on into our day. I made the coffee, got him some juice and we sat on the balcony and watched the sun rise upon the crenelated spires of Walt's romantic paean to Ludwig's unbridled madness.

Soon the others drifted in and though we were a quiet bunch, it seemed the air was full of love and silent inner sharing. I think we all felt that today would be a special kind of bond, a kind of icing on the cake. WKE ushered in a trolley of wondrous smelling eggs and bacon, sausage and biscuits with gravy. You could feel the lushness of the feast on every tongue as we ate in contented companionship.

Soon we sent the boys back to get ready for another day of beach and sun and fun.

Our tribe was flabbergasted when our driver showed up in a classic surfer woody complete with boards up on the rack! The kids had never seen it's like and as they exploded in excited jubilee he was grinning ear to ear! We shoehorned in, it really wasn't such a tight fit. Those old wagons really were quite large. The driver shared the front bench seat with Tommy and WKE, Brian Gene and I shared the back. The boys of course were in through the tailgate looking aft. You'd have thought our driver had invented candy the boys were so excited. As we headed for the beach they must have waved at a thousand other kids in cars and everyone of them was jealous was my guess.

WKE and I were dropped unceremoniously at the book store, the rest of the tribe disappearing off to fun. I was a little glum at first, but WKE and two young clerks soon had me out of that. The teenage boys had grow up with my books and they began a recitation of them almost chapter and verse. I'd heard of movie groupies who knew every line and I knew of Shakespeare buffs who had his oeuvre down pat. To hear my plots and twists and heroes triumphs and teenaged angst sung back at me was more than I could take. I was laughing and crying and shaking with the serious and the hilarious in how these two with WKE for polyphony almost strutted the books on the book store's shelf clogged virtual stage. I didn't have a clue I had been so much to these and other growing boys. I must admit I didn't feel a thousand. Their joy made me feel more like thirty.

Soon enough our sixties chariot was back to take us to the beach. The glowing smile on the driver's face told me his surprise had been a hit all round, the boards were not on top! He'd arranged with our friend from Coconuts to have boogie boards and Panama Jack beach chairs and umbrella's. We seemed to have a private waiter to bring the beer and pop. In fact our group of nine was more like thirty-five and growing as the infectious fun of our tribe brought others into it's circle. I'm sure Coconuts was doing very well with the special services provided on this day. In fact they had arranged and managed to publicize a beach barbecue and we could smell the delicious smell of cooking meat and flame broiled coconut shrimp and fish.

We were escorted to special beach side seating when the time was right and our jeweled and oiled coconut scented golden shimmering shining boys were probably a marvelous living advertisement. I could not have cared less. We were happy, fat and sassy living Jimmy Buffet's dream and listening to him on the restaurant's beach party speakers. I even tried a little fins to the left and fins to the right and our boys were screaming howling gleeful pups to see the old man dance. There's nothing like Cheeseburgers in Paradise to make a beachbum, however winterized and repressed, shake a little bootie when compounded with good friends, good food and beachside sun.

Our day went from great to grand. As the boys were body surfing and playing with the boogie boards there was a shout of SHARK! We looked in terrified desperation in time to see a pod of dolphins start playing in the surf seemingly right with our boys. I could see their faces go from panic to shear joy to see the jumping spinning chittering organic sensuality that their fellow mammals spread upon the glittering ocean's face.

We ended the day with a Coconut's beachside bonfire and the thrill of roasting lowly hot-dogs and marshmallows. I don't think another dinner with the King could have brought such exultation to the faces of our tribe.

They were asleep before we even got to the car.


I woke to empty bed and hushed giggles from the other room. Refreshing myself and grabbing the sacred cup of Joe, I found everyone once again humoring the Old Man by letting him sleep in. I pouted and nuzzled Stephy's neck when he gave me his morning, "Love you Nick!"

Tommy took the lead this morning, "Since this is our last day, we want to do Space Mountain and the Race Cars and the Orbiter and Buzz Lightyear Spin and sometime Splash Mountain again. Okay?"

"We'd take you boys anywhere!" Brian answered for the men.

Mikey broke the code, "Can we have breakfast with Mickey again today?"

"Well funny you should ask," WKE replied. "I don't have anything coming up. What do you think Brian? Breakfast with the Mouse?"

"Sure!" laughed Brian and the boys were yelling YEAH and running off for clothes. I wondered what the neighbors thought or if they ever got a glimpse of all those light speed flashing little butts back and forthing across the hall.

Almost as quickly as they left, they were back and ready. Steph had on his new red shirt and Mikey had on its match. Tommy sported a graphic giant Dumbo with a very provocatively suggestive trunk! I'm sure Walt would not have approved, but then he probably never saw our boys as we might! Scotty had on an older bright yellow shirt, a little small, but it showed off some brand new Mickey shorts. Even WKE came with a ready tribute, he wore a bright blue Sorcerer's Apprentice T with Magic Mickey both front and back. I admit Gene and Brian and I had had the same idea, we wore polo shirts with Mouse embroidered on our chests.

The breakfast was more of old friends than awe and Mickey and Donald and Pluto and this time Minnie and Daisy too got rounds of hugs and pictures. The buffet suffered it's usual fate.

We ambled to the monorail and through the still amazing Main Street USA. Steph seemed content with Mikey's progress and didn't force him on any more uniforms. It seemed a day of easy joy, as if they knew they didn't have to rush, the fun would wait, the rides weren't going to disappear this instant. As if they wanted now to savor every moment of their last day in Paradise. Of course when we got to the Indy Cars it was hell bent for leather round the track. They tried to get the better of each other, but Tommy with his actual driving skill and practice left them in his dust. Space Mountain was its usual thrill, they ran the line back twice! Then we headed for Buzz Lightyear. I took one look and consigned it to the boys. I wasn't up for spins, I had too many one-foot-on-the-floor nights when I was much, much younger.

After Buzz there was a boy huddle and suddenly they shouted, "Splash Mountain!" and we knew we were headed for the walk.

We passed our guard and though the uniforms had seemed passé, Steph and Mikey rushed on over. He knew who they were and shouted, "Yeah! Splash Mountain!" Scotty seemed glued to Gene's side.

After two rides Mikey mentioned food and soon they all were begging that we head back to get something to eat. Then as we approached the Shootin' Arcade again, Scotty stopped full dead. Stephy grabbed Scotty's hand and grabbed his own pants and groaned, "I gotta pee!"

Mikey chimed in, "Me too!"

Tommy turned to Gene and Brian and WKE and pointed at a restaurant. "Look, let's go over there and get a table, Nick can take them and then come join us. Okay?"

It must have been, because the four big ones turned and walked away.

Stephy took my hand with his free one and Mikey got on the other side of Scotty and we started for the bathroom. Just as we got halfway, Stephy stopped and pulled my hand. Looking up at me he was super serious and said, "Nick, you have to help. You go first and get our room, we'll be right there. Okay? It's important. Go wait for Scotty."

"Steph..." I started, but he pulled me up short.

"Trust me Nick. It's really important, you go first and wait for Scotty!"

I don't know why it was, but I knew I had to do what he said, this time he was in charge and I a dutiful soldier needed to be, "Okay Steph," I said and walked away and toward the bathroom.

I heard behind me. "Scotty, go get ready, Mikey count to twenty when you see me take him in, then do it running, right?"

"Yeah, right!" Mikey's excited voice replied.

I had no idea why I was being so obedient a pawn in whatever this new game was, but it felt right somehow. I got in the bathroom and got in our stall and turned and waited.

If anyone had been checking feet I would have never passed the test; mine sure weren't where they were supposed to be. I was pressed against the door watching out of the crack.

I thought I'd choke when Scotty came in. He took what had to be his new little Mickey briefs from his pocket and did something with his hand and then just dropped his brand new shorts and took them off. He was standing in the middle of the room, butt naked except for the small yellow shirt. He took a deep deep breath and stood there steely eyed and immobile. I was about to go to him when I heard Steph's voice from right outside and I really almost had a heart attack!

"Hey Mister?" I heard my Tiger sing, "Want to have a little fun?"

God where had he ever heard a line like that and what the hell was going on?

Then I could see him actually lead a man in by the hand. He kind of led him right up to Scotty and the guy was actually leering he thought he'd hit some kind of jackpot! I was about to go charging out of my stall when Scotty moved.

He took one step towards the guy and Steph took a step towards him from the other side. Scotty reached out and touched the guy's dick through his pants. I thought my head was going to explode when I saw Stephy's hands actually lower the guy's zipper and reach inside and fish out his straining cock. The guy was moaning and then Scotty seemed to rub the dick with the underpants in his hand and stepped back and spoke.

"You fucking bastard! You don't probably even fucking remember me, but your sorry fucking ass is dead meat now. You'll remember me forfuckingever! I'm Scotty and you are fucked asshole!" I watched as Scotty handed him the underpants just as Steph slipped into my stall. The guy was open mouthed but his hand automatically took what Scotty handed him.

Steph handed me something too and whispered, "Be ready to hold Scotty and walk us out of here."

Then all hell broke loose outside. Mikey came running in with our friendly guard and Scotty screaming and crying pointed to the guys exposed dick and sobbed, "He hurt me and stole my new underpants!"

I thought the guy must have cracked every rib and probably his skull the guard slammed him to the floor so hard. Then the guard was squawking in his radio, "Help! Officer Twenty Two, I got a perp molesting in bathroom 63!"

Scotty cried, "Mister, I gotta PEE!" and started dancing all around holding his little dick like it would explode if he let go.

The guard looked at him and hollered, "It's okay kid, I got this creep, you go pee, but come right back!"

Scotty slipped into the stall next to us, but suddenly dropped and rolled under the partition. Stephy pointed at his hand and I saw some blood, I realized Steph had given me a Band-Aid and as I started to get it ready Steph was peeling off his shirt and pulling it over Scotty's head, but somehow Steph was still dressed in red. Scotty had his shorts back up and I managed to get the Band-Aid on him. Then Steph pushed him into my arms and as I picked him up he buried his face completely in my chest. Steph started to lead us out of the stall and out of the bathroom.

"Sorry Mister," the guard said grim faced on top of his perp. "Your two boys okay? Did you see the one in the yellow shirt?" To the bundle in my arms, "Thanks Steph and Mikey for getting me so fast. This perp is going to jail, big time!"

"No officer I didn't see him, we're fine officer, we're getting out of here. Break his neck if you want, I'll never tell." I croaked as we hurried by.

"Hey kid! Hurry up and come on back." he yelled back at the stalls.

I gathered up Mikey too outside the bathroom and we all ran across toward the restaurant. I saw the guys sitting at an outside table except Tommy who was already up and heading for us. Giving them an absolute order of a stare I yelled, "HOME!" and kept right on carrying Scotty and Mikey and leading Steph at my best dead run toward the gate, toward the monorail and toward the safety of our suite.

Before we got too far, Tommy had Mikey from me and in his arms and WKE had Steph and we were a thundering horde of men and boys fleeing Paradise at full clip.

I could barely breathe once we got to the monorail and tried to catch my breath while practically crushing Scotty, but he certainly wasn't trying to get away, in fact I think he had melted into my shirt. I passed him over to Gene and if anything he melted even more.

Everyone was serious and dying to know what was up, but we rode in public silence and then entered the hotel lobby the same way. "WKE can you arrange something for us all to eat?" I asked as we started for the elevator. "I promise, not a word until you get there."

He dropped out of our group and headed for the front desk.

As we entered the suite, Stephy asked, "I know Nick, we wait for WKE, but can Scotty and I go wash our hands, they feel real dirty?"

"Yes Tiger, wash them good!" I said. Steph took Scotty's hand and they ran to the bathroom in our bedroom. I heard the splashing of water in the sink and then they were back, Scotty once again in Gene's arms. They hadn't said a thing.

We were sitting round the table, in a strained and silent group when WKE burst in two minutes behind us. Seeing us sitting and waiting, he slid in next to Tommy and you could see everybody tense waiting for me to begin.

"Okay first, are you okay Scotty?"

Peeking back out from Gene, he gave me a weak grin, but a definite nod yes.


Three quick head shakes yes.


"I love you Nick," he answered.

"Love you too Steph, but what the bloody hell was that all about!? No wait. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell or swear but you guys sure scared the begeezsus out of me!"

"What the Hell?" from Brian and about the same from Gene, but Scotty cut them off.

"It's my fault, don't be mad at Steph and Mikey and Tommy. It's my fault."

Tommy, I thought, yeah the quick turn to the restaurant, the table outside, quickly taking Mikey from me, he was in on this too! "No Scotty, Steph, Mikey, Tommy, nobody's mad at anyboy, just tell us what's going on."

"'K," he said and taking the same deep breath I had seen in the bathroom he began. "I saw him the first day and I knew, I knew it was him. Then when we went by he was talking to a boy. God I thought I'd disappear right then. He was the guy, Gene, the guy that bought me and then sold me and then hurt me and threw me on your yard. He was the guy!" and he squeezed harder crying in Gene's arms.

"Yeah," Steph chimed in. "Scotty told me and we went back and saw him again the next day and he was trying to get boys to go with him into the bathroom. Scotty told me he had hurt him, had hurt him bad and that we had to help those other boys, we had to help them, we had to do something!"

"Yeah! We had too!" Mikey added.

Steph continued, "So we figured out maybe we could get him caught and then maybe the other boys would be safe. You know kind of like we caught Mikey and made him safe?" he looked imploringly at me.

"Yes Steph, you guys made Mikey safe, but this was so very very dangerous."

"Well, we had too," Steph told us with finality.

"Okay, but never again, never without one of us to help."

"But you did help!" Steph pointed out.

"Yeah, but I didn't know what we were doing and I thought I was having a heart attack the whole time!"

I told everyone the story pretty much as I had watched it play out and as I saw the pieces fit in retrospect. "I don't understand the Band-Aid though. Why were you bleeding Scotty?"

"Well, we practiced to make sure I could do it remember?" He gave us great big innocent eyes.

"When you cut yourself you were practicing?" Gene almost squawked.

"Yeah, I needed to have real fresh blood. I had my new underpants and I made sure they had a bunch of blood on them, then I put them on that bastards dick and in his hand just before Mikey brought the cop in. When they find the bloody pants and the policeman remembers what I said about him hurting me, he may not fucking live tonight. He deserves to die, he would have just left me there and I would have died if my angel hadn't found me," and he hugged Gene harder than ever.

"After Mikey brought the guard we had it planned so I could take off my second red shirt and put it on Scotty. Then Nick would take us out of the bathroom like every other day and the guard would see me and guess that it was Mikey in Nick's arms. Since he'd seen the naked boy in the yellow shirt and he'd seen Mikey in a red shirt he'd think there was another kid. So when we'd go out he'd let us." Steph finished.

"I got him real quick!" Mikey added. "He knew me and when I told him a boy needed help he came really fast! Gosh, he did like me!? He didn't think I was bad at all!"

Brian scooped him up and hugged him. "Because you aren't bad, Mikey. You were very brave. But I agree with Nick. Never again with out talking to us first. Promise!?"

"Promise, Daddy," he answered and grinned as he hugged Brian back.

"Me too," from Tommy to Brian, but he went to WKE.

"And me!" said Scotty to Gene's chest.

"And me!" from Steph flying across the space between us to glue himself to my neck.

I think we all sat there in obvious shock for the longest time, brought out of our private reveries and hugs to boys by a knocking on the door. WKE and Tommy relieved the waiter of the trolley of pizzas and drinks. Our somber mood continued through the devastation of the cheese and pepperoni. With the adrenaline of the morning's ride, and the shock of the bathroom events the hunger of our boys wasn't even dulled.

After polishing off the final piece, Scotty went to Brian and asked, "Could you and Tommy take us sailing again this afternoon? That was so much fun. I don't think we want to go back to the rides."

It was the catalyst we needed to get passed the terror of the morning and soon everyboy and everyman was fully less than dressed and heading for the hotel's beach.

Gene and I had a great time watching as Tommy, WKE, and Steph took one boat and Brian, Mikey, and Scotty took another. They were racing and circling and tacking and whatever else a sailor does and generally having a great time.

Gene and I drank a beer and talked of the incredible wherewithal the boys had shown in facing down Scotty's ancient terror and Mikey's self-confidence and self-worth fears and then making up their plan and carrying it out in absolute perfection. Who would have ever guessed a broken bleeding angel on the lawn, a frozen waif desperate for something to eat and a badgered worthless feeling runaway could have gathered up the strength to "save those other boys!"

We toasted their resilience and their belief in what was right and what it was that they must do. We vowed to watch like hawks for any further stirring of their knightly chivalry.

As I refreshed our beers I noticed a TV flyer on the bar and glancing in while waiting for the bartender I found the perfect way to end our day. Some miracle of programming talent had scheduled on the classics station Danny Kaye's Court Jester. I bet our tribe had never seen the master and this, his finest movie of transformation, chivalry, protection and just plain fun would cement everything good in the terrible moments of what our boys had done: the boy king and his crown are rescued after all.

When the racing stopped and the boats were beached the boys were dancing round their thanks: thanks again for taking us, thanks again for loving us, thanks again for letting us love you.

There was never any doubt.

WKE announced that he had chicken laid on again for tonight and I hugged him as I fairly exploded with my plan for lying in and watching the best-movie-of-all-time!

The chicken, Danny and the costume play were smash hits. The boys treated the movie almost like a melodrama, quickly figuring out the good guys and the bad and booing and hissing and hooting and hollering as appropriate. The famous vessel with the pestle speech had WKE and Tommy cracking up. WKE admitted he had never seen this movie. God I felt a thousand once again.

Then as it ended Stephy asked for hot chocolate and WKE and Tommy volunteered to run down and bring some back. Tommy was back in flash with the package and then gone again a moment later. He and WKE came giggling in a few minutes later to claim their mugs. The endorphins in the chocolate and the warmth of the mugs and tummies soon had our little ones nodding off to sleep and we all headed off for bed.

Tomorrow would be a day of planes and farewells and adjusting back to normal lives. I suddenly wondered how Tommy was going to handle it. I was exhausted too though and gave it little thought as I rolled Stephy into bed and joined him, his homing devices fully functional even in his sleep, he clamped himself up to my side his cheek pressed to my chest. I sighed my deep contentment and drifted off to dreamland.

There were no voices in the night, but a rousing crash of thunder and crackling flashes of lightning filed the morning air. I opened eyes to a bed once more full of boys, all four again it seemed. The storm outside the window not waking them, but driving their subconscious thoughts to burrow deep beneath the covers and to cuddle me and each other more for mutual protection. How can these angels ever fear I wondered cuddling back. They shine like beacons in the dark and give me strength beyond my years. The skygods seemed to weep that soon our tribe would leave here, taking warmth and sunshine farther North.

Soon the smell of coffee called me out, I wiggled free and stumbled to coffee and the balcony, Mad Ludwig's spires were being shattered by the skygods' pyrotechnical display. I hoped Tinker Bell was fast asleep beside her own sweet Peter Pan in some Never Never Land feather bed of Lost Boys and found love.

WKE was glowing despite the fact I'd seemed to call his boy sometime in the night. He came directly to me and hugged me like young Tommy might. I hugged him back, this trip had been a miracle, a miracle of friends and love and happy days. I owed him as much as he owed me, I knew we'd be forever friends.

He asked me if I thought Tommy would be all right today, I told him that was up to him. Could he make the boy understand this parting wasn't forever? That they could talk and even computer chat? Did he have plans for late in May, would he come to Tommy's graduation? I looked at his silver matching anklet and smiled that he was pledged in a wondrous sharing way and that he would need be the strongest one to make this temporary parting seem such a small small thing.

He actually kissed my cheek when I shoved towards my bedroom door and I sighed as he slipped into the bed and joined the tangled mass of boy.

Gene, Brian and I watched the storm swirl round the battlements, our boys slept on in peace. Then we heard the muffled giggles start and the shower began its splashing laughing flow. WKE didn't let us down even though he was somewhere among the scrubbing bubble set. The danish, juice and another pot of coffee was delivered to our door.

Soon our arms were filled again with dripping cuddling satiated boy and we could but wonder at the hugs they gave and got and how WKE would remember this week, this day, this final shower with the tribe. The danish lasted probably all of 15 minutes. Tommy and he came out a little later, WKE in the Mickey boxers, Tommy radiantly naked and aglow.

Tommy went to Brian and sat down in his lap and hugged him and kissed him and cuddled in. He started in to ask and then seemed to change his mind and starting once again this time he told, "Brian, WKE is coming to my graduation. He'll spend the week with us. Then we are going on a camping trip up in the Canadian lakes. If you and Mikey want to come we'd have a great time. I love you Dad, thanks for everything."

What could Brian say to that! His chick had fledged and flown, but flown so lovingly and gently that the father must have been at 30,000 feet. "We'd love to come son, it's a date. I love you too." He knew just what to do. He called Mikey over and held them both in his embrace, then he gently switched them on his lap and Mikey glowed and purred as Tommy moved back to WKE's side.

We packed our bags and gathered them near the suite's door and as we sat for one last time on our balcony overlooking Paradise Tommy and WKE pulled out one more surprise. Giggling like schoolboys they disappeared and then returned with a giant Donald shopping bag. They cleared their throats and hemmed and hawed and then WKE began. He had Stephy, Mikey, Scotty and me all remove our shirts and close our eyes. Then eyes still ordered shut, Tommy handed me some cloth and told me to put it on sight unseen and he seemed to go from boy to boy if I judged from the progressive giggles. Then WKE announced that he wasn't sure between Scott and Steph which was Chip and which was Dale, but Mikey certainly was Zipper, and of course the fat old guy must be Monterey Jack and to open up our eyes! The Rescue Rangers!

Fat Old Guy indeed! I huffed, but then exploded with the boys in laughs and giggles. We were decked in Rescue Ranger graphic shirts and I could see the pride in everyboy's eyes.

The trip back home was not nearly so exciting as the one a week ago. Our driver gave us each his card and made us promise if we were ever back that we would call on him. He'd never had so much fun. The airport was its crowded self with families heading home and back to school. Tommy and WKE embraced and even lip lock kissed as our flight was boarded and they parted. They got a few strange looks, but mostly smiles and giggles from other kids toting stuffed Mickey's back up North. Our first class seats were heaven and the boys were fast asleep almost before we left the runway. Then we were home and sorting bags and hugging each other and finding cars in parking lots and laughing that we would see each other soon.

Home again, Steph and I unloaded our things, he carefully folding and putting away his new clothes and getting a pile of laundry ready. As I made us supper sandwiches he came in twining round my waist. "Love you Nick!" he declared.

"Love you back Steph!" was my eternally inadequate reply. Soon we were in our age old place, my chair. The boy naked from the waist down wearing Rescue Ranger shirt and draped in snowflakes and his bears. The man in sweats and gladly wearing boy in joyous ecstasy that he was blessed by such a love as this.


A final group of friends is posted at

Namaste, Nicholas