This story details explicit gay sex between men, teens and boys. If you find this kind of thing distasteful, or if you are underage wherever you live, then stop reading this now, and delete this file. The story is completely fictional; the author does not condone or encourage any of the acts contained herein.


Chapter 85

By: Tim Keppler (nemoami@yahoo.com)

 Edited by: Bob Leahy


"Who? Paris Hilton?" I sort of know who Paris Hilton is. She's this scrawny blond bitch with no talent who's famous for being famous. At least I think that's her. "Wasn't she friends with some paparazzi guy and used to ride around with no underwear, showing off her snatch?"

"No," Kenny giggles. "No, that was Britney Spears."

"And she's not the one going with the Lohan bitch?"

"No, that's Samantha Ronson."

"How do you know all this shit?" I scream, confused.

"I keep up. I follow the news."

"Yeah, but...Jesus! What happened in Tehran today?"

He looks shamefaced. "I'm not sure...today."

"Fuck! So, what about Paris Hilton?"

"No! Not Paris Hilton. Perez Hilton."

I'm lost. I'm just totally fucking lost. "What the fuck is a Perez Hilton? Is that Paris' Mexican twin sister? Does she live in Tijuana and service the border patrol?"

"No," Kenny screams, laughing, "it's a he. Perez is a he."

"A he? But...I thought she was a scrawny blond bitch with no talent who's...."

"No," Kenny screams. "That's Paris."

I look at him long and hard.

"There are two of them!" he screams. "There's Paris Hilton. She's the scrawny blond bitch with no talent. And then there's Perez Hilton. He's a fat, ugly, gay guy with orange hair and no talent who probably does service the border patrol."

"Two of them?"


"And...umm...are they related?"

"No," Kenny says. "Perez's real name is Mario Something. He's Cuban, I think."

Jesus, this is tough to follow! "So, what about Paris Hilton?"

"Perez Hilton," he corrects, giggling.

"Perez Hilton. So what about Perez Fucking Hilton?"

I guess it's sort of clear that I don't follow entertainment news. I don't watch celebrities. If Britney Spears ran over me with her SUV, her snatch fully exposed and dripping (which I understand is pretty likely), I wouldn't know her. I'm not sure I've ever seen a picture of her...or her snatch. I've seen her ex-husband though. What's his name? Fingerling? Feathermind? I'm not sure. He's cute. If I were the judge, I'd have given him custody of the kids, too. He's just got to be way cuter than she is.

"So, what about Perez Fucking Hilton?" I demand.

"He's just been censured by GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) for calling will.i.am, a member of the Black-Eyed Peas, a fag."

There's a long pause while I parse this statement, while I parse it over and over again. "GLAAD" I got. "Censured" I got. "Censured by" I got. But then I got lost with "will.i.am" What the fuck is a "will.i.am"? A black-eyed pea I understand...well, sort of. It's either a legume, or a musical group that played in last year's Grammys. It has a 20-something blond, female lead singer that looks forty-five. She can't sing. I look to Kenny desperately for help. What does he want me to focus on here? What's the salient point? He says it again.

"Perez Hilton, who is gay, got into an argument with will.i.am, a musician with the Black-Eyed Peas. Perez says he called him the worst thing he could think of, the thing he thought would hurt him the most. He called him a `fag'."

Clarity at last.

"And?" I ask.

"What should we do?" he asks.

"Do?" I'm confused again. Someone I don't know with a silly name calls someone else I don't know, someone with an equally-silly name, a fag. I'm supposed to do something? I stare at Kenny blankly. I'm getting so many error messages as I try to compile this mess that I almost don't know where to start debugging it. "So, let me play this back for you. Let me see if I understand. This Perez guy, who is a fat, ugly, orange-haired fag, has called this will guy, who is a Black-eyed Pea, the nastiest thing he could think up at the moment of their confrontation. He called him a fag. Is will a fag?"

Kenny shakes his head.

"But Perez is?"

Kenny nods.

"And the nastiest thing he could think to call will is what he, Perez, actually is?"

Kenny nods.

I give Kenny a long, long look. Why would you do anything? Clearly Perez is an asshole, but he's also swimming in a sea of his own self-hatred. Why not just leave him to splash around in it for a while before he drowns?

Thankfully, at this moment the telephone rings. It's our house phone, the land line. It's a phone I never, never answer. But I'm answering it today. I sprint to the kitchen for the phone. Because, let's face it, the potential for having to piss on some salesman selling storm windows is better than the potential for having to adjudicate a case between an orange-haired faggot and a black-eyed pea. Thank god for phones...and salesmen.

"Hello," I say.

"Mr. Jensen?"

"Yeah. This is Tim Jensen."

"This is Wanda Travis. I'm with the Santa Clara County Child Protective Services." Oh, shit, maybe Perez vs. Will was a better option. "Yes?" I say, noncommittally.

"I'm the case worker assigned to evaluate your request to adopt...umm...Feng, Tan, and...umm...."

"Quan," I respond. "Yes?"

"Yes, Quan. I'd like to arrange for a site visit. I'd like to meet the children. I'd like to meet you, and, umm.... Are you married."


"I'd like to meet your wife as well."

What do you do at a moment like this? Do you take the easy road and deny everything? Should I run across the street and see if Becky, my lesbian neighbor, is willing to play the role of Jason in this charade. Or, do you just own up? "That would be my husband," I say.

"Ah, yes," she says, unfazed, "his name is Jason. I'd like to meet Jason."

"Perhaps I should contact my attorney and see if he's avail...."

"No, Mr. Jensen. This isn't an evaluation. You're not going to have any problem with these adoptions. Your record speaks for itself. I'd just like to meet you all so I can write a credible report for the court when it comes time for the judge to sign off on the adoptions requests."

"Okay." We arrange a date and time for her visit, and I explain how to get to our house. Then we end the call. I call Bob Titus, my attorney, to alert him to what's going on. To my surprise, he's very laid back about this. "I know Wanda," he says. "She's very level-headed. Just run with this, Tim. Show her around. Introduce her to the boys. As I said, you're squeaky clean. They're not going to mess with you. No need for me to be there. In fact, my being there would tend to suggest that you have something to hide."

Ms. Travis is right on time on the day we've arranged. She arrives at 11am. My plan is that we'll chat for a while, and then have lunch. Jason has made egg-salad as only Jason can, with shallots, yogurt and curry powder. I detest commercial mayonnaise, so we usually substitute something else if we need creaminess. Yogurt works well, and gives the egg salad a slight sourness that I really like.

When she first arrives, I take her to the living room and we sit and chat over tea. "So, you've adopted four other boys?"

"Yes. Ian, my eldest, was the son of close friends who died in a car accident. He was seventeen when I adopted him. Evan was sixteen. I met him through my affiliation with Youth Renewed, a non-profit outreach group for gay children. He was a street kid living in an abandoned house in the neighborhood. He was very sweet, and heartbreaking. I couldn't stand the idea of him living on his own at such a young age. Kevin and Kai I met through a...close friend. His sister was dying of cancer, and the boys needed someplace to go. I adopted them in Michigan."

"Can I meet them today?"

"Yeah. They'll be home for lunch."

She smiles. "And Feng, Tan and...."


"Yes," she laughs. "I'm not doing very well with his name. Feng, Tan and Quan. How did you meet them?"

"They're the adopted sons of my eldest son Ian's former partner. Their adoptive father is Singaporean. He can't keep the kids. They've been living with us for nearly nine months."

She frowns. "Can't keep them?"

"He's not especially nurturing. I don't think he had any idea what three kids would mean. Personally, I find it very sad. I mean, people treat their pets better. Would you like to meet the boys?"

"Yes," she says, brightening.

I leave her in the living room and make my way into the kitchen where Feng, Quan and Tan are playing with jig-saw puzzles. "Feng! Bring your brothers. Come meet a friend." He smiles at me, and herds Quan and Tan into the living room. "This is Feng. He's the oldest of the three. He's five."

"Hello, Feng" Ms. Travis says, extending her hand.

"Hi," Feng says, coming forward and shaking it.

"And this is Tan," I say, ruffling Tan's hair. "He's four." Tan is in a good mood today, and runs forward, hugging the social worker.

"And this is Quan. He's three." Quan is attached to me, hiding his face in the cloth of my pant leg. He is all giggles. "Can you say hello?" I ask him.

"Hewwo," he says, sneaking the shortest possible peek at her, and then moving behind me to hide. I sit back down in the chair across from Ms. Travis, and instantly have Quan and Tan in my lap. Feng, to his credit, sits on the couch next to Ms. Travis.

"And how are you today?" she asks Feng.

"I fine," he says, smiling. "You a friend of my daddy?" he asks.

"Yeah," she replies, "a new friend."

"That's good," Feng responds.

"They're really adorable," she confides, "and clearly very comfortable here. I'm just so pleased, that...."

At that moment, the front door opens, and in bound Kevin and Kai. "I got a perfect score on my spelling test," Kai screams, racing into the living room and madly waving the test as evidence.

"And I missed two on my math quiz," Kevin says, glumly. "I guess I need to study harder."

"Guys, this is Ms. Travis. She's a friend. This is Kevin. He's our ten year-old. He's in the fifth grade. And this is Kai. He's eight. What grade are you in, Kai?"

"Third, silly," he says, giggling. "Pleased to meet you," he says, going forward and shaking Ms. Travis' hand.

We all pile into the kitchen, where Jason has sandwiches for us, and sliced pineapple, and apple juice. "This is Jason, my husband." He shakes her hand as she stares at him...for the longest time. Then she looks at me again.

"I've had this niggling sense that I've seen you before, and now I know where. There was a segment on the Today show. Didn't Matt Lauer interview you?"

I nod.

The Today show was the first to call after I gave the short interview during the San Francisco Gay Pride parade. They wanted a more in-depth interview. I agreed to give them one. So, two days after the Pride parade, Jason, Evan, the boys and I met with Matt Lauer from a satellite studio in San Francisco. Jason had Quan on his lap, and Evan had Tan. I had Feng. Kevin and Kai were sitting between us. "Why don't I start by asking you to introduce yourself," Lauer began, looking at me.

"I'm Tim Jensen," I said "and this is my family. This is Jason Leong, my husband. We were married in California while that was still possible. And this is Evan, my middle son. He's 21. And these are our youngest sons, Kai is eight, Kevin is ten, Tan is four, Quan is three, and Feng is five. I have one other son who isn't here. His name is Ian. He's just finished up a doctorate in psychology at Stanford and is working on a post-doctoral fellowship in London."

"And all these children are adopted?" Lauer asks.


"Why so many kids?"

"Why not?" I respond. "I like kids. I can afford to raise them. I think they flourish with Jason and me."

"Do you think you've `flourished'?" Lauer asks Evan.

"Actually, I've not only flourished, I've lived to tell about it. I was homeless when Tim and I met. I was living in a derelict house with no electricity, no running water, and a drug addict living in the next room. Tim saved my life by adopting me. I wouldn't be here now without him. And Jason..." he says, beginning to tear up, "Jason taught me how to be happy in a world that didn't value me."

"How did you and Tim meet?" Lauer asks Jason.

"It was an online ad. Tim was looking for a date," he says, giggling. "I volunteered."

"Are you glad you did?"

Jason's eyes narrow. "That's sort of a stupid question, isn't it, Matt? Here I am with five small kids?"

Matt nods, and laughs. "Yeah. Let me ask it differently. Do you still love him as much as you did initially?" he asks, nodding toward me.

"I couldn't love anyone more. He's given me everything I've ever wanted. He's given me love, guidance, and five children who I adore. Well, actually, seven children who I adore, but I sort of don't think of Ian or Evan as my children. I think of them as friends."

"Tim is older than you, right?"

"Yeah, by nineteen years."

"Did that have an impact on your relationship?"

"Yeah. It meant he was a lot wiser than I was. He helped me shape my life."

"What about for you Tim? Did the age difference make you feel like a...father to Jason."

"Nope. I didn't notice it. Jason is as important to my life as I hope I am to his. He is very wise. We're just different. We have different skills, and different interests."

"What about you...umm...Feng, isn't it?"

"I am Feng," Feng says, giggling.

"Do you think your daddies are doing a good job? Are you happy?"

Feng is confused. He's not sure what he's being asked. So, instead of answering, he turns and hugs me. I hug back. "This my daddy," he says, laughing.

"I guess that's our answer. So, marriage equality, why is it important?" Lauer asks me.

"This is why it's important," I reply, gesturing to all of us. "I need to be able to insure the safety of my spouse, just like you. I need to be able to insure the safety of my children, just like you. I need to be able to guarantee that my family will be protected if something happens to me, or if something happens to Jason, just like you. I have seven children, five of them under eighteen years old. I need to be able to protect them, just like you."

"But California has domestic partnership benefits that offer many of the same benefits as marriage."

"Name them."

"Pardon?" Lauer says.

"Name the benefits that domestic partnerships have. Compare and contrast. Isn't that what your high school English teacher drummed into your head? What are the differences?"


"You can't, can you? There are just too many to count. Let's assume that Obama does what he said he would. I have very little faith in him right now, but let's assume. Let's assume that he wipes out DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. That would mean, by his own assessment, that couples whose marriages were recognized in their home states would also have their marriages recognized by the federal government. They'd get the same preferential tax benefits, the same Social

Security benefits, and they'd be able to sponsor foreign-born immigrants simply by virtue of marrying them. Look at my family. Evan and I are the only ones who were born here. Thankfully, I didn't have to face the horror of deciding between my loved one and my country, but thousands of couples do that every year. If all I have is a `domestic partnership,' do you think the federal government is going to give me those rights even if DOMA is repealed? I don't! If I'm not married, I'm not equal. If I'm not married, I'm fair game for you and yours to discriminate against me, and believe me, you will. You can feed me this `separate but equal' hogwash all you want, but ultimately you're going to use it against me. Marriage is essential, for me and for you. I really would like the opportunity to hold a referendum on straight marriage, as you all did on same-sex marriage last November in California. I really would like to see how you all would react to being stripped of your civil rights as you stripped me of mine."

Lauer, to his credit, is a better interviewer than the guy at Gay Pride, because, as angry as I am, I've failed to throw him off course. But, I think he is surprised at how passionate I am. The interview lasts a total of ten minutes. He talks to Kevin, who tells him about his mommy's death, he talks to Kai, who tells him about our trip to the Russian River, and he even talks to Quan, who mostly giggles while Jason squeezes him. And then, we're done. I thought it went very well.

I get the anticipated hate mail from the christians. Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association puts out a call to his distribution to boycott NBC because he feels the interview isn't sufficiently "hard hitting," by which he means that it wasn't a hatchet job. NBC takes some heat, but mostly what I get are emails from people who were touched by our willingness to adopt seven children. They were captivated by the boys, and were stunned by Evan's story of homelessness. I get mostly kudos, although there are a certain number of wackos in the mix. This is an interesting experience for me. Mostly I've flown under the radar my whole life. This isn't to say that I haven't been out and proud, it's just that I don't exactly wear my sexuality on my sleeve, at least not on a national level. With the Today interview, that changes. This is my fifteen minutes of fame, as Andy Warhol would say, and I'm looking forward to it being over. I feel very vulnerable, and for a while, we increase our security. WE begin walking Kevin and Kai to school, and picking them up promptly rather than letting them wander home on their own. Ultimately, though, there are no incidents. Ultimately, everyone is pretty supportive. Kai's teacher congratulates me. "I didn't know you had so many children. I guess I'll be seeing them in a couple of years."

So, when Ms. Travis of the Santa Clara County Child Protective Services tells me she's seen the Today broadcast, I'm a little apprehensive, frankly. But that apprehension, it turns out, is misplaced. "You guys did really well. Matt Lauer can sometimes be a bit of a bully, but you didn't let yourself be bullied. You took him on. It was a really-good interview and, I think, gave viewers a peek inside a gay family. It gave them a sense that your family is no different from theirs. And Quan was just so cute," she says, lifting Quan off the floor and giving him a hug before putting him back down. Quan races behind me, holding on to my pant legs, and giggling.

Good, I think. If only she knew about Dinh and Kenny. Start small, I tell myself. Let's get same-sex marriage in place, first. Then we can start advocating for polyamorous relationships.

Three days later, I get a letter from Ms. Travis with a copy of her recommendation to the court that my adoptions be approved. Two weeks after that, after a brief court appearance for Jason and me, my Singaporean babies become American...and they're mine. The adoptions sail through. The judge, too, has seen the Today interview. "I'm very pleased that your request for these adoptions came to me, both because I'm not predisposed against gay adoptions, as I know some of my colleagues are. It also gives me the extraordinary pleasure of telling you how much I admire you both. Seven children is a lot of kids," she laughs. "But you seem to do it so well. Your children obviously adore you. They're doing well in school, and one, as I understand it, has just completed an advanced degree. I'm exceptionally pleased to award these children to you, because I'm confident they'll flourish in your care." I'm teary-eyed by the end of her pronouncement, I have to admit, and so is Jason, but not because it was a testament to us as parents. I've never felt especially confident as a parent. I'm teary-eyed because these boys are now ours, irrevocably, and I just feel so damned lucky to be one of their fathers.

When I get home from the Center on Thursday evening, I find Jason on the couch hugging some blondish guy. He's holding him, and rocking him. The blondish guy is a lot bigger than Jason. He's maybe six feet tall. He's sobbing. I set down my bag in the entryway and wait. I really don't want to intrude, even though this guy looks familiar, but Jason waves me over. So, I cross into the living room and sit in one of the chairs facing the couch, where they're sitting. After a couple minutes, the blondish guy gets control of himself and sits up. He turns, and sees me in the chair, and he starts to cry again. I realize who this is the instant he turns toward me. This is Robbie. This is Cliff's Robbie. This is Robbie who we haven't seen in probably five years. This is Robbie who we all tutored to get him through high school and who went off to the University of Chicago for his undergraduate degree.

"Robbie?" I say.

He flies across the room and plants himself on my lap, hugging me and sobbing. I hug him back. He's exactly as I remember him, still my little Robbie, with the pale skin, the thin lips, the mop of blond hair, and those beautiful blue eyes. He looks just the same.

"Hi, baby," I whisper.

"Hi," he chokes.

"How're you?"

"I'm so sad!" he wails.

After maybe fifteen minutes, he starts to wind down. "Why're you sad?"

"I was sad before," he says, choking back tears. "I just broke up with a boyfriend, or actually he broke up with me. We'd been together for four years. He found someone he liked better, someone cuter," he says bitterly. "And...umm...my mom died recently...breast cancer."

Suddenly I'm distraught. I haven't seen Kathy, Robbie's mother and a former co-worker, in several years. To learn that she's dead, out of the blue, is not only sad, but it makes me feel intensely guilty for not having kept in touch. Kathy was very sweet, and she was exceptionally good about understanding her own shortcomings. She wasn't very good about disciplining her son, for example, so she brought him to me. We got him through high school. We got him straight A's. We took him from a boy who was failing pretty much everything, to a boy who made the honor roll. I give him a squeeze. "I'm so sorry, Robbie. I didn't know about your mom. We haven't chatted in a while. I'm so, so sorry."

He nods, holding on to me.

"How's school?" I ask softly.

"I'm done. I have a BS in Applied Mathematics. I can go be a programmer or something. I came to find Cliff," he says, starting to sob again.

Oh, Christ! I'd forgotten about Cliff. Robbie and Cliff were boyfriends before he went off to the University of Chicago. They had their first sexual experience together -- in my spare bedroom. They were so cute together. Cliff was so petit, maybe 5'3", and Robbie is 6'. But, Cliff was the more assertive of the two. I don't know if that carried over into their sexual roles, but he was the more likely to blurt out what he wanted. Robbie was always more...reticent. They broke up just before Robbie went off to college. Cliff said they'd grown apart. Cliff seemed sad about it, but not distraught. I had the impression that they'd sort of drifted away from each other. It was sad. But, given that distance, given that they'd separated, it never occurred to me to contact Robbie when Cliff was killed. I'm not sure I'd even have known how to contact Robbie at that time. We sort of lost touch with each other when he went off to school. I probably should have tried. I probably should have called Kath and gotten his contact information. We were all so devastated by Cliff's murder, that even if I'd thought to contact Robbie, I'm not sure I'd have done it. Evan was so heart-broken, and Kevin needed serious nurturing. I still have nightmares about that incident once in a while, believe it or not. I'll wake up sobbing. Shit happens, I guess, but some of that shit is really intrusive. Maybe it's worse for me. I need to feel that I'm in control of my life. When I lose that feeling of control, I get really depressed. When I was robbed in college, it felt like I'd been raped. Someone had invaded my space. All I wanted to do for days was clean. It's like when you snuggle with a cat that doesn't want to snuggle. All she does for several minutes afterwards is to lick your scent off of her fur. That's how I felt after the robbery. I needed to get the scent of the thieves out of my apartment. When Cliff was shot, I felt violated. I felt that my world had been invaded by terrorists. I was despondent. It reminded me of Andrew's death. I cried a lot. I felt so completely vulnerable. Was it fear? I don't think so. It was just the sense that anything could be taken away from me at any time by anybody. I guess, ultimately it was a profound sense of vulnerability, and not the good kind. It was an awful feeling.

"I'm sorry, sweetie. Did Jason tell you what happened?"

"Yeah," he whispers.

We sit, silent, for many minutes. Then Robbie starts to cry again and, after a while, he regains control. "I feel lost," he confides.

"Lost how?" I ask.

"I'm sort of...adrift. School's over, and I don't have a job. My boyfriend's gone. My mom's gone. Cliff's gone. It's not exactly that I'm lonely. It's worse than that. I feel empty. It's like I don't belong anywhere. I'm...sort of...afraid...of myself, I guess. I'm afraid of a world where I don't seem to fit in."

I motion for him to get up, and lead him into the bedroom. There I strip to my underwear, and tell him to do the same. Then we get into bed, and I just hold him. We cuddle for maybe twenty minutes before he falls asleep. Sometimes that's what you need. I think it harkens back to childhood when your mom or your dad would just hold you. I can't tell you the number of times a bad dream or just general malaise drove me into my parents' bed. They'd hold me, and the feel of their bodies was comforting. I felt protected, and enveloped in their love. I'd fall asleep, and wake up sometime later feeling...secure. I think that's what Robbie needs, the reassurance of physical comfort. We sleep for a couple of hours, and then Robbie wakes up and stretches, which wakes me. He turns and kisses me. "Thanks," he says.

I smile vaguely, not really awake yet. "Where are you staying?" I ask.

"I don't know," he replies. "I was thinking I'd stay at my mom's place, but it's in foreclosure. She wasn't paying the mortgage for the last several months. The locks have been changed. It's up for sale."

"Stay with us."

Robbie, his head on the pillow beside me, gives me a longing look. "Can I?"

"Of course. For as long as you want. You may have to be flexible about the housing arrangements because we have a lot of...'boarders' right now," I say, leaning forward and kissing him, giggling. "You haven't met everyone, have you?" I ask looking at the clock. It's now 6:30pm. Everyone should be home. "Let's go meet the family." He nods, and we get dressed.

Typically, as everyone gets home they make their way into the kitchen. There are eleven of us living in this house now, plus Evan and Joaquin, although they live next door, are also a part of the family. A year or so ago, we did a remodel of the kitchen, knocking out a wall and extending the kitchen into half of the garage. The kitchen is huge, and needs to be, because that's where everyone typically congregates. Once we're through the door, Robbie is stunned by the magnitude of the family. Kenny is there, helping Kevin with arithmetic and Kai with a writing assignment. Nathan and Thao are there, playing with Feng and Quan. Tan is sitting on Joaquin's lap, snuggling, and Dinh, Evan and Jason are cooking. Robbie gives me an urgent look. "Are you sure you have room for me?" he asks.

I nod. "We own the house next door as well. We have plenty of room for you." He smiles and nods.

"So," I say to the room as a whole. "For those of you who don't know him, this is Robbie."

Kevin looks up abruptly, right in the middle of a multiplication problem -- 847 times 7. His eyes light up. "Robbie," he screams, and launches himself into the air, colliding with Robbie, nearly knocking him down.

"Wow!" Robbie exclaims. "You've gotten so big."

Kevin beams.

Kai doesn't remember Robbie, so it's like a first meeting, but Kenny remembers him from hours of biology lessons, and hugs him warmly. "Welcome back!" he says.

Nathan remembers him, too, and squeals when he sees him. "This is Thao," he says, "my partner." Robbie looks confused. "Gary, my husband, died a few years ago. Cancer."

Robbie instantly tears up.

"Robbie's mom just died of breast cancer," I say. Nathan runs forward and hugs him.

"I'm so sorry!" he says. "I'm so, so sorry. It really hurts, doesn't it?"

Robbie nods, and then the chaos of introductions really begins. He meets Evan and Joaquin, he meets Feng, and Tan, he meets Dinh, and then he meets Quan.

"How old are you?" he asks.

Quan looks confused.

"He's three," I reply.

"You're so cute!" Robbie says, and Quan beams and giggles. Quan knows he's cute, but likes the admiration anyway.

"So, I'm going to leave you to get acquainted," I say to the room as a whole. "Evan, my sweet, we need to add another leaf to the dining room table." He nods and follows me out of the kitchen to the bedroom where we store table leaves under the bed.

I grew up as an only-child. I had a sister, but she was thirteen years older than me, and was out of the house by the time I was four. I loved her dearly, but didn't see her very much. Only-children, I think, are a tragedy. Children should be raised in flocks, like chickens. There's nothing sadder than an only-chicken. As a child, I longed for a big family, but that didn't happen. I longed for a brother. That didn't happen, either. I've now fulfilled all those longings. There are thirteen of us living in these two houses, houses joined by a gate in the back garden, and the thought of a fourteenth doesn't faze me in the least. I have no idea how long Robbie will stay with us, but the idea of him being adrift right now is simply not something I'm willing to consider. Robbie needs some nurturing. He's faced a lot of loss in the last couple of months. He needs people who can help him come to terms with his losses. That, I think, is why he was looking for Cliff. Cliff could help him to do that. So can we.

"So, here's the question, babe...." I say to Evan.

"Yes," he says.

I look confused.

"Of course Robbie can share the house with us. Or, if you want, Nathan and Thao can move in with us. We have three extra bedrooms. There's plenty of room."

I adore Evan because he seems to know exactly what I'm thinking without my ever having to say anything. He's a Myers-Briggs INFP, after all. He knows me as well as he knows himself. "I'm just reluctant to fill our last spare bedroom. I'd like to keep it `spare' in case we have actual guests."

"I understand."

"So, you wouldn't mind if Robbie moved in with you?"

"Nope. Not at all. He seems very nice. And...umm...he's really cute."

I look at Evan long and hard. "Umm...is there any danger that this will put a strain on your relationship with Joaquin?"

"I don't think so. Joaquin think he's really cute, too."

Oh, Christ. This is a can of worms, isn't it? Still, we're all crawling into it with our eyes open, aren't we? "Umm...Evan, I don't know what you're thinking, and it's not my business, but...."

"Don't worry about it, Dad," Evan says with a laugh. "We'll work it out."

Yes. It's not my place to meddle in this. I have three husbands, after all. If Joaquin and Evan want to hook up with Robbie, why should that trouble me? Umm...I guess it troubles me because I'm not as open-minded as I'd like to think. In the gay community there's this whole notion of "open relationships". I'm not real sure what an "open relationship" is, but here's what I think it is. An "open relationship" is when you're partnered with someone you're bored with, and you agree that you can both sleep around and have extra-curricular sex with other people. You agree that those other people will have no emotional meaning to you, but, of course, agreements like that are absurd. An open relationship is what you do when you want to get laid, but aren't attracted to your mate anymore. It's a precursor to separation.

I don't have an open relationship, although I'm sure it looks that way. I am monogamous times three. Jason, Dinh, Kenny and I don't fuck around. I'm sure of that. We fuck each other. Social workers in the gay community have looked askance when I've told them that the four of us don't wear condoms when we make love. They're appalled. Why? Because even if they themselves are gay, they honestly believe that all gay men are promiscuous. We aren't. Our relationships may be different from the plain-vanilla relationships of the heterosexual community, but that doesn't mean we're promiscuous. Kenny, Jason, Dinh and I are committed to each other, and there's enough variety in our sexual tastes to keep us...interested. I mean, think about it. What am I missing? Jason is the most loving human being I can imagine; Kenny will fuck me anytime I ask him to; and Dinh is seriously experimental. And they're all just so...beautiful. They give me a hard-on just looking at them.

So, I give Evan a long look, and nod. I've got to trust in my son's good sense. I've got to trust that if he and Joaquin do adopt Robbie into their relationship, that they'll do it safely. And who knows? Maybe they'll just be housemates. Yeah, Robbie is cute, but cute doesn't mean you're going to be lovers. Ryan Phillippe is cute, but he's also an idiot. I could never fuck him. I'd be laughing too hard to be able to get off. I've found trust a deeply-troubling issue since Ian told me that neither he nor Leslie nor Shawn wanted to father the boys they'd adopted. But, Evan isn't Ian. I need to keep reminding myself of that. Evan is younger than Ian, but a lot more mature. I need to stop making him pay for Ian's mistakes.

Once we have the additional leaf installed in the dining table and a table cloth in place, food starts to appear. This is a predominantly-Vietnamese meal. Dinh is the chief cook tonight and has made Bun Cha Gio Nem Nuong, (Rice Vermicelli with Grilled Pork Chops and hand-rolled Spring Rolls). It's just delicious!

"My goodness!" Robbie exclaims. "I'd forgotten how well you all cook." He looks at Dinh. "I've never had one of your meals, but it's just so good! Did you always cook this well, or did you learn after you joined the family?"

Dinh giggles. "Jason shamed me into it," he says with a smile. Jason cuffs him playfully.

"No," I say. "He came to us this way. As with all of the guys, his mother is the source of my delight. I'm not convinced they'd all be happy to know that, especially Kenny's mom, but it's the truth."

Kenny giggles. "Umm...yeah. I don't think that knowledge would delight her."

Once dinner is done, and we have the boys bathed and put to bed, we converge on the living room for tea. "So, Robbie," I say, "who are you? Who have you become?"

"Well, I guess I'm a mathematician. Well, maybe that's a little highfalutin. I got a BS in Math at Chicago. But to be a `mathematician' I think you have to have some kind of advanced degree. I was a math major."

I look at him quizzically. "I thought you wanted to be a chef. Isn't that what you said before you went off to school?"

"Yeah," he says slowly. "I'd love to be a chef. But...umm...it didn't seem...practical."

"Why not? People still eat, don't they?"

There's a long pause in the conversation. Jason looks a little nervous. "My mom convinced me that I should go for something more `academic'," Robby replies.

"Do you like math? Do you like programming?"

Robbie looks embarrassed. "Umm...not really. It's not very exciting."

"What is exciting?" I can feel my eyes narrowing, and I have to stop that. My focus is getting too precise. I have to let him come out to me for what he is...at his own pace.

"Umm...I really love to...umm...cook. My friends tell me I'm pretty good. I earned my way through my last year at the University of Chicago as the head chef at one of the residence halls. I know you think of dorm food as...awful, but this wasn't exactly a dorm. These were kids who paid for off-campus accommodations. They were from wealthy families. At the beginning of the year, they auditioned chefs to cook for them. There were fifteen of us. They chose me. They liked the variety, they said. And, I concentrated on organic ingredients. They liked that, too."

"So, why do you have a degree in math rather than in the culinary arts?"

Robbie knows me. He knows me well. I "coaxed" him through high school with my razor strop, and it occurs to me that maybe that's part of the reason he's back. Yeah, maybe he was looking for Cliff, but there were easier ways to find him. He could have written to me and asked for his contact information, or written to Nathan, or to Cliff's parents in L.A., whom he also knows. Instead, he landed in my living room and on my lap, having flown back from Chicago quite soon after graduating with no place to stay. I think Robbie is looking for a number of things. He's looking for comfort, having lost a boyfriend and a mother, but he's also looking for guidance. Robbie isn't lazy by any means. I come to find out that he graduated Suma Cum Laude in math. He was in the top two percent of his class. But, he hasn't been sufficiently introspective. He did what his mother told him he should do rather than what he knew he should do. And now he's lost and afraid. He reminds me so much of Jason! Jason was a concert-level musician pursuing a useless degree in computer science, a field for which he had no passion. Robbie is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Chicago in Applied Mathematics, a field in which, I suspect, he has absolutely no interest.

"I guess I wanted to satisfy my mom," he replies.

By now, everyone has gone to bed except Robbie and me. We're still in the living room, sipping mint tea. "If you live with us, Robbie, the rules will be the same as before. I expect performance and results. Having a degree in something you're not interested in is not indicative of either performance or results. If you live with us, I'll expect you to be enrolled in the San Francisco Culinary Academy. I'll expect you to have a job as a sous-chef somewhere to help support us collectively and to gain experience. In return, I'll loan you what you need to pay the Academy tuition. I'll expect to see any evaluations of your work, and I'll expect you to cook for us at least once a week, knowing that you'll be competing with Kenny, Jason and Dinh for the best meal of that week. None of them is a professional chef. I'll expect you to be consistently better, and I think you know how I'll respond if you disappoint me."

There's a long silence between us as Robbie stares at the Persian rug. This is a long shot. This is pure intuition. I think what Robbie wants is to be driven. I think he's embarrassed to have spent four years pursuing a degree in which he has no interest, and is looking for some way to change course. If this isn't true, than why isn't he writing code in Chicago? Instead, he's sitting with me, one of the most demanding taskmasters he's ever known, drinking mint tea and staring at the rug. He didn't go to his aunt in New York, nor to his cousin in L.A. He came to me.

After nearly a minute, he looks up at me and nods. "Okay," he says, finally. Then he sets his tea on the end table, cross the room, sits down on my lap, and hugs me. "Okay. I...umm...I...."

He looks into my eyes, and then drapes himself over my shoulder as I hug him. "Thank you," he whispers, almost too softly to hear. "I...umm...love you."

The good news is that Robbie gets into the Culinary Academy. His experience cooking for the Morrison Residence Hall, the most prestigious private dormitory at the University of Chicago, gets him recognized. His collection of recipes gets him an interview. His interview gets him the opportunity to cook for the judges, and his cooking gets him into the Academy. Thankfully, he applied just at the right time. They were between class sessions. He now commutes with Jason to San Francisco, sometimes by CalTrain, and sometimes by car. He's loving it!

Also, thankfully, he fits into the family really well. Are he, Evan and Joaquin sleeping together? I'm not sure, but I think so. I haven't asked directly. It's not my business. But I have the impression that they're all sleeping together both from comments that Evan has made, and from stumbling into the house one afternoon to drop off laundry. We rotate laundry duties. This was my week to do it. I dropped off his laundry in his room, and noticed that his bed hadn't been slept in, or it didn't look like it anyway. That's fine. I'm actually happy for him. His mood has been so much better recently. He seems happy, and seems to be enjoying life for the first time in several weeks.

But...he's lost the last two cooking challenges, once to Jason, and once to Kenny. I had to threaten Kenny, Jason and Dinh to make this work. "If you lose," I said, "especially this early in the competition, we go back to the old rules, and I will punish you. I expect a fair fight." They all agreed. Judging of the meals is done by the entire family, including the boys. They don't know who cooked what, or even that there's a competition. I just ask them casually over dinner how this meal compares with last night's. Robbie has lost two weeks in a row, and his ass has suffered for it. But...he's getting better. The first week he lost to Jason hands down. Eleven to two. Feng liked his risotto, and Quan liked his steamed fish. That was it. He got seventeen strokes of the razor strop, and ended up sobbing for half an hour. The second week, though, he lost to Kenny seven to six. Kevin, Quan and I liked his Chinese eggplant, and Tan, Kenny and Kai liked his Veal Marsala. He got twelve strokes of the razor strop, and a lot of hugs. He cried a little, but not much. Tonight is the third week, and he is nervous, I can tell you. He's nervous both because he doesn't like to lose, and because I spanked him only yesterday for a poor report from one of his teachers at the Academy. He's still sore. He's not looking forward to any more punishment.

What he makes us is the most bizarre dish I think I've ever had. I think it's Lasagna, sort of, but it's made with tofu, anchovies, jalapeños, capers, and sour cream. It's got sheets of instant lasagna noodles. If I was looking to protect my ass, this would not be what I'd make, but it's absolutely delicious. He gets twelve out of thirteen votes. Only Kevin votes for Jason, mostly I think because Jason made his favorite mango dessert. Jason, Dinh and Kenny all vote against themselves. They vote instead for Robbie. "This is amazing," Kenny says, "so good."

Week four is even better. It's curried lamb with polenta. Luscious! Robbie gets thirteen out of thirteen votes. And then week five he fucks up. Bell peppers stuffed with ground beef and some herbs. Three out of thirteen. Kenny wins hands down that week for his cheese enchiladas. They're so fiercely spicy, and so tasty that no one can resist them. I think it's the roasted tomatoes that give them the flavor. Robbie gets sixteen strokes of the razor strop, and is sobbing by the time I'm done with him. He's learning so fast, though. The Culinary Academy does weekly evaluations, and they've become stellar. Robbie doesn't know how to do everything yet, but he's learning very quickly. I have a vague sense that his teachers know that his performance has consequences. I think it`s the way they write their evaluations. They try to downplay their conclusions, to lessen the severity of their criticisms.

On week ten, he makes a duck stuffed with onions and paté. There's a sauce to it, which I think is a mixture of Oyster Sauce, Hoisin, and something else. It's unbelievable. It's so French and so Chinese at the same time. It's one of the most delightful things I think I've every bitten into. I look across the table at Jason, and he's rolling his eyes, and Kenny is in the same state.

"What exactly do you think this is," I ask Robbie, sternly.

He looks apprehensive. "Umm...it's a stuffed duck. It's stuffed with foie gras and shallots. Don't you like it?" He looks suddenly distraught.

"Is this your recipe, or something from the Academy?"

"I made this one up. Is it okay?" He's very nervous.

I chew pensively, slowly. Robbie is looking into my eyes, trying to read my thoughts. "Do you remember years ago going to Calistoga for really-good grades?"

"Yeah," he says, nervously.

"Where are we going this weekend?"

"Umm.... Why?"

"This is fucking amazing!" I scream. "It may be the most delicious thing I've ever put in my mouth...in my life. I do understand," I say quietly, "that if I have another piece it'll kill me, given the cholesterol, but...umm...it's just goddamned fucking amazing," I scream.

Robbie looks around the table, and everyone...well, almost everyone...has his eyes shut and is moaning...moaning and chewing. Even the children. This is like a good orgasm, a really-good orgasm. What is a really-good orgasm for a four-year-old? It's duck stuffed with foie gras and shallots, apparently, because Tan is completely gone, chewing in wonderland. For Tan, this is bliss. He's definitely my son!

"So here's what we're doing this weekend," I say, authoritatively. "We need to do something to equal this, to even get close to this. We're going to the caviar bar at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, and then we're going to the Slanted Door." (It's an upscale Vietnamese fusion restaurant also in San Francisco's Ferry Building. It's very, very good.)

"Umm...does this mean that you're...umm...not going to...umm...spank me tonight?" Robbie asks, quietly.

"Yeah," I say, sort of surprised. "Not unless you want me to."

He looks down at his plate and turns three shades of red. "Umm...yeah...would you, please."

I don't know whether it's the sound of my own grunt that wakes me, or Kenny's dick, but I'm abruptly awake, staring at the alarm clock on the nightstand. It's 10:15am, and Kenny is inside me. I'm on my belly, and Kenny is on top of me, his dick buried in my ass. "Oh, fuck!" I breathe.

"That's the idea," says Kenny, slowly withdrawing, and then thrusting forward again, plunging his dick back into my ass.

Can you imagine waking up first thing in the morning because someone's fucking you? This is almost mind bending for me. I mean, I can imagine waking up and wanting to get laid. That happens to me all the time. But, in this case, I've woken up with someone's dick in my ass, and Jesus, it just feels so good! I push my ass up a bit to ensure maximum penetration, and start to whimper softly as Kenny thrusts forward again. What he's doing is something that just drives me crazy. He's actually withdrawing all the way. He's pulling his dick completely out of me, and then slamming it back in, entering me anew. I like it rough, and this is about as rough as it gets. It's an amazing feeling. It hurts. It hurts quite a lot, actually. But, it's just so erotic. Kenny is in control. This is his show. He has me pinned to the bed. He's pulled my hands behind my back, and is holding them as he presses me into the mattress. I can't move. This is for his pleasure. He's using my body for his pleasure. And it hurts so much. And I want to scream in...ecstasy...as he slams into me, burying his dick inside me. I can feel his balls slap against my ass. I push my ass up a little more. I want every millimeter of him inside me. This is another reason that I like the guys to shave down there. You don't have the soft contact of pubic hair against your ass. No. There's a crispness to his skin as it smacks against my ass. There's a quality to the contact as he withdraws that's indescribable. He's using me. I'm his. My only purpose is his pleasure, and you just can't know erotic that knowledge is. I belong to him.

This is sort of a rape, if you think about it. He didn't ask me if he could do this. He didn't even wake me up...well...not until he buried his dick in me anyway. Is that why this is so delicious? He took me without my consent. He took me because I belong to him. He took me because I have no will of my own. This morning, my only purpose is to please Kenny. This morning, Kenny is the dominant partner, and is demonstrating his dominance by slamming his dick into me and...umm...making me whimper...and cry. You can't know how much this hurts. My ass is on fire as he rides me! The pain is searing as he plunges back into me. And then, abruptly, I feel my body go rigid. Every muscle tenses. I explode. My life flows out of my dick in sheer molten pleasure. I scream. "Oh...my...fucking...god!" And as I scream, Kenny begins to cum, filling my ass with spunk.

I can't remember when I've cum this hard. I'm breathless, and crying, and totally spent. Kenny has collapsed on top of me. He's released my arms, and is caressing me. We hug. He holds me as he rolls off to the side. I turn to face him, and we kiss. It's not really a passionate kiss, although there's passion in it. It's more a languid kiss. Our tongues intertwine, but slowly, not frantically. I want this kiss to last for the rest of my life. I don't ever want to stop kissing him. I don't ever want him to stop nibbling my lower lip, as he's doing now. I don't ever want him to leave me. I want him here, hugging me, his mouth sealed to mine, forever.

Finally, after several minutes, we break the kiss and lie next to each other, our heads on the pillows, as we wind down. "Time to get up, sleepy-head," he says, with a giggle. "This is your wakeup call, Mr. Jensen." Then he licks my nose, a single snaky stroke of the tongue. At this moment, I am so in love! It's sort of like a burning in my belly. I'm near to tears. At this moment I feel so lucky, so fortunate. At this moment all I want to do is hold my Kenny...forever.

Published first at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nemo-stories/