The following fictional narrative involves sexually-explicit erotic events between men. If you shouldn't be reading this, move on.
In the world of this story, the characters don't always use condoms. In the real world, you should care enough about yourself and others to always practice safe sex.
The author retains all rights. No reproductions or links to other sites are allowed without the author's consent.
Thanks to Tom for doing the editing chores, and to my Nifty Six colleagues.
"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting `Holy shit, what a ride!'"
Tim was lying on his back in bed, his rigid cock straining upward. Cedric was above him on hands and knees. The two were kissing, joined passionately at the mouth, but touching only there. Tim raised his hips, trying desperately to rub his leaking tool against his lover's belly, but somehow he couldn't reach, couldn't get the friction he needed. Trey was standing by the window of the darkened room. There was enough moonlight coming in to show that he was beating off as he watched the scene.
Suddenly, the men in bed had switched positions. Tim was now straddling the man underneath him. Again they were kissing. Tim felt as if he were being tongue fucked by the mouth attached to his. Trey continued to watch silently and pump his swollen cock. This time, however, Tim was able to rub his hot, aching five inches against the lower abs of his partner. He arched his back as he felt the signs of impending relief coming from his nuts. As he pushed his face away from the lover underneath him, he saw it was not Cedric, but Max. At that point he came, releasing weeks' worth of pent-up cum onto Max's belly. Then he collapsed, feeling the pool of stickiness between them.
A few minutes later he woke up, aware that he was alone in the bed and that his soft cock was lying in a puddle of cum.
* * *
Back in July, Chaz's mother called and asked us to come to Cincinnati for the long 4th of July weekend. The actual holiday was on Friday, so she wanted us to come on Thursday evening and stay until Sunday. Chaz told her he'd check with me and call her back.
"You know, lover, I'd been thinking maybe I'd ask you to come to Richmond with me over the 4th."
He grinned. "We could do that, but it's a lot of driving for three days."
"Yeah, and too much time to spend with Uncle Jack if we fly. So, why don't we spend the holiday weekend with your family and fly down to Richmond for a weekend later in July?"
"You're sure you want me to come along, Tiger?"
"Oh, yeah. I think it's time I told Robbie and Jack about you and me. And I want you with me."
"For protection?" he asked, grinning again.
I chuckled. "Well, for moral support, maybe."
"Fine with me. You really think they're gonna be upset?"
"Rob's going to be surprised, but I think he'll be okay with it. Jack's a real tight-ass, and he may pitch a fit."
"Well, in that case, I want to go along so he doesn't hassle you."
"Okay. Do you want to go to your folks' place Thursday evening or Friday morning?"
"Let's see what the guys are doing Friday evening. I hate to leave the little guy alone for the whole weekend."
I laughed. "You know, babe, there are three little guys. I hope they spend the weekend together."
"I hadn't thought of that! Let's see what they have planned."
As it turned out, Max had suggested that the three of them go to the local parade at 10:00 AM on Friday, so Chaz and I decided to stay and go with them. Then we'd take off for Cincinnati afterwards.
It was a beautiful day, and high school bands from all over the place were there, along with all sorts of groups like the American legion. Even the SGA had a group. We hadn't heard anything about that, but as they went past, Tim said, "Come on guys, let's go!" So we all fell in and walked the parade route with the GLBT group. There weren't many, since most students were at home or traveling for the summer. We were surprised, however, to see several guys we knew in the group.
At the end of the parade everyone stood around talking for a half hour or so. Then, as people began to leave, everyone was hugging everyone else. I almost teared up. This was so cool! I told Chaz we'd have to go to more of the SGA meetings when the fall term began, and he agreed.
The weekend in Cincinnati was pleasant, as always. Chaz's folks had always treated me like another son, and now that we were a couple, they made me feel even more like one of the family. We didn't get there until 4:30, and the back yard was already set up. Chaz's aunt and uncle weren't there. They'd gone to be with their kids again. But there were some guests we hadn't expected. Dawn, Sammy, and Sammy's friend Matt were there. They told us that Mrs. Greeley had called and invited them if they were free. Their family wasn't having their get-together until the next day, so they were glad to come and see Chaz again. Chaz hugged both boys.
"Sammy, you're as tall as Matt now. You've done a lot of growing since this time last summer, man." Sammy glowed. Then Chaz looked at Matt and said, "Hey, dude, you're taller too. You've both grown!"
Matt said, "Yeah, but Sam's caught up with me. I can't call him `runt' anymore." Then he put his arm around Sammy and said, "But it's nice being the same size now." Sammy grinned and said, "Yeah, we're the same size except for . . ." Matt blushed, squeezed Sammy, and said, "Shhh!"
The boys were so cute. They both obviously worshipped Chaz and seldom left his side, plying him with questions. After one of Mom Greeley's typical feasts, we all sat around and groaned for a while. Then Chaz suggested throwing the Frisbee with the boys. Dawn and I helped the elder Greeleys cart all the leftovers back to the kitchen and throw away the paper plates and such. When we were finished, the four of us sat on the patio. Chaz showed the boys where they could play video games, and then he sat with us.
Chaz asked the question I'd been dying to put to Dawn all evening.
"Dawn, how's David doin'?"
"Honestly, Chaz, I'm not sure. Since he came back to get the Vette and drive it to San Francisco, I've only emailed with him and talked with him on the phone. I need to see him to be sure."
"Sure of what?" I asked.
"Sure that he's as unhappy as I think."
"Whoa," Chaz said.
"He says he loves his job. And you know he's always loved California. He thinks the Bay Area is so beautiful, and he enjoys getting to the Castro once in a while. But, you know, his work, learning the new job, that all keeps him busy. And though he's not traveling as much, he does have to do some."
"But you think he's not happy? Is he sorry he went out there?" Chaz asked.
"Chaz, I think he misses Max. He's never said so, and I've been hesitant to ask. But I'm his sister. I know him as well as anybody. And I sense something in his voice when we talk."
"Do you think he'd come back east?"
"Probably not. We talked just before he left. He says Max was a wonderful partner and a wonderful lover, but that Max was never totally his. And David, who used to be such a player, seems to want to find Mr. Right."
"And that's not Max?" I asked.
"No, and I think you know why, don't you?"
Instead of answering, I changed the subject. "You heard about what happened to Cedric, didn't you?"
"Yes, Mrs. Greeley called me. How's he doing?"
"Physically, he's fine," Chaz said. "But he still doesn't have his memory back. He lost about a year of his life, including the whole part where he and Tim were lovers. Ced doesn't remember Tim as anything but a prof he admired. He doesn't remember Max at all. And though he was becoming good friends with the new prof, Rick Modarelli, he doesn't remember him now either."
"That must be terrible for Tim!"
"For sure!" Chaz said.
Dawn was quiet for a moment. "So, what's happening with Max and Tim now?"
"Tim was devastated when he first heard the news about Ced's amnesia. He went into a real funk. He's always been a fairly tough guy emotionally, but he pretty much fell apart. He's better now, though, don't you think, Chaz?"
"Yeah, Tiger, he seems to be getting on with things."
"And what about Max?" Dawn asked.
"Dawnie," Chaz said, "when David left, Tim and the rest of us tried to be there for Max. He was really down back then. You know, he really did love David. Maybe still does. Anyway, though he didn't get as depressed as Tim did over Ced, he was hurting. So we tried to make sure he had some of us checking on him, being with him as much as we could, even though it was the end of term and we all were pretty busy."
"You know, Dawn," I said, "after Ced's accident, Max seemed to put aside his own feeling of loss. He's been right there to support Tim in just about every way possible. He was at the hospital almost as much as Tim was until Ced came out of his coma. And after Tim found out Ced didn't remember him, Max encouraged Chaz and me and Tim's other friends to check in on him, to offer him emotional support, to try to keep him busy, get his mind off Ced."
"Sounds to me like he's trying to move in on Tim," Dawn said.
"Huh uh!" Chaz said, vehemently. "Wrong on that one, Dawnie! Max and Tim have been best friends forever. He's still just being a good friend."
I didn't say anything. I still remembered vividly that dancing scene at the Phoenix.
Toward the end of July Chaz and I drove to Cleveland-Hopkins International on a Saturday morning and caught a flight to Richmond. I was partly dreading it because I expected a real confrontation with Jack. But I hadn't seen Robbie for months, and I really looked forward to seeing my baby brother -- my baby brother who had always looked enough like me that we could have been twins, except, of course that I was taller.
The guy waiting for us at the end of the concourse still looked like me. But he was now a good six feet tall, a couple of inches taller than me.
"Robbie," I said as I hugged him, "it's so good to see you!" I pushed him away and looked in his face. "I guess now I have to call you big brother. Just look at you!"
He grinned. "Yeah, Henry Lee, you'll have to give me more respect now, or I'll whomp your ass."
He let go of me to shake hands with Chaz, who surprised him, I think, by hugging him. The two had met four years ago when Chaz and I had first become roommates freshman year, but they hadn't seen each other often in the interim.
"Rob, great to see you, man!" Chaz said.
"Same here! How are ya, dude?"
After the death of our parents, Uncle Jack and his wife had moved into the family home. It was either that or have Rob move in with them and sell the place. None of us wanted that. The assumption had been that one day I'd marry and move my bride in there. By that time Rob would be out of college or nearly so, and Uncle Jack and Aunt Lacey would find themselves a place.
On the drive from the airport, we asked about Jack and Lacey.
"Oh, they're pretty much the same as always. I think I need to go somewhere on a trip for the rest of the summer. I've had about enough of those two. But you'll see for yourself. We're having a cookout just for the five of us this evening."
"Surely Lacey isn't cooking?"
Rob chuckled. "Of course not, brother. Belle is doing all the work, as usual."
* * *
As long as I'd known Trey, I'd never been to Richmond with him. He'd been home with me often enough, and I'd met Robbie and their aunt and uncle a few times when they had come to campus, but he'd never invited me to come home with him.
One day during our junior year, I think it was, I point blank asked him. He told me he was embarrassed. He said that the ostentatious lifestyle of Uncle Jack and his wife were not his kind of thing. He said that, despite their wealth, his parents had always lived quietly. They thought their wealth was to be used to help others, not for display. Jack and Lacey weren't like that. They had three cars between the two of them, one of which was a Rolls. They belonged to all the right clubs, went to the same church many of the other movers and shakers in Richmond attended, and threw expensive parties that were mostly just to show off their money. Trey didn't enjoy that and he didn't want to make me have to endure it for his sake.
When he told me he was going home that weekend in July to come out to his family, I insisted on going along. And he seemed glad.
Robbie, who had just finished his first year at UVA in Charlottesville, had made the tennis team. He was the spitting image of Trey, though he was now a couple of inches taller. On the way home, he challenged Trey to a match on their court at home.
Tiger chuckled. "You think you can whup my ass now, don't you, baby brother?"
Rob grinned. "Henry Lee, I sure do plan to find out!"
I don't know why I expected the Withers' house to look like Tara. It sure as hell didn't. It was in a beautiful area with tall trees and winding streets. Each lot seemed to be acres and acres, and the houses made the ones in Indian Hill look ordinary. We drove up a long, winding drive through a woods, and suddenly the house came into view. It had a circular drive in front of it. But it was redwood and stone and very late-twentieth century in its style.
"Not what you expected, big guy?" Trey asked, grinning.
"Well, no, not exactly."
"It was built about twenty years ago. My folks were more into comfort and convenience than tradition, so they sold the old place, which looked more like your typical southern mansion, and built this one."
"Well, this looks roomy. Shit! It looks like it's climbing all over this little hilltop."
"Yeah. The garage, pool, and tennis court are out back. Come on in," Rob said. "Lacey and Jack are at a gallery opening somewhere and won't be back until time for cocktails. But, Trey, Belle's here, and she's dying to see you."
"Great!" He took me by the hand. "Come on, Chaz, we'll bring in the stuff later. You've got to meet Belle."
"Hey, guys," Rob said, "you all go on in and I'll bring your stuff."
Trey opened the front door. As we stepped into the humongous entryway, which was mostly stone like that on the outside, there stood a really great looking black woman. She was wearing a gray dress with white trim, a sort of uniform, I guess. She was about Trey's height, plus she had a good figure and a beautiful face. She was carefully made up. I'm embarrassed to say she wasn't what I expected when I'd heard Rob and Trey talk about Belle.
Trey hugged her, and she threw her arms around him. "Oh, Trey, baby, I'm so glad to see you. It's been so long since you've been home!" He picked her up, kissed her on the cheek, and set her down.
As she was smoothing her dress, he said, "Belle, this is Chaz. It's about time you two met."
I stuck out my hand, but she came up and gave me a hug. "Chaz, I'm so happy to meet you. Trey has told me all about you and how happy you make him."
I gave Trey a startled look. He grinned. "It's okay, babe. Belle and I email two or three times a week, and she knows, as she says, all about us."
Just then Rob came in with our bags. "Trey, you and Chaz want to take these upstairs. Chaz's room will be the one next to yours. You can show him."
Trey grinned at me and said, "Sure, Rob, I'll show him where he's going to sleep."
"Since everyone is eating outside this evening, I thought I'd serve lunch in the morning room. Is that all right?"
"Sure, Belle, that's fine."
"Then you boys wash up while you're upstairs, and I'll have things on the table when you get back down here."
Rob said, "Come on, Belle, I'll help you get things on."
The house was a split level, but not your typical tract split. Trey led me up a half a flight of stairs to what was the bedroom wing. He showed me the master suite as we passed.
"Technically, that's mine. Rob and I own the house, and as elder son, I could claim that. But I've just kept my old room. And it seemed only right since Jack and Lacey were the resident family in charge."
He pointed to a huge room with an attached bathroom and said, "That's supposed to be your room. Belle did that for appearance's sake. But you're sleeping with me, babe, and no pretense about it."
"Say, Tiger, what did Belle mean down there? She acts like she already knows."
He stopped, faced me, and took both my hands. "She does, lover. Since mother and dad died, I've been closer to Belle than to anyone but you and Rob. I had to tell someone how happy I was after you and I got together, and she was the only one I could come out to. So she's known from the beginning. And I trust her completely. I'm sure she hasn't told a soul, not even Rob. Are you mad at me?"
"No way, babe. I felt right off that she was somebody special."
"Okay, grab that bag and set it in here." "Here" was a huge room, and it was all Trey. There were tennis rackets on the wall, trophies sitting around here and there, and some pictures of Trey in his tennis whites, some with high school or university teammates, and some of him alone.
I dropped the bag at the foot of the bed and grabbed him. "God," I whispered, "you're gorgeous!" He reached up, pulled my head down, and stuck his tongue out. I stuck mine out, and we tickled the ends of each other's tongues for a while before doing some serious face sucking.
When we finally quit that, both of us were hard and panting. "Dude, you'd better go pee and wash your hands and see if you can hide that tent pole down there. Use the bathroom in the room next door. I'll use this one, and meet you in the hallway."
After we'd made ourselves more presentable, we met in the hall as he suggested. "Dayum, Henry Lee, I knew you had money, but if I'd seen this place four years ago I'd have been so in awe I'd have been afraid to be your friend."
He took my hand. "And that's just why I don't want my friends to know about all this. I had enough of that sort of ass kissing when I was at Richmond Country Day. And one of the reasons I came to Kent was to get away from all this shit."
I squeezed his hand. "Well, lover, I'm sure glad ya did!" We went downstairs to what they called the morning room. I'm not sure how we got there, but it was a nice room with a window wall of glass looking out on some woods. There was a small table with a white linen cloth, what I assumed was sterling silver, and crystal glasses. Four places were set.
Rob was just pouring white wine into the glasses as Trey and I got there. "Took you all long enough. I was just thinking I'd have to come and find you." He grinned.
Belle served something called strata, with eggs and ham and cheese baked together. With it was a salad of different kinds of melon. And the lightest, most delicious cloverleaf rolls I've ever eaten.
I complimented Belle on everything and asked if I could have the recipe for the rolls for my mom.
"Oh, Trey can give that to you. He makes them as well as I do."
"Tiger, you're gonna have to make `em for me, babe!"
Rob gave us a puzzled look. Trey gave me a look that said I should be careful.
During the rest of the meal we got Rob talking about his year just completed at UVA.
"Robbie, have you decided on your major?"
"Yeah, bro, since you've decided to become a professor, I think maybe I'd better get myself ready to look after the family holdings. I'm going to major in management."
"You aren't just doing it out of a sense of duty, are you?"
Rob grinned. "No. Actually I think I'll enjoy it. But I promise I won't become a total philistine. I'll still read a book and go to a concert once in a while."
We all laughed at that. Belle sat there smiling. I could tell that she was as proud of the two Withers brothers as if they were her own sons.
"Rob, how's the dating scene at the University?"
"Oh, there's no shortage of fine looking women."
"But? I sense you've left something unsaid."
"Yeah, Trey, there's a problem."
"What is it, baby brother? No, don't tell me. I'll bet I know."
Rob rolled his eyes and looked at Belle. "There he goes again."
Belle just smiled.
Then Rob turned to me. "Chaz, does he read your mind all the time?"
"No, not really. And it's a good thing sometimes that he can't. But he does do that to one of our friends a lot. They seem to have a special connection."
"Well, you're lucky he can't read you. It's often been a pain."
"Okay, you guys," Trey said. "I can't help it, you know. It's just the way I am. So, anyway, Rob. I'll bet you think the women at UVA are all after you because they know you're a Withers."
"Too true, brother. I know it sounds conceited, but some of them seem to want to throw themselves at me. But one way or another, it always winds up being about our money. What am I gonna do?"
Belle cleared her throat and we all looked at her. "Rob, dear, did it ever occur to you that those young women were interested in you because you are not only a very sweet young man but also very handsome?"
Rob blushed. "Thanks, Belle, but I think you're partial. And I think Trey will back me up on this, you get so you know when they have dollar signs in their eyes. Right, bro?"
Trey sighed. "Yeah, that hasn't been a problem for me at the university, but it used to be when I was in high school. And our name is pretty well known in this state, so I'm not surprised about Rob's problem."
"Then," I said, "why not go somewhere else? Transfer to a school where the Withers name isn't all that famous?"
"You know, Robbie," Trey said, "Ole Chaz may have a good idea there. Why not transfer to KSU? The only reputation you'd have to live down there would be that of your older brother, and I'm not exactly a campus celebrity."
"Uncle Jack would have a hissy fit. But you know, I like the idea of getting away from Virginia for a while. I think I'll want to come back here to live, and if I'm going to help with the family interests, it would make sense for me to be here. What do you think, Belle?"
"Personally, Rob, I'd hate to have you any further away than you are now. But it would make sense to go to school somewhere out of state. How is the School of Business at your university, Trey? Weren't you taking a major there until recently?"
"Uh huh. And it's pretty good. I didn't change majors because I didn't like the business school. I changed because I decided I wanted to do something different with my life. So, Rob, promise you'll think about it, okay?"
"Yeah, bro. I'll give it some thought."
Belle put down her napkin and stood up to clear the table. We all helped and thanked her for the delicious lunch.
"You are all welcome. It's so nice to have you young men here. Now, Rob, I know Trey and Chaz have something they want to tell you. I'll go to my room and work on the household accounts so you three can have some privacy."
As if there'd be any problem finding a private place in that house!
"You've got something you want to talk about, guys? Let's go in the library."
Now you'd expect a library in a mansion to look like something out of the movies, right? Oriental rugs, dark wood bookcases, windows like in a church, and leather wing-back chairs? Wrong.
This library had a vaulted, beamed ceiling, but the bookcases were all in some kind of light wood. There were windows along one side and a window-wall in the end. There was a long table down the middle, but the room was big enough to have several clusters of very comfortable chairs upholstered in a light beige nubby fabric.
Rob closed the double doors and we all flopped down into chairs near the window wall. From where I was sitting I could see the tennis court and I wondered whether, after we had this talk with Rob, he and Trey would still be playing their tennis match.
Trey, who'd been wearing topsiders, kicked them off after he sat down. Rob toed off his sneaks and pulled one leg under him as he flopped into his chair. I just sat and waited for something to happen.
"So, guys," Rob asked, "whassup? No. Wait! I'll bet I know."
"I'll bet you don't," Trey said, looking tense.
"Relax, brother. You're finally gonna tell me that you and Chaz here are, what do you call it, partners?"
I felt like I'd been pole axed. How the fuck did Rob know that?
"How'd you know that, Rob? Did Belle say something?"
"I should have figured you'd come out to Belle first. But she never said a word to me, Trey, honest, so don't be mad at her."
Trey reached over and took my hand. "Robbie, you're right. How did you know? Intuition?"
He grinned. "Nope. Logic, brother. You were just about the hottest dude in high school, and I know how much dating you did then. And, though your emails always talked a lot about Chaz and your other two friends, Mark and Ced, you made it clear that you were making it with the ladies for most of your first three years at the university. Then you quit talking about women. No mention of dating. It was all this "Brotherhood" thing you guys have, and eventually it was always you and Chaz doing this or that. And you seemed happier after that that I've ever known you to be. What was I supposed to make of that?"
"Well . . ."
"You know, Trey, I've read enough to know that people don't just turn gay. Were you covering up all those years, using women to hide the fact that you're gay?"
"Wait, back up. You seem so cool about this, Rob. You're not angry with me?"
Rob got up, came over, and pulled Trey up. The two hugged each other tight for a while. I saw tears coming down Tiger's cheeks.
"No way am I angry with you, brother mine. I just want you to be happy. It hasn't been easy for either of us since the folks died. And God knows Jack and Lacey aren't any kind of substitute for parents."
Then he turned to me. "Stand up, suh!" He'd lapsed into this thick accent. "Ah jus want to know, suh, if youah intentions towahd mah brothuh ah strickly honorable."
I stood and grinned. "Yeah, Rob, I'd marry him tomorrow if he'd have me."
Trey turned to me and now the tears were really streaming down his cheeks. "Charles Greeley, you never said anything like that before!"
"Ya never asked me, babe." Then he and I hugged. He rested his head on my shoulder for a moment until he got control of himself.
"Robbie, you don't know how much I've dreaded having to tell you this. Chaz and I may not be married, but we are committed to each other for the long run. I wanted so much for you to accept even if you couldn't approve what we've just told you."
Rob hugged us both. Then he grinned. "Guess I'll just have to be the one to have the kids to carry on the family name. Somehow I don't think I'll mind that, if I can find a woman who is more interested in being a mother to my kids than in spending our money." He paused. "Oh, but there is one thing."
"You never answered my question about whether you've always been gay."
"Rob, I'm as attracted as anyone to a good looking woman. I just found that the person I want to be my partner and permanent bedfellow is this big galoot here. So I guess that means I'm bi."
Rob got this evil grin on his face. "So, that's taken care of. Now, brother, I want to beat your faggy ass in a few sets of tennis. You game?"
"I'm game, and I'm so going to make you sorry for that remark."
"Chaz," Rob said, "why don't you put on your swim trunks? You can jump in the pool if you get tired watching me whup the old guy here."
So I put on my baggy swim trunks and some sandals and went downstairs. Belle was there to offer me some iced tea or lemonade. I told her I'd swim some laps and then maybe have some lemonade.
She smiled at me. "I assume that went all right?"
"Yes. Rob was cool. And you've know all along?"
She put a cool hand to my cheek. "Yes, Chaz, I've known since before Trey did, I think."
I kissed her cheek. "Belle, ma'am, you are quite a woman. The guys are lucky to have you in their lives."
"No, Chaz, dear. I know I'm the lucky one. Those are two very fine young men."
"Amen to that."
The two fine young men came downstairs wearing their tennis shoes and white shorts. And they were so fine!
I put off swimming so I could watch them play. They only played two sets because it was really hot. It was Richmond in July, after all. I've watched my babe play a lot of tennis, and I don't think anyone ever gave him such a hard time. It seemed like each one of them knew what the other was going to do. When they decided to quit because of the sun and heat, they were tied at a set apiece. They came off the court. Tanned. Blond. Sweaty. Arms around each other's shoulders. And so sexy I could have eaten them both up. Motioning me to join them, they pulled off their tees, shoes, and socks and jumped into the pool in their white shorts.
Soon we were playing grabass and dick tag, laughing, making lots of noise, and having a great time. After a while Belle came out carrying a tray with a pitcher of lemonade and glasses, which she set on an umbrella table. She waved at us, and we all waved back. Then she went back into the house.
Rob took off his shorts and jock and threw them up on the cement beside the pool. Trey did the same. "Come on, Greeley, get out of those ugly trunks."
"But what about Belle?"
"Oh, she's going to have her afternoon lie-down now. She's been doing that for years. She won't be out here again for at least an hour."
We went back to what we were doing. Dick tag was a lot easier now that we were naked. And I discovered that Rob was bigger than Trey in another way. His cock was nearly as big as mine. I decided I wouldn't mention that to Trey. After all, his was still my favorite cock in all the world. Rob had balls, too, as I was to discover later that evening.
* * *
I was relieved when Henry Lee told me the truth about him and Chaz. I'd figured it all out, as you know. And I was glad he wanted to be open about it. I was also glad to see how happy he seemed with Chaz. They almost looked like a married couple when they were together. At least until Jack and Lacey got home.
I asked them when we had gotten out of the pool and were drying off if they planned to give the olds the news. Trey said he would do that after supper. I wished him luck. I didn't expect that to go very well.
The three of us had changed into dry tees, shorts, and sandals and were drinking Belle's lemonade by the pool when Jack and Lacey got home. They were pretty dressed up because they came out back to welcome Trey and Chaz before changing into something more appropriate.
They both hugged Trey and shook hands with Chaz, made appropriate welcoming noises, and excused themselves to go upstairs and change. They were both wearing slacks and untucked cotton shirts when they got back. Lacey had on strappy sandals and Jack was wearing loafers with no socks, a look I always thought was pretty ridiculous.
"Well, everyone, the sun is past the yardarm," Jack said, rubbing his hands together, a gesture I'd seen him do a thousand times. "What kind of drinks can I fix? We've got just about anything you all could want. Lacey will have her usual vodka and tonic. What about you boys?"
Trey had Jack Daniels and branch. Chaz and I asked for beer.
We made small talk for a while.
"Charles," Lacey asked, "You come from Columbus or someplace like that, don't you?"
I cringed. They'd only known Chaz for four years!
Chaz gave her a lopsided grin and said, "Yes, maam, someplace like that. I live in Cincinnati."
"And your father sells cars, doesn't he?" Jack asked.
"Jack," I said, "Chaz's dad has several dealerships in the Cincinnati area."
"Well, boy, that's what I said. He sells cars."
Trey looked at me and rolled his eyes. He started to reach for Chaz's hand, and then drew it back quickly. Chaz just grinned at both of us.
When Belle brought out some snacks to go with the drinks, Jack, with a great deal of fuss, lighted the gas grille. Soon after, Belle brought out a platter of steaks. At that point Trey and I got up to help her. Lacey stayed put, working on her second vodka and tonic. Chaz came along, too, so all Belle had to do was hand us the stuff and we carried it out.
As we were out there bringing things, Lacey said, "Boys, you should let Belle do that. It's not your place to be kitchen help."
That was too much. "Aunt Lacey, Belle's been running this place ever since mother and dad died. She's part of the family, not kitchen help. And I, for one, am not above helping her whenever I can!"
"Same here, Lacey," Trey said. Chaz was obviously listening carefully to the exchange, but he didn't say anything.
Dinner was good, as usual. Belle had made deviled eggs because she knew Trey loves them. She'd also fixed potato salad and a big bowl of garden salad. Each of us got his steak the way he'd requested. Jack was good at that, to give the devil his due.
As we ate, Jack took the occasion to criticize Trey once again for his decision to become a professor.
"And you know, Henry Lee, those people don't make enough money to live on decently."
"Jack, I've got more money than I'll ever be able to spend. Why should that be a factor?"
"Well, honey," Lacey interjected, "college professors have no social standing at all! A university president, maybe, but that takes such a long time."
Trey chuckled. "I have no desire to be a university president, Aunt Lacey. I'd like to write some articles, maybe a book, and just be the best teacher I can be."
"Henry Lee, I don't know what happened to your gumption, boy. Your parents would be so disappointed."
I couldn't help breaking out. "Dammit, our parents would have been proud of Trey. Don't go using their names to try to get Trey to do what YOU want him to do."
"Watch your language, boy. There is a lady present. And a guest, too. I'll bet Chaz wouldn't talk that way to his mother."
I was about to retort when Chaz spoke up. "No, sir, I wouldn't. But then I can't imagine my parents ever saying anything like you just said to Trey."
By the time supper was finished and "the boys" had carried everything back to the kitchen, the mood poolside wasn't good. In the kitchen I asked Trey if he really wanted to tell Jack and Lacey about him and Chaz just then.
"Well, I don't want to, Robbie. But tomorrow they'll be off to church and you have to get us back to the airport for our 11:00 flight, so there won't be much time after breakfast. I think we may just as well do it and get it over with."
I hugged him. "Okay, bro. You know I'm with you and Chaz."
He kissed me on the cheek. He'd never done that before. But it didn't seem gay or anything. Just a natural thing to do. "Yeah, Rob. And I love you more than ever, man."
Belle brought out peach ice cream with little sugar cookies and a carafe of coffee. Then she excused herself.
"Goodnight, Belle, and thanks for such a great meal," Chaz said.
"Yes, Belle, it was delicious. Thanks. See you in the morning," Trey said.
I added my thanks. Lacey and Jack didn't say anything.
We pretty much had our ice cream, which Belle had made and which was delicious, in silence.
Putting his bowl on the table, Trey said, "Okay, now we have to talk."
"I've been wondering, Trey darling," Lacey said in a languid way, "just why you decided to come home, finally. And bring your friend."
As if Chaz didn't have a name.
`Lacey, you are about to find out,' I thought.
"Uncle Jack, Aunt Lace, Chaz and I want you to know that we have been partners for almost a year."
"Partners?" Lacey said. "You mean you boys have started some sort of business?"
Jack said, "No, darlin', I don't think that's what Henry Lee means, is it?"
Trey said, "No, not quite."
"What he's telling you, my dear, is that he and his friend are lovers, fags. Isn't that it, Henry Lee?"
"Not fags, Jack. He's telling you they are gay." Trey gave me a grateful look when I said that.
Lacey let out a little shriek and put her hand over her mouth. Jack sat there motionless, staring at Chaz.
"Oh, surely not," Lacey said, "not in OUR family! Our kind of people don't have, uh, homasexyulls."
I wanted to get up and walk out and never see those people again, but I couldn't leave my brother there to face them.
I noticed that Chaz was sitting there quietly, watching and listening intently. I wondered whether he had come out to his family.
"Well, Lacey, I'm afraid you're wrong in this case. But you'll just have to take my word for it. I love Chaz. I've told him so, repeatedly. He loves me, as he tells me and shows me every day. Just today we agreed that we'd marry if there were any way we could do it."
Lacey gave another of her little shrieks and put her hand over her mouth again. Jack said, "My God!"
"So," Trey continued, "you'll just have to get used to it. And I hope you will treat Chaz with all the respect my lover and partner deserves."
Without saying anything, Jack got up and went to the bar. He came back with two drinks, v & t for Lacey and a bourbon and branch for himself. He didn't offer the rest of us anything.
After taking a long swig of his drink, still standing, he said "I can't see this happening. Trey, tomorrow you will get on the plane and go back to Ohio. And the next time you come, don't bring your friend with you. I want you to think long and hard about your life, about your responsibilities, your family's good name. And let's not hear anything more about you being a queer. You won't be welcome here until you give up this man and your ridiculous ideas."
Trey stood and was about to say something. I spoke before he could.
"Trey, bro, sit down, please. I want to say something."
He sat and waved for me to go on. Then he pulled his chair close enough to Chaz that they could hold hands.
"Trey, as I understand it, you and I own this house and, between us, a good majority of Withers Enterprises. Isn't that right?"
"Now wait a minute, . . ." Jack spluttered.
"That is true, isn't it, Jack?" Trey asked.
"Well, yeah, but . . ."
"Then, Trey, here's what I suggest. Unless we get an immediate apology from Lacey and Jack and a promise to accept Chaz into the family, I suggest you and I take control of the whole shebang."
Trey got this glint in his eye. "Sounds good to me, Rob. Go ahead."
"Okay, Jack, you owe Trey and Chaz an apology."
"I certainly do not. I just said what any decent person, any God-fearing Christian, would think. I stand by what I said."
"In that case, for starters you and Aunt Lacey had better move out of our house. What do you think, Trey, is thirty days enough time?"
"Oh, yeah. They should be able to find someplace appropriate for people of their standing by then." He looked at Jack. "We want you and any of your possessions out of here in 30 days. Rob and Belle will both be here to make sure you don't take anything that isn't yours."
"But . . ." Jack began.
"Nooo," Lacey wailed, "you can't do this to us."
"Aw, come on, Lacey," Trey said. "You don't want to live in a house that's partly owned by a faggot now, do you?"
"Well, no, but . . ."
"By the way, Jack," I said, "if you want to keep your job, you'd better apologize to Trey and Chaz." I looked at Trey, who nodded in confirmation. "If you decide to apologize, you can stay in the job, but you can bet Trey and I will be looking over your shoulder constantly, and there will be independent auditors on your ass monthly. Or, if you decide you can't possibly bring yourself to apologize and promise to treat all members of the family with respect, and that includes Chaz, you'd better find yourself another job. Again, I'd think someone with your experience and abilities could find something within 30 days." I looked at Trey, who was grinning broadly.
Lacey stood up. What she said sounded so like something out of cheap fiction. "Jack, I've never been so humiliated in all my life. Come on. We'll go to the Ritz Carlton until we can find something suitable. I just hope my friends don't hear about all of this."
"I suppose that means no apology," Trey said.
"No, you insolent pup, there will be no apology," Jack said. "You and your cocksucker friend and your gay-loving brother can have the whole thing. You'll have bankrupted the whole business in a year, mark my words. And I plan to liquidate my share of everything immediately."
They went upstairs and packed a bag each, jumped in the Rolls without a word to anyone, even Belle, and left.
When they were gone, we found Belle and explained to her what had happened. Then we asked her if she would stay on, live in the house, run it as she always had. I told her that I would be with her for the rest of the summer and during university vacations next year, and that eventually we'd decided what to do with it. I knew that neither Trey nor I wanted to get rid of it. Maybe someday my wife and family would share it with me. Maybe someday Chaz and Trey would be living there. But we needed Belle and told her so. She hugged us all and said she would be honored.
Trey, Chaz, and I got refills on our drinks and went back outside. I set mine down and held my arms out. We came together in a long-lasting group hug.
"Guys," my big brother said, "what the fuck did we just do?"
To be continued