Master and the Mate


Deep Diver
(Copyright 2006 - 2007 by the Author)

David L

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...

Chapter 49
Ships passing in the night

Ryan's hands trembled as he put the key in the ignition. The bar was only minutes from the house, but he felt like he was in one of those dreams where it seemed so urgent to arrive, but everything moved so slowly. After an agonized drive over to the Pirate's Cove, Ryan finally found parking, shut off the motor, made sure the doors of his car were locked and headed toward the entrance of the gay night club.

The bouncer at the door stared at Ryan since he hadn't seen him before. Ryan remembered his youth and how he was always carded at the entrance to bars. Those that carded him always took a long time comparing his photo id to his face. For many years, he seemed much younger than his age. Now, no one asked to see his card.

"Good evening, Sir. Welcome to the Pirate's Cove." said the doorman.

Ryan slipped him a couple of bucks and asked him to watch out for his car.

"Sure thing, Sir, that's why I'm here." the bouncer replied.

Once inside, the place was jammed with so many very attractive young men and a few female couples as well. Many of the guys dancing had removed their shirts and were perspiring profusely. Ryan wondered why he hadn't frequented the place for so many years. One young man stood out from the rest: he wore farmer jeans with no shirt underneath. His straw-colored hair, smooth chest and arms combined with the extraordinary energy of his dance moves made him the center of attention. Ryan's gaze was fixed on him as he tried to make his way toward the booths along the back wall were he expected to meet Edwin. The young man, only about 5 feet in height, caught Ryan's gaze and winked at him. Ryan nodded in acknowledgment and wondered if he were a male prostitute, a gigolo, or perhaps just a kid seeking a sugar daddy.

Finally, Ryan felt someone grab his hand and pull him in the opposite direction to that he had been looking in. Ryan turned and saw that it was Edwin, who now stood before him. He quickly examined his ex-lover and noticed that he still retained his youthful attractiveness, but there was no longer the same gleam in his eye.

Instinctively, Ryan pulled him into an embrace and they each bear-hugged the other.

"Ryan you look great! And I see you still have your eye for beautiful young men." Edwin joked with his former lover and still best friend.

"You're looking good yourself." Ryan said returning the compliment.

"So how is the old gang? Dominic and Teresa, you see them much?"

"Yeah, they're all doing fine. Actually they are now part of the family. We, Kyle and I, my lover, have taken in two foster kids and Dominic and Teresa are sort of their favorite aunt and uncle."

* * *

Kyle was tempted to watch more of the Indian Summer DVD, but thought better of it wanting to enjoy it with Ryan at his side, so he just resigned himself to channel surfing, but he couldn't find anything of interest. Even the reruns of 'Queer as Folk' could not quell his anxiety. He was booting up the PC to check out his favorite story on the Nifty archives, when the phone rang.

"Hello, Ryan Loud, Mark, Manny and Kyle Darling's residence."

"Kyle, its Linda Roman, I'm sorry to call you so late, but we sort of have an emergency here at the agency." Linda said with urgency in her voice.

"What's the matter?" Kyle asked, now really anxious.

* * *

"Ry, I'm sorry for popping up like this out of the blue, but I didn't know where else to go." Edwin said, tweaking Ryan's curiosity. "You know, I never told my family, my mother nor my sister, that I'm gay."

"Haven't they guessed by now?" Ryan queried. [author's note: love that word, I hope DL leaves it alone! Like I'd change any of your deathless prose, LOL!].

"I don't know, we never talk about that subject. Anyway, some time ago, about the time I left, I was diagnosed HIV positive." Edwin revealed.

Ryan instinctively reached out and cupped his hands. "Edwin, I'm so sorry, but why didn't you tell me?"

"That's why, I didn't want you feeling sorry for me and I knew that you would want to take care of me and that eventually you'd become infected too." Edwin confessed.

"So, why are you telling me now?" Ryan asked concerned.

* * *

"I'm at the agency now " the police sent for me. They brought in a boy and he has no one that can care for him, and I immediately thought about you and Ryan." Linda said.

"Ryan isn't here right now and I don't think that I could decide this on my own." Kyle said distracted by the thought that he wasn't even sure if Ryan would return home that night.

"I see, and this boy is somewhat difficult to relate with, that's why I thought of Dr. Loud. He's a dropout, has learning and discipline problems so I can't put him with just any family; he'd just be too destructive. If you can't take him, we may have to send him to jail until we can place him. His being gay, won't help him much in lock up." Linda continued to describe the situation.

"If it were up to me, you know that I would gladly take him in, but without consulting Ryan, I don't think I can assume that much responsibility." Kyle said feeling torn.

"I understand your position, Kyle, but before you say no, just think that if you were Ryan, what would he do? And if you could only take him for a couple of days, until we can find something more permanent, that would be better than nothing." Linda pleaded.

"OK, but I can't leave the boys alone to come pick him up." Kyle said, knowing that Ryan would never deny helping someone that he could.

"No problem, I can swing by your place on my way home. I'll be there within an hour." Linda said greatly relieved as she began filling out the necessary forms.

* * *

"Ryan, I can't go home to my family, not like this and my T-cell count is so low, the doctors don't know why I'm still alive. Can I stay with you? I can assure you it won't be for long." Edwin said, knowing that Ryan would never turn him away even in his present state.

"Of course you can. Where are your things?" Ryan said instantly, but heartbroken inside, knowing that he was soon to lose his former lover again.

"The bartender let me put my bag in the office. I only have the one, I'll get it and meet you out front." Edwin said.

Ryan went on out ahead and called home on his cell phone.

"Hello, Ryan Loud, Mark, Manny and Kyle Darling residence."

"You're going to have to add another name to your list." Ryan quipped.

"How do you know already?" Kyle asked, surprised that Ryan already knew that they were expecting to take in another boy. "I haven't even told Mark and Manny yet!"

"You haven't? What are you waiting for, for me to walk in with him?" Ryan said, half-teasing and half-confused himself.

"Ryan how could you possibly know? Did Roman call you on your cell phone?" Kyle asked.

"Why would Roman call me?" Ryan questioned Kyle.

"To tell you that we're taking someone in." Kyle stated matter-of-factly.

"Kyle, how could Roman know that, we've only just decided that." Ryan said.

"We did? Ryan did you have this all planned already? What's going on? Is this some sick joke?" Kyle said, feeling his temperature rise.

By this time, Edwin was standing next to Ryan with his valise in his hand. Ryan pointed toward his car and they began walking toward it.

"Look, Kyle, we'll be home in a few minutes, can you see about getting the guest room ready?" Ryan said.

"So you do know? Are you with him now?" Kyle asked

"Yes, I am with him now, but how did you know he was coming home with me?" Ryan questioned Kyle.

"Ryan, I knew that you would never say, 'no,' so I did what I thought you would do."

"You did? But how did you know that he would be coming back with me." Ryan asked

"I didn't, I thought that Roman was bringing him." Kyle said, getting frustrated with what appeared to be a prank in very poor taste.

"Roman? Why would Roman bring him? And who is Roman anyway?" Ryan wondered out loud.

"She's Manny's case worker and because she said she would." Kyle stated clearly.

"I'm confused, but we can settle this once we get there." Ryan affirmed.

"Me too, but you're bringing him?" Kyle again asked.

"Yes, he's with me in my car now." Ryan said.

Kyle was totally confused and began gathering up some fresh sheets and towels when the doorbell rang. 'Who can that be?' Kyle thought to himself. He moved toward the door, and saw two figures behind the glass pane and could tell that it was a woman and a young man. He opened the door and there stood Roman and a teenager who looked about 17. He was handsome, with an athletic body, wide shoulders and a thin waist and he was carrying a bag.

"Kyle, I'd like to introduce you to Alex. Alex this is Kyle." Said Roman, presenting the reluctant boy who did not extend his hand to Kyle, but just grunted his dislike of the situation.

"Please come in. I thought Ryan had picked him up?" Kyle said more confused.

"Ryan, why would Ryan pick him up?" Roman asked.

"Well, he just got off the phone and said that Alex was with him in his car and that they were on the way." Kyle stated and before they could clarify the confusion in walked Mark and Manny.

"Hey everybody." Mark said.

When Manny saw Roman, he froze, "But I don't want to go. Please don't take me. I'll be good, I promise." Manny said.

"Hold on sport. No one is taking you anywhere." Kyle said, trying to calm Manny.

Just then Ryan walked in followed by Edwin, just in time to hear Kyle say that no one was taking him anywhere and seeing Roman, felt his own anxieties rise like molten lava in a volcano.

"What's going on here?" Ryan demanded to know.

"She's come to take me to my father!" Manny said, frightened and nearly in tears, holding on to Kyle.

"You can't take him, he's my brother!" Mark cried.

"I'm not here to take anyone with me, please calm down everybody." Roman said.

"Would someone please tell me what's going on?" Ryan said out of desperation. Edwin was watching this scene unfold and wondered if he had made the right choice asking Ryan to take him in. His house seemed in such pandemonium.

"I don't now what's going on." Kyle said, utterly confused. "Other than the fact that Mrs. Roman called while you were out and asked us to take in this young man, whose name, by the way, is Alex."

Ryan's head turned quickly from Kyle to Alex then to Roman. "What?" Ryan said.

"Look, I don't need to stay here, I can take care of myself." Alex said, seeing an opportunity to get out of the uncomfortable situation in which he found himself.

"While you were out, Mrs. Roman called and asked us to take in this young man and I knew you wouldn't refuse." Kyle said.

"Look, Ry, just call me a cab. I can see that you have your hands full." Edwin said.

"Kyle, Mrs. Roman, Alex, Mark, Manny, this is Edwin he has come to stay with us for awhile." Ryan said, staring into Kyle's eyes and observing Kyle furrow his brow. "Manny would you mind sleeping in your sleeping bag, down here tonight?"

"I suppose if this is too much of an imposition, I can take Alex back to my place for the night." Mrs. Roman offered seeing the difficulty that was unfurling before her.

"Not necessary at all, Linda. Just give us a few minutes and we'll have everything under control. Mark you can take Alex up to your room, Manny just for tonight you can sleep in your sleeping bag and Edwin can take the guest room. See, no problemo." Ryan made his point.

"OK, I'll be off then just as soon as you can sign this document giving you and Kyle full custody over Alex." Mrs. Roman said, handing Ryan and Kyle the documents to sign.

"Manny would you show Edwin to the guest room? Edwin and Alex, are either of you hungry? I think we still have some of the meatloaf that Kyle made in the frig?"

"I'm fine, just tired. I'd really like to get to bed. Kyle it's a pleasure meeting you. You seem all that Ry said about you. Mark, Alex it's also a pleasure." Edwin said shaking hands and then following Manny up to his room.

"What about you? Alex, would you like something?" Ryan inquired. "No, I don't want any stinking leftovers." The boy said in his own special way, knowing it would annoy everybody as well as draw some attention to himself.

"That's no way to talk to these kind gentlemen who without even knowing you have taken you into their home. You had better change that attitude fast or I will be back all to soon to escort you to the juvenile detention center." Threatened Mrs. Roman.

"You follow me," Kyle commanded so forcefully that Alex didn't dare sass him. Kyle led him into the kitchen and heated some of his succulent meatloaf made with his own mother's recipe in the microwave. Once heated he placed the meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy and green peas before the famished boy who once he got a whiff, felt his mouth water and he began shoveling the ambrosia that Kyle had lovingly prepared, into his mouth, as if it was the last coke in the dessert [As DL would think, LOL].

Meanwhile, Ryan saw his former student to the door.

"Thanks so much, Dr. Loud. This boy has so much potential, but he has so much anger locked up inside him, I just couldn't dump him on anybody else knowing that you will do wonders with him." Mrs. Roman said with confidence. "Oh, I'm afraid that I forgot to mention that Alex, really has no parents … he was that test-tube baby, that was in the press not too long ago."

"Oh my God! He hasn't known what it is to even have parents. What has Kyle gotten us into. He is going to be a challenge and a half. But with Kyle's help and the boys, I think we can win him over." Ryan said hopefully, but with serious doubts.

After woofing down his food and two cokes, Alex followed Kyle back out to the living room.

"If you need anything tomorrow we can go shopping." Kyle said.

"Don't bother; I won't be staying in this shit hole very long." Alex said defiantly.

"Alex, you are welcome here and while not a palace, we are all comfortable here and we hope you will learn to be comfortable with us as well. However, our home is neither a prison nor a shit hole so if you are not happy here, just leave quietly during the night, we won't stop you. I hope you don't choose to leave without giving us a chance. I can assure you, you will not find a more loving family anywhere and we are eager for you to get to know us and let us get to know you. So I suggest that you get a good night's sleep and if you are here tomorrow, I suggest that you take that rotten attitude you are using as a façade and when you unpack your things, put it in your bag and stow it away." Ryan said clearly and directly.

Mark took Alex up to his room. "You can sleep in Manny's bed. This is my bed." Mark said, pointing to his own bed.

"I ain't sleeping on any bed wetter's mattress, you sleep there and I will sleep in your bed." Alex insisted.

"Alex, you are welcome to my bed, I have no problem sleeping in Manny's bed. If you want to bully me, be my guest, I don't mind, but if you so much as say one hurtful word to Manny, you had better not ever turn your back on me." Mark warned.

* * *

Kyle and Ryan were finally alone in their own bedroom.

"Why didn't you tell me you were bringing Edwin here?" Kyle said instigating a dialog.

"I tried. Remember I called you and you told me you knew he was coming already!" Ryan said laughingly.

It suddenly dawned on Kyle that the phone conversations were all screwed up.

"But I still don't understand why you brought him to stay with us here?" Kyle said with his anxiety levels rising again.

To be continued

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