The following story is a work of fiction. It takes place with two people of the same sex. While there is no direct sexual activity found, there may be some in other sections of this book. The author retains the rights to this work, and any reprinting must be done with the authorization of author (email address below). This story also has a Christian element to it, and in no way do I propose to be an author on any religion.
Thank you for reading.
Justin sat in his recliner, dressed in a black suit, black tie, and white shirt. He stared off into space as he contemplated the day's events. It was one of those days that he thought would never come. But it had. He thought back to the days during which Cody had two years left to live. He always said that people are not supposed to know when the end was going to happen. But for him, he knew, and knew that it would be precious moments left.
"Dad?" A man's voice came from the doorway.
"Hum?" Justin turned his head towards the doorway, coming out of his daydream.
"Just wanted to make sure you were okay." The young man walked forward towards him.
"Ah," Justin said with a smile. "I am fine son. Just thinking."
"Jessica wanted to make sure you were okay before we headed out." The young man knelt next to his dad, and grabbed his hand. "I told her I should stay the night with you."
"No." Justin reached over and patted his hand. "I will be fine. You need to spend time with your wife and daughter. Cherish it all, and never take it for granted."
The man stood up and kissed Justin on the forehead. "I will come by tomorrow before I go to work." He stood up and walked towards the door he entered at, but turned around. "I love you dad."
"I love you too son." Justin smiled as his sun disappeared through the doorway.
Justin reached over and grabbed a photo that sat next to his chair and clasped it in his hands, in his lap. It was a picture that was taken a long time ago of Jason and himself. It was a moment that he kept close to his heart, and cherished. A tear fell from his eye as he looked down on the picture, and rubbed his finger along the figure of Jason.
***2 years from now***
Justin lay awake in bed next to Jason, who was sleeping peacefully. They were both naked, and Justin wanted to have some fun, but he wanted to let Jason sleep. It was not often he could sleep through the night, so this would be his time.
The sheets were pulled up around his waist, but his torso was exposed. Justin reached over and traced one of the scar lines on Jason's body that had been formed by the blast. The doctors had done miracles when it came to the skin grafts on his face, but his body was too far damaged. He stopped tracing as he reached Jason's neck, but continued to follow the trail up to his face.
His face had major scars on them, and his mouth was deformed a bit from the burns. Jason had grown his hair long to cover up the side of his face, since his ear was long gone. He was given the option of getting an ear prosthetic, but he said that it would look weird compared to the surrounding damage. He preferred to keep it hidden.
"You're doing it again." Jason said with his eyes closed, and a grin coming on his face.
"I am sorry." Justin turned red and lay back down quickly. "I can't help it."
"It's okay," Jason said rolling over on his side and looking at Justin. "I like it, as you are the only one that would ever see these scars as sexy."
"It's more than just sexy." Justin rolled over on his side to face Jason. "I think they are markers that show you are a survivor, and that you are stronger than anything in the world!" He leaned in and gave Jason a passionate kiss. Even now the electrical energy that he had felt from day one surged through him.
The door to the bedroom burst open and Kimberly stood there in a stunning blue night gown that swirled around her legs.
"Boys!" Kimberly screamed. "It's time to get this party started!"
Jason looked over at Kimberly. The sun was behind her back, and she had an aura of white that made him think back to his experience with Cody.
"Kim!" Justin said rolling half over. "Can't you knock?"
"Yes!" She said giggling, "I could have, but what's the fun in that?"
Justin fell back into bed and groaned.
"Come." She said turning around, leaving the door open. "Breakfast is ready." She stopped and looked over her shoulder. "And the Senator is here." She winked and twirled around and walked out of sight.
"I didn't know he was going to be here this early." Jason said with a surprised look on his face. "I mean he had a meeting this morning, and wouldn't be here closer to the actual time.
"Well," Justin said, "It would be a shame if he were late. Today is a very important day."
Justin and Jason came down stairs and into the dining room of their house. There people were gathered around, all dressed in their sleep ware, or various stages of it, eating eggs, bacon, and toast that had been prepared in large quantities.
The only person present at the table was the guest they were not expected until later: Senator Neil Palmer, Kimberly's high school sweet heart, and husband.
"Senator!" Justin said with a smile and walked over to him.
"Justin." Neil stood up and gave Justin a big hug. "I hope you don't mind me coming early. I was able to leave DC early and thought I would come as soon as I could."
"Of course not." Justin smiled and Jason moved next to him. Neil gave Jason a hug, but as careful not to squeeze to hard as it might hurt Jason.
"Good to see you Jason." Neil said pulling away from Jason and holding him at arm's length. "I hope all is well?"
"Yes." Jason was always shy around Neil, and never knew why. He figured it was his general presence that seemed to command everything around him. Or maybe it was the close relationship that Justin had with Neil.
The other guests around the table were Matt and Lori, and their two children. They smiled at Justin and Jason but turned their attention back to each other. Next to them were Grayson and his boyfriend, Gregory.
Gregory was one of the other doctors as Matt's clinic and was a specialist in cancers in children. He had short cropped black hair, his face was round, and was a bit chubby. He did have a great sense of humor, and compassion. He made Grayson happy, and he knew that no one would replace Cody, but he needed someone.
Next to them was his friend Sharron, who was watching everyone with a smile on her face. She had gotten married, but her husband wouldn't be able to join them until later that evening. Justin slid into the chair next to her.
"Morning." He said pouring himself some orange juice.
"Wood." She said as if he hadn't completed his sentence. They both chuckled. "You have a large family."
"What?" Justin said with his mouth partially full.
She motioned to everyone in the room. "These people love you and Jason. They care about you. You always said you were sad as you did not have a family that supported you. This is your family."
Justin looked at everyone in the room, and smiled to himself. "Yea." He looked down at his eggs, and started to play with his eggs.
"What's wrong?" Sharron asked with concern on her face. "I can read you."
"I just wish my own parents could be here." Justin said with a sigh. "But I don't think that would ever happen."
As they sat in silence the doorbell went off.
"I'll get it!" Jason said jumping up and running towards the front door. "Mr. Leary!" Justin could hear Jason explain in surprise. "Come in!"
Justin stood up and walked into the foyer, and gapped as his father stood there.
"Son." His father said with his usually gruffness.
"Dad?" Justin wasn't sure how to take this. "I didn't think you would come."
"I had to come for my son." He smiled and put down his suitcase. "Your mother was not happy, but I said it was for you, and not for her." He looked at the floor. "I am sorry."
Justin ran to his dad and gave him a big hug. "At least you are here!" He guided his dad into the dining room, and introduced the people to him.
"I am glad you came, dad." Matt said with a grin on his face. "I know this is what Justin wanted and makes all the difference to him."
Jason stood at the front of the table. "Everyone." He waited till all eyes were on him. He typically felt embarrassed when people looked at him, but these were his family. These people were there to support him. He had no fear. "I want to say think you to all that came, and to those that will come." He placed his hands on the table and supported himself. "This day is a special day for Justin and I, and I am glad you all could spend it with us. For those that we have lost, we know they are here in spirit, and watching over us." Jason looked at Grayson with a soft smile.
"Amen." Grayson said with a smile.
Three hours later, Justin sat on the edge of the bed looking at the shoe in his hand. Jason had gone to get his mother and sister from the airport. Neil was sitting in the corner in one of the grey wingback chairs that sat next to the window. He was looking out of the view that overlooked Albuquerque. The house sat up against the mountains and had a view overlooking the city.
"Breathtaking." Neil said absently. "Just. Breathtaking."
"You get used to it." Justin half laughed. He was still looking at the shoe.
Neil turned his attention to his friend. "What's wrong bud?"
Justin shrugged and made a deep sigh. "I am questioning everything. I thought this day would never come. But now here it is."
"Why are you questioning it?" Neil stood up and sat next to Justin. He also turned his attention to the shoe Justin was holding.
"I love him." Justin said. "But I am going against everything I was taught growing up. First it was the idea that I could be happy with a man. Then it was sex with a man. Now..." He stopped short and just tossed the shoe into a pile of other shoes near the closet door.
"Now, you are taking the next step." Neil gave Justin a hug. "I am so proud of you."
Justin returned the hug, and kept his head lying on Neil's chest, feeling it rise and fall with each breath.
"How will this impact your political career?" Justin asked absently.
"It won't." Neil laughed hard, which caused Justin's head to bob up and down. "It has been long enough here in New Mexico that it should be of no concern."
"What about the other states?" Justin rose up and looked at Neil with a portion of fear and happiness.
"The news plays it down of course." Neil clasped his
hands in front of him. "They of course do not want the masses to worry about
what might be coming." He waved his hand. "But that is for another time! We
must think of happy things!" He stood up and pulled Justin up with him. "Five
hours until the big show!"
"Uncle Justin!" A loud squeal came from the door. Justin grinned as he turned to see Cindy running up to him.
"Cindy!" Justin reached out and gave her a big hug. She was going to graduate in the upcoming school year, and was turning into an attractive young woman, which would cause her mother headaches.
Behind Cindy came her mother, with Jason carrying the bags.
"Hi Justin." Lidia said to Justin. "Cindy, let Justin go!" Cindy complied and released Justin from the bear grip she had him in.
"Hi Lidia." Justin said with a grin, and gave her a hug. "How was your flight?"
"It was the best ever. I never knew first class was so entertaining!" She laughed and looked at Jason. "Are you sure we can stay here? We can always get a hotel."
"Nonsense!" Justin said. He turned around and started to walk to the back of the house. "Let me show you to where you are going to stay."
Lidia, Cindy, and Jason followed Justin through the house. He lead them to the back door, and opened it, letting them into the back garden. Here there were a variety of trees planted that provided plenty of shade during the hot summer days. The grass was well manicured, and various flower beds were planted. In the center of the garden was a three tiered water fountain, with an angel atop it.
"My God, Jason." Lidia said with a gasp. "This looks almost like your Grandmothers garden!"
"I tried to get it just right." Jason said with a smile. "It was a place I felt safe, and Justin was kind enough to get it as close as possible. Even had the fountain made."
Justin blushed, but no one noticed as he was heading to the edge of the garden where a small house had been built.
"I hope you don't mind being out here." Justin said as he opened the large French doors that lead to a small living area, with a television. Next to it was a small kitchen with a stove, fridge, and microwave. "Jason thought you two would like to have more privacy then the hooligans that are staying in the house. They can get quite loud."
Lidia stepped in, and looked around. "This is almost as big as our apartment Seattle!"
Jason walked past his mother, and went and put the bags down on the couch. He pointed to two doors that were closed. "The one on the left is your mom, and sis, yours is on the right. Each has a bathroom, since I know you two fight over the one you have at home." He grinned.
"This is amazing dear." Lidia kissed her son on the check. "And Justin, I am glad you take good care of my son."
Justin blushed again, but did not say anything.
"We will let you get settle." Jason said. "He looked over at the kitchen. "If you wish there are some sandwiches in the fridge, or you can make something, or you can come to the main house, or order, or..." He grinned, "Whatever you want."
"Thanks son," Lidia said, "But it is almost time, and we best get dressed." She looked at both the boys. "And you should get ready as well!"
Jason and Justin laughed, and walked out the doors closing them behind them.
"Oh," Justin said, "If I had only picked a different path to walk, I would have had a different life to live."
"If you have picked a different path, you would be miserable and with a female." Justin said grabbing Jason's hand.
They walked back to the house in silence.
"Get ready!" Kimberly said as Justin and Jason walked into the house. She was in a long red evening dress that showed off her body. Her hair was let lose, which swayed with the dress as she walked. Justin always thought she looked like an angel, and no less now, then before.
"We aren't women!" Justin said with a grin. "We can get ready in 10 minutes or less!"
They started to head for the stairs, but Kimberly grabbed Justin. "No you don't."
"What?" Justin looked shocked as Jason kept walking and grinned.
"You are getting dressed in our room!" She shoved him the other direction to the bedroom that sat on the first floor. "You are not seeing each other!"
"I saw him naked this morning!" Justin protested, but let Kimberly push him in the direction of her room.
Neil was standing in front of a mirror adjusting his bowtie. "About time you got in here." He looked at Justin as he was shoved into the room. "I thought Kimberly was going to throw a fit if you did not get in here."
"We still have 2 hours." Justin said. "All the other stuff is being tended to by Matt, so why should I care?"
"Get ready!" Kimberly said. Her eyes glowed, which meant the argument was over.
Justin went over to a suit bag hanging on the closet wall, and unzipped it. Inside was a black tuxedo, with a white button up shirt, and a red vest. He pulled out the items, and laid them on the bed. He started to get undressed.
"So Lidia and Cindy get here okay?" Neil asked turning around.
"Yea. They are getting ready I think." He laughed. "Of course they will need all two hours to get ready I am sure." He pulled off his pants, and tossed them into a pile next to the door. He stood standing in his boxer briefs, which showed off the outline of his dick.
"Are you still feeling conflicted?" Neil asked sitting down on the bed.
"Yea." Justin said. "But I think I am better. Did you feel this way with Kimberly?"
"You bet your gay ass I did." Neil said with a laugh. "I thought this was the worse thing I could do, and that Kimberly would end up leaving me."
"You make too much money for her to leave you." Justin pulled the pants up , and pulled on the white shirt, and started to button them.
"She makes too much for me to leave her." Neil laughed.
Justin tucked the shirt into the pants and buttoned them, making sure the shirt was not scrunched up.
"I sure do look good in a tux." Justin said looking at himself in a mirror.
"No you don't!" Neil stood up and got the suspenders and clipped them to the back of Justin's pants, and helped him get them attached to the front. This was followed by the cummerbund, and the red vest. Neil helped to make sure all was straight and in good order. "Maybe you do."
They both laughed, and grabbed the red bowtie that was still in the bag. Neil worked to get it tied around Justin's neck, and made sure it was straight.
"I never learned to tie a bowtie." Justin remarked. "I know how to tie a tie, but not a bowtie."
"Bowties are cool." Neil said with a grin. "Now all that is left is the jacket."
Justin grabbed the jacket and swung it on. He adjusted it while standing in the mirror, pulling out any uneven spots, and dusting off the shoulders. He stood standing in the mirror looking at himself. Neil came over and put his chin on Justin's shoulder.
"All good things..." Neil said with a smile on his face.
"Come to an end?" Justin asked with a frown.
"Are good things." Neil gave Justin a kiss on the cheek. "Okay. I think it is time to go."
The limo pulled up in front of the LoriTech Industries. There was a large ballroom inside the facility used to host various events, and symposiums. Today it was to be used for something more special, and more meaningful to Matt and Justin. Justin looked out the window, towards the large building. Over the course of the years it had grown, with the newest addition a Cancer Center designed to have the most up to date technology to fight cancer. No one was turned away for inability to pay. It was Matt's greatest accomplishment.
Neil sat next to him and reached for the door handle, but stopped. "Ready?" he asked smiling.
"Yea." Justin surveyed the parking lot and noticed there were already many cars parked. "I never thought this many people would come."
"You have many friends, and many people who want to see you happy." Neil put his hand on Justin's knee. "Plus, you are a friend of a powerful senator." He laughed and opened the door.
The air was warm, and Justin could smell the pinion trees that were planted around the campus. Justin and Neil walked up to the front door, and they slid open. The cool air from the inside rushed out and Justin closed his eyes. This was getting harder the closer he got. He felt his hands get moist, and his throat started to close on him.
"What?" Justin opened his eyes and looked for Neil, who had continued to walk forward. Neil turned around in surprise.
"Come on slow poke!" Neil went back and grabbed Justin's arm, and pulled him into the building. "What's wrong?"
"I..." he slowly followed Neil of to the side towards the ball room. "I thought you told me to `let go'."
"Nope." Neil laughed. "I was walking, and you stopped. Are you sure you are alright? Your hand is clammy."
"Jitters." He smiled and continued to walk towards the ballroom. "I didn't see the other limo. I guess Jason isn't here yet."
"Kimberly will see to it." Neil laughed. "She was not happy that you two slept together this morning. She was going on and on about how you should never see the other person the day of."
"This is not exactly meeting general traditions." Justin laughed. "I mean come on!"
"She gets her way." Neil smiled as they reached the end of the hall with a large double wooded door, marking the entrance to the ball room. "Ready?"
Justin nodded his head, and Neil pushed open the doors, which opened much easier then he thought they would. They stepped inside and saw several people milling about, chatting and doing various other activities. Along the back part of the room were round tables, decorated in a red and purple table clothes. Chairs were arranged so that 10 guest could be seated together. Along the far left wall was a table set up to serve food when the time came. On the far right wall was a set of straight tables, where they would sit when it was over.
Along the ceiling were red and purple draperies hung, to give the appearance of being inside a tent. As his eyes drifted up the ballroom, he saw that the rows of white wooden chairs had been placed, the left side having red ribbons placed on the back chairs, and on the right side purple ribbons. The front two rows were mixed with red and purple. Centered on the chairs were four large canvases of cloth that dropped from the ceiling: on the left red, and on the right purple.
"I think that is where I stand." Neil whispered to Justin. "See you in a bit my friend." Neil hugged Justin, and walked in and started to mingle with the people already there. He of course was in his element: people.
Justin stood taking the view in. It was simple but elegant. As he stood their he felt his pulse raise again, and his throat started to close off.
This time his eyes were open, and no one was standing next to him. He swore he heard someone talk, so he spun around, but just the doors behind him. I'm going crazy, he thought to himself.
"You doing okay bro?" Matt came up to him. "I hope we did a good job."
"Wonderful." Justin smiled.
"You are sweating." Matt took Justin's hand, "And your hand is clammy. Come on let's go sit and talk."
Matt lead him to the side rooms where he would wait, with Grayson and Kimberly. For now it was empty, except for Matt and Justin.
"Sit." Matt pointed to a chair, and Justin sat. He had flash backs to the time in the Bosque where he and Matt had their first talk. The moment he knew Matt was going to be by his side no matter what. And here he was again. Matt took another chair and swung it around and sat down. "Now talk."
"I don't know what is wrong." Justin said, trying to hold back tears. "I feel like the world is closing in on me, and that I am going to be punished for what I am doing."
"Punished?" Matt looked puzzled. "How are you going to be punished?"
"I feel like I am going against everything I was taught. I have been on this path of destruction, and this is the ultimate violation." Justin broke down in tears. "Mom isn't even here."
Matt grabbed Justin and hugged him. "Dad is here! You are such a wonderful person. You have been through some incredible challenges. You are who you are, and there is no going back on that. You could have taken the easy road, and left Jason the moment you found out he was going to be sick for a long time. But you stuck with him. You are not being punished, you are being rewarded."
Justin continued to cry for another ten minutes, and Matt just held him.
The door to the side opened and Grayson and Kimberly walked in. They stopped short as they saw Matt holding Justin.
"Do we need to come back?" Grayson asked, reaching for the door.
"No." Justin smiled, but you could tell he had been crying. "I just needed to let some emotions out. I am fine now."
Kimberly walked over and gave Justin a hug. "I love you." She whispered in his ear.
Grayson took a chair next to Matt. "I think this is awesome."
Grayson was also in a tux similar to Jason's, with the exception that his was a white coat, white pants, and a black shirt with a red vest.
"Jason is in his room on the other side of the ball room." Kimberly said, pulling out a small bag from her purse. "You know how this will work. It will be magnificent." She pulled out a cotton ball, and poured liquid over it, and rubbed it on Justin's face. "Don't want the world to know." She smiled as she stopped and the redness was gone.
"Thanks." Justin said with a faint smile.
The door opened and an usher stuck his head in. "Places." And pulled his head back out.
"I guess I better go take a seat with Lori." Matt said standing up. "All for you kid."
Matt slipped out the door.
"Ready?" Grayson asked standing up and straightening out his tux.
"Ready." Justin smiled.
Grayson stood at the door, with Kimberly behind him, and finally Justin.
The door swung open by the same usher and he stood aside to let the group out. He put out a hand to keep Kimberly from going, and then lowered it, so that she could proceed out the door. Again he put up his hand to keep Justin from leaving, but lowered it at the right interval.
Justin took a deep breath and walked forward.
Across the room Justin saw Jason walk out of his room. He was in a tux just like he was, but with a purple vest. Cindy was walking in front of him with a dress similar to Kimberly, but purple, and in front of her was Jason's best friend Chad, who was dressed similar to Grayson, but with purple vest. They proceeded to walk towards each other, and Neil standing in the center, with his hands crossed in front of him. As Grayson and Cody approached each other, they continued to walk past each other, and took places on the opposite side they had walked in on. Cindy and Kimberly did the same, and so did Jason and Justin.
"Please be seated." Neil said, and waited as people sat and the room was quiet enough to proceed. "One of the greatest honors that I, as a public servant, can do, is to bring to people together in marriage. Justin and Jason: You have decided to take this step, and to show the whole world your commitment to each other. Before I begin, I want to share with everyone a passage from the Old Testament that I find to be appropriate for this occasion. Ruth 1:16-17: "But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me."
Neil paused for a moment, before continuing. "Now, unless someone here can show a just caused for these two to not be married, speak now, and forever hold their peace." He paused for a moment looking around the room, but no one objected. Justin also looked over the room, and smiled as he saw all the people there. His smile dropped as he noticed in the back corner of the seating was Nate. He had a smile on his face and nodded when Justin saw him.
"Are you okay?" Jason whispered when he saw Justin get a frown.
"Yea." Justin turned his attention back to Jason and smiled. "Ghosts."
"Now, each has elected to give their own vows." Neil put
his hand on Jason's shoulder. "You may go first."
"When I was young I was in a dark place. A missionary showed up and gave me some courage and delivered a letter from someone I did not know. All it said was he loved me. I was on the edge of the abyss, and without knowing me; he pulled me from that abyss. Justin: you pulled me from the abyss every day. I will go where you will go, and I will love you for all time. You are my companion, my friend, and my savior." Jason had to hold back, but a few tears feel from his face.
Neil took his hand and put it on Justin's shoulder. "You may go."
"I started to have these dreams after Matt returned home from his mission. There was always this man standing in my room. I could never see his face, but I knew his touch, I knew his voice. It was as if I were connected in some way." Justin turned out towards the audience, and looked at Nate. "I think it was what pushed some of the people I loved away." Kimberly turned her attention to where Justin was looking and saw Nate. She put her hand on Justin's shoulder and squeezed. "I think they thought I did not care about them, and pushed them to do things they were not ready for. Things that we were not ready for." He turned his attention back to Jason, who had a confused look on his face. "But I found you. And it was you that I dreamed of. It was you that I knew, and I found comfort in. The pain and the heartache, lead me to you. Even after we found each other, we faced an unimaginable hardship. I almost lost you. I will not lose you ever again. I will be by your side until that become physically impossible. I will love you no matter what suffering is involved. I will hold you when you are in pain, and I will comfort you when you are in sorrow. You are my rock, and I will cling to you in the storm of life."
Neil lowered his hand, and looked at Kimberly. He coughed a bit, and swallowed hard, trying to gain his composure. "I...uh..." he tried to get out. "I am sorry." He wiped his eyes off. "Being friends with Justin for as long as I have, I do apologize." He stood up straight and took a deep breath. "Who has the rings?" Grayson and Chad reached into their breast pocket and pulled out a book with a ring in it. They held it out for Cindy and Kimberly to take the ring out and then they handed it to Neil. "Take these rings." He handed one to Justin and Jason each. "Now Jason, take Justin's hand, and put the ring on his finger and repeat after me: `With this ring, I thee wed'."
"With this ring, I thee wed." Jason repeated and slid the ring onto Justin's finger.
"Now Justin, take Jason's hand, and put the ring on his finger and repeat after me: `With this ring, I thee wed'."
"With this ring, I thee wed." Justin repeated and slid the ring on Jason's finger.
"Now by the power vested in my by the State of New Mexico, I pronounce you married for the world to see. You may kiss each other, if you so choose." Neil grinned as Justin and Jason embraced each other. "I also invite everyone to stick around for the reception held at the back of the hall, and to honor this new couple."
End of Part 17
Authors Note: When I first started this, I wanted to focus on the challenges that Justin had in his life. What made him who is was. Now, I continue this, but looking back on his life from a much greater distance. I hope you enjoy this edition.
Please continue to email me your comments, suggestion, and other things. Like I have said in the past, I am well aware of the grammatical errors, and the spelling errors. You may reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put Challenges in the Subject line.
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