Construction Days

© by The Lavender Quill, 2002

Warning: the following story contains graphic descriptions of male/male sex between consenting adults. If that sort of thing bothers you, or you are a minor, or it is illegal for you to read this type of content under the laws of your area, don’t read any further.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual people or events is purely coincidental.

Setting: Sacramento, California, 2002.

Chapter 16.

I could feel Robby wilting under the stares of my family. He tried to pull his hand away, but I held on to it.

“Robby,” I said, trying to act as if it was completely normal for me to be holding hands with my boyfriend in front of my family, “This is my mother and father, and these are my brothers, David and John.”

My father recovered first. He stepped up to Robby and held out his hand.

“Please call me Brad,” he said, shaking Robby’s hand.

This act of normalcy seemed to help Robby recover as well. He shook my father’s hand. My mother hesitated only briefly, then stepped forward too. She clasped Robby’s hand with both of hers.

“Sherrie,” she said. “I’m glad you came. I’m sure you must be nervous meeting us. We promise not to bite.”

Robby smiled at her, but said nothing. John, my middle brother, was next up. He gave Robby’s hand a brisk shake. John was the biggest partier of the three of us, and immediately offered Robby a beer. David was last. He was polite but cool. David was my oldest brother, and had always been a perfectionist, and a little aloof.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect. John was still in college. He had switched majors twice, and seemed more interested in partying than studying. He would likely take five years to get his Bachelor’s degree. I knew more about his taste in beer than his opinions on homosexuality. The world was very black and white for John. I was certain he would either completely accept Robby or hate him. There would be no middle ground. David, on the other hand, would likely say nothing. He was married, with one girl, and his wife was pregnant with a second child. He was an attorney. He rarely expressed an opinion on anything, unless it related to the law.

My mother disappeared to finish dinner preparations, and the rest of us chatted amiably, sticking to safe topics, like the weather and the condo project I was working on.

When mom was ready, we moved to the dining room and sat down. My parents sat on the ends of the table, my brothers on one side, and Robby and I on the other. I hooked one foot around his under the table; I could not say for sure whether it was to comfort him or me. I noticed my mother had poured herself only a half a glass of wine, and she hardly touched it as she ate. I was glad to see she was not going to repeat her drunken hissy fit from the last visit.

They politely delved into Robby’s background, asking how he had learned his trade and started his business. To be fair, they treated Robby no different than they did girlfriends that my brothers had brought to dinner before. My father was impressed with Robby’s young business. John confessed to being a bit jealous, and my mother naturally hinted that if he partied less and studied more, perhaps he could have done the same thing, to which he just grinned. David, of course, said nothing.

My mother noted (as I had) that Robby looked far too young to be running his own business, and they all seemed surprised to find that Robby was two years older than I. Somewhat to my embarrassment, my mother said that I had never brought home a boyfriend before, or a girlfriend either for that matter. She asked if Robby had had other girlfriends or boyfriends before. I glanced at Robby and glared at my mother. I thought the question was a little too personal. Mom, however, didn’t seem to ask it to be nasty. This was new territory for her, and she seemed genuinely curious.

“I’ve always known I was attracted to guys,” said Robby. “I was brought up in a very conservative family, though, and had a very hard time accepting it. I’ve had some, well, bad experiences with guys I probably shouldn’t have gone out with. Kevin is the first guy I’ve ever really cared for. The only one that I’ve ever wanted to have a relationship with.”

I was touched, and had to restrain myself from giving him a kiss right there in front of everyone. I didn’t want to push things too far on the first visit. I gave his hand a squeeze under the table.

“Are there wedding plans in the future?” joked John. “Or whatever you call it?”

“‘Commitment ceremony’,” said my mother, almost overly cheerful. “I heard about those at the PFLAG meeting on Wednesday.”

Way to go, mom.

“No,” I said. “We haven’t really talked about that yet. We are planning to move in together in two or three months though.”

“We can’t really afford to do it just yet,” said Robby. “I am trying to figure a way to consolidate some of my loans so that I can afford to do it sooner.”

“Really?!” I turned to him. This was a surprise to me. A pleasant one.

“Don’t get too excited stu—” he stopped himself from calling me stud boy. “Er, Kevin. I’m just looking in to it. So far I haven’t found a way to do it that will make any difference.”

“What’s the big deal?” asked John. “What difference will a couple of months make?”

“Well,” said Robby, “with my situation at home, I don’t get out much.”

“When we were working together, we got to see each other all the time during the day, even if we couldn’t spend much time together afterwards,” I said.

“Now it seems like we only see each other a couple hours a week,” said Robby. “It’s making me crazy. I want to spend the rest of my life with Kevin. Every day we spend apart seems like a year to me.”

“Oh, Robby,” I said. I felt exactly the same way.

Forgetting myself, I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. David’s chair scooted back loudly.

“Good grief!” said David, angrily. “Do they have to do that at the dinner table?”

Oops. Robby blushed deeply. John cracked up laughing.

“Oh come on,” said my father to David. “Sure, we’re not used to seeing two guys like this, but it isn’t really any different than when you’ve brought girlfriends home.”

“Yeah,” said John, still laughing. “You practically deep throated Kathy’s tongue at the table when you had her over and told us you were getting married. Seeing that’s what probably made Kev gay.”

“Jonathan!” said my mother. “We are not here to discuss why Kevin is gay.”

I felt like my family was talking around me, like I was no longer sitting in the same room.

“Why not?” asked David, now getting defensive. “It’s a perfectly valid question, if mister comedian here would get serious for ten seconds. How the hell did Kevin end up gay?”

“Hello,” I said.

They continued to bicker, ignoring me completely. Robby had slunk down in his chair. I was getting annoyed.

My mother has always had a thing for frozen vegetables. You know, the ones you buy in plastic bags in the grocery store. They’re easy, I guess. Just cut open the bag and heat them up. Life is simple. She packs our freezer with them: frozen carrots, green beans, string beans, corn, broccoli. I guess we get a balanced diet that way. Tonight’s frozen vegi-de-jour was peas.

“Hello?” I said once more, loudly.

They still ignored me. I scooped up a couple of peas in my spoon, pulled back with my finger, aimed, and fired. One of the peas smacked David squarely on the cheek, the other going wide. Sure it was childish, but it achieved the desired effect. The conversation stopped instantly. John burst out laughing again, and the rest of them stared at me.

“Stop talking about me as if I wasn’t here,” I said. “I may be the youngest, but at least I was half way courteous when you brought girlfriends over for dinner.”

David opened his mouth as if to say something, then shut it again.

“I’m sorry, Kevin,” said my mother. “I didn’t mean to be rude. Robby, please forgive us.”

“S’okay,” said Robby, glancing at her, then over at me.

I reached under the table and we squeezed hand again briefly. John steered the conversation back to a safe topic by asking Robby what kind of movies he liked, and the rest of the meal went smoothly.

When we were finished, Robby politely volunteered to help my mother clear the dishes, and the rest of us went in to the family room. With Robby safely out of the crossfire, I launched in to David immediately.

“David,” I said. “How did you end up being straight?”

“What kind of question is that? Of course I’m straight.”


“What do you mean, ‘why’?”

“Well, you wanted to know why I ended up gay, so I wanna know why you ended up straight.”

“That’s stupid.”

“You’re the attorney. How is my question any more stupid than yours?”

“Okay, guys, enough,” said my father, cutting us off. “David, nobody really knows why some people are gay.”

“Who cares,” said John. “He just is. Get over it Dave. It isn’t like you never met another gay guy before. You must have run in to gay people when you were in college or law school.”

I was both a little surprised and pleased that my brother John was sticking up for me.

“Well, yeah, I suppose,” said David, a little mulishly.

John and my father seemed to be fully behind me, and my mother seemed to be coming around too. David was the only hold out in the room, and so in his usual fashion, he went silent and sulky.

John considered this a victory, and switched topics. He regaled us with a tale of the older woman that lived in the apartment next to his. The power had gone out for a while the week before, and he had spent half the afternoon reprogramming her TV, VCR, and every other electronic device she owned.

I thought about David, and decided to leave him alone. Like the initial confrontation with my mother, he hadn’t said he hated me, hadn’t said anything unforgivable about Robby. I decided to just leave him alone to work it out. I’d try not to kiss Robby in front of him again, at least for now.

John turned on the television. I wasn’t the least interested, so after a few minutes I went to go find Robby. I walked into the kitchen, and found Robby and my mother washing the dishes that would not go in the dishwasher. I came up behind him and wrapped my arms around his chest, molding myself to his back, and kissed the side of his neck. I wanted to do more, but decided not to be a total slut in front of my mother.

“Hey,” I said.

“You leave him alone,” said my mother, smiling. “He’s being more helpful than the rest of you guys.”

I left my arms wrapped loosely around Robby so that he could continue to dry dishes. “Is she telling you embarrassing stories about my childhood?” I asked Robby.

“Of course,” he said. “I want dirt. She was about to break out the family photo albums.”

I laughed and released him. “There’s a picture of me when I was about five, holding one of Uncle Don’s hammers in both hands like a club. He keeps threatening to blow it up and frame it and hang it in the construction trailer.”

“No,” said Robby. “I want to see the naked baby pictures.” I poked him in the ribs. He smacked me playfully with the dishtowel. “Here. You finish drying. I’m gonna find the bathroom.”

“Up the hall,” said my mother. “Second door on the left.”

I had half a mind to follow him. You know, just to give him a hand. I smiled at the thought, but restrained myself. When Robby left the room, I turned to my mother.

“Sorry, mom. I didn’t mean to set David off. It was just, well, impulsive, I guess.”

“You shouldn’t be sorry, Kevin. Johnny was right. They’ve both brought girlfriends home and kissed in front of us. Daddy and I kiss in front of you sometimes. You ought to feel comfortable doing the same with your… friend.”

“You’re sure?”

“Well, I admit it is a little strange. It isn’t anything I ever expected to see in my house. Our house. But yes. That’s one of the things we talked about in the PFLAG meeting. It might be a bit awkward for me at first. Homosexuality is uncommon, but not as rare as I thought—ten percent, they said. But being left handed is uncommon too, and statistically, about the same percentage. They said we shouldn’t treat our gay children any different than our straight children.”

I finished drying the last pan as my mother let the dishwater drain out of the sink.

“I had a hard time with that, at first,” said my mother. “But when I thought about it I realized they were right, of course. I’ll try to treat you the same as your brothers. It will be strange, at first, but I’ll do my best.”

She fidgeted with her hands for a moment, then hugged me.

“I do love you, Kevin,” she said. “You just shocked me. This was all so, so unexpected. I just didn’t know what to do. I’m still not sure. But I think that PFLAG group will help. Daddy and I plan to keep going to their meetings.”

“Thanks mom. What do you think of Robby?”

“He’s very polite, almost shy. He seems nice, but it’s hard for me to tell. I think he’s on his best behavior tonight, trying to make a good impression.”

“Is it working?” I laughed.

“A little. He seems like he’s trying not to be nervous. Is he afraid of us?”

“Probably. I’ve never met them, but from what he tells me, his parents are very different from you and dad. He’s certain that if he came out to them he’d be thrown out, and I suspect he’s right. He’s older than me, but he owes them quite a bit of money, and he’s dependent on them for a place to live. At least for now. He sees coming out as a disaster.” I shrugged. “He’s probably right.”

“Poor guy. You’re not moving in together just because you feel sorry for him are you?”

“No mom. It isn’t pity. I really love him.”

“I thought you’d say that. I can tell by the way you are with him.” She cocked her head. “It’s different, but in a way it’s the same. David was like that when he started getting serious about Kathy.”

I scowled when she mentioned David. I was mad at his attitude just then, and was reluctant to admit that we had any similarities.

“Don’t look at me like that young man. He’s your brother. You have to get along with him. He’ll come around.”

I hoped so. “Sorry, mom.”

“Shall we go and see how they’re doing?”

“I suppose. Maybe a little of dad’s attitude will rub off on David.”

We started walking back toward the family room.

“Oh, that reminds me,” said my mother. “Daddy is going to try to install motion sensors for the front porch light and the one over the garage in the morning. If you aren’t doing anything, could you come and help him? You know he’s better with taxes than he is with home maintenance.”

She was right. My father and a hammer are a bad match. The thought of him playing with electricity made me nervous.

“Sure, mom,” I said. “Robby’ll be at church with his family tomorrow morning. I’ll come by around nine or ten, okay?”

“Thanks sweetie.”

“Try not to let him hurt himself before I get here.”

I found Robby in the family room with my father and brothers. He was sitting as far from David as he politely could. I didn’t blame him. He smiled when he saw me, and I smiled back. Yep, I loved him alright. Just seeing him made me a little happier than I had been a moment before.

We all chatted amiably for about an hour. David was reserved, but polite. After the outburst at dinner, Robby had looked like he wanted to flee, but he had calmed down and seemed to get along fine with John and my parents.

After a while Robby started giving me a look. A look like he wanted to say something but couldn’t and wanted me to read his mind. It didn’t take a great gift as a mind reader to know that he was ready to leave. The evening had gone okay, and now we needed some time to ourselves. I got up and yawned purposefully.

“Well, thanks for dinner, mom. Robby still has to drive me back to my apartment.”

Robby stood too. “Nice to have met you all.”

He shook hands with everyone again, even David. John winked at me lasciviously. He knew it wasn’t all that late. We made our exit without further incident.

“That went okay, mostly,” I said once we were on the road back to my apartment.

“Except for your older brother.”

“Well you can’t expect a hundred percent support from everyone the first time”

“I know. Actually, it went better than I thought it might. I was pretty worried.”

“Me too,” I admitted. “I was really surprised by John, actually. He really gave David shit for his attitude.”

“Yeah. I didn’t know what to say. He was pretty cool.”

“Yeah.” We rode in silence for a few minutes. I reached for his hand. “I love you Robby. I’m glad we went.” He squeezed my hand. “I think my mom’s coming around. She said it was weird when I kissed you but she would get used to it. She said she would try to treat us the same as my brothers.”

“I can’t believe you did that.”

“I can’t either. I just did. I just got excited when you said we might be able to get a place sooner. I miss you so much when I can’t see you, and when you said you wanted to spend the rest of your life with me, I kinda got all emotional, you know?”

“I shoulda told you about it earlier.”

“We got kinda sidetracked before we left.”

“Yes we did,” said Robby with a leer.

“Just watch the road, you pervert. We’ll be back to my place in a few minutes.”

“Spoilsport,” he laughed. “One reason I hadn’t mentioned the loan consolidation yet is because I don’t know if I can actually make it work. It was just an idea. Every bank I’ve talked to so far has turned me down. I haven’t owned my business long enough to have a track record.”

“It’s a good idea though,” I said. “I never thought of that. God, it would be great if we can get a place sooner. Just thinking about it gives me a hard on.”

“Now who’s a pervert?”

I grinned at him as we pulled in to my parking lot.

He checked for messages on his cell phone while we rode the elevator to my floor. He turned it off and put it away when we walked into my apartment.

“There was a message from Nirasha,” said Robby. “I forgot to ask you if you wanted to go to church with us tomorrow.”

“You’re kidding, right? No offense, Robby, but I don’t think I could stand to listen to your minister without getting pissed off.”

“Not my church, Nirasha’s church. It’s a United Church of Christ church. You’re right. I don’t think I’d ever drag you to my church.”

“Oh. That makes more sense,” I said. “I can’t, though. I already promised my mom I’d help dad wire a couple of motion sensors tomorrow. He’ll probably electrocute himself if I don’t help him. Is that okay? I can call and see if I can do it another time so I can go with you.”

“Don’t worry about it. I know you’re not big on church.”

“I’m not, but I wouldn’t mind going with you and Nirasha sometime if you really want me to.”

“Maybe another time,” said Robby. “I don’t really know if I’ll go again either. I’ve never been to one of those churches. I may not like it any more than you’d like mine.”

“Your parents don’t mind that you’re going to a different church?”

“They aren’t thrilled, but they’ll get over it. As long as I’m going to church. They’d be really pissed if I skipped church entirely.”

“Oh. What time do you have to leave in the morning to meet Nirasha?”

“Around nine,” he said.

I grinned at him. “So what are we gonna do till then?”

He grinned back at me. “I don’t know. I was thinking of trying to find this construction worker I know and ask him if he’d fuck me silly all night.”

“Really?” I asked. “What’s he look like?”

“Brown hair, great body, smooth chest. He’s kind of a pervert, but he makes me wild. I’m getting hard just thinking about him.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. Wanna feel it?”

“For sure!”

I pulled him to me and kissed him. I probed his mouth with my tongue and slid a hand down the front of his pants. He was getting hard alright, and he moaned when I squeezed it. I broke away.

“You must like this guy,” I said, taking his hand and leading him to my bedroom.

“Oh yeah. He’s pretty special. Only one problem, though.”

“What’s that?”

“He keeps coming in his pants before I can get them off him.”

“That’s only cause you’re so fuckin hot,” I said pushing him down on my bed. I kissed him again. He pushed me away.

“If we get out of these clothes now, we won’t have that problem,” he said.

We both did a thirty second striptease, racing to see who could get undressed the fastest. God, he was gorgeous. I grabbed his hand and pulled him back on to the bed with me, twining our naked bodies together, sending a thrilling chill up my spine.

“Tell me again that part about fucking you silly,” I said.

He kissed me. “Oh yeah. He makes me feel so good. It’s incredible.”

I reached for the lube. Who was I to deny him what he wanted?

* * * * *

Before we parted Sunday morning, each going our separate ways, I asked Robby to call me after church. I was curious how he would like it. Church with Nirasha had to be different than church with his parents.

“So how did it go?” I asked when he called.

“It was really weird,” said Robby. He sounded almost subdued.

“Weird? How?”

“Jeez. Everything.” He blew out a breath. “It’s so different from my church.”


“They had a woman minister. A woman!” Like this was something he never heard of.

“Lotsa churches have female ministers,” I said. “Practically everybody these days, except maybe the Catholics.”

“Yeah, I know. But we sure as heck don’t have them at our church. I’ve never actually met one before. It just seemed strange.”

“Lotta people think me being in love with you is strange too.”

“Yeah, maybe,” he said. “The service was weird too.”

I wanted to tease Robby a little, but he sounded so serious. Religion had a much deeper hold on him than me.

“How do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, I, it’s hard to explain. I mean, they had hymns, and read from the Bible, and she had a sermon, and like that. So in a way, it wasn’t all that much different than mine. But in another way, it was like a whole different religion.”

“Like, what, Buddhism or something?”

“It almost seemed that way. I don’t know anything about Buddhists, but it couldn’t have seemed any stranger. It’s hard to believe that my church and Nirasha’s church are both Christian. The UCC church just has this totally different outlook. The woman minister was all talking about a loving God, and unity and harmony of the soul, and Christ’s message of love and stuff. My minister mostly sticks to the Old Testament and retribution and sin.”

He went silent for a minute. I recalled when I had told him I thought it was strange that Pat Robertson and Jesse Jackson were both Christian ministers, despite having vastly different opinions on nearly everything.

“I’ve seen guys argue half the day on a construction site over different interpretations of a blueprint,” I said. “I guess if two people can have different interpretations of a blueprint, different churches can have different interpretations of the Bible.”

“I guess,” Robby mused. “Did you know Nirasha’s UCC church, all the UCC churches, have a mission to reach out to gays and lesbians? Not to try to change them, but to support them. And it isn’t some recent PC fad; they’ve been doing that since way before we were even born.”

“Maybe that’s why Nirasha invited you, you goof.”

“Could be, smart ass. They even walk in the gay parade every year. My minister talks about setting up a protest, to try to win people back from evil and sin. Thankfully it’s mostly talk. He just likes to rouse the membership.”

“That must be a fun service to sit through.”

“Not especially. I used to agree with him, you know.”

I knew. It scared me a little. Poor Robby. That must really mess with his head.

“The trouble is, how do you know who’s right?” said Robby. “I mean, they can’t both be right. Either God loves all his children, gay or straight, or it’s a mortal sin. One of them is wrong. They can’t both be right.”

“That’s the problem,” I said. “If there is a disagreement over how to interpret a blueprint, we can always call the architect or engineer for clarification. We’re all on our own interpreting the Bible.”

“Life would be easier if I had God’s phone number.”

I laughed.

“So, do you think you’ll ever go back with Nirasha again?”

“I don’t know. I have to think about it. I should drag you along. It’d be worth going again just to hear her sing.”

“Nirasha sings?” I asked,

“You have no idea, Kevin. Her voice. It’s beautiful. You should hear their whole church when they sing hymns. It’s amazing! Our church never sounds like that, ever. ‘The diversity of God’s children’s voices’ the woman minister calls it.”

“Sounds great.”

“It was, in a way. I just don’t know what to think about all of it.” He sighed.

“All I know is that I love you Robby. I don’t know much about religion, but I gotta think that if there is a god out there, he can’t think that our love is a bad thing.”

“Yeah, but what if you’re wrong.”

“I have to take the chance,” I said. “I can’t help it. I love you.”

(To be continued.)

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