Chapter 3:

As we're walking up to the door I also notice a teenage boy and girl standing behind the adults, trying to peak around them to check out the gringo their brother has brought home. I smirk and smile to myself. Spanish Inquisition indeed. A.J.'s mother opens the door and stands aside, smiling at us.

"Come in, come in. It's cold out there. A.J. I told you to wear a warmer coat. Maybe now you'll listen to me."

"Yes, Mama, now I'll listen to you; I'm freezing."

We get inside and the door is closed. I'm under inspection from everyone in the room, including the dog, a beautiful tan Labrador. OK, so I love dogs and he's the first one I introduce myself to. Well he was the first to approach me. I get down on one knee and hold my hand out to him, making a fist so he can sniff me and see if I pass. Once he's sure I'm not here to hurt anyone he walks up to me, tail wagging and sniffs my face and then licks it a few times. I rub his neck several times, kind of nuzzling into him. Besides, I've learned that once you have the trust of the family dog, the humans are sometimes easier on you. Mama lets this go on for about five seconds before she's feeling left out.

"Ringo! Leave that man alone." She clucks her tongue loudly and he backs off, sitting down and looking at me, his tail still wagging.

I stand back up and look at the adults, smiling at them. A.J. stands next to me and introduces me to them.

"Mama, Papa, this is Brody. Brody, this is my father, Alejandro and my mother, Regina."

I smile at them and hold my hand out to Alejandro. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Vasquez." We shake hands and I turn to Mama. "Mrs. Vasquez, it's an honor to meet you." She smiles and shakes my hand.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, too. Please, come in and have a seat. Would you like something to drink?"

"No, thank you, I'm still full of iced tea from dinner."

Alejandro looks over at A.J. "You could also introduce your brother and sister to him."

"Oh, yeah. Brody, this is my brother, Javier, and my sister, Angelina. Guys, this is Brody."

I look over at them and smile. "It's nice to meet you, Javier and Angelina."

Angelina just smiles at me and Javier smiles and then reaches over and shakes my hand. I'm guessing Javier to be about 16 or 17 and Angelina to be about 13 or 14.

"Nice to meet you too, Brody."

We shake hands and smile at each other for a second, before Regina breaks it up. She looks at A.J.

"Did you have a nice dinner?"

"It was great. We went to the Outback and had a really good steak and a loaded baked potato."

"Good. Now take your brother and sister upstairs while we talk."


She just gives him that mom look and he does as ordered, giving me an encouraging smile as he leaves the room with his siblings. I watch him for a few seconds, walking up the stairs, mostly because I love watching him walk, but also because he's leaving the room and I'm feeling left swinging in the breeze. I turn back to his parents and smile. Alejandro looks at me.

"Please, take a seat."

"Thank you."

I look at the choices. I'm presented with a couch and 2 chairs. I'm guessing they're gonna have a united front and choose the couch, so I take one of the chairs. I sit down and smile at them while they sit on the couch together. I at least have one supporter; Ringo got to stay, and he's sitting on the floor next to me, looking up at me, his tail still wagging. I rub his head and neck a little and then look at my inquisitors and smile again. Alejandro starts things off.

"You actually look familiar to me for some reason. Where do you work?"

"I work at Pro Rentals over on fourth. If you've ever rented something there, I'm probably the one you dealt with."

He smiles. "That's it. Yeah, I've been in there a few times and you were behind the counter. I knew you looked familiar."

I return his smile. "Actually you do too. You own Vasquez Construction."

He smiles. "Yeah, that's me. So how long have you been there at Pro?"

"Only about a year. I just graduated from school right before I got that job. I went for my bachelor's in project management but couldn't find anything right away. I thought that would be the best place to possibly get connected with someone looking for a beginner project manager."

"You've been in the construction industry before?"

"Yeah, from high school until I went to college; though just as kind of a general laborer; nothing specific. I decided I liked the field but wanted to be involved in the more managerial and technical aspects of it."

He smiles but doesn't get to say much else. Regina fires her first salvo.

"At least you have a good job and a future. What do you see in a twenty-one year old?"

I smile at her. "He's your son; you should know what I see in him. He's smart, funny, inquisitive, very well mannered, respectful of everyone he comes across, has goals in life and is so good natured that he always has a smile on his face. Those are all attributes that you provided him with. And not to embarrass you, but he's beautiful too."

She grins just a little. "He's all those things, but there's still a twelve year age difference between you."

"I know there is, and he and I talked about that a lot tonight. He says he doesn't really care for guys his own age because they're not ready to grow up yet. His words were they act like they're still in middle school. And I've always preferred younger guys. They're not jaded yet. They're more interesting to be around because there's so much to life that's still intriguing to them. I don't want to become one of the jaded older guys who think everyone is out for their own selfish desires, and I really hope he'll give me the chance to see life through his eyes."

"My point is, what could you have in common with him; he's only been out of high school for a little over three years? He has a lot of living to do."

"We discovered tonight that we actually have quite a bit in common. We like the same books, movies, some of the same music, the same sports and share a common interest in the way things work. We both like to see and discuss the technical side of things in everyday life. We spent ten minutes just talking about the support structures of those wind mills he's studying, and how something that looks so thin can support such a heavy load at the top. We even came up with a couple of ways to improve on the design. Once we got past the nervous stage of being on a first date, we talked very easily with each other and I enjoyed spending time with him. But believe me, I really do understand where you're coming from; you want to protect him. I give you my word; I will never hurt him in any way. And I know without the shadow of a doubt that I'll be having this same conversation with my own parents once they find out about him."

"So you're not just after a cute, young guy you can take advantage of and then move on to the next one?"

"Regina, give the man some breathing room."

"No, Alejandro, this is my little boy we're talking about, and I want to know his intentions with him."

I smile at her. "Mrs. Vasquez, I promise I'm not just looking for a one-night stand with him, and I would never just use him and discard him. I even told him tonight that we're going to take things slowly, getting to know each other a lot better before anything serious happens. I'll admit I've had a bit of a crush on him for the last month or so, but I want something meaningful with him because I like him a lot. And I never dreamt in a million years he'd say yes when I finally got the courage to ask him out, but he did, and I won't do anything to make him sorry he did."

Alejandro looks over at Regina again. "Regina, you know I've never really understood the whole guys with guys thing, but I love our son unconditionally, and I know he has a good head on his shoulders. He won't just jump into something unless he's sure about it. You have to let him grow up at some point and make his own decisions. I don't believe we're just being told what he thinks we want to hear; I believe he's being sincere. Please try to cut him some slack. You saw how excited A.J.'s been all day; practically bouncing off the walls, so let him be happy and give them some room."

She looks over at her husband. "I'm just trying to protect our son; I don't want him getting hurt."

"Why are you so sure he's going to get hurt? And even so, he's an adult now and can make his own choices in life."

"Mrs. Vasquez?" She turns to look at me. "I know you don't know me from Adam, and have absolutely no reason to trust what I've said. And not to sound self-serving or arrogant, but I really am a nice guy; I won't hurt him. I promise. And absolutely no disrespect intended, but I won't be intimidated or bullied either. We're still in the middle of our first date and none of us knows what tomorrow brings. Who knows, we might discover that we're not really meant for each other. I sincerely hope that's not the case, but we're kind of jumping the gun here."

"Men sticking up for each other; who would've guessed? I understand and accept what you're saying, but that doesn't make it any easier."

"I know, Mrs. Vasquez, but please believe me when I say I won't do anything to hurt your son; I couldn't if I wanted to. And I didn't want to set foot into this particular mine field, but let me ask you something. Is it just our age difference, or maybe also something to do with your son bringing home a white boy?"

She gives me a sharp look. "I'm not a racist, Mr. Mullins."

"Forgive me; I didn't mean to imply you were. What I'm saying is, are you worried about any fallout he might experience from dating outside of his race? We may not be racist, but there are a lot of them out there. Are you worried he might experience some backlash from friends or peers?"

"I'll admit I've thought about it. And yes, it's not the kind of thing a mother wants for her son; to be talked about behind his back, or worse. And yes, maybe even a little surprised he brought home a `white boy', as you said. It's not that I have any problems with white people; it's just that I don't want him to do things to make his life any harder. You don't experience it because you are white, but I've been watching him get treated differently since he was a baby because he's not. And I don't see that improving by having you on his arm. I'm a mother and I will always try to protect my children from everything I can. It's just between the age and race differences, I see a difficult road ahead. Who would want that for their child?"

I sigh and look at both of them, settling on her. "You're right; I've never experienced being treated differently because of my skin color. I have experienced being treated very differently because of my sexual orientation though; just as he has. We're both stronger because of it however. You know what it's like to be treated a certain way because of your skin color, but I promise you, that's nothing compared to how some people treat gays and lesbians. I can't promise you or convince you that life will be easy for us, or that we won't get talked about, but I can promise you that we're both strong enough to deal with it. Think about it. He's had to deal with both since he came out; and he's made it. I believe he's strong enough to deal with the road ahead."

She grins at me a little. "I'm actually starting to like you a little more; you don't pull any punches and you don't try to suck up too much."

I chuckle a little. "Well I do have to suck up a little; I'm trying to date your son. Admit it though; you had to with his parents too, huh?" I look over at Alejandro and grin.

She laughs. "You don't know the half of it. If you think I'm protective, you should meet his mother."

I laugh. "I have one just like her and you; I know all about it. Rest assured, your son will get to go through this as well when he meets my mother. Like I said, I expect to have the exact same conversation with them soon."

"Are your parent's racist at all?"

"No, not at all. But she'll have the same doubt as you. I guess it's something about being a mother."

She grins again. "We're just very protective of our young. As a man, gay or not, you'll never understand it, so don't worry about it; just accept it."

"I already have." I smile at her.

"Maybe you can convince my son to do the same; he fights me at every turn."

I smile. "Give him time; he'll figure it out. My acceptance of it wasn't too long ago. Men are sometimes slow on the uptake. So does that mean I'm being given the chance and time to convince him?" I smile at her.

She grins again. "You're not too slow. But yeah, I'll back off and give this a chance. Even though a mother wants to protect her children, her greatest wish is that they're happy and healthy. He's been very happy all day, and I want that to continue."

I smile at her. "Thanks. I'll do everything I can to see that he remains happy. You really do have my word of honor that I'll never do anything to hurt him, Mrs. Vasquez."

"See that you keep your word, Brody. And please, call me, Regina. I get the feeling we're going to be seeing a lot of each other; we might as well be on a first name basis."

"Thank you for that. Sincerely."

"You're welcome." She looks at her watch. "I guess you two had better get to your movie."

I look at my watch; it's 8:40. "Yeah, I guess we should."

I stand up, them standing as well, along with Ringo, tail still wagging. I reach across and shake hands with her, smiling at her. I then reach over and shake hands with Alejandro, both of us grinning at each other; he shaking his head a little. I look at both of them.

"It was very nice getting to meet you. I'm looking forward to less stressful future meetings."

They both laugh. Regina turns towards the stairs, grinning.

"Alejandro Joaquim, come off the stairs and put your winter coat on." She turns to me, grinning. "He thinks I don't know he does that. He's been doing it since he was three. Give me a break."

We all laugh and I turn towards the stairs to watch. He looks like the sexy, cute prince he is, but also trying to play it off that he hasn't been listening to everything.

"You guys are finally done interrogating him?"

Regina just looks at him. "You know full well we are; you've been listening the whole time. And it was not an interrogation. Now put your warm coat on; it's very cold outside."

"Yes, Mama."

He walks over to the entry closet to get his coat. Regina looks back to the stairs and grins again.

"Javier Michael, Angelina Marisol, you may as well come off the stairs too. Why you three think I don't know what goes around here is beyond me. Javier, you need to take Ringo outside to do his business. Angelina, I'm still waiting for the kitchen to be finished. Do you both have your homework done? You could've been doing that instead of eavesdropping on something that's none of your business. Javier, wear your winter coat; it's cold outside and I don't need you catching a cold. Angelina, use hot water this time; it works much better."

Now I know why A.J. is so respectful; he'd never survive here otherwise. I start thinking back to when I was growing up. At the time, I thought my own mother was a task master, but she's got nothing on this woman. I look over at A.J. and smile. Even bundled up like Charlie Brown he's still every bit as cute and sexy. I pull my own coat back on and walk over to him, smiling.

"Are you ready to venture back into the cold?"

He grins. "Definitely. Let's go." He walks over to his mother and kisses her cheek and smiles at her. "Thanks, Mama. I knew you'd like him; hopefully as much as I do someday. I'll be home by 11:30."

She smiles at him. "He made points tonight, but don't put the cart before the horse yet. Have a nice time and enjoy your movie. See you at 11:30."

She looks at me. "Drive carefully and enjoy your movie." She turns to go stand guard over Angelina in the kitchen.

Alejandro walks over to me and holds his hand out. "It was nice meeting you, Brody. I hope you have a good time at the movie. And I'm pretty sure the next time we meet will be much less stressful for you."

We shake hands and I smile at him. "I hope so; I was beginning to question my survival there for a minute or two."

He and A.J. laugh. "Well you're not out of the woods yet, if I know her, but you came a lot farther than I thought you would. She's right though; I like you because you don't try to B.S. your way out of things; you tell it like it is. But don't think I'm not every bit as protective as she is. Don't hurt him."

"I won't."

He smiles and we shake hands again. A.J. grabs my arms, says bye to his father and opens the front door, dragging me outside to the car. He lets go of my arm and walks around to the passenger side while I'm getting behind the wheel. Once I have the car started he looks over at me and smiles.

"I'm so sorry about all of that, Brody. I knew it would be rough, but I didn't really expect all of that."

I return his smile. "Don't worry about it. I survived to try it again the next time I see them."

He laughs. "That's good. I really hoped you would. I knew you would. I don't know why, since we just met, but I have a good gut feeling about you. I know in my heart that things are only going to get better for us."

I smile at him, kind of melting at the same time. "I know what you mean; I have that same gut feeling about you. I'm really looking forward to the future with you, A.J. I hope it's a long one."

He smiles big. "Me too. Now drive; let's get outta here before she comes outside to see what we're doing."

I laugh and put the car in gear, turning on the headlights and wipers. I look at the house right before I pull away. She's standing near a window, watching us. Why am I not surprised?

The movie was great; we both laughed our asses off for the better part of most of it. I'd read a few reviews of it and really didn't hold out much hope, but it was good. Probably better because of the man next to me, who 10 minutes into the movie, reached over and took my hand and interlocked our fingers, and then held it in his for the rest of the movie. We'd squeeze each other's hand from time to time and then grin at each other. When the movie was over we both headed to the restroom to relieve our bladders. And even though I really wanted to in the back of my head, I was a good boy and didn't stand next to him to check out the goods while we were pissing. Yes, I told him we're taking it slowly, and I really do want to, but I also have to admit I think he's about the sexiest guy I've laid eyes on and I'm curious about all of him. I want to see him standing at the foot of my bed someday, wearing nothing but a smile and letting me take in all that is him. In the meantime, I'm happy with getting to see him at all; I was worried there for a while earlier.

We finish up in the restroom and head outside to the car. It's still snowing lightly and the parking lot is pretty well deserted. I follow him around to the passenger side and then touch his shoulder. He looks at me and smiles. I reach out and pull him into my arms, holding him, feeling him against me for the first time. I melt into him and just hold the embrace. I finally pull back and reach up to his face, taking it in my hands. I lean forward and our lips meet for the second time. He wraps his arms back around me and kisses me back; holding it until we start to run out of air. No tonsil wars and no tongue, just a really, deep passionate kiss. I still have his face in my hands as I pull back and I smile at him.

"That was incredible. I've been waiting all night to do that."

He smiles. "It was incredible. But we already kissed once tonight; you've forgotten already?"

"No, not at all; I'll never forget my first kiss with you. I meant holding you. I so wanted to feel you in my arms and I couldn't wait any longer."

He blushes and smiles. "I can't believe how incredibly romantic and adorable you are. If everyone knew how sweet you are, I'd have to fight them off with a stick to get to you, and I would too."

I grin. "Well I'd be fighting my way to you too. And if you keep calling me adorable, I'm gonna start feeling like Ringo Jr." I wink at him and he giggles.

"Well you are; I can't help saying it. You'll just have to learn to like it. I'll even scratch you behind the ears if you'd like."

"Deal. I'll even shake my leg while you do."

He laughs. "Good, then I know I'm doing it right."

He blushes again and then leans forward, kissing me again while we wrap our arms around each other. I feel his tongue touch my lips and I open my mouth to let him in. He meets my tongue and we pull tighter against each other, moaning into the kiss. I know I'm getting really turned on at this point and I suddenly feel him against me, letting me know he is too. We hold the kiss for a few more seconds, still moaning a little and then pull back, our arms still around each other. I smile at him.

"Wow. You don't realize how good you are at that."

He giggles and blushes. "I started to figure it out when I felt you getting hard against me."

I grin. "Then we're both good at it, `cause I felt you getting hard against me, and it just encouraged him to get harder."

He grins. "I noticed that too."

"I guess we should get in the car and I'll take you home. We don't need the police out looking for us and finding us grinding on each other in the parking lot."

He giggles. "No doubt. I was really enjoying that though and don't really wanna stop."

I smile. "I don't either, believe me, but we probably should. We agreed to be good boys."

"I know... I don't wanna be a good boy right now though; I wanna see what else I can feel while kissing you."

I reach up and touch his face again, smiling at him. "I know; me too. I really do, but we need to be good for a while longer. It'll happen, but just not tonight. We promised to take it easy and we have to keep our promises to each other."

He sighs and smiles. "I know... And yeah, you're right; we need to always keep our promises to each other." He sighs again. "You're doing amazing things to me just holding me, I hope you know."

"I can guess, `cause you're doing the same amazing things to me by holding me. You feel sooooo good in my arms."

He smiles and sighs again. "I feel so many things right now, Brody, and horny isn't even in the top ten. Honestly, I'm a little scared; I've never felt something like this so fast before." He pauses and sighs again. "I could so easily fall for you." He looks at my chest.

I reach under his chin and turn his face to me again. I smile. "I'm not very far away from falling for you too. And yeah, it's a little scary happening so fast. But let's do this the right way and take our time. I want something with you that will last forever, not just flash brightly and then possibly burn out in a month because we rushed into things. Do you get what I'm saying?"

He smiles. "Yeah, I do. See, you're being sweet and adorable again, Ringo." He grins and I laugh. "I now you're right and I do want something that will last forever, so I agree with ya. I guess we should get going before we freeze together and we have no choice." He grins again.

"You got it, beautiful."

He blushes and smiles. "Beautiful, huh? And you think adorable is embarrassing?"

I smirk and grin. "I see your point. So I guess you'll have to accept that you're beautiful and I'll accept that I'm adorable. Does that work for ya?"

He laughs. "Better."

I lean down and kiss him again, just staying for a few seconds. I break the kiss and smile at him.

"Let's go; it's cold out here and I'm starting to lose the feeling in my toes."

He giggles. "Mine went numb already. Let's go, sexy."

I grin and kiss his nose and then break the hug and open his door for him. He smiles at me and gets in the car. I close the door and walk around, getting in and starting it up. I grin at him and then put on my seatbelt and watch him do the same. We pull out of the parking lot and head back to his house. I don't know if I'm expected to go a second round tonight with his mother, but I do plan on walking him to his door.

When we pull up out front, I turn the lights and car off and turn to smile at him.

"Home safe and sound; I get to live another day."

He laughs. "One day at a time, I guess."

"The only way it can be done." I reach over and touch his hand, resting mine over it. "Thank you for tonight. Thank you for saying yes. Thank you for the best kisses and hug of my life."

He smiles shyly. "Thank you for asking; I had no choice but to say yes. And thank you for dinner and the movie; I loved both of them. I don't suppose you're free again tomorrow night, are you?" He grins. "I'm asking you out, by the way."

I smile big. "How could I say no? I would love to go out with you; name the time and place."

"Tomorrow night, seven p.m. again. I don't know the place yet, but I'll call you tomorrow and give you the details when I know `em. Well and probably call you just to hear your voice too."

"If I don't call you first for the same reason. It's a date."

We smile at each other again and I squeeze his hand. I reach down and unbuckle mine and his seatbelts and then open my door and get out of the car. He grins at me and gets out too, meeting me on the passenger side. I just smile at him and walk towards his front door, him walking next to me. We stop at the door and he looks at me and smiles shyly again.

"You're being very gallant and adorable again."

"Maybe." I grin. "I see it as walking my beautiful date to his front door to make sure he gets in safely. Well and I really don't wanna say goodnight anytime soon, but I figure if I'm outside freezing to death I'll be forced to at some point."

He giggles. "You are so sweet. Well and funny too. Nobody makes me laugh like you do. I don't wanna say goodnight yet either, but you know now that we're standing here I'll have to or we'll have company soon."

"I know... It's okay though; I'll see you again soon and that makes it bearable. Get a good night's sleep and have sweet dreams. Call me when you can tomorrow."

"I will have sweet dreams; all of them of you. Please call me when you get home so I know you made it; I'll worry all night if you don't."

"I will. Don't worry though; I don't live very far away. I will call though." I sigh and smile at him. "Goodnight, sweet prince."

He blushes and smiles shyly. "Goodnight, gallant knight."

I lean forward and give him a very quick kiss on the lips and then turn and walk back to my car, getting in and starting it up. I look over at his door and he's still there, watching me and smiling. He waves and then goes inside. I put the car in gear and pull out, heading home.