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Thanksgiving morning I was woken up by two six-year olds jumping on the futon.
"Uncle T, Grandma Wallace says you gots to get up now. It's time to get this day started." Josh yelled.
Stephen got down in my face, "C'mon Uncle T, time to get going. Breakfast is ready. Get the lead out."
"Okay, I'm awake. If I catch you two, I will tickle you into next week."
They giggled and jumped off the bed. "You can go tell Uncle M, that I need his help for a minute. And tell Grandma, the lead is out, thank you very much."
Both boys dashed into the living room, hell bent for election. I could hear them deliver my messages.
"Grandma Wallace, Uncle Tony says the lead is out thank you very much" The twins yelled in unison. "Uncle M, Uncle T says he needs you."
"You needed something Hon?" Marcus chuckled.
"Yeah I need to get a kiss and a hug from my boyfriend before I start this day. I really hope there is coffee made before I get out there."
Marcus leaned over the futon to give me a kiss; I grabbed him and pulled him down onto the mattress. I started to snuggle up against him.
"Oh no, you don't. I have too much to do this morning. You are not going to get me snuggled back in with you. You need to get your ass out of bed and run interference with the twins. Your Mom and I already have things cooking for the meal. So, little boy, it's time to get going. The boys are raring to go. I think a couple hours at the park playing with Uncle T is just the ticket this morning."
"But, it's cold out there. And it's so nice and comfy snuggling with you. Can't I just get five more minutes?"
"I know you too well. Five minutes turns into half an hour and the next thing I know you'll be trying to start things I can't finish right now. So quit being a brat and get moving right now."
"But Hon, I just want to show you how thankful I am that I have the most awesomest boyfriend ever."
"Anthony Michael Wallace, don't make me come in there and get you. I believe you were told breakfast is ready. Let's go." Mom knocked on the office door.
"See, I told you, time to get going. I promise if you are good all day. I will make sure you get rewarded tonight."
"I'm going to hold you to that."
"Anthony, don't make me send the twins back in... Breakfast is getting cold."
"I'm coming Mom. There better be breakfast bake left for me."
"If there isn't it's your own fault, you wouldn't get up with everyone else."
I walked out into the living room from the office. The twins were sitting at the table eating away. Dad was drinking coffee and reading the paper. I poured myself some coffee and took a seat at the table. Just as I suspected there was still tons of breakfast left. Mom's casserole of eggs, sausage, and cheese topped with hash browns was one of my favorite meals. That made it definitely feel like a holiday.
"Grandma Wallace, you must be one of the bestest cooks ever. This is yummy."
"Yeah, you gots to teach Mommy how to make this, it's the yummiest ever."
"Thank you boys, you are the sweetest things."
"Uncle T, after breakfast we is going to play outside at the park with you." Josh grinned.
"I heard that, sounds awesome."
I whispered to both boys. "Tell me the rules quick so Uncle M doesn't get all serious on us."
Both boys whispered loudly back everything they had been taught. Mom just beamed at me, and Marcus gave me a wink and a smile.
"Wow, you guys are the smartest boys I ever met. What are you going to play when you get to the park?"
"Well, I think Uncle T is going to push us on the swings and then we are going to throw the baseball and then we are playing Frisbee and then we are walking over to see the stream." Stephen explained.
Well, Uncle Tony, you had best eat up. Sounds like a very busy morning." Mom smiled.
The twins and I had a great time at the park. They were pistols and so much fun to be around. While we were playing, I could see our guests start to arrive.
We walked along the stream, and Stephen slipped on a rock. He would have fallen head first into the water if I haven't grabbed his hand quickly. Fortunately, the only part of him that got wet was one foot.
"I'm sorry Uncle Tony. I got my sneaker all wet. Look it's all squishy." He giggled.
"Okay boys, I think we should head upstairs, get your foot dried off, and say hello to everyone. I know I saw Grandpa Taylor climbing the stairs. Let's go."
The boys dashed up the stairs and then knocked on the door before I could get there. When Marcus's Dad answered the door, the boys jumped into his arms.
"There are my two favorite grandsons. Did you guys have fun at the park? "
"Of course, Uncle T is awesome." "Yeah he is the bestest."
"Oops, somebody has a wet foot."
"I almost falled in the stream. Uncle T grabbed me just in time. I need to go change my shoes, Grandpa." Stephen dashed into the bedroom.
"Hello Tony." Marcus's Dad put his arm around me. "I want you to meet Carolyn's son and his husband. David and Greg, this is Tony, the newest member of our family. Actually, he and Marcus are our hosts today."
I desperately tried to keep a surprised look off my face, but I could see Marcus was just as surprised at his father's introduction as I was.
"It's very nice to meet you both, and welcome to our home."
"Thank you, it's a lovely place. I understand you are a teacher. I teach high school chemistry and my husband is a principal in another district." David said.
"My Dad teaches high school, also. My specialty is speech and language pathology. I actually work in all four buildings in my district. I also facilitate a peer education group that I'm very excited about. May I get you gentlemen something to drink?"
"A glass of white wine would be nice."
"Certainly, dry or sweet?"
"Do you have Moscato? It's my husband's favorite." Greg chimed in.
"Perfect, it's my boyfriend's favorite also; coming right up."
At the risk of sounding a little catty, Carolyn's son and his husband looked like Ken dolls. It was though they both came off the pages of a fashion magazine. Where Marcus was very handsome, they were almost unreal looking. Blonde hair and blue eyes, perfect gym bodies and preppy outfits, it was difficult to find a flaw. On the other hand, they also seemed just a little full of themselves. I was glad there was a full house; I found it difficult to carry on a conversation with the two of them, it just felt so forced.
I was delivering another round of drinks to David and Greg, when the rest of Marcus's family arrived. Nick, Jessica, and Mallory showed first and then both Jamie and Sarah appeared. Since Sarah was supposed to be home on bed rest, I was surprised to see her. While the whole family crowded around her, I coaxed her to the recliner. After everyone said hello and made sure she was doing okay, I brought over a pillow.
"You are supposed to be taking it easy young lady." I scolded her. "But, I am so happy you decided to come for Thanksgiving dinner. Promise me you will let us pamper you. I mean if you want anything, I will happily be your waiter for the day."
"Tony, you're sweet, but that's what husbands are for; Jamie has gone to get me some water already. Don't worry; I plan on resting for the next few days. Jamie says you and Marcus are kidnapping my sons until Saturday."
"Actually, it's my Mom's idea. She already loves them to pieces. I can see it now, the pressure for Marcus and I to have kids is definitely going to increase now that she's had a taste of being Grandma Wallace."
Sarah burst out laughing. "Now you will feel what we breeders go through."
"Oh my God, I have never heard anyone call themselves that. I mean we homos might use the term but that is hysterical."
"Right now, I feel like a breeder. Did you notice how big I've gotten just in the last three weeks? I'm going to be the size of an elephant before I'm done."
"Don't listen to my wife; she's not any bigger than the last time. We really do appreciate you taking the boys for a few days. Maybe my wife will relax without the monsters under her feet." Jamie said.
"It will be fun. Plus, my parents will love every minute of it."
Another knock on the door, Keith was standing there with Hunter and Danni.
"We decided to crash dinner. I hope you guys don't mind. My sister changed plans and isn't doing her turkey until Saturday when her in-laws arrive." Danni explained.
"Come in. We didn't expect the Diva and the Director until later, but this is even better. Let me find my parents. I will be right back. Just hang your coats in the closet."
I pulled Mom and Dad over to the door. "Mom and Dad, this is Danni, Hunter, and Keith. Danni and Hunter are up from New York City for a few days. They are working on a touring production together. Danni is the lead and Hunter is the musical director. And this is Keith. He's the master's student Marcus was telling you about.
"Guys these are my parents, Betty and Sam Wallace."
As I expected, Danni and my mother hit it off immediately. Before I could stop it, Mom was regaling him and Hunter with stories of my childhood. I could hear all three of them laughing. Dad and Keith started talking about Keith's plans and his desire to be a teacher. I loved that my parents fit right in with my friends.
"Okay, everyone, dinner is almost ready. Betty, I need to steal you for a couple of minutes and then we can feed this crew."
"Can I help with anything, Hon?"
"Yes, now that there are two more for dinner, pull out the table and chairs from the hall closet. We might as well set up another table now instead of just for dessert. That way everyone will have a place to sit. Although, I think Sarah should stay where she is. Just tighten up the living room furniture and you should be able to add the table to the main one. I'm setting the food up on the island in the kitchen."
"Okay, I'll get Keith to help."
Dinner was the loudest Thanksgiving I had ever experienced. But for me, it was the most incredible day. Everyone was having a wonderful time, the food was just perfect. At one point, I looked at Marcus and smiled. It was just a special moment. I came really close to pulling out the ring during dinner and proposing. For some reason, I hesitated. I think it would have been a good time, but it didn't feel perfect. However, that ring was definitely wearing a hole in my pocket Thanksgiving Day.
Our other guests arrived for dessert. I introduced Jon and James, Scott, Justin and his son Tommy, and Sarah to my parents also. Of course, Dad was thrilled to see Jen. Eventually, dessert was finished and everyone sat back and chatted. Our guests had managed to eat four pies, a cheesecake, and a tray full of Mom's pumpkin bars. Personally, I had two pumpkin bars myself.
The adults chatted away while the kids sat on the floor and started playing Sorry. Tommy and the twins were in the same first grade class. The three boys tried to help Mallory play, but she really didn't care and walked away.
"Daddy Scott, can you play with us so there will be four players?" Tommy pleaded.
The thought of Scott being called Daddy caused me to do a double take. I had a seriously hard time wrapping my brain around it. But sure enough he got down on the floor and started playing with the three boys. He saw me staring at him and gave me a grin.
"Daddy Scott, well I can honestly say I never thought I'd see the day. I'm impressed and a little shocked." I chuckled.
"Well, don't be too surprised. It's not that hard to believe is it?"
"Hello, this is Tony you're talking to... Remember how you used to talk to me. You and I were definitely not best buddies. Frankly, I thought you were Mr. Miserable all the time. I guess it was just me."
"Yeah, I was a pain in the... but it's all good now."
We both burst out laughing.
A short time later, Jon pulled me aside.
"I just wanted to let you know James is moving in with me this weekend. We have about half the city police force helping with the move. I hope you and Marcus will come for dinner soon. Thanks Tony, you have become an incredible friend. I never would have guessed the confused young man, who couldn't even introduce himself the first time he came to my office, would turn into such a great friend and an amazing person. "
"Thanks, I could never have gotten here without you and that man over there. I'm so excited for you. If you do need extra hands call. My parents are going home Saturday morning so we are available the rest of the weekend."
"Thanks, but we should have more help than we need. I do think we need to go. I know my boyfriend will overdo it during the move, so I think I'm going to take him home and make him relax. Thanks for dessert and everything."
"Marcus," I yelled over the din. "Jon and James are saying good night."
Marcus walked over to the door with their coats. "Jon, James was just telling me about the move this weekend..."
"Your boyfriend already offered to help, but like I told him... I think half the police force will be there to help. Thank you for the lovely evening. I'm sure we will have you guys over soon."
Most of our guests were heading out, at that point. Justin and Scott, who was carrying Tommy, Jen, Sarah, Danni, and Hunter said goodnight, and then the Taylor family started to depart.
Marcus's Dad and his girlfriend left together. Then her son offered to give Keith a ride home. Nick and his family, and then Jamie and Sarah were loaded up with leftovers. The twins were bouncing off walls when they found out their sleep over was going to last until Saturday. After everyone was gone, the twins crashed and we cleaned up the kitchen.
"Marcus, your family is the nicest. Your two brothers are great and their wives are very sweet. I had a really nice time visiting with your Dad, too." Mom spoke while she started packaging up the end of the leftovers. "Thanksgiving was a rousing success."
"Thanks, but I could never have done it without your help Betty. But, you need to stop what you're doing. Your son and I will clean up. You've done enough. Go sit down. You and I have some cooking to do tomorrow. You need to relax. You are still a guest in our house. Please let us do this."
When Marcus and I got the rest of dinner cleaned up and the food all put away, Marcus pulled me in for a kiss. We were still in the kitchen when we started talking.
"You were very good today. I guess I owe you a reward later tonight, little boy. It's a good thing we set the boys tent up in the bedroom."
"Can I ask you a question?" I lowered my voice, "I know I can be very clueless sometimes, but I got the impression Carolyn's son and his husband were really very intent on giving Keith a ride home. Am I reading more into that than there is?"
"Actually, I'm surprised you noticed. They were very subtle; I thought I was just about the only one who saw what was going on. Although, I think Danni and Hunter were clued in also. What do you think of that?"
"I don't know. Is that something you would want to do? I never did a threesome. It just never came up. Have you and do you want to do it again?"
"Honestly, Babe, I did it when I was with Adrian. At the time, I thought I needed to do it to keep him. I have to admit the sex was pretty hot. But I was miserable because of all the bullshit Adrian put me through. I suppose if both members of a couple are into it, it can be a good time. Why is it something you want to do?
"Actually, I don't think so. Is that okay? I wasn't very good at casual sex; plus I'm the king of over thinking things. It would be difficult for me to see you with someone else, I'm not sure I would handle it well. I hope you aren't disappointed. I mean I would try it if you really wanted, but it's not something I feel I missed out on. Does that make sense?"
"Perfect sense, I'm not the least bit surprised. I remember your reactions to 'hooking up' at conferences. The thought of a threesome with you never entered my mind. I was sure you wouldn't want to try it. I know it can be fun, but probably not for you."
"Okay, I guess. I hope you aren't too disappointed in me." I felt a little put off by his attitude. I wasn't really sure what he meant by the 'not for you' comment.
He looked as though he was reading my mind.
"Don't over think what I said. You forget that you told me absolutely everything. I didn't mean I wouldn't want to do it with you. I meant I was pretty sure what your reaction would be; the stress it would cause you makes me not even want to try. Shit, that didn't come out right either... Babe, I told you before. You completely satisfy me. I would never put you in a position that would be uncomfortable for you. I was sure it wouldn't work for you so it doesn't work for me. End of story... stop stewing."
I tried to put it out of my mind, but there was still some lingering doubt.
"I love you Babe, stop what you're thinking this minute. Hey I've got a way to take your mind off this..." He wrapped me in his arms. "I have a feeling you are about to get very lucky."
We walked from the kitchen towards the office. My parents were asleep on the couch, Mom's head resting on Dad's shoulder, and the boys were dreaming on the love seat. Marcus and I got the boys settled into their sleeping bags; they never even stirred when we moved them. We also woke Mom and Dad so they could go to bed.
Thank God we had the foresight to put the twins' tent up in the bedroom. Marcus started ripping my clothes off, he seemed fired up. Even though we tried to be very quiet, Marcus was very enthusiastic. After a wild finish, I snuggled into Marcus.
"I must have been a very good boy today. I got my reward just like you promised."
"Oh I think you were. But your reward is just beginning, if you can keep quiet for another round."
"Where's the duct tape? I'm not sure I can keep quiet without help."
"Oh I don't think you'll want duct tape... "
The next morning, I was roused by the twins again. This time someone had taught them how to do a "wet willy" and they were practicing on my ears. I feigned sleep for a few seconds, and managed to grab them both before they could get away.
"Okay, who taught you how to give out 'wet willies'? And then told you to practice on me?"
They giggled and squirmed to get away.
"You aren't going anywhere until I get an answer. Was it Uncle M?"
"Nope," Stephen said.
"Nope, one more guess and three strikes and you are out, Uncle T." Josh screamed and laughed.
"Well, you just wait until I talk to Grandpa Wallace... He's in a peck of trouble now."
"Nope, you struck out Uncle T. Grandpa Taylor is here. It was all his idea." Stephen kept on giggling.
"Okay, you little monsters I will get you when you least expect it. You better watch out."
The boys dashed away as soon as I let go.
"We did it Grandpa Taylor. You was right he never did guess you." The boys yelled in unison.
I threw my robe on and walked out into the living room. My parents were chatting with Marcus's Dad at the dining room table.
"Well I see what you mean by liking to sleep in, was he like this growing up too?"
"Excuse me, I don't mean to be rude but I really don't think eight thirty in the morning is sleeping in. I would like the record to show I haven't had any coffee yet and I'm still able to converse."
"Well George, when he was in high school, I think we rarely saw him before noon on the weekend." Mom said, "Unless, of course, he had a baseball game to play."
"So, Mr. Taylor, what do we owe the pleasure of your company this morning?"
"Tony, I thought we got past the Mr. Taylor thing. You need to call me George, please. I actually have a favor to ask you guys. Carolyn's son and his husband are staying until Sunday, so I was hoping you would join us for dinner Saturday night. I know its short notice but I need a buffer zone. I just seem to have the hardest time carrying on a conversation with those two. I don't know if it's just me or what."
"Well Dad, it's not just you don't worry about it. What do you think Babe?"
"Sure, why not? We can try to turn on the charm for one night. Just let us know where and when. But, George you could have called to ask us to dinner. What else is going on?"
"Well, Carolyn is a little upset with her son right now and I needed to escape from the yelling. I guess they didn't get in this morning until just a couple of hours ago. Carolyn was very worried, but now she's just angry. I'm not sure what's going on but there was no reason to continue to listen to the fight."
Marcus and I shared a knowing look. Marcus also started to chuckle a little bit.
"It seems you know something I don't, and I would just as soon keep it that way. In any case, I appreciate you joining us tomorrow night. I will call you in the morning with the details. And Tony, I really am happy you are a part of my family. Now I would love to take you all out for breakfast."
"But, Grandpa Taylor, Grandma Wallace was going to make chocolate chip pancakes. She is the bestest cook... You doesn't want to miss her pancakes." Stephen put his hand on his hip.
"Can I have mine without the chocolate chips? I'm not sure my diet includes chocolate chips in pancakes."
Mom smiled. "Of course you can, the chocolate chips don't get added till after they are on the griddle. I was just about to get started. Join us for breakfast."
"Yeah Grandpa, you can sit next to me. Uncle T you needs to sit on this side." Josh said.
"No fair, Grandpa needs to sit next to me." Stephen insisted.
"Okay boys, here's the plan. Why don't you let Grandpa Taylor sit at the end of the table? You can sit on either side of him. Uncle M and I will sit next to you. That way everybody is happy." I suggested.
"Uncle T, are we going to the park again today?" Josh asked while staring at me with those big brown eyes.
"I thought maybe we could go to the arcade, but only after you guys eat a good breakfast and promise me you will remember all the rules."
"Oh boy, the arcade. This is the most awesomest sleep over ever." "Yeah, Uncle T, this is so cool." "Grandpa Taylor and Grandpa Wallace, yous guys should come too." "Grandma Wallace and Uncle M, you too."
Marcus looked a little disappointed. "Well, boys Grandma Wallace and I have some stuff to do already. Maybe next time I can go."
"Actually, I think our stuff can wait until later today." Mom put her hand on Marcus's arm. "Go with the boys, we can cook up a storm this afternoon when you get back. Sam and I can go to the mall for a couple of things while you are at the arcade. I'm in the mood to find a new dress."
"Sounds like a great plan. What about you Grandpa Taylor?" Marcus beamed.
"I'd love to, but Carolyn and I are taking David and Greg to a show this afternoon. My escape is short-lived."
"Well boys, it looks like me and Uncle M are going to kick your butts on the race car today." I smiled. "Now eat up those chocolate chip pancakes. I think I'm going to go take a shower before I eat."
Everyone ate their fill. Marcus and I loaded up the boys in his car and had Dad and Mom follow us to the mall.
"Meet us in front of the arcade and we can go to lunch about two. Then Uncle T and Grandpa can take the boys home for a movie and Grandma Wallace and I can hit the grocery store. How does that plan sound to you guys."
"Sounds like a good idea. That way it's not me putting a time limit on the dress shopping." Dad said.
"Sam, you are so full of it. I know looking at ties will take twice as long as dress shopping."
"Are you ready boys?" Marcus seemed twice as excited as the twins.
The arcade was crazy as always. The boys, especially Marcus, completely enjoyed themselves. After lunch, we headed back to the condo. I put on a movie and the boys were asleep in minutes. Funny thing, Grandpa Wallace fell asleep too.
I was reading when Mom and Marcus returned from the store. They started cooking and chatting in the kitchen, I smiled. About half an hour later, Mom called my name.
"Tony, can you come here for a minute, please?"
"What's up?" I asked as I leaned against the counter.
Marcus was elbow deep mixing hamburger and Mom was stirring three pots on the stove. On the counter, there was a short list of groceries.
"We changed up a couple of the meals we were going to prepare and need a couple things at the store. Can you please run out to get this list? We forgot to get extra milk and juice for the morning too." Mom said. "Marcus is mixing and I've got too many things on the stove to leave right now."
"I'm sorry, Babe, we thought we had everything, but decided to make Salisbury steak instead of meatballs. Too many Italian dishes already... so I need the mushrooms right away."
"Sure, if you get the chance can you throw a pot of coffee on so it's done when I get back?"
"Ok, see you in a few. Love you."
I smiled, "Love you more."
The grocery store was less than a mile from the condo; as I made a left hand turn at the light on the green arrow...
The car spun around. My head hit the side window. The car slammed into a light pole. The airbags went off; it felt like I'd been punched in the face. I sat there stunned for a moment; I found my phone and called Marcus.
"Babe what did you forget?"
"Accident... hurt... love you..." My brain had trouble forming complete thoughts. I just wanted to be sure Marcus knew how I felt.
I blacked out at that moment.
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