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Jeffery Comes Home
"Hello, Sam! This is Phillip. Jeffery is here with me. We wanted your advice on a Chicago outing. We are going the last weekend in April. Any suggestions?"
"Well, for one, you could stay the weekend with us. We're going to be in Chicago that weekend, too," Sam offered.
"We wouldn't want to intrude," Phillip said.
"You wouldn't be intruding! We have a four bedroom condo! Besides, you could meet Donny," Sam said to us.
"Donny? Who's Donny?" I asked.
"I am thinking you haven't talked to my parents much," Sam told us. "He's a three-year old boy we're taking care of until we can legally adopt him."
"You two are adopting a three-year-old?" Phillip asked. "You guys don't waste time!"
"He's a kid who needed a home," Chris explained. "We will tell you more when we see you. We are heading to Chicago on Wednesday, April 22. Donny has doctor's appointments on Thursday and Friday. We will be there until Sunday afternoon. So, when will you be here?"
"I have meetings there on Thursday and Friday with the owners of the farm," Phillip told Sam and Chris. "We were going to stay the weekend to explore the city. My decorator suggested we go to a couple of places in the Merchandise Mart to look at contemporary furniture. We are doing that on Friday afternoon."
"So, you did buy a house!" Sam effused.
"Yup," Phillip added, "We close on it the end of May."
"Depending on the type of contemporary furniture you are looking for, you should ask my parents to see the stash of things they have in the attic of their house," Sam suggested. "We raided the attic for a few rooms of our Chicago place. They are hoping to get rid of the rest."
"How did they come to own an attic full of contemporary furniture?" I asked.
"My grandparents were collectors of contemporary furniture and art," Sam explained. "There is a ton of stuff my parents have stored. If you can imagine the whole house my parents live in filled with contemporary art and furniture, then you have some idea of what might be up there. Wait a minute...! You said `we close on it'...? Does this mean we have something to celebrate?"
"We decided to buy the house together, yes!" Phillip announced. "We are going to make the announcement before the end of May. We need to go ring shopping before we make our intentions public!"
"Then, I think we need to make reservations at Yoshi's for Sunday brunch! Our treat!" Chris announced. "It will be our secret until you are ready to share the news. We can give you a guided tour of the neighborhoods you might enjoy seeing on Saturday, if you'd like," Chris offered.
"Terrific!" I enthused. "We don't want to inconvenience you, though!"
"We love showing people the city," Chris countered. "We can do a quick drive around, and maybe have lunch somewhere. Then, we will turn you loose to explore on your own."
"One last question and then we will let you go," I decided to ask. "Is there a gay leather store you might recommend?"
"Yes, but we will need you to model your purchases," I told them. "Or, at least the ones that are not too personal!"
"We will be selective," I told the guys. "Phillip and I are mostly just looking. Or, at least, that is our intention."
"We could give you a tour of the local leather bar in Chicago, but, since the arrival of Donny, that phase of our lives is pretty much in the past," Chris said to us.
"We would probably be out of our league at a leather bar," Phillip added. "We would definitely need to work up more courage to step foot in a place like that. But, we are looking forward to seeing you!"
Chapter 05: Chicago and Home Again
Phillip took a cab to his meetings with the owners of the farm while I checked us out of the W Hotel on Lakeshore Drive on Thursday morning. I decided to explore downtown Chicago on my own. I was to meet Phillip in the lobby of the W around 3 in the afternoon.
I had heard Chicago was a beautiful city, but I was somewhat unprepared for the actual results. I took advantage of the sunny April day, and I walked down Michigan Avenue. I stopped at Water Tower Place to look around the stores and shops.
Then, I stopped at the stately Chicago Water Tower that is set like a jewel surrounded by contemporary high rise buildings. The Chicago Water Tower is the city's most familiar and treasured landmark. Constructed between 1867 and 1869, it was created for Chicago's municipal water system, and originally housed a 135 foot iron standpipe used to regulate water pressure. It gained special significance as one of the few buildings to survive the destructive path of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Both the Water Tower and Pumping Station to the east were designed by William W. Boyington, one of Chicago's most prolific architects of the mid-nineteenth century.
From there, I strolled down Michigan Avenue. Finally, around noon, I felt my stomach grumble. The concierge had recommended the Burnham Hotel restaurant as an excellent place to have lunch. I somehow managed to find myself on the corner of State Street and Washington where the Burnham was located.
After I was seated, my waiter appeared. He was an absolutely stunning man! Dark brown wavy hair with glowing green eyes. He was probably in his mid-30s. He began his spiel, "Hello, my name is Bernard, and I will be your server today! What may I get you to drink this afternoon?"
"Well, Bernard," I said to my waiter. I paused for a few seconds to take in Bernard's beauty. "I think I am going to stick with coffee."
"I will be right back with your coffee, SIR!" Bernard added as he turned and walked away. I watched his perfectly shaped ass until he disappeared behind a door.
As I enjoyed my lunch, Bernard and I chatted—and flirted—from time-to-time. When I was ready to leave, I left him with a very generous tip! `I need to bring Phillip here before we leave so he can meet Mr. Dreamy,' I thought to myself and I left the restaurant and headed into Macy's. This particular Macy's was originally the flagship store for the famed Marshall Fields department stores.
By the time I had finished exploring Macy's, I decided to head back to the W Hotel and wait for Phillip. I took a cab back, and sat in the lobby to do some serious people watching! A smiling Phillip arrived shortly after I did.
"How was your day?" Phillip asked me.
"Very interesting!" I told him. "I saw Water Tower Place, The Chicago Water Tower, I walked down Michigan Avenue, I had lunch at the Burnham Hotel where I flirted with my waiter Bernard—who was cute as fuck—I visited Marshall Fields, and now I'm here with my cute boyfriend. How was yours?"
"It was great, but I didn't get to flirt with a cute waiter," Phillip said with a smile. "I am even more excited about the things we will be doing at the farm. They liked all of my research reports. I am thinking I will need to hire a few more people very quickly because the owners want to ramp up implementation timeline for some of my ideas. So, the day was very productive!"
"I guess we should call Sam and Chris to make certain they are home," I suggested.
"I am looking forward to talking with them about the changes in their lives," Phillip enthused. "They are two gutsy college students!"
"I know," I agreed as I pulled my phone out to call them. "Hello, Sam, it's Jeffery and Phillip!"
"So, where are you guys now?" Sam asked.
"We are heading out to get the car from the valet," I said to Sam.
"We are just now walking the dogs," Sam explained. "If you pull up to the main entrance, one of us can show you where to park while the other takes the dogs and Donny upstairs. Do you have a lot of luggage?"
"Nope," I answered. "We packed lightly!"
By the time we ended the call, the valet person had the car outside the door. We hoisted our bags into the truck, tipped the valet guy, and headed off to meet Sam and Chris. We had already plugged the address in the GPS. When the GPS lady told us we had reached out destination, Phillip exclaimed, "Holy fuck! I knew Chris and Sam had a good life, but this is fucking unreal!"
"It's something we can tell our grandkids about!" I confirmed Phillip's exuberance. Sam and Chris were standing outside waiting for us.
"Welcome to Chicago," Chris exclaimed as we exited Phillip's truck. Chris was holding a cute little boy who had his arms wrapped around Chris's neck. "Phillip, Jeffery, this is Donny. Donny, these two are friends of ours, Phillip and Jeffery. They will be staying with us for a few nights."
"Hi!" Donny exclaimed as he wiggled to the sidewalk. "Do you know the doggies?"
Phillip and I leaned down to Donny's level, as I began to explain, "We met Lincoln and Roosevelt a few months ago. Who is the other one?"
"He's Simon," Donny said to us. "He sleeps with me. Lincoln and Roosevelt sleeps with my daddies. Do you like to play with doggies?"
"We love to play with doggies," Phillip announced.
"Good!" Donny answered as he was picked up by Chris again.
"Donny, why don't you and I go upstairs with the dogs while your daddy Sam shows the guys where to park the truck," Chris said to Donny.
"Okay," Donny said.
Sam crawled into the back seat of the truck and gave us directions to the parking space. "Donny is adorable!" I told Sam.
"I know!" Sam say pensively. "He's changed our lives forever! He grows on you! Once you spend a little time with him, you will be forever attached to him in some fashion, I can assure you. First, it was Chris and me. Then, it was Chris, me, and two dogs. Next, it was Chris, me, and three dogs. Now, it is Chris, me, three dogs, and Donny! I can't imagine life without all of them on our journey forward together."
We retrieved our two bags from the back of the truck and headed upstairs. When Sam punch the 42nd floor button of the elevator, it was Phillip's turn to comment. "Forty second floor? I am glad I don't have a problem with heights!"
"At first, I couldn't go near the window, but you get used to it," Sam explained as we headed out of the elevator and down the hall to Sam and Chris's place.
When Sam opened the door and we were inside, I couldn't help but be a little overwhelmed, "Oh my God! This place is beautiful!"
"Thanks," Sam casually said as the three dogs followed by an exuberant Donny met us in the entry hall. Donny almost jumped into Sam's arms.
"Are we going to show Jeffery and Phillip to their room?" Donny asked.
"We are, Donny! Why don't you lead the way," Sam said as he put Donny on the floor.
We followed Donny through the apartment and down the hall to the guest room. "We decided to put you guys in here," Sam explained as we entered the guest room. "We thought you'd enjoy this room. The furniture is from my parents' attic. And, since you said you like contemporary pieces, we thought this would be perfect for you. We'll show you the rest of the place after we have a drink."
"This is stunning," I said as I looked around the guest room. "We are trying to come to an agreement with your parents on the price for a few pieces that we would like for the new house. But, they want to give the stuff to us! We want to pay them for the items."
"Jeffery, Phillip!" Sam said as a broad smile crossed his face. "Don't fight them! You will not win!"
"Your bathroom is over here," Donny said as he grabbed my hand and led me towards a door. Phillip followed.
"Oh my!" Phillip said as he saw the huge bathroom. "This is bigger than our master bathroom in the house!"
"And, your closet is over here," Donny added as he pulled me in a different direction.
It was a walk in closet!
"I assume you two would not object to a cocktail before dinner?" Sam asked.
"Nope!" Phillip told Sam.
We found Chris in the huge kitchen putting dinner together. "I think the guys need a drink!" Sam told Chris. "I'm certain we could convince you to have one as well!"
"I will have a scotch on the rocks," Chris answered. "I will meet you in the living room in a few moments."
Sam escorted us into the living room, "What can I get you to drink?"
"Scotch on the rocks," Phillip answered.
"Same," I followed up.
"Have a seat and I will get the drinks," Sam suggested.
Phillip and I wondered to the window. "Sam! This view is stupendous!" I effused.
"We are lucky," Sam said as he was fixing drinks. "Wait until you see it at night!"
Chris joined us as Sam was putting our drinks in front of us on the coffee table where we had decided to sit. "How was your day?" Chris asked as he sat next to Sam on the opposite sofa.
"I had a leisurely stroll down Michigan Avenue, had lunch at the Burnham Hotel, and gave myself a tour of Marshall Field's on State Street before I met Phillip back at the hotel lobby," I explained.
"He left out the part about flirting with Bernard, the waiter at the Burnham Hotel restaurant," Phillip added. "However, it was a productive day for me. I am even more excited about the things we will be doing at the farm!"
"Oh! The house! Tell us about the house!" Sam effused.
I reached into my shirt pocket to pull out my phone with the photos. Phillip explained the house.
"It sounds terrific!" Chris effused.
"And, we are a little jealous as we look around at the things you guys found for this place," I told Sam and Chris. "Every room is so perfect! Did some of this come from your parents' attic?"
"The entire dining area furniture was from there," Sam began to explain. "The chairs and end tables in this room were from there. We found the sofas and the coffee table at a gallery in the Merchandise Mart. Most of the art in these two rooms were from my grandparents collection."
Out of the blue, Donny decided to ask a question, "Are you two married?"
I looked at Phillip and we both smiled before I answered him, "Not yet! We want to be, but we aren't yet."
"My Daddies are getting married," Donny announced. Donny turned to Sam, "Are they invited to our wedding?"
"Yes," Sam answers before turning to us. "We actually have a question for you, Jeffery. Would you be willing to perform the wedding the last week of July here in Chicago?"
"Me?" I asked. "Of course! I would be honored!"
"This is rather sudden, isn't it?" Phillip asked.
"We want to permanently adopt Donny," Chris explains. "The courts are more apt to give legal custody to a married couple rather than a cohabitating couple."
"Where is the wedding going to be held?" I asked Sam and Chris.
"The wedding ceremony will be at St. Paul's UCC church in Lincoln Park," Sam explained. "The reception will be at the W Hotel on Lakeshore Drive."
We talked a little more about the upcoming wedding. Sam decided to change the subject, "So, Jeffery, how is your work going?"
"Well," I began. "You would think that there would not be a lot of big issues facing young people in a town like Olney! But, that is not the way things are working out. I have been on the job a total of almost two months. I've had four gay leaning kids come to me for advice. I've had three kids contemplating suicide. I've had four sets of parents who wanted to talk to me about drug addicted kids. I've had two kids whose parents are abusive. I've counseled two kids who are being bullied in high school. There are no resources to help these kids. People want to sweep these kids and their problems under the rug. Mental health services for kids in distress are nonexistent in the area. Drug treatment centers for minors are nonexistent. Child psychologists who understand gay leaning kids are nonexistent. Support in the schools for kids who are bullied is nonexistent. So, you might say I have been more than just a little frustrated."
Sam and Chris look at one another before Sam begins, "Have you mentioned the camp idea to the higher ups at the church?"
"Yes," I told Sam. "There is interest in the idea, especially from your family."
"I have a suggestion," Chris announces. We all turn to him to hear his ideas. "What if Home Front or another organization were to get involved to provide help for these kids—even if it were in Chicago? Sort of like a scholarship for drug rehab or mental health care. Or, could a center that could provide both be located in your area that could serve the entire southern part of the state?"
"Wouldn't that be expensive?" Jeffery asked.
"I'm certain it would not be cheap, but what would you rather have?" Chris continued. "Help for kids in your area or a lot of dead kids who didn't have any help available?"
"I've asked this before, but how could someone get the money?" I asked. "I suspect we are talking millions of dollars a year!"
"I suspect that might be the case," Chris answered. "However, Sam and I were put on the board of the Washington Family Foundation because my grandparents want the money in the foundation to be put to use to help people instead of sitting in the bank drawing interest!"
"One other minor issue," I added to the mix. "Do you really think the town would go along with a facility for gay, drug addicted, or mentally ill kids?"
"Besides the bigots?" Sam added.
"Like whom?" I asked.
"Mr. Ritter for one!" Sam exclaimed.
"Your father's friend is a bigot?" I asked.
"Big time!" Sam replied. "Someday, I will tell you the story, but right now, I am just trying not to be mad at the whole town!"
"Daddy," Donny began as he looked at Sam. "What's a bigot?"
"A bigot is someone who doesn't like people who are different from themselves," Sam answered. "Right, Chris?"
"I think that is an accurate definition," Chris answered with a smile. "I think we may need to reconsider how we react to conversation!"
"I think you may be right!" Sam agreed. He turned his attention back to me. "Jeffery, I know this may sound farfetched, but you could put a facility for kids outside the city on private land in the middle of nowhere. It might even be affiliated with the UCC church in my hometown!"
"I can see wheels turning in my boyfriend's head," Chris announced.
"Sometimes you scare me, Sam," I say to the group but mostly to Sam in particular.
"Why?" Sam asked.
"I'm starting to see a pattern here where you two are concerned!" I explained. "What can't you two accomplish?"
"World peace!" Chris answered. "Jeffery, some people will say that Sam and I are very privileged because our families both have money. And, we wouldn't be sitting here in this condo if we didn't come from money. We wouldn't be driving a Mercedes SUV if we didn't come from money. We wouldn't have three dogs and a three year-old boy living with us if we didn't come from money. But, that does not define us. Sam and I are softies when it comes to kids and dogs and other living things. Convince us of the need, which I think you already have, and we will both go to bat for you to find the money to make it happen, right Sam?"
"Yup!" Sam agreed. "I have some thoughts on the subject that I want to share with you. However, isn't dinner ready, Chris?"
"Yup!" Chris answered.
We continued our conversation through dinner. It was an early night because we had a long and early day starting in the morning!
Sam and Chris gave us a tour of the major sights of Chicago on Saturday morning, and then, we had lunch at the Melrose Restaurant. Once we were finished with lunch, Phillip and I found the leather store Chris and Sam had suggested.
"I think I see heaven on earth," Phillip whispered to me once we were inside the store.
"Don't pinch me," I whispered back. "I don't really want to know if this is real or not! There were a few leather shops in San Francisco, but nothing like this!"
As we were standing and observing the goods on display, a muscle bound sales clerk in a tight white t-shirt and equally tight jeans approached us. "May I help you gentlemen find something?"
"We were just going to look around," I told the clerk. "We are sort of on a recon mission today!"
"A lot of people say that, but then they usually leave with something," the clerk cautions us. "My name is Clark. Just let me know if I can be of assistance."
"Thank you, Clark!" I say as he walks toward another customer.
"If you weren't my boyfriend, I could think of several things Clark could assist me with!" Phillip whispers as we made our way to the display of harnesses.
"These things aren't cheap!" I tell Phillip as I found a price tag. "It's just a few strips of leather and some metal! I could buy a couple pair of shoes for this price!"
"But, the shoes won't be nearly as much fun to wear," Phillip said. "I think you would look really good in one of these, muscle boy!"
"So would you!" I exclaimed.
We began roaming around the store looking at things on display. When we reached the wall with the whips and paddles, Phillip offered his opinion, "I think we can leave these things on this wall. I like the look, but I don't think I would like the feel!"
"I'm with you," I said as we decided we had seen enough for this trip. I waived at Clark as we were leaving, "Thanks Clark! We will be back!"
We decided to walk to Sam and Chris's condo since it was such a terrific spring day. After the doorman let us in, we were greeted by three frisky dogs. Then, a three year-old boy leaped into my arms as Chris and Sam came around the corner.
"Good catch, Jeffery!" Sam said as he smiled at us. "How was your afternoon?"
"It was fun," Phillip began as we were escorted into the kitchen. "We went to the leather store, but decided not to buy anything. I don't think we are really the leather type!"
"Then, we walked back here," I added. "The fresh air helped to clear my mind from all the hassles of my work."
"You need that from time-to-time," Chris agreed with me. "Thursday, Friday, and this afternoon were a little tense for us, so we know what you mean."
"Donny," Sam said. "Why don't you go in the living room and play with the dogs for a few minutes?"
"Okay!" Donny gleefully agreed as he slithered to the floor. He ran off to the living room with three eager dogs following him.
"Why don't we have a drink?" Chris suggested. "Then, we would like to ask your advice about something."
As we drove home, Phillip and I were recounting our time with Sam and Chris.
"Sam and Chris are excellent hosts!" I told Phillip as he drove south on I-57. "And, Donny is adorable!"
"He is!" Phillip answered. "Sam was right, he grows on you."
"The poor kid, though," I continued. "He lost his mother. He was born HIV positive. And his father is in prison for murder! Thank God Chris and Sam found him in those bushes! You couldn't have picked two guys who are more loving and giving than they are."
"Nope!" Phillip agreed. "So, are you going to continue the conversation with Sam and Chris about the kids you are trying to help?"
"Definitely!" I told Phillip. "Sam gave me the contact information for the Executive Director of Home Front. He might know of places in the city that can provide help."
"I am certain that between you, Sam, and Chris, things will change for the better," Phillip reassured me. "You are probably the best thing the town has seen for a long, long time."
"Thanks, babe," I said to Phillip. "I need all of the encouragement I can get at this point. The problems I am facing will not suddenly just go away. It is going to be a long haul."
"I have a couple of questions for you," Phillip began.
"Shoot!" I told him.
"Have you thought about us becoming foster parents in case an emergency arises?" Phillip quietly asked.
"Yes," I answered. "How about you?"
"Absolutely," Phillip answered. "I think we might need to be married first."
"You are probably right, but we might be able to qualify before we are married," I said to Phillip. "I should check with someone who knows about the process."
"I think you should," Phillip encouraged me. "I think you need to be prepared for an emergency."
"What is your other question?" I asked.
"What about the furniture we saw in the gallery at the Mart?" Phillip asked.
"It was beautiful," I told him. "But, it seems expensive. Can we really afford that stuff? I don't make tons of money as a minister and never will. I do have a little money tucked away from my grandmother's estate, but that is about it!"
"We can find a way if we want it, I think," Phillip added. "But, do we want to sink all of the money into furniture when we can get something contemporary, but not original designer pieces, for less."
"That might be a wise idea," I agreed. "But, we still have Sam's parents stuff. How can we get them to let us pay for what we want?"
"Remember what Sam said," Phillip reminded me. "'Don't fight them! You will not win!'"
"I am certain he knows his parents well," I agreed.
To be continued...
I hope you liked the direction that `Jeffery Comes Home' is taking. I would enjoy hearing your comments about this story. You can write to me at MaWriterBoy@yahoo.com.
This is my 5th posting of my fourth story on Nifty.org.
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Sam and Chris in the `College' section
John's Journey Forward in the `Beginnings' section
Life With Tom in the authoritarian section (Please note, this story is not for everyone because there are several scenes depicting Master/slave and BDSM relationships. So, if you are not interested in this activity, please, please do not read this story.)
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