Book Three -- The Next Generation
Randy Howard and David of Hope
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The sexuality of all characters is entirely a figment of the author's imagination, and does not reflect on any celebrities used in this story. For those of you that are NOT of legal age, please find other material to read. If you are offended by male/male material, or it is illegal to view such materials in your area, you should be leaving at this time.
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I would like to thank my good friend David for his fine job of editing and his collaboration on parts of this story. Without his help, this story would be impossible to read.
Previously in chapter 24:
"Why bro, you two just got engaged," Clark said while Josh stood there in shock.
"That's the whole thing Clark.... I'm not ready to settle down with Shane yet. I like him, but I don't love him as you love Josh. I want to live some before I give myself to one man for life. Am I wrong to feel like this bro or should I just go ahead and marry him?" Thom asked.
"No fucking way Thom," Josh said stepping into the conversation. "Why marry someone that you don't love like you should? Have the two of you discussed this at all Thom?"
"No we haven't because he doesn't know I feel this way yet Josh. I was going to tell him the other day and then we lost our dads and I decided to wait. I sleep with him and he's so awesome in bed... but that's it, he makes great love but I don't love him."
"Then talk to him after the funeral Thom, let him know how you feel. It's not fair to you or him to keep playing along like you're in love," Clark said.
"Let me know what babe?" Shane asked standing at the door listening.
Now chapter 25:
"Shane I didn't know that you were standing there." Thom said as he turned to see him standing in the doorway.
"So what is the big secret Thom that everyone knows about but me?" Shane asked.
"Come on in and sit down babe," Thom said as Clark and Josh left the room closing the door behind them.
"So Thom what's the secret guy?" Shane asked again.
"Shane I know we just got engaged babe but... I'm not ready to settle down yet. If you want the truth...I don't love you, as I should... like in marriage. I want you to know that I like you and I think you are a wonderful guy and all, but I want to do some living single before I settle down with just one guy." Thom sat there with tears in his eyes waiting for Shane's reaction.
"Don't cry love, I've kinda felt the same way too." Shane said, "I was afraid to tell you because I... I didn't want to hurt you. I like you too, a lot, but not like I should, to get married. I want to experience life some too before I'm ready settle down with my Mr. Right."
"Are you sure Shane and you're not just saying that because I did?"
"No babe," Shane answered, "I think we got engaged because we got caught up in what the others had going for them. I do love you Thom, but as a friend bro, but I don't think it's a husband should love you. I must say though, we are great in bed together."
"Yeah we are Shane and no one can fuck like you do." Thom said with some relief showing in his voice. "Are we going to stay friend's babe, even if we start seeing other guys?"
"I would hope so Thom, why is there someone that you like already?" Shane asked.
"No there isn't, but if the time comes, I don't want either of us getting jealous because the other is dating someone else."
"Thom, if you do find someone that does it for you like you want it to be, then you have to go for it and believe me, I'll be happy for you." Shane said sincerely. "As for me I think I'm just going to wait and see what life brings my way. Besides if I need someone to get it on with and you aren't taken... well can we... you know... do it babe?"
"You bet we can love, because I'm going to miss how you fuck me," Thom said as they kissed.
Together Thom and Shane went back into the living room and told the others about what they'd decided. The others were surprised, but they also understood how they felt. Daniel was happy that his secret lover was now all his and he gave him a hug, whispering in his ear that he loved him.
Later that afternoon, the whole household, Daniel, Andrew, Thom, Shane, Clark, Josh, Dennis and Trevor headed over to the funeral home to prepare for the wake and have a few final private moments with Andy and Michael. The funeral director of the home greeted them at the door and showed them into the parlor where their dads are laid out. They paused at the door before going in fear of this final recognition.
"I don't know if I can do this Danny," Andrew said turning to his husband.
"I'm with you love and I'll be there for you so lean on me babe." Daniel reassured him.
He took Daniel's arm as they walked into the room. Andy and Michael were lying head to head and the boys instantly begin to cry. Their dads were in their dress blue uniforms that they wore as police officers in Springfield. Thom stood there holding on to Shane as they both cried. Andrew had his face buried into Daniel's chest crying as quietly as he could. Clark cried profusely as Josh held him. He touched the hands of his surrogate dads, remembering how he felt when they brought him home from the hospital.
"They weren't my biological dads Josh, but they loved me enough to adopt me and give me their name." Clark said through his sobs as Josh held him rubbing his back.
"This was so fucking senseless guys and me for one am going to see if they have made any progress in this case," Shane said drying his eyes.
They took their seats after each of them kiss their dads goodbye. The honor guard came in from Burlington led by Beverly and Casey in dress blues as well.
"We're so sorry boys," they said in unison to Andrew, Thom, Shane and Clark. "We didn't know Michael that long, but in the time we did, we came to love him." Casey added.
"Thanks and they loved the two of you so much," Thom said speaking for him and Andrew.
After the Burlington honor guard left, the honor guard from Springfield arrived. At the front was Andy's old partner Coop, her eyes, red from crying as she looked at the bodies of the men that she'd worked with. She had come to love and respect them as men and fellow officers as well. She hugged the boys and kissed them on the cheek as she greeted each one.
"I'm going to miss those two men so much," she said holding back her tears. "My how your dad Mike could piss me off with his attitude sometimes Shane, but he always showed me respect even when busting my ass."
"Yeah my dad was like that Coop, how have you been doing?" Shane asked.
"Ok Shane, my lover and I are still together and we just celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary."
Coop had some of her and Michael's friends with her and they all gave their condolences to the boys. Next came a contingent from Boston led by Mark, who was so handsome in his dress blues. He and the others saluted their fallen brothers as they paused at the caskets. Mark told the boys that there has been no lead in the case except for someone calling in and saying that the man's name in the drawing was a Carter Williams from the Dorchester area.
"Well at least we have a name now," Daniel said voicing his sentiments for the others.
"Yes, but no known address. He has a record as long as the day is long and his last known address is a vacant lot now." Mark reiterated.
"I'm expecting to be back by Saturday or Sunday at the latest Mark. I'll give you a call when I get back and we can touch base on the case." Danny said.
"Ok Danny and I'll see you guys later." He led the guard into the outer room to stand guard in respect to their fallen brothers.
The six adopted sons sat there in an almost catatonic state, as the long procession of mourners filed past the caskets. They cried sometimes but mostly just sat staring at their dads.
"I need some air," Shane said getting up and walking out of the room. "I can't take sitting here staring when that bastard is somewhere out the loose."
"I know Shane and they're going to catch him and when they do he'll pay for what he did." Daniel said.
"Yeah well give me ten minutes with him and I'll see that he pays." Shane said angrily.
Shane and Daniel went outside, where Shane bummed a cigarette from a person that was smoking. He lit the cigarette for him. Shane choked as he inhaled the first drag.
"Shane don't start that habit babe," Daniel said softly as he watches him inhale again.
"I need something to calm my nerves Danny and just sitting in there is killing me." Shane retorted.
"Shane Bradley you put that nasty cigarette out," a woman's voice called out.
Shane turned around to see his dad's mother coming towards him.
"Gram when did you get here?" he asked throwing the butt to the ground and stomping it out.
"My plane got in an hour ago, but never mind that, why are you smoking?"
"I'm not really, that was my first one ever. I wanted to calm my nerves and didn't know how but to have a smoke.
"Come give your gram some sugar honey." Without further coaxing, Shane gave her a kiss on the cheek. "That's better honey now take me in to see my boy," she said with her eyes full of tears.
She took Shane's arm and used her cane as she walked into the funeral home. At 82, she was spry, yet feeble. She paused when she saw Michael lying there as if asleep and she held her handkerchief to her mouth. Shane held onto her as they approached the casket and helped her kneel. He knelt beside her.
"I so sorry son for being such a fool all these years," she said through her tears. "I wish I had forgiven you while you were alive my boy."
Shane looked at her and wondered what she was talking about to his dad, and then she reached over and patted his hand softly before she got up to leave. She stopped at Andy's casket and she knelt in reverence and said a private prayer.
"You watch my boy up there young man. He loved you for so long and I was such a fool to never accept his being gay. Would you tell him I'm sorry and that I love him," she said as she patted Andy's hand as well.
She looked at Shane who helped her up from the kneeler.
"Take me to a chair love, I need to sit where I can see my boys," she told him. He led her to his seat beside Thom.
"Gram this is my friend Thom, his dad is Andy Butler, dad's husband." Shane said as a matter of introduction.
"I'm so sorry for your loss young man, and it's nice to meet you." Gram said.
"Thank you ma'am and it's a pleasure to meet you also." Thom replied.
"Never mind that ma'am shit, just call me gram like my Shane here does." She remarked.
"Gram how come you forgive him for being gay now and not earlier when dad was alive?" Shane inquired of his grandmother.
"I was a stubborn old gal from the south, and we didn't tolerate homosexuals. When your papa told me he was gay, I just about killed him. I wouldn't listen to his reasoning or even acknowledge him as a son. I ordered him out of my life, and not to ever come back, until he regained his senses. Well as you see neither of us ever spoke again to each other. I was from a very old and respectable Mississippi family and I wasn't going to allow him to tarnish the Bradley name. He left home at nineteen, moved up north of all places, and became a police officer. He'd write me every so often but I'd never answer him back. Then one day over twenty years ago, he wrote me and said he had fallen in love with a man named Andrew Butler. He went on and on about him and then he told me that he was married to someone else. It wasn't bad enough that he was gay, now he was in love with a married man. I was beside myself with anger at that boy over his shenanigans. I wrote him back for the first time ever, and told him that he would burn in hell, for being a homosexual, but also for going after a married man. Well he wrote me back, and all he wrote was thank you, thank you for writing back to him and that he loved me. I was in a tirade from that letter and I had my first heart attack. He flew right on down as soon as the doctor called him to tell him the news. I could have killed that old goat for doing that, and I never told your dad, but I loved seeing his face sitting there holding my hand when I came out of my fog."
"What happened Gram, did you forgive him?" Shane asked still holding her hand.
"Are you kidding I just about gave myself a second one sugar. I went into a rage and asked, no I ordered him out of my room. He calmly stood up and said... `I can see that you are back to your old self, mama,' and he bent down and kissed me on the forehead and said he loved me. With that he left the room and I never saw him again until now sugar." Again, she wept softly into her handkerchief for a while, as Shane and Thom try to comfort her.
"This is my punishment for being so unforgiving Shane, I've had to bury your grandfather and now my baby boy also. But this is not going to happen to me again because as soon as I get home I'm going to find his brother Carter and I'm going ask him to forgive me also."
"Dad had a brother gram, he never told me about him," Shane said in shock.
"Well a half brother, his papa was a real wanderer and he got this hussy, Minerva Williams, pregnant about twenty three years ago. He came looking for his pappy and I just about ran him off with the shotgun. I told him that no bastard son of my husband was ever welcome here." Gram said emphatically.
"So where does he live now Gram?" Shane asked excited that he has an uncle.
"I don't really know I reckon, but the last I heard he was living somewhere near Boston. Damn, all you fine southern men have to run off and go up north. I just don't see what the attraction is up here. It's cold and it bothers my rheumatism," she said.
Shane looked at Thom and Daniel who had already put together the name and are shocked by the news.
"Gram, would you recognize Carter if you saw a picture of him now?" Shane asked looking at Daniel.
"Yes I would, he was the spitting image of your grandfather... why?" she asked looking at the boys.
Daniel got up, went over to Mark, and asked to speak to him.
"I just found out who our murderer is Mark," Daniel said once they were in a private office. "He was the half-brother of Shane's father, Michael."
"How the fuck did you find this out Danny?"
"Shane's grandmother just told us part of her life story and she spoke of a bastard child that her husband sired named Carter Williams."
"Well I'll be.... you think a case of sibling rivalry or worse trying to get his brother out of the picture for inheritance reasons?"
"Maybe, and get this Mark, the last time she knew where he was living was in the Boston area." Shane continued.
"I think I should have a chat with this grandmother." Mark said.
"I wouldn't just yet Mark, she's terribly upset over Michael and in very poor health. Why don't you let me have a go at her and see what I can find out, ok?"
"Ok Danny but be careful and don't get her to upset. I don't want her to go getting all worked up and dying on us."
"I won't Mark and I'll use kid gloves guy. So how are you and Gabe doing?"
"He moved out and into some guy's apartment yesterday. I guess I was right about him cheating on me." Mark said sadly.
"Oh man Mark I'm so sorry." Shane said as he hugged his friend.
Mark hugged him back and they pulled apart a bit, staring into each other's eyes. Daniel leaned into to him and they kiss so hard and rough as they clung to one another fighting for dominance with their tongues.
"You shouldn't Danny, what about Andrew?" Mark asked.
"We are just about over. The only reason I haven't divorced him yet is because he has connections here in Boston and he's a great social climber." Daniel proclaimed.
"So you're cheating on him because why...?" he asked.
"Because our sex life is over Mark, we're married in name only at the moment," and he gave Mark another kiss, but Mark pulled away.
"Look me up when you are totally free Danny. I'm not willing to be the other man for you, especially when it just happened to me." He turned and left the room. Daniel was stunned as he just stood there.
After composing his thoughts, Daniel went back into the parlor just as Gram and Shane were leaving for some air.
"Where are you going Shane?" Daniel asked hoping to talk to his grandmother some more.
"I just told her about Carter, Danny, and she isn't feeling to well." Then she collapsed in his arms as she approached the doorway.
"Mark, Coop, help us here please," Daniel yelled and they and several other officers come running.
"Gerry, call 911 and get an ambulance here quick," Coop shouted as he immediately dialed his cell.
They helped her to a chair and offered her a glass of water. The ambulance arrived within minutes. The attendant checked her blood pressure and heart as another started an IV.
"Her pressure is high and her heart is irregular," the attendant said as they place her on the stretcher.
They placed an oxygen mask over her face, but she pulled it off so she cold speak to Shane.
"Shane sugar, I want you to know that my estate goes solely to you now, as the surviving heir. I had it written that if I died, my estate was to go entirely to my Michael's children should he have any. If not, it would resort to any surviving heirs of the family. Now give me some sugar love, because this is the last time you're going to see sugar."
"No Gram I want you to live with me please," he said with tears falling down his face.
"Don't cry for me sugar, I cast my lot a long time ago and now it's time to pay the fiddler. Besides pet, I see my boy over there with his man and they're waiting for me," she said with a smile. "I love you dear grandson and I wish you love in your life." She closed her eyes in her first moments of complete peace that she had never known in this existence.
"No Gram please," Shane said kissing her on the cheek.
The attendant checked for a pulse, but there is none. The other attendant immediately readied the paddles to try to revive her.
"No guys wait, she's at peace now and she wouldn't want to be revived," Shane said crying and holding her hand.
Daniel was holding him at the waist as Andrew watched from the doorway; he turned and quickly walked back into the other room. Thom stood on the other side of Shane with his hand on his shoulder.
"Come on Shane, let them take her," Thom said hugging him.
Thom hugged his friend while Shane cried hard on his shoulder. Daniel stood there watching the man he loved in his time of grief, wanting so much to be the one giving him comfort.
"I bet you wish that was you comforting Shane now don't you," Andrew whispered from behind Daniel into his ear.
"You know Andy, you are one sick motherfucker," Daniel seethed before he walked away leaving Andrew standing there alone.
Andrew went back into the parlor and took his place sitting and greeting the mourners as they came in. Daniel watched his husband through a window and he couldn't believe how social he could be even at a funeral. He turned and walked away. Mark saw him standing alone, and he walked over to talk with him.
"Want a smoke buddy?" Mark asked offering his pack to Daniel.
Daniel hesitated, then he took one with Mark lighting it for him. He inhaled a small drag and then exhaled, all without choking or coughing. He stood there looking off into the night not sure what to do about Andrew. His heart was with Shane, but his ambition was with Andrew, and he needed Andrew to get where he wanted to go. He knew if he divorced him after years of gays fighting for the right to marry, and after just a few weeks, how it would look to the straight community.
"How are you doing Danny? You look like you have a lot on your mind." Mark observed.
"I do Mark and I really don't like what I'm facing. I don't love Andrew anymore because he's nothing but a social climber. I think he married me just to move up the social ladder." Daniel said.
"I know what it's like to fall out of love with someone you have loved, Gabe and I started out so in love and now look at us." Mark said.
"Aren't we something buddy, and to make it worse, I'm in love with someone else." Daniel confessed.
"I know it's written all over your face when Shane's around you. That's why I wouldn't keep kissing you Danny.... I know how you feel about him and if my guess is right... its how he feels about you."
"You're right Mark I do love Shane and he loves me. Thom and Shane decided today that they didn't really love each other enough to get married and decided to go separate ways." Daniel explained.
"Thom's available?" Mark asked lighting up like a Christmas tree.
"Yeah why.... Mark, don't tell me you have feelings for Thom."
"I do Danny and I'd give my right arm just to have one date with him." Mark confessed.
"With who Mark," Shane asked coming over to join the guys.
"Ah... Thom, Shane, I'm sorry if I have over stepped my boundaries bud." Mark said.
"No Mark and if you want, I can arrange it for you if you want me to," Shane said.
"I'd like that, but wait 'til this is all over and we're back home guy." Mark said.
"So how are you doing babe?" Daniel asked surprising Shane by his openness. "Don't worry babe, Mark knows about us and he won't say a word, not even to Thom, right Mark?" Daniel asked.
"Of course guys, I would never give out a confidence Danny, and Shane I'm happy for the two of you." Mark smiled.
"My Gram said something that got me thinking. She mentioned that she left her entire estate to any children of my dad. If there were none, her estate was to go to the next closest heir... and that would be Carter as Grandfather's son." Shane explained.
"But he must know by now that we're on to him and know of his identity. Besides, how could he ever get his hands on the will unless he knew about it from his dad? But that's impossible because he died before your grandmother amended her own will." Mark reasoned.
"I don't know Mark, but if he knew about the will he might now be gunning for me too." Shane said.
Daniel took him in his arms and held him close to him, and tried to comfort his fears.
"Babe don't start worrying about something that we aren't even sure of yet. Besides, I'll protect you and I'll hire the best guards that money can buy. You'll stay at my house until we can catch this murderer my love." Daniel said.
"If you think I'm letting you bring your whore into my house Daniel Wilkes you're very mistaken," Andrew shouted from behind them very upset. "I'm your husband and I will not tolerate his presence in my home Daniel."
"You forget Andrew that the house is mine and not yours. If I have to divorce you, I will Andrew. I don't care anymore that anyone knows that I'm in love with Shane. I loved you Andy when we went together and were married. However, you changed once I said I do, you became obsessed with power and social standing. That's something I don't give a fuck about Andy. Therefore, if you want, you can take your things, and move out as soon as we get home Andy. I'm in love with Shane and he's staying with me in my home."
"Well wait until my brother finds out, he'll kick your ass Daniel." Andrew threatened.
"The hell I will Andy, I've know how they feel about each other for a while now. Just look at the way they look at each other, I wish I'd felt that way about Shane, but I didn't. Danny's right Andy, you've changed and I'm ashamed to admit sometimes that I'm your brother." Thom said staring directly at Andrew.
"What the fuck is this... a conspiracy, why are you all taking his side? I'm the one who's been cheated on behind my back." Andrew argued.
"Andy you were the one that shoved me into Shane's bed, you practically gave me your blessing to be with him." Daniel explained for all to hear.
"That was then and this is now. I didn't think you two would fall in love and put me out into the cold." Andrew whined.
"No one is putting you out into the cold Andy, but I don't love you and I'm going to divorce you so I can marry Shane." Daniel said.
"And what of me, what am I to do now? Dad's gone and who do I have in my life?" Andrew continued.
"Andy with your talent, I hardly think that you'll be alone very long." Daniel said holding Shane close.
"Oh I forgot," he said completely changing gears. "Coop says she's got a Carter Williams inside and she's holding him for questioning." Mark said.
"What, he's got a lot of balls coming here after what he did to our dads," Shane said ready to kill the guy.
Mark and the others ran back into the funeral home, and were directed to the funeral director's office. As they step through the door, Shane lunged at Carter.
With both hands fisted into Carter's shirt, holding on with all his might, Shane and Carter tumbled to the floor.
To be continued:
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