This multipart story is primarily about romance and relationships between men. Any reference to actual persons, living or dead, is only to enhance the fictional nature of the story and does not suggest a particular sexual orientation. If you are offended by graphic descriptions of homosexual sex, what the hell are you doing here? Bye, bye.
Special acknowledgements to Drew and Brad for providing diligent proofing and editing of the story.
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Chapter 3, Jeans and Genes
From Chapter 2:
Eric was in a deep sleep when he became aware of two things: an incredibly nice man lying next to him with whom he had shared an exquisite, intimate experience and the telephone ringing. He opened one eye and saw the digital clock reading 6:33 a.m. 'Fuck,' he thought, 'who would be calling at this ungodly hour?'
"Mmmm," Brian audibly sighed, as he rolled over on his back.
The phone rang again. Eric, free of his bed companion, leaned over to check the called I.D. number. '804. Where the hell is that area code?' he wondered. On the fourth ring, it dawned on him that it was Richmond, Virginia. 'Must be Brenda?'
He reached over and grabbed the telephone receiver. "Hello?"
~~~ "Hello. Is this Eric Michael Flynn?"
"Yes, that's my full name. Who's this?" Eric was now fully awake and attentive.
~~~ "This is Mrs. Tulliver from the Henrico County Child Protective Services in Richmond, Virginia. Sorry to be calling at such an early hour out there in California, but I'm urgently trying to track down the father of a 12 year old boy by the name of Mike Summers."
"Um, I'm the father of a 12 year old boy that was baptized Eric Michael Flynn, Junior. Summers is the maiden name of my ex-wife, Brenda Summers. She must have changed the boy's name. She cut off all communication several years ago."
~~~ "That's what we figured. We need to talk to you about your child."
"Just a minute." Eric glanced over to see a barely-awake Brian yawning and scratching his balls. His glorious morning wood touched the tip of his navel and a sleepy smile of contentment was plastered on Brian's face.
"Babe, I've got this call that's important. I'm going out to the kitchen. Join me when you're ready," Eric said, after covering the telephone receiver mouthpiece.
"Yeah, a morning whiz is in order," Brian answered softly.
"Use whatever you need." Eric winked and walked out of the bedroom with his cordless phone.
"Sorry for the interruption. Is Eric, err Mike, in some kind of trouble?" Eric asked, as he entered the kitchen.
~~~ "No. But he's going to need your help, I'm afraid." Brian automatically grabbed the coffee canister and measured out enough Dark Sumatra blend for the two of them into the Mr. Coffee machine.
"How can I help? As much as I wanted to, Brenda basically has not let me be a part of his life."
~~~ "The boy's mother, now using her married name of Brenda Tanner, died yesterday of an apparent suicide. Your son found her when he returned from school." Eric almost dropped the pot he had been filling with water.
"Ah, Mrs. Tulliver, this is...er, uh...a complete shock." He sat down the pot to consider the news and stared at the floor. "How did you track me down?"
~~~ "Mrs. Tanner left a note. She was very distraught, because her husband left her and moved out of the state. She mentioned your name in her note, that you were the biological father and wrote down your phone number. I can't read everything in the note, yet, because of the police investigation. But I will tell you that she wanted to make sure that you knew, and I quote, she 'made a mess of things and hoped you'd take care of Mike'. She also left a pile of letters, dating back six years ago, written by you to your son." Eric shakily poured the water into the machine and turned it on.
"Well, this is a hell of a way to wake up. I'll do anything I can for my son. Where is he, by the way?" He sat down on a chair; the cold, vinyl surface made him aware for the first time that he was butt-naked.
~~~ "He's in the outer-office. I thought we should have some private time, first. I know this is all very sudden, Mr. Flynn. May I ask what you are prepared to do for the child? He's been temporarily assigned to live in a county childcare center."
"Be a father...better late than ever. I guess try to figure out how to get to Richmond ASAP, take care of any paperwork that's required and bring the boy back to California. I'm not even sure if he remembers me?"
~~~ "He vaguely remembers you. Mrs. Tanner also left some pictures of the three of you with the letters."
"Does he hate me? I mean, disappearing from a boy's life must make him think I don't care for him."
~~~ "Mike is in a state of confusion. From what I gather, Mr. Tanner was not a very loving stepfather. With his mother gone, I think he'll welcome the safety of being with his real dad."
"You better give me all the various addresses and telephone numbers I need. Also any documents I need to bring. I may not be able to be there until tomorrow evening."
Eric busily wrote down all the contact information, list of documents and mentally tried to figure out some logistics to his trip. 'Probably need to beef up the hostess staff to help at the front door while I'm away,' he considered.
Brian, now back in his black briefs, entered the kitchen. Eric nodded and directed his eyes to the coffee maker. He indicated, by pointing, where the cups were located and that Brian should pour two cups.
"Can I talk to Mike?" Eric felt his stomach churn slightly and felt perspiration on his upper lip and brow.
~~~ "Yes, definitely. Just remember, Mr. Flynn, that he has gone through a huge shock, and it may take a while for him to warm up to you."
"I understand." Eric accepted the coffee and nodded for Brian to sit. "This is wild, Brian," he said, cupping his hand over the phone. "Seems that my ex passed away last night, and I'm officially in the dad business. I..."
~~~ "Mr. Flynn, here's your son." Eric heard some voices in the background and shuffling. "Um, Sir?" said a voice in a boy's pubescent, cracking, changing register.
"Mike, hi. It's been too long a time. I won't ask you to call me dad, if you don't want to. How about calling me Eric?" He took a sip of coffee and raised his eyebrows to Brian.
~~~ "Oh, gee...um, I can call you Dad, I guess. Everything is so confusing. Why did Mom do that?" Mike started sniffling before he revved up to full sobs.
"Son, you don't know how much I want to be there, right now. Take a few deep breaths," Eric said before pausing. "Okay?" Eric felt Brian's strong hands on his back.
~~~ "Yes, Sir." Only heavy breathing was audible.
"Sounds like your mother was having a lot of problems. I'm really sorry that she could only deal with them in this way." Eric was determined not to use the "S" word. 'Suicide was a difficult situation, at best, for a 12-year old,' he reasoned.'
~~~ "Things...ah, have been tough...umm, err, Dad." Mike said, haltingly.
"We're going to talk this out when I get to Richmond. I'll be there tomorrow." 'I gotta get there tomorrow morning, somehow,' Eric decided.
~~~ For sure?" squeaked an unsteady voice.
"Absolutely, for sure. I'm your father, and I love you. Not seeing you was not my idea. I understand that she left you a box of letters I wrote you several years ago?"
~~~ "Um, yeah. That's what they told me."
"When you feel better, I'd like for you to read them. You were only five and six at the time. I'm going to bring with me more letters that were returned."
~~~ "I'd like that. Oh, Dad...please hurry. I...need you." Eric could hear sniffling again.
"Buddy, I'll see you tomorrow, for sure. Just remember one thing, I love you...always have, always will."
~~~ "Err, I...lo...Dad, hurry. Please?" Eric could understand the hesitancy in his son making any commitment.
"I will. Now please let me talk with Mrs. Tulliver."
"This sounds pretty heavy duty," Brian said. Eric nodded and they both sipped coffee in silence.
~~~ "Mr. Flynn, you seemed to have had a calming effect on the boy. He's gone with his guardian. Just so you know, he'll be staying in a county-sponsored house for pre-teen adolescents who are temporarily without care. I assure you that it's a safe environment."
"Thank you. I will contact you when I get a flight and a hotel reservation. The more I think of it, I'm going to take a 'redeye' flight tonight. Have Brenda's parents been notified?" Eric grimaced at the thought of his bible thumping, right wing, former in-laws. He thought they were still living in Yuma, Arizona.
~~~ "They apparently passed away a couple of years ago."
"Well, um, I'll take care of funeral and other arrangements. She had a few aunts and uncles. Frankly, I don't have any idea where they live."
~~~ "I'll help arrange the paperwork with the city morgue for release of the remains. Once you're legally Mike's guardian, everything will fall into place."
"Do I need a lawyer to handle her will or estate?" Eric knew that Brenda didn't have much; he figured that maybe she had even less at the end.
~~~ "I think that she left very little...except for this precious boy. He seems to be very bright, is handsome and very well mannered. I might add, from the pictures I saw, that he looks like his dad," she said with a chuckle.
"I'm anxious to see him. Mrs. Tulliver, thank you for your assistance. I'll call you tomorrow when I arrive. One favor. Would you make sure he gets the letters and pictures?"
~~~ "He has them now. Talk with you tomorrow. Bye."
Eric said his farewell, punched off the phone and looked at his houseguest. He moved his hand over to Brian's shoulder and pulled him close. The two men studied each other, silently, before Eric leaned in and kissed Brian lightly. More of a 'good morning' peck than anything else.
"Sounds like life for Eric Flynn just got a little more complicated?" The softness of Brian's voice lulled Eric into a moment of comfort.
Eric gave Brian a complete rundown of the news and his tentative plans that were still formulating in his head.
"Jeez, first I run into this wonderful man, and now I'm going to be a full-fledged dad. Talk about the difference 24 hours makes."
"Tell me about the dad part. I think I'm starting to understand the other thing," Brian said. "By the way, I could get used to morning coffee with my bare-assed buddy." He chuckled and playfully jerked Eric's soft dick.
"Oh, shit. I need to get pulled together," Eric replied with fake mortification. "Got lots to do." They both rose, and Brian followed Eric back to the bedroom. They passed the small bedroom and ended up in the master.
"So this is where the big people sleep?" Brian asked with a grin.
"This big 'un does."
"Will I get a chance to try this bed out?" Brian asked with a leer.
"That could be arranged with a rain check," Eric replied, swatting his friend's butt. "Listen, babe, let's take a shower...a real shower...and go down to Denny's for a little breakfast and conversation. It's only seven, and I've got several calls to make in about an hour." Eric turned and aggressively grabbed Brian, pulling him into a clinging hug. 'Is it possible that we'll be boyfriends?' he wondered.
"Yeah, I could definitely get used to this," Brian said, before he passionately attacked Eric's lips with a full-blown tongue probe. They stayed glued together, as both aggressively orally escalated the moment.
Eric knew that this was a man he wanted to know much better. "Let's go into my shower and get cleaned up? As much as I'd like to jump on your bones, I've got to get moving."
"There's only one bone I'm interested in." Brian could not take his eyes off Eric's aroused penis. He looked up and saw Eric's expression of good-natured impatience. "Okay, okay, I'll be good...for now."
A smiling Eric dashed into the master bathroom, started the shower water and took a long-overdue pee. Brian followed and watched from the door.
"If you can be good to your word, jump in with me. This is going to be a real fast spritz," Eric said, as he opened the shower door and stepped in. Brian pulled off his briefs, eagerly joined him, and within moments each man was washing the other. Except for a few necessary passes at the genital and anal area, neither pursued the natural course of fondling action available to two gay men attracted to each other.
"That was the fastest shower on record," Brian remarked as they toweled off their bodies.
"Rather than a 'rain check', how about a shower check?" 'And a fuck check, too,' Eric thought.
"You got it, daddy." Both guys erupted with laughter.
"Son, you get your clothes from the other room and get dressed. I'm putting on some fresh duds here."
"Okay, babe. Meet you in the kitchen in five." Brian put on his briefs and trotted out of the master.
Eric smiled as he watched Brian. 'Wow,' he considered. 'I think that I'm really falling for this guy." He also thought that the room that they had 'christened' last night would probably now be his son's room.
The Wrangler and Cherokee were parked side by side in front of Denny's, and Eric and Brian were parked next to each other in a corner, round booth in the filled restaurant. They both ordered 'Grand Slam' breakfasts and quietly sat, observing the beehive of activity.
"So what's the game plan?" Brian asked, breaking the silence. Eric was weighing all the ramifications of the changes in his life and accepted the question as a kick-start back to reality.
"Oh, sorry I phased out on you," Eric answered with a melancholy smile. "Just prioritizing stuff. Getting away from work, airline and hotel reservations, and what I'm going to find back east. I've got to get everything handled and get back here with Mike by Sunday." Eric was now thinking of his son as Mike, and he was contemplating the pending tourist season.
"Anything I can do to help?"
"Naw, I'm covered on this. Probably next week will be time for some major support. I gotta figure out how to handle this father-son shit. Right now, I want to talk about what happened last night between you and me...if ya don't mind?" Eric resisted the urge to grab Brian's hand and hold it tightly.
"What happened was two guys meeting, feeling a mutual physical attraction and discovering later that the attraction was much deeper than just sex," Brian said with a steady gaze into Eric's eyes. "By the way, the sex was great." They both grinned at the memories.
"That's what's going through my mind, too. How'd you end up so handsome and smart?" Eric said with a wink.
"Great minds think alike. It's way too early to be planning our next step, and you're tied up with some pretty heavy-duty responsibilities. But I'm putting my bid in right now to explore what we might have together as boyfriends. Is that okay?" Brian moved a little closer to Eric in the curved booth.
"I can get into the boyfriend concept. That's a first step," Eric answered, as he also scooted closer. They were now almost shoulder-to-shoulder. The hot food arrived, and the waitress smiled. She raised her eyebrow slightly but said nothing.
"Well, maybe the second step. I've got a raw behind as a reminder of the first one." They both laughed and almost spit out their coffee.
"Touché." Eric poured syrup over his pancakes, and Brian did the same. They dug into the plates of food with energy, taking bites from each food grouping. 'Next time is my turn,' Eric considered as he visualized Brian's dick of death.
"Maybe we can get our combined tribes together for dinner as a welcoming party for Mike? I know my sister would love to meet you and your son, and show off my two nephews."
"Great idea. Why don't I make some dinner - maybe spaghetti and garlic bread - and have everyone up to my place next week? God knows I've got enough space for everyone. Would her boys like that?"
"Yeah, just make sure you use bite size pasta, or the four-year old will create a real mess. They both love tomato sauce. By the way, your home seems to be very large."
"Dad bought it real cheap forty years ago. It's actually got four bedrooms, but I only use the master. I've kept my childhood room intact for sentimental reasons. I guess Mike will take that room. And I've kept the option open of finding the right guy to share my heart and home." Eric felt warm and tingly verbalizing this admission.
"Does Mike know you're gay?" Brian asked. Eric was a little relieved that Brian changed the subject.
"I can only guess what Brenda has said about me, and I may have some de-programming to do. However we split so long ago that maybe her bitterness softened? I was surprised about her admission in the note she left. Mike and I will have a real heart-to-heart talk when we get back here. For sure."
They both continued eating and talking between bites. Schools, church, the 'Y', and the other activities that a 12-year old boy would need and enjoy were discussed. Knowing his ex-wife's prudishness, Eric thought that a frank conversation about sex knowledge would be at the top of the list.
Brian sprang for the check, and Eric promised to call with his schedule.
Eric took a long, overdue shower in the bathroom of the airport Hampton Inn on the outskirts of Richmond. Two stops and ten overnight hours later, he set his plan into motion from the hotel room. He reserved connecting rooms and had every intention of being with his son that night.
He had contacted Mrs. Tulliver at child services as soon as he checked into the hotel at 9:30 a.m. It was agreed that he would meet her at eleven, do some necessary paperwork and continue to the childcare facility to meet Mike. At her request, he brought the birth certificates for both him and his son. She said that Mike could probably be released into Eric's care later in the day.
He also planned on feeling out Mike concerning returning to the house to collect his belongings and any of Brenda's effects that Mike wanted. Also for discussion was the decision on dealing with the body. Eric remembered Brenda's wishes when they were first married; she wanted to be cremated and have her ashes taken out to the Pacific Ocean off Point Loma in San Diego. That was the location of Eric and Brenda's first intimate moment. 'Best leave that detail unsaid,' he thought with a bitter smile.
At the appointed hour, Eric presented himself to the receptionist at the Henrico County Child Protective Services office and asked for Mrs. Tulliver. Moments later, a striking, older African American woman came out of the office and welcomed Eric to Richmond.
"Mr. Flynn, please join me in my office," she said with a warm smile.
"Yes, Ma'am. I think I've got everything you requested." They walked down a dingy, institutional hallway and entered a small, well-organized office. Eric was amazed at the number of files in her suspension rack.
"Okay, here's the file. I don't think the mother ever officially changed Mike's name. Therefore, he's Eric Michael Flynn, Junior, in the county's eyes," she said, as they both sat down.
"Here are the two birth certificates you requested. I also have a copy of the marriage license, divorce decree and the joint-custody award from the court until Mike is 18. Funny, I almost threw them out this spring."
"I'll make copies of all the documents. While I'm gone, you are free to review his case file. The letter that Mrs. Tanner left has been released and is in the file." She gave the thin file to Eric and left the office with the documents.
"Eric quickly scanned the note. Most of the message focused on self-pity and that her life wasn't worth 'a plug nickel', as she put it in a shaky scrawl on the notepaper. He came to the part concerning Mike and Eric's current telephone number.
Finally, Eric read her instructions for cremation. 'Fuck,' he thought, 'she did remember what we had discussed years ago.' He started again and read, in detail, how she harshly judged the past six months of her life. Eric wondered how she could have married such a heel of a man. She had no idea where he was and was down to her last $100.
"Everything seems to be in order. I've prepared the forms to release Mike to your care. As of 11:13, you are now officially and legally his father in this county and state. In addition, I've included a copy of the authorization for the city morgue to transfer Mrs. Tanner's remains to a mortuary of your choice."
"Thank you, M'am. I'll take care of everything."
Are you ready to meet your son?"
"Mrs. Tulliver, I'm more than ready. And please be assured that I'll try to be a good father." He took her extended hand and shook it.
"Of that, I have no doubt. Good luck...young man."
Eric left the office with his copy of all the forms and a map with directions to the childcare facility. Fortunately, the address was not far away and easy to find.
He parked his rental Ford Fiesta and slowly approached a well-landscaped, one story building with no signage. 'Probably the county wanted to blend into the residential surroundings,' he thought, as he arrived at the door. Eric pushed the doorbell and waited. He felt a little lightheaded and queasy.
The door opened and a short, matronly woman appeared. She looked at him quizzically for a moment before breaking into a grin.
"By just looking at you, I know you're Mike's father. It's Mr. Flynn. Right?"
"Exactly." Eric was relieved but curious about her observation.
"The physical resemblance is uncanny. Please come in. I'm Ms. Shaw. Mike is in the dayroom reading. He seems to really enjoy going over those old letters instead of watching TV." Eric followed her into the reception room.
"Nice to meet you. Mrs. Tulliver said that you would need a copy of the release form?" Eric retrieved the form in his document folder and handed it to her."
She quickly reviewed the form. "Yes, everything seems to be in order. I must tell you that Mike has been very polite but quiet. From what he has experienced, and now with you re-entering his life, don't be surprised if he appears withdrawn for a while."
"I'm prepared for that. Maybe a get-acquainted lunch will break the ice," Eric replied with hesitation.
"Probably a good idea. If you'll wait here, I'll get your son." Mrs. Shaw turned, walked down a short hall and entered an open doorway.
'Okay, don't blow it,' Eric thought. 'Just let Mike take his time to adjust.' His breathing started faster and his heart began pumping when he saw Mrs. Shaw come back into the hall. Behind her, was a typical 12-year old with short-cut dark hair, maybe 5'8", wearing jeans, T-shirt and sneakers. Upon closer inspection as they walked nearer, Eric noticed the piercing blue eyes that were doing a quick study on him.
"Mike?" he said. Mrs. Shaw and Mike approached Eric and stopped. Eric smiled and offered his hand for a shake. 'Jeez,' he considered, 'he does look very similar to me at that age.' His son was definitely in the transition from boy to young man, Eric thought, as he studied Mike's trim, sturdy physique and large feet that were out of proportion to the rest of his body. If Flynn genes were in play, he knew that Mike was primed for a growth spurt.
"You're my real father?" Mike asked. He grabbed Eric's hand and held it very firmly.
"Yes, Mike. I'm your father. Your real dad." Eric shook the smaller hand and raised his eyebrows. For a moment, Mike seemed unsure what to do. They voluntarily released each other's hands and Eric gestured with open arms.
"Hi." Mike walked into Eric's arms and wrapped his dad into a crushing hug. He sighed, buried his head into Eric's chest and started crying. Eric reached around to balance the hug.
TO BE CONTINUED