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 5, FAMILY REDEFINED
Mike, Eric and Brian made short work of unloading the Cherokee. The makeshift caravan of three brought the entire load of luggage and boxes into the duplex condo in minutes. Eric directed which items went into each of the two bedrooms. He observed his son check out the Wrangler that was parked in the vacant garage space several times.
"Thanks for the pickup, Brian. You wanna beer and a sandwich before you go?" They were all standing in the kitchen and Eric knew that Mike would be ready for some food. It was only 6:30 p.m., Pacific Time, and the box lunches they bought for the flight had been pretty meager.
"I'm going to take a pass. I've got to get back and close the restaurant."
"I feel your pain. It's back to the salt mines for me tomorrow." Eric thought about the paperwork waiting for him.
"Mike, we've got a date for some exploring on Wednesday. Okay?" Brian asked.
"Yeah, that'll be fun. I'm looking forward to it," Mike was enthusiastic and beamed a huge, broad smile.
Eric noticed that Mike had really warmed up to his friend. 'Well,' he considered, 'only a friend at this point. Stay tuned.'
"In the meantime, give your new uncle a hug. I think I'm going to enjoy getting to know my nephew." Brian opened his arms and Mike eagerly glided into a warm embrace. "Just so you know, I'm going to help your dad in whatever's needed to make you feel at home," Brian said in a low voice directly into Mike's ear.
"Thanks, Uncle Brian. I look forward to it." One final squeeze and Brian released Mike.
"I'm outta here. Bye, guys." Brian waved and exited out the door to the garage.
"Well, Son, this is it. Welcome to your new home. I'm sure you won't turn away a sandwich?" Eric said, gesturing Mike to sit at the kitchen table.
"And a beer?" Mike laughed and sat down.
"Maybe a root beer. Or a Coke?" Eric opened the refrigerator and checked the contents. "Hmm. I also have OJ or milk."
"Milk will be fine. If you have it, maybe a PB and J sandwich? I'm a little too wired to eat much of anything else," Mike said with a little edge in his voice.
"Buddy, I stocked up. That was your comfort food when we all lived together. Jif Extra Crunchy. Right?" Eric saw Mike's mouth drop open.
"And grape jelly?" Mike replied with his eyes widening.
"I've been eating PB and J since I can remember," Mike replied anxiously.
"I guess since you were three years old. I used to make them for you when we were all together." Eric ruffled his son's hair and proceeded to grab everything from the fridge. He made two, thickly spread sandwiches, using whole wheat bread: another of Mike's favorites from simpler times. He placed the two sandwiches on the table, poured two glasses of milk and sat down.
Quietly, Mike wolfed the sandwich and washed it down with milk. Eric smiled when he remembered that a three-year-old Mike used to call it 'moo-juice'.
"You want another?" He was amused at the mess of peanut butter and jelly that gathered around his son's mouth.
"If it's no trouble. I guess I was really hungry."
"No trouble. You wipe your face and I'll fix another sandwich. You can use a paper towel for a napkin." Eric got up from the table and his half-eaten PB and J. 'Gotta go shopping tomorrow,' he considered.
"Just so you know, I'm not usually such a pig," Mike said with a laugh. "I promise to be better with my table manners. I guess it's just a lot of stuff goin' on with me." He paused and a more somber expression washed over his face. "Ya know...Mom, you, um, the trip..."
"That's understandable. You've had a lot of stuff, as you say, thrown at you in the space of a few days. I remember being a little wound up when I was your age. Believe it or not, I was twelve once,' Eric said with a wink as he tried to regain the previous, lighter spirit.
"Oh, Daaaad, I know that," Mike replied with mock indignation. He eagerly accepted the second sandwich and started eating it with a little less gusto.
"And I know that you are experiencing a growth spurt that all boys at your age go through. Your voice, body, ah...lots of changes as you transition from boy to young man. We probably need to have a little father and son chat when you're comfortable with that." Eric looked at Mike with a questioning look.
"Um, Dad, I guess I'd like that after we get settled here. This was something Mom could never do and I wasn't going to ask 'that man'. I've got lots of questions. Some of the stuff has been covered from talking with my friends back in Richmond. But, still..."
"When you're ready. I discussed the same things with my buddies and my dad at your age. I guess that I can help out sifting fact from fiction. Or wishful thinking."
"You won't be embarrassed talking about, um, sex stuff?" Mike looked at his dad with wide eyes as he ate the remaining bites of the sandwich.
"That's what dads are for. You know the expression, 'been there; done that'? I can share my knowledge and experience so that you can better deal with all the stuff that happens growing up." Eric considered all the experiences with males that he wouldn't share with his son.
"Cool. I'd like that." Mike finished his milk and wiped the milk moustache from his upper-lip with his tongue.
"If you're finished, why don't you go to your room and get ready for bed. I'll do the same thing and come in before you go to sleep."
"Yeah, I am kinda tired. You going to tuck me in every night?" Mike asked with a grin.
"A big guy like you? Naw, I just want to make you feel comfortable on your first night in your new room. There's fresh towels in your bathroom and the bed was recently made with clean sheets." 'I won't tell Mike why there's clean sheets,' Eric thought, with fond memories of last Tuesday evening.
"Okay, Dad. See you in a few minutes?"
"Give me about ten. I'll straighten up and get ready for bed. Um, I sometimes just walk around in shorts or briefs. Is that going to make you uncomfortable?"
"Only if I can do the same. With you and me, it doesn't matter," Mike said as a matter of fact.
"Exactly. It's like father and son man's country," Eric shot back with a laugh. He was impressed at the maturity that was shining through Mike's young personality and pre-teen reasoning.
"I guess there's not going to be any women around here?"
"Only grandma or girlfriends of yours. Then it's pants and shirt on." Eric chuckled and offered his hand.
"Okay, that's a deal." Mike accepted his dad's hand and moved in for a close hug. "Give me a little time to figure out about you being, um, gay."
"That's just a part of me, buddy. It doesn't affect you or my responsibility of raising a growing son." Eric knew that he'd have to tread carefully for a while with any open relationship with Brian...if it came to that.
"Dad, thanks for everything. Just so you know, I love you." As Mike had done in Richmond, he buried his head into Eric's chest, sighed and let out a sniffle or two.
"Buddy, I'm so happy to have you back in my life. I double love you." Eric leaned down and kissed the top of Mike's head. "Except when you were born, this may be the happiest day of my life."
'Man, where the heck am I and what time is it?' Mike thought as he opened one eye and initially surveyed the strange room. 'Oh, yeah, Dad's old room. Mine now.' He opened the other eye and saw the clock. It read 7:10 a.m.
Then he felt the sheet that was partially covering him. He must have kicked the blanket off the bed in the middle of the night. Mike lay there for a minute, one leg dangling over the edge, when he felt the discomfort in his groin area. 'Ah, shit...not again.' He scooted a little and peeled away a portion of the sheet that was stuck to his raging erection and stomach. 'I must have had one of those things happen last night.' Mike had been sleeping nude since the first accident about four months earlier. He had been afraid that his Mom would find his dirty underwear.
He looked down his torso to his groin and the sparse, dark hairs that had grown there in the last few months. They were unceremoniously glued to his skin by the dried stuff that had come out of his dick. 'Funny,' Mike thought with a mixture of worry and puzzlement, 'I don't remember any pain. Just some kind of funny dream.'
He pondered his dilemma of soiling the clean sheets on his first night. 'Well, Dad said that we could discuss anything. Might as well ask him about this thing that's been happening to me at night. Maybe I need to see a doctor?' Mike, however, had to take care of other business first. He was in need of emptying his bladder.
He eased out of bed and went into the bathroom. This was the first time in his young life that Mike had his own private facilities and he approved of the new personal territory. As Mike found relief, careful to aim so as to not miss the target, his hard-on started to deflate. 'Jeez, could there be any better feeling than a morning pee?' he wondered.
He stepped over to the washbasin and decided to wash away the stuff that was caked on his body. Mike admired his body and sprouting pubes while he gently scrubbed the groin area. 'My dick seems to be getting larger,' he proudly considered. 'But my balls are hanging lower. I wonder what that's all about?' As he dried himself Mike thought about his upcoming 13th birthday and smiled. Returning to the bedroom, Mike found a clean pair of briefs from his backpack and slipped them on. He left his room and walked towards the kitchen: music and the aroma of coffee told him that Dad was up.
"Round round get around
I get around
Get around round round I get around
I get around..."
Mike stopped in his tracks at the kitchen area and grinned when he saw Eric singing along to the music and dancing by the counter.
"...Get around round round I get around
From town to town
Get around round round I get around
I'm a real cool head
Get around round round I get around
I'm makin' real good bread..."
"Go, Dad," Mike said with a laugh. This was the first time he had seen Eric in nothing more than boxer shorts and Mike was aware that he was looking at, more or less, an adult version of himself. 'Wow,' he judged, 'my old man looks pretty good.'
"Hey, Mike. Good morning, bud," Eric said, turning around. "The Beach boys are sometimes part of my wakeup routine. I didn't bother you, did I?"
"Naw, I just woke up and came out here. The music's kinda old but it sounds fun." Mike padded in and bumped knuckles with his dad.
"I noticed some CD's in your stuff. We'll have to play your music, too. I'm pretty much used to living by myself. I figure that we're goin' to be on our own in the morning. There's juice in the fridge and I set out cereal. I always set the coffee maker the night before to brew coffee in the morning. Do you drink coffee yet?" Eric poured cereal into a bowl, added milk and sat down.
"Um, I've tried it but can't get into it. Juice and cereal is fine." Mike followed his dad's routine and joined him at the table. He noticed Eric's beard of day-old growth, chest hair and filed away the image as 'things to come'.
"Maybe on Saturday or Sunday we can get out for a breakfast at Denny's or IHOP. They're both nearby," Eric said after taking a sip of coffee.
"This is all new to me. Whatever you say, Dad." Mike smiled and started on his Raisin Bran.
"Ha, you're making this too easy for me," Eric answered. "Seriously, I know we're going to have disagreements. And that's okay. Let's make a pact, Son. When something's bugging you, and vice versa, let's talk it out. I don't have all the answers, but a big part of my job is to help you get ready for becoming a man. The worst thing is clamming up and saying nothing. Deal?" Eric looked at Mike with openness.
"Deal. Um, can we talk about anything?"
"Absolutely. No subject is off base."
"I, err...I've got something wrong happening with me and might need to see a doctor." Mike decided that this was the best time to open the topic of his concern about his problem. He looked at his cereal bowl and stirred around the contents with his spoon.
"What's wrong? I've got a great family doctor that we can see today," Eric replied. There was urgency and concern in his voice inflection.
"I've been...well, ah...sometimes I wake up in the morning with stuff that has come out of my, um, peter at night. Usually it's dry like glue by the time I wake up. It's scary, Dad. You're the first person I've told." Mike looked into his dad's eyes and felt his face getting flush with embarrassment. However, he noticed that Eric relaxed and offered a reassuring smile.
"Son, it sounds like your body is experiencing some growing up steps." Eric placed his hand on Mike's and continued, "First, I'm going to use the official names for the male anatomy and what's been happening. Trust me, every guy around your age goes through this. I did."
"Yeah? You mean..."
"It's all very natural. You're body's going through the final stages of puberty."
"Like growing hair, um, other places and stuff like that?" Mike asked as if someone had turned on a switch.
"Exactly. Hair and voice change are just part of it. You're changing from boy to young man. Clear and simple."
"Whoa, these are big changes," Mike considered.
"What you're experiencing is called wet dreams or, more technically, nocturnal emissions." Mike's mouth slowly dropped open and Eric nodded his head. "How long has this been going on?"
"Ah, I guess about four months. I was too embarrassed to talk to Mom. At first I thought I'd peed in my bed. Later, I knew it was something else. I haven't even said anything to my friends back home."
"Basically, what's happening is that your testicles are now making semen. That's the fluid that carries sperm. The semen builds up and needs to release. This is what has been coming out of your penis at night. By the time you wake up it has dried. Do you understand these terms or words I'm using?"
"Except for penis, I'm not sure about the other stuff."
"Well, the easy one is testicle, or testicles. These are your balls...as in two of them," Eric said with a fatherly smile. "The other stuff we need to discuss in length another time. Have you had any talks with anyone about sex...other than the crazy things that boys talk about?"
"Oh, gee, Dad. It's kinda strange to talk to an adult about this." 'Man, did I open a can of worms?' he thought. 'But I might as well get it all out.'
"I won't push you but who better than your father? We've just got together and I know that we need to build a trust between each other. But I can help with this."
"I know. Well, to answer your question, I really haven't had any adult tell me about the 'birds and bees'...ya know...sex stuff. Mom avoided the subject and I wasn't about to talk with her jerky husband about anything. I guess the only thing I know is that a guy sticks his, um, penis in a girl, she gets big and a baby is made. Pretty lame...but that's about it. That's all I really know."
"Okay. One topic at a time. The 'birds and bees' talk we'll have real soon. This morning I'm just going to clear up any misunderstandings you may have about the way your body is changing. But we need to both be very open with each other."
"I can do that." Mike felt very secure in the presence of his dad even with this gay thing.
"First of all, let me ask you a question that is in the spirit of our agreement. Do you masturbate yet?"
"Masterbite?" Mike asked with a puzzled expression.
"No. Masturbate. As in masturbation. This is when a male stimulates his erect penis, usually with his hand, to produce an orgasm. It's, um, a pretty amazing feeling." Eric shrugged and smiled. "This orgasm, or climax, produces the white fluid that comes out of the penis. Ah, have any of your friends ever talked about jerking off, or jacking off? These are slang terms for masturbating."
"Well, um, at the 'Y' I heard the older guys talking about 'beating off' and shooting 'jizz' a couple of times in the locker room. But I pretty much kept to myself or my friends."
"Older guys, as in fellows 14 or 15?"
"Yeah, we were at the 'Y' for Saturday basketball league games. There were always a couple of different age group teams in the morning."
"Then you probably saw these older guys without any clothes? I only ask this because you may have noticed how a boy's body changes as you enter the teen years. Pubic hair and larger genitals are part of growing up. By the way, everyone, straight or gay, usually checks out other guys. It's just one of those things," Eric said with a laugh. Mike joined him and felt the nervousness evaporate.
"Err, yeah, I guess we all did. I know I was curious about the hair growing down there at the time. Now I'm getting some," Mike said with some pride.
"Well, son you're definitely growing up. Let's finish breakfast, get cleaned up and dressed. I'll meet you in the living room in about a half-hour. You're definitely ready for lesson number one a young guy needs to know about sex." Eric smiled warmly at his son.
"Do I need to bone up for a pop quiz?" Mike asked. He laughed when he thought about his unintended joke.
"Oh. My son the comedian, is it? Scoot and get ready. We've got a full day ahead." Eric and Mike stood and naturally hugged each other.
"Yes, Sir." Mike pulled away, popped a mock salute and returned to his room. "Wow,' he thought, 'is my old man cool, or what?'
Father and son were sitting in the living room, both with feet propped up on the coffee table. Eric was mentally exhausted and it was only a little after 10:00 a.m. 'Lesson one went well,' he thought. 'My son seemed to get the big picture.' Eric purposely used clinical terms as well as street slang.
"Dad, this really helps out a lot," Mike said with confidence.
"Any questions? We'll get into what happens between a male and female another time."
"There's much to think over. Maybe we can talk more about that stuff soon?"
"Let's plan on it. You turn 13 next month and I'll make sure that we get everything covered by then. Knowledge about sex and a young guy's responsibilities are very important."
"Yeah, a lot of stuff to think about," Mike said contemplatively.
Eric purposely communicated that he didn't consider masturbation in the privacy of the bedroom a big deal. In fact, he suggested that using hand lotion would lessen skin chafing. 'Might as well get the kid off to the right start,' he concluded, 'rather than hurting himself.'
"Let me promise you one thing. Your room is your kingdom. It'll be your responsibility to keep the bedroom and bathroom clean. And everything picked up. However, I will never come in the room unless I'm invited. Also, I will respect a closed door. If I need you, I'll knock on the door and not open it until you say it's okay." Eric knew his son was reading between the lines: your dad won't interfere while you're taking care of 'business'.
"And I guess the same thing applies with you and your room," Mike said with a broad grin.
"Let's just say that your dad likes his privacy, especially in the morning." Eric winked and started chuckling.
Mike paused for a moment and joined in the laughter about the shared double meaning.
"Seriously, if you are having bad dreams and ever need me at night, please come in and see me immediately."
"Got it, Dad. Thanks." Mike seemed to be contemplating Eric's suggestion.
"Okay. Back to the tasks at hand. How about you and me going down to Vons...that's the local supermarket...and stock up on groceries. You can tell me what your likes and dislikes are. Just so you know, I'm not in favor of loading up on Cokes. It's a health thing with me. I've got a bottled water service. That okay with you?"
"That's fine. Mom felt the same way. And we really couldn't afford it." Mike felt just a tinge of sadness when he thought about his mother.
"Next thing is meeting more family. Mom and Dad, your grandparents, are coming over here around 2 p.m. They are really excited about seeing you again. I hope that this isn't too much for you, too soon?"
"No, it's really neat. I kinda remember them when they lived here. Do I have to get dressed up? I haven't got my stuff unpacked and organized yet."
"Jeans and a tee are fine. I thought we'd all have a chance to get to know each other and talk a little before I leave for work. Your grandma is going to cook dinner. I expect that between you helping her and spending some time with grandpa, it'll be a fun evening. They'll go back to their place after dinner and I'll probably get home from work in the wee hours of the morning. You okay being by yourself, big guy?" Eric didn't mention that he was going to stop by Brian's place after work.
"Cool. I've been on my own for a while and it's no problem. I'm still on Richmond time and will probably go to bed after they leave."
"Okay, that's settled. Let's go shopping for some food. Tomorrow we'll go down to Best Buy and check out computers. Also, I think it's time to invest in a Playstation and some basic games. I think it'll work with the living room TV."
"Wow, that's really neat." Father and son both switched on the effervescent, Flynn grin.
For Eric, the smile was masking his concern about 'maxing out' his Visa card. 'Maybe dad can float a loan,' he decided.
"Finally, and probably most important, we are going to follow you mother's wishes later this week. She wanted her ashes to be scattered over the ocean at a special place." Eric noticed Mike momentarily freeze in his expressions and movement. "Can you do this with me?"
"Uh, yeah...well, umm...yes, Dad. I owe that to her," Mike replied after he regained composure.
"We both do, I think." 'I owe her for bringing Mike back into my life.' "Maybe we can drive down to Point Loma this Friday. By the way, here's my business card with all the contact numbers. I keep my cell phone with me at all times. If you need me, don't hesitate to call."
"Hey, Eric. I guess my directions were pretty clear," Brian said as he opened the door to his house. It was just after 10:00 p.m.
"Yeah, no problem." Eric smiled at the first glimpse of his pal. "I can't believe how close we live to each other."
"That can be handy," Brian replied with a chuckle.
Eric thought Brian looked pretty hot in gym shorts and a tee. "Very handy."
"Come in." Brian stepped aside and allowed Eric to enter.
"Um, where are the boys and Karen?" Eric gave Brian a small peck on the mouth. Just a quick, hello kiss.
"The boys are in bed and Karen's watching TV in her room. Let me give you an official welcome, babe." Brian stepped closer and pulled Eric into a tight embrace. Each other's lips immediately found their target, followed by serious tongue engagement. After a brave attempt to dominate, Eric surrendered to Brian's tonsil attack.
"Umm," was all Eric could moan as the long, probing kiss continued. He was aware that both men were straining in the crotch area, as two friendly, aroused cocks were demanding escape from the cloth confines. He pulled back and looked into Brian's eyes. "I've been thinking about this all day. Missed ya, buddy."
"The feeling's mutual. Wanna beer?" Brian asked.
"Whatever you're having will be fine."
"Then Amstel Light it is. Go into the living room and I'll join you in a sec." Eric walked into the living room and sat on the couch. Without hesitation, he slipped off his shoes. While watching Brian in the kitchen pass-through window, he noticed that the bedroom areas were at opposite ends of the house. 'This could be convenient,' he thought, 'if the master bedroom is off in its own part of the apartment.'
Brian joined Eric in the living room, offered him a longneck and clinked the two bottles. "Here's to your new life and everything positive that's going to happen, dad," Brian said as he eased onto the couch next to Eric.
"Being a dad again is just part of it. The other part is how you feel about us being boyfriends." Eric moved closer to Brian until their shoulders and knees were touching. "I don't want to put you on the spot. If ya got second thoughts, I'll understand. I at least wanna be a friend." Eric felt he had said a mouthful as he took a long pull from the bottle.
"Eric, I think we went beyond that stage last week. Read my lips: I plan on being your very best, close friend. I'm just concerned that you might be a little too busy with parenting." Brian leaned over and nibbled on Eric's earlobe and lapped his tongue around his ear.
"Ha, ha. You go right for the gold," Eric replied as he squirmed. "You already know where to go to flip on my switch." He turned and planted a wet kiss on Brian's cheek. "I've got two guys in my life now. And unless I miss my hunch, Mike's going to enjoy getting to know you."
"Kind of the makings of a nuclear family?" Brian started rubbing his hand across Eric's tented crotch.
"Something like that. I even gave him the first talk about the 'birds and the bees' this morning."
"Really? You don't mess around. How'd that take place?" Brian asked with curiosity.
"Actually, he brought it up. Seems he's been having wet dreams and he didn't have the foggiest what they were. Mike thought he needed to see a doctor. I decided to give him the rundown on what was happening to him."
"Well, I want to give you the rundown on something else in my bedroom. As I recall, you owe me something," Brian said with a snicker and a mischievous leer.
"As my son said this morning, I hope you're 'boned up' for it." Eric and Brian rose from the couch at the same time.
"Hmmm, in what context was this?" Brian asked as he goosed Eric.
"Oops," Eric uttered with an exaggerated jump. "I'll tell you all about it...later. Lead the way, buddy."
TO BE CONTINUED