Road Rage

Chapter 8:

Thanksgiving is in three days. Mark and I still don't officially live together but we may as well. We split time between his house and mine but we haven't spent a single night apart from each other since we got back from our fishing trip. We've talked about it, that maybe one of us should sell our house and move in to the others but we haven't decided who was going to. I don't think either of us is in any kind of hurry. We've been making this work quite well and we're happy with the way things are. And short of few clothes at each other's houses we haven't really made any kind of nesting move either. It works for us and we're happy with it.

Since my family all live in another state I've gotten very used to not spending any holidays with them, and Chris and I always just had our own holiday things; either alone or with friends. I hadn't considered that Mark grew up here and his family was here; the holidays might prove kind of interesting. I hadn't considered this either until Mark got home this evening. We were sitting in his kitchen eating dinner.

He looks over at me after swallowing a bite. "My Aunt Carole called to confirm that I was coming over for Thanksgiving dinner."

I look up at him. "Oh yeah; it's in a few days, huh? Are you going?"

"I wanted to talk to you about it first. What do you think?"

"I've eaten in their restaurant; I think you'd have a really great meal. You should go."

"Are you going to see your family?"

"No, I never do; well at least since I've lived here. Chris and I just had our own thing for holidays and I've never worried about it."

"Well if I'm going then you're going; I'm not going to go there and leave you home alone."

I smile at him. "If I wasn't included in the invitation then you can't just bring me along; that's not nice."

"I'll call her and ask her. I'm not leaving you alone on Thanksgiving. What have you been doing the last three years on the holidays?"

I grin. "Nothing. I have some dinner and watch a movie or something. It's not a big deal, Mark."

He frowns at me. "That kinda sucks. Not that I'm really gung-ho about holidays but you shouldn't be alone on them."

"I never really gave it much thought. Holidays in my house growing up were always so stressful I've kind of enjoyed the peace and quiet."

"Still... I'm gonna call her and ask if I can bring you along."

I wasn't sure I really wanted to go. I look at him. "What if I don't really feel like goin'?"

"Why not?"

"First of all, other than your aunt and uncle these people would all be strangers to me. Secondly, I've started to like quiet holidays. And what about possible questions about why I'm not with my family and why I'm with you on the holidays; how do we handle that?"

"There won't be that many people there. It's usually my aunt, uncle, their two daughters and their families. I think that makes about twelve total, including me. They're all friendly, baby, they'll love ya. As far as questions about your family and why you're with me I can probably guarantee that once they find out you're away from home and have no family here you'll be welcomed with open arms. Don't worry about it."

"You kinda skipped over the part about me liking quiet holidays."

He grins at me. "I'll tell everyone they have to whisper."

"I don't know... I've never had a good holiday dinner with family; I'm not sure I wanna try it again."

"I promise there won't be a single argument; no yelling. I've been going over there the last three years; well more than that over the years, and a fight's never broken out. Come on, baby."

"I would really rather not. I'm sorry, but I just don't feel like doing the family gig."

He frowns again. "You must've had some killer family dinners. Alright, then we'll do something; just the two of us."

"Your aunt would kill us. You go. I'll just have my normal T-day dinner and watch a game on the tube. Don't worry; it's really not a big deal to me, baby."

"There is no way in hell I'm leaving you alone on Thanksgiving. You have two choices; family or me."

I close my eyes for a second. "I don't want this to turn into an argument, but I have three choices."

He sighs. "You're right; I'm sorry. I'm trying to bully you into something you don't wanna do and I'm sorry. I don't know the cause of it but I respect your decision."

I smile at him. "Thank you. You said to always be honest and I'm being honest."

"Always honest; that's the most important thing. I'll quit bullying ya about this."

"Bring me home a piece of pie and we'll call it good." I smile at him.

He grins. "You got it, sexy."

He was true to his word; he didn't bring it up once over the next three days. He said he was going over there at noon and would probably be back around five. I told him to have a great time and not worry about me. Just to think of it as being no different than going to work all day. He tried a little guilt on me; telling me he would be thinking of me sitting here alone the whole time. I diffused it by telling him he was sweet. The best laid plans...

Thanksgiving Day at noon-thirty my cell phone rings. I look at caller ID and see its Mark.

"Hey baby. Did you break down or something?"

"Uh... No, I didn't break down."

"What's wrong; you sound different? Silence. "Mark? What's wrong, baby? Tell me what's going on."

"I'd really like you to come here. Please, Brian; please come."

"Are you at your aunt's?"

"Yeah. I was thinkin' about what you said; about always honest. I've lived my life by it, until recently." He sighs. "I told my aunt and uncle about us."

"Oh wow... I get the strange feeling it didn't go over too well. Are you alright?"

"Yes, it went over a little better than I expected and no, I'm not really alright. I need you here."

"I'm on my way. Give me the address; I'll be there as soon as I can. I love you, Mark; never forget that."

"I never do..." He gives me the address and sighs again. "I'll see ya soon."

"I'm on my way. Hang in there."

I wasn't exactly dressed for dinner but then I really didn't care at this point. My man was freaking out and I needed to be there. I jumped in the car and drove like Bo Duke to get over there, arriving by noon forty-five. I jumped out of my car and jogged up to the front door, knocking on it as soon as I cleared the last step. It was answered by Mark's aunt Carole. She looks at me for a second and then at my clothes.

"Isn't that kind of casual for a holiday meal?"

"I'm sorry; I mean no disrespect, but I'm not here to eat; I'm here for Mark. He sounded really stressed out on the phone and I'm here to see him. Please let me in."

"He's in the kitchen; come in."

She stands aside and I walk in and find my way to the kitchen by smell; which is incredible by the way. Mark is sitting at the kitchen table with his uncle and drinking a cup of coffee. He looks up when I walk in and exhales and mouths `thank you'. I walk directly over to him and stand next to him.

"Come on; let's go outside and talk. I'd really like to hear about what happened."

Aunt Carole's standing in the doorway and speaks up. "You'll hear everything but not until I get some questions answered."

I turn and look at her. "Again, no disrespect, but he's my primary concern. He's the only thing that matters to me."

"So you really do love him?"

"With everything I am." I turn to Mark. "Come on, let's go outside and talk."

"That's question one out of the way. Question two. Why did you lie to me the first time I met you?"

I turn back to her. "I didn't lie, at least officially. I was in a committed relationship with someone for over seven years and he left me for some kid. As I see it I was divorced on that day; just like Mark."

She grins. "OK, I'll give ya that one. I don't like lies and I don't like secrets. As you can well imagine this is one hell of a shock. I've never had a problem with gay people and I would never have had a problem with Mark being gay. But to find out when you've known him for thirty-six years, and he was married with a child, it comes as one hell of a shock. I'm having a very hard time figuring this out. How does someone go from married dad to having a boyfriend?"

"Are you asking me if I converted him or something?"

She rolls her eyes. "Please; I know better than that. People don't get converted; either way. All these nuts that have their children sent to some conversion center need to have their head examined. I'm asking how this all came about."

I turn back to Mark. "You're bein' awful quiet. What all did you tell them?"

He shrugs. "I told them you and I are together. That you fell in love with me the day you met me and after awhile I fell in love with you."

"That's it?"

He sighs. "I didn't get much else in afterwards; she demanded to see you."

I sigh. "So much for the stress-free holiday." I turn back to Carole. "What do you want to know?"

"You bring up a good point right there. Why didn't you come with him? If he means so much to you and you two are together, why did you let him come alone?"

"First of all I didn't know he was going to come out. Secondly, we talked about it and I told him I didn't do well with family get-togethers and I would rather just stay home. We both agreed to it."

"What's so wrong with family?"

"Mine were awful. Every family get-together was like an episode of Jerry Springer. I promised myself I'd never put myself through that again."

Uncle David smirks. Now I know where Mark gets it. I glance at them and back to Carole. She's mulling something over.

"I'd like to think we don't belong on Springer. So you just assume that all families are the same? Isn't that as bad as me assuming all gay people are the same?"

I grin. "Touché. Still, given my experience with family I was more comfortable just staying home. Yes, if I'd known he was planning on coming out I would've been here. Nobody should go through that alone. I know, because I did. And I especially didn't want him to be alone."

"He wasn't alone; we were here and we love him. But I know what you're saying. I'm guessing you've always known you were gay."

"I've known since I was thirteen, almost fourteen."

"Are you helping him to deal with this?"

"As much as I know how. I worry about him and how's he handling this every day of my life. I tell him all the time to talk to me if he's struggling with something."

My man finally decides to speak. "I'm doing fine with this, Carole; you both need to stop worrying about me. I know what I'm doing and I have absolutely no regrets."

Carole ignores him and fires another one at me. "How can you fall in love with someone after knowing them a day and think that it's real?"

"He's your nephew; you should know exactly what kind of man he is and how easy it would be for someone to fall in love with him. I've never believed in the whole love at first sight thing until the day I met him. He was everything I ever wanted. I was heartbroken thinking I'd never have him; that he'd never be able to feel the same way about me. I told him how I felt. I told him I would try to deal with the feelings and just try to get over them. I wanted him as my friend; I couldn't let my feelings scare him off. I needed him in my life anyway I could have him. And I knew it was real from day one. Nobody has ever made me feel what he does."

She smiles at me and then looks at Mark. "Does Jared know?"

"Yes. I flew to New York to talk to him before I told Brian how I felt. I had to know if he'd be alright with this; be alright with his dad being with a man. He was great. He told me to go home and get Brian and tell him what I was feeling."

"This isn't some mid-life crisis or anything, is it? This is more than just sex; trying something new?"

"No, it's not a mid-life crisis, and no it's not about sex. I love him. I'm very much in-love with him. I'm sorry I sprung it on you like this but he reminded me about being honest and I had to be honest."

"Are you planning to tell your mother and father?"

"I haven't thought about it. I guess I should but I don't know how they'll take it."

"It goes right back to that honesty thing, Mark. You can't live with a man and cut your parents out of your life to hide it. Besides, at some point I'm sure Jared would spill the beans to them; then what? You've been living a lie and have to explain it to them?"

He sighs and then looks at me. I grin at him. He turns back to Carole. "I know you're right. I'll fly down to see `em before Christmas and tell them. I can't do this on the phone. Like you said, at thirteen it's a little less of a shock than at thirty-six."

"Are you absolutely sure about this, Mark? And I'm not saying it's bad or anything, I just need you to be sure."

He grins. "Brian asked me the same thing. He told me I couldn't second-guess this one. I'm sure. I know we're just getting started; that things are kind of in the puppy-love stage, but I love him more than I ever loved Jackie. Other than Jared he is everything to me."

"There had to be some signs when you were younger. You don't just go from straight to gay in a few months. Did you ever feel this way about a boy when you were a kid?"

He grins again. "Brian and I've talked about this too. No, I never felt myself attracted to boys. I was always very nervous around girls but I never saw a boy I wanted to be with. I can't explain it either. It's just something that happened."

Carole turns to me again. "Have you ever been attracted to girls?"

"Not sexually. I know when I see a pretty girl but I've never wanted to date her. Like I told Mark, there's really no either or in this; there are degrees. And I also told him about what a counselor told me once; that you should never label yourself; never define yourself by anyone else's criteria. Be who you want to be and love and be loved; the body parts don't matter."

"So you don't define yourself as one hundred percent gay?"

"I don't define myself as gay at all." Mark smirks. "When he asked me if I was gay I said no, I was homo. Gay is a lifestyle and I'm not a lifestyle. I don't label myself."

She grins. "I always thought gay was the politically correct term for homo?"

Mark laughs. I look at her and smile. "In polite company I guess it is. I guess it's kind of like the `N' word; those that are can use it. Homo and queer are said by those of us that are."

"So how would you classify Mark?"

"As my reason for living."

She smiles. "That's very nice but not quite what I meant. Would you say he was gay, bi, straight, confused?"

We all laugh. "Not confused. I call him straight boy a lot but I guess given the current circumstances bi would come closest; if you had to choose a label."

"Why do call him straight boy?"

I grin. "I use it as a term of endearment. It's become a running gag between us; much like a couple of other names we call each other."

"And they would be...?"

I grin. "I don't ask you what you call your husband in bed."

Mark and David laugh. She grins at me. "I call him snookems and he calls me woman."

I grin. "I call him dipshit and he calls me smart-ass."

Mark and David laugh. She smirks. "My, such loving, caring terms."

"Well I also call him sexy boy; is that better?"

She blushes. "I don't know about better... Maybe for him."

"He likes it. He won't admit it, but he does like it." I turn and grin at Mark; he blushes and the other two laugh.

"So are you two living together?"

"No. We're each keeping our own house for now. We've talked about it and decided this works for us. We only live three blocks from each other; it's not like we're across town. That, and Jared has things more normal when he comes."

Mark jumps in. "I never said I wanted to keep things normal for Jared. He's fine with this. He says he can't wait to see the two of us together. He says it'll be a trip to his old man with his old man." We all laugh.

I turn to Mark. "I just figured that was something you'd taken into consideration. Like we've talked about; things are fine the way they are."

"They are, but it has nothing to do with Jared. He doesn't even live here."

"OK. Speaking of, you need to check with an attorney about that. Find out if it's possible to get him back and then ask him if he wants to come home."

He smiles. "I'm going to. I've been thinking about it a lot since we talked about it."

Carole smiles big and turns to Mark. "You're gonna bring Jared home?"

"I'm gonna try. Brian and I talked about this and he thinks I got screwed by that judge and I should see if I can get full-custody back from Jackie."

"He's right; you did get screwed. Please, Mark; do this; bring that boy home. He should be with his father, not some money grubbing gold-digger. We'll help you anyway we can; you know that."

"I know. Thank you."

She looks at her watch and then back to me. "You have twenty-two minutes to go home and change clothes. Dinner is at one-thirty; I expect you here on time."

I look at her. I turn and look at Mark and David. They're no help; they shrug their shoulders. I turn back to Carole. "You give me your word? No Springer madness?"

She smiles. "I give you my word. If they so much as raise their voice I will bring the hammer down."

We all laugh. I grin at her. "OK, you win."

She smiles. "I always do. You better get moving."

"Yes ma'am." I turn to Mark and grin. "I love you, you traitor."

Uncle David laughs loudly while Mark smirks and grins at me. "I love you too. See ya at one-thirty."

As I'm driving back home I'm starting to wonder if this whole thing was a setup; that Mark just used it as an excuse to get me there. Nobody would come out to their family just to get someone over, would they? Nah. I sure as hell wouldn't. That seems like a really risky, stressful gamble just to get your other half over for dinner.

I don't quite make it back at one-thirty; it's one thirty-three and there's a man, woman and three kids getting out of their car in the driveway. I pull up out front and walk up to the door, knocking on it. The family is still waiting for the smallest one to tell them he's a big boy and can take his own seatbelt off. Carole answers the door.

She looks at her watch and grins. "You're three minutes late."

I grin back. "So are your grandkids; are they in trouble too?"

She laughs. "No, because they've been in the driveway since one-thirty."

I laugh. "I don't doubt it. The little one is trying to assert his big-boyness. He says he damn well can get himself out of that car seat."

She laughs. "It may take him ten minutes, but by God he'll do it. Come in and go see your traitor; he's still in the kitchen."

"He just doesn't like to get far from the food. He does the same thing when I'm cooking."

"You cook too?"

I blush and grin. "I do. I learned all the secrets to keeping your man happy at gay boy training."

She laughs. "You are a smart-ass; you'll fit right in around here. Get in there. I gotta go watch this car seat battle."

She walks out past me to the screams of, `Grandma!' while I head inside to the kitchen. My traitor is in the exact same spot. I grin at him.

"I hope that's not the same cup of coffee; it's gotta be stone cold by now."

He smiles. "No. She even let me have the real thing this time."

I look at my watch and grin. "That's `cause it's still only one thirty-five. You'll be on unleaded by four."

He laughs. "Probably. I'll have to watch her while she makes it. I'm sorry you got roped into staying for dinner; I was trying to avoid it. She wouldn't budge. She insisted that you come over so we could talk this out."

"Maybe she just didn't believe you were with a man; wanted to see for herself."

He grins. "That could be. I'm sorry. I didn't plan it this way. I've thought about it a lot since the other night when you said you were just being honest with me. We're always honest with each other but I haven't been honest with anyone else lately. I was scared. I now know what you went through and I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I have a whole new respect for guys coming out to their family."

"I wish you'd said something to me. I would've been here, Mark; I would never have let you do this alone if I knew what you were planning. I could've at least given you a few pointers. We're supposed to talk to each other about life-changing decisions, baby."

"I know. I'm sorry. I just wanted to get it out there. And I'm sorry you got drug over here. When I called you I was still kind of zoned out on what I'd just done; I wasn't thinking about your feelings. I'm sorry. I just needed to see you; to know that you're here for me."

"I'm never going anywhere. I'll always be here for you; never ever doubt that. Are you alright?"

"I'm alright. They were really great about it. No yelling. No throwing dishes or food or screams of how can you do this to us. I was expecting all of it. They were just quietly shocked. I guess I can understand that. It's not every day your thirty-six year old nephew comes tripping out of the closet."

I smile. "If you tripped you did it wrong; you're supposed to prance, baby."

He laughs. "Oh God. Thank you for that. The one time I really really need your sense of humor. Thank you. Yeah, I shoulda pranced. I love you."

"I'll always love you. Please tell me how you're really doing. I'm so worried about you; I'm scared for you."


He stands up and pulls me into his arms. "I'm fine. I really am. Having you here to stand beside me and to field questions meant more than you'll ever know. Thank you for coming when I called."

"I'll never not come when you call." I pull back from the hug and look in his eyes. "You're really OK though; you're not just telling me this so I'll stop worrying?"

He smiles. "I'm really OK." He's looking deep into my eyes. He looks left and then right and then back into my eyes. "I'm sorry for just noticing this, but you have incredible eyes; they're like so deep; like I can see forever in them. I know I'm your straight boy and I'm not supposed to say things like this, but you have beautiful eyes, baby."

I flush crimson and smile at him. "Oh man... You do say the most amazing things sometimes. Straight boy or gay boy; you are amazing to me."

"I'm amazed every day when I wake up and you're right there next to me. Please tell me you'll always be there next to me."

"I'll always be there next to you; I can imagine no place I'd rather be. I love you with all that I am or will ever be. You are my world, Mark Reynolds."

He pulls me back in his arms and holds tight, me holding him just as tight. He whispers in my ear.

"I love you. I love you so very much."

We've been holding each other about two minutes when we hear a throat being cleared and look over. Carole is standing in the doorway, her eyes wet and smiling at us.

"I'm very sorry to interrupt but I'm having a hell of time keeping other people out of here. Before I let them in though I have to say this; you two look so great together, and if what I just heard is how you always express love then the rest of us need to take some lessons from you. That was so beautiful. And I'm sorry; I didn't mean to listen in; I was just on my way in here."

Mark and I both blush and smile at her. "Thank you, Aunt Carole. I have to admit, he's better at this than I am but I'm learning a lot from him. I love it when he tells me what I mean to him so I'm learning to do the same."

She smiles. "It's still a little strange for me to see you in the arms of a man but I have to say you look good together. And you look happy; happier than I've seen you in years. If Brian's the one responsible then I'm behind you a hundred percent."

Mark smiles. "Thank you. That means a great deal to me. And yes, he's responsible for my happiness. I still can't believe he loves me like he does, but I wouldn't trade it for anything."

"Then you need to look deeper into those eyes of his; he adores you. I saw you and Jackie together from the beginning and never once did she look at you like that. I expect you both to do whatever it takes to make this work; to make it a lifetime."

We both blush. I look at her. "I'm never letting him get away. I'm glad you're alright with this; it means a lot. You can let the troops in now; we'll be good." I grin at her.

She grins back. "I guess I should; they're all chomping at the bit to see the pies. Oh, and dinner is really at two, but I don't like tardiness. You look nice by the way; much better than before."

I smile. "Thanks. I probably could've pulled off something better if I'd had more than a minute and half to get dressed."

She and Mark laugh. Mark looks at me. "You look great, baby. You looked great in the shorts and t-shirt but you look great now, too. Don't let her scare you; her bark's much worse than her hammer."

Carole looks over at Mark. "You haven't seen my new hammer. Now you two get out of my kitchen; there's an occupancy limit in here."

I turn to her. "Yes ma'am. And I'm not trying to kiss up or anything, but this kitchen smells even better than the one at the restaurant. I can't wait to eat."

She smiles. "Thank you. You will be here for Christmas dinner as well; and that was not a question. Now scram."

The rest of the day went better than I ever expected it to. I was still a little nervous being around all these strangers but they were all very nice; just like Mark said they were. We did end up being outed to the rest of the adults but they were all good with it; shocked about Mark but good with it nonetheless. It was a far cry from any dinner I'd ever had with my own family, that's for sure.

I actually spent as much time with the kids as I did the adults. It's not that I'm a huge fan of kids but for some reason I felt a little more at ease with them. We had a great time anyway; who needed the adults around to screw it up. And I guess I'd bonded with little dude; he insisted that I be the one to put him in his car seat when they were leaving. He even let me put the seatbelt on him. I think he was just tired and didn't feel like dealing with it; although he did kind of get to me when he told me, `thank you, Uncle Brian.'

Mark and I stayed until almost seven. We both had to be to work tomorrow and I wanted some time alone with my man this evening. We tried to get out of it but we were sent home with what had to be ten pounds of food. Not that we complained a whole lot; dinner had been spectacular. I was kind of already looking forward to Christmas dinner.

It was almost seven thirty by the time we walked into Mark's front door. I helped him put the food in the fridge, giving him a little bit of a hard time about it finally having something in it. He swatted me on the ass and then pulled me in his arms.

"Talking shit about my kitchen habits will get you nowhere."

I grin. "I wasn't talking shit; I was just saying it's nice to see something in there. Man cannot live on beer, eggs, trout and mustard."

"I guess that explains why we always eat at your house or out, huh?" He smiles.

"Uh, yeah. Now I get to come over here and have you fix dinner for me."

He laughs. "OK. I can heat up leftovers; I already told you I was great with a microwave."

I roll my eyes and grin. "Yeah, you did. So what else are you great with, sexy?"

He smiles. "Making love with the sexy man in my arms."

"Yes you are; you are a master at that. So, ah, before you make love to me I wanted to tell you thank you. You were right. I had a great time and they were all very nice. I like `em. Admittedly, it was kind of a rocky beginning, but it turned out great."

He grins. "I don't wanna say I told ya so, but... Seriously though, I'm glad you had a good day. I am very sorry for how it began, but still glad you had a good day."

"Don't be sorry about that. Don't ever be sorry for being honest or expressing your feelings."

He nods and smiles. "So... Do you think you can manage Christmas with them too? I know one little guy that'll be heartbroken if you're not there."

"Trying guilt on me now, huh? Are you sure you weren't a mother in a previous life?"

He laughs. "I'm sure. And no, not guilt." He grins. "I saw the look on your face when he called you Uncle Brian."

I blush and he grins. "Yeah, he kinda got me with that one; I wasn't expecting it. I have to admit; I had a great time playing with him. He has a hell of an imagination, too. I was having a hard time keeping up with the pretend worlds we found ourselves in."

He laughs. "Yeah, he's a creative little cuss. Stubborn and creative."

"Fun too. I enjoyed playing with him. And to answer your question; yes, I was planning on Christmas too. I had a nice time and I wouldn't mind a repeat. You have a nice family, baby; thank you for sharing them."

"You're welcome. I'm glad I got to share you with them. Now how about we hop in the shower, clean off the smell of food and pie and find something creative that adults can do?"

"Are you trying to tell me I smell?"

He smirks. "No, I'm trying to tell you I'm horny and I wanna make love to you."

I grin. "Ahhhhh. I see where this is heading. You wanna use me for my body."

He laughs. "Busted. Right now I do. I wanna do unspeakable things to your body right now. So...?"

I smile. "I like the sound of that. Lead on, baby; you can do all the unspeakable things you want."

He leans in, connecting with my mouth and working his tongue between my lips. I meet his tongue with mine and pull myself tighter to him, moaning into his mouth. He reaches down, grabbing my ass and then pulls me into his crotch, thrusting back into me while he does. My dick is growing fast and my lips and tongue are making sweet love to his. I reach behind his head and grab his hair, pulling him harder into my mouth, my tongue dueling with his. He squeezes my ass harder, lifting up a little and thrusting harder into my crotch. We're trying to envelope each other, and doing a damn good job I might add when his fucking phone rings. I'm hoping like hell he'll ignore it but it's a lost cause; he never ignores it. He breaks the kiss, both of us panting like greyhounds chasing that stupid rabbit. He looks apologetically to me and then pulls his phone out of his back pocket, looking at the caller ID.

He answers. "Hey Son! How goes it?" He frowns. "What's wrong? What's going on, Jared?" He listens for about ten seconds, his face growing dark and angry. "He did what? What the hell do you mean he hit you? Where did he hit you?" He pulls away from me and starts pacing, his left fist balled up. "Where are you now?" Two more seconds. "Is your mom with you?" About ten seconds goes by. "I don't care what she thinks; he doesn't get to ever hit you. Do you feel safe there right now or would you feel better at a friend's house?" Five more seconds. "Then if you can get out of there without being seen, do it; head over to Adam's house. I'll call your mother and tell her you're safe but not say where you went. I'll be there as soon as I can. And you call me when you get to Adam's house; I need to know you're safe."

Mark looks at me. "Get my laptop out and look up flights to New York, please."

"I'm on it."

I turn to go get his laptop while he's talking to Jared. I'm pretty sure he'll never get a flight out tonight but maybe first thing in the morning. While I'm looking up flights he's on the phone with Jared. I actually find a flight that leaves tonight at eleven and get's to New York in the morning at seven forty-five. I pull the flight info up and then walk into the kitchen to show him. He's just hanging up the phone and turns towards me.

"Did you find one?"

"I did actually; it leaves here at eleven and get's to JFK at seven forty-five in the morning. I guess they do still have red-eyes."

"You're fuckin' great." He hands me his credit card. "Book it. Two round trip in yours and my name and one one-way in Jared's name. Please."

I take the card from him, looking at him. "I will. Is Jared alright? Are you going to be alright?"

He shakes his head, balling up both fists this time. "That sorry motherfucker bitch slapped my kid. I will have his fuckin' ass in prison before tomorrow's over. Arrrrgggghhhhh. I can't fuckin' believe that worthless fuck hit my kid. I'm gonna fuckin' kill him! And you wanna know the really good part? His mother took that fuck's side; said Jared was being a smart-ass and that would teach him to watch his mouth. I'm gonna kill `em both!"

"Did Jared get out of the house without them seeing him?"

"Yes, thank God. I stayed on the phone with him while he snuck out. He said they were in their room anyway. He's going over to his friend Adam's house. Fuck! I can't fucking believe this, Brian. What the fuck gives anyone the right to hit my kid!?"

"Nothing, baby. I'm so sorry about this. I'll do what I can for both of you. Let me get this flight booked."

"Thank you, Brian; thank you. Oh man... I'm so fucking angry I don't know which way is up. I'm so glad you're here."

"I'll always be here. We'll go get Jared and bring him home. He'll be safe for the night with Adam and then we'll bring him home. He'll be fine. What day are we coming back; tomorrow?"

"Yeah, but make it afternoon or evening; I have cops to talk to."

"OK. You know they won't let Jared on the plane with us if we don't have his mother's permission, right? Do you have something from her?"

"Oh fuck, that's right, huh? Yeah, I have the notarized letter her attorney drew up. Thanks for reminding me to take it. Besides, if the bitch gives me any problems about it I'll fuckin' clock her. He's coming home."

"I'll get the flight booked."

By ten fifteen we're sitting at the gate at Sea-Tac, waiting for our flight. This isn't exactly how I pictured my weekend but then I didn't really have any plans anyway. Mark had finally calmed down. I told him he had to be really calm by the time we got to the security checkpoint or we'd never get on the plane. We had both called our respective bosses and told them a family emergency had come up and we wouldn't be in tomorrow. And it's a good thing Mark still had a job. I don't know how much he earns; we've never really discussed money with each other, but this flight is costing him a fortune. Last minute flights on holidays are not cheap; that's for sure. I about had a stroke when the total showed up on the website.

I turn and look at him. "Are you OK?"

He turns and smiles. "I'm better. I got a text from him about ten minutes ago; he said he was tired and gonna crash. I don't doubt it; it's been a hell of a day for him. A hell of a day for all of us, I guess. Thank you again for coming with me, baby; I couldn't have survived the last few hours without you next to me. I love you."

"I love you. We'll be OK. Maybe we'll get a little sleep on the plane; we won't be so loopy tomorrow."

He chuckles. "Loopy? I like that. I'm sorry tonight turned to shit so quickly."

"No. Don't you dare be sorry about this. You're happiness and well being are my priority; not having sex."

He grins. "Thank you. I'll make it up to ya."

"You don't have to make up anything; you didn't do anything wrong. I keep telling you I'm here for you; when are you gonna start believing me?" I smile at him.

He smiles. "I believe you. I'm grateful for you. I'm honored you chose me."

"Well I'm pretty honored you accepted. Now stop worrying about it."

He grins. "OK. I'd really like to kiss you right now. I guess that's not really socially acceptable behavior in an airport, huh?"

I smirk and grin. "I guess if you're ninety it's not. You weren't thinking of making out with me, were ya?"

He grins. "Well I was kinda enjoying what we were doing in the kitchen. No, I wasn't gonna make out with ya right now. So it's OK for two men to kiss in an airport?"

"It's as OK as it is for a man and woman to do it." I grin at him. "Are you being shy, Mark?"

He blushes and grins. "Yeah. Fuck it." He leans over and kisses me, only staying for about five seconds. He winks at me and then smiles. "I don't hear anyone saying something mean; I guess it's OK."

I laugh. "Yeah, baby, it's OK. We're not the only gay couple in the state."

"I guess not, huh? That's the first time I've heard it out loud; it's... not nearly as scary as I always imagined. We're a gay couple. I'm the other half of a gay couple." He grins. "I can live with that."

I start laughing. "My God, I would hope so; you just came out to your family today. Besides, just between you and me? We're a hombi couple." We both laugh.

He grins at me. "I don't think I qualify as bi, baby. I have no intention of ever leaving you and that means I won't ever be with another woman. We're a homo couple."

"That's great news. I love being a part of your homo couple."

He smirks. "That's really good news; you can support us while I pay back that damn credit card." He laughs.

"No shit. Holy crap, baby; I about passed out when I saw the total. I know we've never discussed money but I sure hope you make a lot."

He smirks. "I thought I was doing OK. I make about seventy a year, but the credit card get's most of it this year."

I grin. "They get a lot of it. Well, I make about forty-five; we'll be just fine. And there are rumors going around that I may get a promotion. I guess they're impressed that I'm good under pressure. Who knows, we might just be able to afford being a family."

He smiles from ear to ear. "Oh man... I love the sound of that; a family."

"I love it too."

Thanks for reading. Questions, comments, concerns?