Warning! This is a tale about men loving men. If you find this disturbing - click off. If it's unlawful for you to read this - click off. If you under age - good luck if you can get away with it.
This is not a story for getting your rocks off. Just thought I'd let you know so you won't waste your time if that's what your looking for.
Otherwise, I hope you enjoy my writing.
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When I mess up, I manage usually to do a royal job of it. The last chapter (24) took forever to straighten out so you could read it(white on grey- not to good). Now I have posted a chapter out of sequence. Please, bear with me and I'll attempt to get it right.
An Apology to TLC for posting this unedited. Hopefully it hasn't too many mistakes.
Angie watched with trepidation as her oldest daughter got out of the car. Eve was standing beside her mother and grabbed her hand.
"Did you invite them tonight, Mom."
"No. Oh god. Not another confrontation." She thought that her oldest daughter had had enough of that over the last twelve years. Joe Sr. had never gotten over her marrying a black man. She ran to her husband's side to try to pull him away before he said another hurtful thing to his eldest daughter and her husband.
The tall black man had quickly moved around the car and wrapped a protective arm around his wife. Dave could feel the tension in the whole Paolini family. The only three that didn't seem tense were Joe Sr.,his oldest daughter and her husband.
As Joe Sr. strode over to them he called out. "Everyone listen up. Gather around I have some thing that needs saying."
Everyone in the yard looked at him, expecting vituperation. Seeing that he had everyone's attention he toward his eldest daughter. Angie had hold of his arm and was whispering to him, begging him not to do or say anything bad. He ignored her.
Dave glanced at Joe who was standing in front of Michele, his oldest sister. He was tense and looked like he might attack his father.
Dave moved next to him and placed a calming hand on his back. Joe Sr. smiled at Dave's move.
Joe Sr. turned and looked around, making eye contact with everyone in the group. He then turned back to the tall handsome black man and his eldest child.
"I gave you my apologies in private. Now it is time to do it again in front of my entire family." He smiled at the big man standing next Michele.
"Lawrence, I apologize for my bigoted treatment of you all these years. I can't blame it on the way I was raised, 'cause I wasn't raised that way. I want to say I am sorry and welcome you belatedly into this family. You make my daughter happy and that is all that is important. Besides you've given me three of the most beautiful grand children in the world. Please forgive this stupid old man and accept his blessings."
Dave hadn't noticed that the back doors of the car had opened and three children had gotten out and moved to stand next to their father.
Joe Sr. held out his hand to the tall black man. It was accepted and he pulled him down to where he could give him a hug and a good ol' Italian kiss on the cheek.
If Lawrence hadn't been so black, he would have been bright red with embarrassment. Joe Sr. grinned at him.
"I've never kissed a black man before."
"Well, sir, I've never been kissed by a white man before so that makes us even." He grinned at his recalcitrant father-in-law
"Call me Joe. Let's have none of this sir stuff."
"And you call me Rence. That's what my friends and family call me."
"Welcome into the family, Rence."
Joe Sr. turned to his daughter who had unchecked tears running down her face. He tenderly wiped them away and enfolded her in his arms.
"I'm sorry you got such a stupid ol' jackass for a father, Miki. Will you forgive me?"
"Oh Daddy, I've hoped and prayed for this day for so long. Of course I forgive you. I love you, Daddy."
"So introduce me to my grandchildren."
Miki kneeled and wrapped her arm around her oldest son's back.
"This young man is Joseph Lawrence. We call him Joseph."
He very politely shook hands with Joe Sr. Miki hugged the next child to her.
"And this is my daughter, MaBelle Angeline. We call her Lina. And this young one is John Alexander. Lexy give your grand dad a hug."
Lexy jumped into his granddad's arms and kissed him on the cheek.
"I love you, Poppy." The little boy said.
Joe hugged him and kissed him back.
"I love you too, Lexy." He said smiling up at Miki, remembering how she had called him Poppy as a child. He turned and looked at the other two grand kids.
"Do I get a hug from the two of you, too?"
Both kids were immediately in his arms, kissing his cheeks as he kissed them back. Angie had moved to her daughter's side.
"I told you the ol' coot would eventually come around." She muttered in Miki's ear as she gave her a welcoming hug. She turned to her son-in-law.
"It's been a long time since you first stepped into this house. And I must say it to lots of guts to do it. But this time come in and be one of our family."
She held out her arms to him. Rence knelt and engulfed his mother-in-law in a hug like she'd never had.
"Thank you, Angie, you have been a boon to us all these years." He whispered in her ear.
Her three grand children gathered around her eager for a hug. She hugged and kissed them even though she had seen them just two days before.
Angie turned to husband and slid an arm around his waist.
"I love you, Joe. Even as hard headed as you can some times be."
"Angie, My love, Thank you for so being so patient with me. God knows I don't deserve it. I know that you, Eve and the boys have been regularly in touch with Miki all these years. I wish I had been too."
Angie turned to Rence taking his hand.
"You know all the rest of the immediate family. It's time to meet Joe and Johnny's mates." She led him around the yard. "This is Dave Gates. And Jean here is his mother. This is Dave's brother-in-law Lloyd and his two of his sons, David and Max. And this young man is Tim, Johnny's mate."
Rence shook hands with them all and then turned to Johnny and Joe with a big grin.
"I'd never have suspected. I think maybe that's why Joe here," he put his arm around his father-in-law's shoulders, Grinning at him, "finally came around. He saw that he wasn't going to get grand kids from you two."
Johnny play-punched him in the gut.
"Wrong big dude. Tim and I are going to be adopting as soon as he finishes school." The look of surprised delight on Tim's face was priceless.
"We are?" He asked dumbfounded.
"Sure. Don't you want a little boy calling you daddy?"
Tim grinned and looked at the two little boys clinging to their dad's legs. He looked back at Johnny.
"You're not yanking my chain are you, John? You really want to adopt?"
Johnny put his arms around Tim's neck. The rest of the world disappeared.
"The only thing I want more is to be your mate for life, Tim."
Tim leaned into him and planted a kiss on his lips, totally unaware of the rest of the family and any neighbors watching.
"Boys, let's take this inside." Joe Sr. said placing a hand on each one's back as he guided them toward the door.
Its fascinating how a young boy discovering his emerging sexuality can shift the object of his desire so quickly. Max had found himself engaged in fantasies involving nearly all the adult males in his life. With the appearance of eleven year old Joseph Reville, Max's polar axis shifted nearly a hundred and eighty degrees.
Caution in showing one's emotions is inherent in most young gays. They innately feel that they are different from their peers at the onset of their maturing sexuality. The know without ever having to be told that they are vulnerable to ridicule from their peers because they are not the same as them.
The moment that Max saw Joseph Lawrence Reville he felt the shift in his attractions. He was in love. He'd never seen anyone as beautiful as Joseph. He wanted to be near him touch him, be touched by him. But he knew that he could not reveal those feelings. And on top of all the emotions he was feeling, he was suddenly hit with a bout of shyness. He stuck close to his father's side trying to not be noticed by anyone. He watched as Miki told the three children to go play into the back yard. He saw Joseph say something to his mother. They both turned and looked at him. Max was sure he turned red. Miki nodded and Joseph walked over to him. Max couldn't take his eyes off of him. The boy's green eyes were smiling into his, taking the very breath out of his lungs. Joseph stuck out his hand.
"Hi, I'm Joseph Reville. Would you like to hang out with me? Mom wants me to keep an eye on Lena and Lexy."
Max's heart was beating so hard he was sure Joseph could see it thumping under his shirt. All he could do was nod.
Joseph reached down and took max's hand and led him through the maze of grownups who were paying no attention to them. Once they were out the door Joseph let go of Max's hand. Max felt like grabbing it back, but couldn't make his arm move. Joseph had ambled down the stoop steps onto the lawn. He turned and looked back at Max.
"You just going to stand there?"
"Yeah, looks like I am." Max blurted out. He blushed again.
Joseph looked over at his brother and sister who were in the swings at the back of the yard. He looked up at Max and then climbed back up the steps and sat down on the top one. Max still hadn't moved. Joseph yanked on his pant leg to get his attention.
"Sit down here."
Max moved over and sat down beside him, making sure he wasn't close enough to touch him accidently. Not that he didn't want to touch him, he did want to. He wanted to hold him and protect him. But he was afraid to touch him. The feelings were to strong for him to handle. He rested his elbows on the edge of the stoop, making sure his arms stayed close to his body.
"What's your name, anyway."
Max cleared his throat.
"Max. Max Brown."
"Cool name. Max. It suits you. It's a strong name." Joseph said. swiveling around to face Max. His knee touched Max's leg. He didn't move it. Max didn't want to move away, but he was getting hard. He had to do something.
Joseph's fingers were on his arm absentmindedly rubbing the fine hairs they found there as he stared at Max.
Max closed his eyes indulging in the sensation. Every hair touched sent little sparks up his arm firing off explosions in his brain. He felt like he was going to implode if he didn't do something. He catapulted off the steps and ran across the yard. When he got to the fence he stopped. If the fence hadn't been there he might have run until he dropped. He laid his head against the boards holding his breath. He felt like crying. He didn't want to cry in front of Joseph. Geez, what would he think seeing him crying. No, he would definitely not cry. He bit his lip and knocked his head against the fence.
"What's wrong, Max? Why did you run like that?"
Max took a shuddering breath and turn to look at Joseph, who had followed him.
"Look. Leave me alone. Okay?"
"I was only trying to get to know you. Why don't you like me? You don't even know me."
"And if you knew me you would hate me. So I don't want to get to know you. Just leave me alone."
Now he was definitely going to cry. He could feel the tears welling in his eyes. He turned away from Joseph and squinched his eyes. It just forced the tears out more.
Max waited for him to say something more. He didn't. Finally Max turned and looked at him with red leaky eyes.
"I'm sorry I made you cry. I would never hate you. I think I'm really going to like you."
"Why do you say that? You don't even know me." Max could feel his nails cutting into his palms his hands were so tightly clinched.
"I may still be a kid and younger than you, but I saw how you looked at me. I may be only eleven but I'm not dumb."
"What are you talking about?"
"Max, can you look me in the eye and tell me you don't want to like me like I want to like you?"
Max looked away.
"If you can look me in the eye and tell me that you don't want me to love you...., then I leave you alone."
"You want to love me? You're not even old enough to know what love is."
"And you do? You're - - what- - fourteen?"
"I'm fifteen and no I don't know yet what it is. But I'd like to find out with you." He didn't know where he found the courage to say that. It just kind of came out of his mouth by itself.
"Do you mean that, Max?"
Max nodded. He looked Joseph in the eyes.
"Yes, I mean that."
Joseph stepped forward and placed a hand on Max's chest. Max squinched his eyes expecting to be shoved. When Joseph didn't push him, Max grabbed his arm and pulled him to his chest in an embrace. Joseph hugged him back.
Dave had stepped to the picture window that looked out over the yard. He had watched the two boys from the moment that Max had run across the yard to the moment that they hugged. Max happened to look up and see his Uncle Dave smiling down at him. He grinned. Dave grinned back and disappeared back into the room leaving the boys their privacy.
It would be a while before dinner was served. Jean had offered her help in the kitchen and been told by Angie that everything was under control, to just relax and visit with the rest of the family. She took her glass of wine and wandered into the living room. She gazed around the room realizing that her family had just doubled. Yes, that even included her new son's parents.
Joe had his arm draped over Dave's shoulders as they talked to Rency. She could feel the love emanating from those two. She was so happy that Dave had found a new partner. He had just seemed to close out the whole world when Bill died. Tim had his arm around Eve's waist. He was obviously teasing Johnny and it looked like he was being very successful from the expression on Johnny's face. Mary smiled and sighed. 'Ah, the insecurities of new love." Joe Sr. was sitting on the sofa with his eldest daughter, Miki, sitting against him. He had his arm around her, talking softly to her. Tears were streaming down her face. Profound sadness and joy mixed on his.
Jean saw her oldest grandson sitting alone on the raised hearth with his chin propped in his cupped hands, elbows on his knees. She studied him. He seemed oblivious to the rest of the room, involved in his own thoughts. They didn't look like happy thoughts. She casually wandered over and sat down in front of the cold fireplace next to him.
"Keep an old lady company?"
David snapped out of his revery and smiled at her.
"What's got you so deep in thought."
"Nothing. School. Life."
"You know you can talk to me about any problem, David. I've always kept everything you've told me completely confidential."
I know. But this is so hard to think about much less talk about."
"Want to take a stroll and see what happens."
He helped Jean up and they wandered out the front door and down the sidewalk.
"You knew Max was gay before he even knew it himself, didn't you?"
"Well, I strongly suspected it."
They walked a quarter of a block in silence.
"What about me?"
"What about you?"
"You know. Do you suspect anything about me?"
"Have I missed something? Jean stopped and turned toward her grandson. He had his hands shoved deep into his baggy cargos. He studied the concrete.
"I don't know. Ever since Max came out I've been having weird thoughts."
Jean waited for him to continue.
"This is really hard to talk about."
"You don't have to, you know."
David walked on wrapped in thought. He glanced at his grandmother occasionally.
"Do you think other guys have their grandmother for a confidant?"
"I don't know. Why?"
"I just think it might be weird."
"I-I just feel very comfortable talking to you. Since I was a little kid I could tell you things I couldn't tell anyone else."
"It makes me happy you feel that way, David."
"I need to tell you this."
"So here goes." He walked on for several steps. Jean kept pace beside him not looking at him, giving him privacy for his thoughts..
"This morning ----- I-I went out to wake up Max. He was naked, laying on his bedroll. He was --- aaaaah -- excited."
"Yeah, you know."
"Oh, you mean he had an erection."
"Yeah, one of those." David was too embarrassed to repeat the word.
"I'm sure you know that is natural, even your grand dad always woke up that way."
"TMI Grandy." He blushed
"Well, You should know there is nothing wrong with it. Just means you're a healthy male."
"I know that. That's not the point."
David was quiet for a bit.
"He's so beautiful, Grandy."
"Yes, he is."
"But here's what's bothering me.
She studied the side of his face while he scrutinized the concrete squares as he carefully kept from stepping on a crack.
"I wanted to crawl into the tent and cuddle him. Like I needed to protect him. Do you know what I mean?"
Their glances met for a moment.
"He looked so vulnerable and at the same time so-- I don't know how to say it-- just so hot. Sexy maybe. I found myself becoming excited, too. But I wasn't like a...wanting to have sex with him. And I didn't want to embarrass him so I closed the tent flap and called out his name to wake him up and give him a chance to cover himself.
"But now I can't stop thinking about it. Not about Max being naked, but how I felt. You know?
They had rounded the third corner and David was embarrassed. He kept his eyes on the tips of his shoes.
"It sounds to me, David, that you love you brother very much. I think that you are over reacting to learning that he is gay. Give it a rest. Stop thinking about it for a few days and see if you are still feeling the same then."
They walked a ways in silence.
"I do like girls. I've dated since I was fourteen. But I have never gone steady."
They turned the fourth corner.
"Going steady is no indicator, David. Have you ever felt toward one of your buddies like you felt for Max?"
"Gosh, No, Grandy."
"So I don't think you have anything to worry about."
"Yeah, I guess I'm just overreacting."
David looked at his surrounding and discovered they were standing in front of the Paolini house again.
"Anytime, David. You know I love you."
David grinned sheepishly.
"I love you, too.
Max and Joseph sat next to each other on the stoop with their legs dangling over the edge. Now they were shy with each other, stealing glances and blushing in between bites of Lasagna. They were both tongue-tied. Max's thoughts were zooming a mile a minute. Too fast for his mouth to catch up. And then reality hit.
"Jos," (like in hose.) It was suddenly his personal name for the beautiful boy sitting next to him. "I don't know how this will work. When could we ever see each other. I live up north now but we're going to move down here. My dad bought a condo from Uncle Joe in the Tower. I don't even know where I'm going to go to school."
"In the Tower?"
"Yeah, the thirtieth floor."
"That's so cool. We used to go over to Uncle Joe's all the time until he got himself a boyfriend. Now we don't go at all."
"You mean my Uncle Dave?"
"But he just met you guys tonight."
"Yeah, I know."
"So he didn't stop you from going to Joe's.
"No. I think that Uncle Joe just got so involved that he forgot about us."
"Could be. But I'll bet you that now that Dave has met your family. You'll be invited over all the time. That's how Dave is."
"And now that we're friends you can come over anytime and Dave and Joe will let us go swimming anytime we want, too. So where do you live?"
Joseph stopped eating and looked at Max with a big grin.
"Just a couple of blocks north of the campus."
"So how far is that from the Tower?"
"About five blocks."
Max grinned at Joseph who grinned back.
"Cool." Max murmured.
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