B & G
The following fictional narrative involves sexually-explicit erotic events between men. If you shouldn't be reading this, please move on.
In the world of this story, the characters don't always use condoms. In the real world, you should care enough about yourself and others to always practice safe sex.
The author retains all rights. No reproductions or links to other sites are allowed without the author's consent.
Thanks and love to Tom for always patiently and carefully doing the editing chores, and to the rest of my Nifty Six colleagues.
Three of the "Nifty Sixers" have new postings. Tom W. has at long last posted chapter two of "Slave to Love" in the Authoritarian section, Mickey has begun a new series, "Second Wind," in the Beginnings section, and Ash is posting a new chapter of "How Will I Go On" in Relationships in the next day or so. Check them out. You won't be sorry.
I had my bare butt perched on the edge of my desk. The naked boy knelt between my legs, sucking my hard cock. His cock, too, was hard, up against his belly, a thin trickle of precum running down it. I put my hands in his curly, dark-blond hair. Without pausing in what he was doing, he glanced up at me, smiled with his pale blue eyes, and went back to work. He looked like a naughty seraph.
As my need grew greater, I stood, pushing him off me with my hands on either side of his head. I turned, swept everything on the desk off onto the floor, and nodded to him. He smiled with delight and hopped onto the desk. A few drops of precum flew off his nice pink staff as he lay on his back.
I took him by the hips and pulled him so that his white little ass was just barely hanging over the edge of the desk. He obligingly pulled his legs up and apart, so that I could see his hairless pink pucker. On him it truly looked like a small pink flower, hence the term rosebud, I supposed.
I was aware of no sounds. Neither of us had spoken since he had arrived and, standing in front of me, stripped. I didn't hear the usual noise from out in the hall or traffic from outside the building. It was completely quiet.
I knelt and began to lick his firm little cheeks. When I started to nuzzle his crack and then lap up and down it with long strokes of my tongue, he wiggled his butt, so I knew he liked what I was doing. Soon again my need drove me to the next step, and, using my spit and precum, I slicked up my throbbing cock. The boy was lazily stroking himself, his eyes hooded, half-closed with lust. When I put the tip of my penis against his pucker, I felt him shiver. As I pressed gently, my cock slipped into his tight little hole. His face showed bliss, not either concern or pain, so I gently shoved the rest of the way in.
He opened his eyes wide briefly and then winked at me! Taking that as my cue, I began to pull in and out, gradually increasing the speed and force of my thrusts. The boy began to pump his cock harder, and soon we were both nearing the boil-over point.
Just then the door was flung open. Standing in the doorway was Guy Mannington, naked, erect, smiling sweetly. Another blond, but so very different in body type and musculature from the boy into whom my dick was plunged!
"Hey, fellas," Guy said, "want some company?"
That's when I woke up. I was alone in the bed because this had been one of Gabe's nights to stay at his place. My cock was rigid and aching. I needed release, but I needed even more to pee, so I went to the bathroom, waited until my dick softened enough that I could relieve myself, and then got back into bed. I took the lube, slicked it up, and began to stroke it. Almost at once I came, shooting, it seemed, more and longer than I could remember doing recently. I scooped the splats of cum off my chest and abs with my fingers and licked them clean. Then I fell back to sleep.
Later, after I had shaved, showered, dressed, and was having breakfast, I felt guilty about the dream. How could I have dreamt something like that when I had Gabe, when I had this incredibly sexy man who loved me? What was wrong with me that I'd have sexual fantasies about other guys?
Why the other men in the dream were Dane and Guy was pretty obvious. Both of them had more or less offered themselves to me in the recent past. At least Guy had suggested he'd like to participate in a three-way with Gabe and me, and Dane had told me I was the cause of his constant erections while he was in the studio for his lessons.
But why, when I had the man of my dreams in my life, if I can be forgiven for using such a cliché term, was I dreaming about having sex with other men?
I mulled that over as I had my breakfast, not reaching any conclusions. Then I had to go teach two classes. It wasn't until I was in my office afterward that I was able to ruminate further. I felt as guilty as if I had actually been unfaithful to Gabe. I told myself it was only a dream, but a voice inside answered that the dream no doubt indicated something about my hidden desires.
`So,' I asked the voice, `why should I have "hidden desires" when I have Gabe?'
Before the voice could respond, a student came in. After she left I ate an apple for my lunch and then went off to teach my 1:00 class.
Back in the office afterward, when I should have been preparing for the next day's classes, the topic presented itself once more for consideration.
Maybe, I told myself, I was just not capable of constancy. Maybe I didn't know when I was well off. But I did know that being with Gabe was more than well off, it was more than I had ever dared to hope for. I loved him. I really did. I knew that's what I felt for him. And sex with him was beyond anything I'd ever imagined. So what the fuck was wrong with me?"
`Could it be,' asked that voice with calm and reasonableness, `that you feel cheated?'
`Well, look at it this way. You had no sexual experiences with anyone until this year, and then, before you and Gabe got together, only briefly with Guy. You know that Gabe has had other men in his life. You don't know how many, and you're sure he's not been a real player, but you know you're not the first. You know that his fling or whatever it was with Guy wasn't his first. He's said he's had sex with men since he was a teen.'
`So, maybe deep down you want to catch up. You feel deprived by not having more experience with men before you found yourself settling down with Gabe.'
`Supposing you're right. What do I do?'
`You have a decision to make, dumbass. Do you want Gabe or do you want to have more experiences with other guys? You can't have it both ways, can you? Not without being more of a jerk than I think you are.'
`Thanks a bunch,' I told the other voice.
That evening Gabe and I were scheduled to have dinner at his place and for me to spend the night. I punched in his pager number, and soon he was standing in the doorway before me.
He gave me that Clark Gable smile and said, "You rang, sir?"
As I stood up, he shut the door. After we had kissed, he said, "What's up, baby?"
"I thought you'd just call me back. I hadn't expected the pleasure of your company."
"I just happened to be in the building, and this is so much better than talking on the phone." He cupped his hand under my balls and lifted them gently. I moaned.
"Happy to see me, are ya?"
"Ooohhhh, yeah. Always."
"So why'd ya page me?"
"I wondered what we're having for supper."
He pretended to pout. "What am I, just your wife?"
I giggled. "No way, dufus. I want to pick up some really nice wine to go with whatever it is we're having."
"Well, we're having beef stir-fry. I don't think I've ever fixed that for you before, and I just sort of had a taste for stir-fry."
"I didn't even know you had a wok."
Faking a Chinese accent, he said, "Many things you not know about me, honorable professor."
I laughed. "You sound more like Tonto than a Chinaman. But enlighten me, wise one. What does one drink with stir-fry?"
"Brent, I'm sure I've got something at home that will do."
"No, I want to get something special."
I kissed him lightly. "Maybe I'll tell you later. Now, are you going to help me or not?"
"Anything you want will be fine. A red, not too heavy, would be best."
On the way home I stopped by a package store and asked the man there. He suggested an Australian shiraz, which I duly purchased.
Gabe wasn't home yet when I got there, so I let myself into his duplex with my key. I'd just hung my coat in the closet near the front door when the phone rang. I wasn't sure I should answer it, so I let it ring. Then I heard the machine come on and Gabe's voice saying, "Brent, if you're there, baby, pick up."
I picked up the phone.
"Hey yourself. I'm going to be tied up here a little longer than planned. You can help get the supper prep going if you want to."
"Sure, what can I do?"
He listed a bunch of vegetables which he said were either in the fridge or in a big colander by the sink. I was to clean and chop them and put them in separate bowls in the fridge. He also said there was a piece of sirloin in the meat drawer which I could cut into strips. I promised him I would, telling him to hurry because I didn't like being without him, and went to work. I was just finishing with the chores he'd assigned me when he came in.
After an appropriately physical greeting, he removed his coat and kicked off his shoes. Then he got out two aprons, handing one to me. "This can spatter, and we don't want grease spots on our clothes."
I had opened the shiraz before I started chopping the veggies, so it had had ample time to breathe. He lighted a fire while I poured us each a glass of the wine. Then we sat together on the sofa, sitting as close together as we could, sipping the wine, watching the fire, and making small talk about our respective days. Feeling his thigh next to mine, even though there were two layers of cloth between them, gave me a hardon. Or maybe it was just his presence that did that. Either way, my dick was straining in my pants.
"Okay, babe," Gabe said after we'd finished our first glasses of wine, "let's get the supper going while we still can."
He started the rice first, and then helped me set the table. After that he was a wizard, adding things like fresh ginger and garlic to the oil while it heated, then scooping it out with a slotted spoon just before adding the meat. The veggies, including some snow peas which he hadn't told me about, went in after the beef. Gabe was more interested in food than I'd ever been, both cooking it and eating it, but soon we were sitting at the table in front of a colorful, succulent meal, with its seared meat and tender-crisp vegetables, and I had to admit it was delicious.
While he was doing some of that I'd refilled the wine glasses. After we took our places at the table, I lifted my glass to him and said, "To the chef."
"To both chefs," he said. "I'm going to teach you to cook."
We sipped our wine. Then I said, "Yeah, you need to teach me to cook out of self-preservation."
He grinned. "Well, that could be one of the reasons. The other is that cooking is more fun when you do it with somebody you love."
We cleaned our plates and went back for more. This time I put more of the soy-sherry mixture on my rice.
"Now, Brent, what's with the wine? It's lovely. It's better than stir-fry calls for, so I'm curious. What's the occasion?"
"There's a bit of a story to it. Want to wait until we get the kitchen cleaned up?"
Later, back on the sofa in front of the fire with our coffee, I told him about the dream and then the dialog that I'd conducted with myself at the office.
He didn't interrupt me. Although he was looking steadily at the fire, I knew he was listening carefully. When I was finished, he set his mug on the table, took mine and put it beside his. Then he put his arm around my shoulders.
"If the dream means what you think it does, and that makes a lot of sense, are you sure you don't feel cheated?"
I knew what he meant. "Not cheated, no. I made the choice not to have sex with anyone for all those years. I isolated myself from any kind of one-on-one relationship and from all sex. So I can't say I was cheated."
"Well, Brent, let's put it this way. Perhaps subconsciously you're realizing how much you missed while you were hiding behind that big wall you erected, and now you want to make up for lost time." He looked at me intently to see how I'd react.
"You know, I'd come to that conclusion this afternoon. Realizing that helped me see very clearly what my options are."
He still looked worried. "Options?"
"Yeah. I can `make up for lost time,' as you put it. Or I can just be thankful I've already got the most gorgeous, most lovable hunk in the world in my life."
He grinned. "I'd caution you about the fallacy of the false dilemma, but I don't really want you to consider that. I assume you have made your choice, and that's why the nice wine?"
"Yeah, you read me too well, lover. I realized that I already had the guy I'd always dreamed of. I don't need sex with little blond guys or with anybody else as long as I've got you." I took a sip of my coffee. "I DO have you, right?"
"Try and get rid of me," he said, grinning.
"Not bloody likely," I said.
We never knew exactly what was going to happen when we went to bed, which is to say there was no agenda. That night we had a long, gentle sixty-nine session. At one point I stuck my finger in his ass, but he asked me to take it out because he said that would make him cum too soon.
When we had shot our loads into each others' mouth, we got aligned again so we could kiss. After all, we both had cum breath, so the kissing was a nice continuation of the sexy lovemaking.
When we got into position to go to sleep, with him spooned up behind me, his left arm over my chest, he said softly in my ear, "Brent, maybe you need to help Dane Pierce find a boyfriend."
One evening Brent and I decided to hit the gym early the next morning before we went to work. A fair number of guys were there, and the eye candy in the showers was nice. I noticed that my lover resolutely looked at the tile wall or the ceiling or the floor. He still wasn't past some of the trauma of that high school experience, apparently.
After we had showered and dressed, we were on our way down the hall past the offices of some of the phys ed staff. Ahead of us was a figure I thought I recognized, but couldn't quite place. From behind he looked familiar, but I couldn't see his face. He tapped on Guy Mannington's door. There was a soft response that I couldn't understand, and he stepped inside, closing the door almost stealthily behind him.
After we were past Guy's office, I looked at Brent. "Looks as if Guy's up to his old tricks, and I use that word intentionally."
Brent didn't look happy when he said "Yeah."
"What's wrong? Surely you aren't jealous."
Brent rolled his eyes. "Give me some credit! Did you see who that was?"
"No. The dude looked familiar, but I don't know who it was."
"Gabe, it was Bruce McDermott!"
"Uh oh. Well, I suppose he wasn't going in there for a quick bit of fooling around, but it sure looked as if he was, didn't it?"
"Yeah, that was pretty furtive. I'm afraid Rae's new friend is two-timing her."
"Unless she knows he's gay and they're just, what, `brother and sister' like you and she are."
"I don't think so. I'm not sure how interested she is in McDermott. I just hope she isn't too interested."
"You aren't going to tell her, are you?"
"No, I don't want to jump to conclusions. But if I knew for sure he was fooling around with Guy, and it sure looks that way, I'd feel I had to tell her."
"Well, think about that awhile, babe. You don't want to come across as one of those queers who can't wait to dish the dirt."
"Yeah, I suppose you're right. But I'm going to keep my eyes open. I just don't want to see Rae get hurt, you know."
The next weekend, we drove to Medina, where Gabe's family lived.
I remembered being in Medina once for a football game and a couple of times for basketball games when my school played them. It's a pretty town, with its Western Reserve town square and the court house facing the square, the main business street running along the opposite side. As we drove through downtown that Saturday afternoon, however, I was struck by the amount of traffic and commented about it to Gabe.
"Yeah, the place has been growing steadily for about twenty years. It used to be just the county seat and the home of the local bee industry." (Medina is best known for a company that sells lots of honey and also makes expensive candles which are sold all over the country.) "But lately it's become a bedroom suburb. It's only about 40 minutes to downtown Cleveland on I-71, so we've had a nice housing boom. That's what keeps my dad busy. And prosperous."
"Think the boom will pass him by?"
"We don't think so. South and west of here there's nothing much but open country. No towns of any size for miles in either direction. We're just about on the edge of Greater Cleveland, so it looks good from a builder's perspective. Dad's business is influenced a lot by mortgage rates and by peoples' faith or lack of faith in the stock market, but we're in a good spot."
"You said `we,' Gabe. You do think of yourself as part of his company, don't you?"
He glanced briefly at me before returning his eyes to the street in front of him. "Yeah, I guess I do. He isn't pressuring me, but I know he'd like me to come back into the business. And it's too good a business to let it get outside the family. Dad's always been the kind of guy who gives a really good product for the money. He hires competent workers, watches over them, and stands behind what he builds. That's becoming increasingly rare. If the company were to close or be sold to someone else, the area would be the loser."
"So you aren't going to be around the university for a long time, then?"
"Brent, baby, I'm not going to make any move in the next year or so. I like it too well where I am. And we have plenty of time to figure out how we'll work things out if I come back here."
I didn't say anything, but I was relieved to hear him talk about our working things out. It sounded as if he really did think about me as part of his future.
Before we went to his folks' house, he drove me through some of the subdivisions Sutton Construction had built. Some were pretty upscale, some more modest, but they all seemed to be well laid out, well landscaped, with curving streets and lots of trees. Neighborhoods that were fifteen or twenty years old still looked good, too, so I took that to be an indication that the homes were well built.
As we pulled in the driveway of Gabe's home, I had a return of the nervousness that had been bothering me all day. My palms were sweaty, and my mouth was dry. I felt like a fiancée being taken home to meet the prospective groom's parents. I was about to be checked out. Judged. Evaluated for worthiness.
Switching off the ignition, Gabe looked over at me and grinned. "Relax, Brent. Take a deep breath. They will love you."
"I wish," I said, managing to grin back at him.
He put a hand on my knee and squeezed. "They're nice people. I've told them all about you. They've been dying to welcome you to the family."
"Okay, hon, I'll take your word for it. But if you don't quit squeezing my knee, I'm going to have a woodie when they see me for the first time."
He chuckled and took away the hand. "I guess we wouldn't want that, would we?"
The Sutton home was a large house on a big, wooded lot. It looked vaguely modern in style, but not aggressively so. It was, at least, not cutesy colonial or fake Tudor or any of the things that so many upscale suburban developments feature.
Gabe said to leave our bags in the car, that we'd get them later. When he opened the front door, I smelled food. I couldn't pick out anything specific, except perhaps that there was a roast in the oven, but it smelled homey, delicious, wonderful.
Gabe took my hand and led me into a large living room. It wasn't a great room sort of place. It was a big, self-contained room with a fireplace and lots of comfortable, modern-looking furniture. His parents must have heard us come in the front door, for they were just getting up as we entered the room.
"There you are!" his mother said, rushing into Gabe's arms. Her husband came toward us a little more slowly, smiling.
After giving Gabe a hug and a kiss, she turned to me and gave me a hug and a peck on the cheek. "Brent, I'm so happy to meet you, finally. Let me look at you!" She stood back and inspected me. "Gabe, dear, you need to put some meat on this boy's bones. He's beautiful, but he's a little thin."
I blushed and Gabe chuckled. "Mother! Can't you see you're embarrassing him? He's getting plenty to eat. It's just his metabolism, I think, that keeps him looking more like a racehorse than a draft animal."
We all chuckled at that. Then Gabe's father gave me a firm handshake, putting the other hand on my shoulder. "Brent, don't let us overwhelm you, son. We're just so glad to see the both of you. You can imagine how eager we've been ever since Gabe told us about you. Welcome home. It's good to have you here."
"Thank you, sir. I've really been looking forward to meeting you and Mrs. Sutton."
I was told in no uncertain terms to call them Liz and Paul.
"Now," Paul said, "I'm told dinner will be in about an hour. Let me get us some drinks. Brent, what's your poison?"
"Leave that to me," Gabe said. "Come on, Dad, I'll help"
Liz and I visited for a few minutes until Gabe and Paul came back with white zin for Liz, chardonnay for me, and some kind of red for the two Sutton men. Liz excused herself and came back with home-made caponata and pita bread, which we ate with our wine. They asked me about where I had grown up, about my family, and so forth. It might have been awkward if I felt they were giving me the third degree, but I sensed that they were genuinely interested. The hour before dinner passed quickly, as did the dinner itself, which started with a spinach/strawberry salad and went on to a main course of roast leg of lamb, mashed potatoes and gravy, and asparagus.
I protested to Liz that she'd gone to too much trouble, but she waved away my comment, saying that it wasn't every day she got to fix a meal for a new son. I was so touched by that tears came to my eyes. Gabe looked at me across the table and winked.
I told her I could see where Gabe got his cooking skills, and she seemed pleased with that.
After dessert, Gabe and I offered to help Liz in the kitchen, but Paul said, "Gabe, you help your mother. I want to talk with Brent."
That made me a little nervous, but he put his arm around my shoulder. "Let's go into the den for a few minutes. I'm sure Gabe and his mother will find lots to talk about."
The den was a wonderful room. It was a sort of home office for Paul, obviously. It had its own fireplace, where a low fire was burning. There were some file cabinets in a dark wood. And there were lots of book cases filled with books. From what I could tell without being too obvious about it, they were mostly fiction, poetry, drama. And they all looked to have been read. So that's where Gabe got his love of literature, I realized.
I had joined the other two men in drinking red wine with the meal, though Liz had stayed with her white z. Paul offered me more wine or something stronger, but I declined. We sat in leather chairs that faced each other on either side of the fireplace.
"Brent, I know this whole thing must be awkward for you, and you must believe me, Liz and I don't want it to be. We're prepared to love you because Gabe does, and even from our being together this briefly, I can see that you two love each other."
"Yes, Paul. I never expected to find anyone in my life as wonderful as your son. I do love him deeply."
"Do you have any doubt that he loves you?"
"Paul!" He grinned.
"Well, I just wanted to welcome you to the family. Don't feel overwhelmed or on trial or anything. Try to feel at home. Liz and I already think of you as another son, and we hope you'll come to think of us as another set of parents."
I smiled at him. "I don't think that'll be very hard to do."
"I hear you two may go to Seattle at spring break."
"That's right. My folks are eager to meet Gabe, and he says he's looking forward to meeting them."
"Brent, I don't want to embarrass you. But if there's any problem about the air fare, Liz and I would like to help."
"I really appreciate the offer, Paul, but Gabe and I can manage that. We've already set aside the money and are going to get our plane tickets reserved soon."
"Good idea. Now, there's one more thing I want to mention before we go see what Liz and Gabe are up to."
I didn't say anything, so he continued.
"Tomorrow you and Gabe can sleep in if you want, but Liz and I would like to have you come to church with us. It's your choice. No pressure. After that, we're going to Gabe's sister's house. I'm sure he's told you about Karen and her family."
"Yes, he speaks often about Karen and the twins. And Chip, too. I'm looking forward to meeting them. He says those twins are really a handful."
Paul smiled and as he did the proud grandfather showed on his handsome features. "Yes, they're full of it."
He stood up, motioning me to remain seated. "I'm going to have a scotch. Sure I can't get you anything?" Not wanting to seem unfriendly, I said I'd have one, too.
"How do you like yours?"
"Good man," he said.
Handing me the scotch, he sat down again, took a sip, and said, "I wanted to give you a heads up about tomorrow."
"Yeah. You see, Chip may be a bit standoffish."
I sipped my scotch. It was a much better than any I'd ever tasted. Gabe told me later it was a single malt.
I waited for Paul to continue.
"Chip's never seemed to have any problem with Gabe being gay. They've never been close, but they've at least been cordial, or so it seemed."
"But he's got problems about me?"
"I'm afraid so."
"Perhaps it would be better if I didn't go there tomorrow."
"Nonsense. Karen's told him this is a family celebration, and that he'll be the good host and brother-in-law. Or else. She says he grumbled but promised to behave."
"As I said, I didn't want you to be blindsided if Chip isn't overly friendly."
"You know, Paul, I think I can understand his feelings. It's one thing to have a gay brother in law so long as he lives somewhere else and doesn't flaunt it when he's in town. But to bring his lover home with him, to bring his lover into Chip's house, may be a little more than Chip feels he can be comfortable with."
He lifted his glass to me. "Good analysis, professor. I can imagine that you and my boy have some interesting talks."
"Yeah," I said, "it's not just all great sex." Instantly I realized what I'd said and I could feel the blush rising from my chest to my face.
Paul nearly choked on a swallow of scotch and then began to laugh uproariously. "Brent, that's marvelous. I know you and Gabe must be good together, and I'm grateful for that. Gabe's my only son, and I want very much for him to be happy. With you he seems to be. I hope you'll be happy with him."
I thanked him for that.
"But," he said, grinning broadly, "I hope you won't say anything about great sex at Karen's tomorrow."
"Oh, god, Paul. I'm sorry about that. I promise to be on my best behavior at the Trumbulls."
"Good. Now, we'd better go find Liz and Gabe."
Gabe had explained to me that his family had been Catholics. When Gabe had, back in high school, told his priest in confession that he was gay, the priest had given him a hard time. So hard, in fact, that the Suttons had left the Catholic Church and become members of the Episcopal Church.
I'd been raised Methodist, more or less, but after starting to college had quit going to church. Gabe hadn't pressed the issue after we'd gotten together, but once or twice I had gone to church with him. The Episcopal Church at the university was a beautiful gothic building. I loved the stained glass. Barry Piersall, my colleague and professor of organ at the Conservatory, was the organist and choir director at the Church of the Good Shepherd. On the occasions when I'd been there, I'd really enjoyed both his and his choir's contributions to the service. So when Gabe asked if I'd be willing to go to church with him and his parents that Sunday morning, I said I'd be happy to.
`Ya sure, babe? If you don't want to go, we can just stay home and fuck."
I laughed. "My ass is tender enough now, Gabriel. Besides, I'd love to go to church with you and your folks."
St. Paul's Episcopal Church was a small stone edifice on the north side of the Medina town square. Looking as if it had been built in the late nineteenth century, it nevertheless had the characteristic red door of many Episcopal Churches. The choir and organ (and organist) left something to be desired, but in the parish hall afterward, many friendly people came up to shake hands with the Suttons. I was introduced as Gabe's "friend" from the university. That way, the ones who knew he was gay could make their own assumptions, and those who didn't were none the wiser.
Karen, Gabe explained to me, had become a Presbyterian when she married Chip. He didn't know whether they were going to church that morning or not, but he doubted it. He thought that Karen would probably stay home to fix the big dinner we were expected for at 1:00.
We went directly to the Trumbulls' after church. Karen was effusive in greeting her brother, and then she turned and hugged me. "Brent, welcome to our house. I'm so happy to meet you." Turning to the beautiful boy and girl who were hugging their Uncle Gabe, she said, "These are Beth and Bart. I've told them to call you Uncle Brent. I hope that's all right."
"That's great. I knelt down to be on the level of the two beautiful eight year olds. They came and hugged me. "Uncle Brent. It's cool to have another uncle," Bart said. Beth didn't say anything, but she gave me a big hug and smiled at me. I melted. What a rush, to get hugs from those two kids. I felt instant acceptance. I was their Uncle Gabe's partner, so I was their new uncle. For them, it was as simple as that.
Then I stood up. I still hadn't been introduced to their father.
"Chip," Gabe said, "this is Brent."
Chip shook my hand, squeezing it so hard it hurt. He looked me straight in the eye without smiling. "Hey, Brent."
Dinner was delicious and, for the most part, pleasant. Karen had gotten one of those spiral-cut honey-glazed hams. With it she served new potatoes and green beans. She'd made some cloverleaf yeast rolls. They served no wine or anything else alcoholic before or with the meal.
Talk flowed freely around the dinner table, as is natural when a loving family is together. Chip seemed quiet. I couldn't tell whether he was naturally that way, or whether it was my presence that kept him from talking. He did chat from time to time with Liz and especially with Paul. I don't know whether that was because Paul was his boss or because Paul was the only other straight man in the room. I also noticed that Chip stared at me a lot when he thought I wasn't looking.
For dessert Karen had made a butterscotch pie with meringue. I hadn't had anything like that since I was a kid and my grandmother Collins used to make those for Sunday dinner. Maybe it was an Ohio Sunday dinner staple.
After dinner Gabe and I insisted on helping Karen clear the table and load the dishwasher. Liz, Paul, and Chip sat in the family room and mostly just talked with the kids, I think.
When we had the kitchen tidied up, Karen said, "Brent, I'm sorry about Chip. He really wasn't very friendly today. Give him time. He'll come around. When he gets used to you and sees how happy you and Gabe are, he'll warm up. He's not a bad man, you know. Just a little straight-laced."
I gave Karen a hug. "Don't worry about it. I can understand why he might be a little stand-offish."
Not long afterward we thanked our hosts for the dinner and made our way back to the Suttons. It was mid-afternoon, and we needed to get back to campus. After hugs all around and a kiss for both Gabe and me from Liz, we jumped in his SUV and headed home. Home. Nice word.
To be continued.