My Belovèd is mine, and I am his.
Song of Songs 2:16
Cam climbed out of bed reluctantly on Monday morning
because it was early--6 a.m., to be precise. He needed to
telephone his father in
England and hoped he would reach Alex at lunch and in a good
mood. The sooner he told his dad that he had hired a housekeeper
at a salary of $4,000 a month, the better.
Jeff was still dead to the world, snoring softly,
and Kevin sleeping as well, chest and one leg exposed, lying there with
an innocent look on his face. Kevin
has a body that just won't quit, Cam thought to himself
for the thousandth time in their relationship as he studied him and
then adjusted the morning hardon in his own boxers. Cam went into
bathroom and relieved himself after his erection subsided a little.
Casey was still sleeping, and Cam didn't wake him up.
Taking his cell phone off his dresser, Cam went down
to the den and dialed his father's international number. After a
series of buzzes and clicks, he heard Alex's phone ring. A moment
later the man came on the line amid a background noise of clinking
glasses, clanging silverware and murmuring voices. Good, Cam thought. I did catch him at lunch.
"Dad?" he said.
"Cameron!" Alex said, sounding as if he was glad to
hear from him. "I've been wanting to talk to you."
"Same here," Cam said. "How are ya?"
"If I were any better, I couldn't stand it!"
Cam laughed. "Well, all things considered, I'd
have to say the same. What did you want to talk to me about?"
"John and I have been thinking that you and Kevin
and Carl need to hire a housekeeper and someone to take care of Casey,
preferably all rolled into one person. You should do that before
school starts. How does that sound to
Cam started to laugh.
"What's so funny?" Alex asked.
"That's why I was calling you. The three
of us interviewed a lady yesterday for just the job you're talking
about. Her name is Maria Romero. She's married and has two
kids. She's Juanita Fuentes' youngest sister--you remember
Juanita from next door at the Miller's, don't you?"
"I do. Juanita does a great job for the
"Well, her sister is gonna do a great job for us,"
Cam said. "We were impressed with her, and we hired her
yesterday. Are you sitting down?"
"Yes," Alex said a little apprehensively.
"We set her salary at $4,000 a month, with us paying
the employer's share of social security as well, of course. I
give her two weeks vacation a year after the first year, with more
generous vacation over time if she stuck with us. Hours will be
roughly 8 a.m., depending on when we have to leave for class, until one
of us gets home in the late afternoon. How does that sound to
"Very reasonable," Alex said. "But I want you
to investigate how much giving her medical coverage would cost if her
husband's job doesn't cover her and the kids, and get back to me about
Cam slapped his forehead. "You know, I tried
think of everything, but medical never crossed my mind," Cam
said. "I'll get on that right away."
"Good," Alex said. "What else is going
on? Is Jeff doing all right?"
"Yes. He's going into Assurances in Santa
Monica as soon as they have an opening, with Sean Miller paying the
freight. So I'm hopeful. Jeff's really a good guy."
"Excellent! That place has a good reputation,"
Alex said. "Are Kevin and Carl
and Casey all right?"
"Casey's wonderful. The light of our
life. He's starting to eat a lot of baby food, and is walking
around a lot under his own power. The guys are good.
cantankerous and hard to live with, of course. Kevin is a tyrant
in the gym, but what else is new? I may have to drug him to calm
Alex laughed. "What do you hear from San
"I have good news and I have bad news. Which
do you want first?"
"Oh, give me the good news first."
"Ian chartered a plane to bring the whole family,
including the dogs,
down here this coming Thursday. They're
staying until the following Tuesday. I wish you and John were
going to be here."
"I do, too. I know you'll all have a good
time. What's the bad news?"
"Father Mason's dad died yesterday," Cam
said. "He flew into town this morning to get ready for the
funeral. In fact, he's coming here for lunch today before he sees
family. He hasn't said anything, but I'm not too sure he and his
family are close."
"I don't know. He seems to fit right in with
our family. Anyway, give him John's and my condolences, will
you? I know this isn't a happy time for him."
"I'll pass along the condolences. How's the
picture coming along?" Cam asked.
"We're a little ahead of schedule, believe it or
not. If it would just quit raining, we could be home within a
month," Alex said, laughing. "But this is England, and that's not
going to happen."
"Is John all right?"
"He's wonderful. When he eventually strikes
out own his own to direct some films, he's going to be formidable."
"Well, look at his teacher. Give him our
"Listen, to go back to the housekeeper thing for a
minute, we're going to open a separate household account at a branch
bank down the road. If I email you our account number, can you
money every month for Maria?"
"Yes. But call me with the account
don't trust email. That way I'll get to talk to you again.
For the time being, why don't I deposit $6,500 a month on the
fifteenth of every month to start with? When we find out what
is going to cost if she needs it, we can adjust the amount.
You and Kevin can take your spending money out of any surplus.
too, if he needs money."
"Sounds good," Cam said. "I think Ian has Carl
"Dad, I can't thank
you enough. We miss you and John. I hope you can fly back
visit before too long."
"We'll see. But probably not. Thanks for
taking point on hiring a housekeeper. We miss you guys. A
lot. Please give Kevin and Carl our love, all right? And
remember John and me to Jeff."
"Will do. Love you, Dad. Thanks for
Come home soon."
The line went dead, and Cam closed his phone,
feeling good as he headed upstairs to rouse the guys for a run on the
beach. When he walked into the bedroom, Casey was still asleep
and the two lumps in the bed hadn't moved. Cam went over and lay
down flat on top of Kevin.
Kevin's eyes popped open. "There's a big bag
of shit crushing the life outta me," he mumbled.
"Do you think that's funny?"
Kevin said nothing.
"Well, do you?"
"Anytime you try to throw your weight around, it's
pretty funny," Kevin rasped out. "I'd laugh, but I can't breathe."
Cam lowered his head and kissed Kevin gently on the
nose, then slid off to the side still holding him. "I just talked
to Dad," he said.
Kevin turned his head and looked at his
"He's cool that we hired Maria. In fact, he
mentioned that we needed to hire a housekeeper before I even said
"Is he cool with what we're gonna pay her?"
"Yep," Cam said. "He said if there's any
shortfall, I should pimp you out on a street corner in West L.A."
"In that case, I'd get some real sex for a change."
Cam snorted. "The way you squeal and thrash
around, you're getting more than you can handle right now!"
"What did Alex really say?"
"He's fine with what we negotiated, but he wants us
out what medical for Maria and her kids would cost, if they're not
already covered by her husband, so
we can add it to the benefits
"Dad is a really good guy," Kevin said
"Fer sure. Now, are we gonna run?"
"Does the sun rise in the east? Is your dick
hard ninety-five percent of the time? Of course we're gonna run!"
Father Jim Mason called from LAX at mid-morning to say that his plane
had arrived from
San Francisco, Kevin, Cam, Carl and Jeff were
out on the beach playing
baseball with a few stray guys who had wandered by.
Maria Romero answered the landline, and she walked out on to the
beach to say that there was a phone call.
Cameron was at bat and Kevin was pitching, so Carl left his station in
the outfield to run back to the house and take the call.
"Hey, Father Jim here," the priest said. "Who's this?"
"Carl, Father. Are you in town?"
"I am. I'm just in the process of renting a car. Are you
guys going to be home this afternoon?"
"Yes, we are. Can you come over to Malibu for lunch?"
"Well..." Father Mason pondered for a few seconds. He
wasn't all that anxious to run over to Whittier, where his mother
lived, more quickly than he had to. He had to work up to seeing
her slowly. He guessed that his reluctance didn't say much for
character, but that's the way it was.
"Yes, I'd like to stop by," the priest said. "Give me the
Carl did so, and they hung up after a few pleasantries. Carl
told Maria that they would have a guest for lunch and walked
back out on to the beach. Cam was still at bat. The latter
picked that moment to hit a
long fly ball into the "outfield," right into the gap where Carl would
have been, so Cam stretched his hit into a double.
"That was Father Jim. He's in town, and is coming for lunch,"
shouted to Cam.
"Cool!" Cam shouted back. "We'll have to pack it in pretty soon
then and help
Maria fix some food."
Carl took over from Kevin as pitcher so Kevin could bat. Carl's
first pitch was a fast ball, which Kevin proceeded to hit over
everybody's head. Cam loped over third base and then across home
while the outfielders scrambled for the ball. Kevin followed Cam
into home base.
The guys took the time to make sure everybody had their "ups," and then
game to go help Maria with lunch. They checked on Casey, whose
diaper was dry and who was asleep in his crib before they headed
the kitchen. Maria had already thawed some
ground beef and was frying some tortillas when they walked in.
"What're we having, Maria?" Kevin asked.
"Tacos and refried beans," Maria said.
"Hmmm," Kevin said. His mouth started watering.
"What can we do to help?" Cam asked Maria.
"You can cut up some tomatoes, some green peppers, and anything else
you want in your tacos. And shred some lettuce. And one of
can heat up the beans, if you want to."
"We're on it," Cam said, and the guys got to work. They were
just finishing all that up when the street-side doorbell rang.
"Jeff, you wanna get that?" Kevin said.
"Sure." Jeff finished pulling hot sauce and other condiments out
of the refrigerator, rinsed off his hands and wiped them, and headed
for the door.
"Hi," they heard the priest's voice say. "I'm Father Mason."
"Jeff Miller, Father," Jeff said, shaking hands. "I'm staying
with the guys. Come on in. We're all in
the kitchen fixing lunch."
"Thanks," Father Jim said. He followed Jeff back to the
kitchen. He was casually dressed in Levi's and a golf shirt.
"Father!" Kevin said, going over and embracing the man. No mere
shoulder bump for their priest. "We miss
you already. It's really good to see you."
"Hey, Kev," Mason said, giving him a squeeze. "Same here, buddy!"
Cam and Carl followed Kevin in giving the priest a hug, and then Cam
introduced him to Maria. She wasn't used to having clergy in
proximity, and was a little flustered when she greeted him. Cam
explained to Mason that this was her first day at work.
"Welcome, Father," she said.
"Thank you, Maria," Father Mason said. "I hope these guys are
treating you well. They can be a handful."
"So far, so good," Maria said. "I have a couple of kids, so I
think we're going to do just fine."
"Good," Mason said, laughing. "I'm just kidding. I can
vouch for these guys."
The boys gave each other surreptitious looks. The priest didn't
look good. He still looked muscular and fit, with a good, tight
body, but he looked tired, with dark circles under his eyes, probably
because he had been grieving his father's death.
"Father, we're sorry about your dad," Kevin said.
"I talked to Alex in England this morning," Cam said.
"He wanted me to pass on his and John's condolences to
"Thank you," Father Jim said. "My father's death was...sudden."
"When is the funeral?" Carl asked.
"Wednesday morning," Mason said. "At St. Martin's Church in L.A."
"We'll be there," Kevin said.
"Don't feel you have to do that," the priest said. "You must have
things you have to do before the family gets here."
"Well, why don't we talk about it after we eat?" Kevin suggested.
"Speaking of lunch, let's eat in the dining room," Cam suggested.
room. Guys, get what you want to drink. Father, what would
"Iced tea, if you have it."
"We do," Carl said. "I'll bring the pitcher and some ice."
Food, drink, condiments, plates and utensils were moved to the dining
room table, and
then they stood at the table for grace.
"Father, if you'd return thanks..." Kevin said.
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit." They made the sign of the cross.
"Heavenly Father, we give you thanks and glory for your bounty
us. We thank you for this opportunity to break bread together and
to renew our love and friendship with one another. Bless the food
which is before us to our use, and us to your service, Father, through
Christ our Lord."
"Amen." They all
repeated the sign of the cross and sat down.
Maria constructed three big tacos for Father Mason, put some refried
on his plate, poured him some iced tea, and then excused
herself to finish cleaning upstairs. Kevin asked her to check on
Casey when she went up, and she said she would. A few moments
later the intercom buzzed, and Maria's voice told them that Casey was
Kevin wolfed down a taco, took a slug of iced tea, and rose to go
"You bringin' him down?" Cam asked. "I'll eat fast. Bring
down some baby food, and I'll feed him."
Cam applied himself to his food, almost cleaning his plate, and Kevin
shortly with Casey in his arms.
"May I feed him this time?" Father Mason asked Cam, taking a last bite
"Sure, if you want to," Cam said.
The priest pushed back from the table a little and opened his
passed him the child, putting a spoon on the table and opening a jar of
baby food. He tied a bib around Casey's neck.
"Thanks," Father Mason said, looking into the little boy's face.
"He's grown in just the few days since I've seen him," he said.
"Hey, Casey, remember me?"
The baby stared up at him silently. Yet another big person was
talking to him. He didn't care. Good things like food and
water on his skin when he got a bath, and clean diapers just kept
coming his way. Sometimes his humans played with him and let him
walk around. Life was good. "Ehhh," Casey said, moving his
"That means, 'Get to work, Father,'" Kevin translated.
"I'm on it," Father Mason said with a smile. He picked up the
spoon, dipped it into the jar of baby food, and touched the baby's lips
Casey opened his mouth and the good stuff was right there where he
"Yum," Mason said.
"You're a natural at this," Cam told the priest after a few more
"I don't know about that. Casey just seems very cooperative."
"He's a good baby," Carl said. "Exceptionally good. It's
hard to realize he's related to Kevin."
Father Mason laughed. Kevin smiled and didn't say anything.
The boys watched the priest feed the child for a few minutes, and then
Cam and Carl and Jeff cleared the table and went to the kitchen,
leaving Kevin and Father Mason
sitting alone with Casey.
"After you're done feeding Casey, do you have time for a walk on the
"Sure. I should get going in an hour or so, though."
The baby food was soon gone, and Kevin picked up Casey and took him
into the kitchen and
gave him to Cam.
"Father Mason and I are gonna walk on the beach," Kevin
said. "Back in a few."
"'Kay," Cam said.
Kevin and Father Jim headed out the back door and walked down to the
water. The Pacific was calm, and they stood there for a moment
looking out over Santa Monica Bay and then turned and looked back at
The sun was bright, and the
day was getting hotter as the sun moved to the west.
"This is a beautiful spot," Mason said. "It reminds me that
we're all small cogs in a big wheel. Loved by God, but not the
center of the universe."
"True," Kevin agreed. "I try to keep that in mind,
but sometimes I forget."
They turned to the right on the packed sand and headed west down the
beach away from Alex's house.
Kevin cleared his throat. "Father, I haven't forgotten how much
you helped me when I needed somebody to talk to about my dad earlier
this year," he said. "Or how supportive you've been of Cam and me
in our relationship." He paused. "You look tired and a
little sad today. I know you're grieving. I also know I'm
pretty young, but I wondered if you wanted to talk. If you feel
awkward about it, we don't have to."
The priest turned his head and looked at Kevin with a smile.
"Sometimes you surprise me, Kevin. Pleasantly surprise me.
I forget once in a while how mature you are for a young man your
"Yes. Almost eighteen."
"You're in a stable, loving relationship, and have a child you and Cam
taking great care of. You're a key part of a loving and
supportive extended family. To tell you the truth, you impress
out of me!"
Kevin smiled and kept silent. It was cool to be praised by
someone he admired as much as he did Father Mason.
"Yes, I'd like to talk to someone," the priest said, "and since you've
offered, I'm going
to take you up on it."
They walked in silence for a few minutes.
"You're right," Mason finally said. "I am grieving. But I'm ashamed
to say I'm not grieving so much about my father's loss to me as about
loss to my mother. My father and I were never close, I'm sorry to
say. But he was the light of my mother's life. She thought
he hung the moon. And somehow I feel totally inadequate to offer
her the comfort I should be capable of giving her--you know, the
Christian insights about life and death. That's my job in this
life. That's what I'm trained to do. But I know I don't
have what it takes to minister to my own family, and that
distresses me. A lot. I feel guilty. That's part of
the reason I'm here visiting you guys. I wanted to see you all,
that's true enough. But my guilt about my inadequacies when it
comes to my family is
part of the reason I'm here now, too."
Kevin thought that over, walking along and looking down at his feet.
"I remember when Ian was getting Carl ready to go to Mr. Emrick's
trial," Kevin eventually said. "I don't know how it came up, but
he told Carl at some point, in passing, 'Anybody who goes to court to
represent himself has a fool for a client.' That's kind of a
cliché, I suppose, but it might hold a little truth for a
too. I don't know how your family all relate to each other, but
you probably can't be all that objective right now when it comes to
your father's death. I'm sure what you learned in seminary are
truths for all of us, but applying those truths to your own family can
really be tough at a time like this, don't you think?"
The priest stopped dead in his tracks. Kevin took another step,
and then swung around to look at him.
"You blow me away, man," Jim Mason said, staring at Kevin.
me a new insight about this. That's exactly how I
should have been looking at this situation, but I
haven't been. Instead, I've been focusing on my own deficiencies."
"The way you've ministered to our whole family, you don't
have any deficiencies," Kevin said. "You've been great. You
are great. You're a real
They resumed walking.
"Thank you for saying that," Mason said. "I know I have the book
I still have a lot to learn. After I get through this week, maybe
have time to reflect on some of these things. I'm realizing one
thing already. What I should be grieving about when it comes
to my dad is that I never created the opportunity, as an adult, for us
to get to know each other better. I should have done that.
I should have made the effort."
"I know what you mean," Kevin said. "I'm in the same situation
with my dad, and of course what he did in trying to kidnap Casey makes
me reluctant to try to get closer to him when he gets out of
jail. When it comes to Casey,
I'm a little afraid of what he might try to do when his sentence is
finished. But I think I have to try to form a relationship with
him--while we're both still on earth."
Mason looked at
Kevin. "I think that's a really good goal!"
Kevin blushed, but didn't say anything.
"I know you're planning to study physics in college, but I wish you
preparing for work in human services," the priest said.
"You have good instincts and a lot of common sense. There are
millions of people all around us who are waiting for somebody to say
something relevant about their situations, something that will lift
them up and give them hope in their lives. And unfortunately, for
the most part,
the job isn't getting done." The priest
sighed, and then laughed. "Not putting any pressure on you, or
Kevin smiled. "Cam's the one you should be talking to about
working with people. He
has the smarts and the charm and the insights that can turn people
around on a dime, sometimes. And he just has a lot of love for
people in general. You have to be a really bad person for him not
to like you."
"Don't sell yourself short, Kevin, when it comes to loving human
beings. I seem to remember hearing
that you got the prosecutors in San Rafael to mitigate the charges
against Heather's brothers after they beat you up so bad last
year. That says
something pretty profound about you. But it's not my place to
meddle in your dreams. So if physics is your calling, it's your
"I'll let you know if there's any change of plans," Kevin said.
Father Mason looked over at his companion. "I know I don't really
need to ask this, but things with you and Cam are good?"
"Things are really good," Kevin said. "I think I'm the luckiest
person in the world to be Cam's partner. When he and I were
kids in confirmation class together, Father Gilbert at St. Michael's in
Rafael taught us about the doctrine of original sin and how it relates
human beings. When I looked at myself, it was obvious to me that
I was pretty selfish and self centered, just like everybody else in
this world, so I got it. But when Cam and I got into a
relationship, I really had to question the concept a little
bit. Cam is the least self-centered, least selfish person I've
ever met. I admire him more than I can tell you." Kevin
grinned. "But I found out over the years that he's no
pushover, either. He's strong, he's determined, he has a mind of
he doesn't take any shit from anybody"--Kevin suddenly stopped
talking. "I'm sorry, Father, I didn't mean to put it like
that. Anyway, I love him more than I ever thought I could love
anyone, and I'm learning new things about being in a relationship from
him all the time."
"Well, you're as much a blessing to him as he is to you," Mason
said. "You're fortunate to have each other."
Kevin looked over and studied the man's face.
"Cam and I were raised Roman Catholic, and you know what their official
teaching about homosexuality is. Do you have any idea what it
means to me to be able to tell my priest how much I love my male
partner, and get an 'attaboy!' rather than being told what sinners we
are, and that we're going to hell? It means the world to me,
Father. Thank you."
"I'm humbled by that, and I don't know what to say except that it's a
real privilege for me to
bear witness to God's love for all his children. Identifying and
blessings is one of the most important things I do."
They continued wandering down the beach for a few more minutes, and
remembrances about the trip to New Orleans the previous spring, and
then talking about
Mason's viewpoint of what life would be like in Los Angeles for the
guys and in particular
what it would probably
be like for them at
UCLA. When they finally turned around and headed back toward the
house, it was with even greater affection and respect for one another
* * *
When Father Mason and Kevin walked back into the house, they heard
rock music coming from the den. They stood in the doorway of the
and scoped out an unusual scene, indeed. An amused Carl and Jeff
sitting on one of the couches watching Cam sing and dance around with
Casey in his arms. The little boy's eyes were wide open, locked
on to Cam's eyes, and he
looked as if he was enjoying himself. The Scissor
album was playing on
Alex's stereo, and Cam was singing and
clomping around in his size 13's to the lyrics of "I Don't Feel Like
Wake up in the morning with a head like 'What ya
This used to be the life, I don't
need another one
Good luck cuttin' nothin',
carryin' on, you wear them gowns
So how come I feel so lonely when
you're up gettin' down?
But I don't feel like dancin' when the old
My heart could take a chance but my two feet
can't find a way
You think that I could muster up a little
soft shoe gentle sway
But I don't feel like dancin', no sir, no
Don't feel like
Even if I find
nothin' better to do
Don't feel like
Why'd you break
it down when I'm not in the mood?
Don't feel like
Rather be home with
no one if I can't get down with you.
© HST Mgt Ltd
Kevin immediately focused on Cam's ass in his snug, bleached out Levi's
as he gyrated around, the little red tag on the right rear pocket
drawing Kevin's eye. Cam's 501's looked like they had been
tailor-made for his body: his butt stretched the cloth tight,
just right, and his package accentuated the double thick cloth of his
fly. The boy's tight gray Hollister T-shirt and his
jeans left little to Kevin's imagination, especially since he knew his
partner's body as well as he knew his own. Kevin felt a tightness
in his groin, and suspected he was starting to leak into his boxers.
Cam grinned sheepishly when he eventually saw Kevin and Father Jim
standing in the
doorway, and walked over to the entertainment center and turned the
at the priest.
"Is my partner multi-talented on the dance floor, or what?" he asked.
"I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it," Mason
said. "At least not since my party-hearty days in college.
and Jeff should've filmed it for posterity!" The two guys on the
"Cam is the epitome of grace on the dance floor," Carl said,
"Casey asked me for a dance," Cam informed the newcomers. "And
wants, Casey gets."
"Give the little chucklehead to me," Kevin said.
"Whaddaya think, little dude?" he asked Casey.
Casey let go with a string of gibberish just as Kevin took him and sat
down with him on one of the
"I agree with you completely, buddy," Kevin said soothingly.
"Daddy Cam really is a little strange. It's not your fault."
Joining him on the couch, Cam grinned and cuffed Kevin gently on the
back of the head.
The five of them talked for a few minutes, and then Father Mason looked
"Well, I'm gonna have to go see my mom," he said.
"Sorry you can't hang around for supper," Carl said. "Maria's a
"Judging from lunch, I know she is. I wish I could stay," the
I need to get going,
"I don't suppose you know your schedule yet," Kevin said.
"Will you call and let us know where and when the wake will be, and the
Mass for your dad?" Cam asked.
"When I know, you'll know," Father Jim said. They all stood, and
the priest shook hands with them all, and took his leave. Kevin
saw him to the door.
"Thanks for talking to me," Kevin said.
"I'm the one who's grateful, Kev." He hugged the young man and
After the priest left, the four guys and Casey went on a shopping trip,
practically buying out every sporting goods store in Santa Monica of
mattresses. Sleeping on the floor was going to be comfortable for
the guys when the family arrived.
* * *
Father Mason telephoned later that afternoon to say that the wake for
dad would be Tuesday afternoon and into the evening, and gave them the
about the Requiem Mass on Wednesday morning. Cam took the call
everything down, and then got on the phone with a florist and had
flowers sent to the
funeral home. He included the names of the entire extended family
on the card, including Alex and John, and called both Mary Carson and
Catherine to let them know
about the death in the priest's family and that flowers had already
Cam found out subsequently that Catherine had then called the priest on
talked with him for a few minutes, offering condolences and telling him
how much the family were looking forward to spending time with him
while they were in L.A. at Alex's house. She repeated the guys'
invitation to stay with them if and when he could complete his own
duties. Mason said he was looking forward to doing
The guys ate a good supper that Maria had fixed before she left for
home--pot roast, salad and ice cream--and then the boys all went into
the den. Carl
through Alex and John's collection of movie CD's, finally selecting Mad Max for their viewing pleasure. After
the two of them got engrossed in it, Kevin and Cam took Casey upstairs,
ostensibly for a diaper change. After cleaning the baby up and
putting a fresh diaper on him, they put him in his crib. Casey
didn't fuss and closed his eyes right away. Kevin locked
the bedroom door at that point, and the two guys were
out of their clothes in ten seconds and in bed. They lay on their
sides facing one another, already hard.
"I was watchin' you dance, and I had to think about something
else so I
didn't shoot my load in front of God and everyone,"
Kevin said, pulling Cam's face over for a long, deep, juicy kiss.
When they pulled back, Kevin added, "Your ass is wet dream material."
"Uh huh. Well, if we don't start gettin' more action on a regular
that's exactly what we're gonna start havin'--wet dreams," Cam
said. "And what a waste that'll be!" He reached down and
grasped Kevin's cock. It was
already leaking, and running his finger over the head of it, he put the
finger to his mouth and tasted the sweetness of his partner's
Kevin's penis and
began caressing and squeezing his pecs and abs and and butt, and
Kevin's balls and the
inside of his thighs. His touch was light, and to Kevin it
felt as if tiny sparks of love were shooting out of Cam's fingers and
his skin. Kevin began reciprocating on Cam's body, lightly
stroking the boy's skin with his finger tips and gently kissing his
face as he did so.
"I love you so much, Cameron. You're my life. You're my
heart. You and Casey are my world, dude. I feel so lucky."
No response in words was needed. Cam put his hand on Kevin's
cheek and just held it there, looking into his eyes for a long
time as a river of Cam's sweet breath bathed Kevin's face.
Scooting down in bed then, Cam took
tool into his mouth and down his throat in one shot.
Kevin tensed and almost levitated right off the bed at the pleasure of
it. "Oh, sweet!!" he said huskily. "Don't move, though, or
I'm gonna blow right now!"
Cam moved slowly and deliberately, pulling off until Kevin's cockhead
lay right on
his tongue, the pre-cum now flowing instead of merely leaking.
temptation to stimulate the head of it with his tongue and probe the
he didn't want Kevin to ejaculate. Not yet.
"Let me do you," Kevin rasped after a few minutes on the
edge. Cam pulled off completely and lay on his back as Kevin
moved down in bed and engulfed his partner's dick. He started
fellating him vigorously.
"Easy, dude," Cam groaned. "I'm so-o-o close. Too close."
Kevin pulled off, pushed Cam's legs back, spreading them, and began
rimming him. Cam smelled earthy and clean down there. After
penetrating him repeatedly with his tongue and
good and wet, Kevin reached for the lube, pressing some of it into Cam
then coating his own penis.
"Yeah," Cam said approvingly as Kevin popped inside him and then held
still until Cam adjusted to the stretching and pressure. "Do me,
Kev," Cam said when he was relaxed and ready.
Kevin put a pillow under his partner's ass, and moved into him
letting Cam's legs fall off of his shoulders into the crooks of his
arms. When Kevin
was all the way in, his balls lying up against Cam's butt, he lay down
flat on his partner and searched his eyes. He kissed Cam's
eyelids as they
fluttered closed, and then moved to his mouth, slowly dueling with his
partner's tongue, possessing him completely.
Ever so deliberately he began to move inside his partner, his hardness
passing over Cam's prostate with each thrust. "Yes,"
Cam said, and as the minutes passed he began raising his pelvis to meet
Kevin's movement into him. Cam felt as if the instrument of his
being played by a master musician, and that was certainly Kevin's
incrementally did the speed of Kevin ministrations increase, and Cam's
mouth sought his lover's mouth again with whispers of pleasure, and his
hands went to Kevin's ass as the boy rode him with love and
vigor. As Kevin's tension mounted, he began to nuzzle and then
In the final minutes Kevin's groans signaled that he would soon plant
his seed, and Cam thrust a finger up inside of Kevin and felt his
partner's sphincter clamp down as Kevin ejaculated far up inside
him. Cam had not yet come, so after a few moments Kevin moved
lover's penis in his hand and stroked him, putting his mouth over the
head of it just as Cam cried out and shot ropes of cum into his
mouth. Moving back up Cam's body, Kevin shared the mother load
with his partner in a passionate kiss. They held each other
tight, floating into rest then and only regaining consciousness after
minutes had passed.
They woke up side by side, nose to nose. Their encounter, as had
been increasingly true for them as their relationship had matured, had
been intense and
and evocative, and beyond all else, intimate.
"I learn something from you about making love every time we do it," Cam
said quietly, kissing Kevin's lips softly as they awakened. "It's
new and it's familiar, all at
the same time." Kevin held Cam's face in the palms of his hands,
caressing his cheeks with
his thumbs, saying nothing. His soft brown eyes said it all.
Eventually they got out of bed and
showered, washing one another tenderly. After checking on a
they went downstairs to watch the
rest of Mad Max with Jeff and
Carl. The latter gave them a knowing look, but nothing was said
about their absence.
* * *
Tuesday and Wednesday were busy, with the guys actually putting on
dark suits and ties and black shoes for the wake and then for the
Mass for Father
dad. Both events were crowded. Father Mason might not have
close to his dad, but the man was well known and well respected in the
greater L.A. area, and
his death drew many
people to the funeral home and the church.
Cam, Kevin, Carl and
Jeff met Mason's family, and they seemed
appreciative that three of the four of them were parishioners from San
Rafael who thought
enough of their priest to attend the services. Father Ryan from
St. Dunstan's showed up at the wake, and the guys could see that
Father Mason appreciated his old friend being there.
mother seemed dazed and
confused throughout the wake and Requiem, but his sisters were both
sharp, especially the older sister
Lucinda, who was CEO of the Mason family business.
Lucinda wasted no time after the Requiem Mass, burial and a brief
the parish hall in whisking
Mrs. Mason away to Lucinda's home in Brentwood. This relieved
Mason of staying with his mother in the family home in Whittier, so he
went back to Malibu and moved into Alex's house on Wednesday
afternoon. The boys were glad to have him, and he seemed happy to
there. The priest would join his mother and sisters later in the
week for a meal after the reading of his father's will.
The four boys and the priest hit the beach around 8
Thursday, after Maria Romero had arrived to watch Casey. It was a
beautiful day in southern California, as usual, with the promise of
before the day was over. Cam and Kevin didn't know exactly when
Ian Carson's charter flight would arrive that day at LAX, so the guys
cell phones with them when they went to run. But no call came.
They were back at the house and all showered and cleaned up before
Cam's cell phone rang. It was Ian. The family had landed at
LAX and were just loading up two stretch limos with themselves and
their luggage, he said. Ian thought they'd arrive at Alex's in
under an hour.
Father Mason hadn't slept well the previous night, so he decided to
take a nap in his bedroom, asking to be called when the family arrived
at the house.
Downstairs, Cam and Kevin were amused as they watched Carl, usually a
back guy, become more and more strung out as he waited for Andy Helder
Kevin couldn't keep quiet. "Carl, you want some Prozac,
dude? You need to calm down."
"Shut the fuck up," Carl told him with a crooked grin. "If you
were separated for a couple weeks, you'd be climbing the walls, too."
"You're right about that," Kevin said. "Commere for a minute," he
said, moving over on one of the couches so Carl could sit between him
and Cam. Carl sat down. Kevin put an arm over
his shoulders and kissed him on the cheek. "I have good news for
you. We're gonna let you and Andy sleep in your own bedroom
upstairs during his visit. You will
concentrate on sleeping,
"Well..." Carl said.
"That's what I thought," Kevin continued. "You probably won't
want your own room, though, 'cause the rest of us guys are gonna sleep
on the air mattresses in the living room. You'd miss out on all
"Maybe not all the fun," Carl
After Kevin was finished teasing him, Carl walked up and down nervously
in the living room, and finally went out to sit in the shade of the
garage on a lawn chair to wait for the limos to arrive. And
arrive they did, fifty minutes later, in two black stretch limos full
the people he loved more than anybody in this world. When he saw
the vehicles turn off the Pacific Coast Highway, Carl ran and
leaned on the back doorbell to let Cam and Kevin know the family was
there. After Cam buzzed Father Mason upstairs on the intercom to
let him know as well, Kevin and Cam
came out of the house just as the cars pulled up.
The first one to pop out of the lead car was Mark Carson, who made a
beeline for the guys in the driveway. It was no surprise when
Kevin got the first hug. He picked Mark right up off the ground
and swung the boy around in a circle. A mere two weeks apart
hadn't diminished the special bond these two had.
"Marky-mark," Kevin said, planting a kiss on the kid's cheek with no
embarrassment at all. "Been missin' ya somethin' terrible, bud!"
"Same here, man," Mark said. Then he gave Carl and
Cam good hugs.
The boys walked down the driveway to the cars as family
tumbling out, along
with the two dogs who ran around with tongues out and tails
wagging. Cam and Kevin and Carl patted the dogs quickly and then
went right to Catherine and engulfed her, kissing her face, and then
followed up with hugs and kisses for Mary Carson and then Ian.
Then they plied Rosa Mendez and Yolanda Vega with hugs and
kisses. After that the slide and dap handshakes began with the
Carl waited until Andy Helder stepped out of the lead car,
to him, engulfing the tall boy with a hug and a long kiss right on the
lips. They observed all the niceties when it came to
greeting others, but it was perfectly clear that they only had eyes for
other. After they hugged and kissed each other again, they stood
with Andy's arm across Carl's shoulders. They were obviously
looking forward to being alone.
William Carson stood by the cars with a big smile on his face, handsome
hell, looking all buffed up. It was clear that he hadn't been any
stranger to the gym at Catherine's house since Cam, Kevin and Carl had
"Lookin' good, dude!" Kevin told him, giving him a hug. "You've
been keeping up in the gym, it looks like."
"Yeah," William said. "I was afraid I'd hear your voice comin'
out of the walls, whining and givin' me shit if I didn't work out."
Kevin laughed. "You're right. Listen, thanks for your
emails when we were drivin' down here. They meant a lot.
They helped keep our spirits up."
"Good deal. We miss you guys."
Berto Hernandez walked over and greeted Cam and Kevin with hugs.
He was a fine looking kid, still slim but more muscular than ever, his
cocoa skin glowing with good health.
"You havin' a good summer so far, Berto?" Cam asked him.
"Good, but busy," Berto said. "Ian has me taking some tutorials
for my AP classes starting this fall. He still wants me to apply
Stanford for next year. Anyway, my mind is particularly sharp
right now, so I
plan to take all you guys' money at poker while I'm down here.
I'll need every penny for tuition when the time comes."
"Knowing Ian and Mary, paying your tuition is gonna be the least of
your worries," Kevin said.
Berto stepped away to help Rosa and Yolanda take their bags out of the
limo they had ridden in, and Kevin looked at William.
"Are you still rooming with Berto?" he asked.
"How is he really doin'?"
"He's good," William said. "Most of the time. But once in a
while I'll see the pain in his eyes over what happened to his
parents. It hurts me, but I don't know what to do about it."
"I don't think anything can be done," Kevin said. "It'll just
take time for him to heal."
Just then Father Mason, up from his nap and dressed in cargo shorts, a
T-shirt and sandals, followed by Jeff Miller, came out of the back
door. Everybody swarmed
over to say hello to the priest and get introduced to Jeff. Jeff
was overwhelmed by all the new, friendly faces.
The boys finally unloaded all the baggage from the limos, and after the
drivers checked for any items left behind, the two vehicles turned
around ponderously and headed back to L.A.
"Where's Casey?" Mary Carson asked as the crowd piled into the house.
"Taking a nap," Cam said. "He may be awake by now, though.
I'll get him in a minute."
When everybody hit the main hall, Cam told the boys to put their own
in the living room and the den, and then he had some of the guys take
the adults' luggage and carry it upstairs. He put Ian and Mary in
Alex and John's master bedroom, Catherine in the room where he and
Kevin and Jeff had been sleeping, and Rosa and Yolanda in a bedroom
twin beds. Father Mason would keep the room he had already moved
into, and Carl and Andy would have a bedroom down at the end of the
hall. Andy grinned happily about that. Everybody smiled
that last room assignment, but nobody said anything.
Maria was working upstairs putting fresh sheets on the beds, and Cam
and Kevin asked her to go downstairs so they could introduce her to
After saying hello to
everyone, Maria began chatting with Rosa and Yolanda in Spanish.
Rosa told Maria not to worry about the big crowd, because she and
were going to pitch in and help with the work. As proof of that,
Rosa and Yolanda went upstairs, grabbed clean sheets and began helping
Maria change the beds.
Cam went upstairs again, found that Casey was awake, and took him
to the living room.
The boys surrounded the little guy, and fought verbally over who got to
hold him and for how long. Catherine and Mary joined them, and
eventually co-opted Casey despite protests from the younger
set. The little boy was hungry, so Cam went to get him some
food. Mary and Catherine took turns feeding him.
Ian and Mary conferred with Maria and Cam and Kevin about what they
would do for that day's meals. Maria had put a huge pot of beef
and vegetable soup on when she had arrived that morning, so they'd eat
lunch at the house. After some discussion about supper, Kevin and
Cam offered to cook steaks out on the deck. Kevin went out to the
freezer in the garage and found three huge packages of rib eyes.
He spotted a second grill in the garage when he took the steaks to the
kitchen to start thawing them, and asked Cam to go get it and put it on
the deck. That would speed up the cooking process when it came
time to cook.
Cam retrieved the grill and
rolled it through the house and out on the deck. It used propane,
and Cam checked the fuel level and found out they needed a fresh
tank. Kevin took Dan Emrick with him, fired up the Mustang
drove to a nearby hardware store for a recharged tank.
"So, Dan, what's been goin' on?" Kevin asked the boy, who seemed a
"Not much. I've been dating someone new since you left."
"Boy or girl?" Kevin asked.
"Girl. Cindy Schuster, from the youth group at church.
Blonde hair, blue eyes. Good bod.
She's really cute."
"I remember her. She's hot. You doin' anything with her?"
"Sex? Not yet. We're takin' it slow," Dan said.
"I think that's smart," Kevin said.
"I wish you were around to talk to me about...things," Dan said
"Well, I'm only a phone call away, Dan. Better yet, you can
always talk to Ian or Mary or Catherine. Or even Father
Jim. He always listens to me and has given me good advice."
"Yeah, right. Like I'm gonna talk to Father Jim about when I
should start bangin' one of his parishioners."
Kevin laughed. "You've got a point."
"Besides, they're all kinda...old."
"Uh huh," Kevin said. "Older, but really smart. And
observant. You think they don't understand what guys like us are
up against, but they do. And they all love you and Carl to death,
y'know. Don't sell 'em short."
"I know. And I love all of them. But talking to them isn't
like talkin' to you about shit. How can I ask them when it's the
right time to start hookin' up with Cindy?"
Kevin laughed again. "I see what you mean. But if I'd
Catherine early on about what Heather Butler and I were doing in the
back seat of this very car,
it would have saved a lot of heartache. I wouldn't have gotten
beaten up, and Heather wouldn't have had nine months of hell carrying
Casey. She was the one who suffered the most. It's always
the girl who gets the worst of it when things go wrong. I hope
you plan on being careful when you start havin' sex."
"I hear ya. But you and Cam wouldn't give up Casey
for anything in the world."
"No, of course we wouldn't. But we've been blessed. Things
have turned out well for us when it comes to Casey. Don't ever
think you hear me
sayin' that makes it okay to roll the dice when it
comes to having sex with Cindy and then just hope for the best.
protection every time, and DON'T GET HER PREGNANT!!" Kevin said,
looking at Dan.
Dan snickered. "Gay guys have all the luck when it comes to not
having to worry about getting their partner pregnant."
"That may be true, but we have our own set of problems to deal
with. Cam and I have sex only with each other, but a lot of gay
guys will stick it to anything in pants, and that can sometimes lead to
emotional problems. And gay guys aren't always as careful about
using protection as they should be, so STD's, including HIV, are on the
rise in the gay
population. To be fair, though, that's happening in the straight
too. But maybe more important than anything else, we gays don't
yet in most places,
not by a long shot. So all in all, just count your blessings
"Maybe. But even if you were
straight, Kevin, you wouldn't give
up Cam. He'd always be in your heart even if you were married to
Heather or some other woman. You know I'm right."
Kevin looked over at Dan. "You little shit! You're too
smart for your own good!" Kevin said, laughing.
They pulled into a little strip mall with a hardware store just off the
Pacific Coast Highway, and exchanged their empty propane tank for a
full one. On the way back to Alex's, they talked about Dan's
expectations for his junior year in high school and what Kevin was
looking forward to at UCLA.
When they arrived back at the house, Kevin carried the new propane tank
out on to the deck and hooked it up to the grill. All the young
guys were sitting around on the deck stripped down to their cargo
shorts, passing around sunscreen, and doing each other's
backs. When Kevin went back inside, Mark Carson followed him,
and they found Catherine, Mary, Rosa, Yolanda and Maria all in the
already washing potatoes and preparing huge bowls of salad.
"You up for another trip?" Mary Carson asked Kevin.
"Sure? Whadda we need?"
"Groceries. I have a list. Let's go."
"Can I go?" Mark asked.
"Yep," his mom said. "Go put on a T-shirt and shoes." The
boy beamed, took off and returned dressed.
"I'm glad you're coming along," Kevin said. "We need slave labor."
Mark grinned. He loved being picked on by Kevin. He missed
him a lot.
They walked out to the Mustang.
"I've never ridden in your car before," Mary said as Kevin helped her
the back seat. "Your mom told me that Alex had bought it back
from the dealer in San Rafael and had it fixed up for you as a
"Yeah," Kevin said. "I nearly fell over when I saw it here in the
garage waiting for me."
Mark Carson looked approvingly over the dashboard and the leather seats
after he sat down in the right passenger seat.
"Mom, I need a car," he said.
Mary groaned, but knew the day was coming.
Kevin grinned at him. "Marky-mark, you don't think that the great
state of California is going to turn you loose on the highways with a
license, do ya?"
"You better believe it," the boy said. "If they'll give you a
license, I should qualify with no problem."
"They ask for references now before they issue a license," Kevin
lied. "A reference from someone close who really knows you, but
parents. Someone older and wiser like me. So if you want a
reference outta me, you're really gonna have to turn over a new leaf,
Mark smirked. "Cam'll give me a reference," he said.
Mary listened with a big smile as the two guys continued to spar with
each other. Kevin drove into Santa
Monica to a huge Costco. An hour later, they checked out of the
three shopping carts heaped high. Mary paid with a credit card,
and they wheeled the carts out to the Mustang. Kevin grinned with
pleasure when he saw his car sitting there, sparkling in the sun.
They filled the trunk with food and supplies, ran out of room, and put
two full paper bags in the back seat with Mary before taking off for
* * *
It was already starting to cool off in San Francisco as fall
approached, so the boys were enjoying basting in the southern
California sun. They had been out on the deck for about an hour,
well slathered in sunscreen, talking up a storm.
Cam glanced over at William Carson, sitting down the row of guys from
him. Holy shit, the guy
is so built! That was no new revelation, but Cam hadn't
seen William in a couple of weeks, and he was easy on the eyes. He fills out those shorts perfectly, Cam
thought, front and back! Great
pecs. Corrugated, six pack abs. Meaty, muscular legs.
Is he good in bed? he wondered. Knowledgeable and competent, no
doubt. Does he take his time with his girlfriends, or is he brisk
and businesslike? Cam had a vision of William working on
some girl's rack with his mouth, tonguing and sucking on her nipples, a
hand in the dampness down between her legs. I'll bet he takes his time, pulls out all
the stops and leaves them exhausted and asleep in his arms.
Cam had just started working on getting his thoughts under control when
out on the deck in a
T-shirt, shorts and running shoes.
"I'm going for a walk," he told the guys. He looked at Jeff
Miller. "Jeff, how about taking a walk with me on the beach and
pointing out where the celebrities live?"
"All right," Jeff said, surprised at being asked by this virtual
stranger to do anything, let alone take a walk. He liked Ian's
manner with people, though, and stood right up from his chair to go.
They stepped off the deck and walked toward the ocean. "A famous
movie director named MacKenzie
lives right behind where we're standing," Jeff said, pointing a thumb
over his shoulder back at the house. "There are a bunch of bums
sitting on the deck."
"That I do know," Ian said with a laugh.
Back on the deck, William Carson watched Jeff and his dad leave, and
looked at Cam. "Give dad thirty minutes, and he'll have the total
411 on Jeff," he said.
"No doubt about that," Cam said. It was true. Ian had the
ability to extract all the information you had and leave you feeling
good about about giving it up. That was just one of the qualities
that made him one of the most famous and successful lawyers on the West
Back on the beach with Ian, Jeff was pointing at his parents' house
next door to
"That's my mom and dad's house," he told Ian.
"What's your dad's name?"
Ian's eyes lit up. "Sean Miller is your dad? I've seen so
many of his movies! I'm an action movie guy!"
"He's good, isn't he?" Jeff said, not hiding his pride.
"Yes," Ian said.
They continued walking, and in between Jeff's identification of
celebrity houses, Ian began to ask Jeff some questions.
"I think I heard that you're not in school right now, Jeff."
"I'm not," Jeff admitted. He looked down at the sand, taking a
deep breath. "I flunked out of UCLA last year because I'm a
crystal meth addict. Cam and Kevin and Carl found me living under
Alex's deck when they moved down here. They took me in and have
been watching me like a hawk. If they hadn't, I could have been
dead by now. And I think they're really responsible for
persuading my parents to send me back to rehab."
"Back to rehab?" Ian
"Yes. I've been in rehab twice before, and didn't stay clean when
I came out."
"I see. What do you think about your chances of staying clean
Jeff paused. "Honestly?"
"Why do you say that?"
"Because I don't think I'm strong enough to make it?"
"Don't they tell you in rehab that personal strength is only part of
the equation for success? And maybe not even the most important
They walked on in silence for a few minutes.
"Jeff, tell me what your dreams for the future are."
The young man looked over at Ian. "I don't have any."
"When did you last have some personal dreams?" Ian asked.
"Oh, probably when I was a sophomore in high school. That's when
I started getting into drugs, and that was all she wrote."
"All right, what were your dreams before you were a sophomore?"
"I wanted to be a marine biologist," Jeff said. "It's too late
for me now, I'm afraid."
"That's bullshit, boy!" Ian said quietly. "You're so wrong about
that. Your life is just starting."
"Yeah, well, there's a big difference between my life experiences and
those of the guys sitting on Alex's deck. They're strong and
healthy and happy people, and I'm miserable inside all the fucking
time," Jeff said.
"You don't know what some of those guys have been through and
survived," Ian said, "and I'm not at liberty to tell you about
it. Just take my word for it."
"All right. But the die is cast for me."
"What do you mean by that?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
"All right for now," Ian said. "But I'm not done talking with you
yet. We'll pick it up later."
They walked in silence after they turned around and headed back toward
"Are your parents home tonight?" Ian asked.
"I don't know."
"Why don't I check with the cooks, and if we have enough food, why
don't we invite them over for supper?"
"They'd probably enjoy that," Jeff said.
Ian pulled his cell phone off his belt, and hit speed dial.
"Yes," Mary said.
"Is this the light of my life?" Ian asked.
"At the very least," Mary said.
"Quick question," Ian said. "I was thinking we could invite Jeff
Miller's parents over for supper tonight if there's enough food.
They live right next door to Alex and John."
"There's plenty of food, sweetheart. Go ahead."
"Consider it done."
"Let's stop at your house and invite your folks," Ian said to Jeff as
he snapped his phone shut. "My wife tells me there's plenty of
"Okay," Jeff said.
They stopped at the Miller house. Sean and Susan Miller were both
home, and Jeff introduced Ian to them. Sean immediately
recognized Ian's name, and they chatted for a few minutes. Ian
extended the supper invitation for 6 p.m., and the Millers accepted
When Ian and Jeff arrived back at the house, the guys were still
sitting with Father Mason on the deck, watching the sun in its march
toward the ocean. Jeff sat down with the group, and Ian thanked
him for accompanying him on the walk.
Ian beckoned to the priest, and they went inside.
"I think we have a problem," Ian told Father Mason as they retreated to
"I don't claim to be a mental heath expert, and I don't want to jump to
conclusions, but I'm afraid Jeff Miller
Jim Mason studied his friend, stunned and at a loss for words.
"I think that once Jeff leaves his support group of Cam, Kevin and
Carl--who have been watching him like a hawk, according to Jeff--and
goes to rehab, he's going to take his own life."
"Surely the clinicians watch for any signs of suicidal behavior," the
"Hopefully they will after Jeff's parents warn them. Sean and
Susan Miller are coming for supper, and you and I need to sit down with
them and clue them in. I just hope they take us seriously."
© 2009 Don Hanratty
Heartfelt thanks to Dan, MikeG and Ken for their expert proofreading.