Don Hanratty
My Beloved is mine, and I am his.
Song of Songs 2:16

The morning after the ill-fated dinner party at the MacKenzies' house, Heather Butler, Kevin girlfriend, cornered Kevin in the parking lot at school just after Cam and Kevin had arrived.  She was obviously upset about something, and Cam made himself scarce, leaving Kevin to deal with whatever it was that was bothering her.

"Why haven't you called me?" Cam heard Heather berate his boy as he walked toward the school, and things appeared to go downhill from there.  Cam looked back at the parking lot as he went in the door at school, and from the look of things, Kevin was still catching hell about something.

When Cam and Kevin met later in the hallway between classes, Kevin looked pale and sad, and motioned Cam over to a quiet corner.

"We gotta talk," Kevin said, his face mournful.

"What's the matter?" Cam asked him.

"Let's get outta here for lunch today," Kevin said.  "Meet me in the parking lot at 12:15."  It was a closed campus, but seniors could leave for lunch if they wanted to.

"OK," Cam said, feeling apprehensive.

At 12:15, the hall monitor checked Cam's name off the list of seniors, and Cam went out to the parking lot.  Kevin hadn't arrived yet, and Cam leaned back against Kevin's Mustang and waited for his friend.  Kevin finally emerged from the building and walked toward him, head down and shoulders slumped.  Something was definitely wrong, Cam knew that.

Kevin hit the remote, and the door locks popped open.  They got in the car.  Looking around the lot first to see if they were observed, Cam leaned over and kissed his friend on the cheek.

"What's the matter, dude?" Cam asked.

"I'm totally fucked," Kevin replied with tears in his eyes.  He sat back in his seat and started the car.  "Heather's pregnant."

"Oh! my! God!" Cam said, looking pale under his ruddy complexion.  He lapsed into silence as Kevin pulled out of his parking place and headed out of the lot for Mickey D's.

Not a word was spoken as they drove to the restaurant, parked the car and went inside.  The line was short, and they got their food and drinks and went to an isolated booth to sit down.

"How could this happen?" Cam asked as they unwrapped their burgers and started to eat.  "Weren't you using protection?"

"Not every time," Kevin said, looking down at his food.  "Heather told me every time we had sex that she was on the pill."

"Well, fuck, Kevin!"

"Please don't give me shit about this, Cam.  I feel terrible about it.  This is just payback for lying about who I really loved all the times that Heather and I were doin' it." Kevin extended his middle finger, and looking up to heaven, stabbed the air.

"Don't blame God for this one," Cam said quietly.

"Whose side are you on?" Kevin demanded.

"There are no sides.  I'm not gettin' on your case, so let's not fight."

The two guys chewed their hamburgers in silence.

"What do you think Heather will want to do?" Cam finally asked.

"I don't have a clue.  We're gonna meet tonight and talk about it."

"What do you want her to do?"

"Well, we both know an abortion would be the quickest and easiest way to go," Kevin said.


"Fuck!  This is a hell of a time to realize I'm a Catholic, doncha think?  I can't ask her to have an abortion."

"She's not Catholic," Cam said.

"I know that.  But this is still a life we're talkin' about."

Cam put his hamburger down, took a swig of coke, and stared across the table at his partner.

"Yeah, you're right about that," Cam said.

Silence again.

"I need to talk to your dad about this," Kevin said.  "I'd trust him to help me decide what I should do."

"I think that's a good idea," Cam said.  "Are you gonna tell him everything?"

"What's everything?"

"Are you gonna tell him about our relationship?  Being gay is one good reason among many why you shouldn't marry her."

"Marry her!  Oh, Jesus, don't even say those words."  Kevin looked sick and pushed away the remainder of his hamburger.

"All right.  But if Dad is really gonna help you arrive at a good decision, don't you think he needs to know all the facts about what's going on?"

"Yes.  Cam, I've fucked up so bad!  What am I gonna do?"

"Well, for starters, lose the panic!"  Cam's rational mind was starting to kick in now that the first shock was over.  "We're gonna take this one step at a time, Kevin.  It's a mindfuck, fer sure.  It's gonna be a challenge, but we have to treat it like a problem that can be solved.  It can be.  We just need to understand what sort of outcomes we want for everybody concerned."

Kevin heard the "we" pronoun in what Cam said, and started to calm down.

"You're not gonna bail on me?" Kevin asked, searching his friend's face.

"I oughtta kick your ass for even asking me that question!" Cam said, looking pissed off.

"Don't be mad at me," Kevin said.  "I'm not used to being able to count on people.  Except for you, I mean.  I know I've always been able to count on you."

"That's a given," Cam assured him.  "Let me ask you this:  Are you ready to ask her not to have an abortion, and let the baby be born?"

"Yes," Kevin responded solemnly, closing his eyes.

"If she says she wants to get an abortion, what are you willing to do to persuade her not to do that?" Cam asked.

Silence.  Kevin opened his eyes and stared across the table at his friend.

"I'm willing to pay for all the expenses of her pregnancy, and I'll take the baby and raise it," Kevin finally said.

"What if she wants money in addition to that?"

"I'll give her what she wants, I guess.  Within reason."

Cam nodded.  "If you'll do all that and she'll give you custody of the baby, I'll help you raise it," he promised.

"You'd do that for me?"

"For us.  I'd do that for us, Kevin.  And for the baby."

Kevin teared up.  Cam hadn't seen much of that since they were little kids.

"When and where are you meeting her?" Cam asked.

"At 7:30, right here," Kevin said, wiping his eyes with his napkin.

"All right.  Sit in this booth.  This will be your lucky booth, OK?"

"Yep.  That's stupid, but I like it.  God, I love you, Cam."

"Same here, man."

They stood up, gathered up their mess and dumped it in the garbage, and drove back to school.

Kevin and Cam somehow managed to get through their classes the rest of the day, and then went through the motions at soccer practice.  Supper that night at home was very quiet.  Catherine MacKenzie knew something was wrong from the way the boys were acting, but didn't pry.  When Kevin asked her if he could meet Heather for a few hours that night, she let him go.  Cam watched Kevin's cute, muscular ass in those Levi's leaving the dining room.

After he left, Cam looked at his mother.

"Did you get any crap from Dr. Strawn at school today because of last night?" he asked her.

"No, I didn't," Catherine said.  "Let me set your mind at rest, Cam.  There's nothing Bill Strawn can do to me, or for that matter, for me.  I'm a full professor with tenure at St. Francis, and I'd practically have to commit murder before he or anyone else could give me real problems.  So don't worry about last night."

"All right," Cam said.  "I'm not sorry I said what I did, but I'm sorry I had to say what I did."

"I know.  Just promise me you won't worry about it, and I'll promise you I'll do a better job in getting decent dates."

Cam smiled.

"Is there something bothering you and Kevin?  You were awfully quiet at dinner tonight."

Cam hesitated.

"Well, yes," Cam said.  "But nothing I can talk about right now."

"All right.  You know you can talk to me when you need to," Catherine said.

"I know, Mom.  Thanks.  I love you."  Cam stood up from the table, pushed in his chair, and went to where his mother was sitting and kissed her cheek.  Then he went upstairs to study.  At least studying was his plan, but he found his mind wandering to how Kevin's and Heather's meeting at Mickey D's would go.

*  *  *

Kevin could see Heather sitting at a booth just inside the front door when he pulled into the McDonald's parking lot and parked his car.  He got out reluctantly, punched the remote to lock the Mustang, and walked slowly into the restaurant.  Bending down when he reached the booth, he kissed the girl.

"Do you want anything to eat, or something to drink?" Kevin asked her.

"No, thanks," Heather said, nervously brushing her blonde bangs further up on to her forehead, "I just ate at home."

"OK," Kevin said.  "I'm gonna get something to drink.  Why don't we sit back there in the corner?" he added, pointing to the booth where he and Cam had eaten lunch.

"All right," Heather said, and walked to the back of the restaurant while Kevin headed for the service counter.  He joined her a couple minutes later with his drink.  Sliding into the seat across from her, he studied her face for a moment.  She was a very beautiful girl who was looking tired and upset at the moment.  His eyes dropped to her breasts, which, as always, prominently filled out her white turtleneck sweater.  He remembered the times his hands and his mouth had been all over those beautiful boobs.  Then he thought about Cam's chest, his pecs and his nipples, and he felt his cock thicken.  There was just no question about which physique he appreciated the most.

"I'm really, really sorry this happened," he said to Heather, referring to the pregnancy.

"Me, too," Heather said in a low voice.  Apparently there would be no screaming and shouting as there had been in the parking lot that morning, at least for the moment.  Heather could be very nice sometimes, as Kevin had good reason to know.

"When did you find out?" Kevin asked.

"Yesterday," Heather said, looking into his eyes.  "I knew I was late, but I didn't take the test until yesterday.  I kept putting it off."

"Do you think the test could be wrong?"

"I doubt it," Heather said, playing with her bangs nervously.  "I took it twice, and used two different brands.  They were both positive."

"How far along do you think you are, then?" he asked, sighing.  He popped the top off his drink and took a swig.  He could feel the same butterflies in his stomach that he got before a big soccer match or an important test at school.

"About five weeks, I think."

"What do you want to do?" he asked, groaning inside.

"What do you want to do?"

"Well, we have a couple of options," Kevin said.  "I know the easiest thing to do would be to have an abortion, but I hope that's not the decision you come to."

"Why not?" Heather asked.

"It's a life," he said, choosing not not to get into his Catholic beliefs in any detail at that point.

"Uh huh.  It's easy for you to say I shouldn't get an abortion.  You don't have to carry the baby to term, and you don't have to put up with all the shit from your family and everybody else for what we did.  You wouldn't have to drop out of school and you'd get to graduate.  You wouldn't have to raise the child.  You'd get off scott free."

"Listen, I'm not going to walk away from you or abandon my responsibility for this baby if you agree to have it.  And you don't have to lose out on your education.  The school district has to provide alternative schooling for you if you want to ask for it when you begin showing.  I'm sure I'm right about that.  You'll get a high school diploma."

"Are you willing to marry me?" Heather asked, cutting right to the chase.

"Heather, I'm not dissing you when I tell you that it would be a terrible thing for both of us if we got married.  We were wrong to jump into a sexual relationship the way we did.  Let's be honest.  It felt good.   But we don't get along with each other all that well.  If we got married, it just wouldn't last.  Why go through all the pain if we're pretty sure going in that's going to happen?"

Heather covered her face with her hands and started crying.  That made Kevin tear up, and then they stared at one another ruefully.

"Is there another girl?" she asked.


"All right," she said finally, "if you won't marry me, what are you willing to do if I agree to have this baby?"

"I've been thinking about that since this morning.  In fact, I haven't been able to think about anything else.  So, first of all, I'm willing to be with you when you talk to your family about being pregnant," Kevin said.  "I'm willing to pay all the expenses of your pregnancy.  I'll sell my car or get the money somewhere to do that.  I'll be in the delivery room with you if you want me.  And I'm willing to take the baby after he or she is born, and raise the child myself.  I want to do everything I can to let you have a good, normal life."

Heather stared across the table at him.

"I'll think about what you've said," she told him.  "I need to to talk to my family.  I'm so scared."  She started crying again.

Kevin reached across the table and took her hand.

"I'll be there if you'll let me know when you're gonna talk to your folks.  I'm willing to sign a contract and do anything you want, Heather.  Please believe me when I tell you how sorry I am that this has happened to you.  You're right about the girl usually bearing more of the brunt of pregnancy than the boy.  But I'll do everything I can to make things as good as they can be for you.  Please believe me about that.  Let me know what you decide."

"All right," she said, sounding very depressed.

Heather picked up her purse, and they stood up.  Kevin took her in his arms and gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  He walked her out to her car, and she started the motor and took off right away.  Kevin got in his car and just sat there slumped behind the wheel for a good half-hour, numbly turning over in his mind how he could make things work out best for both of them.  Finally he started his car and drove back to the MacKenzies'.

The downstairs was dark as he drove up the driveway, opened the electric gate and garaged his car.  He went in the back door and slipped up the back stairs.  His buddy was sitting in front of his computer in his boxers when Kevin went into Cam's room and sat on his bed.  Cam went over and sat beside him, searching his face.

"How did it go?" Cam asked.

"Actually, not terrible," Kevin said, hanging his head.  "But it's really hit me now how bad I've fucked up," he added.

"Yeah?  What did she say?"

"She's thinking things over.  I think she's leaning toward having an abortion, but I tried to talk her out of it.  I told her that if she'll agree to have the baby, I'll pay for all the expenses.  I promised I'd be with her to face her family.  I also told her that I didn't think we should get married, but that I'll take the baby and  raise it myself.  I'm not just going to walk away from her and leave her to tough things out by herself."

"That was the right thing to do.  If she has the baby and gives it to you, you know you can count on me to help you."

"You'd really do that for me?"

"God, Kevin, I know we've only been 'together,' really 'together,' for a few days, but what do you think this relationship is all about?  Whatever you're gonna face, we're gonna face together."  Cam put his arm around his partner.

"Thank you, man.  I love ya for sayin' that.  All I can say is, you're sure gettin' the short end of the stick in this relationship."

"Yeah, your stick's short, that's fer sure," Cam said.  Kevin gave him a shot to the rib cage with his elbow.  "I know it's short because I've had my hand on it."  Kevin poked him again, and Cam laughed.

"I'm prolly gonna have to sell my car to raise some money for her expenses while she's pregnant," Kevin said, still focusing on Heather.

"Whatever we need to do..." Cam said, raising his hand to Kevin's neck.  The muscles there were tight.  "Why don't you clean your teeth, strip down and get in bed, and I'll give you a back rub.  You're all tensed up."

"I don't deserve to have you do anything nice for me," Kevin said.  "I feel like shit."

"Don't start that bullshit with me, now," Cam said.  "I'm gonna give you a good back rub, and you're gonna get a good night's sleep, and tomorrow we're gonna start to figure out how we're gonna tell Catherine and Alex and your dad about what's goin' on."

Kevin nodded wearily, stood up and went into the bathroom.  Cam heard the sound of Kevin's electric toothbrush as he remained seated on the side of his bed, waiting.  After Kevin took a leak and came out of the bathroom, Cam helped him strip off his clothes.  When he was naked, he lay face down in Cam's bed after Cam had pulled down the bedspread and top sheet.  Cam admired the muscular body of his friend lying there as he took a bottle of skin lotion out of his bedside table.  He straddled Kevin's butt and began vigorously kneading the cream into the boy's skin, starting with his neck.  Kevin groaned with pleasure.  By the time Cam had slowly worked his way down to his partner's feet, Kevin was asleep.

Cam stood up beside the bed, looking down at the perfect skin of his lover's body, the curve of his ass and the fine black hair on his arms and legs and the back of his hands.  He finally covered Kevin with the sheet, and went into the bathroom to wash his hands and clean his teeth.  When he came back, he locked both bedroom doors, turned off the lights and gratefully climbed into bed beside his softly snoring partner.  Cam put an arm around his boy, leaned closer, and kissed him on the side of the head, smelling his hair.  Then Cam drifted off himself.

*  *  *

Catherine wasn't in the kitchen when the boys went down for a quick breakfast before school the next morning.  They went to school in Cam's Camaro.  Exhibiting his characteristic focus, between his classes Cam called Catherine at St. Francis to make sure she would be home that evening at the usual time.  She would be, and Cam told her that Kevin needed to talk with her.

"Why didn't Kevin ask me himself?" Catherine asked.  "I hope I'm not so unapproachable or on such a busy schedule that you guys have to make an appointment to talk to me."

"Yeah, I know.  But this is important to Kevin.  So I wanted to check to make sure you'd be around."

"All right, sweetheart," Catherine said.  "I'll see you boys at supper."

"OK, Mom.  Laters."

When Cam ran into Kevin in the hallway later, he said he'd told Catherine that Kevin wanted to talk to her that evening..

"Why'd you do that?  Maybe I'm not ready to talk to her!" Kevin complained.

"It's not gonna get any easier, Kev, so just fucking do it!" Cam said firmly, cutting him no slack.  "Now you have to do it, 'cause if you don't, Mom'll just keep at ya until you tell her what's on your mind.  Don't be such a diva about it.  Get on with it!"

Kevin walked away, clearly pissed off and muttering under his breath.

Cam just shook his head and walked off to his next class.

When the two met up in the locker room after school, Kevin quietly apologized to his friend.

"I'm sorry, Cam.  I'm just scared shitless about how this mess is gonna turn out, and I don't know what the fuck to do, exactly.  I don't mean to take it out on you."

"I know.  Don't worry about it," Cam said, fighting his desire to take his friend in his arms and kiss him right in front of the whole damn team as they suited up.  Cam watched out of the corner of his eye as Kevin, two lockers down, stripped off his clothes and put on his jock and the rest of his uniform.  Man, the kid's body was beautiful!  Cam had to turn his thoughts to his classes to keep from boning up.

That afternoon the coach made the varsity practice against the junior varsity, and the junior varsity almost whipped their betters because Cam and Kevin were distracted and not playing their usual game.  Coach wasn't happy, and made the varsity runs laps before he let them shower.

"MacKenzie and Stoltz," the coach told them before the team went inside, "you guys better kick it up a notch if you want to hold on to your slots on the varsity.  You played like shit today."

The two boys just nodded and took off for the locker room.  They showered, dressed, and headed home.  Catherine wasn't there yet when they arrived, and they went upstairs.  Despite being jumpy about what would transpire that evening, they decided they would start on their homework.  Cam sat down at his desk and opened his Modern American Lit text.

"Cam?" Kevin said, walking into his room.  He walked up behind his buddy, bent down with his chin on top of Cam's head, and put his arms around him.

"You rang?"

"Should we come out to Catherine tonight?" Kevin asked.  "Maybe I should just put everything on the table at once when I talk to her."

"I don't think so.  Not yet.  As far as timing is concerned, I think we should talk to Dad before we come out.  And if and when we do come out to her, we should talk to her together for that."

"Aren't you going be with me tonight when I talk to her to back me up?"

"I don't really want to be there," Cam said.  "But I will if you want me to."

"I'd like that."  Kevin sighed, and then was silent for a moment.  "I don't know why everything in our lives has to happen at once."

"I know it's not easy, but look at it this way:  if you and I hadn't come out to each other, you might actually be considering getting married to Heather because she's pregnant.  And that would have been wrong, and you know that.  In the long run, it would have been disastrous if Alex is any example.  So, this is tough, but the timing involved in admitting our sexuality to each other and finding out about the pregnancy just may be a blessing in disguise."

"I don't know why you have to be so right all the fucking time," Kevin said, chuckling and moving his head to the side to kiss Cam on the cheek.

"It's a gift!"

"Yeah, right!  Listen, come work out with me now.  I'm too nervous to study."

"Can I touch your body parts while you're doin' your thing?" Cam stood up and took Kevin in his arms and leered at him.

"As long as you don't make me drop any weights on myself," Kevin said.  "When you touch me, I lose control."

"I've noticed that in bed," Cam said, grinning.

"You're so full of shit I don't know what to tell ya," Kevin said, reaching around and pinching Cam's muscular butt.  "Full of shit and cute to boot!"

"A jock and a poet, that's what you are!  What a great combination!"

"My bullshit detector just went off!" Kevin warned.  "Keep it up and I may puke right here!"

"Just as long as you don't cream your drawers, you do what you hafta do!"

"I give up!" Kevin said.  Laughing, he grabbed his friend's arm and pulled Cam into his bedroom, which was in its usual disorder.

"Oh, God, you've tricked me!" Cam said as he was pulled along.  "You're trying to have your way with me."

Kevin snorted, picked Cam up bodily at that point, put him down gently on his bed, and lay down right on top of him.  He stared into Cam's eyes, and neither of them moved a muscle until Kevin lowered his head and put his lips on Cam's.  No thrusting tongue, no moving, just the sound of breathing and the velvet touch of lips on lips for several minutes.

"Jesus, Cameron, I love you so much I can't stand it," Kevin finally whispered, continuing to look into those green eyes.

Both guys boned up, but they didn't move away from one another and just lay where they were.  Kevin's weight felt good on his body, Cam thought to himself.  They remained as they were for fifteen minutes or so, nuzzling one another's face with their noses, Cam massaging Kevin's ass through his Levi's, when they heard the sound of the back door open and close, and knew that Catherine was home.

"Thanks, Kev," Cam said quietly.

"For what?"

"For this," Cam said, referring to the interlude they'd just experienced together.  He smiled.  "For being such a hunk and so easy to love!"

"A hunk, huh," Kevin said, laughing as he rolled off Cam and stood up.  "You're too kind."

"I know."

"Boys?"  Catherine's voice floated up the back stairs.

"Yes, Mom," Cam shouted back.

"Come down here for a minute, please."

Kevin put his hand behind Cam's head and pulled him in for one last kiss.  They adjusted their hard-ons before going into the hall and clattered down the back stairs to the kitchen.  Catherine smiled when she saw them.

"What have you two handsome guys been up to?" she said.

"No good, just like usual," Kevin said, grinning.

"I thought as much," Catherine responded, smiling.  "Are you boys famished, medium hungry, or not hungry at all?"

Cam pointed at Kevin.  "This kid is skin and bones, and starting to lose muscle tone.  Whip up something magical, Mommy.  We hafta save him, even if it's against our better judgment."

Kevin put an arm around Cam's neck, and squeezed.  Hard.

"Ow!" Cam said.  "I've changed my mind.  Don't fix him anything.  I want him weaker."

"How about waffles and bacon," Catherine suggested.  "I'm in the mood for something different."

"I vote 'yes' on that!" Kevin said, squeezing Cam's neck again.  "Don't listen to anything this yoyo has to say.  He hasn't had an original thought since, well, never!"

Catherine slipped off the jacket of her suit, and folded it over her arm.

"Good," she said.  "I'm going to change clothes.  Wash your hands, and you guys get out the waffle mix and make some batter.  And start frying some thick bacon.  Use the bacon press so it will be nice and crisp.  Do you think you can handle that?  I'll be right back.  And I understand you want to talk to me, Kevin."

"Yes, m'am," Kevin said, his good mood cut short by the thought of the impending conversation.

The boys started to wash their hands in the sink, and then dried them.

"All right, I'll be right down," Catherine said.  "Don't break anything.  Oh, and one of you pour me a glass of Merlot."

"You got it, Mom," Cam said, and headed for the cabinet with the opened wine in it.  He was back in a minute with a glass of red wine, and took a sip before he put the glass down.

"I don't know why you're drinking," Kevin said, starting to read the instructions on the box of waffle mix.  "I'm the one who needs a drink."

"I don't think so," Cam said.  "Your conduct with substances shamed me so much when we were in L.A."

"Oh-h-h-h!" Kevin gasped in simulated outrage.  "You're such a lyin' sack, MacKenzie!  I hate you so much right now!"

Cam roared with laughter as he went to the refrigerator and took out a package of bacon.  Finding a huge metal frying pan, he separated the greasy strips, fitting almost the entire pound into the skillet.  He turned the flame on low after putting a glass bacon press on top of the bacon.  Then he retrieved the waffle iron from a cabinet and plugged it in.

"OK, I'm done with my work," Cam said.  "Aren't you finished yet?"  He pretended he was going to sit down in a chair and watch Kevin struggle with the waffle mix.

"What's gotten into you tonight?" Kevin asked, caught up in Cam's mood despite his own apprehension about Catherine's reaction to his news about Heather.

"Love, man.  Do I need to explain more fully."

"No," Kevin said, beaming in spite of himself.  "I get it."  He tried to read the small print on the box of waffle mix.

"Give me that!" Cam said, snatching the box away from Kevin.  "I have to do everything in this relationship."  He found a measuring cup and mixing bowl in the cabinet and began to measure out the mix.  Then he added some milk and water and began stirring.

"There's a mixmaster over there on the counter, dufus," Kevin observed.  "I think you're supposed to use that."

"Here, then!" Cam said, handing him the bowl.  "You do it!  I've already done my job and half of yours!"

"I had more to do than you did!" Kevin whined, emptying the bowl into the mixmaster bowl, and starting it up on low.

"Turn it on high, and see what happens," Cam suggested.

"NO!" Catherine said vehemently, rejoining them in the nick of time.  "It'll spray the whole kitchen!"  She picked up the glass of wine and took a gulp of Merlot.  "At times like this, I'm really thankful for the blessing of wine!"

She took over the food preparation, and the two boys sat down and watched her.

"You're good, Mom!" Kevin said, watching her move around the kitchen efficiently.

"Please pour me some orange juice, Cam," Catherine said.  "And get yourself and Kevin whatever you want to drink.  Kevin, set the table in the breakfast nook, if you would.  Don't forget the butter and syrup."

The boys swung into action.  Everything came together and was finished at precisely the right moment, and a few minutes later they sat down around the table.

"Kevin, why don't you offer thanks tonight?" Catherine said.

Cam grinned because he didn't have to pray, and Kevin looked surprised, but he closed his eyes and folded his hands.

"Father, we thank you for this food you have given us.  We're grateful for it, and we ask your special help for those who annoy us"--he opened one eye and looked at Cam--"and try our patience so severely.  Give us grateful hearts for all your mercies, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

"Amen." Cam and his mother said as they all made the sign of the cross.

"That was a relatively nice grace," Catherine said.

"Thank you," Kevin said with a twinkle in his dark eyes.

They had a pleasant meal together, with Catherine eating her waffles and bacon with her usual good manners, and the boys scarfing down their food like there was no tomorrow.  They talked about school and soccer, and Catherine talked about what was going on at St. Francis.

"How's your friend Dr. Strawn treating you?" Kevin asked Catherine, snickering a little bit and studiously avoiding Catherine's eyes..

"He's treating me just fine, thank you for asking," she said.  "He thinks of you fondly, Kevin, as the less abusive of you two.  As for Cam, well, let's just say that he won't be coming around here to see him anytime soon."  Catherine laughed out loud, remembering the raucous dinner party at which Strawn had ended up out the door, and Rosa Mendez ended up the honored guest.

"Good waffles, aren't they?" Cam asked, changing the subject.  "And the bacon--Mwah!"  He kissed his finger tips in celebration of how good it was.

"You two boys are strange," Catherine mused.  "I'm not sure that UCLA, big as it is, will be ready for you," she speculated.

"You don't know how strange, Ma," Cam said.  "But all in good time, as they say..."

"Hmmmm," Catherine said.

They finished eating, and the boys helped their mother clean up the kitchen and put the dishes in the dishwasher.  Then they all went into a small sitting room adjoining Catherine's study and sat down.

"Do you want Cam here, Kevin?"

"Yes, please," Kevin said, his demeanor quickly going from worried to depressed in view of the news he was going to convey.

"All right," Catherine said.  "What's going on?"

"I don't want to tell you this, but I have to," Kevin said, looking down at the floor.  "I know you're going to be disappointed in me, but I hope you can forgive me because I'm really going to need help."

"You're worrying me, Kevin," she said.  "Tell me."

Stealing a quick glance at Cam for moral support, Kevin blurted out the news:  "Mom, Heather Butler is pregnant, and I think I'm the father."

"Oh, dear Lord!" Catherine said, and she took off her glasses and massaged her eyes in silence.

The two boys sat looking at her silently for several minutes until she recovered enough to speak.

"When did you find out?" Catherine asked Kevin, putting her glass back on.  Her face had quickly turned red and blotchy, and she looked stunned, but she didn't waste time by launching into a tirade upbraiding her foster son.  A very rational person, her attitude seemed to be, Just give me the facts, boy!

"Yesterday," Kevin said.

"Are you sure she's really pregnant?"

"Well, she says she is," Kevin said.  "She says she took two different home tests, and they were both positive."

"How far along is she?"

"Probably five or six weeks."

"Have you and she agreed on a plan?" Catherine asked.

"Not yet," Kevin admitted.  "I think she wants to have an abortion.  I'm trying to persuade her to have the baby.  If she's willing to do that, I've told her that I'm willing to take the child and raise it myself.  Cam says he'll help me.  I know it's not easy for a girl in Heather's situation to carry a child until it's born, but, well, I don't want her to take a life by killing the fetus."

"I agree with that.  That's responsible.  Do you want to marry her?"

"No, ma'm.  I don't love her, and to be honest, I don't think she loves me.  We really don't get along."

"Well..."  Catherine resisted the temptation to get on the boy's case about having gotten along with the girl well enough to get her pregnant.  "What about her expenses if she agrees to carry the child to term?"

"I'll pay them.  I'm gonna sell my car to get the money."

"Do her parents know?"

"Not yet.  I told her I'll go with her to tell them, though."

Catherine nodded and sat there silently, looking at the floor for several minutes.  The two boys glanced glumly at each other, and then back at Catherine.

"How do you feel about this situation, Kevin?" Catherine asked.

"I've really messed up," Kevin admitted, looking at the floor with tears in his eyes.  "I'm sorry this has happened.  Really, really sorry," Kevin said.  "I've really messed up her life and my life," he said.  "And I've made you ashamed of me.  I hate that, too."

"I don't want you to think that because I'm not yelling and screaming that I'm not upset about this, Kevin.  And I'm angry at myself.  I've done a poor job supervising you.  I'm going to have to tell your father about this, and he's not only going to be disappointed in you, but in me, as well."

"My relationship with Heather goes back a long way, long before you became my guardian," Kevin said.  "She and I were intimate before Mom died, so don't blame yourself, for God's sake."

"Don't use God's name in vain," Catherine responded almost by reflex.  "You have enough problems to contend with."

"Sorry," Kevin mumbled.

"Kevin, you don't have a clue what personal and monetary resources it's going to take to raise a child.  You either, for that matter, Cam.  Putting the baby up for adoption is an option, you know.  I do know you're trying to do the right thing, Kevin.  Belatedly."

"I don't want to put my own flesh and blood up for adoption, Mom," Kevin said.  "Anyway, my dad is going to try to make me marry Heather.  I'm sure of that."

"If you don't love her, that would be a mistake," Catherine said.  "I'll support you one hundred per cent on that."

"Thank you," Kevin said in a subdued voice.

"I need to think," Catherine said.  "You boys go on up and do your homework now."

"Yes, ma'am," the boys said, and got up to leave, grateful to escape.


"Yes, ma'm?"

"Consider yourself lucky!"


"You're too old to spank and too young for an adult punishment!"

"I guess so."

"And Kevin..."

Kevin turned around in the doorway.  "Yes, ma'm?"

"I love you.  But for your own good, you need to go to confession."

"I know I should.  And I will."  Kevin went back to where Catherine was sitting, bent down, and gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Cam and Kevin walked slowly upstairs and went into Cam's room.  Kevin went over to Cam's bed, and threw himself face down on the bedspread, his face on the pillow.  Cam went over and sat on the side of the bed, putting his hand on Kevin's neck.

"One step at a time," Cam told his friend.  "That went better than it could have."

Kevin took his face out of the pillow and looked at Cam.

"What room were you in?" he said.

"The same one you were in.  You told Mom what you needed to tell her, and she's going to support you.  Whaddaya want?  She can't make it all go away, y'know.  She'd do that for ya if she could, but she can't."

"Please don't give me a hard time, Cam.  I need one friend right now, at least."

"I am your friend, Kev.  Hell, I love you!  I just don't want you to start feeling sorry for yourself, that's all.  We'll get through this, dude.  We'll get through this together!"

Kevin reached up and pulled Cam down beside him on the bed and kissed him on the lips.

"I'm scared, and I don't know what to do right now," Kevin said.

"I know."

"Will you make love to me?"

"That's exactly what I had in mind," Cam said.  "Let's study for a couple hours, and then I want you in my bed.  You have any rubbers and lube?"


"One of us is gonna get fucked tonight, babe!  We need to try this.  And whoever is doin' the fucking should use a rubber until you get yourself tested."

"Tested?  You mean because I was with Heather without protection?"

"Yeah," Cam said.  "You agree?"

"Yes.  What about your workout tonight?"

"We'll both work out in bed."

Kevin tried to smile, his depression over Heather's condition struggling with the anticipation of having sex with Cam.

"You rock!" he said.  "This is something to look forward to.  I'll be back here in two hours."

"Cool," Cam said, smiling.  "I'm looking forward to it myself, believe me."

"How do we decide who tops?"

Cam stood up and went to his bureau, picking up a deck of cards.  "High card, one draw."

"Right now?"

"Yeah." Cam shuffled the cards, and fanned them out in his big paw.  "Pick one."

Sitting on the side of the bed, Kevin picked a card.  Queen of hearts.

Cam drew a ten of spades.  "Damn!" he said.

"It's about time my luck changed a little," Kevin said.  "Seriously, I don't think I could take your big dick up my ass tonight.  I want to, but just not tonight."

"All right," Cam said.  "Two hours, then."

Kevin stood up and embraced him and walked away, with Cam admiring his butt as usual.

Two hours later to the minute Kevin walked through the door of Cam's room.  He bent over Cam where he was sitting at his desk and kissed the back of his neck.
Cam swung around in his chair.

"Well, aren't you all bright eyed and bushy-tailed," he said to Kevin.

"Yep.  And for good reason, I might add.  You ready?"

Cam reached out and fondled his buddy's crotch.  There was something firm lurking in those 501's, he discovered.

"Well, you're certainly getting there," Cam told him.

"Uh huh."

"Give me a few minutes in the bathroom," Cam said.  "I'd better clean myself out a little.  You got the rubbers and lube?"

"I'll get 'em.  You hurry up!"

"Maybe I will, maybe I won't.  Stayin' horny is good discipline for you, boy!"

When Cam emerged from the bathroom, he was stripped down and had a semi.  He backtracked and first locked Kevin's bedroom door, then his own.  Kevin admired the body of the boy as he walked toward the bed where Kevin was sprawled out on a towel on his back, legs spread, naked as a jaybird and hard as a rock.

"God, you're beautiful, Cam.  Seriously.  I love everything about you."

"Is that what you used to tell Heather?" Cam teased him as he lay down on top of Kevin's body, covering him and pulling the top sheet over them both.

"Yeah, but when I say it to you, I really mean it."

"Should I believe that?" Cam asked, nuzzling Kevin's face gently with his nose and giving him butterfly kisses.

"Totally," Kevin said simply, looking into those green eyes that never failed to give him chills.  Good chills.

Cam lowered his head, inhaled the good masculine smell of the skin of his friend's chest, and then popped Kevin's left nipple into his mouth and began working it with his tongue, occasionally grazing it with his teeth.

"Oh, Lord," Kevin said.  His already hard dick got harder, and then Cam switched to the other nipple as Kevin groaned.  Cam worked his way down his friend's body, licking and sucking and smelling his way down to his package.  He ignored his dick for the moment and went for his big balls.  One at a time he laved them and popped them into his mouth for a good tongue bath as Kevin groaned again.  When he was done with his balls, he raised Kevin's legs and licked his perineum, finally settling into his pucker and licking around it thoroughly. Then he penetrated it and wiggled his tongue around for several minutes.

"Cam!" Kevin said, putting his hand down on his friend's head.  "Stop for a minute or I'm gonna blow."

"We can't have that," Cam said, raising his head and then taking Kevin cock into his mouth and down his throat to the root in one swift movement.  The feel of Kevin's velvet skin stretched tight over his steely hardness made Cam even hornier.  He wasn't alone.

"NO!" Kevin said, but it was too late.  The first shot of cum rocketed to the back of Cam's throat, and his mouth began to fill almost faster than he could swallow.

"Oh, shit!" Kevin said in ecstasy, pumping his hips as he discharged his load and then lay there in a stupor with Cam now on top of him.  As he gradually emerged from post-coital bliss, he looked into Cam's eyes.

"Why'd you make me come?" he whispered.

"Because when you're inside me, I want you to last."

"Oh."  Kevin reached up and pulled Cam's face to his, deep kissing him and tasting his own seed.

They lay there together companionably for ten minutes until Cam's body on top of his own made Kevin hard again.  Kevin rolled them over so that he was on top of Cam.

"Do you want me to get you off?" Kevin asked.

"No, not yet."

" 'K."

"You're a sex machine!" Cam told Kevin with a grin, staring at the boy's big, rejuvenated cock, flexing gently with each heartbeat.

"That's the truth."

Kevin scooted down on Cam's body, spreading his partner's legs.  He lifted Cam's legs, exposed his pucker, and plunged his tongue into the hole.  It smelled and tasted clean and sweet and earthy.  He worked it for several minutes, kissing and poking and sucking, and then inserted a couple of fingers.

"Ah-h-h," Cam groaned.

"Am I hurting you?"


Kevin added another finger, and again Cam groaned but said Kevin wasn't hurting him.

Eventually Kevin removed his fingers, and his tongue took a Cam-trek up the boy's abdomen and chest, eventually arriving at his face.  Kevin deep kissed him.

"All right," Kevin said, "If you're ready, I'm gonna put on the rubber and put it in.  I don't want to hurt you.  Stop me if I hurt you.  Do you promise?"

"Yeah.  Go for it!  Use the lube, though."

Kevin lubed up, rolled on the rubber and lubed it.  Putting some grease on his fingers, he moistened Cam's hole as well.  Giving Cam one more kiss on the lips, he put his cock head at Cam's doorway and after a long minute of pressure, popped it in.

"Oh, shit!" Cam said.

"You all right?"

"Yeah.  Go slow, though, OK?"

Kevin nodded, and over a period of five minutes worked his way up Cam's chute.  When he was all the way in, he gently lay down on Cam's body and looked into his eyes.

"I'm home," Kevin said.  "I'm really home, Cam.  I love you so fucking much I can't stand it."

Cam put his arms around Kevin's back, and squeezed him tightly to his own body.  "You're the love of my life, man," Cam whispered.

"How does it feel?" Kevin asked quietly, looking into Cam's face.

"It's tight," Cam whispered back.  "I'm full of you.  Knowing that makes me feel good."

"No pain?"

"Nope.  Fuck me, Kev.  I want you to."

Kevin raised his partner up and slid a pillow under Cam's ass.  Putting his arms under Cam's legs, he held them in the crook of his arms.  He began to flex his hips before lying down again full out on Cam's body, moving at a snail's pace and watching Cam.  The latter's face registered clearly what he was feeling, and what he was feeling appeared to go from "This is tolerable" to "This is better than I ever thought it could be!" as Kevin began regularly hitting the sweet spot inside his lover.

Continuing to watch that handsome face beneath his own, Kevin moved into a good, deliberate rhythm as Cam lifted his hands and caressed Kevin's face and arms as the latter stroked away.  Kevin straightened his back into a little more upright position and began pumping faster as Cam raised his legs higher.

"You're so good at this, man," Cam told his partner between breaths as they both began to gasp with pleasure.  Cam moved his legs down Kevin's back to his ass and began to pull him in with each thrust.

"Oh, yeah.  This feels great," Kevin gasped as his rhythm quickened even more.

The two guys were sweating profusely by then, Kevin's body slipping and sliding around on Cam's frame.  That in itself felt good, let alone the effect of Kevin's dick plunging in and out of Cam's ass.

Kevin continued to pump away for another ten minutes before he began to gasp for breath.  He lowered his upper body until he was hovering over Cam on his arms, locked his back, and began to thrust harder and faster until, with a deep expulsion of breath, he ejaculated copiously inside his lover, his face contorted.  Slowly he lay down on Cam, totally spent.

They lay there quietly for at least five minutes, when Cam began to thrust his own dick against his lover's slick body until Kevin stopped him.

"Give me a minute," Kevin gasped, still getting his breath back.  "I want to get you off in my mouth," he said.  He slowly pulled out of his lover's body and carefully removed the rubber.  He had not only filled the reservoir with his cum, but an additional half inch as well.  He wrapped it in a kleenex and put it on the floor.  Then he lay back down on Cam's body.

Cam lay there under his partner, running his hands up and down Kevin's sweaty back.  The commingled scent of the two of them continued to arouse and energize both of them as Kevin eventually slid down and took Cam's dick in his mouth.  He began to work it slowly, bobbing up and down on it fully several times, at which point Cam couldn't contain himself and began firing thick shots of semen into his lover's mouth.  Kevin continued to suck greedily after Cam had come, running his tongue around and around the head of Cam's big cock until Cam couldn't stand it and pulled him off.

"Kevin..." Cam whispered as they lay there entwined, breathing hard, eyes closed.


"You're one hell of a lover, dude!  And you're all mine!"

Kevin pulled Cam closer to his body and caressed him.  Cam drifted off to sleep almost immediately, but Kevin stayed awake for a long time just holding the boy he loved and admired so much, looking at that handsome face, grateful to have it next to his own on the pillow.

*  *  *

Catherine called Michael Stoltz the following day from her office at St. Francis University, reaching him at his office in New York.

"Michael, hello."

"Hello, Catherine.  It's good to hear your voice.  It was great to see you when you were in New York.  Thank you for having lunch with me."

"I enjoyed it.  Listen, I have some news to share with you.  It's bad news, I'm afraid."

"Is Kevin all right?"

"Yes, he's fine.  There's no easy way to tell you this.  Kevin's girlfriend, Heather Butler, is pregnant.  And Kevin believes he's the father."

There was a pause in the conversation, and then Michael Stoltz erupted, beginning a rant which caused Catherine to hold the phone away from her ear.  She just let the man vent without attempting to get a word in.  When he slowed down, she re-entered the conversation.

"Michael, I felt I had an obligation to let you know what's going on.  And I wanted to give you an opportunity for some input into what's going to happen.  Kevin's trying to work out a plan to handle the situation."

"Either the girl has to get an abortion, or they have to get married!" Stoltz said.  "That's all the plan he needs!"

"Kevin is trying to talk her out of having an abortion," Catherine said as soothingly as she could.  "And they're not in love, which makes it unlikely that they should get married."

"That little shit!  How could he do this to me?  I mean exactly what I said!  It's either an abortion or a marriage.  I mean it!"

"Yes, Kevin has made a serious mistake," Catherine said quietly.  "But please don't think that somehow he did this to spite you, Michael."  She sighed.  "I'm not going to support an abortion for Heather or a marriage for Kevin and Heather."

"He's my son, and you'll make him do what I say!"

"He is your son, but I'm hoping he'll do what I say.  You're not in control of this situation.  Let me remind you that I'm his legal guardian until he turns eighteen.  The boy's trying to do the right thing for both for him and for Heather, and for the unborn child.  When you have a lucid moment, you might try to support him in what he needs to do."

"You've certainly done an exemplary job of supervising the kid!" Stoltz said scathingly.  "Thanks!"

"Kevin was sleeping with Heather long before I was in the picture, or so he tells me.  Where were you when they started having sex?"

"So now it's my fault?!!"

"You were quick to blame me.  The truth is, it's not your fault and it's not my fault.  Kevin and Heather are the responsible parties."

"Oh, God!" Stoltz said.  "How could he shame me like this?"  The phone was quiet.  "Please have him call me, Catherine.  I'll make him see reason!"

"I'll discuss that request with him," Catherine said.  "Kevin has messed up, Michael, but if you can't promise me that you're not going to abuse him on the phone, I'm not going to have him call you.  He's feeling low enough right now about this situation."

"I'll have you in court so fast your head will swim," Stoltz said.

"You do that!" Catherine shot back.  "By the time the case is heard, Kevin and Heather will both be eighteen."

"All right.  I didn't really mean that," Stoltz said.  "But if the Kevin doesn't do what I say, I don't know if I'll have a relationship with my son any more."

"That's your decision.  But you'll risk losing not only a son, but also your first grandchild.  So I'd think about it very carefully before you make a decision you can't take back."

There was a click and the line went dead.  Michael Stoltz had hung up on her.  She put the receiver in its cradle slowly and sat back in her desk chair thoughtfully for twenty minutes before gathering up her notes for the next class she was teaching.  She was sure of one thing.  If Michael Stoltz was indeed going to cut off relations with his son, it was even more imperative that she be there for the boy.

That night at supper, Catherine told Kevin that she had talked with his father, but she didn't let on how negative the tone of the conversation had been.  She did tell him, though, that his father wanted him either to urge Heather to have an abortion or marry her.

"I'm your guardian, Kevin, and I'm not going to pressure you do either of those things," Catherine said.  "Your father wants you to call him.  I told him that I wouldn't ask you to call unless he would promise not to abuse you on the phone, but he hung up on me.  So you'll have to do what you think best about communicating with him.  I just want you to know that whatever happens with your dad, you're always going to have my love and support."

Kevin's throat closed up, and the big, tough jock couldn't speak at first.  He put his face in his hands and began to cry silently.  Cam got up and went over to him and hugged him where he sat.  When Kevin quit crying, he wiped his eyes with his napkin and looked at Catherine.

"I know I don't deserve your help or your love or anything, but I'm really grateful to you.  I don't know what I'd do without you and Cam."

"You know we're here for ya, dude," Cam said quietly, patting his back and then going back to his chair.

"We'll take one step at a time, Kevin," Catherine advised.  "That's all we can do."

Kevin wiped his eyes again, and they finished their meal.  The boys helped Catherine clear the dining room table and put the dishes in the dishwasher.  Before the boys left for upstairs to do their homework, Kevin took Catherine in his arms.

"I don't know why I'm fortunate enough to have you to take care of me when I need it most, but I appreciate it more than I can tell you," he said, hugging Catherine and kissing her cheek, towering over her.

"Oh, I don't know, Kevin," Catherine said, kissing him back.  "I think Cam and I are the lucky ones.  We'll all be all right."

The two guys climbed the stairs and went into Cam's room.  Kevin went over and sat on Cam's bed, looking his friend up and down.

"I forgot to ask you this morning," he said.  "How is your ass feeling today?"

"Like there's been something up there.  It must have been something really, really small, though, 'cause I was hardly awake last night while we were doin' it, and I don't remember much about it," Cam said, grinning.

"You miserable shit," Kevin said, laughing.  "From now on, no mercy for you!"

"'From now on'? "Cam repeated questioningly.  "There's no 'from now on' for you, buddy!  That was your first and last time inside me!"

"Just for that, you will work out tonight, dumbnuts, or I'm gonna kick some ass," Kevin said.

"I might not be up to it," Cam told him, deadpan.  "You drained my energy with all your gyrations trying to have sex, and then I lay awake the rest of the night wondering what real sex would be like.  Bein' your friend and lover all rolled into one is tough duty."

Kevin laughed.  "You're a mean little shit when you put your mind to it, y'know that?  But there's nothing you can't say to me as long as I get to hold you in my arms and look into those green eyes and kiss your face 'til you pass out.  So there, you little fuck!"

"You use so many bad words, dude.  I try to help you clean up your act, but do you cooperate?  No-o-o-o."

"Yeah, yeah.  Listen, be serious for a minute," Kevin said, lying back on the Cam's bed with his feet on the floor.  "I want to call Alex."


"I want to talk to him about Heather."

"Go ahead.  Just let me say 'hi' before you hang up."

"Should I tell him we're in a relationship?" Kevin asked.

"I've thought some more about that," Cam said.  "I'm thinkin' it might be better to tell him and John in person after we move down to L.A.  We should do that together."

"You're prolly right."

"Are you gonna call your own dad?" Cam asked.

"Maybe in a couple of days.  He might cool off a little if I wait awhile."

"All right."

Kevin pulled his cell phone out of its holster and brought up his address book on the screen.  Scrolling down to "Alex M," he hit the connect button, and in a few seconds Alex's cell phone began to ring in L.A.


"Dad?  It's Kevin."

"Kevin!  How are you?  It's good to hear your voice!"

"Can you talk?"

"Yes, John and I are in the limo on the way home from the studio.  Are Cam and Catherine all right?"

"Yeah.  Catherine's fine, and Cam's standing here in his bedroom drooling on his T-shirt, just like usual."

Alex laughed and said something to John, and Kevin could hear John laughing as well.

"Listen, Dad, I'm in trouble and I need to tell you something."

"I'm listening."

"You know I've been dating Heather Butler, right?"


"Well...Lord, I hate to tell you this."

"Spit it out."

"She's pregnant, and I'm pretty sure I'm the father."

"Well, hell, Kevin, what were you thinking?!!  Weren't you using protection?"  Alex didn't sound happy.

"I was using protection most of the time, but Heather assured me she was on the pill, so sometimes I didn't."

"Have you told Catherine about your situation?"

"Yes.  She's trying to help me."

"Did you call your father?"

"Not yet.  But Mom did, and he wasn't too nice to her.  He wants to make me marry Heather, or persuade her to have an abortion, either one, and Mom is supporting my decision not to do either of those things."

"You want Heather to have the baby and put it up for adoption?"

"No.  I want to take the baby myself and raise it.  Cam said he will help me."

"I admire you for wanting to do that, Kevin, but neither of you boys knows what you're in for.  It's one hell of a responsibility."

"I understand that.  I think that's the only decision I can make that will let me live with myself, though.  I know I've done an irresponsible thing, but I'm going to get myself right with God and with everybody I've hurt if I can.  That's all I can tell you."

Alex sighed.  "Well, I'll stand behind you, Kevin.  Do you need money?"

"No, but thank you.  I'm gonna sell my car to pay Heather's expenses."

"Are you sure you don't want John and me to help you?"

"It's tempting, Dad, but I think I need to make some kind of sacrifice to make this mess come out right."

"Well, I admire you for that, son.  You hang tough, now.  We love you, and we'll help you in any way we can, I want you to know that."

"That makes me feel good, sir.  Just one other thing.  If I move to L.A. for college next year with the baby, can Cam and I still live with you and John?  I know you two never bargained on having a kid in the house.  But if it comes to that, Cam can always live with you, even if I can't."

"Of course you're going to live with us!  We want you two--or three-- here with us no matter what.  Take that to the bank, boy!"

Once again Kevin teared up, but held himself together.

"I don't deserve all the love and support I'm getting," he told Alex, "but I sure do appreciate it."

They finished their conversation on a good note, and after asking Alex to tell John hello, he gave the phone to Cam.  The two of them talked for a few minutes, and after Cam talked to John, he hung up.

The two boys hugged each other in relief about Alex's attitude, and then Kevin left to study in his own room and Cam got to work.

*  *  *

Kevin and Heather talked at school the next day.  The two of them agreed that Kevin would come over to the Butlers' house that evening for dinner to be with Heather when she told the family about her condition.

Hoping for the best but expecting the worst, Kevin went over to the Butlers' small, neat home at the appointed time.  Both parents worked, Heather's mother as a secretary in a doctor's office and her father as manager of a mega-grocery and produce store on the outskirts of town.  Heather's brothers, Jason and Zach, both hulking college jocks at the local junior college, were also home and at the meal.

They all sat down in the living room after a good supper, and when the news was told, mayhem ensued.  The two brothers were so angry that they had to be physically restrained by their parents from attacking Kevin.  Jason and Zach called Kevin every name in the book, and he just hung his head and took it.  Mr. Butler finally made the boys go upstairs so the rest of the family could talk.

Over a period of two hours the family and Kevin talked, mostly calmly, although Kevin could see the hurt in Mr. and Mrs. Butler's eyes about the situation.  The girl's parents initially wanted Heather to have an abortion, but when Kevin said he would take the the baby and raise it, they softened on that issue.  Kevin agreed to pay all the expenses of Heather's pregnancy if she would agree to carry the fetus to term.  When Mrs. Butler raised the issue of marriage early in the discussion, Heather told her right out that she didn't want to marry Kevin, much to his relief.  That pretty much killed that topic.  Kevin suggested that the Butlers have their attorney draw up a contract relating to the details of the pregnancy and the responsibilities of all parties, or, he said, he could have an attorney do that for them.  Inasmuch as Heather would be missing out on the latter part of her senior year in high school, the Butlers said that in addition to actual expenses, they wanted $10,000 to pay for her first year in college.  Kevin agreed to that without a second thought.

At the end of the discussion, they parted on reasonably good terms, although Heather cried as she went out to Kevin's car with him.  Kevin hugged her and kissed her, and told her again how sorry he was about what had happened.  He asked her to let him know if she needed anything, anything at all, in the course of her pregnancy, and he would move heaven and earth to get it for her.  Then he left.

He was about halfway home when he noticed lights coming up behind him at a fast pace.  He stopped at a stoplight before turning on to the street where the MacKenzies lived.  The other car also stopped behind him at the light.  There was no other traffic.  The light turned green, and when he turned left, the other car followed him.  In the middle of the first block, the other car zoomed around him and cut him off.  Two guys emerged from their car carrying what appeared to be baseball bats, but before Kevin could put the Mustang in reverse and get out of there, bats came crashing through his side windows, his door was wrenched open, and he was dragged out on to the street.  He was not conscious for long as Jason and Zach Butler began beating him with their bats.  He remembered trying to cover up as the beating escalated and he lost consciousness.

Cam was at home waiting up for Kevin when the telephone rang.  It was Marin General Hospital, and the lady on the phone refused to tell Cam why she was calling and asked for Catherine.  Cam woke his mother up to take the call.  Kevin was in the emergency room in critical condition, the woman told her, and she asked her to come to the hospital immediately.

They dressed hurriedly and arrived there to be told by a doctor that Kevin had apparently been pulled from his car by person or persons unknown within mere blocks of the MacKenzies' house, and beaten unconscious.  The boy had a severe conclusion, a broken lower left arm and a broken lower right leg, and was not expected to live through the night.  In any event, the next few hours were critical.

Cam and Catherine were stunned and disbelieving.  They went over to some chairs in the waiting room and sat down together, both weeping.  Cam was sure he could feel his heart breaking in his chest, and pain stabbed his stomach.  When she had recovered a bit from the shock, Catherine got on the telephone to Father Andrew Gilbert at the St. Jude's rectory to come to the hospital to give Holy Unction to Kevin.

My thanks to Chicagoeric for editing and proofing this chapter.   © 2005 Don Hanratty.  Contact me at: