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


At school, Kevin had been thinking off and on about Cam all day.  As usual, he was horny as hell despite the fact that he and Cam had been having sex every night lately before they went to sleep.

Driving his Mustang home from campus, Kevin had found himself envisioning his partner's cute, hairless, rounded, muscular butt, and thinking about what he'd like to do with it when they went to bed.  Not to mention the rest of his body.  But he hadn't fucked Cam since he'd been molested in that house on the beach because Kevin was afraid his partner's abused and wounded rectum and colon hadn't healed completely yet.  They'd gotten off nightly, just not that way.

Kevin hardened in his boxers, and he grinned wryly.  My sex drive is fucking ridiculous, he thought to himself.  But I'm thankful my equipment is always ready for action.  So is Cam's.  Thank God for that.

When he arrived home still hard, he sat in the car and concentrated for a few minutes on a problem his physics class had discussed that day.  When the erection in his cargo shorts finally subsided, he got out of the car, put his book bag over his shoulder, and walked into the house.

It was 5:00, the Camaro was already in the driveway, and when he opened the door, Maria was just getting ready to leave for home.

"Hey, Maria.  How were things today?" Kevin greeted her.

"Good," she said.  "No problems."

"Casey behave himself?"

"Always.  He's such a sweetheart!"

"Where is he?"

"He's in the study with Cam."

"Okey doke.  You have a good evening at home tonight."

"Thanks, Kevin," Maria said.  "You guys' supper is in the fridge."

"Thank you, hon.  We appreciate it."

"See you tomorrow."


Kevin walked out of the kitchen, through the hall, and went into the study.  Cam was was on his back snoozing on the huge leather couch, his hand trailing down to touch Casey, who had conked out on the floor right beside him after crawling around the room.  Across the room, Samantha and Alice were sleeping next to each other on the floor.  Those two were inseparable.

Kevin smiled when he saw the two humans he loved most right there in front of him.  Hooking a thumb under the strap to his book bag, he leveraged it off his shoulder and put it down on a chair.  He went over to the couch, avoiding stepping on Casey, and gently lay down flat on top of Cam.  He looked down into his face.

"Hmmmm," Cam said, waking up.

"You're right about that!" Kevin responded softly.

"Sup?" Cam said, opening his eyes.

"I don't know.  The usual, I guess.  I've been jonesin' for ya all day."  Kevin began to get hard again.

"What brought that on?"

"Your general cuteness, I guess," Kevin said, lowering his head and brushing Cam's lips with his own.

"Doubtful.  It's more like you're horny."  Cam smiled.  "'Course, you're horny all the time, and I'm pretty happy about that."  Blinking the sleep out of his eyes, he looked up at his partner.  "You're giving me wood.  And I know you're hard.  I can feel it.  Of course any warm blooded mammal sexes you up."  He reached down Kevin's butt and the back of his legs and then ran his hands up Kevin's shorts and under his boxers to cup his bare ass.  He began kneading it.

"Likin' that!"  Kevin grinned and kissed his partner again.  "Did you go to the doc today?"


"Things go all right?"

"Much better than last time."  Cam stopped flexing his fingers on Kevin's butt, but continued cupping it.  "I still had to describe to Dr. Owens again what happened down the beach, and it tore me up like usual, but afterward she did a little trick of having me follow her fingers from side to side with my eyes, without moving my head, for a few minutes.  It calmed me right down.  It really helped me.  Weird, huh?"

"As long as it works, dude," Kevin said, rubbing noses with Cam.  He looked into those green eyes.  "Uh, I don't suppose you'd want to take Casey up to nap in his crib while we spend a little quiet time in the bedroom, would ya?"

"How quiet would you be?"

"Mouse-like quiet, only this mouse would have a hard-on.  I'd let my body do the talking."

"Uh huh.  I know just how insatiable you can be behind closed doors.
  How long can I have to think over your offer?"

"How long do you need?"

"I don't know exactly.  But I'm having very positive thoughts about it already."

"I know you are."  Kevin reached down between them and squeezed Cam's erection through his pants.

"Oh, Lord," Cam said, spreading his legs a little.

Just then Carl walked in.

"Don't you two ever take a break!!?" he demanded.

"Only when we absolutely have to," Kevin said.  "Why do you ask?"

"Because I'm jealous, you asshole.  Why do you think?"

"When's Andy coming down here again?" Cam asked.

"This weekend, I think." Carl said.  "With Mark and Dan.  And maybe with Ian and Mary."

"Two weekends in a row for Andy?" Kevin said.  "Sweet!  But if Ian and Mary are here, you and Andy might have to tone down all the noise you make when you're making love.  They'd hear you all the way down the hall in Dad's and John's room."

"Maybe the noise'll give 'em some inspiration," Carl blushed and grinned at the same time.

"It certainly does me and Cam," Kevin said.

"I doubt if Ian and Mary need any more inspiration," Cam said.  "I think they're still gettin' it done.  If I can ask a question that's not sex-related, are Ian and Mary coming down here for any special reason?"

"Mary misses us," Carl said.  "Why she misses you two louts, I don't know. 
Ian wants to go over some of the Cadillac dealership papers with me and Dan.  And if there's time, he wants to help you get your shit together before your assault case makes it into court."

"I'm not in any hurry."  Cam shivered as he thought about what he'd have to testify to.  He'd recently been grousing to Catherine on the telephone about having to testify to what happened to him down the beach when his mother set him back on his heels by quoting Ellen Sturgis Hooper, a 19th century poet:

          "I slept and dreamed life was Beauty;
           I woke and found it was Duty."

She didn't rag on him over the phone about what he needed to do.  But she'd made her point.

"Ian thinks we should get the trial behind us as soon as possible," Carl said, bringing Cam's mind back to the current conversation.

Cam smiled at Carl's use of "we" and "us," but it reminded Cam that he was going to have plenty of support when the case was finally called.

"Meanwhile, back to what you and I were discussing, Cam..."  Kevin smiled as he reached back and pulled Cam's hands off his ass and out of his cargo shorts.  He rolled off his partner and stood up.

"We're just going upstairs for a few," Kevin told Carl, not waiting for Cam's assent.  "You wanna keep Casey?"

"Sure," Carl said, smiling.  He loved spending time with Casey.  He reached down to pick up the soundly sleeping little boy off the floor and held him in the crook of one arm.   Extending his free hand to Cam, Carl pulled him up off the couch.  He grinned when he noticed Cam's and Kevin's swollen crotches.  "I hope you guys don't fall down on the stairs and shatter any important body parts."

"Thanks for your concern, dude," Kevin laughed as he adjusted himself with no sign of embarrassment.

Cam and Kevin walked out of the study together, and Carl slowly planted himself on the couch, half reclining, propped up against an arm of the sofa, holding a still-sleeping Casey on his chest.  He lowered his head and kissed the little boy gently on the top of his head.  If he envied Kevin and Cam anything in addition to their loving and sex-filled lives, it would be Casey.  Should things with Andy work out the way he hoped they would, one of the things ultimately on his agenda would be for them to adopt a child when the time was right.  Or alternatively, find a suitable surrogate mother to have their child.  And given how Andy had taken to Casey, Carl didn't think his proposal would be a difficult sell.  When all the guys were together and they had Casey, Andy always competed to make sure he had some time with the little boy.  He loved that child.

Yes, Carl knew he and Andy were both young and in school, but the longing to love and care for a new, young life was already fierce in both of them.

Carl thought about Andy as he lay there snuggling the little guy.  He loved Andy so much it made his throat constrict, all starting when the two of them had crossed paths in that gay bar in New Orleans when the parish youth group had gone down to the city to work on housing.  That creep Duke had been physically putting the moves on Carl back in the hookup area of the bar.  Andy had intervened with a karate kick, and that move had further kick-started the love that had developed between them.  The two guys had already been rooming together back at the youth group's hotel in the French Quarter.  It had felt like love for sure once they'd hit the bed--the same bed, of course--that night.  They were both muscular jocks, physically powerful and physically passionate.  But the sex they'd enjoyed that night had been kind, considerate and gentle, and pleasantly exhausting by the time they were finished in the early hours of the morning.  No one other than Andy had been on Carl's radar since then, and according to Andy, it was the same for him.

That Andy would put aside his pride to accept money from Carl so he could fly down to L.A. more often meant so much to Carl.  He longed to hold that virile, muscular, handsome guy in his arms and make love to him. 
Carl yearned for him nonstop when Andy was up in San Rafael.

Now Carl was hard.  Funny how that happens.
  Damn, I've caught Kevin's and Cam's testosterone overload.

He turned his attention back to Casey, and in a few minutes he'd drifted off to sleep with the little boy still snoozing on Carl's chest.

*  *  *

Upstairs, meanwhile, Cam and Kevin had stripped each other down in one quick hurry, leaving their clothes scattered all over the floor, and jumped into bed.  They held each other, Cam hovering over his partner and kissing him softly.  He stared at Kevin's masculine face, as usual admiring his 5 o'clock shadow.  So sexy.

"Thanks for sticking with me through all the shit I've been goin' through, Kev."

"You knew I would."

"Straight up on that.  But I just want you to know how much it's meant to me."

"It's nothing compared to what you've always done for me," Kevin said.  "Not to sound like a broken record, but you saved my freaking life. 
I don't think I would ever have come out of that coma Heather's brothers put me in without you."  Kevin smiled.  "I was so busted up by those guys that I couldn't even get myself off after I went home from the hospital.  Without your help I would have laid in bed hard and horny for months 'til the casts came off."

"It was my pleasure.  You were full of juice, that's fer sure."  Cam grinned and cupped Kevin's balls.  "These bad boys just kept on truckin'."

Kevin pulled Cam's chest down to his face and began licking and nibbling on Cam's nipples while he rubbed his lover's back and his butt with both hands.  Cam moved his head to the side and leaned over to put his tongue in Kevin's left ear.  Kevin's breath whooshed out of his lungs, and he reached down Cam's back, down his ass, and reaching further still began to rub the boy's hole and his perineum with a stiff, insistent finger.

They were both hard and leaking by the time Cam rolled off of Kevin's muscular body and made a special request.



"Will you lube me up and see if I'm healed up enough up there to let you take me?"

Kevin looked at him doubtfully.  "You sure?"

"Yeah.  We gotta keep checkin'.  Aren't you tired of me doin' you all the time?"

"No way.  Don't even think that, man.  But thanks for caring about it."


Kevin kissed Cam soundly on the lips, and then twisted his body to reach over into the very back of the drawer of their bedside table.  Finding what he wanted, he brought it out.  Popping open the cap of a large economy size tube of lube, he scooted down toward the foot of the bed.

"Get on your stomach and spread your legs," Kevin instructed.  He chuckled.  "I love saying that."

Cam rolled over on his stomach.

What an amazing, sweet, sexy ass this boy has!  It's perfect!
Kevin thought to himself as he studied it for maybe the thousandth time in their relationship.  It almost made him come just looking at it.

Cam pulled the cheeks of his butt apart.  Kevin gently put the nozzle of the lube to Cam's hole, and squeezed from the bottom of the tube.

"Oh, yeah!" Cam exclaimed, feeling the coolness of the lube entering him.  It felt good.

"I'll take it real easy," Kevin promised as he finally removed the nozzle from Cam's anus and substituted the tip of his middle finger.

Cam concentrated on breathing normally, putting his face into a pillow as Kevin's finger slowly moved inside him.  When Kevin's finger was fully inserted, he left it there as he raised his head and kissed Cam repeatedly on the back of his head, his neck, his shoulders, his back.  That sexy back of Cam's.  Lean and muscular.  Perfect body conformation, perfect skin.  Lord, how he loved this man's body.

"You OK?" Kevin asked.


"No pain?"


After leaving his finger in place for several minutes, Kevin slowly withdrew it.  No blood or detritus.  Not only was his boy clean up there, but there was seemingly no longer any damage from the abuse he had received.

 Kevin coated his middle finger with lube again along with his index finger.

"You ready for another finger?"


Kevin began the inward journey anew.  "Tell me to stop if I hurt you at all," he ordered.

"Okay," Cam said, starting to breathe a little more rapidly.

Cam's smooth insides tried to grip Kevin's fingers, but the lube made it impossible to block the invasion even if he'd wanted to.  Which he didn't.   Kevin left the two fingers inserted in place for several minutes after he hit bottom before withdrawing them.  Again, no blood.

"Lookin' good, bud.  No blood.  You good for one more finger?" Kevin asked.


Kevin generously coated his three middle fingers this time with lube, and holding them together tightly in a cone shape, started the inward journey even more slowly than before.  It was a good five minutes before he was fully home, and Cam hadn't complained.

"You all right?" Kevin asked.

"Yeah.  I feel really stretched, but there's no pain like the last time we tried this."

"Good deal," Kevin said, not moving his fingers for a protracted period.  He turned his hand over when he finally started to withdraw his fingers, and feeling the hard nub of Cam's prostate on the way out, gave it a little nudge with his middle finger.  Cam jumped.

"You dick!" Cam yelped.  "Quit that!"

"I'm sorry," Kevin said in a soothing voice.  "That was an accident."

"Accident, my ass!  Literally, my ass!" Cam said.  "Why do you torment me when I'm vulnerable?  You're playin' with fire now, bud!  Just wait'll it's my turn next time."

"I'm truly sorry, Cameron.  It was a misjudgment on my part," Kevin said smoothly.  He was grinning, but of course Cam couldn't see his face.  "Please forgive me."

"Yeah, right!" but Cam had to laugh.  "What goes around, comes around.  And don't you forget it."

Kevin didn't respond and finished withdrawing his fingers.  For a third time, no blood.

"I think you're good again, man," Kevin said.  He took a kleenex out of the box of tissues on the beside table, and cleaned off his fingers.

Cam turned over on his back and faced his partner.  "I don't know whether I can trust you to be gentle with me now or not."

"You know you can," Kevin said.  "But I'm okay with not doin' you."

They were both still hard, and leaking.  They looked at each other, and Cam grinned.  "All right.  Get to it, boy.  I didn't go through all this prep for nothing."

Kevin kissed him, and they gave each other some tongue.  Then Kevin slowly and deliberately kissed Cam down his body.  He took Cam's hard dick in his mouth, running his tongue over the head of it at length and tasting his pre-cum, before before stopping and lubing his own cock.

Pushing Cam's legs back, Kevin mounted him.  Thanks to a good stretching, Kevin slowly sank that long, fat dick of his home in one protracted move without any complaint from Cam.  After a few minutes of just lying there looking into Cam's eyes, Kevin began a gentle, rocking motion that Cam could tolerate and seemed to like.  Cam moved his hands down to Kevin's ass and cupped his cheeks, occasionally tracing his crack and fingering his hole.  Despite not moving in and out of Cam very much, Kevin could feet his hard cock slowly bucking back and forth over Cam's prostate, giving it a little bump each time.  The effect was cumulative.  Cam began to moan softly, his dick leaking more profusely as it was squeezed between their abs.

After fifteen minutes of gentle screwing, Cam's body tightened and he moaned and spewed, semen exploding up his abs and chest to hit his own chin.  Kevin began to lick it up as he continued slowly rocking back and forth on his partner's body.  Cam inserted his own middle finger into Kevin's back door.  Kevin groaned deep in his chest and just seconds later shot a good six times inside Cam.  They gradually stopped moving against each other as they lay there, both of them relaxed and approaching comatose.  They had both reached sexual Nirvana, and it was good.

Still breathing hard, Kevin pulled out of Cam and lay beside him, clutching him to his body.

It's love, Kevin thought to himself, basking in the aura that surrounded them.  There's no other word for it.

Kevin dropped off for a quick nap, but Cam lay there reflecting on the first time they'd done each other, up in San Rafael.  Practice makes perfect, he concluded.  He and Kevin were much better at this now.  Cam felt that in being capable once again of the intimacy of real intercourse, he had taken a giant step forward in his own healing process from what had happened to him down the beach.

Cam knew, though, that beyond his own healing, related as it might be to the always improving state of their sex life, lay the always improving state of his and Kevin's love life.  What had begun for them with a great initial friendship and good sex was now a cohesive oneness of mind and heart that marked everything they experienced together.  It was joyful and it was exhilarating.

"You heal me every day I wake up beside you," Cam whispered to the naked boy-man resting beside him.  "You're in my heart."  But his partner was fast asleep and didn't hear a thing.  Content and fulfilled, Cam pulled Kevin's body closer to his own.  He realized anew how much he wanted to marry this man.  And then he also dropped off to sleep.

*  *  *

Up in San Rafael, as usual, the boys helped Rosa and Yolanda clean up the dining room and kitchen after supper before they went upstairs to take turns doing homework and working out in the gym. 
Catherine, Ian and Mary took their coffee and went into the small sitting room to talk.

Catherine shut the sliding doors of the sitting room behind her this time.

The adults had coffee together in the sitting room after supper almost every night they were all home, but Catherine had a special agenda that evening.  She couldn't put off talking with Ian and Mary about the results of her job search any longer.

They sat in their accustomed chairs, and Catherine gave her coffee an extra stir with her spoon before looking up at Ian and Mary.

"I've heard back from all the schools to which I applied for a job," she told them.

"And...?" Mary said.

"Every one of them invited me to join its faculty."

"Including Stanford?" Ian asked, unable to hide his excitement.

"Yes.  They made me an offer for next fall.  Your letter of recommendation no doubt weighed heavily in their decision, Ian.  I've talked to the deans of Arts and Sciences and of the English department there, and to Human Resources, and we have a deal, I think."

"Oh, I'm so happy for you, Catherine," Ian told her.  "Stanford will be lucky to have you."  He stood up and went to his friend, and bent down and kissed her on the cheek.

"Congratulations, Catherine," Mary added, reaching across between them to squeeze her hand.  "You'll do a wonderful job there, and I know you'll love the school."

When they were settled again, Catherine looked at her friends.

"I'm very happy about it, even though I hated to turn down Columbia and Harvard and Princeton.  Especially Columbia.  New York is such such an energetic place, and I love the interplay between the school and the city.  But I'm a California person now, I have to admit."

"Even with all our economic woes here, it would be a hard place to leave," Mary agreed.

"Yes," Catherine said.  "But thinking about Stanford, it's just not going to be practical to commute there every day from San Rafael," Catherine said.  "It looks as if I'll have to put this house on the market and move closer to the school.  I'm worried about the effect that will have on the boys, though.  All the boys.  But especially on Cam.  Even though he's recovering, he's probably not at his most resilient right now, and if he feels he's losing his boyhood home, I just don't know how he's going to take it."  She sighed and looked at Ian and Mary.   "And we've all been so happy here..."  She didn't weep, but her eyes filled up.

"Well, we knew this day was coming along sooner or later," Ian said.  "Mary and I have been thinking about this, and we think we should offer you our condo in San Francisco.  That way, if you agree, we would continue to live here.  The boys like San Rafael High, and I just hate to uproot them all right now.  What would you think about handling it that way?  That would solve the commuter issue for you, the boys wouldn't have to move in the middle of the school year, and Cam and Kevin wouldn't feel that they're losing their home right now.  And Rosa would still have a job."

"That would be a wonderful solution to the problem," Catherine said.  "I was hoping we could work out something like that.  Would you want to sell me the condo and buy this house, or what?"

"We could either do it that way, or just leave current ownership in place until we see how this plan works out," Mary said.  "The condo is awfully big for one person, but if it were all right with you, we'd like to spend some time with you in the city as often as possible.  And Ian might want to spend some nights there when he has a big trial in the city that he has to be on deck for.  A commute is difficult when he has an early morning court call."

"Besides, waiting to sell might benefit both of us," Ian suggested.  "The housing market hasn't really recovered yet from the recession, particularly here in California.  And down the road, when we're more comfortable with selling, we might do better on the sale price."

"You're right about that," Catherine said.  "Meanwhile, your proposal really makes sense, particularly if you'd come into town to see me every so often."  She looked at her friends.  "To tell you the truth, I'm not anxious to live alone.  You've spoiled me, and I don't think I'm cut out for it.  I'd miss you two and the boys too much.  I've loved every minute of living here with the family, and I can't give you all up."  At this point Catherine did begin to weep.

"Catherine, you're our closest and dearest friend," Mary said, shedding a few tears herself.  "We love you.  You took us in when we needed to get out of San Francisco with Berto, Carl and Dan, not to mention William and Mark, and your help with all the boys since we've been living here has meant the world to us.  We're most certainly not going to walk away from each other."

"I was hoping you'd feel that way," Catherine said.

Ian pulled out a fresh handkerchief out of a pocket and passed it over to their friend.  Catherine took off her glasses and wiped her eyes.

"I admit, too, that I've hated to think about leaving St. Francis and this house," she admitted.  "I've weathered some personal storms here and have had a good life here and at the school.   But I really want the challenge and stimulation of teaching at Stanford.  There are some great minds there, and I hope I can make a contribution to the students and to the school.  It's time to go, but change is sometimes easier to contemplate than activate."

Ian chuckled.  "You sure have a way with words.  You're a poet and a scholar!  Stanford is lucky to get you!"

Catherine did ask the Carsons if she could pick the time for telling the boys what was going to happen, and of course they agreed.

The three of them continued to talk about the new living arrangements on the horizon.  They decided to talk to Yolanda Vega about whether she would agree to spend some time back in San Francisco at the condo once Catherine had moved in.  Ian and Mary reminisced a little about their own undergraduate and graduate school years at Stanford.

The three of them decided that Catherine would stay home with William and Berto over the approaching weekend so Ian and Mary could go down to L.A. with Dan, Mark and Andy Helder.  Then Catherine would visit Malibu the following weekend to fill in the boys down there on her new job and her move to the Carsons' condo.

Catherine felt as if a great weight had been lifted off her shoulders concerning the house and her living arrangements.  As the three of them talked, she looked around the room at the furniture and pictures and antiques she had gathered over the years and loved so much.  They were only "things," she knew, but they were things that meant something to her.

*  *  *

Carl had been ecstatic to see Andy Helder at the airport on Friday night, of course, and Mark and Dan seemed happy about their visit to L.A.  The boys and Mary and Ian had all kissed and hugged Carl after they came out of the gate.

Mary, looking as beautiful as ever, held Carl for a long time because she had missed him so much.  Anyone watching would have instantly surmised that this was a close family whose members cared about each other.  Cared a lot.  And they would have been right.

"Where are Cam and Kevin and the little guy?" Mark asked Carl.

"They're in Malibu waiting for us," Carl explained.  "They didn't come so we only had to bring one car."

Once they hit the parking lot, Dan got in the truck first and sat alone back in the Highlander's third seat.  Andy sat in front with Carl as Mary, Ian and Mark sat in the middle seat. 

Mark was a little disappointed that Kevin hadn't come to meet them.  Mark had started dating some girls from San Rafael High, but he knew he still had special feelings for Kevin.  What is there not to love when it came to Kevin? the kid thought to himself, looking forward to seeing him at the house.

The trip to Malibu didn't take long, and Kevin and Cam, who had Casey in his arms, came out into the driveway when they heard the garage door open.  The motion detectors had turned the lights on.  The greetings started again, with Cam and the baby getting major attention.  Kevin picked up Mark and twirled him around in the air, much to the boy's delight.

"You keep growin' and I won't be able to do that much longer," Kevin told Mark.

"Cam, you're looking good!" Ian told him as he hugged the boy and gave him a kiss on the cheek, followed by a kiss for Casey.  Mary and the boys did the same.  They all told Cam he was looking well.

"Thanks," Cam said.  "I'm feeling a lot better."

They went inside, and everybody got settled upstairs--Mark and Dan in the bedroom with twin beds, and Andy in Carl's room, of course, and Ian and Mary in Alex and John's room.  Then they all went back down to the kitchen.

The travelers had all had snacks on the plane, but the young guys were hungry.  No surprise there.  It was Friday, so Cam heated up some of Maria's home-made fish and shrimp vegetable soup and fixed them some tuna fish sandwiches.   While the others visited, Ian went over to the kitchen counter where Cam was working and stood there talking to him quietly, making inquiries about about his physical health and
how he was getting along with Dr. Owens.

"I've seen her twice now," Cam said, "and she's really good.  I respect her, and I like her, too, which makes things a lot easier.  None of that makes our sessions fun, but I think we're getting somewhere, and that's what's important."

"And physically?"

"I'm healed up inside, I think."  Cam didn't mention he knew that because Kevin had fucked him that very day for the first time since the attack. 

Once the food was on the kitchen table, Ian offered thanks, and what Cam had prepared was gone almost instantly.  So Cam fixed a second round of soup and sandwiches for the new arrivals.

While they were eating, the visitors filled in Kevin, Cam and Carl about what had been going on in the family and also at San Rafael High.  William had apparently earned a lock on the QB position on the football team, and the school was having a good season.  Berto had taken over William's supervisory job in the home gym, and the guys were working hard for him.

Carl was especially pleased to hear that Andy and the family had gotten closer.  Andy was now over at the house for supper two or three times a week and was even working out in the gym.  He was also staying overnight from time to time in Cam's room and then running with the family in the morning.  Cam told Andy sotto voce that he better not find out Andy was jacking off in Cam's bed when he slept over.  Andy laughed and surreptitiously gave Cam the finger.

Once they were finished eating, the young visitors belched discreetly so as not to offend the Ian and Mary, and after putting the dishes in the dishwasher, they all went into Alex's study to continue talking.

"Did you guys know that Father Mason is flying down here Sunday night?" Cam asked the group.  "I guess his mom isn't well, and he wants to spend some time with her.  And he wants to see Father Ryan.  But he's gonna stay with us."

"Father Mason's run with us a couple of times lately," Dan said.  "He looks like he's lost a little weight, and he seems kind of subdued.  He acts like something's bothering him."

"He may be worried about his mother," Kevin said.  "I guess she has early stage Alzheimer's."

"Oh, man," Mark said.  "That blows."

"Bigtime," Kevin said.  "I guess there are some meds that will slow down the buildup of plaque in the brain, but there's no cure.  Unfortunately."

After talking for a while, Andy and Carl excused themselves to go upstairs.

"You prolly wanna unpack, huh, Andy?" Dan Emrick asked with a grin.

"Well, yeah," Andy said.  He blushed a little and grinned.  "I don't like my clothes all wrinkled.  How'd ya know?"

"Just a lucky guess," Dan said.

Kevin got everyone's attention before Carl and Andy left.  "Since tomorrow's Saturday, so we'll give everybody a break and wait until 7:00 to run in the morning," he said before the group dispersed to go to bed.  He looked at the boys.  "After that, I wanna see all you yokels ready to work out in the gym.
  You're guys are lookin' kinda puny to me.  Berto probably doesn't make you suffer the way William did."

Mark was sitting on the big couch as close to Kevin as he could get without raising eyebrows.  He looked at Kevin.  "You're all heart, dude!" he said. 

"You know it, you little ...!!" Kevin said, his voice trailing off at the end so he wouldn't say the word "shit" out loud in front of the adults.  He threw an arm around Mark and gave him a bone-crushing hug.  Mark loved the attention.

"Why don't you guys be thinking about what you want to do for fun tomorrow after we run and work out," Ian said.  "Maybe something like Universal Studios?"

That didn't elicit much enthusiasm.

"Well, it's up to you.  I won't force you to have a good time."

"I'd just as soon hang here," Dan said.  The young guys nodded, and Ian acquiesced.

Andy and Carl headed for upstairs while the others continued talking in the study.  With no witnesses, Andy grabbed a big chunk of Carl's ass as they climbed the stairs, and Carl liked that.  They shut the door of their room behind them, and just stood there holding each other, kissing each other and feeling each other up.  After Andy retrieved his toiletries, they headed for the bathroom to clean their teeth and relieve themselves.

Downstairs, everybody eventually headed for bed.  When Cam and Kevin hit their own bedroom, Kevin listened for sounds from Carl's room, but heard nothing.  Carl must have taken the earlier kidding about noise seriously.  But Kevin knew that Carl and Andy were probably already doing it.

But they weren't.  Not yet

Andy had finished unpacking, and was sitting on the side of the bed with Carl.

"Thanks for coming down to Malibu," Carl told his lover.  "I know you don't like taking the money from me to get here more often, but you don't know how much I miss you.  I don't mean just the sex, Andy.  I love your body and I love the sex, but that's not the whole deal by a long shot."  Carl looked into his partner's face.  "I miss looking at you."  He kissed Andy's shoulder.  "I miss the smell of you," he said.  Carl paused and swallowed hard.  "But maybe most of all, I miss sitting talking to you.  You're such a smart, cute, wise-ass boy, and I love everything about you.  You mean everything to me."

Andy's eyes filled up.

"Thanks, man," he said softly.  "Sometimes I worry you might not feel the same way about me that I do about you.  So hearing you say that really makes me feel good about us."  He nuzzled Carl's cheek, and then kissed him and hugged him to his body.

Finally they took off their shoes and socks, and then stood up and slowly stripped each other down and crawled into bed, and just held each other.  They kissed and touched each other in all the right places.  They were hard, but didn't do anything else before drifting off to sleep holding one another.

That was it until Andy woke up at 3 a.m., according to the luminous dial of his Seals watch.  Carl had his hand around Andy's stiff cock, and then submarined down under the covers to engulf it in his mouth.  It was bliss for both of them, and that's when the fun really started.

An hour later they lay still, holding each other, panting and sweating, after making love to each other every way they knew how.  Sleep returned quickly then.

*  *  *

Staff at St. Andrew's had been noticing that Father Jim Mason had been quiet and subdued of late, a departure from his usual upbeat mood.  Wondering about that, Father Blackburn had nevertheless refrained from questioning his curate about it, thinking it surely had to do with his mother's deteriorating condition due to Alzheimer's.  Mason certainly wasn't neglecting his duties in the parish, nor his spiritual life when it came to saying his offices and offering Mass.

His mother's grave prognosis certainly explained part of his mood, but only part of it.  Equally important in bringing him down was Mason's growing self-knowledge about his sexual orientation.   The more he'd thought about it, the more he felt as if he were stepping into a thick, gray smothering cloud which was sapping his strength and energy.

In spite of his strong belief over the years about God's love for all his children, most certainly including gays, and his dedicated efforts to secure equal rights for homosexuals in the church and in civil society, knowing that he himself might be gay and in need of support or even counseling, was a whole new experience for him.  He didn't like it.  Not at all.  He wasn't used to needing the good will or attention from others when it came to who he was.

He tried to fight his newly unfolding feelings about males, wanted to deny those feelings, wanted to crush them.  But even though he wasn't a clinician, he certainly knew enough about human development and the configuration of the human psyche to know that burying his newly discovered attractions wouldn't work.  Not for him, not for anyone, gay or straight.
  He was also well versed enough in human dynamics to know that he was falling into a serious depression.  He had never subscribed to the axiom, "Physician, heal thyself!"  But at the same time he was resisting what he knew was a bonafied need to engage a psychiatrist or a psychologist to work with him on the matter, because that would be a final, authoritative admission that he was queer.

His new understanding about his orientation was causing him to put his long-standing desire to work with young people on behalf of the church, particularly with teenage boys, under the microscope.  He didn't feel there was a danger in his becoming an abuser of young men as some Roman Catholic priests had been--he'd rather kill himself than lay a hand on a youngster.  But he did think that growing insights about himself might constrain him from forming the positive relationships with boys which had been such a powerful and positive influence on them.  Due to his parish work, many kids had gone off to college with a much stronger relationship with God and the church than he himself had had during his own undergraduate days.

So self-admission about being gay was pulling him down psychologically.  But that wasn't all that was bothering him.  More horrifying than admitting his attraction to males to himself was a fear of coming out to people whom he knew and cared about.  And Jim Mason was smart enough to know that if he was going to be authentic person--an absolute must for a priest--he would have to let them know who and what he was.  In most of the Christian church, that would be impossible.  In the Episcopal church, it was indeed possible.

But he was still resisting the thought of disclosure with every fiber of his being.  He often thought about what it would be like to go over the MacKenzie-Carson house for supper--a sympathetic venue if there ever was one--and when there was a lapse in the conversation, saying, "Oh, by the way, I've found out I'm gay..."

Imagining the family's reaction made him queasy even though he knew he wouldn't be scorned for his newly discovered orientation.

Thus the need for his upcoming trip to L.A. to see his old friend and mentor Father Ryan.  It would be hard enough to tell the priest what was going on his head these days.  He could only hope that although it might put their relationship on a new footing, it wouldn't destroy their friendship.  He had always counted on that friendship, and knew he would need it even more in the future.

He'd booked a flight to L.A. for the following Tuesday morning, and a return seat for Thursday night.  Despite a jumble of confused thoughts about his orientation, he was looking forward to seeing the Malibu contingent and Father Ryan and his family.

*  *  *

After the Kevin and the crew ran Saturday morning, they all showered and ate breakfast.  Andy was tapped to say grace at the table after Kevin cooked ham and eggs for everybody, and the kid said a good prayer.

Everybody except for Dan and Mark had been busy in bed the night before, so most of the group was in an upbeat mood.

Ian singled out Dan and Mark for special attention over breakfast and made them give Cam, Carl and Kevin a rundown of their activities at home and in school.  It wasn't on purpose, but the two youngest guys sometimes had to fight for attention with the older guys in their big family.  So it pumped them up to have everybody paying attention to them for a change.  They had the floor, and got to fill everybody in on their good grades and the leadership roles they were playing at school, especially on their respective athletic teams.  Dan was playing junior varsity soccer, and Mark was playing junior varsity basketball despite not having had the growth spurt that would surely be coming his way.  Even so, Mark was killer at making three pointers from a distance.  He and Dan were both getting a lot of respect at school, and it certainly didn't hurt that brother William was the varsity QB on the football team, and brother Berto was captain of the varsity soccer team.

"We're proud of you guys," Ian told Dan and Mark when they were finished talking.  "You're a good example for everybody, and it's really going to pay off in the future.  If you keep up the good work, by the way, you need to be thinking about how the family can reward your good work next summer."

"A reward?  Like what?" Dan asked, grinning.

"Pretty much anything within reason," Mary said.  "We'll negotiate when the time comes."

"Wow," Mark said.  "The possibilities are endless.  How about making Kevin give me his Mustang," he suggested with a smirk.

Kevin laughed out loud.  "Mark, you'd have to walk on water to get that car away from me."

"That's what I'm praying for," Mark said.  "'Ask, and you shall receive.'  Shall we hit the beach and check out the water?  I'll start learning to surf right now."

Kevin laughed.  The kid still had his sense of humor.

Given that they had rejected a trip to Universal Studios, the guys settled into a series of card games and contests on Wii, with intervals during the afternoon of Kevin making them work out in the gym.  Kevin had been prepared to find that Dan and Mark and maybe Andy had been slacking off on their workouts since William had put a more laid-back Berto in charge of the house gym in San Rafael, but it wasn't true.  Dan and Mark were in excellent shape and Andy was in superb condition.  What a handsome stud Andy is, Kevin thought to himself.  Each of the was able to carry out all the exercises Kevin demanded of them.  Although he made them sweat in some of the routines, Kevin also put Ian and Mary through a more relaxed regimen in the gym.  He was pleased with their performances, and told them so.

The Millers were out of town, but Cam gave Juanita, the maid next door, a heads-up that they were coming over to swim, per the Millers' standing invitation.  The family went over, using the hidden key to gain entry to the patio and pool.  Juanita made them big pitchers of lemonade once they arrived.  The sunshine and the water were perfect.

That night, Ian and Mary stayed home to read and talk and take care of Casey while the young guys headed for a multiplex to see Fast Five, all piling into the Highlander with Carl driving.  The guys liked the film's action, and didn't much care whether the plot left something to be desired or not.   Cam smiled and nudged Kevin when he noticed Carl and Andy discreetly making out in the dark theater down at the end of the row of stadium seats.  Kevin grinned, and slipped a big hand down between Cam's legs.  Kevin didn't do anything.  He just left his hand there.  But it made Cam hard for the duration.

On the way home they stopped at an In and Out Burger for cheeseburgers and fries, including some takeout for Ian and Mary.  They'd all been too cheap to buy popcorn while they were at the theater.  That's a first, Cam thought to himself.  I've never seen these guys worry about a buck in my life.

"So much for eating healthy, dickheads," Kevin told the gang as they ordered their cheeseburgers.  They didn't care, and gave him a hard time when he ordered the same crap that everybody else did.

Once they arrived home, they handed Ian and Mary their part of the takeout, but Mary said they'd already eaten leftovers they found in the refrigerator.  So the guys split up the Carsons' takeout and ate it before going back to cards and Wii.

"Remind me what time Mass is at St. Dunstan's tomorrow," Mary said before they all made an early night of it.

"10:30," Carl said.  "We should get there about 8:30, though, so all these guys can go to confession.  That's gonna take some time.  Lots of time, actually."

Dan and Mark grabbed him and gave his hard nuggies
before he escaped to his room, Andy following him him with a big grin on his face.

Kevin and Cam stripped down in their room and hit the bed after cleaning their teeth and using the toilet.  Kevin snuggled up to his partner.

"I caught Mark lookin' at your ass in the gym this afternoon," Cam told him.

Kevin sighed.  "I know.  But he's dating girls now, according to Ian, so maybe he'll give up on me soon.  I hope so, anyway."  He smiled.  "I'm spoken for, or so you tell me all the time."

"Being perved on is the burden you carry when you're irresistible," Cam said.  "Like yourself."

"I handle it well, doncha think?"

Cam chuckled.  "No vanity in you, thank goodness."  He rolled over on top of Kevin and looked into his brown eyes.

"You've got that shit right!" Kevin answered, raising his head off the pillow and kissing Cam gently.  "I love your lips, man," he said.

That got things started, and soon their bed was their playground.  They were insatiable.

*  *  *

Everybody was up, showered and on the road for St. Dunstan's, some in the Highlander and some in the Mustang, by 10 a.m. the next morning.  Andy had taken charge of Casey.

The greeters were cordial when the family arrived in the narthex.  Ian pointed out an empty row in the rapidly filling church, and they all headed for it.   They pulled down kneelers and said their initial prayers before sitting back and waiting for the service to begin.

They heard the thurible chains scrape and got a first whiff of incense as the organist fired up the organ and the congregation began singing the first hymn.  The thurifer, crucifer and choir preceded the altar party down the aisle toward the sanctuary.  Father Ryan kissed the altar when he arrived and then censed it before handing the thurible back to the thurifer and going to the sedelia to begin the Eucharist.

Father Ryan preached about the generosity of Jesus during his ministry on earth, not only in feeding multitudes of people who came to hear him speak and were caught without food, but handing out alms in small group situations.  Ryan took note of the current economic realities in the United States in which the rich were becoming richer and the the poor and middle class poorer, but he did not mention politics per se.

Before leaving the coffee hour, Kevin invited Father and Lisa Ryan and their kids to come over to the house for a late lunch and to swim in the Millers' pool.  By happy chance, Father Ryan's schedule was clear, and they agreed to join the family for lunch and for a swim.  Before they cleared the parking lot, Cam had his phone out and was ordering twelve large pizzas with various toppings for takeout from their favorite pizza joint.  They went home first to change clothes, and then Cam and Kevin went to pick up the pizzas, giving Alex's credit card a good workout in the process.

Tormented by the good smells of pizza on the way home, Cam and Kevin were salivating by the time they pulled into the driveway.  Father Ryan's car was there by then, and they hauled the food inside to an enthusiastic welcome.  After eating, it was over to the pool again.  The Ryan kids, especially, enjoyed themselves to the max.

Ian and Father Ryan sat together in the shade of the patio, far enough away from the water to avoid getting splashed by the younger generation playing games in the pool.

"I understand that Father Mason will be coming down here next week," Ian said to the priest in the course of their conversation.

"Yes, he is," Father Ryan confirmed.  "He asked me to set aside some time for us to talk.  I know he's having a difficult time dealing with his mother's slide into Alzheimer's."

"It's tragic," Ian said.  "You can judge for yourself when you see him, but the last few times we've seen him, he's looking kind of tired.  He still runs with us a few times a week, and says he still works out at his gym several times a week, but he doesn't look well, I don't think.  His mother's condition may well account for that.  It can't be problems in his ministry.  He's very popular at St. Andrew's, and everybody I talk to says he's doing a wonderful job there."

"I don't doubt that.  He's an excellent priest, and a very disciplined one," John Ryan asserted.  "As I say, he may well be worrying about his mother.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing him."

Their conversation moved on to other topics, including how well Cam seemed to be doing in recovering from what had happened to him down on the beach.

"The kid is tough, and he's resilient," Ian said.  "But I wouldn't sell his relationship with Kevin short when it comes to bringing him back to health," he added.  "If those who condemn gay relationships could take an unbiased look at what love can accomplish, whatever people's sexual orientation may be, the world would be a lot healthier and less bigoted place, don't you think?"

"I do, indeed.  We may have our problems in St. Dunstan's parish and throughout the church at large, but bigotry when it comes to gays isn't our main issue.  I think our national church has made a major contribution to changing public opinion in the United States on gay rights."

"I couldn't agree more," Ian said.  "I'm proud of our church."

As the afternoon drew on, John Ryan began to urge Rachel and her two brothers to start getting ready to leave.  They complained vigorously when Lisa Ryan eventually decreed that her kids needed to get out of the pool "right now" so they could go home to finish up their homework for school the next day.

"I love it when she steps up to the plate and takes the bad guy role," Father Ryan observed with a chuckle.

"It's always worked for me," Ian said, glancing over at Mary, who was sitting in the sun behind enormous sun glasses, slathered with sunscreen and working on her tan.  She looked back at Ian.

"I couldn't hear what you said, but don't believe a word of it, Father."

"I won't.  Not for an instant, Mary," John Ryan said, trying to keep a straight face.

An hour after the Ryans left, Cam drove Ian, Mary and the boys to the airport in the Highlander.  It hurt Cam and Kevin to watch Carl and Andy try to say good-bye at the house without betraying the depth of their feelings for each other.  But their stolid mien didn't fool anyone, and once the car pulled away, Carl sat on the couch in the den and cried.  Kevin sat down beside him without a word and put an arm around him.

When he was cried out, Carl looked at his friend.

"You probably think I'm a real pussy."


The two of them sat there together in silence for a good while before going upstairs to do some homework.

*  *  *

Cam dropped the family off first and then parked in short-term parking, meeting them back at security.

"I didn't really get to work with you on your testimony for the trial," Ian told Cam when they said good-bye.

Cam smiled.  "Next time."

"Your mom will be down next weekend," Mary said to Cam.  "I don't know just when she'll get here, but she'll let you know when she's going to arrive."

"Good," Cam said.

Cam said good-bye to Mary and the boys, and stood there watching as they all went through security and headed down the long aisle toward their departure gate.  That was always emotional for Cam.  When the family disappeared around a corner, Cam went downstairs to arrivals and sat down in a waiting area.  He watched the electronic flight panel.  Father Mason's flight from San Rafael would be arriving within a half-hour in the same terminal, so there was no sense in going home and coming back.

Cam had picked up on the information that the priest wasn't looking well, and it bothered him.   Mason had been a tower of strength to the family, particularly when Casey had been kidnapped, and Cam was committed to supporting him in any way he could if the clergyman was having difficulty right now.  Cam knew Kevin and Carl were of the same mind.

Mason's plane landed right on time, and when it came to a stop at the gate, he rose from his seat to pull his carry-on bag and suit carrier out of the overhead compartment.  He waited in the queue to debark and found himself standing immediately behind a handsome, well set-up young man in Levi's and a polo shirt whose crotch he had been admiring across the aisle earlier.  The man's body heat wafted into his nostrils, and the guy smelled healthy with just a hint of aftershave.

Damn it, Mason thought to himself.  I'in in such trouble.  There was no escape from the young man ahead of him in line as they inched off the plane, and the guy's smell kept tantalizing the priest until he debarked and was walking toward the baggage claim exit.

Cam was there waiting for him.  The young man greeted the priest, shook his hand and then gave him a hug.  A long hug.  Jim Mason took his time letting go.

©  2011 Don Hanratty