My Belovèd is mine, and I am his.
Song of Songs 2:16
It was a Monday morning, and Cam's eyes
popped open at 4:50, ten minutes before his and Kevin's alarm
clock would begin signaling the start of their day. The two
guys were naked, lying close to each other in their bed, the sheets and
their limbs entangled. They were covered with splotches of dried
semen from a
very active love-making session before they had fallen asleep in each
arms the night before.
Cam studied his partner's handsome face, perfectly complexioned but
clearly needing a touch of the razor, as it did every morning.
That face was masculine, so masculine and so beautiful. He moved
his head closer to his partner to inhale the smell of Kevin's healthy
Their passion for one another hadn't dimmed at all over the several
years they had been together. The physical urgency which still
their lovemaking was as strong as it had been when they had first
come out to each other. Cam had no reason to believe that his own
hunger for his partner's body wasn't fully reciprocated by
Kevin.. They engaged in vigorous, raw sex almost every night, and
to say that both were pleased about it was an understatement.
They were very good to each other in bed.
Undergirding their sex life, building on physical
attraction but going far beyond it by this point, was admiration for
character and gifts, and a respect which allowed even perceived flaws
disagreements in daily life to be handled with equanimity. There
any long-standing arguments between them. Above all there was a
mature and still
Cam continued to watch
Kevin as he breathed, his sculpted, almost hairless chest gently
expanding and contracting with each breath. Yes, Kevin's
good-looking face and muscular body was still a key attraction in their
relationship. But equally as important, he loved Kevin's
personality and the power of his spirit. Kevin could sometimes be
tough and occasionally
demanding, but always and above all, his personal qualities nourished
him. He knew exactly who he was in this life, what his
commitments were, and how he was going to fulfill them. Casey and
Cam were always first in Kevin's affections, but Catherine and Ian and
Mary, along with Carl and their
other "brothers" back in San Rafael in their extended family were never
far behind. He had
a deep reservoir of love for all those he cared about.
thought to himself, I love this man
much. There's no place in this world I'd rather be than right
here, right now, lying right beside him, looking at him, holding
him. I'm so lucky.
Just before the alarm sounded, Kevin opened his eyes
and saw Cam
looking at him.
"Hey," Cam said softly.
"'Sup?" Kevin whispered, a little smile curling his lips.
"Just being thankful I'm here in this bed, looking at you."
Kevin responded by stretching himself taut, his body trembling with
the effort before he relaxed and looked Cam in the face again.
"I didn't give you permission to look at me like that," he teased Cam,
pulling his partner closer and kissing him on the lips before releasing
him. "You make my dick hard when you look at me like that."
"Yeah? What are you gonna do about it?"
"I wish we had time to do what I'd like to do," Kevin said. He
grabbed Cam's hand and moved it over between his legs, where it
encountered Kevin's rapidly hardening cock.
Cam gave it a squeeze. "Nice," he commented. "Better than
"Thanks," Kevin said, reaching down and finding Cam's appendage in the
same condition. "Back atcha."
The alarm clock began to beep, and Kevin reached over and hit the bar
giving them a nine minute reprieve before the beeping would start again.
"Let's use the bathroom and come back to the scene of the crime," Cam
suggested, referring to the site of their extended love-making in bed
"Yep," Kevin said, rolling out of bed and pulling Cam after him.
They stood at the toilet together, the golden streams crossing one
another over and over as they relieved themselves. Then they ran
back to bed, with Kevin trying to pinch Cam's cute, taut, rounded ass
way. They glanced down at Casey as they passed his crib.
little boy was still dead to the world as they plummeted under the top
sheet of their bed and held each
other. They kissed each other several times with liberal use of
Cam looked down at the stains on the bottom sheet. "Look at
the mess you made in the bed last night."
"That's your mess, not mine,"
Kevin said, chuckling. "You're such a juicy little fucker."
Cam snorted. "That mess has your name all over it."
"Maybe, maybe not." Kevin rubbed noses with his partner.
"We have seven minutes left," Kevin announced, turning himself around
and then putting Cam's dick in his mouth.
Cam was instantly hard, and reciprocated. He began working
Kevin's cock vigorously, alternating with taking Kevin all the way down
and pulling out and working his slit with his tongue. Kevin
groaned with pleasure.
Within five minutes they were tasting a fresh load and lying there
quietly, each holding his partner's cock in his mouth with
Kevin finally moved around in bed, clasping Cam to himself, and they
kissed each other deeply, sharing what Cam liked to refer to as "the
nectar of the gods."
When they finally turned one another loose, Kevin studied Cam's
face. "What are you gonna do today?" he asked. Cam didn't
have his only
class for that semester, Cinematography, on Mondays.
"I think I'm gonna study this morning and have some play-time with
Casey, and then call Assurances and see of I can have lunch with Jeff
Miller. I feel like we've been neglecting him lately."
"Shit. I wish I could go with you," Kevin said, pouting.
I should cut my classes today so I can monitor your activities a little
"I'd love it if you would. We could spend some more time in
bed. But maybe you shouldn't. You may really need a day off
sometime when the guys are down here from San Rafael."
"You're probably right."
"When we get back from running this morning, I'm gonna start moving our
the dressers in
this room into our new
bedroom," Cam said. All of Alex's and John's clothes from the
closets in the master bedroom had been given to charity except those
that Cam, Kevin and Carl wanted for themselves. A tailor in Santa
Monica was already staying busy making alterations to some of the
suits, sport coats, and slacks.
"Doncha wanna wait 'til I can help you?" Kevin asked.
"I can handle it."
The clock began to beep again, and Kevin shut it off for good this
They got out of their bed, and began stripping it of its sheets so
could put on
clean ones. Even though they realized Maria knew what they did in
bed, they were still a little embarrassed about letting her see copious
stains on the sheets.
"We're gonna have to shower before we run," Kevin observed, sniffing
Cam's chest. "I don't want Maria to smell the love juice you shot
over us last night."
"Me?!" Cam protested.
"Yes, you! I know your
cum when I smell it. Get your ass in the shower!"
Cam grinned in agreement, and they went into the bathroom and stepped
into the shower together,
and began washing each other's
body as they always liked to do. Touching each other never got
washing quickly and then toweling each other off, they cleaned their
teeth. Kevin shaved
while Cam took Casey out of his crib, removed his dirty diaper, and
the little guy in the bassinet before powdering and re-diapering
him. Casey was in his usual good mood.
"Daddy," Casey said to him as Cam put the baby back in his crib for a
moment so he could put on his running clothes.
"Hey, Casey," Cam said to the little guy. "Kev, did you hear
that?" Cam asked as he pulled on his jock strap and
started dressing for their run. "I didn't even have to ask,
'Who's your daddy?'"
"I heard him," Kevin said, emerging from the bathroom, gloriously naked
with a clean shaven face.
"He already enunciates better than you do," Kevin said. "He's
really growing up fast, and now the
"You ain't kidding, You think you're up to the job?"
"Without a doubt! Are you?"
"That's clear enough," Cam said. "Starting with the fact that I
change this boy's diaper more often than you do."
"Well, keep up the good work. You have a talent for it."
Kevin pulled on his jock, shorts and a raggedy old T-shirt, and sat
down on a desk chair to put on his sweat socks and running shoes.
There was a knock at the door right then, and Carl, dressed for their
run, opened it and stood
there looking at them.
"Come on, you slackers, let's hit it," he said.
"Well, aren't you bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning!" Cam
"Yep," Carl confirmed. He smirked at the pile of sheets on the
floor beside the bed. "What happened, did somebody have an
accident in bed last night?"
"Nothing happens in our bed by accident," Cam said.
"Just asking," Carl said.
"We're ready," Kevin said, scooping up Casey and heading for the
They clomped their way down the stairs, where Maria was waiting for
them at the bottom.
"He's cleaned up and hungry," Cam said as
Casey raised his arms for Maria to take him from Kevin.
"Thanks," Maria said. She rubbed noses with Casey and kissed him
on top of his head. "Are you hungry?" she asked him.
"Yes!" the little guy said, pointing toward the kitchen.
"My gosh!" Carl said. "He already talks better than you two guys
he told Cam and Kevin as the three of them headed for the front deck,
where they started to do their stretches as the dogs milled about.
The sun was shining brightly, and there was a warm breeze off the
They were limbered up when they finally went down to the hardpack by
the water. Kevin set
his pedometer and they started their run. He knew right where the
four-mile mark was where they would turn around to come home, but he
still liked to check his pedometer for accuracy.
Thank you, Lord, Cam thought
to himself as he took in a big lungful of air. There had been a
long time after he'd been attacked
down the beach, and after Alex and John had been killed in the plane
crash, when life hadn't seemed so good, and he hadn't been all that
thankful about the way things were going. But as the days had
succeeded one another, he'd found that Dr. Owens and Kevin and Ian had
right about life eventually getting better. Even with his
attackers' trial coming up,
Cam was feeling positive about things.
Dr. Owens had told Cam that he was "resilient." And by now he
she'd been right, especially after he'd given his challenges some long,
hard thought. His conclusion had been that he wasn't going to let
his dissatisfactions over the negative things that had happened in his
life of late rule him and put him in a bad mood. He had
determined that being thankful for all the good things he had
experienced until now and the good things that lay ahead would be his
guide to a positive attitude. And that change in thinking was
already having the desired effect.
He glanced over at Kevin
and then at Carl as the three of them ran side by side. These are two sweet-assed guys for
sure. I know that because I'm a connoisseur of fine male asses, Cam
thought to himself. That's something to be thankful for right
Kevin speeded up their pace as they started to get into their
groove, and he and Cam looked at each other and smiled. The
endorphins were flowing and life was
Cam glanced up at the house where he had been raped, beaten and
tortured as they passed by it, and felt nothing. On one occasion,
not long after he had been assaulted,
passed out when he'd passed by it, and for a long time
had trembled whenever he'd gone by it. But not any more.
Life had moved on. The
house was occupied now,
and a woman was out on the front deck watering boxes of flowers secured
to the railing. She waved at the three of them, and they waved
Their run was uneventful and both pleasantly exhausting and
stimulating. Once back at the house they all headed for
the showers, again a quick one this time for Cam and Kevin.
Dressed in T-shirts, shorts and tennis shoes, the three of them
went down to the kitchen. Casey, still in his high chair, had
eaten some cereal and was still playing with the remnants along with
using crayons on a coloring book Maria had given him.. He picked
up a spoon and banged it on his tray when he saw them. Carl
smoothed the little
boy's hair and kissed him.
"You wanna go to school with us today?" Carl asked him.
"NO!" Casey said. Responses, usually one word, were becoming more
all the time.
"Why not?" Carl asked, chuckling.
"NO!" Casey repeated without explanation.
"What would you like for breakfast?" Maria asked the guys.
"Would Huevos rancheros be
too much trouble?" Kevin asked. "I have an appetite this morning."
Carl added, "What he said," pointing at Kevin, and Cam nodded in
"Coming right up," Maria said, opening the refrigerator and taking out
a dozen eggs and a package of tortillas. She cracked all the eggs
into a large bowl, beat them, and then began cutting up tomatoes and
green peppers to
add to tomato chili and sliced avocados.
Without being asked, Kevin got up and went to the stove. Adding
vegetable oil to a large frying pan, he heated it and began to cook the
Cam set the table and Carl poured big glasses of orange juice and put
the glasses by the place settings.
"Chef Kevin," Carl commented. "We need to get him a tall chef's
Kevin grinned but said nothing, letting the tortillas simmer
one at a time in the hot oil and then putting them on a plate.
Maria cooked the eggs on the grill of the big, commercial sized stove
that Alex and John had had installed, gradually adding the other
ingredients until the meal was steaming. Then she put the
tortillas on the guy's plates, topped them with the eggs,
and put the plates in front of the boys. Standing around the
the guys bowed their heads as Cam asked a blessing. Making the
sign of the cross, they sat down, spread their napkins, and prepared to
"Yum," Kevin said, mouth watering as he inhaled the steam and folded
the eggs and other ingredients into the tortilla.
"You're welcome," Maria said. She poured herself a cup of coffee
and sat down on one side of Casey. Kevin put a little bit of
egg on his
fork, and blowing on it to cool it, fed it to Casey before taking a big
bite of his meal.
Chewing with gusto, Kevin looked at Casey. "You want some more?"
he asked the little guy.
"YES!" Casey said loudly and unexpectedly.
Kevin scraped the hot chili sauce off another small piece of egg and
"Good, huh?" Cam said to Casey, who didn't say anything as he finished
gumming the egg and swallowing it.
"He's really late starting to teethe, and he's on the brink," Maria
"My guess is that it will be this week, so one of you might want to
call his pediatrician and find out what he
recommends to rub on his gums when he's in pain," she added.
"I'll do that today," Cam offered. "I hadn't thought about it."
Kevin looked at Cam. "Thanks, man," he said, putting a hand on
Cam's neck and pulling his head over to kiss his cheek.
The guys finished breakfast, chatting about their classes, and then
Carl and Kevin went to get their backpacks after saying good-bye to
Maria. Cam hugged Maria as
she stood up to clear the table.
"Great breakfast!" Cam told her as he picked Casey up out of the high
chair and went out to the driveway to see the guys off to school.
Kevin paused to kiss Cam and Casey as he went by them to get into his
car. Abruptly he turned on his heel and walked back to Cam.
He put a hand on Cam's neck, looked him in the eye, and kissed him
again, this time on the lips.
"I love you more every day," Kevin said quietly before
heading back down the driveway.
That was unexpected, and Cam was surprised. He teared up a little
and got a lump in his throat. He
watched his partner's broad shoulders and V-shaped back, tapering down
to a trim waist, as Kevin walked away. Inevitably, Cam dropped
gaze to the material of Kevin's khaki shorts, stretched taut over that
Kevin's body was textbook perfect, shaped by a combination of hours of
the gym and good genes when it came to his physique. As usual Cam
could feel himself chubbing
up as he did almost every time he looked at Kevin on the move as he
walked away with the grace typical of many athletes. The fact
two of them had a lot of sex never seemed to completely curb their
lust for each other.
"Thanks, babe," Cam called after his partner. He turned his head
to look at
as he in turn walked by. "Where's my kiss?" Cam kidded him.
"Right here," he said, smooching Cam on the cheek to the
latter's surprise as Carl went by.
"'Bye," Cam said as he waved the little boy's arm at the two of them.
Kevin rolled down his window and said, "Hey, don't forget to call the
pediatrician," before he backed out of the driveway in his
Mustang. The mufflers murmured pleasantly as he pulled away.
Cam nodded at him.
Carl climbed into the
Highlander, driving separately because his and Kevin's class schedules
Mondays. He followed Kevin out on to the service road which led
toward the Pacific Coast Highway, and they were gone.
Cam sighed and took Casey back into the house and gave him to Maria.
"Will you watch him for a few minutes?" he asked. "I'm gonna move
some of our clothes into the master bedroom. I won't be long."
When he finished emptying his and Kevin's things from their dressers
and putting them in the next room, he went over to the closet and threw
a previously discovered, hidden switch. The ceiling over the bed
turned from a decor of clouds on a shiny surface into a huge
mirror. Cam smiled as
about having sex with Kevin in that king sized bed so that whoever was
bottom could watch every move.
Returning the switch to its original position, he went back downstairs
reclaimed the little guy from Maria. Taking him into the study he
put him on
the floor. Then he went over to the desk, and consulting a list
numbers, telephoned Casey's pediatrician. He wrote down what
the doctor told him, and secured the paper under the base of the
It was an over-the-counter medication, and wouldn't require a
prescription, the doctor had said.
That finished, he looked at Casey. "Do you wanna play ball,
little dude?" he asked.
"Yes," Casey said.
Playing with Casey was never a chore for Cam. He loved that
little boy totally, and enjoyed spending time with him, especially now
that Casey was increasingly mobile and starting to talk. Cam
selected a red rubber
ball from a basket of toys they kept in the study, and rolled it over
to where Casey was sitting on the floor. Casey sometimes rolled a
ball back except, of course, for those times when he decided to keep
time he put it to his mouth and gummed it, reinforcing the prediction
soon be teething.
Cam took another ball out of the basket and rolled it over to Casey,
who dropped the first ball and went for the second. Cam crawled
over to him and claimed the red ball and bounced it on the floor.
It flew up toward the ceiling as Casey watched it. The little guy
grab it when it came down and missed. The ball gave a second
bounce, and Casey gave
a little shriek as he crawled over to it after it landed for good.
"You're gonna be a little jock when you grow up, aren't you?" Cam told
him. Casey didn't answer, but this time he rolled the red ball
back to his dad.
The two of them played for about a half-hour before Casey crapped out
on the floor. Cam got up and covered him with a light blanket and
then walked to the desk to start studying when his cell phone
rang. The screen identified the caller as William Carson.
"Why the fuck aren't you in class?" Cam asked William when he answered
"Nice greeting," William protested. "I'm on my way to my next
class and had to take a leak," he said.
"In the bathroom, I presume."
"No, dipshit, in my locker."
"I wouldn't put it past ya. 'Sup?"
"We haven't talked for awhile," William said. "I miss ya,
dumbass, but I don't know why the fuck I should. You're annoying
as hell. Anyway, are you guys coming up here for Thanksgiving, or
are we coming down there."
"Well, the word hasn't come down from on high yet. Have you asked
the 'rents? You live with 'em, for gosh sake."
"I thought I'd give you a chance to weigh in before I broached the
subject. I'd rather come down there. It's gonna cool off up
here before Thanksgiving, and I wanna run on the beach in some decent
southern California weather."
"You're such a pussy. But yeah, I'd rather have us get together
down here. You can quote me on that to the powers-that-be."
"Cool. I will." William paused. "Are Casey and you
"Yeah. Casey's walkin' and talkin' a little. He's asleep on
the floor here in the study right now. He's late teething, and
Maria thinks he'll start this week."
"All right! He'll keep your ass busy then. And how are
Kevin and Carl?"
"They're good. They're at school, and probably asleep in class
William laughed. "On another subject, do
you know when
the trial is coming up?"
"Soon, but I don't have an exact date yet."
"Are you feeling all right about it?"
"Yeah. I'm feeling more like myself all the time. That
allows me to be really pissed off about what those guys did to me."
"Good deal. You know I'll try to come down there to be with you
when you have to testify. If you want me to, that is."
"You know I'd really like that, William. All kidding aside, I
miss ya, dude."
"I'll need all the moral support I can
get when the trial starts."
"I'll be there for ya if I can be."
"Thanks, man. How's football?"
"Good. I'm still the starting quarterback, and we're undefeated,
and it looks like we'll be regional champs again at the very least."
"You won't have a game on Thanksgiving Day to fuck up our plans, will
"No. The two second place teams will duke it out on
Thanksgiving. We'll play the winner the following week."
"Excellent! Are things good between you and Alicia?"
"Yeah, I love her to death. We're getting
"Tell me you're gettin' some."
"You know that wasn't part of the deal when I started to date her
"So you're horny, then."
Cam laughed. "Well, you breeders have to make some sacrifices, at least.
Anyway, being horny probably makes you more aggressive on
"You're such a dick! But you could be right. Are you and
Kevin taking good care of each other in bed?"
"Things are awesome. Couldn't be better."
"I'm jealous you're gettin' some and I'm not."
"Turn gay and I promise we'll make ya feel good about it."
William chuckled. "I don't see that in the cards, dude."
Cam heard the warning bell at San Rafael High School ring over the
"Hey, I gotta book," William said, pausing. "Luv ya, Cam.
Give my love to Kevin and Carl, and kiss the little guy for me."
"Will do. I'm pumped ya called. Luv ya back, bud."
The connection went dead, and Cam sat there with a big smile on his
face as he picked up his Cinematography book and opened it to a new
After two hours' study, Cam consulted his phone's directory and punched
in the number for Assurances. The operator sounded young and
answered the phone with a pleasant voice.
"Assurances," she said. "How may I direct your call?"
"Cam MacKenzie for Jeff Miller, please."
"One moment, please." She put the call on hold, and Cam knew she
was checking the approved list for those who could be put through to
After a moment or two, Cam heard the connection being made and the
electronic sound of a phone ringing.
"This is Jeff," a familiar voice said.
"Hey, man. This is Cam."
"Cam!" Jeff said. "I thought you'd deserted me."
"I know. It took me a quite a while after I got assaulted to want
to talk to anybody. But I'm not finished heckling you in this
"I can take it."
"I know that. Listen, can you go to lunch?"
"I could. I have privileges, but it would have to be a short
lunch because I have a group session here at 1:00 that I can't miss."
"Well, shit!" Cam said.
"Any chance you could come here for lunch? Those with privileges
can have people over."
"The food's pretty good here, and I'd really like to see ya."
"Can I bring Casey?"
"No problem. I wanna see the little guy, and I'll arrange for a
highchair. Just bring the baby food with you."
"All right. What time should I get there?"
"How about 11:30? That'll give us more time to talk."
"Sweet! See ya then."
* * *
Cam studied until 10:45. Casey was just waking up.
"Baby boy!" Cam said, picking him up and feeling his diaper. He
needed changing, so Cam took him upstairs and did the deed. The
little guy was cooperative, as usual. Cam checked out a diaper
bag to make sure it had fresh diapers, wetnaps and baby powder in
it. Picking up the bag and the baby, Cam went down to the kitchen.
Maria had finished cleaning downstairs, and was there emptying the
"It's early, but how about some lunch?" she asked.
"Thanks, but Casey and I are taking a road trip over to Assurances to
see Jeff Miller. We'll eat over there. Why doncha give me
some baby food to take with me, though?"
"Will do." Maria went to a cupboard and removed a couple jars of
baby food, put them in a small paper sack, and put the sack into the
"Here you go," she said, handing the bag back to Cam. "Give Jeff
will you? I'm
glad you're going to see him. I hear from my sister that he
misses you guys." Maria's sister Juanita worked as a maid for
Jeff's mom and dad next door.
The traffic into Santa Monica was light, and Cam pulled into the
parking lot at 11:25. He unbuckled Casey from his baby seat, and
picking up the diaper bag and the baby, went into the
lobby of the rehab center.
The attractive young receptionist, spotting the handsome young man
carrying a baby, went to the office window, slid it open, and greeted
Cam with a smile.
"May I help you?" she asked, and studied Cam's face with an "I like
what I see" look.
"Cam MacKenzie to see Jeff Miller," he told her.
"You're expected," the receptionist said, still smiling. "What a
cute baby," she added. "How old is he?"
"A little over a year," Cam said.
"He looks like you," she said, trying to hit on him but not knowing
exactly how to accomplish that in a business setting.
Cam smiled politely. "So I've been told." Genetics said
otherwise, but Cam didn't try to set her straight.
"Just go to that door," the young woman said, pointing to Cam's left,
"and I'll buzz you in. A security man will check your bag, and
I'll have Jeff come and meet you."
Cam went over to the door, now buzzing to allow entry, and walked
through it into a
large family visiting area. He couldn't help thinking about the
pretty girl at the front desk trying to hit on him. Maybe I should start wearing a T-shirt
that says, SORRY, GIRLS, I SUCK COCK, he thought to
himself with a grin. It would save the women that he came in
with a lot of time and effort.
"Good morning, sir," a security man said. "I'd like to look in
your bag, if I may."
"Of course," Cam said, impressed with the lengths Assurances went to in
order to see no illicit drugs came into the facility. He handed
The man unzipped it, ran his hand over what was inside, zipped it up
and handed it back.
"Thank you, sir."
Cam spotted Jeff, wearing an old pair of Levi's and a white T-shirt,
striding down the
corridor toward the big family room, his face
lighted up with a huge smile. He was the picture of a healthy,
handsome young male with clear complexion, someone whose well developed
body testified that he had been spending a lot of time in the
gym. He exuded self-discipline and a love of life. Cam had
a flashback of the wreck of a person he and Kevin and Carl had pulled
out from under the
Alex's back deck six months before--drugged out, emaciated, haggard,
covered with open sores, wearing a ratty topcoat over ragged clothes
that stank of urine. What a contrast!
Jeff swept Cam up in a big hug, kissed
on the cheek, and then kissed Casey on top of his head.
"You don't know how good it is to see you," he said. "I miss
you all so much!"
"Jeff, you look freakin' great!" Cam told his friend as they moved
toward a cluster of upholstered chairs in front of a coffee
began to squirm, and Cam put him down on the floor, where he stood
unsteadily before hunkering down and crawling over to Jeff, who picked
"My gosh, he's grown!" Jeff said. Casey grabbed Jeff's nose,
making Jeff laugh.
"He talks, he walks, and he's about to start teething," Cam told
him. "Casey, do you remember Jeff?" he asked the little boy.
"NO," Casey said, and the two guys laughed.
"He's brutally honest," Jeff observed as Casey got comfortable on
They sat talking as Jeff elicited reports on Kevin, Carl, on every one
the guys in San Rafael, and on Catherine, Ian and Mary.
"I'm hoping they'll all be coming down for Thanksgiving," Cam
said. "I talked to William this morning, and that's what we're
holding out for, anyway. Any chance you can get leave for
"I think so," Jeff said. "Maybe not for the whole week, but I'll
give it a shot."
"If the family does come down, we're going to ask your parents and
Juanita to have Thanksgiving dinner with us. If you can be there,
they'll be thrilled," Cam said.
"I'd really like that," Jeff said. "You know, my mom comes over
here every week to see me, and my dad, too, when he's in town.
They've been so good to me. I owe them so much, and I love them
both so much. If I make it in this life, they and this place will
largely responsible. Along with you and Kevin and Carl! You
saved my life when you pulled me out from under your deck that
day. I hope you understand how true that is!"
"You're giving us too much credit. But what do you
mean, IF you make it in this life. That's a foregone conclusion."
"I appreciate the confidence, believe me. But you have to
remember that an addiction never goes away. It's life-long, and
every day is a battle not to use, at least in the early stages.
who have a good support system outside of a facility like this make it."
"Well, you'll have that! We'll always have your back."
Jeff blinked back some sudden moisture in his eyes.
A gong sounded over the PA system, followed by a female voice:
"Lunch will be served in ten minutes." It sounded like the voice
of the young woman at the front desk.
"Is that the girl in Reception?" Cam asked.
Jeff looked surprised.
"What?" Cam demanded. "Just because I'm gay doesn't mean I don't
know a pretty girl when I see one."
"That's true," Jeff admitted.
He stood up, still holding Casey. "Let's head for the dining
room. They'll have a highchair waiting for Casey."
"Good deal." Cam stood, picking up the diaper bag, and he
followed Jeff toward the dining room, Casey
was looking back over Jeff's shoulder to make sure that his dad was
them. Cam couldn't help but notice how good Jeff's ass looked in
those Levi's as they walked along. What a perve you are, MacKenzie, he
thought to himself with a grin.
The large dining room was arranged with three long tables, with
therapeutic staff intermingling on both sides of each table. Jeff
spotted a highchair sitting halfway down one of the tables, and
pointing at it, situated himself across from Cam and Casey. Cam
put Casey in the highchair.
With everyone standing, one of the residents offered thanks for the
meal, and they all sat down. Staff wearing large white aprons
came through double doors from the kitchen and began putting steaming
bowls of beef stew, baskets of hot rolls, plates of salad and glasses
of water and iced tea in from of the diners. Jeff introduced
those in the immediate vicinity to Cam, identifying Casey as Cam's son.
"Cute baby," a guy about Jeff's age said about Casey.
"Thanks," Cam said with a smile.
Cam reached into the bag he'd carried in and took out a jar of baby
food. Opening it, he began spooning some strained carrots into
Casey's mouth. The little guy liked it, and eagerly opened his
mouth when the spoon approached. After Casey had a few bites, Cam
picked up his own spoon and tried the stew. To his surprise, it
was delicious, so he dipped Casey's spoon in the bowl and gave the
little guy some juice.
"Is that good?" Jeff asked Casey.
"Yes!" Casey said, and Cam gave him another spoonful of juice.
Some of the juice ran down the baby's chin, and Jeff reached across the
table with his own napkin and wiped it up.
Once Casey had some food in his stomach, Cam got serious with his meal
and soon emptied the bowl of stew. The rolls were homemade, and
between Jeff and Cam they ate them all. Cam also downed the
salad, and when he had finished, was tempted to let loose a satisfied
belch, but restrained himself.
After the meal was consumed, the wait staff began clearing the
table. The dessert which followed was vanilla ice cream, and Cam
and Jeff shared a little of it with Casey.
"That was good!" Cam told Jeff. "You must work out like a demon
so you don't gain weight."
"You got that right. The food is always good here."
Cam glanced at his watch. It was 12:30.
"You said you have a meeting at 1:00," Cam said. "Can we talk
some more before you have to go?"
"I'd like that," Jeff said.
They stood and excused themselves to those in the vicinity, and with
sitting on Cam's arm, Jeff led them into a small sitting room off the
dining room. Cam sat down with Casey on a soft couch, and put the
baby down beside him. Casey looked like he wanted to stay put,
and might take a snooze. He conked out in no time. Jeff sat
across from them in an upholstered chair.
"Has Father Ryan been by to see you?" Cam asked Jeff.
"Faithfully," Jeff said. "He comes by at least every two weeks to
"That doesn't surprise me. He's a great pastor. We're so
lucky to have him at St. Dunstan's."
"I agree with that! When I graduate back into real life, I'm
going to ask him if I can learn how to serve him at the altar," Jeff
said. "Just a little payback for all he's done for me."
"That's an excellent idea," Cam said. "You make me feel guilty,
though, when I think of how kind he was to me after I got roughed up
down the beach. And I haven't done shit for him when it comes to
"Well, you and Kevin do have your responsibilities with Casey."
"True, but that's not really an excuse. I need to think about
this. I could do something, fer sure. I'm glad you
mentioned your plan."
"We may get a chance to serve together if you decide to follow through."
"If I do that, you can bet I'm not gonna let Carl and Kevin off the
hook," Cam said. "They can get off their butts and get training
with you and me. St. Dunstan's has a good core of servers, but
I'm sure they can use some more. It may as well be us."
"You're right, dude," Jeff agreed. He smiled. "I'll check
back with ya about gettin' on the stick about this."
They continued shooting the breeze, talking about Cam's Cinematography
class and what Jeff was picking up in the various groups and classes at
Assurances. Before they knew it, it was 12:55 and time for Jeff
to head for his group session.
They stood and Cam bent down and picked up his bag and
the baby, who continued sleeping.
"Before I forget, Maria wanted me to give you her love," Cam said.
"Thank her for me. You don't know what it means to me to know you
all care about me. I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving
with Mom and Dad and your family. I hope that all works out."
"We're your family, too,
man. Don't forget that."
"Thanks, Cam. I'm really cheered up that
you came by."
Jeff coughed to try to hide his emotion. He embraced Cam and
Casey, and kissed them again before they left. He stood in the
doorway of the sitting room and watched Cam head for the front door
before letting some pent up tears run down his face. Pulling out
his handkerchief, he wiped his eyes before heading for his group
session. Cam's visit had meant a lot to him.
* * *
Maria met Cam and Casey at the kitchen door, and took Casey into her
"How's Jeff?" Maria asked.
"He's doing well, and looks great. He sends his love."
"Thanks. You had a phone call while you were out," Maria
said. "From George Eisner at Magnum Studios. He wants you
to call him. I left his number on the desk in the study."
Cam looked surprised. George Eisner was chairman of the board and
president at the studio,
someone who had been a big fan and a big supporter of Alex and John's
work. He was one of the most powerful people in the movie
industry. Alex and John had taken Cam and Kevin to the studio for
lunch one day, and they had eaten at one of the tables in Eisner's huge
"Did he say what he wanted?"
"No. Just that he wanted you to call him."
"Are you good with Casey for a few minutes?"
"Yes. Because he's such a good boy." Maria hugged him and
kissed the top of his head.
Cam walked down the hall to the study, sat down, and looked at the note
with a phone number on it. Picking up the receiver, he dialed the
"Magnum Studios, Mr. Eisner's office," the voice of an older woman
said. "May I help you?"
"Yes, m'am, this is Cameron MacKenzie returning Mr. Eisner's call."
"Yes, Mr. MacKenzie. One moment, and I'll put you through."
Ten seconds later Cam heard George Eisner's deep, bass voice on the
"Cameron, how are you?"
"I'm good, sir. Thanks for asking. How are you?"
"I'm good. And Kevin, he's well, I hope."
Cam was pleasantly surprised that this important man remembered him,
let alone his partner.
"Kevin's excellent, thank you, sir."
"I'm pleased to hear that. The reason I'm calling is that we're
almost finished with the final edit of your dad's and John's last
picture they made in England. I'm thrilled with what they did
with the story, and I think it's really going to be a
blockbuster. Academy Award good. The performances are all
superlative. We've pretty much completed our work, and I'd like
to invite you and Kevin to come and see
it here at the studio before we schedule a premier and start the
Is that something you'd be interested in doing?"
"I'd be thrilled to death, and I know Kevin would be, too." Cam
took a breath, thinking, In for a
penny, in for a pound. "Is there any chance we can bring
our roommate Carl with us? He really helped hold things together
for us when Dad and John were killed."
"Of course," Eisner said. "No problem. I know Kevin's last
name is 'Stoltz.' What is Carl's last name, so I can give your
names to security at the front gate?"
"'Emrick. Carl Emrick.'"
"Got it. Why don't you three guys pick a date for us to get
together and get back to me,
and we'll set
Cam swallowed hard. "Mr. Eisner, I can't tell you how grateful I
am. This is totally unexpected, and means so much to me."
"It's the least we can do in return for all Alex and John did for us,"
Eisner said. "After you know something, call me. I'd like
you all to come to the studio for lunch with me and the
producers. Now that I think about it, we'll send a car for you."
"Thank you so much, sir. I'm overwhelmed. I call you within
the next few days."
"Thank you, Cam. I'm looking forward to seeing you and Kevin and
your friend Carl very soon."
The line went dead, and Cam put the receiver back in its holder.
Stunned, he sat there for a good five minutes without moving.
Glancing at his watch, he saw that Kevin would be changing
classes. Picking up the phone, he dialed Kevin's cell.
"Dude!" Kevin answered, sounding as if he was in a good mood.
"Kev, you couldn't possibly guess who I was just talking to."
"Don't be a dick, then, and tell me."
"None other than George Eisner at Magnum Studios."
"Don't tell me. He wants to use you in a gay porno for beau coup
"No, dumbass. He wants you and me and Carl to come to the studio
for lunch, and then preview Dad and John's new picture. He
thinks it's going to be a hit. 'Blockbuster' was the word he
along with 'Academy Award,' and he wants us to be among the first to
"You're shittin' me, right?"
"I swear it on Casey's sweet little cranium!"
"Well, wow! That's really exciting, Cam! That makes me so
happy! Listen, I'm just going into class, so we'll talk about it
when I get home. Can't wait!"
"Hey, ask Art Smith to follow you home for supper."
"Will do," Kevin said. "Luv ya. Laters."
The line went dead, and Cam replaced the receiver, stood up, and began
to do a little impromptu
dance around the study. It had been a long time since he felt
* * *
Classes over for the day, William Carson walked down the hall toward
the locker room to suit up for football practice. He pulled his
phone out of his pocket as he walked, and looking at his list of phone
numbers, called his dad's private line at his law firm in San Francisco.
"Are you at football practice?" Ian Carson asked when he picked up the
"On the way."
"Dad, I talked to Cam earlier today. He and Kevin and Carl want
all of us to go down to Malibu for Thanksgiving week, and I think
that's a great idea."
"You do, huh?" Ian chuckled.
"Yeah. You know how much you enjoy running on the beach in warm
"Well, that's true enough. But I know you don't like the heat
down there at all."
"Ha ha. No, I like it. But even more important, I don't
think Cam and
Kevin and Carl want to travel on a crowded plane with Casey if they
to come up here. Cam
didn't exactly say that, but I think it's true. Those planes are
full of germs, y'know. Not good for babies."
Ian laughed. "You really have to study law, William. When
it comes to the courtroom, you've got the 'devious argument' thing
going for you already. I know it when I hear it."
William had to laugh along with his dad. He'd been caught.
on," he said. "You know you really want a change of scene, and
Mom and Catherine do, too."
"I'll talk to them about it," Ian said. "That's the best I can do
for you right now."
"All right. I called because I knew you'd really be interested in
"I always find your thoughts fascinating. Good-bye,
William. Have a good practice."
William ended the call smiling. He felt he'd just improved the
odds for a
nice trip to L.A. He slammed through the locker room doors
grinning like a Cheshire cat, and greeted some of his teammates who
were there changing into their uniforms: "Get moving,
assholes, it's time to practice some FOOTBALL!"
The "assholes" cheerfully gave him the finger along with a smattering
of "Fuck you's." They really liked and respected William, but
they liked to pass out shit as much as he did.
Ian had been smiling, too, when he'd finished the conversation with his
He buzzed his
secretary, Beverly, asking her to track down his wife and Catherine so
talk to them about going south for Thanksgiving week. Five
minutes later, Beverly buzzed him.
"Mrs. Carson on 47," she said.
"Thank you," Ian said, and punched the blinking button. "Hello,
sweetheart. What are you doing today?"
"Rosa and I are at the grocery store, trying to figure out what we're
going to feed the bottomless pits we call our children this week.
"I just got off the phone with William. He was hustling me to
make a commitment to take everybody to Malibu for Thanksgiving
week. Does that have any appeal for you, or should we ask Cam and
Kevin and Carl to bring Casey up here?"
"It has lots of appeal for me," Mary said. "Along with the fact
that I don't want Cam and Kevin and Carl to have to travel with the
"You and William think alike. That's the argument he used on
me. I don't stand stand a chance with either one of you."
"Don't you want to go to Malibu?" Mary asked. "The kids will all
go, and every minute we spend with them is precious. They're
growing up so fast, and they won't be around forever."
"Well, when you put it like that, what can I say? I know from
experience the rest of the boys will probably side with William and
to go. So if Catherine is up for the trip--I haven't talked to
her yet--then I may as well go ahead and charter a flight.
Yolanda needs to be figured into the mix, and Andy Helder, too,
probably. And maybe Father Mason, if he can get some time
off. So the cost of a charter will likely be as reasonable as
buying all those seats on a commercial flight."
"I think you're right, sweetheart. Why don't you talk to
Catherine and see what she thinks."
"Will do. Buy us some good stuff at the grocery, please."
"Have I ever failed you? You're hardly wasting away
"So true. Thanks for mentioning that."
"Love you, honey," Mary said. "We'll have a good time in Malibu."
"I know. I love you back. I'll talk to you after I run the trip
"All right. Bye."
Ian reached Catherine in her office at the university after she
finished teaching her classes for the day. She was in favor of
making the trip, and with that final OK, Ian called Cam.
"Cam, I have some good news for you or some bad news, depending on how
you look at it," Ian told him.
"The family wants to come down to Malibu for Thanksgiving week.
Is that all right with you guys?"
"'All right?' It's better than 'all right!' I'm really glad to hear you all want
come down here, Ian.
Everybody will have a great time, we'll see to that. Will you ask
Father Mason if he can get some time off?"
"Yes, I plan to do that."
"When will you
get here? Do you know?"
"I'm going to charter a plane. We'll go to church at St. Andrew's
on Sunday, and then fly down to L.A. that afternoon."
"As long as you're chartering a plane, why don't you fly down on
Saturday, and then we can all go to Mass at St. Dunstan's together on
Sunday. Father Ryan will really be glad to see you all."
"Are you sure you want all of us for even one more day? You'll
get sick of us."
"I want you all here as long as you can stay, Ian. I shouldn't
tell you that. Please come on Saturday. Kevin and Carl
and I want to run you candyasses from up north into the sand every
Ian laughed. "You wiseass kid! Talk's cheap!"
"Not in this case. Just get yourselves down here on
Saturday. Do you want us to pick you guys up at the airport?"
"No. We'll get a limo."
"Good deal! I'm thrilled, man."
"We're anxious to see you all."
"I have one piece of exciting news for ya before I let ya go, Ian."
"I got a call from George Eisner at Magnum Studios today. Do you
"We've met, but I don't really know him. He's a very influential
guy, though, I know that."
"Well, he called to invite me and Kevin and Carl to preview Alex and
John's last movie. The studio has pretty much finished the final
edit. Mr. Eisner's invited us to lunch at Magnum and to
meet the producers. He thinks the movie is so good it's going to
be a 'blockbuster,' as he put it. He used the words 'Academy
Award.' He wants me to get back to him
with a date to get together within the next few days."
"Oh, Cam, I'm so happy for you guys! What a nice gesture on Mr.
Eisner's part! It just shows you how much he and the studio
admired John and your dad."
"I know it. Things are going so well right now that it worries
"Don't say that! All you boys, and you in particular, deserve all
the good things that come your way."
"Is there a date for the trial yet?"
"No, but it should be scheduled any day now."
"You feeling all right about it?"
"Good. We'll talk about it when I get down there. You stay
positive about it, you hear!"
"Yes, sir. I've been doing a lot of thinking about my luck of
late, and I've come to a conclusion."
"And what would that be?"
"That the positives always outweigh the negatives when that's what we
"Cameron, I can't tell you how important that insight is going to be in
"I think you're right."
"Good! See you soon. Love you, boy!"
"Thanks, Ian. Love you, too."
Ian ended the call, and then hit the intercom button for Beverly.
"Bev, please charter a plane for me from San Francisco International to
for the Saturday before Thanksgiving, with a return flight the Sunday
afternoon after Thanksgiving. There will be ten of us, give or
take. We'll want to leave San Francisco at about 1:00 p.m. on
Saturday, and leave LAX for home about 3:00 p.m. a week and a day later
Sunday. We'll need a stretch limo at both locations."
"Yes, sir. Any particular airline?"
"Our usual vendor."
Ian hung up and thought about Cam, his insight about thinking
positively, and his exciting news about Alex and John's movie. It's about time that
boy got a break. I'm so happy for him.
© 2013 Don Hanratty
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