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


Cam woke up about 2 a.m. on the morning of the Magnum Studios trip.  The only noise in the room was from cool air blowing out of the air conditioning ceiling ducts and the soft snores of the guys sleeping here and there around the master bedroom.  Cam was snuggled up to Kevin in the the middle of their huge king-size bed, with Dan Emrick at his side and Mark Carson next to Kevin on the other side of the bed.  Cam put his mouth to Kevin's ear.

"Hey, Kev," he whispered.

Kevin stirred, and then his eyes popped open to look at his partner.

Kissing Kevin's ear and keeping his mouth there, Cam whispered, "Let's go downstairs for a few minutes."

Kevin at first looked at Cam uncomprehendingly in the dim light from the nightlite in the bathroom, and then a big smile broke across his face.  He nodded, causing Cam to smile back as he moved away from Dan Emrick and stepped over the boy to get out of bed.  Kevin carried out the same maneuver, extricating himself from beside Mark Carson, and covering the boys up again with a sheet and light blanket.  They both walked into the bathroom, where they found and put on their bathrobes before they exited the bedroom.  None of the guys stirred as Cam closed the bedroom door quietly and he and Kevin made their way downstairs to the first floor.

They heard Alice's and Samantha's tails thumping on the floor in greeting as they walked down the hall past the study, but the dogs stayed where they had been sleeping and didn't come out to see them.

"I'm so horny to have sex with you I can't stand it," Cam whispered to Kevin.  "Let's use the downstairs bathroom."

"I'm already getting hard," Kevin told his partner sotto voce, pulling Cam close to him and feeling up his ass as they walked farther down the first floor hallway.  "I was hoping you didn't bring me down here in the middle of the night just to chat."

Cam chuckled.

They went into the bathroom at the end of the hall, flicked on the overhead light and closed and locked the door.  Shedding their bathrobes, they spread them out on the rug before dropping their boxers and lying down facing each other.

The house was silent as Kevin clasped his partner's body to himself and looked into his eyes.  "I love you so much, Cameron," Kevin told him.  "I don't tell you that often enough, and I'm sorry I don't."  He paused.  "You and Casey make my life worth living.  I hope you know that."

"Yeah,  I do.  Back atcha."  Cam kissed Kevin on the lips several times, the last time inserting his tongue into Kevin's mouth before drawing back and looking at his partner.  "Sometimes I just want it quiet, with nobody else around the house, when we make love."  He smoothed some errant hairs of Kevin's black crewcut back from his forehead.  "I dig having the whole family down here, y'know, but right now I just want to hold you and touch you when there aren't any distractions."  He put his hand on Kevin's face and held it there for a minute, and then caressed him.

Kevin nodded.  "Yep."  He rubbed Cam's nose with his own.  "I know."  He gave Cam a long, juicy kiss, and began to rub his partner's hairless chest, pausing occasionally to pinch a nipple gently, first one and then the other, and then putting his head down to lick them and nibble on them.

"Oh-h-h," Cam breathed in and out in pleasure, his toes curling and his free hand reaching over to Kevin's beautiful, developed pecs to massage them.

They erected quickly, and Cam reached down and palmed Kevin's long, thick cock, which finished firming up at his touch.  He gently stroked Kevin's hardening penis for several minutes until a drop of precum appeared in the slit, and then he swiveled around and began to suck on his partner's cock.  His position put Cam's package right in front of Kevin's mouth, and he engulfed Cam's dick, taking it as far down his throat as he could as he held Cam's big balls in his hand.  Neither of them moved at first, and then they began to thrust slowly and deliberately into each other's mouth, fully enjoying the moment with their heads between muscular thighs.  Their precum began to flow freely into the moist caverns of their mouths.

Cam and Kevin were nothing if not perseverant, and they continued to pace themselves as they emitted growing sounds of pleasure.  Each of them thrust a middle finger up his partner's ass and found and massaged the prostate it found up there.  It was a good fifteen minutes before they began to suck each other in earnest and, unable to hold back, finally ejaculated almost simultaneously, each flooding his partner's mouth with cum as they groaned in release.

They came down slowly from their sexual high, with both guys rolling the load from his partner over his tongue and around in his mouth.  Cam eventually worked to turn himself around after they had cleaned off each other's dick by mouth, gleaning every drop of juice as if it were nectar. 

"You taste so good," Kevin whispered to Cam.  They kissed deeply, sharing their essence, and then dozed off in each other's arms for a good half-hour before waking up again, totally relaxed and happy and feeling the love they had for each other.



"I know we've mentioned it before, but what would you think about getting married sometime soon?" Kevin asked out of the blue as they continued to lie on the floor, holding each other.  "I'm gonna be 18 in January, and you'll be 18 a week later."

Cam kissed Kevin's chest and looked him in the face.  "I've been thinking about it for awhile, and I want to.  I mean I really want to."

"I know there's nobody else for me but you for a partner in this life," Kevin told him.  "I feel it deep in my gut every time I look at you, dude.  It's not just your beautiful body and the sex, as great as they are.  It's the love I have for the total you."

"Same here," Cam confirmed.  "And my life, our lives, would never be complete without Casey, either.  I can't even put into words how much that little boy has enriched my life and our relationship."

"I know that's true!" Kevin agreed, nodding.  "He's one little guy who has all the love he can handle."

"He's not that much over a year old, but he kinda already has his shit together, y'know.  Whenever he's doing something, he focuses on it completely.  Sometimes I think he's already more mature than I am about some things."

"Well, let's not go overboard, bro," Kevin said, smiling.  He thought for a minute.  "But you're right, he's an amazing kid.  He's really an easy baby to live with.  Easier than you sometimes."

"Now who's going overboard?"

Kevin laughed and kissed his partner again.  "Let's get back to getting married," he said.

"Right.  Thank goodness we don't even have to travel out-of-state anymore to get married now that the California and Federal courts have done the right thing," Cam said.  "And the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has been on board with blessing same sex unions for quite a while now."

"I know.  Not only can we get a blessing in church, we can follow it up with a party to end all parties here at the house, or close by, or even in San Rafael," Kevin enthused.

"When do you want to do it?"

"Well, we won't be 18 until the new year rolls around anyway, so it would have to be in 2015 for sure.  What about sometime in February.  As long as the date doesn't fall in Lent, because the Church discourages marriage blessings in Lent."

"You're so well informed," Cam said slyly, giving him another kiss.  "Are you thinking about a service down here, or in San Rafael?"

"I don't know, and I really don't care.  I'd prefer to do it down here, but we do owe the family a visit up north, y'know." Kevin said. "Maybe several visits.  I'm flexible, though.  If we did it down here, it'd be one more excuse to get everybody down here.  And maybe we could even sneak off for a few days alone for a honeymoon with someone here to be with Casey."

"Now that sounds great!  Let's visit some jewelry stores this week to look at some wedding rings.  We'll have the visit to Magnum out of the way as of later today, and we could run off for a few hours tomorrow without being missed too much," Cam said.  "Nothing too flashy when it comes to the jewelry, but I'll want the world to know that I have you for a life partner after we tie the knot!"

"OK.  And we can announce our engagement at Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow if you want to," Kevin suggested.

"I like that idea!" Cam said.  "A lot."  He put his nose to Kevin's chest and inhaled his scent.

They lay there, just holding each other in the deep silence of the house.  They dozed off and awakened several times before they eventually stood, washed up a little, put on their boxers and their bathrobes, soul-kissed one another lovingly yet one more time, and headed upstairs.

When the two of them entered their bedroom and walked quietly toward the bed, William Carson raised his head where he had been sleeping on the floor and gave them a sleepy grin and a thumbs-up.  He must have suspected they'd been doing more than just talking during their absence.

William doesn't have a clue just how apropos that thumbs-up was now that we've decided to get married!! Maybe he's fucking psychic, Cam thought to himself as he shrugged off his robe, climbed over Dan Emrick into bed and pulled the sheet up to his chest and back over Dan.  He and Kevin clasped one another closely as they drifted off to sleep again in the center of the bed, totally relaxed.

This is everything love is supposed to be, Kevin thought to himself with satisfaction as he basked in the heat from his partner's body.

*  *  *

Berto Hernandez and Maria Romero's older son Juan had run only five miles that morning of the Magnum trip, so they had already showered, dressed and eaten breakfast by the time the rest of the gang had run their usual eight miles and returned to the house.  Catherine and Mary did a few perfunctory cool-down stretches on the deck when they got back, and immediately headed for their showers in the house.

Cam stripped off his soggy T-shirt, stuffed it into the back of his running shorts, and had just given the dogs fresh bowls of water on the deck.  He was preparing to do his post-run stretches when William Carson, dripping with perspiration, walked over to him, grabbed Cam's ass and simultaneously rubbed his sweaty face across Cam's back.

"Gotcha," William said.

Completely taken by surprise, Cam yelped, "You dick!" and chased his tormentor off the deck and down to the bay's edge as the boys back on the deck, and even Father Mason and Ian Carson started to laugh.  William then ran into Santa Monica Bay up to his hips, and Cam went right after him, quietly spouting obscenities and tackling him into the water.

"What the fuck!!?" Cam yelled at William when they came up for air.

William broke away from Cam, and swam into deeper water.  "That was for pushing me into the pool yesterday," he told Cam.

"Well, at least the pool water was clean," Cam said, starting to laugh despite himself.  "Your sweat is fucking toxic, you douche."

"Are we even?"

"Hell, no, dickhead!  You grabbed my ass!"

"And why not?" William said, chuckling.  "The way you flaunt it in front of God and everybody. . ."

"I do no such thing!" Cam protested.  "You must like what you see, though."

"Not necessarily," William said.  "But I've seen worse, I'll say that."

"Thanks, I guess," Cam laughed, deciding to let the whole thing go.  "Come on, we hafta grab a shower and eat some breakfast before our ride to Magnum shows up."

"Yeah," William said, walking back toward the shore.  He got to where Cam was standing, and threw an arm around his neck as they walked on to the hardpack toward the deck.  "I'm sorry I messed with ya.  Sort of."

"OK," Cam said.  He put his arm around the boy and gave William's body a gentle shake as they walked into the dry sand.

All the runners had disappeared into the house by that time, and when they reached the deck, Cam used the hose and washed the sand off himself and William, curtailing his temptation to stick the hose down William's running shorts or squirt him in the face.  Then he slid open the door and looked and listened to see if there were any women in the hall.  No was was there, and Cam stripped off his dripping wet running shorts, jock, T-shirt, and socks out on the deck, and then wrung the water out of them.  William followed his lead, and carrying their wet stuff, the two boys ran into the house naked and hurried up the stairs to the master bedroom.  When they went in, the room was full of boys in the buff, stripped in preparation for a shower, scattered around the room everywhere.

"Have you guys turned nudist?" Andy Helder asked with a grin at Cam and William as the two of them scooted into the room naked as the day they were born, quickly shutting the door behind them.

"Is there any money in it?" William quipped.

"You know it!" Andy said.  "Under the right circumstances."

"We'll talk later," William told Andy with a wink.

Cam went into the bathroom, snagged a laundry bag from where it was hanging on the back of the bathroom door, and brought it into the bedroom.  "If any of you guys want your running gear washed, put it in here, and I'll throw your shit into the washing machine before we leave."  He and William shoved their own damp clothes into the bag.  "I want all you boys to smell minty fresh when we run tomorrow," he said.

The guys jeered.

A naked, grinning Kevin came over to Cam and, putting a hand on his neck, guided him toward the shower.  "Come on, let's get to it, Nature Boy," he said.

"Yep," Cam said, dropping a hand to his partner's well-rounded, muscular butt as they went into the bathroom and claimed the shower heads against the far wall, two above them on the ceiling and two at waist level.  Andy and Carl and Jeff and Art followed Cam and Kevin them into the shower.  Steam soon began billowing toward the exhaust fans in the ceiling as the boys soaped up under the hot water.  Cam kissed Kevin on the lips as the water began pelting their bodies.

"I loves ya," Kevin said as he began to wash Cam's back and his ass.

"Loves ya back," Cam said.  He put his lips to Kevin's ear and said, "I'm still so fucking horny for you.  We need to find some privacy after we get home from Magnum.  I wanna go again."

"Fuckin' A," Kevin told him quietly.  "I like the way you think."

As usual, Cam and Kevin took their time washing each other, still touchy-feely despite having gotten off in the middle of the night.  As usual, they relished every opportunity that life gave them to touch one another physically.  They didn't try to hide that they were half hard by the time they emerged from the bathroom to get dressed, but the rest of the guys pretended they didn't notice anything untoward as everyone finished showering and pulled on their boxers, shorts, polo shirts and sneakers for their day at Magnum Studios.

Once dressed, Cam grabbed the laundry bag, now completely stuffed with damp running clothes, and carried it down the upstairs hall to a laundry room.  He emptied the jocks, shorts, socks and T-shirts into the machine, added soap, and started the wash cycle before heading to the kitchen for breakfast.  Maria had fixed bacon and scrambled eggs along with waffles for the adults and the ravenous boys, who had gathered around kitchen counters, standing up and eating.  Father Mason returned thanks before they dug into the food.

Life is so good, Kevin thought to himself as he stood beside Cam at the kitchen counter scarfing down a great breakfast.  Mary Carson was feeding Casey.

Kevin was thinking positive thoughts about life in general as he watched his brothers and their adult mentors eat their meal, and made up his mind right then and there that he would go along with Cam's request to get trained as an altar server at St. Dunstan's, as Father Ryan had asked.  That would make Cam happy, and it would make the priest happy, and it was the least he could do for the good life he had, especially now that he and Cam had decided to marry.

And if Carl Emrick knows what's good for him, he'd better agree to get trained as an acolyte, too, Kevin thought to himself.

Cam ate his breakfast, and then went upstairs to move the guys' running clothes from the washer to the drier.  While he had a minute, he pulled his cell phone out of the pocket of his shorts and called Sean Miller next door.  Miller answered the landline.

"Mr. Miller, this is Cam.  We're getting ready to leave for Magnum Studios.  Samantha and Alice are tied up on the deck, and they have fresh water right now.  If you have time, could you check later this morning and see that they have water in their bowls?"

"I sure will, Cam.  At some point I have to bring the turducken cooker over to your house anyway, so I'll take care of the girls.  You all have a good time at the studio, now."

"Will do.  Ask Juanita to come over to get on the bus with us.  And thanks."

*  *  *

The whole crew, dressed in shorts, T-shirts and sandals, had no sooner gathered outside than Father John Ryan's car pulled into the driveway and disgorged the priest and his three children.

"I think everybody remembers these folks," Cam said to the crowd, "but if you don't, this is Father Ryan, and Samuel, Joshua and Rebecca."  People milled around making themselves known again to the Ryans.

Father Ryan shook hands with his friend Father Mason, who was now dressed informally in a golf shirt and shorts, and gave him a long hug, patting him on the back.

"Good to see you, John," Father Mason said.  "You and Lisa will be here at the house for Thanksgiving, right?"

"Yes," Ryan said.

"We need to talk," Jim Mason said.  "I'm going to see my mother tomorrow morning, but from what my sister has been telling me about Mom's struggle with Alzheimers, I'm going to have to move down here sooner rather than later."

"We'll talk," Ryan said.  "The vestry and I have set aside funds to put you on staff at St. Dunstan's whenever you get down here.  For a long time now I've needed more help than a part-time deacon can give me, so we're ready for you start work here whenever you are.  The parish is growing."

"Thanks, John.  I hate to leave St. Andrew's and San Rafael, but I don't have any choice.  Knowing I'm going to have a job and a spiritual home and an altar here is going to ease the pain of moving.  I'm looking forward to being here and spending more time with my mother before it's too late  So thanks for making room for me."

"Good, then," Ryan said, and looked around for his older son and beckoned to him.  "Samuel, come here."  The priest reached into his pocket and brought out some currency, handing it to the boy.  "In case you and your brother and sister need something extra on this little jaunt."

"Thanks, Dad," Samuel said.

"Be good, and have a good time," Ryan said.

"We're always good," Joshua told his dad, and the crowd snickered.

"Yeah, right," Father Ryan said.  "Glad to see you all," he said to the group.  "See you Thanksgiving Day."

"Looking forward to it," Ian Carson said, shaking hands with Father Ryan and walking the priest to his car.  "You and Lisa come early and stay late," he added.

"Will do."

"And we'll see you on Thanksgiving morning for Mass," Ian added.

"Good deal, Ian," the priest said.

Father Ryan had no sooner pulled away than a shiny, black, medium-sized Mercedes Benz bus, able to accommodate perhaps thirty people, swept down the entry road into that part of Malibu from the Pacific Coast Highway and made its way toward Cam and Kevin's house.  The bus pulled up at precisely 9:00 and the door opened.  The boys waited until all the adults had boarded before they got aboard themselves with a little good-natured pushing and shoving.  Cam and Kevin sat together side by side, as did Carl and Andy, and the rest of the guys scattered around the bus.  Cam noticed that Art Smith and Jeff Miller sat with each other.  Catherine had Casey in a sling around her neck at that point, and the little guy was babbling away at his grandmother.  Mark Carson and Dan Emrick were sitting together and each was listening to tunes on their IPods, moving their heads in time to the music.

The vehicle smelled new and was immaculately clean, Ian Carson had noted as he and his wife Mary had found seats in the front row.  Ian was pleased to see that the driver was the same man who had picked them up at LAX the day before.

"I guess you know we're going to Magnum Studios, Andrew," Ian said to the driver.

"Yes, sir," the man said.  "We should be there in about 45 minutes.  The traffic in that direction sometimes starts to lighten up by this time in the morning."

"Good," Ian said.  "As long as we're there by 10 o'clock, we'll be in good shape."

"No problem," the driver said.

"Will there be any difficulty parking there?" Ian asked.

"No, sir.  There will be plenty of room."

Cam saw Ian talking with the driver, and came to the front of the bus to join the conversation.

"Everything good?" Cam asked the two of them.

"Yes," the driver said.  "Mr. Carson was just asking about parking at Magnum Studios.  There's plenty of room there in the lot for the bus."  The driver had remembered Ian's name, no doubt because of the nice tip Ian had given the man the afternoon before when the northern California people had arrived in town.

"Super," Cam said.  "We're going to take a tour of the studio, and then have lunch about 12:00 or shortly thereafter with Mr. Eisner, the CEO.  I don't think there will be a problem if you want to join our group for the tour and then have lunch at the commissary."

The driver smiled.  "Well, that's nice of you.  Thank you very much."

"Sure," Cam said, bumping fists with Ian before strolling back to Kevin toward the back of the bus.  Ian was reflecting on Cam's invitation to the driver for lunch as Andrew turned the bus around and headed toward the Pacific Coast Highway.

"Cameron is a good-hearted young man," he said to his wife quietly after sitting down.  "He thinks about other people all the time, and that's a great trait," he told her.

"I know," Mary said.  "Mark and Dan and Berto are the same way.  But I don't know about William."

"I think William's going to be all right," Ian said.  "We have another year before he heads to college, and we'll work on that issue some more before he leaves to be on his own."

"Well, he has a good example in you and the other boys," Mary said.

"Thanks, sweetheart," Ian said, clasping his wife's hand.  "That's always nice to hear."

They settled back in their seats to watch the scenery flash by as the bus moved along toward their destination through some light smog.  There was a hum of conversation as the boys talked to each other while others played games on their phones.

The vehicle arrived at the studio gate a few minutes before 10 a.m.  A uniformed guard stopped them at the opening to the parking lot, stepping up to the bus driver's window.  Cam went forward again and gave the guard his name through the window.  The man looked at a clip board he was carrying and then gave the driver directions to the parking lot.  When the guard nodded to a co-worker in the guard shack, a striped gate pole rose into the air to admit them, and Andrew drove to a portion of the lot reserved for buses.

When the driver opened the door, an attractive young lady dressed in blue slacks and a white blouse with "Magnum Studios" embroidered on it stepped into the doorway.

"Good morning," the young woman said.  "My name is Marie Anderson, and I'll be your tour guide this morning.  Is there a Mr. MacKenzie aboard?"

The wise-ass guys in the back of the bus all pointed at Cam and hooted, and he blushed and went forward to greet their guide.

"Good morning," Cam said as he shook Marie's hand.

"Good morning," Marie said to Cam.  "Welcome to Magnum Studios, sir.  If I could just have a word with the group, then we can get started."

"Of course," Cam told her, and then raised his voice.  "Listen up, please, especially you troublemakers in the back of the bus."

The guys wanted so badly to give him the finger, but they restrained themselves and fell silent.

"We're pleased to have you here today to visit where movie magic is made the Magnum way," Marie said.  "This is a special tour this morning, in that our boss, Mr. George Eisner, has made special arrangements for you to view some of the studio facilities and activities that are normally off limits to visitors, and then to eat lunch in the commissary."

Everybody looked pleased to hear that they were to have special privileges.

Marie went on to stress as they got off the bus and were gathered in the parking lot, that it would be helpful if the group stayed together as they were conveyed by people carriers and then walked to view the staff at work and the facilities.  They would actually get to see scenes shot on some of the sound stages with stars, extras and crew members on sets which were usually closed.  She emphasized that once the director on a closed set had given the signal for shooting a scene, visitors had to remain perfectly quiet.

"I probably don't need to tell you that if a director hears any noise or disturbance of any kind," Marie said, "filming is immediate curtailed and the set is closed to visitors right away. That would obviously be very embarrassing to your host, Mr. Eisner, so I urge you to comply with that request.
"Time permitting," Marie continued, "Mr. Eisner has arranged for you to have an opportunity to say hello to the cast members and directorial staff at the completion of any scene which has been shot."

"Yeah," Andy Helder leaned across the aisle and whispered to William Carson.  "Don't fuck this up."

"Shut the fuck up," William mouthed at him silently.

Marie said their initial stop would be at rest rooms in case of need, and then they would proceed to the points of interest.  At the end of the tour, they would go to the commissary for lunch with Mr. Eisner.

After the opening announcements, they all disembarked the bus to board a long tram, which made a first stop at a rest facility, as promised.  Everybody departed to do their business.  William stood at a urinal beside Kevin in the men's room.

"I hope you have your shit together today," Kevin told him.

"Why would anybody think I'd be anything but a model visitor?" William demanded with a grin.

"Because we know you so well," Kevin said.  "Don't be a dick, or we'll send you home in a taxi.  I hope you have money for that, 'cause otherwise it's a long walk to Malibu."

"I'm always a model of decorum," William said.  "So don't get your little pea brain in an uproar."

"I'm gonna beat the shit outta you before your trip down here is over," Kevin threatened.  "That's a promise."

"Why in the world would you want to do that?" William asked, shaking off and zipping up.  "Don't make promises you can't keep!"

"Believe me, I don't," Kevin said with a laugh, finishing up and going over to a sink to wash his hands.  "I'll just let Carl take you down a peg."

"Carl can't do shit," William said.

"Really?  He's a wrestler, asshole, and he can take me down," Kevin said.  "So I don't think he'd have much of a problem with you.  But if he did, Andy will take over and hurtcha bad."

"Humph!" William said scornfully, as he soaped his hands, rinsed them, and then dried them on a paper towel before they headed back out to the tram.  He knew that Carl and Andy were formidable in a one-on-one fight.

Once the visitors were back aboard, the people carrier began to wend it's way deeper into the heart of the Magnum Studios' lot.  Cam noticed that the farther they went, office buildings somewhat smaller than the large Magnum brick headquarters building at the entrance gave way to huge metal buildings that looked like warehouses.  At their entrances, a few of the warehouses had red lights flashing over signs with a legend which said, "FILMING IN PROGRESS.  NO ENTRY!"

They eventually stopped at one of the warehouses.  There was a light and sign there at the entrance, and the light was flashing yellow, not red.

Marie the tour guide unhooked a microphone at the front of the tram, and said, "This is our first stop.  Director Mario Netcas is filming the inside scenes of a musical love story set in Rome, Italy, on this sound stage.  I've been informed that the stars of the film will be singing to a musical background provided by members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Gustavo Dudamel.  Just a quick reminder:  once the music and filming begin, strict quiet will be required.  Mr. Eisner had to practically beg Director Netcas to let your party view this filming as a special favor, and he agreed only out of respect for the friendship he had with Alex MacKenzie and John Kelley.  But any noise from any of us, and Director Netcas will throw us all out with no second chances.  Every scene costs thousands of dollars to film, so I do ask again for your cooperation in maintaining complete silence."

"Should I remain outside with the baby in case he wakes up?" Catherine MacKenzie asked Marie.

"No, ma'am," Marie said.  "There is a small soundproof room on the set where you can sit with the baby and take in everything that's going on," Marie said.

"Thank you so much," Catherine said.

The crowd filed off the people carrier, and Marie led them to the door and pushed a button.  A private, uniformed cop opened the door and eyed Marie.

"Yes?" the man asked.

"This is the MacKenzie party," Marie said.  "Mr. Eisner has arranged with Director Netcas for them to view the filming of the next scheduled scene."

The guard took a clipboard from a hook beside the door, and scanned it.  Finding an entry, he pulled a pen from his shirt pocket and made a check mark.

"Yes, your group is scheduled." the man said.  "Is the group is aware of the rules for silence during shooting?" he asked.

"Yes," Marie said.

The guard swung the door wide and used his foot to push down the door stop to hold the door open.

"Please follow me," the guard said, and led the group to a carpeted area with upholstered seats.  "Be seated, and please remain quiet while the scene is being set up."

Marie had a word with the guard, and he nodded and led Catherine, holding a still sleeping Casey, to a small, glassed-in area with seating in it.  Catherine went in, and the guard shut the door.

Cam looked around the room, which was
cavernous.  The ceiling was dotted with banks of lights, mostly aimed at the stage which was perhaps 100 feet from the seating area for visitors.  The back of the stage was green screen.   Some of the lights were illuminated at that point, and some were not.  The orchestra was seated facing toward one end of the elevated stage, with shared music stands for each two performers in front of the paired musicians.  Microphones were hanging from the ceiling to pick up the music when the musicians began playing.

Maestro Dudamel, whom Cam recognized from TV and from pictures in newspapers and magazines, was wearing earphones and standing at the side of the the orchestra.  He was intently watching the film's assistant directors on stage moving cast members around to their marks.  When the cast members were all in place, one of the assistant directors nodded at Director Netcas, who was wearing earphones with a mic on a short boom.  Netcas said, "Lights" to another assistant, who pointed at a glassed in control room hanging above where the MacKenzie group was seated.  A switch was thrown, and additional lights illuminated the stage with a bang as they came on.  "Camera," Netcas said quietly.  Then he pointed silently at the orchestra director and then at the stage.

Dudamel waved his baton at the orchestra, and a cascade of full-bodied music washed over the cast and the visitors into the huge space as the music conductor partially turned to watch the action on stage.   Cam glanced over at his mother, holding Casey in the special booth, and Catherine's eyes were closed as she heard the music and enjoyed it.  At Dudamel's gesture, a lady cast member began to sing in a beautiful soprano voice, soon joined by a man singing tenor in what proved to be a moving duet.  Cast members comprising a small choir subsequently joined the two soloists in harmonious support of the melody.

The guys generally weren't fans of classical music, but they and the adults were captivated by what they were hearing and seeing.  Kevin reached down in the semi-darkness to grasp Cam's hand as the music of the orchestra and the singers' voices rose and fell over a ten minute period.  Cam looked over at his partner, whose eyes were also closed as he listened to the performance streaming into their space.  The orchestra brought their accompaniment to a close as the film director Netcas quietly said, "Cut!" and the instruction was repeated in a louder voice by an assistant director.

"Scene 24B," one of the assistant directors said after a nod from Director Netcas.  "That's a wrap!"

Many of the musicians, the cast and the observers in the MacKenzie party began talking to one another.  Marie Anderson, their guide, picked up a microphone and addressed the visitors.

"Director Netcas and his assistants, along with cast members and Conductor Dudamel and the orchestra members, have graciously consented to make themselves available to meet the visitors of the MacKenzie party," Marie said.

Catherine emerged from the glass enclosed seating area with Casey in his sling, now awake, and joined the line of adults and the guys waiting to meet Mario Netcas along with the assistant directors, and then Maestro Dudamel and the orchestra members.

When Cam reached Director Netcas in the line and introduced himself by name, he was unprepared for the warmth of the director's greeting.

"Are you related to the late Alex MacKenzie?" Netcas asked.

"Yes, sir.  I'm his son."  He turned to Catherine and Kevin.  "This is my mother, Catherine MacKenzie, and this is my partner, Kevin Stoltz and our son, Casey.  Thank you so much for letting us watch the filming."

"I'm so glad to have you here," Netcas said.  "George Eisner is a hard man to say 'No' to," he added, laughing.  "But I'm pleased to have an opportunity to meet you all."  He looked at Cam.  "I hope you know that your dad and his partner John Kelley did great work before their untimely deaths.  I can't begin to tell you how much I learned about my job as a filmmaker by watching them at work when I was an assistant director."

"You're so kind to say that," Cam said.  He couldn't help tearing up momentarily when he heard the director say what he did.

"Their loss to the community of the arts was a real blow," Netcas added.  "I hope you'll come and see me sometime, and we'll talk."

"Thank you, sir," Cam responded, and then moved on to the actor/singers and the rest of the movie staff so that the adults and the guys behind him could meet everybody.  He was then led over to the orchestra, where he introduced himself to Conductor Dudamel.

"MacKenzie?" Dudamel said when Cam shook his hand.  "Were you related to Alex MacKenzie?" he asked with a Spanish accent.

"Yes, sir.  He was my father."

Dudamel touched his arm warmly.  "I was hurt by his passing away," the young man said.  "I had the privilege of working with him several times on movie scores.  In my opinion, he was a genius.  I miss him to this day."

Once again Cam felt moisture in his eyes.

"You're very kind, Maestro," Cam said.  "He's very much missed."

Cam introduced his mother and Casey and Kevin to the young conductor, and Dudamel engaged Catherine and Kevin in conversation, and caressed Casey's head with the assurance of someone who had a child of his own.

Cam and Dudamel shook hands again, and Cam moved down the line to greet the members of the orchestra.

After the group had had an opportunity to say hello to everyone on the set, Marie herded the visitors together, and they headed for the door.  Cam turned for an instant before leaving, and glanced back at Netcas and Dudamel, who were talking with each other and looking at the departing crowd.  Cam waved good-bye to them and they waved back, and the group walked back to the tram.

"It's good to hear Alex and John so well spoken of, isn't it?" Kevin said to Cam.

"It really is," Cam said, putting a hand up to shield his eyes as tears flowed.

Kevin put his arm around his partner, and kissed the side of his head as Cam dashed the tears from his eyes and eventually smiled.

The next stop on the agenda was an open-air set with cowboys and horses on a dusty, unpaved street of a simulated town.  Marie led the tour group to a spot directly behind the director and a camera on a boom riding along rails at the side of the street.  The scene being filmed was a group of men riding into town to get themselves a beer in a bar.  Dust squirted out from under the horses' hooves as the men rode in, stopping at a hitching rail and tying their horses to it before going through a doorway into a poorly lighted barroom.  That scene was a wrap, and the next scene was filmed inside the tavern with the thirsty cowboys getting a drink of "beer," which Marie later told them was actually iced tea.

After a meet and greet with the staff and actors, it was back to the people carrier for travel to the next set, on which a man and a woman, lovers in the story, strolled along a walkway to which would be added, via green screen, a scene of Manhattan and the Hudson River.  Things didn't go as the director wanted, and the scene had to be re-shot several times.  There was no music, and Cam surmised that, if there were to be any, it would be added later.

The director and the cast were not in a very good mood due to the do-overs, but the staff and actors were still cordial to Cam, Kevin and the other visitors before Marie ushered them off the sound stage and back to the people carrier.

It was then 11:45 by then, and at Marie's suggestion, the group headed for the commissary building for lunch.  George Eisner was already there at the entrance, accompanied by Natalie Renner, his beautiful executive assistant.  As had been true the first time she had met Cam, Kevin and Carl when they had come to the studio for lunch, Natalie was not shy about studying the boys and their bodies as she and Eisner were introduced to everybody.

Cam watched Natalie as she and William were introduced, and if William had been a bird dog, he would have been on point.  Cam poked Kevin, who laughed out loud when he observed the vibes between the young man and the woman.  When everyone went into the huge facility to go through the food line, Natalie stuck to William like glue, and sat down next to him when they found spots at one of the long tables in the commissary to wait for the line to go down.  Right next to him.  William looked up and caught Cam's eye, and they both grinned from ear to ear.

"Natalie, are you in school and working part-time, or what?" William asked Eisner's assistant.

The young woman told William that she was a UCLA grad in theater, but was taking some graduate courses at the film school.  That started a long dialog between the two of them which continued apace.

George Eisner stood between Cam and Kevin at one of the long tables.  Before they could start a conversation, Father Mason stepped up and said, "The Lord be with you."

Members of the group who had already sat down before going through the line rose from their seats and said,  "And also with you."

"Let us pray.  We thank you, Father, for the great gift of companionship that we have enjoyed today.  Bless the skills of the artists who lift us from the mundane in daily life by making movies and music.  We also ask you to bless the food which we are about to receive to our use, and us to your service, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Everyone in the group made the sign of the cross, saying, "Amen," and then re-formed a line to take trays, pick up silverware and napkins, and then file past a variety of entrees, side dishes and desserts.

"This food looks really good," Carl Emrick told George Eisner, who was just ahead of him in line.

"It is good, Carl," Eisner told him.  "I hope you'll enjoy it.  We want people to have a good meal when they're visiting or working here."

Carl leaned forward and introduced the CEO to Andy Helder, who was just behind him in line.

"Glad to meet you, Andy," Eisner said, shaking hands.  "Carl mentioned you when he was here with Cam and Kevin at the studio for lunch not too long ago."

"Good to meet you, sir," Andy said, surprised that Eisner remembered the conversation.

"Refresh my memory, Andy.  Are you in school at UCLA?" Eisner asked.

"No.  I've been attending St. Francis University in San Rafael.  But I'll be transferring to UCLA starting next semester."

Eisner smiled.  "I don't suppose that has anything to do with the fact that Carl is down here, does it?"

Andy was unflappable.  "It has everything to do with that, actually," he said unapologetically.  Carl blushed.

"Well, good," Eisner said.  "What are you studying?"

"I'm taking a bunch of liberal arts courses right now, but I may be a business major like Carl when all is said and done."

"Hmmn.  Well, come and see me here at the studio at some point before you get your degree.  Or we can talk at church some Sunday.  Maybe we can make a film producer out of you.  We need people who know how to evaluate scripts and sell films and raise money for them.  And a good producer knows how to squeeze a nickle until George Washington is riding on the eagle's back."

Andy chuckled.  "I'd really like to explore some job possibilities with you when the time comes," he said.  "Thank you."

The most popular meal at the commissary that day was roast beef and all the trimmings, and most of the boys went back for seconds before they helped themselves to apple pie a la mode for dessert.

After everyone had eaten and they'd talked for awhile, George Eisner stood up and looked at the group. 

"Thank you all so much for touring Magnum Studios and having some lunch," he said.  "It's been a great pleasure to have you here."

The group members applauded, and then formed a line to meet him and say good-bye to him.  When Ian Carson came by, he introduced Mary and himself.

"Hello, Mrs. Carson.  Ian Carson?" Eisner said, taking stock of Ian.  "Are you the Ian Carson who is president of the California Bar Association?"

"Yes, I am," Ian admitted.

"I'd like to meet with you while you're here," Eisner said.  "Will you be in LA all week?"

"Yes, I will."

"Can I reach you at Cam and Kevin's house on Friday?"

"Yes.  Why don't I give you my cell number."

Eisner turned and beckoned to Natalie Renner, who reluctantly left William's side and walked over to him.

"Natalie, meet Ian and Mary Carson," Eisner said.  "This is Natalie Renner, my administrative assistant.  Natalie, take down Mr. Carson's cell phone number so I can reach him later this week."

"Yes, sir," Natalie said, pulling a little note pad from the pocket of her dress.  Ian gave her the number, and she wrote it down and thanked him.

"Ian, I can come to you for a meeting if that would be more convenient," Eisner said.

"I understand you and your wife belong to St. Dunstan's Church," Ian said.  "We're all going to Mass on Thanksgiving morning.  If you're going to be there, why don't we meet for a few minutes after the service?  That'll save an extra trip."  Ian smelled some business in the offing.

"Great idea!" Eisner said enthusiastically.  "I'll look forward to seeing you then."  He turned to Mary Carson and took her hand again.  "Mrs. Carson, I'm delighted to have met you."

"You as well," Mary said cordially.  "Thank you so much for your generous hospitality today."

"It's been our pleasure, believe me," Eisner said.

The entire group began to walk toward the tram outside of the commissary building.

"Natalie, call the office and tell them you and I are coming back on a tram," Eisner said.  "They don't need to send a car for us."

"Yes, sir."

Ian sat with Mary, with George Eisner in a seat right across the aisle.  The two men leaned toward each other and started a conversation which would last until the people carrier reached the Magnum Headquarters building.

When Natalie Renner had boarded, she'd gone toward the back of the people carrier and sat down next to William, with Cam and Kevin right behind them.  Cam and Kevin watched William and Natalie interact with each other with amusement, knowing exactly what was on their minds.  If they could get away with it, they'd strip and fuck each other right here in the aisle, Kevin thought to himself with a smile on his face.

The people carrier dropped off George Eisner and Natalie Renner at the entrance to the headquarters building, and then went back to the Mercedes bus in short order and the group got aboard.  Andrew fired up the bus after everyone was seated, and they made their way to the Magnum Studios' exit.  Pulling out on to the street, they started toward Santa Monica and Malibu.

Cam and Kevin were sitting on the bus immediately behind William, who was sitting alone.  Cam leaned forward.

"You and Natalie seemed to hit it off," he suggested with a straight face.

William turned in his seat and grinned.  "You bet.  Beautiful woman."
"Yeah," Cam agreed.  "She stuck pretty close to you."

"True," William admitted.

"Do you think she knew somehow that you have a big dick and like to use it, or did you tell her outright?" Cam asked, trying not to laugh out loud.

William did laugh out loud.  "I didn't tell her that, but I seriously doubt if she was thinking about my anatomy."

"Get real!!" Kevin interjected.  "Your crotch was very much on her mind."

"Sex is all you two think about," William declared.

"Sex has been known to occur to us," Cam admitted.  "But back to Natalie.  I don't suppose you shared with her that you're still in high school."

"Well, no.  The matter never came up."

"Would I be right in thinking that something came up, though?" Kevin asked.

"Maybe," William said.  "Just like I'd guess it did for you two during your little hiatus from the master bedroom last night."

"We don't have a clue what you're talking about," Kevin said.  "We just wanted a drink of water."

"You may have moistened your lips during the wee hours, but I doubt if it was with water," William insisted.

"You're such a nasty, suspicious, San Francisco metro jock boy," Cam said, trying not to laugh.

"No, I think San Francisco is more your kind of town," William retorted.

"Cam and I will have to get up there sometime and take you on a real tour of the city," Kevin said.  "You'll never think of sex the same way again."

"Promises, promises.  We may never know, will we?" William said.  "By the way, if I can get a date with Natalie sometime this week, can I borrow one of your cars?"

"That would be suborning child abuse--on her part," Cam said.  "You being the child.  Besides, we don't want cream and other juices all over our rich, Corinthian leather."

"Never mind.  I have a hunch she'd be willing to pick me up in her car."

"Could be.  But what about Alicia?" Kevin asked.

"Well, Alicia knows I have needs."

"I'm sure she does.  Let's not dwell on the obvious," Cam said.  "We'd better change the subject."

"Change the subject to what?" William asked.

"Can you keep your mouth shut until Thanksgiving?" Cam asked.


"Kevin and I are going to get married.  Probably during Spring vacation in 2015."

"All right!"  William looked genuinely pleased.  "Congrats, guys."

"We're gonna announce it at Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday," Kevin said.  "It'll be a big surprise as long as you keep quiet about it."

"I promise I will on one condition," William said.

"There are no conditions," Cam said with a scowl.

"One condition.  I get to be best man for one of you.  That way I could give at least one of you some badly needed sex tips."

Cam and Kevin looked at each other.

"You take him," Kevin demanded.

"No, you take him.  I want Berto for my best man."

"Just a minute.  Let's flip a coin," Kevin said.  "Let me see if I have my two-headed Kennedy half dollar on me," pretending to reach into his pocket for change.

"Don't be a dick," Cam suggested.  "I'd rather have Casey for my best man than William."

The quiet wrangling continued with putdowns of William until the bus pulled into the driveway in Malibu.

The gang, except for Ian, Cam and Kevin, got off the bus, thanking the driver as they passed by him.  As they headed for the house, and Ian pulled out his credit card and handed it to Andrew.  Cam told Ian to take his card back and put it away.

"Ian, you can't keep paying to bring everybody down here from San Rafael, and then pick up the tab for everything we all do while you're here," he said.  "Kevin and I want to pay for this trip."  He handed his own credit card to the driver, who sat there not knowing which card to use.

"You and Kevin are still in school," Ian responded.  "Half of the people who went on the trip today belong to Mary and me," Ian responded.  "You and Kevin are doing enough by just putting a roof over our heads when we visit."

"You've paid for enough," Kevin said.  He reached over and took Ian's card out of Andrew's hand.  But instead of handing it back to Ian, he put it in his own pocket, stepped out the door of the bus, and walked toward the house.

Cam laughed at Ian.  "See what happens when you're stubborn."  Andrew ran Cam's credit card through a processor connected to a smart phone, and they concluded their business.  Cam thanked the man and gave him a nice tip in cash.

"See if you can get my credit card back from your klepto partner," Ian told Cam with a grin as they walked toward the house.  "Meanwhile, thanks for the trip.  Not only was it fun and interesting, but George Eisner and I are going to talk after Mass on Thanksgiving morning.   I'm the rainmaker at my firm, and maybe there will be some legal business in the offing."

"Crafty!" Cam said.  "No minute goes to waste for you, does it?"


*  *  *

The guys wasted no time in changing into swim trunks and heading for the Miller's pool.  It was a hot day for November, and soon the water was flying as the boys tried to drown each other.  Things didn't calm down until the adults began drifting over from next door.  Catherine had changed Casey into his swimming gear, and handed him down to Kevin in the pool.  Kevin took his time getting the baby wet, not wanting to let the cool water shock his system.  Casey loved the water, and Kevin supported the little boy's abdomen and let the little guy try to swim.  When the boy tired of that, Kevin held him in his arms and crooned to him, repeatedly kissing his head and chest as he moved slowly around the pool with his son.

Kevin eventually passed Casey up to Mary, who sat down with him.  Catherine pulled a baby bottle out of a bag, and handed it to Mary to give the child some juice.  He liked the taste of that, and sucked it all up before dozing off again.

After a half hour in the water, Kevin got a soccer ball out of the Millers' pool house, and the boys and Ian and Father Mason hit the beach for some soccer.   They were all back in an hour, dripping with sweat, and dived into the pool one after another to cool off.

Cam swam over to Kevin and put his arms around his neck as they bobbed up and down in the water.

"Hey," Cam said.

"Hey," Kevin replied, leaning forward to plant his lips gently on Cam's.

"Have you had a chance to talk to Mark Carson yet on this trip?" Cam asked when they stopped smooching.

"Not really.  Why?"

"I was watching him a little today at Magnum and at the soccer game.  He didn't look too happy.  I don't mean he looked miserable, but he doesn't have the usual spark in his eye.  Maybe you could check out what's going on with him.  You know he has special feelings for you, so he'll talk to you."

"I can do that," Kevin said.

"That'd be good," Cam said.  "Thanks."

Sean Miller emerged from his house in his swim trunks just then and took a shallow dive into the pool, coming up out of the water near Ian Carson.

"I bought a turducken this morning for us to cook for Thanksgiving, and I brushed the cobwebs off the turducken cooker in the garage," Sean said.  "If you'll help me, we can carry it over and put it on your deck so we can fire it up bright and early on Thanksgiving morning.  Early Thanksgiving morning."

"Sounds good except for the 'carrying' part," Ian said.  "Let's make a couple of these lazy louts here in the pool with us carry it next door," Ian suggested.

"Of course!" Sean laughed.  "What was I thinking?"

"I'm used to having my boys around to do the chores," Ian said.

"As they should," Sean said.

*  *  *

Kevin hugged and kissed Cam one more time, and true to his word, swam across the pool to Mark Carson.  "You got time for a walk on the beach?" he asked the boy.

"Sure," Mark said, eating up the attention.

The two of them swam to a nearby ladder and emerged from the pool, grabbing their towels to dry off.  They put on their sandals and headed for the beach.

"How're things going?" Kevin asked when they reached the ocean water and started up the beach.

"Pretty good," Mark said.

"Well, you haven't seemed your frisky self this trip."

Mark stared down at his feet as they walked along.  "Is this between you and me?" he asked.

"Of course."

"I've just been thinking about how much better William is doing in life than I am," Mark admitted.  "Being jealous of him makes me want to puke, but I really am jealous of him.  He's the big football hero, and everybody loves him, especially the women.  His grades are great, and Mom and Dad are always praising him.  I know I shouldn't, but I feel like I'm not even in the game these days."

"How are your grades?"

"They're good.  William and I are both on the dean's list.  But..."

"But what?"

"Nobody is paying any attention when I accomplish anything."

"Aren't you still playing soccer?" Kevin asked.


"What position?"

"I'm a striker."

"Cam and I played soccer.  Midfielders.  And we got our share of the limelight."

"I remember.  But you didn't have William for an older brother.  And it seems more and more like football is the only sport people are really interested in."

"I know what you mean," Kevin admitted.  "Football seems to be king in the sports world.  But I'm glad you're not playing football, Mark, and you should be, too."

"Why is that?"

"Because football is fucking dangerous for anybody who plays it, that's why.  High school football is dangerous enough, college football is more dangerous than high school, and professional football is totally dangerous from the first snap.  I try not to even watch NFL games anymore because it's so dangerous.  And I don't want to support it by watching it on TV.  I can promise you that Casey will never, ever play organized football if I have anything to say about it.  Not even at the Pop Warner level.  I worry about William, and I'm really hoping he doesn't get a football scholarship at Stanford or anyplace else."

"Don't you think you're exaggerating the risks in football a little bit?" Mark asked.

"No, I don't.  I agree that administrators and coaches are working all the time to get safer equipment, and they've changed the rules to some extent to try to protect players.  Quarterbacks like William probably don't face the same risks that linebackers and tight ends do, for example, but it's still dangerous.  They still get hit.  The human body, particularly the head and the spine, just aren't made to take the kind of punishment that's handed out to them on the football field."


"You don't think that the NFL settled with retired players for 765 million dollars and change to cover retired players' medical problems out of the goodness of their hearts, do you?" Kevin asked.

"I suppose not."

"I like Aussie-rules football, for example, because there is less contact and are far fewer injuries.  American football is just way over the top.  I understand that there is some level of risk involved in all athletics.  There are risks in life in general, and it's stupid to say otherwise.  But at some point the level of risk is just too high in American football.  Some players are eliminated by injuries during their playing years.  But others never realize what's happened to them on the field week after week until they're in their late forties and early fifties, when they come down with ALS or Parkinson's or other neurological problems with no cure, or at least no cure right now.  These players took one too many hits to the head during their playing days, and not a lot of thought was given to the consequences by anybody.  Professional football players take pride in playing through pain. The big bucks offered at the professional level in football make it difficult for young men, especially minorities from poorer families, to turn down.  Let's not forget that before anything else, football is a business.  Somehow we Americans have a love of violence in our lives, both on the field and off the field.  And there's plenty of violence in football."

"I admit I haven't given this a lot of thought," Mark said.

"Well, to be fair, violence in football isn't the only danger jocks face.  Medical experts are finding out now that artificial turf, or more precisely, what's under artificial turf, may be causing different kinds of cancer.  They're still researching it, but artificial turf is laid down over ground-up automobile tires containing lots of chemicals, and every time you hit the turf, you pick up some of those chemicals in your lungs and sometimes on your skin.
  So even soccer and lacrosse players may be at some risk, not just football players.  Some venues that really care about those who who are playing sports have begun to take up the artificial turf to replace what the turf is currently anchored in.  And I'm the first one to admit that the evidence isn't completely in on this particular issue.  Not yet.

"I love sports," Kevin continued.  "You know I do.  But I just want you to assess some of the risks involved in being a jock, and being good at it.  I love ya, Mark.  I want ya to count your blessings and your gifts a little bit more when it comes to how you look at William's successes.  In the final analysis, success isn't always quite what it seems.  I appreciate your skills at soccer, and I'm not alone."

Mark sighed.  "I hear ya."

"I don't want somebody else's success at sports or at anything else in life to bring you down, bud.  I want you to be more realistic about your own strong points.  You're really good looking, you have a great body that not done growing yet, you're smart and a good student, you're kind, you're loyal to friends, you're a good son to your parents, and you're an exceptional jock.  But I'm glad you're not the football hero that William is, for the reasons I just stated.  I have all kinds of respect for your skill and accomplishments, and that's never going to change."

"Thank you," Mark said.  "I mean that."

"I know you do.  Uh, I hope you can keep my views about football under wraps for now.  It'll just lead to a lot of problems and arguments."

"Okay," Mark agreed.

Kevin stopped walking and faced Mark, who stopped and looked at him.

"Now, to Important Topic Number 2," Kevin said.  "The last time we talked, you were wondering whether you're straight or gay.  Have you drawn any conclusions about that?"

"No.  I've been dating some girls, and enjoying it."  Mark paused and looked down at his feet.  "But I still like to look at guys' bodies, too."

Kevin smiled and pulled Mark into a hug and kissed him on the cheek.  "That doesn't mean much.  Most straight guys, certainly including your macho brother William, don't look away when there's a good looking, naked and really hung boy in the shower.  Looking doesn't mean somebody's gay.  More goes into the equation than that.  Don't let anybody tell you different.  But whatever your orientation turns out to be, you're going to be much loved by everybody who really knows you."

"I need to talk to you more often, Kevin," Mark said with a smile.

"Let me tell you again:  I love ya, dude.  Don't you ever forget that."

"I love you, too," Mark said.

The two guys turned around and headed back toward the house, both of them pleased with their conversation.

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