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


The distant clang from one of grills on the front deck awakened Kevin early on Thanksgiving morning.  He'd had a good night's sleep in the middle of the huge bed, intertwined with Cam.  Mark Carson was next to him and Dan Emrick was next to Cam.  The boy-heat from the bodies surrounding him felt good to Kevin.

No one else in the master bedroom full of sleeping boys was stirring as Kevin looked at his watch.  It was 5 a.m.  The hour suggested to him that the noise from the deck was probably caused by Sean Miller making good on his promise to put the turducken into the special cooker he had loaned to the MacKenzie-Carson clan.  Only time would tell if the turducken, now immersed in soon-to-be-boiling cooking oil, would really be the centerpiece of the family's Thanksgiving meal like it was supposed to be.  Two small turkeys would also be put on regular grills before everybody took their usual run on the beach later that morning.  The ladies--Maria Romero and her sister, the Millers' maid Juanita, along with Rosa Mendez (Catherine's maid), Yolanda Vega (the Carsons' maid), Mary Carson and Catherine MacKenzie--were all fired up about preparing the greatest Thanksgiving feast ever.  It had been determined that when it came to eating the feast that afternoon, though, all the maids would be seated at the adult table to be served as honored guests.

Turning away from Mark Carson next to him in the huge bed, Kevin rolled more on to his left side, moving even closer to Cam and putting his nose to Cam's shoulder.  He breathed in his partner's smell, but quietly so he wouldn't wake him.  He smiled to himself in satisfaction.   Cam's clean smell--that of a healthy, sexy boy-man and an athlete--always turned him on, and this Thanksgiving morning was no exception.  Kevin suspected that there were both similarities and differences in the basic body smells of human beings, but he was convinced that Cam's smell was unique.  Uniquely him.  Uniquely great.

A wave of love for his partner washed over Kevin.  It would have been so easy to take for granted someone with whom you interacted every day, but Kevin had long ago vowed never to let that happen in his relationship with Cam.  Kevin and Cam had never let any sort of bland acceptance dampen their feelings for one another in their partnership, and it didn't hurt as well that there were so few irritations or disagreements between them.  Their love for Casey just added more glue to their relationship.

Kevin fought his usual morning hard-on by denying his desire to reach over and cup the ample package between his partner's legs.  Having himself viewed a wide variety of male genitalia in the locker room of San Rafael High School over the years when he had been a soccer star there, Kevin was convinced that if there were a market for modeling the male package, Cameron MacKenzie would be a top contender--sought after by a host of photographers.  Those photographers wouldn't necessarily have to be gay to appreciate what they saw between Cam's legs, either.  Everything about the boy's equipment was big and beautiful and perfect.  And as an added bonus as far as Kevin was concerned, Cam's body was almost hairless except for his pubes, arm pits and a light treasure trail.  All in all, the boy's trim, lithe, lightly muscular body was ideal and faultless in Kevin's eyes.  He was pretty certain that he wasn't alone in that assessment, either.

In addition to the obvious physical attributes of Cameron MacKenzie and the great sex they exjoyed so frequently, Kevin Stoltz knew well the simple truth, the essential truth, about his feelings for his partner.  He loved him in ways that went far beyond his great physique to the very nooks and crannies of his partner's soul.

Today was a real Thanksgiving for Kevin, and not just because the extended family was together.  That was wonderful, as always, but he was especially pumped because he and Cam were at the point where they could realistically look forward to being married.  Kevin believed in the institution of marriage, and was convinced it would be a healthy, stabilizing factor as the two of them raised Casey, the other love of their lives.

He snuggled up as close to Cam as he could get without waking him and went back to sleep.  Two hours later, his telephone alarm sounded, and it was time for the family to rise and shine for their usual run on the beach.

Kevin turned off his alarm amid the groaning of the other boys as they awakened.  Cam yawned and then turned his head and studied his partner's face.

"Hey, bud," Cam told him quietly, "yours is the face I want to wake up to for at least the next sixty years.  Maybe longer, if we can hang in there long enough."

"Ditto," Kevin responded.  He gave Cam a soft kiss on the lips before climbing out of bed over Mark Carson.  He hit the bathroom to urinate, and then waited until his morning erection had subsided enough to take his usual walk down the upstairs hall to knock on bedroom doors to rouse the other runners.

He went back to the master bedroom, and deciding not to shower before running, stripped out of his boxers and got into his jock, running clothes and shoes, with Cam right at his side.

Eventually all the runners were doing their warm-ups down on the front deck, with the two Border Collies watching in eager anticipation of the run.  There was just a hint of the smell of cooking turducken wafting over the deck, and some of the boys salivated a little.

"Hmmm," Carl Emrick said, smelling the turducken.  "Something is starting to smell good!"  There were no disagreements.

Ian lighted the two extra grills, and Mary and Catherine put the two additional turkeys on them, small ones which would be fully cooked to a golden brown in time for the four p.m. dinner.

When everybody was limbered up for their run, Cam raised his voice.

"Listen up!  I've been reading that we may need to moderate our exercise because too much strenuous exercise releases 'free radicals' into our bodies.  So, until I can get a better handle on this, for starters we're cutting our usual eight miles to six miles."

Mary Carson and Catherine MacKenzie accepted news of the shorter run with big smiles.  But of course some of the guys had to give Cam some static.

"Oh, heck," Berto kidded him.  "And I was enjoying my free radicals so much!  After all, they were free and left-wing."

"Wimp," Andy Helder told Cam.

Others liked the change to a shorter run.

"This is the best idea you've had in a long time, Cam," William chimed in.  "I like it!"

"Too bad, William.  You have to run eight miles, just like usual," Kevin said.  "You're getting fat as a pig!"

William slapped his beautiful, perfect sixpack.  "You need to get your eyes checked, boy," he told Kevin.

"Let's hit it," Cam said, and they all bounded off the deck and headed for the hardpack at the edge of the Bay, the dogs running ahead.  Cam, Kevin and William were once again running side by side.

"I can't wait to taste that turducken," William said.

Kevin laughed and looked at William.  "When you said, 'I can't wait,' I was sure you were going to say you couldn't wait to go to Mass this morning."

"That, too," William responded.

"No shit?" Kevin questioned.  "Did you have a conversion experience since you were down here last?"

"Fuck, no," William told him.  "I didn't need one.  I know what my responsibilities are."

The three guys chuckled.

"Speaking of church, that reminds me," Cam said, "I need to talk to Carl."  He speeded up to run beside their housemate in the next row of runners.

"Hey, dude, Father Ryan wanted me to get a definitive answer from you."

"About what?" Carl asked, a suspicious look on his face.

"I told you before that Kevin and I are going to get some acolyte training and start serving at the altar at St. Dunstan's on Sundays.  How about joining us?"

"No," Carl said.

"You probably need to give it some more thought," Cam suggested.

"Why is that?"

"Because Kevin and I are going to make your life a living hell if you don't."

"My life is already a living hell from living with you and Kevin."

Carl's partner, Andy Helder, started to laugh.

"I promise you we can make it worse," Cam said.

"That changes everything, then," Carl said, also laughing.  "Why didn't you give me your best sales pitch in the first place?"

"I was hoping you'd see the light without any persuasion."

"I do see the light," Carl said.

"Good.  Is that a 'yes,' then?"


"Excellent!" Cam said.  He looked over at Andy Helder, who was amused by the whole exchange.  "Andy, you're my witness."

"Well..." Andy pretended to stammer.  "Sometimes my hearing isn't too good."

"There's no 'well' about it, boy," Cam said.  "And your hearing is fine."

Andy chuckled.  "OK.  I'm your witness."

"Et tu, Bruté?" Carl asked Andy.

"You're pretty literate for an business major," Cam commented to Carl as he dropped back to run beside Kevin again.

"There's no escaping the liberal arts," Carl looked back and told Cam.  "I need to impress your mom whenever I can."

"What was that all about?" Kevin asked his partner.

"Everything is a freaking struggle," Cam complained.  "I re-asked Carl to get some training with us so he could be an acolyte for Father Ryan at St. Dunstan's, and he said 'No.'  So I had to persuade him."

"He didn't stand a chance," Kevin said.  "I could have told him that.  You're just too persuasive for your own good."

"Amen to that," William said.

The guys continued to harass one another until Carl consulted his pedometer and turned all the runners around at the three-mile mark and headed everybody back down the beach.  When they reached the house and went to the deck to do their cool-downs, the smell of turducken was stronger.  All the guys were salivating this time.

Maria had fixed pancakes for everybody, and they ate quickly before going upstairs to shower, get dressed and head for church.

Catherine had dressed Casey in a cute outfit after he was fed.  The little guy was in his usual good mood, and Mary Carson mentioned she had never been around such a happy child.

After everyone showered, they left for church, driving several cars to accommodate everyone.

"Mary, you deserve being with Casey after having to listen to William cry and complain about everything until he was fifteen years old," Kevin said as they rolled along in the Highlander.  "Wah, wah, wah," he mimicked a crying baby.

"I wasn't alone," William responded to Kevin.  "By the time we were all living together, you were still crying and carrying on when I was supervising the gym and making you exercise properly."

"All right," Ian intervened.  "Everybody who can't say something positive just shut-up."

Things were quiet for a long minute.

"When William cried like a baby, his tears helped keep his face clean," Kevin said.  "That was a positive thing," he added.  Everybody in the car, including William, roared with laughter.

They encountered Father Ryan and the altar party in the narthex at St. Dunstan's after the family arrived, and Cam told the priest that he had three new recruits for acolyte training.  "I had to do a little evangelizing, but eventually I won out," he said.

"Stars in your crown, Cameron," the rector told him with a smile.

Sean and Susan Miller were already seated in the nave, and the extended family, including Father Mason and Rosa Mendez and Yolanda Vega, sat with them.  Jeff Miller sat right next to his parents, and his mom leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  He reached over and held her hand, thankful that the wounds he'd caused his mother and father because of his drug use and thefts were well on the way to being healed.

The organ came alive, the bass notes shaking the church building as the altar party processed down the center aisle to the singing of the first hymn.  As they passed the MacKenzie-Carson family, Cam poked Carl Emrick.  "We'll soon be out there with the altar party," he said in his ear.

Carl just shook his head ruefully, and began singing the processional hymn more loudly to drown out any further comments from Cam.

Cam and Kevin both felt that the Mass was especially beautiful that day, and they each gave thanks for the fact that their nuptials seemed more and more likely to take place before long.  Father Ryan's homily on the basic need for Christians to be thankful for their blessings especially resonated with the two boys.  Among other things, the priest pointed out that another name for the Mass itself was "Eucharist"--the Greek word for thanksgiving, the heart of the Christian worship experience.

On the way out of church, Catherine made sure that the Ryan family would get to Cam and Kevin's place well before dinner time at 4 p.m. so the kids could swim and the adults could have a cocktail or two before eating.

Kevin mentioned to Father Ryan as he went out the front door that at some point he and Cam wanted to talk to him about the possibility of being married at St. Dunstan's by Father Mason in February, with Father Ryan celebrating the nuptial Mass.  Father Ryan seemed pleased with that prospect and promised to get back with them after checking his personal calendar and that of the parish.

Ian and George Eisner went into the parish house after church to talk about a business relationship between the studio and Ian's law firm, while Karen, George's wife, drove her own car home.

Forty-five minutes later, Ian and George had the framework of an agreement ready to complete the details.

*  *  *

Once home, Mary Carson and Catherine MacKenzie went right out to the front deck and checked on the two turkeys on the grills, with Sean monitoring the turducken in his special cooker.  The women basted the two turkeys on the grills, and Sean added a little cooking oil to the cooker, and then the adults went upstairs to change into more casual clothes.  By that time, the master bedroom was full of naked boys changing out of their dressy clothes into T-shirts, shorts and sneakers.  Cam, Kevin, Carl and Andy were all especially appreciative of the great scenery in the bedroom.  So were Dan Emrick and Mark Carson, but they were more covert about enjoying what they were seeing.

The guys all headed over to the Millers' house and got the volleyball net and ball out of the pool house and set it up on the beach.  Sean Miller joined them, and he and Father Mason chose up sides.  Then it was game-on, with William Carson giving non-stop harassment to the opposing team.  Whenever he rotated into the front row of his team, Kevin repaid the kid for his comments by making sure he made William eat the ball whenever he could.

After a couple of games, everyone was sweating profusely.  It was obviously time to swim, and Sean went home while Ian and Father Mason headed back to Cam and Kevin's to change into swim suits.  The boys, having seen Susan Miller and Juanita Fuentes go over to Cam and Kevin's, went right over to the Miller's pool, stripped off their sweaty clothes--T's and shoes and shorts--and plunged right into the pool sans swim trunks.

Kevin came up in the middle of the pool and squeegeed the water off his face and hair, and looked around.  Cam was nearby, and Kevin looked over at him.

"You know, I think William's dick has shrunk since the last time he was down here in L.A."

"I think you're right," Cam agreed.

"Leave it to you two to check out my junk," William shot back.

"And you don't?" Kevin said.  "I saw you looking at my package in the shower yesterday morning."

"I just wanted to see if there were any signs of crotch rot," William said.

"I'm only at risk of that when you're down here visiting," Kevin responded.

"Likely story," William said.

The rest of the guys were laughing about the interchange when Cam and Kevin submerged and swam underwater toward William, seeking retribution.  But William knew what they were up to.  He swam over to the side of the pool and heaved himself up on to the pool deck, water streaming off his naked body.  Cam and Kevin didn't go up after him.

Having showered and changed into slacks and a polo shirt, Sean Miller came out of the back door of his house to the bevy of naked boys.

"Guys, I'd better leave you my phone." he said, putting it down one of the poolside tables.  "I'll call you if any of the ladies decide to come over here and swim.  If it rings, put something on."

"Thanks, Dad," Jeff Miller said.  "I'll bring your phone with me when we go next door."

"All right, son," Sean said, and left the enclosure.

It had been a while since his dad had specifically and publicly acknowledged him as his son, and Jeff was pleased right to the core of his being about it.  It only strengthened his resolve to stay on the straight and narrow when it came to drugs.

Most of the boys, having cooled off in the pool, took towels from a giant pile of them in the pool house and dried themselves.  They also found several tubes of sunscreen in the poolhouse, and still naked, coated their genitals and butts.  Then they spread their towels out on the pool deck and lay down on their backs to get some sun on those parts of their body that rarely received any rays.

Mark Carson lay down near Kevin, and turned on his side toward his mentor.

"Kev," he said quietly.


Mark moved closer.  "Could I ask you something without making you mad?"

"Of course," Kevin said, his eyes closed and basking in the sun.

"I know William gives you and Cam a lot of shit," Mark whispered.  "But you two are on his ass a lot.  I'm not saying he doesn't deserve it, but I don't think you know how much he admires both of you.  Maybe you could take it a little easier on him so you don't hurt his feelings.  He acts like he doesn't have any feelings, but I know he does."

Kevin's eyes flew open, and he turned his head and squinted in the strong sunlight as he looked over at Mark.

"Thanks for telling me that, Mark." he said quietly.  "I hear what you're saying, and it just reminds me what a good guy you are.  You have so much kindness in you, and I loves ya, buddy."

"Loves ya back," Mark said with a smile.

"I'll do what you say," Kevin added, and they both lay back down to enjoy the sun.

Twenty minutes later, Cam woke up the sleepers and suggested they turn over from their original positions so they didn't burn something important.

"Tan those butts now," Cam said.

 Sean Miller's phone rang about a half-hour later, and Dan Emrick got up and answered it.

"You rang?" he asked.

Sean Miller chuckled.  "Yes, I did.  Catherine and Mary and Lisa Ryan are going to come over for a swim.  And my spouse and Juanita are coming back to the house, too.  Get decent."

"Will do," Dan said, and breaking the connection and passing on the message on to the other guys.

The boys got up in a hurry and put on their shorts.

"Ready or not, here we come," Mary Carson said on the other side of the gate a few moments later.

The five ladies came into the pool enclosure, accompanied by Casey in Catherine's arms, and new arrivals Samuel, Joshua and Rachel Ryan, and their mother Lisa.  They were all wearing their swimsuits.

The boys surrounded the newcomers, offering greetings to Mrs. Ryan and her children.  Susan Miller and Juanita went into the house.

"How's the water?" Samuel Ryan asked after everyone had said hello.

"Wonderful!" Andy Helder told him.  "You'll love it!"

"In that case..."  Samuel hung his towel over a chair, and taking a running start, dived into the middle of the pool.

"Oh, yeah!" Samuel enthused as his head emerged from the water.  "This feels great!"

The boys, dressed in their shorts, all jumped into the pool along with Joshua and Rachel Ryan.  Except for Cam.

"Give me the baby face," he told his mother, holding out his arms to take Casey.  "What have you been doing, Casey?"

The baby said, "Daddy," followed by some gibberish.

Cam began kissing the baby's face and head while the little guy squirmed and tried to get away.

"Do you want to swim?" Cam asked the child who was dressed in a pair of his brightly colored swim trunks.

"Yes!" Casey said emphatically.

Cam went to the concrete steps at the shallow end of the pool, and walked down them carrying the baby, only gradually submerging the little guy to let him get used to the water temperature.  Casey shrieked happily, splashing his hands in the cool water.

Cam walked down into deeper water, making sure that Casey's head didn't get submerged, and talking to the little guy all the way.  Kevin swam over to them and kissed the top of Casey's head, and hugged Cam and kissed him on the cheek as they bobbed in the water together.

"'Sup, Mr. Casey?" Kevin asked.

More gibberish from Casey, but lately there had been some recognizable words embedded in the sounds.  This time it was "water."

"Yes, 'water,'" Kevin told the little guy.   "Do you like to swim in the water?" he asked.

"Yes!" Casey said.

Mary Carson looked at Catherine.  "It's nice to hear a baby say 'Yes,' isn't it?  All William and Mark would say when they were first learning to talk was, 'NO!'  It didn't matter what the subject was or what I wanted them to do, the answer was always 'NO!'"

The other women laughed and agreed that that was their experience with infants learning to talk, too.

"I heard that," Mark Carson told his mother from the pool.  "I distinctly remember being very positive and agreeable when I was learning to talk.  'No' was hardly in my vocabulary."

"Your memory leaves something to be desired on this particular topic, buddy," Mary told her son.  "Back then I didn't know whether I'd ever hear you say 'yes' to anything."

"Not!  You must be thinking of William, not me," Mark said.  "'Yes' is my middle name."

The wrangling continued until a puff of air from the south blew the smell of cooking turkey over to the Millers' pool.

"Oh, man!" Dan Emrick said.  "I'm getting hungry."

"Me, too," William said.  "Maybe we can eat something just to take the edge off without spoiling our appetite."

Right then, Juanita Fuentes and Susan Miller came out of the Millers' back door with a tray of bread, crackers, slices of cold roast beef, and iced tea and soft drinks.

The guys began to applaud.

"Don't eat too much," Susan cautioned the crowd.  "The cooks will never forgive us if you guys don't have an appetite for the turducken and turkey and all the trimmings."

"Juanita and Susan," Mary Carson said.  "You're just too nice!  Thank you so much!"

"You're welcome," Susan said.  "Just put the dishes in the kitchen sink when you're finished, if you would."  She looked at Juanita.  "Why don't we go back over to Cam and Kevin's and see if we can help with dinner?"

"Si," Juanita said.

"That's a good idea," Mary said, and she and Catherine and Lisa Ryan stood up to go as well.

"Rachel, are you going to stay here or go over with us?" Lisa asked her daughter.

"I'm going with you.  I wouldn't stay here with all these cruddy boys on a bet!"

"Ooooh!" Samuel Ryan said to his sister.  "What a put-down!" he added, laughing.  "Not!"

The guys ate some roast beef and drank some pop to "take the edge off," as William had put it.  They were just finishing up when Ian came in the gate to the pool.

"Cam and Kevin, and Carl and Dan, take a walk with me.  I want to talk to you," Ian said.

The four guys looked at him curiously, but stood up and congregated around him. 

"What about me?" William demanded.

"This is business," Ian said.

"Oh," William responded, looking disappointed, sat back down in his chair.

The chosen few headed toward the gate and went down to the beach.  They walked in silence for a few minutes, and then Ian spoke up.

"The reason I wanted to talk to you is that three of you are coming of age.  Carl, you and Kevin soon will be eighteen, and Cam, you will be soon after them.  Dan, bad luck for you, you won't reach you majority until next year, so your mom and I still get to boss you around."  The man chuckled, and put an arm around Dan, pulled him over, and kissed him on top of his head.  Dan smiled at him, pleased with the attention.

"The fact that three of you will soon be eighteen," Ian said, "means that I need to start sharing the responsibility for how your money is invested and used.  I've tried to do a good job for you in managing your funds, but it's never too soon for you to start learning how to do that for yourself.  I hope you'll still be willing to take some advice from me from time to time, though."

"You've done a great job for us, Ian," Kevin said.  "And I don't think we've thanked you as often as we should have.  We don't know much about managing money, at least not yet, so I know for sure we'll be willing to take what you tell us seriously and follow your advice."

"Absolutely!" Carl added.

"I appreciate that," Ian said.  "Now, first things first.  I'll be calling you when I get back to San Rafael with a list of names of some auditors you can choose from.  None of them has any business or professional relationship with me or my law firm.  I want all your funds and investments to be audited so you'll know everything I've done with your respective estates has been on the up-and-up."

"I guess that's standard practice, but I hope you you know that we trust you one hundred percent," Carl said.  "You've done a great job for us, and I'm confident it's been an honest job, too," Cam added.

"I've really tried to do the kind of job you deserve," Ian said.  "I want you to know that if the three of you were not the kind of young men you are, I'd be worried as hell about making this transition.  After all, you're all multi-millionaires.  Some guys your age could really botch the way you handle all this money and investments.  I'm confident you won't do that because I know your values.  But I want you to know that you should never hesitate to give me a call if you think I can help you with any decisions you have to make."

"Thank you for your confidence in us," Cam said.  "I mean that."

"I am confident in your good judgment.  If I may, I'd just like to add a little perspective to the challenge you're going to face as people of wealth and privilege," Ian said.

"Have at it," Kevin said.

"I know what I'm going to tell you isn't fashionable in today's society, and I'm not going to preach to you.  But I hope you realize that all the power your wealth gives you carries a price tag.  We all carry a responsibility to God and to human beings around the world, not just in the United States, to use our riches in the right way.  We need to be prudent in using what the Lord has given us, but we also need to recognize the teaching of the Church that money itself never constitutes our real wealth as God's children.  Generosity to those who need our help is one of the ways we fulfill our contract with God.  There is a lot we can do to address human suffering, and we need to use what we have in order to do that.  Unfortunately, many wealthy people in our society use the poverty of others to deny the poor their birthright as human beings, even to the point of depriving them of proper food, clothing, shelter and education.  Oftentimes our business and government leaders are hell-bent on keeping people poor in the mistaken belief they themselves can become richer by doing so.  That serves only to wound and destabilize our society.  After all, how many houses can we live in and how many cars can we drive and how many suits of clothes can we wear?  The list goes on.

"But I've never seen an overly acquisitive kind of thinking in any of you boys, and I don't think I will.  We can and should enjoy what we have without depriving others of a decent education and a fair wage for their work in this world.  I'm sure you know that there is a tremendous income inequality in our country which is only getting worse, and we need to address that issue if we want to have good lives ourselves.  Economic aristocracies and banana republics around the world aren't very good places to live for the majority of people, and I don't think we want to support that kind of future for our country.  We can do better.

"One other thing.  There is sometimes a temptation to work independently, in isolation, on behalf of others, but we can often accomplish more in collaboration with others and their resources in working for the common good.  George Bush and Bill Clinton are two examples of people you wouldn't expect to work well together on behalf of the the deprived, but they certainly have.  I don't mean that we give up doing good deeds on an individual basis, but working with others is often more productive in addressing huge and sometimes seemingly intractable human problems.

"We have been and are people of privilege, and we each need to pursue our destiny with our responsibilities in mind.  For example, the three of you, and later on Dan when he reaches his majority, may want to consider setting aside funds to form a charitable trust or a foundation for a given cause that you may identify and feel strongly about.

"Finally, just let me say what a joy and pleasure it's been to be a part of this extended family we're in, and to work with you and for you.  I don't have the words to tell you how much I love you guys.  I hope Mary and I and Catherine have always conveyed that.  We're very much on the same page when it comes to our love and respect for you.  Without any reservations, I can say we're very proud of all of you, and looking forward to great things from you."

The four guys were somewhat stunned by what they had heard during their walk.  Instead of focusing on a general accounting of their monetary fortunes, they had been confronted with Ian's vision about what constituted a good life in society, a view that obviously went far beyond dollars and cents.

Kevin stopped dead in his tracks, causing the others to do so as well.

"Ian," he said, "I know know that sometimes you and I have crossed swords and had differences of opinion, but I want you to know how grateful I am--how grateful we all are--for everything you've done for us, and how much we appreciate your guidance on things.  My blood-father turned out to be a rat, Carl and Dan's dad was a sicko, Berto's parents were victims of his homicidal uncle, and Alex and John died before we really got to know them as well as we wanted to.  But you've been the steady male influence in our lives.  And you and Mary and Catherine and Rosa and Yolanda really created our family, and if we can accomplish a fraction as much for our family and for others in this world as you already have, we can consider ourselves real winners in this life!  I don't think any of us will ever forget what you've said to us and done for us."

Kevin stepped over to Ian, pulled the man into his arms and just held him there, kissing his cheek before letting him go.  Cameron, Carl and Dan silently followed suit.

Cam thought he saw moisture in Ian's eyes as they all turned around and headed toward home.  This man was tough as nails when he had to be, but was also very much in touch with his feelings and his commitments.

The four boys went back to the Millers' pool, and Ian continued walking back to Cam and Kevin's house, joining Father Ryan, Father Mason and Sean Miller in keeping tabs on the turkeys and the turducken as they cooked.  Thanks to a light breeze, the smell of the cooking food was all over their part of the beach, and a lot of mouths were watering. 

The women who had been at the pool earlier had returned to Cam and Kevin's house with Casey, and they all milled around in the kitchen, making sure all the side dishes would be ready for the big four o'clock dinner.

About 3 o'clock, Ian, Sean, Father Mason and Father Ryan walked into the kitchen from the deck.  Ian announced, "The sun is over the yardarm somewhere in the world, so the bar in the study is now open."

The kitchen emptied out immediately, and once in the study, Maria, Juanita, Rosa and Yolanda accepted glasses of wine, Fathers Ryan and Mason vodka martinis, Sean Miller a beer, Mary and Catherine and Susan Miller old fashions, and Lisa Ryan a scotch and soda.  Ian fixed himself a sizable bourbon on the rocks, and served Rachel Ryan a cold root beer.

Before anyone could take the first sip, Maria Romero's husband Juan, Sr., and their two sons Juan, Jr., and Roberto arrived.  After introductions were made, and Juan, Sr., was served up a beer, his two boys headed for the Millers' pool to join the rest of the guys.

Ian offered up a toast on behalf of the adults.  "To all the great cooks in our midst!" he said.  "Today, as always, we're thankful!"

"Hear, hear!" the adults said, taking a sip of their beverage before some of the ladies headed back to the kitchen.

By the time Juan and Roberto opened the gate to the pool, the boys there were again stripping off their shorts and preparing to dive into the water after they had sunbathed for a while.

"Hey, guys!" Cam said to Juan, Jr. and Roberto as he turned around at the edge of the pool.  "Welcome!" he said, re-introducing the the naked boys on the pool deck to the Romero boys.

Juan and Robert didn't seem shy or embarrassed at all by the nudity, and as the other guys dove into the water, they stripped down and joined the boys in the pool.  Eventually, the boys started holding races, and as boys who lost their races were eliminated, Cam and William were the last two left competing.

William won.

Remembering his earlier conversation with Mark Carson about brother William, Kevin handed out some sincere compliments to the champion after the final race as he studied the kid's fine physique.

"Dude, you're just too fucking fast for the rest of us," Kevin admitted to William, slapping him on his bare ass and then giving him a hug.  William seemed pleased, and hugged Kevin back, giving him a peck on the cheek.

As the afternoon progressed, Berto and Cam made sure that Juan and Roberto were having a good time, and singled them out for some conversation.  The two Romero boys seemed like really nice guys, and Cam got a clear sense that the Romeros were a happy, well adjusted family.

The guys all continued swimming and sometimes harassing each other until about 3:45, when Kevin reminded everyone they they needed to shower the chlorine off their bodies and get dressed for Thanksgiving dinner.  They showered in the Millers' pool house, got dressed, and then headed next door while Cam locked the gate to the Millers' pool.

When they went in the house, the turducken, the turkeys and all the side dishes had begun to appear on the large buffet table in the dining room.  When the food was all in place at the stroke of four o'clock, the extended family formed a huge circle around the dining room table as Father Ryan offered thanks.

"In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," he began.

"Amen," the family said, making the sign of the cross, and then everyone held hands.

"Heavenly Father," the priest said, "we offer you great thanks for the abundance we enjoy in our nation and in our homes.  We're especially grateful for the freedoms we enjoy in this country, and pray that they may continue.  We thank you, Father, for the food which has been prepared for this, our extended family, and ask you to bless it to our use as you bless the hands of those who prepared it.  We unite in your name, and are overcome by your many kindnesses to us as we reflect on the needs of others in this world.  May your grace continue to shower upon us as we follow the path you have set for each of us.  We offer this prayer in the name of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ."


"Thank you, Father Ryan," Catherine said.  "The adults will eat here in the dining room," she explained.  "Please take plates and begin to help yourselves from the buffet.  Rachel and boys, you have a table in the study, and can follow the adults in helping yourself to food.  Ian, will you carve?  And Father Mason, will you open the wine?"

"Yes, m'am," the two men said. 
Ian began carving the turducken and the turkeys at the buffet, stepping away when done to let the adults serve themselves.  It wasn't long before the youngsters stepped up to help themselves as well.

Father Mason then picked up a fancy new opener which opened wine bottles with no muss or fuss without involving use of a cork screw.  He opened six bottles of a pinot and cabernet blend, and began to fill wine glasses on the adult table.

Cam looked at his mother.  "Do we get some wine?" he asked.

"Yes," Catherine decreed.  "Half glasses for you, Kevin, Berto, Carl, Andy, Art and William.  Splashes for Dan and Mark."  She looked at Juan and Maria.  "Splashes for your kids?" she asked.

"Yes, please," Juan agreed, to the delight of Juan, Jr., and Roberto.

Catherine looked at Father Ryan.  "What about Samuel, Joshua and Rachel, Father?"

"Just splashes, thank you," the priest said.

"Jeff, we have some ginger ale for you," Catherine added.

"Thank you very much," the young man said, blushing a little at being singled out.  No booze for him.  Sean Miller smiled approvingly.

When Ian finished pouring wine at the adult table, he put the prescribed amounts of pinot in the glasses for the youngsters, and asked Cam and Kevin to carry them to the appropriate place settings in the study for each of the kids.

The four maids were seated side by side at the adult table.  Maria Romero turned her head, looked down the table at her sister Juanita and Rosa and Yolanda, and laughed.  "I don't know how to act, sitting here and not serving the invited guests," she said.  Everybody chuckled.

"The four of you are our invited and honored guests!" Mary Carson said immediately"This isn't Downton Abbey, after all.  I know I speak for everybody here when I tell you what a good job you all do for everybody you work for, and how much we appreciate everything you do."

"Hear, hear!" Ian Carson said, picking up his wine glass.  "Here's to Maria, Rosa, Yolanda and Juanita, with thanks!"

"Hear, hear!" the crowd said as well, raising and clinking their wine glasses together.

The maids were all obviously touched by what had been said about them, and Rosa Mendez lifted her napkin and dabbed at some tears in her eyes.

Meanwhile, the kids' table was pretty quiet as they dug into their food.

"Holy moly!" Kevin said after a few bites from his loaded plate, starting with the turducken.  "Have mercy!  This is the best turducken I've ever tasted!" he said, and took a sip of wine.

"This is the only turducken you've ever tasted, dufus!" Cam said.

 Rachel Ryan and the boys all laughed.

"Mom made a mistake giving you wine," Kevin told Cam.  "Your tongue has loosened right up, hasn't it?"

"Just trying to be accurate," Cam said.

Casey's highchair was situated between Kevin and Cam, and they took turns feeding him little bits of poultry and mashed potatoes along with baby food.  The little guy liked the turducken a lot.

Ian was seated next to Juan Romero, Sr., at the adult table in the dining room, and they began to talk.  Ian noticed that the skin on the man's palms was thick and calloused, and his neck and arms were deeply tanned from working outside.  Ian soon extracted from Juan that he owned a small construction firm, and that he personally held a license as a general contractor.

"Union shop?" Ian asked.

"Oh, yes," Juan said.

"Does being unionized cause you any problems?"

"It never has.  I belong to the union, of course, even though in terms of my company, I'm management.  We solve any problems we have by talking them out before they get too bad.  I try to treat my workers fairly, and they work hard for me."

"That's the way it's supposed to be," Ian said.  "If I could ask, what are your biggest challenges?"

"Finding the time to scout out new business, and then developing bids.  If I hired someone to do that for me, the new position would siphon off a lot of my profits, which can already be pretty slim sometimes."

"Have you ever done business with any of the movie studios?" Ian asked.

"No.  It's really hard to get a heads-up on their projects in time to submit a bid.  Sometimes we get some sub-contracts, though."

"Tell me about the composition of your workforce, Juan," Ian asked.

"Predominantly Latino, but also a few Caucasians and African Americans."

"Human Resources people like diversity," Ian commented thoughtfully, looking over at Juan.  "My law firm is developing a relationship with Magnum Studios.  Would you mind if I put in a good word for you with George Eisner, the CEO at Magnum?  I know that Magnum contracts out a lot of their bigger set-building projects."

Juan looked at Ian, a big smile breaking out on his face.  "You'd do that for me?"

"Of course.  Magnum is always looking for honest, hard-working construction outfits with diverse workforces.  Do you have a business card on you?"

"I do."  Juan took out his wallet and fished out a card, handing it to Ian.

"Thanks," Ian said, looking at the card and then slipping it into his shirt pocket.  "I'll talk to George and his business people before I go back to San Francisco, and I think you'll be hearing from them before long."

"That's really kind of you, Ian.  I appreciate it."

All the time Ian and Juan had been talking, there had been a stream of boys starting to come back to the buffet for seconds, and then the adults joined them at the buffet to replenish their own plates.

Catherine rose from the table right about then to go to the kitchen.  Maria looked up from the table to see if she could help, but Catherine shook her head in a silent "No."  Catherine walked into the kitchen as people were still loading up on seconds from the buffet, and clicked the 'On' button of a twenty-cup coffee maker.  Then she went to the refrigerator in the garage, and removed six pumpkin pies, carrying them to a kitchen counter two at a time.  The coffee maker was gurgling by then.

Catherine took a stack of dessert plates out of the kitchen cabinets, and began cutting and removing generous pieces of pie from the pie tins.  She began carrying the first ten pieces of pie, along with several deep dishes of whipped cream and a half-gallon of vanilla ice cream, into the dining room on a serving tray.  Mary Carson and Susan Miller rose from the table and began to help her with trips to the kitchen for more pie and then some coffee.  As the adults finished cleaning their plates, Catherine, Mary, Susan Miller and Lisa Ryan pitched in to help clear the adults' table.

Catherine poked her head into the study.

"If any of you bottomless pits want dessert, please clear the table and take your dishes to the kitchen.," she said.

"What's for dessert, Mommy?" Keven asked.

"Pumpkin pie with ice cream or whipped cream.  Or both."

"I love you more with every word you say," Kevin said.

"I believe you," Catherine said with a smile.

"I love you more than Kevin does," Carl said.

"I hate a suck-up," Mark Carson said.

"We all do," Art Smith said to general agreement.

The gang hooted at Kevin and Carl, then stood up and began heading for the kitchen, dishes in hand.

Cam picked up Casey out of his highchair, rested him on his arm, and with his plate in one hand, followed the gang into the kitchen where Susan Miller was scraping and rinsing the dishes and putting them into the dishwasher.

*  *  *

After dinner and the clean-up, the young guys changed into their swimming trunks and headed back over to the Millers.

Mary Carson admonished the gang not to jump right into the water without letting their food digest for a while.

"Mom, the experts these days are saying that you don't have to wait anymore to swim after eating," Mark Carson protested.

"I've heard that, but I don't want you going into the water right away," Mary said, unpersuaded.

The guys groaned, but acquiesced, and headed out.  After Cam unlocked the gate, they picked spots on the pool deck and lay down.  A lot of them began to fall asleep in the warm sunshine.  Cam and Kevin lay down close to each other, as did Carl and Andy.  These four loved being near their partners.

William Carson lay down on the opposite side of Kevin.  Remembering what Mark Carson had said about being nice to his brother, Kevin started talking to William.

"William, how is football at San Rafael going this fall?"

"Good.  We had a lot of seniors returning this year, so we've won every game in our conference so far.  But the last part of our schedule is going to be pretty tough, I think."

"Any injuries on the team so far?"

"A few," William said.  "Nothing serious, though."

"That's good.  Are you still pursuing a football scholarship at Stanford, if that's where you end up?"


"With your grades, you could get an academic scholarship," Kevin said.  "Have you applied for one?"

"Actually, yes," William said.  "Why?"

"Well, don't take this wrong, but I worry about you when it comes to injuries on the field.  College football can be pretty brutal compared to high school, and the NFL is even worse, of course."

William turned his head and looked at Kevin.  "I know.  You're right."

"I see that Chris Borlan has retired at age 24 from the 49ers because he's concerned about head injuries."

"Well, he was a linebacker.  I'm a highschool quarterback, and get more protection."

"I know, but you're still at risk.  Whether you play or not is up to you and your parents, but I wish you weren't playing."

"You played soccer," William pointed out.

"True, but the risk factors are a lot less in soccer than they are in football."

William was silent.

"I'm not trying to fuck with ya, William," Kevin said.  "You're my bro, and I just don't want anything bad to happen to ya, that's all."

"I didn't know you felt this way," William said, turning on his side to look at Kevin.

"Well, I do.  If you get hurt, it hurts me and it hurts the whole family.  I hope you'll talk it over with your mom and dad before you accept a football scholarship, whether it's at Stanford or someplace else.  Injuries on the field can stay hidden for years, and then they become apparent and bite you in the ass."

William's face softened.  "Thanks for your concern, Kev.  It means a lot to me.  I'll give what you're saying some serious thought."

"Thanks, man," Kevin said.  They bumped fists and then dozed off in the sunshine.

When the gang started to wake up and get in the pool, Kevin rolled over close to Cam and kissed him awake.

"Hey," Cam said, kissing his partner back.

"Would you mind if William and I went for a ride in the Porsche?" Kevin asked.

"Nope," Cam said.  "What's the occasion?"

"William will love the Porsche, that's all."

"Go for it.  I'll stay here with the guys."


Kevin woke William up.

"Hey, you wanna take a ride in the Porsche?"

"Yeah!" William looked excited.  "Can I drive?"

"Yep.  Let's get our wallets and hit it," Kevin said.  They put on their sneakers and T-shirts.

They saw Father Mason as they went through the house, and they stopped and exchanged a few words with him.

"Kevin, can I borrow your Mustang for a few hours?  I need to go spend some time with my mom and family at my sister's house."

"Of course, Father.  The key is on a hook in the hall, whenever you're ready to go."

Kevin handed Mason the key as the three of them left the house tegether.  Father Mason drove off as William and Kevin uncovered the Porsche and fired it up.  The motor purred and the muffler thrummed, sounding ready to hit the road.

They went to the Pacific Coast Highway, heading northwest.  Kevin reminded William to take it easy and not get a speeding ticket.  William pushed the speed limit a little, but not enough to interest a CHiP cruiser which was monitoring the traffic a mile or so up the road.

"I love this car," William said as they cruised along.  "Why are you being so nice to me, dude?"

"Because I should," Kevin said.  He didn't mention his and Mark Carson's earlier talk by the pool about treating William better.  "We give each other a hard time, but I love ya and admire ya, and so does Cam.  That's it in a nutshell!"

William looked pleased.  "Back acha, man!"

The two guys just enjoyed the hell out of their ride in the Porsche together.

*  *  *

It was an evening of good conversation for the adults, and of playing Wii and card games for the kids.  That doggone Berto once again cleaned house in a poker game.  Ian, Sean, Juan, Sr., and Father Ryan smiled wryly as they counted what was left of their chips and money

Showering thanks on their hosts, the Romaros and the Ryans were prepared to leave for home about 9 p.m. because Juan Romero and Father Ryan had to be up early the next morning for work--the priest to offer Mass and Juan to unlock a construction site.  At the last minute, following an invitation from Cam and Kevin, Samuel and Joshua Ryan along with Juan, Jr., and Roberto Romero negotiated a sleepover with the permission of their parents.  There were plenty of extra sleeping pads in the garage for the four new guests, and additional floor space in the master bedroom.

The master bedroom shower was full of boys when Cam and Kevin finished showering.  Finishing first, they put on robes and slipped out of the bedroom and headed downstairs in the now dark and silent house.  One of the dogs greeted them with a little yip and a few tail thumps on the floor of the study, but the canines stayed where they were.  The two guys went right to the downstairs bathroom, and rearranging the throw rugs on the carpeted floor, they added a few towels from the linen closet to make the floor even softer.  Shrugging off their robes, they lay down together, clasping each other tightly to each other, still a little moist from their shower.

Before long, Kevin reached over and clasped Cam's rapidly hardening cock.  Then contorting his upper body, he bent down and licked and then kissed Cam's penis again and again until it was long and hard.

"This has been a perfect day," he told Cam after he straightened back out and french kissed his partner.  "And its just about to get even better.  I wanna be inside you so bad!"

"That's just where I want you, Kev," Cam whispered back.  "I can't begin to tell you how much I love ya, man."

Kevin smiled.  "Language has its limits.  We know that.  It's a good thing actions speak louder than words."  And he proceeded to put Cam on his back and move on top of him, looking down into his handsome face and those green eyes.  He kissed him softly, and then their tongues dueled as their hard dicks rubbed together.

Raising himself off his partner's body, Kevin pulled out a drawer of the bathroom sink, and reaching to the very back, pulled out a tube of lube.

"Let me," Cam said, taking the tube and generously applying the lube first to Kevin's cock, and then to his own hole.

After some more kissing and foreplay involving each other nipples, Kevin eventually went to Cam's anal doorway and began to move into his partner's body as Cam's legs rose and Kevin then pressed them forward to the floor around Cam's ears.

"Yeah, Kevin, get it up there!" Cam told his partner as Kevin's long, slick, fat penis entered and made its way home, pressing firmly against Cam's prostate on its way by.  Cam gasped in pleasure.  Kevin stopped moving when his pubes were against Cam's ass, and he lay there looking down into his boy's face again.

"What a great Thanksgiving!" Cam whispered up to him.  "And this is the perfect end to it!"

"And the continuation of a lot more sex," Kevin said.  "If there were more of this going on around the world with people who love each other, it would be a lot happier place," Kevin said, pulling back and making a single abortive thrust back into Cam before going motionless again.

"For sure!"

Kevin planted kisses all over Cam's face before beginning what would be a loving and lengthy assault on Cam's ass.  It would be a good thirty minutes at an ever quickening pace before Cam's dick spurted a big load of cum on his own chest, neck and face, and the contractions of his hole caused Kevin to empty himself into his lover.

"Oh, fuck yes!!" Kevin growled out in his deep voice as he emptied his balls.

They lay there silently in each other's arms after they had climaxed, unable to speak or to move for ten minutes before Kevin pulled his softening dick slowly out of Cam.  Leaning down, Kevin began to lick up the mother lode of semen which Cam had deposited on his own chest when he came, until Kevin had licked up every drop.

Then Kevin was able to unroll several lengths of toilet paper from its dispenser beside the toilet to begin a preliminary cleanup of their bodies.  The two of them were still a little shaky on their feet when they eventually went into the shower.  They clung to each other in the warm spray before they finally found the energy to begin soaping each other down.

Squeaky clean when their shower was finished, they dried each other off with clean towels, threw the used toilet paper into the toilet, flushed, and took the cum-stained towels which had been under them on the floor to the downstairs washing machine on the way back upstairs.  They added soap to the load in the washer, started the machine, and went back to the master bedroom.

Everybody was asleep when they got there, but there had been a change in the sleeping arrangements.  Mark and Dan were still at the sides of the big bed, but Cam and Kevin's spot in the middle had been usurped by William and Berto.  Kevin chuckled quietly when he saw that William and Berto had ended up holding each other in their sleep.  That wouldn't last long when they woke up, Kevin knew that.

Cam was a little pissed at first that he and Kevin had lost their places in bed, and wanted to wake the two guys up and kick their asses back down on to the floor, but Kevin just laughed and pointed to two unoccupied sleeping pads.  That's where Cam and Kevin ended up, covered with sheets and light blankets, and clasped together. They were almost immediately asleep because they were so relaxed after the great sex they'd had downstairs.

© Don Hanratty 2015

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