This story concerns adult and teenage gay males who may be involved in sexual situations. If it is illegal for you to read such stories, or if you do not like to read such stories, please leave now.

This story is copyright 2006 by the author who retains all rights.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

This is my third submission to Nifty. My previous submissions can be found in the High School section under Kiel’s Story. Any comments or questions are welcome at:

A warm thank you goes out to all who write. I appreciate knowing someone is actually reading this stuff, whether you like it or not. I try to answer all emails, even flames. (I’m a writer, I live for rejection.) Although sometimes it takes a little time to get back to you, I do try to answer. If I'm remiss in replying to yours, I apologize.

The Pastel Cowboy

by Carl Holiday

Chapter 21 – The Ashes of My Heart

Zach slowly walked across the lake of fire as his feet sank into the soft fiery mud sending flashes of pain up his legs. A man called for him or it seemed a man was calling his name from somewhere beyond the edge of his awareness. Except for momentary flashes of bright orange light, all was black. All his concentration was focused on taking the next step, pulling a foot out of the fire, and then carefully placing the scorched sole back into the blazing heat. He lived for the next moment when one foot was pulled out of the hot coals and basked for the briefest span of time before plunging back into unbelievable agony.

Was someone calling his name?

Did he hear a noise?

Suddenly, unexpectedly, Zach felt as if his whole body was floating up as a bit of ash floats away from a fire trying its best to escape before another blast of searing air tears it asunder.

Was there a noise?

What was that?


Unbelievable, agonizing pain.

A voice.


“Is he okay?”

“Do you have Derek?”


“Oh, god, look at his feet.”



The voice was familiar. His father?


“Come here boy and help me,” his father called from the far side of the creek.

A colt had wandered off from its mother and gotten caught in the sucking mud where steers wallowed on hot afternoons. Flies filled the air with an incessant buzz.

“This isn’t so bad.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’ve seen bad, this’ll blister but he’ll have a lot of pain.”


Upon waking, the first thing noticed was an IV in his arm. He opened his eyes and stared at the fluid seeping into a vein. His eyes tracked down his body and stopped at the bandaged feet.

He wasn’t dead.

He’d been here before. He was in the land of painkillers; a soft, warm landscape of pastels and numbing nothingness.

“Hey, kiddo, how’re you doing?” Paul asked. He leaned into Zach’s unfocused line of sight. “You gave us quite a scare last night.”

“Where? Derek?” Zach asked. He was surprised he could speak. He tried to remember something from the previous night, but his mind stopped at a door blocked by Conan.

“Should be in jail,” Paul said, “but Bruce whacked him a couple times with his karate and he’s down the hall handcuffed to his bed.”

“Watch out for Bruce,” Zach whispered. “If he gets mad, he’ll whack you.”

He was hungry. Even though he knew he’d vomit, he wanted something to eat.

Zach turned his head from side to side as he came back out of that nowhere place. Bruce was sitting in a chair by the window reading a magazine. Paul was standing beside the bed. Zach stared at his feet.

“I’m sorry for screwing up the trip,” Zach said.

“What do you mean screwing up the trip?” Paul asked. “We’re going as soon as we get you a wheelchair and the doc says you’re fit.”

“My feet, burned,” Zach whispered.

“Not as bad as we thought,” Paul said.

“Derek,” Zach whispered.

“I guess in his eagerness he forgot to close the door,” Paul said. “We could hear you scream out in the motor home. Bruce was out the door before I could react. It took us a couple minutes to figure out you were in the basement, but Derek didn’t have a chance to do any serious damage.”

“I’m sorry,” Zach whispered. “I guess I haven’t learned to stop thinking with my dick.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” Bruce sneered.

Zach stared at the ceiling and thought of Jeremy. He’d fucked up big time. This wasn’t just slipping into some dark alley for a quick blowjob with a stranger. No, he’d gone into this with his eyes focused on his dick and was lucky to be alive. He’d be lucky if Jeremy forgave him. He’d be really lucky if Bud let him continue living in the cottage. He’d be extremely lucky if Jeremy was there, too.

He heard paper shuffling and turned to see Bruce at the side of his bed.

“I spoke with your boyfriend,” Bruce said.

Zach stared at him. He waited for the knife to pierce his heart.

“I told him everything because I knew you’d gloss over the facts,” Bruce said. He took Zach’s hand in his and gently held it. “I told him you’re one sorry sack of horseshit who isn’t worth his forgiveness. Don’t look at me like that.”

Zach turned his face away. He wasn’t going to cry. He’d fucked up too much to feel sorry for himself.

“Then I told him he’s going to have to understand that you’ll stray if you’re given the chance,” Bruce said. He was softly caressing the back of Zach’s hand. “I told him he’s going to have to keep you close to his heart, if he’s willing to forgive you. I told him I’ll have you call him when you’re not so drugged up. And, finally, I told him you’re a great guy who doesn’t deserve a sweet kid like him; and, you don’t.”

Bruce leaned down and kissed Zach’s cheek.

“How’s my favorite dummy this morning?”

Zach looked towards the voice and saw a woman in her late twenties or early thirties. She was tall, slender, and had long blond hair pulled back into a single braid down past her shoulders. Her smile was warm, inviting. Her nametag said: E. C. Burdick, MD.

“Fuzzy,” Zach said. “Hungry.”

“Well, you’ll be going home as soon as we can arrange a transfer to the hospital in Seattle,” the doctor said.

“Seattle?” Zach asked. He looked at Paul, who only shrugged.

“That’s where you’re from, right?” the doctor asked.

“Yeah, I guess,” Zach said. He looked at Bruce, who was still holding his hand.

“Burns on the feet are no laughing matter,” the doctor said. She looked at him the same way his mother looked at him when he’d fucked up as a kid. “You’re lucky, though. I don’t think there’s been significant damage, but I’m not the expert. We need to get you to a burn center. They’ll be able to give you a better assessment.”

“Thanks,” Zach whispered.

He stared up at the ceiling and thought of Jeremy.

There were frilly yellow curtains on the window over the sink when Zach hobbled into the cottage’s kitchen. He sat down at the table and looked at them. For some reason, he didn’t exactly know why because yellow was definitely not his mother’s favorite color, the curtains reminded him of her being in the kitchen when he came home from school. She always seemed to be in the kitchen as if it was her sole realm on the entire ranch where she was almost like a fairy godmother doling out forgiveness and tender care for all the booboos and owees of childhood.

Jeremy walked in and sat down at the opposite chair. They looked at one another, but no words were exchanged. They hadn’t spoken since Zach had been flown back from Montana three weeks earlier.

His burns weren’t too bad, but they were serious enough to require a lengthy stay in the burn center until the doctors were certain he wasn’t going to screw up and come back with something serious. Unfortunately, his reputation as a fuck-up preceded him and he found little sympathy; and, it seemed Jeremy was still in the process of deciding if his love for Zach was worth the effort.

“I’m sorry for being such an ass,” Zach said.

Jeremy stood up and walked around the table. He stood beside Zach. Zach looked up, but couldn’t tell what was on the mind of the boy who once loved him. He fully expected a slap or a fist in his face. He deserved that, he deserved more than that. Jeremy leaned over and kissed him on the forehead.

“Grandfather wanted me to move back up to the house,” Jeremy said as he walked back around the table and sat down. “I told him this was our home and that, while you did something that hurt me very much, I can’t leave you. But, I want you to know I still haven’t forgiven you. Maybe in time I’ll be able to do that, but right now I can’t. I want to, but I can’t because I still love you very much.”

“Thank you,” Zach whispered. The pain was barely tolerable and it was time for a light snack so he could take a pill. He wondered if there was anything to eat. He winced as he stood up.

“Where are you going?” Jeremy asked.

“I have to eat something before I take a pill,” Zach said.

“What do you want?” Jeremy asked. He walked around the table and stood close to Zach. Electricity crackled between them as the disgust they both felt over what Zach did fought with their love for each other. Jeremy reached out and touched Zach’s bare forearm.

“I don’t know anymore,” Zach whispered. He winced at the pain in his feet, pain he was going to have to learn to deal with for a long time. Pain that was going to remind him how close he came to destroying the one love he cherished most. “I can’t think, anymore.”

“Sit down, I’ll fix you something,” Jeremy said, firmly. “The dietician told me you need lots of fluids and fruit because those pills will cause constipation and we don’t need that. Do we?”

“No, I guess not,” Zach said. He watched Jeremy take a covered bowl out of the refrigerator and put it on the counter.

“Do you like cream over your peaches?” Jeremy asked.

“I’ve never had cream on peaches,” Zach said.

“Well, you don’t know what you’re missing,” Jeremy said. He kept his back to Zach as he took a small dessert bowl out of the cabinet and scooped some peaches into it. “Raul told me how to fix these. He’s been teaching me how to cook since you won’t be able to do it for awhile.”

He set the bowl of peaches on the table beside Zach.

“Since you’re not getting a lot of exercise right now, you don’t get cream,” Jeremy said. “You’ll have to settle for skim milk.”

“I hate that,” Zach said as he watched Jeremy pour a small amount of milk over the sliced and sugared peaches.

“Tough,” Jeremy said. He put the milk back in the refrigerator and came back to the table.

Zach stared at the peaches, which did look kind of good even though the watery milk did little to help their appearance. He looked across the table at Jeremy who wasn’t smiling.

“Go on, eat,” Jeremy said. They stared at each other for a moment and then Zach put his spoon into the bowl and picked up some of the fruit.

He ate slowly as the pain gradually built up overwhelming his senses. Halfway through the bowl, Jeremy gave him a pain pill and he swallowed it with a spoonful of milk. By the time he’d finished eating, the pain seemed to have reached its peak. He was sweating and felt weak.

He looked up and Jeremy wasn’t across from him. He looked around at a noise at the doorway and saw the boy with a wheelchair.

“The nurse said you should continue using this as much as possible until you’re able to walk more,” Jeremy said. He put the wheelchair beside Zach. “I think you need to lie down for a little bit. Later, when you’ve rested, we’ll practice walking.”

Zach wanted to say a lot of things about their new situation, but held his tongue as he didn’t know Jeremy’s intentions. He knew he should ask, but he couldn’t bring himself to do anything other than let the boy help him.

Jeremy stopped the chair at the door to the bedroom, which Zach hadn’t been in for nearly a month. The painting of Miles beckoning that had hung over Paul’s bed at the apartment was now hanging over their bed.

“Bruce said he wasn’t going to have that hanging over his and Paul’s bed so he gave it to me,” Jeremy said. “I kind of like it because it reminds me of how good I felt when I made love to you. I want to feel that again, but I can’t right now.”

“Will you lie down with me?” Zach asked. Jeremy rolled the chair to the bed and stopped. Zach stood up and then sat down on the bed.

“No sex,” Jeremy said.

“Sure, no sex,” Zach said.

“You can’t imagine how I felt when Bruce told me what you did,” Jeremy said.

“No, I can’t imagine,” Zach said. He felt the younger boy snuggle up against him and he shut his eyes. He’d been having nightmares in the hospital and Doctor Cunningham had him on a different medicine. He wanted everything to be as it was, but knew he was lucky to have Jeremy beside him, helping him, and talking to him.

A hot August wind seared prairie grass and wheat stubble as a private jet turned into its final approach at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport. The four passengers were subdued, friendship and necessity casting conflicting emotions over their somber mission. An older middle-aged man and another barely in his twenties, sat forward in the cabin softly chatting inane drivel while flirting with each other as lovers new to a relationship often do without conscious involvement. The other two, both in their mid to late teens, were quiet, barely acknowledging the other’s presence. Love was in their expressions and subtle eye movements, but something hung between them, something too horrible to lay bare and be done with.

Zach was entering his sophomore year at North Park the following week, but first he had the physical remains of his uncle, his aunt’s husband, to disperse upon nature as was his last request. His feet were tender and filled with pain most of his waking hours. He was still living with Jeremy. They shared a bed and home, but that was the extent of their relationship. He knew they were still deeply in love with each other, but his willingness to go with Derek to submit to the sadist’s evil intent sat between them like an overgrown clump of prickly pear.

Even though he was on heavy medication, Zach was still troubled with nightmares of Derek and, also, Conan had returned, sometimes in tandem with the sadist. He wasn’t getting the sleep he needed and he was going to need a lot of sleep once school started. He knew Jeremy didn’t want to talk about what happened, but it had to come out. He had to talk to Jeremy. Doctor Cunningham said that was the only way for the demons to be exorcised. His mind had to know Jeremy really loved him and had forgiven him. Otherwise, it was going to take a lot of counseling and a lot of medication to get his life back, but it would never be the same as it was; and, even with Jeremy’s forgiveness, Zach might never get back to a life he remembered as something close to being happy.

As he had since coming home, Zach sat beside Jeremy and stared out into space as if empty of all emotion. He didn’t know what more he could give to Jeremy. He promised, begged, pleaded, but nothing seemed to have an effect on the boy. His choice, as he was beginning to believe, was to simply walk away from the relationship; the sooner, the better, for his own good.

They couldn’t go on like they were. Their nonexistence around each other was emotionally draining. The only problem with leaving, as Zach saw it, was how to do it because he was still basically immobile without Jeremy’s assistance. He wondered if he could get to school and attend classes as he couldn’t walk for barely a hundred yards without the pain becoming so bad he had to sit down. There was simply no way he could manage without Jeremy.

The plane landed, taxied to its parking spot, they all got out and carried their luggage to a waiting green Suburban. Paul drove out of the airport and headed toward Alva, Oklahoma, which was southwest of Wichita and meant two-lane blacktop all the way. Zach and Jeremy sat in the backseat in their subdued, gray funk, which neither seemed interested in clearing.

Zach was probably the only one who enjoyed the drive as it was across country that, while not being too familiar, still had enough similar features like burnt grass, cornfields turning brown, herds of cattle looking bored in the stifling heat, small towns full of dust covered pickups, and hardly any trees. After a few miles he realized North Park wasn’t such a bad place to live.

Their motel in Alva was across the street from a small college. It was a typical tornado country arrangement of single story buildings with lots of brick that was easily turned into projectiles if a twister happened by. Their adjoining rooms were advertised as being the finest in Northwestern Oklahoma, but Zach still looked for the errant cockroach who hadn’t read the advertisement. He found a dead one hidden under the sink, the crisp smell of insecticide still lingering in the air. It was the faint line of mildew around the bathtub, though, that impressed Zach the most. He was happy they were only staying one night.

“What side do you want?” Jeremy asked.

“The right side, like always,” Zach said.

“I thought you might want the side closest to the bathroom,” Jeremy said.


“Well, because of your feet,” Jeremy said. He sat down on the edge of the bed and stared at the floor. The brown carpet had a noticeable worn path from the door to the bathroom.

“It’s all because of my feet, isn’t it?” Zach asked. He sat down beside Jeremy. “What’s to become of us?”

The boy turned and looked at him as if Zach had plunged a dagger in his heart. He wrapped his arms around the older boy and pulled him into a tight embrace, but Zach felt little emotion in the act and he did not reciprocate.

After a long moment, Jeremy broke away and began to softly weep.

“I don’t know what more I can do,” Zach said. “I’ve said I was sorry this happened. I’ve told you, I don’t know how many times, that I know I hurt you by willingly going with Derek. I’m beginning to feel that maybe we should end this before it destroys both of us. I can’t go on just living with you. I love you too much to be with you and not have you love me, too.”

Zach scooted over to Jeremy and draped his arm across his lover’s shoulders. He softly kissed the boy’s neck. Jeremy still softly wept, but he leaned slightly against Zach as if accepting the invitation.

Without a word, Jeremy got off the bed and knelt down on the floor in front of Zach. He unzipped the older boy’s jeans and snaked his hand into the fly. Once he found the object of desire, he easily pulled the soft length of flesh out and began to kiss it and bathe it with his tongue.

As his cock stiffened, Zach wasn’t certain what to do. Was this Jeremy’s show? Was he expected to appreciate the act? Was this an apology or an act of submission? Was this goodbye or hello?

It had been a long time, though, and Zach couldn’t hold back, because Jeremy’s lips, tongue, mouth, and hands made him feel something he hadn’t felt in months. The orgasm came on quickly and powerfully. He began to breathe deeply and almost instinctively reached out and began to run his fingers through his lover’s hair. He tensed and then exploded.

Jeremy had trouble getting it all down and some of Zach’s cum leaked out and trickled down his dick before puddling in the dark forest at the base. It was not ignored, though, because Jeremy went about using his tongue and moist lips to clean all vestiges of ecstasy from the boy he loved.

“Tonight, I will fuck you,” Jeremy said after he put Zach’s now softening cock back where it belonged. “And, I’m not going to use a condom. I think I need to reestablish ownership of your hole and the only way I know how to do that is to put my cum inside. Tomorrow morning after you wake up, I will fuck you again. When we get home tomorrow night, before you go to bed, I will fuck you.”

“Okay,” Zach said. The boy’s voice was filled with anger and each “fuck” sounded like someone hitting an anvil with a hammer.

“If you don’t come when I fuck you,” Jeremy said, “I will suck you. I want you to know I very much want to hit you, but doing that will make me be like my father and you like my friend Derek. I don’t want you to be submissive to me, but, my dear boyfriend, your ass is mine and if it ever strays again I swear I’ll kill you.”

“You’d kill me?”

Jeremy pressed his lips against Zach’s and tried to force his tongue down his throat. He put his hands onto Zach’s chest and pinched the two nubbins of tender flesh slightly protruding from under the t-shirt. Zach tried to pull back from the pain, but Jeremy held on increasing the pressure.

“You know what I mean,” Jeremy said after he broke the kiss. “But, I want you to know that all is not forgiven. You hurt me very much, probably much more than you realize, but, damn it, I love you, too.”

Both froze at the knock on the adjoining door.

“I’ll get it,” Jeremy said. He stood up and went to the door, but only opened it slightly.

“Yes?” he asked. “No, we’re busy right now. We’re talking. No, we can take care of it.”

Zach tried to hear who was talking to Jeremy, but the voice wasn’t loud enough.

“Oh, sorry, I guess I forgot that one,” Jeremy said as he brushed a couple fingers over his chin. “Yeah, thank you, but we need to work this out on our own.”

Oops, thought Zach, nothing like answering the door with cum dribbling down your chin.

“Okay, five o’clock, we’ll be out front,” Jeremy said. He shut the door and came back to the bed.

“Do you want to fuck me now?” Zach asked.

“No, it’s time for me to massage your feet,” Jeremy said, tersely. “Afterwards, I’ll give you a pill and you can have a short nap. I said I was going to fuck you tonight.”

The “fuck” was another hammer onto the anvil.

“Will you let me suck you?” Zach asked.

“No, and you can’t give me a hand-job, either,” Jeremy said, flatly. “For the time being, if I want to come, I’ll fuck you.”

Another hammer struck the anvil. Zach was beginning to get the picture. He might have started out advertising his dick, but he’d always been willing to drop his drawers for a dick up his ass. Now, Jeremy was going to fuck him and not necessarily do it in a loving manner. This was retribution, pure and simple.

“But, you’ll kiss, right?” Zach asked.

“Yes, before I give you an orgasm,” Jeremy said, thoughtfully. “I haven’t decided if I’m going to kiss you before I fuck you. I might afterwards.”

“Okay, I don’t deserve your kindness,” Zach said. The slap was hard, stinging, but not totally unexpected. Zach stared at Jeremy and then diverted his eyes downward.

“Oh, god, Zach, I’m sorry,” Jeremy whimpered. He pulled the older boy into a tight hug and began to weep, again.

“No, I deserved that,” Zach said as he pushed himself out of the embrace. “Look at me, come on, Jeremy, look at me. Yeah, like that. I love you. I hurt you. I don’t deserve to have your love for me, but I’m willing to do whatever you think is necessary to repair the damage I’ve caused. If you want to fuck me hard without feeling, okay. If you want to hit me, do it.”

“No, it’s time for your massage,” Jeremy said. He stood up and looked down at Zach. Tears dribbled down his cheeks. His dick was hard.

“Come closer,” Zach said.

“No, I don’t want you to do anything,” Jeremy said. “I have to do your foot massage.”

“Then I’ll come to you,” Zach said. He got down on the floor in front of Jeremy and had the younger boy’s pants and boxers down before Jeremy could react. “I know you want this.”

He took the erection into his mouth and began to massage the head with his tongue. It had been many months since he was this close to Jeremy’s cock. Zach took his time remembering the texture, taste, and feel of the tender skin against his lips and tongue down the entire length.

His right hand came up between Jeremy’s legs and his fingers began to gently manipulate the balls. They seemed fuller, more mature since the last time he’d held them. He sought that place on the back of the scrotum that drove the boy to ecstasy. He lightly touched it and Jeremy shuddered with a soft moan.

His other hand reached around and grabbed hold of the nearest butt cheek. His fingers slyly slipped into that special place where they could tempt with slight pressure. He wasn’t in a hurry and tried to coordinate his movements so his lover could be brought up to the edge of orgasmic pleasure. Zach knew where this was going and he didn’t expect a mouthful of cum.

Suddenly, he stopped, stood up, dropped his jeans and boxers and knelt on the bed.

“There’s lube in my bag,” Zach whispered.

“There’s some in mine, too,” Jeremy said.

“Or, do without if you want,” Zach said as he felt the head of Jeremy’s cock press against his hole and he focused on relaxing.

“No, we’ll do it with,” Jeremy said, as he pulled away. “I don’t really like going without.”

“Well, you two certainly seem chipper,” Paul said as Zach and Jeremy walked into the dining room at the hotel a few hours later. There seemed to be a lot of people as if this was the only restaurant in the town that served supper. “Did you two finally make up?”

“Kinda,” Jeremy whispered. He looked at Zach, who just smiled.

“We have a lot of work to do yet,” Zach said, “but I think we’re on the right track. Right, Jeremy?”

“Yeah, as opposed to the left track which goes to Poughkeepsie,” Jeremy said with a devilish grin.

“Yeah, you two are on the right track,” Paul said. “Which is good because we have a surprise for you, Zach.”

“What?” Zach asked as he gave Paul a puzzled look.

“Behind you,” Paul said.

Zach turned and saw a woman he hadn’t seen in over a year. Tears trickled down her tanned cheeks and the biggest smile was spread across her face. She opened her arms and Zach practically fell into his mother’s embrace.

He tried not crying, but it was no use. She held him tightly and then he felt her loosen her arms. He pulled out and looked into her sad eyes.

“I don’t understand, Mom,” Zach said.

“Come, let’s sit down and get out of this crowd,” she said. They slipped into the nearest empty booth and sat opposite.

She looked older than he remembered. The lines and crevices on her face dug deeply into once smooth skin. Her open collared, yellow checked blouse showed she’d been to the beach more than a few times. Her brown hair was lighter with more white showing. Her smile was still warm and welcoming.

“The simple answer is I’ve left your father,” she said. “Louise has been helping me and she found me a good job in Tulsa.”

He thought for a moment to ponder the implications of those words. Did this change anything toward what he felt about his father?

“Then when David died and he was generous with nearly everyone, including me. Louise said that you ended up with almost all of Dickie’s inheritance and I was happy for you.”

She took his hands in hers and firmly held them. She smiled.

“And, then Louise took me to a PFLAG meeting and I met some other mothers and fathers who have sons and daughters who are gay.”

The word sparkled in Zach’s mind. She hadn’t said homo, queer, fag, or any other derogatory word. Maybe there was hope again.

“I’ll admit that I’m still not completely comfortable, especially when I heard our reunion had to be delayed because you, what exactly happened? I don’t completely understand how you could put yourself in a position where you’d be hurt.”

“Mom, I made what I hope is the biggest mistake of my life,” Zach said. He held her hands and felt a tear dribble down his cheek. He looked around and saw the back of Jeremy’s head a couple booths away. “I didn’t know what was going to happen when Derek took me to his basement and put the blindfold on me. Maybe I should’ve stopped him at that moment, but couldn’t imagine he was a murderer. I went into it with my eyes focused on the wrong thing. I turned my back on the boy I love and don’t deserve his continued love for me.”

“Tell me about Jeremy,” she said. “I hear from his grandfather he’s quite a boy.”

“You’ve talked to Bud?” Zach asked.

She smiled with a soft chuckle.

“Boy, you don’t know how much trouble you almost got yourself into,” she said. “But everything is going to be okay from now on. The company I work for has a marketing office in Seattle and they’ll let me transfer out there if you’ll have me.”

“Well, of course, I’ll let you live with me,” Zach said. Then he stopped and remembered Jeremy. He looked into her eyes, but didn’t see any hint of sadness. There was something else she had to say, but he wanted to get his situation on the table first. “But, Mom, I’m, well, you see, I’m.”

“You’re living with Jeremy,” she said. “I know all about it, but you two need an adult in that home, too. You may be eighteen, but Jeremy is only sixteen and still needs a little guidance. I know, well, I’ve been told, Zach, this isn’t easy for me to talk about. All those years in your father’s church and hearing that hatred, well, it’s hard for me to accept that my son, my beautiful little boy is, well, in love with another boy.”

“Mom, please, I can’t live without him,” Zach said.

“How’re your feet?” She asked.

“Better,” he said, thankful she changed the subject. “Jeremy massages them two or three times a day. My therapist showed him what to do and she checks his technique now and then when I go in for physical therapy. I’m still not certain I can go to school this fall. There’s still a lot of pain and, of course, there are the occasional nightmares so I don’t get the sleep I need. Jeremy has been so good to me when I didn’t deserve anything from him.”

“I’m sure we’ll be able to figure out someway for you to continue your education,” she said. She smiled. “You know, Bud isn’t such a bad guy. He was very disappointed in you, but we had a lot of long talks.”

“Yeah, Bud hasn't said a word to me since,” Zach said. He wondered if all was forgiven there, too. He could only hope.

“Zach, we know that you’ll be in a lot of pain tomorrow at the service because a lot of people are going to be there and everyone will want to say something about how David affected there lives. It’s all going to be very informal out by that trickle of dirty water, but it’s okay if you don’t go. David really meant this to be our reunion, anyway. That’s why he wrote you that note. He sent me a note, too. According to Louise, David sent out a lot of notes that day.”

“Fuck!” Zach exclaimed and immediately regretted the outburst.


“Oh, sorry, Mom, I guess I didn’t really know him,” Zach said. “Why didn’t you come and see me when I was in the burn center?”

“Because, well, what you did hurt me, too,” she said.

He could tell she was trying to smile, but the thought of him willingly going with a man who enjoyed making other men hurt, obviously did set to well in her mind.

“But, Louise helped me a lot and Paul called often,” she said. “Bud was a bit difficult at first, but I think my willingness to move up there and live with the two of you, helped to change his opinion of you. For quite a few days there, it looked as if I might have to go up to bring you back to Tulsa.”

“God, I knew I screwed up when I woke up in the hospital in Montana,” Zach said. “But Jeremy has been so patient with me and he’s always there to help me with everything I need. Would you like to meet him now?”

“I think that would be wonderful,” she said with a smile.

Zach waved at Paul, who nudged Jeremy. In a moment, the boy he loved was at their booth.

“Hi,” Jeremy said. “Did she tell you she’s going to live with us? Grandfather told me before you got out of the hospital, but I had to keep it a secret.”

“Yeah, she told me,” Zach said as Jeremy scooted in beside his mother. “You knew she was going to live with us and you, uh, well, you know, didn’t say anything and then you said all those other things.”

“You know I've had trouble with this,” Jeremy said. “Then we got down here and you came up with that ultimatum, what else was I suppose to do? You know I love you, but are you happy now?”

“I’m happier than I’ve been since I found out I was gay,” Zach said as he looked across the table at the two people he loved most.


Author’s Note:  Well, there you have it. I know this could go on with Mother and Son living with Boyfriend, but not this time around because I can’t see anything bad happening for quite a while; and, well, I like bad things happening to people because, to me, it makes a better story when you can move a character from bad to good.

Thanks to all who have written; even to those who didn’t like what was happening to the characters. Like the old saying goes, you can't satisfy all the people all the time.