STANDARD WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to individuals, living or dead, is pure coincidence. Do not read this story if you are offended by man-to-man romance or sex. Do not read if you are underage according to the laws in the country, state/province, county, city/town/village or township where you live. There is sex between males. You have been warned!

Copyright 2001 by Nick Archer. Permission is granted to Nifty Archives, ASSGM, and gaywritings, to post one copy. No part may be copied, reproduced, republished, or reposted on another website without written permission from the author.

Family Instincts

By Nick Archer

Chapter 13

Slowly the newspaper came down to reveal Marty. Matt had never seen his goatee or his shaven head. He had to admit they were both very becoming.

There was a moment of tension in the quiet train car. The rails clicked rhythmically and someone’s Walkman was just a bit too loud.

"Of course, Matthew." Brian and Jake took the seats opposite Marty. They smiled at him and his return smile was genuine.

"Tommy, why don’t we sit here across the aisle, and Mike can sit in the other seat?"

Tommy had other ideas. He approached Marty. "Can I sit in your lap?"

Marty smiled. "Of course, sweetheart." He folded his newspaper and stuffed it into his briefcase. "OOF! You’re getting big!"

Mike, who didn’t know Marty very well volunteered to take a seat across the aisle.

Matt ended up sitting next to Marty.

"Aren’t you on the wrong train?" Matt asked him, desperately searching his mind for a safe conversational topic.

"I took off work early today, and caught the first train out of the Van Buren station. I can change at Kensington. And what are you doing on the train?"

"We went to the Field Museum," Brian told him. "It was way cool."

Marty smiled. "It’s one of my favorites, too. I haven’t been there since....oh, I don’t want to will make me feel old. You had the day off today, Matt?"

"I had the whole week off, as well as the next two weeks."

"I’m Brian Rosato, now," Brian told him proudly.

"You are? I’m so happy for you." His response was genuine.

"I took three weeks under FMLA," Matt explained.

"Good for you."

God, this is awkward. Matt thought. I’m surprised the kids can’t see the phoniness. As long as we keep it on a superficial level, we can pull it off.

"How’s my dad?" Jake asked.

"You mean he...." Marty swiveled his head toward Matt.

Jake’s eyes filled with tears and he turned his head toward the blurred scenery.

Matt pressed his lips together and shook his head almost imperceptibly. He sent his thoughts to Marty, and hoped Marty would pick up on his telepathy. No, the creep has not bothered to see his son, write him or even call him in the five months he’s lived in Park Forest.

Marty understood, and saved the moment. "He’s very good, Jake. He’s very busy at work. He’s saving to buy a house."

Jake just nodded, unsatisfied and still hurt. He continued to stare out the window. Matt acutely felt his pain.

The conductor interrupted them: "59th Street, The University of Chicago is the next stop. Change here for the South Chicago train."

In less than ten minutes, they would arrive at Kensington.

‘Hey, Uncle Marty? Would you be my sponsor for Confirmation?"

Matt fervently wished he hadn’t asked that now.

"What would I have to do? Would there be meetings?"

"Just one, in a few weeks. And then there’s a practice. The Cardinal himself is going to celebrate our Confirmation," Brian said with pride. Joseph Cardinal Bernardin was going to confirm this year’s class at St. Irenaeus. It explained why the ceremony was so late in the year. Usually, most Confirmations in the Chicago Archdiocese were finished by Easter. But the Cardinal had insisted on presiding over this class and the date was pushed ahead to accommodate his busy schedule.

"I think I can, if it’s OK with your dad," Marty replied to the boy, careful not to inflate his hopes.

Matt and Marty looked at each other. Their eyes met. They both saw a man in need of a sympathetic ear that only a friend can provide. They needed each other as sounding boards and crying towels. They needed each other to bandage their emotional wounds. Matt felt a profound sense of sadness at the loss of his best friend. He recalled making fun of the other kids in their drama club in high school. He recalled drinking cheap wine coolers in the backyard at some kid’s house party. He remembered the time they met at the 129 Club the year Matt was a junior in college. Matt was home for Christmas and they hadn’t seen each other in years.

Matt lowered his voice. "Why don’t you ride home with us? We can go out and talk somewhere, and I’ll drive you home."

Marty, his eyes misting ever so slightly, nodded.

The rest of the ride home was less tense. Somewhere between Harvey and Hazel Crest, Tommy switched to Matt’s lap. The conversation remained on a superficial level.

"Did you watch Tales of the City on PBS?" Obviously, Marty was trying to keep the conversation light as well. Conversation Lite! Matt mused. Tastes great, less filling!

"It was awesome! I recorded it. I still haven’t seen the last episode."

"Matthew!" he admonished. "I’m going to have your Faggot Card revoked!"

Matt shrugged but giggled uncontrollably. He felt giddy. Marty was back. "No time to watch it." After a pause, he added, "I’m glad Channel 11 had the balls not only to show it in primetime but uncensored." The American Playhouse series had created a firestorm of controversy. Some stations had shown a cut version – there were scenes of women’s breasts and obvious drug use. Others had relegated the series to an ungodly hour. WTTW, one of the best and strongest public TV stations in America, stood it’s ground and treated its viewers as adults.

"I loved the little girl who played Mary Anne. She was perfect. Who was she? Laura Linney?"

"I loved her, too. And, of course, Olympia Dukakis."

"She’s always a treat."

"What are you guys talking about?" Jake burst in rudely.

"A series that was on Channel 11 in January. I have it on tape," Matt explained.

"I never saw it."

"That’s because I recorded it when they played it again in the late night and early mornings."

"Can we watch it?"

"I’ll think about it."

"Of course you should watch it. With your father, of course."

The PA system announced, "Matteson! Matteson is next! Wake your neighbor!"

"We’re almost home."

The weather had turned sharply cooler and a light rain started. They sprinted across the vast asphalt parking lot for the Jeep.

The Saturn was in its parking space behind the townhouse. The boys raced around the house, calling for Tim.

Matt grabbed Marty in the kitchen and hugged him tight.

"I missed you."

"I missed you, too." The last word choked in Marty’s throat as he started to cry.

"I’m sorry."

"I’m sorry, too. You were right about Al. He’s an asshole. I’ll tell you all about it at supper." He kissed Matt’s cheek and Matt returned the kiss.

Brian appeared in the doorway to the kitchen just as they released each other. Matt wiped a stray tear away. Marty ripped off a piece of paper towel and wiped his nose. The encounter had been brief, but intense. It was like a very sad scene in an otherwise comic movie.

"Dad, Tim is in bed upstairs. He says he doesn’t feel good."

This was highly unusual. Tim was as healthy as an ox, and seldom sick.

"OK, I’m coming up in a second."

"Are we going out to dinner with you and Uncle Marty?"

"No, kiddo. This is adult talk. We have some issues to discuss."

"Oh, man! What are we going to do for dinner?"

Brian had a point. Matt had not defrosted anything, and Tim probably wouldn’t feel like cooking.

"First, we’re going to send Mike home. I’ll check on Tim. If he doesn’t feel like cooking, I’ll order a pizza. On second thought, just go ahead and order the pizza."

"Can we order Aurelio’s?" It was a little more expensive, but it was judged the best thin-crust by the readers of Chicago Magazine.

"If you want, sweetie."

He rewarded Matt with a brief hug. "Cool! Thanks, dad."

Tim was coughing when Matt opened the door.

"Tim, are you OK?" Matt gently stroked his hair.

Tim groaned. "No, I have a fever and a cough."

From the bathroom, Matt retrieved the digital thermometer, Tylenol and a dixie cup full of water.

Tim waved him away irritably. "Leave me alone. It’s nothing."

"Don’t be such a big baby. Put this under your tongue."

His temperature was 101. "Not too bad. Sit up and take these."

"I hate it when you treat me like a kid." After he swallowed the pills, he said, "Just go, Matt. Really. I’ll be fine. And will you close the blinds?"

"OK, if that’s the way you feel about it. I am going. Marty and I are going out, then I’m driving him home."

"Fine. Now, get out."

Fine, now get out. That was it. He didn’t acknowledge the news about Marty at all. On one level, Matt was angry and wanted to strike back. It took all the self-discipline he had not to say ‘Fuck you, Tim,’ and slam the door behind him. Matt sighed. Well, he was too sick to reason with, anyway. He seemed to be regressing.

Marty was sitting with the boys in the living room. The TV was on but they ignored it. Marty was the center of attention. And he would have it no other way.

Brian was doing a scene from his speech team original comedy piece when Matt approached. He had put together a very funny skit called ‘Animated Living Room.’ In it, Brian became different pieces of furniture in the living room. They talked about various members of a fictional family. Marty was enthralled.

Brian was currently acting as the lamp. He did a comical Valley Boy voice to represent the lamp. "Like, they take me for granted, man! You just don’t know how bad it is! They’re always twisting my knobs. The light goes on," here Brian opened his eyes wide and round, "then the light goes off!" He closed his eyes. "And, dude! Do you know what it’s like to have your head twisted off? That’s what they do to me when my bulb burns out!" He put his hand on top of his head and twisted his head and rotated his body to demonstrate. "Hey! I heard a funny joke! What’s the difference between a pregnant girl and a light bulb? Give up? The light bulb can be unscrewed! Hoover the Vacuum told me that joke! I told Hoover it sucks!"

Marty clapped enthusiastically. "That’s very funny and charming, Brian." He narrowed his eyes. "But do your teachers let you use the part about a pregnant girl being unscrewed?"

"Sure they do."

"Things certainly have changed since I was on the speech team," Marty observed.

"Ok, you guys. Tim isn’t feeling well, so try to keep it to a dull roar. If there’s a major problem, call Leah."

"Can Mike come over?"

"Nope, sorry kiddo."

"Shit," Brian mumbled.

"And I love you, too, Brian. Behave yourselves."

As they opened the Saturn, Marty said, "I love the way you handled Brian. That was so suave."

"Thank you. Adolescents are cats. They pretend like they don’t like you or hear you, but they really do."

"It’s so good to see you, Marty."

"You too." He placed his hand on Matt’s which was resting on the stick shift.

"Tell me about Al. It didn’t work out between you?"

Marty sighed. "No. I wanted it to. I really did."

"Marty, you really have a talent for picking losers."

"I don’t think Patrick was a loser."

"Then what happened?"

"I don’t know." Marty started to get emotional. "Is it me, Matt? What’s wrong with me? Even alcoholics, spouse abusers, crack smokers, thieves, and gamblers have lovers."

"But you don’t want that kind of relationship, Marty. Think of the kind of relationship they must have."

"I just don’t get it."

"We’re going to Chicago Dough Company, by the way," Matt said as he drove past the downtown area of Park Forest and turned right onto Sauk Trail. "I think you’re settling. You’re settling for less than what you deserve. Listen to me, I should talk! I had a big fight with Tim this morning."

"What about?"

"The kids, what else? I tell them that they can’t do something, they turn around and ask Tim, and he tells them yes. I’m really pissed off at him."

They pulled into the parking lot. Their eyes met and smiled again at each other as Matt held the door open for Marty. "Ladies first," he mumbled.


They ordered a pepperoni and mushroom pizza and a pitcher of Miller Lite.

There are some friendships in life that transcends everything. The relationship between Matt and Marty was one of these. Free from the eavesdropping ears of the boys, they picked up the common thread of their friendship as if nothing had ever happened. They wove the missing parts of the tapestry for each other. Matt knew that there was a tear in the cloth, and that nothing would be quite the same. But neither man seemed to care.

"I like the bald look," Matt commented.

Marty told him the story of how his hairdresser had ruined his hair when he left the bleaching agent on too long. He had worn a crew cut for a few months, and it progressed to shaving his head completely.

The waiter returned with the beer.

"I should have seen it when Al didn’t want to see his own son," Marty confessed. "Al is basically a loser. He’s not really buying a house, like I told Jake this afternoon. He’s moving back in with his mother in Mokena."

"Shit! My motto is: never trust a man over thirty who lives with his mother."

"At first, it was OK. He is excellent in bed. When he wants to be. But most of the time he just laid there and expected me to do all the work. There was no reciprocity." Marty sipped his beer.

"I hate that."

"Me, too. And talk about lazy. He never did any work around the apartment, and he paid the rent late on several occasions. He still hasn’t paid his April rent at all. So, it started out fine, then we just became roommates. Now, he’s hardly even a roommate. I’m sure he’s out fucking around as we speak." He sighed. "I told him to call Jake, or send a card or something. But he never did, did he?"

Matt shook his head sadly.

"It’s like he’s so selfish. It’s all about Al, and the rest of the world can go to hell. Well, it’s over, and he’s moving to mommy’s at the end of this month. I’ll be glad to have my own space back. And you."

"Why didn’t you call me? Why didn’t you tell me?" Matt bit into a piece of pizza.

"You were so hateful to me that one time on the phone, I honestly didn’t have the courage."

"I’m sorry about that, Marty. >From the bottom of my heart, I am." Matt gazed into the pitcher of golden liquid. "I’m leaning to control my temper. I really am. It’s a challenge, though." Matt told Marty about how he had blown up at Brian, and the fight he had with Tim.

"I see your point, Matt. With Tim, at least, you expect his support. It does seem like he’s undermining you." He wiped the corners of his mouth with ladylike daintiness. "You must make up with him Matt. Not only for your sake, but for all our sakes."

"What do you mean?"

"All of us. The whole gay community. My God, Matt, don’t you realize what an icon your little family has become?"

"No," Matt answered honestly.

"You are the model of what a gay family should be. People look up to you. You have no idea how famous you’ve become since that article in Windy City Times. I once overheard two guys in the 129 Club talking about you."

"What were they saying?"

"That you have a lot of balls to be doing what you’re doing."

"Thanks, Marty. It’s not easy. And we’re not accepted by all parts of the gay community. There are many who still think we have the kids around as sex partners. There’s a lot of perverts out there."

"Swallow that ferocious pride of yours, Matt and tell Tim how much you love him."

Matt blinked back tears as he recalled the bath Tim had prepared for him a little over a month ago.

By now, there was a heavy fog swirling around the restaurant. The waiter packed up the remains of the pizza, and they paid the bill.

On the way the Blue Island, they gossiped about other people and classmates. Matt told Marty about his offer to teach at the new South Suburban Catholic Academy. They planned on Marty to be Brian’s Confirmation sponsor.

"That boy is something. He’s so talented and bright and intelligent. And he just gets more and more handsome. He’s going to make someone quite a husband. You must be extremely proud."

"I am," Matt admitted. "I only wish Jake’s natural father felt the same about him. Jake has so much to offer."

"The poor, sweet boy. He almost cried on the train today. Even he knows what a fucking weasel his own father is, but he still wants to see him."

"That’s the way kids are," Matt commented. "I’ll tell you, though, if he were available to adopt, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I love him like my own."

"You are a saint, Matthew. Not only adopting boys in need of homes, but a straight one, besides. I just hope he doesn’t leave his jack-off magazines in the bathroom. The thought of Playboy and Penthouse make me shudder."

"Here’s a newsflash. And we need to keep this between us. We’re starting to think he’s bisexual."

Marty covered his mouth. "No!"

"Yes, sir. He’s been trying to get into Brian’s pants for months, now. I’m pretty sure he’s succeeded. And he may be playing around with Mike as well."

Marty squealed. "What a mess that boy is! Who would have ever guessed it? He’s such a butch little thing."

"I think that’s one of his attractions, for Brian at least. I need to have a serious talk with him about it in the near future."

"Are you going to sell tickets? At least you’re going to videotape the proceedings? Jesus, what I wouldn’t give to witness that conversation!"

Matt laughed at him, fully aware he was just kidding.

When they pulled into the back of Marty’s building, they embraced each other again. Reluctant to let each other go again so easily they hugged so long that they steamed up the windows of the car. Words were superfluous. They finally released each other, smearing the fogged-up windows with the sleeves of their jackets in the process.

"Let’s not let this happen again," Marty suggested.

"No," Matt agreed. He looked directly at Marty directly. "We’re going to find you a man. I promise."

"Yeah, yeah, OK. Now, go home and take care of your sick husband. And give him my love."

On the way home, Matt stopped at the Jewel/Osco at the corner of Lincoln Highway and Western Avenue. He picked up the industrial size of Robitussin on the Osco side. On the Jewel side, he purchased several cans of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, a couple liters of 7-Up and some Jell-O.

It was 9:30 by the time Matt returned home. The house was quiet, except for Tim’s hacking cough. Jake was watching TV. Matt stood behind the couch, put his hand on Jake’s shoulder and gave it an affectionate squeeze. "What are you watching?"

"Just channel surfing." There was a sadness in his eyes.

"OK. Don’t stay up too late."

Matt stepped on the first stair, when Jake called to him quietly. "Dad?"

Matt reversed himself and headed back toward the couch. Jake had never, ever called him Dad, always by his first name.

Jake reached up and took Matt’s hand. "Can we talk?"

"What’s on your mind, son?"

"About my dad....and other – things."

Inwardly, Matt sighed. Why do things always converge at once?

"Can you give me a couple minutes? I want to check on Tim and give him some medicine."

"OK, no prob. I’ll be right here."

Tommy was asleep peacefully when Matt looked into his room. He tucked the redhead in bed and kissed his forehead.

Brian was reading. Matt reminded him to get to sleep at a decent hour.

Last, was Tim. Their bedroom was darkened when Matt opened the door.

"How are you feeling?"

"Like shit."

"I’m going to turn on the light." After he did, Tim was shielding his eyes with his forearm. "Sit up, please and take some cough medicine." Tim grimaced at the taste of the syrup.

"Now, put this under your tongue," he put the thermometer to his lips.

"Matt, I’m sorry about this morning."

"So am I. Open...." Matt maneuvered the end under his tongue. Tim was a captive audience while Tim’s temperature was being taken, and Matt seized the opportunity.

"You and I grew up in intact and relatively stable families. These kids didn’t. The key is consistency. Otherwise, they’re going to take advantage."

The thermometer beeped and Matt slid it out.

"Matt, I know, I’ve been thinking....."

"Shhh-hh!" Matt admonished. He picked up the cordless phone and dialed Gloria’s number. He fervently hoped she was still awake. Always an early riser, she was seldom awake after nine.

"What was the temperature? Who are you calling?"

Who else does one call when they’re really in trouble? Who else does one reach out to for answers? Besides, Gloria was a nurse.

"Thank God you’re up. Tim is sick.....He’s got a temp of 103...very bad cough." He put his hand on the speaker. "Are you coughing up anything?" Matt asked Tim.

"No, not really."

"You heard that? Oh, and his eyes are red and they’re very sensitive to light. Uh-huh. Uh-huh." He put his hand on the receiver again. "She says open your mouth."


"Tim, will you shut the fuck up and open your mouth?" The absurd contradictory nature of his question was lost in the tension of the moment. "Ok, what am I looking for? Red spots with white dots in the center? Yup, he does. All over."

"What?" Tim asked.

"She thinks you have the measles. Did you ever have them when you were a boy?"

"I don’t know. I don’t think so."

"No, mom. Ok, Ok...."

"Let me talk to her."

"Ok, mom, here he is."

"Mom?" Tim said, as he started to cry. "Uh-huh." He rolled over on his side away from Matt into a fetal position, still holding the phone to his ear. If Matt knew Gloria, she was speaking soothing words to Tim that only a mother could utter to her sick child. Words of confidence and comfort. Words of reassurance that even sickness wasn’t permanent and it would pass. Tim continued to sniffle as Matt left the room to get a box of tissues. Matt handed the box to Tim, and Tim handed him the phone.

"She wants to talk to you."

Matt took the phone into the hall and sat on the top step of the stairs.

"That’s some bedside manner you have, Matthew," she chided.


"’Shut the fuck up?’ Shame on you."

"Well, I was worried about him."

"As well you should be. Measles in adults can be dangerous. They can lead to all kinds of complications. I’m not absolutely positive he does have measles, but it sure sounds like it. Watch over the next few days to see if a rash develops on his forehead. It will progress down his body to his feet. Do you have access to his medical records to see if he has had a vaccine or a booster?"

"I don’t know?"

"Is there a relative you can ask?"

"Yeah, I think there is."

"Good. There really is no treatment, except to let it run it’s course. Make him drink lots of fluids. If he gets too congested you might get a vaporizer for the room. And, of course, keep the kids away."

"Thanks, Mom."

"I love you."

"I love you, too."

The man moaned and let his head fall back as the other man took his entire cock down his throat.

"Oh, yes, baby. That’s so good." The receiver put an encouraging hand on the his head. The older man was seated in a leather chair in his living room. The younger man was also naked and knelt on the floor as he gave his partner an expert blow job.

"Mmm! Mmm!" The younger man voiced his agreement. His mother had always told him it was impolite to talk with his mouth full.

The older man let out a deep, satisfied sigh. It wouldn’t be long, now. He could feel the climax approaching.

The phone rang.

Patrick was tempted to let the answering machine pick it up, but the telephone was right there on the table to his left.


"Patrick? I’m sorry to bother you so late. It’s Matt."

"Oh, hey, kiddo! How’s it going?" The younger man released his cock and grinned at him. A droplet of precum glistened at the corner of his mouth.

"Pretty good. How about you?"

"Ok, but Tim is sick."

"He is? What’s wrong?" Patrick ran his fingers through the hair of the younger man who grinned at him as he waited patiently for the conversation to end.

"I think it may be measles. Do you remember if he had them as a kid?"

"Let me think. I know he had the chicken pox. The girls had the mumps, but not the boys. We thought that was strange. No. No, Matt, I don’t think he ever did. Is he going to be all right?"

"Yes, he’s under excellent care."

Patrick laughed. "I know you’ll take care of my boy."

"Thanks, Patrick. I’m sorry to bother you."

"Not at all, Matt. Keep in touch." He replaced the phone.

The younger man rose up on his knees between the legs of the older man. They kissed with passion.

"Are you ready to finish?" Patrick whispered in his ear.


"Are you sure you haven’t done this before? You are so good."

"I’m sure."

They released each other and the younger man resumed his position. His mouth worked Patrick’s large cock for all it was worth.

"Oh, Tony, Tony...." Patrick moaned.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. I read and respond to all email (even if it takes a few days) Just click on one of the links below. And don't forget to check out my website (Chapters are always posted there earlier than here) and my other story here on Nifty, Pocketful of Stars, in the Young Friends section.


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