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 ©2000 by archer. Permission is granted to Nifty Archives to post one copy. No part may be copied, reproduced, republished, or reposted on another website without written permission from the author.

Also, please accept my apologies for the sloppy proofreading at the end of Chapter 10. Of course, Brian was in the shower with Mike and not Dennis. But, take heart. Through the generosity of Richard in Sydney, this and subsequent chapters will be relatively error free! Thanks, Richard. Fascinating little electronic village we have here. With me in the Midwestern US and my editor in Australia.....

Paternal Instincts

By archer


Chapter 11 Matt

Marty spent the night that night in the second bedroom. Matt tossed and turned all night. The argument with Tim kept replaying in his head like a tape on automatic rewind. He could see Tim’s facial expressions, hear his voice, feel his pain and anger. Why had he done it? Why had he withheld the information about Brian from Tim? Was Tim’s accusation true? Did he really not trust him? One thing was for sure; Matt did love Tim. He only realized it now that he had lost Tim.

After a restless night, Matt found he couldn't sleep past seven thirty that morning. He was agitated and anxious, and laying in bed without sleeping wasn't helping matters. So, he got out of bed and put a pot of coffee on. He tuned the TV to CNN quietly, so as not to disturb Marty.

Marty did finally make an appearance at about 8:30. He poured himself a cup of coffee and sat at the dining room table. His cologne preceded him by several feet.

“Did you figure out something to do today?” Marty asked Matt.

“Nope. Maybe a movie?”

Marty wrinkled his nose. “On a day like today -it's going to be hot again. How about a water park?”

“There isn't one around here. I think the nearest is in Burbank or something like that. Its too far to drive today, and I don't feel like it.”

“Park Forest had a pool, doesn't it?”

“Sure does. Over on Orchard.”

Marty got up from the table and peered into the refrigerator. “You've got to do some shopping today, cupcake. There's nothing in here but coffee, Diet Pepsi and a box of baking soda.”

“All the major food groups.”

They drove to the Jewel at the corner of Western Avenue and Route 30. Matt picked up some bratwurst to grill, makings for a green salad and some chips. He also remembered to get a six pack of regular Pepsi for the kid. On the Osco side of the store, he picked up a bottle of sunscreen. Matt and Marty had a hilarious time trying on sunglasses at the display until an older clerk glared disapprovingly at them over the top of her glasses.

Marty was good at diverting ones attention. Marty could make people laugh even when they didn't want to laugh; that was one of his best qualities. Matt was in pain, and he needed diversion. It wasn't a stabbing, blinding pain, but more of a nagging toothache or a sprained finger. Just enough to remind you that it was there, but not enough to paralyze. Instinctively, Marty knew he had to keep Matt moving forward or Matt would fall into the abyss of self-blame and self-pity. That wouldn't do anyone involved any good. Marty knew that with or without Tim, Matt would survive if he kept moving.

The plan was to drop the groceries off, throw towels and swim suits in the trunk and pick up Brian at the appointed hour of 10:30 that morning. Matt drove them both to St. Luke's in his Saturn. Instead of turning on the air conditioning, he opened the sunroof.

Matt parked in front of the Administration Building. Bill was nowhere to be found. Matt proceeded to Trees, where he hoped Brian was ready. Marty followed.

“Hello?” Tim called as he entered the back door of Trees cottage.

“Hi, Matt. Good to see you again.” Debbie extended her hand.

“I hope this is OK for me to come like this. I couldn't find Bill.”

She waved the concern away. “No problem. Brian is expecting you. Brian,” she yelled down the hall. Brian appeared wearing a big smile and carrying his gym bag. Mike followed him. Introductions were made all around.

“Do you have a swimsuit?” Matt asked Brian.


“Go get it.”

“Cool!” Brian turned on his heels and trotted down the hall again.

“You are so lucky,” Mike commented to Brian.

Brian was back in seconds. “I'm ready.”

“Have a good time,” Debbie said to them.

“Bye,” Mike said sadly. Only Marty noticed the sad look in the other boys eyes as he watched his best friend and object of desire leave.

Marty did most of the talking on the way to the Park Forest Aqua Center. Brian listened attentively. Matt remained quiet, lost in his own thoughts.

It was still early in the day, so the pool was not yet too crowded. The men's locker room had that magic odor: a combination of chlorine, suntan lotion, and male bodies. They chose a set of lockers in a corner.

Perhaps it was the smell of the locker room, perhaps the fact that his body was well into puberty, or perhaps it was the anticipation of seeing other male flesh. Brian began to get an erection. An adolescent boys dick can do strange things, including getting hard at unpredictable and embarrassing times. And this was one of them.

He turned to face the lockers. He couldn't let Matt see him like this. Shit. shit. shit, he thought. This can't be happening. I can't believe it. He slipped off his jockey shorts and replaced them as quickly as possible with his swimsuit. He was grateful, for once, that he had a pair of swimming trunks, and not a pair of Speedos. The baggy shorts would at least partially hide his erection. He also held his towel over his swimming trunks, trying to make the action look as casual as possible.

As soon as the trio reached the pool deck, Brian jumped into the pool, guessing correctly that the water would help make his cock deflate. Matt and Marty followed at a more sedate pace, staking out an area with two chaise loungers. They were both wearing the cheap eyewear they had purchased at Osco that morning. Dark sunglasses are a gay man's best friend at a pool or a beach. Besides the usual protection from the sun's rays, they also allowed them to watch other men without being obvious.

“You should put some sunscreen on,” Matt called to Brian.

As he and Marty smeared themselves with the oily liquid, Brian pulled himself out of the pool, his swim trunks no longer tented. Brian sat on the end of Matt’s chaise lounger, dripping all over the hot concrete.

“Do my back,” he said to Matt. Matt complied, and began smearing the sunscreen on Brian's back. The sensation being transmitted back to Matt’s brain was one of pure pleasure. The texture of the boys back was smooth as glass and warm to the touch.

“Come on in the water,” Brian encouraged after he had covered his own legs, arms and chest with sunscreen.

Matt doffed his sunglasses and followed him into the pool. He tossed Brian in the water, to the consternation of the lifeguards. Matt dunked Brian, and Brian tried to dunk Matt. They swam around each other, and dove to the bottom of the pool. They had a splash fight which Matt won easily. Matt’s dad had taught him to cup his hand in order to move the most amount of water across the surface. It was a technique that served him well as a camp counselor.

Matt was beginning to tire. He stood off the edge of the pool where the water almost reached his nipples. Brian spotted him and with a whoop dove toward Matt. Matt moved just in time. Brian turned, dove again toward Matt, this time wrapping his arms around the man's neck.

To the casual observer, it appeared to be a man and his son having fun at the pool, But they both knew it was otherwise. Matt marvelled at Brian's cunning. The kid had managed to hug Matt in public and in broad daylight. By disguising the hug as play there was no way it would offend middle class suburban sensibilities.

“Now I got you,” Brian said in triumph. He pressed his smooth, boyish chest against Matt’s hairy one.

“Yes, you do,” Matt said to his shoulder. Brian had captured him in a figurative as well as physical sense.

Matt took the boy's left hand. “Are you ready to get out? Your fingers are wrinkled.”

“Can we stay a little while longer?”

“OK, but I'm getting out for a bit. I need a break.”

As Matt toweled off his hair, Marty said to him, “And you were thinking about not seeing him today.”

Within fifteen minutes, Brian was before the two men with his arms crossed over his chest, dripping and shivering. “I'm ready now.”

Marty peered over the top of his sunglasses. “Did you have fun, Esther Williams?”

“Who is Esther Williams?”

“Matt, you have a lot to teach this child.”

On the way back to Matt’s they stopped at Matt’s favorite video store and rented three videos.

Once back in the cool, washed air of Matt’s house, Marty put on the first video, Outrageous Fortune. Matt started the grill and sat on the back steps watching the fire burn down. Matt reviewed his argument with Tim in his mind like a video replaying a tape. Matt played the What If game. What if I hadn't told Tim it was none of his business. What if I had remembered to tell him to begin with? What if I can't get Tim back? He shuddered; the last question was too terrible to contemplate.

Marty poked his head out the back door. “Hey, I've got the bratwurst.” He handed Matt the plate. “Why don't you put them on and come back in? Brian is asking about you.”

They ate, Brian helpfully loaded the dishwasher. They put in the second movie Down and Out in Beverly Hills. Marty loved to have themed video nights, and apparently he was in a Bette Midler mood. Matt lay on the couch, Marty in the recliner and Brian sprawled on the floor. Matt stared at the ceiling; he had seen the movie before and was preoccupied. Tired from all the physical activity at the pool, Matt dozed on and off. He was snoring lightly before the movie ended.

Marty shook him awake gently. “Hey, I'm going to get going.”

Matt sat up on the couch and rubbed his eyes. “Thanks, Marty.”

Marty stood behind the couch and kneaded his shoulders. “Hang in there.”

“Are you OK, Matt?” Brian asked when Marty left.

“Huh? Wha?”

Brian repeated the question.

“Oh, sure. I'm OK. Why do you ask?”

“You seem like something is bothering you.”


“Is it me?”

“Oh, no Brian. Not at all. I'm sorry I dozed off. Just a little tired, I guess.” Matt felt he owed Brian some explanation about his behavior, and he was a little upset that Brian thought that he was the cause. He had been listless ever since they got home from the pool. Matt was torn; he wanted to explain, but not give too much information. It was a parent's dilemma; how much information about the past is enough, and how much is too much? He certainly had no intention of telling Brian about his recreational drug use, the sleazy tricks, or the times he operated a motor vehicle when he was in no condition to do so. Matt decided to tell Brian the simple truth and Brian could ask questions if he wanted to know more. And Brian probably would; that was one thing Matt knew about Brian already. Brian was inquisitive.

“I had a fight with my boyfriend,” Matt told him quietly.

“Oh, I'm sorry,” Brian immediately responded. Matt thought it was quite a mature response for a thirteen-year-old. “I didn't know you had a boyfriend. It is Marty?”

Matt chuckled. “No, Marty is just a friend. His name is Tim.”

“Have I met him?”

Matt winced. “No.” He paused, then added, “Not yet.”

“What does he look like?”

“Oh, brown hair, brown eyes, just a little taller than me.”

“How old is he?”

“Twenty four.”

Brian raised his eyebrows. “Hmmmm. Younger man, huh, Matt?”

Matt grinned. He knew the boy was teasing him and probably trying to get him out of his dark mood. Matt’s smiled faded when an image of he and Tim kissing on the same couch popped into his mind.

Brian got off the floor, and hugged Matt. He patted Matt’s back, as if trying to burp a baby.

“Thanks, Brian, that's very sweet of you.”

“I don't want to see you sad.”

“Thank you, Brian.” Matt pondered for a minute. “But don't we have this backwards?”

“What do you mean?”

“I'm the one who is supposed to be comforting you.”

The next morning, Matt took Brian to church. Brian went without protest. Matt had just assumed Brian was Catholic with a last name like Kowalski. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Brian crossing himself, sitting, standing and kneeling on cue.

Father Grimes delivered his usual thought-provoking homily. Matt had come to look forward to them. When the Petitions were presented, Matt said a silent prayer for Tim. It wasn't a specific prayer, just a general prayer. At the Kiss of Peace, Matt and Brian made awkward motions at first. Neither was sure if they should simply shake hands or hug. Matt took control by engulfing Brian in his arms.

When the Lector made the announcements at the end of Mass, she reminded the congregation about the upcoming TEC retreat for young adults. Matt had been on a TEC retreat when he as a teenager. They were on TEC 38 already.

As they exited the church, Father Grimes spotted him. “Hello, darling.” Matt smiled. There was something extremely amusing about a Catholic priest calling one of his male parishioners darling.

“And who is this handsome young man?” He asked as he shook Brian's hand.

“Brian Kowalski,” Brian answered for himself.

“My foster son.” Matt added.

Brian liked Matt’s response to the priest. He knew Matt was coming around. They started to walk toward the gym. Brian had heard the announcement about donuts and was hoping they'd get a few.

“Really?” Father Grimes remarked to Matt. “I had no idea.”

“It was rather sudden.”

They sat at a table in a corner of the gym, which was already warm with human bodies. Grimes mopped his brow with a handkerchief as he slumped in a chair.

“Oh, what a summer! I think everyone in Park Forest is getting married. Pre-Cana, rehearsals, scheduling.”

“Sounds like you're busy.”

“Busy doesn't begin to describe it.” He reached across the table and patted Brian's hand. “So, how did you get to Matt’s?”

“I came from St. Luke's.”

“Ahh. St. Luke's. Father O’Donnell is a friend of mine. We went to seminary together.” He addressed the next comments mainly to Matt. “He's only been there a few years but, he's really turned the place around.” Then, he asked Brian, “Where did you live before St. Luke's?”

“Evergreen Park.”

“Queen of Martyrs?”


Grimes viewed all of Chicago geography in terms of parishes. And he knew most of the diocesan priests in them.

“Have you started studying for Confirmation?”

“No, not yet, Father.”

“Well, Matt, darling, there's something for you to get to work on. Excuse me, please. All sorts of stuff to attend to.”

By the time Matt returned Brian to St. Luke's on Sunday evening, he was feeling much better about Brian. He was very hesitant at first, but this was going to be a real adventure. His mom was right, he still had some practical things to work out, like supervision. But he was beginning to relax and enjoy Brian's company. Even though his company would never be a substitute for Tim’s.


“Brian,” Debbie called. “These forms come in the campus mail for you to fill out.”

“What are they?”

“They look like something for camp.”

Brian and Mike took the forms to the dining room table. The forms asked such as name, age, guardian's names.

“I'm not sure why I have to fill out these forms,” Brian admitted to Mike. “I thought I was going to spend the summer at Matt’s.”

“One thing about foster parents,” Mike advised, “is never count on anything.”

But Brian was becoming upset. “I thought the weekends were going well. I really like him.”

“He's coming Saturday night, isn't he?”

“Yeah, I'm going for the weekend again.”

“Well, you can ask him then.”

“I guess so. Or I can ask Bill tomorrow. He said he needed to talk to me. Maybe it has something to do with this.” He turned his attention to the form again. “What should I sign up for?”

“Kitchen helper. You can get extra food. The cooks sneak it to us.”

“But what do you have to do?”

“Scrub the pots and pans, and run the dishwasher.”

The though of all that leftover food disgusted Brian. “What else is good?”

“You don't want laundry helper. It sucks. The laundry is always hot as hell. Waterfront assistant - you have to be able to swim. Can you swim?”

“Not very well.”

“Arts and crafts helper isn't too bad. But the counselor who runs it is an asshole and I think he's coming back this year.”

“What about nature assistant?”

“No way, dude. You have to clean up all the animal shit.”

“What else does the nature assistant do?”

“Lead nature walks, feed the animals.”

“I think I’ll try that.”

“You're crazy. Don't say I didn't warn you.”

They both heard the phone ring. Soon, Debbie appeared in at the dining table. “Bill would like Brian to go to his office.”

“Why?” Brian asked.

“He wants to talk to you.”

When Matt picked up Brian the following Saturday night, the boy was rather sullen.

Matt tried to start a conversation. “We're going to a movie tonight.”

“What movie?” he asked listlessly.

“It's a surprise. Marty is going, too.”

“Cool,” he said without enthusiasm.

“Is something wrong?” Matt asked.

“No. Yes. I'm pissed that I have to go to camp.”

Here it comes. Bill must have told him. I should have talked to him about it last weekend. Jesus, when am I going to learn to communicate before things get out of hand? First Tim, now this.

A million thanks to Richard for proofreading/editing!  Your comments and suggestions are welcome! Click on one of the links below:

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