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.
A few years back, some of the major US television networks went though a phase where every episode was labeled A Very Special...(Fill in the name of show) Such as: A very special Full House. A very special Mad About You. You get the idea.
And now, A Very Special chapter of Paternal Instincts........
The Fourth of July dawned hot that summer, even in Northern Wisconsin. If it was this hot here, the campers said to each other, imagine what it's like back in Illinois.
Classes all day had been canceled to make way for special activities. After breakfast, there was a Color War. The campers were divided at random into two teams. Each team his their flag in the woods and the object was to capture the other team's flag and bring it to the circle. Brian was assigned as a spy to bring back information back to the Green Team. Jason and Tommy were also on the Green Team, although Mike ended up on the Red Team, a fact he was not at all happy about. Together, Brian and Jason discovered the location of the Red flag and reported it back to their team. The information helped them win the game. It was during the game that Brian noticed that Tommy began shadowing him.
Late in the morning, after the Color War, but before lunch, Brian decided he should check on the animals at the Nature Lodge. The animals did not celebrate Independence Day and would be hungry. And, Brian could pet, stroke and talk to the animals without anyone seeing him.
The path to the Nature Lodge led behind the Junior quad. He spotted Gary's car parked next to his cabin. That's strange, he thought, but continued walking.
When he reached the Lodge, he found the door ajar. His heart skipped several beats. Had he forgotten to lock the door? Had any of the animals escaped? He pushed the door open further to see Dane filling a dog bowl with goat pellets.
"Good morning," He said cheerfully.
"I'm the new nature counselor. Gary was fired. He's leaving camp this morning."
"Don't feel bad, mate. It wasn't your fault. He didn't do his job." He put a hand on Brian's shoulder. "We're going to get on much better. You've been working way too hard here. We'll set up a schedule for feeding and cleaning, so that you can get away from the lodge and have some fun. After all, that's what camp is for--having fun."
Brian smiled out of relief.
"Come on, love. Let's get some lunch." They washed their hands in the utility tub. As they walked down the path, Dane put an arm around Brian's shoulders.
"Who will be our relief counselor on Tip's days off?"
"There's Pat and Drew. Maybe some of the CIT's may be relief counselors. Bill over- hired for exactly this reason."
As they talked, they passed behind the Junior quad again. Gary was loading his clothes into the open trunk of his car; just throwing them in without bothering to put them into a duffel bag or suitcase. The ex-counselor caught sight of Brian and his replacement.
"So, there's the little faggot. Fucking bigmouth liar. Because of you I got fired."
"Watch your language," Dane shot back. "There's campers around."
"Fuck you. I don't work here anymore, remember?" Gary threw an armload of clothes in the trunk of his older, rusting Buick. He pointed at Brian. "I'll get you, brat. Just when you least expect it. When you've forgotten about me, I'll be waiting on some dark street."
Gary's words send shivers down Brian's spine. But not Dane's.
"You are a wanker, Gary," Dane responded coolly. "If you had done your job, you wouldn't have gotten fired. Now, get out of here."
Gary flashed Brian a look of absolute malice that chilled Brian. He got into his car, slammed the door, and drove across the Junior quad, almost running over two campers.
That night, one of the counselors lit contraband fireworks on the end of the dock while the campers and counselors sat on the beach. The younger campers found the laps of counselors much more comfortable than the sandy beach. Tommy was no exception, but he sought out Brian's lap instead. Brian felt a little odd and afraid of what the other boys might say, but rationalized it away with the fact that they were sitting well behind most of the crowd and therefore couldn't be seen.
To Brian's delight, Tommy sat still instead of squirming continually.
And unlike some of the younger campers, he was clean. Brian could smell
that his hair had been recently washed. Brian enjoyed the warmth and pressure
of holding the younger boy. He had never held a child younger than himself,
except for his baby niece. Deep down, Brian felt a stirring of emotions
he couldn't identify.
On the Fourth of July, the McGraw siblings were gathering at their parent's house in Flossmoor. The large brick house was ready for the invasion of the McGraws. An American flag fluttered in front of the house. The lawn was mowed and Patrick had started the grill. Steaks and chicken were marinating, and beer and soda were chilling in a plastic wading pool Jeannie and Patrick kept for their grandchildren.
Kevin arrived first with his three children and wife. They appeared about eleven. Cathy, her husband and her two children were next to appear around noon. Tim manned the grill He didn't feel like being social. He didn't even want to play with his nephews and nieces. He hadn't talked to Matt in almost five weeks. He was still pining for Matt, although the feeling was not as strong now. Tim wanted to call Matt, and had attempted several times. He always got the answering machine. Tim could only conclude Matt was leaving the machine on all the time to screen his calls. Pride held him back, too. Part of him wanted Matt to call him, to make the first move. Deep down, Tim knew he still loved Matt and that he wanted Matt back.
"Hey, Uncle Tim! You're burning the hamburgers!" His niece's voice brought him back to reality.
Tim glanced up to see his sister Beth, her boyfriend Jim and Rosie rounding the corner of the house. Tim's face went white. He hadn't had to face Rosie since he moved out. Tim knew Beth and Rosie were friends. But her appearance still took him by surprise. What was she doing here? She had family in the area. She should be there.
"Hi, Tim," Rosie said to him.
"Ok," he responded, trying to sound as offhand as possible. He removed the hamburgers and replaced them with marinated chicken.
"I heard that you were seeing someone."
Inside Tim was agitated, but his exterior remained placid. "I was. I'm not now."
She moved closer. Tim repositioned himself so that the hot grill was between them.
"Can we talk later?" she asked.
Tim forced a smile. "Sure."
"Looks like you lost weight. Are you sure you're OK?"
"Yup." He tried to sound as upbeat as possible. He wasn't going to admit he lost weight because of a fight with his boyfriend.
Jeannie, Cathy, Beth and Kevin's wife, Chris, set the food out. The adults served the children or prepared plates for them. Then, they seated themselves under trees, either on the grass or in lawn chairs. Tim sat on the ground under an oak tree surrounded by three of his nephews. He watched in silence as various adults clumped together, then dispersed. Kevin talked to Patrick and Jeannie, Patrick talked to Cathy, then Beth. Somehow, Tim knew he was the topic of conversation. Tim approached the food table for more chicken. His brother approached and stood very close.
"I always knew you were a faggot."
"You heard me."
Tim set his plate on the table. He shoved Kevin. "Yeah, well, I always knew you were an asshole."
Kevin shoved him back. "Always looking for attention, aren't you Timmy boy? Well, I'm sick and tired of it. You were always Dad's favorite. I hated that." As he spoke, Kevin punctuated his words with an index finger poked into Tim's chest.
"Keep your fucking hands off me."
"Hey, hey, cool it. Both of you." Patrick positioned himself between his two sons. His efforts were almost ludicrous because both his sons were taller and heavier than their father. Jim held Kevin back while Cathy's husband held Tim.
"Tell him!" Tim shouted, pointing at Kevin. "Once an asshole, always an asshole."
"Oh, no, please don't fight," Jeannie's hands fluttered nervously like butterflies. Cathy and Beth herded the children into the house. They didn't need to see this.
Tim was usually in control of his temper, but the testosterone and adrenaline were flowing. Tim was avenging years of taunts and bullying form Kevin. It felt good. Tim wanted to hurt his brother.
Somehow, Kevin broke free from Jim and lunged at Tim. Rosie screamed. Tim backed up against the food table and tipped it over. The spilled baked beans and potato salad looked like piles of vomit on the lawn. Tim landed his right fist on Kevin's nose. Blood spurted everywhere. Kevin swung back and struck Tim's left eye before Jim and Patrick subdued them again. Kevin spit at Tim and the saliva included blood as well.
"My brother the faggot."
Since both combatants were now subdued, Rosie moved closer.
"So this is what it's all about? You're gay?"
Tim looked down at his shoes. "Yeah, I am," he mumbled. Then, it struck him. This was what Matt meant about accepting himself. He raised his head slowly and repeated louder, "I'm gay." A smile spread slowly across his face. "I, Timothy Shawn McGraw am gay. A faggot. Queer. Homosexual. A fruit. A pansy." His voice rose with each synonym.
"We get the picture," Jim mumbled.
"Shhh-h! Honey, keep your voice down. The neighbors will hear."
"I don't care if they do."
"Why?" Rosie asked Tim. "Why, why, why?" she repeated as she started to cry. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I couldn't. I denied it. I never wanted to hurt you, Rosie."
"We were living a lie....all that time...."
"And I decided to put an end to the lie. I couldn't live a lie anymore. I really never meant to hurt you. And I do love you. Maybe not in the way you want me to. I care about you."
With long strides, he walked around the house to the driveway and his car. Patrick followed him.
"Tim," he called after him. "Son."
Tim inserted the key in the ignition. Patrick leaned into the open window. "Don't go like this."
"Move you car, dad, so I can get out."
"Where are you going? You can't drive like this."
"You promised you wouldn't tell anyone else but Mom. Who else did you tell?" Tim changed the subject.
"No one, I promise. Just your mother."
"Who did she tell, then?"
"I don't know."
Tim was too furious to cry. He pounded the steering wheel with is fists. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck! Move your car, Dad, or I'll drive over your grass."
"No, Tim. When you calm down, we'll talk about this like adults."
"That's impossible. Kevin will never be an adult." He started the ignition, pulled as far foreword as he could and backed out over the lawn.
Tim was blinded by rage as he drove. Luckily, there were few drivers to further anger him. He reached Matt's house in less than fifteen minutes. Matt's black Saturn was gone. Tim remembered he was probably working since it was a holiday. Still, he got out of his car, and pounded on the kitchen door.
"Shit," he mumbled to himself.
He returned to his car. The clock read 3:15. Tim guessed that Matt wouldn't be home until at least 5:30. What was he going to do now? He couldn't go home.
Tim turned south on Western Avenue. As he neared Sauk Trail, the Forest Preserves beckoned. In the first decades of the century, Cook County officials set aside thousands of acres of forest to be preserved for future generations. Tim recalled that there was a trail around the perimeter of the huge complex of preserves between Park Forest and Chicago Heights. He parked and locked his car and started hiking.
The sunshine and the scent of the forest helped clear his mind and alleviate some of his anger. He planned what he was going to say to Matt. Tim was feeling much better when he completed the circuit. Some of his rage had been walked off. He returned to his car which was parked at Sauk Trail Woods #2. There were a few men loitering on picnic tables and in their cars. He had heard that this particular grove was a cruising place.
It was now 4:30. Tim decided he would wait for Matt at his townhouse. Tim parked his dark blue Probe and noticed that Matt's car was still gone. Instead of sitting in his car, which would only get hotter, he chose to sit on the porch.
As he strode up the sidewalk, a woman called out to him, "Are you Tim?"
"Yeah," he responded, unsure where the voice came from. He hadn't spotted the small woman sitting on the neighboring porch amidst all the greenery.
"I'm Leah. Matt is at work."
"I thought he might be. How did you know my name?" Tim was a little paranoid.
"Matt told me. Why don't you wait up here and keep me company?"
Tim sat in the other chair.
"I'll get you some iced tea." Leah said, and entered her kitchen.
"Matt and I have talked," she said as he sipped his iced tea. "I've heard a lot about you."
Tim smiled, not sure how to respond.
"Are you having a nice holiday?"
"It was until a few hours ago."
"Tell me about it."
Tim hesitated at first. But he soon saw the same thing in Leah's eyes that Matt had seen; she was concerned, interested and non-judgemental. Tim recounted how he had come out to his family earlier that day.
With a look of concern on her face, Leah responded, "It's sad when families can't accept each other."
"I told my dad first. I trusted him."
"Sounds like he kept your trust. You mom probably broke it."
"I don't know what to do."
"What do you want to do?"
"Never see my brother again, for starters. These are the people I loved and trusted."
"One of the truths about families is that just because you are related by birth doesn't always mean you get along. Your brother is the oldest. He probably never got over your being born. Eventually you may be able to make peace with him, but you may never be friends. Your mom is a different story. By telling your brother and sisters, she force you to deal with the issue before you were ready."
"Yeah she did."
She paused for a moment. "Let me ask you this: when would have been a good time to tell your family you were gay?" She added quickly, "I don't mean to be smart. But, it seems to me that it never would have been a good time. You would have avoided the topic indefinitely. Am I right?"
"So, I guess she actually did you a favor. Now, I'm not condoning what she did or saying that it was right. And it will take some time for the hard feelings to lessen. Do you live with your parents?"
"Is there somewhere else you can stay until this all blows over?"
"I guess I could stay with a guy I work with." Then Tim mumbled, "But, I'd rather stay with Matt."
"And I think he would want you to, Tim. I know he cares about you and he misses you. And I suspect you miss him. Otherwise, why are you here? Matt has issues, too, Tim."
"I know. But I still love him."
"He's basically a good man, but he's full of pride and stubborn and sometimes petty. You've got to be ready to forgive him."
At this point, Matt pulled up. He saw Tim's car as he pulled into the parking lot, and spotted Tim on Leah's porch.
As Leah would later tell Matt, his face was white as he got out of the car.
Without another word, Tim followed Matt into his house. From her porch,
The second the kitchen door closed behind them, they grabbed each other in a passionate embrace. Their lips met for an electric moment. Matt let his Dayrunner drop to the floor. They spoke over each other, asking questions but not really listening to the answers. The conversation was random, disjointed and disconnected.
"What happened, Tim?"
"I missed you."
"Where did you get that black eye?"
"I tried to call you, Matt."
"I am so sorry about what I said. You'll meet Brian as soon as he comes back from camp."
"He's at camp?"
"It's my fault, Tim."
"No, it's mine. I had to work it out for myself."
"I love you, Tim."
"I love you too, Matt."
By this time, they were both crying. They held each other as if someone was going to rip them apart.
A few minutes later, they were on top of Matt's bed, still fully clothed except for their shoes. They were positioned on their sides, facing each other with their arms and legs intertwined. From the bathroom, Matt had brought in a box of tissues and the small plastic waste can. Neither man was crying outright, but sort of weeping'
Matt listened to Tim's story of what had happened that day.
"I'm sorry it happened that way," Matt sympathized, "and I'm sorry about your brother."
"I'm not sorry about my brother," Tim said with venom. "I've always hated that son of a bitch." His tone softened. "But I am sorry about Rosie, and my mom and especially my dad. He's always been on my side."
"I think Leah's suggestion about staying a few days somewhere is a good one. You're welcome to stay here."
For an answer, Tim smooched Matt. "We can play house."
"You are a weirdo sometimes." Matt studied the other man's hair, skin and eyes. He noticed for the first time that Tim's eyes were really gray, not hazel. In different light they could look brown or blue. He traced Tim's jawline with his right index finger, pausing to insert it in Tim's dimple. "I don't why I didn't tell you about Brian. I really did forget. I just assumed you wouldn't care."
"But I did care. And I still do. But, I overreacted and I'm sorry about that. I thought you were treating me like a kid. Being the youngest, people always treat me like a kid, and that pisses me off. That's one reason why I hate to be called Timmy."
"And I'm sorry for doubting you. I'm sure you two will get along great. There's only one thing I ask of you. If we have any disagreements about him we need to discuss it first in private, and not in front of him. It's important that we have a united front and that we're consistent."
"Mr. McGraw, you've done a lot of growing up in a few short weeks. You came out to your family and now you're going to be, in effect, the second parent to a boy."
Tim giggled. "Who's going to be the dad and who's going to be the mom?"
Matt smiled. "We're both going to have to play both roles from time to time. And I have another favor to ask of you."
"Whatever you want, Matt."
"I'll need your help in watching him when I work nights and weekends."
"I'd love to."
"He'll be coming back in a couple weeks, and we'll start weekend visits again. I have to work every Saturday unless I'm on vacation. So if I pick him up on Friday night, you could watch him during the day on Saturday."
"Sure, but don't you think he's a little old for a babysitter? I mean, there are twelve and thirteen-year-olds who are babysitting at that age."
"True, but I don't know him all that well, yet. Besides it will give you two a chance to bond."
"It's the least I can do if you're letting me stay here."
"Tim, you can't stay here indefinitely. Just for a few days. Are you off tomorrow?" Matt knew Tim would want to know why he couldn't move in, and Matt's first impulse was to avoid the subject.
"Yeah. But, Matt..."
"So am I," Matt interrupted. "We'll go have a key made." It's time to face the music, Matt thought. He took a deep breath. "Tim," Matt said running his fingers through Tim's hair, "I love you with all my heart. But there's a few reasons why you can't move in yet. First, I'm not sure if the social workers at St. Luke's would approve. And my first responsibility is to that kid. He needs me and he depends on me. I can't risk them taking him away because you're living here. Next, you have to deal with your family. You can't avoid it forever. You dad sounds supportive. But even if you don't go back to live with them, you still have issues to iron out with them. And, Tim, please don't take this the wrong way, but I'm just not ready to have you live here full-time. You'll have your own key and I trust you to come and go as you please. Don't get me wrong, I love to hold you all night and make love to you."
Tim looked dejected, but said, "Yeah, you're right. I understand. But, Matt," Tim lowered his voice to a whisper, "Brian's not the only one who needs you. I need you, too." Tim started to weep again.
Matt pulled him closer. "I need you, too Tim. And that need scares the shit out of me. Am I ready to give up me to be part of you? I've always been so proud of being independent. I never had to depend on anyone." He kissed Tim's tears. "Just give me time. I love you. All I need is time. We will live together eventually, I promise."
"Ok," he agreed. Then, a thoughtful look came over his face. "I have another favor to ask you."
"I want you to fuck me."
Matt studied his face for a long moment. "Is this your first time?"
"Yeah, but I want you to do it, Matt. I want to feel you inside me."
"You've never been fucked?"
Tim shook his head.
A strange mixture of apprehension, excitement and honor overcame Matt. His eyes started to tear up again.
"What's wrong, hon? Don't you want to do it?"
"Of course I do. I just feel so honored. The greatest gift anyone can give sexually is their virginity."
With a tissue, Tim wiped Matt's eyes and cheeks. "I'm giving it to you because of what you have given me and what you're going to give me for as long as we're together." Tim pulled the other man closer, and kissed him. They kissed for a long time, and this time, they allowed their tongues to meet and explore. Matt could feel Tim developing an erection.
When they parted, Matt narrowed his eyes. "Ummm....about anal sex ...you didn't mean right now, did you?"
"And ruin this romantic moment? Hell, no." They both laughed. "We'll know when the time is right. In the meantime, I'm hungry."
Matt realized he was hungry, too. The clock read 7:25. "We still have time to go get something. Or do you want to order in?"
"Let's go out. I like to be seen in public with you."
Matt groaned. "Now, you're really piling the bullshit on thick, kiddo."
They washed their faces quickly and Matt finally changed out of his work clothes. They ended up at The Looking Glass on Western Avenue. It was a Greek-owned restaurant that served an amazing variety of food. But their best menu choices were the Greek items. Matt ordered a Greek salad and Tim ate gyros.
While they ate, Tim played footsies under the table with Matt. Matt felt lighthearted and happy. Every so often he would stare at Tim across the table and wonder what Tim saw in him. Tim could have his pick from women as well as men, and yet he had chosen him. This thought made Matt wonder in disbelief.
They stopped at a gas station and picked up pop and a bag of ice. Back at Matt's, they packed the ice and pop in a cooler, and carried an old blanket. They walked about five blocks west to Central Park where the fireworks were going to be set off.
Central Park was a huge expanse in the center of town, and most of the day's festivities were centered at the other end of the park where a gazebo stood. There were few other spectators at this end of the park.
Protected by the dark, they lay on their backs and held hands while they watched the fireworks.
That Fourth of July, Brian, Tim and Matt all declared their independence. Brian declared his independence from his fear of adults. He also strengthened his resolve to declare his freedom from his natural brothers and sister. They didn't want him, but Matt did.
Tim declared his independence from the closet and chose to live life as an openly gay man. By announcing his preferences to his family, he also expressed his allegiance to Matt. The information now was out in the open, and the McGraws and Rosie now had choices to make about how to deal with it.
Matt declared his independence from loneliness by allowing other people in his life. By giving up just a bit of his cherished independence, Matt was ready to truly love someone. Matt was now free to continue to heal his broken heart.
That Independence Day, all three signed the Declaration that love is the highest power. Their signatures were not written on paper, but rather on each other's hearts.
Dane: Pretty clever, huh?
Richard: Thanks for proofing and editing! Your comments are invaluable!
Denny: Love and thanks. The password is patience.
Tom/wintrguy: Thanks for your support and kind words. Queer Jackie Collins loves you!
I never actually say what year the story is taking place. But I do leave several hints. July 4 is on a Sunday, for example. I do have a specific year in mind. I'm curious if you, the intelligent and astute readers, can piece together what year I have in mind as the setting of this part of the story. You can e mail your guesses to one of the links at the bottom. This is not a contest and there are no prizes. Sorry!
Wow! Fifteen chapters and what a ride! There's a lot more to go, so don't be upset if a couple weeks go by without a new posting! I need a vacation!
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