STANDARD WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Any coincidence 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!

Paternal Instincts

Chapter 7

Tim spent the night, but they didn’t have sex, even though they both slept in Matt’s bed. Matt had a tough time getting to sleep. they held each other all night, but Matt couldn’t turn off his mind. He had to admit it to himself: I could easily fall in love with Tim. My resistance is falling.

The next morning, Tim woke up early. He was putting in some overtime at a job site. How woke without the aid of an alarm clock or Matt and showered. By the time Matt as conscience enough to notice that the thing he was hugging was a pillow, Tim was dressed and ready to leave.

Tim kissed Matt’s forehead and left. Matt rolled over and went back to sleep.

That afternoon, Matt fought the traffic to St. Luke’s. He was surprised at how heavy it was on a Saturday afternoon. It was less than ten miles from Park Forest to St. Luke’s but because of the traffic, it would take half an hour. He turned on the radio, opened the sunroof and chain smoked.

But why was he nervous? It was only lunch with Bill.

Matt parked in front of the Administration Building, and walked to the lower level. One of the older boys was doing duty as the receptionist since most of the staff was gone for the long weekend. Matt knew that most of the boys would be gone, too. They would go home to dysfunctional families, only to have the progress that they had made be undone.

“I’m here to see Bill,” he told the boy without stopping and strode down the hall to Bill’s office. The door was open and he could see Bill on the phone. He smiled, and waved Matt into the office.

It was only when he stepped into the office that he saw Brian sitting the comfortable wing chair.

“Hi,” Matt smiled at Brian.


“Damn,” Bill mumbled to himself. “Answering machine again,” he said to Brain.

“Bitch,” Brian muttered under his breath.

Bill shot Brian a look that said: that’s enough of that. Bill signed, and leaned back in his chair. “I’m sorry, Matt. I know we had plans for lunch. But I’m having trouble getting someone to take Brian for the weekend. And I can’t leave until I do. Bill pulled his Rolodex across the desk toward him. “Should I call one of your brothers?” he asked Brian.

Brian only looked down at his feet and nodded. Bill dialed a number, and almost immediately set the handset down again. “Answering machine again. Brian, are you sure your sister know you’re supposed to be picked up?”

Brian nodded.

“What time was she supposed to be here?”

“Two hours ago.”

“Traffic is pretty bad. Maybe she’s on her way, but stuck in traffic,” Matt suggested.

“This long?” Bill asked.

“You’re right,” Matt conceded. He was hungry and anxious to go to lunch. Suddenly he had an inspiration, “Why don’t we take Brian to lunch with us? You could leave a message on her machine. If she forgot, she’ll get the message, and we’ll be back before she gets here. If she’s already on her way, we can leave word with the kid at the desk that we’ll be back.”

Bill smiles widely. He liked the idea. Bill dialed Noreen’s number, left a message and said to Matt and Brian, “Let’s go.”

They all rode in Bill’s Honda wagon. Brian could hardly stoop smiling. It was the most uninterrupted attention he had gotten from an adult since he came to St. Luke’s. And he was thrilled about spending the time with Bill, whom he liked, and Matt, whom he though was very handsome.

Bill and Matt chatted, while Bill drove them to Glenn’s, a casual family style restaurant in Chicago Heights. Brian sat the the back seat and absorbed the conversation in silence. He gathered that Matt had been a counselor at the camp several years ago.

Matt turned every so often to look at the boy. Instead of looking out the window, he was watching and listening to the adults in the front seats.

They were seated in the dark restaurant where they ordered their food and resumed their conversation.

“So, tell me Brian, how long have you been at St. Lukes?”

“About six months.”

“What do you like best in school?”

“Probably English.”

“He was also in the Spring Play,” Bill volunteered.

“We did Ten Little Indians.”

They chatted easily, tried to include Brian in the conversation but they steered away from certain topics, like the foster program. The glow in Brian’s eyes told the whole story. Not since he arrived at St. Luke’s had be been to a restaurant other than McDonald’s.

They paid the bill, and drove back to St. Luke’s. The traffic was lighter, now, and it took little time to return to campus. Back in the Administration building, Bill addressed the receptionist, who was now watching TV.

“Any messages?” The boy shook his head no. There no messages on Bill’s machine, either.

“Brian, I’m afraid it looks like you’re here for the weekend.” The kid looked hurt and crestfallen. “I guess you’d better go get your things and go to Sears.” The boy left the office almost dragging.

“What will he do?” Matt asked Bill once he was out of earshot.

“There’s always some kids who don’t have anywhere to go. We consolidate them into one cottage for the weekend, because most of the houseparents have the weekend off.”

“Bill - how unusual would it be - I mean, could he spend the weekend with me?”

Bill leveled a steady gaze at Matt. “Not that unusual at all. Do you have to work at all this weekend?”


“So, you’ll have to bring him back Sunday night. Let’s see if we can catch up to Brian before he gets to Sears.”

They started across campus. Matt had never been in the cottages. “Is it OK for me to go in?”

Bill waved the question away. “Of course, you’re with me.”

They encountered the boy just as he was leaving the back door of the cottage.

“Brian,. how would you like to go to Matt’s house for the weekend?”

It was clear by the way his face lit up he didn’t need any convincing.

“I’m off tomorrow, but I have to work on Monday. I’ll bring you back on Sunday night.” With the boy’s gym bag in the trunk of his Saturn, Matt turned right at the entrance to campus.

Brian just smiled. He was elated about getting out of St. Luke’s and going back a day early didn’t matter to him in the least. He almost felt as if he were getting even with his family. And Matt was a nice guy. Brian felt he had something in common with him.

“What do you want to do?”

“Anything’s fine with me.” Brians voice was just beginning to break. Only the voices of adolescent boys could cover so many octaves.

Matt snapped on the radio and tuned in the Saturday Morning Flashback. The program was one of Matt’s favorites; every Saturday morning they selected another year to feature, and played the hits as well as some headlines, and celebrity deaths. This morning, they were featuring the year 1980. It was almost over by this time in the day.

The station played Money(That’s What I Want) by the Flying Lizards. Matt laughed out loud. A vivid memory of himself and a friend laughing at this song while they were drunk appeared in his mind. He used to have this song on a twelve-inch-single. Vinyl. Where was it? He didn’t even have a turntable any more. What happened to the friend, Beth, who was one of the first people he told he was gay?

Suddenly, Matt remembered that he was not alone.

“Funny song,” he explained to the kid.

Brian looked at him as if his hair had turned green.

“Guess you had to be there.”

Panic built in his mind, until it made his heart start to pound and his palms sweaty. What the hell was he doing? Had he taken leave of his senses? What would his parents say? Marty? Mrs. Levin? His sister?

“So,” Matt said.

“So, what?”

“Just so. It’s a conversation starter. As in -- so what do you want to do this weekend?”

Brian shrugged. “Just getting out of St. Puke’s is enough.” Matt chuckled at the use of the boy’s nickname for the place.

“How about we grill out tonight? What do you like?”

He shrugged again. “Anything. As long as the cooks in Larson hall don’t get a hold of it.”

“We’ll stop by a grocery store and pick something up.”

“Do you have video games?”

“No, sorry.”

“That’s OK. Mr. Rosato...”

“Please, call me Matt.”

“Do you think we could go to a mall?”

Matt wrinkled his forehead at the unusual request. “Sure. I guess so.” Usually, Matt stayed as far away form malls as he could on his day off for two reasons. First, it reminded him too much of work. Also, he hated shopping. In this respect he was a typical male. Matt’s shopping motto was: Get in, get what you need, get out. Marty was just the opposite. He could spend hours comparing, trying on, pricing, and on and on.

They stopped at the Jewel/Osco on Western Avenue. Matt picked up some chicken, barbecue sauce and more potato salad.

“Here we are,” Matt announced when they parked in back of the town home. Brian carried his gym bag.

“So I have to take off my shoes?”

“Not unless you want to.”

“We always have to take off our shoes in the cottages at St. Luke’s.” Matt wondered if this was a school rule or a houseparent’s rule. Brian set his bag by the door, and slipped off his oversized athletic shoes. God, those shoes would fit me, Matt thought.

“Let me show you around.” Matt took him to the basement first. Matt still hadn’t purchased much furniture for the family room. However, he had bought bookshelves, and they lined almost an entire wall. They boy’s eyes widened at the sight of all the books.

“Occupational hazard,” Matt chuckled.

“What do you do?”

“I’m the manager of a bookstore in Oak Ridge Mall.”

“I know where that is. I lived in Evergreen Park.” He picked up a book. “I love to read. Most of the books at the school are older than I am.”

Matt grinned. “Then you can borrow whatever you want.”

Brian picked up a copy of Clan of The Cave Bear. It had the front cover torn off.

“Why do these paperbacks have the front cover torn off?”

“We call them strip covers. We tear the covers off the books and just send the covers back. It saves on postage and labor. Have you read this series? They’re really good.”

“No, can I borrow it?”

“Sure.” A fleeting look of disbelief crossed Brian’s face, but the took the book with him. Matt showed the boy the rest of the basement.

“This is really nice,” Brian commented as they ascended the stairs.

“Thanks. It was just a burned-out shell when I bought it. Let’s light the grill, and it will be ready.”

Outdoors, Matt doused the charcoal with lighter fluid. He took a match, and the charcoal burst into flames. They stood over the grill in silence, watching the fire, as if conducting a religious ceremony. He decided to marinate the chicken, and do some other preparations.

“Why don’t you watch a little TV while I get the chicken ready?” he suggested to the boy.

Brian did, then discovered Matt had cable. He surfed through the channels, finally landing on MTV.

“Do you want some pop?” Matt asked from the kitchen.

“Yes, please.”

Impressed with the boy’s manners, he brought him a Diet Pepsi.

“Do you have any regular Pepsi?”

“No, sorry. I only have diet.” He made a mental note to buy regular Pepsi next time. If there is a next time.

Matt finished his preparations in the kitchen, and wiped his hands on a towel. “Let me show you the upstairs. Grab your gym bag.”

The front bedroom had no furniture but Matt showed it to Brian anyway. The center bedroom was where he intended on putting Brian. He used it as the guest bedroom and Marty slept there when he stayed overnight. The bed was covered in gray pinstripe sheets with matching curtains that his mom had sewed for him. It was accented by bright yellow pillowcases. There was a dresser that Matt bought at Target and assembled himself, and a nightstand. There were no pictures on the walls nor anything on the dresser or nightstand to indicate it was being used.

“This is your room tonight.” Brian smiled widely.

He was showing Brian the master bedroom when he heard a car door slam. One of the windows in the master bedroom looked out over the parking area. Matt peered out the window and spotted Marty walking toward the kitchen door. Shit. I forgot all about Marty coming tonight.

Matt raced downstairs, with Brian closely behind. Just as Marty rang the doorbell, he opened the door. What was he going to do now? He couldn’t uninvite Marty. And he was going to have to explain Brian sooner or later. Marty stepped in, and kissed Matt on the cheek.

“Hello, sweetie.”

“Hi, Marty. I’d like you to meet Brian Kowalski. He is...” Matt struggled for a term. Friend? Nephew? No, Marty knew Matt didn’t have any nephews yet. Cousin? Marty would see right through that. He decided to tell Marty the truth. “....going to be my foster son.”

Marty, ever gallant exactly at the time when Matt needed him to be, shook the boy’s hand and smiled. “Hi, Brian, nice to meet you.”

“Hi,” Brian returned the smile. His smile was for the flamboyant Marty but also for Matt’s comment: He’s going to be my foster son.

Marty waved a videotape. “I just got Crying Game on video! Have you seen it?”

Matt was enthused. “No, but, I’ve wanted to. I never did get to see it in the theater.” Then, it struck him. The movie was probably rated ‘R’. Should he be showing that kind of video to Brian? I’ve never had to worry about this before. I guess this is one of the things you think about when you are a parent. Oh, well, he’s probably seen more skin on MTV.

Matt put the chicken on the grill, while Marty and Brian helped. So far, Marty hadn’t asked for an explanation of Brian’s presence, although Matt knew he was dying to find out. They ate their meal with the stereo on. When they finished, Brian helpfully loaded the dishwasher, while Matt and Marty put the food away.

Finished with their meal, they positioned themselves in the living room. Matt and Marty sat on the couch at a respectable distance from each other. Brian laid on his stomach on the floor. Matt playfully tossed him a pillow.

“Here, you might be more comfortable with this.”

Crying Game had been out in the theaters the year before, and had been nominated for several awards. Soon, all three were absorbed in the movie, captivated by it’s dreamlike mood and numerous plot twists. And, of course, there was the ‘surprise’ about one of the characters, Dil. It raised several questions in Brian’s mind, although he didn’t think this was a good time to raise them.

During the movie, Marty looked at Matt and raised one eyebrow. Matt only grinned and mouthed to Marty: I’ll explain later. Matt watched the boy on the floor. His jeans were too short for him. His socks had once been white, but now where dingy. His shirt had a small rip under one arm. A trip to the mall was definitely in order tomorrow.

When the movie finished, it was nearly ten o’clock.

“Can I take a shower?” Brian asked Matt.

“Of course.” Matt led him upstairs, gave him a towel and washcloth and showed him the location of the soap and shampoo.

“So what’s with prettyboy?” Marty asked when Matt had seated himself on the couch again.

Matt chuckled. “Possible foster son. He’s just here overnight. My friend Bill from St. Luke’s had nowhere else to send him for the weekend.”

“I meant Tim, darling, but we’ll get back to him. So when does he come to live with you?”

“I don’t know. I’m supposed to have him over for ten weekends before he moves in on a permanent basis. “

“Then what?”

“He lives with me six months. After that I could adopt him. I have to take parenting classes at St. Luke’s. This is going to be over the summer.”

“Is it just me, or is he a minor event on the gaydar horizon?”

Matt laughed. “It’s not just you. I picked it up, too. Plus, he told Bill he thought he was gay. Bill was the one who talked me into the foster program.”

Marty raised an eyebrow. “How convenient for you.”

Matt swatted him with a pillow. “Get your mind out of the gutter, you pervert,”

“I’m just kidding, Mary. Get over yourself.” Marty looked directly in Matt’s eyes. “Seriously, you’re going to be a great dad. He’s very lucky. And if there’s anything I can do to help....” They both shifted in their seats. Marty never complimented anyone unless it was in the form of sarcasm or teasing. Matt knew he was sincere.

“Now, what about Mr. Construction Worker?”

“There’s nothing really to tell.”

Then, Brian appeared on the stairs. He was wearing only a pair of green cotton St. Luke’s gym shorts. The elastic waistband of his underwear was visible.

“Good night,” he announced from the bottom of the stairs. I would have never appeared in front of two virtual strangers dressed like that when I was his age. I guess he’s more comfortable with his body. Or maybe it comes from living in an all-male institution.

Not sure whether he should hug him, shake his hand, wave, or offer him a Tiparillo, Matt simply responded, “Good night.”

“Nice to meet you,” Marty called after him.

Marty left soon afterwards. Matt and Marty both decided that it would unwise for Marty to stay.

The next morning, Matt woke early and couldn’t get back to sleep. He showered, started the coffee, and picked up the Sunday Chicago Tribune and the Park Forest Star off the front porch. It was thinner than usual today, probably because of Memorial Day. David Letterman had just announced he was moving to CBS in the fall. President Clinton and the military were going in circles about gay servicemen. Matt was absorbed in an article about how newly-independant Lithuania was struggling to rebuild it’s economy after decades of Soviet domination. He heard the boy coming downstairs. His blond hair was still tangled from sleep.

“Hi,” Matt said cheerfully. “How did you sleep?”


“I’m not real big about breakfast. I’m Italian. Our idea of a hot breakfast is a cup of coffee. A big hot breakfast is two cups of coffee.” Brian chuckled. “But there’s some cereal in the cabinet next to the stove, if you want. We'll go to brunch before we hit the mall. I thought we might take a ride to Orland Square or River Oaks.”

Brian looked through the Sunday paper, found a few sections that he was interested in, and began to read.

The two of them sat at the dining room table reading. It was a cozy, comfortable scene. About 10:30, Matt took a shower. He dressed and they were off. They ate an early lunch at Rising Sun, Matt’s favorite Chinese restaurant, then went to Orland Square.

They wandered in and out of stores, without much direction. Then, they passed by The Gap. On an impulse, Matt suggested, “Let’s go in.”

Matt saw the boy running his hands over a pair of jeans. He’d look so good in them, Matt thought.

“It’s been so long since I had a new pair of jeans,” Brian said quietly. If Brian was using him, Matt didn’t care. The kid could have at least one nice set of clothes.

A perky young salesgirl approached them, “How are you doing today?”

“Good, thanks,” Matt answered for them both. “He’d like to try these on. And maybe a polo shirt, too.”

The salesgirl picked out a solid medium-blue polo shirt. “This would look nice with your eyes.” She handed the neatly folded garments to Brian. He blushed at her comment, and took them into the fitting room.

“These are both perfect on you,” Matt said, gently tugging on the waistband of the jeans. Should he buy a larger size? Brian was sure to grow out of them in no time. No, Matt decided, just once he should have some clothes that he doesn’t have to grow into.

“That was nice of your dad,” the salesgirl said as she rang up the sale.

Matt and Brian looked at each other and grinned.

Back in the car, they started the trip back to Park Forest.

“Thanks so much, Matt.”

“You are welcome.”

“Matt, can I ask you a question?”

“Of course you can.”

“Are you gay?”

Hope you are having as much fun reading this as I am writing it! Your feedback is very helpful. Some of the best ideas come from the readers! So, drop me a line if you have any suggestions, comments or anything you care to say! mailto: or mailto: or ICQ 61283246