Jack Edwards

The Activist , Pt 10

When I arrived at my life sciences class a few minutes early that Monday afternoon, Brian was waiting for me. He pulled me to one side.

“Do you and Paul have something going?” he asked. “I mean, it’s cool if you do. It’s just… he’s adorable, and I think he likes me.”

“We’re simply good friends,” I said, “and he likes you.”


“I’m sure of it,” I told him.

Brian grinned as if relieved. “When he didn’t want me to take him home, I wasn’t sure. I mean, like I’m a bit older and all.”

I shrugged. “It was his birthday, and he sort of had something else planned.” I cocked my head, studying him. “How old are you?”


“Pauly’s twenty,” I told him. “You aren’t that much older.”

“He’s twenty?” Brian asked surprised. “I didn’t ask how old he was because I was afraid he was underage.”

“Nope. He’s an old guy like you.”

Brian grinned, then leaned closer “I bought him a present. I was thinking of taking it over to his dorm room tonight.”

“Do it this afternoon,” I told him. “Do it before supper. Pauly often heads over to Lambda House after supper.”

Brian smiled. “Thanks!”

Later that same afternoon, the track coach who had stood me up the Friday before, took me aside at practice. He apologized for canceling at the last minute and rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon. If he’d heard I was gay, he didn’t let on; that, or he wasn’t going to let it make a difference.

The other guys in track kept their distance, especially in the locker room. I had one end of the showers to myself.

After track, I went by the pool because I thought the swim team might be working out. They were. I sat to watch for a few moments, as close to the pool as I could get. I wanted to see how good Seth was. It took a moment to figure out which guy in a swim cap was him, but I finally spotted him.

Seth looked good. Of course, they all did. You don’t make the UT swim team unless you can out-swim a dolphin.

When the swimmers got out of the pool in order to practice off the starting blocks, I got a much better look, at all of them. They had beautiful bodies. I think swimmers back then tended to be a little more ripped than they are today; more like a Mark Spitz kind of body, though none were as tight as a sprinter.

Seth looked my way, but didn’t wave or act like he recognized me. I couldn’t blame him; a lot of people knew I was gay now, and he wasn’t ready to be out. The fact that people knew about me was borne out a moment later when one of his teammates spotted me and nudged the swimmer beside him. They looked at me, frowning.

I could guess they were thinking that I had come to watch their beautiful bodies, and of course, I did like their bodies. But I really was interested in being friends with Seth. I watched a few more minutes and then left.

I stayed at the dorm that night. I had to finish a paper before morning, and one thing was certain; I wouldn’t be bothered much in my dorm room. I no longer had a roommate, and my suitemates and others on the floor tended to stay away from me, even in our suite bathroom.

The phone rang about eight.



“Seth. I wanted to apologize for this afternoon.”

“Dude, you’re not ready to be out,” I told him. “I’m cool with that.”

“No, you don’t understand. I wear contacts, but I don’t wear them swimming. I didn’t see you or I would have waved. I only heard later that you were there.”

“It’s just as well you didn’t see me,” I told him. “Some of your teammates know I’m gay.”

“You sure?”


He was silent a moment, then, “Fuck em! I’ll wave at you if I know you’re there.”

“Seriously, Seth; don’t do it unless you’re ready to be out. The guys all avoid me now in track. When I take a shower, they all go to the opposite end of the shower room. Even in my dorm suite, when I go into the bathroom, the other guys leave as quickly as they can.”



“Want me to come over?”

That was unexpected. Also unexpected was the image I suddenly had of him standing in my doorway in his Speedo.

“I mean, if you’re alone and all,” he added.

“Tonight it’s good I’m alone. I have a major paper to finish. But thanks!”

“Sure. I’ll let you work on your paper then. Talk to you later.”

I hung up the phone. Did Seth have sex in mind? I suddenly felt vulnerable in my room, away from Nate. It’d be so easy, if Seth came by, or even Pauly, to think about sex with them.

I picked up the phone and called Nathan.

“How would you like to spend the night in my dorm room with me?” I asked.

“Sure!” Nate said. “I don’t have work until tomorrow afternoon.”

“Remember, I have a paper to write,” I warned him. “I can’t do anything until I get it done; seriously.”

“Are you sure you want me to come then.”

“Yes. I’m absolutely sure.”

Nate stayed with me that night, in my narrow twin bed. I came to bed late, and we didn’t make love, but I slept well until morning, when I had one of those ‘naked’ dreams. I dreamt I went to class, forgetting to put clothes on. I could guess the meaning of that dream, even back then. What particularly stuck in my memory, though, was that I kept trying to get back to the dorm, not to put clothes on, but to be with Nate because I knew I was naked because I was supposed to be with him.

I lay there, after turning off the alarm, with Nate spooned behind my back and his arm around my waist, and I thought about what I had been learning of other gay guys. I didn’t know anybody else who had a Nate. I pulled his arm more tightly around me and wished we had time for morning sex.

I bought Nate breakfast at the dorm before leaving for classes. Later in the day, I bought a book of meal tickets; the kind off-campus students can buy to eat dorm meals. I gave it to Nate that night.

Tuesday night, I stayed at Lambda House with Nate. I studied late, both because I needed to, and because I tried to keep my mind off the letter I had sent to Dad. Nate was already asleep when I crawled into bed. I backed up to him so he would spoon me, and I tried to relax. Sleep eluded me, though. Finally, I scooted down Nate's body to nuzzle and suck on him until his cock in my mouth was long, thick, and hard, and he was awake. We did a sixty-nine, and then I could sleep.

All day Wednesday, I could think of little other than my father getting my letter. It was possible that Dad could receive it that day, though I estimated that it was more probable he would get it the next day. Even though I intended to stay at the dorm and study that night, I gave up, and walked over to Lambda House.

Nate was in the living room with Travis and David, watching American Graffiti on HBO. Travis was lying on the couch. David was on the floor. Nathan was in the old easy chair – the big, imitation leather chair – in just shorts and a tank top with his legs stretched out on the ottoman. He started to get up.

“Don’t get up,” I told him.

Nathan watched me while I hung my jacket on the coat tree. I sat down on the floor beside Nate and laid my head in his lap and my cheek on his soft package.

“Are you okay, baby?” Nathan asked, sitting up and stroking my hair. “Are you still worried about your father?”

I hugged his lap. “Yeah, I guess,” I said. “My mind is blown for studying tonight, and I didn’t feel like being alone in the dorm.” I nuzzled his package. “I wanted to be with you.”

“We can go back to the room,” Nate said softly, bending close over my head.

“Nah, we can watch the movie. I need to relax.”

“Come up by me,” Nate told me, scooting over to the side of the chair and patting the seat beside him.

I got up into the easy chair next to him. There was enough room for our hips, side by side, but our shoulders were wider than our hips. I sat beside him with my left shoulder in front of his right one. I twisted back and we kissed, then I relaxed back against him.

Nate looped his right arm around my waist and laid his hand in my lap. I rested the side of my head against his, and his fingers swept gently back and forth over the fabric of my pants where they covered my balls. I rested my hand on his bare leg.

The movie was at one of those spots where Dreyfuss was looking for the girl in the T-Bird. I got up.

"I'll be right back," I told Nathan. Then I shifted to a more suggestive tone. "I'm going to change into something more comfortable."

Travis glanced over at me. David grinned up from the floor. Nathan smiled.

Back in Nate's room, I stripped completely, and pulled on a loose old pair of gym shorts that Nathan had. They were the really short shorts guys wore back then. I grabbed up a blanket and returned to the living room with the blanket over my shoulder.

The three of them looked up at me. Travis' eyes traveled up and down my body, and I thought happily to myself, Not again in this lifetime, Travis, baby!

I sat back beside Nate like before, only this time pulling the blanket over our laps. Again, my left shoulder was in front of his right, and he looped his right arm around my waist, hugging me. I rested the side of my head against his. Under the blanket, I laid my hand on his left thigh and felt over his smooth skin and lean muscles. Also under the blanket, Nate’s fingers found the loose, right leg hole of the gym shorts, and I felt his fingertips in the crease of my leg and brushing the side of my scrotum.

We sat quietly, watching the movie, touching, Nate with his arm around my waist. David got up, left the room, and returned with a soda. Nate nuzzled behind my ear.

“Let’s forget the movie,” Nate said.

“We can watch… ” I started to say, but then, under the blanket, Nate shoved his hand into the waistband of the gym snorts.

“Or we can forget the movie,” I agreed.

As Nate closed the door, I pulled off the gym shorts I had on, and threw back the bed covers, crawling into bed on my back.

Nate came up beside the bed, looking down at my middle. My cock was thick, but not erect. It lay out toward my hip. Nate looked at it, drew his finger along its side, and then he looked up at me… and smiled. He pulled off his tank top and shorts and climbed into bed beside me; his thick cock flopping.

He laid his hand over my cock, rolling it up onto my belly, and he gave it a rub. “You okay?” he asked, his eyes watching mine.

I nodded. “I will be,” I said, “if you get on top of me.”

Nate smiled and rolled up onto me, carefully pointing our cocks up between our bellies as his legs settled between mine. He wrapped his forearms over the top of my head, allowing the weight of his lean body to rest on my belly and between my legs, the way he knew I liked. His dark eyes gazed down into my eyes for a moment before he lowered his lips to my lips.

I never enjoyed Nate’s body more than when we were like that. My hands were free to feel his sides, his hard back, and his firm bottom; to feel his lean muscles flex as he ground his hips. I could squeeze his narrow hips between my thighs or I could plant my feet on the bed and grind up against him.

It was intimate when we simply talked that way. That night, we kissed, we nuzzled, and we talked, cheek to cheek. We talked about anything but my dad. We talked about Nate having to work long hours because Christmas was close. We talked about when I would move in with him. We talked a long time; moving our hips from time to time to rub our cocks between us, touching each other, kissing. We could stay hard forever back then.

“Baby,” Nate said, nuzzling the side of my face. “After the holidays, will you do something for me?”

"Of course."

"Take me on a date… as Natasha. We don't have to go anywhere around here. We can drive out of town."

"Well," I said, sliding my fingers up and down the smooth skin along his sides, "that would be another wonderful way to stress out."

Nate wrapped his arms around my head and stuck his tongue in my ear.

"Oh, hell," I mumbled, clutching his butt and moaning under him. "We'll do it."

Nate kept tonguing my ear, moving on me. I pulled my knees up and well out to the sides, stretching the tendons between my legs for him to rub on.

“And sometime,” Nate murmured, "I'll dress up as Natasha, and I'll dress you up as Loretta... "

"Loretta?" I murmured.

"Loretta," he repeated.

“Oh, geez,” I mumbled. I pressed the side of my face against his, hard, my breath quickening.

"When you take Natasha out," he whispered huskily, "you'll treat her like a pretty girl, and when it's time... you'll make love to her the way you make love to a girl."

He wanted me to do it right then. I knew he did. I rolled him off me and onto his back. I was on him in an instant, pressing myself against his side, kissing him deeply. I grabbed his hands with mine and interlaced fingers; then I penned his hands on either side of his head. Holding them there, I sucked on his neck, rubbing my leg between his legs. I kissed down to his chest, and tongued his nipple. Letting go of one of his hands, I reached between his legs. With the heel of my hand on the underside of his erection, I fingered down the middle of his scrotum as if between two labia. I pressed my fingertips to his perineum, as if pressing around the entrance to a vagina. Nathan clutched my hair with the hand I had released, and his legs thrashed under me.

I was more aggressive than I had ever been with a girl, but I knew Nate; I knew his moods. I let go of his other hand, and moving my mouth to his opposite nipple, I used that hand to feel up his pec muscle, as if feeling a breast.

I knelt up between his legs, lifting them. My hand was wet from his cock. My own cock literally dripped precum. I spit onto my fingers and rubbed them in his crack. With a hand under each of his knees, I lifted his bottom, and using only my precum and spit, I found him, and shoved in. Nate lifted his hips, wanting me inside him.

Laying down onto him, I took Nate’s hands into mine once more, interlacing fingers. I stretched them up over his head onto the bed, and drove my hips forward. Nate hooked the backs of his heels on my butt. I banged on him, working the underside of his cock with my lower belly. I watched his face for pleasure, and when I saw it, I repeated what he responded to.

My orgasm hit faster than I expected. Letting go of Nate's hands, I grabbed the tops of his shoulders and nuzzled in under his jaw, circling my hips, grinding, then thrusting hard and gasping aloud with the first hard squirt.

I kept moving, even after I came; moving my cock inside him; willing it to stay hard. I rubbed his upturned cock with my belly, keeping my belly taut. Nate tensed, grabbing the back of my head. I felt his cock throb between us. I felt the little splashes of cum between our bellies.

We ground slower and slower, but didn’t stop. My cock was still hard enough, I moved it inside him.

"I love you, Natasha," I whispered against his neck; then I sucked on the muscle under his ear.

Nate clutched the hair at the back of my head, and I felt his cock give another, late pulse. He felt good; achingly good. I had that deep down itch under my cock; the need to go again. I circled my hips and began to pump.

I lay on him afterward; on his side, with an arm over his chest and a leg over his belly. On our shared pillow, I nuzzled into the side of his face. Nate’s arm was behind my back and he caressed my butt.

"You knew," Nate whispered. "You knew exactly what I wanted."

"Did I do well?"

"Oh, hell yes," he murmured.

He turned his face my way and kissed my cheek with the side of his mouth.

"My beautiful boy," he whispered.

I smiled sleepily. "My beautiful Natasha," I whispered. "Wouldn't it be fun to introduce Natasha to Dad?"

Thursday morning, I visited the office of my Social Sciences professor. My guess had been that Dad would get my letter by Thursday, and I wanted to make sure I had any answers I needed, lined up.

“Any luck?” I asked, taking the chair opposite my professor’s desk.

“Up to a point,” he said, laying down the pen he had been writing with. “They won’t give you any money for off-campus housing. They will let you live off campus, and they will let you eat at the dorms. I, however, might have help for your rent – work/study. We may have something lined up for you in this department; nothing seriously time consuming of course. I know you’ve got a heavy load with track and your studies, but we should be able to line up something for you that will pay the rent.”

I relaxed, inwardly. Even if my dad disowned me, I had school covered… and rent while living with Nathan.

“I’m scheduling your presentation for next Wednesday and pushing the final back to Friday,” my professor told me. “No backing out now, Loren. I did what you asked; I got you permission to live off campus, and I did my best to get you help with your rent.”

“I’m grateful, sir. Really. Thank you.”

He nodded. “I may let one or two people outside the class come to hear you; they’ve expressed an interest.”

“You’ve told other people I’d be doing this?”

He shrugged. “It’s not like you’re keeping it secret anymore.”

I thought it might be good to stick around the dorm for a night or two. Dad might call after getting the letter. I would prefer that he write a letter back, of course, but my guess was that Dad would just pick up the phone. As much as I dreaded a phone call, hearing nothing from him would be worse. I called Nate.

“Wanna spend the night in my dorm room with me, again?” I asked. “I need to stick around in case my Dad calls.”

“Yeah. I’ll come. I don’t have to be at Penney’s until eleven tomorrow.”

“Come for supper.”


“Bring bandages to sop up the blood,” I said.

“What blood?” Nathan asked. “Oh, you mean when your father calls? Do you think it will be that bad?” Nathan asked.

“Maybe,” I told him. “I may need some holding.”

Nate and I ate supper in the dorm cafeteria, at a table by ourselves. Not everyone shunned us, though. A few guys made a point of saying ‘hi’. One of them, I’d never spoken to before. I wondered if some of the guys were gay, or simply gay sympathizers.

Nate was watching me. “You’re really nervous,” he said.

“I’ve been nervous all week.”

Nate nodded. “Yeah, you have, but you’re more nervous tonight. I’ll give you a back rub and settle you down.” He grinned. “One way or another.”

I tried to smile back, but it was difficult. “I’m scared shitless, Nate,” I told him. “I was crazy to send the letter. I have no idea what my dad’s gonna do.”

“Can’t be any worse than what mine did,” Nate said, ruefully.

“Geez, I hope he doesn’t do what your dad did,” I mumbled.

After we finished eating, we headed up to the room. I’d left the door unlocked. My dad was inside, waiting for me. He was sitting at my desk and rose when we came into the room.

“Oh, geez!” I exclaimed, startled.

“Son,” he said, evenly, acknowledging me, his jaw working; grinding back and forth. “Hello, Nathan.”

Nathan nodded, not knowing whether to offer a hand because Dad hadn’t.

“Nathan,” Dad said, “would you mind if I talk to my son alone?”

“Yes, sir,” Nate replied, nervously. “I mean, sure!” He turned to me. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow… ” He almost said, ‘baby’.

Nate and I stood awkwardly for a moment. I would normally have kissed him. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” I agreed, squeezing his arm.

Nate left, and I closed the door. I took a deep breath before turning back to face my dad.

“I haven’t eaten supper,” Dad said. “Let’s go someplace where we can talk.”

I nodded. “There’s a Denny’s close by.”


We were silent after that, until we were inside Dad’s rental car.

“I was angry at first,” Dad said quietly. “I thought dropping a letter on me like that was a shitty thing to do.” He pulled out of the parking lot and onto the road. “Then I decided that any way you said what you said, would be shitty.”

“At least I told you,” I pointed out. “I quit keeping it secret from you… Take a right at the stop sign, and just keep going. You’ll see Denny’s on the right.”

Dad’s jaw worked. “I could handle it better if you said, ‘Dad, I just robbed a bank.’ I’d know how to relate to you. I’d know how to defend you.”

“I don’t need defending, and why do you suddenly not know how to relate to me?”

Dad threw me a sidelong glance. “This is out of the blue, Loren. You are suddenly like a stranger. You were dating Linda, just this last summer, and screwing her, if I guess correctly. Now you tell me you’re screwing… ” He left off and looked away.

“I explained in the letter, Dad. I’ve always been gay.”

Dad shook his head. “A lot of guys your age have ambivalent sexual feelings, Loren. A guy hits puberty, and suddenly he’s a sexual being, and so are his buddies. Things happen, sometimes with each other. It just takes boys a while to sort things out; some boys take longer than others.” He looked out through the car windows at the UT buildings. “It’s this fucking school. I knew I shouldn’t have let you come here. Everyone told me UT was too damn liberal… bunch of Austin assholes.”

“Dad, you aren’t listening to me. I’ve liked other boys all along. When we were twelve, I seduced Jimmy Davis because I’d had a crush on him even in elementary school.”

“You’ve dated girls since junior high,” Dad pointed out.

“Because it was expected,” I told him. “I didn’t want other kids to know I was gay?”

“You’ve had sex with girls. I know you have. A father can tell that sort of thing.”

“That was expected, too,” I said. “Even so, the first couple of times I had sex with a girl, it was because the girl seduced me.”

“You did, though. Are you telling me you didn’t like it?”

I sighed and looked out the passenger window. “Not the way I enjoy being with Nate,” I said quietly.

Dad said nothing more until we had been seated and had placed our order. I ordered only a Coke.

Dad leaned back, looking at me. “OU wanted you,” he said. “We can get you into OU next semester.”

“I’m not leaving UT.”

His eyes grew hard.

“I’m eighteen, and I have a full scholarship,” I told him.

“I can get them to withdraw the scholarship,” he said.

I glanced at him, knowing my face had gone pale; trying to see if he was serious. “They won’t take away my scholarship,” I said. “I’m already one of their best runners.” I set my jaw and took a breath through my nostrils. Then I looked him in the eye. “Even if you do have my scholarship taken away, I’m not leaving Austin. Not now.”

Dad’s jaw worked. He studied me, frowning..

“You realize that until just recently, homosexuality was listed as a pathology by the medical community.”

“I’ve been homosexual all my life,” I said, returning his gaze. “Do you think I’m sick?"

“Now that you’re at UT and kiss boys instead of girls, yes,” he said.

I looked away.

“No,” Dad said, reversing. Then he sighed and looked away. “I don’t know.”

The waitress brought our drinks.

“Before I left, I called Ben Davidson,” Dad said. “He’s a psychiatrist I play golf with. They have treatments for this, you know.”

I frowned. “Treatments?”

Dad frowned. “They used to use shock treatment. Ben says now they’re using something called conditioning. It takes a while, but it seems to work… when the patient wants it to.”

I thought of Nate. “I don’t want to change, Dad. I’m not leaving Nate.”

“Quit talking about Nate,” Dad said, frowning. “How did you really meet him?”

I told Dad. I told him, honestly, about going to a house where I knew I would meet other gay guys, about liking Nate the moment I saw him, about Nate’s smile, about finding him at the mall, about spending time with him.

“He loves me, Dad. He really loves me. And I love him. It’s like I’ve known him all my life.”

Our food arrived. Dad watched me, thoughtfully. When the waitress left, Dad surprised me.

“It was your mother’s smile,” Dad said, picking up the salt shaker, “that first attracted me to her. I’d never seen a more beautiful smile… like a princess.” He looked up at me. “I don’t dislike Nathan, Loren. He’s obviously different from your usual friends. But he’s smart, he’s respectful, and I admit, he’s a good-looking boy. I can understand your friendship with him.”

Dad took a bite of chicken-fried steak and chewed quietly. He swallowed. “I have a cousin who is homosexual,” Dad said, eyes down, cutting another bite. His knife paused. “We knew all along in his case; from when he was a little kid.” He glanced up at me. “That’s one reason it’s so damned impossible to think of you as… ” He stopped himself before he could say queer. “… a homosexual,” he said, and even had trouble getting it out.

“Timmy was always effeminate,” he said. He took a bite and chewed. He looked at me, and I looked away. Part of me wanted to say, ‘I’m sorry, Dad. I’ll be normal.’ I wanted to be the normal boys’ boy Dad wanted. It was hopeless, of course.

Dad was watching me. He swallowed, and chewed another bite.

I sipped my Coke.

“Timmy – my cousin – lives in New York,” Dad said. “I had dinner once with him and his boyfriend.” Dad paused. “Timmy said I was the only one from my side of the family who would have anything to do with him. I remember feeling sorry for him.” Dad glanced at me. “You can make different choices.”

He shook his head. “In Timmy’s case, his older brother… ” Dad suddenly stopped and his eyes snapped to mine. “Have you ever done anything to Stefan?”

“Geez,” I said, looking away.

“Have you?” he repeated.

“No,” I said, angrily. “I’ve never done anything like that.”

“He doesn’t know about you?”


“What will he think if you tell him?” Dad asked, watching me.

I sighed. “I don’t know.”

“You need to think about things like that,” Dad said. “You need to think about what will happen to your relationship with your brother and sister, to your friendships, to your relationship with your mom and me.” His eyes narrowed and he pointed his fork at me. “You need to think about your career, Loren. I can’t begin to imagine the disadvantages you would have as a homosexual lawyer.”

“Maybe I won’t be a lawyer.”

Dad frowned angrily. “What are you going to do? Be a hair dresser?”

Thanks partly to Travis, I had learned a lot about the history of homosexuality over the previous three months, including the names of prominent gays in history. I told Dad about them. I told him I wanted to be a biologist and that Nate wanted to be a chef, and that it shouldn’t make a difference being gay, for either of us. I told him I’d rather be a janitor, and free to be gay, than President of the United States and have to hide who I am, to deny my relationship with Nate. I told him how difficult and lonely it had been to keep my secret for so long already.

Dad shook his head enough times that I knew he didn’t agree with many of the things I told him, but he let me talk. Then he gave me counter arguments, none of which mattered, of course. It wasn’t as if I had a choice, even though Dad thought so.

We talked for a long time. We settled nothing, of course. When we left the restaurant, I didn’t know whether he would fight my staying at UT, whether he would tell Mom, Stefan, and my sister, and if he did, whether I’d be welcome at home for Christmas. Before he could say anything about that, one way or another, I told him that I wasn’t coming home for Christmas. I told him that Nate had no one for the holidays.

Dad glanced at me angrily.

I got into the car. He got in on the other side.

“I’d like you to drop me off at Nate’s,” I said as Dad pulled from the parking lot. “I’ll show you the way.”

“I’ll take you back to the dorm.”

“Okay. Then I’ll go to Nate’s.”

When Dad pulled up in front of the dorm, I asked Dad if I’d see him the next day. He shook his head.

“I have to get home for the weekend. Your mom, brother, and sister think I’m doing emergency case work.” He turned and looked directly at me. “Come home for Christmas, Loren.” It was an order. “We’ll talk more about OU, and your future.”

“I’m already registered for next semester here, Dad. I already have some of my books. I’m not going to OU.”

“We’ll talk at Christmas,” he said, his eyes steady on me. “And we won’t tell anyone anything about this.” His look softened. “Someday, Loren, you’re going to want children, and a home, and… a wife. You’ll be glad then, that you didn’t take this too far.”

“Take this too far? Dad, there’s no on/off switch to being gay. I am who I am.”

Dad shook his head. “You’re a man. You can make choices.” His eyes narrowed. “Look, Loren, my profession is to fight for what I know is right. I’m paid to make a case and win it. This is far too important a case to lose.”

“Dad,” I said, frustrated, exasperated. “You can’t convince a black man to become a white man no matter what kind of case you make. You could argue with me all day to be a blond. I could even dye my hair blond. But I’ll still be a redhead, and my hair will still grow out red.”

“We aren’t talking about skin color or hair color, Loren,” Dad corrected. “We’re talking about choices you make. We’re talking about things you can choose.”

“We’re talking about what’s inside me, Dad. I’m choosing to be me!”

“I know what’s inside you, Loren. I’ve known you all your life. I know some things inside you, better than you do; I’ve lived longer.” He leaned back in his seat. “Give it some time.”

“What about Nate at Christmas?” I asked. “Mom invited him.”

Dad frowned; his jaw working again. “No,” he said.

We sat another moment. There was nothing more to say. Dad was going to lose this case; he never stood a chance... neither of us did.

I opened the door, feeling very sad right then, because I knew things would never be the same between my dad and me again. “I want you to know, Dad,” I told him, honestly. “I’ve always been glad that you are my father.”

I didn’t look at him. I stepped from the car and closed the door, then watched Dad drive away.


Sorry guys; with the economy the way it is, I've been giving more attention to my day job. :) Eleven shouldn't be too long coming. And some of you will be happy. We're going to at least 13 or 14 chapters. I just can't get it all packed in yet. :(

As I've said before, reader emails are the only pay we Nifty writers ask for or receive, and I do like to hear if a chapter was enjoyed or not. :) My email address is jnuanced@gmail.com.