Mike was pumped.
After two years of pain and loneliness, the mere sight of Matt made him high. When the initial shock of seeing his brother and his two kids emerge from the limo in front of his condo had worn off, he was alive. And it felt damn good, but he tried not to be too obvious about it.
Mike helped Matt retrieve the luggage from the car and took his surprise guests upstairs. Sitting them down in the den, he went back downstairs and untied Breakers from his tree for a short walk. When he came back, he found Matt sitting on the big leather couch, with his two little guys walking and crawling around on the oriental rug in front of the fireplace--a new world for them to conquer. Breakers went over to them and shoved his cold nose in the boys' faces, and they laughed and pulled his hair. The dog licked them and tussled gently with them, new friendships made in an instant.
"I can't believe you're here," Mike said, looking at Matt and shaking his head.
"Me either," Matt said. "I know it's not cool of me just to show up without any warning, but I thought one of us should get off the dime. I figured it was my move. I hope you're not pissed."
"How long can you stay?"
"I'm on Spring break right now. I have to go back next Sunday at the latest. Unless you kick us out. . ."
"I'm off this next week, too, so. . .You and the boys hungry or anything?" Mike asked.
"I'm good, but I should rustle something up for the guys--their eating schedule is a little screwed up from the trip. I have some baby food that they still like."
Matt searched through a couple of his suitcases and came up with some strained peaches and two bibs. Mike retrieved teaspoons from the kitchen. The brothers each grabbed a boy and put him on his lap, food-proofed him with a bib, and began to dole out the baby food accompanied by some verbal encouragement. The twins were hungry, and began eating their brunch without any fuss.
"I should warn you that you'll be seeing these peaches again in another form," Matt laughed as they spooned the food into hungry mouths.
"That's what the medical books say," Mike responded. "I hope it smells better than their dad's."
"Worse! And I want you to get a good whiff of it later."
Mike laughed, and they continued spooning the peaches..
"Hey, you're a natural at this, bro!" Matt said when they were finished.
"Just learning from the master," Mike said. He stood up and put little Matt in his dad's lap, and went to get warm washcloths to wipe the twins' faces. Afterwards Matt put the twins back down on the rug. The kids crawled a few feet, looked around a bit more, and simultaneously decided to crash.
"They always go to sleep that fast?" Mike asked.
"I wish! No, they're a little tired from the trip."
"Mike, listen, can I borrow your truck? I should go get a few things if you're gonna let us stay."
"Yes. I want you to stay. I'll watch the boys." Mike reached into his pocket and tossed Matt his keys. "Just hit "B" in the elevator, and it'll take you to the garage. The truck is in the third parking space on the left."
" 'K. I want to get a couple of cribs and a playpen. Do we need anything else?"
"Yeah. We should child-proof this place. If you don't see a slab of foam rubber for sale anywhere, just buy a couple of foam rubber pillows so we can cut them up. We need to make some pads for the sharp corners on stuff around here. Oh, and you better get some car seats in case we want to go somewhere."
Matt nodded, snatched his favorite baseball cap out of his luggage, put it on, grabbed his college letter jacket, and left.
Mike couldn't help himself. His eyes glued themselves to Matt's perfectly contoured ass in those 501's as he walked out, and his dick lurched in his boxers. Reluctantly averting his gaze, he lay down on the floor on his stomach and studied his nephews as they slept peacefully on the rug.
The boys were truly beautiful. They were finely complexioned, their skin a healthy pink color, topped with blond curls from Sarah's side of the family. Mike tried to find some of Sarah's looks in their faces, but couldn't--their features were definitely those of Matt. Their cute little butts tapered down into good, solid, chunky legs. Yeah, they'll be jocks all right, he thought to himself. I'd bet on it.
Getting up, he retrieved two light blankets from a closet and gently covered each of the boys. Then he lay back down between them to catch a few Z's himself. He felt very relaxed, and drifted off.
Mike awakened with a start when Matt touched his shoulder. He had been sleeping for more than an hour, and the boys were just beginning to stir.
"You get everything?" Mike yawned.
"Yeppers. And then some. I bought some high chairs, too, and this potty chair, and some strollers. I'm gonna have to make a couple trips to the garage, though, to bring the rest of it up," Matt said.
"Gimme the keys. I'll take a turn."
" 'K. The boys behave?"
"Perfect. Just like their uncle." Mike said with a straight face.
"They were that bad! I'm gonna give 'em a good spanking, then."
"Uh huh. Right! Don't make me call Family Services, now!"
Matt laughed, and Mike turned to go. Matt took his turn watching his brother's butt and his broad shoulders as he walked out. I've missed that beautiful, sexy, sweet-assed guy, Matt thought to himself, and then turned his attention to the boys. They were in the throes of toilet training, but it wasn't a done deal yet. He sniffed their behinds. The kids still smelled good. Time for a preëmptive strike.
"Guys, why don't we go to the bathroom, all right?" The boys gurgled at him but were otherwise mute. Matt took the new potty chair out of its box, picked the boys up, and headed for a nearby bathroom. He put first one and then the other on the potty. They each resisted at first, but finally acquiesced and did their thing. Afterwards, Matt washed their backsides with a warm, damp wash cloth, re-dressed them, and took them back to the den. They resumed their crawling and walking around their new world.
Mike came staggering past the door to the den dragging one of the cribs in its box, and went on down the hall to the middle bedroom. Matt followed him.
"Man, these things are heavy," Mike said. "I'm gonna put you guys in this bedroom, if that's all right."
"That's cool. You have tools so we can put these together?"
"Yeah, there's a toolbox under the sink."
"You want me to bring up the rest of the stuff?" Matt asked.
"No. I'm gonna get the janitor to help me. He has a cart."
" 'K. I'm gonna start putting this one together."
Mike left again for the garage, and Matt went back to the den and brought the boys into the bedroom. Once again, new worlds for them to conquer, and the kids got right on it. Matt grabbed the toolbox from the kitchen. After opening the crib box and reading the directions for setting up the new bed, he went to work while the boys "helped."
As soon as all the new purchases were upstairs in one spot, Matt and Mike worked for about an hour and a half putting together the two cribs, a playpen, the highchairs and the strollers. Miraculously, the right hardware had all been packed in the proper quantities to get the job done.
Matt's shopping trip had also yielded some foam rubber, so the brothers cut themselves some foam squares and went around taping them to all the sharp corners on the fireplace and any tables that posed a problem.
Finally finished, they folded up the playpen to get it back through the bedroom door and took it to the den. Plopping the twins in their new little jail, Matt gave them a few of their favorite toys out of the suitcases, and then he and Mike collapsed on the couch.
"Dude, I never knew you were such a craftsman," Matt said. "You do good work."
"Pshaw," Mike responded, holding up his hands for inspection. "These are the hands of an almost-doctor! Maybe those of a surgeon!"
"A sturgeon? That sounds fishy to me."
Mike groaned. "Grad school hasn't done a thing for your sense of humor, I see."
"Why, thanks, bud. It's as finely tuned as ever."
Matt looked over at his brother slyly.
"I do believe I have a story for ya. A doctor story, no less!"
"Yeah. And don't be howling with laughter and scaring the kids." Matt instructed.
"Don't worry about that. I'm an adult now. I can take the pain. I guess."
"Well, it seems that a bunch of med students much like yourself
were attending their first lab in pathology class. Each pair of
them had a cadaver on the table in front of him.
"The professor said, 'I want you to pay close attention, because
noticing details and having a strong stomach separate the good
students in pathology from the mediocre ones. Now, I want each
of you to do what I do.'
"The professor took the middle finger of his right hand, plunged
it into the nearest cadaver's rectum, and then quickly brought his
hand to his mouth and licked it.
The students were stunned, but after a long minute, they did as they
had been told.
"'I see you do have strong stomachs, but your powers of observation
need work. You should have noticed that the finger I actually licked
was my index finger.'"
"Ugh," Mike said, "you're as disgusting as ever! Holy shi..." Mike stopped himself, looking at the twins, then continued. "I hope the boys got Sarah's sense of humor, not yours."
"I don't think so, bud. You know you love it, Mikey."
"Yeah, like root canal."
"Don't worry, I'll only give you my best material this week."
"Take my advice. Don't ever try to make your living as a comedian."
"That's my fallback job if the lawyer thing doesn't work out. I've been honing my skills."
"Forget the honing. You'd have done better to concentrate on the law books."
"Don't push me, I have more, you know," Matt said with a grin.
"And I have earplugs, so give me a big, hairy break!"
At that point, little Mike stood up in the playpen, held up his arms, and said, "Potty, daddy!"
"Good boy!" Matt told him. Putting a kid under each arm, away they went to the bathroom, Matt praising both of them as they used the potty chair.
Matt and Mike frittered away the afternoon and early evening playing with the boys, catching up on family, and talking a little about school. Matt kept the boys up a little past their usual bedtime, and then he and Mike fed them, bathed them, and eventually put them down. The kids were starting to call Mike, "Unk Mike," much to his delight.
Mike ordered in some pizza and beer, and he and Matt ate and relaxed in front of the fire, listening to music on Mike's new entertainment center. Mike put on some of the classical CD's that Matt had insisted he keep after Mike's mother was killed. Matt tried from time to time to steer the conversation toward their relationship, but Mike avoided it, and still feeling the barrier between them, Matt let it go.
About 11 o'clock, Mike stood up and stretched and yawned, and said he was going to bed. Matt got up and put his arms around him and kissed him on the lips. Mike looked Matt in the eye, touched his face, and then headed for his room. Matt sat back down for a minute, then went to his own room and checked on the twins. They were sleeping soundly. Stripping to his shorts, he said his prayers, and fell into bed and dreamless sleep. All was quiet except for Breakers' toenails clicking down the hall as he went to Mike's room to settle in for the night.
* * *
Mike awakened slowly Sunday morning after one of the best night's sleep he had had in a long time. He could feel Breakers at his feet. Opening his eyes slowly in the dim light, he was startled to see Matt sitting cross legged in the recliner about 10 feet from the bed, clad only in those blindingly white jockeys he always wore. Even in the dim morning light, Mike could see that Matt's unblemished skin shone with health, and he looked as buff as he did when he was an 18 year old wrestler.
"Uhhhhh," Mike groaned as he rolled on his back, morning wood tenting his boxers and the bedsheet.
"Morning," Matt said softly.
"Morning. What are you doing?"
"Just thinking, and watching you sleep."
"Can I get in bed with you?"
Looking over at Matt, quicksilver emotions cascaded across Mike's face: surprise, anger, sorrow, suspicion, indecision, longing, love.
Finally, Mike flipped back the covers. " 'K. But I gotta hit the john."
Mike got out of bed, making no attempt to hide his hardon, and Matt climbed in and waited for his brother to come back.
Mike returned sans his erection, got in bed on his back, and pulled the sheet up under his chin. Matt turned on his side toward him, and Mike got a whiff of that clean, healthy smell that Matt always emanated.
Impulsively, Matt reached over and smoothed Mike's hair back from his forehead as he had done a thousand times before. Mike didn't make a sound, but his eyes suddenly filled up and tears coursed down his cheeks.
"I'm sorry, Mike. I didn't mean to. . ."
Mike couldn't talk for a long moment because of the lump in his throat.
"It's OK," he finally said. "It's just. . .I never in a million years thought I would ever feel you do that to me again."
Matt rubbed the moisture from his own eyes and studied Mike's face.
"Do you remember the first time we made love up at the lake?"
"Well, yeah. That's one of those experiences you don't forget."
"It seems like a lifetime ago," Matt said. "I know you don't really understand why I've done some of the things I have--I don't even understand it completely myself--but I feel the same way about you now as I did then. That's never changed. I have the same butterflies in my stomach right now, too. You make me feel like no one else in this world ever has."
Mike turned his head and looked into Matt's eyes, saying nothing.
"I love you, Mike. I want you to know that. I want you to know that if we can make a go of this relationship again, you will always be number one in my heart from this day forward. I mean it. I--no, I hope we--will nurture and love the boys with all the energy and commitment we have. But we both know that if we do the job for them right, down the line they're going to walk out the door one day and leave us behind so they can pass on the love they got from us to their special people, whoever they are. That'll leave you and me right where we started--with each other. Or at least that's what I want. I'm asking for another chance."
"Did you love Sarah, Matt?"
"Very, very, very much. I thought the world of her. I think I tried to explain this on the phone to you once, but I admit I don't have the words to put it across very well. She was truly a wonderful person, and she was far better to me than I deserved. She would have been a great mother to the boys if she had lived. She was always supportive, a true friend, although she could be willful and spirited about some things, just like the rest of us. I miss her deeply as a person. Sex with her was good. But from the day you and I started rooming together at school, you've always been the fire in my soul. You've been the one who gets me off my ass and doing things I need to do and actually liking it. My spirit and your spirit play off of one another in a wonderful way. You complete me. I love you, I admire you, I respect you, I'm always happy when I'm with you, and I'm definitely in lust with you and your body. You've always been in my heart through everything, and you always will be, whatever happens. . ."
A thin wail from the next bedroom interrupted, closely followed by a twin voice of complaint.
Matt's head fell to the pillow in frustration.
"I'd be the last one to tell you that this is an easy job, bud," he sighed, smiling ruefully. He kissed Mike on the cheek, and rolled over him to go to the boys.
Mike lay in bed staring at the ceiling thoughtfully for a minute. Then he got up, and went to help Matt.
They greeted the boys for the new day, cleaned them up, and then Mike fixed soft scrambled eggs and orange juice for all of them and a pot of coffee for him and Matt. They managed to get a few spoonfuls of eggs down the kids along with a little juice, and then Matt put them in their playpen in the den for a few minutes while he and Mike ate.
"We going to mass?" Matt asked when they finished eating and straightening up the kitchen.
"I'd like to. They have a nursery for the kids at St. Stephen's."
"Excellent. What time?"
"Either nine-thirty or eleven. We'd prolly be cutting it a little close to try and make the nine-thirty."
"That's cool. Eleven it is."
They went into the den and joined the kids, who were still stuck in their playpen jabbering away to each other.
"We're going to church this morning, guys," Matt said to them.
"NO!" little Mike shot back.
"Whaddaya mean, NO?" his dad said.
"NO," little Matt threw in his two cents.
Mike started to laugh.
"They're you all the way, man," he said. "Every bad thing you ever did to Mom and Dad is going to come back to haunt you--times two. There is a God."
"Now, boys, after we go to church, we could stop and get some ice cream," Matt negotiated.
"Ice cream," little Matt shrilled. "Ice cream, ice cream."
"Ice cream," little Mike echoed.
The incipient rebellion quelled for the moment, Mike took the twins out of the playpen to continue their exploring, and then went to his front door for the Sunday paper. He and Matt sat in their shorts drinking coffee, reading and watching the boys toddle around.
When they had each read the sports page thoroughly and the comics, Matt went to shower, leaving Mike with the kids. Taking their hands, he walked them slowly from the den into the living room. He pushed a button next to a light switch, and thirty-five feet of heavy drapes slowly opened to reveal a wall of glass and a magnificent, unobstructed view of Lake Michigan. The boys weren't too sure about this, and stayed well back from the huge windows, but intently watched the waves splash up on the shore far below. Mike knelt down and talked to them about the lake.
It looks like a nice Spring day out, Mike thought to himself. A really great day. He and the boys went back to the den, the boys jabbering away to each other.
After Matt showered and dressed, Mike took his turn. Matt put fresh diapers, play suits and shoes and socks on the kids. When Mike was ready, they helped the boys into their little hooded jackets, and they went down to the garage carrying the boys and the new car seats. Matt automatically went to the truck, but Mike waved him over to an older model white Blazer next to it.
"Is this yours?" Matt asked.
"Yeah. I bought it used from a buddy in med school who needed to sell it. It's a couple years old, but it's in good shape."
They fastened the car seats securely in back, buckled the kids in, and away they went.
People were still streaming out of St. Stephen's from the previous mass when they parked and went in. Matt looked around appreciatively--it was like coming home for him to be back where he and Mike had usually gone to church when they were together in Chicago. Racks of votive lights were flickering, sweet-smelling incense was still floating around in the clerestory of the old, gothic building, and the massive, free-standing altar loomed patiently in the gloom at the end of the darkened chancel. Matt and Mike exited into the parish house, found the nursery, and dropped the boys off without any protest from them. Then they re-entered the church, found a pew, and knelt to say their prayers.
The organ began playing softly, the music undergirded by 32 foot bourdon pipes which were more felt in the gut than heard, and which gently rattled the stained glass windows. The choir filed in silently to lead the opening hymn once they were in place. Lent was winding down, soon to be followed by Passiontide and Easter. The purple-clad celebrant, flanked by a deacon and subdeacon, began censing the freestanding altar and the huge crucifix, beginning the formal high mass that was always offered at this hour on Sunday.
The other didn't know it, but Matt and Mike each gave thanks for the opportunities this coming week would offer them to share time together. The eucharist was like an old friend as, side by side, they sang and made the required liturgical responses.
After mass, they collected the boys from the nursery and headed for a little ice cream shop in Evanston, the boys' reward for going to church without fussing, although Matt didn't give them all the ice cream they wanted. Afterwards they drove over to the Northwestern campus, and took the kids for a short walk along the lake shore. The breeze off Lake Michigan was cooler than they had expected, so they didn't keep the little guys out in it for too long.
Mike dropped Matt and the kids off back at the condo, and made a quick trip to the grocery and to a nearby video store for a couple of movies.
"What did you get?" Matt asked when Mike came back.
"A couple of steaks we can cook on the grill later. And 'Platoon' and 'The Matrix.'"
"Ooooo, our man Keanu!" Matt said enthusiastically.
"Yeah. I saw a shot of him on the net the other day, leaning against his motorcycle with his tool hanging out. It was a fake, of course, but in the pic he was really hung."
Little Matt picked that moment to smack his twin and knock him down, for no apparent reason. Mike picked up the offender, and went and sat on the couch with him while Matt comforted the victim. The crisis passed quickly, and Matt went and retrieved some more jars of baby food out of his luggage, and the brothers fed the little guys, who then decided to take another snooze on the rug. Mike covered them up with blankets again.
"Ya know, we gotta do something about these names," Mike said thoughtfully as they sat down on the couch. "Everybody around here is Matt and Mike. Would you object if we started calling the boys Matthew and Michael, just to keep things straight?"
"That's cool with me," Matt said. "An inspired thought, bro! Just like everything you say."
"Aw, shucks, dude," Mike grinned. "You're as big a bullshitter as ever, I see."
They bantered back and forth for awhile like old times.
"Mike, do you think we could throw a little get-together for the sisters and Stan Rosinsky and Arnie Watkins, and maybe Tony Angelo and his wife, while I'm here? I'd really like to see them."
"That would be cool," Mike said. "Stan is engaged, so we could invite his fiancée' to come over, too, and see if she's a good fit for Stan. We might want to have Arnie over separately, though. He's more flamboyant than ever. I think he might be more comfortable with just us, and I'm sure I would."
"Well," Matt said slowly. "It's not like I'm ashamed of him. He's a friend."
"It's up to you, bro," Mike said. "Whatever you say."
"You're probably right," Matt finally said after thinking it over. "I want to see Arnie in all his flaming glory, not holding back and trying to look straight--not that he would!"
"All right, why don't we try to set it up for Wednesday night? And let's ask Arnie for Friday night."
"Excellent! And I want to help you do this, so don't try to do it all yourself," Matt instructed.
" 'K. Do you know I've never had a party here? I feel like I'm coming out of my crypt."
"Well, we'll christen the place real good, then."
"I'm thinking about dinner on Wednesday, not just drinks. And I think we should have dinner catered, don't you?" Mike asked. "Then we can enjoy the night, too."
Matt laughed and put his arm across Mike's shoulders and rocked him gently.
"Two great minds racing down the same track to the same destination, dude!" he said. "My very thought!"
"That's settled, then," Mike said with satisfaction. "Hey, whaddaya want to do this afternoon?"
"Man, I need some exercise. Will you watch the boys while I take a run on the beach?"
"No problem. We'll take turns," Mike said.
" 'K. Uh, can I borrow a jock and a pair of shorts? I knew I'd forget something when I packed."
"Sure," Mike said, and Matt followed him back to Mike's bedroom.
Mike reached into his bureau drawer for a clean jock. Matt cleared his throat.
"Um, give me one you've already worn. You remember the good old days in our apartment when you used to practically snatch my smelly ol' jock right off my body? Well, buddy, this worm has turned and seen the wisdom of your ways."
Mike smiled and went over to his closet, and from a pile of dirty clothes in a laundry bag on the floor picked out a jockstrap and pair of running shorts. He handed them to Matt, who put them over his face and stood there inhaling Mike's male smells for a long moment without a trace of self-consciousness. Then he went to his room, stripped, and dressed for his run.
Mike met him at the front door before he left, and handed him the building and condo keys on an elastic wristband.
"Don't wear yourself out, you jocknapper!" he told Matt, pinched his ass, and quickly shut the door behind him to avoid retribution.
Matt came back in about an hour all sweated up despite the cool temperatures, and Mike was waiting, dressed for his own run. Mike left with Breakers in tow, and Matt put the boys in the playpen so he could grab a quick shower. When Matt finished, he took a quick peek at the kids, who were taking a little mid-afternoon siesta. He covered them up, got dressed, and then went back to the den. Taking a long match from its container on the mantle, he turned on the gas and lighted the fireplace. The blue and yellow flames cheered the room.
Matt lay down on the big leather couch, and smiled involuntarily as he reflected on his visit so far. He thought he had had a good memory of the intense satisfaction it gave him to be around Mike, but the real thing was better by far. After a few minutes, he went to sleep.
Mike returned in a little over an hour, showered and dressed, and woke Matt up. They fed Matthew and Michael, and then Mike defrosted the steaks and fired up a gas grill out on a balcony off the den. He asked Matt to nuke some potatoes in the microwave, and while the steaks were cooking on the grill, he worked on a sliced cucumber, green pepper and tomato salad which he covered in red wine vinaigrette. Before long they were contentedly chowing down in front of the fireplace on TV trays.
"I don't remember your being such a good cook," Matt said. "This is great. The steaks are excellent! You're a cute Julia Childs, y'know."
"Survival skills," Mike said between bites. "If you eat crap all the time, you'll look like crap. And feel like it."
"Dr. Mike speaks! But it must be true! You look good, bro."
"So do you. Have you been working out, or what?"
"Once in awhile. But you'll get a laugh outta this. I've invaded the kingdom of wimps--lately I've been swimming three times a week."
"That's excellent. There's no better exercise in the world. But I don't care if I ever step foot in a pool again. Competitive swimming burns you out. You just get to the point where the only water you want to see is in your shower."
"Yeah. I guess that's true of most competitive sports after awhile. It's hard to face the grind even one more time. By the way, when did you start wearing a brush cut instead of a high and tight?" Matt asked.
"A couple months ago. I just wanted a change, but I still didn't want to mess with long hair. Maybe my old high school fantasies of life as a Marine finally died, I don't know. Anyway. . ."
They ate in silence for a few minutes, glancing over at the boys every so often as they tried to escape the confines of the playpen.
"Hey, what did you think about the Supreme Court decision on the Boy Scouts," Matt asked as he chewed steak.
"Well, I wasn't too happy about it. Have you talked to Dad about why he voted with the majority in that case? I think it was one of those 5 to 4 votes."
"No. I'd like to, but he's pretty reticent sometimes about discussing the Court's decisions."
"What did you think about it?"
"I thought they made the right decision," Matt said.
"I'm surprised," Mike said.
"It was a tough case. It seems to me that you had two important constitutional principles colliding: the right of a protected class in New Jersey, namely gays, to be accommodated with membership in a voluntary organization, over against the right of free association implicit in our federal Constitution. The Court essentially said that the right of free association is paramount. You can't make Americans, outside of certain employment situations where someone's livelihood is at stake, associate with people they don't want to be around, no matter how ill informed and ill advised their personal judgments may be. When it comes to gay rights, the decision actually works in our favor, too. It means we also have the right to associate with those we want to be around, and don't have to be around those we don't want to be around. Pretty basic.
"I just wish the case had never gone to court in the first place" Matt continued. "I feel bad for the guy who brought the suit--he sounds like an exemplary person, and he was wronged. But it's the Boy Scouts' loss, practically speaking, if they don't want to train kids for life in the real world today. This is a diverse country. 'We're here, and we're queer!' The Scouts may have won the battle, but they lost the war, because I think their support is going to erode from here on out as a result of their position."
Mike sat back on the couch, deep in thought.
"I hadn't thought about it in those terms, to be honest," he said. "I hate to say it, but you're probably right. And so was Dad, which doesn't really surprise me."
"Have you talked to Mom and Dad lately?" Matt asked.
"No, it's been a couple of weeks."
"Why don't we call them tonight?"
"Sounds good. . ."
Mike was interrupted by his namesake, who was holding up his arms in the playpen, yelling, "Potty, potty, potty!" Matthew soon echoed his sentiments, addressing his supplication to "Unk Mike."
Matt smiled broadly. "Annoying, huh? But not as annoying as changing diapers all the time, take it from one who knows. But this better not be a trick to get out of jail."
The brothers each picked up a boy and took him to the bathroom, praising them effusively all the way for signaling they had to go.
That duty done, they brought the boys back and put them down on the rug. Matthew and Michael immediately stood up and began toddling around, their balance seeming to improve by the minute.
Mike watched them, and then looked at Matt.
"I love 'em. I could kiss their little faces off. But you knew I would."
"Yeah, I knew. I admit it."
Mike stood, and began to collect dishes and silverware from the TV tables to load the dishwasher.
"What do you want for dessert?" he asked Matt.
"Ice cream and cookies?" Matt said inquiringly.
"You got it."
Matt proudly observed his sons walking around, loving them as they rejoiced in their newfound mobility. Mike came back from the kitchen with a package of Pecan Sandies and two bowls of vanilla ice cream and sat down. The boys were all over them in an instant. Matt limited the kids to two small spoonfuls of ice cream each and put them back in their playpen. They briefly shrilled their displeasure, then turned their attention to the toys Matt had put in the playpen with them.
"Why don't we watch Keanu?" Mike asked.
Mike retrieved "The Matrix" from its box on the table, slipped it into the VCR, and he and Matt let the wizardry of the story and the special effects weave their spell. Mike laid down on the couch, face to the TV, and put his shoeless feet in Matt's lap. Matt began squeezing and massaging his brother's feet through his sweatsocks as they intently watched the film action.
"You can see the guy's hot, even if the long coats and stuff don't show off his bod," Matt observed.
Except to exclaim about some of the action scenes, they hardly talked until the movie was over.
By then it was early evening, the sun was setting, and it was time to give the boys a bath and put them to bed. Mike filled the tub with warm water while Matt undressed them and put them gently in the tub. Mike washed one and Matt the other. Matthew and Michael loved bath time, and splashed each other and Matt and Mike until they were sopping wet and the entire bathroom floor was full of water.
"Swimmers in the making," Mike commented as they were drying the kids off and putting fresh diapers on them.
"Wimps in the making? I don't think so! When they really mature, they'll be wrestlers," Matt countered.
"They're gonna be too smart to be wrestlers," Mike shot back.
"When they understand that 'Wrestlers Rule,' they'll choose the right path. I can't wait until they're big enough to start pinning your cute little behind to the mat."
"Shoot! They won't have any more luck than you ever did, and that was damn little. I was always too fast for your fat butt to catch, and you know it."
"That was just because I was kind to you, and let you think you had escaped. I couldda had you, and you know it."
"You had me, if I recall correctly, but not as a result of your great wrestling talent," Mike said. "It must have been your charm."
Matt's face reddened for a second and he grinned.
"Well, that's another matter,' he said.
Mike laughed as they finished with the boys, and carried them in their PJ's back to the den for their story before bed. Matt gave Mike the kids' favorite storybook, and Mike sat on the couch with a little guy in the crook of each arm as he read to them. Matthew and Michael knew that particular story so well that they sometimes said the words before Mike spoke them. By the time he finished the short little book, the boys' eyes were sleepy, and he and Matt carried them to their cribs and put them down, complete with lots of kisses. The boys giggled, and then were out like a light.
"Kids smell great after a bath, don't they?" Mike observed as they went back to the den.
"Yeah. Just like their dad."
They called their parents in Washington. Jane Broman hadn't left for home yet after spending the weekend, and they all had a great talk. The elder Bromans' relief that the breach between Matt and Mike appeared to be healed was almost palpable over the phone, although not a word was said about it. The guys told their parents how much they missed them, and it was true. Then Matt and Mike tried to call Jeff and Martha, but got no answer at the apartment at school. So Mike got on the phone to Sisters Angeline and Catherine, Stan Rosinski, and Tony Angelo about coming to dinner on Wednesday night. All accepted, although Tony told them that his wife was in Oregon taking care of her mother, who had recently fallen and broken her hip. Then he called Arnie, who wasn't home, so he left a voicemail about Friday night.
* * *
Mike woke up early, as usual, looked over at the recliner, and was a little disappointed. No Matt this morning. They had slept separately again. As he rolled over, he bumped into something. Turning his head, there was Matt in his jockies next to him in bed, sound asleep on his stomach, lying on top of the covers. Breakers jumped off the foot of the bed, stretched, and walked away.
Adjusting his usual morning erection and moving very slowly, Mike eased out of bed and used the bathroom. When he came back, Matt was still sleeping. Mike slipped under the covers, and touched Matt's shoulder. His eyes popped open, and he smiled into Mike's blue eyes. Matt's jockies were tented bigtime.
"Morning," Matt said quietly.
"Morning. How long have you been here?" Mike asked.
"You must be cold. Get under the covers," Mike instructed.
" 'K. Let me use the john first. 'I'll be bock,'" Matt said in his Arnold Swartzenegger voice.
He returned. Mike flipped back the covers for him, and Matt climbed in bed and kissed Mike's cheek.
"You're freezing," Mike said, enveloping him in a hug.
"You're gonna make me hard, bro," Matt warned. "Then I'll hafta take advantage of ya."
"Yeah," Mike said, loosening his grip.
They were silent for several minutes. Then Mike turned back to his brother.
"Matt. . ."
"I think I need to be as open and honest with you as you've been with me."
"Oh, man," Matt said. "Don't. . ."
"I'm totally in love with you," Mike blurted out. "That hasn't changed since the day we met, no matter how hard I've tried to kill it. I love you so much, my chest hurts. I get a lump in my throat just looking at you. And I love the twins to death."
Matt let go of his pent-up breath.
"I was afraid you were going to say something else and kick my ass out," he said. "There's a problem, though?"
"Yeah. My problem, not yours. I'm having one hell of a time letting go of feeling hurt. I'm not saying this to heap more guilt on you, but you broke my fucking heart, man. I was so depressed that I didn't even jack off for a year after we broke up, let alone have sex with anybody. Wet dream city. If it hadn't been for running on the beach and school, I don't think I would have made it. The pain's been something I've lived with for so long now that I don't know how to live without it. It's like an old ogre that sits on my shoulder all the time and whispers negative shit in my ear. I'm not sure I know how to be really happy anymore. My mind forgives you for what's happened, but the little voice keeps telling me not to make myself vulnerable again."
Matt said nothing, but moved closer and put his head next to Mike's until they were touching on the pillow.
"Help me, bro," Mike said softly. "I don't know what to do or how to do it, really. But I do love you, and I want to be with you and the kids."
Matt remained quiet, but pulled Mike over close to him and held him tightly in his arms. They kissed gently.
A minute later, a clatter arose from the next bedroom as one of the boys began vigorously shaking the side of his crib and crying.
Matt sighed and then laughed.
"How the hell do they know? What timing!" They reluctantly climbed out of bed and went together to see to their small charges.
After they fed the boys and ate breakfast themselves, Mike suggested that they take a field trip down to the Museum of Natural History. Matt agreed. They planted the boys in their playpen in the den, and went to shower. Mike was walking down the hall to shower in his own bathroom, when Matt's hand reached out as he went by and pulled him into one of the guest bathrooms. Mike just smiled contentedly and allowed himself to be stripped of his boxers and pulled into the shower with Matt. They washed each other's body as only two people in love can, exploring every curve, plane and crevice. Matt bent down at one point and kissed the end of Mike's dick, but they didn't go any farther. They each stepped out of the shower with stiffies, toweled each other off gently, and Mike went to his room to get dressed.
"I love you, Mike," Matt said to his retreating, naked back.
Mike smiled to himself and continued walking. "Love you, too, bro."
They dressed, and met in the den to decide how to dress the twins for their outing.
Mike was wearing a U2 T-shirt with baggy carpenter's pants and work boots, which drew a second look from Matt.
"Stylish, dude!" he told Mike. "But those pants hide your cute butt a little too much for my taste."
"We all hafta make sacrifices," Mike said, bending down to put a pair of bright red pants on Michael.
"Doesn't matter, I know where it is," Matt said, giving Mike's ass a good, hard pinch.
Mike jumped, scaring Michael, who started whimpering.
"Jeez, Matt, now see what you did." Mike gave his brother a dirty look.
"I'm sorry, both you Mikes. But that felt so good!"
"Nice guy!" Mike picked Michael up, and held him and kissed him until he quit fussing.
They finished dressing the kids, and putting each twin in a stroller, went down to the garage. Soon they were on their way south along the lakefront on Lakeshore Drive in the Blazer. It was a magnificent day, a little cool, but sunny, and the buildings along the lake glistened in the sun.
"Spectacular!" observed Matt as they drove.
"Yeah," Mike agreed. "I never get tired of it."
When they reached the curve in the Drive where the guys had taken their unplanned swim their first night in town, Mike pointed at it silently. Matt nodded in satisfaction, remembering the family they had saved from drowning in their submerged car.
When they reached the Museum, the parking lot was just starting to fill. They parked and disembarked, the twins happy to be out of the confining car seats.
They wheeled the strollers with one hand and walked the boys with the other toward the Museum for a little way, and then put the boys in the strollers and went in the magnificent front entrance of the building. Matt paid for all of them, and they began their tour. The twins appeared awestruck at the sweeping vista of the entrance hall, dominated by a huge dinosaur, but after that it was business as usual for them.
Matt and Mike wandered somewhat aimlessly through the immense complex, stopping once to take the twins to the bathroom and buying some bottled water, which they shared with the boys.
"Did you know," Mike asked Matt, "that humans share about 99% of our genomic makeup with chimpanzees?"
"Some more than others," Matt said mischievously.
"Oh, man!" Mike said under his breath.
They continued walking around and chatting until lunchtime, with the boys alternating between sleeping and jabbering to each other and to their chauffeurs. Then they went in the cafeteria, Matt wheeling both boys to an empty table and Mike going through the line getting him and his brother hamburgers and fries, and more bottled water. Matt grabbed a couple of child seats, and soon the boys were helping themselves to a few fries and water.
"Don't give 'em too many fries," Matt said. "I don't want 'em to get sick."
" 'K. This isn't the best thing for 'em."
Matt sighed. "I know."
When they were finished, they walked around about another hour, with the twins sound asleep in their strollers. Mike suggested they go back to the condo so that they could each get in a run on the beach before it cooled off too much.
"I marvel at your grasp of the appropriate!" Matt said.
"Bro, you're so full of crap your eyes are brown. You're gonna make an excellent lawyer."
"Do you love me?"
"I loathe you."
Matt broke up, and on that note, they wheeled the twins out of the museum and headed for home.
* * *
After they had each had their run on the beach and showered, Matt and Mike passed the rest of the afternoon verbally jousting with each other and playing with the boys, who were steadier on their feet and more mobile with each passing hour. It felt like old times, even with the kids.
Mike put a British group called Coldplay on the stereo, and they mellowed out to some tunes while Mike got on the phone with one of Chicago's premier restaurants and set up the catering and service for their party on Wednesday night.
At supper time, while Mike fed the boys and then read some of their favorite stories to them, Matt defrosted some fish and sautéed it, and made a tangy German potato salad and a small lettuce and tomato salad.
Mike was impressed.
"You're still a heck of a chef, dude. Maybe lawyering shouldn't be your thing," he said as he and Matt ate hungrily. Breakers watched intently as every bite disappeared. Bending down from his seat on the couch, Mike gave the dog a piece of fish, which was wolfed down quickly.
"Time will tell," Matt said. "If Breakers keels over tonight, obviously something went wrong in the kitchen."
"Then you'll have to give him mouth to muzzle resuscitation."
"You'll hafta show me how," Matt said. "You have a very talented mouth, as I recall."
"I only know the techniques you taught me," Mike responded. "That pretty much includes every scuzzy sex trick in the book, I might add."
"You are such a brat!" Matt said. "I'll put a wrestling hold on you that'll make you beg for mercy. It's long overdue."
"As always, lardbutt, you'll hafta catch me first, and that's never been your strong suit."
"All right, that's it, it's joke time! And when you're weak from laughter, you're gonna get the grapevine again. One of your favorite holds, judging from your screams of pain years back."
"I said that being a chef might be your thing, not comedian. No stories!" Mike instructed. "You'll warp the kids, you perv."
"No, no. Now, let's see, I'm sure I have something in my repertory for ya, bro. Oh, yeah. . .
"When she heard that her elderly grandfather had passed away,
a young college girl went back to her hometown to visit her
grandmother. When she asked how her grandpa had died, her grandma
explained, 'He had a heart attack during sex on Sunday morning.'
"Horrified, the girl suggested that having sex at the age of 94 was
asking for trouble.
"'Oh no," her grandma replied, 'we had sex every Sunday morning.
it in time with the church bells, in with the dings and out with the dongs.'
"Grandma paused, and wiped away a tear.
"'He'd still be alive today if that damn ice cream truck hadn't gone
as the church bells were ringing.'"
Mike groaned, and suddenly grabbed Matt, pushed him down on the couch, and held him there, face to face.
"That's the worst story you've ever told, and that's saying a lot." Mike said. "If the boys had heard you, they'd be crying in shame for their dad right now."
"Does this mean you liked it?" Matt asked, laughing at his brother's reaction. "I have more, y'know."
Clasping Mike to him tightly, Matt planted a long, slow, tender kiss on his lips.
Mike kissed back, and they lay there for a moment looking into one another's eyes. Then they started to get hard, and unclinched and sat back up on the couch. The boys toddled over and looked at them curiously.
"Your daddy just told a bad joke," Mike said to them, a little out of breath from the encounter. "I don't ever want to hear a joke outta you guys," he said with mock seriousness. "Say, 'I promise, Uncle Mike.'"
"I pwomise, Unk Mike," Michael said, much to Mike's delight. Matthew followed his brother's example, and they each repeated it several times, not having a clue what they were saying.
Matt pretended to pout, muttering "Traitorous brats!" softly under his breath.
They bathed and put the boys to bed a little earlier than usual that evening, and spent time watching TV, playing a couple games of chess, and talking. Mike really opened up for the first time and described the grind of medical school and what his life had been like in Chicago, and it was as if a dam had burst. He realized what a great feeling it was to be with someone with whom there were no barriers, no secrets, no defenses. How many people, he thought to himself at one point, are lucky enough to have that kind of relationship with anyone in their life?
After the local TV news was over, Mike took Breakers downstairs for his nightly walk, and Matt checked on the twins, stripped to his jockeys, and got into his bed to say his prayers.
Mike came back upstairs, and went into his own bedroom with the dog. Matt heard Mike's door shut, and then about 10 minutes later, open again. Mike came into Matt's room in his boxers. In the dim light from the hall, he walked over to Matt's bed, took his hand, and mutely motioned with his head for Matt to follow him. They went into Mike's room and stood beside the bed. Mike lowered his head and gently kissed Matt's chest.
"Are you sure?" Matt asked softly.
They stripped each other of their shorts and climbed into bed. Not touching, they lay on their sides facing one another in the low light of the bedside table, just staring into one another's eyes.
"If I died right now and I never saw you or touched you again, I'd thank God for this minute in time, Mike." Matt reached over and touched Mike's face, and caressed his hair back from his forehead.
"Listen, I've done everything and used every trick in the book not to love you, Matt, including trying to hate you, but nothing works," Mike responded. "Maybe I'm just weak, I don't know. But despite everything that's happened, the one thing I've never doubted about you is that you're a good person even though you hurt me. I loved everything about you when we were teenagers, and that hasn't changed. To me, you're the total package. As far as the twins go, I'm not just enamored of them, I love them and want to commit to them. So. . .how many people get second chances like this, assuming you're serious about wanting to be together again?"
Matt was totally blown away, and couldn't talk at first.
Finally he said solemnly, "You've just put the joy back in my life, Mike. No one or no thing or no accomplishment in my life has ever made me feel the way you do. No one has ever given me the pure joy and energy you do just being around you. I'm the weak one. But you make me happy. That's the bottom line. You don't know how I've been praying that we could get back together. I love you."
"I love you, Matt, completely. I want you so bad."
Mike put his hand on Matt's chest as it rose and fell, and felt his heart beating, and pulled him close. Cupping Matt's groin, he found that his brother already had a giant erection, and stroked his dick a couple of times.
Matt's breath made a whooshing sound as he exhaled.
"Easy does it, dude," he said. "I'm so horny that if you stroke me one more time, I'm gonna cum in your hand."
"I'm almost there, too," Mike said. "So much for foreplay, huh?"
"I want to do everything, but let's sixty-nine first," Matt whispered urgently. "I want your dick in my mouth right now."
" 'K," Mike said, and moved into position, still on his side, feeling Matt take him in. He gently took Matt's cock in his own mouth, already tasting his sweet precum, and then smoothly swallowed the whole thing right down to his brother's pubes. Withdrawing to Matt's cockhead, he just held it in his mouth, quiescent, motionless except for his tongue circling the corona. That was all it took. Breathing hard, Matt began to ejaculate thick ropes of cum, coursing over Mike's tongue and crashing into the back of his throat. That put Mike over the edge himself, and he followed suit.
They both swallowed as fast as they could, to no avail. Sperm began to run down the sides of their faces as they continued ejaculating until, at long last, they were spent. Neither of them released the other's dick from his mouth for a long time, just content to taste, smell, feel, savor the experience so long denied.
Mike eventually realigned himself until they were face to face, Mike on top, and they kissed passionately, tasting one another's essence. Mike licked Matt's face clean, and Matt reciprocated. Bathed in sweat from the intensity of their coupling, they held each other in a coma-like state and dozed.
About 15 minutes later, Matt awakened and moved, waking Mike. They kissed again, their tongues thrusting and massaging for a long time.
"Telling you I love you doesn't seem enough."
They both began getting hard again.
"Fuck me, bro," Mike said in Matt's ear.
" 'K," Matt said. "You don't hafta ask twice. You got lube?"
"I'll get some, if I can find it." Mike climbed off Matt, and went over to his dresser, his dick fully erect again and swaying tightly up against his stomach. He pulled some KY out of a drawer.
"And a rubber if you want me to use one," Matt added.
"Do we need one? You tell me."
"I haven't been with anyone since Sarah. You?"
"Nope. Since you, it's just been me and my constant companion," Mike said, holding up his right hand.
Mike came back to bed, lay on his back, and handed the lube to Matt.
Matt began licking his lover's body, probing his ears and navel, biting the nipples of that beautiful chest, and finally raising Mike's legs and giving him a lengthy, vigorous and intrusive rimming, accompanied by Mike's sighs of approval.
Then Matt opened the tube of KY and squeezed some jell on his three middle fingers. Watching Mike's face for any signs of discomfort, he found Mike pucker again, caressed it lightly with the lube, and gently worked his middle finger past the sphincter. Moving farther up his chute, he couldn't resist probing Mike's prostate, and Mike's eyes widened at the stimulus.
When Mike's anus loosened with the one finger, Matt added the index finger, carefully widening and probing as he proceeded.
As soon as Mike appeared comfortable with all three fingers inserted, Matt withdrew them. Massaging KY on his cock, Matt put Mike's legs on his shoulders and probed his anus with his dick until it popped in.
"Take it easy. It's been a long time," Mike admonished, panting a little.
"Just say the word, and I'll stop," Matt said. He paused, motionless, just inside the threshold until Mike seemed more relaxed, and then moved up and in with tiny thrusts, Mike occasionally stopping him to adjust to the stretching. When his dick was completely buried to the hilt inside his brother, Matt leaned down, and licking his way up Mike's abdomen, nibbled his nipples again. They kissed long and passionately before Matt began thrusting in earnest.
Matt long-dicked him, almost withdrawing with each thrust, and then plunging back home, making sure he hit the prostate each time on the way back in. Mike's penis began to dribble precum on his stomach. Matt scooped some up and put it to his lips. It tasted as sweet as he remembered.
Mike looked up at the beautiful man lying on top of him, pleasuring him at last as he had been longing for. He began relaxing his rectum as Matt thrust, and squeezing as hard as he could as he withdrew. As their prolonged session continued, their sweat commingled, with Matt rubbing Mike's dick with his perspiring chest and stomach with each new invasion of his brother's ass. The pace gradually quickened. Matt began to groan as he built to an inevitable climax, which occurred simultaneously with Mike's own. As Mike felt Matt's cum gush into his insides, his own ejaculation pelted his face and tapered off down his chest with each successive shot.
Not ready to withdraw, Matt draped himself full length on Mike and laid his head on his shoulder, nuzzling his neck. They were quickly glued together by Mike's cum. Totally relaxed, entwined, they fell asleep in that position.
When Matt woke up, still on top of Mike, the digital clock on the bedside table said 5:00 in big, red numerals. He raised himself a little to break the bond of dried semen with his brother, and slid to Mike's side, trying not to wake him. But Mike's blue eyes opened slowly as he shuddered and stretched. He regarded Matt with a growing smile.
"Am I imagining things, or was that better than ever?" he whispered. "I didn't think that was possible."
"You're not wrong, bud. A lot depends on your partner, of course," Matt agreed, grinning back. "Those who think it's all downhill from age 19 need a reality check."
Matt took Mike's closest hand in his, and bringing it to his lips, kissed it.
"I love you with all my heart, Mike," he said, caressing his brother's face.
Mike looked at him, saying nothing, and then crawled out of bed, pulling Matt with him. Holding Matt's hand, Mike led his brother down the hall to the den, both of them as beautifully naked and unselfconscious as jaybirds. Taking him into a corner where a crucifix was hanging, Mike found a small votive candle in one of the drawers, lighted it, and dropped it into its holder under the cross.
They stood hand in hand, and prayed together silently.
"You taught me that, dude," Mike said when they finished.
This part of Working It Out has been a long time in the writing, and for that I apologize. I want to thank all those who have emailed me to urge me to continue the story. The characters of Matt and Mike were more difficult to bid good-bye than I thought they would be, and hence the continuation. More adventures and challenges lie ahead for them and for the whole Broman family. I hope you'll bear with me, though--I'll be working at a slower pace in completing Book 2 than I did in writing Book 1. Contact me at: email@example.com.