This is a fictional story dealing with love and consensual sexual activities between males. If you are not of legal age, reside in an area where viewing such material is illegal, or are offended by homosexuality and/or homosexual themes leave this site now.
The author retains all rights to this story. No reproductions or links to other sites are allowed without the permission of the author.
Note: Thanks to Tim for feedback on the draft chapters. I owe special thanks to Robb and Rock for doing the final proofreading and catching all those silly little errors I missed.
by Jeff Allen
I called the airline right after I got off the phone with Andrew Gordon. The earliest flight I could get to Los Angeles left Charlotte at 8:45. I threw clothes into a suitcase, shaved, showered, and was on the road to the airport by 5:00.
I called Ginger from the airport and told her what I knew at that point about the landslide and my brother's family. I asked her to call TJ later in the morning to explain that I'd left earlier than planned and to ask him to start looking after the house and yard.
I placed a call to Andrew Gordon to let him know when my plane would be arriving. He said the rescue squads were still looking for Deuce and Christie.
I'd been lucky to get a direct flight to Los Angeles. I spent the five and a half hours of the flight thinking about my brother and his family. I didn't have many memories of Deuce from growing up. He was already in law school out in California when I started kindergarten. The most time I'd ever spent with him was the two weeks after dad's death the previous summer, but we'd really connected at that time. We both had discovered a brother we'd never known. Now he might be gone.
The plane landed right on time at 11:15 Pacific time. Andrew had said someone would meet me at the luggage claim. As I approached the claim area, a young man approached me. "Are you Parker Arnold?"
He stuck out his hand. "I'm Clint McKnight. I'm one of the associate lawyers in your brother's firm."
I noticed that he was carrying a large card with my name in dark block letters. I shook his hand. "How did you recognize me?"
"You look just like your brother. I had this card ready, but I spotted you coming down the hallway. I'm really sorry about your brother and his family. We have some landslides every year when the rains come, but this year they've been worse than usual. I've lived here all my life, and this is the first time I've known someone who's been involved in one of the slides."
"Is there any word about my brother and his wife?"
"Not when I left for the airport. Mr. Gordon said he would meet us at the hospital where they've taken your nephew."
"How is he?"
"I think he's going to be okay. Mr. Gordon said his injuries weren't serious. I'm sorry, I really don't know any more than that."
We collected my luggage. Clint led me through the airport to his car in the parking garage. We drove through the rain. Forty-five minutes later I was at the hospital and Clint was introducing me to Andrew Gordon. I guessed he was in his early forties with a well-kept mane of brown hair that was graying at the temples. He was about 5'8" or so an appeared to have a trim athletic body under his expensive casual slacks and shirt.
He clasped my hand with both of his. "Mr. Arnold, I'm sorry to meet you under these circumstances."
"Thank you. Is there any word about Deuce and Christie?"
"Parker . . . may I call you Parker? They found a body they think is Christie's about half an hour ago. There's still no word about Deuce. The landslide took out eight homes in that neighborhood. It's really a mess up there, and the rescue crews are worried about more slides. They're being very cautious.
"I have to tell you that it doesn't look good for finding Deuce alive."
I slumped into a nearby chair. "What about my nephew?"
"Trey was banged up. Lots of small cuts and bruises, but no broken bones. His bedroom was on the back side of the house toward the hills. Apparently when the hillside came down, that part of the house `floated' on the top of the slide for a while as everything was pushed down the slope. The rest of the house sort of folded under the mud and was buried. Trey was covered with mud, but he managed to get out of the wreckage. He was wandering around in a state of shock when the first rescuers arrived."
"Does he know about his mother?"
"No. The doctors determined there was no sign of a head injury so they've given him a sedative. He's asleep."
"Can I see him?"
"Of course. Right this way."
He led me down the hall to one of the rooms. Trey was curled up on the bed. I sat in the chair next to the bed and looked at his sleeping form. The last time I'd seen him had been at Christmas the last year my father was alive. Deuce, Christie, and Trey had come to Atlanta for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day before flying out to the Bahamas. At that time he'd been a gawky thirteen-year-old with a cracking voice, over sized hands and feet, and a mouth full of braces. I could hardly believe it was the same person. The young man asleep in the hospital bed looked just like pictures of my brother taken when he was in high school and college. His handsome face was framed by dark brown curls. Although covered by the hospital gown and sheets it appeared that his body had grown to match his hands and feet. The forearm that was exposed for the IV tube was tanned and showed the muscles and sinews under the smooth skin.
I looked up at Andrew Gordon. He must have seen the question in my eyes because he said, "The IV's just a precaution. It's mostly for fluids to make sure he stays hydrated."
I reached out and touched the back of Trey's hand. The skin was smooth and warm. A tear ran down my cheek.
"I've talked with the doctors, and they think Trey will be asleep for another couple of hours. Why don't we go back out to the waiting area? I'm a friend of your brother's but I'm also his lawyer. We have some things to discuss."
We sat at a small table in the lounge. Andrew retrieved his briefcase from the nurses' station and produced some papers from inside.
"This is a petition for temporary guardianship of Trey. This will give you the authority to approve medical procedures for him in case that becomes necessary. This next one is a petition for an emergency medical power of attorney for Deuce. Again that will give you the authority to authorize any necessary medical procedures when . . . if they find him alive. Sign where I've indicated, and I'll have Clint take these over to a judge to have them approved right away."
I signed the papers without really reading them.
"I want to go out to Deuce's house."
"I'm sorry, Parker. The whole area's been evacuated because of the fear of more mudslides. You couldn't even get close to the houses up there, and even if you did, there's nothing you could do. Someone needs to be here when Trey wakes up. I'll let you know as soon as they find Deuce."
I sighed. "You're right. I'll wait for him to wake up. Any ideas on how to tell a fifteen year old kid that his mother's dead and his father may be too?"
His eyes glistened, as he answered softly, "No."
I went back into Trey's room and sat beside his bed. About half an hour later Clint McKnight came in with a sandwich and a soft drink.
"Mr. Gordon thought you might be hungry."
"Thanks, Clint. Ah...what should I do about my luggage? It's still in your car."
"We've got a temporary apartment for you nearby. I'll take you over there later when you're ready. I've also had those petitions signed by the judge. You're now approved to make medical decisions for Trey."
"Thank you. You and Andrew have been very thoughtful."
"It's the least we can do. Mr. Arnold was . . . I mean is a fine man. Everybody in the firm thinks highly of him. Would you like me to sit in here with you?"
"Thanks, Clint. That would be nice. I'm not sure I want to be alone with my thoughts just yet."
Clint took the other chair. We just talked. It was the kind of conversation that you have with the person next to you on a plane. Nothing too deep or personal, but it kept me from spending all of my time thinking of telling Trey about Deuce and Christie
Andrew Gordon came into the room. His face was grim. He asked Clint to stay with Trey while he talked with me out in the hallway.
"Parker, the recovery squad found another body in the wreckage of the house. They're pretty sure it's Deuce."
I'd known from the look on his face what he was going to say. Still the words fell like a physical blow to my midsection. I slumped against the wall.
He put his hand on my shoulder. "The bodies are downstairs in the morgue. Someone needs to make an official identification. Do you think you are up to doing it?"
I nodded my head.
He led the way through the hallways of the hospital to the morgue area in the basement. We were shown into a small room with a window on one side. The attendant spoke into a telephone when we were seated. The curtain in the window parted. Two sheet covered bodies lay on gurneys in the other room. A morgue attendant stepped forward and lifted the sheet from the face of the first body. There was no doubt it was Christie.
The attendant placed the sheet back over my sister-in-law's face and moved to the other gurney.
He moved back the sheet.
Trey awoke about an hour later.
I saw his eyes flutter. I moved closer to the side of the bed, and spoke, "Trey, its Uncle Parker. Can you hear me, Trey?"
He opened his eyes. I caught my breath. They were the same clear blue color as Deuce's.
"Uncle Parker? Are you here already? I thought you weren't coming for another couple of days." He looked around at the unfamiliar room. "Where am I?"
"You're in the hospital, Trey."
"Yes. Do you remember what happened?"
"I . . . I was asleep. I heard a roaring sound. Everything went dark. Then I was standing outside. The house . . . the house was gone! Where's mom and dad?"
"There was a landslide, Trey. It took your house and some of the others nearby. Your mom and dad are gone."
"Where'd they go? When are they coming back?"
"Trey, your mom and dad didn't get out of the house."
His eyes grew wide, and his lower lip started to tremble. "Didn't get out? Are they . . ."
"I'm so sorry, Trey."
His scream tore at my heart and brought a nurse running into the room. I wrapped my arms around my nephew and pulled him to me. He sobbed against my chest as my own tears fell on his hair.
It took a while, but Trey's sobs finally subsided. He pulled away from me and lay back on the bed. His eyes were red and puffy. He kept wiping at his nose as it dripped. "What happens now?"
"First, we talk with the doctors here to make sure you're okay. Then we'll figure out what to do next, but whatever `next' is, I want you to know that I'm here for you, Trey. You and I are all that's left of the Arnold Family."
The door opened, and two men walked in. I assumed they were both doctors because they had stethoscopes hung around their necks.
The older one spoke first. "I'm Dr. McMillan, I'm the Chief of Internal Medicine here at the hospital. This is Dr. Zimmerman."
I shook their hands. "I'm Parker Arnold, Trey's uncle."
Dr. McMillan moved to stand next to Trey. He used the stethoscope to listen to Trey's chest before sitting down on the edge of the bed. "Your uncle called you `Trey'. Is that the name you use?"
"All right, Trey. You've been through a horrible experience, and I understand that you lost your parents in the landslide. I'm very sorry for your loss. No one your age should have to face something like this.
"We've checked your x-rays and lab tests. It looks like you only have a few cuts and bruises, but no broken bones, and there's no sign of internal injuries. We want to keep you here in the hospital tonight just to be sure, but right now it looks like we'll be able to release you some time tomorrow. However, because of the loss of your family, I'm concerned about your emotional health, so I've asked Dr. Zimmerman to talk with you and make sure you have some support system in place to help you work through this time in your life. Dr. Zimmerman is Chief of Pediatric Psychiatry here. Please talk with him. Okay?"
New tears appeared in Trey's eyes, but he managed to reply, "Okay."
"Good. Dr. Zimmerman is going to stay in here with you while your uncle and I go out in the hallway for a few minutes. Is that okay?"
Trey looked at me. I nodded slightly. "Okay."
The doctor and I walked out of the room. Once out in the hallway he turned to me and said, "I understand that you're the boy's temporary guardian."
"Yes. Those papers were signed this afternoon."
"Good. We'll be releasing him to you. I want to emphasize how important it is that you watch for any signs of depression or suicidal behavior for the next several months. It's not unusual for adolescents in Trey's situation to begin to believe that they were somehow responsible for the deaths of their parents. It would be advisable to arrange for regular and frequent psychiatric counseling for Trey."
Dr. Zimmerman stayed in with Trey for over an hour. When he emerged from the room, he came over and sat next to me in the waiting area.
"You have a very remarkable nephew, Mr. Arnold."
"Thank you. I think he's a lot like his father."
"I'm sure Dr. McMillan has already explained that we want Trey to see a psychiatrist on a regular basis for at least the next year. I'll have a referral list to you tomorrow before Trey is released."
"Dr. Zimmerman, I live in North Carolina."
"Oh. Will you be taking Trey back there?"
"Yes. That is if he's willing to go. I'm a teacher, and I'll need to be back on the job next month."
"Moving across the country would be another source of stress for him. It makes it even more important that he have regular counseling and therapy. I'll give you a list of referrals in North Carolina as well so you can set up Trey's care when you get home. Where do you live?"
"It's a small town called Carterville in the western part of the state."
"It would be easier if you were in one of the cities, but I'll see what I can do."
Trey was dialing the bedside phone when I went back into the room. He listened for a moment and then put the phone back down in its cradle. He looked close to tears.
"Trey, what's wrong?"
"I've been trying to call Gustavo, and his line's busy."
"Gustavo Araujo. He's my best friend. They live two houses away from us. We've been like best buddies forever, and I can't get him on the phone to tell him about mom and dad."
A sick feeling started building in the pit of my stomach. "Trey, the mudslide took out some other houses in your neighborhood. If the phone service has been cut off at your friend's house, you'd get a busy signal. Let me go find Clint or Andrew and see if they can find out anything."
Clint was out in the waiting area. I told him of my concerns, and he hurried away to check on my suspicions.
Trey's dinner arrived. It was hospital food, but thankfully teenage appetites aren't too discriminating. He complained about the taste of the food as he ate every bit on the tray. He hadn't had anything to eat all day. Like most boys his age missing a meal was an unthinkable hardship. Though my own metabolism had slowed in the past few years, it hadn't been all that long since a bedtime snack consisted of a gallon of milk, seven or eight pieces of bread, and half a jar of peanut butter.
He finished the dinner and still looked hungry. I volunteered to make a run down to the cafeteria to bring back a few more items to make certain he wouldn't starve to death before breakfast in the morning. I found my way to the cafeteria. I got a reasonable dinner for myself and several snack type things to carry back to the room for Trey.
When I got back to Trey's floor, Clint was pacing nervously outside Trey's door. He told me what he'd found out about the Araujos. How much more could my nephew take?
Trey was sitting in one of the chairs watching some show on TV. Thankfully it wasn't the news. It was the first time I'd seen him out from under the covers on the bed. He was dressed in just the hospital gown. He actually made the gown look stylish. The IV had been removed earlier and replaced with a large bandage at the bend of his elbow. He had his tanned and shapely legs tucked underneath him in the chair.
I moved the other chair closer to him and sat down. "Trey, I have some more bad news."
His eyes filled with tears immediately. "It's about Gustavo, isn't it?"
"Yes. Their house was involved in the landslide too. They've recovered the bodies of Gustavo and his parents. The identities were confirmed by Gustavo's grandmother. I'm sorry."
He didn't say anything, and that scared me. He just sat there looking at me with the tears streaming down his face.
Suddenly he was out of the chair and kneeling on the floor in front of me. He buried his face in my lap. I wrapped my arms around him and held him as he wept still more tears.
I spent the night in the room with him. His sleep was fitful and punctuated by nightmares. Each time he cried out I leaned over the bed and held him and he quieted back down.
Clint and Andrew showed up in the morning just after breakfast. They had a set of clothes for Trey. I hadn't even thought of clothes. Of course everything Trey owned was now covered in several feet of California mud. Andrew explained that his wife had guessed at Trey's sizes. Wisely they'd opted for Teva sandals instead of trying to find shoes to fit. We could take care of that later.
Trey disappeared into the bathroom and emerged in his new clothes. The shirt was a little too big, and the pants were a little too low on his hips. In other words, he looked like a typical teenager.
Dr. McMillan came by and checked Trey over again before signing the release papers. A nurse brought a wheel chair, and Trey rode down to Andrew's car. We drove a couple of miles to what looked like a small apartment complex. Andrew explained that the furnished apartments were rented on a weekly basis, mostly by companies, for businessmen in the area of extended times. Deuce's company had rented one of the two bedroom units for the next month for Trey and me. They'd also rented a car for me. When I asked how much I owed them for the apartment and car, I was told in no uncertain terms that everything was being taken care of by my brother's company. They handed me a corporate credit card and told me to charge everything Trey and I needed.
Inside, we sat at the kitchen table while Andrew explained the terms of Deuce and Christie's wills. I was named as Trey's guardian. Christie had been an only child, and her parents were both dead. Their entire estate went into a trust fund for Trey. As guardian, I could draw against the trust fund for living, medical and educational expenses for Trey until he reached his eighteenth birthday. After that, Trey would receive a monthly allowance from the trust. Funds would be released from the trust to cover his college expenses as needed and as certified by receipts and tuition statements. The bulk of the trust would become Trey's on his twenty-fifth birthday. I was stunned by the size of the trust. I knew my brother had done well as a lawyer, and both of us had received a sizeable amount from our father's estate, but Trey would be a multimillionaire when the trust matured.
We discussed funeral arrangements. Both Trey and I cried together and separately as we talked. We decided to have a simple service followed by burial at one of the larger cemeteries in the area. Deuce and his family hadn't belonged to a church so Andrew made a phone call and secured his church for the memorial service. His minister agreed to do the service.
Trey asked about the arrangements for his friend's family. Clint told us about the arrangements for Gustavo and his parents. Trey insisted that the funeral for his parents be at a different time so he could attend the services for his friend and the Araujos.
The funerals for the Araujos were in the morning and the one for Trey's parents was in the afternoon of the same day. Both of us were emotionally exhausted when we got back to the apartment. We ate a quiet dinner and then both of us went to bed.
Trey's screams woke me in the middle of the night. I was disoriented at first, but then he screamed again, and I was out of bed and rushing into his room oblivious to my nakedness. Trey was crying and thrashing around in the covers. He was trying to get them off, but the more he struggled, the more entangled he became.
He was gasping and crying, "No! No! The mud! I can't move!"
I pulled the sheet away from him and lay down beside him gathering him lightly in my arms and telling him he was safe.
He woke and looked at me with saucers for eyes. "Oh, Uncle Parker, I was in the mud again. I couldn't get out!"
"You were just wrapped up in the sheets. It's okay now. It was just a dream. Go back to sleep."
I started to get out of his bed, but he clung to me and pleaded, "Please stay with me! I'm afraid I'll have the same dream again. Don't leave me."
I pulled him closer. He held me like he was drowning and I was a life preserver. He finally quieted down and went back to sleep. About that time it registered in my mind that we were both naked. I tried again to pull away, but he tightened his hold. We'd just have to deal with the potential embarrassment in the morning.
I woke before he did the next morning. I'd pulled the sheet loosely up over us in the night. Trey had kicked it off and moved away from me as he slept. He was lying on his back with his entire youthful body exposed to my view. That was the first time I'd seen him naked. His chest and abdominal muscles were defined and well developed for a fifteen year old. I knew he played soccer, and his legs were strong and sinewy from hours of practice and covered with a surprising amount of dark brown hair. The most surprising part of his anatomy was his penis. It rose from a dense triangular patch of curly dark brown hair and was fully extended with a morning hard on, and it certainly matched his oversized hands and feet. It stood proudly away from his stomach. Of course he was circumcised. The reddish glans capped a thick shaft that must have been close to nine inches in length. His testicles lay against the side of his thigh as he slept. As I watched, one of the orbs moved in the loose skin of the scrotal sac.
In so many ways he reminded me of my brother. A sob caught in my throat, and I quickly got out of bed and retreated into the bathroom.
I was drinking my second cup of coffee when he emerged from his bedroom dressed in a pair of boxers. He casually scratched at his stomach as he made his way to the refrigerator for some orange juice.
He poured himself a glass of juice and sat at the table opposite me.
"Thanks for last night."
"You were having a nightmare about being caught in the mudslide. You'd gotten yourself all tangled up in the sheet."
"I've had that dream a couple of times now. I think I need to talk with Dr. Zimmerman about it. Thanks for staying with me. It helped. The dream didn't come back."
"Glad to be of service."
Trey had an appointment with Zimmerman two days later. Afterward Zimmerman came out of the office with Trey to speak with me. Trey had told him about the nightmare.
"I told Trey that I wasn't surprised about the nightmares. In fact I rather expected them. They might continue for several weeks or even months, but they should begin to become less frequent."
"What should I do when he has one?"
"Do just what you did the other night. Hold him. Reassure him. Let him know you love him."
Trey did have more nightmares. I kept a pair of shorts beside the bed to slip on before I went in to comfort him. The poor kid was dealing with enough traumas. He didn't need to dealing with his uncle's hard dick poking him in the side too.
We spent the days doing things together to get to know one another. He was easy to like. He had my brother's mannerisms and his sense of humor. We jogged. We bounced a soccer ball around. He showed me his high school and introduced me to many of his friends. He would still retreat into himself sometimes when his folks or Gustavo came up in the conversation. One afternoon close to the time we were going to leave for North Carolina, I found him sitting on the balcony of the apartment staring off toward the hills and crying quietly. I sat down next to him and pulled him into a hug. He buried his face in my chest and cried for a good half hour.
That night I woke up with him standing naked beside the bed.
"Trey? What is it?"
"I had another nightmare. Can I get in bed with you for a while?"
I opened the covers and he slipped in. He snuggled up under my arm and quickly went back to sleep. So much for my strategy of pulling on some clothes before helping him with a nightmare. Both of us were naked, and I could feel his semi hard prick pressing against my thigh. I didn't get much sleep that night.
We would be leaving for North Carolina in less than a week, and I knew I had to tell Trey that I was gay.
(To be continued)