by John Michael
In this chapter:
Ashley: 21, Senior at USC
Page: 19, Sophomore at UH
Dmitry Kozlov: 20, Junior at UH
John & Dustin: 50 & 49, Parents
Darren & Jesse: 49 & 49, Uncles
Charles & Glenda and Richard & Linda: Grandparents
Part One: A Page's Life -- Chapter 18
Page was very happy to be out of the hot, humid Houston weather, enjoying the cool air conditioning of the UH Hilton lobby. Today was the school's organization fair and Page decided that he should start joining organizations, at least one in his field. Page stopped by many booths with an expressed interest in joining a few of them, including the NAACP, SGA, ACLU, libertarian society, and Students for a Democratic Society. The next section Page visited housed the various campus GSA's. At the end of the afternoon, Page had already decided upon two organizations he would join and was considering a few others.
Page walked into the Mediterranean Room in the University Center to attend the GLOBAL meeting. Page was excited to join a gay-straight alliance, for he had not been in one since The Alliance in high school. Page sat down and waited for the meeting to start; while waiting, he noticed many cute guys walking into the room and taking seats at various places throughout the room, two of whom were Sky and his boyfriend, Christian. Sky and Christian took a couple of seats near Page as the rest of the organization, or potential organization, filed in.
During the meeting, all members and prospective members introduced themselves and the officers explained the organization's obligation not only to the student body, but to the city of Houston, as well. Page was becoming increasingly excited about joining the organization for this very reason. At the end of the meeting, Page, with Sky and Christian in tow, met with the organization's Vice President, Dmitry Kozlov, to discuss becoming active in the organization. Dmitry and Page parted ways with Sky and Christian and went to the sushi bar in the University Center. After the boys ordered their sushi, they began to get to know each other a little better.
"Are you from here," Page asked Dmitry.
"Yes, and no," Dmitry started. "My parents are from Slovenia and I was born there. I lived in Slovenia until I was five, then we moved here. My dad's a currency trader and my mom heads HR for Halliburton."
"Cool; does your mom head HR for Halliburton worldwide, nationwide..."
"No; just for the southeast Texas area."
"What are you majoring in?"
"Oh, perfect. I have two dads, and-"
"Sorry to interrupt, but I think it's really awesome that you have two fathers. I hope to get married and have kids someday."
"Yeah, me too," Page replied, smiling, eliciting a beaming smile from Dmitry. "One of my dads is a principal at the high school I went to, and...dud duh dah...my other dad is the CEO, chairman, and president of Windfield/Caldwell Engineering."
Dmitry was now wide-eyed when he asked, "Really?"
Page felt a connection with Dmitry unlike any he had ever felt before. Dmitry felt trustworthy and genuine and maybe, Page could squeeze a relationship out of this.
"That would be cool if I could get a job there!"
"I could put in a good word for you with my dad; see how far that goes."
"Wow; you would do that? You barely know me!"
"We could get to know each other better."
Damn, that came out wrong, Page thought.
"That sounds like a great idea, Page! How about a date, say, tomorrow night; if you're not busy, that is!"
"Oh, no; that's great, tomorrow night it is!"
"Six-thirty sounds okay?"
"That sounds great!"
The boys wrapped up their discussion and separated as they went back to their respective dorms; both extremely excited about the upcoming date.
It was one in the afternoon when Dmitry and Page pulled up to a small restaurant in China Town. Dmitry parked the car, turned to Page, and said, "I know I promised dinner, but District 7 is only open for lunch."
"That's okay," Page replied. "It's still a date."
Dmitry smiled and exited the car. When Page walked into the restaurant, he immediately felt as though he had walked into a chic western salon, if there ever were such a thing. A single, "wow," escaped Page's lips as he and Dmitry walked up to the host station. When the two were seated, Page smiled and immediately said, "Thank you for bringing me here; it's really neat!"
"Yeah, I fell in love with this place when I first found it, too."
Page was extremely excited to see a vegetarian-friendly menu, something of which Dmitry took note. While the boys were waiting for their meals, Dmitry and Page shared a foie gras bruschetta appetizer and got to know each other better.
"Do you have any siblings," Page asked.
"No, I'm the only child in my family; what about you, how many siblings do you have?"
"I come from a full house. I have four brothers."
"You come from a full house...full of testosterone!"
"Yeah...right; there is no feminine touch in my house!"
"My parents were only children, as well, so I have no cousins my own age. I was pretty much the loner in my family."
"That sucks; I have six cousins that are around my age. Eight if I counted the children of my uncle's brother."
"Wow; that must be interesting. If I have children, I don't want only one, I want a big family, like yours."
"You know not what you wish!"
"I'm kidding; it can be a little hectic at times, but having a lot of siblings is a whole hell of a lot of fun!"
"So, would you want a large family, too?"
"Yeah; I guess. It depends on what you mean by large; I'd like at most four kids."
"Two girls, two boys?"
"So," Dmitry continued, "Why political journalism?"
"I want to be a positive force of change and guidance in the world of politics by exposing the toxic nonsense from the right."
"Wow; I now know your political alignment!"
"Please don't tell me you're a republican."
"No; I'm a slightly left-leaning libertarian. You could probably call me a centrist."
"Please tell me you're at least left-leaning on minority rights issues."
Dmitry chuckled and answered, "Of course I am, don't worry."
Page matched Dmitry's smile when he heard this answer.
Dmitry added, "My parents are pretty much on the right side of the political spectrum, though."
"I think it's obvious where my parents lie."
The boys continued to chat, even while eating lunch; Dmitry was quickly growing on Page, just as Page was on Dmitry. The boys learned they had many things in common and with many other characteristics, they could be polar opposites. Dmitry seemed so normal and, much to Page's relief, reminded him nothing of Dawson or Addison. Overall, Page was extremely taken with Dmitry and would be happy to continue dating him; Dmitry felt the same way when the date ended. When Dmitry left Page at his dorm, he was excited to have scheduled another date with Page and hoped their relationship would be the long-term relationship he was hoping to attain.
Over the next few weeks of dating, Page and Dmitry's relationship continued to grow. Finally, at the end of one of their dates, the boys decided to make it official and sealed the deal with a kiss. The following week, Dmitry was extremely excited about Page; he decided to arrange a meeting between Page and Dmitry's parents.
Page got into the car with Dmitry and chatted with his boyfriend about anything in particular and nothing at all as they traveled down the Southwest Freeway toward Sugar Land. When Dmitry took the "1st Colony Blvd/Sweetwater Blvd" exit, Page said, with some excitement, "My uncles live in this same area!"
"Really; maybe we can visit them tomorrow before we head back to Cougar Country."
"Oh, that would be awesome, honey! I'll text them to ask if we could stop by."
When Page tapped send in the messaging app, Dmitry pulled into the drive of his childhood home, a two story, large modern home on a lake. Page knew he liked Dmitry because he was extremely nervous about meeting Dmitry's parents; their approval was extremely important to him and his relationship with Dmitry.
Before Dmitry and Page made their way to the doorstep, the front door swung open and a short, slender, good-looking woman and a taller, muscular, handsome, blond man met Dmitry and Page. Page could easily see where Dmitry got his features; his eyebrows and nose came from his mom, his eyes, ears, and chin came from his dad. Page figured Dmitry's cheekbones came from a grandparent because his parents did not share those characteristics. Page loved everything about Dmitry, from his almond shaped, green eyes, to his enormous arms and well-defined pectorals and abs. Dmitry had very little upper body hair and compared to him, Page felt like a werewolf. Page loved Dmitry's slightly large nose and big ears, even though Dmitry hated them. Page also loved Dmitry's very straight eyebrows, which seemed to work very well with Dmitry's facial features. Page loved Dmitry's happy trail, a thin trail of hair that extended from Dmitry's bellybutton and into his pants. Another thing Page loved is the light dusting of chest hair that branched out like a tree on Dmitry's chest. Page would spend a few nights playing with Dmitry's chest hair, while Dmitry would bury his hand and face in Page's bear cub-like chest.
During the meet with Dmitry's parents, Page had to push all his preconceived notions about them out the window. Their English-speaking skills rivaled that of the best English-major, and Dmitry's parents seemed very "Americanized," much more so than what Page expected.
At the end of the day, Page and Dmitry's parents were sitting on the deck while Dmitry left to prepare the guest room for Page.
"Page," Dmitry's mother asked, "What are your intentions for my son?"
"As of now, I don't really have any intentions. I'm falling hopelessly in love with him and I hope this is it and he's the person I spend the rest of my life with."
After Page finished answering the question, Leopold, or Leo, Dmitry's father, continued to stare into Page's eyes until, after what seemed like an eternity, he leaned back into his chair and said, "Uhm, hm."
Page had no idea if he had said the right or wrong thing and was equally worried that Vera, Dmitry's mother, had not said anything to him after she asked the "intentions" question. When Dmitry returned, Page was immediately relieved and ready to join his boyfriend in bed. Dmitry and Page said their goodnights to Leo and Vera, Page went upstairs while Dmitry stayed behind. About ten minutes later, a beaming Dmitry came into the room and announced, "They love you, baby!"
"Wow, really; I was starting to worry that I'd really messed up somewhere. Is your mom always that quiet, or does she just need to get to know me better?"
"Relax, hon; they were just trying to rattle you. They said you did great, better than expected because you told the truth, so there."
The boys kissed on the bed; when they broke the kiss, Page began taking his shirt off, but before he could get the shirt above his head, Dmitry asked, "Do you want to sleep in here, or in the guest room." Here was Dmitry's fire engine red, highway and city themed room.
"We can sleep in here."
"No, we can't sleep anywhere."
"My parents don't think unmarried couples should sleep together and we have to respect their rules, so you can have my room and I'll sleep in the guest room."
"Are you sure?"
"Positive; now goodnight," Dmitry said, kissing Page's forehead and then lips.
Before Page went to sleep, he decided to call his fathers to tell them about Dmitry. Page stayed on the phone for thirty minutes with his dads before telling John that Dmitry is a civil engineering student, something that peaked John's interest, who was now overjoyed to meet Dmitry. After Page ended the call with his parents, he called Ashley and told him all the things he had told his parents. Ashley was very excited and happy that Dmitry makes his little brother so happy, but was still a little apprehensive because of Page's track record with men. The call ended with Ashley saying, "He sounds great, but be careful, Pagie; I love you." Page responded, "I love you to, Ash." Ashley ended the call with his brother and slept under the glow-in-the-dark constellations on Dmitry's ceiling.
Page blushed as Jesse answered the door to a hand-in-hand Page and Dmitry to which he exclaimed, "Well, hello!" Jesse hugged his nephew and then turned his attention towards Dmitry and added, "And this must be the new love of your life I keep hearing about!"
Jesse extended his arm and took Dmitry's hand into his to give the boy a firm handshake. "Nice to meet you, sir," Dmitry said.
"And so polite," Jesse responded.
The boys followed Jesse into the house and talked until Darren returned from the market. The men talked about anything that came to mind, almost giving Dmitry the third degree, until Page stepped in to stop the cross-examination. After eating lunch and enjoying light conversation and a swim, Dmitry and Page got back onto the freeway and headed back to the dorms with the approval from Dmitry's parents and Page's uncles.
When Page's roommates got back to the dorms, he discussed moving into a larger apartment so that Dmitry could move in with them. Chad wanted to stay on campus, so that was easy; Sky wanted Christian to live with them, so they would consider those parameters when they picked their apartment next semester.
"I think that's everything," Dmitry told Page as they finished packing the rental car.
"Okay, I think you're right."
Dmitry closed the trunk, leaned over, kissed Page, and said, "I'm ready, you ready?"
"I know I'm ready, but it's your time to shine, now! "
"I love you and you love me, so I know your family will love me, too!"
"You just know it?"
"I just know it!"
Page leaned in and kissed his boyfriend deeply before hopping in the driver seat and heading towards Interstate-45.
"There's my baby," Glenda shouted with jubilation as she walked out the house toward Page.
Page fell into his grandmother's embrace and said, "Hey, maw-maw!"
Glenda's husband, Charles, exited the house and walked over to Page. Page and his grandfather exchanged their special handshake, during which time, Page said, "What's up, paw-paw?"
Page introduced his grandparents to Dmitry, before all the men grabbed a suitcase and lumbered into the house. Page told his grandparents his plan to have lunch with Dustin's parents and then dinner back at their house, to which there was no objection. Page preferred eating at John's parents' house because they always cooked good southern style soul food when he was over.
When Page and Dmitry left Glenda and Charles' house, Dmitry said, "I'm assuming that's John's side of the family."
"What gave it away," Page asked, knowing that Dmitry knew John was black and Dustin was white.
When Page opened the door to his grandparents' house, he did not see anyone, so he called out, "Meemaw, grandpa; anyone here?"
Page went to the kitchen and saw a note on the fridge with his name on it that read, Come meet us at the Country Club for lunch. Page turned around, faced Dmitry, and told him they were going to the country club to meet his other grandparents.
When the boys walked into the lobby of the country club, Richard and Linda, Dustin's parents and Page's grandparents, met them. The group exchanged greetings before eating lunch and enjoying a round of golf. While golfing, Dmitry was able to show off his skills and impress Richard. Richard and Linda were also impressed by Dmitry's intelligence and knowledge of political issues. By gauging his grandparents' reactions to Dmitry, he could tell they approved of his choice in boyfriend.
By the time evening came, Page and Dmitry were hungry again and ready for supper. They said their goodbyes to Richard and Linda and headed back to Charles and Glenda's house. When the boys walked through the door, the house smelled of jambalaya, fried chicken, watermelon, and red velvet cake.
Page walked into the kitchen with Dmitry at his side and said, "Wow, maw-maw, you didn't have to cook all of this food."
"Oh, honey; you know I would do anything for my babies!" Page smiled and so did Dmitry; the boys fixed themselves plate after plate of food. Page enjoyed the meal, something he would only get when he visited Lake Charles; Dmitry commented multiple times on how great the food was, especially because he had never had anything like it before.
By the end of the night, Charles and Glenda knew everything they needed to know about Dmitry and commented on how much Dmitry reminded them of John when John was Dmitry's age. They also added that Dmitry would go far in life, as would Page. The boys turned in together, Page feeling a sense of joy that all his grandparents approved of Dmitry; now he just had to gain approval from his parents and siblings.
The following morning, after breakfast, the boys loaded up the car and drove to the airport to fly to John Wayne International in Orange County, California.
After talking with Dmitry about civil engineering for the better part of an hour, Page started to pull his boyfriend away from John so Page could have some alone time with his boyfriend.
John stopped Page and told Dmitry, "I am very impressed with your determination; you remind me of myself when I was your age."
Page mumbled, "Yeah, back when the Nazis controlled France."
John replied, "Oh, ahahaha; don't listen to him, Dmitry, he'll rot your brain!"
Dmitry smiled and replied, "Too, late!"
John continued, adding, "I can definitely get you an internship in one of our Houston-area offices and, depending on your performance, a permanent position with the company. We have offices all over the world that you can choose from!"
Dmitry was understandably excited by this offer; he was set for life. A very excited Dmitry exclaimed, "Wow; thanks so much, Mister Winfield!"
"Dmitry, just call me John!"
"Of course; thanks a lot John!"
Dmitry shook John's hand and departed with Page.
Page and Dmitry hung out until around Christmas when the family flew to Houston on their way to Lake Charles, with Kai tagging along. John and Dustin were excited to meet Dmitry's parents and could not help but feel as though Dmitry was Page's beau.
At the airport John and Dustin called "Hobby Lobby," Dmitry's parents were waiting for him when the group walked off the plane. John and Dustin exchanged greetings with Leo and Vera, expressing their excitement to "finally meet." The parents stayed and talked for a while, until the two couples were comfortable with the other. John and Dustin were very excited about Page and Dmitry and hoped the two would last; they both knew Dmitry is just what Page needed.
Page, his parents, Paris, Sidney, and Kai hopped into the rented Land Rover and headed toward Interestate-45.
When John exited off Interstate-610 and onto Interstate-10, he said, "I really like Dmitry, Page."
Dustin added, "I have to agree; he is much better than your previous boyfriends."
John further commented, adding, "Especially he who shan't be named!"
Page replied, "Well, I'm glad you guys like him, `cause I like him, too."
John said, "And Ashley likes him, too; we all know how tough Ashley can be on any of your friends, much less your boyfriends!"
Page replied, "Yeah, I know; so does this mean you approve?"
Dustin and John said, together, respectively, "Damn right," and "Of course!"
Page had a boyfriend who was not abusive, was intelligent, and driven and his family approved of him; life could not get much better.
End of Chapter 18
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