DISCLAIMER: The following story is a fictional account involving teenage boys, some of who are gay and trying to cope with love and homophobia in the American Midwest. Limited sexual activity takes place in this story and there are references to gay sex, and anyone who is uncomfortable with this should obviously not be reading it. With a few very obvious exceptions, all characters are fictional and any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental. Conversations with real individuals are strictly hypothetical and not meant in any way to imply an actually conversation that has taken or might take place. Although the senator in this story bears a strong resemblance to Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, the suggestion that he has a gay grandson is pure conjecture. Although the story takes place in actual locations and establishments, the author takes full responsibility for all events described and these are not in any way meant to reflect the activities of real individuals or religious establishments, governmental nor school or corporate policies. The author retains full copyright of this story, and of stories based on these characters.

Please note that this is the nineteenth in a series of short stories known collectively as Naptown Tales. The series of stories can be found on my GayAuthors Page and on the Naptown Tales Page at Awesome Dude. Slightly modified versions of some of these stories that are suitable for younger teens can also be found on the Altimexis Page at Codey's World. Please see the Introduction for important background on the series.

Spring Break

A Naptown Tale in Five Parts

by Altimexis & David of Hope

Part Five
Remembering a Perfect Journey - Jeremy

I really hated to see our spring break coming to an end, but so much had happened on our trip and we'd gotten to see and do so much, so in a way I was really looking forward to getting home. It really was great of my parents to foot the bill for so much of the trip. It sucked they were too busy to spend much time with Cliff and me, but they never, ever hesitated to spend money on us or our friends, and I knew that deep down, they really cared.

I really couldn't wait to tell them about meeting Obama and the offer of a White House internship this summer with David. They'd given very generously to Obama's campaign and were big Obama supporters. I knew they'd be proud of the way David had stood up to the president on the issues of gay rights and how we'd gotten an offer of internships from the president's Chief of Staff, right on the spot.

OK, so it never would have happened if it hadn't been for David, but as David liked to say, he got all his political convictions from me, and he didn't hesitate to tell the president that, for which I was grateful. It sure would be fun to spend the entire summer in the nation's capitol, all on our own.

"Whatcha thinking about, Jer?" my boyfriend asked me, just after we were seated at breakfast.

"Nothing really," I answered, "Just about the coming summer . . . and how much I love you."

"We're gonna have sooo much fun, and we'll learn a lot. I can't wait to talk to my dad about it," David said.

"Same here," I agreed, "If I can ever get enough time with him or my mom to actually talk to them about it," I said sadly.

"Don't be so harsh on them, Jeremy," David said. "They don't mean to be such workaholics, but you know they'll always make the time if you need them. They always have before, haven't they?"

"Yeah, I guess," I agreed. He really was right.

"I, on the other hand, have to convince my parents that I'm beyond hope as a Republican, and that they might as well let me intern under a Democratic president," David said with a smirk.

"Maybe you can offer Brad up as a sacrificial Republican," I suggested.

"No way," Brad protested from the other end of the table. I didn't even realize he was listening. "You guys made me see the light, Jer. Supply side Reganomics crap and deregulation created this depression we're in, and don't get me started on the disaster we created in the Middle East. It's tax and spend 'til the end."

"Well, big government isn't exactly the answer, either," I clarified. "There's a happy medium that combines elements of all philosophies, but dismantling the safeguards that were put in place after the Great Depression will undoubtedly go down as one of the stupidest moves in history, and it wasn't just the Republicans that were to blame, either. Greenspan had free reign under President Clinton, too. Let's face it, `We the People' wanted to live beyond our means, and that's what we've done, for far too long. Now we're forced to go deeply into debt, just to survive, and it's our children who will pay the price."

"Man, Jer," Brad said, "You really do know your shit. David wasn't kidding when he said he learned his politics from you."

"Damn right," David agreed.

"Yeah, but David runs rings around me in the sciences, and no one thinks faster on his feet."

"We're a team," David protested. "The sum of our parts is more powerful than the individual parts of the whole. They call it `synergy'. Remember that word, guys, 'cause the word was invented to describe what happens when David and I are together."

"Ooh, gettin' fancy, are we?" Cliff added.

"Some of us are just born that way," I had to say, being that it was my foster brother that said it.

"I know all about that," Paul said with a happy grin. I started to realize that Paul had changed my thinking on this trip. He'd made us understand that even with Down's Syndrome, he was a person to be admired and he scored high on my list of friends that I love.

Just then, Trevor and Kurt straggled in looking a bit disheveled, even though they'd obviously showered and dressed. It was obvious they'd slept very little and were a bit out of it. I couldn't help but grin at them, and everyone else seemed to sense that something was a bit amiss as well.

Sammy in particular had the widest grin on his face - he obviously knew something the rest of us weren't privy to. Whatever was going on, sex had to be involved . . . no doubt about it.

Once Trevor and Kurt were seated and our food had been ordered, Calvin had an announcement for us. "I know I promised that you could have today to do whatever you wanted on your own, but I have a special treat for you instead. I got a call late last night from the senator's office asking if you boys might like to attend a special matinee performance of the musical, The Civil War, performed at the historic Ford's Theater. I'm not sure exactly how he came to have a block of unused VIP tickets for today's performance. I'm not sure I want to know, as it probably has to do with a corporate lobbyist who didn't get what they wanted, but their loss is our gain.

"In any case, after we finish breakfast, you all need to go back to your rooms and pack everything up completely 'cause we're going to check out and load all your luggage into the Hummer. Someone will be by to pick it up promptly at eleven o'clock, so you'd damn well better be ready.

"After we check out, we'll all be heading straight to the Peterson House across the street from the Ford's Theater for a special VIP tour where you'll have lunch. You'll get to see the very spot where Lincoln was shot, and you'll get a behind-the-scenes tour of the theater museum.

"We'll all be seated in our VIP seats, across the theater from the Lincoln box, right up front on the balcony, ten minutes before the start of the performance. We'll have to leave immediately after the end of the performance, however, as we'll have barely enough time to drive across the Potomac to Regan National Airport and to get you guys through security for you to make your flight. Francesco will take care of everything short of checking you in, so it should go quickly once you arrive at the airport and we match each of you up with your picture ID and your boarding pass."

"Ford's Theater, huh?" Sammy said. "Where Lincoln was shot? That is so sick. Wait 'til Darrell hears we saw where Lincoln was shot."

"Yeah . . ." Paul agreed. "Darrell's a big Civil War fan." That kinda surprised me, 'cause I never thought of kids in remedial classes having interests like that. I guess even kids who were slow could have cerebral interests like anyone else. I had to get over my prejudices.

Our tour of the Peterson House was chilling to say the least. The whole house was decorated just as it had been on the night that Lincoln was taken there from the Ford's Theater. It really felt like a step back in time. We were given a tour of the house and many of the objects that were in use during the 1860's. Although not as intense as things were at the art galleries, you could tell that Sammy and Paul were right in their element.

I watched David and Paul carefully when the lady showed us the room where, on April 15, 1865, Lincoln had died. Neither of them seemed swayed beyond a solemn face that we all had - not like the reactions I'd noticed at the Lincoln Memorial or Arlington Cemetery. When we were seated at the dining room table, we were treated like royalty, although the luncheon was pretty standard fare of soup, salad, a multiple choice of many sandwiches, and an array of desserts that kept on coming. Naturally, David was in love with the salads and the younger guys went mad with the desserts, but for sure, we were full by the time Calvin told us that we had to get over to the theater. All the servers said, "We'll see you later," as we left the dining room. Huh?

As we gathered on the sidewalk, outside the entrance to the Peterson House, Calvin made us take notice of the theater across the street. He explained that it was built in 1833 and was originally a church. In 1861, John T. Ford took over the building and renovated it into the theatre we see today. During the last year, the theater had been closed to the public while it was once again restored back to the way it was in 1865. We were some of the first visitors that had been in it since it reopened in February.

The guide that met us at the door was great. She told us that we were to be given the V.I.P. treatment as requested by the senator

The museum and artifact areas of this building were even more fascinating than what we'd seen in the Peterson House. They actually had the gun that John Wilkes Booth used to shoot the president, the boot that he was wearing that had been cut off his broken leg after he'd jumped from Lincoln's box to the stage, even the spurs that were on his boots were on display along with the coat that Lincoln had been wearing the night of the assassination.

Then she took the eight of us up the spiral staircase to the second level, the same staircase that Lincoln would have traveled that fateful night. We left the main hallway and entered a small vestibule and stood in a line before the door. She explained that beyond the door was the theater box that Lincoln sat in, where John Wilkes Booth shot him. She allowed only two of us to enter at a time, and told us we couldn't touch a thing because of the recent restoration. They didn't want any of it soiled in any way. It felt odd as we stood there in line - each of us paired with our brothers in front of us, or in Kurt's case, Paul. Cliff and I were at the head of the line, so we went in first, and the lady followed us in. She told us to note that the view of the stage from the box wasn't that good - that for the most part the occupants would be looking at the backs of the actors and performers. The idea was that the dignitaries who occupied the box were on display as much the performers. I wondered about that as I looked down the length of the theater - as a dignitary you were always being idolized, always in the limelight, suffering any indignity that people willed upon you.

When we came out, Trevor and Sammy went in. Sammy's reaction: a quiet "Wow!" However, when David and Brad came out, David was pale. Steady, but pale. I went to him and put my arms around him and simply asked, "What?"

Quietly David said, "This whole country changed at that moment and I felt it . . . and I got a chill up my back . . . and Jer, I think it may happen again. It already happened with Kennedy."

I watched as the color came back to his face. "You gonna be OK?"

"Yeah Jer, I'm fine," David replied, "but it sure was a weird sensation." `Weird,' I thought, `Fuckin' spooky if you ask me.' Between Paul and his thoughts, my nightmare, and now this, I was really starting to doubt our future.

Just then the last of the group, Paul and Kurt came out of the box. Paul had his usual grin when he said, "Yup, that's where it happened."

At that point, our lady guide led us down another stairway and we ended up on the stage, behind the curtain. Although it wasn't well lit at that point, the set looked fabulous. Then, one by one, the actors of the performance came out all dressed up in their costumes. I looked from one to the other and then it hit me. These were the same folks that had served us lunch across the street in the Peterson House. I was stunned. What a great group of people! As stage protocol dictates, we all said `Break a leg' before we were ushered to our seats on the first balcony. We must have had the best seats in the theater - a great view of the stage and of course - Lincoln's box just above the stage on the other side of the theater.

The performance, "The Civil War", performed as a musical, was breathtaking, although the stage wasn't very large. The music, the voices, the lighting, the sound and lighting effects were outstanding. Whenever I looked at one of my friends, particularly one of the younger brothers, his expression was wide-eyed, usually sitting bolt upright with a smile like a kid in a candy shop.

True to his word, as soon as the house lights went up and the applause had died down, Calvin led us out of the theater and into the Hummer, which was waiting right there in front of the theater. Some of the other members of the audience were really giving the limo and us the twice over as we got in.

On this trip, Calvin sat in the back with us instead of his usual spot beside Francesco. "Well guys, what did you think of the play?"

"It was awesome!" Cliff was the first to remark.

"Never seen anything like it!" Brad said, "I've seen a few live plays before, but they weren't that spectacular."

"I'm havin' a hard time believin' that we met them at lunch," Sammy said in awe, "and then backstage, but once the play started, they completely changed the way they spoke . . . like their whole personality was different. That took real talent!"

"Judging from what I saw yesterday," Brad commented, "you'd make a pretty good actor yourself."

"Nah," Sammy replied, "I'm who I am . . . I don't think I could get inta that kinda change like they did."

Calvin smiled and nodded his head. "How about you David? What did you think?"

"The musical was really great and seeing the place where Lincoln had died in the Peterson House was OK," David began, "but when I went into the Lincoln box at the theater, it spooked me. Then when I was watching the performance, every so often I'd look over at the Lincoln box and think how he was sitting there enjoying the play and how the audience didn't react at first when Booth jumped out of the box onto the stage. They thought it was all part of the play. It's sort of weird how people react to things, how they don't recognize things when they happen."

I was about to speak when Paul spoke, "Times have changed, but some things haven't. It was sad, but it made me happy too. I got to see all the things that those people who lived back then haven't seen since then." Then he just grinned.

"You liked all this history, did you Paul?" Calvin asked.

Paul continued smiling and started nodding his head. "Felt real to me. President Obama is a great guy!"

"You got that right Paul, I think we'd all agree with that," I said. "Paul, you're the lucky one that got to hug him. I wished I'd clicked a picture. Calvin, what I'll remember most though is what you told us about the history of the presidents. It made all the history I learned in school feel really close. You know Calvin, I think you would do a better job of writing some of the history text books."

"Sorry Jeremy, that's really stretching a point. You have to remember I had to read a lot of textbooks to do this job, so I could tell all the tourists about the sites. How about you, Cliff?" Calvin asked.

"It was good." he smiled. "Really good! This whole week and everything we saw . . . it made me forget what I'm not supposed to remember. I think the stuff we saw at Arlington Cemetery was . . . I don't know . . . sooo peaceful. I felt calm there. The changing of the guard and the dedication those men have for that job . . . it was like being in an open-air church."

"What was the best thing you enjoyed Trevor?" Calvin asked.

"More than anything," Trevor began, "I enjoyed just being here, being able to share all this with my friends, but even more than that, I have an even greater respect for my brother Sammy. He showed all of us a greater maturity than I ever expected when he showed his love of art. It wasn't just the art galleries; he was just beaming when he watched the play today. To see him appreciate that culture, it . . . it just blew me away."

"Hey I thought that was my job!" Kurt said with a laugh. Once all our giggles had settled down, Kurt continued, "Seriously, Calvin, I loved all of it too . . . every part of this trip is going to stay with me all my life, but I think my hat goes off to you. I was thinking that it took a lot of guts to take on a bunch of goofs like us. More than anything, you've been a good friend to us and because of you, I know that someday I want to come back. Well I guess I will if I get to be a page this summer. I'll always owe you for all that you did for us."

Calvin smiled and looked at each of us. "Kurt, I wasn't asking for a compliment. It's the type of thing I ask most of our clients, just to see what I might do to make our service more pleasurable and interesting." Then he looked around at all of us again.

"Sammy . . . yes, you did a lot of maturing on this trip, but then all of you have. I don't know what you're going to be great at, but I know that your love of art and your resourcefulness will carry you the distance.

Cliff, you're not the same frightened kid that got off that plane a week ago. You're happier, more confident . . . you almost said as much yourself. You're one of the sweetest kids I've ever met. In spite of all the crap you, and Sammy too, have to deal with, you came out of it with your head held high and I think after this trip, you'll find that you're proud to be you. You've learned how to deal with life and that's so important in today's world and it's something that a lot of people far older than you just haven't learned how to do.

"Brad, I think you've learned to temper your confidence; you haven't lost it at all, I think you've learned to keep it a little more hidden . . . but I know it will always be there inside you.

"Paul, your special love and hidden understanding of people is going to take you quite a distance in this world too. I'm going to bet that your talent is going to develop because in spite of everything you face, you want to learn regardless of how hard it is to concentrate. I think the president even recognized that.

"David, you have a steadfast courage that I really admire. Someday, as you rise to your level of greatness, you will learn to hold your tongue before you speak. I feel you had a touch of that when you were talking to the president. Call it what you will, it's simply diplomacy.

"Jeremy, of the eight of you, I think you have the most underrated talent of all . . . being the soulmate of someone who could well be one of the future leaders this country. That takes courage and a lot of understanding and I think you realize now, that you've got it. And with a little perseverance of your own, you could become a leader in your own right.

"Trevor, your confidence belies your ambition. I think after spending this summer in D.C. your ambitions will be become almost set in stone. I know you have what it takes and moreover, you're a realist and that's one of your greatest assets in this city. Take it from me, I'm a pretty good judge of character. It's something you learn in this business.

"Now I have to tell you fellas, the gutsiest person in this Hummer right now has to be Kurt. He deserves a medal of honor for taking on this city's subway all alone."

"You did know!" Kurt exclaimed.

Calvin nodded his head and said, "Of course I knew. Boys, think about it . . . you're in Washington D.C., almost nine years after 9/11. There's cameras and surveillance everywhere. Being in this business, Francesco and I have to escort all sorts of dignitaries in this Hummer. Because of that, I have a lot of contacts in the secret service and other branches of the government. Your pictures have been taken so many times while you were here, it would fill your computer's hard drive. It didn't matter if you were puddling around in the Tidal Basin or taking a ride on the subway to Union Station, a lot of people knew where you were. In my business, my clients are my number one priority. My clients are usually very visible clients and so is this Hummer. So it's necessary for me to have a number of contacts that can keep my clients safe at all times. Quite deliberately too. Kurt, believe me, you were safe all the way. If you hadn't spoken to Ethan yesterday when you did, he was going to talk to you. Actually boys, you were all very safe the whole time you were here."

"Ethan works for you?" Kurt asked with a gulp.

"Well let's just say he's one of my contacts. Actually he's my cousin." Calvin said quietly.

"You mean, you knew we were way up in the Q Street area?" Sammy asked.

"Yeah." Calvin said flatly. "I didn't know what you were doing when you ran from the Mall, but I wasn't going to let you guys run the streets alone. I was just peering around the corner. After you left, I spoke to the same boys you were talking to and finally found out what the hell had happened. Then I had to get a surveillance team to watch what was going on at the Mall. The team told me who was on the phone down at the mall and I saw you guys on the phone at Union Station, I thought great, but then they told me that Kurt was going on the subway by himself. I tried phoning him, but I couldn't get through, too much concrete . . . too much noise . . . who knows, so I had to get Ethan into action. The rest, well, is history. Maybe not as monumental as the history you've been looking at all this week, but history, nonetheless."

"Calvin, you're the best!" I exclaimed.

"Jeremy," Calvin laughed, "your folks love you . . . all of you. Your dad and the senator wouldn't have had it any other way. OK gentlemen, we're here," he said as the Hummer came to a stop at the airport terminal.

Once we all piled out of the Hummer for the last time, David was the first to give Calvin a hug, "Calvin," he said, "you've made me feel as important as the president himself."

"David," Calvin replied, "you are, in this country, we all are."

It was a tearful farewell for all of us as each of us embraced Calvin and Francesco. Now we realized what great friends they were to us and all the effort they'd made to make this trip a success.

Once we were in the air and the seat belt sign was off, I looked around at our diverse group of friends. In front of David and me, I noticed that Trevor and Kurt had their seats leaned back, nodding off - naturally, holding hands. I knew what they were feeling - it was almost the same feelings that David and I had when our relationship, our love for each other, was developing almost two years ago.

Sammy was across the aisle studying his art book again, Paul at his side, looking out the window. Sammy was such a dedicated person, not just to his studies, but also to his friends. Calvin was right about Sammy, a lot of windows and doors were going to open up for him in the future.

Paul - oh God how I prayed that there was something that could repair the damages to his mind, maybe even just re-sort the actions of his brain. Right now, he had such an ingrained innocence that it just stirred my heart at times.

Brad and Cliff were sitting in front of Sammy and Paul. Brad - what a great outgoing personality Brad has, a kid with the biggest love of life that I ever knew. Even I was more introverted at his age, but he was always so sure of himself, although we were able to knock him down a peg with yesterday's fiasco.

Cliffy - my brother - yeah, he's more than my foster brother. He's melted his way into my heart. With all the crap he and Sammy have gone through, I'm amazed that he isn't more introverted and afraid than he is. When I first met him, it took a while before he would even warm up to a hug; he was just so unsure of himself. He's becoming surer of himself every day and maybe starting to put on some weight, thanks to Carlotta.

As I held David's hand, I realized how truly blessed we were. This trip had really given each of us a bond of trust and love, stronger than I ever thought possible just a few years ago. A trip like this did something for David and me too. Because of all the experiences we shared with the others, we were closer than ever. I almost felt like I'd turned into a guardian, although it had been Calvin that was really our guardian while we were in D.C.

"What are you thinking about love?" David asked.

"Oh, just how much we've all changed because of this trip," I smiled, "and how safe I feel with our friends . . . they're all like an extended family that really care about us and each other."

"Yes we do," David replied, "and I think it's going to be a lifelong commitment."

Just then Kurt turned in his seat and peered at me over the top. "Hey Jeremy, I forgot to tell you . . . yesterday, when I met Ethan . . . Calvin's cousin, down in the Metro . . . he remembered you from the Eatery at the Union Station. He's really handsome and well built, not quite as tall as Calvin . . . handsome too. He's got a beautiful diamond stud in his ear. Man has he ever got the hots for you. He said you're the guy with the golden hair and that you brought a reality to his fantasies."

"Oh really!" David exclaimed. I giggled at his jealous tone when he said, "I hope our paths never cross or I'll be showing him how much I love the man with the golden hair."

"Ooooo," Sammy said as he looked my way. "Hey Trevor, da ya think Mom an' Dad would let me get my ear pierced? Maybe get a tattoo too."

"Sammy, why would you want to do that?" Trevor asked.

"It's art man . . . somethin' for other people ta enjoy." Sammy said. "Besides, it might drive the girls crazy," he concluded as he winked."

"Well," Trevor said as he raised the back of his seat and turned around to kneel on it, "I'm not gonna speak for Mom and Dad, but I don't think it's a good idea. You'd be taking a chance on getting an infection from getting a tat, the same with an ear pierce. Sammy, being HIV positive, I don't want you to take that chance."

"Yeah bro, but Cliff has a stud." Sammy protested.

"You're right, Sammy," Cliff said as he turned in his seat. "But I had this stud before I was HIV pos. I'd check with Doc Rick before you talk to your mom and dad. Maybe if he said it was OK, they'd let you do it."

I looked up at Trevor and smiled, maybe with a bit of pride. "The voice of wisdom, Trevor."

"Aw nuts," Sammy said. "Well least I gotta chance. You're right Cliff, maybe Rick'll say it's OK."

"Another thing Sammy," I said, "If it's OK for you to get a tat, I'd wait `til you hit eighteen or so, that way your body will have filled out and it'll stay the same size all your life. Nothing looks worse than stretched out ink."

I hoped I had postponed the idea of him getting a tattoo, they're so permanent and styles have changed over the years and maybe this would turn out to be a fad of the early 21st century.

Once we grabbed our duffels and headed to the arrivals lounge, all nine of our parents were there! Never in my life had I given my dad a hug like that. I think it was the same for the other guys with their folks. It was a bedlam of noise, laughing, and cheers.

Leaving the airport was another confused muddle as we left in three vehicles filled with seventeen people and all of our luggage stuffed everywhere. Fortunately one was a big passenger van.

When the cars drove up to our house and parked, Carlotta was standing there looking from one vehicle to the other. As soon as Cliff jumped out of the van, the two of them were joined like a magnet to steel.

We were really happy when we saw the big spread Carlotta had prepared on the dining room table. What a welcome home! We were starved - it had been quite a while since we'd had lunch at the Peterson House. Each of us had our chance to tell our impressions of the trip, our thoughts about the things we'd seen, and of course, Calvin. The meeting of the president was at the top of everyone's enthusiasm, but fortunately didn't spark any political antagonism. Our parents tried to tease us about becoming interns and pages, holding back their approval, until we all had a dejected look on our faces. Damn did they like to tease us. They finally all laughed and told us that they'd already spoken to Rahm Emanuel and the senator and given their approval.

We didn't elaborate when Paul told his story about meeting Cindy, and he didn't give away any secrets in the telling either. However, after he finished telling the story, his mom pointed her finger and started wagging it at us, saying, "I told you so." Damn! What else had Calvin told them?

By 10:30 everyone was yawning and the welcome home party broke up with a lot of kissing and hugging all around.

Yup! Spring had broken out in a blast of love, respect, and change for all of us.

The Parents' Pride - Rob

Lindsey and I were propped up in bed going over our company's financials. The firewall breach in our largest client's operation, as with so many things, had turned out to be a simple matter, but with far reaching consequences. In a cost-cutting move, the client had taken it upon themselves to install their own third party printer drivers rather than purchasing upgrades from the manufacturer. Had they asked, we would have gladly scanned the software for viruses at no cost, but they were too embarrassed to admit to trying to shave such an insignificant amount from their bottom line. The third party drivers were indeed infected with a Trojan horse and the end result was a complete breakdown of their security. Because all of their systems were infected, we had to do a clean system reinstall on every single computer in their operation and restore all of their data from backup. It turned out that even some of their kids' computers were infected, which said a lot about how lax their procedures had been.

In the end, their attempt to save a few bucks ended up costing them several million dollars in added costs and lost revenue at a time when they could hardly afford it. We ended up doing the work at cost, as the long-term survival of our largest client was far more important to us than any possible short-term gain. More significantly, nothing could ever replace the time we had lost to spend with our kids during their spring break. It was late and we were elated with the success we'd had at work up to this point, but it was hard to concentrate as I thought about our boys, Trevor and Sammy, and the adventures they'd had during the trip to Washington.

I smiled, put aside my laptop, and looked at Lindsey. "Sweetheart, I'm so happy for the boys. They enjoyed something in their younger years that most adults will never have the privilege of coming close to. Actually I'm a bit jealous that I didn't get to have something like that happen to me when I was their age."

"You're right darlin'," she smiled as she lowered her papers. "Rob, I hope that this trip has been a bit of a stepping stone to their future. Imagine, our son, at his age being a page in Washington."

"Yes and did you see how proud the Reynolds and the Kimballs were . . . their sons are going to intern at the White House! I couldn't be happier for them."

"Oh I saw it. Cynthia had to wipe a few tears when the boys were telling us, but it was cruel to tease the boys like that when we already knew what the score was from Calvin, Dick and their messages to Tom."

"Ah come on love, it was all in good fun and we had to do something get them back to earth. They were right up there on cloud nine, not that I wasn't too."

"I was there too, right beside you on that, especially when I saw the change in Sammy . . . he has found an appreciation for art. I've never seen him glow like that."

"He really is a beautiful kid . . . I wasn't sure what we were getting into when we took him on, but he sure has made me happy and proud that we did. I hope he understands that I love him as much as Trevor."

"Oh I'm sure he does," Lindsey said as she gathered up her papers and put them into her briefcase. "I could tell by the way he hugged you before he went to bed."

"Yeah," I said as I put away my laptop and turned off the light. "I didn't know how much we needed him in our lives."

We snuggled close, me on my back, Lindsey with her head on my chest, my arm pulling her close. "I hope that Sammy will enjoy Disney World this summer while Trevor's away in D.C." Lindsey pondered.

"It's OK, we'll keep him busy and he'll have Paul. I think that Disney World may be a bit of a let down for after the experiences of this spring break though. Another thing . . . we'll have to plan that trip around all those extra classes he wants to take this summer. I hope he gets his schedule soon. I'm so proud of him."

"You know, Rob, when we planned to take Sammy and Paul to Disney World, it was before we knew of his obsession with art," Lindsey said as she got a huge grin on her face. "Do you thing that maybe he'd like to take a trip to New York instead?"

"Wow, that could sure be expensive . . . not that Disney World wouldn't be expensive, too." I thought aloud. "If Sammy went nuts over the National Gallery of Art, he'd go positively `ape', as he puts it, over the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, and all the art galleries in New York, but they aren't cheap, and hotels are expensive."

"And of course we'd have to take the boys to a Broadway Musical, or maybe two, and maybe to something Off-Broadway to give them the full New York experience," Lindsey added. "In a way, it would be a shame for Trevor to miss out on all of that. New York's a great town and it's been so long since either of us has spent any real time there."

"Hey, you know what? Let's stick to the plans to take Sammy to Disney World this summer," I said. He and Paul have never been, and everyone needs to go there at least once when they're still kids. It's not the same once you're a grown-up. Let them be kids for a little while longer. They won't be thirteen forever, after all.

"But I like your idea for a New York vacation for the boys. Let's see if we can get the Kimballs to help us out again, and maybe plan a trip to New York for all the boys around Christmas Vacation."

"That's a wonderful idea," Lindsey agreed, "and with any luck, the adoption will be final by then. Can you think of a better way to celebrate?"

"Christmas is a great time to visit New York, when everything is decorated brightly, and the stores are chocked full of the latest things, and the museums always have great exhibits on display. . . . They'll love it. We'll love it!" I exclaimed.

"Mmm," Lindsey purred as she snuggled up to me. "Even if it does blow our budget, we'll all have a wonderful time . . . and how hard can it be supervising eight teenage boys?" she said with a smirk.

"OK, it could be a bit of a challenge, but it's one we'll undoubtedly remember," I agreed. "but we might want to stay away from Times Square on New Year's Eve."

"We've never done it . . . it might be fun," she said.

Getting my laptop back out, I looked up the dates and my face lit up. "Hey, Christmas and New Years are both on Friday this year. What could be more perfect? We could fly out midweek and fly home on Saturday a week later, giving us Sunday to recuperate. And if we do decide to do the Times Square thing, we can!" I exclaimed.

"That's the spirit," Lindsey gave me a sweet peck on the lips.

One peck became two and two became something more, but it was late, and we were both pooping out very quickly. Indeed, I barely had the energy to stow the laptop without knocking it to the floor.

"Let's not tell the boys until they return from Washington at the end of the summer," Lindsey said with her last bit of energy. "One trip at a time is enough excitement for their young minds."

"I agree," I said with a prolonged yawn.

It was midnight, our eyes were closed, there wasn't time for another yawn before we slept.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Trab in proofreading our stories, as well as Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Codey's World for hosting them.


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