This story is a continuation of the story of Kevin Foley, Rick Mashburn, and their "sons," Tim Murphy, Kyle Goodson, and Justin Davis that started in "Tim" and continued in "Justin." It is about gay men and gay boys living and loving together as a family, and it contains descriptions of sex. The sex is never intergenerational. If you are offended by descriptions of gay sex, or if the law in your area forbids you to read them, please exit the story. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy it. I appreciate feedback, and you can send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kyle, Part 1
(Kevin's Perspective Back in North Carolina)
The boys woke up before we did the next morning, and they were scampering around in just their underwear when we went out to the living room. It really felt good to be greeted by the warm air coming from the fireplace and the smell of fresh coffee brewing.
"Good morning, sleepy heads," Kyle said, teasing us.
"What time is it," I asked.
"It's eight o'clock. Did we have a little pretend Sunday morning this morning," Kyle asked. He could be incredibly cute at times, and that was one of them.
"None of your business," I said, and he laughed.
"Step out on the deck for a few seconds," Kyle said. "It feels so good."
Rick and I took his suggestion, and it did feel good. It was cold, and the frost was still very evident, but it was bracing. I could smell the pine trees that were spread in front of us. In the distance, I saw the Christmas tree farm, with it's neat rows of cone-shaped trees. I heard one or two of the bear dogs--reputedly bear dogs--howling off in the distance. I could see the house next to ours, but that was the only human habitation in view. Rick and I counted the ridges, as we had done several times before, and that morning we could see seven in the distance. We saw many patches of color down below us. It was a little muted from that distance, but I knew it would be spectacular up close.
We went back inside and warmed ourselves in front of the fire.
"So, what do you guys think of the mountains in the morning," I asked.
"Totally awesome," Jason said. "This is the first time I've ever been to any place like this. It about took my breath away when I saw it."
"Me, too," Jus said.
"I've been in some mountains before," Tim said. "Mostly in Europe. These are beautiful in a different way, though."
"You never told me that," Kyle said. "Which ones in Europe did you see? The Alps?"
"Yeah. You been there," Tim asked.
"Yeah," Kyle said. "And those other ones in France, too. They start with a P."
"Pyrenees," I asked.
"Yeah, that's it," Kyle said.
"Have you guys never talked about where you've been in Europe," Rick asked.
"Not really," Tim said. "Why would we?"
"Yeah, right," Rick said, "when everybody's been to all the usual exotic places, why bring it up?"
I caught his irony and smiled. He winked at me.
The boys made a great breakfast for us, and we ate every bite they cooked. There was a microwave in the kitchen, but they hadn't used it, preferring instead to cook everything on the stove top. I could tell the subtle differences in taste, and the aroma of the cooked food was almost as good as the food itself.
"Don't start the dishwasher right away," I said, after we had eaten. "I reckon y'all all need showers, right?"
They all did. They needed shaves, too, their experiments with goatees having vanished weeks before.
"We need to double up for showers to save hot water, and nobody touches the other one," I said.
The boys grinned big.
"Kyle, you shower with me, Tim with Jason, and Rick with Justin," I said.
"Damn," Kyle said. "Ain't no fun in this house this morning."
"Exactly," I said. "It's all about conservation."
We showered, shaved, and got dressed in about thirty minutes. I thought that was pretty good for six men. When we were ready, we all drove into Highlands to get groceries and to check out the town. We ended up eating lunch at a mom-and-pop sandwich shop. After lunch we went into a shop that featured Japanese flower arranging. The two proprietors were middle-aged men who were stereotypically gay and an obvious couple.
I introduced myself, and Steve, one of the guys, knew my mother.
"Are you interested in flower arranging, Kevin," Steve asked.
"No, not really," I said.
"What about your wife? Where is she, anyway? I'm sure I could interest her in a class or two," he said.
"It's my husband, not my wife. He's over there, and he might be interested," I said.
"Yeah, you got a problem with that," I asked, knowing he didn't but wanting to have some fun.
"Oh, my God! Please!"
I grinned at him.
"And who are the kids," he asked.
"They're out little brothers. Queer, too," I said. "That one right there," I said, pointing to Jus, "is our foster son. That's his boyfriend, and the other two are just our little brothers. They're boyfriends, too."
"Are y'all from New Orleans," he asked. "I know your mother is."
"Well, I am, originally, but we live in the Florida Panhandle now."
"Oh, my," he said. "You're all so incredibly masculine."
Jus came up right at that moment.
"Kevin, these damn things look good enough to eat," he said.
"Oh, and who might you be," Steve asked.
I saw Justin misreading Steve's question, even as he was asking it.
"I'm Justin, and I'm just in." He said that very seductively, and he took a half step closer toward Steve than was normal.
"Jus," I said. I arched my eyebrows at him.
He stepped back, suddenly. "Shit, what am I doing," Jus said. "I'm sorry, Mister."
"No harm done, son," Steve said. He looked at me knowingly, and I nodded. Justin walked off.
"You all have simply got to come to tea this afternoon," Steve said.
"We'd like that," I said.
"Five thirty. Upstairs here," Steve said. "I can't wait to tell Frank. Just take all the time you want to look around." Steve scurried off to find Frank, and I thought I heard Frank squeal a bit.
Back in the van I said, "They want us to come to tea this afternoon. Five thirty."
"Were those guys gay," Tim asked.
"No question about it, Bubba," Rick said.
"What does 'come to tea' mean," Justin asked.
"I'm not really sure, Jus," I said. "Having tea can be a big ceremony in Japan, so it might be that. On the other hand, having tea in England is a meal. I don't really know what we can expect."
"Having tea" was British High Tea at Steve and Frank's place. Those guys had basically set up a meal for us, complete with several courses. I drank some scotch with them, but Rick and the boys had flavored waters before the meal. It lasted from 5:30 until eight o'clock, and they were the very model of the gracious host. They served actual tea, but they had it in both the hot and iced varieties. It was very elegant, and I was glad the boys had an opportunity to experience that.
Steve and Frank were extremely sophisticated and urbane. They had traveled extensively, and they regaled us with stories of their adventures. Having tea deep in a cave in Morocco was the most memorable, given the present occasion.
"We have to have them over while we're here," Rick said as soon as we were back in the car.
"I know. How about Saturday night," I asked. "Will you cook?"
"Ab-so-lutely," he said. "Call them tomorrow and invite them. They are too much fun to miss."
"I don't get it," Justin said. "Y'all like them two drama queens?"
"We like those two men, Jus," Rick said.
"Yeah, but they ain't men. You guys are men, and you ain't nothing like them," Jus said.
"Don't you like Chad," I asked. "He's like them."
"You know I like Chad, Kevin. Why'd you say that, man?"
"That's what Chad's going to be like in thirty years, if he's lucky," I said.
"Jeez, they don't get over it," Justin asked.
"No. No, they don't, Jus."
"Well, shit," Jus said.
We spent all of Friday on the mountain bikes or hiking. On Saturday morning we climbed our local mountain. The view from the top was magnificent. It was a little cloudy when we first got up there, but that all burned away as the day progressed. We took a picnic lunch, and we enjoyed the view and just being out in nature. Tim had a little trouble breathing at a mile and a half above sea level after he and Kyle had been chasing one another, but he assured us he was fine.
We got home around two o'clock from our mountain climb, and we got started working on dinner. We really wanted to impress Steve and Frank because they had obviously gone out of their way to impress us. Rick, Kyle, and Tim grabbed the van as soon as we got home. They came back by four o'clock with a car load of food. Rick had opted for Chicken Pontalba, which was one of my favorite dishes. That was classic New Orleans "company food," and it consisted of a bed of small cut potatoes and onions, cubes of ham, chunks of fried chicken, topped with a delicious béarnaise sauce. If it all came out right, it was incredible.
We hadn't brought any liquor with us, so Justin and Jason and I went in search of a liquor store when Rick had gotten home with the groceries. We finally found one, and I bought the best bottle of single malt scotch they had. The boys were impressed at how much it cost, but I assured them that $45 for a good single malt wasn't expensive. I also bought some wine.
Steve and Frank arrived at the cabin promptly at seven o'clock. They each brought a host gift--a bottle of scotch for the adults and a huge box of candy for the kids.
"What have you fellows been doing while you've been here," Steve asked.
"Some of just about everything," I said. "We climbed the mountain today. That was a first for Justin and Jason."
"Yeah, that was really cool," Jus said. "Rick took his binoculars, and we could see forever from up there."
"Have you done any hiking," Frank asked.
"Yes, sir, we hiked and rode bikes all day yesterday," Kyle said.
"Gawd, I wish I had their energy," Steve said.
"I know what you mean," Frank said. "My son was the same way when he was a teenager."
"You have a son," Tim asked. "Where is he?"
"He lives in Durham and goes to graduate school at Duke University," Frank replied. "He just got married last month."
"Are you gay," Tim asked.
"Tim," I said to remind him of his manners.
"That's perfectly all right, Kevin," Frank said. "Yes, Tim, I'm gay, and Steve is my partner. I know what you're probably wondering, and, yes, I fought hard not to be gay. I got married in college and managed to produce my son. His mother and I have been divorced since he was two. He's twenty-four, now. He lived with Steve and me for several years, and we're still very close."
"I think it's cool when gay guys have kids," Jason said. "I don't know if I could ever do it with a girl, though."
"I could," Kyle said.
"You could do it with anything," Jus said.
He and Kyle tapped knuckles.
"Hey, watch it, Bubba," Tim said.
That made us all laugh, especially Steve and Frank.
We made small talk for the next hour or so. The aromas coming from the kitchen were wonderful, and both of our guests commented on the fact. Tim and Kyle set the table. Rick was the kind of cook who liked to serve the plates himself before taking them to the table. That probably was a rub-off from his restaurant experience, but it worked fine.
He called us to the table at 8:15, and we spent the next hour devouring his work. The chicken dish was the best I'd ever tasted it, and Steve and Frank insisted on having the recipe. Rick simply recited it from memory as Frank wrote it down.
We played a game of trivia after dinner while the kids cleaned up the kitchen, and then they joined us for a couple more games. We decided on two-man teams of one adult and one boy, and Rick and Kyle were paired together. Tim and I were partners, and we ended up winning.
We waited for dessert and coffee until we had had time to digest our dinner a little while. Rick had made an Italian cream cake that was outstanding. The evening ended at eleven, and our guests went home after a thoroughly enjoyable time.
"They didn't seem to act as gay tonight as they did the other day in their store or at their house," Kyle said, "especially Frank."
"It might have been the atmosphere of the flower shop, Kyle," I said. "But you're right. I noticed the same thing."
"Does anybody want to go for one last soak in the hot tub," Rick asked.
We all did, so he turned it on. It was in the low thirties outside, and the air was crystal clear. There wasn't a great deal of pollution in our own area, but the high humidity from our bays never let it feel quite that pristine at home.
"I wish we didn't have to go home tomorrow," Jus said. "This has been the most fun trip I've ever been on. Hell, it's the only trip I've ever been on."
I mentally marveled at how much Justin had grown and changed since that day in June when we had first met him. He fit in perfectly with the boys and with our adult friends, and he was making remarkable progress in school. He had even mentioned the possibility of going to community college when he got his GED, and Rick and I strongly encouraged him to do just that. He liked to work, so he wouldn't give that up for full-time study, but he was still only seventeen, so he could take four years to complete the two-year program and still not be very far behind.
"I wish we didn't either," Kyle said. "But we'll have lots to tell everybody about. It's always good to get home, too, even if you dread it."
"Do you think I'll ever be able to come back here," Jus asked.
"You really don't get it, do you, Jus," Rick asked.
"Get the fact that you're our son, Bubba. We can't adopt you, but we would if we could. You're going to always be part of our family, and you'll always be welcome here and in our house at home. We love you, Justin," Rick said.
Everyone was dead silent while Justin processed what Rick had said.
Justin wiped at his eyes with his wet hands.
"Happy tears," Tim asked.
"Yeah," he said, the tears making it almost impossible for him to speak. "I love y'all, too." With that, he sobbed and laughed at the same time.
Rick was sitting next to Jus, and he put his arm around his shoulder in a hug. I wished I had had my camera out on that deck at that moment to preserve on film the happiness in the eyes of my man and on the face of our son.
The drive home the next day was really beautiful through the mountains of north Georgia. It had been dark when we had driven that stretch of road on the previous Wednesday, but that day we got the benefit of the magnificent fall foliage. The sky was the darkest, brightest blue that I could ever remember seeing. The sky was never that blue at home because of the humidity. The boys even commented on how blue the sky was.
We got home around four o'clock. Jason's car was at our house, as was Kyle's, and the two of them, and Tim, actually went home to their own families.
We had several phone messages on our answering machine, including three from Tyrone Williams, Justin's case worker.
"Kevin and Rick, this is Tyrone Williams," the first message from him began. "Please give me a call as soon as you can. Thanks. Bye."
"Kevin and Rick, this is Tyrone Williams again. It's Saturday afternoon, around three o'clock, and I figure you guys must be out of town. Please call me as soon as you get in. Thanks. Bye." There was urgency in his voice that time.
"Kevin and Rick, this is Tyrone again. I need to talk to you guys as soon as possible. Please call me." His voice was even more urgent in that message than it had been before.
"Shit, I hope I ain't in some kind of trouble," Jus said.
"Why would you be," I asked. Frankly, I hoped it wasn't about him, too.
"I don't know. I just don't feel good about it, that's all," he said. "It would be just my luck after how happy I've been for them to want to pull me out of here."
"That ain't gonna happen, Bubba. Who else would want your sorry ass? Huh," Rick asked in fun.
I dialed Tyrone's number, and he answered it on the first ring.
"Tyrone, this is Kevin Foley. We just got home. What's up?"
"Oh, thank God, Kevin," Tyrone said. "Is Rick there?"
"Yeah, he's right here. Do you want to talk to him," I asked.
"I want to talk to both of you together. Have you got a speaker phone?"
"Yeah." I turned on the speaker, and Rick and Justin huddled around.
"Hi, Tyrone," Rick said. "Justin's here, too. Is that okay?"
"Hi, Rick. Hi, Justin. Yeah, it's fine if he hears this. Here's the deal. I've got a fourteen-year-old boy that needs emergency placement for a few days. He ran away from a foster home in Tallahassee and hitch hiked here. He can't go back to that foster family, and I don't have any place here to put him."
"How long is 'a few days,'" I asked.
"I don't really know," Tyrone said. "It could be a week, or it could be longer. I honestly don't know."
"What's his name," Rick asked.
"His first name is Brian," Tyrone said.
"Cool name," Jus said.
"He's a cool kid, Justin," Tyrone said. "I think y'all will like him."
"Why'd he run away," Rick asked.
"It's related to the fact that he's gay, Rick," Tyrone said. "That's all I'll say right now, but I'll fill you and Kevin in on everything in private, okay."
"Sure, Tyrone. Can you give us a few minutes," Rick asked. "We'll get right back to you."
"I can't ask for more than that, Rick. By the way, he's not particularly troubled that we can tell, any more than any other fourteen-year-old."
"Who happens to be gay," I said.
"Yeah, that, too," Tyrone said. "Well, let me let you guys talk, but I sure do hope you'll say 'yes.'"
"What do y'all think," I asked, after we had hung up.
"There's room in my heart," Rick said.
"What about you, Bubba," I asked Jus.
"If there's another kid who ain't happy now but who could be as happy as I am by living here, I say bring him on. There's room in my bed," Jus said. He was teasing, but he was pretty damn cute saying that.
"Yeah, right, Romeo," Rick said. "What would Jason say if he heard that?"
"He'd say, 'Bring him on!'"
Rick and I laughed at Jus.
"So is it 'Bring him on!' then," I asked.
"Yeah," Rick said. "Bring him on."
I called Tyrone back and told him our decision. He said he'd have Brian at our house in thirty minutes.
"Jus, did you take a shower this morning," I asked.
"No, did you?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact I did, and I shaved, too. Now go do both," I said.
"Why? Nobody shaves at night unless they're going out," he said.
"You do tonight. Now go do it before I do it to you," I said.
"Don't make your threats sound so much like promises, Bubba," he said.
Rick and I laughed, and Jus did, too.
"Get in there," I said.
"Yes, sir," he said and went to clean up.
"'Yes, sir'? Kyle and Jason must be rubbing off on him," Rick said.
"I know," I said.
Justin came out of his room in about twenty minutes. He had on his 501 jeans, which by then had faded to a nice soft blue and had shrunk a size or two, and his cowboy boots. His shirt was nice, also.
"Damn, you look good. You got a date or something? Who is she," Rick teased.
"Get out of here," Jus said.
"You do look good, Jus," I said. "And you smell good, too. Is that the cologne Jason gave you?"
"Yeah. I put some on my balls, too. He likes for me to do that," Jus said.
Rick roared with laughter. All of the kids teased me like that, probably under Rick's unconscious encouragement.
"Thanks, Jus. I was worried about what your balls smelled like," I said.
Then it was his turn to laugh his ass off, along with Rick.
"Actually, he don't like for me to put it on my balls because then they don't taste good," Jus said.
"Okay, that's enough. Thank you," I said.
Rick was laughing so hard he could hardly breathe.
"There's a conspiracy in this house against me," I said.
Rick laughed and kissed me quickly on the lips just as there was a knock on the door. I answered it, and it was Tyrone and Brian.
Tyrone introduced us to Brian Mathews. He was a very nice looking kid, probably five feet, six inches, and maybe 130 pounds. He had medium brown hair that was fairly short and combed, brown eyes, and he had a faint light brown moustache that was less a fashion statement than a testimony to the fact that he was a young adolescent who hadn't yet started to shave. He was dressed in a tee shirt, cutoff blue jeans, and white leather tennis shoes. There were no visible piercings or tattoos, not that that would have mattered. I noticed that his hands and feet were disproportionately large, so I suspected his growth spurt was about halfway through. His hand was softer than most boys' hands at that age, at least softer than our boys', when I shook his hand.
"It's good to have you here, buddy," Rick said.
"Yeah, welcome, Brian," I said. "This is Justin Davis, our son."
Justin had started checking him out the second he entered the house. Justin gave him one of his beautiful smiles when they shook hands. "You done come to a good place, man," Jus said.
"Why don't you show Brian his room, Jus," I said.
"Which one is it?"
"Put him in my room," Rick said.
"Where's Jeff going to sleep," Jus asked.
"I don't know. We'll work that out, okay. Just put him in my room."
"Is he going to sleep with you," Tyrone asked, somewhat warily.
"Of course not. I sleep with him," Rick said, meaning me.
"Who's Jeff," Tyrone asked.
"He's Kyle's brother's boyfriend. He comes here every weekend from college, ever since Clay died," Rick said.
"Who's Clay? Oh, never mind. Y'all work it out. I know it's safe here for him, no matter what the room arrangements are," Tyrone said.
"Tyrone, please have a seat," I said. "Tell us about Brian."
Tyrone sat in a chair at a diagonal to the sofa, where Rick and I sat.
"Well, as I said on the phone, he's gay. He comes from the Tampa Bay area, and his step-father caught him looking at some gay porn on the Internet. He beat the kid and kicked him out. The people in Hillsborough County had a hell of a time placing him in foster care; then they found a family in Tallahassee that said they wanted a gay foster son. That's where they placed him."
"When did this happen," I asked.
"About three months ago. He was in care in Tallahassee, and it seemed that things were going well. As it turned out, though, the man of the house had a thing for boys, or so Brian claims."
"Oh, shit," Rick said.
"Yeah, exactly," Tyrone said. "Of course all of this will be thoroughly investigated, but Brian says the guy came on to him. He resisted the man's advances. Eventually, the guy raped Brian. Or tried to. He took it for a month or so, and then he ran away. I can't say I blame him, either."
"Of course not," I said.
"Anyway, the Beach police found him sleeping in a dugout at a ball park, and, of course, they called us on Friday."
"Where did he spend the last two nights," I asked.
"At my house," Tyrone said. "But my wife is going to leave me, if I keep doing that. That's why I was so desperate to get him over here."
"Was he sexually active before the foster placement," I asked.
"No. As far as I can tell, the only thing he ever did was look at naked boys on the Internet," Tyrone said.
"That doesn't mean he's gay," Rick said.
"Oh, I know. I'm not going to tell you how I know that, but I know," Tyrone said.
Rick and I both grinned at him, and he grinned back.
"But he says he's gay. I don't know how a kid that young can know that, but he says he's positive he's gay."
"Oh, they know," Rick said. "Trust me."
"I do. That's why I'm here," he said.
"Has he been in school," I asked.
"Not this past week, but he was before that. He's in the ninth grade," Tyrone said. "His school grades are pretty good, too. He's a pretty smart kid."
We heard peals of laughter from the back of the house.
"It sounds like they're getting along," Rick said.
"Yeah. Listen, guys, I've got some papers here for you all to sign. I went ahead and got a temporary custody order with your names on it, just in case you said 'yes.' You need to sign them, and I need to get going. I need to get home so I can take my family to church."
"You dog," Rick said. "You knew we'd say 'yes,' didn't you?"
Tyrone sort of chuckled. "Yeah, I pretty much did." He grinned at us.
Justin and Brian came into the den just then.
"Jus, go next door and get your brother. Then y'all go get Kyle and come back here. We have to have a family talk tonight," I said. I tossed him my keys. "Take my car."
"Yes, sir," Jus said, and the two of them left.
"Who's his brother," Tyrone asked. "And who's Kyle?"
"You met them, Tyrone. They're the two boys who found Jus at the motel last summer," Rick said.
"Oh, yeah. And they saved somebody's life or something, too, didn't they? I read about them in the paper."
"A woman and her baby, during the hurricane," Rick said. "Kyle's older brother died about a month ago, and his boyfriend, Jeff, now considers this his home on weekends. It's a real long story."
"You guys are something else, that's for sure, and thank God for you," Tyrone said. "Well, I've got to go. You will get Brian in school, right?"
"Absolutely," I said. "Probably Tuesday morning, though. We'll give him a day to get adjusted. Is that okay?"
"You all are the daddies," Tyrone said. "Oh, by the way, we had Brian tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and he's negative. We'll do it again in six months, just to make sure. You just need to know that. Night guys, and thanks, from the bottom of my heart."
The boys all came in about ten minutes after Tyrone left. Our three knew to get on the floor in front of the sofa, and Brian followed their lead.
"Everybody's met everybody, right," I asked.
"No. Who are you? Where am I," Kyle asked.
"I knew you were going to say that," Rick said. The two of them laughed.
"Are we ever going to eat again," Jus asked.
"Well, I see that serious conversation won't be possible for a while. Let's go eat," I said.
It was about ten minutes to six when we got in the van.
"We've got time to make the six o'clock Mass," Rick said.
"Okay, let's do that," I said. "We've got a lot to be thankful for. Maybe Jerry will say the Mass."
"Brian, these three jokers are going to get a little snack, but me, you, and Jus won't get shit," Kyle said.
Brian laughed a rather deep-voiced laugh. That was the first time we had heard a sound from him, and I was just a little surprised at how deep his voice already was.
"You mean Communion? I'm going to get it, too," Brian said. "I'm Catholic."
"Justin, we're outnumbered big time now, Bubba," Kyle said.
"I ain't afraid of no Catholics. I got big-time connections with the Klan, if I need 'em," Jus said.
"You do," Brian asked, rather amazed.
"No, course not," Jus said. "That was kind of like a joke, Bri."
"Well, I didn't know. Don't be mad at me," Brian said.
"I ain't mad at you, dude. What the hell made you think that," Jus asked.
"Well, I can't stand for people to be mad at me," Brian said.
"Ain't nobody mad at you. We're too busy being mad at Rick to be mad at anybody else," Jus said.
"Why are you mad at me," Rick asked. He used an exaggerated pouty voice to sucker Jus in.
"I was teasing you, bud. We ain't mad at you," Jus said. He sounded frightened that Rick really thought he was angry at him.
"I know, and I was teasing you back, Jus," Rick said.
Jus pretended to sob.
"Jesus Christ, Bubba! Are you crying? I'm sorry, man," Rick said.
"No, I ain't crying, but you're going to be, when I get through with you," Jus said.
Everybody but Brian laughed.
"Brian, buddy, welcome to the tease-fest," Kyle said.
We all laughed again.
Jerry didn't say the Mass that night; the pastor did. We didn't hang around chatting because we were eager to get some food. We went to the sports bar and grill that was our crowd's hang-out, more or less.
It was a great place. The food was excellent and reasonably priced, the service was good, and the atmosphere was very masculine. It was a place where guys went to eat, drink a few beers, watch a game, shoot pool, play ping pong, and otherwise just hang out. It wasn't a franchise, so there weren't any of the "cute" antique decorations around the place. The two brothers who owned it treated their customers like friends, and Rick and I had spent many evenings and Saturday afternoons there with our friends, both gay and straight. Both brothers knew us and the boys, and they both made it a point of coming over to our table at least once every time we went in there. The fact that they had some incredibly cute boys working as waiters didn't detract from the ambiance, either. They knew we and many of our friends were gay, but it didn't matter a bit to them. In fact, I sometimes wondered if they didn't also play for our team.
We all ordered iced tea, although I got mine half-and-half and Rick got his unsweetened, unlike the boys. I liked my tea a little sweet, but I had learned early on in life that you couldn't trust a tea-maker in a southern restaurant to not pour a whole five-pound bag of sugar into a pot of tea. We studied the menu and made our choices.
"I'm paying tonight," Kyle said.
"No, you're not," Rick said.
"Just hide and watch, Bubba," Kyle said.
"Kyle, you're not paying for this meal. Kevin and I are," Rick said.
"Rick, we just came back from a totally unbelievable long weekend, totally at y'all's expense. I've got money that I earned, man. I took a bunch of money on that trip, and I didn't spend a dime of it. Please let me do this."
Rick and I looked at one another. I knew he was as proud of Kyle at that moment as I was, and I was so proud I was about to burst. Our sons were becoming men, whether we accepted it or not, and that was the first time any of them had asserted their manhood in that traditional kind of way.
"Okay, it's yours. Now let me re-think what I want to eat so I can get the most expensive thing on the menu," Rick said.
He and Kyle looked at one another, grinning, and the communication between the two of them in that gaze was almost palpable. Rick and Little Rick. Rick and his true son.
Conversation during dinner was rather sparse, as it often was when we were concentrating on food. We finished at the bar and grill by 9:30, and we were home by 9:45. It was time to talk, and the boys got in place on the floor in front of the sofa.
"Guys, Brian is going to be with us for a while," I said. "We don't know how long, but he's the newest member of our family."
"Brian, I guess you know we're all gay, and we know you are, too. So that's not an issue here, okay," Rick said.
"Yes, sir," Brian said. I could see some of the apprehension and tension leave him.
"Here's the way it is," I said. "You and Justin are our foster sons. Rick and I each have custody of the both of you, and he and I are a team. Don't try to play us off each other because that won't work. Tim and Kyle are our little brothers. We're named as their guardians in their parents' wills, if anything should happen to them. They have their own room in this house, just like you and Jus have. It's their room, so respect that."
Brian nodded. I knew we were hitting him with a lot, but I also thought he was bright enough to take it all in.
"We're all guys in this house," Rick said, "and guys tend to talk and act like guys. You're going to hear language from time to time from all of us, and if you want to use it, that's okay, too. You're going to hear wisecracks and jokes about sex, too, Brian, but that's what guys do. Just because we're queer doesn't make us any less guys."
"That won't be a problem," Brian said.
"Shit, you should have heard this little fucker earlier tonight," Jus said. "He said stuff that made me go red, so you know how bad that must have been."
"I did not! Why are you saying that," Brian asked.
"He's saying that because he's teasing you, Brian," I said. "We tease each other a lot in this house. It's sort of like verbal affection, you know? We tease each other because we like each other and we like to play around. You heard Rick and Justin playing with each other in the car earlier tonight. When I was a kid, my brother and I would do that constantly. When one of us got the other one, we would say 'got you last.' That was pure play, and that's what the teasing is all about here, too, Brian. If it ever looks like people are ganging up on you, like they do on me, and you're getting your feelings hurt, just say so, and it will stop right then."
"We don't gang up on you, do we," Tim asked.
"Not enough to hurt my feelings, but y'all tease me more than anybody else, I think," I said.
"I'm an equal-opportunity teaser," Jus said.
"Yes, you are," I said.
"Is Brian going to go to Beachside," Kyle asked. "If he is, he can ride with me and Tim."
"Yeah, but not tomorrow," I said. "We'll go up to school tomorrow and get him registered, but he'll start on Tuesday. And thanks for the ride offer, Kyle."
He just nodded.
"Can I ask a question," Brian asked.
"Of course. That's another thing, Brian. No serious question is ever off limits here, about sex or anything else," I said.
"This isn't about sex, although I do have some of those for another time. I was just wondering how old everyone is," Brian said.
"That's a very good question," Rick said. "Oh, and do you know everybody's names?"
"I know first names, Kevin, but not last names," he said.
Rick looked at him for a second, and then he broke into a smile.
"You did that on purpose, didn't you, you little monkey."
A huge grin lit up Brian's face.
"Way to go, buddy," Kyle said. "That was your first tease, and you couldn't have picked a better, or easier, target."
We laughed at Kyle, but I also had a feeling of delight over what Brian had done. He hadn't been among us for more than three hours, and already he was catching the spirit of our family.
"I'll easy your target, mister," Rick said to Kyle.
"Oh, ho, ho, ho, ho," Kyle said in pretend laughter that was fraught with double meaning. The others grinned and chuckled, but Brian got a pained and very apprehensive look on his face.
"Brian, one thing you should know about us is that, even though we're all gay here, Rick and I have never touched a guy but each other in a sexual way in our lives, and we never will as long as we're both alive. We tease and joke about sex all the time, but any sex that takes place in this house happens in private between two guys who both want to do whatever they do," I said.
"Absolutely, Brian, and these guys can vouch for that, man," Rick seconded.
"Bri, around here, you get a hard-on, you got to go to your room when these guys are around," Jus said.
"It ain't that strict, Bri," Kyle said, "but sex is for private, and only when both dudes want the same thing."
"I was a little bit worried," Brian said.
"I know. We should have explained that earlier," I said. "Now for names and ages. I'm Kevin Foley, and I'm married to that lug. I'm twenty-six."
"I'm Lug Mashburn, and I'm twenty-six also," Rick said.
"Lug Nuts, more like it," Jus said.
That time everybody laughed, including Brian.
"I'm Justin Davis, I'm seventeen, and I am the man among the boys."
"I'm Kyle Goodson, and I'm going to be seventeen in just a few days. We'll see what happens then, Mister Justin Davis."
"I'm Tim Murphy, and I'm fifteen. I hang out with Kyle."
"Only it don't hang when you're with him," Jus said. More laughter.
"I'm Brian Mathews, and I'm fourteen. But I'll be fifteen in January."
"Fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen," Rick said, pointing to each boy in turn. "I don't think we're old enough to have kids this age, Babe."
"You mean, you couldn't shoot when you were seven? I could," I said.
"That is an ice cream line, if ever I heard one," Jus said. "Can we?"
Rick and I looked at each other, even as we were laughing at Justin's pun. We knew it was late, but it was also a very special occasion for our family.
"Yeah," he and I said together.
"Eagles up," he said, and Tim and Kyle stood up to help him.
Brian's eyes opened wide when he saw the soup bowls of ice cream they brought out.
"Do you guys do this every night," Brian asked. I noticed he had had no more trouble polishing off his bowl of ice cream than he had his steak, vegetables, salad, and baked potato at dinner.
"This is a special thing we do when we're celebrating a family occasion," I said. "By the way, Brian, you can have anything in the kitchen, except the beer and liquor. That's for adults only."
"Not even a beer," he asked, incredulously.
"Son..." I started to say in a very serious voice.
"He's teasing, Kevin," Kyle said.
"Were you teasing, Brian," I asked.
"Yes, sir. I've never even had a beer," he said.
"Good one, little buddy. You sort of had me concerned, too," Rick said.
"What's a beer," Kyle asked, the innocence dripping off his tongue.
Kyle, Jus, and I lit up cigarettes, and Brian looked pretty surprised that the two boys were smoking. He didn't say anything, but I could tell it wasn't something he expected.
"Who's staying here tonight," Rick asked.
"I told their daddies we needed them for the night," Jus said.
"It's almost midnight, and we all need to get to bed," Rick said. "Y'all have school and work tomorrow. Is the bed made up in Brian's room?"
"Yeah, and no cum stains, either," Jus said.
"Imagine that," I said. They laughed.
The four boys put their arms over each other's shoulders to walk back to bed.
"It looks like we've got us a second son," I said, after they were gone.
"A fourth one, don't you mean," Rick asked.
"Yeah. We're pretty prolific breeders for two fags, aren't we," I asked.
"Yeah, and I love it. I'm not running tomorrow," he said suggestively.
"You got some energy down here for me, big boy," I asked, as I groped his crotch.
"More than you can handle, big boy." He kissed me in the middle of the den, and we went into our room to make love.