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 email@example.com.
Kyle, Part 1
Rick and I woke up at six the next morning. We lay in bed for a while, enjoying the warm cuddle we were in.
"Are you taking Brian to school today, or am I," he asked.
"I'll take him. Maybe I can see Sally Ortega," I said.
"She's the principal. I met her last year when George made us Tim's guardians while he was gone," I said.
"Should I be worried," he asked.
"Okay. I need to get that van back. I was thinking I need to trade the Trooper for something bigger. What do you think?"
"I think that's a good idea. Try to find something that'll seat eight people, okay?"
"Well, the four of us, Tim and Kyle, Jason, and George. That's pretty much what the line-up is going to be, isn't it," I asked. "If Brian gets a boyfriend, we won't invite George."
"My ass! The boyfriend can sit on Brian's lap. Or Tim can sit on Kyle's lap. Kyle would love that, anyway."
"Those two really are a couple, aren't they?"
"Yeah, I think Fred was right. They're lifers. Let's get up so I can cook a decent breakfast for them," Rick said.
And so we did.
Rick cooked a nice breakfast, with scrambled egg whites, toast, and link sausage. We never knew who or how many would be eating at our house, so we were always well stocked.
"This is really good," Brian said.
"Thanks," Rick said.
"Do we all go to the same school," Brian said.
"Y'all do. I don't," Jus said.
"Why not," Brian asked.
"'Cause I'm in adult school. It's a long story," Jus said. "I'm going to take my GED in January, if the good Lord says the same, and the creek don't rise."
"What does that mean," Brian asked.
"It means I'm an alternative student. I ain't going to school this morning. I'm going to work. I'll go to school this afternoon."
"Are you going to be able to go to college," he asked.
"Oh, yeah. Starting next year," Jus said. "I'm going to have me a life."
We got the boys off to school. I remembered what it was like to go back to school after a long holiday, and I had hated it. I was sure they felt the same way. We had truly had a wonderful time in North Carolina, but, in my mind, that was only a foretaste of good times together to come.
Brian and I were still sitting at the breakfast table. He seemed so vulnerable right then.
"How'd you sleep last night, buddy," I asked.
"Okay," he said.
He was fully dressed in the clothes he had on the night before. They were the only ones he had with them, and it was obvious he had been wearing them for days.
"Have you had a shower this morning," I asked.
"Let's do this. Let me see if we can find you some clean underwear that belongs to one of the boys, and then you take a shower. I'll wash your clothes for you, and then later on we'll go buy you some, okay?"
"What do I put on after my shower," he asked.
"Just your underwear is fine, until your clothes are dry. Are you shy about doing that?"
"If you're shy, just wrap a dry towel around your waist. We hang out in just our underwear a good bit, but I know some guys don't like to do that, and that's okay," I said.
"I'm not that shy," he said. "Those boys are really nice."
"Oh, yeah. They are. You all are probably going to get to be good friends. Brothers, even."
"Are Tim and Kyle boyfriends," he asked sheepishly.
"Yeah, they are. They're a cute couple, don't you think?"
He looked down like he was embarrassed or something. Then he said, "Do they, er..."
"Do they have sex," I asked gently.
"What they do is private and between them," I said, "but, yes, they do. Does that bother you?"
"Have you ever had a boyfriend," I asked.
"Do you think you'd like to have one," I asked. "Someday, I mean?"
"I guess so. If he doesn't want to hurt me," he said.
Oh, poor baby, I thought. I wanted to hug him to me and protect him from everything.
"Are you talking about hurting you having sex," I asked.
"Yeah," he said.
"Do you want to talk about this, Brian? We can if you want to, but we don't have to," I said.
"I want to," he said. "I just don't know what to say."
"Do you know how men have sex with one another," I asked.
"Sort of. One guy sticks his penis into the butt of the other one, right?"
"Well, sometimes guys do that, but that's not the only part of having sex. That's usually called anal sex, or just fucking. Did that man in Tallahassee do that to you?"
"He tried to, but I wouldn't let him. I squeezed real tight. He poked at me with his penis a bunch, but it wouldn't go in. It hurt, though. What he did."
"How many times did he do that," I asked.
"Once. That's when I ran away."
"Did he do anything else to you," I asked. I was trying my best to be as gentle and non-threatening as I possibly could, but I wanted to know something about the extent of the damage that bastard had done.
"He made me touch it. He did that a few times. Maybe ten. Maybe more. At least that didn't hurt, except that he grabbed my wrist really hard to make me do it."
"Did his penis ejaculate," I asked. I had no idea of what kind of vocabulary he had to describe sex, and I wasn't even sure if he knew what "ejaculate" meant.
He nodded. "He said he was coming," Brian said.
"Yes, that's a word to say instead of 'ejaculate.'"
"He wanted to put it in my mouth, but I wouldn't let him do that, either. He grabbed my face and tried to force me to open my mouth, but I wouldn't. He did that a couple of times, and that hurt, too."
"Brian, what that man did to you wasn't sex. It was violence. He abused you. Sex happens between two people who care about each other and want to make one another feel good. It's never supposed to hurt or make you feel bad. A lot of gay men do put their penises in their partner's mouth or butt, but they do it because the partner wants them to. And it feels really good for both of them when they do it."
"Do you and Rick do that?"
"Yes, we do, Bri," I said. "But we do it as a way of communicating our love for one another. Rick would never do anything to hurt me, and I would never do anything to hurt him. The same with Tim and Kyle, and Justin and his boyfriend."
"Justin has a boyfriend?"
"Yes. His name is Jason, and he's a really nice boy, too. Just like the others."
"Where does he live," Brian asked.
"He lives in town, but he goes to the same high school you'll be going to. I'm sure you'll meet him soon. He comes over here a lot. All the boys do."
"Do they get picked on at school," he asked.
"No, but they're careful about who they tell that they're gay. Some of their friends know they're gay, but I don't think it's common knowledge. They'll watch out for you, though. They have two friends who are effeminate, and I think they get made fun of sometimes. Nobody ever tries to hurt them, though, as far as I know. The principal has a gay son, and the school is pretty tolerant."
"She does. The principal's a lady. Mrs. Ortega. I met her last year. We'll probably meet her today. Let's talk some more later, okay? Maybe when Rick gets home?"
"Okay. I've never known anybody else before who was gay . I've never talked about this to anyone. I've known I was gay for a few years, but I never told anybody until after my step-dad caught me that time."
"Well, you can talk about it all you want to here, and you can ask any questions you want to, also. You don't have to hide who you are here. You can totally be yourself," I said. "We all understand and accept who you are because that's the way we are, too."
He smiled at me when I said that.
"Now, go ahead and get your shower. Come on, I'll show you where we keep the towels. There's shampoo in there. Do you shave?"
He smiled as though to ask if I was crazy.
"You really need to, Bri," I said.
"You think so?" He beamed when he asked that question.
"Yes, I do. Rick has an electric shaver you can use after your shower. I'll show you how to do it. I need to shave myself, so I'll demonstrate."
"Wow," he said.
"Let's find you some underwear."
I didn't want to root through anybody's dresser drawers, but there were some of Tim's clothes still in the laundry room. I had washed them for him, but they weren't folded yet. I found a pair of his briefs and gave them to Brian. I started the washer so the water pressure wouldn't drop while he was in the shower.
"Those belong to Tim. They should fit you okay. Put your dirty clothes in the hall so I can get them started," I said.
He went into the bathroom and closed the door. A minute later a hand came out, and he dropped his clothes on the floor. I picked them up and went through the pockets. He had a wallet, but that was the only thing in his shorts. I started to see what he had in it, but I caught myself before I did.
It didn't take Brian long to get his shower. He came out into the den in just his briefs, so I got a chance to see how he was built. He wasn't big, but he was definitely solid. He had no fat on him at all, that I could tell. The bulge in his crotch suggested that he was well along into puberty. He also had hair under his arms, but there wasn't any anyplace else.
"Are you ready to shave," I asked.
"Yeah. This is really neat. My first shave. The first for a lot of things today, Kevin. Thank you for being nice to me." He smiled his bright, clear smile, and it went right to my heart.
I got Rick's shaver and some pre-shave lotion.
"First, you put this on," I said, putting some of the pre-shave on my face. I handed the bottle to him, and he did the same.
"Then you just run it around, like this," I said, demonstrating how to use the shaver. I looked at myself in the mirror as I shaved. Rick and I were both wet-shave men, and I really didn't feel clean after an electric shave. I didn't think Brian needed to start scraping his face just yet, though. Tim, Kyle, and Justin all wet-shaved. Maybe they can teach Brian how to do it, I thought.
After I finished, I handed the shaver to him. He turned it on and did exactly what I had done. It isn't brain surgery, after all, I reminded myself. As he was shaving, Brian got an erection. Those happened around our house all the time, of course, and I was sure that doing something as manly as shaving for the first time was getting to him. When he finished, I pointed out a place on his chin he had missed. The hair was very soft and light in color, but it definitely needed cleaning up.
When he was finished, he turned to me and smiled his wonderful smile.
"Looking good, dude," I said. I rubbed the back of my hand against the line of his jaw. "As smooth as a baby's behind. You need to do that at least once a week for now, okay?"
"Okay," he said. He reached his hand down to his crotch to adjust his briefs, and it was as though he discovered his erection for the first time. He turned bright red and turned away from me. I put my hands on his shoulders and turned him back to face me.
"Hey, Brian. It's okay, man. You're living in the hard-on capital of America in this house. It happens around here all the time. When it happens in the den or somewhere, we just ignore it till it goes down. Justin was just teasing last night when he said hard-ons aren't allow here. Okay? We all know nobody can help getting them."
"Okay," he mumbled. "It's embarrassing, though."
"I know. Why don't you go on into your room till it's gone, if you're embarrassed, okay? That's what Rick and I do."
"Okay. What do the other boys do?"
"Sometimes they go in their rooms, but sometimes they just wait it out in front of everybody. They don't embarrass easily. We never play with them in public, though, okay? Or with our nipples, either."
"With your nipples?"
"Yeah. A lot of guys have sexually sensitive nipples. It's a sexual turn-on for them to be rubbed or played with."
He blushed again.
"Thanks," he said. "I don't know if mine are or not."
"Well, I don't exactly know what to say," I said.
"Okay," he said, and he went into his room.
I went into my bathroom and put on aftershave. It didn't tingle like it did after a blade shave. I had gotten dressed in jeans and a tee shirt after my shower that morning, so I put on something a little more professional looking. I didn't bother with a tie, though. One fringe benefit of working for Gene was that I could leave off the tie whenever I wanted to. I wore one most days, but that day I wasn't going to.
I put Brian's clothes in the dryer and poured myself another cup of coffee. I hadn't had a cigarette yet that morning, so I lit one up. He came in in a few minutes and sat at his place at the table.
"Do all of you guys smoke," he asked.
"Justin and I do. Rick doesn't any more. He used to, though. Does the smoke bother you?"
"No. Kyle smokes, too, doesn't he?"
"Yeah. Kyle and Jason both smoke. So do those two guys I was telling you about before. Chad and Gage. The effeminate ones. I guess quite a few of us do smoke. Do you?"
"I have a few times, but not usually. Does Tim smoke?"
"Occasionally, I think. Nobody really smokes a lot. I guess Jus is the heaviest smoker in the crowd, and he doesn't smoke a whole pack a day or anything like that." Pause. "What subjects were you taking in school in Tallahassee," I asked.
"Geometry, English, biology, and p.e.," he said.
"Just four subjects," I asked.
"Yeah. The school was on something called the block schedule. The classes were long, like an hour and a half."
"That's right," I said. "I remember now. That's what they do here, too. They'll probably have to call your old school for your records, but I'm sure you'll be able to start class tomorrow."
"Excuse me. I have to use the bathroom," Brian said.
"Sure. Go ahead."
"Do you mind if I take something to read?"
"Not at all. Take a magazine, if you want to," I said.
What a great kid, I thought. I was glad the abuse hadn't been any worse than it was, but I made a mental note to talk to Rick about counseling for him, anyway.
He came back into the den in about fifteen minutes, just as the dryer was announcing that his clothes were ready. I got up to get them for him. They were soft and very warm. He went into his room to get dressed, and he brought out the pair of briefs I had given him earlier. I showed him where the dirty clothes hamper was and told him to put his in there, too.
Our first stop was the school. I didn't bother to call ahead, but I remembered to take all of the foster care paperwork. The lady at the reception desk greeted me, and I told her I needed to register a new student. Before she could say anything, Principal Ortega came out from a room behind the desk. She looked at us with the half smile that was her normal facial expression.
"Hello. I know you. You're Tim Murphy's foster father, aren't you? It's...Ken?"
"Kevin. Kevin Foley," I said.
"Of course, Kevin. I'm Sally Ortega."
"Oh, I remember. You actually made quite an impression on me the last time I was here. Tim's back at home now, though. His dad is back from the Indian Ocean. I'm here with my newest foster son. This is Brian Mathews. He's a freshman."
"It's nice to meet you, Brian. Are you ready to start today?"
"I was thinking he could start tomorrow. He just came to us last night, and he doesn't have any clothes with him. We have to go shopping."
"I see. Let's go to guidance, Brian, to get you registered. Where were you in school before?"
He named a high school in Tallahassee.
"The principal of that school is a good friend of mine," Sally said. "In-state transfers are a piece of cake," she said to me.
I waited in a chair in the reception area. Sally came back through in a minute.
"Come on into my office so we can visit a bit," she said. I followed her. "So, tell me about that cutie you brought us, Kevin."
"Well, his placement with us in supposed to be temporary, but I know he'll end up staying with us as long as he needs to. He's from the Tampa area, but he was in foster care in Tallahassee until he ran away from there last week. Tyrone Williams called us for emergency placement, and, of course, we said 'yes.' He got along great with the other boys last night," I said.
"We have one other foster son, and of course Tim and Kyle Goodson are our honorary little brothers," I said.
"That's pretty remarkable. Most foster parents won't take adolescents," she said.
"Well, there's a hook. They're gay," I said. "Nobody really wants them but us."
She didn't say anything, but I could tell she had a million questions.
"I can tell you have questions, and that's okay, as long as you promise confidentiality," I said.
"Kevin, you have no idea how much confidential information I carry around in my head. Wild horses couldn't drag it out of me," she said. "Is your other foster son one of our students?"
"No. He goes to the adult school. We got him in June. We found him in a motel where Tim and Kyle were working. He was in shackles and was working as a prostitute for other men."
"Oh, dear God! How's he doing?"
"He's doing great. He has a boyfriend, and he's supposed to take the GED in January. Then he's going to the community college," I said.
"Any emotional scars," she asked.
"Oh, I'm sure there are many," I said. "Right now, though, he seems pretty happy and well adjusted. It has taken him a while to learn how gay men can live together in peace and love, but he's coming along."
"Don't you wish you could just strangle the guy who did that to him? I assume he had a pimp, or somebody like that," she said.
"He's in jail awaiting trial for the murder of an undercover police officer," I said. "He'll probably get the death penalty."
"Good. He deserves it for what he did to your son, if not for the murder. Tell me about Brian."
"He's from Tampa, as I said. His step-father kicked him out of the house when he found out that Brian is gay," I said.
"Goddamn it! Sorry, I don't usually talk in such an unprofessional manner, but it ticks me off when I hear about parents like that," she said.
"They put him in a foster home in Tallahassee because that family was willing to take a gay kid. It turns out, though, the foster father was sexually molesting him. That's why he ran away," I said.
"My God," she said, a tone of disgust in her voice. "Well, thank God he's got you and your partner to look after him and to set an example."
"We'll do the best we can. My partner is Rick Mashburn."
"Yes, of course. Rick. You two young men certainly have your work cut out for you. If I can help in any way, please don't hesitate to call on me," she said.
I took it that that was a signal that our visit was over.
"I have the foster parent papers here, if you need a photocopy," I said.
"You think of everything," she said. She called her secretary and asked me to follow her. I did, as she copied the papers.
"By the way, Rick and I have new jobs. Here are our cards." I gave her one of my cards and one of Rick's.
"Thank you. That's very helpful. Have a good day," she said.
"You, too," I said. We shook hands, and she left.
Brian was finished in guidance and waiting for me at the reception desk.
"Did you get it all squared away, buddy," I asked.
"Yeah. They have exactly the same courses here that they had at my old school," he said.
"That's probably what Mrs. Ortega meant when she said in-state transfers are a piece of cake," I said.
"Yeah. I guess." I could tell he was about as interested in the technicalities of running a school as I would have been at his age.
"We're going to go into town to do some shopping for you in a little while, but first I want to take you to where Rick and I both work. I want you to meet my boss. He's Kyle's daddy," I said.
We drove to the Goodson Building, and, if Brian was impressed, he didn't let on. We took the elevator up to the fifth floor, and I showed him my office.
"Damn, this is nice," he said. "Oh, I meant to say 'darn.'"
"You heard what Rick said last night about language, man. It's okay to say stuff like that. You can't do it in front of everybody, but you can us. I hadn't even noticed it until you called it to my attention."
"It's going to take me some time to get used to being able to be myself all the time," he said. "My mom and step-dad would have freaked, if they had heard that."
"Speaking of your mom, have you been in touch with her since you've been gone?"
He suddenly got the saddest look on his face I had ever seen, and tears came to his eyes.
"They don't want me anymore," he said, his voice thick with emotion.
"What happened? Did you try to call them," I asked.
"I talked to her, and that's what she said. She said I had been an accident anyway and that they were better off not even knowing me." By then he was weeping. I had a box of tissue in a desk drawer, and I took it out for him to use.
"Come here," I said. He got up and walked over to me. I grabbed him a tight hug. "We want you, and don't ever forget that. We want you a lot. We're going to turn this sad boy into a happy boy."
"I don't know if I'll ever be a happy boy," he said. He had begun to calm down.
"Oh, yes you will be. Your brothers and Rick and I will see to that, little man. You're already fitting in with them and with us. It'll take a while, but you'll be happy. I promise you that."
"I hope so," he said.
"I know so. Let's get you washed up." I had a full bathroom off my office, so I took him in there. He washed his face in the sink.
"This is nicer than my house in Tampa," he said. "Do you live here?"
"You know where I live. I live at home with you and Rick and Justin. I probably could live here, though. It's nice enough, isn't it?"
"Yeah. Do you ever cook in that little kitchen," he asked.
"I make microwave popcorn sometimes, but that's all. Let's go see if we can find Rick," I said.
We walked down the hall to his suite of offices. He was on the phone when we got there, and his secretary told us he would be just a minute.
"Cheryl, this is our newest son. His name is Brian Mathews, and he was born last night," I said.
"Nice to meet you, Brian. I'm Cheryl Meyers. Rick's already told me about you, so welcome to the family."
"Thanks," he said.
"Who's he talking to," I asked.
"Actually, he's talking to your brother. You can go in, if you want to," Cheryl said. "I just wanted to visit with Brian a few minutes."
"We'll see you later, okay," I said to her. Brian walked into Rick's office ahead of me, and Cheryl gave me the okay sign and a big wink. I grinned and nodded.
"He just walked in, Craig," Rick said. He switched to the speaker phone.
"Tell him hi for me," Craig said.
"Hi, big brother," I said.
"Hi, Shithead," Craig said. "I hear you and the Ironman got you another one."
"Yeah, and he's right here in the room, listening to everything you're saying," I said.
"Hi, littlest brother. I'm Craig, Kevin's older and much cuter brother. Welcome to the family, man."
"Hi," Brian said. "Nice to meet you." He seemed a little shy, all of a sudden.
"How old are you, Brian? You sound like a man, dude," Craig said.
"I'm fourteen. I just have a deep voice. I'm still a boy."
"He's a good boy, too, Craig. You'll like him," I said.
"Well, when am I going to meet him, and Justin, too, for that matter? And Tim and Kyle? Y'all get in that new-ass car of Rick's and get over here."
"We've got responsibilities. Besides, y'all are coming for Thanksgiving, aren't you? That's only three weeks. The last time I talked to Mom and Dad, they said everybody is all set," I said.
"Hell, yeah, we're coming. Cherie says she needs some of that Emerald Coast sunshine," he said.
"Has it been bad weather there," I asked. I used to keep up with the weather in New Orleans, knowing that their weather today would be our weather tomorrow or the day after, but I hadn't checked lately.
"No, it's been all right. Hot as hell, though," he said.
"We went up to the cabin for a long weekend this past weekend," I said. "It was crisp, to say the least."
"I know, you dog. Rick told me about it."
"How long have y'all been on the phone," I asked.
"About forty-five minutes, and I've got to get off. I've got to be in court in a half hour. I love you, all my brothers. Take care of each other."
"We love you too," Rick and I said in unison.
"You take care of our sister, too, you hear," I said.
"Don't you worry a second about that. Well, listen, I really do have to run. Bye."
"Bye, Craig," Rick and I again said in unison. Then we hung up.
"Let's go look at the car," Rick said, as soon as the connection was broken.
"Did you buy it already," I asked.
"Yep. I took the first eight-seater I saw. You're going to like it, too. How has your day been, Brian?"
"It's been real good so far," he said.
"Look at me," Rick said. We were already walking toward the elevator. "Let me see something. What'd you do to your face?"
"I shaved," Brian said, grinning proudly.
"First time," Rick asked.
Brian grinned some more and nodded.
"Did you get a hard-on," Rick asked.
"God, why did you ask him that," I demanded.
"Because I got hard every time I shaved for the first two or three years I did it. It was something about being a man, I guess," he said.
"I did get one," Brian said, shyly.
"Good for you, buddy," Rick said. "See?"
"He did," Brian said, and then he blushed.
"Well, he gets 'em all the time, too. Don't think he don't. He gets one every time he comes within ten feet of me. 'Course, you can't notice 'em. Size problems, you know?"
"You asshole," I said, laughing. "He's lying, of course. About not being able to see them, I mean."
Brian laughed hard at that line.
Out in the parking lot, Rick showed us his new car. It was a full-size Bronco, and it was beautiful. He demonstrated all of the things he could do from a distance with the little thing on his key ring, and I was impressed. I could lock the doors and open the trunk on my car with mine, but he could do a lot more.
"Y'all want to go for a ride," he asked.
"Well, you know I do," I said.
"The kids are getting out for lunch right now. Let's go to the place where they eat and surprise them," he said.
"Let's do it," I said.
We piled into the car, and it was a beauty. Everybody always loves "new car" scent, and that baby reeked of it.
"Oh, Babe, I don't want anybody smoking in the car, okay," he asked.
"Oh, yeah? Who do you think is going to ride with you, then," I asked.
"Oh. Good point. Never mind."
I didn't smoke in the car on that short trip, but I knew I would in the future.
We got to the hotel that had the great buffet that the boys ate every school day for lunch just as they were pulling into the parking lot. It was Kyle, Tim, Jason, Chad, and Gage, all squeezed into Kyle's car. They parked, and Rick pulled in right next to them. They didn't recognize the car, of course, so they didn't really pay it any mind. Tim got out of the shotgun seat just as Rick got out on his side.
"Oh, excuse me, Tim," Rick said, as he shoved Tim backward a little.
"That's okay. It was my fault." Tim still didn't realize who it was.
When Kyle had realized it was us, he jumped out of his side of the car and ran around the back of his.
"Goddamn! What the fuck is this? Did you rent this thing," he asked excitedly.
"What the fuck this is is my new car. I bought it this morning," Rick said.
"No shit! This is fucking gorgeous," Kyle said. It had been a while since I had seen him that excited.
"Thanks. You're gonna piss yourself, if you don't calm down," Rick said.
"Oh, yeah. I do have to go really bad, too. Can we take the afternoon off and break it in?"
"Absolutely not. Now get your ass inside and piss, so we can eat," Rick said.
Kyle kind of scampered into the motel ahead of everyone else. I figured he really did have to go pretty bad.
As we were walking in, I said, "Guys, this is Brian Mathews. He's our new foster son. Tell him your names."
They introduced themselves, and they all shook hands. It turned out they all knew who Brian was from what Tim and Kyle had told them about him, and they all acted like they had known him all his life.
"Did you get registered, Bri," Tim asked.
"Yeah. I start tomorrow," he said.
"What's your schedule," Chad asked. He was a freshman, too, so he probably hoped Brian would be in some of his classes.
Brian pulled a piece of paper out of his back pocket. "First is English. Second is biology."
"Who with," Chad asked.
"Redfern? Do you know her?"
"Him. It's Mister Redfern, and I'm in that class," Chad said, beaming. "What else?"
"Third I have p.e.," he said.
"Satterwhite," Gage asked.
"Are you in there," Brian asked.
"Yesssss. Oh my God, it's hell. You'll hate it," Gage said. "There are absolutely no cute boys, except you, of course, and he always makes me play skins. May God condemn him to hell for all eternity for what he's doing to me."
"Has he been messing with you, buddy," Rick asked, concern in his voice.
"I wish! But do you have any idea what I look like with my shirt off, in shorts?"
Gage was extremely thin. We hadn't been around him very much, and he had never been to any of the pool parties at Kyle's house. I had a mental image of Gage in shorts and no shirt, and it wasn't very attractive.
Kyle joined us in the lobby, just as Gage had made his last pronouncement.
"You are such a drama queen," Kyle said.
"I know, and here I am without my tiara," Gage said. Everybody laughed.
We sat down, ordered quickly, and filled our plates at the buffet line. On the basis of the amount of food the boys had on their plates, I fully expected to read about that place going belly up the next morning in the newspaper. Even Gage, who truly was as thin as a rail, had a huge pile of food.
"We didn't finish your schedule. What do you have fourth period," Tim asked.
"Geometry with Lawley," Brian said.
"Oh, cool. I'm in that class. Lawley's gay, by the way," Tim said.
"How do you know that," I asked.
"I have him for trig. He is," Jason said.
"Cool. Is he hard," Brian asked innocently.
The boys all looked at each other with evil grins. Nobody said anything. Poor Brian, I thought. He was truly Daniel in the lion's den, with that group.
Brian looked at them. "'Cause if he ain't, I'll make him hard," he said completely deadpan.
The seven of us laughed so loudly at that line that I thought they would throw us out. The place was filled with kids from the high school, and they all got quiet and looked at us, wishing they could be in on the hilarity.
"You got them good, little brother," Rick said.
"But, did I get them last," he asked, echoing me from the night before.
"Yeah, you did, Bri," Kyle said. "You're all right, man. You're going to fit right in. I can see that."
Brian beamed when Kyle said that.
The rest of the meal was given over to talk about our weekend, about the new car, and about things that had happened that morning in school.
Walking out of the place, Kyle said to Rick, "Can I drive it back to school? Please?"
Rick nodded, and Kyle's face got a mile wide. They swapped keys.
Tim and Jason wanted to ride in the new car, and they pulled Brian in with them. Chad and Gage got into Kyle's car with us.
"I have to have a new notebook for next period, otherwise I'm in trouble," Chad said. "Would you mind going up a couple of blocks to that convenience store that's there. I know they sell them."
"Do we have time," I asked.
"Yes, we have plenty of time," Chad said.
Rick turned in the direction of the store. He pulled in, and Chad got out. The rest of us stayed where we were.
"I want to thank you for accepting me," Gage said, as soon as Chad was out of the car.
"What the hell are you talking about," Rick asked.
"You know," he said. "I'm so different from you. You all just make me feel so good. Like you don't care that I'm a flamer, and it makes me feel so good to be with you."
"Shit, we don't care. You're our friend. We don't disrespect our friends," Rick said.
"I know, and that's what's so great. I have to shut up now, or I'll start crying. Thank you."
Chad came out of the store just then with notebook in hand. Rick hauled ass back to the school, and he did a squeal going into the parking lot. A bunch of heads popped up to see who it was. Several carloads applauded.
"You are such a kid," Kyle said.
"I know. That's why you love me," Rick said.
"That ain't why I love you, you asshole, and you know it. Now get out of here before they arrest your ass for trespassing" Little Rick said.
"Okay, Bubba. Watch this." He got into the car very calmly. Then he gunned it and pealed out of the parking lot. A few kids cheered as we left.
Rick gave me a key and one of those electronic gadgets to his new car when we got back to the Goodson Building. I put them on my key ring and took off the old key. We started getting out of the car.
"Take it, Babe, so you know what it feels like to drive it," he said.
"Okay," I said, and we took the new car.
Brian and I went shopping after that. We went to Structure, The Gap, and a few other stores to get him squared away. It was fun picking out stuff with him, and, as it turned out, he had pretty much the same taste in clothing as Tim and Kyle. He said "thank you" after every purchase, and I liked that.
"Is Rick your boss," Brian asked as we were getting into the Bronco to go home.
"No. Why did you ask that?"
"You said you wanted me to meet your boss. You said he was Kyle's dad."
"Shit, I forgot all about Gene," I said. "We still have time."
We hauled it back to the Goodson Building, and we got there around 4:30. We took the elevator up to the sixth floor. We hustled down the hall to Gene's office. When we walked in, Amy, his secretary said, "Well, it's about damn time y'all got here. He's been dying all day to meet Brian. Hi, Brian. I'm Amy. You ever need anything, you call me." She handed him her card from the card holder on her desk. "I mean it. Anything."
"She means it, Brian," I said.
We walked into Gene's office.
"Where the hell have y'all been, Kevin," he asked. "I've been waiting to meet him all day."
"I'm sorry. We came here this morning to meet you, but Rick bought a new car today, and that kind of distracted us. Then we had lunch with the boys, and then Brian and I went shopping."
"You know I'm just gnawing at your ass, buddy," Gene said. Then he extended his hand to Brian. "Hi, I'm Gene Goodson. I'm Kyle's daddy."
"Hi, I'm Brian Mathews. I know Kyle. I think he's my friend," Brian said.
"Kyle ain't your friend. He's your brother, son," Gene said. "I've talked to him on the phone three times today, and every time he wanted to know if I had met you yet. He's pretty excited about Rick's new car, too. Evidently, Rick let him drive it back to school."
"Yeah, he did. And Rick took off about three months worth of rubber when he pulled out," I said.
"I used to do that, too," Gene said. "Brian, Kyle doesn't ever call me on my cell phone. I didn't know he even knew that number, but he called me three times today to see if I had met you yet. You must have made a hell of an impression on him, boy."
"I hope so," Brian said, as he looked at his shoes. "Kyle and Tim and Justin are the nicest boys I've ever met in my life."
"They are the best, no question about that," Gene said.
"Gene, I know it's getting late. We won't keep you any longer," I said.
"Yeah, I gotta get, too. I reckon Kyle's gonna want to spend the night at your house, Kevin. Since Clay, Rita and I haven't been the same, you know?"
"Yeah, I know. Rick and I have your back with Kyle."
"I know, and thank you so much for that."