Kyle, Part 2

Chapter 1

I went up to the second floor of our new house the Monday morning after the Thanksgiving weekend to make sure Justin and Brian were up, and their rooms were empty.  That was really strange to me, since they hadn't asked for permission to spend the night somewhere else.  It was early, but they had to get up to go to work and to school.  Tim and Kyle, who were often at our house, had spent the night at Tim's house.  George Murphy, Tim's dad, had wanted to spend time with them alone, so Tim and Kyle had spent the night at George's house.

Then I remembered the third floor.  Jus and Bri had moved up there to accommodate my family for the holiday weekend.  I had assumed they had moved back to their own rooms, but maybe they hadn't.

I went up to the third floor, and all the doors were closed.  I really didn't know which room they might be in.  I knocked on the door of the first of the two bedrooms, and there was no response.  I tried the second door.

"Who is it," Justin said.

"It's me, Bubba.  Get up.  Is Brian in there with you?"

"Yeah.  Come on in," he said.

I didn't really want to go in there.  There wasn't a whole lot of time to spare in the morning, and Rick would have breakfast on the table in fifteen minutes.

"Come in, Kevin," Justin said insistently.

I opened the door.  They were both in bed.  Brian was covered up to his neck, but Jus was sitting up, naked and uncovered.

"What's up, guys," I asked.

"Brian and I have been sleeping together," Jus said.  Brian looked a little embarrassed, but it didn't seem to bother Jus.

"I know."

"Is it okay," Jus asked.

"You know the rules about sex in this house, Jus," I said.

"Yes, sir, I do," he said.  "And I've never broken one of them.  I swear to God."

"I believe you, son," I said.

"Does that mean it's okay," Brian asked.

"As long as neither one of you ever does anything the other one doesn't want to do, and as long as you keep sex private, it's okay," I said.  "I take it you broke up with Jason."

"Well, he actually broke up with me.  Saturday afternoon, right at the start of the party.  We're still going to be friends, though," Jus said.

"Well, that worked out pretty well, didn't it," I said.

"It worked out great.  Brian and I are boyfriends now," Justin said.

"Congratulations.  You're lucky to have one another," I said.  "When do you have to go back to the doctor," I asked.

"I don't have to.  I went last week.  I'm clean.  Three tests, and he said I didn't have to come back."

"Did you talk to him about using condoms," I asked.

"Yeah.  He said it was a good idea to keep using them.  He said that if I got myself into a relationship like you and Rick, or Tim and Kyle, I wouldn't have to use them, but he still said it was a good idea.  But we ain't going to do what I need to use them for."

"A lot of gay couples never have anal sex, so that's not unusual.  Then again, you might want to some day.  That's your responsibility, Jus."  I really didn't know how far to push it.  Justin had, after all, been the one who initiated the HIV screening when he first met Jason, so I knew he was aware of HIV and other diseases and the need to protect against them.  


I could tell Justin wanted to say something that was difficult for him.

"What, Bubba?"

"Jason and I only did it once.  He wanted to see what it was like for me to be in him.  I don't like doing it.  Even thinking about it hurts my ass.  Please don't tell Kyle and Tim, okay?"

"It's nothing to be ashamed of," I said very gently.  "How do you feel about anal sex, Brian?"

"I don't want to do it, either.  At least, not the full thing, you know?  Not if Justin doesn't want to."

"Like I said, boys, some couples live long and happy lives together without having anal intercourse.  Rick and I didn't do it for a long time, and we don't do it very often now.  It's loving each other, caring about each other, making each other feel good by sharing yourself with the other one that's important.  There are tons of things you can do sexually to share yourself with each other."

"You're not going to tell Tim and Kyle, are you," Justin asked.

"Of course not, Bubba, but I'm sure they wouldn't care.  They're your brothers, boys.  They love you two."

"I know, but I know they do it."

"Look, just like I'm not going to talk to them about your sex life, let's don't talk about theirs, okay?  Now you guys need to get up.  It's getting late," I said.

"We already took our showers.  We just need to get dressed," Brian said.

"Okay, well, let's get going."


"Yes, Jus," I said.  I was starting to get a little impatient.

"Thanks for talking to us.  I love you."

My heart melted.  "You're welcome, Bubba.  And I love you, too."

I had just enough time to tell Rick about our talk before they came into the breakfast room.  

"Unbelievable," was all he said.


We had been able to get the house presentable for my family for Thanksgiving, but there was still a lot that had to be done before it was "finished."  Rick and I had an appointment with the curtain lady that first Monday afternoon after Thanksgiving.  She came with a huge assortment of samples and with a young male assistant who did the measuring.  The boy was probably twenty or so, and he was pretty good looking.  He wasn't effeminate, but my gaydar, which I had finally begun to develop, was buzzing.

The lady was all business.  After we had picked out the curtain material we liked, she said she could have the first-floor rooms done by February 1st.  The rest would take longer.  We had bought some cheap, make-do curtains for the living room and dining room in preparation for Thanksgiving.  We had blinds in our bedroom and sitting room, which had come with the house, and the downstairs bathrooms were taken care of, too.  Her timeline would have to do.  

We agreed to the price, which was really a lot more than I thought it would be, and she said she'd have a contract to us in a day or two.  Rick and I shook hands with her and with her assistant, and they were gone.

"Goddamn!  Did you think it was going to be that much," Rick asked me as soon as they were gone.

"I had figured five thousand bucks, not eight thousand," I said.  "It'll look great, though."

"Oh, I know.  I just don't ever really notice curtains, I guess.  I will from now on, though; that's for damn sure."

"I know.  Me, too.  Babe, did you think that boy who was with her was gay?"

"I did, actually," he said.  "That's not really like me, either.  I've started doing that more and more lately."

"Yeah, so have I.  I guess we're getting sharper as we get older."

"We also know a lot more gay guys now, too.  That might have something to do with it," he said.

"True.  Would you like some coffee?"

"Yeah, that sounds good," Rick said.  We moved to the kitchen, and Rick made a pot of coffee.

While we were sitting at the breakfast room table having coffee, it occurred to me that Christmas was right around the corner.

"Now that Thanksgiving's behind us, we really ought to make some Christmas plans, don't you think," I asked.

"You're right.  What would you like for Christmas?"

"Just you," I said.

"No.  Come on Kevin.  Give me some help.  And God, what are we going to get the boys?  I know," he said, "we can give 'em each a carton of cigarettes and a pack of condoms.  That's what Jus said he got last Christmas, remember?"

"Yes, I remember that very well.  You teared up, as I recall," I said.

"I don't remember doing that, but I probably did."

"I've been thinking about this a little bit.  Seriously, you and I have absolutely everything we want, right?  Tim and Kyle do, too.  If they don't, they can just go to the warehouse and get it."

"I know.  That's quite an arrangement, isn't it?  How would you have liked to have had that set up when you were a kid?"

"I know.  But they don't abuse it.  In fact, Kyle has surprisingly little stuff for somebody with the kind of money the Goodsons have, don't you think?"

"Yeah.  Really, you're right.  And he really appreciates what people give him.  He loves that camera George gave him, and the cowboy boots and hat.  That really surprised me that he would like that stuff that much.  I think he's worn those boots every day since he got them," Rick said.

"He told me he likes it that they make him six feet tall," I said.  "That, plus the fact that Justin gave them to him."

"Justin and Jason," Rick said.

"No, it was just Justin.  Jason didn't contribute anything to that present, and Kyle knows it."

"That does put the boots into a different light," Rick said.

"Yeah.  And Justin loves the fact that Kyle loves the boots."

"Did Dave contribute to the hat, or was that all Brian's doing," he asked.

"Well, actually, Dave put up ten dollars, Brian put up twenty, and you and I put up a hundred and twenty," I said.

"Jesus Christ!  That damn hat cost a hundred and fifty bucks?"

"Yep, pardner, it did," I said in a fake cowboy accent.

"How much did the fucking boots cost," Rick asked.

"Three fifty," I said.

"Holy shit!  I can't believe those prices.  Justin paid the full amount himself?"

"He sure did.  I offered to help him, but he didn't want me to," I said.

"How much do you think that boat cost," Rick asked.

"I would say, probably, $25,000.  There's a trailer, too.  He has to take his car in to have the trailer hitch installed."

"Wow!  I thought our gift was borderline extravagant, but I guess it wasn't, compared to all of that," Rick said.

"I knew he was going to get a lot of nice things.  And remember, the trip to New York is for Kyle and Tim."

"Well, they're worth it, and I'm just glad we had the money to do that.  But what about Christmas?"

"Here's what I've been thinking.  Let's get a pool table for the cabana.  It can be for all the boys, and, of course, us and our friends will enjoy it, too."

"That's a great idea.  I like that."  He was thinking.  "Hey, we can get us all matching shirts to have something to open Christmas morning.  What do you think?"

"Yeah.  Very good.  We can get a long-sleeve polo and a short-sleeve polo for everybody, and we can have them embroidered with something like 'Crew of The Clay.'"

"That is so cool, Babe.  I love that idea," Rick said.  "This is fun."

"Here's what else.  We tell the boys they can't give us anything."

"Absolutely.  There's too much difference between the haves and have-nots in that crowd.  Kyle's not going to like that, though."

"Right.  But what they can do, see, is contribute what they would spend on us to the Empty Stocking Fund.  That way, if Brian would spend ten dollars on each of us, he gives the Empty Stocking Fund twenty bucks.  If Kyle would spend two hundred, he gives four hundred, and nobody has to be embarrassed because his present wasn't as nice as somebody else's."

"And they need to do the same thing for each other, too.  I can see Kyle going hog-ass wild and buying Tim a fucking condo, or something," Rick said.

I laughed.

"Seriously, Babe.  Kyle could and would do that without blinking an eye if Tim wanted one.  I was in the accounting department today, and I was being nosey.  I took a look at his file.  He's a millionaire several times over, like ten million.  That's in trust.  But he could probably put his hands on a half million tomorrow morning in cash, if he wanted to.  The kid is rich!"

"Do you think he knows about all of that," I asked.  I hadn't known about my own much smaller trust until I turned twenty-one.

"Yeah, I actually think he does.  Probably not details and specifics, but his signature is all over the place.  On the early documents he just signed 'Kyle,' and somebody else wrote in his last name.  How cute is that?"

I laughed, and Rick laughed with me.

"He inherited all of Clay's money, too.  I'm telling you, that boy is rich.  In his own right.  There's no telling how much he'll eventually inherit from Gene and Rita."

"Well, it's a real tribute to them that he's not some stuck-up snob, don't you think," I asked.

"I can no more imagine Kyle being stuck up than I can imagine me being Pope," he said.

Another laugh.

"But we've got two sets of boyfriends here, remember?  They're going to want to give their boyfriends something," I said.

"And they can do that Christmas morning, but let's tell them it can't be more than fifty dollars.  And we live with that, too, for each other," he said.  "They can do the Empty Stocking Fund thing for non-boyfriends."

"Let's write this stuff down so we don't forget it."  I got a pad and a pen.

"Okay," Rick said.  "Pool table for all the boys and us.  Then two shirts for each of us, embroidered with 'Crew of The Clay.'"

"You know, the shirt idea can go a long way.  We're going to have to get something for all the friends.  Why not shirts?"

"Kevin, that's perfect, man.  Let's figure out how many we're going to need," Rick said.  

I got ready to write down names.

"Kevin, Rick, Tim, Kyle, Justin, Brian, Jeff, George, Terry, Monte, Philip, Ryan, Jerry, Pat, Sam, Fred, Chad, Gage, Gene, and Rita.  Who am I leaving out?"

I counted the names.  "That's twenty people.  Do you want to do the same thing with my parents and Craig and Cherie?"

"Definitely.  And my mom and her husband, too," Rick said.

"That's twenty-six people.  Let's order thirty.  We'll have a few extra, but you know somebody is going to lose a shirt somewhere along the line," I said.

"What color should we get," Rick asked.

I knew he was going to order them, so we needed to work that out.

"What colors are on the boat," I asked.

"It's white, with maroon trim.  Do you like white shirts with maroon writing, or maroon shirts with white writing?"

"Let's do both.  White short-sleeve shirts, maroon long-sleeve shirts," I said.

"Perfect," he said.  "I love it.  Extra-large for the men, medium for the women?"

"Yep.  That's it," I said.

"That was pretty easy.  I'll order the shirts tomorrow morning.  And I'll order the pool table, too."

"Let me order the pool table through one of the hotels.  We can get a much better one that way," I said.

"Good thinking.  Make sure it's a big one, though, okay?"

"Oh, I know.  I'm going to call Gene and tell him what we're doing, just to make sure it's okay to use business accounts to order this stuff."

"Yeah, do that," Rick said.

Gene was still at the office when I called.  I explained to him what we were thinking, and he thought it was a terrific idea.

"Isn't there an exercise room in that cabana," Gene asked.

"Yeah.  It's a nice one, too," I said.  "It's pretty big."

"I thought I remembered that there was.  Is there any equipment in it," Gene asked.

"Not yet," I said.

"Rita and I are going to fill that room as our Christmas gift to y'all and the boys," he said.

"Gene, you don't have to do that," I said.

"I know it.  And y'all don't have to buy 'em a pool table, either.  But we both want to, don't we," he said.

"Yeah, I guess we do."

"I'd love to be there Christmas morning when y'all take 'em out there to see all that stuff," he said.

"Why don't you and Rita spend Christmas Eve night with us?  And Christmas Day, too," I said.

"God, I was hoping you'd say that.  Thank you.  Rita and I want to be with Kyle and Tim and Jeff so bad, but I know they'll want to be with you all.  I've been thinking about Christmas morning a while, and this is the perfect solution.  George and I had lunch together today, and we talked about Christmas.  We both said we hoped you would invite us," Gene said.

"Hell, you should have said something, man," I said.

"I would have, if you hadn't brought it up."

He and I both laughed.

"This is going to be a real family Christmas with the whole family," I said.

"Well, almost," he said.  There was sadness in his voice, and I suddenly felt like a fool.

"Gene, I'm so sorry, I ...."

"Forget about it, Kevin.  It was just a slip of the tongue," Gene said.

"How are you and Rita going to do," I asked.

"Being there with y'all will make it possible, I think.  Otherwise, I didn't know," he said.

"Well, it's all set now, right?"

"Right, Kevin.  So right," Gene said.

"Gene, Rick and I need to go to New Orleans a few days before Christmas.  We've always done that.  My parents have a big party on December 23rd, and we need to be there for that.  We'd like to take the boys."


"And is that okay with you and Rita?"

"God, almighty, Kevin.  You know it's okay."

"I thought it would be, but I just wanted to check, you know?"

"When are y'all going to leave?"

"Well, they have a half day on December 19th.  We thought we could leave right after they got out of school.  Jeff will be here by then.  In fact, he's coming home week after next."

"God, that sounds great.  I wish Rita and I could go, too," Gene said.

"You can, Gene.  Why can't you," I asked.

"Because we weren't invited," he said.

"Well, you are now.  You and Rita better be there, man.  I'm calling my parents as soon as we hang up."

"Thank you, Kevin.  I was worried about how we were going to make it through the holidays, but now I see how.  Y'all are going to keep us busy, and God knows we need that."  Pause.  "Oh, did you know George has a date tonight?"

"A date?  George?"

"Yes, sir.  She's a beautiful lady, too.  An orthodontist.  They'll probably talk about teeth all night."

I laughed.

"Gene, how did you find that out," I asked.

"I'm George's best friend, Kevin.  That's how.  He's mine, too.  We see each other or talk every day."

"I knew you guys were friends, but I didn't know you were that close," I said.

"Oh, yeah.  We are.  He's gotten me through many a hard day since Clay died.  He talked to Father Jerry today, too, and Jerry told him his annulment from his first marriage should be a piece of cake.  I don't really understand all that Catholic mumbo-jumbo, but George was happy with it."

"I understand it, Gene, and I'm happy for George.  Tim was his life, you know, but now Tim has somebody else," I said.

Gene laughed.  "Yeah, and Tim's got the best one, too."

"Absolutely.  No question about that, Gene.  No question at all."

We said good night after a few more pleasantries, and we hung up.  

"Did you listen to what I was saying," I asked Rick after I hung up.

"Yeah.  Man, I'm so glad you thought fast.  Since we really didn't know Clay all that well, I don't think about him very much.  I've got to learn to be more sensitive about things like that," Rick said.

"Well, thank God it came up.  I felt like shit for not remembering Clay when I said it would be a Christmas with the whole family."

"Yeah, but you're not shit.  That was just a brain fart.  Hell, I wouldn't have thought of him, either," my partner said.

"Well, let me call my parents."

I called my parents and told them I would like to bring the five boys, plus Gene and Rita, to their house for Christmas.

"How many people are we talking about, exactly," my mom asked.

"Well, nine, actually," I said.

"Hmmmm.  Let me think.  You and Rick, that's one room.  Craig and Cherie, that's two.  Rita and Gene, that's three.  Five boys in two rooms?  Will that work?"

"Wait a minute," my dad said.  "You forgot George."

"The five boys will do fine in two rooms," I said.  "Can't Craig and Cherie go home?  Why do they have to spend the night?"

"You're right, Kevin.  They don't have to.  In fact, I'm sure they would prefer not to," my dad said.  He was looking out for his buddy, George.

"Rick and I will drive them home so they won't have to worry about drinking," I said.

"That'll work nicely," Mom said.  

After some small talk, we said goodbye. 

"Well, that's all set," I said to Rick.  "I volunteered you to drive Craig and Cherie home after the party so they won't take up a bedroom.  I forgot about George until my dad brought him up."

"Duh!  Me, too.  You know what?  We can't give the New Orleans crowd shirts.  Everybody will see them, and that'll spoil the surprise Christmas morning," he said.

"Good thinking.  Let's forget about shirts for them.  What do you think about the Empty Stocking Fund idea for them, too?"

"Oh, that's too good not to explore.  Call Craig and see what he thinks about it."

I dialed Craig's office number, but his secretary said he was already gone for the day.  Then I dialed their home number, and Cherie answered.

"Hi, sweetheart," I said, right after she answered.

"Hi.  We were going to call you guys later.  Is Rick there?  Put the call on speaker, if he is."

I activated the speaker.

"Hi, Cherie," Rick said.

"Hi, Rick.  Guys, your ears must have burned like fire all day Sunday.  We talked about you nonstop all the way home.  It was the best holiday weekend any of us ever had.  Thank you so much."

"It was good, wasn't it," I said.

"It was the best.  Your brother has not shut up one minute about those kids.  It wouldn't surprise me if y'all turned up uncles pretty soon," she said.

"Well, that would just be the best," I said.

"You've got our support, for sure, sister," Rick said.

"We've been making Christmas plans.  Is Craig there?"

"He just opened the back door.  Let me turn the speaker on."

We could hear him kissing her hello.

"Guys, what a weekend!  That was the best Thanksgiving I ever had in my life.  Probably the best holiday of any kind.  Thanks for everything, fellas."

"We had a great time, too, Bubba," Rick said.  "We're making Christmas plans, and we want to run something by the two of you."

I explained our idea about donating to a charity instead of spending money on one another, and they loved the idea.

"I have relatives who have done that for years, Kev," Cherie said.  "I know your parents will go along with it.  Do you want me to talk to them?"

"Yeah, if you would," I said.  "We just got off the phone with them, but we didn't think of it while we still had them."  I told them about our plans for the party trip and about what we had decided to do with our family.  

"When we were there I thought you guys needed a pool table," Craig said.  "And a basketball goal, too."

"We didn't really have room for a pool table in the other house, but we've got room now.  I hadn't thought about a basketball goal, but that's a good idea."

"I know just where we can put the basketball goal, too, so we'll be able to use it during pool parties," Rick said.

"Well, we'll let y'all get busy with dinner," Cherie said.  "Thanks again, guys, for everything."

After a couple more pleasantries we hung up.

"I'm glad Craig mentioned the basketball goal," Rick said.  "We can add that in, can't we?  And a couple of basketballs?"

"Oh, of course," I said.

Then he said, "Where are the kids?"  It was four o'clock, and they weren't home yet.

"They had to stay after school for tryouts for the play.  Tim and Kyle both want to be in it, and I guess Brian stayed there with them."


Justin was the first one home.

"You're home early," I said after telling him hello.

"I don't have to go on Monday nights anymore.  I'm finished all my math," he said.

"How can you be finished math?  The semester isn't over yet," Rick said.

"I know, but we do it individually, on the computers.  I'm finished everything but American history, in fact," he said.

Justin pulled at his crotch, and I saw that there was a much bigger bulge there than usual.

"What's the matter," Rick asked him to tease him.

"It's been like this all day.  My underwear is soaked," he said.

"What?  You got a little leak going on there, buddy," Rick asked.

"I've been thinking about Brian all day," he grinned bashfully.

"That's cute, Jus," Rick said.

"Are you making fun of me?  You are, aren't you?"

"No, I do think it's cute.  I think about Kevin, too, you know.  I leak pre-cum sometimes.  Sit down and talk to us, man.  We don't get much time with just you."

He sat down, and I could tell he really liked having our undivided attention.

"Where is Brian, anyway," Jus asked.

"Tim and Kyle had to stay after school to try out for a play.  Brian must have stayed with them," I said.

"Oh, yeah.  That's right.  He wants to be in the play, too," he said.  "Kevin, did you tell him what we talked about this morning?"

"Yeah.  Before you came downstairs this morning, in fact," I said.

"I changed my mind.  You can tell Tim and Kyle, if it ever comes up.  I don't care," Jus said.

"Okay, Jus, but we really don't talk to them about your sex life, any more than we talk to you about theirs," I said.

"Okay.  I talked to Jason today.  He told me he's going to miss you guys.  I told him he was still my friend and that he was welcome here.  Did I do the right thing?"

"Of course you did.  He better get his scrawny ass around here to see us," Rick said.

"Well, he's got a new boy, you know?"

"Are you surprised," I asked.

"No.  I figured that was what his wanting to break up was all about.  Besides, I got me a new one, too.  Brian's something, isn't he?  He's so gentle and nice.  And I think he's beautiful.  Do y'all?"

"Yeah, he is beautiful, Jus, but so are you," Rick said.

"Get out of here, Rick.  Don't try to bullshit a bullshitter," Jus said.

"I'm serious, Justin.  I'm not teasing you.  You were great this weekend.  You pitched in without having to be asked, you were funny, you talked to everybody, you were just perfect.  To me, that's beautiful."

"To me, too, Jus," I said.

"Well, it's all thanks to you guys, that's for sure.  Y'all remember what a prick I was at first?"

"We figured you were just scared," Rick said.

"I can't even tell you how scared I was at first.  Rick, all my life I was dirt poor.  I mean dirt poor.  I didn't have anything.  Then to come here with all of this.  I was scared to death I'd break something, or something would go missing and y'all would think I had stolen it.  My table manners were shit.  The words 'please' and 'thank you' weren't even in my vocabulary.  Y'all never made fun of me or mocked me or got down on my case.  Now I know y'all love me."

"Do you remember when the turning point was?  When you realized we really were serious about you," I asked.

"Yes, sir.  I remember the exact second.  It hasn't been that long, either."

"Do you mind telling us when it was, Bubba," Rick asked.

"It was in North Carolina.  We were all in the hot tub the last night.  I asked if you thought I'd ever be able to go back there.  Rick, I think it was you who said it.  You said, 'You don't get it, do you?  You really are part of this family, and you'll always be welcome here and in our house at home.'  Those might not be the exact words, but that's pretty close."  

"It makes us feel so good to hear you say that, Jus," I said.

"It makes me feel pretty good to say it, too," he said.

"Justin, I just realized something.  We've been talking for thirty minutes, and you have not made a single grammar mistake.  Were you aware of that," I asked.

His grin covered his face, and I could tell he was delighted I had noticed that.

"I've been working on it," he said.  "I still say ain't and he don't and stuff like that when I talk to the other boys, but I don't want to sound like a dumbass hick.  Y'all don't talk like that on a regular basis."

"This is just another reason for us to be proud of you, man," Rick said.  "You didn't have to change like that, but you're going to find it will open more doors for you in the future."

"I know it.  Is there any coffee," he asked.

"Yeah, and it should still be pretty fresh.  Make another pot if it isn't, though," I said.

He got up and came back with his coffee in a few seconds.

"Kevin, your mom's the nicest lady I ever met in my life," he said.

"Thank you, Jus," I said.  "She was really taken with all five of you guys, but I think she was a little sweeter on you and Brian than on the others."

"Brian slipped and called her grandma a few times.  She really ate that up, too," he said.

"Oh, I'm sure she did.  We talked to Cherie a few minutes ago, and she said they talked about us all the way home.  She said Craig hasn't shut up about you guys for one minute since they've been home," I said.

"That Cherie is really something.  She's the second nicest lady I ever met.  Ole Jeff was wishing he was straight and she was single, too.  Hell, so was I, a little bit," he said.

"We haven't really talked to you much about being gay.  How do you feel about it," I asked.

Jus lit up a smoke to have with his coffee.

"I used to hate being gay.  There was never any doubt in my mind that I was, but in my head to me being gay meant being hurt.  That's another thing I learned from y'all.  Now, being gay just seems being normal.  I think that's why guys like Chad and Gage turn me off so much.  Don't get me wrong.  I like both of those boys, and I'd fight any son of a bitch who tried to do them wrong, but it just doesn't seem normal."

"We've talked about this before.  You can't help the way you feel, but you can help the way you treat them.  And you've treated them great.  And we're proud of you for that, too," I said.  "They really like you, Jus.  You're a pretty macho guy, and for you to like them and treat them nice has got to mean a lot to them."

"I like them, too," he said.  "I guess I've learned to be a little more tolerant.  And all that dancing?  Man that's the best.  We wouldn't be doing it without the two of them."

"Speaking of that makes me think of something Kevin and I were talking about before.  How did you know Kyle was going to love his boots as much as he does," Rick asked.

"I didn't know it.  I sort of took a chance.  He had admired my boots, of course, but he had never asked to borrow them or anything.  I figured they'd look good on him, so I went ahead and got them for him," Jus said.

"As far as I can tell, he's worn them every day since you gave them to him," Rick said.  "I think he'd even wear them to sleep, if Tim would let him."

Justin chuckled.

"He wears them more than I wear mine.  It really makes me happy that I could give him something he likes that much," he said.

"He and Tim really love you, you know," I said.

"I know, and I love them, too.  Sam was saying one time that we were the first friends that Chad ever had.  The fact of the matter is, y'all are the first friends that I've ever had, too.  And I don't even wear makeup."

That cracked us up, and we were still laughing as Tim, Kyle, and Brian came in.

"What's so funny," Kyle asked.

"You truly had to be there," I said.

Brian stood right behind Jus, and he put his hands on his shoulders.

"Kiss him hello, if you want to," Kyle said.  "I know you want to."

Brian smiled a cute, shy smile, and he leaned over and gave Jus a peck on the lips.

"Let's all get a snack and go in the den.  We have something to talk about," Rick said.

We ran out of leftovers from Thanksgiving on Saturday, so we all got regular food.  Rick got two apples and a banana, I got out some cheese and crackers for me and for anybody else who wanted some.  Kyle opened a can of chili for hotdogs for the boys.  We took our food to the den to talk about Christmas.