Kyle, Part 2

Chapter 2

When everybody was in place in the den with their snacks, I started the ball rolling.

"First, I want to say that you all were wonderful during the weekend.  My parents and Craig and Cherie just couldn't say enough about how much fun they had, how much they liked all of you, and everything.  Thank you for being great kids."

"We all had a great time, Kev," Kyle said.

"I know I did," Jus said.

"Me, too.  I even got me a boyfriend out of that weekend," Brian said.

"The two of you," Tim asked, surprised, pointing back and forth between Jus and Bri.

Justin and Brian grinned and nodded.

"That's what the kiss was all about," he said.  "How did you know, and why didn't you tell me," Tim demanded of Kyle.

"I didn't tell you because I thought you knew, Babe," Kyle said.  "I'm sorry."

"That's all right.  At least I know now.  Brian's a lot better than Jason," Tim said.

"I'm glad you're happy, Tim, but we're not going to trash Jason.  He's a very nice boy, and he's still our friend, even if he and Jus aren't dating anymore," Rick said.

"He wasn't going to trash Jason.  Don't pick on Tim," Kyle said.

Here we go, I thought.

"Two things, Kyle.  First, I knew you were going to say those exact words before they were out of your mouth, and I'm not picking on Tim.  Second, one day, if you decide to, you'll graduate from law school and be qualified to argue other people's cases for them."

"So I guess it's really me you're picking on," Kyle said with a grin.

"Yeah, right," Rick said.

"Nobody's picking on anybody.  The second thing I want to talk about, if I can get a word in between the two Ricks, is Justin.  Jus, give us a report on your progress in school."


"Tell them what you told Rick and me about math," I said.

"Oh.  Well, I'm just about finished with adult school," he said.  "I only have to go there a couple more times, and I'll be all done."

"Cool, bro," Kyle said.

Justin lapped up Kyle's approval.

"When do you take your test," Kyle asked.

"I'm supposed to take it January 8th," Jus said.  "If I pass it, I'll get my GED, and I'll be able to go to college."

"Will you be able to start college in January," I asked.

"No, sir.  Maybe I could start late or something, but I want to work full time until it starts when they go back to school.  I talked to my counselor about it, and she said she thought that was a good idea," he said.

"Well, that way, too, you might be able to pay off your truck," I said.

"I paid that off last month," he said quietly.

"You did?!  Man, that's wonderful.  Why didn't you tell us," Rick asked.

"I don't know.  It just never came up," he said.

"Well, that's reason number sixteen for us to be proud of you, Bubba," Rick said.

Everybody, led by Kyle, of course, applauded, and Justin turned beet red.

"Okay," I said, when everybody settled down, "the third thing we want us to talk about is Christmas.  It's only three weeks away, plus a little more.  Rick suggested we give each of you a carton of cigarettes and a pack of condoms.  Does that suit you," I asked.

Justin almost fell off the chair he was on, he was laughing so hard.  I explained to the others why he was laughing, and they laughed, too, but only out of politeness.

"No, here's what we have in mind, guys.  Rick and I want to get something sort of big for all of you.  All of us, really, and our friends, too.  That will be everybody's major gift.  Then, Rick and I are going to give each of you, and each other, too, the same gift.  It won't be terribly expensive, but it'll be something we can unwrap Christmas morning."

I paused for reactions, but there really weren't any.

"Okay, here's the next part.  Instead of giving Rick and me gifts, you donate what you would have spent on us to the Empty Stocking Fund.  That's something the newspaper and businesses around town do every year at Christmas to help needy children have Christmas presents.  You just give the money in someone's name, but you don't tell the person how much.  That simplifies things a lot.  First, you don't have to shop.  Second, we won't get stuff that we may or may not want.  Third, some needy kids get help.  Fourth, nobody's embarrassed because their gift costs less than somebody else's gift.  How does that sound?"

"Yeah, I like that except for one thing," Kyle said.  

"What," I asked.

"Well, you and Rick get to give us presents, but we don't get to give you one.  Can't we say no more than one present for each of you?"

"He does have a point, Babe," Rick said.

"If Tim and Brian don't have money, don't you think Justin and I will take care of that," Kyle asked. 

"Would you be satisfied if we said only one gift from each of you, and no more than $25," I asked.

"Yeah, I can live with that," Kyle said.  "I know your rules make sense, Kev, but, damn it, we love you guys."

"Okay, there's another part.  Boyfriends can give each other gifts to open Christmas morning, but the gifts can't cost more than fifty dollars, total.  Brian, you can give Jus a gift, but nobody else.  Understand?  If you want to give Tim or Kyle or Jeff a gift, you make a donation to the Empty Stocking Fund.  Is that clear with everybody?"

"You and Rick figured this out together, or did you do it by yourself," Jus asked.

"We did it together, Jus," I said.

"This is good.  It was probably your idea, Kevin," Jus said.

"Ouch," Rick said.  We all laughed.

"What about my parents, your parents, Cherie, Craig, the friends?  All of them," Kyle asked.

"Rick and I are giving everybody the same thing we're giving you guys," I said.  "I talked to Cherie tonight about the charity donation, and she and Craig loved the idea.  They're going to talk to my parents.  Rick will tell his mom the same thing."

"So basically we buy just one present, for our boyfriend, is that right," Tim asked.

"That's right, Tim.  Kevin and I won't spend more than fifty dollars on each other, either.  If we want to give more, we give it to charity," Rick said.

"I'm sorry to be a pain about this," Kyle said, "but I really want to give all those people something.  It's the way we do it, man."  

"How do you boys feel about it," I asked.

"Kevin, I'm sort of with Kyle on this," Jus said.  "I mean, your mother is a very special lady to me.  How can I not let her know that means something to me, man?"

"Maybe I was trying to be too frugal," I said.  "I had no idea you guys would feel this way.  How about the one-gift idea for them, too?"

"Okay, that's better," Justin said.

"Y'all, my parents are not going to want to do this, I know.  They're going to want to give each one of us several gifts," Kyle said.

"You're wrong there, Bubba," Rick said.  "We've already checked with your dad, and he loved the idea.  He said he and your mom are also going to give one big gift to us and you guys, and I guarantee you it's going to be a good one."

"You see what I mean?  Are you going to have something for Philip and Ryan, too," Kyle asked.

"Absolutely," Rick said.  "Their names are on the list.  They get what you guys get."

"Do I still get a carton of cigarettes and a pack of condoms," Justin asked in his usual dry way.

"You're going to find them under your pillow when you wake up Christmas morning, Bubba.  You mark that down," Kyle said.

We laughed at the both of them.

"What about stockings," Kyle asked.

"Do y'all always do stockings," I asked him.

"Yeah.  We don't have to, if you don't want to," he said.

"What do you want to do, guys?"

"Stockings!"  They said it in unison.

"How does this rule sound," Tim asked.  "Only one gift per stocking from each of us, and it can't cost more than a dollar."

There was general agreement from everybody.

"Can't we make it five dollars," Kyle asked.

"Let's compromise on two dollars.  That'll force you to get creative," I said.  "Or, you can also make a gift, if you want to."

They all agreed to that.  I wrote myself a note to tell the others about the stockings and about the changes to the original rules.

Kyle was quiet.  Everybody knew he was thinking, and they were waiting for his verdict on the matter.  Finally he spoke.

"I want to give Jeff something from my brother," Kyle said.  His voice was quiet and subdued.

Everybody was silent, and there wasn't any moving around.

"Do you know what it is yet, Babe," Tim asked gently.

"I have Clay's Boy Scout ring.  I wore it until it got too small for me.  I'm going to give that to Jeff.  I'm going to have it mounted in a frame, along with his Eagle badge and his merit badges and his picture.  Do you think Jeff would like that?"  Kyle was very close to tears.

"He'll love it," Brian said, his own eyes close to brimming over.

"I hope he does," Kyle said.

"Come here to me," Rick said, his voice thick with emotion.  Kyle got up and walked to Rick.  Rick grabbed him in a huge hug, and he made Kyle sit next to him on the sofa.  Rick put his arm over Kyle's shoulder.

"I knew this was going to get weepy, and it's too damn early for ice cream," Jus said.  

That made everybody laugh, and it restored our earlier mood.

"There's more we have to talk about.  Every year for the last umpteen years, my parents have had a big Christmas party on December 23rd.  Rick and I have always gone to it, and last year we said our wedding vows publicly the next day in their house.  This year, everybody's going," I said.

"Y'all are taking us to New Orleans," Kyle asked.  

"Yes; hell, yes," I said.  "Everybody.  George, Rita, and Gene, and all five of you."

They got excited over that.

"When do we go," Tim asked.

"You have a half day of school on December 19th.  We'll leave as soon as you get home," I said.

"Hell, we can skip that day," Kyle said.

"No, you can't.  You have exams that day," I said.  "I checked."

"Shit," Kyle said.  "School fucks up everything."

"We'll be in New Orleans by five that night," Rick said.  

"Can we all fit in Rick's truck," Kyle asked.

"No.  We'll need to take two cars.  Mine and your dad's.  George and Jeff can ride with your parents, Kyle," Rick said.  "Or Jeff can ride with us.  Whatever he wants to do."

"All right.  That's good.  My mom has to pee a lot on trips.  We can make better time than they can," Kyle said.

"We'll work out those details later, okay," I said.  "Another thing, when we get back home, Rita, Gene, and George are spending the night here Christmas Eve.  We'll all be together when we open gifts Christmas morning."

"Whose idea was that, Kevin?  Yours," Kyle asked.

"Yeah, I guess.  Mine, Rick's, all of us, I guess," I said.

"Well, whoever's idea it was, thank you.  My parents would have been basket cases Christmas morning, even if I was there with them, which I would have had to be," Kyle said.  "This way, we can keep them so busy they won't have time to be sad.  Jeff either."

"What is there to do in New Orleans," Justin asked.

"Absolutely everything," I said.

"I'd like to go to a hockey game," Kyle said.  "I've never seen hockey in person.  Only on TV.  Ain't their team the Brass?"

"We can go to a hockey game, if the team is in town," I said.

"I want to go where you can catch beads," Tim said.

"That's at Mardi Gras, Tim, not at Christmas," Rick said.

"We saw some sites on the Internet where guys were showing their dicks in the street, and guys on a balcony were throwing them beads, Rick.  I know they do it at Mardi Gras, but I think they do it all the time," Kyle said.

"You guys would do that," Rick asked, knowing full well that they would.

"Hell, yeah.  Wouldn't you," Kyle said.

"Would you show your dick for beads, Jus," I asked.

"Depends on if the beads went with my outfit," Jus said, deadpan.

We all laughed hard at him.

"You guys get on the Web and do some research to see what you want to do while we're there," I said.  "Rick and I have pretty much done it all, so it doesn't matter to us," I said.

"Do you think we could do some gay stuff there," Kyle asked.

"Like what," I asked.

"Like maybe go to a gay club?  I'd like to see what that's all about," Kyle said.

"They wouldn't let y'all in, Bub," Rick said.  "You're too young."

"Yeah, they'd probably let them in.  They wouldn't serve them alcohol without ID, but they'd let them in," I said.  "Would the rest of you like to go to something like that?"

They all said they would, even Brian.

"Let us think about that, okay," I said.

"Did you guys really see pictures of guys showing their dicks on the Internet," Jus asked.

"Yeah.  You haven't seen any of those sites," Tim asked.

"I haven't fooled around with the Internet much yet," Jus said.

"Come on.  We'll show you," Kyle said.  All four boys went upstairs.

After they were gone, Rick said, "Kyle is so wonderful, but he pushes, doesn't he?"

"What do you mean," I asked.

"Oh, that business about me picking on Tim.  I wasn't picking on Tim.  Tim knew that.  I just wanted to make the point that Jason is a good kid, and he's still our friend, even if he and Jus aren't boyfriends anymore.  Every time I correct Tim, Kyle always has to get on me," Rick said.

"If somebody said something to me that implied I wasn't doing the right thing and you thought you knew better, would you come to my defense," I asked.

"How can you ask that?  You know I would," he said.

"Yes, I do know you would.  Because you love me.  Because I'm yours."

"And Tim is Kyle's, isn't he?"  Rick thought for a few seconds.  "I need to keep that in mind, don't I?  Just like I wouldn't let anybody get on you, he won't let anybody get on Tim, will he?"

"That's right, but there's a difference.  He loves you, probably more than he loves anyone but Tim, and he doesn't want to cross you, Babe," I said.  "Not only that, Kyle is fair minded.  If Tim says or does something wrong, Kyle won't cross you.  You were right in saying what you said tonight, though.  That could have easily degenerated into a trash Jason session, and you cut that off."

"God, it's complicated being a parent," he said.

"Yeah, and we've got some pretty complicated kids."

(Kyle's Perspective)

I thought that stuff that Justin told us about finishing school was awesome.  That boy had come a long, long way since we first met him, and I loved him a lot.  I had never wanted Jus sexually, like I always wanted Tim, but, damn, he was a good guy.  And that little Brian boy was so cute and nice and pretty!  Man, I was so happy for him and Jus.

I knew I shouldn't have spoken up to Rick when he got on Tim about trashing Jason.  I liked Jason a lot, and I know Tim did, too.  I think that's what got to me.  Rick didn't know what Tim thinks about Jason, but I did.  I knew Tim wasn't trashing Jay; he was just complimenting Brian.  I guess I'll have to try harder next time.

The Christmas plans sounded really great.  I had been thinking about Christmas a lot, and about how my parents were going to deal with not having their boy anymore.  I was hoping and praying Kevin and Rick would save us, and they did.  I thought the whole gift thing was pretty cool, especially after we worked out the kinks in it.  I knew Brian had next to no money.  In fact, I was going to take his ass down to the warehouse, and we were going to shop till he dropped.  I wouldn't have to do that now.  I was going to put Brian to work during Spring Break, and that coming summer, too.  A boy needs money, especially a boy who has a boyfriend.

We went up to Justin's bedroom, which I guessed would now be their bedroom.  Anyway, that was where his computer was.  That house had been fully wired for cable TV and modem, and I had personally hooked Justin's system up when we moved in.  I knew he was connected.  Tim sat down at the keyboard, and he went to that page with all the links.  He found some Mardi Gras sites.  The rest of us sat on the bed.

I had bought a gay adult-site password, and Tim used it to get to one of the sites that had the guys showing their dicks.

"I didn't know this stuff was on here.  Did you," Jus asked Brian.

"Yeah, I knew," Bri said.

"Damn.  Look at that," Jus said.  We were looking at a picture of a guy getting his cock sucked in a bar.  

"That's where we're going," I said.

"No, shit!  Man, I can't believe they do it in the open like that," Jus said.

"The picture don't lie, Jus," I said.

"I know."

"I could never do that," Tim said.

I looked at him like I'd kill him if he did, and he started laughing.

"Have you never looked at this stuff on here before, man," I asked Jus.

"No.  I haven't really used it that much," he said.  "It looks like I'm going to have to start, though."

Tim browsed on over to some hardcore pages of young guys.  Twinks, they called 'em.  I reckoned the four of us were twinks.  A lot of those boys were handsome, and all of them had really big dicks, it seemed like.

"Do y'all want to watch some movies of guys like that," I asked.

"Yeah," they all said.

"Have you got some," Jus asked.

"Yeah.  At least I think I do," I said.

"Where'd you get 'em," he asked.

"Off my brother's computer.  We went over to their apartment and got his stuff.  I saw the movies on there, and I burned 'em on some CD's," I said.

"Why ain't you showed 'em to us before," Jus asked.

"'Cause I forgot I had 'em till just now," I said.  "I ain't watched but a couple, but I've got about ten CD's of 'em."

"Are they here," Tim asked.

"Yes, Babe, I think so," I said.  "Let me get 'em."

I went to our room to get the CD's.  I decided to get comfortable, so I stripped down to my briefs.  My feet were pretty stinky from my boots, so I washed them before I went back.

When I got back in the room, Tim and Brian were gone.

"Where are Tim and Brian," I asked.

"They went to make some popcorn and get some other snacks.  You can't watch movies without snacks," Jus said.  "I believe you've got the right idea," referring to how I was dressed.  He took his clothes off down to his briefs.

I didn't want sex with Justin, but, damn, he was sexy to me.  He had worked out a lot in his life, and he had the build to show for it.  I was a sucker for blonds, anyway, and he had the kind of body I wanted for myself.  I wasn't too bad off, but I had only worked out in fits and starts, mostly during the last summer on the beach.  Surfing had built me up some, but I knew I was going to have to get serious if I was ever going to look like him.

"Have I told you how much I like my boots, Bubba," I asked.

"You ain't told me in words, but you sure told me in how much you wear 'em," he said.  He was smiling.

"I love 'em, Jus.  I just love 'em, man.  Thank you for gettin' 'em for me.  Jason didn't pay any for them, did he?"

"Naw.  He didn't have the money," Jus said.

"Well, thank you, again."

"I'm just glad you like 'em," he said.  "I'm going to change my underwear.  These have been half wet all day.  Don't peek."

"Yeah, right.  Like I ain't seen it a million times.  Even touched it a few times, too," I said.  "What's making you leak so bad, Bubba?  Brian?"

"What the hell do you think?  Of course it's Brian.  Do you ever do that?  For Tim, I mean?"

"Not more than, say, every day," I said.  He laughed.

"You reckon we can learn from those movies," he asked.

"Probably.  Tim and I learned from a few that we downloaded.  I guess you know we're probably all going to be rock hard from the movies, don't you," I said.

"I can handle that," he said.

"Do you think Brian can handle fooling around like we used to do sometimes with Jay," I asked.

"I think so.  We'll just see," he said.  Then, "Kyle, don't laugh at me, okay?  I want you to know something.  I've been thinking about it off an on all day.  Brian and I ain't going to do no butt fucking."

He was so serious.  I thought at first he might be making a joke, but I could tell he wasn't.

"What y'all do is your business, Bubba.  You know that," I said.  "Why the hell would I laugh at you for that?  Huh?"

"Well, there's no reason to laugh, but I thought you might," he said.  "I just can't do it, Kyle.  And Brian doesn't want to do it, either, or so he says."

"Those guys were mean to you, weren't they, Bubba," I asked.

"You don't even want to know.  I thought we were having sex, but it wasn't sex.  It was brutality.  Sure, a few of them were nice enough to me after, but they all hurt me.  Even the nice ones."

"It's a shame they did that.  Butt sex feels good to me and Tim, but we ain't rough with it," I said.

"Jay and I did butt stuff.  You know, rubbing our cheeks, that kind of stuff.  I like that, and he loved for me to do it to him.  Brian and I will do that, I reckon.  I just don't want anymore dicks up my butt."

I wondered if maybe Jus had been injured.

"Does it ever hurt when you shit or anything," I asked.

"Yeah, every time.  And sometimes it bleeds, too.  I've never told anybody that before."

"Have you ever had a doctor check you out, man?  You might have an injury or something," I said.

"I probably need to get it checked out.  How do you say something like that to a doc, though," he asked.

"I don't know, but I'll go with you if you want me to.  I'll be there with you," I said.

"Let me think about it.  Maybe after I get done with school," he said.

"Okay.  Let me know, though," I said.

Brian and Tim came back in, loaded down with cokes and popcorn and candy.  I thought of them as the little boys and me and Justin as the big boys, although Tim was as big as I was.

"Come on, Brian.  Let's get casual like them," Tim said.

He and Bri got down to their underwear.  

"Are these movies going to give us boners," Tim asked.  He was probably wondering how much we should do with Jus and Brian.  

"I hope so," Brian answered.  That's all it took for us to know he was ready.

The first movie was of a guy jerking off.  He was naked on a bed, and there wasn't any sound.  It kind of looked homemade.  He was uncut, and he kept pulling his skin all the way forward and pinching it with his fingers.

"Can you do that, Tim," Jus asked.

"Yeah," Tim said.  

"Does it feel good," Bri asked.

Tim shrugged.  "It's nothing special to me."

The guy shot his load in just a few minutes.

"Wow.  Look at him shoot," Jus said.

"Have you ever seen porno before," I asked.

"No.  That was pretty awesome.  Play the next one."

The next one started with a guy in what looked like a hallway.  He had his pants down, and he was jerking his dick.  Then, the scene changed to a room with four guys.  Two were fucking the other two.

"Why are they making all that noise," Bri asked.

"'Cause it fucking hurts, that's why," Jus said.

"I think it's supposed to be moans of pleasure," I said.  "They just ain't good actors."

Tim was next to me on the bed.  He got up and fast forwarded it through about three minutes of fucking to the scene where one guy, one of the ones being fucked, shoots his cum without touching himself or being touched by the other guy.

"Damn, that looks pretty hot," Bri said.  "Do you guys do that?"

"Usually," I said.  

Then the guy fucking him pulls out.  He isn't wearing a condom, and he shoots onto his partner's butt cheeks without jerking himself.  In a second, the other two guys do the same as the first two.  It ended showing the guy in the hall again.  He was peeping in on them.  I thought they were going to show him coming, but they didn't.

By then, all four of us were big and hard.  Justin was next to me on one side, and he put his hand on my dick.  Brian looked over at Tim to see his reaction, but Tim didn't say or do anything.  In a second, Tim started sucking my nipple.

We watched a few more movies, but we paid less and less attention to what was on the monitor and more and more to the guys next to us.  Brian and Jus were kissing.  Then Brian crawled down Jus and took his cock into his mouth.  Whoa, I thought.  We had never done that before with Justin and Jason.  Next thing I knew, my cock was in Tim's mouth.  Justin didn't last very long at all, and I was pretty close behind him.

We kept that up for a couple more rounds each.  It was like we were playing with Jus and Brian, but we were only really playing with our own boyfriends.  Eventually, that ended, though.  Tim and I went back to our room for some more intense one-on-one.  I felt sure Justin and Brian hadn't had enough, either.

(Kevin's Perspective)

Rick and I were on the sofa watching TV.  We had our shirts off, and I was holding him.  We had missed our usual Sunday morning love time the day before because my family had had to be tended to.  We hadn't had time for anything that morning, either, and we were both feeling a little horny.

Tim and Brian came scurrying downstairs and across the den to the kitchen.  In a few minutes we heard popcorn popping in the microwave.  Rick referred to them as the "little boys" and to Kyle and Justin as the "big boys."  There wasn't much difference in the ages of all four of them, but the little boy-big boy division seemed apt, given their personalities.  Rick had said Tim and Brian were like me and that Kyle and Justin were like him, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought he was right.

In a few minutes the boys came back through the den headed upstairs.  I wondered why they hadn't used the back stairs, which were closer to where they had been.  They had two bags of popcorn, a bag of bite-size Snickers, and four cokes.  They told us "hi," but they didn't stop to chat.

"God, that popcorn smells good," Rick said.

"I know.  You want some?"

"Yeah, but I'll make it."

Rick got up to make the popcorn.  It wasn't at all cold in the house, but I got a slight chill when the warmth of his body left mine.  He came back in a few minutes with popcorn, soft drinks, and Snickers for us.  He and I both loved the combined taste of popcorn and chocolate.  He got back into position, his back against my chest.

"What do you think is going on up there," he asked.

"Probably a little 'brotherly bonding,'" I said.  He chuckled.

"Brotherly bonding" was a code term for us that meant they were doing something sexual.  A few months before, he and I had come home unexpectedly on a Saturday afternoon.  We didn't go into the house, but we looked in through a window of the den.  Tim and Kyle, and Jus and Jason, were naked on the floor and in a heavy make-out session.  They each had a hand on a dick, but it wasn't their own.  We beat a hasty retreat.

Rick and I talked about whether we should say anything to them about it.  For one thing, there was the privacy issue that we stressed so hard.  In talking, though, we realized that for them it was private, or at least as private as they wanted it.  We had come home a full two hours before we had told them we would be home, and that wasn't their fault.  Quite clearly, nobody was doing anything that the other one didn't want to do, so we didn't have a case there, either.

"Haven't you been to parties where straight couples were making out all over the place," he asked.

"Yeah, since eighth grade, and a whole lot in high school and college," I said.

"Me, too.  Have you ever seen people have orgasms doing that?"

"Oh, a bunch of times.  Guys and girls," I said.

"Me, too.  If our boys did that at a party, they'd probably be beaten up or even killed," he said.

"I see where you're going with this.  I guess we just pretend we never saw anything."

"Babe, all we saw was just a little brotherly bonding," Rick said.

I chuckled.  "But they're not really brothers."

"That's just a technicality."  We both laughed.

We munched popcorn.  Now and then we'd toss a bite-size candy bar into our mouths.

"Can you believe Jus paid off his truck, and we didn't even know it," Rick asked.

"I know.  I felt kind of bad about not knowing, but, frankly, I had forgotten he still owed money on it, until tonight."

"Me, too, until tonight, and I'm the one who co-signed the loan.  Evidently he didn't forget, though."

"We need to spend more time with him like we did this afternoon, don't you think, Babe," I said.

"Yeah.  And can you believe he's almost through with school?  We haven't been very good about keeping up with that, either, have we," Rick said.

"He just kind of faded into the background, you know?  All that stuff with the storm, then with Clay, then Kyle's birthday, and Thanksgiving.  We've kind of taken Justin for granted, but he's been there all along, plugging away, doing exactly what we said we expected of him."

"I know.  We're still new at this parenting thing, Babe.  We're still learning," Rick said.

He and I went to bed just then and did some "brotherly bonding" of our own.


"Shit!  We overslept," Kyle said, as he and Tim and Brian burst into the kitchen.  It was 7:15, but I hadn't noticed.  They had to be at school by 7:30.  They grabbed cold toaster pastries to eat on the way, and they were off.

Ordinarily, Rick and I would have gone back to bed just then, but we didn't for two reasons.  Justin was still in the house and might want to talk again like we had the previous afternoon, and we had worn each other out the night before and needed a respite.

In about ten minutes Jus came into the kitchen.  He was naked, which was very unusual, but he was also extremely pale.  He seemed to be trembling.

"What's up with this, man," Rick said.

"I'm sorry, Rick, but I'm sick.  Bad sick, I think."

We made him sit down, and Rick got him a cup of coffee.  I handed him my cigarettes, and he took one.  He lit it and coughed when he inhaled.  Then he put it out.  The look of pain on his face was excruciating.

"What happened?  What's going on," I demanded.

"I'm bleeding, and it hurts so bad," he said.

"Where, Bubba," Rick asked.

"My ass."

I looked down at his legs, and blood was running down the back side of both of them.  It was pooling at his feet.

"What the hell happened," Rick asked.  He was almost screaming.

Justin took a series of very deep breaths.  Then he spoke.

"I was hurting really bad this morning when I woke up.  Sometimes, when that happens, it feels better when I take a shit.  So that's what I did.  Or tried to do.  Straining to get it out just made it hurt more, so I stopped.  I wiped myself, and I pulled back a handful of blood.  I usually bleed some, but it never had been as much as today.  Then it wouldn't stop, and I started feeling weak."

"Have you had anything up there," Rick asked.

Jus shook his head "no."  "Not even a finger."

"We need to get you to an emergency room," I said.

"Okay," he whimpered.

"Does Brian know what happened," Rick asked.

"No.  I didn't let him see it.  Please don't tell him, Rick.  Please don't." 

"We'll keep it quiet as best we can, Jus, but we can't promise that,"  Rick said.

Rick ran upstairs and got jeans for Jus to put on.  It looked like the bleeding had more or less stopped when we finally got him in them.  Rick and I were just in underwear, so we hurriedly put on jeans, tee shirts, and shoes.  We took the Bronco, and Rick drove.  Justin and I were in the middle seat, and I held him and petted him and soothed him all the way to the hospital.

Apparently, Tuesday mornings at that hospital emergency room weren't crisis times.  There was a lady with a little kid who was screaming his head off, probably from a long-neglected ear infection.  There was a wino who had a pretty angry cut on his shin, and there was us.

Rick took care of the admissions paperwork at the desk, and I sat with Jus.  I was a little surprised he could even sit at all.  We weren't there more than ten minutes when we were called back.  Rick joined us as soon as he could.

The doctor was an Asian American woman.  She had obviously been in the country for most of her life, if not all of it, by her speech.  Rick and I told her who we were, and we filled her in on Justin's complaint.  We pulled her aside and told her his history.

"I've seen this before," she said.  "I did my residency in New York City.  I can't believe what people do to kids."

She examined Jus, and the image that came to my mine was of a fisting video segment I had once downloaded from the Internet.  She was very gentle, and a sexual experience for Jus it definitely wasn't.

"I want him to see a proctologist," she said when she was finished.  "I'm not a specialist in this area, but it wouldn't surprise me if he needed surgery.  There's a tear in his rectum about four inches up, and it needs to be repaired."

"Can he see somebody here," I asked.

"Oh, yes.  There's only one proctologist in town, but he's very good.  You wait here with him, and let me get him on the phone."

"Am I going to be all right," Jus asked.

"Totally and absolutely," I said.

"Kevin, can you call your mother.  I'd like to talk to her," he said.

I whipped out my cell phone and dialed her cell number.  She answered immediately, and I gave the phone to Jus.  They exchanged pleasantries, and then Jus told her what had happened in vivid detail.  In a few minutes, he handed the phone back to me.

"I'm coming," she said to me.  "I'll be there this afternoon, one way or the other."

"Mom, you don't have to do that.  We have it under control.  There are good doctors here, too, you know."

"I'm not coming because I'm a doctor.  I'm coming because he's my grandson, and he needs me, Kevin," she said.

"But your being a doctor won't hurt, will it," I said.

"Not a bit," she said, and I could almost hear her grinning.


Justin saw the proctologist later that morning, and the verdict was that he did need surgery.  It would be through his ass, though, so it would be done on what they called an out-patient basis.  My mom arrived around three that afternoon, having flown from New Orleans to Atlanta to us.  She was there in time to be present at the surgery, which happened at five that afternoon.  Jus didn't have to be put to sleep for it; an epidural did just fine.  At home, the next day, the assisting physician waited on him hand and foot, like any grandma would.  She was on the phone a lot with my dad, who evidently wanted to be here with us, too.

Rick and I talked to Kyle by phone from the hospital about the event, and he assured us he and Tim could settle Brian down if need be.  Jus missed three days of work over that thing, but he got his last two days of school in that week.  Our Christmas plans proceeded apace after that like nothing had happened.