Kyle, Part 3
Disclaimer: This story is a continuation of the story of Kevin Foley, Rick Mashburn, and their "sons," Tim Murphy, Kyle Goodson, Justin Davis, and Brian Mathews that started in "Tim," continued in "Justin" and "Kyle," "Kyle, Part 2," and now continues in "Kyle, Part 3." 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, though. If you are offended by descriptions of gay sex, or if the law in your area forbids you to read them, please exit the story. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy it. I appreciate feedback, and you can send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We got home the day before New Year's Eve, and Tim and Kyle were going to spend that night at George's house. We had had a wonderful trip to Sarasota, and we were all pretty tired that night. We hung out in the den, watching TV.
"I miss them," Justin said, out of the blue.
"Who," Rick asked.
"You know who, dumbass," Jus said.
"Who? Tim and Kyle," Rick asked again.
"Yeah, who do you think," Jus said.
"I'm here, Justin," Brian said.
"I know you are, Baby, but I still miss 'em."
"You miss Kyle, you mean," Jeff said. "We all do. Do you want to see if they want to come over?"
"They're spending the evening with George," I said.
"I saw his car go down the street about an hour ago," Jeff said, "and he was by himself."
"Well, give 'em a call," Rick said. "Maybe George had a date or something."
Jeff called them at Tim's house, and they were, indeed, all by themselves. George had taken them out to dinner, but he had gone to Sonya's house, possibly for the night, we were told. They came over in about ten minutes.
"So what are we doing," Kyle asked, as soon as they had gotten in the house.
"The stud was missing you guys, Kyle," Rick said. "We all were."
"See," Tim asked Kyle.
"See what," Justin asked.
"Tim wanted us to come over right after his dad left. I told him y'all probably had had enough of us for a while," Kyle said.
"Did you believe that," I asked.
"No," he said, laughing.
That made us laugh.
"Who wants to watch a movie," Rick asked.
"That sounds good," I said.
"Let me get it," he said, and he went into our bedroom. He was back in a few seconds. "Jus, do you remember that plantation we went to in New Orleans? The one where the scary movie had been filmed?"
"Yeah," Jus said. "Something about vampires, right?"
"Yeah. Interview with a Vampire. You said you hadn't seen it, so I bought a copy of it," Rick said.
Rick didn't like to rent movies. Instead, he preferred to buy them. His theory was that nobody rented music albums, so why should you rent movies? Consequently, we had, probably, 150 videotapes of feature-length movies. He was generous about lending them to our friends, and there probably weren't more than thirty or forty that we had watched more than once. For some reason, though, he just liked the idea of owning movies.
"I'm getting comfortable," I said, and I stripped down to my briefs. It had been a while since we were all together, lounging around in our underwear, and the boys and Rick followed suit. It was a little chilly, so Tim and Kyle made us a fire.
"We need some snacks, don't we," Jus asked.
"Yeah," Kyle said, and he got up with Justin to get popcorn, candy, soft drinks, and a can of peanuts for us to eat while we watched.
We snuggled up with our partners, only Kyle had Tim on his right side and Jeff on his left. There was only one small lamp on in the room, and it was pretty cozy and nice. At one point, everyone was dead quiet watching the beautiful men on the screen.
During one of the vampire scenes, Kyle said, leaning over Tim's neck, "I'm going to suck your. . ."
"Cock?" Justin yelled that out before Kyle had a chance to say "blood." Well, it made us laugh, of course.
By the time the movie was over, Rick and I were the only ones awake. The two sets of boys--Justin and Brian, and Tim, Kyle, and Jeff--were cuddled up into one another. The five of them, in that tableau, were beautiful.
"Let's leave 'em here," Rick said. "I'll get some blankets."
He got two down comforters and gently draped them over the boys, so as not to wake them up. He and I went to bed. We left the small lamp on in case they woke up and didn't know where they were. Kyle's camera was on a table in the den, and Rick took several pictures of them with it.
"For the Web page," he whispered.
I smiled, and he and I went off to bed.
The trip to Sarasota was a whole lot more fun than I had thought it was going to be. The drive down was pretty ordinary. Central Florida has some natural beauty, but, by and large, the route along the Interstate was pretty drab. Justin and Kyle kept us laughing, though, and that was fun. Kyle had the idea of a fishing trip with Arnie, and he set it up over his cell phone in about thirty minutes.
That night was a turning point for me, I think. Kyle and Justin both insisted they wanted me to sleep with them in the same bed. Up until then, I hadn't thought much about sex, but when they made that suggestion, I became instantly aroused. They didn't notice it, thank God, because they would have probably teased me unmercifully, if they had. After the evening at Rick's parents' house, though, Kyle insisted I sleep with him and Tim. Kyle was in the middle, naked and turned toward Tim's back, and I pretty much figured he had his left hand on Tim's dick, spooned together like they were.
I got into bed with them with my underwear on. The others were all naked. I wasn't overly modest, especially around them, but I somehow thought I needed the protection of my briefs against Kyle's overwhelming sensuality. After the others were asleep, Kyle whispered for me to take my underwear off and to hold him, if I wanted to. At that moment, it was as though Clay were there with me, pulling at my briefs for me to take them off.
I took them off and spooned against Kyle's back. I was fully aroused, but I was determined not to do anything to bring myself off. Touching him, feeling his warmth and the softness of his skin, was more than I could stand, though. My arousal began growing in intensity until, finally, I could stand it no more. I lunged into his back, grunting with pleasure, and I climaxed against him. Seconds later, when my own breath had returned to something close to normal, I knew Kyle was asleep. In my mind's eye, I saw Clay's face smiling at me, and I knew it was what he wanted for me. I drifted off to sleep in the afterglow of my orgasm.
The next morning Kyle was up and alive, organizing us for showers. I told him thanks, but I didn't say anything else. As though he knew how much the experience of the night before had meant to me, he didn't say anything, either. Instead, he smiled a smile that let me know he loved me as his brother, as Clay's lover and soul mate. I knew Clay was smiling with me then at the "little brother" he cherished above everyone but me. It was as though Clay somehow knew that it would be Kyle who would restore me.
Kyle called room service as soon as he and Tim were out of the shower. He didn't bother to get dressed, and his body glistened with moisture that the towel couldn't quite remove. The hair on his stomach and chest seemed much darker and thicker that morning, like Clay's had been, and he was the cock of the walk, the proud seed-bearer, the gay Stanley Kowalski of his generation.
That night, after a wonderful day of Mass and museum and The Music Man, Tim and Kyle again insisted I sleep between them. Tim made the first move and put his hand on my chest. He moved it around and found one of my nipples. He had obviously done that before with Kyle, and he teased my flesh to a state of total arousal.
Kyle found my penis, by then already hard and dripping, and he took it into his hand. He crawled down a bit and started rubbing my anus with a finger. In a minute or two, he had a finger inside me, rubbing my prostate. Tim replaced his fingers on my nipple with his mouth, and together they brought me to a place of ecstasy.
When I was finished, I took each of them in hand. Kyle's penis was large, and it felt warmer than Tim's. I did for them what they had done for me. I saw Clay in my mind's eye, and he was smiling approvingly. I knew then that I would, again one day, be able to love another with my body.
We spent a quiet New Year's Eve at home. We went to the vigil Mass at six, and then Jerry and Pat joined us for dinner at our favorite bar and grill. There were decorations in anticipation of the New Year's celebration later that night, but the place was pretty quiet while we were there.
"I've made a decision, guys," Jerry announced. "It's about me and the priesthood."
"Are you getting out of it," Rick asked.
"Hell, no. I have requested permission to transfer permanently to the diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee. This is where my family is, and I don't see myself going back to Boston," Jerry said.
"Will it be granted," I asked.
"I have a friend in the chancery in Boston. He was a seminary professor that I'm close to, and he said he thought it wouldn't be a problem. This is considered sort of a missionary diocese, and the cardinal in Boston has a history of helping out with personnel in situations like this," Jerry said.
"So, will Emerald Beach be your permanent home," Rick asked.
"Well, maybe not forever," Jerry said, "but I think there is a good chance I'll stay here for some time. I mean, my parents are here and are getting up in age, the pastor loves me, and I've been pretty effective here. I'll be here a while."
"That's great news, Jerry," I said.
"It was quite a Christmas present for our parents," Pat said. "And for me."
"We met a nice priest in Sarasota," Brian said. "His name was Father Vince."
"He was about our age, Jerry," Rick said. "On Sunday he mentioned foster fathers in his homily, and he made my mother cry for joy. He's smart as hell, and he seemed like a really nice guy. I gave him my card. We'll see if he follows up on that."
"Did you tell him you guys are foster fathers," Jerry asked.
"My mother did. He seemed impressed."
We went home and saw in the New Year shooting pool and playing ping pong in our clubhouse. Rick made me a drink, and he purposely left the bottle of bourbon out. I saw Kyle making drinks for him and Jeff and Jus out of it, but I didn't say anything.
We saw in the New Year with many hugs and kisses, and then we went to bed. The next day we participated fully in the orgy of bowl games on TV, and we slipped into the new year like most other families in America. The high school boys had to go back to school on Monday, January 5th, and Justin had to take his GED that Thursday, January 8th.
Jeff left our house on Saturday to go back to school for the spring semester. There were many tears when we told him goodbye, but we all knew that Jeff had turned the corner on his grief during those holidays. He and Kyle had embraced for a long time, but it wasn't sexual in any way. They were brothers, not lovers, and their love for one another was beautiful to me.
"I'll be back for the celebrations," Jeff had said. "I'll always come back."
"What are you talking about, dude," Justin asked.
"Well, you passing the GED on the eighth, for one thing," Jeff said. " And Brian's birthday on the 13th. I can't miss those."
"Don't count your chickens before they're hatched," Justin said.
"There's no doubt in my mind you'll pass it, Jus. You got it licked, dude," Jeff said.
"I hope," Jus said.
As soon as we had come back from Sarasota, the four local boys had started a serious program of working out in what we had started referring to as the gym. Rick had worked out an individualized program for all seven of us, but Jeff only played around with his halfheartedly. Justin was still working in his old job as courier among the hotels and stores of the Goodson empire, and he continued to finish work every day at one. That arrangement had worked well, and it had enabled him to attend adult school every afternoon. Now that adult school was over, though, it meant he could be home when the other three got home from school around 2:45.
They were remarkably disciplined about their schedule. They had a small snack when they first got home from school, and then they hit the gym. As Rick had predicted, they often worked out in the nude. I voiced some concern about the lack of jock straps when they worked out that way, and I discussed it with George and my dad. Both of them reminded me that men had been lifting heavy weights without benefit of jock straps for tens of thousands of years without adverse consequences. After they told me that, I didn't worry about it.
Philip and Ryan had always been sort of in and out, and they did stuff on a fairly regular basis with Kyle and Tim. Kyle maintained that Philip was his best friend, and I'm sure at one time he had been. The six other members of our family were clearly the closest and most important people in Kyle's life, but Philip, and because of him Ryan, was always included on Kyle's list of the people who mattered most to him. Philip and Ryan came over from time to time to work out and to play ping pong or shoot pool, too.
The clubhouse, with all its treasure, was a boy magnet for the two kids next door, Morgan and Blake Crawford, and for Blake's buddy, Riley Earnhart. One afternoon I happened to come home earlier than usual, so I went out to the clubhouse to see what was going on. The four younger boys--Tim, Brian, Blake, and Riley--were shooting pool, wearing sweats and tee shirts. It appeared that they had recently been working out, and the hair at the base of their heads was still wet with sweat. They were drinking cokes. The three older boys--Justin, Kyle, and Morgan--were in the gym working out, buck naked. Justin's and Kyle's dicks were totally flaccid, but Morgan was pretty close to a full bone.
"Hey, Kevin," Kyle said brightly. He was always glad to see me, and he always had a grin ready for me.
Justin and Morgan said "hi," too, but with considerably less enthusiasm than Kyle.
"What's up, guys," I asked.
"You mean besides Morgan," Justin asked with his usual lack of affect.
Morgan and Kyle giggled. Morgan blushed a bit, but nobody commented.
"Are you going to work out with us," Kyle asked eagerly. "We're almost finished, but we could start again, if you want to."
"I'll wait for my slave driver to get home," I said. "He likes to make me grunt."
"I've heard," Jus said, again in total deadpan.
Kyle thought that was the funniest thing he'd ever heard, apparently, and he even dropped the dumbbell he was holding.
"What's so funny," Morgan asked.
"You had to be there," Jus said, "but you ought to be glad you weren't."
I suddenly remembered the fateful Sunday morning in the hall outside our bedroom the week Justin came to us, and I, too, laughed hard.
Later that night we were all in the den. The high school boys had spent some time doing homework, and they were lounging around then. Rick had "worked us out," as he put it, and I was feeling really good from the exercise.
"Kyle, is Morgan gay," I asked.
"Why? Do you think he's cute," Justin asked.
Rick threw a pillow at him and hit him in the head. We all laughed.
"I dunno," Kyle said.
"Well, this afternoon you three guys were in the gym working out naked, and he was. . . er, . . ."
"He was almost boned up, wasn't he," Jus said.
"Well, yeah," I said.
"That doesn't mean he's gay, does it," Kyle asked.
"Of course not, but he only seemed embarrassed when Mister Diplomacy here called it to everybody's attention. He wasn't embarrassed around the two of you guys, was he," I asked.
"Not that I could tell," Kyle said. "Nobody did anything to make him hard, Kev, if that's what you're thinking. Did we, Jus?"
"He was checking out your fine ass, though," Jus said. "That ass would give the Pope a boner."
"Was he really checking Kyle out, Jus, or is that just more of your bullshit," Rick asked.
"He was looking at Kyle, and he was looking at me, too. Kyle ain't the only one who gets looks, you know? Kyle only gets 'em when he's naked, though. I get 'em all the time," Jus said.
The truth was, Rick and I had both noticed all four of them getting looks from men and women during our Christmas trips, and it happened all the time when we were in public with them at home, too.
"Does he know we're gay," I asked.
"Anybody can tell you and Rick are gay, sweetie," Justin said.
"I haven't said anything," Kyle said. "Have you guys?"
They all said they hadn't.
"They're good guys, Kevin," Kyle said. "Our friends don't care if we're gay, man. Why are we even talking about this?"
"Idle curiosity, is all," I said. "I guess any time I go into a room with three naked guys, two of whom I know are gay, and the third one has a hard-on, it makes me wonder about that third guy."
"You are so analytical," Kyle said.
It was my turn to throw a pillow as I laughed at him. Kyle caught it, though, and threw it back at me. I wasn't as fast as he had been, and it hit me in the face. That brought on gales of laughter.
That night in bed I brought up the topic of Morgan.
"Was I showing my paranoia by questioning the kids about Morgan tonight," I asked.
"Since when have you been paranoid? Especially about people being gay?"
"I'm not, really, but you know what I mean."
"Kev, they're going to have to work it all out with their friends, you know? If we have to have a street fight over it some day, with bicycle chains and car antennae, we'll just have to do it. We could mobilize a pretty substantial group, if we had to, couldn't we?"
I laughed. "You sound like Kyle and Justin," I said. "But you're right. They are going to have to work it out."
I snuggled into Rick, and his warmth and softness overtook me. I was asleep in a matter of minutes.
Justin took the GED on line on the Thursday after New Years, and he passed it with quite a few points to spare. He was officially a GED high school graduate, and we celebrated that night with a great dinner. It was as though our family had launched its first member into adulthood, and we all understood that and welcomed it.
"You da big stud here, dude," Kyle said to Jus. "I'm so happy for you, man."
Justin grabbed Kyle in a hug that would have rendered a bear breathless, and the two of them danced around the room like that.
"This is the first good thing I ever did in my life," Justin said.
"Bullshit, Bubba," Kyle said. "You have made us laugh so much, man. That's good, Jus. Making us have fun is good. You have been so kind, too. And I feel like nobody can hurt us with you around. You're my soldier, buddy. My main soldier. My best friend, forever."
Justin teared up with happy tears when Kyle said that. Over the previous couple of months it had become increasingly clear to Rick and me that Justin and Kyle were getting closer. That was the first time we had heard Kyle articulate that Justin was his best friend, but we all knew it.
Kyle got Jus some tissue, and that was a pretty tender and sensitive act, I thought.
"We've got family planning to do. Sit your asses down," Rick said.
"Family planning? I didn't think that was an issue for any of us," Justin said.
Rick and I howled at that deadpan statement. Kyle laughed, too, and eventually Justin joined in. He knew he was funny. Tim and Brian looked sort of lost.
"We'll tell you later, guys," Kyle said to them.
"I'm talking about planning a celebration for the family," Rick said.
"What would you like to do, Jus? It's your call, man. Party, trip, big donation to charity," I asked.
"Fuck the charity," Jus said, and we laughed. "I want to do something with y'all. How about North Carolina again?"
"That could definitely work," I said. "When is the Martin Luther King holiday?"
"Oh, I'm all over that," Rick said. "Let me look it up."
"You don't have to look it up. It's January 19th," Tim said. "That's a holiday for us."
"Could you boys take the following day off, too," Rick asked. "We could drive up after school on Friday and come home on Tuesday. That would give us three full days of skiing."
"Hell, yeah," Kyle said. He was always ready to miss school.
"Are you sure," Rick asked.
"Half the people in that school will be out on Tuesday, Rick. They were last year and the year before. The school knows we need to go skiing," Kyle said.
"I'm calling my friend Sally Ortega tomorrow morning, just to be sure," I said.
"Who is she," Brian asked.
"She's the principal, dummy," Kyle said. "God, freshmen are so dumb."
Tim slapped Kyle. "Don't pick on my friend." Tim was grinning, and Kyle was, too.
"Okay! Abuse me later, all right?"
Tim and Kyle laughed the laugh of a private joke.
"I'll abuse you any time you want me to, stud," Jus said.
"Yeah. Promises," Kyle said.
We all laughed.
"We've got two things to celebrate. Justin's passing the GED and Brian's birthday. I want us to have a party for Brian," I said.
"When's your birthday," Kyle asked Brian.
"Next Tuesday. January 13th," Brian said.
"Party Saturday night, I say," Kyle suggested. "Next weekend, the slopes."
"Is that okay with you, Bri," I asked. "We're going to have a party for you, dude. It's just a matter of when."
Brian was beaming. I wondered if he had ever had a birthday party.
"Any time is good," Brian said.
"Brian, we're going to have us a good party for you, Buddy," Kyle said. "I want to do the food."
"Cum on the half shell," Justin asked.
We all laughed.
"Of course, for openers. And for those who can't open 'em, too," Kyle said. "That, and weenie-water soup should be good, don't you think?"
"Depends on whose weenie," Justin said.
"I would say yours, but I want everybody to have enough to eat," Kyle said.
"Ouch. I think you got me last on that one, Bubba," Justin said, and we all laughed.
"Come on, y'all. We've got to organize this thing," Kyle said. "Let's make a guest list so we can start calling 'em. It's already Thursday, you know. If this thing is Saturday night, we best not waste time."
Rick got a pad and pencil. "Okay, Buddy. Who do you want to invite? The usual crowd?"
"Yeah. Everybody," Bri said. "And do you think we could invite Blake and Riley, and Morgan, too?"
"Sure, Bri. They're your friends. Of course you can invite them," I said. I actually had some reservations about inviting those three to a party of mostly gay men and boys until they knew us better and I was sure they could handle that without freaking out.
"Isn't this the weekend they're supposed to be out of town," Kyle asked.
"Oh, damn! Yeah, it is," Brian said. "Oh, well."
"There'll be a lot of other parties, dude," Kyle said.
"That reminds me. Kyle, I want you to find out about them, okay," I said.
"Find out what?"
"Find out if they would have a problem with us being gay," I said.
"They don't have a problem with it, Kev," Kyle replied.
"Naw, they don't have a problem with it," Jus said.
"How do you know," I asked.
Kyle responded, "The other day we were working out, and Morgan said, 'Are you guys gay?' I said, 'Why do you ask that?' He said, 'Because your dick is so incredibly big. Don't gay guys have much bigger dicks than straight guys?'"
"Very funny," I said. "Did you guys really talk about it, or are you just playing, Kyle?"
"No, sir. We really talked about it. I asked him if it would matter if we were gay, and he said not to them. Every one of us was right there, ain't that right, guys?"
"He's telling the truth, Kev," Tim said.
"What did you say then," I asked.
"I said everybody here is gay except me, but my boyfriend is, so I'm on his team," Kyle said.
Rick and I laughed, but the boys didn't.
"Did you really say that," I asked.
"Yep. They thought it was funny, too," Kyle said. "Let's get back to the guest list. Since there won't be any swimming, we can invite ladies, can't we?"
"Sure. Do you want to invite any ladies, Brian? It's your party, after all, not Kyle's," Rick said.
"Well, sure," Brian said. "I'd like Rita to come, and Sonya, too. Do you think they'll come?"
"I know my mom will be here," Kyle said. "She thinks you're so cute, and she loves your sweet little ass." He said that last sentence in the pretend voice of a little kid.
"Dad and Sonya will be here, too," Tim said. "I know that for a fact."
Rick read the list of names he had compiled. "Who did I leave off," he asked.
"Did you say Dave's name," Brian asked. "I'd like for him to come, if he can."
"No, and I forgot Jason, too. Is that all right with you, Brian? If we invite Jason?"
Brian looked at Justin for him to answer.
"We're still good friends, Buddy," Jus said.
"Yeah. Jason and his boyfriend, too," Brian said.
"Good thinking. You don't want this guy having second thoughts, do you," Kyle said as he groped Justin's crotch.
Justin backhanded Kyle on his arm, but it wasn't a hard pop. Kyle just laughed.
"Anybody else," Rick asked.
"I can't think of anybody else," Brian said.
Rick used his list to make partial lists, one each for Kyle, Justin, himself, and me. We were supposed to call the people on our list to invite them. We had three cell phones so we could all do it at the same time later that evening.
"Who's got Jeff's name," Justin asked.
"I do. Why? Do you want to call him," I asked.
"No, you can call him. Just make sure you tell him about North Carolina, okay," Justin said.
"Who else do you want to invite on that trip, Jus," I asked.
"Nobody. Just us. Just the seven immediate family members," he said.
"Speaking of Jeff, he sure did come a long way during the holidays," I said.
"I know. That medicine Grandma gave him really helped," Kyle said.
"Well, you did your share, too, stud. Don't even pretend you didn't," Justin said.
Kyle actually blushed a little.
"You all don't know how good this boy right here, this Kyle boy, was to Jeff during the holidays," Justin said. "That medicine was good, but Kyle put that boy back in the human race."
"Shut up, Justin. You know what we said," Brian told his boyfriend.
"I know. That's all I'm going to say." Pause. "No, it's not. I'm going to say this much more, and then I'll shut up. Kyle, you're a fucking wonderworker, man. That's it. That's all I'm saying."
Rick and Little Rick looked at each other. Rick was beaming with pride, and I knew Little Rick knew what he was thinking.
"Let's move on to food," Kyle said. "Raws, of course."
"Raws? What the hell is that," Jus asked.
"Raw oysters, Bubba. Cum on the half shell?"
"Two bags of singletons, don't you think?" Kyle was definitely planning this thing.
"Yeah," I said.
"Can you get those for us, Kev? Through one of the kitchens," Kyle asked.
"Let me write that down," I said.
"I'd like to make some of those stuffed artichokes like we had in New Orleans. Man, I could eat my weight in those things. Do you know how to make 'em, Rick," Kyle asked.
"I got the recipe from Odille while we were there. I'll make those," he said.
"But if you do that, I won't learn how to do it," Kyle said.
"We'll do it together," Rick said.
"I really liked that cheese dip with the meat in it," Brian said. "We had that at Grandma's, too."
"That stuff was awesome," Justin said. "Make that, Kyle."
Kyle looked at Rick.
"Got it covered," Rick said.
"Vegetables and dip," Kyle asked the group.
"Yeah, put it down," Rick said.
"What else," Kyle asked.
"Kyle, Christmas night our friends served grilled polish sausages cut into bite-size pieces," I said. "They were delicious. Why don't we have that?"
"Was anybody on this list at that party, besides you guys," Kyle asked.
"I see what you're doing, you little stinker," Rick said.
Kyle grinned his face off.
"What's he doing," Jus demanded.
"He's putting together a menu that none of our friends have ever had, that's what he's doing," Rick said. "This is going to be quite a nice party, Brian."
Brian just grinned.
"Okay," Kyle said. "Main course. Steaks? Stuffed baked potatoes? Salad? Grilled vegetables? How does that sound to you, Brian?"
"That sounds great to me," Brian said.
"Birthday cake and ice cream for dessert. What's your favorite cake, Bri," Kyle asked.
"We're buying that already made, okay," Kyle said.
"Are you asking me," Brian asked.
"Whose birthday is it," Kyle asked.
"Mine. I don't care if you buy it," Brian said.
"Okay. I'm ordering it from Publix. Did you know they have a fully-qualified pastry chef at the one on the parkway," Kyle asked Rick and me.
"I didn't know that," Rick said.
"I didn't, either," I added.
"Yeah, and he's awesome," Kyle said. "He went to the Culinary Institute."
"I know you're not teasing, Kyle, but how do you know stuff like that," Rick asked.
"My mom told me. That's where everybody gets wedding cakes now," he said. "Even for weddings in town. Brian, how about chocolate-raspberry, with vanilla ice cream topped with Chambord? That's a raspberry liqueur. That'll be mighty good, dude," Kyle said.
"Kyle, I don't know the difference. You know that, Bubba," Brian said.
"I know, so you're going to have to trust me," Kyle said. "I'm planning on thirty, but I'm buying for thirty-five. That's about right, isn't it?"
"There are only twenty-eight on the guest list," Rick said.
Kyle looked at him an arched his eyebrows.
"Leftovers," Rick said.
"Maybe," Kyle replied.
"I say we put the hors d'oeuvres in the dining room and set up tables in the clubhouse. We'll need to buy some tables and folding chairs. Or maybe stacking chairs. And table cloths and napkins, and enough plates and silverware to serve forty. Four ten-tops?"
"Whoa! Kyle! Whoa!," I said. "What are you doing, man?"
"I'm trying to plan a party, that's what," Kyle said. "How do you think we're going to feed that many people? Paper plates and plastic cups are fine for pool parties, but this is a nice party, Kev. There are going to be ladies here. Besides, I got this all covered."
"Oh, no! No, no, no, Kyle. We're paying for this party. Not Goodson Enterprises," I said.
"Y'all pay for the food and drink; GE pays for the other stuff," Kyle said. "You and Rick run the company, man. You guys are the top executives. You two just bought all that beautiful stuff for out there. You're going to be entertaining for GE, aren't you? I mean, you already have. I think the least the company can do is buy the stuff to entertain with, but if you need my dad's approval, I'll call him right now, Kevin."
I had an epiphany at that moment. We had talked on several occasions about Kyle being the alpha male in our pack, and there I was trying to argue with him. He had clearly been in alpha mode all evening. On top of that, what he had said was true and made perfect sense.
"Okay. You're right. But, Kyle, one of these days . . .," I said.
He was grinning and laughing all over himself with delight. "One of these days I'm going to push to hard and too far, and you're going to have to take me out to the woodshed, right?"
I looked at Rick. He was ready to support me, but he knew, as well as I did, that Kyle was right.
"Kevin, if I need the woodshed, I'll know it. But I'm right on this thing," he said.
"Yeah, you are," I said.
"I'm taking a sick day tomorrow," Kyle said. "Justin, can you get off tomorrow? You and I have work to do, man. Plus, I need your truck."
Justin looked at me quizzically.
"Jus, if you take off tomorrow you don't get paid for the day," I said.
"I know it, but Kyle needs me," he said.
"Don't the military give temporary duty assignments to people," Kyle asked. "And don't some companies send their soon-to-be manager trainees off to learn how to do stuff related to their business? Like how to entertain at a nice dinner, if somebody was, say, going to be learning how to run a hotel? Do they ever do nice dinners in hotels?"
"Kyle, you are on it tonight, Bubba," I said. "Yeah, you're right. You won't lose pay for tomorrow, Jus. And you might actually learn something."
"He's on a big one tonight," Tim said. Tim was the most reserved sexually of the four of them, but he grinned at Kyle in a pretty seductive way just then. I could only imagine what the alpha male was like in bed on a night like that one.
"It's only 8:30. We can call the people," Kyle said. "It starts at 6:30, okay?"
"Okay," the three other phoners said.
"Let's meet back here in half an hour to get a finalized guest list. Let's go, guys," Kyle said.
We reassembled in thirty minutes. We determined that everybody on the list but Philip and Ryan would be there, despite the lateness of the invitation.
"I hate it that Philip and Ryan can't come, but they're going to visit Ryan's grandparents in Tallahassee. They didn't see them during the holidays, and they need to go," Kyle said.
"That's too bad," Brian said.
"Yeah, but we've got two more ladies coming," Kyle said.
"Who," I asked, genuinely puzzled.
"Beth and Cherie," Kyle said. "And Ed and Craig, too. I decided to call them when Philip and Ryan said 'no.' I had thought about it before, but I didn't say anything because I thought it was too far. When I called and talked to Grandma, she said all four of them would be here."
"No, way," Brian said, obviously excited.
"She came all the way for his ass on the same day, Bri. Literally for his ass. You should have known she'd be here for your birthday, if she could, man," Kyle said.
Brian was totally blissed out.
"Let's call it a night, guys," I said.
"I was hoping we could have some ice cream, in honor of my GED today," Justin said.
They all looked at me, but I couldn't respond for fear of crying at the happiness I felt at that moment about Jus. In a lot of ways, it was his big day, but he had sat back, more or less in silence, while we devoted our time to his boyfriend's birthday party.
"Let's get ice cream," Kyle said.
If I hadn't known before that Kyle was ultimately in charge when he wanted to be, I knew it then.
Rick, Tim, and Kyle got up to make the sundaes for us, and they brought back huge confections. We ate every drop, and then we all went to our rooms. There was probably enough sperm released in that house that night to re-populate the earth. I know Rick and I did our part.