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 email@example.com.
I want to offer a special "thank you" to Don Hanratty, the author of "Working it Out" (Nifty Archive, gay/college) for allowing me to have my characters meet his about halfway through this chapter. If you like this story, you'll love "Working It Out," and his characters have obviously influenced me. Thanks, Don. --Brew
I woke up at 7:30 the next morning and stumbled into the bathroom for a very quick shower. I shaved, too, but it was fast and sloppy. I was sure I missed spots all over my face.
There was a chorus of "hey" when I went out into the living room. It appeared that I was the last one up.
"Do you want some doughnuts," Kyle asked. "I went to the doughnut store a few minutes ago, and they're still hot."
I poured myself a cup of coffee and settled at the table with the rest of them. I noticed Kyle had picked up a copy of The New York Times on his doughnut run, and it was on the table. I scanned the front page headlines, and nothing looked very interesting to me.
"Is everybody dressed and ready for the day," I asked. I hadn't put on my thermal underwear yet because it would be a couple of hours before we would leave for the ski resort. There wasn't a fire going, but the house was toasty without it.
They all said they had remembered not to get fully dressed yet, just like me.
"Brian, you didn't bring one of your planes, by any chance," Kyle asked him.
"Yeah, I brought both of them," he replied. "Do you want to fly?"
"I'd like to learn how," Kyle said. He hadn't been with us the previous Sunday when the rest of us had learned. Instead, he had been busy with Jeff with the Web site.
"I'll show you how to fly them, but you have to help me build a snowman," Brian said. "I've never done that, and it looks like it would be fun."
"Guys, we came primarily to ski, but if you would rather do something else, we can wait until later to go to the slopes," Rick said.
"I'll help you build a snowman, Bri. I've never done that, either," Kyle said.
I was a little surprised. Gene and Rita had pretty much made sure Clay and Kyle had a chance to do everything, and I had just assumed he had built snowmen before.
"I fact, maybe we can fly later. Let's have a snowman contest," Kyle said.
"Two-man teams, and you be my partner, Kyle," Brian said.
"Okay," he said, without even looking at Tim.
"Kevin, would you be my partner," Tim asked.
"Sure, Bubba," I said.
"I guess that leaves me and Big Kyle as a team," Jus said.
"Let's call Steve and Frank to see if they would be the judges of the contest," I suggested. They were the gay couple we had met in October. We had tried to work out a time when we could see them while we were in North Carolina on that trip, but they were booked up solid. If they could judge for us that morning, at least we'd get to see them. I called Steve's cell phone, told him what we wanted, and he said they'd be there after church in about an hour and a half. He expressed delight that they would get to spend a few minutes with us, at least.
We finished up in the kitchen and went outside to build our snowmen. It was cold, but it didn't seem as cold as the thermometer said it was. There wasn't a wind, and that definitely helped. We got busy.
Tim and I weren't exactly the creative types, by any means, and we built a standard snowman using three balls of snow of different sizes. We went inside to look for stuff we could use to decorate it, and we found some small chunks of wood in the fireplace that were blackened. We used those for eyes and buttons. We used small tree branches for the arms.
Occasionally, somebody would hurl a snowball at somebody in another group, but we kept the snowball fighting down while we concentrated on our work.
Rick and Justin did pretty much the same thing we did. They gave theirs a flat top haircut, though, and Jus put a cigarette in the snowman's mouth.
Kyle and Brian, of course, couldn't be content with anything that ordinary. Kyle was inside the house at the same time Tim and I were, and he was rummaging around in the kitchen. Evidently he found a pack of liquid food coloring that had probably been there since the last time Clay and I had colored Easter eggs in that house years before. They used it to give their snowman blue hair, green teeth, and an ugly red gash on his face.
Ever the one-track mind, Kyle fashioned a bas-relief penis and set of testicles for their snowman. It was circumcised, of course, like him, and very well endowed. He used a mixture of red and blue to create a garish purple head for the penis. He then splashed the yellow food coloring down the front of the snowman, right under the penis to make a stream of urine down the poor creature's front.
"Let's make signs with their names on 'em," Kyle suggested.
We found a cardboard box inside and cut pieces of cardboard to use for the signs. Tim wanted to name ours Frosty, and I didn't object. It wasn't terribly creative, but, then again, neither was our snowman. Rick and Justin called theirs Joe Cool, and Brian and Kyle named theirs Dribbles. It was all quite a sight.
"Did you get some pictures, Flash," Justin asked Kyle.
"I took a few while we were making 'em, but I want a picture of each one with his creators," Kyle said. Justin took his and Brian's picture with their snowman, and he took pictures of the rest of us with ours.
Steve and Frank drove up as we were finishing with the pictures, and they were both laughing hysterically at the snowmen as they got out of their car. We shook hands all around, and we introduced Brian. He hadn't been with us in October.
"Where's Jason," Frank asked.
"In the history book," Justin said. "This is my baby now and forever, right, Bri?"
"Right," Brian said.
"Forever or until . . .," Frank said to me under his breath. I, of course, laughed. I could tell he had a profound understanding of the nature of the adolescent male in love.
Steve and Frank took their responsibilities as judges very seriously. They studied each sculpture carefully, pointing out what was good about mine and Tim's, and Rick and Justin's. When they got to Kyle and Brian's, they could hardly keep from laughing. It was so far and away the obvious winner that there really wasn't a contest.
They had a judges' conference to discuss the snowmen. They stepped away from us to have it, and we saw them both looking back at Kyle and Brian's and laughing. When they proclaimed Dribbles the winner, no one was surprised.
"Can you come in for coffee," I asked.
They both checked their watches and said they could, but only for a little while.
"We're meeting some friends for lunch, and we don't want to be late," Steve said.
"I must say, I've seen some pretty creative snowmen in my day, but those are definitely three of the best," Frank said.
"We have a Web site now for our family," Kyle said. "Pictures of the snowmen and of you guys judging them will be on it. By the way, let me get your last names so I can tell my brother to add you guys to the list of people who can see it."
He got their names. Then he opened the site on the computer in the living room and sent Jeff e-mail asking him to add them.
"If you want to look at it this afternoon, just use kyle dot goodson for your login," Kyle said. "Then, after that, use your own names."
"It has a video of Kyle and his brother skiing naked," Justin said. "Be sure to check that out."
"Skiing naked here," Frank asked.
"No, sir. In our lagoon at home. Water skiing, not snow skiing," Kyle said.
"Were you little tykes," Steve asked.
"No, sir. They were both biiiiiiig boys," Justin said, moving his hands apart to suggest enormous penises.
Frank and Steve both laughed heartily at him.
"Shut up, Justin," Kyle said, laughing at Justin's antics.
"We're going snow tubing," Brian said.
"Yeah, would you like to go with us," Rick asked.
"We'd love to, Rick, but we really must be going," Steve said. "I really wish we could spend more time with all of you. Perhaps next time."
We saw them out and were in the car ourselves in ten minutes. Everybody put on thermal underwear for our day on the mountain, and off we went.
Snow tubing was fun, but I could tell after the first couple of runs that it was a bit tame for Kyle and Rick. We figured out how to get the tube spinning as we raced down the mountain, but even that didn't offer the real jocks what they were interested in.
"Have you ever done any snowboarding," Rick asked Kyle as we were being lifted back up the hill.
"Yeah. A couple of times," Kyle said. "It's pretty awesome."
"I've never done it, but I'd like to try," Rick said.
It was pretty obvious they were jockeying for a way to ditch us so they could snowboard.
"Why don't you try it, Babe," I asked.
"You guys won't mind if Kyle and I go snowboarding," Rick asked.
We assured them we wouldn't, and they headed off to rent snowboards when we got back to the top.
"I wish I was as good an athlete as they both are," Justin said.
"I think you're as good as they are," I said.
"Well, maybe potentially, but I don't have the skills they have. I busted my ass on Kyle's skateboard. There's no telling what I'd do to myself on a snowboard."
"Jus, remember that Kyle has led a very privileged life. His job all his life has been to play and have fun. You'll catch up, dude. Don't worry about that," I said.
"He worked last summer," Jus said. He was defending his friend, and that was cute.
"He had a job last summer, but do you think he really worked, Jus? Be honest. Did any of you really work last summer," I asked.
Justin and Tim both laughed because they knew the truth.
"We played all summer long, and this summer it's going to be even better because of you, Brian," Tim said.
"I know. Kyle already told me he was going to get me a job. He said I would be alternating between beach and pool, working with Jus and with you guys at the same place you worked last summer," Brian said.
"Kyle said he was going to put you to work, Bri," I asked.
"Yeah. Isn't that cool?"
"Brian, I have a surprise for you, son. I'm the boss, not Kyle. Kyle can't hire anybody. The managers of the hotels make recommendations to me, but I have the final say," I said.
All three of them were in stunned silence, and it was all I could do to keep from laughing at how cute they were.
"You wouldn't hire your own sons," Justin finally asked. He said that as though he thought I had betrayed them.
"Of course you'll be working for Goodson, Jus. You'll probably be working there the rest of your lives, if you want to. And eventually Kyle's going to take over. He's going to own it all. Think about it, Justin. Your brother and best friend will be your boss. Somebody who loves you and trusts you a hundred-and-ten percent. You can't ask for more than that, dude."
"Yeah, but that's a long time from now," Jus said.
"Please, God, it is a long time. Tim, you want to be a doctor, and I know Kyle wants that for you, too. He's already working out how that will happen. But Jus, you and Brian could well end up in the jobs Rick and I now have, or whatever the equivalent will be in twenty-five or thirty years. I hope you'll both move away from here for a while and have some adventures and get some experience before you come back to settle down. But I really hope you will come back here eventually," I said.
"But what about this summer," Jus asked.
"Jus, on February 1st, you start in a manager trainee position at our biggest property. It's our flagship. It has the most rooms, it does the most business, and it's the nicest place we own. Bluntly put, you're going to learn how to run a hotel. You're going to acquire a hell of a lot of skills in the next four months. That place y'all worked at last summer is the smallest of all of our properties. One boy could easily handle beach and pool. That's all we've ever had there before Gene let Clay and Kyle work together starting a couple of years ago," I said. "Do you think it makes good business sense to work four boys when one could do the job?"
"No, it doesn't make good business sense, but doesn't it make good people sense, especially when the four boys are your sons?"
Tim and Brian had been very quiet until that point. Then Tim spoke up.
"There's no law that says we have to work for Goodson, you know. There are tons of places on the beach that hire boys our age. I'll even have my license by then. We can find jobs where we can all work together. At least two of us together, anyway."
My God! They really could get jobs at lots of other places, including some of our competitors. I suddenly realized that I didn't have total control and power over them, especially Tim and Kyle. They obeyed Rick and me because they trusted us, respected us, and loved us, not because they feared us or because they had no alternatives. I could not imagine how Gene would react if Kyle didn't want to work for him because of me. I knew Gene loved me almost like a son, but how would he react if I crossed real blood? A real son and the heir apparent of the empire? I had definitely not thought it through.
"Let's lighten this up, okay, guys? It's a long time till summer," I said.
"Okay," Justin said, but I could tell he wasn't feeling good about this. I figured I hadn't heard the last of that topic.
We broke for lunch around one o'clock, and everybody was starving. The doughnuts had been delicious that morning, but we were all used to a much more substantial breakfast. We had been playing hard, and we were more than ready to eat.
We all ordered large lunches.
"So how was snowboarding," I asked Rick and Kyle.
"It was awesome, and this guy was pretty good, for a first timer," Kyle said.
"I busted my butt a few times, though. This one was all into the jumping," he said, meaning Kyle.
"You gotta do tricks," Kyle said. "That's what it's all about. Did you all have fun tubing?"
"It was okay," Justin said, "and we had a very interesting talk. I want to tell you about it later."
I could tell he was annoyed at me. Then Tim spoke, and I knew he was annoyed as well.
"Yeah, I want to tell you about it, too," Tim said.
"Why don't we just talk about it now," Kyle asked.
"No, I said 'later,' Kyle. Okay?" There was irritation in Justin's voice.
"Jeez. Okay. Later, then," Kyle said.
We were all distracted at that point by a group of people who took seats at the table next to ours. It was two men around the age of Rick and me, and three little boys, who looked to be around three years old. The men were stunningly handsome, and the three kids were gorgeous. Two of the kids appeared to be twins, and the third one--their brother, no doubt--shared a family resemblance.
"Are y'all checking out those hunks at the next table," Justin asked. He said it in a normal volume, but they were close enough for them to hear. In fact, one of the men looked over at us briefly.
"Not so loud, stud," Rick said.
"His voice gets louder the harder his dick gets," Kyle said loud enough for only us to hear but not loud enough for it to carry to the next table. Tim and Brian laughed.
"I'll show you loud and hard, dude," Justin said. Again, his voice was louder than it should be, and he was irritated at Kyle.
"You see what I mean," Kyle asked.
"I am not hard, Kyle, so don't think I am, man," Jus said, again at normal volume or maybe a little louder.
There was no question in my mind the two men at the next table had heard that, and I saw them smile at one another.
Justin's hands were folded together in front of him, and I put my hand on them.
"Bubba, look at me," I said. "Are you upset right now?"
"Yeah, I am a little bit upset, Kevin," he said.
"At me, or at Kyle?"
"Both of you," he said.
"Don't be upset at Kyle. He's playing with you, Bubba. You know that."
"I know. I'm sorry, Kyle. I shouldn't have jumped on you," Jus said.
"Damn. Just my luck. He finally jumps on me, and I miss it," Kyle said.
That made everybody laugh, including Justin, and it broke the tension that had been developing at the table. Our food came then, and we tucked into it. Throughout the meal, though, all of us kept stealing glances at the people next to us. A couple of times I noticed the men glancing our way, as well.
Both tables finished at the same time, and we got up to leave. At that restaurant, the wait person delivered the check, and the customer had to pay at the register on the way out. There were four people, including one of the men from our neighboring table, ahead of Rick in line, so the boys and I waited for him off to the side. The second man and the three kids waited there, too. The first person in line paid with a credit card, and the kid running the register got him taken care of in a couple of minutes. The next person was an elderly gentleman, and he wanted discounts through AARP and Triple A. The kid was totally confused and had to go get a manager to help him.
"That poor kid doesn't know whether to shit or wind his watch," the man said to me.
"I know. It's always our luck to get behind somebody like that," I said.
Kyle came up to the man and me just then holding one of the little boys.
"Kevin, I want you to meet somebody. This little dude is Kyle," our Kyle said, grinning from ear to ear.
"Hi, Kyle. Pleased to meet you. Did you know his name is Kyle, too," I asked.
"That's my name. I'm Kyle," the little boy said very clearly.
"I know. I'm Kyle, too, though," our Kyle said.
The little guy laughed.
"Kevin, isn't he cute? I want one exactly like this some day," Kyle said.
"Well, maybe it'll happen, Bubba," I said. "Your children are beautiful," I said to the man.
"Thank you. They're a handful, though. You just called him Bubba. That's Southern for 'brother,' isn't it?"
"He's not literally my brother. We're sort of an alternative family. He's kind of both an honorary brother and an honorary son," I said.
"How does somebody get to be an honorary brother and an honorary son," he asked.
By then, Justin and Tim were each holding one of the twins, and all of the boys were part of our conversation circle.
"It's a very long story. These two guys are actually our foster sons. This is Justin Davis and Brian Mathews," I said.
"Sorry. I didn't introduce myself. I'm Matt Broman."
"Kevin Foley," I said, and he and I shook hands.
"We have a third foster son, who's actually legally an adult, but he couldn't come with us this weekend. He's in college and couldn't get away," I said.
"So, back to my original question, how do you become an honorary brother and son at the same time," Matt asked.
"I told you this was a long story," I said.
"Yeah, but it sounds fascinating," he said.
"You don't seem like the kind of guy who would be shocked or offended by what I'm about to say, so I'll just say it. My partner and I are gay. Tim . . . by the way, this is Tim Murphy." Matt and Tim shook hands. "Tim was our next door neighbor, and he stayed with us for several months while his dad was on a ship in the Indian Ocean because of the Afghanistan war. Through him we met this guy. Kyle."
Kyle extended his hand. "Kyle Goodson. Nice to meet you."
"Rick and I are named in the wills of Tim's dad and Kyle's parents as their legal guardians in the event of their deaths. So, they're our honorary brothers because we adopted them as such, and they're honorary sons because of the wills," I said.
The older gentleman was still trying to explain the technicalities of his various discounts to the manager, who wasn't much more than a kid herself. Rick was talking to the man who was with Matt and the kids. They were both laughing, so I knew they were getting along.
"What about the foster son who is legally an adult," Matt asked.
"His name is Jeff Martin, and he was the partner of Kyle's brother, Clay. Clay passed away in October," I said.
"So, what is it? Five kids and two fags," Matt said.
Kyle and Justin both tensed up when they heard him say "fags," and the little boys they were holding both reacted to them by starting to whine. Matt noticed the reactions of our boys and his boys, too.
"I shouldn't have used that word before I explained that Mike and I are gay, too," Matt said.
Kyle and Justin relaxed, and the two little boys they were holding relaxed as well.
"Did you sense it, guys," Matt asked. "That Mike and I are partners, I mean?"
Tim nodded. His was the only little boy who hadn't reacted.
"This is unbelievable," I said. "Who are these little guys?"
"Well, they're all our sons, now, but the twins are my biological sons, and Kyle is the son of my late wife's brother," Matt said. "Mike has adopted all three, and I have adopted Kyle."
"We can't adopt kids in Florida, yet," Kyle said.
"Why not, Kyle," Matt asked.
"Because we're all queer. Queer people can't adopt children in Florida. It's against the law," Kyle said.
"Oh, I know. That's been in the news some lately and it's a travesty," Matt said.
"Yeah, especially since Kevin and Rick are better parents than 95% of the straight ones," Kyle said. He tickled his little friend when he said that, and the little Kyle laughed in pure joy.
"Are you guys skiing," I asked Matt.
"Well, we both skied separately yesterday. We haven't been out yet today. One of us has to be with these guys all the time," Matt said.
"We can help you with that, dude, if you'll trust us," Kyle said.
Rick and Mike finished up at the register right then, and they came over to join us.
"Babe, you're not going to believe this," Rick said.
"Yes, I am. Matt and I have been talking," I said.
We did formal introductions all the way around. Rick shook the little boys' hands, and he was grinning his face off.
"Mike, they offered to watch the boys while you and I do a few runs, and from what they told me, I'd say our kids will be in very good hands," Matt said.
"We'll do it in the public baby-sitting area, and we'll all register," Rick said.
"You guys don't have to do this, you know," Mike said.
"How can we not do it," Kyle asked. "These little guys need some big brothers this afternoon, and we're it."
We went to the baby-sitting area and signed in. Matt and Mike vouched for all of us, and then they went out onto the slopes.
"That name Matt Broman sounds familiar to me, for some reason," I said.
"There's a Supreme Court Justice with that name. Matthew Broman, in fact," Brian said.
"Wow, what a coincidence," I said.
We played with the little boys. Our guys rode them on their backs while ours were on all fours, and they taught the little guys how to have fights to see who could push each other off. The little ones laughed hard. Then our guys got on each others' backs the same way. Justin knocked Kyle off Tim, and he got on top of him and started tickling Kyle.
Kyle was laughing and writhing. The little guys were laughing hard, too.
"Make sure he doesn't pee on you," Brian said to Jus, and that just made Jus tickle Kyle harder.
"Here it comes," Kyle said loudly.
Justin jumped off of him very fast.
"Got you last," Kyle said.
Justin grabbed Kyle in a kind of wrestler's stance, both standing up, and they laughed hard. We settled down in a few minutes. The little boys all went to sleep. Little Kyle was splayed across Big Kyle's body, and it was too cute for words. Rick had been taking pictures the whole time they were playing, and he got several of the little boy sleeping on Kyle's stomach and chest. Rick and I helped Big Kyle escape from him, but Big Kyle was pretty reluctant to let the little boy go.
About two hours after they had left, Matt and Mike came back in. They had big grins on their faces, and their cheeks were pink from the cold.
"How'd it go," Matt asked as they walked up to us.
"I think they had a very good time," I said.
"I know we did," Kyle said for our boys. "Can they come over tonight? I'll cook those steaks. We have enough."
"Oh, we couldn't impose like that," Matt said.
"Yes, we can," Mike said. "When do you think we're ever going to find another family like this?"
"Good point, Bro. So, yeah, I guess we can impose like that," Matt said.
"Bro," I asked.
"Yeah, my parents adopted Mike after our freshman year of college when his whole family was killed in a plane crash. We were roommates at Penn. That's how we got to know one another, and that's when we fell in love," Matt said.
"I wondered why you have the same last name," I said.
"Is your dad a judge," Brian asked.
"Yeah, he is. You must be pretty sharp to have picked up on that," Matt said.
Brian just shrugged.
"And the twins," I asked.
"That's a story for dinner," Matt said.
Rick and Kyle went back to snowboarding, and the rest of us made several more runs in the snow tube. Matt and Mike and the three kids did some tubing, too, and the little boys screamed with laughter and delight. Jus, Tim, and Brian each did a couple of runs holding the little ones, and they were as cute with their little charges as the babies were. All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon.
"I think we made some mighty nice new friends today," Kyle said, as we were driving home.
The Broman family was right behind us as we made our switch-backs going up the mountain to our house. Rick was driving.
"You really liked those little kids, didn't you," I asked Kyle
"We all did. Didn't you?"
"I loved 'em, Kyle," I said. "But given my choice between them and you guys, I'll take you guys any day."
"Me, too," Rick said.
"Jus, can we talk about what you and Tim wanted to talk to me about," Kyle asked.
"Not now, Kyle. I said in private, okay?"
"Okay," Kyle said. "Yikes."
We got to the cabin a few minutes later, and we all went back to the Bromans' car to see them into the house.
"This is nice," Matt Broman said. "Is it a rental?"
"Thanks," I said. "It belongs to my parents. Come on in, and we'll make a fire."
Without being told, Kyle and Tim built a fire in the hearth. We got coats hung up and everybody settled. I offered drinks, and Matt and Mike both accepted the only liquor we had, scotch. Rick had his usual diet coke, and Kyle made cokes for all the kids. I looked at Kyle in what I hoped was a questioning stare, and he shook his head "no." That meant he hadn't snuck any alcohol for himself or any of them.
"Where do you keep your toys, Kyle," little Kyle asked.
"Buddy, I don't have any toys," Kyle said. "I wish I did, though."
"Kyle, look in that closet. There may actually be some toys in there," I said.
"Oh, yeah. I forgot about that."
Kyle and his little buddy opened the closet to see what they could find.
"There are some legos. Do you like to play with those," Kyle asked.
"Yeah," little Kyle responded enthusiastically.
"Like 'em? They love legos, don't you, guys," Mike asked. "They really are their favorite toys at home."
"Good," I said. "Those are left over from when my brother and I played with them. I had forgotten they were here."
The four big boys got down on the floor with the three little boys, and they all started playing with the legos. At one point Brian said,
"I wish you guys had another kid. I want one, too."
Matt, Mike, Rick, and I laughed.
"So how did you guys get in the foster-care business," Mike asked.
"I told you about us keeping Tim while his dad was away. It was through Tim that we met Kyle. You guys had just started dating, right," I said.
"Yes, sir. Our first date was that Super Bowl party at your house," Kyle said.
"That was a year ago this month. Last summer Tim and Kyle were working at a motel, and that's how we met Justin," I said.
"I'll bet there's a story there," Matt said.
"Yeah, quite a story," Rick said.
"Y'all can tell the story, if you want to," Justin said, "just so everybody knows that wasn't the real me."
"The boys found Jus naked and in shackles in one of the rooms. He hadn't eaten in days, and he was filthy. He was basically being held captive by a man who had been his mother's boyfriend before her death, and he was being worked as a prostitute for men," I said.
"Oh, my," Matt said. "You rescued him."
"That's right. They damn sure saved my ass," Justin said.
"Jus!" I said by way of correction.
"Don't worry about the language, Kevin," Matt said. "They've heard much worse around our house, I'm afraid. They know the difference between big-boy words and little-boy words. They wouldn't survive at school if they didn't."
"I'm afraid our boys are pretty free with language. The basic rule in our family is 'we're all guys, and guys talk like guys,'" Rick said.
"That's well put. We'll have to remember that in a few years, won't we, Mike?"
"It is very well put," Mike said. "Bro, are you thinking about Brandon?"
"Yeah," Matt said with evident sorrow.
"Who is Brandon," I asked.
"He was a street kid I found in the basement of a building in Chicago living in a cardboard box. He was selling sex to get money to eat. I bought him a meal, and I was going to take him home with me, but he escaped out a window in the men's room of the restaurant. We later found out he had been murdered. I identified the body at the police morgue," Matt said.
"That story illustrates the incredible importance of what you guys are doing," Mike said. "Did you hear that story, Justin?"
"Yes, sir, I heard it. I owe Kevin and Rick everything," Jus said.
"You don't owe us anything, but I hope that if you feel like you do, Jus, you'll pay us back by doing the same thing yourself for some kid in need some day," Rick said. "That goes for all of you."
"Brian, can we tell your story," I asked.
"Sure," Brian said.
"Brian's step-father found out he was gay and kicked him out of the house," I said. "Then he was in foster care elsewhere in the state, and his foster father sexually molested him. That's when he ran away," I said.
"Incredible," Mike said. He didn't say any more, and he didn't need to. We all knew what he was thinking.
"I noticed you guys get ready to get on me when I used the word 'fags' in the restaurant," Matt said. "There's definitely strength in numbers, guys, and I wish I had been smart enough to keep that fact in mind a few months ago."
"What happened," I asked.
"A good friend of Mike's was killed coming out of a gay bar. I was determined to do something about it, so I posted a reward for the capture and arrest of the guy or guys who did it. I knew they were trying to find out who had put up the money, and I had been warned to be extra careful by a police officer who is a friend of ours. I didn't listen to his advice, though, and I got stabbed while I was out running by myself one night."
"Actually, our dog Breakers was with him, and Breakers probably saved his life," Mike said.
In a little while, Rick got a tray of cheese, crackers, and fruit for us to nibble on, and then he went into the kitchen to cook. I made a second round of drinks for everyone.
We had a great evening with the Broman brothers and their kids. The three little boys went to sleep on the floor amid the legos, and our four were stretched out right beside them.
"Get your camera, Kyle, and take some pictures of them sleeping," Rick said. "He's quite a good photographer, and he and our son Jeff just put up a Web site for our family. Would you have any objection if we put their pictures, and yours, too, on the site?"
"As long as you don't use last names, I don't see why not," Matt said.
"Oh, we never use last names, and the whole thing is password-protected. Only our families and friends have access to it," Kyle said. "If you want me to, I'll tell Jeff to give you guys rights to it so you can keep up with us."
"I don't know about you, but I look upon today as the start of what I hope will be a very close lifetime friendship among us," Matt said. "So, yeah, we'd like to have access."
"For sure," Mike agreed.
"And the same goes for us. We've got all these boys to raise, and I think we can really support one another," I said.
Around nine o'clock, the Bromans packed up their kids and headed out.
"Will we see you on the slopes tomorrow," I asked as they were leaving.
"No. I wish we could, but we've got a flight at noon tomorrow. Kevin and Rick, I can honestly say I'm leaving your house an inspired man for having met you," Mike said.
"Guys like us are making a difference all over the place," Matt said, "and it's nice to know a few of them."
The little guys were sleepy, but they were awake. Little Kyle was in big Kyle's arms, and he kissed our Kyle good bye. Kyle handed the little boy to Matt so he could put him in the car seat, and Kyle wiped tears from his eyes.
"Some day, buddy," Matt said. "Some day."
About a week after the trip, we got the following e-mail:
We've visited your Web site several times, and every time we go there we remember the wonderful afternoon when we all became friends. Our boys think of your boys as their big brothers, and our Kyle asked us this afternoon if your Kyle could come over to play with them. Michael's bright idea of the week was to make our thoroughly-neutered male dog, Breakers, have a puppy to give to you guys, and Mathew wanted to know if all of you could come live with us. I'd say four young guys in Florida made quite an impression.
Speaking of impressions, seeing you guys among your families and friends in the pictures on the Web site is inspirational. Whoever thought of setting up that site deserves our thanks and congratulations. Don't be surprised if, in the near future, you get e-mail from us about a site like that of our own. I'm sorry we missed seeing the snowmen when we were at your "cabin." Dribbles, especially, must have been hilarious. And speaking of hilarious, some of the videos on the memorial page for Clay caused us to laugh so hard we thought we were going to need oxygen.
From what we can tell, you guys seem to lead the same kind of family-oriented, normal lifestyle we cherish. The love among you is obvious, and we pray that all of you grow in love and peace and service of one another. Now that you have our e-mail address, we hope we'll hear from you often.