Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to real people or events is coincidental. It contains descriptions of sex between teenage boys and between adult men. If you are offended by this type of material, or if you are forbidden by law to read it, please exit the story now. E-mail comments are gratefully accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I got to my office a few minutes before eight. After saying hello to the secretary I shared with the four other salespeople, I checked my phone messages and scanned the contents of my e-mail in-box. There was nothing that couldn't wait until I got back from the school.
At 8:45 I told the secretary where I was going and that I'd probably be back in about an hour. He asked me why I was going to a high school, and I told him I had become a father over the weekend. He and his wife were expecting their first child in a few months, and he was very interested in kids.
"You guys have been married a little over a month, and already you have a high school kid," he asked.
I chuckled. "I'll explain when I get back. I don't want to keep the principal waiting."
The school was huge, and it looked brand new. They were still working on the fine arts auditorium, and I saw a crew of builders around what appeared to be a newly-constructed stadium. The lobby and reception areas were big, and they didn't look anything like the high school I had gone to. I told the receptionist who I was and why I was there, and she called someone while I had a seat in one of the leather chairs in the reception area.
About a minute later a very attractive middle-aged woman walked up to me.
"Mr. Foley," she asked.
"That's right. I'm Kevin Foley."
She extended her hand for a handshake.
"I'm Sally Ortega, the principal. Welcome to Beachside High School. Let's go to my office."
I followed her to her office. I entertained the fantasy that that place had once been a bank and we were in what used to be the bank president's office. Ms. Ortega asked me to sit, and she moved behind her desk.
"I hope you won't be offended, but you seem rather young to be a foster parent," she said. She had a kind of permanent half smile that made her seem like an extremely warm person. I liked her already.
I briefly explained everything that had led up to that moment.
"You said you have joint guardianship. You and your wife?" She had no doubt noticed my wedding ring and had drawn the obvious conclusion.
"No. Me and my partner. My male partner."
"Did you bring his papers, too?" She was totally matter-of-fact about my male partner, and I wondered if it was just professionalism or if she was personally comfortable with the concept.
"Yes," I said.
"If you'll let me have those, I'll get them copied," she said.
She glanced at the top paper and must have seen Tim's name.
"Oh, for heaven's sake. I know Tim. What a neat kid!"
"Thanks, we think so, too."
"What do you do for a living, Mr. Foley?"
"I'm a sales manager for the hotel that's part of the Surfside Resort. Rick, my partner, manages the golf courses there. Here's my card, and here's Rick's card. They have our work numbers, our home number, and our cell numbers. We're both pretty easy to get in touch with."
"Thank you. I'll make sure these get into his permanent folder."
She picked up the phone and pressed a button.
"Gail, I need for you to make some copies for me and pull a student's folder."
In an instant, the door opened and a woman I assumed was Gail came in. She took the papers and glanced at them.
"Do you need Tim's folder, Sally?"
"Please call me Kevin."
"And please call me Sally. Kevin, we don't have many parents who are gay."
"I'm not surprised," I said. I wondered where that conversation was going. It was making me a little nervous, and I cursed myself for feeling that way.
"And there are even fewer attractive, young, gay professionals associated with Beachside."
I nodded. What the hell is going on here, I wondered.
"We have a few gay and lesbian students, including a couple of athletes, who would truly benefit from having a mentor like you and, er, Rick, is it?"
"I wonder if the two of you could see your way clear to volunteer an hour or two of your time every week to work with one or two of them?"
"Whew. I was wondering where you were going with that," I said. I immediately relaxed.
"I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable. My son is gay, and I tend to forget that not every gay man knows where I stand."
"No problem. I'm flattered that you would ask me to be a mentor, and I know Rick will be flattered, too. But I think he and I are both going to have our hands full learning how to be parents, if last night was any indication."
"Did something happen to Tim last night?"
"He woke up in the middle of the night and got very scared that his father won't come back from the Indian Ocean. It took me about an hour to get him relaxed enough to go back to sleep."
"Oh, poor baby! Thank God you were there for him. Kevin, what you just told me lets me know that you'd be a perfect mentor. Not that you'd be called on in the middle of the night, of course."
We both laughed politely.
"Well, I'll definitely think about it."
"Good. Please do. And if you can't spare the time to be a mentor, perhaps you and Rick would be willing to speak to our GSA or attend some of their events."
"I'm sorry. GSA?"
"Forgive the jargon. It's a bad habit. It's the Gay-Straight Alliance. It's a student organization of straight and queer kids. Their goal is to help develop tolerance for diversity on campus and in the community. We have right at a hundred members."
I whistled softly, and I could tell she was proud of that statistic.
"Well, sure. I'm kinda surprised. I've never heard of that organization."
"Really? Where did you go to college, if I may ask?"
"Oh, my. FSU has a huge GSA in Tallahassee and a fair-sized one on the campus here. I'm surprised you didn't cross paths."
Gail came back with a folder and copies of my documents. Sally copied the phone numbers on our cards onto the folder. Then she made a couple of brief notes on the cards themselves and put them in her phone file. She handed the documents back to me, and I put them in the pocket of my suit coat.
"It's been a pleasure meeting you, Kevin. I look forward to meeting Rick soon, too. From the little you've told me, you fellows remind me of my son and his partner. Perhaps you'll meet them some day."
"Do they live here," I asked.
"Oh, yes. They own the White Cap Restaurant. Do you know it?"
"Yeah. Very well. Is your son Paul?"
"No. He's Benny. Paul is his partner. So you do know at least one of my sons. Small world."
"Small town," I said.
"You've got that right," she said with a chuckle. "Goodbye, and please think about what we discussed." She extended her hand.
"I will, and it was a pleasure to meet you."
"Same here," she said.
I had lunch later that day with Bruce, James, and Mike, as usual. We spent the first five minutes talking about the Super Bowl, which everyone had watched, then Bruce said he wanted to tell us about his surfing trip. We all wanted to hear what he had to say, of course, but I had some of the biggest news of my life to share with my three best friends, and I wanted time to talk, too. Mike said he had some news, too. We decided to let each guy talk for ten minutes, uninterrupted except for relevant questions.
Bruce had had fun on his vacation, but the waves weren't as good as he had hoped they would be. The boat was small, and it rolled constantly. The food was excellent, and the other guys were fun.
When it was my turn, I told them all about Tim. James was expecting his first child, and Bruce and Mike were childless.
"Leave it to the fag to get the first kid," Bruce said. We all laughed.
After I finished, it was Mike's turn. We could tell by the way he was acting that the laughter and crude jokes that usually characterized every conversation we had weren't going to happen while he spoke.
"You guys are my best friends. Bruce, I've known you the longest, and I think you and I spend more time together than you and Christy do. I should have done this a long time ago, but I want to do it now. Guys, I'm gay."
Bruce said, "So?"
"And I've met a guy that I like very much and who likes me," Mike said.
"Fred," I asked. He smiled and nodded.
There was general celebrating of Mike's news. Mike was the quiet one of the group, but we all genuinely liked him. Mike worked as a programmer for a huge insurance company, and he telecommuted from home. He joined us almost every day for lunch, and he and Bruce shot pool almost every day after work. As far as I knew, that was the sum total of his social life. I was really happy he and Fred had taken a liking to one another, and I was glad I had played a part in getting the two of them together.
"I guess it's them against us now, Mike," I said.
Bruce and James both said, "No way."
The rest of the day at work went by as usual. Mike called, and we chatted for a while, but mostly I looked forward to going home to be with my two guys.
Rick was in the den watching the local news when I got home. I kissed him hello.
"You didn't want to work out tonight," I asked.
"Naw. I wanted to come home," he said.
"Are you feeling okay," I asked. The pine pollen had started to fall, dusting the cars and everything else in yellow. Rick seemed to have an allergy to it, and the year before he had developed a painful cough from it. I hadn't heard him coughing recently, but I wondered if the pollen was bothering him.
"Yeah. I'm fine. Do I look sick," he asked.
"No, but it's pine pollen season. You remember what happened last year, don't you?"
Without warning, he sneezed three times in rapid succession.
"Maybe I spoke too soon," he said, and grinned.
"Take an antihistamine. Do you still have some," I asked.
"I'll take one before I go to bed. That stuff makes me so sleepy I'll be out in no time. Do you feel like eating leftovers from last night?"
"Sure, but don't go to any trouble. We can just forage like we usually do."
"What about Tim? Shouldn't he have a regular family meal," he asked.
I thought about that for a minute. Rick and I had developed the habit of eating our main meals of the day at breakfast and lunch. Dinner was usually only a snack, and we didn't even sit at the table to eat it. I had no idea how the Murphys had done their eating, so I didn't know if Tim was used to a large evening meal or not.
"Let's ask him what his preference is," I said. "Maybe we can work out some kind of compromise."
I called Tim into the den, and he came down the hall grinning from ear to ear. He seemed genuinely happy to see us.
"Hi, guys," he said. "What's up?"
"Sit down and talk to us, man," I said.
"How was school today," Rick asked.
"It was good. Real good, in fact. I had lunch with Kyle today."
"Oh, yeah? What did you guys eat," Rick asked. I knew he was on a fact-finding mission about Tim's eating habits.
"We ate at the Starfish. They have a great lunch buffet, all you can eat for $4.50, and that includes your drink. I've been eating there all year with my friends, but today it was just Kyle."
I wasn't certain, but I thought I detected a slight blush.
"So you had a pretty big lunch," Rick asked.
"Oh, yeah. That's why I started doing that. My dad hates to cook, and I don't know my way around the kitchen very well, so he wanted me to eat a good lunch. It's only a dollar more than the school cafeteria, but you can get three times as much, and the food is ten times better. I'm used to just having something like a bowl of cereal and maybe some fruit at night. But whatever you guys do is fine with me."
Rick and I grinned at each other.
"What's going on? Did I say the wrong thing," he asked.
"No. You said exactly the right thing," I said. "We were just talking about dinner and if we should change because you're here now. We do exactly the same as you. Rick usually works out right after work, so he doesn't get home till around seven. I join him a couple or three times a week. We basically just snack at night, too."
"Cool," he said. "You asked me about school. How was work?"
I told them about my meeting with Principal Ortega.
"You just came out and told her you're gay," Tim asked. There was wonder and disbelief in his voice.
"Not in so many words, but it would have been obvious to her, anyway."
"How could it have been obvious? Nobody can tell you're gay," Tim said.
"Think about it, Tim. I have joint guardianship of you with another man. I'm wearing a wedding ring, so I couldn't very well claim Rick was just my roommate. And I wouldn't have tried to fake it even if I hadn't been wearing my ring."
"Do you guys tell everybody you're gay," he asked, still in disbelief.
"No, buddy, we don't," Rick said. "When it's just one of us by ourselves, nobody would think to ask if we are. When we're together, we don't do things like hold hands walking across the mall parking lot or steal a kiss while we're waiting in line for a movie. Most straight couples our age aren't all over each other in public, and we aren't either. But if someone asks, or if we find ourselves in a situation like Kevin did this morning, we tell."
"Tim, we don't flaunt our relationship, but we also don't go out of our way to `be careful,' either. You and Kyle and other gay teens do need to be careful, though. The beach is a pretty liberal community, but there are neighborhoods across the bridge in town where having a gay couple on the block would start a holy war," I said.
"What about my friends? Won't they find out," Tim asked.
"Probably," I said, "but not necessarily." I told them about Mike's big announcement at lunch and that I had known him for three years without knowing for sure he was gay. "He called me this afternoon, and we talked for a while. Apparently, Fred went to his townhouse to shoot pool after the party last night, and they're going out to dinner and a movie together tonight."
"I like Mike," Rick said, "and I like Fred, too. I hope it works out for them, if it's in the cards."
"I know what you mean," I said.
"I love talking to you guys about this stuff," Tim said. "My dad couldn't have been better about it when I told him about me, but I can't imagine talking to him like this. He just doesn't know what it's like to be gay, does he?"
Rick and I chuckled.
"No, but we damn sure do," Rick said. "And there's no question you might have that we won't try to answer, about sex, about being gay, or about anything else. Don't ever be embarrassed to ask, okay? There are a million gay guys your age who would give anything to live with two gay guys like us, so take advantage of your opportunity."
"Kyle and I were talking about that at lunch today. Would it bother you if he did stuff with us sometimes? He feels really comfortable with you two and with your friends."
"Kyle seems like a good guy, Tim, and he's always welcome here," I said.
"Well, sometimes I won't want to share you," Tim said.
How cute is that, I thought.
We quickly fell into a routine. The next morning, Rick got up at five o'clock for his run, and we made love when he got home, just like we usually did. Rick and I met at the gym after work on Wednesday night that week, and on Thursday night he went to a meeting of his running club. Tim belonged to a couple of clubs at school, and Kyle brought him home on days when he had meetings. Actually, Kyle was pretty much Tim's chauffeur, which worked out really well, given our work schedules. Kyle was at the house when I got home from work Thursday night, and he seemed just a little nervous when he and Tim came out to the den from Tim's room. I noticed a little bulge in both boy's pants, but, of course, I didn't comment.
"Hi, Kevin," Tim said when he entered the room.
"Hi, Tim. Hi, Kyle." Tim and I hugged briefly, and Kyle wanted to shake my hand. That was cool. A bit unusual, I thought, but cool. We all sat down, and we made small talk about our day.
Rick came home in about ten minutes and kissed me hello. Then he greeted the boys. He went into our room and changed into jeans and a casual shirt, and then he rejoined us in the den.
"Kyle, you've been burning a lot of gas giving Tim rides, man. We need to help out with that," Rick said.
"No, you don't. I live in the next block. It's not out of my way," he said.
"I didn't realize you're a neighbor," I said. I made a mental note to talk to Tim about an allowance. He was spending $4.50 a day, plus a tip, I hoped, on lunch, in addition to other expenses a guy his age was bound to have. I also wanted to make sure he had a few bucks in his jeans to treat Kyle and his other friends, now and then.
In a few minutes, Kyle said he had to leave. Tim walked outside with him, and he was gone about ten minutes. Tim went straight to his room when he came inside, and Rick and I looked at each other and smiled knowingly.
"Have you ever seen anything cuter than those two," Rick asked.
"I don't think so. Well, besides you, anyway." He grinned.
He got up and got something to eat. When he finished, he left for his meeting. I changed my clothes and ate a snack. Then I checked my e-mail. I had nine messages, including a few from some dear friends in Washington state. I wrote back to them and told them all about Tim, my experiences at the school, and all the rest that was going on in our lives. Then my brother called.
"I expected you to call during the game the other night," I said.
"I couldn't. They took my damn cell phone away from me. All this security bullshit is really getting on my nerves," he said. "At least you and I don't have to fight the fucking war."
"Did Mom and Dad tell you about Tim," I asked.
"Yeah. When do we get to meet him?"
"I don't know yet. But soon."
"Well, he's a lucky little fucker. That's all I've got to say about it. I won't ride you and Rick about being gay in front of him, so don't worry."
"Don't change a damn thing, Craig. Rick made the point that this is a chance for him to learn how a normal gay relationship works, and your teasing is a part of it. Just be your usual obnoxious self."
"Do you think you'll get any flack from anybody there about having him," he asked.
"I hope not." I told him about my encounter with the school principal.
"Well, it's all perfectly legal, and all. Y'all couldn't adopt him, though."
"I know, but it won't come to that."
"Well, let's hope not."
I asked Craig a few legal questions about guardianship. I pretty much already knew what he told me, but it was good to hear it from him. After some more small talk, we said goodbye.
Rick got home around nine, right after I got off the phone.
"You're early," I said.
"It wasn't very interesting tonight. They were watching video of a tri in California. Besides, I didn't want to miss anything here."
We both took our shirts off and got into our usual position on the sofa. I turned on the TV, and we relaxed in each other's arms. We had decided that we could still do our cuddling in the den if we kept our pants on while Tim was still awake and we didn't do anything overtly sexual. It wasn't as good as it was in briefs or nude, but that was a tiny sacrifice compared to the joy Tim was giving us.
Around ten o'clock, Tim came out in just his briefs to tell us goodnight. Neither of us had seen him nude since I had seen him his first night with us, but he wasn't shy about being around us in just underwear. Rick moved off me when Tim came out, and we both sat up on the sofa. Tim sat in the leather chair, and I put the TV on mute. I figured he had something on his mind, and I wanted to address the money issue, too.
"Ready for bed, buddy," Rick asked.
"Yeah, just about. Can I ask y'all something?" I noticed the "y'all" for the first time.
"You know you can, Tim. What," Rick asked.
"Would it be all right if Kyle spent the night tomorrow night?"
"Of course," I said.
"Oh, hell, yeah," Rick interjected.
"Thanks. I already asked him if he wanted to, and he said he does. Is that all right that I did that?"
"Yeah, it's okay this time, but from now on ask us first, okay," I said.
"Do we need to call his parents," Rick asked.
"No, but he said his mom might want to call you guys, er, y'all."
"That's fine. Sure," I said.
"Do y'all have phones at work? I mean, I don't know how to get in touch with you during the day if I needed to."
"Jesus Christ," Rick said, "how dumb can we be?"
We both whipped out our wallets and gave him one of our business cards. We explained about all the numbers on them.
"I'm sorry, buddy, but it's actually Kevin's fault. I wanted to do this last weekend, but he said no."
From the look on his face, I knew that comment pushed Tim's "let's tease Kevin" button.
"Don't y'all ever get tired of picking on me," I asked.
"No," they said in unison.
"Well, let's cool it for right now because I have some other things I want to talk about," I said.
"I do, too," Tim said.
"You go first," I said.
"Okay. Would it be okay if I use your computer sometimes? I've been checking my e-mail at school, but I really don't have time to write very long letters to my dad."
"You can use it any time you want to, Tim. Except when one of us is on it. But I have a better idea. What if we get you an Internet connection of your own in your room? It's not all that expensive, and you might need some privacy now and then."
His eyes got big.
"I have a cable modem on my machine," I said, "so we can probably even get a discount by having two connections. Either way, I'll call tomorrow. It'll probably be hooked up by tomorrow night. Is there any way I can get in touch with you to let you know if they can come tomorrow afternoon?"
He thought for a second. Then, "Yeah. Yeah. You can call Kyle on his cell phone and tell him. He'll tell me. Oh, man. This is great."
"You got anything else," I asked Tim.
"No, that's all," he replied.
"Here's what I want to talk about." Rick didn't know what was coming, and he looked at me quizzically. "Money. How much money did your dad give you every week for an allowance, Tim?"
"You beat me to it," Rick said. "That's what I was going to bring up next."
"Great minds, Babe. Great minds," I said.
"I really didn't get an allowance. We kept a jar of cash in one of the kitchen cabinets, and I would just take what I needed."
"Did that work out okay," I asked.
"Not really. Half the time he would forget to put money in it, and I'd have to borrow from a friend for lunch," Tim said. "I hate doing that."
"I don't blame you," Rick said. "That sucks. I like the idea of an allowance."
"Yeah, I do, too, but with a twist," I said. "We're just as likely as George was to forget to get cash. Have you ever used an ATM machine?"
"No. Do you use one, Rick," he asked.
"All the time. I couldn't get by without them," Rick said.
I saw the twinkle in Tim's eye that I had observed just before he descended on me with a put-down or a tease, and I couldn't wait.
"If he can use one, Kevin, I know I damn sure can," Tim said.
Tim and I laughed.
"Hey, what is this? Are you guys ganging up on me," Rick asked.
"Yep," Tim and I said at the same time.
"No fair," Rick said.
"Excuse me," I asked.
Then all three of us laughed.
"Okay, back to the ATM. I figure sixty bucks a week is about right for you, Tim."
"You think that's enough, Babe," Rick asked. Tim didn't react.
"I figure, six-fifty a day for lunch, tax and tip included. You do leave a tip, I hope. If you don't, start tomorrow. That's about thirty-five dollars a week, just for lunch. A movie is, what, fifteen? That's fifty bucks right there. Cokes are sixty cents, maybe seventy-five. Arcade money, money to rent a movie if he feels like it, money for tickets to games and plays and shit at school. You won't be rich, Tim, but we don't want you to not be able to do stuff all the other kids are doing. Are you okay with this, Babe? I know we haven't talked about it, and I know we should have."
"I'm definitely okay with the concept, Kevin, but seventy-five a week is what I had come up with when I thought about it. He needs to be able to have a little extra to take care of his friends when they need a buck, you know? And to save up for something he wants."
"Good points. Can I talk to you in our room for a minute?"
In our bedroom, I said, "Babe, I am soooooo sorry I didn't talk to you about this before I brought it up."
"Kevin, it's okay. But it kind of pissed me off a little bit, you know?"
"Yes, I do know. I could tell. I spoke before I thought it through. I should have talked to you first about this."
He put his hands on my shoulders and looked at me.
"Are you about to cry over a fourteen-year-old's allowance?"
"No, but I'm about to cry over the fact that I hurt your feelings."
"Jesus Christ! You annoyed me, Kevin. You didn't hurt my feelings. Many things you do annoy me, but you never, ever hurt me. You'd never do that, and I think you know it. I know it, if you don't. Now let's go back out there and get this over with so I can drag your ass back in here and show you just exactly how I feel about you."
"Okay. It's seventy-five a week. Right?"
"Right," he said.
When we went back out to the den, Tim had a face on him that was a mile long. We both noticed it instantly.
"What's the matter, man," Rick asked.
"I made you guys fight, didn't I?"
It looked like he was pretty close to tears, too.
"We didn't have a fight, Tim. Kevin pissed me off a little, and he read it in my body language or on my face or whatever. That kind of thing happens all the time when two people are as close as we are, man. The important thing is that Kevin noticed it and did something about it. Kevin didn't do anything wrong. He just maybe didn't think it through all the way. Sometimes I'm the one who pisses him off, but we work it out, okay, buddy? And it had nothing to do with you, Tim."
We spent a little more time talking about allowances and ATM's and all of that, but I was eager to get to bed. We wrapped it up quickly.
Rick made good on his promise to show me just exactly how he felt about me that night. I hoped we didn't keep Tim awake.