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A Single Soul


Chapter 42


Discovering Love


"The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them" Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island



Friday, June 11, 2009


Jim walked into the Commandant's office and saluted. The Commandant returned the salute and said, "At ease Gunner." Jim stood at ease with his hands clasped behind his back. He was nervous as hell but did his best to hide it.


"Colonel Marks has informed me of your current situation. Gunner, you have been a fine officer and a fine Marine. I understand you intend to resign your commission," the Commandant said.


"Yes sir, this is not how I wanted to end my career. But considering the situation I think its best. It would also give me more time to work with Colonel Marks at the Potter's Wheel," Jim said.


"Yes, yes indeed. The colonel told me about that. I think it's a fine thing that you and Captain Leo are doing."


"Thank you sir," Jim said.


"I'm curious about the name you chose," the commandant asked.


"It came from a sermon our friend Father Dave gave, sir, from the book of the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah had a vision during which God tells him to visit the potter in town. When he arrives at the potter's house, he watches the potter at his wheel carefully shaping a lump of clay. It turns out misshapen, so the potter stops the wheel and reforms the clay into a lump and starts again. The metaphor is that God does that to us if we allow it. God takes us, reshapes us, reorients us and sends us off in the right direction, to be something He wants us to be. That is what we hope to do with the sailors and Marines that come to us for help. So many of our wounded have no idea what to do with their lives after they recover from their wounds. Many thought, as I did, that they would retire a Marine," Jim said, with just a note sadness in his voice.


"Well it seems I get to play the potter today," the Commandant said, smiling. Just then his phone buzzed. It was his secretary, alerting him to the arrival of Jim's boss.


"Major, as of today, Chief Warrant Officer Flannery will be assigned to my staff."


"Sir, I suspended Officer Flannery yesterday, pending an investigation of allegations I received," the Major replied somewhat curtly.


The Commandant glared at him, "Well I am countermanding your orders. You will turn over whatever information you have received to me within the hour," he said firmly, "you are dismissed." The major was so shocked; he was frozen in his spot. The Commandant spoke, "is there something else major?" The commandant asked with a glare.


"No sir," he said, saluted and turned to leave, glaring at Jim as he left. Jim kept his face forward and impassive.


"Gunner," the commandant said, "Head over to your office and clean out your personal effects and drop them back here. After you complete the REFRAD packet, you will be on leave until it's approved."


"Thank you, sir! Somehow a simple `thank you' just doesn't seem enough, considering what you've just done for me," Jim said trying to control his emotion.


"No thanks are needed son; you deserve this. Now I'll be seeing you at your grand opening," noticing Jim's surprise he added, "Dave invited me, the wife and I are looking forward to it."


Jim left the office in a fog. He couldn't believe what just happened. Once outside, he had to stop and call Matt and fill him in. Then he headed to his office. When he arrived in the outer office, the first person he encountered was his former boss. His face was red with anger as he glared at Jim and went into his office slamming the door. Jim had just begun to pack up his belongings when there was a knock at the door. "Enter," he called out.


The door opened and the Major's assistant, a Sargeant Major who Jim had worked with for years, entered. She also worked for Colonel Marks. She and Jim had always gotten along well. She had even been to Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, along with a few parties.


"Gunner, I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am about your leaving. Just so you know, I've put in for a transfer. Don't know if I'll get it, though. More than half of the office has done the same, since they found out you were leaving."


"Man, news travels fast, but thanks Chris," Jim said with a smile.


"I better get going, before himself starts looking for me," she said and hugged Jim. When she did, she slipped him a folded envelope and whispered. "Don't open that until you get home," and was out the door in a flash.


Jim got home around 1500 and found Matt and Barry in the pool with Ryan. George was sitting in a lounge chair holding Kelly. He exchanged hellos with everyone, and kissed Kelly. Matt filled him in what was going on with Travis and that they would all be home by 1000 Saturday morning.


Then it was Jim's turn to fill them in on his day and what happened with the Commandant. When he was through, he asked Matt to join him while he got undressed. What he really wanted was Matt with him when he opened the letter that the Sarg. Major had given him. When they got into their room, Matt gave him a strong hug and kissed him.


"Baby, I told you everything would work out. I really think it's going to be for the best," Matt said as he held the big man tightly.


"Matty, do you remember Chris, the Sarg. Major who worked for Davey? Well she gave me a copy of the email that major dickhead had received and told me not to open it until I got home. I just wanted you to be with me when I opened it," Jim said quietly.


"Okay baby, open it," Matt said. They sat on the bed and Jim opened the letter. Matt read along with him, and as they did their jaws dropped.


To whom it may concern,


I feel it is my duty to inform you that an officer under your command, Chief Warrant Officer James Flannery is currently involved in a homosexual marriage. He is living with another man and sleeping in the same bed, they even are wearing matching rings. He has not only brought shame to the uniform he wears, but he is destroying his family and killing his mother...


Jim was so angry he was shaking. He couldn't even finish reading the email. Matt was furious. It was obvious who had written the email. He just held on to Jim waiting for him to speak.


"My own fucking brother, I know it's him," Jim said as he continued to shake and take deep breaths. It looks like major dick-head redacted the senders address before he printed it."


"Well it certainly sounds like him, the whole `shame on the family' thing, and then of course mentioning your mother. How do you want to handle this?" Matt asked.


"Let's not mention this to anyone at the moment. We need to think of a way to confront Junior and end this crap once and for all," Jim said with determination.


"You know Barry is quite the computer geek, Army Intelligence was his MOS. He told me he could hack into anything," Matt offered.


"Now there's an oxymoron, Army Intelligence," Jim said with a smile causing Matt to chuckle, "so what are you thinking?" Jim asked.


"We have Junior's email address. Let Barry try to hack in and get verification that he sent it."


"All right, that works. We'll talk to him tonight after everyone leaves."


Dinner was enjoyable, Jim and Matt were able to put their worries aside and enjoy the company. Little Ryan was especially talkative and kept their minds off the subject of the email.


Dave's travel plans were set. He was leaving the next morning after Frank, Finn and the guys landed, since the plane needed to go back to Cali anyway.


There was one awkward moment later in the evening when Dave was ready to leave. Barry and Jim had gone upstairs to put the boys to bed. Once that was done, they were standing in the hall and Jim began to fill Barry in on the email. Barry pulled Jim into a hug, and the hug turned into a kiss and then a deeply passionate kiss. Jim had his hands under Barry's shirt lovingly rubbing his back. Barry had his legs spread enough that he was all but humping Jim's leg. Both men were getting very turned on. That was when Dave showed up. The guys sensed his presence and turned to look at him.


"Don't let me interrupt," he said curtly before turning on his heel and headed downstairs.


"What the fuck is that bloke's problem?" Barry asked.


"Guess he doesn't like to share," Jim responded before giving Barry another deep kiss.


Meanwhile, Matt was in the kitchen finishing up the dishes completely, unaware of what happened in the hallway. He was surprised by Dave's abrupt arrival.


"What's up Dave, are you okay?" Matt asked.


"I'm fine," he responded very curtly, "maybe you should be more worried about your husband and Barry than about me."


"Excuse me," Matt demanded.


"I just found them making out in the hall," Dave replied with a very judgmental tone, and noticing Matt's smile, he really got angry. "I really don't think there is anything funny about this. You two are in a committed relationship."


Just as Dave finished his diatribe, Jim and Barry had walked in the kitchen to hear it.


"What in the root* are you banging on about?" Barry asked Dave.


"Dave, what's the problem? We were just kissing. It's not like we haven't both done more with him," Jim added.


"Yes, but it was two couples having fun. At least that's what I thought. You two were practically fucking in the hall," Dave said, the anger and confusion showing in his voice.


Barry just stared, and then the anger flashed across his face. "Fuck you David, tell me, just when did I become your property?" he spat out and turned and left the room, leaving Dave stunned and hurt.


Jim went over to hug Dave who shrugged him off. Jim pulled him back and forced the hug. "Dave, I'm sorry, but we asked Barry if you guys were a couple. He told us you guys were just friends with benefits," Dave stiffened.


Matt walked over and joined the hug. "Dave, we all are really new to this, and still learning the boundaries. Just go talk to him; any communication is better than none."


"Dave, go get him and talk about it," Jim prodded. "Look, we, all of us, are just too good as individuals and as a group to allow a misunderstanding to get between us," Jim added.


Dave's shoulders slumped and he relaxed. "I guess you're right. I'll go speak to him," he said as he left to go find Barry.


Matt looked at Jim and raised an eyebrow, "So, should I be worried, dog face?" Matt said with a smirk.


Jim grabbed Matt and kissed him deeply, "Only if you can't handle both of us."


"Come again," Matt said.


"Look baby, you and I, we're not a normal couple." Jim paused. "What I mean is, we're not just two people in love. We are two souls that are bonded as one. And I think that our collective soul is in love with Barry." Jim said as he looked deep into Matt's eyes and could see his mind working through the thought.


"What are you saying?" Matt asked, hoping that he already knew the answer. His feeling for Barry had been growing every day. They didn't detract from Jim but seemed to augment them.


"Look, let's be honest. If I wasn't in the picture would you be hooked up with Barry?" Jim asked his lover. "I know if you weren't here I'd be all over him."


Matt gave him a shy smile. "So you're saying we should bring him into our relationship? Am I not enough for you?" Matt said with a smile teasing Jim.


"No baby, you're more than enough," Jim paused and hugged Matt tight. "I don't know, I just can't find the words..." Jim paused to collect his thoughts once again.


"Look, when we play together and I watch you with him, it looks like he takes you to another plane. It doesn't make me jealous. It thrills me to see you so happy. Then when I was kissing him tonight, I felt it too. It's not that it's better than when I kiss you. Nothing could be better than that. It's like he and I connect in so many of the ways that you and I do. It's like there's this force moving between the three of us. I don't know, it sounds like a geeky Star Wars thing," Jim smiled and Matt chuckled.


"And I want to avoid any further conflicts like tonight. I think we should cut off the play with friends. I want it to be just the three of us," Jim said while staring intently into Matt's eyes.


This was becoming a stream of consciousness thing for Jim. It wasn't as if he had thought this through before proposing, it just came tumbling out. "I mean everyday he becomes more involved in our lives. It's not just the sex, it's the business, it's the boys, and he's already like a third dad to the boys."


Matt was shocked by what Jim was proposing, not because he didn't want it, but because it came from Jim first. Matt completely understood where Jim was coming from. He had already thought about what would happen as they both became more involved in running the Trust. The frequent trips to Cali, and Matt not having the luxury of working at home as often, would have an impact on the boys. And now this new development with Jim and his problems at work.


Circumstances were drawing Barry into their lives more and more each day. He was like a surrogate parent and becoming the gatekeeper of their family. It was very interesting how Jim thought of the two of them as one person and Barry not a third but just the other person in the relationship.


"This is a very interesting proposition dog face," Matt said while his head was lying on Jim's chest. Then he looked up into his partner's eyes. The look in Jim's eyes was so intense that it gave Matt goose bumps.


"Let's talk about this a little more tonight after things settle down. I think it's something worth exploring," Matt was saying as Dave entered the kitchen. Matt and Jim both looked at him and he gave them a shy smile.


"Look guys, I'm sorry about that little scene. This is kind of new to me, well at least the having sex part," Dave said and chuckled. "Seems like I just got a little ahead of myself. Barry helped me understand."


"So you guys have it all worked out?" Jim asked.


"Yeah, we're just going to work on being good friends for the time being. In the long run it really is the most important thing," Dave said bravely, but both Matt and Jim both could see he was trying to hide his true feeling.


Matt and Jim opened their arms to Dave and drew him into a hug, "That's great Dave. Considering how much time we spend dealing with the haters, having good friends is very important," Jim said.


Dave apologized once again and then left saying he had to go pack. Jim and Matt headed off to find Barry. They found him in their bedroom sitting on the couch looking out over the intracoastal.


"Hey guy, everything okay," Jim asked as he sat down next to Barry and put his arm around him. Barry just sank into the big man while Matt sat on the opposite side and took his hand.


"Cheer's mates, no worries. Davy and me had a nice talk and I explained that I wasn't interested in a relationship. I wanted to be his friend. Even better, his friend with benefits but not his lover," Barry said.


Matt looked and Jim who knew instantly what he was thinking so he took the lead, "Don't you want to be in a relationship?"


"Not the kind he had in mind," Barry said.


"What kind do you have in mind," Matt asked with a smirk.


"For right now, I like what we have." Barry replied while making a circle with his hand to include the three of them. "We work and live well together, we have off the chart sex, and we..." He trailed off without finishing his thought.


Matt stood pulling Barry with him and kissed him deeply, Jim soon followed and joined the hug from behind, kissing and licking the back of Barry's neck and tonging his ears. That had Barry moaning like a whore as the guys began to strip each other as they moved to the bed.


The three men fell onto the bed, performing an almost perfect ballet of erotic moves. They kissed, fondled, licked, and sucked; sharing each other equally. The long foreplay ended with Barry on his back and Matt on his knees leaning over him and kissing him passionately. Meanwhile Jim was behind them deeply rimming Matt and alternately sucking Barry's cock. The guys started to call out directions and encouragements. Finally Jim held Barry's extra thick spit-soaked hard-on up and told Matt to sit on it. He moved his face up close and watched as he held Barry's dick as it slid into Matt's ass. It was probably the sexiest thing Jim had ever seen. When Matt finally bottomed out, Jim moved down and began to work on Barry's low hanging balls, then moving down under to chew on his perineum.


Barry broke from kissing Matt and said, "Come on Gunner, wank my cock off in your husband's hole," he panted.


Jim took the order and grabbed Barry's cock and started to push it up into Matt's ass and then proceeded to pull it out and take deep into his throat before pushing it back in.


"Oh fuck Gunner that is so fucking hot mate. Go ahead, taste your lover on my fat cock," Barry panted.


The guys kept it up for more than ten minutes before Barry announced that he was close and pulled out of Matt's ass. He got up on his knees and called out, "Come on mates, gather round."


The three men knelt closely together in the middle of the bed and began to stroke their cocks while they entered into a three-way kiss. The kiss turned into almost a lick fest until one by one they shot their loads on each other. Spent, the three collapsed into a heap as they caught their breath and enjoyed the afterglow.


After a few minutes Barry asked, "Who's in for a beer?" All agreed and Barry hopped out of bed and headed out of the room. Just to the left of the bedroom door was a small room with a wet bar next to the door out to the second deck hot tub. Barry grabbed three beers and returned to the bedroom. He found Matt & Jim sitting on either side of the bed with a space between them. When he got to the bed, Jim patted the space between them and Barry quickly filled it. Then Matt and Jim moved in and closed the space between them.


After all three men took a pull on their beers Jim spoke, "Barry, what were you trying to say earlier before Matt lost control of himself." Matt laughed and reached over to swat Jim on the head.


"Well what I really was nothing," Barry said.


"No, come on buddy, out with it," Jim said.


"Thing is mates, I have been in love with both of you since I met you. Well it started as lust," Barry said and blushed, "but as we've gotten closer, you each have become important to me in many ways. Matt is my savior and my rock; and Gunner, I see you as my protector." Barry looked down to avoid eye contact, wiping away tears. That simple move spoke volumes.


"When I met you guys and your family I was at my lowest point. A scarred and gimpy guy with a shrew of an ex-wife, taking any job I could to be close to my son and feeling like a complete loser. You guys always treated me as a regular bloke. No sympathy but you just offered friendship which was what I really needed. Then since I have been working for you and playing, I have sadly fallen hopelessly in love with you both." Barry finished and looked down shyly once again.


Matt looked at Jim and winked. He was sending the message that no further discussion was necessary on his part. And then Jim leaned in and whispered into Barry's ear causing Barry to exclaim, "No fucking way!"


Over the next twenty minutes Jim and Matt shared their earlier conversation. Finishing the story, Matt asked, "So bud, would you like to be our partner?"


"I...I...fuck," was all Barry could get out as the tears fell down his handsome face. Matt took the beer bottles and placed them on the nightstand and then joined Jim in encircling Barry in their arms and letting him cry.


"It's okay baby, there is a lot to work out. All that matters is that the three of us love each other. The rest will work itself out," Jim said while kissing the side of Barry's face.

"Bunk with us buddy," Matt said, "I turned on the monitor. If Ryan wakes up we'll hear him."

The guys made a fast trip to the head and then back to bed where they snuggled together with Barry in the middle. Barry melted into his two best friends, now lovers. The whole idea of the three of them being in a trinogamous relationship both thrilled and petrified him. But laying in the middle of these two men, being held tightly, Barry felt whole for the first time in his life. Some may label his feelings as trite, but Barry knew it was real. These two men loved him and he loved them. He decided just to trust them and himself. They had never lied to him so why would they start now? How their polyandrous relationship would be received by others worried him, but again, he trusted his lovers to know the proper way of handling of it.

Saturday June 12, 2009

At 0730 the three new trio were preparing breakfast for the boys and themselves as they reviewed their new relationship. Barry started, "I think we should try to keep this between the three of us, and keep the boys in the dark for a few years," Barry said, as he was preparing a sippy cup of juice for Ryan.

"From past experience, that might be difficult with MJ & Jimmer. But we could keep the sex play to the daytime when they are at school," Jim offered, "but what about our dads and Finn?"

"I think for the time being we should try to keep this to ourselves, at least while we're working things out," Matt said as he was pouring pancake batter on the griddle. "But I have come up with an answer if the boys happen to catch us sleeping together."

"Oh, this ought to be good," Jim said earning a slap on his naked ass from Matt.

"Watch it, dog face," Matt laughed. "As I was saying baby," taking Barry into his arms and kissing his cheek, "we'll just tell them that Uncle Barry still has nightmares sometimes just like they do and climbs in with us for comfort."

"Oh I see," said Jim pointing at his two lovers, "ganging up on me already," he said with a fake pout before moving into the other two for a kiss. They had just pulled apart, and all three were very chubbed up when Derrick came through the door. He was working nights that week.

"Well it looks like I'm late for the party or maybe it's just starting," he said with a sexy leer. As he moved across the room to kiss his dads and Barry whose cock he grabbed and gave a quick stoke.

"Come on mate," Barry said with a laugh, "remember the little ones," he said with a head toss towards Ryan and Kelly at the table.

"Sorry Barry, I forgot," Derrick said with a panicked look on his face.

"No worries jarhead, I was just busting your chops." He said to Derrick who had moved on to kiss the boys and then headed upstairs to bed. He said wanted to get a few hours' sleep before Tim got home.

"Well, there may be one person we should bring into the loop," Matt threw out.

"No," Jim said, "like you said, the three of us have to work some things out first and then we'll start with Frank and Finn and move on from there. Agreed?"

"Agreed," Matt and Barry said in unison and the three bumped fists.

"What are we agreeing to?" asked Dave who had just walked in, dressed and ready for his trip.

"Just making plans for taking you to the airport and picking up the guys," Barry said quickly, covering. They already had the discussion about tracing the email which would require Barry to buy a new, bigger computer capable of running the software needed for the security and spying part of his job.

The agreed plan was Jim was going to the airport. Frank and company would be arriving at 1100. Barry to Wilmington for the computer, and Matt was watching the boys.

Jim was just ready to head out when Derrick appeared, "Hey Dad, I thought I would drive with you. That way the explorer won't be so crowded," he said being extremely transparent.

"Sure buddy, you bring Billy home, he takes up the most room," Jim said trying to keep a straight face. A false look of panic/disappointment crossed Derrick's face causing Jim, Matt, and Dave to all burst out laughing. All three knew he only wanted one person in that car, Tim O'Brien. "Very funny guys," Derrick said and jumped into his car.

Jim and Derrick stood looking out of the windows of the FBO lounge waiting for the plane to arrive. Dave was sitting on a couch talking with Declan in Cali, finalizing their plans. Declan was insisting that Dave stay with him instead of a hotel, yet Dave was resisting.

"So buddy, seems like somebody's caught my boy's attention," Jim said as he put his arm around Derrick's shoulder.

Derrick looked up at Jim, "Is it that obvious?" he asked looking at Jim. Jim holding him helped wipe away the years of pain and self-loathing.

"It's written all over both of your faces," Jim said and hugged Derrick harder. "Just remember that you can come to Matt, Barry or me if you ever have any questions," Jim said quietly.

"Thanks Dad. We haven't done anything yet but I have never felt like this before," Derrick said, telegraphing his inexperience and wondering why he included Barry in the mix. Just then they saw the Gulf Stream land. Derrick felt his heart race at the thought of seeing Red again.

The plane taxied up, the door opened and the stairs were lowered. The first face to appear was Tim and Derrick's heart almost leaped out of his chest. Funny thing is, he barely knew the guy, but when he looked into those beautiful eyes, his heart soared.

"There's my future son-in-law now," Jim said teasing Derrick.

"Come on Dad, don't embarrass me," he pleaded.

"Okay, I'll be good," Jim said and kissed him quick on the cheek.

Then came his Uncle Billy, he and Billy were very tight. They texted daily. Billy had been breaking his balls while they were away; secretly taking shots of Tim and texting them to him.

Then came Frank and Finn. Frank is now his `Papa' since Matt had adopted him. However from the very first day he visited, Frank took private time with him. Frank gave Derrick good advice and made him feel at home. All the guys helped him, but Papa really poured on the love. As for Finn, he was just an all-around good guy. He was handsome smart and loyal. Red was lucky to have him as a father.

Wolf was not on the plane though. He stayed in Texas to protect Travis from further visits from his birthparents. There were no words to describe that Wolf! He and Udo had taken him in as their younger brother. Considering what he had been through earlier in the year, it's good to have the protection.

The greeting in the lounge was awkward for Derrick and Tim. Both boys really wanted to kiss. But they didn't want to do it front of the other guys. Once the luggage was loaded, Billy announced that he and Tim would be driving with Derrick which earned him a `what the fuck' look. Billy just winked and followed them to the car.

He let Tim take shotgun. Then explained himself. "Chill bro, if I hadn't come with you guys it would have been too obvious. And besides, this way you won't find a secluded road to park and make out for an hour," he said laughing and got a slap on the head from Tim.

Billy gave Derrick the latest update on Travis. He would be arriving on Monday and the Doctor told them he was doing so well he could transfer to a private rehab in two weeks. He had just finished when Tim's cellphone rang. He pulled it out and made a face when he read the caller ID.

"Hey Keith," he said, rolling his eyes, making Derrick chuckle. "We just got back from Texas," then a surprised look came over his face. "No I'm not riding with him." Tim then proceeded to give his brother their dad's cell number and then hung up, his face painted with concern.

"What's up Red?" Derrick asked.

"My brother, he wants to talk to my dad," he said staring out the window as they headed up the highway, "I wonder what that's all about?"

To be continued...

*root- Aussie slang for fuck.


Thanks for reading, and a special thanks to Jim, he's the one who makes this story readable!


*REFRAD- Release from active duty


*SECNAV- Secretary of the Navy


*PEB- The Physical Examination Board is responsible for assessing injured      Marines and their fitness to return to duty.


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