This story is posted for the exclusive enjoyment of readers of the Nifty Archive. While you are free to make a personal copy, no copy of this manuscript may be published, copied, posted to another web site, or otherwise disseminated without express permission from the author.

The contents of this story are fictional. Any resemblance of characters to living or lived persons is strictly coincidental. Certain characters engage in sexual acts which may or may not be legal in the state or country in which a reader may reside. Any reader with objections to graphic descriptions of sexual encounters between males who may not have reached the legal age of consent, or whose local, regional, state or national jurisprudence prohibits such descriptions, should not read further.

Chapter XXI

Friday, July 9, 1993

Just before dawn, I woke to the sounds of the birds twittering in the courtyard. I was snuggled up to Brad as always, my head in the crook of his shoulder, inhaling his faint scent, listening to the gentle snorzing of my man. I hear it best when my ear is on his chest, the sound of his heart overriding everything. I opened my eyes, and made out the contour of his chin, the valley of his lips. A tiny hair poked its tip from his nose, so fine it was barely visible.

I lifted my head a little and looked up at his forehead, the bandage making it look bulbous in profile, but unable to mask the beauty of the hollow of his nose just under the eyebrow, the long lashes sweeping down towards his cheek.

I must have stayed like that for five minutes, just absorbing the view, my heart getting all swollen up with the feelings I had of love, of security in his embrace, admiration of his perfection.

"I love you," I tried to think at him, "I love you more than I thought God would ever let me."

He stopped snorzing, and I felt bad that maybe I'd wakened him.

"I love you too," Brad said a little fuzzily, not yet opening his eyes.

I wondered if my message had somehow got through, that maybe the telephone was really not gone, just attenuated, weakened by whatever had happened over the past few days, waiting to return when the turmoil into which we'd plunged our minds had subsided.

"You talked in your sleep last night," Brad said softly.

"Anything incriminating?"

"You were horny," he said. "I think you were having sex with me in your dreams."

"I'm always having sex with you," I said. "Even awake, daydreaming."

His head turned to me, our lips sought each other out, and I tasted his morning sweetness. His right hand kneaded my nuts gently, his left tickling my left side, below the bandage. My shoulder hurt a little, but a background ache, not the sharp stabs of yesterdays. I could feel myself drooling, down there, and his thumb crept up the shaft, then found the tip and smeared the head with my juices.

"How about now?" he said, kissing my chin, then scraping his teeth a little on my chin. I could feel a little rasp of the hairs that were finally starting to get beardy instead of wispy and sofy.

"Yes, please," I said. "Gonna make me beg?"

His lips went down until they were on my right nipple, his teeth nibbling, sending little electric charges to the tip of my dick, which was positively imploding from the stimulation of his thumb. He kept nibbling and kissing down, little earthquakes going off undr my skin.

"MMmmmm?" was all the response I got. No begging -- he was definitely not going to make me beg. His head lifted, and my dick was engulfed in his warmth, his tongue pressing into the center, his hand moving down to my sac, the little finger on my hole, pressing lightly, setting up the tingling of anticipation.

My hand went to the top of his head, and I played with his hair as he played my nerve-endings with his mouth, not going down on me, just holding the head in his mouth and swirling with his tongue and squeezing rhythmically with his lips, sucking more of my juices from the well.

He moved down the bed, between my legs, then pushed up a little, lifting them with his legs, then his arms, and let my dick pop out of his mouth, to be replaced by my nuts. I said something about how good it felt, how much I loved and wanted him, and his tongue went to my hole, laving me, teasing, caressing, making moans come out of the pit of my stomach.

His tongue penetrated me, and my itch started to sizzle.  I worried that I might not be completely clean, for just a second, then I lost the thought as his hands stroked the underside of my dick, my nuts, my thighs. I couldn't move my left hand, which wanted to hold him, caress him. Mt right hand still twieled his fine soft hair, longer than usual, because we'd not got haircuts for nearly three weeks.

He traced the tip of his tongue up the tube on my shaft, over my roiling balls, up to the tip, flickered there a moment, then moved to my navel, up the center of me, sending more shivers through me, over my Adam's apple, my chin, and deep into my mouth. I tasted a little funkiness from me, but not much, and most importantly, tasted him, sucked in some of his breath, as my legs found the right position around his waist, a little higher, my hole seeking his prod, finding it, opening to him, feeling him put pressure on the ring, then pop in.

It hurt, and I breathed in sharply. It had been too long since he had come inside me, but I wanted him there, anyway, and tried to get more by hunching up, but he pulled back and out.

I moaned into his mouth, and thought "No! Come back!"

He kept kissing me, and his right hand went down, his finger entering me, massaging away the cramp, relaxing me. I marvelled at his caring, his Perfect caring.

His finger pulled away, and I felt the pressure of him again, and squeezed out a little to open me more to him. This time there was almost no pain, and he moved into me gently, steadily, filling me with him, touching my prostate on the way to the bottom, sending more waves through me.

I was drooling like an open faucet, my dick so hard and ready that I could feel my orgasm already close. I tried to hold it back, keep it as far away as possible, wanting to come with Brad, make it better for him.

"I'm too close," he said, pulling away from me. "I'm gonna come any second."

I stopped pushing my climax away, and said "me too," just as he covered my mouth again with his. He took a stroke, and my climax got up and stretched, ready to jump out of its cavern, and then he took another, and I started to tremble, felt my legs tense up. He took a third, long and slow, right over my nut, and my orgasm began to rush down to my dick from inside my chest somewhere.

Brad crooned in my mouth, and I knew he was going over the edge, and then I felt my orgasm hit, squeezing down on him, and he took a couple of quick, deep strokes, and pulling away from my mouth for a second, shouted as his orgasm ran through his body, and I felt the pulsing that meant he was filing me with his seed, just as mine was firing out of me, over my belly, but stopped by our chests, glued together. I think I might have made a noise, too, I don't know.

Brad covered my mouth again, and kept pumping his seed into me as I gradually stopped. I heard something to the left, where the door was, and glanced over from the corner of my eye. I thought I saw Jorge Munoz standing there, his gun out of the holster, his mouth wide open, looking at us.

Even as I looked, he pulled back and shut the door, silently, and I went back into Brad's loving, almost as if I hadn't noticed, as if it was an hallucination.

Brad's pulsing stopped, and he began caressing me, rolling us onto my right side, his arms around me. Our bellies and chests slipped against each other, lubricated by my seed, and we writhed a little, smearing it all over our fronts. He whispered into my ear how much he loved me, how he loved being inside me, making me come. I probably said things too, but they weren't as important as what he was telling me, even if they were probably just as mushy.

Sometimes, I don't know what I found most satisfying about our love-making. The petting before we had sex, the incredible sex itself, or the intimate loving after we "did it." This probably sounds dumb, but I guess if I had to choose only one of the three, it would be the intimate part, the gradual coming down from the sexual high, the nuzzling, touching, tingling feel of his fingertips on my back, the closeness of our bodies, the thought of his seed being part of me, deep, deep inside where it would get pulled into my body, made part of me forever. Or the other way around, whichever. We were just incredibly close, tender.

I thought briefly about telling Brad about Munoz, but figured it would ruin the moment, so I shut up. I dozed off with Brad inside me, and we slept like that for a little while longer, until the alarm in William and Jeremy's room went off, one of those "chirping" things, like a smoke alarm.

Brad was still in me when he woke, and he was pee-hard. I was happy just looking at his face, feeling him deep in there. He opened his eyes slowly, and I fell into them again.

"I love you," he said in a whisper, his lips so close to mine they kissed me on the "you."

"I love you," I said, both aloud and on the telephone, just in case. "Take me again."

So he did, slowly, in the same position, on our sides, moving back and forth no more than an inch or two at a time. He reached down to my dick and began jacking it in time with his thrusts, and we kissed lightly, all over our faces, as the lower parts of our bodies steamed up, still slowly, but at a higher and higher pitch. He whispered what he felt as we went, and me too, telling him how I could feel the plug of his head deep inside, how the head was just touching my nut, how the smooth thrusts felt warmer and warmer as we went towards the goalpost.

He told me when he was getting close, and I was too, so we slowed down, trying to prolong the moment, but . . .with no success. I started first, his hand bringing me to the edge, up and over, and I had a crampy feeling as I exploded. I couldn't help moaning and groaning into his mouth, and he shouted into mine as he came into me again. I couldn't feel him pulsing, but I was probably numb by that time. He took a deeper stroke, and I got a slight twinge inside me as he hit bottom. I felt the swelling inside me again, and knew he was pumping more seed into me right then. I felt proud of being the receiver. I know that sounds silly, but that's what I felt, so I have to say it.

We went back into the haze of post-orgasm, touching, whispering, loving.

A few minutes later, Brad said "we ought to get up."


There was the sound of the bed in William and Jeremy's room, squeaking. We looked at each other and burst out in a giggle.

"Somebody had the same idea," Brad said, as he started to pull out of me. I squeezed down a little, to keep him as clean as possible, keep as much of him inside as I could.

"Think we'll still be doing it as much when we get to be their ages?" I said as he plopped out. I was a bit curious, as they were already well into their thirties tehn, I think.

":Of course!" He said, rolling out from my grasp, sitting up. "Probably more."

"Howzat?" I said, flopping on my back, twisting a little so my legs were over the side of the bed. I could smell coffee.

"We have more time in front of us to get to that age than they had," he said, headed for Mom and Dad's bathroom. "Build up our endurance better."

I didn't follow the logic, but I was still in a daze. I got up, with a little twinge from my shoulder, but not bad. I was going to try not to take a pill today. I had to pee awful, so I padded to the toilet alongside Brad and pushed my still-hard (or almost) dick down to aim at the bowl. He grabbed me with his left hand and took over the job, and I put my arm around his waist, leaning into his shoulder, watching our twin streams hit the back of the bowl. His dick was shiny, but clean, and I admired it as the pee streamed out, thick as a pencil, pale gold. "It really is a work of art," I thought, " perfectly proportioned, those big veins ready to pump it up whenever needed, the head with the flare at the back to keep him inside me when he pulls back a little too far."  Mine looked identical, but slightly smaller.

His bladder was a little bigger than mine, I guess, because I was done before him. When we had both finished, he milked us both, and shook them a little, then gave me a kiss.

"Let's eat!" he said.

I had no objection, so we put on our boxers, grabbed our suits on their hangars, and went out the door to go to our rooms. Munoz was in his chair at the end of the hall. He got up too quickly.

He looked at us, and actually smiled away the smirk. "Sleep all right?"

"Yeah," said Brad. "I think we're over the worst."

"Good," said Munoz. He looked into my eyes, and I knew he knew I saw him at the door. "That's good." He checked my room first, then Brad's, and turned back to the chair. Lifting it easily to move. Just as Brad went into his room, Munoz turned to me. "Sorry if I . . . intruded."

"We're glad to have you here," Brad said, not knowing what Munoz was talking about, thinking Munoz was talking about being in the hall. He went into his room.

"Yeah," I said. "I don't think I'd feel comfortable if it was someone else. Someone who couldn't keep things . . . quiet." I drilled into his eyes with mine. He looked back at me and nodded, almost imperceptibly.

"I thought I heard a . . . shout, and I was . . ."

"It's okay," I said softly.

"Coffee's on!" called Boo from the kitchen, breaking the tension.

"Coming!" called out Brad. The camera started up again, and Munoz and I moved at the same time.

I told Brad in Mom and Dad's bathroom while he was brushing and I was on the pot. He just shrugged and looked at me. He was really cool about it. I mean, seeing as how he'd been so uptight about it up at Radford. The guy was amazing. We showered quickly, so as to leave plenty of hot water for William and Jeremy, who were using our bathroom.

When we got to the kitchen, David Saw and Munoz were at the back door drinking coffee and talking, and Boo was putting the vitamins out. One for each of the four places. William and Jeremy were now part of the "family." Munoz glanced at me and winked, then went back to Saw. I wondered . . .

The day was slow to start. We sat drinking coffee and talking about this and that, and Munoz left around eight, even though he was supposed to be off at seven. Saw watched him as he left, and Jeremy gave William a nudge, tossing his head at Saw. William just smiled.

We watched a little of the morning news. Gary Davies was working from his hospital bed, and the police were hot on the trail of the assassins, but had no comment. They mentioned that Mom and Dad were friends of the Lieutenant Governor, and had just been murdered, then did some speculating on motives, ranging from mistaken identity to a deliberate attempt to assassinate Davies by drawing him to the funeral, which I thought was totally off the wall. Brad turned the TV off in disgust.

William opened his PC and started writing, and Jeremy read a book. There was no more mention made of the prior night's events.

Boo changed our dressings, and said "Things sure heal faster when you're young." Brad's forehead wasn't as swollen, except at the edges of the bullet trail, and the bruising was faded a little. My bruise in front was fading, too, and the red around the slit with the stitches was more pink. The back was still draining, she said, but closing up pretty fast.

Brad still wouldn't look.

At around eleven, the telephone rang, and Boo told us to take it in the office. It was Gutierrez.

After the ritual greetings, Gutierrez launched into his reason for calling.

"How well do you know David Garibaldi?"

"Pretty good," Brad said. "Him and Dad were tight."

"Was there ever any indication that he and Susie were more than business associates?"

I knew where the conversation was going.

"Not that I know of," Brad said. He knew, too. "Everyone at SacPro was pretty close, almost friends."

"Who was Bobby's father?"

"We don't know. Why?"

"Susie was never married."

"We know," I said. "We never got into that."

"Was she already working for your Dad?"

"Susie started with Dad a long time before that," Brad said. "I think she was working for SacPro almost from the very beginning."

"And Garibaldi?"

"Him, too," Brad said. They all go a long way back."

"If you think Dave was Bobby's Dad, you're wrong." I said. "Dave is crazy for Emily, nobody else."

"We don't. Bobby was . . . interracial."

"Oh," said Brad. "We didn't know that." I realized that Bobby's hair was awfully curly, but not frizzy. He had a broad face and features, perhaps a little negroid in appearance, but only now that I thought on it. Bobby was just Bobby, full of energy and smiles and laughs and questions about everything. I wondered, that someone so young was already dead, his life gone, his future just a dream. I wondered if Susie loved him, if she made a good life for him. He seemed happy whenever I saw him, mostly at company picnics and that sort of stuff.

"Anybody in the company close to Susie that was Black?"

"Maybe Bill Thompson, one of the property managers," said Brad. "But he's in his sixties, and all he ever talks about is his wife and kids and grandkids."

"Susie wear a lot of jewelry?"

"No," Brad said slowly. "I think she had a ring, and she wore a watch all the time. One of those little bracelet things with the watch inside it under a lid."

"Wedding band?"

"No, I think it was an engagement ring. It looked like one a little, but I can't remember it that well."

"Earrings? Necklaces? Pins?"

"She wore earrings sometimes, not always. Never saw a necklace, but she always wore clothes that went up to the neck. I don't remember anything else."

"Okay, thanks."  There was a long pause. "When are you leaving?"

"As soon as the urns are here," Brad said. "Why?"

"You taking your . . . uncles up there with you?"

"Yeah," I said, irritated a little.

"Have them follow you, not get in front."

"Why?" said Brad.

"People will look at the Bentley, not your car. By the way, what will you be driving up in?"

"We got a replacement for Mom and Dad's Cherokee yesterday," Brad said. No hesitation, so he was getting through it okay.

"Good. Not that noticeable. You make sure that Mrs. Holmes rides with you."

"I don't think we have much say in that matter," said Brad lightly. "She's like a mother hen."

"More like a momma wolf," said Gutierrez, with a little laugh. "Pretty formidable lady."


"I can't assign anybody up there with you," Gutierrez said, more soberly.

"We know," said Brad. "But we can't stay here."

"I can understand that." Another pause. "Be careful. Listen to Boo . . . Mrs. Holmes."

"Gotcha," Brad said, giving me a wink. "When do we have to come back?"

"When we arrest the perps."

"Soon?" I blurted. It looked to me that Gutierrez suspected Dave Garibaldi. Crazy!

"Not sure. By the way," he said. "Where is Willa Jenkins."

"Dad's property manager?" Brad asked.


"Her and her husband moved to D.C. last week. He got transferred to Andrews Air Force Base." Brad volunteered.

"When did they leave?"

"He's been back East for the last few weeks," Brad said. I hadn't known that. "The movers came on Wednesday, and she flew out on a military jet Wednesday night. They don't have any kids, so she can do those standby things."

"Okay. Have a good trip," Gutierrez said, and hung up after we said good-bye.

"They think Dave did it?" I asked uselessly.

"If they do, they're on the wrong highway," said my man. He gave me a peck on the lips. "Dave gets squeamish stepping on bugs."

I remember that time Dad told us about them finding a rat's nest in the back of one of the properties they'd taken over management of a couple of years back. Dave had been there, and wouldn't let the guys kill the babies with a shovel, making them take them out in the back and drown them. Said it was more humane. Wouldn't go in the back when they did it.

The "urns" were delivered at noon, just as we sat down to Boo's gazpacho soup and my favorite sandwiches, cheddar cheese and Branston Pickle with lettuce. She made us eat before we went to look. Just as well.

They weren't urns. Just heavy cardboardy cannisters, sort of waxy on the outside, like ice cream containers, but bigger. Not that heavy, maybe a couple of pounds, Brad said. A white label on top of each: "Elizabeth Hannah Cushmann Weston" read one, and the other announced "Michael Bradley Weston." Brad's hands trembled when he picked up each one. I looked, but didn't touch. I was afraid of dropping one if I picked it up with just one hand. It seemed impossible that all that was left of Mom and Dad was inside them.

"When?" I asked idly.

"Tomorrow morning, when the sun comes up," Brad said softly. "Reston is the prettiest then, and it's quiet."

"Yeah," I said, and got choked up. I turned into Brad's arms, and felt better at once, but still a little empty inside. He hurt my shoulder a bit, but I wanted him to hold me more than not to hurt at all. I said a prayer thanking God for my Brad. I couldn't have been in that room with Mom and Dad without him. Or Him.

We didn't have to pack. We'd left everything up at Reston. Just had to take Boo's suitcases, and a bunch of stuff she'd wrapped up or put into containers. She asked if we had an ice chest, but we'd left it up at Reston, so she improvised with garbage sacks and newspapers, and took a bunch of stuff out of the freezer and out of the fridge. I couldn't help thinking how much like Mom that was, preparing stuff in advance.

William and Jeremy loaded their stuff into the "boot" of the Bentley, and Brad and Saw put stuff into the back of the Cherokee. It was a newer one than Dad's. His was a 1991 model, with over eighty thousand miles on it.

We were in the process of locking up the house when another call came, this time from Don Mounty. I took it on the kitchen phone.

"Hello, Tim," he said. "You guys all right?"

"Hi, Don," I said. "Yeah, hangin' in there."

"We heard about Davies," he said. "It was at your folks' funeral, wasn't it?"

"After. At the Crematorium."

"When are you coming up?"

"Now. We're just closing up the house, putting stuff in the cars."


"Yeah. My uncles are coming up with us. And our . . . housekeeper."

"I thought . . . Uncles?" he stressed the plural.

"Well. my uncle and his partner," I explained. "But he's like family, sorta." I could never say that to straight people. They'd never understand. "We feel . . . safer with them around."

"Good." Here was a little pause. "We, uh, took the liberty of ordering you a telephone."

"Wow!" I said. "How much is that going to set us back?"

"Not much," Don said. "Just the usual installation fee, I guess. Here's the number." He read me the number out. "It'll be working by the time you get up here."

"How's that?" I asked. "They can't get into the house."

"Well, Harry has the key, and Terry Brandon's wife's brother is with PacBell, and they kinda worked it out together."

"Gee, Don, that's real nice of you all."

"Gotta stick together when the road gets rough," Don said. "Gotta go. See you tomorrow?"

"Yeah, sure thing. Say howdy to Mark for us."

"Will do. You do the same to Brad."

I grabbed the cash fund fanny pack, and counted our funds. We had six hundred twelve dollars in cash, and I had the checkbook with $2000- in it for groceries and stuff (only Brad could sign - I was still considered too young -- Jeez!), my wallet with the twenties from Thurston, and a couple of little things, and went out to the Jeep, where the last of the packing was going on. It was full.

There's a law of nature that says that on a trip, all available space in the vehicle will be taken up, and this was no exception.

"Geez, Boo, what all are we taking with us?" I asked.

"You boys gotta eat," she said, almost conspiratorially. "They's four of you, and two of me, so it don't take much to fill a wagon."

I laughed, looking forward to going, getting away from . . . here.

David Saw hovered. I got the impression that he wanted to ask me something, but he didn't until Brad went back to the house to lock up with Boo.

"Are William and Jeremy really your uncles?"

"Of course," I said without thinking. "Jeremy's my Mom's brother."

"And William?" He was almost coy.

"Is Jeremy's partner," I said, looking at him. He looked away.

"Just like that."

"Just like that." I was defiant.

"You and Brad are okay with that?"

"They're family," I said softly.

He looked back at me, his eyes boring into me. "You're pretty open about it, aren't you?" It wasn't a question.

"What do you mean?"

"Aren't you a little afraid of what people might think?"

"About them?"

"About you."

"Me and Brad?" I asked. I was getting a little irritated. "We're brothers."

He looked stunned. His eyes widened, and he said just "Oh."

It dawned on me that I had just let the cat out of the bag.

Brad and Boo came out the back door, and Saw turned away, looking out over the back garden. "I'm going to follow you as far as the freeway, then you're on your own," he said. "You take care, hear?"

"Yeah. Uh, David?'

"Yeah?" He looked back at me.

"You like Munoz."

"Yeah." He said it almost under his breath.

"You take care, hear?" I turned the tables.

"Yeah." He blushed around his cheeks.

We piled into the cars, Saw going out front to the unmarked police car that came out of nowhere two seconds after he spoke into his radio. Brad started up the engine, and we backed down the drive. I looked wistfully back as we reversed out, remembering when we left for Reston the last time, when Mom was in the drive, waving with her dishtowel.

"You put the urns in?" I asked idly, trying to think instead of get all choked up.

"In the milk crate behind the back seat," he said. "They're going home, too."

"The spoons?"

"What spoons do . . ." He stopped the car, and we went back up the drive.

I piled out and opened the back door, switched the alarm off, then back on with a one-minute delay, and ran into the hall where mom kept her silver spoons, the ones from Paris, and London. There were two antique spoons there I'd never noticed that much before. One had "Bradley" engraved on the handle, the other "Timothy." They were the spoons Mom used to feed us when we were babies. I took just those two -- it seemed somehow right -- and ran back to the car, making sure the door was locked.

Brad peeled a little on the way out. I just held the spoons, and when he stopped to put the 'Kee into Drive, I showed him the handles. He nodded at me, then we left.

I pretended to study the dash, opened the glove compartment to read the car manual, figured the radio out and turned it on.

"What kind of music do you like, Boo?" I said as we pulled away from the neighborhood.

"All of it exceptin' rap."

I chose a soft rock station, just to be sure she didn't get notes she didn't like.

"There they go," said Brad as we pulled into the freeway onramp.

I looked back just as the police car flashed its lights and went straight on, under the freeway. I wondered how much Saw liked Munoz. I thought it must be a lot, for him to tell me. I wondered if Munoz was good enough a man for him, then figured it was none of my business. Except I couldn't stop thinking about them, wondering if two cops could become partners in the macho world of the police.

The drive up to Radford was uneventful. We went our usual route, except Brad missed the turn for Pole line, so we went on down Covell to 113, then on up to 16, past Cache Creek to I-505. It was hot outside, but the Cherokee's air conditioner coped fine, and it was fun pointing out to Boo some of the things we passed. The car had that "new" smell to it, leather and machine oil. A little noisier than I expected, but not much. Brad said it had more power than the old one. He had to keep backing off the gas pedal, once we got on I-5. We hit ninety a couple of times. I changed stations when th enews came on.

The Bentley stayed behind us like it was on a long rope, never a greater or lesser distance from us, except when one of those Lexus Ladies pulled in between us with no warning, then the next lane over, right in front of a big rig that had to slam on its brakes in order to avoid a crash. The Lexus exited right, little missed.

We stopped in Red Bluff for gas. Not for the Cherokee as much as for the Bentley. Jeremy flashed his headlamps twice, the signal for pit stop, so we pulled off the freeway. Boo repaired to the Ladies' to "freshen up," admonishing us to stay close to Jeremy and William while she was gone. Like she had to ask twice! Brad and I went into the Men's and peed together. I guess William and Jeremy tied knots in theirs -- they didn't pee all the way up.

We bought ice cream bars for all of us, except William, who can't drink milk except in his coffee because he's lactose intolerant or something. We stood in the broiling sun and ate them, enjoying the contrast in the cold and the hot. I think Brad was worried we might get his new toy smeared in chocolate or something if we ate inside. It was all I could do to get him to let us have a cold drink in the cupholders.

We reached Radford around seven, since there was no traffic, and got a couple of blocks of ice for the fridge at the Marina. It felt almost a relief to be back, like this was more 'home' than home. Murdoch's was busy, and so was Ed's. There were cars in front of the bar, and Parker's was still open. We went up to Reston, and as we turned in the road, Brad pointed ahead of us. There were telephone poles on the side, newly dug in, with little piles of soil at their feet. Two lines went from the main road towards the cabin.

"I don't want to know how much that's gonna cost," I said.

"We can't afford not to have it any more," said Brad. "Dad was gonna do it next year anyway."

When we turned the bend in the drive, the cabin stood as always, weathered and proud, the flower beds giving nice color. There weren't any roses yet, of course, but the stalks already had a green haze of leaves.

"Very nice," said Boo. "Good space."

Brad stopped the Jeep for a second to warn Jeremy about the ruts, and we slowly wove through the mine field to the front.

"You got a key?" Brad said.

I hadn't even thought about it.

"Over the jamb?" I said tremulously. It would be just great to get all the way up here and not be able to get in. We hadn't called up to let Harry know the combination. I wondered how he'd got in, then dismissed the thought.

I piled out and ran up to the door, reaching up to where we'd left the key. It was there! Don and Mark were pretty sharp. I waved them in as I set about opening the locks on the doors and the shutters. There was no combo lock on the back door any more. They must have cut it off, I thought, but it was on the kitchen counter, undamaged as far as I coild tell.

We unloaded the cars and moved everything inside. Boo put the ice into the fridge and started filling it up with the stuff she'd prepared. She flicked on the lights, not knowing that we had to switch on the generator. The lights came on!

"We've got electric, too!" Brad shouted. He could be like a little kid sometimes when he got a surprise.

"So?" said Jeremy.

"We only have -- I mean had -- a generator. They must have hooked us up to PG&E when they put in the phone!"

Boo poked her head out of the kitchen (we were in the Great Room) and said "Does that mean you're gonna get a proper fridge in here? This thing belongs in the Smithsonian, not a place where folk lives."

We all got a good laugh, and she went back into her sanctorum.

"Let's figure out the sleeping arrangements," said Brad The Practical. "We've got Mom and Dad's room, the main Bedroom, and there's the Nursery."

"Nursery?" asked Jeremy.

"Yeah," it's a pretty small room, just enough for two cribs and a few baby things like a bath thing, and a changing table, that sort of stuff."

"Big enough for Boo?" said William.

"We'd have to move out the cribs, and put in one of the beds from the barn," Brad said.

We trooped to the Nursery, at the end of the hall on the other side of the bathroom. I don't think we'd used it for years, at least since I was a baby. Brad opened the door and flicked on the light. The cribs weren't there anymore. At some time or other, Dad must have taken them out and put in the bottom half of one of the bunk beds that had once been in "our" room. The little wardrobe was still there, and a night table from I don't know where next to the bed. It smelled okay, not moldy or anything. Dusty, though, and the ever-present spider webs.

"What cribs," said Jeremy.

"I don't know when this got changed over," said Brad. "I thought we still had the old cribs in here from when Tim was little and it was his room."

"I had my own room, and gave it up to share with you?" I said in a fake pout. "Gyp!"

Brad just grinned at me. "I had to get you close to me somehow, Loon."

I just laughed, and went on. "Well, that solves the sleeping thing. Boo gets this room, Brad and I will sleep in our room, and you get the big bedroom." I looked at Jeremy.

"Why don't you guys take the big bed," said William. "It doesn't feel quite right for us to take it."

I looked at Brad. "I'd like to, but what will they think?" I thought to myself.

"Who cares? We should take it. It's our cabin now, and we're going to sleep together. I'd rather we have the master bedroom."

"Brad?" I thought at him. "Can you hear me?"

"Loud and clear!" he said, and we turned into an embrace and a hug that made my shoulder hurt for a second until he let me loose. He felt me hurting, and . . . and sort of turned off the hurt inside me. We never figured out how we did that, but it worked from then on. He could blow away a ripped muscle, and I could do the same for him. It was just a sort of . . . I mean I could . . . turn a switch or something. I can't explain it.

"How?" I asked. "What happened?

"Dunno. Maybe the mountain air."

"Can you . . . " I thought of the joy I had felt when he was inside me with his thoughts, and he was there at once, inside my head, or maybe it was me inside his head, and it was like a starving man's first taste of filet mignon after a year of eating dirt.

"We gotta play it cool, they're here with us. Can't let on. They must think were loony, hugging each other like this after they suggest we share the same bed. Quick, break, let's accept."

"I think that's okay," Brad said. "More . . . natural."

"Like hell, Pervert!" I laughed inside him. "I can't wait to go to bed tonight!"


"I want us to make love like this, all inside each other."

"Me too, Loon!" he said, giving me a "picture" -- no, a sensation -- of him inside me. I got hard despite my effort to think of England.

"Let's make up the beds, then," said William, looking at me a little funny. "Where are the sheets?"

I pulled out of the link, so I could concentrate on the task at hand, and Brad reacted a little, weaving in place.

"You okay?" I thought as I spoke to William: "We've got sheets and stuff under the beds in the Bunkroom."

"You pulled out too fast," he said. "It . . . almost . . . it hurt."

"Let's make them up now, before we get tired." I said to William. I remembered how it had felt when Brad pulled away from me the other day, and thought back: "I think we better take this slow."

William and I went into the bunkroom. I opened the lock, and we got out a set of sheets and a duvet for Boo's bed. We didn't need clean ones for Brad's -- now Jeremy and William's -- bed. There seemed no point in making up two beds, so "my"  bed had just the old quilt on it, the one Brad and I had used out front.

Jeremy waited for us to get the stuff out, then stayed with William while Brad and I went to make up Boo's. All this time, Brad and I were chattering away, rediscovering our gift, like kids with a toy. I was surprised that we were able to "talk" on our telephone and at the same time talk out loud to Jeremy and William.

As soon as we were alone in the room, Brad grabbed me and kissed me passionately. "We're back on line! Thank God!"

I opened up to him, and he came inside me.

"Geez, you told Saw!"

"Yeah. Problem?"

He probed a little, and said "Nah. I agree. Him and Munoz are courting."


"Yeah. I think they'll be good together." Brad said as we finished making up the bed. "And don't worry -- just because they're cops, doesn't mean they can't be in love."

"You'd better come out before we go back," I said. "It's too hard to concentrate when we're both inside . . . here? There?." I didn't know then, don't know now if I was in his head or he was in mine. We never figured that one out.

"Let's try to do it slow this time."

He sort of faded out, and it didn't hurt, just left a little longing inside me. I almost felt him pushing me away.

We went into our bedroom and made up that bed as well, working smoothly and quickly. It's easy when you know exactly what the other one is doing. I went and got our clothes and stuff out of the Bunk room, and put them in our closet and bureau, while Brad went and turned on the gas bottle so Boo could cook.

We all did a little straightening up inside while these great smells came out of the kitchen. I dusted Boo's room as best I could - there was a lot of it accumulated, and of course there were spiders everywhere. I managed to do a fair job of it, and when I got out of the back of the hall, all I could smell was the chicken, biscuits, gravy, grits and greens on the menu. Still a favorite.

I called Mark and Don to thank them for getting the electric and telephone hooked up. Mark said he had a crew put in the poles for us, because it was a lot cheaper than having it done by PG&E, and we got the permit from Bill "Three" because he was the county representative clerk, or something like that, and could do it when needed. "Junior" strung the wires, because he's a certified electrician, and Don put up the proximity lights for us. I hadn't even noticed them, but managed to gush anyway. Bertha conned a friend from PacBell to hook us up at the exchange without coming up to Reston, and Herb Heskins had a phone in his attic, the one I was using. It was made out of bakelite, and the earpiece hung on a cradle that stuck out of the side of the tall phone, with a dial at the base instead of buttons, and the mouthpiece at the top. I saw one like it in a black & white movie once, so it must have been real old.

When I asked about the bill for all this, Mark said we could discuss it later. I learned that when Mark says "Later," he means sometime after the sun sets for the final time. I was -- am -- grateful to ham, and to all the other people of Radford for everything they did for Brad and me.

Jeremy brought wine with him, surprise. We opened a bottle of cab before dinner, and the five of us toasted Reston. Brad and I had a special reason, but we didn't tell anybody -- until now, anyway. We were pretty sure our gift had something to do with Reston, with the roots our family has had there forever. It felt nice to think that.

Boo made sure we ate everything edible, and we cleared the big table. She told us to keep our forks. And produced an apple pie out of the oven, hot and cinnamony, with a chunk of cheddar cheese on top of each piece. We all raved in between bites, and Boo was radiantly happy, you could tell. We were family, and it was a warm feeling. Boo let us do the dishes, while she read in the corner by the puzzle table and listened to music on the old radio. She likes classical and rhythm & blues.

She kept the curtains drawn -- they only cover the bottom half of the window, but they'e tall windows, so nobody outside could see who was where on the inside..

We all talked in the kitchen, about everything and nothing. I told Jeremy and William about Mark Chatman putting in the poles for us, and Jeremy said "Sounds just like him."

"You know him?" Brad asked incredulously.

"Of course," Jeremy said. "Not very well, though, just to see at weddings and funer . . ." He stopped, looking at me and Brad while he tried to wear the glaze off a plate with the dishtowel.

"It's all right," said Brad.

"He's a second cousin or something like that. His Mother was a Waters -- my Dad's uncle's daughter."

You know Don Mounty,  then?" I asked.

"Not at all. Last I heard Mark was married with kids. I had no ideaa he was gay. But then, I -- we -- don't get up here. This is the first time in -- must be ten years."

I just shook my head. It's amazing how small a small town -- or a small part of a big county -- is.

Boo went to bed around nine. I think it was more to have a little privacy (or to give us some) than anything else.

Jeremy went into the kitchen and came out with four wine glasses on a breadboard as a makeshift tray, with a half bottle of yellowish wine. He opened it with a flourish and poured precisely equal amounts into each glass.

"A fine Sauterne," Jeremy said. "Not quite d'Yquem, but close as a gnat's whisker." He passed us each a glass, and we toasted something or other.

It was amazing. Sweet, a little cloying to the tongue, tasting of butter and nutmeg, wine and honey.

That's when we got The Lecture.

You know the one: Aids, safe sex, condoms. Jeremy was adamant that we had to use safe sex practices, he knew too many people in his line of business who'd bet against the Devil and lost, all that.

"Humor him," Brad said at me. "He's only trying to show us he loves us."

I just sent him back an "Ilya Markevitch!" He winked.

We got the "If you have sex with someone, make sure you never come into contact with his semen. (How else could I taste my man?)

Next was "Never have anal penetration without a condom." (How else could his sperm become part of me? Mine part of him?)

Then came "Don't have sex with someone you don't know." (Fat chance! That one I could promise, no problem.)

We both promised never to have unprotected sex, just to get it over with. (Knowing full well that in half an hour we were going to have some of the best, most unprotected, vulnerable, trusting and monogamous sex in all of history.)

"Uncle Jeremy, tell me something." Brad was up to something evil. He wouldn't let me see into him. "Do you and Uncle William make love using condoms?"

Jeremy blushed. William sat there like a sphinx, inscrutable little smile. "Well . . . I . . . er . . . . of course it's different with us, I mean, we're a couple, we donít . . . do that. I mean other people."

"But you have intercourse together, we've heard you."

"You've heard us?" Jeremy was aghast.

"Of course," Brad said.

"Your bed squeaks something terrible when you really let go," I said.

"I . . . uh . . . " Jeremy fumbled futilely for phrases.

William came to the rescue. "Jeremy just wants you to live happily forever after," he said. "We're hypocrites. Haven't used a condom between us since we got together, except to make water balloons. Took the test every six months for six years until we figured there was no point any more."

"We've never done it with anybody else," Brad said. "Either of us."

"You do it . . . together?" Jeremy croaked.

"Not separately," Brad giggled, almost.

"Oh, Jeremy, can it, dear. They're in love, they were virgins, they're faithful. They're out of danger."

"Right," Jeremy said. "Time for bed!" At which point he got up and headed for the bedroom, away from all this treacherous minefield of parental advice. He was beet red, and we got a quick tap on the shoulder by way of a good night hug. It was almost funny to watch.

"You guys sleep well," said William, getting up to follow Jeremy. "I don't think he's quite yet used to the idea that consensual incest has no meaning if it isn't between two people who can conceive with each other." He gave each of us a big hug, then followed his man.

I hate to think what it would be like if we had to use condoms. Just the thought of a bunch of rubber sheeting keeping me from getting or giving the product of our love would make me go limp. We actually tried them once, out of curiosity, some time later. It was awful. Neither one of us could feel a thing, the latex rolled up with a few hairs in it and pinched, and neither one us could reach a decent climax. We took them off and tried again without them, and everything went as wonderfully as ever.

Brad and I switched off the lights and took the wine glasses into the kitchen. We'd never talked about Aids together. We did that night, in a flurry of thoughts that go too fast for words. I don't know how fast we can think to each other, but we can have a whole conversation in the space between two words someone's saying, if we concentrate only on that.

We agreed that we were not going to sleep with any green monkeys . . .

Damnable monkeys! I used to think it was promiscuity. I don't know any more. My Stats Prof and I worked out that if every person had a mate, and cheated once per year on average, from 1958 when the first known case of AIDS was proven from the preserved blood of that Scot sailor who died that year, until 1994, it would account for all of the aids cases worldwide. We have talked to people who openly admit that before AIDS was recognized as a dangerous STD, they had unprotected sex with more than 50 different partners in a year. "Only one a week," said one of our acquaintances. "I know of lots of guys who had a different partner at least once a day. Like a vitamin pill."

Once a week guarantees 100% infection of the sexually active group within less than a decade, even if you figure in the redundancy of partners. You know what I mean. Harry sleeps with Joe and Bill, Joe sleeps with Robert and Charles, Bill sleeps with David and Jeff, and Jeff sleeps with Robert Ė the partner already of Joe, and Todd, a new conquest. Scary the way the numbers add up . . .

We finished drying the wine glasses, and managed to put them away before we did any more deep kissing.

The sexual tension was mounting with every second. Brad kept trying to get me to link, but I wanted to go slow, even as horny as I was. There were times when he almost drew me into him, like a vacuum cleaner, his need was so great. I could "feel" his urgency, his need for me; it both scared me a little, and made me proud. God knew  I wanted and needed him just as much.

When finally we got inside the main bedroom door, there was just not going to be any way of stopping it.