This story details explicit gay sex between men, teens and boys. If you find this kind of thing distasteful, or if you are underage where ever you live, then stop reading this now, and delete this file. The story is completely fictional, the author does not condone or encourage any of the acts contained herein.


Chapter 19

It takes us another two months to complete the platform on which all of the games will be built, and to turn out the first game. I've been working on the platform with two other very smart engineers. Kenny and Jason have been working on the first game, and it is quite something. Kenny, to his credit, went back to Barry and apologized for his response to the suggestion that the GUI wasn't particularly user-friendly, and asked him to help him understand the comment. I chatted with Barry later in the day about something else, and he mentioned that he'd worked for an hour with Kenny, helping him figure out how to improve the GUI. "I've very rarely seen a turnaround like that. He explained that he'd had a really bad week, said he was very sorry for snapping at me, and asked if I'd be willing to help him understand the problems I'd perceived. How do you refuse something like that?"

I smile. "He's a really sweet guy, but sometimes he needs a little guidance."

He laughs. "Jonathan" (the CEO) "never went into much detail about you, but I've seen a couple articles about you in the trade press. You're gay, right?"

"Yeah," I smile, wondering where this is going.

"And is Kenny your...what...boyfriend?"

"It's pretty complicated, but I guess that's as good a word as any."

"And Jason?"

"Jason's actually my husband."

Oh, lord, you can just see the wheels start to turn as he tries to work it out. After about 15 seconds, I start to giggle. He looks at me, confused.

"I'm sorry, but you're looking so perplexed. I don't really think there's any way for me to explain our relationships, or for you to work them out. We simply all three love each other."

He pauses to think about that for a few seconds, and then looks up and smiles. "Whatever makes you all happy. I'm not here to judge, just to understand. And, are you the one who provides the guidance?"

"Sometimes. And sometimes Kenny provides me guidance. It's a two-way street," I laugh, "well, a three-way street," I add, nodding toward Jason.

"Well, it looks like it's working for all of you. Without you, and both of them, frankly, I'm not sure we'd ever have finished this project. We all appreciate what you've done," he says, smiling, slapping me gently on the back before returning to his cube.

This isn't the first time I've gotten that comment. About a month ago, Jonathan, the CEO, asked me to lunch. "How about Chinese?"

I smile, and wink. "Let's do something else. I get Chinese rather a lot," I say, glancing at Jason. Jonathan laughs, and takes me to an Italian restaurant that turns out to be really good. In the course of the meal, he offers me the lead technical development position (basically what I'm doing now) on a permanent basis. I've been expecting this, so I have an answer.

"Hawaii is a really beautifully place, and the weather is just perfect. You and the rest of the group have been so cooperative. They've been so willing to take guidance from an outsider without anything but cordiality; no prima-donnas, and no fragile egos. They've been a joy to work with, and, frankly, if this company were located in California, I'd jump at the chance. Honestly, Jonathan, I'd love to say yes, but I miss my home and my friends in California."

He smiles, taking a sip of his wine. "I thought that would be your answer. But, I had to try. Actually, you know, there are some fragile egos on the team. That you haven't seen them is more a product of your ability to fit in, and to lead. That's a rare gift, and why you were by far my first choice for the job. But, I do understand your decision. I don't think I could leave Hawaii for exactly your reasons. You lay down roots in a place you love. I do have a second choice. I've been interviewing. He's rough around the edges and, I suspect, will find the fragile egos rather quickly. But, he comes highly recommended from a technical perspective. Hopefully, we can work through the rest."

And, on that note, lunch ends, and we walk back to the office, chatting about some of the technical challenges I encountered designing the platform.


Now, a month and a half later, Jason, Kenny and I are preparing to leave. We're packed and ready to fly out tomorrow. We make the rounds of the office, getting hugs and not-infrequent kisses from the other members of the group. Jason and Kenny are sad, having bonded well with everyone, but I sense that they too are looking forward to getting home. Since the `week-of-the-crimson-assholes,' Kenny's term, the boys have really bonded -- and Kenny has flourished. Kenny will cook something new, and Jason will rave; or Jason will bring him some innocuous gift, just to show Kenny he's thinking of him. Kenny has also become much more open with his feelings, expressing sadness, love, commitment -- vulnerability -- much more honestly than in the past. He doesn't bury it so much anymore. People, especially gay men, learn from an early age not to give any sign of what's going on inside. It's the legacy of the closet. If someone hurts you, don't show it, because if you do, you give them a roadmap for how they can hurt you again. This is why gay men are often very hard to know on any but the most superficial level.

Of course, this change in Kenny, and his new-found closeness to Jason, leads to changes in his behavior in the office as well. There's a lot more touching between them (and me, of course), a lot more hugs. This does not go unnoticed, but no one seems to mind. Margaret, in fact, mentions it to me: "Kenny seems a lot...happier lately."

"Yeah, he went through a rough spot there for a while."

She laughs. "I guess we all do. Glad he's made it through." And it's from Margaret that Kenny receives one of those farewell kisses. "I'm really glad to have known you," she says.

Kenny goes a little glassy-eyed. "Me too," he says, softly. "When we get back, I'm going to find a local college and get some real academic background in this."

She smiles. "Good for you," she says, and gives him another kiss.

Finally we extricate ourselves, peeking into Jonathan's office to say goodbye, and walk back to the hotel. I have a cab lined up for 7am tomorrow morning, way before I'm used to facing the day, so I suggest we eat up whatever's left in the fridge, and make an early night of it.

What's left in the fridge is considerable, because Kenny snuck out at lunch and bought more food. "Jesus Christ. I didn't know we had this much left."

Kenny giggles, runs to the bedroom to take off his clothes, and then back to the kitchen to whip up an amazing meal: stuffed bitter melon (Jason's favorite), stir-fried long-beans with chilis and garlic, barbequed pork, and mango pudding for dessert. The veggies he cooks from scratch in about thirty minutes. The pork and pudding are pre-made. Still it is a delicious meal, and both Jason and I rave, especially Jason, who loves bitter melon. "How'd you get the bitter melon cooked so fast?"

"After I got the groceries, I ran home and par-boiled the melons while I put everything else away."

"You mean to tell me that you lied to me about needing to finish packing," I say, sounding a little irritated?

He looks suddenly guilt. "Yes," he says softly.

I smile broadly. "Gotcha." He giggles and cuffs me.

After dinner, we watch a little TV, and then pile into bed and snuggle. Kenny is on one end of the bed, and Jason on the other. I'm in the middle. Jason is attached to my back, hugging me tightly, and Kenny is facing me, hugging me from the front. We cuddle for maybe 30 minutes before I hear quiet snoring from Jason, and then from Kenny. God, I think, how could life be better than this?


The answer to that question is: it could be in California. We arrive at 10am into San Jose Airport, the flights having been uneventful, if a little...looong. We're all exhausted, but I tell the boys that we can't sleep until at least 8pm. We're responsible for keeping each other awake until then. If we go to bed before then, our sleep schedules will be screwed up for potentially weeks. I'm a seasoned traveler, and am usually really good at this. There was one trip, though, that I remember vividly. I'd flown into Brussels (Belgium), arriving at 7am. I was staying in Waterloo, a 50-minute cab drive away. We arrive at 8:15am, and I'm given a room. I know no one here, and it's raining in sheets, so going outside is not an option. I have a TV, but I can't get any reception -- because of the storm, I'm told. The only thing I can do is read one of the books I've brought. So, I sit down in the very comfortable lounge chair, put my feet up on the ottoman, and begin to read -- a very good mystery. Seven hours later, I wake up. I was a mess for the rest of the trip, wanting to sleep by noon, and finally falling asleep at midnight, only to wake up at 3am, wide awake. It was miserable.

How do we manage it? I catch Jason snoozing in the living room after lunch, and shake him awake. He looks sad. Jason finds Kenny at the kitchen table, slumped, his head resting on a toppled pepper mill. I decide to get some work done in my office, until I'm awakened by Nathan, who tickles me furiously, giggling wearily. Somehow we make it, and pile into bed at 8:30pm. Dinner was rudimentary: we called for a pizza. I realize later that grocery shopping was what we should have done with this first miserable day. That would have kept us awake, for a while at least.

It feels so good to be back in our own bed, and the minute our heads hit the pillows, we're out. We're sort of draped over each other, too weary even to hug.

And then it's morning. As I open my eyes I find myself nose to nose with Kenny who has, at some point, snuggled into me and has his right arm draped over my torso. He snores softly. Jason, too, is snuggled up behind, his breath on the back of my neck as he sleeps. I can just see the clock on the dresser: 10am. Too early, I decide. I close my eyes again, and when I open them next, the clock reads noon. Kenny is in the same spot, but his eyes are now open. He has a half-grin on his face, his arm still draped over my torso. He pokes Jason, who rises up and leans over me, looking into my face. "Morning," he giggles. I gather they've been awake for a while, whispering.

"It's not, you know. Not morning."

He glances over at the clock, and laughs. We've slept for 16 hours.

"Jesus, I'm hungry," I exclaim. But I also feel really grubby. 14 hours on a plane -- actually longer if you count the wait time in LAX, and the flight from LA to San Jose. "Let's grab a shower, and then get some food." Kenny looks mock-sad. I cuff him, playfully, giggling. "Kenny, I can't fuck you when I'm this hungry." He laughs, and we make our way to the bathroom. The hot water feels incredible. We soap each other, rinse, soap each other again, rinse. We are by now as clean as we will ever be in this lifetime, but none of us can stand the idea of getting out. Finally I reluctantly turn off the water, and we get out and towel off. Having hung up his towel, Jason blow-dries his hair at the mirror while I help Kenny with his shaving. Then Kenny blow-dries while Jason shaves himself. We are at last ready to face the day. But, there's little in the house to eat, so we venture out to find a restaurant. What we'd like is a bowl of rice porridge, but there's nowhere to get one in San Jose. Suddenly Jason has an idea, and starts chattering with Kenny in Cantonese. He nods.

"Dim Sum."

Of course. We can get porridge at any good Dim Sum place, and it's Sunday, after all. We all pile into the car and Jason drives us to "Dynasty," a Dim Sum restaurant in Cupertino. It's now 1:15pm, and, thankfully, we find when we get there that we've missed the initial crush of people. Good Dim Sum restaurants are absolutely packed at lunchtime on weekends. I've waited close to an hour at this particular restaurant more than once, along with, seemingly, every Asian in Cupertino -- and there are plenty, let me tell you. Dim Sum translates to "a little piece of the heart," and amounts to Chinese tapas. You'll get a plate of four shrimp dumplings ("Har Gau"), or lotus leaf rice ("Nor Mei Gai"), or steamed pork dumplings ("Siu Mai"), or, my favorite, steamed chicken feet in black bean sauce ("Fung Jao"). They are delicious little appetizers, and together make a meal. Most Dim Sum restaurants also have "Chuk," the Cantonese word for rice porridge, and we're counting on that today.

We're seated in under two minutes, and as soon as we have our table and order tea, Jason is up pursuing what he thinks is the porridge cart across the room. Dim Sum is typically sold on carts that wheel past your table. You choose what you want. What I want is Har Gau, and a bowl or two of porridge. Returning with the porridge lady and her cart, Jason orders a large bowl of porridge, and we immediately dish up and tuck in. Delicious. Kenny has been keeping his eyes open for a steamer cart, and suddenly stands and motions the lady over. She has the Har Gau, and also, on the bottom tier, taro puffs ("Wu Gock"), Kenny's personal favorite, and it doesn't take us long to devour all of this. I guess we were pretty ravenous. We pay the bill and head to the nearest Asian market where the boys stock up, to the tune of about $175. The check-out girl is a little surprised by the size of our grocery basket, and Jason explains to her in Mandarin that we've been away and have nothing in the house. She giggles. I think she's sized us up pretty quickly.

Heading home, we bring in 15 bags of groceries, and just as I bring in the last bag, the phone begins to ring. I hand the bag to Kenny, and run to the office. "Hello."

"Mr. Jensen?"


"My name is Robert Grantly. I'm an attorney representing Sarah and Robert McPherson."

Sarah and Bob were my neighbors several years ago when I lived in San Mateo. They were a very sweet couple, and we became very good friends, spending a lot of time together chatting, hiking, bowling (of all things). I'm ashamed to say that I haven't seen them in a couple of years, though I've talked to them frequently on the phone. I moved from San Mateo to San Jose about twelve years ago, when their son, Ian, was five. Ian and I were best buddies. When he was born, his parents asked me to be his godfather, and I'd taken the role seriously, visiting him regularly, baby sitting, changing diapers, tickling him, bringing him presents, all the things that doting godparents are supposed to do. Even after my move, I'd visit regularly, watching him grow. It's only in the last couple of years that I've missed seeing him. I've been very busy, and so have they, so we keep up on the phone. Ian must be about 16 or 17 by now, I think, calculating. Maybe a little more. I should probably add that Ian is gay. He came out to his parents when he was 13. Their reaction was exemplary: they couldn't care less. They knew how lucky they were. Ian was smart, did well in school, was drug and alcohol free, and was happy-go-lucky. He was also a really beautiful boy, combining the sandy hair and blue eyes of his Scottish father with the high cheek-bones of his Argentinean mother.

I'm a little apprehensive. Why would their lawyer be calling me?

"Yes. How are Sarah and Bob?"

Pause. "I'm very sorry to tell you that they're dead." I gasp, and immediately tear up. He waits a moment. "They were killed in a car accident three weeks ago. A drunk driver swerved into their lane on Highway 280. It was a head-on collision at 65 miles an hour. Very tragic."

I'm sobbing. "Mr. Jensen?"

"I'm sorry," I choke. "They were good friends."

"Yes. I gathered as much. I'm sorry to have to bring you this news."

Suddenly thinking, "Where's Ian? Was he in the car?"

"No, Mr. Jensen. He's safe and whole. And he is the reason I'm calling."

"Where is he?"

"The McPherson's will gives you custody of the child if you choose to accept him. They ask that you become his legal guardian, and move toward adopting him as your own. You are his godfather, are you not?"

"Yes. Where is he now?"

"I've been trying to reach you ever since the accident, but there has been no answer at your home, until now."

I explain that I've been working in Hawaii and this is my first day back. "I'm surprised that you didn't get the answering machine, which would have given you my mobile number." I glance at the machine. 32 messages. Mystery solved. It ran out of memory for new messages and, essentially, turned itself off. Goddamn stupid piece of junk.

"I received no such message, I'm afraid. Given that we couldn't reach you, Child Welfare assigned him to a foster home where he has not flourished. There has been considerable bullying from one of the other boys in the house, and physical assaults. He phoned me, and reported this, and I phoned Child Welfare, who apparently admonished the parents. Following up with Ian, I was told that the physical abuse had stopped, but there has continued to be a good deal of verbal abuse. I've met Ian. He's seems a nice boy, but rather..."

I see where this is going. "Effeminate," I fill in.


"That's not a particularly good reason for abuse, though, verbal or otherwise, is it?"

"No." Pause. "What are your thoughts, Mr. Jensen?"

"My thoughts? My thoughts are that I need to go pick him up at once and bring him home. Those are my thoughts, Mr. Grantly." I've had enough of this supercilious pain in the ass.

"Then you're willing to take the boy in?"

"In a heartbeat, which is how long I'm hoping it's going to take you to give me the address of his foster parents."

Ignoring me. "You're willing to become his guardian, and to consider adoption at some later time."

"The sooner the better. He is, as you say, a very, very nice boy...effeminacy notwithstanding," I say sarcastically, deciding to sound as stuffy as he does.

"In that case, because I sense the sincerity of your feelings, I must tell you the other stipulations of the will. The McPhersons have left a trust fund for Ian containing $3-million in stocks and bonds that will pay him an allowance beginning on his eighteenth birthday and continuing until he is 27, at which time he will receive the residual in one lump sum. They have left you a lump sum, in cash, of $2-million." He pauses, waits.

I'm a little stunned. I suppose this is to pay for his room and board, but surely they know that I'd do this anyway. I don't need this money. "Who manages the trust, Mr. Grantly?"

"I do."

"Good. Take the $2-million that they left me and add it to the trust. I have no need of the money."

There is a long pause. I thought I'd heard a gasp when I said this. Now there's silence. "Mr. Grantly?"

"Yes, Mr. Jensen, sorry. Yes, I can do that. Let me tell you where to pick up the boy."

As soon as we've completed this interminable conversation, I race to my bedroom and change my clothes, and then to the kitchen, where I find Jason and Kenny. I grab my car keys from a hook, telling them I'll be back in about two hours. Then I sprint to my car and head to San Mateo, about 45 minutes away. Grantly said that he'd call the foster parents at once, telling them that I'd be arriving within the hour to pick up Ian. I am resolutely pissed. Child Welfare has nothing to do with child welfare. They should have known that this kid would be picked on. Instead what they did was look to see which foster parents were next in the queue, and send him off without another thought. It's a fucking government bureaucracy, a self-perpetuating machine. And, yet, I'm reasonably sure that when I get him home, they're suddenly going to feel responsible, and will be all over me like files on shit. "Calm down," I tell myself, but I still burn.

It takes me thirty-five minutes to arrive at the address Grantly has given me, the result of sparse traffic on this Sunday afternoon, my 85-mile speed, and a very good GPS. I park at the curb. What a dump. The neighborhood is mess of weeds and peeling houses, and this house is the worst of them all. I should have brought a machete to find the front door. I knock, and am greeted with ferocious barking. Finally the door is open, and a pimply, heavy-set (translation: fat) kid of maybe 19 stands in the doorway. "I'm here to pick up Ian."

"The faggot," he says, under his breath. I hold my tongue with some difficulty, remembering that I'm here to get this boy to safety, not to flatten this pustule. "Moommm," he hollers.

His mother comes from somewhere at the back of the house. I repeat through my clenched teeth, "I'm here to pick up Ian." She nods.

"Ralphie," she says to the fat kid, "go get Ian, and bring his suitcase."

Ralphie ambles away. What a stupid name. It makes him sound like he's ten years old and cute, neither of which is true.

It doesn't take long. Ralphie actually drops the suitcase from the landing at the top of the stairs and it lands with a crash on the floor. Mom gives her son a toxic glance, turns to me and giggles with a boys-will-be-boys look, and moves aside so that Ian, having gotten to the bottom of the stairs, can pick up the suitcase and carry it out of the house. "Bye, Ian," she calls after him, sweetly. I look at her with absolutely no expression, this chubby, fifty-ish frump in a house-dress, the Mona Lisa of trailer trash, and walk away without saying a word.

We load Ian's suitcase into the trunk, and he gets into the passenger seat. I hop in, start the car, and we pull away. Ian is silent. After a few minutes, I glance at him. "You okay?"

"Yeah," he says, sullenly.

I pause. "I mean it, you okay?"

"I'm...okay," he says, tearing up.

I pull to the side of the road, park the car, and turn off the ignition.

I turn and look at him. He has tears running down his cheeks. "You sure you're okay?"

Softly. "No." Then he lunges for me, wrapping his arms around me, head on my shoulder, and sobs and sobs, for maybe ten minutes, soaking my shirt. I stroke his back and let him cry. Finally, he gets control of himself, and lets go, sitting back in his seat.

"Didn't seem like a very good place to be," stating the obvious.

He looks at me for a long moment, and then faces front, waiting. I wait, too, and after about two minutes, I ask him again: "You okay."

He looks at me again, and more tears begin to flow, "No. I'm not okay."

"Good," I reply. "Now you're getting somewhere." I reach over and give him a big hug, and he hugs back. We separate, and I start the car. "But you will be...Okay." He gives me my first smile, and I smile back.


When we get to the house, I park in the driveway, and we sit for a minute. We haven't said much on the way home. I don't prod. He'll tell me when he wants to, when he trusts me more. I haven't seen him in two years. That's an eternity for a teenager.

Finally, I break the silence. "You're folks told me a while ago that you're gay, but I think I knew that before they did."

He smiles. "I don't keep secrets well."

I laugh. "You know that I'm gay?"

"Yeah, I assumed."

"I guess I don't keep secrets well, either." We both laugh.

"Before we go in I need to explain how I live. I share the house with two other guys, both somewhat younger than me."


"Umm...not exactly. Jason, the younger of the two, is twenty." Here goes, I think to myself. "He's my husband." Ian says not a word, taking it in. "And the other one, Kenny, is twenty-seven. We don't really have a single-word description to characterize our relationship. They're all too loaded with pejorative meaning. He's Jason's cousin, and both Jason and I love him...but not in a cousinly way."

He giggles, and then flushes, looking at his feet. "Do you...umm..."

"Go on," I smile. "Ask it."

"Do you have...sex with them?"

"Uhh, yeah."

He flushes some more, fidgets. "Umm...at the same time?"


He looks up. "Okay," he says, evenly, and smiles.

Wow. I'm impressed. It took him almost no time to process that revelation. I continue. "Our relationship is a little bit...different. They both started out as...houseboys...and I fell in love with them. Do you know what a houseboy is?"

Thinks. "Someone who cleans, helps you run the house, maybe helps you garden?"

"Yeah, in a straight world that's probably the extent of it. In a gay world, the word is fraught with additional meaning." He looks confused. "A houseboy is someone who does all the things you say, but in a lot of relationships, the houseboy is clearly subservient to his employer. He may show that subservience by the way he addresses the employer -- as `Master,' or by walking a few steps behind his employer when they're in public, or, as in my case, by being naked in the house." He looks surprised, but it passes. He smiles. I cannot read this boy. His face is entirely impassive. I can't tell whether I've shocked him, or whether he's okay with this. "You okay?"

"Yeah," he says, smiling.

"When I got the call from your folks' attorney, and he told me about the bullying you were going through, I was frantic to get you out of there. I ran out of the house without warning them about where I was going or what...who I'd be bringing back."

Now he's confused. "You mean my being here might be a problem?" I can sense the tension in his voice. He thinks he might be rejected, might end up in another foster home.

I reach across and squeeze the back of his neck. "No. They won't have any problem with you. They're really nice, and very accepting. They'll love having you with us. No, I was thinking about you. They're in there now, naked, making dinner. If you're uncomfortable, I can call them on my cell phone and have them get dressed." He looks relieved.

"I'll be okay, umm...what do I call you?"

"How about Tim, same as before." I smile.

"Okay," he smiles back. "I'll be okay, Tim."

"You sure."


"Good. Then let's grab your bag and go inside." I pop the trunk, and Ian lifts his suitcase out. I open the door for him, and point to the entryway wall. "Leave it there for now. Let's go find the guys and make some introductions." Jason and Kenny are there, and Nathan is with them. Gary's sitting in the living room. Seeing us enter, he comes forward, and we hug warmly.

"Longtime, stranger. Glad to have you back. Nathan has been pining for his pals. And who's this?"

I giggle. "Let me make all the introductions all at once, because it's a little confusing."

We move into the kitchen, Gary first, then Ian and then me. Everyone turns and stares at Ian, and then at me. Ian, too, is staring -- at three naked boys, his eyes as big as saucers. He was okay with the idea of their nakedness -- in concept -- but the reality has surprised him.

"Ian, this is Jason, my husband." Jason dries his hands, scurries forward, and shakes Ian's. "And this is Kenny, my other husband." Kenny flushes with pleasure, and runs to shake with Ian. "And this," pointing to Nathan, "is Gary's husband, Nathan." Now Nathan scurries, squealing, and hugs Ian, a hug he returns, albeit stiffly. "And this is Gary, my best friend." They shake cordially. I look back to the group. "Ian is the son of two really good friends of mine, Sarah and Bob McPherson. They were my neighbors when I lived in San Mateo. We became very close, and when Ian was born, they asked me to be his godfather. This morning, when we got back from brunch and the grocery, I got a call from Sarah and Bob's attorney, telling me that Sarah and Bob had been killed in an auto accident." Ian is trying to be stoic, but he's losing the battle. "He also told me that Ian was in a foster home because the lawyer couldn't reach me, and that the foster family was abusive. So, I raced out of here to pick him up. The long and the short of it is, I've elected to become Ian's guardian. He's going to come live with us."

Jason is so amazing, so welcoming. His eyes light up. He races over and hugs Ian, and this time Ian hugs him back, laughing. Kenny is next, hugging him with a vengeance. "Welcome," he whispers.

Nathan is squealing. "This'll be fun. Do you cook?"

"A little," he confides, flushed.

"Come cook with us," Jason says, handing him an apron. "You don't want to get your clothes dirty." Ian looks at his shirt, and then at Jason, and giggles. "Don't worry," Kenny reassures him. "We are our own aprons." Everyone laughs, including Gary and me, and we leave them to their own devices, moving back into the living room.

"You have a drink," I ask?

"Not yet."

I grab a couple of glasses, some ice from the tiny freezer in the end table, and give us both a generous splash of scotch. Passing his glass to him, I sit in one of the chairs across from him.

"That's a pretty daunting responsibility to come home to after six months away. He seems like a nice kid, though. When did his folks...when was the accident?"

"Three weeks ago, I'm told. The attorney said he's been trying to reach me since then, but that fucking lousy answering machine filled up with messages, and when it does that, it stops answering, so he never got the message with my mobile number. The foster home Child Welfare put him in was dreadful. Clearly the foster parents didn't want the child; they wanted the money. The son is an abusive little prick, weighs in at probably three hundred pounds, and is only about 5'9". It took everything I had not to flatten him at the door. Ian is a special kid -- bright, engaging, creative, and yes, a little effeminate, but who cares? We were best friends until I move to San Jose, and even after that, when I'd stop over for dinner, he'd fling himself at me. I really like him." I move my chair a little closer. I don't want to be heard. "He came with a $5-million `dowry'," I confide. "$3-million in trust for him, and $2-million in cash for me."

Gary whistles. "Now there's incentive."

"Actually, I find it a little insulting. Sarah and Bob should have known better. I told the lawyer that I'd take the boy but not the money. I told him to put my $2-million in his trust account." Gary snaughs.


In the kitchen the boys are getting to know each other while preparing dinner.

"Where'd you guys meet Tim," Ian asks, cleaning bundles of bok choi?

"Well," replies Jason, "he advertised on Craigslist for a houseboy. I wasn't really sure what that was at the time, but his ad was pretty specific about what he expected. I was a virgin. I hadn't even kissed anybody, girl or boy. I was intrigued, called him, and we met the next day, and the day after that, I visited his house." He stops there, wondering if he should go on. He looks up at Kenny, and Kenny shakes his head. "And that's about it. I started working for him a couple days later, and like five months after that, after we'd both fallen in love, he asked me to marry him."

"Wow," says Ian, a little mesmerized. "How romantic." Jason giggles. "How about you, Kenny?"

"I first met him at Jason's wedding. His Mom told my Mom about the wedding, and my Mom told me. I just had to go. I hadn't seen Jason for a while, and was shocked to hear he was getting married -- to a man. I didn't even know he was gay. And then we came back to the house, had an incredible dinner whipped up by these two," nodding at Jason and Nathan, "and then..." Jason is shaking his head, furiously behind Ian's back. "...and then...umm..."

"You'd been laid off, hadn't you, Kenny." Jason to the rescue.

"Yeah, that's right. I was on the verge of having to move back in with my parents because, without a job, I couldn't afford my rent. That wasn't a good option because, while they know I'm gay, they don't approve. It was going to be really hard to live there. So, Jason asked Tim if I could stay, and Tim said yes."

There's a lull in the conversation as Ian struggles with his next question. Jason looks at him, and smiles. He waits, continuing to cut up eggplant. After a couple minutes of silence, Ian finally works up the nerve. "Umm...can I ask a sort of personal question? Actually, it not sort of personal, it's real personal." Jason nods encouragingly. "Umm...do you guys have...pubic hair?" The boys explode in laughter, Jason nearly cutting himself. Ian flushes bright red, but smiles good-naturedly. Finally they get control of themselves.

"Umm...yeah," Jason replies. "A houseboy is sort of a...submissive role."

"That's what Tim was telling me."

"That's why we're naked. It reminds us to submit to his authority. (Although, I think he likes to look at us, too, which is pretty hot.) Making us shave our body hair is another proof of his power over us, though we actually do it ourselves. Well, I do." Kenny looks up, wondering where this is going. Jason winks at him. And then, as fast as he's ever spoken in his life, trying to get the whole sentence out before he get cuffed, he adds "I only have crotch hair, but-Kenny-has-hair-in-his-ass-crack-and-needs-help." Nathan shrieks with laughter as Jason drops the knife on the counter, and runs around the table, laughing hysterically. Kenny is right behind him, bright red, but with a huge grin on his face. He cuffs Jason playfully, and wrestles him back into place at the counter, still blushing furiously. Ian is doubled over with laughter, but finally recovers.

"I see," he says, deadpan, which starts a whole new wave of laughter.

After another 40-minutes, the boys bring out the food: Braised eggplant in hoisin sauce, stir fried bok choi with garlic, salt and pepper prawns, spicy beef with black mushrooms, and, of course, steamed rice. And, for desert, fresh pineapple. Jason has made a pot of mint tea to accompany the meal, and brings that out, with cups. Suddenly he looks at Ian. "Do you use chopsticks," he asks?

"I have a few times. I'm not real good at it."

"Let me get you a fork."

"No, that's okay. I have to learn sometime, especially if I'm going to live here."

We all sit down at the table, and stare at the food for a few seconds, inhaling the aromas, and then we can wait longer, and begin dishing up small quantities on top of the rice in our bowls. Ian has clearly never done this before, but watches us as we eat, and tries to copy what we do. His chopstick technique is terrible. At this rate he'll get more on him than in him. I expect to see dribbles of blood trickle out of Nathan's mouth any minute as he bites his tongue to keep from laughing. Jason finally gets up and walks behind Ian. Lifting Ian's right hand, he explains: "You put the first chop stick between the crotch of your thumb and the tip of your third finger, like this" positioning the chopstick in Ian's hand. "The second one goes between the tips of your first and second fingers, held in place by the thumb." Ian does as he's told. "Yeah, that's right. Now use your first finger to bring the tips of the chop sticks together." Ian starts to move the chopsticks together. "Yeah, good. By the way, don't try to eat rice grain by grain or even clump by clump. Just put the bowl to your mouth and shovel it in, like Kenny's doing." Ian looks over at Kenny and then up at Jason and gives him the most appreciative smile. Jason has handled this brilliantly, making Ian feel totally comfortable. Kenny once told Jason that he was the most giving person he'd ever met. He's also the most sensitive. He's used this opportunity not only to teach Ian how use chopsticks, but also to put him at ease and bond with him. He's still not very good, but he'll get there.

"That's the Caucasian way to use chop sticks," Kenny chimes in, giggling. "Look at Tim and Gary: perfect etiquette. You guys learn to use them when you're in your teens or twenties, when you're fairly dexterous. Most of us Asian kids learned when we were really young, and held them in all kinds of weird ways that shaped the way we hold them today. Look at Jason. His chop sticks actually cross over each other, and I hold mine really close, and almost parallel. It doesn't really matter as long as you get the food in your mouth." He giggles.

Ian is working it out, and improves as the meal progresses. By the end, he's a pro, and has learned to shovel rice into his mouth almost as fast as Kenny.

After dessert and tea, Kenny and Jason clear the table and load the dishwasher. Nathan dresses, and he and Gary leave. Ian moves toward the kitchen, to help the boys, but I motion him into my office instead, pointing to the overstuffed chair. "You learned to use chop sticks pretty fast," I say, smiling.

He smiles back. "I had a very good teacher."

"Yes you did. So, there's more you need to know about us."

He smiles. "Well, Kenny and Jason told me some."

"Such as?"

"That they're submissive to you, and that you keep them naked and shaved as an expression of your control."

"Right. How does that make you feel?"

"It's fine. In fact, I think it's pretty hot. What do you expect of me?"

"That you'll keep your clothes on, and groom yourself however you want," I respond with a chuckle.

He looks almost sad. "But, shouldn't I follow their example? Shouldn't I be like them? Why am I different?"

"Because you're under age," I reply. "How old are you," by the way?

"I'm 17. I'll be eighteen in six months."

"Oh, Christ, I thought you were younger. That makes things easier."

Ian looks confused.

"I need to explain this, and I need you to really try to understand. As I start to submit the paperwork to become your legal guardian, our friends at Child Welfare are going to start to take an interest in us, as they did NOT with your foster parents. We have to look like a typical `family,' whatever the hell that is. If they find out about Kenny and Jason, they'll take you away. If they were to discover that you're naked in the house, they'd take you away; and if the school ever had any inkling that these things were happening, they'd take you away. So, we have to be discreet."

"But how would they know?"

"Because of mistakes, because you confide something to someone, who whispers it to someone else, and suddenly we're inundated in Child Welfare thugs, and cops. I don't want them to take you away, Ian. I like you. You can't talk about Kenny and Jason, or even acknowledge that they live with us. That's the only lie I want you to have to tell. You stay dressed in the house because someone could come by unannounced, and see you, and then we'd have a problem. The other thing you need to know is that Kenny and Jason get punished sometimes." His eyes go a little wide. "I punish them because they misbehave in some way, but mostly I punish them because they enjoy it and because I enjoy it. So, you may hear screams from my bedroom sometimes, crying. Don't worry about it. They're fine. In fact, and this is our secret, don't tell them I told you, in fact, Kenny and Jason like to cry. It's an emotional release for them that they can't achieve on their own -- emotional ejaculation. So, I make them cry, mostly by spanking them, so don't be surprised if you see them with a red ass in the morning."

"Will you punish me?"


"But why," he asks, whining just a little.

"Because if anyone ever found out, they'd lock me up and throw away the key. I'd never get out of jail, and my life would be ruined. Kenny and Jason are considered `consenting adults.' You don't have the right to consent until you're eighteen." He looks sad. "But Ian, that's only six months away. We only have to play at this for six fucking months. In six months, if you want to be naked in the house, I'm fine with that. If you want to become another house boy, I'm fine with that. If you want me to spank you, I'll do it...happily. If you want to be treated just like Jason and Kenny, I'll do it." He brightens considerably. "For the next six months, you can watch and figure out what you want, but you can't play with us. After that, we can do whatever you want." He's beaming.

Now that we have that out of the way, there are two more things. First, are you sexually active? Have you been with anyone?" He shakes his head. "That's almost a relief. We don't have to worry about disease. If you become sexually active with someone outside the family, I expect you to use condoms. If you don't, and I find out about it, I will find a really nasty way to punish you that I guarantee you will not enjoy. It might not be corporal punishment, but you'll wish it was, because that would end eventually. Lastly, I am irrational about drugs. If I find drugs in the house, you and the drugs will be out on your ass. It's the only unforgiveable crime. Ask Kenny about Andrew, and you'll understand better why I'm so adamant. It's the primary house rule."

"I don't do drugs. I'd never do drugs."

"I know. Ask Kenny about Andrew. I'm really happy you're here, Ian." I motion for him to come and sit on my lap, and he does, like a puppy dog. I hug him tight, kissing him on the cheek. "I'm so sorry about the mix-up that landed you in foster care. No one should have to go through that. I'm really, really sorry." He nods, and I hug him again, and this time, he hugs back. "Your folks gave you a lot of latitude because, as your mother told me, you're the `perfect child.' Pretty high praise. I'm going to do the same because I think you can handle it. Anytime you want advice, or to talk, lemme know. And, judging by tonight, Jason and Kenny are there for you, too. I think you've made two really good friends. We'll enroll you in school tomorrow. I need to do a little research to figure out where to send you, so go talk to Kenny about Andrew and understand my concerns. I've got work to do." I hug him once more. He smiles broadly, hops off my lap, and moves to the door.

"Thanks, Tim," he says, smiling at the door. Then he's gone.


Ian makes a Bee-line for Kenny who, having finished the dishes with Jason, is lounging in the living room. Jason is reapplying to schools, busy at the computer in his room.

"How was it," Kenny asks with a grin.


"Yeah, the first interview is pretty deep, I've been told. I didn't have to go through it. Jason shielded me from it."

"He kept talking about drugs in the house. I don't do drugs, would never do drugs, but he didn't let up. He told me to come ask you about Andrew." Nathan instantly tears up. He tells Ian the story of reclamation, redemption, relief, and abrupt death.

"I found him," he chokes. "I had to be at work early that day. He'd been in bed with us, but was gone when I got up. The light was on in his room when I went into the hall toward the bathroom, and when I glanced in, there he was on the floor. I had to sprint to the bathroom to throw up before I could deal with it. When I returned, I saw he was gray. I ran to the bedroom, dragged Tim out of bed, and took him to Andrew's room. I've never seen him like that. He completely lost it, for days. He'd wander around the house at all hours cursing himself. He kept saying it was his fault, what an idiot he was, what a moron. He actually believed that, still does, I think. Jason and I tried to comfort him, but any time we'd touch him or try to hug him, he'd push us away. I think he was so disgusted with himself that he felt he was unlovable, undeserving of the love Jase and I were trying to show him. That lasted about five days. We left him alone. It was absolutely the worst five days of my life." Kenny is sobbing, having to relive this. Ian goes to him, hugs him, and Kenny latches onto him as though for dear life, sobbing against the boy's chest. After a while, he gets control of himself, and smile through his tears: "That's the story of Andrew. Tell Tim you asked, that I answered, and ask him, please, never to do this again." Ian nods and goes off to bed, and Kenny falls asleep on the couch.


At 3:30am I wake up and there's no Kenny. When Jason and I went to bed at 12:30, I just figured Kenny was working on something, and would come to bed eventually. But he's not here now, and that worries me. I extricate myself from the clutches of little Jason, who's snoring peacefully next to me, and go look for him. I find him on the couch in the living room, asleep. I sit down next to his head, and stroke his hair. He opens his eyes. They're red, bloodshot and glassy. "What's wrong, baby?" He scooches down, laying his head in my lap. I continue to stroke his hair.

"Please don't ever do that to me again, Tim. Please..." He's tearing up.

"What," I ask concerned?

"Please don't make me relive the Andrew tragedy. I know you wanted to make an impression on Ian, but it's just too hard for me..." Sobbing.

I stroke his cheek. I had no idea he felt this strongly about the past. "I'm sorry, baby. I didn't realize. I won't do it again. Shhhhh... I'm sorry." He settles down, and when he's quiet, I dislodge myself, lift him in my arms, and carry him to the bedroom. Laying him on the bed, I crawl in next to him. He snuggles in against me, holding me tight. Soon he joins Jason in the land of dreams, snoring softly. Me, I lay awake for maybe another twenty minutes, thinking about how sensitive and open this boy has become, and how much I adore him.


Note: There may be a bit of a lag with the next chapter or two. We're fighting to maintain same-sex marriage rights in California in the coming November 4th election. Fighting, and losing, I fear. California's Proposition 8 seeks to redefine marriage, rescinding the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry. I'm spending a lot of time fighting that -- talking to voters on the phone and in person, picketing high-density areas, door-to-door interactions. Sorry for the delay, but my recent marriage to my husband of four months has to take precedence. Hope you'll keep watching for Craigslist installments, but...I'm busy right now. J

Published first at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nemo-stories/