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A Single Soul
Turkey With a Side of Drama
When the guys got back home in Jacksonville, Kelly was bouncing up and down when he saw his two dads walk in the kitchen. Matt went to check his email and found one from Denise.
She had been feeling guilty because she hadn't gone up to see her parents before she left for California. She managed to get seven days of leave since she was shipping out on a cruise the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. She was hoping that she could take the boys the day after Thanksgiving to visit her parents, and return on Monday. She was going to fly in Wednesday and surprise the boys, then stay with Matt and Jim. That means George and Bonnie would have to move down to Franks. Once again, Matt thought since the boys were both good students, they could miss one day. So after he checked with Jim and sent back a `yes', she would spend Thanksgiving with them and then head out early on Friday morning.
Denise's parents had retired and moved to a small town just over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. She could use Matt's car to make the almost six hour drive. They thought the boys would get a big kick out of the trip, especially the bridge tunnel.
Jim's mom had fixed a nice dinner and everyone actually had a pleasant evening. After the boys went to bed, Jim and Matt talked with his parents about Denise's arrival.
"Mom and Dad," Jim started, "Matt and I were wondering if you would mind spending Wednesday and Thursday nights down at Frank's. We just found out that Denise is flying in to surprise the boys. We thought it would be nice if Denise stayed here and got more time with Jimmer," Jim said.
Matt was watching Bonnie's face as Jim spoke. He saw her jaw tightening and could tell she was fighting the urge to speak. When Jim finished his father jumped right in.
"No, not at all, it will be nice to spend some time with Frank, and maybe go fishing," George said.
If looks could kill, the one Bonnie shot his way would have vaporized him; but he acted as if he didn't even notice.
"Thanks Dad," Jim said, "we want to surprise the boys and haven't said anything about her arrival and the trip, so mum's the word."
Monday and Tuesday blew by, and before Matt knew it, he was on the way to pick up his ex-wife and now best friend and mother of his child, at the airport. Bonnie and George had packed their things and loaded them in car after the boys went off to school and were babysitting Kelly while Matt went to the airport.
When Denise came through to the baggage area she greeted Matt with a big hug and kiss. In no time at all they were loaded up and heading for home. Matt was driving and telling Denise all the latest news and gossip.
Looking at Matt's right hand on the steering wheel she gave a slight laugh and said, "I bet the ink was barely dry on our divorce before you two were married."
Matt actually blushed when she said it. "Well not quite, but close," he said and chuckled. "These are commitment rings, not wedding rings, that's why there on the right hand. We had Father Dave bless our commitment and are not calling it marriage because technically, as far as the church is concerned, I'm still married to you."
"Well isn't that sweet, I'm happy for you. Jim is a wonderful man and I know my son is safe and secure," Denise said.
"Thanks Denise, that means a lot."
"So how did his mother take it?" Denise asked with a smirk.
"She's been a bit, as George put it, sanctimonious about the whole thing. But frankly we don't give a fuck. We have three happy and beautiful children and good friends who love us. If she has a problem she doesn't have to come around. Those are Jim's words not mine."
"So how many are coming to dinner?" Denise asked.
"Well four of Jim's brothers and their wives and five of their children, his sister's husband just had a knee replaced and can't make the trip, so total thirty eight."
"Thirty eight?! You're joking right?"
"No, there's family that includes Jason and Billy and you of course, then the twins and Finn. Father Dave and Jim's boss and his wife since they don't have any family nearby and of course Nadine and Drew and their little girl, Jim's father-in-law, his brother-in-law and his wife, and three of Jim's co-workers who have no family, two guys and a women," Matt said and took a deep breath. "And if he could have, Jim would have had doubled that."
"I hope you're not cooking," Denise said with a chuckle.
"No, we have a caterer, they're doing turkey and ham and all the fixings, and Jim's sister-in laws and Bonnie are baking pies."
"Oh and by the way, dinner is at three, and we are meeting at the new house at noon for a tour and Father Dave is going to bless the ground for the new house."
"That's great, I can't wait to see it," Denise said.
Denise was in the guest room getting situated when the boys got home from school. Matt had the boys at the kitchen table with a snack. Bonnie was also in the kitchen and George was watching TV in the family room when Denise quietly made her way into the room. Jimmer looked up and almost spit out his milk, "MOM!" he shouted and ran over to hug her.
"Wow, I can't believe you're here," he hugged her tighter, "how long are you staying?" the boy asked.
"Well we'll have Thanksgiving dinner with your Dads and then on Friday we're going to go see your grandparents for the weekend."
"That is so cool," Jimmer said.
"Hey, what have you done to your hair," she asked rubbing Jimmer's flat top.
"Nothing, me and MJ like it cut like this, we don't have to mess with combs," he said.
Matt happened to look at MJ at that point and saw the look of sadness in his eyes. After saying hello to Denise and accepting a hug and a kiss, he finished his snack. MJ excused himself, saying he had homework to finish.
Jimmer noticed but continued to catch up with his mother for a few minutes before excusing himself with the same homework excuse. After about ten minutes, Matt slipped away and went to quietly check on the boys. When Matt got to the room the door was cracked open. As he peaked in, he saw the boys lying on the bed with Jimmer holding a crying MJ. He had a good idea what was going on but chose to let it be and wait for them to come to him or Jim.
Bonnie finished taking the baked pies out of the oven and put in three more. Turning to Denise she said, "It's nice to see you Denise, but I must say I'm surprised that you're here." Then stumbling with her words she tried to clarify her statement, "I mean with Jim living here and all," she said nervously.
"Mrs. Flannery," Denise started.
"Just Bonnie, please," Bonnie said.
"Well thank you, anyway Bonnie, our divorce would have happened whether Jim moved across the street or not. This was all my decision. I'm glad the guys are living together, our boys have never been happier." Denise said.
Bonnie stood properly chastised, but with an indigent look on her face. Just then Jim walked in the back door and Denise jumped up and hugged and kissed Jim.
"Hey kiddo," Jim said.
"Hello Gunner, it's so good to see you," Denise said, and then moved in and whispered in his ear, "and congratulations on the rings," and then smiled.
Back in the kitchen, Jim and Denise were catching up, while Bonnie worked on dinner. When Matt returned he greeted Jim with a wink. "Hey dog face, about time you dragged your butt home," Matt said and received a sharp look from Bonnie.
"Where are the Dynamic Duo," Jim asked.
"Working on homework," he lied, "they'll be out in a few."
The three continued to catch up with all that was going on in their lives when the boys appeared in the kitchen, Jimmer first followed by MJ still looking a bit sad. "Hey Dad," Jimmer said and went and hugged Jim and MJ did the same thing, that drew yet another look of derision from Bonnie.
Jimmer went over to his mother. "Mom, you know that since we moved in together, MJ and me have two Dads. Well, would it be okay if MJ calls you Mom too, since he doesn't have one," the boy asked very seriously.
Denise's eyes teared up immediately and she reached out for MJ. "Of course MJ, I'd be honored for you to call me Mom," she said taking the boy in her arms. Matt and Jim looked at each other, smiled and winked.
Bonnie started to speak. "I" was all she got out when George appeared in the kitchen holding Kelly. "Bonnie, let's take the baby for a walk before dinner," he said in a very firm voice. She just threw down the dish towel and stormed out of the room.
"Okay guys, why don't you go take the dogs out before dinner," Jim said.
"Thanks Denise," Jim said and went and hugged Denise, "it will help him feel included and complete."
Matt joined the hug and kissed her on the cheek.
Dinner was a bit strained between the adults. Really, it was just Bonnie who was strained. The boys chatted about this and that, clearly in a good mood since Denise agreed to be MJ's substitute mother.
"Gunner, I want the truth, were these haircuts your idea?" Denise asked pretending to be stern.
"No Ma'am, it was all the boys' idea. Apparently all the girls at school love Jarheads," Jim said and then burst out laughing.
"Alright, you guys you need to hit the rack early tonight. We have a big day tomorrow and then on Friday the three of us are going to see your Grandparents in Virginia. We're driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. You will love it! There are two long bridges and two tunnels and it's about a total of seventeen miles."
"Cool," the boys said in unison.
With dinner over, George and a piqued Bonnie left for the beach, while Matt and Jim cleaned up. "Your mother is getting more agitated by the hour," Matt said.
Jim walked over and hugged him, "that's okay baby, we have each other and our boys, that's all that matters."
After the boys said goodnight and headed for bed Denise excused herself and knocked on the boy's door. "Come in," they called in unison.
She went in and the boys were lying together on the bed. She went and sat on the bed and took the hand of each boy.
"Listen guys, now we are a complete family, two dads, a mom and three great brothers. MJ even though I can't be near you and Jimmer a lot right now, I'm still your Mom. All you need to do is call or email, okay buddy," she said.
"Yeah, thanks Mom," MJ said and hugged her.
Once she shut the door, MJ snuggled close to Jimmer and kissed his cheek, "thanks buddy, goodnight."
The gang showed up at Frank's around 1000. They found everyone around the table having coffee, and all the guys were dressed! The plan was for the guests to arrive around noon and then head over to the new house. By 1100 Jim's brothers had all arrived. Matt hadn't seen these guys since he was in high school. The guys were all real happy to see him but Matt thought that Jim's oldest brother George Jr. was a bit cool but he ignored it.
Everyone who was going to see the new house and celebrate the blessing was there, basically family and Jim's boss and the Doc. The guys from the office were invited for 1400 and dinner was at 1500. The caterers arrived and began to set up, the weather was still warm so tables would be set up outside and Jim got every one's attention. "Okay folks, we're going to head out now and get out the caterers way and go see our new home," he said. His parents rode with him and Matt along with the baby and Denise. The boys went with Frank. When Jim drove through the gate the first thing they saw was the circle with the flagpole and the sign. Forgetting that they weren't alone Jim said, "Hey babe, he got the circle done."
The comment drew a throat clearing from his mother but Jim didn't care. They pulled the car around the circle to allow everyone room to park and get out of the car with Matt, while his dad grabbed the baby.
They walked back around the front of the circle to get the complete look. The builder did a great job, the flagpole was in the middle, with a brick pillar with a white stone capitol and an Art's & Crafts style light fixture on top and the 3' X 2' sign on the front:
Domus Valde Misericordia
The James Fannery & Matthew Leo Family
They had planted flowers in rings around the sign and flagpole, with a large American flag and a smaller Marine Corps flag underneath. First was a row of beautiful burgundy and bronze/gold colored mums. Then there was a ring of red poppies, below that a ring of blue pansies, and then a row of white. As they admiring the flowers, the rest of the guests gathered around with lots of oooh's and aaah's.
Frank explained that everything planted was perennial and that there were rows of red tulips already planted in between for the spring. Bonnie read the sign and had tight smile on her face as she complimented the display.
MJ asked, "hey Dads, what do those words mean?" referring to the Latin script. This time Matt caught a sneer from Jim's older brother George and his wife, apparently at MJ"s use of Dads.
"It means House of the Strong and Compassionate," the Colonel said, "however I would have said of 'great men', and the other is the Marine Corp motto `Always Faithfull."
"David, stop it, your embarrassing the guys," the Doc said.
Everyone moved up the drive to the house. It was framed and under roof and you were able to get a good idea of placement and use. As they moved from room to room, describing them, everyone seemed to be impressed with the design. When they moved to the left side of the U shaped house, where the family bedrooms were, MJ entered the first room and announced, "This is me and Jimmer's room. Then the next room is Kelly's, then our Dads' room at the end."
There was an audible gasp from Jim's mother and a hissed warning of "Bonnie" from his father. Matt noted George Jr. and his wife both had disapproving looks on their faces.
"Why don't the boys each have a room," Bonnie asked.
"Actually they do Mother," Jim replied, "but for right now they wanted to continue to share. There are six bedrooms in this house. When they want their own, it will be there. He was happy that she didn't question why he and Matt were sharing. He was certainly surprised that it appeared the boys knew they were sleeping together. He and Matt would have to catch them alone and discuss the subject at some point.
The tour moved on to where the guest house foundation stood. "What's this building going to be son," George asked.
"It's a guest house Dad. Matt and I will be working with wounded and troubled Marines. Many returning vets have a hard time fitting back into civilian life. We thought we could help give them a leg up. We're starting out with four bedrooms and we can expand, if needed," Jim replied.
"Yes, and I've decided that I'm going to help when I retire," the Colonel added surprising both Jim and Matt. He noticed their faces and added, "We'll talk later men."
Father David took over. He placed a small white stole around his neck and took a small bottle of Holy Water from his pocket. He began to bless the guest house, sprinkling the water in the sign of the cross over the foundation and recited a blessing.
Everyone moved back to the cars, chatting about the house and grounds. The ride back to the beach was quiet and tense. Apparently Bonnie was not happy about her son's new lifestyle and had been warned more than once that morning already to refrain from comment.
As they drove Matt thought about her reactions and that of George Jr. and his wife. He wasn't too concerned because Jim seemed totally unfazed by it. While ruminating on these thoughts, he felt a hand grab his and squeeze and release. He looked over at Jim who flashed him a dazzling smile and winked at him. Despite the situation his cock began to stiffen in his pants.
When they arrived home the caterers had everything ready and the remaining guests arrived. The food was set up buffet style and there were tables both inside and out. Frank called everyone to attention and Father Dave lead everyone in a prayer of Thanksgiving, and after the Amen, Frank spoke again.
"Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention for one moment. In addition to all the things that I have to be thankful for already, today I have two more." He had purposely positioned himself between Billy and Travis for this moment and he placed an arm on each boy's shoulder.
"Yesterday, the judge signed the papers and I would like you to meet my two new sons, Travis and William Leo!" Everyone called out congratulations. Again Matt noticed another disapproving look from Bonnie.
"Now I'll only have a short time to spoil these two," Frank said pulling them in tight, "Travis's unit is being deployed to Afghanistan on January fifth, and Billy has been accepted at the University of Penn and will be leaving for Philadelphia on the January10th."
Again more congratulations and the Doc made a beeline for Travis and hugged him. "Travis I'm so happy for you, and I hope everything in your life continues to get better," she said.
"Thanks Doc, I owe this all to you and the Colonel."
"Nonsense," the Colonel added, "you're a good Marine and are just getting what you deserve."
By 1800 all the invited guests had left, including Travis, Billy, and the twins. They were heading for Philly early in the morning and were staying at the twins place for the night. Jim's father-in-law, Sean and his wife also said their thank you's and goodbyes, leaving only Finn and Frank, Matt, Denise, the boys and Jim and his family.
The boys had gotten permission from Billy to use his PlayStation and went with their cousins upstairs for a competition. Meanwhile the adults were spread out talking and catching up. At one point Matt and Jim found themselves in the kitchen with among others, Bonnie and George Jr. Matt was explaining the shower Lanai in the master bath to Denise, when Bonnie gave yet another grunt of displeasure.
"Mother, is something bothering you?" Jim asked as everyone stopped and waited.
"Yes, I don't approve of your recent choices," she answered.
"Well I'm sorry Mother, but I wasn't seeking your approval," Jim responded, Bonnie looked like she had just been slapped.
"You better watch your mouth boy," Junior said, "Mom's right, you are dishonoring our family."
In a flash, Jim turned, grabbing his older brother by the collar. He pushed him up against the wall.
"Oh really, Mr. Had Two Affairs, and got caught, lost his home and children, then was divorced and is now on his second wife," Jim said seething with anger. "You want to continue discussing dishonoring our family??"
Matt moved over and placed a hand on Jim's shoulder and he shrugged him off. "Back off Matt, this is none of your business."
Matt was stunned. He stepped back and looked at Jim with disbelief. Jim continued after he released his brother, "I have a news flash for my family. Matt and I are honorable men and loving fathers, as well as proud Marines. Anyone who has a problem with the way I'm living my life and raising my children can leave immediately."
"Well I never," Bonnie huffed, "George it's time to go," she said.
"It may be for you, but I'm staying," Jim's Dad said, and with that Bonnie burst into tears and fled the room, followed by Junior and his wife.
The remaining brothers and their wives all came to Jim to let him know they had no problems with his lifestyle. While they were talking to him, Jim realized what he had said to Matt. When he looked around for him he was nowhere to be seen. He excused himself, heading off to find him, when Denise intercepted him.
"Gunner, I think you need to give Matt some time. He was pretty hurt. I know you were in the moment and didn't realize what you were saying, but it stung. Dad's upstairs with him now," she said.
"Fuck!" Jim said, he had made a fist and was about to punch the wall when his dad grabbed his arm.
"Jimmy, you need to calm down," George said, "just give Matt some time and then go and apologize."
"Okay Dad, you're right."
They were interrupted by Jim's mother again. "George, I'm leaving. I'm going home with Junior," she said as if she expected her husband to stop her.
"Fine, I think that's best Bonnie," was all he said.
That was not the answer she was expecting and stormed out, suitcase in hand, followed by her oldest son and his wife.
"Well that went well," Jim dead-panned to his dad. "Thanks Dad, I love you," he said hugging his father.
Just then Frank walked up to him. He looked at Jim and gave him a fatherly smile. Jim immediately felt his eyes get wet and Frank pulled him into a hug. "I'm sorry Dad, but Junior had me so angry I wasn't thinking straight," Jim said.
"I know son, go on up and talk to your partner," Frank said, releasing him.
Jim made his way up to their bedroom, he stood in front of the closed door and took a deep breath and knocked.
"It's open," was the only reply.
He opened the door to find Matt sitting in one of the overstuffed chairs looking out the open doors towards the deck. Closing the door behind him, he stood for a moment.
"I'm really pissed at you right now dog face," Matt said without turning his head. When Jim heard `dog face' he breathed a huge sigh of relief. It meant that Matt wasn't totally pissed at him. So he ran over and knelt in front of his lover.
"Matty, I'm so sorry I spoke to you like that. Those two sanctimonious shits had me crazy," he said earnestly looking into Matt's eyes.
Matt looked back at his lover. He understood why Jim did it, but he still wasn't happy about it. When his dad found him in the bedroom he was still furious and Frank talked him down with some good advice. His dad was right. Jim spoke in anger, not even realizing what he had said.
"I forgive you Jimmy because I love you with all my heart, but I'm still pissed at you," Matt said.
"I'm sorry baby, I really am," Jim said, his eyes big, full of love and pleading for forgiveness.
"Well, you still need to be punished. To start, no sex for two nights and I'll come up with something more fitting later," Matt said smiling, then he leaned down and kissed Jim.
"I thought you said no sex?"
"That wasn't sex, pecker head, that was a kiss," Matt said and punched Jim's shoulder. "By the way, thanks for defending my honor," Matt said with a smirk, "that should earn you a bit of a reduced sentence."
"Great, because more than two nights without sex and I turn into a very grumpy man."
"I heard your mom said she was leaving and your dad said he was staying," Matt said.
"Yeah, she and Junior just made their grand exit. You know what; fuck her and my hypocrite of a brother. Let's forget about them and have a good time for the rest of the weekend," Jim said pulling Matt up and towards the door.
When they reached the family room everyone stopped talking and stared at them.
"What is this, a party or a wake," Jim said with a big smile. "Well no difference, we're Irish so liquor is involved either way," and that got a big laugh from the rest of the family.
To be continued...
Author's Note: Thanks to all of you who have written to tell how much you're enjoying the story, I hope you stay tuned. For all the readers enjoying the stories here at Nifty, remember that Nifty needs your donations to help them to provide these wonderful stories. How about sending them $5 Bucks, just think of it as buying a hot magazine!
And a special thanks to Jim, he's the one to thank if you find the story readable.