Warning: The following story may contain graphic descriptions of sex between consenting adult males. If you are underage or do not wish to read such material, or if reading this sort of material is illegal in your jurisdiction, then read no further. This multipart story is primarily about romance and relationships between men. Any reference to actual persons, living or dead, is only to enhance the fictional nature of the story and does not suggest a particular sexual orientation.
Special acknowledgements to David from the Lakeview area of Chicago and Brad from Denver for providing diligent proofing and editing of the story.
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Part 19, FRIENDSHIPS OF CHRISTMAS
From Part 18,
"Mrs. Palmer, I should tell you about my other friends," I said as we made our way back to Washington Avenue. "Dave and the two men you haven't met yet were all in the Navy with me. We've become very close...like brothers. Then, I've got my real big brother and his buddy in the back seat."
"That's what Christmas is all about...friends and family getting together. I just regret that there isn't more family for Justin to know. By the way, I'd really prefer being called Eunice. Especially by such a handsome group of men." I looked over and caught the twinkle in her eye.
"Grams, you just met these guys and you're already hitting on them," Justin said with a laugh.
"At my age, Justy, you throw caution to the wind. There's still some warm coals inside this old woman," she replied with a smile as she turned to the back seats. Bob and Rick gave Eunice quick 'Cliff Notes' versions of their lives. We cruised through the Hillcrest area and quickly made our way home, thanks to light traffic.
I smiled as we all piled out of the SUV. In our front window, a large, twinkling Christmas tree was visible in full glory. This was one of our projects accomplished yesterday. I opened the front door for the new guests. A huge evergreen wreath with a simple large red bow now dominated our entry wall. Cinnamon sticks, slowly cooking in the kitchen, enhanced the atmosphere. 'This is going to be a great holiday...for all,' I considered.
"Merry Christmas, everyone," exclaimed Dave from the living room. Like the rest of us, he was in long pants and a loose, untucked shirt over a tee. I'm Dave Swenson, Mrs. Palmer. Welcome to our home. Justin, I hope this is just the first of many visits." My lover's radiant smile could melt glaciers. After we walked in Dave gave Eunice a hug and shook Justin's hand while grasping the young man's right shoulder. It was not hard to notice Justin physically absorbing the touch of Dave.
"Hi, again, Sir," Justin replied with a friendly, tentative expression.
"It's Dave, man. Save the 'sir' stuff for old men like Mike," my partner said with a wink towards me.
"Ouch," I answered as I playfully stooped over and held my hands at my stomach.
"Okay, Dave. I'm really happy to be over here again." Justin had full-blown grin.
"Just like I told the other boys, I wish you would call me Eunice."
"Eunice, it is. Everyone help yourself to a cup of coffee while I get back to the kitchen. Santa and his helper are assisting me to get breakfast ready," Dave said with a smile before he departed. Regular and decaf coffee, cups, spoons, cream, sugar, and holiday napkins were neatly arranged on the large coffee table.
While my brother and Bob entertained Justin, I sat next to Eunice and explained some of Dave's background and the loss of his parents. Although she was too polite to comment about our home, other than to say it was beautiful, I felt it best to explain Dave's legacy of the art and antiques and clear up any misinterpretation. She was satisfied when I told her we were just two young guys intent on creating a home environment while pursuing our careers and education. 'Let her read between the lines,' I thought, 'if she wants to.'
Eunice gave me the rundown of her earlier life in Milwaukee and told me that she had moved to San Diego 25 years ago when her now-deceased husband accepted a job transfer and warmer weather. She was now 72. Mr. Palmer had peacefully died in his sleep five years ago.
"This must have been a different city when you moved here?" I asked. "I mean the crazy traffic and the freeways we live with."
"Mike, most of these freeways have been around for a while. 25 years ago isn't, in my thinking, too long ago. However, I mostly used surface streets to get around. As you are aware, we live in a great location that's so close to much of San Diego's attractions and shopping, without having to get on the freeways."
"If you don't mind me asking, how did your son pass away?" I looked at her sincerely.
"A severe case of diabetes, that runs on my side of the family. Although Justin doesn't seem to be afflicted, knock on wood. Charlie, my son and Justin's father, was able to work right up to the end two years ago. If it weren't for the insurance money and provisions, I'm not quite sure how we'd have made it with Justin's schooling."
"The insurance is taking care of the private school and, later, college?"
"Yes. When Charlie knew he was not going to make it, and with no close relatives other than me, he took advantage of a payout clause. Justin's education will be funded. It's a relief for me, as his guardian."
"Charlie must have been one helluva man," I said.
"Definitely...and a good father. You know, Mike, I just remembered that the last time I saw Charlie was at his dad's funeral. Justin was with him...the cutest 10-year-old guy you can imagine. Little did I know that I'd be raising him three years later."
"He seems like a fine young man, Eunice. A tribute to your son, and now, you."
"But raising him, how much longer? My diabetes is really slowing me down. I don't know how much longer I can manage."
"Eunice, you've found some new friends. If Dave and I can be of any help, please call." I smiled and put my hands over her wrinkled, spotted ones.
"Thanks, I appreciate that. Now, if you don't mind, can a meddling old lady ask something?" I nodded and she continued. "Dave Swenson and you? Would I be correct in assuming that you two are more than best friends?" She looked at me in the eyes and smiled.
"Your assumptions are correct, Eunice. We are committed to each other. Probably more 'married' than most. I hope this doesn't present a problem?"
"Ha, absolutely none. In fact, I'm rather relieved," she said. In a lower tone, she continued. "Justin and I haven't spoken about sexual matters, but I suspect that he is trying to figure out his sexual orientation. As you say today, my guess is that he's gay. From what I can observe, the men in this room project a very positive image."
"Sharp as a tack, I see. I'm not going to 'out' anyone, however. Let's just say we're all good friends." I gave her a 'we both know the score' smile.
"Mike, you don't live next to Hillcrest for 25 years and not pick up on the men's gayness. And there are several male couples that live in my neighborhood. I have no objection if you and Dave would be 'brothers' to Justin and be available if he has any questions," she said with a subtle plea.
"Tell you what we can do. All the guys are leaving today. Why don't I suggest that Justin join Dave and me for an early lunch somewhere the day after Christmas and just hang out with him? Maybe do some crazy 'day after' shopping. I don't have to be to work until late afternoon." I had mentioned that I was in restaurant management.
"That would work. We're going to church tonight and do our gift exchanges tomorrow. I'm cooking our small Christmas dinner. Well, a pre-roasted chicken from Vons, to be specific."
"What would work, Grams?" Justin asked, moving over to our area of the room.
"Mike suggested that you join Dave and him for lunch and shopping the day after Christmas. Would you like to do that?" She smiled at Justin as he sat down on a chair next to her.
"Oh, wow, that would be rad," he said with the exuberance of a teenager. "Mike, I'd really enjoy getting to know you guys better."
"Consider it a date..."
"Ho, Ho, Ho," came a voice from the entryway. Coming into the living room was Brent, dressed in 501's, a red polo shirt, deck shoes and a red 'Santa' hat with white trim. "Breakfast buffet is served." He walked over to the Palmers and said, "Eunice - I've been cautioned not to call you Mrs. Palmer - I'm Brent Williams. It's very nice to meet both you and your grandson, Justin. Merry Christmas." Eunice beamed as Brent leaned down and kissed her lightly on the cheek.
"But, you're..." Justin blurted out.
"Brad? Only on TV and film. It's a job while I go to school. To you, buddy, I'm Brent. Now, give me 'five'." Brent playfully gave an almost giddy Justin a 'high five' as Doug entered the room.
"Now, the cast is complete. Doug Di Marco, Santa's helper in making today's breakfast, is the fourth houseguest." His form-fitting 501's, combined with a loose, red cotton sweater, projected the image of one, hot, masculine elf. Doug went around and introduced himself to the two new arrivals. While he was talking to Eunice, Brent sat down on the carpet and gave Justin his undivided attention. I appreciated that Brent wanted to diffuse the shroud of celebrity. Within minutes it was definitely Brent, the guy, making friends with a young man.
"Lady and gentlemen, if you would come out to the kitchen, we've set up a buffet of food. Take what you want and find a seat in the dining room," Doug announced a few moments later. It was a little too early in the chilly, overcast morning to eat outside.
Over plates of scrambled eggs, blintzes, sausages, Canadian and strip bacon, hashed brown potatoes and melon slices, the party was the ideal moment to officially welcome in the day before the celebration of Christ's birth. With Justin wedged between Bob and Rick, and Eunice between Brent and Doug, natural conversation flowed around the table. True to a normal teen appetite, Justin inhaled two re-filled plates of food.
At 11:00 a.m. Rick announced that he and Bob needed to get their bags together. Brent had volunteered to take the guys to Lindbergh Field for their 1:00 p.m. flight to Phoenix. Brent and Doug would depart for L.A. from the airport.
"Justin, why don't you help Dave and Mike straighten up the dining room and take the dirty dishes back to the kitchen?" Eunice said with quiet authority.
"That's not necessary," I replied.
"Dave, you don't argue with my Grams," Justin said with a laugh as he rose from the table and started collecting dishes.
"Okay, Justin, I hear you. Eunice, why don't you come in the kitchen and make yourself comfortable? Would you like another cup of coffee?" Mike asked.
"I never turn down a good cup. The answer is, yes." Eunice got up from the table and followed Justin to the kitchen. Mike and I collected more dishes and met the Palmers in the kitchen.
"Justin, Mike and I will finish clearing the dining room table. Would you go out into the living room and retrieve all the cups and stuff?" He gave me a good-natured salute and left.
"I really appreciate this morning, boys. I haven't seen Justin this animated in a long time. In addition to your all being wonderful people, Justin is identifying with you as male role models. He's at a desperate age that needs an older man, or men, to be in his life. I hope I'm not being too pushy?"
"Not at all, Eunice. I don't know if I want to be called 'dad', but I'd enjoy guiding Justin as an older advisor and friend," Mike said.
"Count me in," I added. "I hereby anoint us as big brothers for Justin."
"Dave, I am completely spent from the day's activities," Mike remarked as we lay in bed. It was after midnight and he had just returned from the restaurant a half-hour ago. Being off the past two days meant that he worked tonight and was scheduled for Christmas. However, in that he was still in training, he got approval to come in at 5:00 p.m. on the day after Christmas so he could take part in our new young friend's lunch and shopping date.
"I hear you. It was fun to see the guys. I really got to know Rick better. We decided that we are definitely going to be close brothers-in-law." My arm was around his shoulders and Mike's closest hand was lightly rubbing my thigh.
"I feel the same way about Bob. When we first met I thought he was a little full of himself. I guess he needs to get away from Chicago and his TV world. They're both fired up about joining all of us at the lake next year."
"Yeah, it'll be fun. At this rate, we'll hafta invite guests in shifts," I answered with a laugh. Mike started moving his hand closer to my crotch as I played with his earlobe.
"Would you mind if we just held each other? I'm really bushed." He grabbed Davey and began a slow stroking motion. Davey responded by growing in his hand and dribbling drops of natural lube.
"I think you should define 'holding'. What you're doing could get a little messy," I replied. Davey was now at full mast.
"Shhh. Let me do this for you." His thumb dabbed at my moist piss slit.
"Babe, we're a team. You lie there and let me get over you. I wanna trade favors. Just slow and easy." I got up on my knees and rotated around so I was kneeling on top of Mike, between his spread legs, with our two hard dicks touching. We grabbed each other's cock and started masturbating each other.
"I'm a pushover for ya. But, do I love the feeling. Ohhh, yes."
"Call it after-work therapy." We both started moving our fists faster.
"Then you've got the wet towel duty, tonight," Mike added. We both laughed, knowing that the bottom man would get awfully messy...soon.
"Yes, Sir. I'll tidy us up." For the next few minutes our dialogue diminished to a series of groans until a final series of expletives announced a joint climax. True to my word, I cleaned up the DNA and joined Mike for a comfortable spooning and sleep.
Dave and I pulled up to the Palmer residence just before 11:00 a.m. for our 'day after' expedition. The Mustang's 5.0 motor was appropriately rumbling, with the top down, as Justin waved goodbye and bounded to the street to join his new friends. We waved at Eunice as Justin eased his way into the back seat. We all wore a variation of caps, 'shades', tees, cargo shorts and Nikes.
"Hey, guy, how was Christmas? Dave slipped the 'muscle' car into gear and eased away from the curb.
"This has been the best ever. Starting with your breakfast, then church and the gifts. Grams really liked the sweater I gave her. Thanks, guys, for the gift certificate," Justin said, enthusiastically. We had all chipped in to give him a $150.00 Best Buy certificate.
"I'm sure that you'll be able to find a few things at Best Buy that'll come in handy?" Dave suggested.
"Absolutely. Maybe we could go over there a little later?"
I turned to face Justin and said, "Let's see how much time we have. If not now, perhaps in a couple of days? We thought lunch at Cheesecake Factory would be fun. At this early hour, the wait shouldn't be too long."
"Wow, I love the place. The barbequed chicken pizza is awesome," Justin yelled, followed by a big grin. The wind of the moving convertible made conversation almost impossible. We arrived at the Fashion Valley shopping center 15 minutes later. Dave dropped off Justin and me at the restaurant while he found parking at this busy mall and we put in our name with the host.
Fortunately, the wait for a table was fairly short...for the Cheesecake Factory. Justin ordered the pizza and we had Cobb salads. Sipping the tropical iced tea, our young friend said, "Can I ask you guys something?"
"Sure, buddy. What's up?" I was pretty sure where this conversation was going.
"Um, you and Dave. Are you guys, ah, together? I mean, er, like lovers?" Justin's face was almost crimson as he looked across at us.
"You don't beat around the bush, do you?" Dave replied with a laugh. "I guess the simple answer to that is, yes. Mike and I have been committed partners - lovers - for about 2 1/2 years."
"And if you were to ask this question in ten years, the answer would still be, yes," I added. "Can I ask you, why the question?"
"It's just that, until I met your brother and Bob, I'd never met any gay guys...older, or my age...that I know of. I s'pose that Rick told you that I think I'm gay?"
"Yeah, champ, he did mention it. In fact, it was his idea to have us all get together, including the L.A. guys."
"You mean that Brent and Doug are..."
"Justin, it is never wise to mention what someone else's sexual orientation is, without their permission. You know what 'outing' is?" I asked.
"Naw. Not really." Justin's eyes were as wide as saucers.
"Basically, it's revealing someone's homosexuality to a third party without permission. Usually, it is best for each person to 'come out' on his own terms," Dave interjected. "Let's just say that Brent and Doug are very close friends of ours from the Navy days."
"Is it okay to mention to my buddies that I met Brad Williams? Everyone at school ranks him as number one on TV."
"Absolutely. I think it'd be safe to say that you met Brent through people you know out here. Just friends."
"Cool, I understand. It's neat that I got to know Brent and Doug."
"Maybe you can talk to them, another time," Mike said with a smile.
"I have a cabin on Gull Lake by Brainard. What do you think about joining all of us for a few days next year at the lake after your school year finishes?" Dave smiled and looked directly into Justin's eyes.
"No shit...whoops, sorry...ah, that would be great. You'd do that for me?"
"Yeah, you're a good guy, Justin. If you don't mind a couple of older guys in your life, Mike and I would like to be like brothers as well as friends."
"And we want to help you figure out your sexuality, if you'd like? We only have 8 to 10 years on you, but a world of experience to share. If you are gay, then it's not something that's going to change," Mike concluded.
"Um, I don't think 'if' is part of the deal. I mean, there's never any feeling when I'm with a girl," Justin said, staring at his glass of iced tea.
"And with guys?" I asked.
"Shee, I get boner all the time." Justin's face turned bright red. "It's kinda embarrassing in the lockers and showers after P.E."
"You're not the only one, I would guess?" Dave said. "I used to 'throw wood' all the time when I was with the swim team. We all did, once in a while. In fact, one of the guys used to hang his towel on it to get a few laughs." We all chuckled at that vision. For Justin, this seemed to be defining the moment to really relax with us.
"Well, although I've got nothing to be ashamed about, I'm a little more modest," Justin said with a sly smile.
"Do you mind my asking if you've ever done anything with another guy?" I asked with a sincere, non-threatening expression.
"Nothing, other than what young guys do, ya know?"
"Yes, believe me, we both know," Dave answered with a little motion of his cupped hand. We all snickered.
For the next half-hour we gave Justin abbreviated versions of our teen years and a sanitized chapter on how we met and fell in love. He hung on every word.
"I think that both brother Rick and I regret that we didn't come out to our mom earlier. It's really important to be open with your family."
"In my case, it's just Grams. I don't know how she'd accept me being qu...um...you know."
"Queer?" I asked, a little sternly. "As in 'worthless' or 'counterfeit'? Or 'odd'?" His puzzled expression signaled that this young man had probably heard that word at school to describe homosexuals.
"Na...no. I mean gay," Justin replied with hesitation. I looked into his eyes and smiled to diffuse the tension.
"Justin, bud, I'm just making a point. Around us, any word you use is fine. But 'queer', 'homo' and 'fag' are expressions that are usually not complimentary among heterosexuals. My advice is to stick to 'gay' or 'homosexual.' Okay?"
"Yeah, Mike, I see your point. How about 'fairy?' he said with a laugh. Dave and I joined him by laughing at his quick recovery and sense of humor.
"Touché. Just don't leave home without your pixie dust," I said as we touched knuckles. "Now, let's move back to your talking with Grams. I don't think I'd be betraying anything in saying that your grandma sought me out to discuss her suspicions about your sexuality." I noticed Justin's eyebrows shoot up and eyes pop open at that statement.
"You mean...ah...Grams talked to you about me?" he asked, a little indignantly, as he stared into my eyes.
"Justin, relax, man. She loves you but doesn't know how to broach the subject," Dave volunteered. "We feel honored that she trusts us to help...whenever you want it."
"We're not forcing anything on you. She just felt that you'd be more comfortable talking about guy stuff with us. You okay with this? Because, if you're not, Dave and I will back away from the subject."
"We do want to be friends, though," Dave added.
Justin pondered this line of conversation briefly, and slowly a smile crept up on his face. "Guys, I'm the one who's being a doofus. Grams is right. I certainly couldn't have brought up the subject. And no way could I ask her questions about...stuff. And believe, me, I've got lots of questions. You don't mind me bothering you?"
"We're here to help. Let me ask the first question. I assume that, between friends and school, you've got general sex knowledge?" I was curious about his level of understanding the basics.
"Yeah, not a problem. In that my school is private, we all went through a solid 'sex ed' class. But I've got a lot of questions about stuff they didn't cover...between two guys," he said with a shrug. "It's not like I'm going to be making babies."
"Okay, then, here's my plan. First, let's order some pumpkin cheesecake," I said.
"Oh, wow," was all Justin said, as I punched the imaginary teenage appetite button.
"Then, let's do a little shopping in the mall and save Best Buy for a few days from now. It'll be a zoo today."
"Good suggestion, babe," Dave replied. Justin smiled at Dave's use of 'babe'.
"Later we'll go home and trade all our telephone numbers and email addresses. Do you have email at the school?" I asked.
"Naw, but my roommate has a computer and AOL. I think he'll let me use it."
"Good. Between now and when you go back, if you want to talk...about anything...we're available for you. And if anything comes up at school, be sure and call or email us."
"Double cool. Could maybe we have a little time, later? I do have a few questions."
"Mike has to go to work tonight, but I've got all the time in the world and my school stuff is up to date."
"Believe, me, Justin, Dave is an expert when it comes to..."
"No editorials, please," Dave said, to interrupt the joke. We all broke out in laughter as the server came over to take dessert orders.
"If you like, we could watch a movie at home. I've got 'Star Wars VI, Return of the Jedi' that might be fun. I'd kinda like to know my little brother better," Dave said softly. Suddenly, the atmosphere at the table took serious turn. I noticed a single tear easing from Justin's eye duct.
"Yeah, I'd like to know my big brothers better, too." Justin took my hand and squeezed it.
TO BE CONTINUED