Warning: This story does not contain any sex. None of the characters are based on real people nor are they meant to resemble any living or dead people.
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Family – The Special Friend
Chapter 11 – Revisiting The Past
Tonight, Blake, Ian and Trace are on their way over to the Hatcher household to have dinner with Ben and his family. Blake is sitting in the back seat listening to his MP3 player as Ian drives. He is praying that his dads and Blake’s parents will find some common ground. He hopes that it is enough that their sons are dating. If not, maybe something else will happen tonight that will draw them into each other’s lives. Ben and Blake want their parents to be instant friends. Now they have to put their trust in a higher power that tonight will go better than expected. The car stops and the three people in the car step out and approach the Hatcher’s house.
Inside the house, Ben’s butterflies are hitting places in his stomach that he’s never felt before and then there is a knock at the door. The knock made Ben’s heart race and he ran to the door. Once it was open, he saw Trace, Ian, and Blake. “Hi, guys, come inside!” Ben smiled big time when Blake smiled at him. He was loving this, finally his guy is in his house.
“Mom, Dad, my boyfriend and his dads are here.”
“Ben’s voice was a little louder than usual, but he is just so excited over it. It didn’t take long for Ben’s mom and dad to come out of the kitchen and the dining room.
“Mom, Dad, these are Blake’s dads, Trace and Ian, and you already know Blake, so I’m not sure why I even said his name… other than I love to hear it.”
The adults exchanged handshakes while the boys watch. "Welcome to our home," Mr. Hatcher says, "I'm Brian Hatcher and this is my wife, Cindy."
"Thank you, Brian. I'm Trace Andrews and this is my husband, Ian Richards. And here, we thought you'd like these flowers."
"Oh Trace! They're beautiful! Come in while I put these in a vase," Mrs. Hatcher says.
Blake and Ben walk up the stairs for a surprise visit with his siblings. Harmony, Ben’s younger sister, is sitting in her room. She has been anxiously awaiting Blake’s first visit to the house. Ben seems to think that she will run up and give Blake a huge hug just because he is her brother’s boyfriend. Ben knocks on the doorframe and then, holding Blake’s hand, walks into the room.
“Harmony, I want you to meet someone.”
The 11-year-old stops what she’s doing to look at her brother. She stares at him and then notices that he's holding hands with a stranger. A smile forms on her face. She stands up and walks up to Blake.
“I’m Harmony and you must be the guy who's been making Ben so happy. What’s your name?”
“My name is Blake. It’s nice to meet you, Harmony.”
Harmony embraces Blake in a hug and then breaks it off.
“Harmony, we're going to go outside and visit with Hayden and Haley.”
“Can I come with you?”
“Harmony, if you want to go outside, you need shoes on your feet.”
She's a bit of a tomboy. There isn’t an animal that scares her. She can climb trees better than any boy Ben has ever met, and she can fight better than any boy Ben has ever met, too. She loves sports.
“Time to eat; please wash your hands,” Ben’s dad called out, inviting the family and visitors to dinner. Ben led Blake to the bathroom so that they could wash their hands. After washing their hands, they head down the stairs to the dining room.
The family gathered at the table along with Trace, Ian, and Blake. Ben’s mother assigned everyone a seat. Going around the table, Ben’s mother and dad are sitting next to each other; Haley and Hayden, Ben’s older brother and sister, are next to them, who are then followed by Harmony, who's sitting next to Trace and Ian, with Blake and Ben next to them. With everyone seated, it’s time to eat. Blake quickly scans the food and his mouth starts watering. Ben’s mom has outdone herself tonight. There is grilled chicken and grilled steak with Chimichurri sauce, a corn and black bean salad, butternut squash gnocchi, and tres leche cake for dessert. Once the food made its way around the table the small talk started and Ben and Blake hoped it stayed friendly.
“What do you and Trace do for a living, Ian?” Ben’s mom asks, hoping to get some conversation going.
“I work as a biology teacher at Tylerville East High School. Trace works as a police officer here in Tylerville. What do you and your husband do?”
“I’m a stay-at-home mom and Brian is an attorney.”
“Trace, Ben told us that you were hurt while on the job. How is your recovery coming along?”
Trace didn’t want to be reminded of that part of his life. He grabs Ian’s hand.
“Brian, I’m afraid that this is still painful for me. I’m taking life one day at a time.”
“I understand and I’m sorry for not thinking before I asked the question. I hope you can accept my apology.”
Blake was worried that this one question might cause his dads to form a bad impression of the Hatchers. He feels a need to turn this around somehow. He just isn’t sure how to go about it.
“We need to change the subject. Do you have any ideas?” Blake quietly whispers into his boyfriend’s ear. Ben thinks for a second and then he hatches a plan. If he can get his parents to ask about Blake, then maybe things will come out better than expected. Ben knows how to turn the tide, but it will have to wait for later in the evening.
“No sweat, I've got this covered… just be patient,” Ben whispers back into Blake’s ear. For the rest of the evening, the adults and the kids talk back and forth until dinner was finished.
With dinner over, Mrs. and Mr. Hatcher move everyone to the living room. As they sat down, Mrs. Hatcher looks at Blake and she begins to wonder about him. Ben has never mentioned anything about how he came to live with Trace and Ian. All Ben’s parents know is that their son is in love with Blake. Having Blake, Ian, and Trace here in the house may be the perfect opportunity to find out exactly what lead up to his adoption. She didn’t want to be nosy, but in a way, she thought it was important to know. She hopes that it won’t land her in hot water with Blake’s dads.
“Blake, I was wondering if you could tell us what happened that lead up to you being adopted by Trace and Ian?”
Blake looks at his dads for a little reassurance.
Trace wants to make sure that Blake knows it’s okay to speak up.
“Blake, we aren’t going to tell you that you can’t do this. We aren’t even sure that we know the entire story. We know what happened once you got to Tylerville, but we don’t know anything about what took place in Idaho.”
“Thanks, I’ll start the story sort of at the beginning.”
Blake had some misgivings about rehashing the past, but maybe this would be good for him. He looks at everyone in the room and takes a deep breath before reliving that painful time back home.
“I grew up in Boise, Idaho. Life in Boise was fun. Dad would take us fishing in the Snake River. Sometimes, we would go fossil hunting along its banks too, but we were not very successful. I grew up loving the scenery around Boise. Those visits really made me love nature. I remember seeing a guy drawing a picture of a portion of the river and it really stood out in my mind. I think that is why I love art so much now. I never heard the word 'gay' growing up in our house. It was either 'homosexual', 'queer', or 'fag'. Mom and Dad never cursed at each other or at anyone else. I don’t remember my mom ever saying anything racist, but my dad sometimes would say something that just hit me the wrong way. Hopefully, I’m not like my dad in that respect.”
He looked at Trace and Ian, wondering if they have heard him say anything that might seem racist. Blake can’t imagine anyone holding skin color or anyone’s sexual orientation against them. Trace and Ian sat back listening intently to their son’s story.
'Hmmm… I didn’t know he was worried about racism. Glad he’s never said anything racist. Ian might snap on him.'
He’s never seen Blake act anything but nice to people… a trait he didn’t see in his mom.
Blake knew he had to tell them his story, but he wanted something to drink.
“Mrs. Hatcher, could I get a glass of water?”
“Sure, I’ll be right back.”
Mrs. Hatcher left her seat and came back with a glass of water and a coaster. Blake set the coaster next to him and then he took a sip from the glass.
“Life in my parent’s house was very clean. By that I mean there wasn’t anything that you might call an 'evil influence' to be found. They never would have let us have computers in our bedrooms,” he said, looking straight at his dads. His mom would freak out if she knew.
“My parents were careful about what words they used around us. I never remember hearing my dad swear. All the movies in our house are either rated G or PG, and even with some of those PG movies, Mom might or might not allow us to see them. The movies that she wouldn’t let us watch were strictly for adults. The books we read had to be gleaned by Mom, just to make sure that whatever we read didn’t bring an evil influence into the house. Any CDs we might have wanted were subjected to Mom’s careful listening. Our house was the perfect Mormon household. We had family night every single Monday. We went to church on Sunday. My brother Simon is serving a mission even as we speak."
Blake thought he saw a smirk on Ian’s face. He just wasn’t sure why Ian might have been smirking.
Blake wants to make sure that he tells the story as quickly as possible without leaving out anything that might be important. He continued…
“It’s a commandment that we keep a journal. The 12th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Spencer Kimball, said, “Every person should keep a journal,” so my parents made sure that we always had something to write in and that we always had working pens. When I turned twelve, I started to notice that I was very different from my peers. I noticed boys for the first time, and, umm, I also noticed handsome men too.”
This time, Trace gave him the eye. Trace didn’t like hearing that Blake was noticing men, but then again, he too noticed his fair share of men when he was younger.
Ben’s older brother was starting to feel sorry for Blake. ‘I can’t imagine carrying that with you and never being able to tell anyone.’ Hayden knew how bad Ben felt at times before he came out to his parents.
“Mom and Dad made a point of telling us that they would never read our journals except if they thought something was wrong. I made it a point to always look for things that I could do for other people and get paid. When I had enough money saved up, I went to my school’s store and bought a three-subject notebook. I made no real attempt at hiding it, but I also didn’t leave it out in plain sight. Instead it sat up with my drawing stuff so that my mom’s super senses would be thrown off.”
How many teens have tried holding something from their parents?
“That journal helped me make it through some rough spots. I didn’t know the word 'gay', but I knew that those feelings made me homosexual. I cried myself to sleep some nights, and other nights I just sucked it in and went to sleep. Things were rough; I had no one to talk to. It seemed like everyone around me attended church with us, and that meant that everyone shared the same views on being gay.”
Blake wishes that he had that journal with him now. His journals became the one thing that truly listened to him.
“I knew from what my parents taught me, and from what I was taught at church, that I was wrong. At the time, I thought being gay was evil and I wanted nothing more to do with it, but I also couldn’t shake it. Nothing I did seemed to send it packing. I also knew that I couldn’t tell my bishop because then Mom and Dad would find out. They would see to it that anything that might be girly or could lead me into temptation would be swept away forever. I would be allowed to cook because it’s a skill that I would need when I left for my mission. But they didn’t seem interested in my artistic skills. I was afraid that they wouldn’t let me draw anymore.”
Ian can testify to the amount of doodling that Blake does. His artwork is on homework, tests, and whatever else he might be required to turn in at school. His dads are glad that his parents at least let him cook.
The saddest part of his story is about to unfold. He dreads telling this part. He looks at Ben and then at his dads.
“I had a really bad night about four days before I turned 15, and I had written it out in my secret journal. My brother was getting ready to leave on his mission and all the sadness that I was feeling in my life was leaking out all over the place. One day, I was sitting on my bed writing in my journal and the phone rang. As luck would have it, it was for me. The guy that I was crushing on wanted to hang out, so of course I jumped at the chance. I left the house so fast that I forgot to put away my journal. A couple hours later, I came back home to find my pen sitting on my bed, but my journal was missing. There was no guessing involved; I knew that my mom had taken it. My heart sank. An hour later, my mom came into my room."
Blake was holding back tears at this point, and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue, but everyone seemed to be glued to his words. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, he continued…
“Mom came into my room holding my journal. Her eyes were all red as if she had been crying. I knew by looking at her that she knew exactly what was going on, but she wanted to hear it from me. She wanted to know what was in this journal. ‘Did I bring a fairy into our home?’ I… I lost it. I started to cry. Mom just stood there, while I fell to my mattress. ‘Is this person in the journal you? Are you a homosexual?’ I wanted to run away, but little did I know that my parents were going to send me away. She disappeared for about fifteen minutes.”
Again, Blake found himself ready to tear up, so he excused himself to the bathroom. Trace followed him a couple seconds later. Something told him that Blake needed a hug. He knocked on the closed door and Blake opened it.
“Are you okay?”
Trace can see the red in his son’s eyes and he knows that he isn’t okay.
“No one is going to hold it against you if you need to stop. Do you want to quit and we can go home?”
A lone tear came down his face. Blake wipes the tear and then heads back to the living room with Trace. When he gets into the living room and sits down, Mrs. Hatcher looks extremely worried.
“You don’t have to continue, Blake. I think we get the idea.”
Trace and Ian knew that Blake wasn’t about to stop.
“Mrs. Hatcher, I need to keep going.”
He looks around the room but stops when he gets to his dads. He owes his life to these guys and he admires them greatly, so he decides to finish his story.
“I was lying in bed with tears coming down my face and my mom stood up above me with my journal and pages from my journal in her hands. ‘Dad and I talked on the phone and we’ve decided that it’s best you go live with another family member. Dad thinks you should go to Indiana and live with your Aunt Rebecca. I think it’s the perfect place for you. We are going to call her about you being home schooled, so you won’t have any temptation. We don’t want you having a boyfriend. You disgust me, you… you queer.’ I couldn’t hold it, and tears started to run down my face. She saw me crying and did nothing to calm my fears. She seemed to be enjoying my suffering. It’s as if she no longer loved me, that I was no longer her child.”
At this point Mrs. Hatcher is looking at Ben with a couple tears coming down her face. Ben reaches down takes Blake’s hand. Trace and Ian gave him a glance, and Blake understands that they are asking if he is okay. Blake is sad, but he wants to keep going. For whatever reason, he needs this opportunity to tell his story.
“I remember looking up at her and telling her that I didn’t want to leave. I remember telling her that I could be normal. I was scared. Mom looked at me and said that she would take me to the bus herself, but she didn’t have a car. ‘Dad will be home soon, and when he gets here you are leaving. Do not leave this room!'”
Ben could feel Blake’s grip getting tighter as he spoke. He knew that he was hurting. Blake wanted to run. He could see his past self and felt that pain all over again. He hated reliving it, but hopefully he could let it go after tonight.
“I spent an hour digging through my stuff. I grabbed mostly clothes, and there wasn’t really time to grab anything else. I wanted to grab my teddy bears that my Grandmothers gave me, my baby blanket that my mom made for me, and I wanted my secret journal because it had my poems in it. I was still trying to decide what I wanted to take with me when I heard a car pull into the driveway. I ran to the window and, sure enough, it was my dad. I fell to the floor and started to cry. The whole time I could hear David, my younger brother, asking what was wrong with me. I heard Mom say that I was sick. I heard the front door slam shut. Giving my room one last look, I tried to see if there was anything I really wanted to take with me. Finally, I decided to grab my wallet, which had pictures of my family in it. I wanted to hug David, but Mom sent him to his room. I… I never got to say goodbye.”
Again Blake squeezed Ben’s hand to the point where marks were left on it. Ian wishes that Blake would stop and not put himself through this pain.
‘I couldn’t believe that his mother could be such a witch. He needs his stuff back. He needs to talk to David.’
Trace wants Blake to have his life back. The thing is, he also knows it can never be like it was before. Can he go back home?
Blake’s heart was racing a bit and he could feel it.
“I could hear Mom and Dad talking downstairs, but I couldn’t make out their words. About ten minutes after my dad came home, I heard his heavy footsteps coming up the stairs. I tried holding back my tears to show my dad that I could be strong. Surely, my dad would have a heart and not send me away to Indiana. I tried to ask him to let me stay, but he looked at my backpack and told me to grab my coat. I guess I wasn’t moving fast enough, so he raised his voice and I swear that my room shook as he spoke. It was one of the few times in my life, that I was scared of my father. I grabbed my pack and my coat and walked out of my room. I passed by my brother’s room and paused, but Dad just pushed me onward. Mom followed us down and she held the front door open for us. Dad opened the doors to the car and we got inside. There were no goodbyes. I don’t even remember my mom crying. They were getting rid of bad seed. Our trip was done in silence. I didn’t dare close my eyes in fear of being dropped by the roadside. My last memory of my house is my brother’s tiny voice coming from his room. ‘Where is Blake going?’ I could hear his tears in my head.”
Ian was close to tears himself.
Ian and Trace know what is coming and it breaks their hearts. They knew that soon, he’ll be sent into the bus station and he’ll make the trip by himself.
“When we got to the bus station, my dad gave me my money and sent me inside by myself. I kept looking back hoping that he would change his mind. As I opened the door to the station, my dad started the engine, turned, and left the lot. I was lost and had no place to go. I managed to walk up to the ticket window and handed the man behind the window my money and a note that my mom wrote for me. He gave me my ticket and told me where to get my bus. I had an hour before the bus would be here, so I went into the bathroom. I sat on the toilet and my tears started flowing again. I couldn’t’ get myself to stop the tears. Eventually someone knocked on the stall door and asked me if I was all right. I opened the door and told him what had happened. I don’t think he wanted to get involved, but he did help me get to my bus. He also gave me his phone number. I was supposed to call him when I reached Indiana, just so he knows that I arrived safely. I have yet to do that. The trip seemed to take forever. When the bus dropped me off at the station, there was no one there to take me to my aunt’s house. I had no money. Somehow, I managed to get to my Aunt’s house by foot. I was tired, alone, and scared.”
Blake had no idea what going on, but he wanted this to end. He removes his hand from Ben's and walks over to Trace. Trace is ready to head out for home. Blake pulls Trace and Ian away from the group.
“I want to continue but… I want you to be with me while I do it.”
“Okay, Blake, we will do whatever you want to do at this point.”
Blake and his dads return to the living room.
Blake had to take a second before he started up again, just to collect his thoughts and remember where he left off with is narration.
“After spending some time crying, I went over to one of her neighbors and knocked on the door, but nobody answered. It was late so I went back to my aunt’s property and saw that her shed was left open. I laid my backpack on the floor of the shed and covered myself with my coat and lay down to sleep. When I woke up, I made my way to downtown.
"Guys, I hate to do this, but I’m feeling a bit worn down.”
Everyone in the living room understands how Blake feels and no one blames him. Ben is in shock over how bad things were that last day in Blake’s birthparent’s home. He knew things were bad back in Idaho, but he didn’t realize that things were that bad. Ben stands up in front of his family and Blake’s dads and kisses Blake on the lips. Trace is a little anxious. It’s getting close to the time that he needs to get to bed so he can be up for work in the morning. He glances down at his watch. Blake just wants to spend the night in his bed forgetting about his past. Mrs. Hatcher leaves the room and heads into the kitchen.
She comes back with a tray holding strawberry shortcake already served up on plates.
“Ben, go out and get the other tray for me, please.”
Without being asked again, Ben leaves the room. Mrs. Hatcher passes out the dessert to her company first and Ben passes out the strawberry shortcake to his family. While he eats, Mr. Hatcher keeps thinking about Blake’s trip and his time on the streets. It is bugging him that he has no clue how to help them out.
“Honey, I want to do something for the street kids here in our city,” he softly spoke in his wife’s ear. She smiled. Ben had no idea what was going on, but he likes seeing them smile. Mr. Hatcher is curious about what Ian, Trace, and Blake do to help the street kids here in Tylerville. The only way he knew to come up with something worthwhile is to ask for ideas.
“How can we help the homeless kids in our city?”
“You really want to help them?” Blake didn’t mean to ask the question, it just sort of came out.
“Yes, I think as a family we need to do something.”
Blake is impressed with his response.
“Well, you could volunteer your time at one of the city’s shelters, or you could make up care packages for the shelters. I also loved it when random people would give me stuff.
Mr. Hatcher smiled as Blake was talking. His family is going to start helping the shelter closest to them.
“Well, I am committing my family to a monthly care package starting tonight.”
Trace and Ian grinned knowing this family would help make a difference in the lives of the homeless kids in their city.
“We have to get home. I have to be at work early tomorrow. Thanks so much for having us over.”
Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher shake the guy’s hands. All of Ben’s siblings give Blake hugs and, they exchanged handshakes with Trace and Ian. Mrs. Hatcher opens the front door for Blake and family.
Ben walks Blake out the door and as they approach the car, they exchange a quick kiss.
Sorry that this chapter is short. I hope you like it.
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