Learning to love

Part 15

The beach, The Grove, and Home

[This story was fabricated and created by me, the author.
Any similarity to any real life situation,event, or person(s) is purely of coincidence.
Please do not distribute this story in any way, shape, part, or form without my expressed consent.]


We left the penthouse and headed for Santa Monica beach. Tommy was very excited; he kept asking me what the ocean looked like and if the beach was really covered all over with sand. Him having spent his whole life in North Dakota, I knew for sure that the ocean and beaches were as far away as they could be and probably seemed like something he thought he'd only ever read about.

"Tommy, Cutey, your going to see it all for yourself in a matter of moments. If you take a deep breath, you can even smell the salt in the air." His eyes opened big and he took a really deep breath. My father smiled over at the two of us and grinned when he saw Tommy do as I had instructed.

"I can smell it!" Tommy laughed and grabbed my arm. I couldn't help it, I had to have a kiss and I leaned in to him, sealing my lips around his.

"Cutey, you don't realize how good you make me feel." I told him when we broke from it. I had everything I needed with him and having my father a part of my life, as well, made me feel complete for the first time ever.

"The feeling is mutual Brent. Man, you just don't know what it was like for me before you." Just as he finished saying this, the driver made a left turn and there before us it all its majesty was Santa Monica beach. Tommy swallowed hard and his eyes grew bigger and bigger as more of the beach and ocean came into view. He grabbed my hand and started squeezing it. "Brent, it's so...it's so BIG!" He turned his head and looked at me and I was amazed to see fright in his eyes.

"Are you ok?" I gave his hand a squeeze back and he tightened his grip on mine even more.

"I...I don't think I can go out there." He said and kept his eyes glued to me. My father must have been listening and watching the reaction of Tommy. He spoke up.

"Tommy, I know just how you feel son. The first time I looked out at the Atlantic Ocean, it felt like it was pulling me towards it and would swallow me up. We country guys aren't used to being confronted with something so endless seeming. But, it won't harm you. You'll be standing on solid ground. Brent and I will be right next to you. Give yourself a few minutes to take everything in and soon you'll begin to enjoy the feel of the breeze, the smell of the ocean air and the majesty of being in the presence of all that vastness." My father reached over and pat Tommy's leg, then looked at me. "It's a real shock son for someone who didn't grow up with it in their backyard like you had. You boys take your time and let Tommy get used to it." I nodded and turned back to Tommy, who still had his eyes locked on me.

"I won't let anything happen to you Tommy. You just keep a hold of my hand when we get out and we'll take as much time as you need. If you feel like it's too much, then we'll stop and wait for you to feel better. If it doesn't go away, then we'll leave." He swallowed hard and nodded his head to me. The driver pulled up and parked close to the Venice Beach boardwalk. Tommy smiled sheepishly and slowly turned his head to look at the beach once again.

"I feel so stupid, like a little baby." He blushed and I smiled.

"Well, I can't really say that I know how your feeling. The beach is where I had spent all my free time and I would even come here when I wanted to think about how crappy my life was. It always made me feel good to look out and watch the waves and feel the sand beneath my feet." I gave his hand a squeeze. "But don't feel stupid, cutie. When I first got to Beulah and realized there were no malls, I thought I would never leave the house. I thought I had been dropped on the moon and everything I knew was gone forever." The driver opened the door for us and keeping a tight hold of my hand, Tommy and I stepped out of the car. There was a warm ocean breeze blowing and my hair was swirling in its wake. I took a deep breath and felt a kind of homecoming. There weren't many people around because of it being a weekday and we were able to take our time without distractions. We walked slowly down to the Venice Pavilion and stood looking out at the beach in front of us and the ocean waves as the broke against the sandy beach. Tommy soon lost some of his apprehension and began to take in everything he saw. My father stood with us, keeping a close eye on Tommy as well. About 20 minutes had passed and then Tommy asked if we could go a little closer, he wanted to take off his sandals and feel the sand on his feet. It took a lot of patience on my part, because I wanted to go run and jump in the water, but I wasn't going to abandon my guy.

We stood about 15 yards from the ocean, all three of us with our sandals off and feeling the silky smooth grains of sand beneath our feet. A few beach comers were walking along the shoreline and seagulls were squawking and flying over the beach and waterline. The sun was at about a 45 degree angle above the ocean horizon. Tommy was completely fascinated with everything he saw. Another 30 minutes had passed, and we finally made our way down to the shoreline and watched the tide play over the sand and retreat back.

"Stand right here Cutey, dad will be right beside you. I'm going to go out a little bit in the water, and when you feel comfortable, I'll be waiting for you, ok?" I asked him.

"Don't go out too far Brent! I...I won't be able to get to you if something happens!" He gave me a nervous look.

"I won't go far, just to about my knees. You ok?" He nodded and my father moved up to stand close to him. I started walking towards the water and looked back to see my father with his arm around Tommy's shoulders. When I got to the waters edge, I looked back again and gave them a smile. Tommy waved to me. This all felt so funny to me. Had I been with my friends, we would have already been in the water, completely soaked and chasing each other in and out of the surf. I moved out into the water and the old feeling of home took me over. The warmth of the water and the play of the sand beneath the waves beckoned me out farther. Before I realized it, I was up to my chest in the water, with the waves washing over me up to my neck. I heard Tommy yell out and when I turned back to look at the beach, he was running towards me with my father right behind him.

"BRENT! You said your knees! STOP!" He yelled to me. I looked at him and I couldn't help it, because he was now up to his waist in the water with his hands on his hips giving me such a stern look I could only think of how much like Connie his continence appeared when she would scold me. I almost expected to see him stomping his foot in the water. I started laughing at him.

"Tommy, look at you! You're in the ocean!" His eyes shot open wide and he looked around himself. My father had followed him in and was standing within an arms length of him. Suddenly a wide smile enveloped his face and his dimples made twin dents in his cheeks. He bent down and ran his hands and arms in the water and stood back up laughing. I hurried and moved towards him and when I reached him, I threw my arms around him and hugged him tight. "I love you Tommy Weber. I think you'd try to save me even if I were halfway in the bay!" He hugged me back and we just stood there in an embrace as my father stood watching and grinning at us.

Tommy's initiation to the ocean lasted almost an hour and soon he and I were running up and down the beach and jumping after each other in the water. I had so much fun with him; I couldn't believe my body could hold the joy and love I felt within me, just to be here with the boy I loved. I had loved the beach and sand, the surfing and beach volleyball, the endless hours with my friends running up and down the beach and playing all kinds of stupid games, but the time I spent with Tommy on this beach today, made everything else pail in comparison. I was here with my friend, my lover and everything just fit between us. I may have been only a 14-year-old teenager, barely starting out in life, but I knew what I wanted and what I had learned from Tommy. I had learned what it meant to love the one your with ,with every part of you and I loved him. More importantly, I knew he loved me too. I felt I was the luckiest guy in the world. We spend another hour on the beach and finally decided we needed to pack up and finish what we wanted to do before we caught the flight for home. Tommy and I rinsed off the sand and ocean under a beach outdoor shower then went and grabbed the sports bag that had our change of clothes. We changed in the dressing room and soon were on our way to the Grove.

I wanted to do something special for Tommy and I decided I was going to take him on a shopping spree. I had more than enough money in my allowance account and there wasn't going to be another opportunity like this for a long time. I looked at my father and then Tommy as we made our way from the beach to the mall. "Tommy, I want to do something for you and I don't want to here any crap about how I shouldn't or anything else like that." Tommy looked at me and frowned, then narrowed his eyes and started to speak, "Shhh! I said not a word. When we get to the Grove, we are going to try and spend every penny I have of my allowance and we may have to buy 20 more pieces of luggage to get it all home. Plus, we need to pick out some stuff for your brothers and sisters, your mom and dad, and Hank and Scott. I want to get Frank something too." I gave him a big smile for the shock I saw on his face. I looked to see what my father's reaction was to my news and he was smiling. Tommy sighed and looked at me.

"Don't go crazy Brent. We don't need all kinds of stuff and my dad would be mad." Tommy said. My father coughed and we looked at him.

"You let me take care of Mikey. I've always known how to handle him and I doubt he's changed much. I think I like the thought of Brent going crazy and I think I might just join in." I gave my father a big smile and Tommy was left without any defense. I planned on going very crazy, I loved to shop and he was going to get the full effect of it.

We arrived and got out in front of the Mall. Tommy's jaw was hanging open as he looked around. The Grove was a huge open air plaza of shops and restaurants. There were at least 60 stores and maybe 20 dining places. There were people all over the place, unlike the beach, and we were assaulted from every direction by the sights and sounds of the milling crowd. After the beach, we were all feeling starved and decided first to stop and have an early dinner. My father asked where we'd like to eat, and Tommy looked at me and shrugged. I thought for a moment and told my father that The Farm of Beverly Hills had good food. We walked along the avenue until we located the Farm and walked inside. We were greeted by a hostess and seated at a table that gave us a view of the passing throng of busy shoppers. Since we had seafood last night, I decided I wanted something Italian and Tommy followed my lead. My father decided he wanted steak. After placing our order, we sat and talked about what we wanted to get for Tommy's sisters and his brothers. I decided to get the shopping done for them first and then go wild with Tommy.

After eating and settling the bill, we left the farm and our first stop was for the girls. We went into American Girl Dolls. The place was wall to wall girly items and I felt out of my element the moment we walked in. Tommy, however, was excited and grinned at me as we walked along aisles full of merchandise.

"My sisters would go wild in this place! My mom would have to drag them screaming and kicking to get them out, and you know how well Robin can scream!" I laughed along with him and could just imagine the scene. After about 20 minutes, we decided to get Robin and Tina new dolls and a bunch of outfits for the dolls. I was ambivalent about the choice, but Tommy knew exactly what would make the girls happy. We also found a doll for Angie and bought several outfits of clothing for it. After carting everything up to the checkout, we realized that we'd be making several trips to the car as we continued our buying spree. My father volunteered to carry the first load and said he was going to bribe the driver to come back with him to make the remaining trips as we shopped. "My sisters are going to flip out Brent. I can't believe how much all that cost though!"

"Not a word Tommy. I told you I was going to do this and you don't worry about the costs. Let's have fun!" He smiled and nodded. We waited about 10 minutes and saw my father followed by the driver. The driver just smiled at us and followed us as we continued along the plaza. Next we stopped at the Gap. Jamesson, David and Scott were next on my agenda. After at least an hour, we walked out with five bags of clothes and accessories. Jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, socks and even underwear. The driver carried it all back to the car and I told him to meet us at A&F. It was time to get my boy's new wardrobe.

Tommy complained the whole time and I kept forcing him into the changing room. My father stood by just shaking his head at the two of us, I'm sure we sounded like an old married couple arguing about who knew better than who about this or that. By the time I had badgered and cajoled Tommy, we walked out of A&F with over $2,800 worth of clothes and accessories for him and I stocked up on Fierce cologne for us both. I wasn't through with him and next we went to J. Crew's. I went fleece crazy in here and accumulated another three bags of clothes and my father had three of his own. Tommy was bitching like a fisher wife by now and I all I did was laugh in his blushing face. I dragged him along with me and next we went into Tommy Bahamas. I bought him and me matching watches, 5 belts in different designs each, matching wallets, sunglasses, and matching silver Byzantine cuff bracelets. My father also did some shopping and I made sure he got what I thought looked good. I also bought Hank a new wallet and a pair of sunglasses. Tommy refused to go to any more stores if I bought him anything else and he crossed his arms and wouldn't budge until I gave in. I still had to get something for his mom and dad, plus Frank and I needed his help, so I gave in.

It was obvious that we were going to need more pieces of luggage to get everything home, so our next stop was Nordstrom's. I bought 4 pieces of luggage. My father decided this was the place for him to update his wardrobe and Tommy and I made sure that everything he chose met with our specifications. It was getting pretty late and after discussing it with Tommy, we decided to get his parents their gift here too. We went to the jewelry department and he and I selected his and hers matching watches. I hadn't seen anything that I really wanted for Frank or Brandon and I told my father that we needed to leave, because I wanted to go to Hollister's and The Grove didn't have one. It was a good thing that we were driving in a limo, because with all the packages and luggage from the Grove, space was getting to be at a premium inside the car. We all climbed in and the driver pulled out of the Grove to make our next stop at Hollister's.

We all got out and walked into Hollister's. When we walked in Tommy gave me a look and I smiled. I knew about what size Frank wore, but not enough to get him jeans that would fit. Pullovers, hoodies and sweaters were a different matter. Anything and everything that didn't require and exact size. I got him a couple of each and to Tommy's everlasting horror, I made sure I bought Tommy everything I thought would look good on him. Tommy picked out stuff for Brandon and jeans were included, because of course he knew his brothers exact size. I kept telling Tommy to pick out more every time he thought he had finished. Brandon was our age and I knew that he would really like having lots of cool stuff. Bribery was also in my mind (I know, I'm so bad). By the time we left Hollister's, I was shopped out and tired. We still had to get back to the penthouse, pack up everything and then the flight home and the car ride back to Beulah. The damage to my allowance was close to $6,000 and I felt good about it. I had nothing else to spend it on and I had a good time. When we got back to the Penthouse and three trips to the limo to cart everything up, it took us at least an hour and a half to get everything packed into the luggage and I even thought we were going to have to go out and buy a couple more pieces to fit everything. Tommy suggested that we carry the dolls onboard the plane with us and I laughed at him.

"You can carry them on with you, but I'm not sitting by you! You're of your rock if you think I'd be seen lugging dolls around." He punched me in the arm and snickered.

"Aw Brent, they could be our babies and they are so cute." He grinned and I scoffed, and they got packed away with the rest of the items. We were packed and ready. We all made a pass around the penthouse to make sure we hadn't forgotten anything. We had arrived with four pieces of luggage, including my father's suit bag and were now leaving with nine, including the sports bag we had bought for the beach. It was all packed to bursting. Our driver came up from the lobby to help us get it all down and loaded. We said goodbye to Los Angeles as we boarded our flight from LAX. I was happy to be going home. I missed Connie and strangely, I was missing Hank and his gruff sense of humor. I had seen him everyday of my life in Beulah. We arrived in Bismarck at 10:35 pm. Hank was waiting for us at the baggage carousel and when I saw him and dashed over to him and gave him a hug. I think I startled him at first, but then I felt his arms wrap around me.

"Wow Brent, I didn't expect such a grand welcome. Last time I picked you up from an airport, you ignored me like last years cow droppings." He let me go and smiled at me. I blushed a bit.

"I didn't love you then Hank, and now I know what it's like not to see you everyday, I didn't like it." I looked up at him very seriously and his smiled changed in an instant to a look of genuine affection.

"I missed you too Brent. I...I think I love you too, but don't go getting a big head or anything. I love that thing behind you too." I smiled and turned to see Tommy walking up behind me. He gave his uncle a hug. Hank's eyes widened when he saw the entire luggage we started taking off the conveyor wheel. "What happened? Did your luggage give birth on the way home?"

"No, Brent gave birth and had multiple deliveries! You're lucky it's only nine bags and not 20!" Tommy told Hank and grinned at me. I rolled my eyes at him and we walked over to grab our share of the bags to carry out to the SUV. We arrived at the farm a little bit after midnight. Connie was still awake and came hurrying out of the house when we drove up. I ran and gave her a hug and a kiss, Tommy wasn't far behind me and he got his hug and kiss in as well. Because it was so late, Tommy was going to wait until morning to call his family to let them know we had made it home ok, but Connie told him that his father said to call no matter what time it was. Tommy took his phone out and called his house. I heard him talking to Mike and when Tommy hung up, he told me that his father said he wanted us to come home tomorrow, but that he could spend the night and go to school with me the next morning. That was fine with me. We lugged all the bags up to my room and then hurried back down to say good night to everyone. I felt like the walking dead, I was so tired.

Tommy and I wasted no time getting undressed and into bed. We were both so tired; we didn't even want to take the time for a shower. "So, how did you like L.A.?" I asked him when we climbed into bed.

"It was awesome. I had a really good time on the beach today, well, after I got used to it. Meeting your friends was cool too, even Tom." We both chuckled at this. "I think I like being home with you even better though. I missed my mom and dad too. I'm glad we're going to go see them tomorrow."

"Yeah, it's good to be back home. I missed everyone too. Plus, we have all this stuff to give out." I looked at my boyfriend lying next to me and pulled him to me. I gave him a kiss and pulled him on top of me. He scooted over a little so he could lay his head next to mine. "I love you Tommy. I can't seem to say that enough."

"I know, me either. Thanks Brent, for everything. I had an awesome trip and I love you too."

We kissed each other a few more times and finally said goodnight. I woke up the next morning to the sound of a tractor somewhere out in one of the fields and started laughing. Tommy woke and yawned. He looked over at me laughing and asked what was so funny. "When I first moved here, I was bitching about moving to a farm and having to put up with Old MacDonald. That tractor you hear out in the field was part of my bitch. Now it just seems so normal, that until I heard it again this morning and being away from it for a couple of days, it brought the memory back." I looked over at the clock on my nightstand and it was a little after 9 am. I could smell food even all the way up in my bedroom and I saw Tommy sniff the air too. "FOOD!" I threw the covers back and jumped out of bed. "Get a move on, we need to shower, eat and then sort all that stuff out you bought before we get to your house."

"I bought! You bought it all and I didn't want any of it." He sat up in the bed and mock growled at me.

"Ok, well we can give all your stuff to Brandon. I'm sure he won't bitch as much about it as you did!" I grinned and Tommy threw a pillow at me.

"I'm going to beat you when we get in the shower!" He said and jumped up out of the bed. I ran into the bathroom.

"Promises, promises!" I called back to him. We both wound up standing at the toilet and emptying our bladders. I kept a steady eye on him as he stood there and when I looked up, I saw him watching me pee too. I think we must have blushed simultaneously when we realized we had got caught staring. After we finished and flushed, we gave each other a good morning kiss and got into the shower. We went through four complete cycles before we finally got out and dried off. We brushed our teeth and went into the bedroom to get some clothes on. I grabbed clothes out of my closet and it took Tommy a few minutes to find some of his clothes in the luggage; he didn't want to wear any of the new stuff until it was washed. When we got to the kitchen, Connie was just dishing out some scrambled eggs onto two plates and my father and Hank were sitting down drinking coffee.

"Good morning you two. I'll have your plates ready in just a minute. Have a seat at the counter there and you can start on some toast and jam." Connie said. Before I sat down, I went and gave my father a good morning hug and since Hank was there, he got one too. Tommy hugged his uncle first and then my father. We went and took our seats and Connie set our plates down in front of us.

"So what's on the agenda today?" My father asked.

"Tommy and I need to repack the stuff we bought and then we're going over his house for awhile this afternoon. I want to go over to Frank's house first though. I didn't even get to talk to him after we left school on Tuesday. I need to find out how he's doing. He did get in trouble for taking up for me." I told my father.

"Well, he may have been defending you against a perceived threat, but like I said before, he could have handled it a lot better. But still, you need to check up on him and make sure he's ok and not took upset about the suspension. I'll leave Hank to take of you two for the day. I have to run into town for awhile and then to Hazen. I'll see you two this afternoon when you get back from Tommy's." I noticed Hank look to the heavens when my father had said he was going to be in charge of us. Tommy and I ate and chatted with Connie about LA. When my father left, I told her about Tom. She shook her head in commiseration with me.

Tommy and I ran back upstairs after breakfast. We gathered the luggage to the middle of the game room and started unpacking and repacking everything. All the stuff for his family went into four pieces of luggage, two for just his items. I packed Frank's stuff in the sports bag after making sure all the sand was out of it. The poor bag would barely close. The whole process took almost two hours and I wanted to hurry and get to Frank's house so Tommy and I could spend some time with him. We lugged everything downstairs and put it by in the foyer and went and grabbed something to drink from the frig. Tommy said he'd run to the Ag office to get Hank and I sat looking out the window and waited for them. I heard Hank honk and got up and met them both at the front door. We loaded the SUV and took off. I had no idea where Frank lived, but Hank had no problem getting us there. I hadn't called ahead because I wanted to surprise him with Tommy and I being back early.

Hank dropped us off and waited until we knocked on the door. Tommy was carrying the sports bag and he looked as excited as I felt waiting for the door to be answered. Frank opened the door and when he saw Tommy and me, he let out a whoop and grabbed us both in a three way hug. We all laughed and I waved to Hank to let him know he could go. I would call him when we were ready to go to Tommy's. Frank invited us in and walked us back to his bedroom. He was the only one at home and I could here country music coming from his room as we approached it.

"Country music?" I said and he turned and smiled at me.

"Of course. When you're feeling the blues, why not play music that keeps your mood going?" He snickered and led the way into his room. His room was a good size. He had a sitting couch and even a couple bean bags on the floor. The room was decorated with hockey posters, and hockey gear seemed to be everywhere. He had a couple of hockey jersey's even hanging on the wall for decoration. He walked over to his stereo and turned the volume down and then turned back to us. "So when did you guys get back? I didn't think you'd be back until late tonight."

"We flew in last night and got home at midnight. I think we both were more than ready to get back. It was fun, but I kind of missed this place." I smiled at him when I saw his eyebrows go up. Tommy laughed at his reaction also.

"You're shitting me right? No one could possibly miss this place. I know I'm out of here the first week after graduation!" He then noticed the bag Tommy was carrying and asked, "Are you two spending the night?"

Tommy looked down at the bag and handed it to me. "Naw, I remember how much you snore from the camping trips we used to go on!" He said to Frank.

"Yeah, well I remember all the farting you did!" He said and waved his hand in front of his face. I laughed at the two of them and walked over to Frank. I held at the bag and he looked at me then Tommy.

"What's this?" He asked and took the bag from me.

"Tommy and I bought you some things while we were in L.A. It's a kind of thanks for standing up for me and also because your a good friend to us both." He took the bag and put it on his bed. Tommy and I walked over and we both took a seat on the bed and watched him unzip it. It was stuffed so full that when the zipper was opened, some of the content popped up immediately. He started taking stuff out of it, and I swear he spent at least several moments just looking at each item. By the time the bag was empty and the clothes were on his bed, there was a large pile of clothing. Frank turned and looked at me. He just looked for a few minutes and then he started to tear up.

"You didn't have to do this Brent, nor you Tommy. I'm your friend no matter what. No one fucks with my friends or they pay for it with their ass." He wiped his face and looked back at the pile of clothes he had taken from the bag. Frank crying had the same effect it had before when he almost knocked me from the bleachers and I started getting choked up. I needed to lighten the mood.

"Well, if you don't want any of it. We can find someone to give it." I stood up and acted like I was going to pick it up. He dove over the top of the pile and guarded it with his body.

"Hey! Stay away from my shit or I'll black your eye! Tommy, pull your boyfriend back or he's going to be ground beef!" He was scrambling, making sure nothing was exposed that I could get a hand on and laughing. He need not have worried, because Tommy and I had frozen in shock at his calling me Tommy's boyfriend. He laughed a few moments more, but I guess our silence caused him to finally look over at the two of us. "Oh shit!" He said and hurried and stood up. "Um...well...from the look on your faces, I guess I was right? Otherwise there'd be some yelling instead of stunned silence. Don't look at me like that, either of you."

"How...How did you guess? We've been trying to be really careful about anyone finding out." I looked at Tommy and he stood up and came around me so we were both standing in front of Frank.

"First things first." He came to me and grabbed me in a hug. "Thanks for all the stuff Brent. They're going to be shitting green envy in school for a months when they get a load of me looking like a California stud." He pushed me away from him and then right back in and gave me a quick kiss on the lips. He let go of me and then took a hold of Tommy and wrapped him in a hug. "The girls are going to be drooling over me and I'll have to fight them off with a hockey stick." He pushed Tommy back, and then gave him his own kiss on the lips. Tommy's eyes went wide and Frank drop his hold on him.

"How much shock do you think we can take in one afternoon Frank?" Tommy asked; a little more flustered after the kiss. First you tell us that you know we're boyfriends and then you give us both a kiss?"

"Alright, go sit down on the couch and I'll pull a chair over and we can talk. Don't get all freaky, I'm not gonna suck your dicks next." He chuckled and walked over and pulled a chair out from a desk and carried it over. Tommy and I sat down on the couch and before Frank sat in his chair he looked back at his bed and his goodies. He turned and sat with a smile on his face. He looked at Tommy then at me.

"First off, Tommy would have to be blind and stupid as dirt not to fall for you. Fuck, you make me hard just when you smile at me. Secondly," he now looked at Tommy, "Brent has this thing he does when he's around you. It's like he's itching to grab you and not let go. I even see his hands twitch sometimes because he wants to do it so bad. No one else would pick up on this, believe me. I have a cousin that lives in Fargo that's gay. I go to visit him and my Aunt a couple times a year and my cousin says I have the best damn gaydar he has ever seen on a straight guy. He uses me to do the spotting for him and then he makes his move." Frank chuckled at the expressions both Tommy and I wore. "When I was in the 7th grade, I started noticing guys and I started having this strange feeling. I would see a guy and just by looking at him and watching him for a couple minutes, I felt this overwhelming attraction or I felt nothing. It freaked me out at first, but then...well...I actually acted on the attraction feelings a few times. Kissing, touching, even a few hand jobs. I was still shooting blanks at that time, but it felt fucking awesome." More and more he was stunning the hell out of me.

"When I got into the 8th grade, I started noticing girls more and it was like every one of them made me have that feeling that sometimes came over me with some guys. I still had a few encounters with guys, but they very few and far apart. One time...well never mind that. Anyway, I started disassociating my self from the feelings I would have with these few guys and concentrated on my attraction to the ladies. The rest is history. I never lost the 'gaydar'; I just never do anything about it. Now, Tommy I have known his whole life. I started having these feelings for him, oh, about two years ago." He kept looking between the two of us and he continued his story. "Brent now, when he walked into the commons and met with Missy and all of us with her before school on the first day, it hit me so hard I felt light headed. It wasn't anything he did; it was just that he looked so...so different from anyone I had ever seen before." He looked at Tommy. "You have to admit, we all look like cur dogs next to him in his designer clothes, his hair and those fucking eyes that make you melt like ice in the heat of summer." He looked back at me and smiled. "I was almost tempted to crawl under the table that morning and service you right there in the cafeteria. You have tried my restraint ever since. But, I still like the ladies. Not that if you asked me too, that I wouldn't. It would take me about as long as the time needed to get your zipper down and me on my knees." He laughed, and I blushed the color of an apple.

"Shut up asshole. I'm not asking!" I said and looked at Tommy. Tommy was grinning from ear to ear at me. "What was all that shit in the shower and that kiss on my birthday and the comment about fucking me?" I asked him.

"That Brent was me slipping. Ask Tommy how many times I've almost slipped with him." He raised his eyebrow in Tommy's direction and Tommy blushed. "You two are hot looking fuckers and if you two hadn't hooked up, I was going to force you too whether you thought you were gay or not. Lucky for you, that you beat me to it. Now if you two will wait right here a minute, I'm going to try some of treasures on and you can tell me how cute and fucking hot I look and we all might just slip together!" He waggled his eyebrows at us and got up laughing. Tommy and I couldn't help but laugh with him. He would never change. His directness and uncontrollable urge to say whatever came into his head was his hallmark. We spent the next hour with him trying on his pullovers, polo shirts, and hoodies and when he got to the boxers I had got him, Tommy and I refused to allow him to model them. We were required to tell him how hot he looked, how he made us bone up and he just beamed at us. It was getting late and we still needed to make it to Tommy's. We talked a little more and promised to come back and see him over the weekend and after school a few days next week. I called Hank to come and get us. Frank had no reservations in coming right out and kissing us goodbye. The guy was absolutely incorrigible.

When we got to Tommy's house, we were met by Mike running out of the house and grabbing Tommy in a hug the moment he stepped out of the SUV. "You are not allowed to ever leave this state again!" He said to Tommy. "I've been constipated since the day you left." Tommy disengaged from his father's arms.

"Eww...Too much information dad! That is gross!" Tommy told him and grimaced. Next I got a hug from Mike and a welcome home. Hank walked around to the back of the SUV and started unloaded the luggage we had brought. Mike looked at him and then us.

"What's all this? Is Brent moving in? If he is, he'll have to bed down out in the chicken coup!" He slapped his leg and started laughing. Hank carried two of the bags over and held them out to Mike.

"Laugh after you carry these two bags in the house. You might better go get the tractor, old men like you could strain yourselves." The affronted look Mike wore after Hank spoke, caused Tommy and I to bust out laughing and Hank snorted and went to get the other two bags. He walked up to us both and handed us a bag. "I'll be back for you two at 7 pm sharp, so be ready. I'll bring some Ben Gay back for old codger Mike too." We heard Mike suck in a big breath of air and Hank took off and jumped in the SUV. Before we could blink, he was pulling out of the front drive and heading down the road. Mike was shaking a fist at the disappearing Hank and telling him what he could do with his Ben Gay. Mike picked up the bag he had set down and started walking towards the house grumbling. When he got to the porch, he stopped and set the bags down and turned back to us.

"Wait just a minute. You two still didn't tell me what all this is. Tommy left with one bag and he comes back with four. They're heavy enough to hold bricks. What the hell did you do, fill them with sand from the beach to make a sandbox here?" We noticed him breathing a little fast and his face was a little red. I looked at Tommy and we lost it again. Mike just stared at us until we got under control.

"Brent bought us all presents and before you start yelling at me, I told him not to, but he refused to listen to me..." Tommy began.

"Well, I sure the hell can refuse..." Mike began.

"...and Mr. Stewart said that if Mikey doesn't like it, he knew how to handle you when you were kids and he was sure you hadn't change so much since then." Tommy finished and gave his father the 'look' I had found so cute from the first day I had met him. Mike looked at Tommy and his mouth dropped open. He snapped it shut and looked at me then back at Tommy.

"Well you can just tell Billy that I said...well...oh horse shit, get this stuff in the house. I need a drink of water." Mike picked the two bags up and walked in the front door. Tommy and I shared a look and then followed him in. Mike had dropped the bags at the bottom of the stairs and evidently went to go get his glass of water. Tommy and I took ours up the stairs and into his room and came back down for the others. We had talked about how we were going to hand all the stuff out when we got to his house, and decided we'd do it before everyone got home by putting the stuff on their beds. Scott was the only one who would have to get his stuff from the suitcase. Mike finally cam and joined us in Tommy's room and watched as we began to unpack every thing.

The first items out of the bags were the dolls for the three girls and all the clothing accessories to go with them. We walked to the girl's room and opened the door. Mike followed along behind us, an unreadable expression on his face. We placed Tina's doll and its clothes on her bed and then Robin's on hers. With everything spread out, the entire beds were covered with dresses, shoes, combs, hats and each doll had a diaper bag to carry the change of clothes in. Tommy turned to his dad when we were through and asked him if he thought they were going to like them.

"Like them? I think I better drive to the hardware shop and buy a couple dozen packs of ear plugs. We may be deaf before the evenings over." He did have a huge grin on his face though. "I can't believe you boys picked out dolls and dresses for your sisters. I'd of paid good money to just see that!" We laughed and went back to Tommy's room. Jamesson and Scott's stuff was in the same bag the dolls had been in, so we sorted out Jamesson's from Scott's and then sorted David's from Brandon's. We carried the stuff into the other boy's room and laid everything out on each of their beds. This was the first time I had been in their room and when I was putting Jamesson's clothes out, I notice he had a picture on his little night stand and when I looked closer at it, it was a picture of me from my birthday party.

"You know your destroying all my hard work by letting him keep a picture of me by his bed." I turned and said to Mike. "I explained to him about friends and stuff and he seemed to get it."

"Oh he got it alright, but I have to live with the hellion. If I tried to take that picture from him, Robin would run from the house at how loud he'd scream. You just leave it right there and when he gets over himself, we'll move it into Tommy's room. At least with it in here, it doesn't run the chance of getting 'messy'." Tommy gasped and blushed to his roots and I followed right behind him. Mike just laughed and grinned. He'd never change and there was no use to try. He walked and looked at everything we laid out and shook his head. We left the boy's room and closed the door behind us. Back in Tommy's room we unpacked one whole suitcase that held all of Brandon's stuff. As we began laying the stuff out on his bed, Mike finally stopped us and asked what was going on.

"That can't all be for him?" Tommy and I turned to look at him. His eyes were wide as he looked at the bed and back in the suitcase we had been steadily emptying.

"Yeah it's all for him." I said. "There was a lot of more cool stuff, but Tommy thought this would be enough."

"Brent, you went way overboard with all of this. This...This stuff cost a fortune!" Mike looked at me and started to get a disapproving look on his face.

"It's my money and I can spend it the way I want too. It's just stuff anyway. They'll probably be outgrowing it in no time and well, I wanted to do it. I have nothing else to spend my allowance on except the people I care about." I looked at Mike and decided to take a dig, "You can always talk to my dad. He said to call him if you wanted to discuss it." I smiled sweetly at him. He coughed and cleared his throat.

"Ah, well, if you wanted to do it then I guess there's nothing I can complain about." He even turned a little red in the face. I walked over to him.

"Mike, please don't get upset about any of this. I really did want to do this and I told Tommy I was going to do it whether he wanted me too or not. You told me once when you took me home one night how you felt about me and I told you how I felt about your family. They're my family too now. I...I wouldn't be who I am right now without you all, and I like who I am now. Please let me do this and stop feeling whatever it is that is making you uncomfortable. Will you please do that for me? Will you do that for me, dad?" Mike grabbed me in a hug and kissed me on top of the head. A few moments passed as he held me and then he pushed me back.

"Ok son, if it makes you happy, then it makes me happy." His voice was choked and his eyes were a little glassy looking. "Let's see what else you got. If you packed a yacht in one of these bags, I got to see that!" He ruffled my hair and I turned back to help Tommy finishing unpacking Brandon's clothes. Tommy smiled and gave me a wink. Brandon's bed was not big enough to lay the clothes all out on it, so we started putting shirts on top of shirts, and jeans on top of jeans. We tried to keep each pile of the same type of clothing. We still managed to cover the entire surface of the bed. When we were done with his, we took the last two bags and put them on Tommy's bed. Tommy turned and looked at his father and blushed so bad, that even his arms and neck started to turn red. He cleared his throat.

"Um...my stuff...is...well...in these two bags." He hurried and turned to face his bed. I turned to Mike and smiled at him.

"Well, I love him the most so he got the most. I know you shouldn't show favoritism in the family, but, well, he's my favorite." Mike started laughing and so did I. I tried to pull Tommy around so I could give him a hug, but he was still blushing and acting so bashful that I couldn't move him. I decide I could get him to move and I pinched him in the butt and he let out a yelp and turned around and looked at me shocked. Mike increased his laughter and I got my hug. When the second bag was almost unpacked, I reached in and took out the boxes that had Mike and Carolyn's gift in them. Tommy and I turned around together and I handed them to Mike. "These are for you and mom." I told him.

"Brent," he began and then I gave him a direct look, "ah...well thank you." He took the boxes from me and we watched him as he opened each one. He looked up at me. "They're...Brent these are too much! Where do you think I can were this? We don't have any fancy parties or grand restaurants." He looked back down at the watches. "They're beautiful."

"I think they still work even if you're out feeding the chickens or watering the horses. They're watches dad. Not precious jewels." I told him.

"They look like precious jewels to me." He said. He started to close the boxes and I took his from him. I opened it back up and took out the watch. He wasn't wearing one.

"Right or left?" I asked him.


"Right or left wrist? Which side do you wear your watch on?" I asked again.

"Uh, my left, but you want me to wear this now?" I reached for his left wrist and he transferred Carolyn's watch into his right hand. I put the watch around his wrist and secured it. I stepped back and he turned his wrist and looked at the watch on his arm. He just stared at it for a few moments and then he looked at me. Mike cried when our eyes met and he took Tommy and me in his arms.

"I love you boys. I don't know how Billy and I did it, but when we got you two, somehow we got improved models of ourselves. I think we got everything we had ever wanted for ourselves in you." He released us and looked at each of us. "Always be yourselves though. Don't try and be what others expect of you. I think you got it right." He released us and wiped his face. He looked at his new watch. "Well, if this fancy watch is telling the right time, we better brace ourselves. School got out 20 minutes ago and we are about to be in for one rough and rowdy evening." He smiled and then said, "You know I'm going to get you for this, I have to be the referee for tonight's entertainment!" Tommy and I both laughed at his dramatic pose.

We decided to wait in Tommy's and Brandon's room. He was usually the first through the door and always made a direct line from the front door to his bedroom. Had to make sure no one touched his stuff while he was gone. Tommy started taking stuff out of their shared closet to make room to hang up his new clothes. Anything he considered worn out, he was putting in a pile, but he did save some stuff out for work clothes. We soon heard the front door slam and the sound of feet marching up the stairs. We three in the room got in front of Tommy's bed and when Brandon walked in his first view was of the three of us smiling at him. He dropped his bag by the door and put his hands on his hips.

"What's this about?" He asked and immediately looked to make sure his side of the room hadn't been touched. When he saw his bed piled with new clothes he took a double take and crept over for a closer look. In a very faint whisper, afraid I guess that it might spook the clothes off his bed if he talked louder, he asked, "Whose stuff is this?" There was awe mixed in the whisper as well.

"It's yours Brandon. Tommy and I picked it all out for you while we were in California." I told him. He reached out his hand and ran it down the stack of jeans and then looked over until he found Mike's eyes.

"Yes son, it's all yours and only yours. It's all your 'stuff'. I think you owe Brent a thank you and also your brother for picking it all out for you." Mike grinned at him. Brandon looked at me and then at Tommy, he looked back at his bed. He wiped his face and waited a moment and then wiped it again. He sprinted over to me and literally jumped up into my arms and wrapped his around my next. Brandon is just a little bit shorter than Tommy and I'm sure he weighted just as much. He dragged me to the ground and sat straddling my waist. His head was buried in my neck and there was a lost of sniffling going on. This was beyond what I expected of his reaction and I naturally brought my arms up and hugged him back.

"Brandon, are you ok?" I asked him and rubbed his back with one of my hands. He nodded into my shoulder but didn't let go. I looked up at Tommy and he just shrugged at me. We were then subjected to a chorus of screaming mayhem. It seemed that Tina and Robin had snuck by the bedroom door without us seeing them, and now the hall was funneling the end of the world down towards us. Brandon even came out of his state as we all put our hands over our ears to save our hearing. The screaming came closer until they were standing at the door holding their dolls and red faced screams kept reverberating from their mouths. Mike jumped over and got them to close there mouth for at least the screaming part and they ran into the room doing circles around us and laughing, swinging the dolls. Their entry into the room put Brandon into guard mode and he jumped up from me and ran over to his bed, defending his territory from the two whirlwinds.

"QUIET!" Tommy yelled out and stopped them in their tracks. They looked at him with eyes as wide as platters. "You girls are going to make us all go deaf one of these days. Those dolly's and their clothes are gifts from Brent. He got them for you in California. Now give him a hug and then me, cause I missed you, but please go destroy your own room. Tina ran to me and hugged me around the waist and then to Tommy. Robin was right behind her, but besides the hug, she wanted to give me a kiss on the cheek. They told me thank you and then walked out hand-in-hand.

"Brent, I...I want to tell you thank you too. This is just so much stuff. It's like Christmas time." Brandon said and I turned to look at him. "I swear I'll never treat you like I have been. I won't even yell at Tommy any more." I stopped him before he continued.

"Brandon I got you that stuff because I want to, not because I wanted to bribe you. Maybe a little, but not any more. You treat me however you feel like treating me. That is all yours and I can't take it back. I just wish we could be friends is all I want. Nut we have time to work on that." I went over to him and he hurried and cleared a spot on the bed and actually told me to sit down. ON HIS BED!

"No, I was wrong to act like a brat. You've always been nice to me and I don't know why I was mean. If you ever stay over you can sleep with me in my bed. I don't mind." When he took a moment to think about what he said and saw me smiling at him, he blushed. "Well, maybe not sleep with me, but you can sit on my bed any time you want." Brandon joined Tommy in the closet and they both started sorting out what they were going to keep and what was going to go by the wayside. Mike and I just stood and watched the two of them and I guess shared amazement that neither had so far said a cross word to the other.

Somehow, the Weber kids were very good at sneaking in without anyone knowing, because while I was talking to Mike about Tommy's reaction to the ocean, Jamesson came into the room and we watched him as he walked over and sat on Tommy's bed. He was dressed from head to toe is a set of the new clothes I had bought him and he smiled at Mike and said, "Look what Brent bought for ME!" The little rascal had snuck into his room, changed out of his school clothes and right into what he had found on his bed. It even matched.

"I see what he bought you and I saw all the other things on your bed he got you too. But after you thank him, you need to go right back in there and take all that off so your mother can wash it before you wear it. Where are David and Scott?" Mike asked.

"Davy is in our room standing like a pole and Scotty is trying to get him to talk. I think he swallered his tongue." He got off the bed and held his arms out to me. I picked him up and before the hug I was expecting, he gave me a kiss on the cheek and whispered in my ear, "See, I told you we was bestest friends." He hugged me and then gave Tommy a hug before walking out the door and down the hall. Scott came to the door and stood looking in. Mike left so he could go see what was wrong with David. I could hear Tina and Robin singing in their room and I smiled to myself. I was feeling really good at this point.

"Hey Scott, come on in." Tommy told him. I went and picked up the suitcase with Scott's clothes in it and made room on Tommy's bed to open it. While we were at the Gap, we made sure not to pick any thing out for each boy that was the same as the others. We didn't want any of them to have to dress alike. "Brent didn't forget about you." Scott came walking over to me.

"You got me something too?" he shyly asked me and was peaking over my shoulder as I unzipped the flap of the bag. I turned and smiled at him and he smiled back.

"Of course I did. Why would I forget you?" I threw the flap back and Scott whooped and almost shoved me out of the way.

"All...All this is MINE?!" He looked at me like I was nuts, but only hesitated a moment before turning back to the suitcase so he could see everything that was hidden under the top layers. I had put Hank's gifts in one of Tommy's suitcases, so everything now left in this one was indeed Scott's. Scott began to thank me for every piece of clothing his picked up. He thanked me for this shirt and those shorts. This other shirt and that sweatshirt. On and on he went until even Brandon came out of the closet and told him to shut up, but he did have a smile on his face. Scott started to unpack it all and I told him to leave it in there so he could carry all home with him when his father came for us. His eyes got wide. "This suitcase is mine TOO?!" I laughed at him and told him no, that it was just for him to carry his stuff home in.

Mike came walking in the room leading David with him. David came up to me and held out his hand to shake and when I reached for it, it snatched it back and then pulled me into a hug. "Crazy, I wasn't just gonna shake your hand." I hugged him back and he thanked me for the clothes. He thought I was the coolest guy he'd ever met, he told me and then Scott grabbed him to show him HIS stuff in the suitcase.

Jamesson came walking back in the room and he was wearing a pair of the boy boxers with Sponge Bob on them that I had bought him. He yelled out, "Look! I'm wearing real man bloomers now!" We all lost total control at that point and doubled over laughing at him. My God this boy was just too damn cute to be around other people. He had a cheesy smile and his hands on his hips when he said it, which just added to the hilarity of it.

"Get you and your bloomers back in your room and put some clothes on before your tally whacker jumps out the front of those things!" Mike yelled at him when he was able to take a breath from laughing. He turned to me laughing, "That child takes after your dad and I have no idea how that could happen." Tommy looked at his dad and laughed.

"Maybe that's why you named him James' son." Tommy continued to laugh but Mike sobered real quick and looked at Tommy and then at me. I shrugged at him and then he went over to Tommy.

"You and I are going to sit down with Brent and Billy one day soon and we're all going to have a talk. You're starting to get a little to smart for my own good." Mike said and then reached up and ruffled Tommy's hair. He jerked his hand back and held it like he had injured it on Tommy's spiked hair. "And we need to take that porcupine on your head out back, and put it out of its misery!" Mike hugged Tommy and winked at him. He then left taking Jamesson with him to make sure he got dressed for real this time.

When Carolyn came how, Tommy and I spent the rest of the time telling everyone about the trip.  Tommy told about the limos, penthouse, the resturant and his trip to the ocean.  Listenening to him relate all that he saw and how much fun he had, made me feel good and then I told Mike and Carolyn about the day in court.  I could resist telling them how nervous Tommy got when the judge called on him and how he had addressed her as Majesty.  They both looked at Tommy blush and laughed and got up to him him a hug.  Carolyn fix dinner and we all sat down to eat.  It was good to be surrounded by this family I was fast growning to love.  Hank arrived promptly at 7 pm.  Scott met him at the door and dragged him up to David's room to show his father the clothes he had gotten.  I gave Hank his gifts in the family room.  Carolyn and Mike showed off their watches to him as well.  Finally it was time to leave and I got hugs from the entire household.  Tommy and I said goodnight to everyone.  He grabbed his overnight bag and we left with Hank and Scott to return to my house.

We had to sit down and relate to Connie and my father everyones reaction to the gifts.  We all laughed a lot at the retelling of the kids' reactions.  Tomorrow was a school day and Tommy's and my return after two days absence.  We had no idea what may or may not have leaked out about the fight in the gym, but we were home now and we would face whatever came together.  We said goodnight to Connie and my father, and walked upstairs to prepare for bed,


I hope you enjoyed this segment of Learning to Love.  If you would like to send me an email, you can send it to jmedinacorona@gmail.com . Stay tuned for more to come!