Michael’s Ghost

or, On Becoming a Man

By SoQueer

This story is dedicated to Andrew Hollerand.

This is a work of fiction. It is, however, based at least in part on real people and a few actual events. Many of the conversations represented here took place. Having experienced the joys of being outed in public by another myself, I have taken the liberty of changing the names and altering the events enough to hopefully prevent anyone from being embarrassed.

As always, this story is intended for an adult audience interested in Gay erotic literature. If you are not of legal age--that's eighteen in the US--or are offended by depictions of homosexuality or what homosexuals do when you're not around, then I strongly request that you find another place to surf. This story remains the property of the author and may not be reprinted in part or in whole without my permission.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at soqueer@excite.com .

Love and a wet kiss, SoQueer.

Chapter 5

The next few days were peaceful. After a few tense moments Mrs. Fambrough and I managed to re-establish a rapport. David and I busied ourselves around the farm. My grandfather always said that there’s never 'nothing to do' on a farm, and I soon learned he was right. Unfortunately, most of what there was to do was comprised of some form of work or other. But I didn’t mind so long as David and I were able to do it together. It was enough for me to look up and see him smiling at me.

I was fortunate that my older brother had taught me a great deal about cars. I knew more about cars at twelve than most guys do at twenty. David and I spent our free time fixing up the old truck, and before long I had taught him to be handy with a wrench, too. Mrs. Fambrough was so impressed with our mechanical wizardry that she turned us loose on the farm machinery. Before long we had most of her old equipment running better than they had run in years. Mrs. Fambrough was not only grateful, but she was generous, too. She paid our way to supper and a movie that Friday night.

The nights were phenomenal. Each night we exploded in each others arms. Each morning we awoke to the joy of seeing each other’s face. There wasn’t a spare moment that we weren’t touching or kissing. Often, we would slip off behind the barn for a quick blowjob. We even slipped off once to the old farm office at the equipment shed for a quick fuck. If Mrs. Fambrough knew what we were up to she never let on.

As the day of my parent’s return neared I felt a dread creeping over me. For two weeks I had been free. There was no pretense at the Fambrough homestead. Outside of a little discretion David and I were free to be ourselves. There were no walls and defenses needed. I knew, though, as soon as my parents drove up all that would change. Circumstances would start dictating my life again, and I would be forced to adopt a style of behavior in their presence that I found loathsome.

Out last night together David picked up on my uneasiness. Thunderstorms were again brewing in the Gulf of Mexico and making there way north. We sat on the porch outside our bedroom to watch the light show. “Its not going to be easy to see you leave tomorrow,” he said.

“It ain’t gonna be easy to leave, either,” I replied. “I’m gonna miss your grandma’s cooking!” I didn’t want the mood to get heavy. My heart was heavy enough for the both of us.

David didn’t laugh. “How are we going to do it? I can’t be there when you get in that car. I’m not that strong.”

I was struck with the difference between the two of us. My way of dealing with a distasteful situation was to make a joke about it. David, however, saw no humor in difficulties. Perhaps it was the difference in our upbringing. Perhaps it was just the difference in our natures.

“Nonsense!” I was ticked at him for forcing me face up to reality. I was sick of reality and needed relief. “You’re going to be cordial to my parents. You’re going to stand there and wave like it’s nothing to you. You’re going to do it because I need you to do it. I won’t hear any more of this talk.

“I’m seventeen, David. I live in their house so I have to play by their rules. I may not like it, but for now I have to put up with it. And if I have to work around the system, so do you. We don’t have a choice.” I turned and watched the lightning streaking across the sky in the distance. “We’ll be together again.”



“I still wish you didn’t have to go.”

I smiled at him. “If wishes were fishes we’d all swim away!”

The next morning I packed my things and lugged them downstairs. David wouldn’t get even open his eyes, much less get out of bed to help. I went back upstairs and hit him with a pillow.

“Asshole!” I shouted playfully. “Get out of bed and help me get ready!”

“No! If I get out of bed then it means it’s morning, and that means you’re leaving. If I stay here then you can’t go!”

I jumped on him and started tickling him. He was still naked under the sheets, and from time to time my hands would touch his bare flesh. His dick was rock-hard. “Ow!” he shouted when I ground my pelvis against his. “Don’t do that! I gotta pee like a racehorse.”

I rolled off him laughing. It was just the brevity I needed. “Come on,” I said. “Get up, and go to the bathroom before you wet the bed. Mom and Dad aren’t due here for another hour yet.”

We went downstairs to breakfast. Mrs. Fambrough had the usual buffet laid out for our approval. “I’m going to miss your cooking,” I told her. “My mom can’t cook.”

“If you are wise, young man, you’ll never say that in her hearing!” she said in a scolding tone of voice. Even so, she had a sparkle in her eyes when she piled second helpings on my plate.

We bantered back and forth for the next hour. We had settled in an unhurried relationship. I felt more at ease in the presence of these two people than I had ever felt in my own home. They expected so little from me, and I had long since lost the need to earn their approval. It was understood that each of us accepted the other at face value. There were no hidden agenda or games being played. Mrs. Fambrough knew David and I were lovers. We, in turn, knew her feelings on the subject. With that behind us we simply went on with our lives. Our connection with each other wasn’t based on false expectations or pretense. It was based on love. In their company I had come to know not only acceptance, but love as well. Mrs. Fambrough had made me feel as if I were one of her own. I, in turn, tried my best to treat her with respect and honor. She deserved no less.

My stomach fell to my feet when I heard a car pull up out front. I had put my parents’ eminent arrival out of my mind. Now they were here, and the happiest period of my life had come to an end. I heard my father’s footsteps on the front porch and the doorbell rang. None of us moved. It occurred to me then that Mrs. Fambrough didn’t want me to leave, either. I fell in love with her at that moment.

The doorbell rang again. I got up and opened the door. My father was standing there with a big smile on his face. “Hey, Son!” He opened the screen door and gave me a hug. It was the first time in years that he had hugged me. “Look at you! You’ve grown six inches! And put on some weight, too. You look good, Mark. I’ve missed you.”

“You look great too, Dad.” My mother was standing beside the car. I gave her a little wave and went back inside. “Let me get my things, and we’ll go.” I went into the living room and picked up my bags. Mrs. Fambrough came over and gave me a hug. I couldn’t say anything to her for the lump in my throat, but I hugged her back. David was no where around.

I turned and looked at my father. With a heavy sigh I said, “Let’s go.” I made the arduous journey to the car. My mother grabbed me and gave me a fussy hug. She kissed me several times and started crying. I felt tears stinging my eyes, as well, but not because I was happy to see her. I needed to see David. I threw my bags in the back and started to climb in.

“You just going to leave without saying goodbye?” I spun around to see him standing there in all his splendor. The morning light made his hair glow, and his eyes looked so cool in the morning heat. We gave each other a hug, and said our farewells. I got in the car, and Dad started for our house. I looked back to see David waving goodbye. I waved back and tried desperately not to make a blubbering idiot out of myself.

I heard little of what was said on the way home. I remember my mother talking, but her words seemed like meaningless babble. I had grown so accustomed ‘real’ conversation that her endless chatter no longer held my attention. I gave an occasional response, and tried to appear interested, but my heart wasn’t in it. In fact, my heart wasn’t even in the car with me. I had left it safe and secure in David’s tender care.

After being shut up for two weeks the house smelt musty. I couldn’t help thinking it smelt like a dungeon. Mom made some comment about all the work she had to do. Dad found a newspaper and headed for his favorite chair in the den. I went upstairs to unpack and cry my eyes out. Somehow I made it through the day. Mom and Dad were still exhausted after their trip, so they slept most of the afternoon.

I called David from the kitchen phone that evening. It was heaven to hear his voice. Grandma Fambrough was in the room with him, so he couldn’t speak freely. I had a ball talking dirty to him, all the while knowing he couldn’t respond. I imagined him sitting there trying to hide a mammoth hard-on, and went after him all the more. It felt so good just to hear his voice. My life wasn’t over, after all. David was just a phone call away, and even if I couldn’t touch him, at least I could hear him laughing. And laugh he did. He recharged my soul, so that I knew now I could face being without him.

When we said our good-byes something odd happened. I heard a double click. Someone else had heard our conversation. I felt a moment of panic grip me, but then I thought of something Grandma Fambrough had said to me the night I met her. “It’s all about Heart,” she’d said. I asked myself if I had the heart to face this. Yes! I answered. Anything for the man I loved.

I looked up and saw Dad standing there. “You heard?” I asked, more as a comment than a question. He just stood there. The expression on his face reminded me of the photo of Michael that David had shown me. I was struck by how much they looked alike. Michael was the spitting image of our father. Standing there, the muscles on his jaw dancing with rage, his hand flexing and balling up, I saw the hint of what he had been seventeen years earlier. My father had been a beautiful man in his youth. He had been the kind of man that women--well, at least one woman--fell in love with. I had always thought I looked like my mother, but now I could see myself standing there in twenty years or so. I, too, was the spitting image of my father.

Dad turned and left the room without a word. It was the first time he had ever failed to try to goad me into an argument. I had expected his worst, and I got nothing. He had spent the last several years all but accusing me of being queer, and now that he had the proof, he turned and walked away. My heart was beating so hard I couldn’t move.

I heard the front door softly close. I jumped up and ran to my room. I rummaged through my sock drawer and pulled out the envelope I had brought back with me from David’s. I came back downstairs and went out on the porch. Dad was sitting there in one of the rockers with his eyes closed. I took my place in the chair next to his.

“You may not believe this, Dad, but I love you,” I said. “I don’t expect you to understand or to approve.”

“I don’t and I won’t.” he said flatly. There was no emotion in his voice.

“I’ve got something I want to show you.” I stuck the envelope under his hand.

He sat there unmoving for several minutes. I have no idea what went through his mind. Eventually he opened his eyes and took a closer look at the envelope. “What’s this?”

“Something I think you need to see.”

He pulled out the photograph and looked over it. “This isn’t the girl you took to the prom, is it?”

My heart skipped a few beats. I could hear Michael cautioning me about the consequences of my actions. “No, Sir. It isn’t. That’s not me, Dad” I looked over at him. Something drew his eyes up to look into mine. He had a puzzled expression on his face at first. He blinked a few times and the color left his face. “That’s a picture of Michael,” I said, and I swallowed hard.

“Is this the one you’re fooling around with?”

“No, Sir. That would be his brother, David. This is Michael! Dennis Michael Fambrough.” I suddenly felt so very sorry for my father. He looked trapped, as if all his worst fears had come to past.

“Mark, I--I don’t know what to say.”

“We look a lot alike, don’t we?” I asked. I tried not to let my expression harden. “You know, I never thought I looked that much like you. I always thought I looked like Mom. Guess I was wrong, huh?”

Dad buried his head in his hands. “Your grandfather always used to tell me my sins would be sure to find me out. Damned if this one didn’t chase me down and kick me in the butt!”

“That’s not my intent, Dad.”

“Well what the hell is your intent, then?” For the first time there was fire in his voice.

“To find out the truth. This involves me, too. I have a right to know.”

“And what if I don’t tell you? What’re you going to do?”

“Nothing. I already know the other side. I wanted to hear your side of it. It seems only fair to you.”

He sat there staring at the house across the street. He was silent for a long time. I was beginning to wonder if I was wasting my time when he coughed and started talking. “Your mother is very fragile, you know.”

“She’s a lot stronger than you give her credit for.”

“I don’t mean emotionally, son. I mean physically. It took her years and a lot of work to finally carry a baby full term. We never told you this, but she lost four children before your brother was born. Hell, I was content just being married to her, but she wanted children. When Todd, was born we were elated. I was so happy to finally hold my own child. Your mother had a rough time of it, though. She was confined to bed for nearly six months after he was born. The doctors warned her not to try to have any more children.

“For four years we were careful. I wanted more kids. Hell, I wanted a dozen, but your mother couldn’t. She just couldn’t. Then one day she meets me at the door all smiles and sunshine and announces she’s pregnant. It scared me out of my wits. I didn’t know what to do. The doctor tried to make her get an abortion, but she wouldn’t hear of it.” He looked up at me. “Don’t ever doubt that your were wanted, Son, ‘cause if there was ever a wanted child in this world it was you. The doctors--and there was a bus load of ‘em--confined your mother to bed. She had to spend the last month of your term in the hospital. I barely got to see her. She worked so hard to insure you got here that the delivery went well.

“But something was wrong. You were so small and so frail. I could fit you in my hands. You were the most precious thing I had ever laid my eyes on, and they told us that you weren’t going to live. It broke my heart.”

I had never known this. Nothing my parents ever told me hinted at these events. “You never told me any of this!”

“Why should we? Your grandmother never let your mother forget what a difficult delivery she had been. I wasn’t going to put you through that.” He sat up and stretched, then continued with his story. “Well, after a week the doctors announced that it looked like you were going to live, after all. You still couldn’t come home, though. You spent the first six weeks of your life in an incubator.”

“But how did you and Michael’s mother meet? It had to have been about that time.”

“Oh, we met much earlier. I had dated her a couple of times in high school. She was all right, but we were never serious. I didn’t have what she wanted back then: Money! David Fambrough had money. For this town, he had lots of money. She set her sights on him and never let up until he married her. I went off to college, met Doris, and it was love at first sight. I knew I wanted to marry her on our first date. I didn’t give Margie Fambrough another thought until I ran into her in Jacksonville a month before you were born. She had just had a kid, herself. I was so lonely, and she looked so good. It just happened. I tried not to, but I couldn’t help myself. We got together a few times, but when she told me she was pregnant--”

“You broke it off. She was devastated, wasn’t she?”

“The woman made a hell of scene, Son. I tried to explain. I tried to tell her about you, and how my family needed me. She wouldn’t hear of it. I left. I went straight to my manager and requested a transfer to another region. I didn’t go back to Jacksonville for nearly ten years.” He looked again at the picture. “Have you met him?”

“He--” I choked. Now I understood. “I’m sorry, Dad. I never should’ve...”

“What are you saying?”

“He died last December. He was killed in a car wreck.”

I had never seen my father cry before. My own tears welled up from deep within me, and together we mourned for someone we had never met. When David and I had cried together a few nights earlier I cried as a child cries: Openly and easily. Now I cried as a man cries: Deeply, and with silent strength. My father taught me that day that for men tears are not lightly shed, and they are never shed without a price. They are, therefore, all the more powerful for their rarity.

Our moment of grief ended as quickly as it had begun. We both stood to go back into the house. My father turned, and for the second time that day he hugged me.

“This boy David. Do you love him?”

“Yes, sir. I do.”

“I don’t pretend to understand, but you’re my son. I love you. Nothing’s going to change that. Not even this.”

“I love you, too, Dad.” And I hugged my father again. In many ways, I hugged him for the first time in my life.


I stood in the street outside the house. It looked so empty without the rockers on the front porch. This was to be our last look at the place before Todd and I signed the deeds over to the new owners. They were a young couple with two boys, ages two and six. Todd and I were about the same ages when our parents built the place. Todd and David came out from around back and walked over to where I stood.

“I guess it’s time to load up and head for the attorney’s office,” Todd said with a sigh. “You ready?”

“Yeah,” I answered. “Just give me a minute to collect my thoughts.”

“Don’t take too long. We’ve got to be there in a little over a half-hour.” Todd walked over to where four of his six kids were climbing a tree and made a vain attempt to get them loaded up in his van.

David put his arms around me and kissed me. I reached up and brushed the bit of gray at his temples behind his ear. “I love you,” I whispered.

“Don’t take too long,” he said, and he went over to help Todd round up his urchins.

I looked down at the erection he had just caused to spring up in my pants. “Some things never change!” I said aloud.