Growing Pains

by Dan

Chapter Six

I've been talking about Jason and me a lot lately, and I wouldn't want you to get the impression that I was ignoring Mitchell. In fact, I was enjoying Mitchell's advancement through puberty, too. His 17th birthday was just three months after Jason's 14th. One of the presents he wanted was a tape of Jason singing some of the songs he had written, with the fab four playing backup. It took a bit of doing to get Jason out to Scott's place to make the recording with the band, but we managed. I'll tell ya, that Joey was one hell of a guitarist. He just seemed to be a natural, like the instrument was part of his soul. He knew when to improvise, when to hold back to highlight Jason's singing, when to take charge and take the lead. We even talked the band into doing one instrumental piece for the tape.

Of course, we invited the band to the party. No! We didn't ask them to bring their instruments. Geez! Gimme a break. But Jason did agree to sing some of Mitchell's songs with the tape as his back up. We hauled the Karioke unit down by the pool and he entertained the entire neighborhood. Thank goodness he was good.

At one point I was treated to one of the most inspiring moments of my life as I saw the look of love on Mitchell's face as he stared at his younger brother. At that moment, I wasn't the least bit fearful of his reaction to learning of the relationship that was developing between Jason and Alex. But I also enjoyed seeing the love relationship between Mitchell and Tammy. These kids were good for each other, and I wondered if their love would last through their college experiences.

Tammy was as cute as a button. (I know that's an old phrase. I already told you I was old.) She was slender, like Mitchell, and had the prettiest chestnut-colored hair I had ever seen. She wore it in a Dorothy Hamill style. (Dorothy won the hearts of Americans several years back as an Olympic gold medalist in figure skating.) And she had a wonderful figure. In fact, I was glad she was Mitchell's girlfriend. Otherwise I might have been tempted to make a fool of myself.

She and Jason always got along well and seemed to enjoy each other's company. I sometimes felt that she was more observant, more perceptive than her boyfriend, my older son, well almost my son... sort of... kind of....

I keep saying that, don't I. Referring to Jason and Mitchell as my sons. I knew they weren't. Not really. Sometimes it hurt to admit to myself that I was only their guardian, not their dad. I didn't really mind being called Pop, but dad would have sounded nice too. At least they never complained when I called them son.

But I digress. There were several occasions where I saw a look pass across Tammy's face as she watched Alex and Jason interact that gave me cause to pause. I often wondered if she weren't working things out for herself and was somewhat concerned that she might say something to them or to Mitchell. Neither Jason nor I felt comfortable hiding the truth from Mitchell, and I knew one of us was going to have to explain things to him before too long. But Jason seemed unusually nervous about telling him. That was something he and I were going to have to talk about in our next discussion.

As the weeks passed following my discussion with Jason about sharing some private times with Alex, I knew what was happening behind his and his brother's closed doors. In Mitchell's case, it wasn't so obvious. He was almost fastidious in his personal habits, so there were never any telltale signs that he was "taking care of business," But I knew he must be doing so. After all, it's the short-term memory that goes, not the long-term. I'd been his age once.

Jason, on the other hand, was lackadaisical in the cleanliness of his room. His clothes were generally lying all over the place except when I climbed his case about it. And the old towel I had placed under his pillow the night of our discussion showed a lot of use in the weeks that followed. Not that I purposely examined it, mind you, but you know what it's like. Cum makes a pretty effective glue when it dries. Just unfolding a towel before putting it into the washer told me more than I needed to know.

Alex and Jason were pretty careful to follow the closed-door rule, too, and I respected their privacy when I was home. But there were two occasions when an open door led to unexpected results, one merely embarrassing, the other quite traumatic.

I had been called to a client's office for an early afternoon consultation and left a message for Jason and Mitchell regarding dinner. I knew Mitchell had wrestling practice that day and wouldn't be home until just before dinner, so I laid the responsibility for preparation on Jason and cleanup on Mitchell. When Jason got home from school and read the note, the first thing he did was call Alex.

"Hey, Alex. Pop isn't going to be home until dinner time. Wanna come over?"

"Sure. What are we gonna do?"

"Need you ask? It's been almost a week."

"A week since what?" Alex asked, knowing full well what Jason was referring to.

"DSB relief, dummy. Now get your butt over here!" Jason answered with a giggle.

"I just love your giggle, Jason. But are you going to beat my butt?"

"No, silly. You know what I wanna beat."

While he waited for Alex to change clothes and come across the street, Jason got the meatloaf in the oven and the potatoes peeled and sliced and into a pan of water. As soon as Alex arrived, they went up to Jason's room. Thinking Mitchell and I wouldn't be home for a couple of hours, Jason didn't bother to shut his bedroom door. Even as he was turning on his stereo, Alex was starting to unbutton his shirt from behind.

Standing upright, Jason leaned back into his boyfriend's embrace, turning his head slightly to the side so Alex could nuzzle his cheek with his lips. As Alex's hands continued to open Jason's shirt and then his belt and slacks, Jason reached behind him and cupped his hands on the cheeks of Alex's denim covered butt. He could feel Alex's boner rising against him as his pants fell to the floor to reveal the bulge in his own briefs.

Their breathing continued to escalate as Alex ran his hands down across the bulge of Jason's penis, squeezing it gently and rubbing along its length. Alex brought his hands up and removed Jason's shirt quickly and then moved them down across his chest and stomach and into the waistband of his boyfriend's underwear. Soon Jason was standing completely naked with Alex lovingly stroking his four inch erection.

All this time, however, Jason had been massaging Alex's penis through his jeans, so both of them were getting quite turned on. Jason turned around and opened Alex's shirt, then his jeans. Their lips moved upon one another as though searching for untold riches. As their hands got busier and their breathing more ragged, Alex pulled Jason's desk chair over next to the bed, slid his jeans and shorts down to his knees and sat down.

"Do me first, Jason, please?" he whispered breathlessly. "I'm so hot I think I'm gonna cum before you even get started."

Jason sat naked on the bed and reached over to wrap his hand around his friend's throbbing erection. His own erection stood straight and proud in his lap.

It was at this most inopportune moment that we all learned a lesson about closed doors, for my meeting had concluded much earlier than I had expected. Since I was planning to go back out to the grocery store after changing my clothes, I had parked at the curb instead of the garage. I don't know if they would have heard the garage door opening from Jason's bedroom, but it was obvious they hadn't heard the front door open and close.

As I walked past Jason's room, I glanced in to see if he was home. The picture that presented itself was a sight to behold. At the same time embarrassing and lovely. So lovely, in fact, that I stood rooted to the spot and gaped at the boys. They were beautiful. The expressions on their faces were so young, so vibrant, so obviously caring for each other. Their bodies were so similar, neither with much of a pubic bush, both slim and well muscled, and both hard as flag poles.

It only took 15 or 20 seconds for my mind to register all of this and my body to once again begin to move. I think the boys noticed me just as I leaned forward to grab the door knob. Their heads spun in my direction, gaping at me with wide eyes and open mouths. As I started to pull the door closed, I marveled that neither boy moved to cover himself. Instead, Jason opened his hand and pushed Alex's erection down between his legs so it was hidden by his hand, even as Alex reached over and laid his hand over Jason's penis, each hiding the other's privates.

"Next time fellas, close the door. OK?" I said with a grin as I pulled the door closed and went on down the hall to my room. I hoped that my unintended intrusion hadn't spoiled things for them, but we didn't talk about it afterwards. They had left their privacy open for inspection, but once it was reestablished, I wasn't going to invade it without an invitation.

Mitchell and Jason continued to follow their interests in wrestling, and it was fun to watch them interact in this common interest. Their sibling rivalry sometimes caused friction between them, as it does in any family, but for the most part Mitchell seemed to enjoy sharing his more advanced skills with his younger brother. We had gotten rid of the coffee table in the family room so they'd have some place to practice their sport.

Alex's mom and dad knew of his love for Jason and were basically able to accept it. But his dad was not at all comfortable with open displays of affection between the boys. So Alex began to spend more and more time at our house. Mitchell got elected president of his class which meant he had one more thing to occupy his time in addition to wrestling and Tammy. So the younger boys had plenty of time to be togther after school.

Personally, I felt privileged to watch their love for each other growing. Prior to turning 50, I was not at all tolerant of men who love men. But as I continued to age, I continued to learn and grow, and friends and other things had eventually helped me to understand that love should be respected, irrespective of the sex of the lovers. So I was able to enjoy the relationship between Jason and Alex just as much as the one between Mitchell and Tammy. After all, these were my boys, and I knew I was fortunate to have them. How could I not love them for who they were?

Alex would frequently wrestle with Jason as a way of helping Jason to practice. They had a lot for fun even though Alex wasn't into the sport itself. Often times they would strip down to their undershorts to make the practice sessions as realistic as possible. If Mitchell walked in on them, he usually walked right back out. He never said anything about it, but he never joined them unless they were fully clothed.

He did, however, talk to me about it at one time. I almost leveled with him and ultimately wished I had. But at the time, I hadn't discussed it with Jason and felt I couldn't violate the younger boys' trust. So I kept the conversation strictly to the topics Mitchell brought up.

"Pop? Doesn't it ever bother you when Jason and Alex wrestle in just their underwear?"

"No. Why should it? Does it bother you?"

"Well, yeah, a little, I guess. I mean it seems a bit unusual, a bit risque."

"How do you mean, Mitchell?"

"I dunno. It's just that they are 14. They're starting to mature. I mean, I see Jason naked. I know he's getting bigger, maturing. It just seems that guys their age shouldn't be acting that way."

"What way is that, Mitchell?" I was beginning to get a little perturbed by the attitude I thought Mitchell was evidencing.

"Well, I dunno... sort of immature, like ten or eleven year olds. Or maybe, like, gay."

"Do you feel immature or gay when you wrestle?"

"Heck no! Pop. But this is different."

"Why? Just because they have so little on? You and Jason don't wear much more than that in your wrestling matches, and you're in front of a bunch of strangers."

"But that's just it. Those are the standard uniforms. Everybody wears 'em. And we are in front of strangers. Alex and Jason are wrestling behind closed doors. It could lead to other things, maybe."

As I said earlier, Mitchell was a thinker. He tended to intellectualize things, too many things. Sometimes he seemed almost emotionless in the way he dealt with issues. What he was telling me here had nothing to do with emotion, nothing to do with feelings, with love or affection. He was solely concerned about the theoretical possibility that wrestling in your underwear could lead to behavior with which he wasn't comfortable or with which he did not approve. I tried to end the discussion before it could get ugly.

"Well, I don't think you should be concerned, Mitchell. Remember, the original Olympians competed completely nude. And some of them were wrestlers."

That seemed to work. He blushed a bit at the thought of wrestling naked, grinned at me in his shy way and dropped the subject. I thought I was beginning to see an element of Mitchell's character that was new to me. Had I been more perceptive or had I been able to predict the future, I might not have let our discussion end as it did.

A few weeks later, Jason's open door led to almost disastrous results. I was out at the pool, reading a book at the umbrella table. Jason and Alex were in Jason's room listening to music and doing their homework. Mitchell had a youth meeting at church and wasn't expected home until much later. About 4:30, I heard Jason turn on the instrumental tape the fab four had made for him with some Billy Gilman tunes.

As I heard the now familiar strains of the song I Wanna Get To Ya with Jason singing along with it, I quickly developed a picture in my mind similar to the one I told you about earlier. This time, however, I knew Alex was involved. I could just see Alex sitting in the desk chair or on the bed as Jason sang this song to him, again changing the words to fit the situation. (Those who have it, put the Cd in and go to track 8.) The words of D. Malloy, F. Myers and G. Baker wafted out the open window and down to my ears.

I've got a secret I can't keep. I've got my eyes on somethin' sweet. It feels like my heart's poundin' through my chest. 'Cause you've got a smile I can't resist, I get tongue-tied every time you and I are close like this. Boy, here's my wish. I wanna get to ya. I wanna be the one that moves ya. I wanna give my heart to ya. I want you so much. Boy I know just what I've been missin'. I wanna be the one you're kissin'. So open up your arms and listen. I wanna get to ya. Now I'm the kind of guy who understands a simple little thing like holdin' hands, or x's and o's on a love note sent to you. I'll make you a promise that I'll keep. I'm tellin' you right here, right now, I'm gettin' down on my knees. I'll do anything.... I wanna get to ya. I wanna be the one that moves ya. I wanna give my heart to ya. I want you so much. Boy I know just what I've been missin'. I wanna be the one you're kissin'. So open up your arms and listen. I wanna get to ya. The way I feel, I know this love is real, baby I'm head over heels for you.... I wanna get to ya. I wanna be the one that moves ya. I wanna give my heart to ya. I want you so much. Boy I know just what I've been missin'. I wanna be the one you're kissin'. So open up your arms and listen. I wanna get to ya.

Unbeknownst to any of us, Mitchell's meeting had been canceled. With the noise of the music blaring in their ears, neither boy had heard him enter the house. And nobody can hear anything from poolside. As Mitchell climbed the stairs, he assumed that Jason was just singing to himself. Or he might have thought Alex was there, but wasn't expecting the scene that was playing out in Jason's room.

So he stood at the top of the stairs and listened until the song was finished. He was a bit startled when no further music followed, so he stepped over to Jason's open door to say hello. Just as he approached the doorway, he heard Jason speaking softly.

"I love you, Alex."

Those words on top of the scene before him, of Jason and Alex locked in an embrace kissing one another, must have caused something to snap in the 17 year old. He flew into a rage, bounding into the room and slapping both boys with his open hands.


Of course, I heard every word. His screams were louder than the music had been. The minute I heard his voice, I knew what had happened. I leapt out of my chair and ran into the house, hearing Mitchell's screams bouncing off the walls. I passed Alex running down the stairs as I went up them, his face a contorted mask of fear and anguish, so white I thought he'd surely pass out before he got to the front door. But I couldn't stop to tend to him. Something terrible was happening in Jason's room.

When I got to the door, Jason was cowering in the corner, tears pouring down his face, his hands held up to ward off the blows raining down on him. The look on his face almost killed me. But his cry of anguish cut me to the bone and left me in a rage of my own.


I reached out and grabbed Mitchell by his shoulder. With strength born of fear and shock, I flung him around to face me and screamed at him.




As Mitchell stormed out of the room, I reached out and drew the quivering 14 year old into my arms. Just as had happened at the funeral home, his tears seemed to dry up my own. I cradled him in my arms as I sat down on his bed, rocking him back and forth and whispering words of love and encouragement to him. He wept uncontrollably for quite some time.

His brother's attack had been devastating to him. This much was obvious. Jason adored his older brother, would have walked through fire for him, and I'm certain he thought Mitchell felt the same way about him. As we sat there rocking, he tried to make sense of what had happened, tried to talk about it but with little success. Between heart-wrenching sobs laced with hiccups, he rambled.

"Oh, God... (sniff) What'm I gonna do now? ...(hiccup)... He's gonna kill me, Pop... (gasp)... I'll never be able to live here after this... (sob)... Why'd he have to walk in like that?... (sob)... I woulda told him eventually.... (gasp)... maybe.... (hiccup)... why couldn't we have waited until he'd...(sob) ...gone off to college....(hiccup)... Aw, Pop, what'm I gonna do?... SHIT! WHERE'S ALEX? DID MITCHELL HURT HIM?"

"Sshhh, Jason, take it easy. Alex is Ok. He went home. He's OK. I'll call him later. Sshhh. I love you Jason. We'll deal with this. Just try to calm down."

After a few minutes without making much progress, I decided to give Jason half of one of my sleeping pills. I rarely used them, but in particularly stressful times, I found them to be helpful in getting to sleep. I figured it was worth the risk to give him just half of one. Shortly after he'd taken it with a glass of water, he did start to calm down.

As he settled against my chest and began to fall asleep, I began thinking of how I would deal with Mitchell's outburst. Here was obviously the thing that the boys had never shared with me, the reason Jason had been so adamant about me not telling Mitchell about his love for Alex. The surest sign of aberrant behavior was Mitchell's language. He NEVER cussed. This was a kid who had expressed some interest in going to seminary. He dealt with things logically and intellectually. He reasoned things out. This was not his way of dealing with day to day issues.

Now I'm no psychologist, but I had to figure out a way to deal with this issue. Maybe a psychologist would be necessary somewhere down the road, but I had to do something now, tonight! While rocking my youngest to sleep, I formulated a plan in my head. I considered Mitchell's personality, his higher-than-normal level of maturity and his intelligence. I considered his reasoning ability and came up with several things to say to help him work things out reasonably. I thought long and hard about what might have caused his outburst and how he would most likely react to different approaches I might take, the things I might say.

I finally decided on a specific course of action and felt comfortable that I had considered every aspect of Mitchell as a person. If Plan A didn't work, I had a Plan B. If Plan B had to be used, I was pretty sure it would work and he would survive it. Plan B was going to be harsh, but I was sure he could handle it in the long run. However, in all my mental exercise, in all my planning, I failed to consider how my possible course of action might affect me. My plan worked, but had I known what was in store, I might not have had the courage to follow through with it.

... to be continued

© 2000 by Dan. All rights reserved.

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