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This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, living or dead, is entirely a coincidence. As the author, I retain all rights to this story, and it cannot be reproduced or published without explicit consent from me. This work is copyrighted © 2015 by Steven Wells.
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Jeffery Comes Home
One other thing I hope you will help me with, Jeffery," Johnathan calmly said. "Jorge and I want to set up a scholarship in my father's name. Preferably for someone who wants to be a medical professional: a nurse, a doctor, a physician's assistant, a pharmacist. We want it to go to someone from the high school, and we want it to pay for all four years of college, including tuition, fees androom and board, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign."
"You would need a considerable amount of money to accomplish your goal and make it sustainable, I would think," I said. "But, I will see what I can do to organize it. How much do you think you want to invest?"
"I think, between Johnathan and me, we could come up with at least $4 million," Jorge said. "If it is invested properly, the scholarship would probably be self-sustaining."
"I know the perfect people to help you invest the money for the scholarship and administer the fund," Devon added.
"Who would that be?" I asked.
"The Washington Family Foundation," Devon said with a smile. "Who knows, they may even add a little to the scholarship."
"Can you tell me, Devon," I said. "Why is it Sam and Chris Williamson always seems to be appearing in our lives?"
"They are good people, Jeffery," Devon said, "Very good people!"
Chapter 12: New Blood
I was working on the talk I will be giving next Sunday. I had writer's block! It had been several weeks since Johnathan's father's funeral. I wanted to say something big, but my only thoughts were something little. Translated: BORING!
"Jeffery!" my mother said as she stood in the doorway of my office. "Am I interrupting you?"
"Nope!" I said. "Writer's block! Does that ever happen to you?"
"All of the time!" my mother admitted. "Your father just called, and I thought you would like to hear some really good news!"
"Yup!" I said. "Good news is the best news. What's up?"
"The board at the college just announced the new President of the college," my mother said with a smile.
"Good!" I said.
"It is not a white, old man this time!" my mother said with a smile.
"Really!" I responded.
"Yup!" my mother continued. "Her name is Dr. Janet Lopez. She worked in California as President of one of the community colleges in San Francisco. Her husband is a doctor. They have twin boys age 15. They are also, according to your father, members of the United Church of Christ you worked for in San Francisco."
"Holy shit!" I blurted out. "Sorry, Mom. It just slipped out! They were some of my biggest supporters! How does my father know all of this?"
"He is on the faculty transition team," my mother explained. "He and four other faculty members will be assisting Dr. Lopez, and her family, make the move to our little enclave here in Southern Illinois!"
"Did he tell you anything else?" I asked.
"No. Why?" my mother asked.
"Our community will be getting more diverse once they are settled," I explained. "Dr. Lopez is a brilliant person. She is a caring person. She is also Hispanic; Second generation from Mexico. Her husband Dr. Brandon Martin is one of the best pediatricians in San Francisco. He is also brilliant and an extremely warm human being. He is African-American. What is he going to do here?"
"If you, Philip, and Trevor are free tonight, you can ask him yourself, at dinner, at our house," my mother said. "Cocktails at 7. Dinner at 8. Can you make it?"
"Yup!" I said. "Wouldn't miss it!"
"Good!" my mother said. "Can you hold down the fort while I march off to do my thing for our dinner?"
"Yup!" I said. "My only plans are to meet Philip for lunch. Shit! I'll be late!"
I grabbed my keys and hopped in the car. I arrived at the coffee shop in time to see Philip walking in the door.
"Hello, sweetie," I said as I kissed Philip on the cheek.
"Someone seems happy today!" Philip said.
"Yup!" I said. "I will explain over lunch!"
We ordered our sandwiches and grabbed the table in the front window.
"Spill!" Philip ordered.
"You, Trevor, and I are invited to dinner at mom and dad's house tonight!" I began.
"Something tells me there is more to this story than an invitation to your parents' house for dinner," Philip replied.
"The college hired a new president," I excitedly said.
"And, this is thrilling for you why?" Philip asked.
"I know her!" I told Philip. "I know her husband and two sons. They were members of my church in San Francisco."
"Why do I think there is still more to this story," Philip responded.
"Dr. Janet Lopez and her husband, Dr. Brandon Martin, had been wonderfully supportive of my work in San Francisco," I continued.
"I hope they continue to support your work here!" Philip said. "What else? I know there is something else!"
"Janet is a second generation Mexican American. Her husband, Brandon, is African-American. Their two twin boys are absolutely gorgeous—not that I get into 15 year-old boys! These two could be models!" I stop to gauge the reaction of my husband.
"This will be an exciting addition to the church," Philip said with a smile.
"And the community!" I added. "You will absolutely love the four of them. Janet thought the twins might be gay, but she did not push the issue. She wanted to wait until the boys were ready to tell them."
"Good thinking on her part," Philip agreed. "What kind of work does Dr. Martin do?"
"He is a pediatrician," I said.
"I can't wait to meet them!" Philip responded. "I wouldn't tell Trevor about the possibility of the boys being gay."
"Why? Do you think he might try to get them into bed?" I asked.
"Rob would cut his balls off and Trevor knows it," Philip said with a smile. "Their mother is right! The boys need to tell their parents when they are both ready. When are they moving?"
"I don't have the specifics yet," I said. "We will find out more tonight!"
Philip, Trevor, and I arrived at my parents' home a little before 7 pm. We were early.
"Dinner smells divine, Mom!" I said
"Thank you!" my mom said as she received hugs from the three of us. "You father is retrieving our guests. They should be here shortly!"
The guests of honor arrived at 7 pm sharp. Janet was no more than two feet inside the house when she almost screamed, "Jeffery!" She grabbed me and hugged me tightly. "You look amazing as usual!"
Brandon did almost the same thing, including the hug, "Jeffery it is so good to see you! San Francisco misses you!"
"I really haven't wrapped my head around all of this yet, but welcome to our community!" I said.
Jamison and Alastair were waiting for their hugs. I grabbed them both! "It's good to see you, too! You're taller!"
"We did grow a little since you left, Uncle Jeffery!" Jamison said. "And, we started working out!"
"I need to introduce you to a few other people," I said. "This is my mother, Reverend Suzanne LeBlanc."
"I am so happy to meet you," my mother said. "I've heard so much about you from Jeffery! And, welcome to our home and our community!"
"These other two guys are my husband, Philip, and my son, Trevor!"
"It is nice to meet all of you," Philip said. "Jeffery was over the top excited you are taking the position at the college."
"When are you starting school here?" Trevor asked.
"January," Alistair said. "We will be finishing the semester at our present school before Christmas."
"Cool!" Trevor said. "I should introduce you to a few people here before you go back to California. One is my boyfriend, Rob."
"You're gay?" Jamison asked.
"Yes," Trevor replied.
"So are we!" Alistair said.
"A... Wait a minute guys," Janet jumped into the conversation. "When were you going to tell your father and me?"
"You already knew!" Alistair answered. "We heard you tell Uncle Jeffery! Do you have a problem with us being gay?"
"No!" Brandon replied. "We thought you would want to talk about it!"
I was smiling at Janet during the big revelation. "Parents are usually the last to know!"
"Why don't we get everyone a drink before cocktail hour is over?" my mother added.
Once we had our drinks in hand, we sat in the living room to chat.
Philip started the conversation, "Brandon, how are you going to handle moving your practice here?"
"Well," Brandon began. "I am going to start a private practice. But, I want to talk with Jeffery about another idea I have."
"Me?" I asked, "Why me?"
"I understand from a college friend of mine there is a foundation in Chicago who funds projects aimed at underserved people, especially kids and the LGBT community. I thought maybe your church group and I could do a joint venture to provide free medical services for kids whose parents could not normally afford care."
I looked at Philip and then backto Brandon. "This foundation wouldn't happen to be the Washington Family Foundation would it?"
"Yes," Brandon said. "You know about it?"
"This is a long story, so, Dad, may we have another drink!" I said.
"Absolutely!" Dad said. "I'm getting a little parched myself."
"Back to the Washington Family Foundation," I said after Dad had refilled our drinks. "You see, there is a young man who grew up in this town. He is now a sophomore at UIUC. He was married recently to a guy who is a senior at UIUC. Sam's family used to own a 5,000 acre farm just south of town. The 5,000 acre farm was purchased by an organic farm conglomerate. That's the farm Philip manages. Sam's husband, Chris is the grandson of the people who established the Washington Family Foundation. I officiated at Sam and Chris's wedding. So, yes, I know about the Washington Family Foundation. The foundation gave us a grant to run our Lost Sheep program in this community!"
"How likely would the possibility of getting this grant be?" Brandon asked.
"I'll call Sam and Chris and ask," I told Brandon. "Sam and Chris are on the board of directors of the foundation, and they are very persuasive."
"Is there enough need for a free clinic for kids in this area?" Brandon asked.
"Yes," my mother and I answered in unison.
"I will have my own private practice, but I want to do something for those who can't afford care for their kids!" Brandon added.
"When will you be moving here, Brandon?" My mother asked.
"We are all moving in December after the boys finish the current semester," Brandon replied.
"What about housing?" My mother asked Janet.
"We will buy something here as soon as we sell our place in San Francisco," Janet replied. "In the meantime, the college has located a temporary rental for us."
"What are you interests in furthering your education, Jamison and Alistair?" My father asked.
"We have no clue right now," Jamison said. "We are both sort of computer geeks."
"Great career choice," Philip said. "Some time when Sam Williamson is back in town, you should talk with him. He's in information technology at UIUC."
"Outstanding!" Alistair said. "So, Trevor,how long have you and your boyfriend been together?"
"Not long," Trevor said. "Last spring I was living with my jerk of a mother and father. I was kicked out of their house for being gay! My dads stepped up to the plate and here I am. Rob had just moved here this fall."
"Cool!" Jamison said. "Are there any other gay guys in the school?"
"Yup!" Trevor said. "A few are out. A few are not out. A few haven't discovered their real sexual orientation, right, Dad?"
I smiled at Trevor, "I can't really say. Personal conversations with me are meant to be kept private."
"Hey, Dad!" It was Trevor.
"Yes, Trevor!" I said into the phone. "What's up?"
"I was wondering if it would be okay if I asked Jamison and Alistair over for dinner with Rob?" Trevor asked. "Their parents are at some welcoming function tonight."
"Absolutely,the more the merrier!" I am on my way home shortly. "Did you give the guys a tour of the school?"
"Yup!" Trevor said. "I introduced them to a few students, the principal, and a couple of my teachers. They like what they saw and are excited about going to school here! And, THEY were a hit, too!"
"No doubt!" I said to Trevor. "When will you be home?"
"We are near your office," Trevor announced.
"Okay!" I said. "Stop by and I will give you a lift home!"
"Will do," Trevor said as he ended the call.
My mother was standing in the doorway of my office, "Guests for dinner?"
"Yup!" I said. "Trevor is a magnet for kids who need a place to hang out."
"He's like someone else I know at that age!" My mother said. "How is your talk coming? Still have writer's block?"
"Done!" I said. "I had inspiration. I'm calling it `The Return of the Lost Sheep.'"
"Sounds exciting!" My mother said. "Will we need additional security?"
"No!" I said. "I don't think this time we will need increased security!"
Trevor and the other guys were suddenly standing behind my mother, "So, boys! How was your day?" My mother asked.
"Terrific!" Trevor replied.
"I showed the guys around school."
"And, what did you think?" My mother asked.
"It's awesome!" Jamison replied.
"It will be so nice to study in a smaller school than the one we are in," Alistair further explained. "We have 1,000 students in our class alone."
"Trevor introduced us to the music director," Jamison explained. "Alistair and I both like to sing in the chorus at our school now. And, the auditorium is... WOW! I can't wait to get into the theater productions!"
When we were riding home, Jamison asked another question, "Is Johnathan gay?"
"Not that we know of," Trevor replied. "He hasn't dated a guy or a girl so far. I guess maybe it's too early in his life cycle to have recognized his sexual preference. He's a terrific guy no matter if he is straight or gay!"
"Life cycle?" I asked.
"It's a term my biology teacher used to describe plants," Trevor replied. "I liked the term so I have been applying it to people. I'm an early adopter!"
"I think Trevor has been watching too much of the science channel," Rob added.
"By the way, Trevor," I began. "Why didn't you drive to school today?"
"Rob and I decided we needed to reduce our carbon footprint," Trevor replied.
"Carbon footprint?" I replied. "I didn't know you had a problem with your carbon footprint."
"That and I am almost out of gas," Trevor added with a smile.
On Sunday morning, my mother began by introducing our esteemed guests. "Many of you have already met, Dr. Janet Lopez and Dr. Brandon Martin and their two sons, Alistair and Jamison. But, I hope you will welcome them as they join our congregation at the UCC church in Olney. Now, Jeffery, it is your turn!"
My mother sat, and I took her place. "Good morning! I am delighted Dr. Lopez and Dr. Martin and their sons are with us today. Janet and Brandon are responsible for me keeping my sanity for the years I worked at the UCC church in San Francisco. Some of you probably question my sanity from time-to-time, but, regardless, they helped me through some difficult situations."
"My son, Trevor, asked me about my talk when he heard the title, `Return of the Lost Sheep.' He said, `Another talk about Lost Sheep?' But, this talk is not about lost sheep. It is about the return of the lost sheep. Trevor, for example, was a gift from God for Philip and me. God returned Trevor from a situation that made his life miserable. Philip and I were lucky enough that God chose us for Trevor's return from the lost sheep category. We will be forever grateful."
"I have told you stories about some of the lost sheep I worked with in San Francisco. Some didn't return. Some died as lost sheep. Some are still wandering aimlessly through life trying to find their way home."
"But, today I want to tell you about another lost sheep I met while I was in San Francisco. Dr. Lopez and Dr. Martin helped me with this lost sheep; otherwise, he might still be wondering the streets of San Francisco, or worse, dead. A police officer friend of mine and I found this particular lost sheep lying in an alley, passed out. He apparently had too much to drink and had taken too many drugs that night. Dr. Martin helped me get this 18 year old lost sheep into a drug and alcohol rehab program run by an organization in the city. He was in the program for 90 days. He came out of the program sober and drug free. But, his life was still in the streets. He started going to AA every single day in order to keep the demons at bay. But, his life was still in the streets."
"Dr. Lopez helped us solve the problem of living his life in the streets. Dr. Lopez quite literally pulled a few strings and we put our lost sheep into a community living situation which also concentrated on preparation for passing the GED exam. Our lost sheep spent six months living alcohol and drug free in a safe living situation and taking classes so he could pass his GED exam. Six months to the day he entered the program, he passed his GED exam with the highest score anyone can get."
"Our lost sheep wasn't out of the woods yet. He couldn't find work. He couldn't support himself. His life was again in the streets. Enter Dr. Lopez and Dr. Martin and a few other members of our UCC church in San Francisco. Together they scrapped together enough money to get our lost sheep into San Francisco State University. He graduated one month ago with a Bachelor's degree in nursing. He found a job as a nurse in a private pediatric practice in San Francisco. He still attends AA meetings every day. But, he has his own apartment. He is productive. He is proud of his accomplishments. So are we!"
"In February, Philip, Trevor, and I along with Dr. Lopez, Dr. Martin, Jamison, and Alistair will be returning to San Francisco. This time we will be attending the wedding of our lost sheep. He met his future husband in his AA group. They not only share their love of each other; they share some of the same demons they fight every single day of their lives."
"So, some of you are probably asking `Why this story?' My answer to you would be: `We need to treat each lost sheep, whether a young person, a middle aged person, a senior person, with kindness, respect, love, and empathy.' We will win some battles. We will lose some battles. But, we need to fight each battle with all of the resources we can muster. Hopefully, we will win more than we lose. So, to our future lost sheep, let us pledge to help them along their journey no matter where it leads! Thank you!"
My phone rang while I was doing my expense report in my office. I only do expense reports in the late afternoon because I don't want to ruin my entire day! It was Trevor, "Dad!"
"Hello, Trevor! What's up?" I asked.
"I was wondering if a friend of mine and I could stop by your office after school?" Trevor asked.
"Sure!" I said. "Anything I should be prepared for?"
"Nope!" Trevor said. "We can explain later. I'll see you around 3:30!"
"I'll look forward to it!" I said.
I was still grappling with the last of my expenses when I heard a knock on my door. It was Trevor and a very attractive young blond girl. "Hi dad!" Trevor said. "This is Emilie."
"I'm pleased to meet you Emilie," I said. "Why don't you both sit down?"
Once they were seated, Trevor explained their presence. "Dad, Emilie has a situation she is dealing with and I thought you could give her some advice. Emilie."
"I don't know how to explain this exactly without you thinking I am a loser!" Emilie began.
"Emilie," I began. "First of all, I have heard or seen almost everything life can bestow upon a person. I've worked with drug addicts. I've worked with homeless people. I've worked with people questioning their sexual orientation. I've worked with a lot of other people. So, don't worry about what I am going to think. And, I am not judgmental. Whatever it is you need help with, just tell me, okay!"
"Okay!" Emilie began. "I have been dating Jerrod Fritch, the captain of the football team, for over a year now. I love him dearly, but... but... I'm pregnant!"
"Have you talked to your parents about your situation?" I asked.
"NO!" Emilie almost screamed. "They won't understand. They don't believe in sex before marriage. They are very, very conservative. They went bonkers when they found condoms in my 22 year old brother's kitchen drawer in his apartment."
"How far along are you?" I asked.
"I missed my period this month," Emilie explained. "I did a home pregnancy test. I am definitely pregnant. I haven't seen a doctor."
"How old are you, Emilie?" I asked.
"I am 17. My birthday is in January," she said. "I'm a senior. I just found out I have been accepted at MIT next fall. I was part of the early acceptance program."
"The first thing we need you to do is to see a doctor," I suggested. "I can help you find one if you don't want to see someone your parents know. You need to find out how far along you are."
"Okay!" Emilie said.
"You have some options," I said. "I don't want to offend you, but I think you need to think about ALL of these options."
"Thank you," Emilie quietly said. "I will appreciate knowing what I can and cannot do. Trevor said you would be kind and helpful. I trust him. I trust you, too!"
"Good!" I said. "You could have an abortion. You could have the child and put it up for adoption. You could have the child and raise it as a single mother. You could get married to the father and have the baby. In either situation, you need to talk to your parents AND Jerrod."
"I've talked to Jerrod," Emilie said. "He doesn't want me to have the baby. He doesn't want to marry me because, as he said, we will ruin our chances of getting through school. My parents will NOT allow me to have an abortion. So, I only have two options. One will be to raise the baby as a single mother. The other is adoption. I am fairly certain my parents will disown me when they find out. So, I think the only solution is adoption because I couldn't afford to raise a child as a single mother without my parents help."
"How do you want to pursue this?" I asked. "I do think you need to see a doctor immediately."
"Okay," Emilie said. "How do I make an appointment with a doctor without my parents knowing about it?"
"Let me make a few calls, and I will see what I can do," I said. "When would you be free?"
"After school," Emilie suggested. "How do I pay for it?"
"We can help with that," I said. "Call me tomorrow afternoon, Emilie. I should know more by then."
"Thank you Reverend," Emilie said as she stood up to leave. "Trevor was right. You are someone I can talk to and not feel afraid. I wish my parents were like you!"
"Before you go, can I give you some advice?" I asked.
"Yes," Emilie said.
"Please don't feel you will face this alone," I began as I handed her my card. "You can always call me if you have something on your mind you want to discuss. I think you might also want to speak with a counselor before you speak to your parents. I know of someone who would be happy to help. Let me speak with her, and I will pass along her contact information to you."
"Thank you, Reverend," Emilie said as she turned to leave. "I'll see you tomorrow, Trevor. And, thanks for your support."
"Anytime, Emilie," Trevor said. "It might be like the blind leading the blind, but, if you want to talk something out, I will be there to listen."
"Thank you!" Emilie said to Trevor. "I need to get home before I face an interrogation from my mother!"
Once Emilie had left my office, I turned to Trevor. "You did a good thing, Trevor! She will need a lot of support before this is all over! How do you know her?"
"I didn't really know her very well until today," Trevor said. "I saw her sitting by herself in a music practice room. She was crying. I asked her if she needed to talk. She told me the whole story. I suggested we see you for advice."
About two weeks after my first talk with Emilie, Sarah stopped by my office to give me an update on her.
"Jeffery," Sarah began. "I need to fill you in on Emilie's and my conversation with her parents. It was like war broke out at first. Emilie's mother was crying. Emilie was crying. Emilie's father was screaming something about the work of the devil."
"So, it didn't go well?" I asked.
"It didn't start out well," Sarah said. "But, it ended more peacefully than it began. Emilie's parents have encouraged her to have the baby and put the child up for adoption. It took about two hours to get the parties involved to finally talk about the situation and not about how Emilie had disgraced her family!"
"You do good work, Sarah!" I said.
"We aren't finished with the discussion, but it appears to be going more smoothly once they understood Emilie was scared and upset," Sarah continued. "Emilie's father wants her to live with his sister in Chicago for the rest of the school year so the family reputation can be saved; Emilie needs her parents support, Jeffery, or this will be one horrible eight months until the baby is due. Her mother and I are going with Emilie to see Dr. Grace next week."
"Sending Emilie to Chicago would be devastating, don't you think?" I asked.
"Yes," Sarah replied. "She needs her support system here. She has friends here. She would probably feel totally alone without familiar surroundings."
"Is there any way around sending her to Chicago?" I asked.
"I have agreed to talk to them once a week for the next several weeks to sort out issues," Sarah replied.
"Who else knows?" I asked.
"Her parents, Jerrod, Trevor, you, and me," Sarah explained.
"What about her brother?" I asked.
"Not yet," Sarah continued. "He is coming home this weekend. I suggested Emilie and her brother go somewhere out to lunch so they can talk privately."
"Good idea," I said. "I suspect Emilie will get more support from her brother than she does from her parents. Where does the brother live?"
"Chicago," Sarah said.
"Married?" I asked.
"Nope," Sarah added.
"Gay?" I asked again.
"Emilie suspects he is gay," Sarah continued. "Why?"
"Another firestorm brewing!" I suggested. "You might be caught in the middle of another devil discussion!"
"I know!" Sarah sighed. "Do you want to go with me?"
"No!" I replied with a smile. "The parents would assume we were ganging up on them. Please tell Emilie to talk to me after she and her brother have their talk."
"I will!" Sarah said as she stood up to leave. "I need to go home and feed two men who cannot cook. I will also keep you posted, Jeffery!"
To be continued...
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Sam and Chris in the `College' section
John's Journey Forward in the `Beginnings' section
Life With Tom in the authoritarian section (Please note, this story is not for everyone because there are several scenes depicting Master/slave and BDSM relationships. So, if you are not interested in this activity, please, please do not read this story.)
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