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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
As we were sitting in church on Sunday morning, Philip, Trevor, and I were smiling broadly as my mother began her talk.
"Well...! This has been a very, very busy week for some of us," my mother began. "Not only do I now have a son-in-law, I have a wonderful young man as my first grandchild. First of all, please congratulate Jeffery and Philip Harris-LeBlanc." There was applause from the congregation. "And, I want to introduce my grandchild, Trevor Harris-LeBlanc." More applause. "My message today is titled `We Are All God's People...'"
After church, Philip, Trevor, and I decided to have lunch at Mel's coffee shop. She was in rare form.
"How is my favorite family?" Mel loudly announced as we walked through the door. "Congratulations! How do you feel about this, Trevor?"-
"I couldn't be happier!" Trevor told Mel. "I am so proud of these guys and what they did for me. If it weren't for them, I'd probably be in some Christian reprogramming place by now. As far as I am concerned, the people who raised me for 15 years are former Congressman Franklin and his ex-wife."
"How did you guys pull that off?" Mel asked.
"Devon Wright, the attorney from Mr. Washington's law firm, was truly a blessing to have on our side," I told Mel. "He had found some dirt on the Congressman through a private investigator his law firm hired. It seems the Congressman was arrested a few years ago in Washington, DC when he propositioned a male prostitute who happened to be an undercover officer. He pleaded no contest to that charge and served two years' probation. It was conveniently swept under the rug. Devon used that as a tool to get the Congressman to plead guilty with a two year suspended sentence for child abuse. Plus, the former Congressman Franklin will be turning over Trevor's trust fund his grandparents set up to his guardians until Trevor is 21. He can use the money for college before that age."
Mel's mouth was open in disbelief. I reached over and gently shut it. "I've never seen you speechless, Mel!"
Chapter 08: The Lost Sheep
I was sitting in my office, late Wednesday afternoon.
"Dad," I heard Trevor's voice outside my office.
When I looked up, he was standing in the doorway. He had one of his dopey smiles stretched across his face. I knew something was up.
"Trevor!" I said. "What an unexpected pleasure...! I think... You're not in trouble are you?"
"Nope," Trevor said as he plopped down in front of my desk. "I need to ask a couple of questions if you have the time."
"Shoot," I said.
"I met this guy at the swimming team tryouts," Trevor began. "His name is Rob Martin. I think he is gay, but I don't know. How do I find out without getting beat up if I am wrong?"
"That's actually a very good question to be asking Trevor," I told him. "This may be the year gay marriage will be declared legal in all fifty states, but we are in rural Southern Illinois."
"I know," Trevor agreed. "That's why I am asking."
"What makes you think he may be gay?" I asked.
"Just something about him," Trevor said. "He just moved here with his family. His father is in charge of construction on Dad P's farm. He's not like most of the other guys. He's not a macho guy. He's sort of quiet."
"Does he know you are gay?" I asked.
"I assume so," Trevor said. "It's not like it is a secret anymore since my former father was almost thrown in jail for beating his gay son to a pulp. That did make the papers, you know."
"But, when did he move here?" I asked. "Maybe he wasn't in town for the excitement. Or, he doesn't realize your last name used to be Franklin."
"I never thought about that, actually," Trevor replied. "So, do I tell him my story?"
"Let's talk with Philip later tonight," I told him. "He is, I am certain, knowledgeable about the guy's father. I think we can work out a plan. Speaking of plans, do you have any idea what you want to study in college? You are a junior this year."
"Well," Trevor began. "I had originally thought about being an attorney, but, since I met you and Philip, I thought I might want to do something like you are doing here. You know, work with kids in crisis. Like father like son."
"You could be an attorney and be an advocate for kids in crisis," I told him. "But, you aren't going to make big bucks. For example, I'm certain Devon Wright is paid extremely well."
"But, he wouldn't have been available to help us had you not known Sam and Chris," Trevor added.
"You are correct," I said. "Devon Wright was a gift!"
"Maybe I can marry a rich guy, and I won't need to worry about money," Trevor said with a smile.
"I think your chances of that are probably not high," I told him, also with a smile. "Besides, you don't need to make a decision right away about becoming an attorney. You need to get your undergrad degree first."
"Do you think I could get into Harvard?" Trevor asked.
"Trevor," I began. "I frankly think you could get into any college you choose. You do get extra points because your good old Dad went to Harvard, though."
"Before we get too deep into that discussion, I hope I can resolve my boyfriend problem," Trevor said with a smile.
"Speaking of boyfriends, do we need to have a `birds and bees' talk?" I asked.
"Dad!" Trevor announced. "I'm going to be 16 in a few weeks. I know about birds and bees and condoms and safe sex. We don't need to have that talk."
"Just asking," I said to Trevor. "What if the two of us head to the grocery store before going home? I promised Philip I'd pick up a few things for dinner."
"If I can drive," Trevor answered.
I threw him the keys.
When Trevor and I arrived home, Philip pulled into the driveway. I kissed him as he came through the back door.
"Trevor has his sights on a boy on the swim team," I told Philip. "We need your help to decide if he is boyfriend material or if he is into girls."
"Why me?" Philip asked.
"His father just started working for you," Trevor answered. "His last name is Martin."
"Brian Martin?" Philip asked.
"I don't know the first name," Trevor said. "They just moved here."
"That would be Brian," Philip told us. "Nice guy. They moved here from South Dakota. He has two kids, a son and a daughter. The daughter is in college. I don't know the orientation of his son, but, if he is anything like his father, he is probably open about being around gay people."
"The father knows you are gay, I assume," I ask Philip.
"Of course!" Philip answered. "During his final interview, I mentioned my husband Jeffery and I adopted a boy about his son's age. I think that is a fairly obvious hint."
"Things are looking up," Trevor said excitedly.
"Did you tell the boy anything about Philip and me?" I asked.
"Not yet," Trevor answered. "I only knew his father worked at the farm because he mentioned that when he was introduced to the swim team. I think I need to have a conversation with him. I think I can start by telling him about my two dads and that my ex-father beat the crap out of me when he found out I was gay."
"That would be a good start, Trevor," I told him.
"Do we need to have a `birds and bees' talk, Trevor?" Philip asked.
"Dad!" Trevor exclaimed. "I told your husband I know about birds, bees, condoms, and safe sex already. So, the answer is no!"
"I was just making certain!" Philip added with a smile.
Friday afternoon was finally here. I was cleaning up my desk when my phone rang. It was Trevor. "Hello, Trevor! What's up?"
"Dad, I was wondering if I could ask Rob to join us for dinner," Trevor announced.
"Of course," I answered. "Where are you now?"
"About two blocks away from your office," Trevor said. "We'll be there in a few."
I continued working at my desk until my guests arrived. "Hi, Dad!" Trevor said as he stood in the doorway of my office. "This is my friend, Rob Martin. Rob, this is my Dad, Jeffery Harris-LeBlanc."
"It's nice to meet you, Rob!" I said.
"It's nice to meet you, too, sir," Rob replied. "Trevor was telling me about you."
"Oh!" I said as I looked at Trevor.
"I told him how you and Philip came to my rescue," Trevor explained.
"Ah!" I answered. "So, Rob, how are you finding life in the big city of Olney?"
"To be perfectly honest, sir," Rob began his explanation. "Olney is big when you compare it to Harrisburg, South Dakota. So, I'm adjusting."
"I am happy to hear that," I told him. "Are you ready to head home?"
"Sure," Trevor answered. "We have some news to tell you when Dad P gets home."
"I am eager with anticipation!" I told the guys as we headed to the car.
I stopped at the grocery store to pick up salmon for dinner. Philip was in the kitchen when we arrived home. I put the bag with the fish on the counter and kissed him. "We have a guest tonight for dinner."
"Dad," Trevor said to Philip. "This is Rob Martin. Rob, this is my other dad, Phillip Harris-LeBlanc."
"Hello, sir!" Rob said to Philip. "It's nice to meet you."
"You, too, Rob!" Philip said to our guest. "So, you're the same age as Trevor, right?"
"He's actually two months older," Trevor answered for Rob. "He has his driver's license already. And, he has a car."
"Is that a hint, Trevor?" I asked.
"Of course not, Dad!" Trevor answered with a huge smile. "Although, if you decided to get me one, I wouldn't turn it down."
"I didn't think so," I whispered almost to myself. "Why don't you two go out to the back? We'll be out in a few minutes with some munchies."
"Cool," Trevor answered.
"This is a neat house," Rob said to Trevor.
"Let me show you my room before we go outside," Trevor suggested to Rob.
"Things seem to be going well," Philip quietly said to me. "Is he or isn't he?"
"I have not been told that bit of information yet," I answered. "He seems like a nice kid no matter what the score is."
"Can we still have a drink or do we need to be totally sober?" Philip asked.
"Definitely a drink," I told him. "You get those ready and I'll get a few things to nibble on."
I grabbed some dip and crackers, and Philip had our drinks. We settled in the lounge chairs on the deck. Trevor and Rob joined us with bottles of water.
"This is a really, really nice house!" Rob exclaimed.
"Thanks," Philip answered. "It is still a work in progress. But, we like working on it bit by bit."
"I told you we have some news for you," Trevor said as he and Rob took a seat opposite Philip and me. "We both made the swim team!"
"Congratulations, guys!" I said.
"Way to go!" Philip added.
"Thanks," Trevor and Rob both said at the same time. "Rob called his Mom and gave her the news before we came by your office, Dad."
"I'm certain she was extremely pleased!" Philip answered.
"Yea!" Rob said. "It was her idea I try out for the team. She thought it would be a good way to meet people."
"Maybe we should throw a party to celebrate," I said to the boys. "Maybe your parents would want to come, Rob."
"I'm sure they would," Rob told us. "My mom is trying to figure out how to meet people in town."
"You and your parents could go to church with us, Rob," Trevor suggested. "Dad is giving the talk this Sunday."
"And, what will be the topic of Sunday's talk?" Philip asked.
"The title is `Lost Sheep,' but that is not terribly descriptive," I answered. "I want it to be a secret until Sunday. That way, no one will be disappointed."
"You should give one about Mabel," Philip suggested.
"Mabel?" Rob asked.
"Mabel is a very old, regal black cow on the farm," Philip explained. "She has a major personality disorder that needs to be discussed."
"Mabel doesn't like me," I explain.
"She gets along great with Chris Johnson, though," Philip added.
"Chris says it is because he and Mabel are the same color," I pointed out.
"Who is Chris Johnson?" Rob asked. "Is he from around here?"
"No. He's from Chicago. He and Sam Williamson, who grew up here, just got married a few weeks ago," I explained. "He took Sam's last name."
"We went to their wedding in Chicago," Trevor said to Rob. "It was the most remarkable event I have ever been to. There were over 200 guests—all celebrating the marriage of two guys."
"Jeffery performed the wedding ceremony," Philip explained to Rob.
"Why does the name Williamson sound familiar to me?" Rob asked.
"Ah!" Philip continued. "The Williamson family used to own the farm where your father and I work."
"But, that's a 5,000 acre farm!" Rob exclaimed.
"Yes," Philip further explained. "It had been in the Williamson family for generations. Sam wasn't interested in farming, so his father sold it when Organic Farms Inc. offered a hunk of cash for the place."
"How much is a hunk of cash?" Rob asked.
"About $50 million," Philip said.
"Holy s... cow!" Rob added.
As I was getting the fish ready to grill, Trevor and Rob were making the salad. Philip started the rice and vegies.
"Rob and I want to go out to dinner somewhere," Trevor said out of the blue. "Do you have any suggestions?"
"What is the occasion?" I asked.
"Just so we can talk," Trevor explained, "Sort of a first date."
Philip and I looked at each other and smiled before I said, "You work fast, Trevor!"
"No moss under my feet!" Trevor shot back, "So, any suggestions?"
"Mel's coffee shop, the Italian place, the steak place," I suggested.
"Do you think we would stand out at the Italian place?" Trevor asked.
"Maybe," I told them. "Who else knows about this dating thing between you besides Philip and me?"
"I told my Mom and Dad I thought Trevor was cute a couple of nights ago," Rob explained. "But, Trevor just asked me to go somewhere with him as we were walking to your office. So, it's just the four of us for now."
"It's not like we are going to be holding hands and kissing at the restaurant," Trevor added. "But, as you said earlier, this is Southern Illinois we are talking about."
"Maybe you should stick with Mel's coffee shop until you want to make this relationship public," Philip suggested.
"You are probably correct, Dad," Trevor agreed. "What do you think, Rob?"
"Sounds good to me," Rob told Trevor. "I think it will be fun just to be alone so we can talk."
Sunday morning was upon us before I knew it. I had my talk done, but I might do a little adlibbing. My mother and I were standing near the door before services started. We were talking to people as they came into the church. I saw Rob.
"Hello, Rob!" I greeted him.
"Reverend LeBlanc, these are my parents Brian and Sarah Martin," Rob explained. "Mom, Dad, this is Jeffery Harris-LeBlanc, one of Trevor's dads."
As we shook hands, I greeted them, "Welcome to the United Church of Christ." Then, I introduced them to my mother. "This is my mother Suzanne LeBlanc."
"I understand you are from South Dakota," my mother said.
"Yes, we are trying to settle in and set down some roots," Sarah replied. "Your son suggested we might find some new friends here!"
"This is a very, very friendly congregation," my mother told her. "We try to have as much fun as possible around here."
"Everyone in town has been extremely helpful," Brian added.
My mother turned her attention to Rob, "So, you are Trevor's friend, right, Rob?"
"Yes, Reverend LeBlanc," Rob answered. "We had a great time talking last night at the coffee shop."
Philip and Trevor joined us, "Hello Brian, Sarah! I see you've met Jeffery and his mother."
"Yes," Brian told Philip. "Hello, Trevor."
"Hello Mr. Martin, Mrs. Martin," Trevor said in his best church voice. "I am glad you could join us. Would you like to sit with Dad and me? My other Dad is going to be talking about sheep today."
"We'd enjoy that, Trevor," Brian said.
As my mother and I watched them enter the sanctuary, she leaned in and whispered, "They are more than friends, right?"
"Yup," I said as I smiled back at her.
The music started to play as my mother and I led the choir into the sanctuary. My mother took care of the service until it was my turn to give my talk.
"Good morning!" I began my talk. "Today, I want to talk with you about lost sheep. I suspect what some of you are asking is how anyone in 2015 can possibly loose sheep. There should be an app to prevent us from losing our sheep. But, sadly there is not."
"My first talk here as Youth Outreach Minister I told you a story about a gay homeless boy who turned to drugs. I helped him get into a drug rehab program and he was starting to put his life together again. He was doing great things with his life until a police officer and I found him lying in a pool of blood in an alley. He had been beaten with a baseball bat. He was a lost sheep."
"Today, I want to tell you a story that involves a lost sheep in this very community about 15 years ago. There was a boy, who was about 15 years old, who thought he was different from the other kids he went to school with. He went to the same high school some of you are now attending as a matter of fact. The boy had the same feelings some of you are having.... He liked boys... He was afraid to tell anyone because he didn't know how other people would react to his announcement. He thought everyone would hate him...He couldn't even bring himself to tell his parents. He didn't want them to hate him... He was racked with guilt...."
"Finally, the pressure to keep his feelings secret was too much for him to cope with.... He found a bunch of pain killers in his parents' medicine cabinet... He went into his bedroom and swallowed the entire bottle. His father came home and found him passed out with the empty bottle of pills on the side of the bed.... The boy's father rushed him to the hospital.... His stomach was pumped out, and he nearly died from the overdose.... But, he made it through the night. When he woke up the next morning, he saw his mother and father sitting beside his bed. His parents asked the boy why he swallowed the pain killers...."
"The boy finally admitted to his parents he was gay.... But, you know what? They didn't care... They didn't hate him because he was gay.... They told him they still loved him very much.... That was the first step in his journey to accept that he was gay.... He didn't tell a lot of his classmates he was gay, but he did confide it to some of his closest friends.... He found out it didn't matter to any of them.... His friends didn't hate him because he was gay.
"The boy graduated from high school and went to college.... He took a job in San Francisco working with gay youth, homeless youth, drug addicted youth, and mentally challenged youth. He came back to this town after working in San Francisco for a number of years. And, he met another guy, and they started making a life together....They love each other very, very much... They bought a house together....They have a son they love very, very much... Their neighbors don't hate them because they are gay. Of course, some people don't accept them as a couple, but they are creating a very nice life together....And, as you have probably guessed by now, I was that lost sheep..."
"Unfortunately, we don't have many resources for our lost sheep in this community. We don't have the resources to help young people who are questioning their sexual identity, dealing with drug abuse problems, living with abusive household members, fearing the bullying that takes place in our schools. So, I am excited today to explain a decision this church—this living, breathing community of caring people—has made. We will be spearheading an effort to find resources to help our lost sheep. With a grant from the Thomas and Elaine Washington Family Foundation, we will be leading the effort to attract counselors and mental health professionals devoted to our local lost sheep: our local young people who need guidance and help to find their way in a very, very complex world."
"We will also need volunteers to help with many facets of our project. I urge you to get involved. It can be difficult work. It can be frustrating work. The work will bring you happiness. And, the work will bring you sadness. But, this work will mean we have a place for our lost sheep of this community to find the help they need. Thank you."
When the service was over, my mother and I positioned ourselves near the door to greet the congregation. Philip, Trevor, Rob, Brian, and Sarah were the first to greet us.
Philip pulled me into a hug, "Terrific talk! And, just to let you know, I love you! But, I still think you need to talk about Mabel!"
"Next time," I said to Philip as I returned the hug.
"Great job, Dad!" Trevor told me. "Am I a lost sheep?"
"Not anymore, Trevor. Not anymore!" I told him as we hugged.
"I loved your talk Reverend LeBlanc!" Rob said.
"Thank you, Rob," I said to him. "But, please call me Jeffery. Reverend LeBlanc is my mother!"
"Jeffery!" Sarah Martin grabbed my hand. "That was probably one of the best sermon's I have heard. I also want to be one of your first volunteers!"
"Thank you, Sarah," I told her. "You will not regret helping out with this project. It can be trying, but is also very fulfilling."
"I'm looking forward to working with you," Sarah continued.
"Put her to work," Brian said. "She needs to get out of the house. Besides, she has a Masters in family counseling."
"I will, indeed," I said to Brian. "Would you and your family like to join Philip and me for lunch at the coffee shop?"
"Sarah?" Brian asked.
"Sure," she said. "I think that would be great fun."
To be continued...
I hope you liked the direction `Jeffery Comes Home' is taking. I would enjoy hearing your comments about this story. You can write to me at MaWriterBoy@yahoo.com.
This is my 8th posting of my fourth story on Nifty.org.
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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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