Warning: This story does not contain any sex. None of the characters are based on real people nor are they meant to resemble any living or dead people.
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Book 4 – Chapter 5
Blake's Brother Visits
Ian and Trace have been keeping a secret from their son. Today while Ian and Blake are at school, it's Trace's job to pick up Simon; Blake's older brother, from the airport. He's expecting a phone call from the young man saying that he's at the airport. As he was doing some chores in the kitchen, his cell phone goes off and the screen shows that it's Simon. He's at the airport waiting for Trace so he can get off his feet. Trace lets him know that it will be at least 45 minutes before he'll be in Chicago. Trace is a bit skeptical about Simon's reasons for visiting. Simon claims that he's here to reconnect with Blake, but with the family's history of treating Blake poorly, Trace has reason to worry. Blake's and Simon's parents turned around and are now welcoming their middle son into their lives. Trace hopes he's wrong about Blake's brother.
When he is about half way to the airport, Trace calls Ian. Yes, he is handsfree. The call goes into voice mail, so he leaves a message.
"Ian, I'm already on the road to pick up Simon. It will be another hour or two before we'll be home. I love you baby."
As he ends the call, he returns his total focus to the road.
It doesn't take long for the guys to connect at the airport. As they load luggage into the trunk, Trace and Simon briefly introduce each themselves. Once inside the car, Trace's gut instinct is to protect his son, so he gets ready to ask questions to Simon.
"Simon, your parents have come a long way in their relationship with Blake. When he first came to us, your mom and dad were down right hostile towards him and us."
Simon's heart sinks. He remembers how he cried and pleaded in prayer for his parents' hearts to be opened.
"I know, and I am so glad that they let my brother stay with you, and I'm also glad that eventually they opened up their hearts again to him and to you and your husband."
Simon's heart is pumping like crazy now.
"As his adopted dads, we were nervous about your visit. We just were not sure what your motives were."
Simon is having a hard time with Trace's admission.
"Look Trace, I've been away 2 years with only letters and emails being my only means of communication with my family. I didn't get that opportunity to hear from Blake after he was forced away from the family, so all I want is to see my brother again."
The twenty-year-old seem like he's being honest. Blake will be happy to know that his brother seems interested in being a brother versus leaking more venom into his brother's life.
"I want you to know that, he really misses you so, I'm glad you decided to visit and were glad to have you staying with us."
Trace wants Simon to be comfortable while visiting the family. Blake doesn't get many chances to see his birth family, so this visit will be good for him
It's around 11:30 am by the time, they arrive at the house. Trace helps him with his luggage, opens the house, and shows him to the guest room.
"Do you mind if I take a shower?"
Trace didn't even think about offering the guest the use of the shower.
Blake's brother is shown where the bathroom is located and gets him a bath towel. It isn't long before the family's guest is showering. Trace takes a second to call his husband.
"Babe, I'm home with Simon."
Once again, the guys miss each other. Fifteen minutes later, Simon comes out of the bathroom ready to visit or whatever else comes next. By this time Trace has moved downstairs so he cook up a quick, hot meal. He's preparing hot ham and cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, and celery sticks. He hopes Simon will like the food. As good as Trace's cooking is, his brother's breakfast is well worth the wait. When lunch is done, Simon jumps in and helps with the dishes.
Trace and Simon head to the couch to talk. The biggest thing on Simon's mind is his brother. He wants to know everything about his brother's life here in Indiana.
"So, I got told that my brother was living on the streets?"
"Yeah, he was for a while before he came to live with us. Once he was officially a part of our lives, we felt a little lost, but he changed us for the better.
Even back home, Blake wanted nothing but the best for everyone. It's no surprise that Blake would make the people in his life happier or at least try too. Back home, he pushed for opportunities to improve himself and to serve others.
"My parents, I think loved him, but they never understood him. I'm glad, he has you and your husband to love him and to understand him. Thank you for loving him."
Trace smiles when he hears Simon's sentences. He likes hearing that they've done good by Blake. Blake's mood has improved since joining the household.
Trace tells Simon with a smile on his face.
"Does he have a boyfriend?"
Trace doesn't want to give him that information because he knows Blake will want to introduce Ben to him.
"I think, Blake should answer that question,"
His son's dating status is his business or at least that is the way Trace looks at it.
"Anything else I should know about my brother?"
Trace thinks about for a second and then gets up and smiles again.
"I think, we've covered the basics for now."
There is of course more that they could discuss but somethings are best left for Blake to bring up.
"Okay well, I'm going to go check my email."
Trace says as he gets up and heads to the office. Simon goes to the guest bedroom and calls his parents. He needs to let them know that he arrived at the house safely. For the next little bit, the guys are quiet.
On his lunch time Ian calls Trace.
"Hey Babe, what's up? Is Simon there?"
Ian asks after Trace answers the phone.
"I'm good. Yeah, Simon is here. We've already had lunch and talked for a little bit. Where's Blake?"
Ian wouldn't be talking like this if their son was in his room. He doesn't want to ruin the surprise.
"Our son is in the cafeteria enjoying his lunch with Ben and his friends.
Ian answers his husband's questions.
"I guess that means we can talk freely?"
"We can talk freely until I have to start class again, so we have about ten minutes to talk."
Ian enjoys these short conversations with Trace, and vice versa.
"So, are you okay with Simon being here?"
Trace asks to see if his husband is at the same place thought wise. Trace did his best to keep his voice down so that Blake's brother doesn't hear him.
"I'm good. The family has turned over a new leaf. Simon's here to see Blake and that is okay with me. I want our son to keep his connection with his family."
Trace wants the same thing for Blake. Trace was a bit skeptical when Simon entered the car, but now he's more accepting. It's sad in a way that, he mistrusted him at all.
"I should ask you the same question. In fact, I think I will. Do you trust him?"
Ian poses the question to Trace. At first Trace lowers his head in shame. He doesn't want to admit to Ian that he had some uncertainties over the visitor's reasons for coming to Indiana.
"Yeah, I trust him."
Just as those words left his lips, the bell rang ending the students' lunch and ending Ian's lunch and that means the end of their phone call also. They said their goodbyes and went back to their separate days.
The end of Ian's work day has finally come and it's time to get Blake reunited with his older brother. Right now, the day feels like any other but that ends once they get home. As usual Ian sends his usual text to his husband letting them know, that they are on their way home. Trace has Simon sit in the living room and wait for his for brother to arrive. Simon doesn't have long to wait. It takes fifteen minutes today for Ian to arrive at the house. When he gets inside, Blake sees his brother sitting on the couch and then runs up to him quickly wrapping his arms around him. Simon has been away on a mission for two years. The last year of it saw his younger brother kicked out of the house, and sent to live in Indiana, so this reunion is so much sweeter because of Blake's absence in his brother's life.
"What are you doing here?"
Blake asks his brother his voice sounding somewhat muffled.
"I came to see you; you knucklehead."
"Thank you; thank you."
He says first to his brother and then to his dads. Blake was already missing his brother before being sent away. When he got kicked out, he lost all contact with Simon. Blake had no way of sending him letters or even get letters from Simon. Blake has been crying happy tears since coming into the house.
"I...I missed you so much."
Watching Simon's face, it's easy to see that Blake's brother loves his little brother. There is no shortage of love in the room.
"So besides having two dads, what else is new in your life?"
Simon isn't sure what else to ask about Blake's life.
"So much in my life has changed since I arrived in Indiana. I was found by my dads. I fell in love with one of my aunt's friends, and now I am dating that guy. Thanks to my dad's, I can cook and explore other interests as well. I've got a big family and a huge mix of friends who love me."
It took a second to digest what his brother said.
"I'm glad you had help navigating life out here. I'm not sure that I could have done the same thing."
Simon maybe older, but Blake is stronger in some regards mostly because he had to be. Underneath, that slightly toughened skin is that sensitive kid from Idaho.
"Your dads seem pretty cool."
A smile breaks out on Blake's face because, it's he knows that his brother just spoke the truth. Trace and Ian have their moments when they are cool, but they are still his dads and can still be uncool.
"Yeah, they literally saved my life. If it wasn't for them, I might still be on the streets. They are incredible people. From the start, they have been available any hour of the day to talk with me. They make time for me even though they've been busy at times."
Even when his little brother comes home; Collin, there will still be time for Blake.
"What about you Simon, what's new in your life?"
Blake knows that a lot about his brother but a lot can happen in two years' time.
"My mission was awesome. We baptized fifteen people and 2 families. Katrina and I never stopped writing each other despite Mom's and Dad's wishes, and we've started dating again. In a few weeks, I will be starting back to school. I need to find a part time job. Everything else is you pretty much know."
There is excitement in his voice. Simon sounded truly happy as he talked about Katrina.
"What is your degree going to be in?"
Simon quickly announces that he's going into Sports Medicine. Blake tells his brother that it would be a good choice for him, because he loves sports so much. After their talk, Simon goes up to the guest bedroom to relax a little bit.
Several hours have passed since Simon arrived in Indiana, and he hasn't called his parents yet, so he proceeds to get out his phone and clicks on his parent's home phone icon. It's 8:00 pm which makes it 7:00 pm back at home. His mom answers the phone and then gathers everyone else into their living room.
"Okay, Simon everyone is here. How are you?"
"I'm fine Mom. It's nice being here with Blake. He seems to really like living here."
Simon's parents know that their middle son loves Indiana and that he loves Trace and Ian just as much as he loves them.
An excited boy's voice rings out over the phone. Simon smiles at the sound of his and Blake's younger brother.
"Hey, how is my little brother?"
"I'm good Simon. Are you okay?"
It will when Simon can be home with him and spend David before going off to school.
"Is Blake there?"
"He's here but, he's really busy."
David seems a little disappointed that he can't speak with Blake.
"Have you met Blake's boyfriend yet?"
Mrs. Kimball takes control of the conversation back from David.
"No, not yet but knowing Blake, I will soon."
What comes next might have surprised Trace, Ian, and Blake at one point in the year, but it's so much better now.
"He's such a good kid. You'll love him."
She has learned to love that young man. It would have been even stranger if Trace and Ian would have heard that coming out her mouth. What's important here is that she loves Ben and Blake.
can't wait to meet him."
He truly can't wait to meet his brother's boyfriend.
`It's weird but I really do want to meet him.'
This whole trip has been eye opening. He has gay friends but this is his younger brother, and somehow that makes it different.
"There is an activity at church tonight, so we're going to let you go. Love you Simon."
"Love you guys."
The call ends as Blake comes into the room.
"Ben's coming over and should be here soon."
Blake announces to his brother.
"Can't wait to meet him."
Simon tells his brother. The brothers are a bundle of nerves. They're nervous about Ben's arrival.
While Simon up in the guest room on the phone, Blake was on the phone with Ben. With Simon here, it was the perfect chances for his boyfriend to meet a member of the family that hasn't belittled them. Ben mentioned that he is nervous and Blake told him not to worry about it. His brother isn't mean and in many ways is a lot like Ryan. Back home at church, Simon has a little shadow; a 5-year-old girl who adores him, and like Riley, she has some difficulties in her life. She loves anyone who shows her even a sliver of kindness to her. She happily tells anyone who will listen that she is going to marry Simon. It really works out well, because both Ben and Blake want to hangout and this gives them an excuse to meet up. Blake gets up and heads up over to the guest bedroom.
Ian and Trace agreed to cook dinner while Blake is going to be doing breakfast tomorrow. They're preparing pulled pork sandwiches, Ian's grandma's Cole Slaw recipe, orange-glazed carrots, and blueberry cobbler. They love to cooking especially Ian. He learned to cook from his mom and his grandmas. Trace enjoys it also because it's time spent with his babe. While they are busy in the kitchen, Blake is busy talking to Simon.
Blake grabs the family photo album and sits next to his brother. He starts flipping through the pages. Blake pauses at one page and stares down at one of the pages. Simon glances down at one of the pictures that Blake has been focused on for a few seconds.
"Something about that building sure has your attention."
Blake snaps out of whatever hold that picture has on him.
"This old building was home for a few months before Trace and Ian rescued me."
You can read the shock on his brother's face. Simon can't imagine what that must have been like.
"You really slept there?"
"Yeah, it was a place out of the elements. It was at this building that Trace first saw me."
Blake flipped to another page of the album. It's a picture of Blake with Rick and Juan; the guys who used to bully him. Simon has no idea the hurt that these guys caused in his brother's life.
"This is Rick and Juan..."
Blake points to the guys in the pictures.
"Yeah, so at one point in my life, these guys made my life hellish. They bullied me and then we somehow ended up becoming friends. If you think living on the streets was rough, you should hear what happened to Rick."
They continue to another page where Blake once again pauses. On this page, there are pictures of different relatives but most of the pictures are of Ashley and Michael.
"These are my Aunt Ashley and my Uncle Michael. Ashley introduced me to Ben and Michael well, he's one of my favorite uncles. He's made my life a little easier."
The final picture is of Ryan and Riley.
"These two goof balls are my friends; Ryan and Riley. Riley was attacked by his father after coming out to him. Riley was punched in the face and fell to the hardwood floor. Something about the punch and his landing caused a traumatic brain injury, and well Riley is now living with the effects of that injury. Ryan is his boyfriend. The guy will do just about anything for Riley. They are amazing. They are a real source of inspiration for me."
`Wow, I thought it was bad when I heard what Mom and Dad did to you. One of these days, I would love to meet Riley and Ryan. This is making me rethink my major a little. I don't want to say anything until I know a little bit more about the job prospects for social work or counseling. After hearing about you and then your friend, Riley, I think I might consider going from Sports Medicine to Psych or something."
As much as Blake would love to see his brother doing something to help the LGBT community, he thinks his brother would be happier in sports medicine.
"No bro, you stay in a field where you'll be happy."
Again Blake turns pages in the album, he stops at a page that shows pictures of Trace in the hospital. Simon can see pain in his brother's eyes.
"Spill it Bro, what is going on inside your mind?"
"A few months back, I had a dream where I saw Trace get shot at a traffic stop. It felt so real. Later, we get a call from dad's work that he had been shot at a traffic stop. This picture was taken by Ian, and it's Dad as he is laying down attached to IVs and other equipment. I don't understand why Dad would want to remember this hospital stay, but he does. We almost lost Trace that day."
`Wow...don't know what to say so I think I'll not say anything at all and let Blake just move on from this topic.'
Simon doesn't believe in the supernatural and there is no other explanation for what Blake experienced. As for Trace almost dying, he's sorry that the family went through that episode in their lives. They continue looking through the album. Blake shares memories that make them smile.
Blake gets up early to start breakfast. He goes about quietly gathering the ingredients, utensils, and pans. As the last slice of French toast touches the frying pan, someone knocks at the door. Blake runs out to the living room and opens the door to find Ben at the other side of the door. He lets his boyfriend into the house, gives him a kiss, and then they walk together into the kitchen. Returning to the kitchen, he opens a can of peach filling and warms it up in a sauce pan. Next with the help of Ben, he prepares sausage patties and eggs. Blake's beginning to wish, he had made omelets or crepes, but this will be okay too. The smell of cooked food gently moves through the moves. Its heavenly aroma wakes up Trace, Ian, and Simon. Getting ready this morning seems to take forever for Simon, he is hungry and his stomach is already growling. By the time, they are all at the table Simon's stomach is annoying him.
"Blake, I hope you made enough food cause this guy is hungry."
Simon says as he sits down at the table. Blake's brother is used to saying a prayer before eating and everyone bows their head in respect. After the prayer, everyone begins eating and begins to talk. The guys spend breakfast talking about life, Ben and Blake relationship, and of course Ben asks Simon questions as well. With breakfast done, Simon comes away with a greater respect for his younger brother and found himself enjoying his time with Ben. The love that is shared with between Ben and Blake is amazing. Simon is loving breakfast. He literally is loving the peach pie filling with his French toast and maple syrup. He loves all this food. He can see why Blake likes it here. Ian and Trace are super friendly and Ben is amazing. After breakfast, Trace and Ian wash the dishes which lets Simon, Ben, and Blake talk. An hour goes by and everything is great. Ben ends up heading home leaving Blake and Simon.
Blake invites Simon to follow him to check out the animal room. Simon looks around the room and feels a bit apprehensive about the animals.
"What is all of this?"
It should be obvious what is in this room. Simon is trying to sneak views of all the animals. His brother is trying to show off his pets as well as Ian's pets.
"These animals are mine and Ian's. Ian uses his animals for presentations and some day I want to do the same thing, maybe work in zoos."
`I had no idea that my brother was multi-faceted.'
"So what is in here?"
Simon pointing to tank that looks empty. This tank is anything but empty. Inside the tank, Ian houses a couple arrow-poison frogs.
"There are two frogs who like to hide in the back of the tank."
Blake looks over the tank and finds at least one of the colorful amphibians. He points it out to his brother who is in awe. Next Simon moves to a tank that Blake knows all too well. It is one of his favorite critters. Blake has an adult female B. smith, a Mexican Red-Kneed Tarantula in that tank. He loves this spider. They finish the tour by Blake taking out Ian's Sonoran Milk Snake.
"Sweet, she is beautiful. Is she sweet?"
Simon asks as he watches Blake handle the snake.
"She is a sweet heart usually, but she can be a pill when she wants too."
After putting away the serpent, Blake and Simon leave the room and retire to the living room so they can talk.
Simon and Blake are feeling pretty content now. They have had nothing but good times. The guys are relaxing a little bit after meal and seeing the pets.
"So, I was wondering how serious you and Ben are?"
Blake thinks about the events of the last few weeks. Ben and him were just about broken up a little less than a month ago. Blake isn't sure how to answer this, but perhaps it's time to be honest.
"I don't know how long we will last. Honestly though, I am not sure that we have lasting power, but I can hope we do."
Blake would never admit this to his dads, but to his brother; to Simon he can speak his mind. He said it and the tears didn't come. Still, he could be a little happier about it. Simon has been with girlfriends in the past who were not forever material.
"Mom made it sound like you guys were doing awesome."
"We had a huge argument. Ben's ex was in town and they were going out to lunch and the kid was extremely rude to me. Ben made no attempt to defend me. I was feeling very hurt, and it took us a few days to get back on track because Ben was so mad at me and I was mad at him and we couldn't get over. Finally, we some pressure from our parents, we were able to get over it."
Simon feels so bad for his younger brother. He has had arguments with his girlfriend and they are never fun. Though, they are trying a new thing. Even though they don't live together, they don't go to bed without forgiving each other.
`Maybe, Blake needs to hear that.'
"Hey Blake, Katrina and I have a thing that we do. We don't let a day pass being angry at each other, and I think, it might work for you and Ben."
It's just a little bit of advice and Blake can take it or leave it. Simon hopes that Blake remembers to use it the next time that Ben and Blake argue.
"Do you think that you and Katrina will get married?"
Blake's question shakes Simon just a little bit.
"You know, we've been together for a long time almost all 4 years of high school. We made it through my mission. I hope given time, that Katrina will want to be my bride."
Blake smiles so big that he can feel it on the inside. He can't wait to be an uncle, and he knows that Simon won't allow himself to have a kid outside of wedlock. It dons on Blake that in just three days, Simon will be headed home.
"Simon, I am going to miss you so much when you go home."
His brother can't let Blake feel like he has to feel lost.
"Dude, no tears. I will always and forever be your brother. You can always reach out to me, and I will get back to you on it. Love you now and forever."
Blake feels like he needs to address something that has been troubling him.
"Simon, I know you said that you'll always be there for me. Will your kids know me and my boyfriend?"
There is no way in heck that Blake and his boyfriend would be left in the dark.
"There is no way in heck, that I would ever allow my kids not to know who you are, or who your boyfriend is, so relax okay."
With that, they stand up and exchange hugs. Trace and Ian come out of kitchen and announce they want to take Simon and Blake out to do some sight-seeing.
The next three days have been filled with great food and lots of fun activities, but today is filled with a hint of sadness. Today will see Simon going away to Idaho. By the time, Blake and Simon can reunite there will be a new addition to the household. It's Ian's turn to drive Simon up to the airport course Blake is riding along. At the airport, Blake and Simon exchange a quick hug and a few tears before saying goodbye. The future is one step closer to being brighter. Blake watches as Simon walks into the terminal, then he turns and gets into the car.
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