Greg and Cory left the hospital, and drove to the hotel, where they were staying. Greg was grateful they had some space to themselves. He knew they would need to be careful with the funds they had left, but he was confident he could find a job before their money ran out. He and Cory had left Texas, with the idea they would never go back. Greg’s Mom had been very upset, but Greg had been adamant he would not live in Texas, with the number of anti-gay people, who seemed to hold so much power in the state.
They had driven to Atlanta, after talking with Rick. Rick had asked them to stay in a hotel for a few days, so they could surprise Glenn. Rick had offered to pay for the hotel, but Greg had declined his offer. He had saved up some money from working part time, after he and his mother moved to Texas. Cory flew down after graduation, to stay with him. Greg and Cory’s relationship was stronger, now, than ever before; and Greg knew he wanted to marry Cory, as soon as they could get to a place where it was legal.
As he drove, Greg couldn’t help thinking about the events of the last few hours. He was still angry about what had happened to Glenn; and the subsequent conversation with Jeb had only served to fan the flames of his hatred toward the multitude of religious bigots he had encountered over the last few months, starting with his father, and ending with his conversation with Jeb.
As they pulled into the hotel parking lot, Cory looked over at Greg, and asked, “You’re still angry, aren’t you?” Greg didn’t answer, but nodded his head in reply. Cory continued, “You need to let the anger go, Greg. Being angry at every religious person you meet isn’t going to change what happened to us. You can’t hold every one of them accountable for what your Dad did, in the name of his religious beliefs.”
The dam holding back Greg’s anger burst. He knew he shouldn’t lash out at Cory, but he had to vent his feelings, somehow; and he didn’t know of any other way but to give voice to them. “Cory, did you see Jeb’s expression, when he found out we were gay? Did you hear what Jeb said? He is just as guilty of promoting hatred and violence against gays, as the ministers and preachers who spew their vitriolic pronouncements from their church pulpits, claiming to be so pious and holy that they can decree who is a sinner and who is not. There are so many of them calling for us to be put to death, just like in Old Testament times; or, at a minimum, put in jail for life. Don’t you see they are our enemies, and will stop at nothing to destroy us? Glenn was fortunate he wasn’t beaten to death, tonight. Do you think those two rednecks would have stopped at just a beating? They have been taught by their religious leaders it is okay to take a human life. They don’t have any respect for the laws of the land, because they think they are a law unto themselves.”
Cory interjected, “Greg, I agree with you about the problems we face, as gays in this country, but you need to let your anger go. It is eating you up, inside, and I can’t sit here, watching you destroy yourself from the inside out.”
What Cory said was true, and Greg knew it. He had heard the same thing from the therapist his mother had insisted he visit. At first, the therapy sessions had helped him to confront what had happened to him; however, as the sessions continued, they only made him angry, instead of helping him to cope with the trauma he had suffered. His anger and frustration were all bottled up inside. He was angry at the “Christian” minister who incited violence and hatred against gays at his parents’ church. He hated his father for what he had done to him and Cory. He hated the religious leaders who made inflammatory remarks to fan the flames of hatred in their congregations. He hated how his grandparents had rejected him, because he was gay. He hated the fact there was so much anti-gay propaganda on the airwaves. It seemed like everywhere he turned, there was more hatred and violence toward gays. All of these thoughts, and more, chased themselves back and forth across the stage of Greg’s mind, until, he felt like his world was imploding, with no avenue of escape in sight.
Cory was watching his boyfriend very closely. He recognized the signs of a major mental meltdown, and he knew he needed to help Greg stop it, before it was too late. He took Greg’s hand, and said, “Take me to bed, Babe. I need you to make love to me, Greg.” Cory looked imploringly at Greg, hoping his request would help Greg to remember that Cory needed him.
Greg didn’t respond to Cory, at first. Cory got out of the car, and walked around to the driver’s side. He opened Greg’s door. He took Greg’s hand, and pulled him out of the car. He reached in the car, and took the keys out of the ignition. He checked to make sure the emergency brake was set, and that the car was in park. He closed the car door, and clicked the lock button. He turned to Greg, and said, firmly, “We’re going to our hotel room, and you’re going to make love to me.”
Greg looked into his lover’s eyes, and slowly nodded his head, as if in a trance. Cory took Greg’s hand, and led him to their hotel room. Once inside, he helped Greg out of his clothes, and pushed him down on the queen-sized bed. He then stripped out of his own clothes, and joined his lover under the covers.
He took Greg into his arms, and kissed him on the lips. Greg’s mind was still in a fog. He knew Cory loved him, and was trying to help him; but, he was still caught in a mind-numbing web of hate and anger that clouded his judgment. He lie there, clenching and unclenching his fists, fighting to control his emotions. Cory took Greg’s face in his hands, and looked deeply into Greg’s eyes. He held Greg’s gaze for a long time, before he said, “Greg, I love you. I need you to return to me, and leave your anger behind. Let me help you!”
Greg let out a long sigh, and nodded his head. Cory still didn’t release Greg. “Greg, I need all of you, and that includes your mind. Stop the mental and emotional roller coaster that is going on inside your head.
Greg stared back into Cory’s eyes. Greg said, “I can’t stop the horrible thoughts that are running through my mind.”
“Yes, you can, Greg. I have already given you the key to stopping them. You need to focus on the positive things in your life. One of those things is having great sex with me. You know how I love it, when we have really rough sex. Let me help you, Greg.”
Greg said, “I don’t want to hurt you. I'm afraid if I let my anger and frustration out, that I will hurt you.”
“Then, refocus that energy, and put it to work, making our relationship work. I need you, Greg, and I mean ALL of you. I can’t share you with an angry man, whose only focus is to show the world how much he hates and despises everyone around him. I need you to remake yourself into the man I want to marry, and spend the rest of my life with, walking hand in hand with, as equal partners. I do NOT want to marry someone who I have to always be worried about blowing up, or exploding, because his anger is all bottled up inside. I can’t be your therapist, Greg. I want to be your husband, friend, lover and partner. Those things are all I want and need, and they should be the same things you want, as well.”
Greg said, “They are the things I want, Cory. I just need more time to heal, mentally and emotionally.”
Cory said, “You can have all the time you need to heal; but you can’t begin the recovery process, if you keep reopening the wounds. You’re letting them fester inside of you, and they are poisoning you. Your personality has changed, Greg. You used to be happy and jovial, most of the time. I loved being with you, because you were the only one who could make me laugh. Since the night of your Dad’s attack on us, you have become extremely negative and pessimistic. You don’t crack jokes, or laugh, like you used to do, when we were together. I know things can’t return to the way they were, before your Dad tried to murder us; but can’t we work toward a new normal, that includes a little happiness and sunshine?” Cory’s voice was full of the emotion he felt. He so desperately wanted the old Greg back, it made him ache. He was on the verge of tears, but managed to master himself.
Greg realized, then, that he had been shutting Cory out; and, that he had, indeed, withdrawn into his shell of hurt and anger. He had held onto those two emotions, like a favorite blanket he had wrapped around himself. Greg said, ‘I’m sorry, Cory. I know I haven’t been very good company, since you joined me in Texas. If you will help me, I will try to regain some balance in my life. I can’t promise I can let it all go, but I will do my best.”
Cory said, “I’ll help you, Greg. All I ask, is that you try to overcome your feelings of hurt and anger.”
Greg nodded, then he relaxed into Cory’s arms. He closed his eyes and snuggled closer to his sweetheart.
Cory listened to Greg’s breathing, which had slowed, and he felt Greg’s muscles relax, as he slipped into a deep sleep. Cory hoped they had finally made a breakthrough. He was worried Greg wouldn’t be able to get back his equilibrium. Greg scared him, sometimes, with the intensity of the hatred he exhibited toward people who had anti-gay biases, particularly religious ones, like Jeb. He felt sorry for Jeb, because, Greg had made sure Jeb knew what had happened to them, in excruciating detail; and that it was all caused by misdirected religious fervor. Cory wondered if Greg would ever be able to trust anyone, after what had happened to them. Cory wasn’t even sure, anymore, if Greg trusted him.
Jeb had returned to the residence hall, where he shared an apartment with Cordell and two other teammates. He went to his room and got ready for bed. He took care of his bodily needs, before he turned out the lights. He got into bed and stared up at the ceiling, as his thoughts kept returning to his conversation with Greg and Cory. He was shocked and mortified that any Christian would commit such a horrible crime against one of their own flesh and blood. Though his father had preached very forcefully against homosexuality, he had never advocated violence against people who were gay. At least, that is how Jeb saw it. However, in light of Greg and Cory’s experience, he could see how some members of his own congregation might use his Dad’s sermons as an excuse to harm gays. His Dad had said, many times, that the church could not tolerate homosexuality; and that church members needed to avoid it, and needed to make sure they protected their children against it.
That last thought caught his attention – protecting their children from homosexuality might be the reason people justified doing injury to gays, and making statements like, “All gays should be killed.” Jeb tried to reconcile his beliefs with what had happened to Greg and Cory. How could anyone, who truly believed in the teachings of Jesus, justify killing another human being? Hadn’t Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees, that the man without sin should be the first to cast the stone to kill the woman taken in adultery, but none had come forward? He reached over and flipped on the light on his nightstand. Jeb grabbed his Bible, and searched for the passage he was thinking about in the New Testament. After a few moments, he found it in the Gospel of John, Chapter 8, and read:
“1Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” – John 8:1-11, King James Version
Jeb closed the book, and turned out the light again. He thought to himself, “Wasn’t homosexuality a sin, similar to being taken in adultery? Could true followers of Jesus claim they were sinless, when all men were sinners before God? Could true Christians attack gays, without being convicted of sin, themselves, just as the scribes and Pharisees had been?” Jeb’s thoughts continued to torment him, as he tried to understand why so many of his fellow Christians heaped so much hate and persecution on gays. He finally decided to call his father in the morning, and ask him the questions that had been plaguing him all night.
The next morning arrived with Cordell awakening to the sight of Michael’s beautiful face. Michael looked so peaceful and content. As he continued to watch Michael as he slept, Cordell felt a warmth and closeness to Michael he had never felt toward anyone else. Cordell wondered if this was what it was supposed to be like, when you find your soul mate. Sure, Cordell had plenty of experience fucking women; but he had never felt anything for them, not like this. He enjoyed having sex with women, and he appreciated their beauty; but, having sex with Michael had taken him to a new plane of existence. It was like they had connected on so many levels, both physically and emotionally, as they mutually pleasured each other.
Michael must have felt Cordell’s gaze, because, at that moment, he opened his eyes and looked into Cordell’s eyes. Michael smiled, and said, “Good morning, Babe.”
Cordell returned Michael’s smile, and replied, “Good morning.” He leaned over and kissed Michael, gently, on the lips. “I want to tell you something, but you have to promise not to laugh at me, or think I am crazy.”
Michael said, “I promise I won’t laugh, or think you’re crazy.”
Cordell said, “I think I am falling in love with you, Michael. I know we just met, but I have never felt as close to anyone, as I do to you. Do you understand what I am trying to say?”
Michael smiled, and said, “Yes, I understand what you're trying to say, and I feel the same way you do. My friends will think I have totally lost it, when I tell them I have found Mr. Right.”
Cordell laughed. “So, you think I’m Mr. Right?”
Michael nodded his head. “I do.”
“What shall we do about it, Michael? I’m so scared, right now. I’m afraid I will wake up, and find out that this is all a dream,” Cordell said.
“I think we should take it one step at a time. We need to give each other time to adjust to being boyfriends; then, we can talk about whether or not we want our relationship to become permanent, like in getting married,” Michael said.
Cordell smiled. “I think you have the right idea, Michael. I tend to over analyze things, and get really wound up about little stuff.”
Michael kissed Cordell passionately. Cordell was surprised at the intensity of Michael’s kiss. Wow! His body reacted immediately to Michael’s kiss, and Cordell returned Michael’s kiss, with equal fervor.
Rick woke up before Glenn. He untangled himself from Glenn, and made his way to their en suite. After relieving himself, he returned to their bedroom, to find Glenn smiling at him, as he approached their bed.
I said, “Good morning, Rick.”
I said, “Good morning, Rick.”
“Good morning, Babe,” Rick responded. “How are you feeling, this morning?”
“I’m feeling a lot better. My nose is still a little tender, but it doesn’t hurt like it did, last night,” I replied. “I have some bruises on my chest, and those two ribs hurt, a little; but I can move around without pain, for the most part.”
Rick smiled, “Good. Are you ready for a shower?”
I grinned. “I am, if you are.”
Rick pulled me to my feet, and escorted me into our en suite. He turned on the shower and adjusted the temperature. I gave his body a close inspection, as I relieved myself. He turned, and caught me looking him over. He grinned, and said, “I believe our shower is ready.”
He reached over and took me by the hand. We spent a great deal of time in the shower! Afterward, we dried each other off, and got dressed for the day. Rick pulled me into his arms, and I melted into him. Rick lifted my chin, and kissed me. He pulled back, and said, “I love you, Mr. Nielsen.”
“I love you, too,” I said. “Let’s get some breakfast. I’m starving.”
Rick nodded his head in agreement. We walked into our kitchen, and quickly divided up the cooking duties. I made pancakes on the griddle, while Rick cooked the sausages and eggs. We grabbed some orange juice from the fridge, to go with the rest of the food. We sat down, and held hands, as I said grace.
After we had both eaten, Rick asked, “What are we going to tell Keith and Kerry?”
I looked at him for a moment, then said, “I don’t know, Rick. I’m okay with being Egan’s godfathers, but I am not so sure I want to subject myself to the likes of a pastor, or parish priest, to determine if we are worthy candidates to be godparents.”
“Do you know which church Keith and Kerry go to on Sundays?” Rick asked.
“I don’t know, because I haven’t gone with them to church. They know how we feel about organized religion, and haven’t bothered us about going to church, or about our religious beliefs,” I said.
“I remember Keith telling me they were looking for a church, right after they got married; but, I don’t remember Keith saying anything more about it after that,” Rick said.
“Does it make a difference?” I asked.
“No, not really,” Rick said.
“I think we can say, ‘Yes,’ but that we won’t agree to being interviewed by their church leader, whether it be a pastor, priest or minister. Would that be okay?” I asked.
“I doubt that their church will agree to let us be godfathers without being interviewed by someone,” Rick said. “We might as well tell Keith and Kerry we won’t do it.”
“My parents didn’t have godparents for us kids, when we were baptized. It isn’t a requirement for baptism. I don’t know much about being a godparent. Aren’t godparents supposed to help you become a faithful member of the church?” I asked Rick.
“Yes, I think so,” Rick answered, uncertainly. “Maybe we should talk to Keith and Kerry about what exactly we would be expected to do.”
“Or, we could research it on the internet,” I said.
Rick nodded his head, and said, “Let’s clean up the kitchen, first, then we can look it up on-line, before we call Keith.”
We quickly cleared the table. I washed the dishes, while Rick dried, and put them away. I had just let the water out of the sink and dried my hands, when Rick put his arms around my waist and leaned down to nibble on my ear. I turned my head, and met his lips for a fantastic kiss. I turned and slipped my arms around his neck, pulling him in for another kiss. I pulled back, and looked into Rick’s beautiful eyes. I said, “If we keep this up, we won’t be talking to anyone, today.”
Rick laughed, and tightened his hold on me. “That’s the whole idea.” He kissed me, again. We were rudely interrupted by a knock on the door. Rick squeezed my package, and said, “This will have to wait until later.”
He released me, and walked into the foyer. He looked out the peep hole in the door. He opened the door, and said, “Come in, Keith.”
Keith saw me standing in the doorway, and noticed how aroused I was, and said, “I’m sorry. Was I interrupting anything?”
Rick grinned. “As a matter of fact, you did, but it’s too late now. Glenn will have to wait until tonight.”
Keith laughed. “Sorry, Glenn. I won’t be long. What did you guys decide?”
Rick asked, “We need some information, first. What exactly will be required of us?”
Keith said, “We are going to have Egan baptized in the Anglican Church. They require that at least one of the godparents be a member of the church. They also want you to attend a couple of classes, then sign a statement that you will teach the boy to attend church, pray, read the Bible, etc.”
When Keith finished, he looked at Rick, then at me. He could see we weren’t very enthusiastic about the whole idea. He started to speak, but I interrupted him, “Keith, we want to be Egan’s godfathers, but we don’t want anything to do with the church. I, for my part, can’t promise to take him to the Anglican Church.”
Rick nodded his head in agreement. “Nor I,” he said.
Keith said, “I thought that would be your answer. Kerry wanted to ask you guys anyway, even though we knew how you both feel about organized religion.”
“We are honored you would ask us, Keith, but I can’t, in good conscious, make a commitment like that. We promise we will do everything we can to watch over Egan, and to teach him to be kind and generous to everyone,” I said.
Keith smiled, “That is good enough for me, Glenn. I will let Kerry know. I’m going to hit the sack. I’m so tired, I could sleep a week.”
Rick walked over and hugged Keith. “Go get some sleep, Daddy!”
Keith beamed at Rick. “I kind of like being called, ‘Daddy.’ I think you will, too, when the time comes, Rick.”
Rick glanced over at me. I smiled, and slid my arm around his waist. “Rick will make a wonderful father, someday.”
Keith nodded his head in agreement. “Both of you will make great Dads. I will see you guys, later.”
Keith opened the door, and disappeared down the hallway. Rick closed the door, and turned to me. “Did you remember we're meeting the rest of the guys for lunch, then we’re going to tour the aquarium and the Coca-Cola plant?”
“Yes, I did remember,” I said.
Rick’s cell phone rang, and he fished it out of his pocket. He answered it, “Hey, Michael!”
Michael said, “Hello, Rick. I was calling to see if we could join you guys, today.”
Rick asked, “Who is the WE that will be joining us?”
Michael laughed. “I’m sorry. You and Glenn had left, when we met these two guys from Georgia Tech at the Mellow Mushroom last night. Cordell and I spent the night together, and we would like to come over. I want you to meet him.”
Rick said, “Michael, do you mean to say you have found yourself a boyfriend?”
“Yes, and I want you to meet him,” Michael said.
“Alright, then,” Rick said. “Bring Cordell over. We’re meeting the rest of the gang for lunch. If you want to meet us here, we can go over to the aquarium together.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Michael said. “We will be there shortly.”
Rick hung up, then turned to me, with a smile. “Our Michael has found himself a new boyfriend.”
“Cool! I can’t wait to meet him. I hope he is a decent guy. Michael deserves to have the best,” I said.
We didn’t have long to wait before two very happy guys arrived at our door. As soon as Rick opened the door, Michael wrapped his arms around Rick, and gave him a great big hug. Rick said, “Whoa, there! What’s up?”
Michael released Rick, stepped back, and replied, “I’m just so happy I had to give you a hug, Rick.” He turned, and pulled Cordell inside the condo. He said, “Rick, I want you to meet Cordell Taylor.”
Cordell extended his hand toward Rick. “Rick, I am glad to meet you. Michael has told me a lot about you.”
Rick took in Cordell’s open expression, and heard the genuine pleasure in his voice, and decided he liked Cordell. He took Cordell’s hand and shook it. “Come inside, Cordell. This is my life partner, Glenn.” Rick turned to me.
That was the first time I was able to get a good look at Michael’s new boyfriend. I gave him the once over, and whistled. “Damn, Michael, you didn’t tell us you found yourself a real stud!”
Cordell blushed. “I’m just a regular guy, Glenn.”
Michael put his arm around Cordell. “Don’t let him fool you, Glenn. Cordell is totally awesome in bed, and he knows it.”
Cordell blushed an even deeper color of red, at Michael’s praises. “Guys, can we stop talking about me.”
Rick laughed. “I agree with Cordell. We should stop embarrassing him.”
“But it is so much fun,” I said. “Anyway, it’s nice to meet you, Cordell. Please come in, and sit down. We want to know more about you.”
Michael looked over at Cordell, and said, “It’s okay, Cordell. Glenn and Rick are good friends. You can trust them.”
I looked over, to see Cordell’s frown turn into a smile, upon hearing Michael’s reassurances about me and Rick. “Let me guess – you’re on the football team, and haven’t come out to your teammates.”
Cordell’s mouth fell open in surprise. Rick laughed, and said, “You can close your mouth now, Cordell. It’s not hard to see you aren’t all the way out of the closet, yet.”
Michael said, “It is kind of obvious, Cordell. Last night was Cordell’s first time with a guy.”
“Have you decided for sure you want to be with Michael, more than with a woman?” Rick asked Cordell.
Cordell sat down heavily on the couch, where Michael joined him. “I don’t know for sure, to be honest, Rick. I have never felt this way, when I’m with a girl. There is something between me and Michael – a connection. I want to explore it further, but at the same time, I'm scared.”
Michael said, “I feel the same way. Cordell and I wanted to talk to you guys about it. We want a stable, loving relationship, like what you have; but we’re afraid of screwing up.”
Rick and I sat down, together, on the loveseat, and Rick replied, “The most important thing to remember is to always be considerate of your partner. If you're always trying to make your partner happy, you’ll find ways to work through the rough spots.”
“How are you going to keep your relationship from your teammates, Cordell?” I asked.
Michael spoke up, before Cordell could respond, “That is a huge problem, Glenn. His roommate is about as homophobic as they come. Jeb’s Dad is a minister, who has strongly condemned homosexuality, and Jeb is completely brainwashed.”
Cordell said, “Jeb is a good guy, Michael. You shouldn’t knock him, just because he is religious. Jeb was really shocked by what Greg and Cory told him. I have never seen him as upset as he was last night. I wouldn’t doubt he spent most of the night trying to reconcile his beliefs, with what happened to Greg and Cory. I know if it were me, I would be seriously questioning everything I had been taught about loving one another. You know the thing your mother always told you when you were growing up – treat others the way you want to be treated. You have to remember Jeb is away from home for the first time, and he is encountering many new things.”
“I thought Jeb was the same age as you,” Michael said.
“No, he just turned 18, a few months ago. He’s a freshman, and he just moved into the residence hall with us. We had two openings, and I managed to get Jeb and another one of our teammates into our apartment.”
Michael said, “That explains why he was so upset, and why he pushed back at the guys so much.”
Cordell nodded. “I hope Greg and Cory aren’t still mad at him. Jeb really is a nice kid, and is still trying to figure out who he is, and what he really believes. We have had several discussions about his religion, since he arrived.”
Rick looked at his watch. “I think we need to be going, or we will be late.”
We exited the condo, and made our way down to the parking lot. We climbed in the Land Rover, and drove over to the aquarium. As we came in the main entrance, we saw our friends waiting for us. As we joined them, Greg called out to Michael, “I can see who got laid last night!”
This time it was Michael’s turn to blush. Cordell laughed. “It is kind of obvious, since I marked Michael pretty well last night.”
Greg high-fived Michael. “Way to go!”
Michael put his arm around Cordell’s waist. “Cordell is the best!” He looked up into Cordell’s eyes. Cordell smiled, leaning over to kiss Michael.
Cory said, “You football guys are all alike.”
Greg asked, “What do you mean?”
“You like to mark your territory,” Cory said, smiling at his boyfriend.
Greg grinned, and said, “Since I bit you on the neck, too, I guess you have a point.”
Cory brought his hand up to the place where Greg had marked him, and rubbed it, “Yes, you gave me quite a bruise, Greg.”
Greg gave Cory a contrite look, and said, “I’m sorry, Cory. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
This time, it was Cory who put his arm around Greg’s waist, and stole a quick kiss. “It’s okay, Greg. I was just commenting on the similarities between you two.”
Cordell laughed. “I guess I kind of got out of control, a bit, last night.”
Greg turned to Cordell. “Don’t say anything else, Cordell. You will just give Cory more ammunition.”
Cordell smiled, and said, “You’re right. Let’s just say Michael and I enjoyed each other immensely, last night.” Cordell hesitated for a second, then said, “Greg, I hope you and Cory aren’t mad at Jeb. He really is a nice guy.”
Greg’s expression hardened. “Why shouldn’t I be mad at him?”
“Because, this is the first time he has been away from home. He has been very sheltered, and meeting you guys really opened his eyes. Greg, you gave him a lot to think about, last night. Try to put yourself in his shoes. How would you react if everything you ever believed in, turned out to be wrong, or, at least, not quite as it seemed to be?”
Greg thought for a moment, then said, “Okay, I won’t knock his block off if he opens his trap, and starts spouting his religious views at me, the next time we meet him.”
Cory said, “We will do more than that, Greg. We will be kind and courteous, as will Jeb.”
Cordell nodded his head in agreement. “I’ll make sure Jeb knows to keep his views to himself, next time.”
Greg looked at Cory, who nodded his head, encouragingly. “Okay, I guess I’m outnumbered on this subject. I’ll be civil to him.”
They turned to see that the rest of the group had gone on ahead of them. Cordell said, “Let’s catch up to the rest of the guys.”
The next day, we were up early. We had just finished packing a few things to take with us to Grandpa’s house, when we heard a knock on the door. I went to the door and opened it. I smiled, and said, “Come on in, guys. Let me show you around our little place.”
The guys were: Zach, Todd, Mark, Brandon, Justin and Brian. Patty and Irene came, as well. I heard another knock on the door, and turned to open it. There stood Greg, Cory, Michael and Cordell. I said, “Come in, and join the party.”
Everyone moved into the front room, while I went in search of Rick. I found him in our room, and said, “Everyone is here. Are you ready to go?”
Rick grinned at me, and said, “Yes, I’m ready.” He grabbed me and pinned me against the door, and proceeded to kiss me, passionately.
When he released me, I said, “If you keep that up, I’ll need to tell the rest of the guys to go on ahead of us, and we will catch up to them, later.”
Rick laughed, “Okay, we’ll have to wait, then.” He followed me into the front room.
“I’m giving tours of the place, before we take off,” I said. The guys laughed, and Patty said, “Okay, Irene and I will take the tour, but be quick.”
I led them through the condo, and we returned to find the guys were getting anxious to leave. I said, “Okay, let’s go.”
Zach smiled, “Are you sure, Glenn?”
“Yes, I’m sure, Zach,” I responded, grinning at him.
Rick grabbed our stuff, and led the way outside. I followed, as soon as everyone had exited the condo, and I locked up. We made good time, and arrived well ahead of lunchtime. Grandma had given us strict instructions to arrive before lunch, as she planned a nice meal for us.
After lunch, Grandpa took us out to the garage to show off his cars. Grandpa said, “How many of you would like to take a couple of these cars out for a spin?”
We all raised our hands, which caused Grandpa to smile. “I thought so. Okay, this is how it will work.” He explained his system, and by the end of the afternoon every one of us had driven at least two of his sports cars. I looked around at the group, and found all of them were very excited. After driving the cars, we adjourned to the swimming pool. I enjoyed every minute of it, since all of my friends are very good looking. I know Patty and Irene enjoyed the eye candy, as much as I did!
Grandpa called me and Rick inside for a moment, and asked, “Will you two handle the BBQ tonight?”
“Sure, Grandpa,” Rick said.
“Your Grandma has the meat ready to go on the grill. If you will go into the kitchen, she will give it to you,” Grandpa said.
While we grilled, the rest of the gang continued to enjoy themselves in the pool. After dinner, we settled ourselves around the deck, where Grandpa had started a fire in the fire pit. After it had burned down a bit, we brought out the marshmallows, and roasted them over the fire. Grandma provided us graham crackers and chocolate bars, to make s’mores. After we ate our treats, Grandpa asked Greg and Cory to join me and Rick in his study.
Once we were seated, Grandpa looked over at Greg and Cory. “Rick and Glenn have asked me to find a way to help you two get through school, and I think I have an answer.”
Greg and Cory looked at each other, then back at Grandpa. Greg said, “As long as it’s not charity, because we aren’t looking for a handout.”
Grandpa said, “I think you will agree it’s not a handout. I need to know a little more about what you are interested in studying at college.”
Greg said, “I want to study computer science. I enjoy working on computers. They don’t judge you like people do.”
Grandpa smiled, “I agree they don’t cause as many problems as human beings do.” He looked at Cory, and asked, “And what about you?”
Cory smiled, and replied, “I want to become an accountant. I love numbers, and I know I can do it.”
Grandpa said, “You do realize you will need to get your law degree, as well, Cory?”
Cory shook his head. “No, I didn’t know that.”
“In order for you to be really successful as an accountant, you will need a law degree. A really good tax attorney is always in demand,” Grandpa said. He looked over at me and Rick, then continued, “This is what I have in mind. You will become employees of MST, Inc. As employees, we will pay for your schooling, as long as you sign an agreement that you will work for MST, Inc., following your graduation. The length of time would be dependent on the number of years the company pays for your tuition, books, fees, room and board. You can attend whatever college, or university, you choose. After you have fulfilled your obligation to MST, Inc., you may do whatever you like. We will be happy to continue to employ you both; but should you choose to leave, that will be fine, as well.”
Greg looked at Cory, and said, “We need to talk it over between us. It sounds like a very good offer, but we need to have more details about how it will work. I’m sorry that I can’t just say yes.”
Grandpa looked Greg, with compassion in his eyes, “You’re right not to trust people, after what happened to you.” Grandpa stood up and walked over to Greg and Cory. “Now that we have talked about the business side of things, I want to talk about how we get you two back to being normal young adults.”
Greg looked up at Grandpa, with a confused look on his face. “What do you mean?”
“Come with me. I want to show you what I mean,” Grandpa said.
We all stood up, and followed Grandpa outside. I held Rick’s hand as we walked. Greg and Cory did the same. We came up alongside Grandpa, who had stopped near the swimming pool, where the rest of our friends were chatting and having a good time. Grandpa turned to Greg and Cory. “Look at them and watch their eyes, and listen to their voices.”
We listened for a while and then Grandpa said, “If you noticed, they all have a light in their eyes. You can see they are happy. The exuberance of youth shows in everything they say and do. Their voices are full of joy.”
We listened and watched, for a few minutes more. Grandpa put his hands on Greg’s shoulders, turning him until he looked him in the eyes. “Greg, we need to bring back the joy and happiness into your life. We need to see the light in your eyes, and the joy in your voice, just like what we have observed, here, tonight. We’re not miracle workers, but we can be the next best thing, and that is to make you a part of our family. No matter how far away you go, Greg, you have a home here with us. Both you and Cory are part of our family, now. I want you to remember that the whole reason for being a family, is to help each other become better people, and to bring joy and happiness into our lives, because we love each other.”
Greg’s eyes were full of tears, as Grandpa pulled him into a warm embrace. Greg stood still, trying to make sense of his emotions. This man he hardly knew was offering him everything that had been so violently stripped away from him. A place he could call home; a place where a loving family accepted him, fully, as a gay man; a place where he could begin to heal the emotional wounds his natural father had inflicted. Yes, his mother still loved him, but she was as broken up inside, as he was. While she loved and supported him, her need was as great as his own. Leaving her in Texas had been hard. He suddenly realized how much he missed his mother. The tears started coursing down his face. He hated himself for breaking down in front of this man; but he could feel the gentleness in his touch, and the quiet strength he exuded. He wished his mother’s father was like this; that he had taken him in his arms to comfort him, when they had arrived in Texas. But that was not what happened. He had been rejected and disowned by his own flesh and blood.
Grandpa said, “It’s okay to cry, Greg. You don’t have to put on a brave face for us. We know how much you are hurting, inside, and we know you need to grieve for what you have lost.” Grandpa had sensed the mental and emotional fragility of this young man. He had been observing Greg and Cory since they had arrived earlier in the day, and he had decided to help them. He knew it would be a long journey for them, but he wanted to be there for them, just as he was for Rick and Glenn. He hadn’t spoken to the rest of the family about his intentions, but he knew they would readily agree. These two boys had the makings of men of good character, and he knew, that given the right amount of love and support, they would become kind and loving individuals.
Greg’s emotional defenses came crumbling down, and he clung to Grandpa. Grandpa smoothed his hair and patted his back, as Greg let out all of the pent up sorrow and pain he felt. They stood there, until Greg regained control of himself. Grandpa released him, and put his arm around Greg’s shoulders. “Come inside, Greg. We still have much we need to talk about.”
Grandpa led Greg back inside. When Rick and I started to follow, Grandpa shook his head, and nodded for us to join our friends. Grandpa looked over at Cory, and said, “Please come with us, Cory.”
We watched, as Grandpa took them inside. I looked at Rick, and said, “Grandpa always has the answers.”
Rick replied, “Yes, he does.”
We rejoined our friends, and sat down with Zach and Todd. Zach asked, “Where are Greg and Cory?”
“They are talking with Grandpa,” I said.
Todd said, “I hope they decided to attend the University of Minnesota with us. They seem to be really cool guys.”
“Yeah, I think they would fit in very nicely with the rest of us,” Zach said.
“Grandpa offered to help them with their education, but they wanted to think about it,” Rick said.
Todd looked surprised. “What is there to think about?”
“It has more to do with what happened to Greg and Cory a few months ago, than it does with the offer to help them. Greg doesn’t trust anyone, right now,” I said.
Zach said, “We gathered that, from being around them, last night. I know you told us what happened, but I guess it didn’t really sink in, until I met them.”
Todd said, “It’s the same here. I think Justin would be a good influence on them, because of his experiences.”
Justin overheard us say his name, and came over to join us. He pulled up a patio chair, and sat down. He had just climbed out of the swimming pool, and looked extremely sexy as he sat there with a big grin on his face. “What is this about me?”
Zach laughed. “If I weren’t married, I would be tempted to take you to bed, right now!”
Justin grinned, and said, “I have to keep up with you two, because I don’t want my husband to stray.”
Todd and Zach both laughed. Todd said, “Brian has eyes only for you, Justin. It’s almost like we don’t even exist, when you’re in the room.”
Justin blushed, but continued grinning. “That’s why I married him. But you haven’t said why you were talking about me.”
I looked over at Justin, with a broad smile, and said, “I can’t think straight, because you’re so distracting. I completely lost any thought I had in my head, when you sat down.”
Rick lightly slapped me on the back of my head. “Stop drooling over the poor boy.” Rick leaned over and kissed me, to take the sting out of his words. He continued to speak, “See what I have to put up with, Justin?”
Justin nodded his head. “Yes, I’ve seen this side of Glenn, many times.”
I started to protest, but Zach interrupted me, “Don’t incriminate yourself, Glenn. We all know we’ve been fantasy material for you, at one time, or another.”
Rick laughed, and said, “Glenn, I think you’ve been found out!”
I was blushing furiously, by now. Todd, seeing my discomfort, came to my rescue, “It’s okay, Glenn. It is rather flattering to know you think we are good looking enough to compare to your stud.”
Rick put his arm around my shoulders. “Todd is right. It’s pretty hard to compare them to the perfect man!”
I laughed, “Yes, you are the perfect man for me!”
Zach and Todd nodded their heads in agreement. Justin said, “Yes, Rick is the only man for you. The rest of us may be good looking, and hot as hell, but we aren’t the perfect man for you. Rick outshines us all, in your eyes, and that is why you two should get married.”
Rick said, “We plan on it, when I am free of my obligation to the military.”
Justin nodded his head. “I know you have said that, Rick, but is it possible you could get married before that time?”
“I don’t think so, given the current state of affairs with the military,” Rick said.
Justin said, “Hopefully, things will change. Until then, Glenn, you will have to be patient.”
“I know,” I said, trying to sound positive about it, but failing miserably. I decided to change the subject, “Justin, the reason we were talking about you, is that we think you will be able to help Greg, if he decides to attend the University of Minnesota with the rest of the guys.”
“Why do you think that?” Justin asked. Justin’s deep tan and perfect swimmer’s body were a beautiful sight, especially since he was wearing a nice, tight fitting, bright blue speedo that showed off his package. He absently reached down and adjusted himself, which made it even more difficult for me to respond.
Rick laughed, and said, “Justin, you have our complete attention, to the point we are all having difficulty concentrating.”
Justin looked around, and saw that what Rick said was true. He laughed. “I’m sorry, guys. Maybe we should go inside and have a jerk off session, so we can have a discussion without you all getting so horny.”
Zach grinned and said, “I like your idea.”
“I do, too,” Todd agreed.
Rick looked at me to see my reaction. I said, “I’m good with it. Let’s use our room, since we have a larger shower than the others.”
Rick grinned, “Okay, guys! Let’s go.”
We got up and went inside. As we passed Brian, I said, “Brian, please join us for a moment.”
Brian looked up in surprise, but his look turned to comprehension, when he saw the aroused state of his husband. He grinned, and put his arm around Justin’s waist. We walked through the house, and up to our room. We quickly stripped off our swimsuits, revealing a fabulous view of a very aroused group of guys!
I grinned at Rick, and said, “Shall we have our usual competition?”
Rick laughed, and looked around the room at our friends. “I think we shall. Let’s see if any of you has improved since our last competition.”
Zach said, “I think we'll beat you this time.”
I walked into our en suite, and turned on the shower, adjusting the temperature. I turned on the other two showers, as well. With all of us in the shower, I was very thankful my grandparents had given us the room with a large shower.
Rick kissed me, then said, “Let the games begin!”
We returned to the pool deck a while later, much more relaxed and able to focus on something other than Justin’s package.
As we left the house, Justin said, “Now we can concentrate on the issues at hand.”
“I hope so,” I said, laughing. “It’s your fault, since you’re so sexy, Justin.”
Brian said, “Yes, Justin is almost too sexy for his own good.”
It was Justin’s turn to blush. “Guys, I can’t help it that I am the best looking of the bunch.”
Patty and Irene were talking with my parents when we sat down at a patio table. Patty got up, and came over to our table. “Where did you guys go?”
We looked at each other, then burst out laughing. Patty asked, “What’s so funny?”
“You don’t want to know, Patty,” I said. “It has nothing to do with you, but I promise you don’t want to know.”
Mark and Brandon climbed out of the pool and joined us. Mark said, “I know what they were doing, Patty. They were so horny they had to jerk off.”
Brandon said, “It was pretty obvious why they went inside.”
Shaking her head, Patty said, “You were right, Glenn. I didn’t want to know.”
Michael and Cordell were still in the pool. Brandon looked over at them, and said, “Michael and Cordell are definitely falling for each other.”
Mark said, “I agree with Brandon. Those two are an item.”
“I’m happy for them,” I said. “I’m hoping Greg and Cory join you guys at the University of Minnesota. They need a lot of support, right now.”
Mark said, “I agree with you, Glenn. If they do decide to join us, we will keep an eye on them.”
We didn’t see Greg or Cory the rest of the evening. I was very curious to know what Grandpa had to say to them. Rick and I retired to our room after bidding everyone “good night.”
Rick took me in his arms and kissed me. Then we stripped off our swimsuits and jumped into the shower together. As always, our shower turned into a major make out session. We dried each other off, then continued making love to each other after climbing into our bed.