Chapter One Hundred Nineteen – Summer in Madrid
The next morning, Joey awoke with a start. He had been dreaming about Tyler and the girls. The dream had been so vivid. They were on the beach enjoying the sun and sand. He had felt very happy as he held Tyler’s hand. He looked at the clock on the night stand, and saw that it was 7 AM. He put his hand on Tyler’s arm and felt him tighten his hold on him as if Tyler were afraid of losing him. He caressed his lover’s arm and felt Tyler nuzzle his hair. Soon, Tyler was nibbling on his earlobe. Joey could feel that Tyler was very much aroused, and Joey felt a thrill of anticipation run down his spine. He loved their morning make out sessions! It was one the main differences between being married to Kathy, who never wanted sex in the morning, and being married to Tyler, who ALWAYS wanted sex first thing in the morning! He had sometimes thought that maybe he should have married another woman to look after his girls; but every morning, he was grateful he had married Tyler! This man always knew exactly what he needed! Kathy had never been as attentive to his needs and wants. It had always been about her. Their married life had centered on Kathy’s wants and needs, and her temper tantrums if her demands weren’t met. To Joey, Tyler was a perfect husband. He was thoughtful and kind. He made Joey feel like he was the center of Tyler’s universe. His thoughts were interrupted by Tyler’s insistent kisses, causing a haze of lust to cloud his mind. All coherent thought ceased as Joey’s body responded to his husband’s caresses.
Later they heard a light tap on their door. Tyler reached down and pulled the sheet up, covering their nakedness. “Come in!”
The door opened and Sr. Nájera entered with a breakfast tray. “Buenos días, mis hijos. Aquí está su desayuno. Lo voy a poner aquí en la mesa.” (“Good morning, my sons. Here is your breakfast. I’ll set it here on the table.)
“Thank you, Papá,” Tyler said. Joey and Tyler had started speaking Spanish exclusively over the last few weeks to help Joey’s conversational skills improve. It seemed to be working, because Joey’s ability to participate in conversations over dinner, and in other situations, had increased exponentially. They had used English during last night’s discussion; before that, it had been nearly two weeks since they had spoken in English. Tyler hoped that Joey’s progress would continue, despite having their friends staying with them for the summer.
Sr. Nájera left the room, quietly closing the door behind him. Tyler sat up and said, “Let’s eat.”
Joey slipped out of bed and brought the tray back, setting it between them. As they ate, Tyler asked, “I hope you can keep using Spanish while our friends are here.”
“I don’t think you have to worry, Tyler. Glenn and Rick are already fluent Spanish speakers, and Greg and Cory took a Spanish class last semester. They won’t be fluent, but they both want to become proficient enough to navigate the streets of Madrid on their own,” Joey said, lightly caressing his husband’s arm.
Tyler smiled and apologized, “I’m sorry if I’m nagging you.”
Joey smiled back at his husband. “You’re not nagging me. I need you to help keep me motivated when I get frustrated.”
Tyler said, “When you speak Spanish, you’re starting to sound like a native Madrileño. Even Mamá and Papá have commented on how quickly you’ve lost your accent.”
Joey positively glowed upon hearing Tyler’s praise. He had been working very hard at improving his conversational Spanish, and Tyler’s comments made him feel good about his efforts. Tyler noticed Joey’s happy expression and took a mental note to praise Joey more often. He knew it was a small thing, but it could pay huge dividends in their relationship. Yes, his father had already told him that it was the little things that kept a marriage going; but he hadn’t really paid too much attention to the little things until just this moment. It was no wonder things hadn’t been going as smoothly for them as they could have!
They finished eating and took a quick shower. Tyler had a 10 AM class and didn’t have much time to make the next train into town. They helped each other get dressed, and went downstairs.
Rachel ran up to Tyler and wrapped her little arms around one leg. She looked up at him and said, “Dad, I love you.”
Tyler dropped his back pack to the floor, and leaned down to scoop Rachel into his arms. He kissed her cheek which was sticky with jam. “I love you, too, munchkin.”
Her laughter rang out clear and tinkling, like a little bell. “I’m not a munchkin. I’m a little girl.”
Tyler smiled and replied, “You’re a little girl who is a munchkin.”
She said, “Dad, you’re silly.”
Tyler said, “I’m not silly. Your Daddy is the one who is silly. He told me you were a munchkin and I believed him.”
She looked over at Joey and asked, “Did you tell Dad that I’m a munchkin?”
Joey took their daughter from Tyler’s arms and said, “Yes, I did. You and Sarah are our little munchkins.”
She laughed and said, “Okay, I’ll be your little munchkin.” She kissed her Daddy’s cheek.
“We need to wash your face, munchkin. You’re all sticky,” Joey said.
“Abuela gave us some jam on our toast,” Rachel said.
“It must have been really good, because it’s all over your face,” Tyler said.
She nodded her head vigorously. “It was. Abuela said it was quince jam.”
Tyler said, “It’s really more of a paste than jam, but it’s still good. Abuela likes guava paste, too.”
Joey said, “I’m glad you liked it Rachel. I like it with cheese and crackers.”
They walked into the kitchen where they found Sra. Nájera clearing the table. Sarah was in her high chair. Tyler went over to her and kissed the top of her head. “Good morning, Sarah.”
She gurgled a sound that was her version of ‘good morning.’ Sra. Nájera said, “Good morning, boys. I’ll have the guest rooms ready for your friends’ arrival. They will be very tired then get here tomorrow morning.”
Joey said, “Yes, they will be. Their flight from Thunder Bay leaves this morning and takes them to Toronto where they have a long layover. Then, they fly to London, and from there to Madrid.”
“We know all about that long flight,” Tyler said. “We had that same itinerary when we flew out here a few months ago.”
“The girls were pretty good, given the length of time they had to be in their seats,” Joey said.
Tyler said, “I was very proud of Rachel for helping entertain Sarah during the flight.”
Joey said, “Yes, Rachel is a big help, especially where it concerns her sister.” He put Rachel down. He walked over to the kitchen sink and turned on the tap. He took out a clean wash cloth from the drawer next to the sink and got it wet, ringing out the excess water. He took the damp cloth and walked over to Rachel. He knelt down and wiped Rachel’s face, cleaning off the sticky quince paste from her cheeks. “There! You’re all clean.”
Rachel raised her hands and said, “Daddy, my hands are sticky, too.”
Joey obediently washed her hands for her. “Now, your hands are clean, too.”
Rachel pointed to her sister, “Sarah is sticky.”
Joey stood up and asked, “Sarah, are you sticky, too?” She nodded her head, holding up her hands. “Okay, let’s clean your face, too.” Sarah patiently submitted to having her face and hands washed. Joey wiped down the tray and returned the wash cloth to the sink.
Tyler pulled Joey into his arms and kissed him. “I’ll see you this afternoon.”
Joey said, “I love you. Have a great day at school.”
“I love you, too,” Tyler said. He grabbed his backpack on the way out to the garage. He jumped on his scooter and backed it out of their garage. Normally, Tyler liked riding the scooter, but on days like today, he wished he had a slightly faster vehicle! But, then again, he would have to find a place to park it. He reached the train station and parked the scooter. He barely made the next train and settled into a seat next to the window. His thoughts centered on their discussions with the Scarboroughs. He knew what they offered was exactly what they needed. He originally had doubts about accepting their generosity, but the more he thought about it, the more he liked it as a solution to their dilemma.
He figured that he could get a high paying job after school, then, they could repay the Scarboroughs. It got them out of a lopsided financial relationship with his parents. That alone would bring a measure of peace to their marriage! He had never dreamed that there were so many little things that could prove to be irritants in a marriage.
He arrived at his stop and disembarked. After his classes were finished for the day, he made his way to the dean’s office. Sra. Flaubert invited him to her office.
“What can I do for you Sr. Damasiewicz?” she asked.
“I would like to ask for your advice,” he said.
She said, “Please take a seat.”
He sat down across from her and said, “Last night, we had a conversation with a friend of ours. He has proposed a business deal.” He went on to explain all of the particulars.
When he had finished, she said, “I think you would be foolish not to take advantage of such a generous offer. There are very few people in the world who get such an opportunity presented to them.”
Tyler said, “I agree with you. The Scarboroughs are very unusual people. I’ve never met anyone who puts as much trust in their family and friends. They are a very tight-knit group.”
Sra. Flaubert nodded her head in understanding. “It is very unusual these days; however, it wasn’t that long ago that such close family ties were the norm. You are very fortunate, Mr. Damasiewicz. I am acquainted with your adoptive parents, the Nájeras. I would talk with him about your situation. He has long been a successful businessman here in Madrid. He will be a great asset to you, if you decide to go into business for yourself.”
Tyler stood up and said, “Thank you for your time.”
“Good luck,” she responded, with a smile.
He left her office and walked to the train station. When he arrived home, he was greeted by a very excited Rachel. She ran to meet him, with her arms outstretched. He put down his back pack by the door and knelt down to give her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
“I missed you, Dad,” Rachel said. “I’m glad you’re home.”
He stood up with Rachel in his arms. Before he could move out of the foyer, Joey enfolded them both in a bear hug. Joey kissed Tyler and said, “Welcome home, Babe.”
Rachel said, “Daddy missed you, too.”
Tyler rubbed noses with his husband and said, “I know he did, Rachel.”
Rachel kissed her Daddy’s cheek and said, “I love you, Daddy.”
“I love you, too, munchkin,” Joey said.
Joey released his husband and they walked hand in hand into the kitchen. “I’ve been talking to Sr. Nájera about Mr. Scarborough’s business proposition.”
“What does he think?” Tyler asked.
“His advice is for us to go ahead. He thinks Mr. Scarborough’s plans are good ones. He volunteered to help us get started, that is if we want his assistance,” Joey said.
Tyler said, “Then, we should call Mr. Scarborough and have a discussion with him and Sr. Nájera about how we would work things out between us. I talked with Sra. Flaubert about Mr. Scarborough’s proposal. She thought we should proceed with it.”
Joey smiled. “I think that we are being watched over by an army of guardian angels.”
Tyler asked, “Why do you think that?”
“Ever since you agreed to marry me, everything has turned out perfectly. Even our problems have been solved in amazing ways,” Joey said.
“You’re right about that. Since we’ve decided to take Mr. Scarborough’s offer to buy our homes for us, we need to talk to Mom and Dad about it,” Tyler said.
“I think they will be relieved, because it frees up their funds. I know Dad has been feeling rather locked into things,” Joey said.
“I know. He isn’t used to living on such a tight budget. We have plenty for our needs, but there isn’t much left over,” Tyler said. “The more I think about it, this whole thing with the Scarborough family is truly a miracle.”
They entered the kitchen and set Rachel down on her feet. She ran to her chair and climbed up to the table. Hank and Louise were sitting at the table with the Nájeras, drinking coffee.
Tyler and Joey sat down at the table. Tyler said, “Mom and Dad, we have some good news.”
Hank asked, “What news is that?”
Tyler explained the situation with the Scarboroughs and when he had finished, he said, “We think it will be a good thing for you, as it will be for us.”
Hank looked across the table at his wife. Louise smiled and said, “It’s an answer to our prayers.” Louise had always been the religious one in the family.
“It is that,” Hank said. He looked over at Sr. Nájera. “What do you think, Alejandro?”
“I think you should do it,” Sr. Nájera replied.
Hank nodded his head in agreement. “Okay, we’ll do it. When do you want to call Mr. Scarborough?”
“We can call him right now,” Tyler said.
Joey pulled out his cell phone and dialed the number. When Grandpa answered, Joey said, “I’m going to put you on speaker, so all of us can hear you. I’m here with Tyler, Tyler’s parents, and with our adopted parents, the Nájeras. We would like you to explain how things would work.”
Grandpa spent the next 30 minutes outlining what he had told Tyler and Joey the night before, with some additional information he had received after consulting with his lawyers. When he was finished, Tyler said, “I think we are all in agreement that we wish to move ahead with what you have proposed.”
Grandpa responded, “Splendid! I’ll have the paperwork drawn up on this end. Alejandro, I will have my lawyers contact you to get the information about how things need to be done there in Spain.”
Sr. Nájera said, “I will be glad assist you. I will also contact our lawyers here to make sure everything meets Spanish legal requirements.”
“Thank you,” Grandpa said.
They ended the call and Joey looked around the table and said, “I’m glad that things are working out for all of us.”
Louise smiled and said, “It is a huge relief for us. We made a commitment to you two to help you get started in life, and we’re honoring that commitment. However, we didn’t realize what a dramatic change it would be for us. This new business venture is an answer to my prayers, to find a way to keep our commitment to you, and to relieve some of the stress we have all been feeling since we moved to Spain.”
Hank said, “Both houses in Málaga will be ready next week. We plan to move in as soon as possible. We don’t have much here, since we sold most of our furniture.”
Joey said, “And it will be a perfect time for us to get our beach house ready. I don’t think the guys will object to helping us out next week.”
Tyler said, “I won’t be able to go with you, this time.”
Joey said, “But you can come down for the weekend, then, we can return to Madrid with you on the following Monday.”
Tyler said, “That sounds like a plan.”
Sr. Nájera said, “Hank and Louise, since your financial situation is going to change dramatically in the near future, you might want to consider investing in an apartment building here in the city. In fact, you could live in one of the apartments when you’re in town. I know of plans to build a new high rise near here, if you are interested. I have thought of investing in it, myself.”
Hank looked at Sr. Nájera and said, “That sounds like something to consider. What do you think, Louise?”
“I need to be careful, dear. Remember, we don’t want to become as cash strapped as we have been,” Louise said.
Sr. Nájera said, “That is a very good point, Louise. I think that, if we work it right, we should be able to leverage your assets.”
Joey said, “You could talk to Mr. Scarborough about investing in the venture, as well.”
They sat around the table discussing the possibilities that had presented themselves as a result of their conversation with Grandpa. Joey noted Tyler’s doubtful looks and leaned over to him. He whispered, “What’s the matter?”
Tyler shook his head and mouthed, “Later.”
The older generation was very excited and continued to talk animatedly about their plans. Joey said, “Please excuse us.”
Sr. Nájera smiled and said, “Of course.”
Joey took Tyler by the hand and led him upstairs to their room. They sat down side by side on their bed. “Okay, what is on your mind?”
“I’m worried that Mom and Dad will end up in the same financial situation they are seeking to escape,” Tyler said.
Joey said, “I was thinking the same thing. Maybe, we should talk to Mr. Scarborough about it. I’m sure he will have some good advice.”
Tyler shook his head. “I don’t like throwing all of our problems at the feet of a stranger. I really don’t know him. I’ve never met him, and we’ve only talked to him a couple of times on the phone. As it is, we are entrusting our entire financial future to him. It scares me, Joey, to hand over so much control to someone else. I know it sounds like I’m being ungrateful, but I can’t help being a little skeptical of a situation that sounds almost too good to be true. I’ve never heard of anyone offering to buy someone’s home for them, and let them live there rent free. Add to that, the fact that the Scarboroughs have given us money for college, and have offered to make us part of their family business. It all sounds like a scam to me. How can anyone have that kind of money? Who in their right mind would do such a thing? Most rich people guard their money very closely, and don’t just give it away. I’m really having a hard time reconciling what I’ve seen of the business world, and what Mr. Scarborough is proposing to do for us.”
Joey, still holding his husband’s hand, said, “I think Mr. Scarborough considers us part of his family, and that is the reason why he is willing to do things for us that wouldn’t make sense, otherwise.”
“Why would he consider us part of his family? Yes, I know that he adopted Greg as his son, but that still doesn’t explain how he would think of us as part of his family,” Tyler said. “There has to be a catch somewhere. Think about it, Joey. There has to be something in it for him. People don’t just do things out of the goodness of their hearts, Joey. My problem is I can’t see what advantage Mr. Scarborough gains by investing in us and our future. Where is the benefit to him?”
Joey put his hand up to Tyler’s face. He cupped his cheek and looked deeply into his eyes. “I don’t understand it either; but I do know one thing that might explain it. The fact that Greg is still our brother-in-law and that Rachel and Sarah are his nieces may be the reason Mr. Scarborough is interested in our welfare. Think about it, Tyler. Greg is Mr. Scarborough’s adopted son. Greg loves Rachel and Sarah. You saw that when Greg and Cory stayed with us. Don’t you think Greg would want to use his new family’s wealth to secure his family’s future? Rachel and Sarah are all that Greg has left of his sister, Tyler. Despite how Kathy may have felt about Greg’s homosexuality, she was still his sister. Now that she’s gone, Greg feels he needs to be there for them, since their mother won’t be, to help them.”
Tyler said, “But I’m here for them. Doesn’t Greg think I’ll be up to meeting their needs?”
“It’s not about you, Tyler. Greg feels a certain responsibility toward his sister’s children. It wouldn’t matter if you were a millionaire and could give them everything they will ever want. Greg wants to be part of their lives, Tyler. He has been adopted into the Scarborough family, but it’s not the same as your own flesh and blood. Our daughters are his blood relatives. Think about it, Tyler. If something happened to us, they would have a claim on him for their support, as their uncle.”
Tyler said, “I guess I hadn’t really thought of it that way. I’ve always liked Greg, but I’ve been so focused on us, that I hadn’t given any thought to Greg’s feelings about our girls.”
Joey said, “It’s natural for you to focus on us. We are the most important part of your world. I just wanted to help you understand why the Scarboroughs have an interest in us and our well-being.”
Tyler smiled at his husband. “You’re the best.” He leaned over and kissed Joey. “What time does their flight get in tomorrow?”
“They’re flying in on British Airways from London arriving at 1:20 PM,” Joey said. “We were on that same flight when we flew out from Toronto, remember?”
Tyler smiled and said, “The only thing I remember of that flight was sitting next to you thinking how lucky I was to have found you. The rest seems like a blur, now. However, I do remember feeling overwhelmed at the thought that I had just married my sweetheart, become a father of two little girls, and moved my family to Madrid.”
“I know how you felt, because I was feeling the same way,” Joey said, putting his arm around Tyler’s waist, pulling him closer to him. He gazed into his eyes and said, “I love you, Tyler Damasiewicz.” He kissed him deeply.
They were interrupted by the sound of little footsteps coming into their bedroom. They heard Rachel’s wee voice saying, “Dad and Daddy, I want hugs, too.”
Joey turned to see his daughter standing in front of them. He reached down and picked her up, placing her between them. “Shall we take a nap together?” he asked.
She nodded her head. “Yes, but I want Kitty to take a nap with us, too.”
Tyler said, “Okay, you go get Kitty and we’ll wait for you.” She climbed down from the bed and went skipping happily out of the room.
Joey and Tyler repositioned themselves on the bed. When she returned with Kitty, her stuffed toy, in her arms, Joey lifted her onto the bed, where she cuddled up close to him. Tyler rolled over on his side, placing his arm over the two of them. He kissed the top of Rachel’s head and said, “May I cuddle with you and Daddy?”
Rachel giggled and said, “Yes, Dad.” She put her hand on his arm and said, “I like it when you hug me and Daddy.”
That is how Louise found them an hour later. She stood in the doorway to the boys’ bedroom and smiled at the sight of her little princess snuggled between her two Dads. She thought to herself, “Who would have of thought how much joy and happiness could come from such a little one?”
She quietly closed the door and retreated back down the hallway to her bedroom, where Hank was seated in his favorite armchair with Sarah fast asleep in his arms. Hank looked up as she entered the room. He met her eyes and said, “I’ve been giving some thought to Alejandro’s suggestion to buy an apartment close by. I think we should do it. I want to remain close to our grandchildren, Louise. I understand the boys’ need to have room for their relationship to grow and mature, but, at the same time, I want to remain a big part of the girls’ lives.”
Louise sat down in her rocking chair and thought for a moment. “I agree that we need to be close. I don’t think the boys wanted us to move away from them. Joey talked to me about how he has always lived close to family. After he married Kathy, they lived less than three miles from her parents, and spent most weekends with them. After the girls were born, his in-laws were very much involved in their granddaughters’ lives. Joey told me he didn’t mean to cause a rift between us and them. He only wanted us to let them be a couple. Remember how we got involved with one of their disagreements?”
Hank nodded his head. “Yes, I remember, and I also remember thinking that we needed to remain neutral, to allow them to work things out. That was an error in judgment on our part.”
“That was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak,” Louise said. “That caused Joey to shut down, and Tyler came to me to ask what he could do to repair the damage.”
Hank nodded his head. “Yes, we definitely overstepped our bounds that time. I’m sure there are other times we’ve done it, without even realizing we were doing it. As we’ve come to know Joey better, we have become too comfortable with offering our advice. He’s been a good sport about it, and has certainly put up with much more than I would have, if it were me.”
Louise laughed. “You would have told my Dad, in no uncertain terms, what he could do with his advice, and you know it!”
Hank laughed. “Yes, you’re right. I was pretty headstrong back then.”
“And you still are,” Louise said. “I’ve learned how to work with you to blunt some of that stubbornness.”
“Joey will need to learn to do the same with Tyler,” Hank observed. “Tyler inherited a fair amount of my personality traits.”
Louise patted his arm and said, “Yes, he did, dear. That’s why I can relate to what Joey is going through, since I experienced some of the same things when we were first married.”
Sarah shifted in Hank’s arms, and snuggled closer to him. Hank smiled and said, “I love this little one so much.”
Louise said, “I know. She knows it, too. That’s why she comes to you when she’s tired. She knows that you’ll keep her safe while she sleeps.”
Hank asked, “Do you think that the boys will let us continue to come over every day?”
“I think so. From my conversation with Joey, I think they are counting on us to be here for the girls when they are both studying and working,” Louise said.
“Then, we definitely should buy that apartment,” Hank said. “We can’t be of much assistance to them if we’re several hours away.”
Louise smiled. “I agree that we should invest in an apartment building.” She was very pleased that Hank had arrived at the same conclusion she had. She was confident that things were going to work out nicely for all of them.
The four guys stood at the luggage carousel, waiting for their luggage. Greg said, “Joey and Tyler said they would be here shortly.” He put his cell phone back into the pocket of his cargo shorts. The four of them had dressed in khaki cargo shorts and navy blue golf shirts. They even wore matching cross trainers with white ankle socks!
My thoughts went back to the hotel lobby, when Greg and Cory joined us. I laughed and said, “We couldn’t have planned it better had we tried!”
Greg looked at us and grinned. “You’re right about that, Glenn.”
Cory smiled and said, “We even bought the same shoes as you guys. When we visited with you guys last summer, we liked your shoes and bought ourselves a pair of them.”
Greg said, “We bought the shorts and shirts with you guys last summer. Remember?”
“Yes, I do,” I said. “I think it’s really cool that we’re dressed alike.”
Rick laughed and said, “You’re so easy to please, Babe.”
I punched his shoulder, and he laughed even harder. “Wait until I tell them what else pleases you.”
I blushed at that point and decided not to press the issue. Rick pulled me into his arms and said, “You look so cute when you blush.” He kissed me.
Greg asked, “Are you ready to go?”
“Yes, we’re ready,” Rick replied.
I was brought back to the present by Joey’s greeting. “Hey, guys! Welcome to Madrid.” Joey pulled Greg into a bear hug. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
Tyler stood back, waiting to be noticed. He wanted Joey to be the center of everyone’s attention. I noticed him and walked over to him. I pulled him into an embrace and said, “I’m glad you’re here. Thank you for agreeing to let us visit with you for such an extended period of time.”
Tyler hugged me back and said, “It’s the least I can do. I still can’t believe what you guys have offered to do for us.”
I held Tyler at arm’s length and held his gaze. “Why do I get the sense that you’re not entirely okay with it?” Tyler looked away from me and didn’t respond. I put my hand up to his face and cupped his cheek. When he met my eyes, I said, “It’s okay, Tyler. We aren’t your enemies. We’re your friends, and we want what is best for you. If that means we need to back off a bit, all you have to do is say the word. You won’t offend us, Tyler.”
Tyler asked, “Am I that transparent?”
I smiled and replied, “To me, you are. You have to remember that my boyfriend is a tough marine, you know, Mr. Macho to the max. However, I’ve learned to read him pretty well, despite his best efforts to hide things from me. You’re no different in that regard, Tyler. You put on a pretty good show of hiding your feelings, but you can’t hide anything from me. What’s more, you better not be hiding anything from Joey.” I leaned forward and kissed him on the lips. “We love you, Tyler.” Tyler’s look of surprise caused me to laugh.
Rick came up behind me and asked, “Are you okay, Tyler?”
Tyler looked at Rick and answered, “Yes, I’m okay. A little surprised that Glenn kissed me, but, yes, I’m good.”
Rick laughed. “You haven’t been around us enough. I think you need to loosen up a bit, Tyler. Glenn is always full of surprises!”
Joey joined us and pulled me into his embrace. “Thanks for coming, Glenn.” He turned to Rick and hugged him as well.
Greg said, “I’ve got our luggage.” We turned to see that he had, indeed, pulled our luggage off of the carousel. “Let’s go.”
We each grabbed our gear and followed Joey and Tyler out their cars. Joey said, “We drove two cars to make sure we had enough room for all of you and your luggage.”
Greg and Cory piled into the car with Joey, while Rick and I rode with Tyler. I said, “I hope I didn’t offend you, Tyler. You looked like you needed someone to kiss you at that moment, and I thought I was the perfect guy to do it.”
Tyler laughed. “I did need some reassurance at that moment, since I wasn’t sure how to react to you. But, I wasn’t expecting you to kiss me!”
Rick said, “You’ll have to get used to Glenn, Tyler. He isn’t very shy about expressing his feelings.”
“So I found out,” Tyler said, wryly.
I said, “We need to help you learn to be a little less serious. You seem to have aged 10 years since we saw you last.”
Tyler glanced over at me and said, “I feel like I’m older. The last couple of months have been really stressful for me.”
“So we’ve heard,” Rick said. “That is the reason we gave you and Joey those scholarships. We want you to relax and enjoy being together while you’re getting your education.”
“It has helped me and Rick immensely to know that we don’t have to worry about how we’re going to pay for our education,” I said.
“I’m okay with the scholarships,” Tyler said. “We’re very glad to have them. It’s the offer to buy our homes to relieve us of the stress of being beholden to my parents.”
“Let me guess, you don’t want us interfering with you and Joey, because we feel entitled to that privilege if we help you with your homes,” I said. Tyler nodded his head, but remained silent. “Well, you can put that thought out of your mind, right now. The last thing Grandpa would ever do is interfere in our relationships. The only stipulation he has insisted on is that we do our best at our studies. If we’re going to be spending money on education, he expects us to do well to justify the expenditure. To ensure that we concentrate on our studies, he has bought homes for all his grandchildren who are attending college. For those who aren’t pursuing higher education, he has offered to help them get set up in a vocation or in a business that will help them become self-sufficient.”
I paused before continuing. “You and Joey are part of our family, even if you don’t think you are. Grandpa adopted Greg as his son. That makes him my uncle. You’re married to Joey, who is Greg’s brother-in-law, so I guess that makes you my uncle-in-law. Man! That makes you sound really old!”
Tyler snorted, “Not hardly! I think we’re pretty close to the same age.”
I guffawed, “We are, but I’m not the one who gets to be called Uncle Tyler!”
Rick said, “Glenn does have a point, Tyler.”
Tyler glared at Rick in the rearview mirror. “You aren’t helping.”
Rick laughed. “You need to learn to be less serious about things. We tease Greg all the time about being the elder statesman, because he’s our uncle, even though he’s younger than we are.”
Tyler sat in silence for a few moments. He finally said, “You’re right. I need to see the humor in situations, instead of being so serious about everything. Since Joey and I got married, I’ve tried to be the perfect husband and father. I’ve felt like a huge burden was placed on my shoulders that day. I want everything to be perfect for us, yet, I seem to be messing things up. First, I lost myself in my studies and ignored Joey’s needs. Then, I really messed up by siding with my parents against Joey when we had a disagreement. Joey barely spoke to me for days. I ended up begging my mother to speak to him, because he wasn’t communicating with me. Things are better now, but there were a few pretty tense days when I thought I might lose him.”
Rick said, “Joey isn’t a quitter, so I doubt he would have left you without trying to work things out.”
“Yes, I know he’s persistent, but he has never shut me out like he did three weeks ago. I’ve never felt so alone,” Tyler said. “I don’t want that to ever happen again.”
Rick said, “Glenn and I went through something similar just before you guys got married.”
Tyler said, “I remember you said something about it, but I’ve forgotten what happened.”
“I was so caught up in my school work I didn’t pay enough attention to Glenn. Meanwhile, Glenn started drifting away from me,” Rick said.
“I met a good looking guy in my classes. I started spending most of my time with Perry. Perry nearly had me convinced that Rick wasn’t the right guy for me,” I said.
“It wasn’t until Glenn told me he wanted to give me my freedom to have a relationship with a woman that I realized I was losing him,” Rick said. “I had been completely blind to what was happening until that moment.”
“Fortunately, Mom talked some sense into me,” I said.
“And I overheard his conversation with his mother,” Rick said. “We managed to work through our issues, but it made me realize just how fragile our relationship can become if we don’t nurture it.”
“We made a commitment to each other to make sure we talk every night. We also decided that we needed to ‘date’ each other. We had grown complacent and started taking each other for granted. The dating part has helped us to maintain the interest in each other,” I said.
“For my part, I’ve tried to make sure I cater to Glenn’s romantic side. I’m not very romantic, but Glenn is,” Rick said.
Tyler asked, “So how do you cater to someone who is a romantic? Do you bring Glenn flowers and chocolates?”
Rick laughed. “Sometimes, but that’s not what I meant. It’s taking the time to make a special dinner for him, lighting the candles and putting on the special music. It’s spending time with him in the Jacuzzi with lots of bubble bath. It’s all about making Glenn feel like he’s the center of my universe.”
“I like the part where Rick covers me in chocolate syrup, then, licks me clean,” I said. “Just thinking about it makes me horny.”
“Doesn’t that make a big sticky mess?” Tyler asked.
“It does, but that’s the whole point. Make sure you put down some towels or a sheet you don’t mind ruining with the chocolate syrup,” I replied. “It’s the shower afterward that puts it on my top ten list.”
Rick said, “You should try the mint flavored whipped cream with it, but don’t use a lot. I got sick from licking too much of it off of Glenn, but the chocolate syrup was good.”
“I can’t believe you guys use that stuff. I’ve seen it on some web sites, but I thought only straight people used it,” Tyler said.
Rick laughed and said, “And only straight people use dildos, cock rings and vibrators! Come on, Tyler, I can’t believe you haven’t considered using some sex toys with your partner!”
“Never,” Tyler said, embarrassed. “I’ve never even thought about it. Joey hasn’t expressed an interest in them, so I’ve not mentioned it. I’ve been afraid to bring up the subject in some ways, because Joey was married to a woman before he married me. We are both versatile and like to take turns pleasuring each other, and, thus far, we haven’t needed to bring sex toys into the equation.”
“We’re not suggesting that you add them to your sex play, but we have found a few things to be to our taste. Most of the other stuff, we don’t need and won’t even try,” I said.
Tyler said, “I wish Joey could hear this discussion.”
“He will at some point during our visit, I promise,” Rick said. “Glenn will probably be the instigator of that conversation.”
I laughed and said, “You can count on it. The guys have asked me to put together a competition like the one we had when we were at Cancun.”
Tyler whistled. “I’ve heard about some of your escapades from Greg and Cory.”
“I need to talk to you and Joey about what we can do without upsetting anyone,” I said.
Tyler grinned and said, “I’ll make sure Joey knows you need to talk to us about it.”
Our conversation came to an end as Tyler pulled up to their home. He waited for the gates to open and pulled into the driveway. Joey pulled up beside us. We unloaded the cars and hauled our luggage inside.
As we entered the foyer, Joey introduced us to the Nájeras. “Guys this is Sr. and Sra. Nájera. We call them Papá and Mamá. Papá and Mamá this is Greg and Cory Scarborough and Rick Lernier and Glenn Nielsen”
Sr. Nájera said, “It’s nice to meet you. Greg, we understand that you’re Joey’s brother-in-law.”
“Yes, Joey was married to my sister, Kathy. She was killed in a car accident a few months ago,” Greg said.
“We’re sorry for your loss,” Sra. Nájera said.
Greg said, “Thank you for your sympathy. We were estranged at the time of her death.”
Joey said, “Greg is Glenn’s uncle.”
Sr. Nájera looked surprised. “How is that possible?”
“Glenn’s Grandpa Scarborough adopted me as his son,” Greg said. “Glenn likes to tease me about it.”
I laughed and said, “He needs someone to keep him humble.”
Cory said, “That’s true.”
Greg said, “Hey! You’re supposed to be on my side.”
Cory grinned. “I am on your side. That’s why I agreed with Glenn.”
Sra. Nájera said, “We have made up your rooms for you. Tyler and Joey, will you show your guests where they will be staying?”
“Yes, Mamá,” Tyler said, smiling. “Come this way guys and I’ll show you to your rooms.”
We followed him upstairs and he indicated which rooms were ours. “These are your rooms. Our bedroom is across the hall from yours and the girls’ room is next to ours. The Nájeras and my parents’ rooms are at the other end of the hallway.” He pointed them out to us.
Joey said, “After you’ve had time to freshen up, please come down to the kitchen. Mamá has lunch ready for you.”
Rick said, “Good. I’m starving.”
Joey laughed and said, “I thought that might be the case.”
Joey and Tyler walked into their bedroom and closed the door. Tyler sat down on the bed, pulling Joey down next to him. “That Glenn is sure a trip,” he said.
Joey nodded his head. “Yes, he is, but he’s alright.”
Tyler said, “Did you know that Rick pours chocolate syrup all over Glenn and licks it off of him?”
Joey’s eyes opened wide and he said, surprised, “No, I didn’t.”
“He sometimes adds whipped cream,” Tyler said. “It sounded really kinky to me.”
Joey laughed. “I think it sounds fun.”
Tyler looked at his husband and asked, incredulously, “Are you telling me that you want us to try it sometime?”
Joey leaned over and kissed his disbelieving husband. “Yes, I think it would be something we could try once, and, if we liked it, we could do it more often.” He looked quizzically at Tyler. “What were you guys talking about that brought up chocolate syrup and whipped cream?”
Tyler looked away, embarrassed. “I have to confess that I was talking to them about how to improve our relationship, and I asked what they do to keep things interesting.”
Joey put his hand up to his husband’s chin, and gently turned his head. Meeting his gaze, he said, “Tyler, it’s okay to talk to Rick and Glenn about us, as long as you let me know what you’ve said. I trust Rick and Glenn to be discreet, and I know that they won’t step into our relationship. I feel the same way about Greg and Cory. I trust them also. I think we need to have open dialogue with them about our sexuality and our relationship. I’ve talked to Greg and Cory about things, but I’ve always told you that I was doing it. I don’t want us to have any secrets between us.”
Tyler smiled and said, “I’m glad you’re not mad at me for talking to Rick and Glenn about us.”
Joey laughed. “Those two could probably teach us a thing or two about gay sex.”
Tyler nodded his head in agreement. “I’m sure we’ll have quite a few more ideas about how to pleasure each other by the time the guys leave us at the end of the summer.”
Joey’s expression grew serious. “Thank you for agreeing to their visit, Tyler. I know that it’s going to be a big imposition on our time together.”
Tyler said, “You’re welcome, Babe, but I’m just as excited that they’re here as you are.”
Joey rubbed noses with him. “You’re the best!”
They left their room and went downstairs to the kitchen. They found that the guys were already seated around the kitchen table, and that Sra. Nájera had laid out a very generous lunch.
She said, “It’s about time you two joined us. Please sit down, mis hijos.”
They did as they were told. Tyler asked, “Dad, will you say grace for us?”
Hank said, “Sure, son.”
After grace was said, it didn’t take long for the food to disappear. I asked, “Sra. Nájera, will you teach me to make paella?”
“Certainly, but you’ll have to learn to speak Spanish like a true Spaniard,” Sra. Nájera said, smiling.
“That sounds great! I’ll have to listen to how you pronounce things, so I can perfect the accent,” I said.
Sra. Nájera said, “I’ll be happy to help you. Your accent in Spanish tells me you learned to speak Spanish from someone in México.”
Rick smiled and said, “That is very true. We’ve been to México a couple of times.”
Greg said, “We haven’t been to México. This is our first time we have visited a non-English speaking country.”
Sra. Nájera said, “That’s good, since we won’t have to break you of any bad habits.”
Cory looked across the table at us and said, “I’m happy to know that we will be easier to teach.”
I protested, “She didn’t say you’d be easier to teach. She only said you wouldn’t have any bad habits to correct.”
Sra. Nájera laughed. “Now, boys, I won’t permit any bickering to go one between you. You are all mis hijos, and, as such, you must learn to get along.”
Cory said, “Yes, Mamá.”
Rachel said, “Uncle Cory is right. You must listen to my Abuela. She will teach you to speak properly.” She nodded her head, wisely. “She teaches me every day. I learn the alphabet and the numbers.” She held up her hands, and counted, “Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve y diez.” She giggled and said, “See, I know how to count from one to ten in Spanish.”
Sra. Nájera said, “Muy bien, Rachel” (“Very good, Rachel”)
I asked, “May we go swimming in the pool?”
Tyler said, “Certainly.”
I looked at the adults and asked, “Will it bother anyone if we wear our bikini swimsuits? If so we brought our board shorts to cover them up.”
Louise said, “You’re welcome to wear them. I, for one, enjoy watching handsome men, as long as you don’t mind me looking you over.” She patted Hank’s arm, “It’s okay, dear. You may wear your bikini swimsuit, too, if you want.”
Hank smiled and said, “I’ll join you guys for a swim, then.”
I looked across the table at the Nájeras. “Will it bother you?”
Sr. Nájera said, “No, it won’t bother me.”
Sra. Nájera smiled and said, “I agree with Louise.”
“That’s cool!” Greg exclaimed, enthusiastically. “I’ve been looking forward to working on my tan. Now, I can do it without worrying about offending anyone.”
We helped clear the table and washed the dishes. Sra. Nájera said, “Go get into your swimsuits. You didn’t come here to cook and clean. Joey and Tyler, take your guests out to the pool.”
Tyler said, “Yes, Mamá. Come on guys.”
We quickly changed into our Speedos and followed Tyler and Joey out to the pool deck. Tyler gave us the once over and whistled. “Wow! You guys look great!”
Rick said, “So do you two. It looks like you guys have been working out in the gym.”
“Obviously not as much as you guys,” Joey said.
I patted Rick’s rock hard six-pack. “Rick is the one who puts us all to shame.”
Rick grinned. “It’s because I’m such a fine male specimen.”
I laughed and said, “Yes, that’s true if you like ogres!”
Rick growled, “You’ll pay for that.” He grabbed me and dumped me into the pool.
I surfaced and called out, “Rick, jump in! The water feels great!”
Soon, we were all in the pool, playing around and enjoying the hot sun. After a while, we climbed out onto the pool deck. I turned to Rick and said, “We forgot to put sunscreen on.”
Rick said, “I know. I’ll run up and get it.”
While he was gone, Joey asked, “How are things between you and Rick?”
“They are going good now. Just before your wedding, things weren’t good between us. I was messing around with another guy, and told Rick I wanted him to be free to find a girl to fuck, if that is what he wanted.”
Joey looked at me, surprised. “What did he say?”
“He told me he loved me, and that I was the only one for him,” I replied. “It made me feel pretty bad about doubting him.”
“But you’re okay, now?” Joey asked.
“Yes, we’re good. We both are working hard to keep our relationship running smoothly. Rick had lost himself in his studies, and I let a good looking guy turn my head. I won’t let that happen again.”
Rick returned and I sat up on my lounge chair to let him spray it on my back. He sprayed my legs and arms. Last, he sprayed some on his hands and covered my face with sunscreen. I took the bottle from him, and did the same for him. I passed the bottle on to the rest of the guys. We relaxed in the sun, turning over every once in a while to keep from burning. I looked over at Rick and smiled. “This is the life.”
Rick returned my smile and said, “Yes, it is, Babe.”
It had been nearly an hour since we started sunbathing, when Tyler said, “It’s time to go inside, guys. Otherwise, we’ll burn to a crisp.”
I stood up and said, “Tyler, before we go inside, we need your mother and Sra. Nájera to come outside to be our swimsuit judges.”
Tyler gave me a weird look. “You’re kidding, right?”
I replied, “No, I’m totally serious. Who could be better judges of male beauty than two women?”
Joey laughed and said, “It’s okay, Tyler. I’ll go ask them.” He got up and went inside. He soon returned with the two women, both of them were smiling and talking excitedly.
I said, “Okay, Señoras, please take a seat and let me explain the rules. The guys will walk from one end of the pool to the other. They will stop in front of you and pose, and then continue to the other side of the pool to await your decision. The winner will be the guy you decide looks best in his swimsuit.” I looked at the guys and asked, “Are there any questions?”
They all shook their heads. We lined up at one of the pool, and Joey went first. He struck a muscleman pose, before proceeding to the other side of the pool. I went next, followed by Rick, Greg, Tyler and Cory. When Cory finished his walk, we reconvened in front of the judges. Louise and Sra. Nájera were still trying to decide who had won the swimsuit competition. After a few more moments of consultation, they turned to us, smiling.
Sra. Nájera said, “We think the best looking guy in a swimsuit is Rick.”
Louise nodded her head in agreement. “Rick was definitely the winner.”
We applauded their decision, and congratulated Rick. Rick was grinning from ear to ear. “I still have what it takes to turn women’s heads.”
“I never said you didn’t, Babe,” I said. “Just don’t forget that you’re all mine.”
Rick’s grin widened, “I just have to keep reminding you what a good catch you made!”
I put my arms around his waist and kissed him deeply. The guys wolf whistled. We came up for air and I said, “I love you, Mr. Lernier.”
Rick’s eyes danced with merriment and he wore a big grin. “Everyone here knows that you love me, and I love you.” He squeezed my buttocks and released me, catching hold of my hand to lead me inside.
Sra. Nájera smiled and said, “Louise, I think I’m going to enjoy the boys’ visit.”
Louise leaned over and whispered conspiratorially to her, “I think I am, too.”
The next two weeks were spent touring Madrid. Joey went with us, and Tyler joined us for lunch as often as he could. Our Spanish improved under Sra. Nájera’s tutelage. We invented new competitions for the guys, and tried them out on each other. For some of them, we enlisted Sra. Nájera and Louise to be our judges, both of whom had a great time!