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  2. Nephylim

    Chapter 47

    They'll get time and space. How much they recover will be up to them.
  3. Nephylim

    Chapter 47

    Yes, Drew is a bit lost at sea Now they've paused for breath, they can work out their places in their relationship and start making a proper family
  4. droughtquake

    Part 4

    On the West Coast, our building codes are designed to prevent most earthquake damage in newer buildings. But faultlines are not restricted to the western third of the country. The New Madrid Seismic Zone, near St Louis, is capable of additional quakes similar to the four 1811-1812 earthquakes which were as large as 7.0 or greater. The first one of the four rang bells in Richmond, VA! There are faultlines further east too. We are prepared, you’re not.
  5. No words of wisdom from me here this time, just a deep understanding and sadness. So many factors can sap our drive, or dampen our will...yet I like to think that there is a Light ahead that can rekindle our hopes and dreams even in our darkest hours. Mine took a particularly hard hit when the fading became more than a metaphor at the end of 2015, and yet, friends have put me back on my literary path, if shakily. Hugs and kisses, dearest friend....
  6. Nephylim

    Chapter 47

    I'd love to go for the history. I want to see Athens.
  7. Nephylim

    Chapter 47

    I think lot could make fun wherever they go.
  8. Nephylim

    Chapter 47

    Everyone deserves some peace
  9. Nephylim

    Chapter 49

    Aria, Jay and Ceriann had a crazy, wild day, in and out of the pool, racing around the house and property and talking nonstop. They would occasionally come back to check in on Amara, Drew and Jeff, and then go running off again. Amara dozed for most of the time, leaving Drew and Jeff to chat. It was mostly casual and easy, but Drew was pulled up short when Jeff brought up the future. “I can’t stay with you and the boys, Drew, you know that, especially not if they’re jetting around all over the world. I have a family to think of. A family that’s already giving me a hard time for being here.” The way Jeff smiled reassured Drew that the “hard time” was in jest not serious. Drew would hate for his friend to get into trouble because of him. “I know. It’s just that with everything that’s been happening lately it’s good to have a friendly face around to keep my feet on the ground.” “You have plenty of friendly faces around and you know you can always call me when you have a disaster.” “When, not if?” “You know it.” Drew chuckled. “Besides.” Jeff took a long drink of something cold and orange. “You’ve got Jay and that kid’s got their feet planted in the earth. They might seem flighty but the things that come out of their mouth… Sometimes they sound like they’re fifty.” Drew huffed out a laugh. “I know what you mean.” He sighed. “I know you’ve got to go, but not only am I losing you but I’m going to have to get used to someone new hanging around. I’ve never been on this side of the job. I’m really not comfortable with it.” “Two new people,” Jeff said. “What do you mean?” “If you think you can go on being Aria’s bodyguard you are sadly deluded, my friend and the sooner you come to terms with it and get someone else in place the better.” “I…” Drew paused and sighed. “I know. It’s just… I don’t know if I can let it go.” “You don’t have to. I know you. You’ll protect both of them with your life, but you can’t go on in an official capacity. Down in that flat you froze because your feelings for the twins overwhelmed you. It’s understandable but it’s dangerous. You know it is. And today. You were so concerned for their wellbeing you slipped up on the security. Then you panicked and scared Aria.” Drew groaned and rubbed his hand over his face. “I know. That was unforgiveable.” “Oh, I don’t know. It all turned out well in the end.” “Yeah, I suppose.” “But as soon as we get back, I’m going into the office and start going through bios. I’ll send you a couple to interview that I think might fit in.” “You don’t have to do it straight away.” “Yes I do. I’ll have them ready for interview within two days.” “Jeff…” “No arguments, Drew. You know I’m right, and the sooner you get it done the better.” “Like pulling off a plaster.” Jeff laughed aloud. “As I remember you were a big baby about pulling off plasters” “Only because you’re a sadistic madman.” Jeff chuckled. “Only with you.” That evening, after dinner, everyone was exhausted. They sat in front of the massive television and all but Drew and Jay fell asleep. By eight o’clock Drew was ready for bed. Jay beat him to it. They got up and stretched. "I'm going to bed. It's been a long day." "It has. Hopefully tomorrow will be a quieter one.” “For you maybe but Aria’s already planned a trip down to town and some time on the beach. I think I’m going to have to drug him at some point so I can get some rest. Between him and your sister, I can’t see how I’m going to survive the week.” “You’ll manage,” Amara said sleepily, sitting up, rubbing his eyes. “Says the person who’s been sleeping half the day.” “Give me a couple of days and I’ll take over. Give you a rest.” “Somehow, I can’t see that happening. He really would kill you.” Amara frowned. “I’ll be fine. I want to spend time with you. I don’t know how much longer Alexi can hold the tour, then I won’t see any of you for months.” “It’s going to be a while before you’re up to that,” Drew said. “I know how physically exhausting touring can be.” A strange expression darkened Amara’s face and he turned his face away. Drew wondered if he was missing the superstar life. “Come on,” Drew said. “Let’s get to bed. We can think of that another day. Let’s just enjoy the holiday.” “Sounds like a good idea,” Amara said, but he was still frowning when they climbed the stairs. Aria was fast asleep, so Drew carried him. Aria had chosen rooms that afternoon, with Jay and Ceriann, and had unpacked everything—after rearranging half the furniture. From the snippets he’d heard, one of the reasons Aria wanted to go to town the next day was to see what the shops had by way of soft furnishing and rugs so he could redecorate a little. Drew could see absolutely nothing wrong with the rooms as they were. They were large, light and airy, with solid wood furniture and hessian rugs on the honey-toned wooden floor. The décor was muted, with earthy tones highlighting a neutral background. Everything was simple but clearly expensive. Drew thought that the furniture in the bedroom alone probably cost more than everything in his mother’s whole house—and the car. He didn’t say anything though, because he knew he was going to have to work on that attitude. It wasn’t fair on the boys and truly the villa was extraordinarily beautiful while maintaining a comfortable, homey feel. He had a feeling he was going to learn to love it here very quickly and resolved to bring his mother and family as soon as he could. Amara went into the bathroom while Drew undressed Aria and got him into bed. He half woke in the middle of it so was able to be of some help. “Are you sleeping with me tonight?” he asked sleepily. Drew smiled and kissed him gently. “Tonight and every night.” Aria smiled and went straight back to sleep. Drew glanced up to find Amara in the doorway of the bathroom. It was a shared one with two doors, one leading into this room and one into the adjoining room, which was Amara’s. Amara looked lost and sad. He was wearing nothing but sleep pants and the wound in his side looked angry and raw, although it was finally healing well. He was going to have scar but he didn’t seem bothered by that. Maybe he felt more confident because Drew’s were worse. Drew badly wanted to kiss the scar and whisper over and over that Amara was still the most beautiful creature Drew had ever seen and if the scar was part of him it was beautiful too. However, it was still sore, the skin sensitive to touch. He’d still been wearing dressings up to the day before, more to stop his clothing catching and rubbing than because he needed them for the wounds now. Because of the infection, he’d had to have a drain and that had taken the longest to heal. He was well on his way to a full recovery now, although Drew had his suspicions that although the physical wounds were fading it might take longer for the mental ones to follow. “Are you alright?” “Yes, I just… I wish I was sleeping with you, too, but I don’t think I could stand it. Especially not tonight after the journey. Everything hurts.” “Do you want me to come lie with you until you go to sleep?” The smile Amara gave him was blinding. “Go get into bed and I’ll join you when I’ve taken care of business.” “Well,” Amara gave him a look that was blatantly hungry. This was the old Amara peeping through. The one Drew had known at the start. Effortlessly sexy and shameless. “I haven’t had my shower yet and I was thinking you might join me. Just to make sure I don’t slip.” Drew groaned. “You’re going to kill me. I can’t do that and not…” Amara was not well enough for sex yet. The doctor was quite clear about that. The infection had gone deep and there was a lot of internal healing to do, not to mention his ribs which were probably more painful than the wound still. “Did I mention that I’ve had some good ideas about how we might…have fun without hurting me. I want to try some out and I’m feeling pretty lonely right now, so I’d really like to get close.” “We can get close without…” “I know, but I don’t want to.” Drew knew he should be sensible and that it would probably end in tears, but hell he was only human and Amara was looking at him as if he wanted to eat him, and cry at the same time. Drew simply couldn’t resist. He felt as if he was being drawn across the room by a rope and he wasn’t about to fight too hard. There were no words to describe how Drew felt taking Amara into his arms. He was gentle but Amara clung to him and his kiss was fierce. Drew scrambled to undress and before he knew it they were in the shower and the whole of Amara’s glorious body was on show, every inch of it breath-taking in its beauty. Drew simply couldn’t believe he was so lucky. Sometimes it felt as though he was in a dream and one day soon he would wake up and it would all be gone. But Amara didn’t feel like a dream right then. He was very much flesh and bone and grace and beauty, and he was all Drew’s. They didn’t fuck, but Amara was right, he did have some good ideas and by the time they settled down, side by side, their bodies pressed against each other they were both sated and Drew was as happy as he’d ever been. He’d fully intended to go back to Aria once Amara was asleep, but in fact he fell asleep before Amara did and he didn’t stir until light, streaming through the large windows woke him. For a moment, Drew was confused, and couldn’t remember where he was. Then memory flowed back with a warm rush. He was still lying next to Amara, curled protectively around him, and it seemed like the combination of the busy day and their relaxation at the end of it, had made Amara so tired he hadn’t moved much either. He was lying on his back, one arm thrown up over his head and the other resting across is stomach. With his hair fanned out over the pillow he could have been posing for a magazine shot, or a poster for Sleeping Beauty. Drew was mesmerised. Then he became aware of something else. He and Amara were not alone in the bed. He turned slowly onto his back, careful not to disturb Amara. Aria, sensing the movement stirred and snuggled closer, not waking. If Amara looked like Sleeping Beauty, Aria was Snow White. Pale and perfect with more colour in his cheeks than Amara and his lips slightly parted and rosy. He had one hand under his cheek, and he looked cute and comfortable. God, Drew was a lucky man. Drew had no idea what time it was, so he made no move to get up. There was nowhere he could go that was better than this. Nothing he could do that compared to gazing at his boys and glowing with the knowledge that he loved them, and they loved him right back. Who could ask for more? He woke some time later to a kiss. It was a gentle kiss accompanied by hands roving over his body. Teeth worried his lip and surprisingly it was Aria who murmured in his ear. “Wake up Drew. It’s late and I need food.” Drew’s lips curled into a smile, but he didn’t move. He was enjoying this far too much. Instead, he kissed Aria back. Again, there was that slight pause, as Aria automatically froze, then he relaxed again. Surprisingly, the hand, lazily stroking his stomach hadn’t faltered and when it began to work its way down, toying with the hair, gently tugging… His eyes flew open and his hand ran up the arm attached to the questing hand. It wasn’t attached to Aria. “Ssh,” Amara purred. “We’re your alarm clock,” Aria said cheerfully. “We’re going to help you get up.” He put his lips close to Drew’s ear. “That doesn’t mean get out of bed.” “Aria.” Amara groaned and made a face at his brother. “What did I tell you about being sexy?” “Did I get it wrong?” Aria asked, his eyes wide. “No,” Drew said, pulling Aria down beside him. “You were perfect. You’re always perfect.” “Not always,” Amara said, laughing, “but pretty close.” “You, too, Mara.” Aria jumped in, eager, as always, to protect his brother. “Far from perfect, but I get by.” Amara gave a gentle tug of the hair on Drew’s balls and he moaned. “Do you like your alarm clock?” “I don’t know. It hasn’t done its job yet.” “What’s that,” Amara asked, teasing Drew with a long stroke. “Getting me up,” Drew moaned. “Oh, I don’t know, something’s definitely getting up.” Aria giggled. “That’s it,” Amara said, hardly able to contain his own laugh. “Out of the room. You’re ruining the moment.” “I am not. I want to play too. You said I could. I want to help make Drew come and I want to kiss him when you…do stuff. I don’t have to watch when I’m kissing him, so you can…you know…do stuff.” “What do you think, Drew,” Amara purred in his ear. “Do you want to…do stuff?” “Oh God, yes. I want to do all the stuff you got for me.” “Well, my supply of stuff is a little limited at the moment, but I’ll see what I can do.” Aria stifled a giggle against Drew’s lips. Drew thought it was impossible for anyone to have ever been as happy as he was right then. We’re going to have to go to the mainland tomorrow,” Aria announced several hours later, as they ate a light lunch on the shaded patio of the little café where Drew and Amara had spent most of the morning while the others shopped. They’d already sent the jeep back to the villa once to offload their purchases. Aria and Jay were absolutely in their element in the quaint little town with its charming market and canopied shops. Ceriann bounced off their energies, and although neither shopping nor interior design had ever, to Drew’s knowledge, been her forte, she seemed to be holding her own. Jeff simply wandered along behind smiling like an indulgent father. Drew wondered how many people thought that Ceriann and Jeff were a couple out with their children. Hm. If that was the case where would he fit in? The help? “Have you bought everything on the island, then,” Amara teased. “Hardly, and there’s a bigger town on the other side, but they don’t have proper furniture shops.” “Isn’t there enough furniture in the house already?” Ceriann asked. “Yes, but the bed’s too small. Apparently, they all are. I suppose they don’t often need beds for three.” “Are you kidding? When we were kids there was often five to a bed, six when Drew came along, but he was only a baby. By the time he was old enough to spread out over half the entire bed and push the rest of us out, we were down to five again.” A flash of hurt shot through Drew, a tiny pang of jealousy that Ceriann and Sioned had more memories of their father than he had. Most of Drew’s memories were of kicking back against him. Drew’s father had been a big man, in size and personality. His voice was loud, his laugh hearty and his heart as big as the ocean. Sometimes Drew missed him so fiercely it was a physical pain. You all slept together? In one bed?” “We had our own beds but loved to get together in our Mam and Dad’s. It was cosy and soft and the safest place in the world. No matter what problems you had, or stupid little worries, they all went away when you snuggled down under the duvet with arms and legs everywhere, and the love was just as warm as the quilt.” “Aren’t you just the poet,” Drew said, shocked at the almost bitter note in his voice. Ordinarily, Ceriann would have been all over that, but today she just smiled. A look passed between them that made something deep inside that had been curled up and cold for a long time, open just that little bit more. He understood then about those looks Amara and Aria shared. Maybe one day he and Ceriann would get to that point too. Hell, maybe they already were. “Of course, when you came along, with those hard little elbows and knees you were so pointy no one wanted to sleep with you.” “Hey,” he complained, both at her words and that she’d leaned across the table and ruffled his hair. “He’s not sharp anymore,” Aria said, patting Drew’s knee. “And I know two people who really want to sleep with him, but the bed’s too small.” “It wouldn’t be if he wasn’t so pointy,” Ceriann said with a smirk. “Tell me he doesn’t take up more than half of the bed.” “Well,” Aria said slowly, apparently giving the question serious thought, “he does take up a lot of space, but that’s because he’s big not because he’s pointy.” “He is a bit pointy.” Amara grinned, a sly expression on his face. “For example, this morning when his alarm got him up.” Drew choked on a sip of coffee and Aria almost fell off his chair, he was laughing so much. “I didn’t hear an alarm clock,” Ceriann said. “That’s because you were all the way over on the other side of the house.” “Why did you set an alarm? We’re supposed to be on holiday.” “We had to…um…do stuff, before we started the day.” How Amara could remain so dead-pan Drew would never know. Aria certainly couldn’t. He laughed so hard, tears streamed down his face. “What have you lot been up to now,” Jeff asked with the long-suffering air of a father of teens. “Stuff.” Aria choked and Drew slapped him on the back. “Ignore them.” Ceriann grinned at Drew as she delicately demolished a sandwich. “It’s probably something dirty.” “Oh, absolutely.” Amara wasn’t the only one who could keep a straight face. Jay managed fine. “I know those expressions. I can quite imagine what that alarm call was, and which part of Drew was getting up.” Heat suffused Drew’s face and he couldn’t look his sister in the eye as she laughed as enthusiastically as Aria. “Hey.” Amara threw a bread roll at Jay. “Stop imagining our boyfriend in compromising situations.” “It wasn’t compromising me at all,” Jay said coolly. “I can imagine him in much worse situations than that.” “I’d rather you didn’t,” Drew said. “I’d never be able to look you in the eye again if I thought you’d been doing that.” “Oh dear.” Aria stopped laughing and shook his head at Drew. “You’ve really done it now.” He turned to Amara. “We should sit him down and tell him the rules.” “What rules,” Drew asked, mystified. “We really should,” Amara agreed. “Absolutely.” Jay nodded and dunked the bread roll Amara had thrown at them into a bowl of vinegar and olive oil. “What rules.” “An important one,” Amara started. “A very important one.” “Is that you never,” “Never, ever give Jay ammunition.” “If you admit weakness you’re done for.” “They’ll never let you forget.” “You’ll get comments about alarms.” “And getting up.” “And stuff.” “Probably forever.” “Probably,” Jay agreed. Drew groaned. “We should compare notes,” Ceriann said. “We could make his life a complete misery.” “You already do.” “You should keep your twins under control,” Jay said, getting to their feet and stretching. “They’ll get you into so much trouble if you don’t. Anyone want to swim?” “I do.” Aria immediately jumped to his feet, taking a last olive from the enormous bowl on the table. “Count me in.” Ceriann followed suit, settling her sun hat on her golden curls. “I suppose I don’t have a choice.” Jeff tried to make his words sound gruff, but his grin suggested it wasn’t such a hardship. “I’d better come if only to make sure you lot have enough sunscreen on. I don’t want any moaning about sunburn tonight, not with that fair skin.” “I don’t really feel up to it right now,” Amara said. “I’m happy sitting here.” “Oh.” Aria sat down like a balloon with the air let out. “I’m sorry. I didn’t think. I’ll stay with you.” “You will not. We’re here to have fun, and your fun is swimming so go have it and leave me to have mine sitting in the shade eating fruit and sherbet.” “But—” “Go.” “I’ll stay,” Drew said. “I’m not fussed on swimming. Maybe we can take a gentle walk along the shore. I was talking to someone earlier and they said there’s a track along the top of the cliff, or we could go across the beach.” Amara smiled at him, with all the warmth of the midday sun, and Drew was quite sure that the smile he returned was that of a goofy, lovesick fool. He didn’t care. When the others headed toward the beach, the driver took Amara and Drew to the start of the cliff path. Drew helped Amara from the jeep and Amara closed his eyes and stretched his back, a beatific smile on his face. “It smells so good.” Drew couldn’t say he was wrong. There was something about the air. It was crisp and clean and even though it was so much hotter than he was used to, it wasn’t the clammy, sticky heat of summer he was used to. It smelled of salt and olives and winds from the ocean. A slight breeze lifted Amara’s hair and he sighed a long, happy sigh. “Let’s walk.”
  10. ColumbusGuy

    Part 4

    Ah, I love a happy ending! Mike has a human travel companion at last, and Bobby has found he isn't entirely alone and cut off from his family. The reference to the classic authors Bobby knew made me smile, as it brought back many happy hours of my reading those same greats as a teen...and your subtle use of the old treasure trove there brought to mind one I've mentioned to you before: Bobby reminds me so much of one of the heroes from Raymond F. Jones novels set in the 50s and involving travels among the stars. He too is just a youth caught up in circumstances he has no control over, yet wins through in the end, rather than being someone from a future era as imagined back then. I think that feature is what continues to enliven the world of Charlie and his friends for me...contemporary boys finding themselves caught up in wondrous events, and yet remaining true to themselves. Let's see...Halloween next, or is there another Door ahead?
  11. At long last, a better ending to an awful day for our two heroes. I dare say that Sean has a Plan B and a Plan C in that self-serving destructive mind of his. I doubt that he will allow a small setback dissuade him from his goal. As for that final level boss, there's clearly a lot of thought gone into that. The stuff of fantasies; at least someones anyway.
  12. droughtquake

    Part 3

    or ? ;–)
  13. The third of the three Ehrenbaum-Degele pieces @Lyssaso kindly typed up and shared with me, this is a World War I poem. He was killed in action only a few days after his 26th birthday in 1915. 


    We carry the firmament's heavy white heat

    Upon our knapsacks, and in our helmets too. 

    Though we probably have the fixed grin of rogues,

    We've forgotten how to smile about ourselves.


    We like to sodden mud puddles on the paths 

    With barren cheekbones, avariciously blank.

    We would lay us in any sort of garbage,

    If it meant some sleep for a second or two. 


    The blisters on the ragged soles of our feet 

    Fester ferric iron; and so like our souls 

    Wish to run through this feverishly hot land. 


    We are entirely hollowed out, burned out,

    But the captain suddenly orders us sing,

    And our hearts break trying to get past our lips.  

    Hans Ehrenbaum-Degele

    1. Mikiesboy


      Sad beyond measure

  14. TheZot

    Chapter 16

    Nah, it’s been done and posted since 2006. I think at some point in one of the GA site makeovers the last few chapters went missing here and I didn’t notice. The ending certainly isn’t to everyone’s liking, but it ended the way I wanted it to, and the way that worked out for the characters. Unfortunately not every conclusion is completely happy.
  15. wenmale64

    Chapter 22.3

    Great chapter. I loved the countdown/delay before Milly's schriek after the 'mate' comment. I know people that would be just like that as the news sunk in slowly . Keep up the good writing!!
  16. Today
  17. hello Wednesday



  18. Wesley8890

    Chapter 92

    This just keeps getting weirder and weirder
  19. Tonyr

    Chapter 16

    I guess the author has just invented a new way of finishing a story (after nearly a decade) without really finishing it. I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell it to your face, you didn't finish anything you just got the previous chapter going on and suddenly you pulled out a 'The end' (kindda), and that was it. You shouldn't really have bothered, it was already unfinished anyway since 2011.
  20. sapphire2619

    Chapter 92

    Omg better than expectations lol poor kohen and captain no easy baby for them
  21. Geemeedee

    Chapter 35

    Welp, gotta have a good villain — hell, this series has them in spades! I feel bad for Henry, tho — a great power marred by great weakness. After being immersed in this world for weeks it’ll feel strange to be without it. Thanks for sharing, Katya — and I hope to see more from you here in the future. You’re hella talented!
  22. Mac Rountree

    Good News for Mason

    It was late Saturday afternoon and we needed to get ready for the gay student event at William and Mary. It was a perfect fall day and we had on our W&M tee shirts, shorts and sneakers. We also grabbed sweaters in case the temperature dropped when it got dark. When we walked into the garage Black was waiting for us. He had on a W&M tee shirt, shorts and sneakers. I barked a laugh and said he hardly looked like a student. He asserted that he looked like a graduate student and would fit in. He then said we looked like elementary students wearing our older brother’s clothes. I backed the Jeep from the garage and headed across the river and west to Williamsburg. I did not know the ways of the rivers and was surprised when we were soaked by a rain storm moving downriver. Water was pooling in the floor board of the Jeep. We laughed and I kept driving. There was a lesson somewhere in there about putting the top on the Jeep before heading out. By the time we reached Williamsburg we were chilled and grabbed our sweaters to put on. We had worn our baseball caps so our hair was still dry and the sunglasses had kept the spraying water out of our eyes. We looked somewhat bedraggled; like typical college students. I was a bit nervous because I had never been to a gay event. What would the people look like? Would I see students from my classes? Would there be protestors? I knew I was overthinking what was supposed to be a fun event. It was one more major step in the changes that were occurring in my life. I told Mason that I needed for him to stay close by and not let loose of my hand. That engendered a kiss. Someone walked by and called out, “take it to the bedroom.” The fellow laughed and then pulled another guy to him and kissed him on the mouth. We all grinned. Welcome to gay college life. We found the registration table where I signed in and then Mason signed his name. Under the column for affiliation/major, Mason wrote that he was ‘Jimbo’s fiancé’. The registrar laughed and said he had never seen that before. We put on name tags and started wandering. There was an equal number of men and women present. The fellow who had told us to get a bedroom came up and introduced himself as Todd. He asked if we were freshman and our majors. I told Todd about being in the international studies program and then Mason said that he was taking the semester off and was trying to decide whether to come to W&M. Todd went on a major sales pitch for the college. He asked which dorm we were living in and we said that we lived in Suffolk. He gave us a strange look and said that all freshmen were required to live in dorms. I told him that I was considered a commuter student and had an exemption. He then took us around introducing us to other students. People looked as us and asked which sport’s teams I was on and asked Mason if he was on the swim team. We both laughed, particularly Mason at the notion he would be on the swim team. We told them we weren’t in the sports program at the college. The president of the LGBT group walked up to the platform as we gathered around. He welcomed everyone and said it was great to have such a large turn-out. He promoted the Halloween dance and the bi-weekly meetings. He then introduced the faculty sponsor: Dr. Gino Antonucci. When he climbed onto the platform Gino noticed us and waved. Gino then announced that there was plenty of food for everyone. The group had hired a company that did pig-pickin’s to cater the dinner. I laughed thinking that we were in the south and pork barbeque was standard fare. We hung back in the line hoping that there would be a pork alternative. There was. Barbeque chicken filled our plates. We went for the sides of Cole slaw, potato salad, corn bread and chocolate chess pie. There was sweet tea to drink unless you could prove you were over 21 and then you could get a draft beer. We sat at a picnic table and folks sat down to join us. We had great conversations with several other freshmen who were just coming out. We each gave a snippet of our coming out stories. They were all fascinated by our story of meeting at Boy Scout camp. A couple of the fellows said that would make a great porn film. We said our life was more like a psycho-drama. We looked at each other and chuckled. Cue the mystery music. After dinner they passed around sign-up sheets where volunteers were needed for upcoming events. Mason signed us up to help with the Halloween dance. I reminded him that we would just be back from Paris. That was overheard and folks were exclaiming that we must be some rich dudes to fly to Paris over fall break. I knew that it didn’t bear further explanation. Mason said we would do it anyway. There was a DJ who started playing music. We got up to dance when a slow song started. Oh my gosh, the romantic in me went wild. I couldn’t believe I was dancing with my man. Mason put his head on my shoulder as I shuffled us around. Next was a fast song and I tried to leave the dance area. Mason wasn’t having it and proved to be a great dancer. I felt like I had two left feet. We didn’t sit down again the entire night. When it was time to leave, we walked to the parking lot and got in the Jeep. I pulled out the key and was ready to start the engine when a drunk fellow from the gay social event walked up and asked if we would join him in his dorm room for a romp. We declined yet he remained insistent. I again declined and told him we were a couple. He then wished us well and walked on. Black walked up and asked how we liked being propositioned by cute college guys. I told him we were only into each other but that he should catch up with the guy and have a sexual turn. He just grinned and told me that wasn’t going to happen. He said he wasn’t into young college guys who were still wet behind the ears. “Okay boys, I will be there waiting to check you in at home so no detours. No parking on dark country roads, no skinny dipping in the river, no doing the nasty in the back of the Jeep.” We all laughed. Mason pouted and then told Black that he didn’t want us to have any fun. Black grinned at us and said he would see us at home. I pulled out of the parking lot and headed the Jeep towards Suffolk. The next morning after breakfast, Mason and I sat on the deck overlooking the river. We had a conversation about being faithful to each other. Mason said I was the only man he had been with and didn’t need to be out exploring. “Besides, I love you. For me it is about love not sex. Even though the sex is pretty phenomenal.” “I love you also and I have no interest in other men. I have only been with a couple of guys in high school but that was just about getting off. You and I are combustible. I feel like I am on fire when I am with you. I love you with every fiber of my being.” I reached out and grabbed his hand. We had fallen head over heels in love and this was one more conversation about the parameters of what being in relationship meant to us in very practical terms. Companionable silence followed. Occasionally, I would turn my head to look at him. I had a huge smile on my face thinking about how lucky I was. Mason would then turn to look at me and we would practically climb across the arm rests on our chairs to get to each other for a long kiss. We were just wearing briefs as none of the neighbors could see us. Our erections would have been obvious to anyone. I was ready to pull off my Calvin’s and take him right there but I knew that Black was in the house. After each kiss, we would blow out a long sigh, sink back into our chairs and our hands would find the other again. We ate lunch on the deck and then put on our shorts, tee shirts and sneakers. We then eighty-sixed the sneakers when we walked along the river bank. The underbrush from the top of the bank down to the river had not been cut so wildlife was in abundance. We used our knowledge of nature that we had gained as scouts and identified flora and fauna. We also used the steep bank as an excuse to fall into the river. The water was fairly shallow along the shore line and we had a raucous time dunking each other, me ‘teaching’ Mason how to swim again, and us holding each other as we stumbled along the bank. We were wet and muddy. Our clothes were caked in the reddish-brown mud. It was great. What fun we were having. Finally, we climbed a stairway to the deck on the back of the house and shed our clothes before going inside. We went to the shower and enjoyed cleaning each other. I had Mason sit on the floor of the shower so I could flush out the clay from between his toes. He did the same to me. I even had clay in my ear canal. Thankfully there were Q-tips which helped clear the debris. Finally, I slapped Mason’s ass and told him I needed to call Mr. Cohen. I asked Mason to let me talk in private in case I needed to negotiate. I didn’t need Mason’s emotions going ballistic in the middle of the call. He reluctantly agreed and went to the den. Cohen and I did a basic greeting or hello, how are you, how is everything, blah, blah, blah. He then dropped the bomb. “Yonatan, you asked the impossible and we were not able to make things happen the way you asked. “I don’t understand. What do you mean I asked the impossible?” “Well, I couldn’t convince folks of the merit of your proposal. But I do not come to you empty handed.” There was silence. Finally, I said, “I am listening though you must know that I am very unhappy right now.” Mr. Cohen hesitated. I guess he wasn’t used to people telling him that he did not meet or exceed their needs. He was used to giving orders not receiving them. “I am sorry that we were unable to do as you asked. My goal is to represent you and Matan in every way. This is what we were able to put together.” Mr. Cohen then laid out a pathway for Matan. He would take the GED which would complete his secondary education. He said that should happen immediately. Matan would audit two courses at William and Mary for the fall term and then would enroll full time starting in January. In addition, a half-time internship would start the following week with Colonial Williamsburg where Matan would rotate through their various museums. He would spend time with experts in 18th century art, furniture, and architecture. At the end of the semester they would continue to offer him 8-10 hours a week in the museums while he was a full-time student at William and Mary. The idea was also floated that we could move to Cambridge in January where we could start at Harvard. “I think we have had enough changes in our lives in the past month. We don’t need another major change in January. We will finish the year at William and Mary and then Matan and I will make a decision about when we move to Cambridge. We may want to do all of our undergraduate work here.” “That was not the plan I laid out for you.” “I know that but starting here and now Matan and I will be partners in the decision making. We will not be pawns.” There was silence. “You may not understand that this is bigger than you and Matan.” “So be it. Then you will need to arrange for us to sit down with the decision makers and we can have a conversation about our future.” Again, there was silence after my declarative sentence. He then gave a huge sigh. “We will see what is possible. Right now is too soon for that. Your trip to Paris is important so you have a better understanding of the decisions being made about your future.” “We shall see. I will review this with Matan and let you know our answer. So, if there is nothing else, I will hang up and meet with Matan. I will call you later today. Thank you for your assistance.” There was still an edge to my voice. He wasn’t up to hearing me assert that the locus of control in our lives lay with us. I was going to be bull headed about that. I thought about Herbert and Judy turning over guardianship to me and I was going to fully exercise my rights, to the extent possible. I anticipated major disagreements with Mr. Cohen in the future. Already, I was pushing the boundaries and exerting control over our lives. Mason was ecstatic about taking the GED and not going back to Norfolk County Day School. He was also happy about going to William and Mary even if it was to audit courses. He would be on the college campus. The fact that we would both be in Williamsburg during the day and meet for lunch thrilled him. Overall, this was seen by Mason as a prayer that had been answered. He was unassailable in his praise for my work. It was not my proposal that Mason would be part-time at William and Mary and working at Colonial Williamsburg yet in many ways it was probably a better solution than mine. I would not tell Cohen that. Mason joined me on the call to his parents. They were obviously waiting for the call and both were on the line. Mason was effusive in his greeting and he chatted with his parents for several minutes about life in general and how they were doing in Paris. He said we were very excited about seeing them. “We are so excited that you are coming and that you will be here for your birthday.” “Gosh, I hadn’t thought about my birthday. Will you make my favorite cake?” “Yellow cake with chocolate pecan frosting. Yes, I will make it. What do you want for a present?” “Hmmm, I will think about that and let you know. I have everything I want and need right now. I have Jimbo; he is the best birthday present for me. He has some big news to tell you.” I spent a few minutes talking through my medical appointment and then told a funny version of our time at the W&M LGBT event. We all had a good laugh and they were very happy that we were meeting people our own age. I took a deep breath. In for a penny in for a pound. “I talked with Mr. Cohen this afternoon. I have made the decision that if Mason can pass the GED then he will not have to go to Norfolk County Day School anymore. He is to take the test tomorrow. He has assured me that he will pass it with flying colors. Mason will have an internship at Colonial Williamsburg in their museums starting next week. He will also audit two college courses for the fall semester. He will be a full-time student starting in January. It is not exactly what I requested from Mr. Cohen but I believe it is a good plan.” “Are you going to request money back from Norfolk County Day School? I paid for the entire semester. I hate to lose that money. Are they paying Mason for his internship? You should negotiate the pay rate. He should not be giving away his time.” “Mr. Jenner, I promise that I will try to get the money returned. I think the more important thing is that Mason will be free from abuse and harassment. Happiness and safety are more important than money. The internship will pay him minimum wage which I think is fair for a sixteen year old who has never worked professionally before. His work at the grocery store is meaningless in this situation.” “You obviously have never been poor, Jimbo. Talk like that is not what I expected from you. I will be in contact with the school. I will press them until they relent and return the money. Mason will need to use his internship money to help pay his expenses. He needs to learn that things in life are not free.” I was quite unsettled by the money conversation. “I will make sure that Mason uses his money wisely, Mr. Jenner.” Judy then jumped into the conversation and started telling funny stories. It helped dispel the tension. She then told us about what we would be doing while in Paris. It sounds like a full week without a lot of time for fun things. “How will you celebrate the High Holy Days this year? You know they start in two weeks.” I looked at Mason for guidance on this topic. “We haven’t decided yet, mama. Jimbo is taking lessons from Rabbi Schulman. Perhaps we will go to synagogue there. I forgot that it was that time of the year again.” Mr. Jenner was clearly upset by what Mason had said. “Mason, Mason, Mason. You never remember. You are a Jew. Never forget that. Your ancestors died because they were Jewish. How is it that you never remember?” I jumped into the conversation. “Mr. Jenner, I promise that we will celebrate the High Holy Days. This will be my first time and I am looking forward to it.” “Ahhh, then you don’t know Judaism if you think our High Holy Days are like your Santa Claus and some Easter bunny thing. You have so much to learn. So much to learn. Talk with Rabbi Schulman.” Mason gave me the look that meant we should get off the phone as soon as possible. We both then told them that we loved them and would see them in a little over a month. When we hung up the phone, Mason was a little despondent that his father was more concerned about money than his happiness. We went to the deck and talked about the conversation and his feelings for his father. I let him do most of the talking. We both agreed that our fathers were challenges in our lives. The sunset was beautiful and we sat in silence as night approached. We could see the illumination from the cities to the east. The sky to the west was dark. The crickets were in full voice and a quiet enveloped the water. I would always remember that fall as having perfect weather as we slipped from the blistering hot summer of Tidewater Virginia into a perfect Indian Fall. The peanut fields were being prepared for pulling the plants from the ground, stacking them on posts and letting them dry. The cotton was being harvested. The corn was being cut for sileage. The rivers were being harvested for oysters. We would cross the James River each day and were calculating the sun’s movement in the morning and afternoon as the days slowly grew shorter. On Monday, Mason took the GED and, of course, passed it with flying colors. The school was notified that Mason would not be returning. The administration was not happy. I met with them on Tuesday afternoon and reviewed the bullying and harassment he had endured while a student. I didn’t disclose that he was bored with classes because they were geared to the average student and he was way above average or that he had already been accepted at William and Mary and Harvard. I wanted to focus on the bullying and harassment. They said he didn’t qualify for a diploma because he hadn’t finished the course work. They talked about the importance of a high school diploma. I said it wasn’t needed. I understood they were going to miss the money. Plain and simple as that. I dropped the bomb that Mr. Jenner expected a refund on the tuition since Mason was leaving because of the bullying and harassment he had suffered. The principal was sputtering. I told him that Mr. Cohen’s law firm would be in touch. I smiled as I walked off the property. Mason wanted to go to class with me on Thursday morning. His work and school didn’t start until the following Monday and he was bored. Gino was very excited to see him in class and said that he had just been notified that Mason would be auditing the course. Mason was also taking an art history course. My lover could not have been happier. Gino handed back the papers we had written and on the top of mine he had written that he wanted to meet with me. There was no grade. Other folks were talking about their grades. Damn, I had probably flunked the first paper I had to write. I went up to him afterwards and he suggested we get some coffee. He said the paper was technically proficient but he wasn’t sure about my intentions. He told me that he needed to know whether I was going to put my best effort into the program. I assured him that I was committed to the program and would see it through. I then disclosed I would be going to Harvard Law School afterwards. “That’s a fairly difficult law school to get into, Jimbo. We have a good law school here. Why don’t we see how you do before you make this grand announcement that you are going to Harvard Law?” “Okay, I will wait to see how I do in undergraduate school.” I didn’t tell him that Mr. Cohen had already arranged everything. “Well, I am sure you are wondering about your grade. It is an “A.” I wanted to have the conversation before I told you. Don’t get cocky and think I will always be so generous in giving you such good grades. You will have to earn them, especially since you want to go to law school. No slacking off. Mason, you should go to law school also. You have a sharp mind that can be rather intimidating even for your professor.” Gino smiled. “I am going to art school. I will be an art historian.” Gino gave us a quizzical look. “How is all of this decided? You are both so young and it seems that everything has been decided.” I swallowed hard and told him that was exactly the case. “Well, I am here to help you in any way you need. All you have to do is ask.” We finished our coffee and I hurried off to my next class. Mason was going to wander the historic area until it was time for us to leave. That afternoon we went to the synagogue in Newport News for me to start my Hebrew lessons and to commence the process for me converting to Judaism. Rabbi Shulman greeted us and was somewhat taken aback that Mason was with me. Mason said he would wait in the hallway while I was in the session. Neither of us had anticipated that it would take five hours. The Hebrew class was like an immersion course. It was so intense that by the time we had finished three hours of language lesson, I was barely coherent for the last hour of talking about my becoming a Jew. I then asked about the High Holy Days and we spent another hour as he started to prepare me. It was dark when we got home. I knew that I would have to reserve energy in the future to get through Thursdays. We also had to find an alternative for Mason so he didn’t have to spend Thursday afternoons in the synagogue. On Friday afternoon I met with Dr. Yael. Mason went with me in case he was needed to support me before we returned home by sunset and the start of Sabbath. I told Dr. Yael I didn’t want to talk about the symbolism for the deer. I wanted to talk about the abuse from my father. I needed to know how a brain could respond by completely burying the events and then layer that with denial that it was so bad. I talked non-stop for an hour. Dr. Yael would nod her head while I was talking and then interject things at certain points in my narrative. It felt like a race for me. I needed to talk through everything and get it on the table. I was so afraid I would forget something important that needed to be said. I was winded at the end. As I was catching my breath, she called Mason into the session. “Gosh, you look like you have run a marathon.” I laughed at Mason. I felt like I had run 10k. Dr. Yael was actually beaming. “You processed all of that in one week and didn’t call me. that is pretty remarkable. Your ability to make sense of these events without triggering another event is pretty amazing.” Mason and I looked at each other. She noticed. “Did you have an event and not call me?” We both looked at each other. “Talk to me. What you may think is unimportant may provide answers about your triggers.” I related about the gift of the Jeep and that when I started the vehicle I was overwhelmed and it was Mason and Black that pulled me back from the darkness. It was before the first session with her but thought it important that she know. We spent another thirty minutes talking about gratitude and our beliefs about whether we deserved kindness. The information helped me process the times that my father had beat me when nice things were happening. I had built up a belief system that I was not worthy. When I started the Jeep, I was heading into darkness to prepare myself for another beating. It was my mind’s way of protecting myself from being fully mentally present when something awful was about to happen. Dr. Yael sent me home with specific instructions on acknowledging gratitude by verbalizing each good thing that happened. During the next week, I had a new appreciation for all of the seemingly small things that happened in my life where I could acknowledge gratitude. I developed a two-word sentence that became my mantra, “Thank you.” People were caught by surprise with the generosity of my thanking them for anything and everything. They in turn, then would return the compliment. At first it was hard to hear, but within days I basked in the affirmations. I felt like a star achiever. I knew it was deeper than merely saying, “thank you,” but I was on the pathway. I foresaw that the beatings from bad things would not be so easily solved through these initial steps of talk therapy. The Sabbath was another day of scripture reading and prayer. I was a full participant and we had great joy as we debated and argued minor points. I was open to gratitude and niggling thoughts about love. God’s love for his people. A man’s love for another man. Love of friends, love of our surroundings, love of ourselves. Gosh, that one was the hardest: love of self. I really had not experienced love until I met Mason. Sure, my parents had provided the basics for me. Some might call that love while others might see it as an obligation on their part. We talked about different kinds of love. Mason had taken a philosophy course in high school and started talking about the Greeks and their concepts and words for love. I had only thought about the ooey, gooey kind of love. Romantic love. Again, my eyes were being opened to a new different way of thinking. I thought myself stupid. Black told me that I just had not been in classes where this was discussed to reveal what I intrinsically knew but did not have the language to express. I immediate response was “thank you for not putting me down but lifting me up”. I didn’t have the language to express what was happening. That was a new construct for me and the importance of having language to talk about my experiences. I thought of the Gospel of St. John. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.” How many times had I read that and not understood the importance of language in understanding and defining life? I was thankful that I had words to express my love to Matan. On late Sunday afternoon Mason said that he needed clothes for work. The teenager had come out again. He waited to the last minute to verbalize his needs. We jumped in the Jeep and headed to the outlet shopping mall. We went to Ralph Lauren and bought pants, shirts, ties, sweaters and a navy blazer that would get him through the fall. I almost choked when the sales associate totaled the bill. I handed over a credit card. Mason stood by and smiled sweetly. I smiled back and thought that Mason was worth every cent. I just hoped that Mr. Jenner did not review my bills. He was a bit of a miser. The next morning, Mason looked brilliant and prepped out as we got in the Jeep to drive to Williamsburg. Since he wasn’t sure of his schedule during the day, we agreed to meet at 5 pm. I spent the afternoon in the library to make sure my work was caught up. The rest of the week went according to schedule. The meeting with Rabbi Schulman was another ball buster. The Hebrew class with him was proving to be the most difficult class I had during the week. In addition, my meeting about converting to Judaism felt confrontive and not collaborative. I left with a scowl on my face and a heavy heart. I couldn’t understand why the language was so difficult and why it felt like I was being put down each week. I wasn’t considering that we were only in week two. I was looking at what ultimately needed to happen. I began to question my entire future because this felt like the lynchpin for happiness and my reason for being. We both gave a huge sigh of relief when I arrived home after meeting with Dr. Yael on Friday. It was a joyous Sabbath filled with gratitude. The past month had been like a roller coaster, fast and exhilarating. Each Friday it felt like our lives came to a temporary pause for a day so we could catch our breath. That was what Sabbath was for. We knew there was another ride in the future but we were glad to have finished this one. Early Saturday evening, we headed to Williamsburg where we were meeting Todd and his friends to go out to dinner and watch a movie at the theater in Market Square. There were six of us gathering for a fun time. Mason and I each wore shorts and tee shirts along with sneakers. We fit in. At the movie, we shared popcorn and a drink until they were finished and then held hands for the rest of the movie. I was being ooey-gooey and enjoying every minute of it. Mason smooched on me the entire drive home. I had one hand on the steering wheel and the other on his thigh. Life was good. We were settling in as young men in love. There was only one niggling problem that would not let me go and that was about my Hebrew studies and becoming Jewish. Would I be accepted and allowed to be Mason’s partner if I failed in this part of my life?
  23. Superpride

    Chapter Eleven

    Yes, Damien still has a lot to learn about his own son and the social cues Austin is giving to indirectly tell his father this very difficult truth. And we'll see how much this woman resembles Annabella, not just on the outside, but in the inside as well.
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