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    Brayon
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

This chapter may, or may not, contain sensitive material that some may find objectionable, and/or triggering. 

Family Always Has Your Back - 9. TC4 — Chapter 9: Date Night

The afternoon of Monday, July 2nd 2018, found Adam, Duncan, Jeremy, and Travis on the way back home. Jeremy had been arraigned in what turned into an all-day affair at the Hillsborough Juvenile Detention Center West in Drew Park, and currently sat in the back of the RDX looking distraught. Travis held his hand and occasionally would squeeze it reassuringly.

“How are you holding up, Jeremy?” Duncan glanced back at his soon-to-be-adopted son.

“I’m scared, and frustrated.” With an aggravated breath, he shook his head. Travis leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Today hammered home how much trouble I’m in.”

“It will be fine, Jeremy. It will all work out and be over in no time soon.” Adam turned onto the last road coming across the bridge to the island. “We’ll get a defense lawyer lined up tomorrow. Carol should have some suggestions for us.”

“Thanks, Dad. I’m glad we’re home. I’m getting hungry, now that today is over.”

“We’ll order pizza for dinner.” Adam pulled up to the resident entrance of the gate and used his pass code to continue into the gated community. In short order, he pulled the RDX into the dive way and parked it in the garage. Out of the four cars, the Honda Civic sat outside of the three-car garage with a car cover over it.

The four of them walked into the house, and each of the two couples went their own way.

Adam sat down in the library office, woke up his laptop, and read the email Carol had sent with the list of defense attorneys she works with. Duncan continued on into their bedroom to change clothes, before he walked to his office on the other side of the house.

Robert and Giles were already seated on one couch in the family room, with Giles somewhat sitting in Robert’s lap, as Jeremy and Travis passed by. Giles and Robert held each other, as they kissed, and whispered. Robert lazily rubbed his boyfriend’s back.

“Hang in there, bro.” Robert said, and gave Jeremy a sad smile. Giles nodded in agreement.

“I’m trying.” He trundled on to his room, with Travis holding him in a one arm hug.

After the other couple passed through, Giles broke the silence. “You know, Rob. Since I came clean with you, I’ve loved you more and more each day.” He gave Robert a smile and pecked a kiss on his nose. “I’m happy your dads are giving us time to be together.”

“I am too, babe.” Robert kissed him passionately. “I love you.”

Down the hallway, in Jeremy’s bedroom, Jeremy was changing out of the clothes he wore to be booked in. Gone were the nice jeans and pullover collared shirt, and back on was his customary outfit of loose basketball shorts and a tank top. Travis sat on his bed Indian-style and watched his boyfriend. He took in every movement, every flex of muscle, and the natural light playing on his hair. A soft sigh escaped his lips.

“What are you staring at Trav?”

“You.” Travis smiled. “Even putting on your clothes, you move gracefully, like a panther stalking prey. Every move is precise and flows together. It’s beautiful, and I just feel like I’m watching poetry in motion.”

Jeremy’s cheeks lit up with heat and became tinged in crimson. “Thanks, Trav. But, I’m not much of anything.”

“Nonsense.” Travis stood up and stepped up to his boyfriend. “You’re what I dream about.” He leaned in and kissed a warm cheek.

Travis was about to say more, when Jeremy’s phone chirped saying someone had approached the front door. A moment later the doorbell rang out.

“I wonder who’s here.” Jeremy looked concerned.

“It’s probably nothing. If Adam and Duncan need you, they’ll call.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” He pulled Travis into a hug and rested his head on his boyfriend’s shoulder. “I needed this. I’m scared, more so than what I let on in the car.”

“It will be alright. You’ll see. Just have faith, and know that no matter what, there are five people in this house that love and care for you. You have friends that will support you outside of the family too. I know Chan and Bray will be there for you.”

Jeremy nodded with a sigh. “I suppose you’re right.” He gave Travis a small smile and leaned in to kiss him.

A knock on the door, pushed it open as it was only pushed to, and Robert stuck his head in. “Hey, Jeremy, the dads want to see you in the library.”

“Thanks, Rob.” Jeremy released Travis and headed out of the room.

~.~

Two chairs from the dining room table were added to the library to accommodate the five men in the library. Erin Ross and Chad Winters joined Adam, Duncan, and Jeremy. Erin and Chad were both dressed up in suits.

“Adam, Duncan, it is good to see you again.” Chad smiled at both. “When Erin said he wanted me to meet with Jeremy, I didn’t realize he was your son.”

“Dads, you know this guy?” Jeremy looked between the four of them.

“We do.” Duncan gave him a smile. “Jeremy, this is Chad Winters, we went to high school together. Chad, this is my nephew, who I have guardianship over, and currently in the process of adopting, Jeremy Isen.”

“Ah, I see. He’s Ian’s son.” Chad smiled at Jeremy. “A pleasure to meet you, young man. I’m sorry to hear about your parents, and that I wasn’t able to attend the memorial services.”

“Thank you.” Jeremy had downcast eyes.

Adam looked between Erin and Chad. “What would you like to discuss with us?”

“Adam, my friend. Chad here is my better half, and a successful defense attorney. After hearing what ADA King was doing to Jeremy, I asked if Chad would consider taking the case.”

“Oh? I didn’t know you were interested in law.” Adam stated. What is Erin up to? He’s been exceedingly helpful for someone that is just a neighbor. My luck, he's another Mob Boss.

“If you remember back at Jefferson, I was on the school’s mock trial team for the law studies club and took all the different law studies courses offered.” Chad smiled in remembrance. He reached into his briefcase, pulled out three copies of a document showcasing his legal career, and passed it out. “But yes, I went into the legal profession. As you can see, I went to Eckerd College for their pre-law concentration program, and then into Stetson University College of Law, where I got my Juris Doctorate. I currently hold accreditation in the Florida BAR Association, and the Hillsborough BAR Association. I also clerked under Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Tanner for a short time in Tallahassee.”

“Impressive.” Adam read over the document. “And you have your own practice here in Tampa now.”

“Yes, I’m the sole-owner of the firm and my law office handles several types of clients. We specialize mostly in Trusts, contracts and international business and tax law, but started out as a public defender contracted firm. While I’m not in the courtroom as often, I still monitor my partners’ performances. I would like to handle Jeremy’s case personally, and do it pro-bono.”

Jeremy looked a little bewildered. “Why?”

Chad gave Jeremy a soft smile. “Two reasons. First, I’ve read the facts in this case, and you should never have been charged, much less for a felony. Violating the restraining order should only have been a misdemeanor. You’re a hero, not a criminal. Second, and I’ll be frank and pardon my language, Rufus King is a first-class asshole. Always has been, always will be. I’m not sure if your dads knew him back at Jefferson, but Rufus was as homophobic as they come. It would be my pleasure to knock that smug smile off that son of a bitch’s face.”

Jeremy sized Chad over. He seems sincere. “I feel like I can trust you, Mr. Winters. I’ll be happy to hire you, if the parents allow it.”

“Normally, I would suggest we ‘shop around’ so to speak, but I agree with you Jer.” Adam looked at Duncan.

“I agree too. Chad was always a good guy back in high school.” Duncan rubbed his son’s shoulder. “We would like to hire you to defend our son.” He said to Chad with a smile.

“Splendid. I have a pre-approval contract here, and after I get your signatures and we work out the terms of our final arrangements, I’ll get the main contract drawn up for you three to sign. Normally, Jeremy, you wouldn’t sign a contract, as you’re under the age of majority in the United States and Florida Law. However, I want you too, so you’re part of this entire process as an equal client. With a stipulation by your dads that is why you’re signing. You won’t be under any legal obligations for payment, because you’re only fifteen.” Chad pulled out the first document, handed it to Duncan, and pulled out a notepad for himself. “Now can you tell me, what happened in your own words?”

Erin excused himself to go home and wait for Chad to be done, leaving the four men in the library. Jeremy told Chad the story of the night he saved Travis from the assault from Driggs and his thugs, and about the previous incident with Driggs at the beginning of the school year. Chad further interviewed the other three boys, getting their witness and victim statements. Travis also explained the first assault by Driggs, that left him scared, physically, emotionally, and mentally. After getting a copy of the video, Chad prepared to leave. Chad, Adam, Duncan, Jeremy, and by Chad’s request, Travis stood by the front door to see him out.

“This is clearly a case of defense of others. Under Florida law, there is precedent that can allow a stand your ground case to be made.” Chad smiled at Jeremy.

“How do you want to handle this?” Duncan asked.

“I’m going to first file a motion of dismissal, on the grounds that it was a defense of others under the stand your ground laws. If that doesn’t work, then a hearing on the merits of the stand your ground defense. Both of those should mitigate the violation of the protective order, which in itself was an unnecessary action to begin with, but I digress. The worst case scenario is we go to juvenile court, and we have a bench trial. Best case in that situation, I can get it all tossed out, and the protective order annulled. Realistically, you could be looking at a fine of $1000, some community service instead of juvenile detention, and have a juvenile record until you're eighteen years old for a first-degree misdemeanor for the violation, with the assault charges dropped.” Chad smiled at Jeremy. “Trust me, I’ll get this tossed out, and get the restraining order annulled.”

“Thank you for being honest, Mr. Winters. It’s nice to know I won’t be locked up.” Jeremy shook Chad’s hand.

“Please call me Chad.” He squeezed Jeremy’s shoulder. “And Jeremy… I’m saying this in front of your dads, so there is no misunderstanding. You are my client, and I look out for you. If at any time you need to contact me, want to have a talk, if this case is getting to you, what-have-you, you can call me any time of the day or night. What is said between us, stays between us. I can not legally tell Adam and Duncan anything we discuss, without your prior written consent.”

“I can safely say that Adam and I agree with that and do encourage Jeremy to make use of you as a resource.” There was no animosity between any of them.

“One more thing.” Chad looked over at Travis. “You have a very strong Title IX case against the school board. If Adam and Duncan can put a good word into your dad, Travis, I can help with that if it’s something you are wanting to pursue.”

“I’ll think about it.” Travis was a little stunned. “I didn’t know I could do something like that.”

“You can. Can’t say how successful it would be, there’s always a chance that it goes against you with a jury, but there was an unsafe environment. Based on what you said, the school system has not done their due diligence to address it.”

“We’ll talk to Bryce, and pass along your information.” Adam said.

“We need to have lunch sometime soon, Chad. It’ll be nice to get reacquainted.” Duncan shook Chad’s hand.

“I’d like that. You wouldn’t believe how often I think about our little clique of friends. Last I heard, Adam had moved to New York or something like that.” He shook Adam’s hand next and stepped outside.

“Boston. Went to M.I.T. and where I met the mother of my son.” Adam nodded. “I agree, we need to go on a date night. Duncan and me, and you and Erin. How does that sound?”

“Sounds perfect.”

They showed Chad out, with promises to get in touch for the double date night.

~.~

Pizza from Sally O’Neal’s was ordered and delivered for dinner. The six men sat at the dining room table, eating from the four large pies—a beef gorgonzola, a supreme, a sauceless, and a plain cheese—and drinking some 25ers.

“Dads… do you mind if I borrow the car tonight?” Robert gave them both puppy dog eyes.

Duncan gave Adam a look. “I’ll let you handle this hun. Those eyes are kinda fishy.” Laughter filled the air around the table.

“Well, first off, why do you want to borrow the car?”

“There’s a movie playing at the AMC Westshore Plaza, I want to take Giles too.” Robert smiled at his boyfriend. “It’s a special showing of Love, Simon that a local GLBT organization is putting on for youths.”

“On one condition. If your brother and Travis want to go, you take them with you.” Adam looked over at Jeremy and Travis.

“Dad, Rob asked if we wanted to go, and we were still thinking about it. Trav doesn’t want to resort to pills, and I don’t want him to be uncomfortable.”

“Understandable.”

“I’ll go.” Travis spoke up with some confidence. “It’ll be dark during the movie, and I’ll have Jer with me. And, you two.” He nodded at Robert and Giles. “It’ll be mine and Jeremy’s first real date.”

“Hell yeah! Double date night!” Giles high-fived Travis. “Of course, man, we’ll be with you. You’re our bro, so we gotta look out for each other.”

“But, as for using the car tonight. That is a no. You cannot use the car tonight, because you’ve been drinking. Order an Uber and you can still go. Call us if you need help or a way home.” Duncan smiled at the boys.

“Thanks, Dads.” Robert and Jeremy said at the same time. Giles and Travis both had smiles on their faces.

“Rob, I’m going to text Brayon and Chandon to see if they want to meet us there.” Giles pulled out his phone and thumbed his way through a message.

“Sounds good to me.”

“Alright then.” Adam swallowed some beer to clear his throat. “Okay, Jeremy this brings up a topic we’ve been meaning to discuss with you. We need to discuss your parents’ old cars. Do you want to keep both, only one, what?”

“I want to keep one, at least, but I only have my learner’s, so I can’t really drive yet. Rob can, and we can share the car I choose, or he can have the other one.”

“Which one do you want to keep, Jer?” With how Robert smiled and the practiced ease of the question, it was plain to the adults that the boys had practiced this.

“I want to keep the Dodge Charger. It is a limited-edition Hellcat model.” Jeremy ran his hand through his hair. “It was my father’s, and well, he got it as a mid-life crisis thing. Or that’s what I heard mom say once. It would be a shame that it just sat around and did nothing.”

“I agree, Jer. You know I would treat it with the utmost respect too.”

“Okay, you can keep the Charger, and share it with Robert. Unless you want the Civic, Robert?”

“I’ll be happy sharing, daddy Duncan.” He looked at his brother. “It’s Jer’s decision.”

Adam chuckled. “Hun, I think they’ve been practicing this.” He looked at his two sons. “We’ll keep the Charger, but… you are responsible for your own gas, one fight about sharing it and you both lose it, and you’ll both pay a third of the full coverage insurance that will be on it.”

“Of course, Dad.” Robert grinned over at Jeremy.

“Sounds fair.” Jeremy nodded and smiled back to his brother. “I’ll need to get a job to pay for gas and insurance.”

Adam sighed some with a glance between Giles and Travis. “No you won’t. I was hoping to do this in a more private setting, but Jeremy, your brother has agreed to share his part of the business with you. Tomorrow, we’ll be doing contract drafts and five percent of the company will be transferred to you. Rob has also decided to split his settlement from the lawsuit with you as well. You won’t need to get a job unless you want to.”

Jeremy sat stunned and looked between Adam and Robert. “Thank you…” He stood up and hugged his brother. Robert whispered something to him.

“I don’t want anyone to feel awkward about all this, which is why we hadn’t discussed it yet. However, I’m also in the process of doing something for Giles and Travis.” Adam looked at Duncan who nodded his approval. “I’m taking five percent of my own investment in the company and giving you two each two-and-a-half percent. You are family, there’s no doubt there, and our brewery and brewpub are a family business. I wish I could give you more, but with how it’s already divided, I need to keep some for controlling interest.”

Giles and Travis were both stunned but each of them got up and hugged Adam and Duncan. They both gave him their thanks, before sitting back down.

They finished dinner, and the four boys left to get ready for their date night. Adam and Duncan cleaned up the mess for them.

~.~

Duncan and Adam stood in the kitchen, as they finished up the dinner dishes and put away leftovers.

“Four teenage boys can put away some food.” Duncan chuckled. “Want another beer, or some wine?”

Adam leaned against the counter watching his husband. “Nah. I’m going to stick to tea and water the rest of the night. Just in case the boys call, but you go ahead.”

Duncan smiled, shut the fridge, and walked over to his husband. He took Adam into his arms and kissed him deeply. “I’m proud of you hun.”

“What for?” Adam nuzzled Duncan’s neck.

“How much you’ve changed in the past few months. You’re not drinking as heavily as you used to.”

Adam inhaled Duncan’s manly scent and stood up to look his husband in the eyes. “It’s because I have everything I’ve ever wanted. My gorgeous husband, and my two sons.” He leaned in for a kiss. “I’m no longer depressed, and self-medicating. However, I still got to watch myself.”

“You were depressed?” Duncan looked taken back.

“I was.” He sighed. “I thought I could handle it myself, so I never went to a therapist, and just drowned my sorrows in vodka and weed. Then Tibs did me dirty, and I stopped the weed, and was drinking heavily. I was starting to get fat, so I started working out, eased down on the alcohol. I thought I had it packed down pretty solidly until that morning you found me face down in my own piss and puke.”

“Don’t remind me.” Duncan semi-seriously playfully swatted him. “I still have nightmares of coming home and finding you dead instead of passed out.”

“That was the turning point. You helped me reign it in.” Adam, still holding his husband, ran his hands down Duncan’s back to cup his backside.

“Why were you depressed?”

“I didn’t have you.” Adam lay his head on Duncan’s shoulder. “This instinct of mine… feeling we’re supposed to be together, but not. Every time I had sex with someone else I felt dirty about it. That I was cheating on you. I know it makes me sound like a fucking psychopath, but it’s how I was feeling for years. I thought you were straight and then you got married to Cheryl—”,

“Please don’t remind me of that bitch.”

“—and I felt like I was going insane. But that all stopped when you found me that morning. In the shower, as I was sobering up, I knew something had changed.”

“I don’t know if your instinct is a gift or a curse. You’ve been right in every case that I know of.” He rubbed Adam’s back. “Weren’t you born with a veil?”

“If you’re meaning that I was born with a piece of the amniotic sac still attached to my head, then yeah I was. Why do you ask?”

“Just something I remembered from a Mythology of the Americas class from college. It’s said that those born with a veil, have an extra sight into things. A gift of sorts with psychic phenomenon. Could be a reason for your insight.” Duncan gave him a smile. “It’s a rare condition, but happened a lot in New Orleans in the late 1700s. Sailors would buy the veils as good luck charms.”

“Hadn’t thought about that. But you know I believe in metaphysics. I mean, I can predict who people are going to fall in love with, relationships out of it, and sometimes a bit more. So, some of that stuff has to be real.” Adam kissed Duncan’s neck and started to nibble on it; causing a hickey to emerge.

Duncan let out a soft growl. “Not to change the subject, but why did you start the brewpub?”

“For free beer.”

They shared a laugh.

“Also, for Lightning tickets. I met with Mr. Vinik after Jace and I finalized our plans, when Vinick announced his Channelside District improvement projects. That’s another thing the family money is invested in, and how we have free season tickets to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Which reminds me, I need to get you to look at our family’s finances. I know you said you don’t want to do money management, but I suspect my… our current accountant is not being as efficient as he could be.”

“I’ll take a look at them. You know I will for our family, and I’m not conning little old ladies into risky investments like I was doing.”

“I know, hun.” Adam chuckled some. “I just thought about something with the season tickets. With the six of us, I may need to start renting a suite.”

“Ten of us. You forgot about Brayon and Chandon, and of course their parents Bryce and Jill.”

“They’re getting married.”

“Who?”

“Jill and Bryce.” Adam had a far off look. “They’ve finalized it, but haven’t set a date yet. Travis doesn’t know, and they had been dating for two years.”

“How in the hell do you know that?” Duncan shook his head.

“I just do hun. I just do.” He kissed Duncan’s cheek. “It scares the shit out of me sometimes.”

They fell into silence holding each other. Adam broke the silence. “When are you going to go see Maria and Daniel?”

“Tomorrow.” Duncan let out a quick frustrated breath. “Ian’s letters said that child support was usually sent out at the end of the month. It didn’t happen, so she might be wondering where it is. And, I noticed that Maria is an employee of ours. Some special position, where she can work from home, and draw a full manager’s salary and benefits. It was pretty hidden in the books.”

“Embezzling and a hidden job? You know hun, that as soon as you turn this over to the State and IRS they are going to press charges on her. She’s looking at jail time.”

“I do. Which is why we should get the spare room ready for Daniel. I won’t let him end up in foster care, and I don’t know if Maria has any family nearby.”

“He’s going to end up living with us. I’ve felt that since Travis asked me about him and Jeremy.”

“Then that’s eleven of us, and we’ll need a suite at games if we all go.” Duncan squeezed Adam in a loving embrace. “I love you so much.”

They fell into a comfortable silence holding each other, with the occasional nips, nuzzles, and kisses.

“I want you inside me tonight.” Duncan smiled.

“As you wish, my love.”

The pair were still holding and kissing each other, when the boys left the house.

Smiling Adam stepped back from his husband. “Care to help me with something?”

“Sure, what do you need?”

“Help me open up all the doors, and windows, and then close them when I’m done.” Adam sighed. “With everything that’s been going on, I think it’s time to do another white sage cleanse.”

Duncan nodded his agreement. “Well, I hope your gods are listening this time. Cause we sure need whatever curse that is upon us lifted.” His tone of voice showed his seriousness. “Anything else you need me to do?”

“You can add your own prayers.”

The couple set out to open all the doors and windows throughout the house. Opening the last of the French doors, Duncan met Adam in the library. Sitting on the desk was the smudging plate, white sage, and a lighter. Adam moved from the library shelves, with two palm sized crystals. One of Rose Quartz and the other of Garnet. Holding his hands over them, he prayed to his gods for strength and protection as he cast out the negative energies that lingered in the house. Duncan stood behind him, with one hand on his shoulder and prayed to his Christian God.

“Ready?” Adam asked. Duncan nodded a yes. “Alright, here we go.”

Adam handed Duncan the two crystals, and instructed him to follow him with them. Lighting the white sage bundle, Adam led the pair through the house in a circle pattern. He waved the sage bundle, while intoning the Gayatri Mantra over and over. Eventually the pair completed the circle at the library. After putting away his ritual items, Adam along with Duncan proceeded to close everything up.

“It’s been a while since you did the full thing, babe.” Duncan said as the pair entered their bedroom. “Even last April, you only just burnt a little bit of the sage, what made you do it differently this time?”

Adam blew out a quick calming breath. “Long story short, this is what I should have done a while ago.The little bit of burning, and fanning the front room wasn’t enough. With the windows and doors opened, and sage cleanse, it allowed the negative energy a place to escape too, and positive energy to replace it.”

Duncan shook his head. “I’ve always been impressed with your pagan rituals.Got anymore planned?”

“None.”

“What do you want to do now?”

Adam grinned and leaned in to kiss his husband. “Right now, I’m gonna take a bath, and chill. And wait to see if the boys call with an emergency.”

“Okay, my love.”

The husbands ended up in the shower together, kissing and making out, letting the water carry away the stress from the past couple of days.

~.~

Travis sat with an iron death grip on Jeremy and Giles’ hands. After meeting up with Brayon and Chandon, the three couples scored their tickets, and chose their seats. They sat on the front row of the middle tier, in the middle seats. An easy to leave aisle was between them and the railing for the step down to the lower level sitting area. The movie had garnered a full capacity crowd, and instead of turning away teens, the theater had opened another room for the viewing.

“Trav, loosen up a bit, buddy. My fingers are starting to go numb.” Giles said playfully. With his free hand he patted and rubbed Travis’ forearm. “It’s gonna be okay. The trailers are about to start, and lights will be dimmed.”

Travis nodded his head, and did the breathing exercises Jeremy taught him in their self-defense training. “Okay.” He loosen his grip, but still held on to both of the others.

“Giles, thank you for helping my boyfriend.” Jeremy smiled over to him. “I know you wanted to wait with Rob for the popcorn and sodas.”

“It’s cool. Helping Trav is more important than popcorn.” He leaned over and whispered something in Travis’ ear, garnering a quick burst of laughter, that calmed more tension from the teen.

“What did you say?”

“If he needed to use the bathroom, I would still hold his hand, but you would have to hold his dick so he could pee.” Giles chuckled as Jeremy blushed. Eventually all three had a good laugh.

Brayon, Chandon, and Robert showed up a few moments later, and passed out the popcorn and sodas. Robert sat next to his boyfriend, while Chandon and Brayon sat on the other side of Jeremy.

“Travis, I know you go to the movies. That’s how we met. But what’s different this time?” Giles asked. “Just curious.”

“I’m not taking the pills, and sitting up in the projector room.” Travis let out another series of calming breaths. “The night that Jeremy saved me, I went to watch Ready Player One. Our neighbor was the general manager for Ybor Cinema and would allow me to sit up in the projector room. I was trying to get out of the building after the movie when I ran into the asshole.”

“That was the same movie we went to see.” Jeremy said. “And we know what happened after that.”

Chandon watched with a smile on his face. He’s gonna be my step-brother soon. I wish I could do more to help him. “You’re doing good, Trav. Just keep on trying to relax, and know that we’re all here for you.”

“Thanks, Chan.” He opened his eyes, and looked over to Chandon. “I overheard something Adam said earlier, when I was getting my phone out of the front room. He and Duncan were too caught up kissing each other to see me. But he said, our parents are about to get married. Is that true?”

Chandon gave Brayon a look before he looked back over to Travis. “It’s true. They told us Saturday when we got in from Washington, and wanted to wait till later to tell you because of what’s happening with Jeremy.”

Travis nodded. “Understandable. Looks like we’re going to be step-brothers. I didn’t even know Uncle Bryce was dating.”

“Yeah… apparently they’ve been dating since they met when you were in the hospital two years ago.”

“Now it makes sense. Some of his ‘I’ve got to drop you off and go back to work’ nights he had.” Travis shook his head. “How do you feel about it? I’m happy for my Dad, that he is getting married. He deserved someone that he could be with seeing as he hasn’t in years.”

“I’m feeling good about it. Mom deserves to be happy, and she looked happy with your dad.” Chandon smiled over to him. “Now we’ve got to get to know each other better.”

“Hey, when school starts again, you should join the GSA club with us. Just have to get your boyfriend to join too.” Brayon interjected with a grin.

“If I wasn’t dropping out of school, I might join. Because you guys are in it.”

The news shocked Brayon, Chandon, Giles, and Robert. Who collectively looked at Travis with questioning looks.

Jeremy jumped in before any questions were asked. “After the movie guys. We can talk then.”

“Okay, afterwards.” Chandon agreed.

The six of them finished watching the trailers in silence, munching on popcorn, and sipping sodas. As the lights went down, Travis grew more confident, and was able to let go of Giles and Jeremy’s hands and relaxed.

~.~

Chandon followed the Uber back to the Harbour Island Home, where he and Brayon met with the others outside the home. They all walked in, waved at the adults, and made their way to Robert’s bedroom, shutting the door behind them. The six of them quickly sat down on Robert’s bed, the desk chair, or on the floor in a circle.

“Okay, Travis. I think I can speak for four of us, when I say that was pretty shocking about dropping out of school. Jeremy seemed to already know.” Chandon said looking at his brother-to-be.

“I did already know.” Jeremy stated as he looked at the others. “Trav told Adam and me in Boston the night Rob went to his party with his friends.”

They four looked over expectantly at Travis.

“Well, it’s like this.” Travis proceeded to explain what he told Jeremy and Adam in Boston. “The biggest part of all of that is I’m tired of living like a zombie on the pills.”

“And your social anxiety goes through the roof without them.” Brayon stated. “Oh man.”

“Yeah.” Travis let out a frustrated breath. “I don’t know what to do. Jeremy wants to drop out with me, Adam suggested I look at alternatives. I just don’t know.”

The six teens sat in silence, each thinking the problem through.

“Mom told me once that there is a special school here in Tampa, for children of all ages, with different types of learning disabilities. I think it’s called Pepin Academy. She wanted me to go there, because I have one and was struggling in Middle School. But, Brayon and Giles helped me pull through it. I had to learn a different way to learn.” Chandon gave Travis a small smile. “That could be an alternative.”

“Before you decide anything, Trav.” Giles paused and motioned around the room. “There are five of us here right now with you. We’re on your side, and will be there for you, no matter what. We could try to sync classes next year. Work with the school administration, to where one of us is with you at all times. Last year, you and I shared three classes.”

“That we did.” Travis nodded, and was overcome by emotion. While he didn’t sob, silent tears ran down his face. “You all would do this for me?”

“Of course we would!” Brayon stated. “It seems we’re all destined to be together. So, we’re gonna look out for you. You’re one of us.”

“I’ll think about it. I still need to talk to Dad about this.” Travis gave them all a small smile.

The topic changed for the boys, as they discussed the movie, and their separate trips. Chandon and Brayon called and got permission to stay over, which Adam and Duncan had no problems with. They stayed up late, talking and playing video games. Tears had turned to laughter, and the six teens ended up passing out across Robert’s room.

Copyright © 2022 Brayon; All Rights Reserved.
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All mistakes are mine, and mine alone.

Thank you for reading.

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Another great chapter. Erin is still a mystery, but he's found a lawyer for Jeremy.

Great date for the various couples.

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8 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Another great chapter. Erin is still a mystery, but he's found a lawyer for Jeremy.

Great date for the various couples.

Thanks, Chris! Yes, Erin is a bit of a mystery. But he's good people.

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5 hours ago, Anton_Cloche said:

Now that the family's back in Tampa, more things may create problems, especially with ADA (A Definite Asshole?) King looking to score points using Jeremy before his election campaign. Hopefully all his H8 filled actions come back to bite him.

Travis with the help of the other boys will begin to find a way though his SADS & PTSD caused by the inaction of the school board that permitted the bullying and physical attacks. With lawyer Chad's help he should be able to win a Title IX case on that basis.

If Travis does need to a school better able to provide special help for students, Pepin Academy (a number of REAL 'Charter' schools  http://www.pepinacademies.com/ ) is set up to do that.

Hopefully. 🤞🏼

Thanks, for reading and the great feedback, Anton! I've used a lot of real places in Tampa, for the story, some minor changes here and there, but mostly all real. Sally O'Neal's has some damn good pizza. 

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Much to think about in this chapter, as Chad pointed out, Jeremy is being 'used' to further the political aims of a hack running for reelection. My gut feeling is that he'll soon be a washed up ambulance chaser and seller of dubious investment schemes.

The five o'clock shadow he will be perpetually wearing will be courtesy of a barstool in a seedy dive!

Loved how the gang rally's around Travis...I see much healing and deeper meaningful physical connections for Travis and Jeremy! 

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7 hours ago, drsawzall said:

Much to think about in this chapter, as Chad pointed out, Jeremy is being 'used' to further the political aims of a hack running for reelection. My gut feeling is that he'll soon be a washed up ambulance chaser and seller of dubious investment schemes.

The five o'clock shadow he will be perpetually wearing will be courtesy of a barstool in a seedy dive!

Loved how the gang rally's around Travis...I see much healing and deeper meaningful physical connections for Travis and Jeremy! 

Thank you, very much for the comment, reading, and the excellent feedback you've given along the way. Soon to be former, ADA King, is most defiantly gonna turn into one of those Slip and Fall lawyers. The kind that "we don't get paid, unless you win," but stack the deck with only taking cases, they know can win. We have a few of those here in Tampa.

Travis and Jeremy are special to me. Both of them are patterned off of real people in my life, that hold special meaning to me.

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5 hours ago, Daddydavek said:

The wait was worth it!  Love how the guys have each others back!

Thanks, Daddy Dave, for reading and replying! Indeed, and its scenes like that one that make me love writing this story.

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