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Autumn - 20. Surprise, Surprise

Friday, 13 December 2013

The two weeks following the Thanksgiving trip to Miami were hectic for CJ. The school semester was close to an end, and schoolwork was even more of a priority than it usually was. Between academics, the dojo, and rugby practice, free time was rare. Nonetheless, the boy asked to be excused from afternoon classes on Friday the thirteenth. He wore a coat and tie to school that day, earning him multiple wolf whistles from his friends, followed by handshakes, hugs, and congratulatory comments when they were told why he was dressed up. When his dads―one in his Dress Blues, the other one in a beautiful charcoal suit―drove up to Walls to pick him up at lunch time, the three of them had to stand together so a few of the kid’s friends could snap pictures of them.

“Nervous, Papa?” asked CJ, leaning forward and gently shaking Brett’s shoulder. “Are you ready for this?”

“The answer’s yes to both questions.” Brett covered the boy’s hand resting on his shoulder with his own. “In the immortal words of Yogi Berra: it ain’t over 'til it’s over. But I’ve been ready for a long time. Now sit back and buckle up. We don’t need you flying through the windshield if we get into an accident.”

César chuckled, looking over from the driver’s seat at his husband and son. “Give the kid a break. It’s a big day for him too. And stop being so protective. You’re acting like a new father!”

“Yeah, Papa. Stop being so protective.” CJ reclined into the soft leather of the big Escalade and fastened his seat belt. “What are you gonna do when we get back home from Australia, I get my license, and start driving on my own.”

“That ain’t going to happen anytime soon. First you need to pass the written exam and get your learner’s permit. Then you have to practice a million hours before they give you the real one.”

CJ and César both broke into loud laughter. “A million hours, Papa?”

“Something like that,” replied a grinning Brett.

• • •

“Congratulations, mate.” JP’s hearty slap to the back almost made Brett stumble. “Welcome to your baby shower.”

“Baby, my ass. CJ’s only a couple inches shorter than me. One good thing about adopting a teenager, though: no stinky diapers to change.”

“But you miss out on the piss spraying, buddy.” Tom vigorously shook his friend’s hand. “The first few times I changed Bradley, I forgot to cover his gigantic penis. As soon as it hit the air, he started peeing.”

“Gigantic penis? Not if he took after his father.”

“Fuck you, Jarhead. It’s a well-known fact Irish men are better endowed than others.”

The banner hanging on the wall behind their tables read: IT’S A BOY. Each chair had baby-blue or white balloons tied to it, and there was a small wicker basket full of baby supplies in front of the spot Brett was steered towards. He took the bottle laying on top. Removing the cap, he brought the nipple close to his nose, and smiled.

“I don’t think this is meant for my new baby. Smells too much like an adult beverage.”

“Come on, Papa. Maybe you should let me have some of that. It’s cold outside and I’ve been freezing my ass off. Plus it might help me sleep better.”

“Stop being such a pussy, Bubba.” Doc reached into the pocket of his coat hanging on the back of his chair, pulled out an envelope and handed it to CJ. “It ain’t that cold.”

“It was in the twenties this morning, Uncle Matt. That’s plenty cold in my book. What’s this?”

“A copy of the letter your school principal sent me. Chipper will be starting at Walls in January. Mrs. Edwards tells me your recommendation was one of the main reasons for his acceptance.”

“Yay! I’m gonna love having him in DC. Can’t wait to tell Harley and Thiago.”

“Welcome to fatherhood, Doc.” Tom’s subdued smile spoke of how he missed his kids already. “It’s gonna be interesting having so many teen boys running around. Wish my kids could be here full time too.”

• • •

“Okay. That’s enough. Give it to me.” César extended his hand and gently tugged the piece of paper from Brett’s hand. “If you fall asleep with it, it’ll get wrinkled.”

“I just can’t believe it, babe.” Brett looked at his husband with the same loopy smile he’d had most of the day. “CJ’s really my son.”

“This is just a legal document, Jarhead. CJ’s been your son for longer than the past eight hours.”

“But now it’s official. At some point tonight, when we were at Rogo’s, it started to sink in. The adoption was final. I’m a father.”

 

 

Saturday, 14 December 2013

“Did you get to talk to your brother this morning?” Brett sat at the kitchen counter watching CJ prepare lunch.

“Yeah. I did. I’m a little worried about him, Papa.”

“Why what’s going on?”

“Well, at first he sounded confused. I told him about you adopting me. He said he didn’t want me to stop being his brother.”

“How did that come up?” asked César from the bottom of the stairs. “I thought you said you weren’t going to make a big deal about it.”

“I didn’t, Dad. He asked me about it.” CJ poured the defrosted lentil soup into a pot resting on the stove, before going back to assembling the sourdough bread, mozzarella, and tomato sandwiches. “His dad was hungover this morning, kept complaining about his head hurting. Ritchie said Colonel Dickhead has been getting drunk a lot lately. Anyway, his father mentioned at least I wouldn’t be a headache anymore, since I’d been adopted by the other fag.”

Brett looked at César with a confused expression. “How the hell did he know about it?”

“Lourdes was mailed copies of the documentation, and the date it would be finalized, to give her a chance to file an objection. What an asshole. I feel bad for your brother, but I’m so glad you’re not living with him anymore.” César stirred the soup a bit himself, before turning down the flame on the burner. “Let it simmer, and hold off on grilling those sandwiches. I’m gonna take a quick shower. Oh, and we’re hitting the gym tomorrow. Those thirty minutes on the treadmill left me sucking wind and reminded me I haven’t been working out enough.”

“So did you settle your brother down?” asked Brett once César had run back upstairs. “Is his reaction to me adopting you why you’re worried about him?”

“Yeah. I feel bad. I don’t want him to think I don’t love him. And I know Mom or his dad won’t say anything good if he asks them.”

“I think I know who can help you out there.”

“Who?”

“Your grandmother. Call Aba after lunch. Tell her what’s going on. Ask her to explain to Ritchie that you’ll always be his brother no matter what.”

 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

With the temperature creeping upwards a few degrees―the weather forecast called for a high around fifty―CJ decided to be brave, and wore shorts as he jogged towards the gym with his dads. Once inside the field house, he blew into his hands to warm them up, unzipped his hoodie, and stashed it inside the locker his fathers were using. Underneath the sweatshirt, he had worn a bright yellow, sleeveless, Harley-Davidson t-shirt bearing an impressionistic representation of the brand’s bar-and-shield logo, and a long sleeved thermal shirt as a first layer.

“Hey, dads. How come Uncles Dragon and King weren’t there last night?” They had warmed up together and were now in the free weights section of the gym.

Brett replaced the dumbbell he was doing curls with on the rack, and pulled up the hem of his shirt to wipe the sweat off his face. “Dragon called to say he wasn’t feeling well. He said King wanted to talk to us though. He’s planning on stopping by our place after lunch.”

“What’s going on with the two of them? I haven’t seen either one in ages. I mean, I know Uncle King was in London visiting his family for a while. But still…”

“I think you need to ask Rash for the details when he comes over. Not my place to tell all of what happened. But they had a fight while they were in Montreal, and things aren’t back to normal yet.”

“Did it have anything to do with sex and other guys?”

“Like I said, CJ. It’s not my place to tell. Ask Rashid, I’m sure he’ll answer any questions you have.”

• • •

“Hi, Uncle Rash.” CJ held the door open with one hand, fisting the other one to bump with the wiry ex-boxer’s. “Are you alone? Uncle Dragon still not feeling well?”

“Hey, CJ. Yeah, all alone. Devon’s okay. I’m sure you’ll see him before you leave next weekend.”

“Come on in, Rashid.” César waved from where he was sitting on the couch; Brett’s head rested on his lap while they watched the Redskins game against the Falcons. “I’d get up, but I’m afraid the marine would tackle me if I did.”

“Damn right. I’m too comfortable to move.” Brett wiggled in place, adjusting his position slightly. “Hey, Rash. Sit your ass down, bud.”

“Hi, guys. Sorry Devon and I decided to skip last night. We didn’t want to dampen the mood.”

“What do you mean?” asked CJ.

“I guess I need to bring you up to date, mate.” Rashid glanced at Brett and César for a moment before continuing. “Devon and I got into a pretty big fight in Montreal because of drugs and sex. Maybe I was wrong in going along with what we’d been doing, but I believed in moderation it was okay. My boyfriend, the bloody fool, overdid the drugs. Some things happened while we were having sex with other guys, which left me upset, and questioning how we’ve been carrying on for the past year or so.”

“Is that why you flew to England to see your family?” CJ had taken a seat next to Brett and snuggled up to him when the man had taken his legs off the couch. “Are the two of you still fighting?”

“Yes and no. I decided I needed some time to think about the relationship. Going to visit the family seemed like a good idea. It worked, and I was able to make some decisions.”

“So are you and Uncle Dragon okay now?”

“Not really.” Rashid paused, sighed, and shook his head. “We’re not arguing anymore. But that’s because while I was in London, I interviewed for a job there. They made me an offer, and this past week I accepted it.” The man looked at his hands, an expression of defeat on his face. “I’m leaving Washington and moving to London before the end of the year.”

 

Monday, 16 December 2013

“Hi, Uncle Tom. Come in.” CJ reached upwards, to help span the half-foot difference in height, when Detective Kennedy leaned down to give him a hug. “What are you doing here?”

“We invited him for dinner,” yelled Brett from the kitchen.

“Yup. John Paul’s busy at the embassy with some function, so I’m single for the next couple of hours.” The tall man removed his jacket, hung it on the coat rack by the door, and strolled towards the kitchen. Loosening his tie, he rolled up his shirt sleeves along the way. “I’m not about to pass an invitation for a home cooked meal. You know I’m not that good in the kitchen.”

“Neither is Papa, but I’m off the cooking roster this week. Gotta study for exams.”

“Get yourself a beer, Tom.” Brett pointed towards the refrigerator with the blade of the long knife in his hand. “And, you,” he said, smirking at CJ. “You keep criticizing my cooking, you’ll end up on bread and water rations.”

“Oh, wow, a gourmet meal!” CJ chuckled and sat back at the kitchen counter where he had an open book and a binder filled with class notes.

“Asshole,” grumbled his father. “César should be here soon. He texted ten minutes ago to tell me he was leaving the office. How are the kids, Tom?”

“They’re good. Spoke with them last night.” The cop’s face seemed to light up as soon as his children were mentioned. “Brad had a date with some new girl last Friday night. He’s in love again. Paddy just grumbled about how unfair it was they're not going to Australia.”

CJ looked up from his notes, grinning. “That may be my fault. I’ve been kidding them a lot about going surfing while they have to deal with snow.”

“I know. They told me. Thanks for making my life easier.” Tom’s sarcasm made CJ snicker until the cop swatted the back of the boy’s head. “I swore to them I’d spank you if you kept it up.”

“Geez! Police brutality right in my own house.”

“Paddy’s also jealous of you because of your school.” Tom’s expression became wistful. “He mentioned how lucky Chipper was to be moving down to go there. And how he wished he could do the same.”

“That would be so cool. I wish he and Brad could move to Washington.”

“You and me both, buddy. Hey, changing topics, knowing how anal César can get: are you guys already packed for the trip?”

“What’s to pack? Right, papa?” CJ looked at Tom and winked. “Sneakers, shorts, a pair of jeans and a handful of t-shirts.”

“Ignore the kid, Tom. We’re working on it. We have a garment bag all ready with one good set of clothing for each of us. For the rest, CJ may not be too far off the mark with his comment. Although we’re forcing him to take some polo shirts in case a T’s not enough.”

“I don’t know what the big deal is, Papa. They have stores down under, you know?”

 

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

CJ glanced away from the computer screen towards the entrance to his room. César stood at the doorway, as his son yawned and stretched his arms upwards. “What’s up, Dad?”

“Ready for a break? You’ve been at it for a long time.”

“Yeah. I’m done studying anyway. I was checking out things to do in Australia. Too bad we’re not going up to the Great Barrier Reef. I’d love to go scuba diving there.”

“Maybe next trip. Come on down to the kitchen? Papa and I want to go over a couple of things with you.”

“Okay. What’s going on?” CJ picked up his phone from the desk, slipped it into his pocket, and followed his father downstairs, taking the steps two at a time.

“Couple of things like I said. We’re working on our year end charitable contributions and want some input from you.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Really.” Brett sat at the kitchen counter swirling a snifter with an amber colored liquid in it, a bottle of Louis Royer Force 53 stood next to the laptop open in front of him. “We’ve told you before you’re part of the team.”

“What are you drinking? Can I have a little?”

“Sure. It’s Cognac. Get a glass from the bar.”

“Great, you’re gonna get our son drunk. He has a test in school tomorrow, you know?” complained César.

CJ rolled his eyes hearing his dad’s comment. “Like a few sips of the stuff are going to stop me from getting an A in Social Studies. Get real, Dad.”

“Don’t get cocky, boy.” Brett poured a finger of the liquor for CJ and watched as he instinctively brought the crystal snifter close to his face and inhaled the aroma.

“Smells like vanilla and cigars.” CJ took a sip, closed his eyes and smiled. “That’s good. It’s really warm going down.”

“Great! Just what we needed. Now he’s gonna start on the hard stuff,” grumbled César, shaking his head, reaching for his own drink. “Speaking of going down, your cousin Randy and Tyler are coming to Washington to spend New Year’s Eve. They’re staying at the house.”

“Fuck! Too bad I’m gonna miss them. What does their being here have to do with going down?”

“They’re going to work on some ideas for re-doing the basement while they’re here. When we bought the house and remodeled, it was just the two of us. We went for the big open spaces everywhere.” César sipped his drink, barely wetting his lips before picking up his reading glasses. “With you living here, and having friends stay over all the time, it might be better to have two or three smaller bedrooms for guests. If we can ever convince Abuelo and Abuela to come spend time with us, it would mean Harley & Thiago would lose their room.”

“Good of you to bring up Thiago, babe. CJ, we need his home address, his parents’ names, and the name of his brother who killed himself.”

“Ummm. I don’t know his parents' first names. I always call them Mr. & Mrs. B. I know his brother’s. And his address is in my phone. You want me to text him and ask him for the names? How come you need this stuff?”

“Yes, please. We’d like to make a contribution to the Trevor Project in memory of his brother. Papa and I like your friend a lot. We thought it would be a nice gesture, and it’s a great organization.”

 

Friday, 20 December 2013

“So all As except for the B in biology?” asked César as he maneuvered the large vehicle into a spot a few doors down from Rogo’s.

“Yeah, Dad. I’m pretty sure of it. Sorry about missing that one.”

Brett slammed the door of the car shut and grabbed CJ by the shoulders when the boy had done the same. “Not sure what the fuck you’re apologizing for, dude. Sounds to me like a great report card will be waiting when we get home next year.”

“Next year!” CJ chuckled. “That sounds funny.”

“Yep. It definitely does,” said César, looking back over his shoulder. He was a few steps ahead of them, reaching to pull the door open. “And tonight is our last time at Rogo’s until next year.”

“CJ!” Danno’s voice boomed as soon as the boy walked through the door, making several patrons turn to see who the man was calling out to.

“Hi, Uncle Danno. You’re in a good mood.”

“Hell yeah. It’s Friday, the weather’s been nice, business is booming, and Adriano’s working tonight. I get to goof off and hang out with my favorite nephew.”

“How many nephews have you got now, Wolf?” asked Brett giving the man a bro hug.

“Lost count. They keep multiplying like Catholic rabbits. You guys, Adriano, Tom, and now Doc with Chipper. I’m the only one without kids at home. This place is bound to resemble a soda fountain soon.” The man’s loud laughter once again made customers glance his way. “Hey, come next door to my place for a few minutes. There’s a new car I want you to see.”

• • •

“SURPRISE!” The loud greeting reverberated through the cavernous warehouse housing Danno’s living space and his collection of American muscle cars. The two dozen or so guests quickly surrounded the startled, grinning boy. CJ was kissed, hugged, and patted on the head or back by each of them. He kept shaking his head in disbelief, his gaze eventually settling on Thiago.

“You, jerk! I can’t believe you. I just saw you an hour ago at practice. What was all that wishing me a good trip and stuff?”

“Good acting on my part?” The fellow martial arts practitioner replied, extending his fist to bump after taking a bow.

“And Harley! How the heck where you able to keep this quiet? Or were you kept in the dark too?”

“Nah, bruh. I knew about it. Cap threatened to cut my dick off if I said anything! Ooops.” Harley looked at the women standing near him and quickly apologized. “Sorry, Ms. Edwards. Sorry, Autumn. Sorry, Helen.”

CJ turned around to look at his fathers and Danno while shaking his head in disbelief. “I thought we were having a quiet night since we fly out tomorrow?”

“Dude, our flight doesn’t leave until five tomorrow night,” replied a smiling Brett, mussing up CJ’s hair.

“This is a big one, buddy,” added César. “We couldn’t ignore your sweet sixteen. We’ll go out for dinner on the actual day of your birthday.”

“You lied to me, Uncle Danno. You said you had a new car in here you wanted to show me. Stinker!”

“But I do have a new one to show you. Finish saying hello to your guests. Grab something to eat and drink. We’ll get to the car later.”

• • •

“Hi, Uncle Matt. You ready for Chipper to get here?”

“As ready as I’m gonna be. Kinda funny how I spent last New Year’s Eve with the father, and this time around I get to welcome in twenty fourteen with the son.” The bitter-sweet expression on the man’s face was hard for CJ to decipher. “Hey, you remember Dasan?” Doc smiled at the man standing by his side holding a beer.

“Yeah. Sure. You’re Dr. Prescott’s friend. We met at AIDS Walk.”

“Hey, CJ. Happy birthday, guy.” Dasan switched the bottle to his left hand, dried the right one on his jeans, and extended it for the boy to shake. “Do me a favor and call me Dash. It’s the name my friends use.”

“Cool. How’d you get the nickname?”

“My middle name’s Ash so… Anyway, sorry for crashing your party. I had to get the listing agreement signed by Tom and JP, and they suggested I meet them here to do it.”

CJ appeared momentarily confused. “A listing agreement? Is that like for selling their place?”

“Yep. That’s it. We’ve met a couple of times over there so I could see it. And to discuss price and stuff like that. They called last night and asked me to prepare the contract. With them out of town for the next two weeks, it’ll be easy to show the house. Even if this isn’t the best time of year to enter the market.”

“Oh wow. I wonder if Brad and Patrick know their dads are selling the house yet?”

Dasan’s hearty laughter surprised CJ. “I think they found out this afternoon. I stopped by Doc’s earlier today so I could see his place. I’m helping him move furniture around in Chip’s room tomorrow. Chipper texted Matt with the news while I was there, right after Bradley told him. I understand you boys have a little network running up and down the east coast. I’m looking forward to meeting the other members of your posse.”

“What a dick! He sends Chipper a message with the news but doesn’t tell me? I’m gonna beat his ass up next time I see him.”

It was Doc who laughed out loud this time. “He was under orders not to, CJ. Tom didn’t want to risk you finding out about your party. He suggested Bradley and Patrick not get in touch with you until sometime tonight. I asked the same thing from Chipper.”

“They all knew about the party? Fuckers!”

• • •

“Unca, CJ! Unca CJ!”

The shrill of two children calling to him, made CJ turn in time to be run into by Gabriella and Emmanuel. The smiling teen squatted in front of them, and was quickly enveloped by their tiny arms.

“Happy birthday, Unca CJ,” said the little girl before plastering her lips to his cheek and giving him a loud kiss.

“Daddy let us stay up late so we could help him bring in your cake.” Emmanuel stepped back and put his hand up for a high five.

“It’s carrot cake. My favorite.” Gabriella hung on to the teen as he stood.

“Daddy said we could have some before going to sleep.” The little boy stared up at CJ holding on to his left hand.

The party guests had formed a loose circle around the birthday boy while he was being smothered by the children. When CJ looked away from the boy and girl, he found Adriano standing in front of a rolling cart on which rested a white cake, decorated with orange carrots and green leaves.

“Happy birthday, buddy,” said the man reaching over to snatch his daughter from CJ. “How about you guys let him breathe so we can sing Happy Birthday?”

“Thanks, Adriano. You munchkins gonna help me blow out the candles?”

“Yay!” was the immediate response.

• • •

“Are you having a good time, bud?” CJ, his mouth full of birthday cake, nodded vigorously in response to César’s question, trying to swallow as fast as he could.

“Yeah, Dad. This is great. Thanks.” The boy looked to Brett, standing on the other side of him. “Thanks, Papa.”

“You’re welcome, son.” The marine’s words were somewhat muffled, he was wiping a hand over his moist eyes. “We have a second surprise for you. Hit it, Danno!”

The cars usually on display in the warehouse had been moved to the rear of the space, parked closely together in the dark. A set of curtains strung on metal tubing frames hid them from view. Instead of the usual sharp lights, only soft beams illuminated the area where the party was taking place. At Brett’s shout, the interior of the building became flooded in brightness.

“Happy birthday, CJ,” said both fathers in unison, as one of them placed a metal ring with keys on it in his hand.

Parked in front of Danno’s car collection, there was a gleaming Jeep Wrangler with a giant red bow tied to the hood.

• • •

Harley and Thiago were spending the night in Georgetown. César had made the arrangements with their parents during the week, and both had brought a backpack with a change of clothes.

“Buckle up, boys.” Brett climbed into the SUV at the same time his husband did. Their eyes locked for an instant, both smiled, and the marine reached over to gently touch César’s hand. “That was fun. We’ll come pick the Jeep up tomorrow after breakfast. Okay?”

“Sure, Papa. It’s not like I can drive it for a while yet. But as soon as we get back from Australia…”

“Bruh, that was fricking insane.” Harley sat in the last row of the car, his voice carried his usual enthusiasm about life in general. “What a cool party. I’m gonna miss having you around next couple of weeks, though. And I can’t wait until we can take the wheels out.”

“Yeah, homie. You better think about us while you’re away.” Thiago looked across the center console at his friend. ”Did you have a good time tonight?”

“You guys kidding? Of course I did! How couldn’t I? An unexpected birthday party and a Jeep Wrangler. Surprise, surprise.”

The End

 

 

I need to once again express my gratitude to Mann for his outstanding job editing Summer and Autumn. He has generously given his time, shared his knowledge, and taught me what he’s learned in the process of readying his own work for publication. His sense of humor kept me laughing as I read editorial comments, and his no-nonsense approach ensured my ego was kept in check. If something I wrote was crap he told me so without any pussyfooting around.

Kitt became part of the team with Autumn. As always, it was a pleasure to work with her. Sometimes I heard complaints Mann and I didn’t leave her much to do, but she was still thorough in her reading and helped catch things which had slipped through the cracks.

Buckett signed on officially after the end of Summer, but like Kitt, he’s been with me from the beginning. As the gang travels to Oz, I look forward to having my Aussie mate along for the ride.

Proof of the quality of their work can be seen by checking the number of times I’ve had to edit a chapter after it’s published. I’m always thankful when a reader points out errors, I encourage them to do so in reviews, discussion thread comments, or private messages if they prefer. The fact I’ve received those just a few times, is high praise for the team backing me up.

I’m extremely happy to let you all know the three of them have agree to spend Winter with Cesar, Brett, CJ, and the rest of the gang!

My last time asking for a review this year. I hope you feel inclined to leave one for this chapter. If not for me, do it for CJ! :D

C. A. Hazday

Story Discussion Topic

Welcome to the discussion thread for CJ’s series. All things CJ are fair game, I simply ask you be respectful of others. I will actively participate in the discussion. Ask questions, speculate about what’s coming, or bitch about what happened. We’re now open for business!    

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Wow, not quite ready for this to be the closing of Autumn but a surprise party with CJ and his friends was a good place to pause. Your style, though little needed, continues to evolve and improve. I have come to know that without fail your stories will be well conceived and executed.
Sorry at the demise of King & Dragon, the loss of Rashid from the group will be felt but as some of the elder crowd fall away new younger friends arrive on the scene. I look forward to a Winter tale.
Thanks for the words you have gifted to us.

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On 10/27/2015 10:36 PM, dughlas said:

Wow, not quite ready for this to be the closing of Autumn but a surprise party with CJ and his friends was a good place to pause. Your style, though little needed, continues to evolve and improve. I have come to know that without fail your stories will be well conceived and executed.

Sorry at the demise of King & Dragon, the loss of Rashid from the group will be felt but as some of the elder crowd fall away new younger friends arrive on the scene. I look forward to a Winter tale.

Thanks for the words you have gifted to us.

Dugh

 

Thanks for the praise, the review and for sticking with me over the past 40+ chapters!

 

In the gay community, unfortunately, Dragons and Kings are much more common than Emperors and Jarheads. I've strived to make the characters as much a reflection of real life as possible (trust fund excepted LOL).

 

But you're correct, life will continue, and fresh blood will make it thrive.

 

Thanks again!

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This chapter was both a pleasant surprise and a little sad. It came out a day early and no complaints there. It sad to see the end of Autumn and you even ended it a day early too. There was still another day left, but I won't grouse about it. This was a wonderful glimpse into a formative eason of CJ's life. Time moves slowly when you are younger.

 

CJ's adoption by Brett has been a long awaited event and it was pulled off in the usual celebatory fashion by all the gang. Ritchie's idea that CJ would no longer be his brother because of the adoption was the one little mar to the good feelings. It was typical of LCD to cause a problem, even from long distance. He seems to be becoming an alcoholic . I can't help but wonder if that isn't going to become a major issue in the future.

 

The news about Dragon and King splitting up was a bit of a surprise even tough they had issues over lifestyle and trust. Perhaps absence may make them come back together in the future. King will be missed in the group.That blow was lightened by the fact that Chipper will be coming to Washington soon and added into the close knit group.

 

The birthday party at Rogo's went well as they managed to pull off a big surprise for CJ with the Jeep. That it was a Jeep Wrangler was very poetic in that it replaced the CJ series; a CJ for CJ of sorts. Seeing Adriano's children and their affection for Unca CJ was touching too. They seem to be rebounding well. So Autumn is over. We have Christmas approaching with the trip to Australia to gret the New Year. I can't wait.

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I usually don't leave reviews, but this is a special occasion. I have immensely enjoyed the story to date (hehehe including what I have already read of Winter). It is a well thought out story with characters that endear themselves to the reader. Even the "bad boys" like Dragon have found a place in my heart. Ok, so Chip not so much! Sorry - cheating is one thing I can't condone.
I want to thank you Carlos, for asking me to be a part of your team in the past, and for wanting me to continue with Winter. It has truly been a pleasure working with you and the rest of the team!

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Love your story. Look forward to Tuesday's, and the occasional 2 per week was always a bonus. I really like how seamlessly you weave in so many pertinent topics and call out such great organizations such as the Trevor Project. It's always something to look forward to in CJs world. Looking forward to Winter and enjoying reading about their time in OZ, and of course the continuing saga of CJ and his dad's, uncles, brother, cousins and friends. It is never dull! I am re-reading Summer, and will do the same with Autumn. Really do enjoy your stories. They are on the top of my favorites

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A splendid ending to the Autumn section. I've enjoyed following CJ and the big cast of characters through their lives. Unsurprised by Rashid's decision, and it's probably the right one. Delighted that CJ is official. Brett and Cesar can officially spoil the boy rotten, though perhaps their smart enough not to do so. Wonderful to see CJ developing and leading and becoming. Autumn in a pivotal year. Actually makes me look forward to winter! How does our boy handle one of those paralyzing DC snowstorms?

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Can't wait to get into Winter. This is a refreshingly good story and I eagerly anticipate the next season.

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Seeing as I have been lucky enough to see a sneak preview of Winter, I'm glad the story ended here rather than with the alien abduction in the first chapter of Winter :P Ok no alien abduction but the story continues and the teases I have read look good :)
The loss of Dragon and King is a little sad, especially given they seem to be torn about the whole thing. The loss of Chip on the other hand is no great loss at all. Doc got to walk on the wild side with Sean - I think that was good for both of them. Carlos hasn't revealed what is happening there but I keep fingers crossed we won't hear the last from them.
Winter looks good - even if it is Summer here :P

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Beautiful...brilliant...simply the best!!! This has been a fantastic journey, filled with love, humor, some tragedy! The one thing that struck me as heartbreaking is that King was not allowed the chance to become a better person...as if second chances were out of his stratosphere...well c'est la vie or in my neighborhood...iit is what it is!! So, Vet, I suppose we're going to have to wait until winter for Winter???? (crossing fingers, toes, etc., hoping the answer is NO) Well, we'll be patient :facepalm:Just know that when the talent is exceptional, the people will wait...and wait...til November??? :unsure2::gikkle: Great all around, Carlos... :D:thankyou:

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On 10/27/2015 11:15 PM, drpaladin said:

This chapter was both a pleasant surprise and a little sad. It came out a day early and no complaints there. It sad to see the end of Autumn and you even ended it a day early too. There was still another day left, but I won't grouse about it. This was a wonderful glimpse into a formative eason of CJ's life. Time moves slowly when you are younger.

 

CJ's adoption by Brett has been a long awaited event and it was pulled off in the usual celebatory fashion by all the gang. Ritchie's idea that CJ would no longer be his brother because of the adoption was the one little mar to the good feelings. It was typical of LCD to cause a problem, even from long distance. He seems to be becoming an alcoholic . I can't help but wonder if that isn't going to become a major issue in the future.

 

The news about Dragon and King splitting up was a bit of a surprise even tough they had issues over lifestyle and trust. Perhaps absence may make them come back together in the future. King will be missed in the group.That blow was lightened by the fact that Chipper will be coming to Washington soon and added into the close knit group.

 

The birthday party at Rogo's went well as they managed to pull off a big surprise for CJ with the Jeep. That it was a Jeep Wrangler was very poetic in that it replaced the CJ series; a CJ for CJ of sorts. Seeing Adriano's children and their affection for Unca CJ was touching too. They seem to be rebounding well. So Autumn is over. We have Christmas approaching with the trip to Australia to gret the New Year. I can't wait.

Thanks for the review, Dr. P. And for all the previous ones.

 

I want to think of Summer as the time CJ was planted in Washington and Autumn as the time his roots began to take hold. We got to see a little bit more of his personality come through.

 

I think Ritchie will be okay after Aba talks to him. At least well enough to hold him until he gets to spend time with his brother again. LCD may show up again at some point.

 

Winter will be here before we know it. :)

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On 10/27/2015 11:22 PM, Kitt said:

I usually don't leave reviews, but this is a special occasion. I have immensely enjoyed the story to date (hehehe including what I have already read of Winter). It is a well thought out story with characters that endear themselves to the reader. Even the "bad boys" like Dragon have found a place in my heart. Ok, so Chip not so much! Sorry - cheating is one thing I can't condone.

I want to thank you Carlos, for asking me to be a part of your team in the past, and for wanting me to continue with Winter. It has truly been a pleasure working with you and the rest of the team!

I'm pretty darn happy having you around, Sis.

 

My boys aren't perfect, even CJ and Brett have their faults, but in the end they're a bunch of good guys. I keep trying to convey that in the story. LCD and Chip on the other hand...

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On 10/27/2015 11:54 PM, Quiet man said:

Love your story. Look forward to Tuesday's, and the occasional 2 per week was always a bonus. I really like how seamlessly you weave in so many pertinent topics and call out such great organizations such as the Trevor Project. It's always something to look forward to in CJs world. Looking forward to Winter and enjoying reading about their time in OZ, and of course the continuing saga of CJ and his dad's, uncles, brother, cousins and friends. It is never dull! I am re-reading Summer, and will do the same with Autumn. Really do enjoy your stories. They are on the top of my favorites

Q-man, thank you. It's still somewhat surprising, how my little (large) cast of characters, seems to have wormed their way into readers' hearts. I'll keep trying to make them as real as possible in the future.

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On 10/28/2015 12:08 AM, Parker Owens said:

A splendid ending to the Autumn section. I've enjoyed following CJ and the big cast of characters through their lives. Unsurprised by Rashid's decision, and it's probably the right one. Delighted that CJ is official. Brett and Cesar can officially spoil the boy rotten, though perhaps their smart enough not to do so. Wonderful to see CJ developing and leading and becoming. Autumn in a pivotal year. Actually makes me look forward to winter! How does our boy handle one of those paralyzing DC snowstorms?

Thanks, Parker.

 

That damn cast started to get out of control, I had to keep looking at my Excel spreadsheet to make sure I was being faithful to details I'd revealed about them before.

 

Rashid needed a change in his life, and a move back to London was probably a smart choice for him. We'll see.

 

Did you know during the Polar Vortex episode in January 2014 the Potomac actually froze around DC? I'm sure that much ice will leave an impression on a kid from the tropics LOL

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On 10/28/2015 12:12 AM, davewri said:

Can't wait to get into Winter. This is a refreshingly good story and I eagerly anticipate the next season.

Thanks for the praise, Dave.

 

I want the story to remain fresh and portray a portion of the gay community I've interacted with. My hope is for each 'book' to build on previous ones, without becoming repetitive. I hope you feel the same about Winter when it posts.

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On 10/28/2015 01:08 AM, Bucket1 said:

Seeing as I have been lucky enough to see a sneak preview of Winter, I'm glad the story ended here rather than with the alien abduction in the first chapter of Winter :P Ok no alien abduction but the story continues and the teases I have read look good :)

The loss of Dragon and King is a little sad, especially given they seem to be torn about the whole thing. The loss of Chip on the other hand is no great loss at all. Doc got to walk on the wild side with Sean - I think that was good for both of them. Carlos hasn't revealed what is happening there but I keep fingers crossed we won't hear the last from them.

Winter looks good - even if it is Summer here :P

Mate, you're as much of a tease as I am! I pity the men at the bar the day you and I go out drinking together. They won't know what hit 'em.

 

No alien abduction planned while traveling in Australia, may as well admit it. But you have to admit CJ sitting quietly, paying attention on Christmas morning, was a close second LOL

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On 10/28/2015 02:26 AM, Onim said:

Beautiful...brilliant...simply the best!!! This has been a fantastic journey, filled with love, humor, some tragedy! The one thing that struck me as heartbreaking is that King was not allowed the chance to become a better person...as if second chances were out of his stratosphere...well c'est la vie or in my neighborhood...iit is what it is!! So, Vet, I suppose we're going to have to wait until winter for Winter???? (crossing fingers, toes, etc., hoping the answer is NO) Well, we'll be patient :facepalm:Just know that when the talent is exceptional, the people will wait...and wait...til November??? :unsure2::gikkle: Great all around, Carlos... :D:thankyou:

O, you make me blush. Wish I could get a few more people as excited about the story as you are!

 

I want to have Winter entirely written by the time it starts posting. Some of it will still be a first draft, but at least I'll know there won't be any silly delays. I like to post on a regular basis and not rush to get something written and published. I think the end product is better that way.

 

The gang will be back soon enough, time seems to fly around here.

 

Vet

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This was an awesome conclusion to the Autumn story. I particularly enjoyed a chapter without the drama and other events that fill other chapters. There were little bits of sad news, but those are leading into the next installment of the story.
The surprises for CJ were really great. It is amazing that his close friends were able to keep the secret, but bribery has its way with teenagers.
Thanks again for writing the continuing saga of CJ.

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Sad as it is to see it end, what a great send off for Autumn!
The adoption related scenes were great. I would have loved to see our three favourite guys dressed so smartly as I am sure they would be quite the sight. Even though Brett has been CJ's "dad" for a while now, having that piece of paper means something very special to him. It is proof to the world that CJ is his son and he is damn proud of that fact.
The dissolution of Dragon and King's relationship is unfortunate, but we are not reading a fairy tale, so real life occurrences do happen. Who knows what the future will bring? I will be reading Winter to find out. :gikkle:
The surprise party for CJ was nicely done. I really liked that Harley was able refrain from spilling the beans to CJ. I know he said he was "threatened" and he probably was, but I see him wanting to keep this secret because it was for CJ. He values his friendship with CJ a great deal and keeping this secret was just one way of showing that. Good job Harley!
I have a few other thoughts running around in my head, but I am going to let them run. I will just see if those runs lead somewhere or stay a circular course. :)
Autumn is at at end and it was a fantastic ride Carlos, so thank you for taking the time to give us this wonderful tale. I have one last question for you:
What colour is the jeep? :P

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On 10/28/2015 04:14 AM, Boyke77 said:

Thank you Carlos :thankyou:

It's been my pleasure to share the story with all of you. Thank you for taking the time to leave a note!

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On 10/28/2015 05:55 AM, WildcatLes said:

This was an awesome conclusion to the Autumn story. I particularly enjoyed a chapter without the drama and other events that fill other chapters. There were little bits of sad news, but those are leading into the next installment of the story.

The surprises for CJ were really great. It is amazing that his close friends were able to keep the secret, but bribery has its way with teenagers.

Thanks again for writing the continuing saga of CJ.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the ending of the story. I wanted to wrap it up on a positive note but had to deal with a couple of minor issues still open, henceforth the less-than-happy tidbits.

 

CJ may not end up with a gazillion friends, but those he has will return his love and loyalty in kind.

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On 10/28/2015 12:24 PM, Reader1810 said:

Sad as it is to see it end, what a great send off for Autumn!

The adoption related scenes were great. I would have loved to see our three favourite guys dressed so smartly as I am sure they would be quite the sight. Even though Brett has been CJ's "dad" for a while now, having that piece of paper means something very special to him. It is proof to the world that CJ is his son and he is damn proud of that fact.

The dissolution of Dragon and King's relationship is unfortunate, but we are not reading a fairy tale, so real life occurrences do happen. Who knows what the future will bring? I will be reading Winter to find out. :gikkle:

The surprise party for CJ was nicely done. I really liked that Harley was able refrain from spilling the beans to CJ. I know he said he was "threatened" and he probably was, but I see him wanting to keep this secret because it was for CJ. He values his friendship with CJ a great deal and keeping this secret was just one way of showing that. Good job Harley!

I have a few other thoughts running around in my head, but I am going to let them run. I will just see if those runs lead somewhere or stay a circular course. :)

Autumn is at at end and it was a fantastic ride Carlos, so thank you for taking the time to give us this wonderful tale. I have one last question for you:

What colour is the jeep? :P

Thanks, 1810.

 

I wanted to make the ending of Autumn as different as possible to the ending of Summer. Instead of question marks, I was shooting for exclamation points. Wrapping up odds and ends had to include a couple of painful issues, and I'm glad you point out this isn't a fairy tale. The road to HEA has plenty of potholes in it.

 

The color of the Jeep? Why, funny you should ask. I hadn't given that minute, small, little, tiny, insignificant detail much thought. Let me see what I come up with :devil:

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Carlos: What a joy your story has been for me. I dropped out of reading somewhere in early "Summer" quite a while ago. A few weeks ago, I came across a chapter in "Autumn" and stopped reading. I went back to the very beginning of "Summer" and have been reading steadily through the whole saga. A total treat not to have to hang on from week to week waiting for the next chapter. Kinda like feasting on rich food with no guilt and no weight gain.
Youv've developed a strong character in CJ- very real, very complex and often an unexpected surprise. And what a wonderful set of so many other characters-the dads and the rest of the Elite Eight, their cousins, childen and friends. It's hard to keep so many people moving forward realistically. The locations are lots of fun, the streets of G town and DC, Chicago, New York and Dade County.
Lastly it's so enjoyable so see CJ become so politically agile. He's sure to be a mover and shaker with a moral backbone. A rare breed indeed.
Congratulations on reaching this milestone.
WinStuart

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On 10/29/2015 07:20 AM, Blondie40 said:

Love your stories and can't wait for the next installment!

Thank you, Blondie.

 

For reading, for leaving a comment, and for the vote of confidence. The guys will be back soon.

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