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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.

Over The Rainbow - Georgetown Book II - 4. Over The Rainbow • Part IV

They walked home holding hands. Both had silly smiles pasted on and leaned into each other often to exchange a kiss. Patrons and staff of Martin’s Tavern mobbed them after CJ proposed and Owen accepted. The well-wishers included the establishment owner who refused to accept payment for the meal.

“We’re home!” CJ shouted as he took the stairs to the basement.

“Hurry up, the show’s about to start. Took you guys long enough!”

“Ummm, Ritchie, could you record it? I don’t think Ozzie and I are gonna be able to watch it tonight.”

“How come?” Ritchie stared as Owen walked past him grinning and waving on the way to CJ’s room. “What’s with him?”

“Oh, he’s gonna skype with his family. And I’m pretty sure I’ll have to go talk to them in a minute.”

“What… What’s going on?” Ritchie’s tentative tone told his brother he had better come clean before the boy worried too much.

He dropped onto the couch and snaked an arm around the kid’s shoulders. “Well, it’s like this: I asked Ozzie to marry me and he said yes.”

“YOU WHAT?”

The brothers craned their heads back to find their fathers standing at the bottom of the stairs with Tom and JP next to them. CJ decided looking at them upside down was not ideal. He stood, displaying as much tooth enamel as he ever had. “I said I asked

“We heard what you said.” Brett lowered the volume a notch but his voice still boomed. “What were you thinking of? You are

The remainder of the comment was lost when Ritchie tackled his brother to the couch and crushed him in a hug. “YES! That’s awesome! OZZIE! We’re gonna be brothers for real!”

While César stood back, arms crossed over his chest, leaning against the railing, Tom and JP advanced towards the couch, their intent to embrace their young neighbor clear. “That’s bloody fantastic! Welcome to the family, mate.” JP reached him first as CJ extricated himself from Ritchie’s limbs and stood.

“Thanks, Uncle Pope.” After the mauling his brother inflicted, he was now squeezed by first JP and then Tom. When he disengaged from the hugs, he looked at his fathers. César was still smiling but Brett scowled. “Dads?”

“When’s the wedding? Do I get to be in it? Where are you going for” Ritchie’s question barrage came to a halt when CJ raised a hand towards his brother while still staring at the dads.

Brett was the first one to speak. “You’re too young to get married! The two of you can’t

“Shut the fuck up, Jarhead!” César glared at his husband while stepping towards their son. “Congratulations, buddy. I think it’s great. You boys make a great couple. Where is he, by the way?”

“I’m here.” Owen stood in the bedroom’s doorway. “I tried skyping Australia but Liz went nuts, started screaming she had to go find my parents and they would call us back.”

“Come here, son.” César motioned with both hands, inviting Owen to come in for a hug. “Congratulations. And as JP told CJ, welcome to the family.”

CJ stood alone for a moment, watching Brett’s reaction. “Papa? Are you upset? I want you to be happy for us.”

Brett let out an exaggerated sigh, sat on one of the recliners, and shook his head. “I… I don’t know what to say. You’re so young. And you have school to think about. Why now? Why can’t you at least wait until after you graduate?”

“Because I love him. Because I want to make sure he gets to stay in the US. Because I don’t trust the new guy in the White House not to change the rules. Because I want to spend every night with him for the rest of my life. Do I need to keep going?”

“Shit! Fuuuck!” Brett shook his head and ran a hand over his face. “Goddammit, I’m not ready for this. I don’t want you to grow up. I want to have you around for a while longer.”

“Oh, Papa…” He felt tears trickle down his cheeks when he leaned down to hug Brett. “I’m not going anywhere. We don’t even know when we’ll get married. To use the old cliché: You’re not losing me. You’re gaining another son.”

Brett retreated into his usual way of dealing with tense situations. Inappropriate humor was his usual recourse. “I’m not sure I want him as a son. He doesn’t even speak proper English!”

“Asshole!”

“Fine! You go get married. It’s going to take me a while to process this shit. “

CJ convinced Thiago to skip the dojo and instead accompany him to Town Danceboutique. The largest gay dance bar in Washington was hosting Sequins & Scrumsa drag event during DC Bëar Crüe’s Bëar Happy Hour. It was the first fundraiser held by the Washington Scandals Rugby Football Club to help finance their participation in the 2018 Mark Bingham Memorial Cup to be held in Amsterdam.

“This is my first time at a gay bar. Are you sure we’ll get in?” Thiago held his girlfriend’s hand while standing outside the club.

“Yeah, just follow me. I know the doorman. I’m hoping I can get you a wristband so you can order drinks.”

“Why am I not surprised you know the right people?” Nadine reached over and pinched CJ’s cheek. “You look cute when you blush. I’m so excited about this. I’ve never been to a gay bar either. Heck! I’ve never been to a real bar.”

“I’m glad you guys came. But I have to warn you. My dads and some of their friends may be here. I asked them not to come but Papa told me to fuck off and mind my own business.”

“Why would you ask them not to come? Your dads are fun to be around.”

“Really, Nadine? Would you like to go out drinking with your friends and have your parents drag along?”

“It’s not the same. Your dads are young. And this sounds like something fun to do.”

“Does that mean Brett’s okay with the wedding now?” Thiago had heard how the retired marine was not at first happy with the news of his oldest son being engaged.

“Yeah, he’s fine. He was all scared we were going to get married right away and I’d be moving out. But let me tell you, he’s as obstinate as my other father. We’ve had to talk to the fucker every night to calm him down.”

“Have you decided on a date?”

“Nope. We’re looking at next summer. With Ozzie graduating this May, and then studying for the bar exam, we don’t want to worry about organizing anything right now. And based on what we’ve been talking about, we’ll need time to plan. I’ve got a feeling the dads are gonna go nuts and invite everyone they know. Instead of turning into groomzillas, we’re bracing ourselves for parentzillas.”

“CJ!” The shout made the three friends turn around to see Devon Jefferson swagger in their direction.

“Oh shit!” He shook his head, frustrated the night might be spinning out of control. “What the fuck you doing here, Dragon?”

“Watch it, boy! Is that the way you greet your favorite uncle?”

“Favorite uncle, my ass! Ozzie’s gonna kill me if all the Elite are here to see him.”

“What’s the Elite? I’ve never heard of it.” Nadine accepted the kiss Devon planted on her cheek at the same time he shook hands with Thiago.

“That’s the older version of the Squad, babe. They’re CJ’s dads’ group of friends and Dragon’s a member.”

“That’s us! The old folks. The geriatric contingent. The over-the hill…” Dragon stopped talking and laughed when CJ gave him a hard stare. “Anyway, Matt and Dasan are in New York this weekend. Danno’s at his bar since your buddy Tank asked for the night off. Trip may show up so he can write an article about this. Otherwise it’ll be me, your dads, and JP and Tom.”

CJ threw his hands up in defeat. “Fine. Whatever. You better not embarrass me in there. Okay?”

Inside, they found a spot near the stage. CJ, Thiago, and Nadine all scored wristbands and were delegated to run to the bar whenever anyone wanted a cocktail. Brett showed them a stack of five-dollar bills the older men seemed to enjoy stuffing wherever they could find a spot in the outfits of the performers.

“Ladies and closet cases… please put your hands together… direct from Pokolbin, New South Walesis that like Bumfuck, Alabama? Let’s hear it for AUSSIE BRIDEZILLA!” The master of ceremonies stepped aside as the DJ cued Down Under by the Australian band Men at Work.

The patrons roared, hooted, and hollered when Owen pranced on stage. The ridiculous blonde wig he wore was covered by a white lace veil reaching down to his chin. When lifted, it revealed gaudy, glittery, make-up someone had generously applied. The incongruity of such a tall, muscular man wearing rugby boots, a short white skirt, and a stretchy white tube top brought peals of laughter.

“That’s who you’re marrying, buddy!” Ethan had joined them and CJ almost spilled his beer when Owen’s fellow law student slapped his back. “At least he’s wearing compression shorts underneath. We don’t need to see his junk flopping around.”

“Don’t be so sure about that, Ethan. Some of us wouldn’t mind seeing the man-bits flop.” Nadine squealed when Thiago pinched her.

“Whatever…” CJ had a feeling it was going to be a very long night. “I can promise you one thing: That outfit’s getting burned when we get home. No way is he ever wearing that out in public again. And neither one of us will be wearing anything like that for the wedding.”

Owen was a decent dancer but the shimmying and twerking were new. CJ knew his fiancé had taken a doobie out of the Harley-Davidson coffee can stash and thought it must have relaxed the heck out him. Owen was not uptight but he tended to be somewhat more reserved than the man now up on stage.

“Here”―he slipped Thiago and Nadine a one-hundred dollar bill each”when he comes over to us, give him that. Actually, just shove the bill somewhere in his outfit.”

“CJ! That’s a lot of money!” Nadine was staring at the currency in her hand.

“Yeah, but it’s for a good cause. I bet you my dads and his friends will be piling the bills on him too. Whoever raises the most money wins. I just don’t want it to look like I bought him the title.”

At the end of the night, Queen Issa Fella of the DC Chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, helped crown Aussie Bridezilla as the Scandals’ 2017 Scrum Queen.

Spring breaks once again fell on different weeksspread between early March and the beginning of Aprilfor CJ, Owen, and Ritchie. As if that was not enough, the one week the three were in school was the week the University of Miami had its vacation. When Chipper flew up on Friday night, CJ was at the airport, anxious to see his friend for the first time since the previous summer.

“Thanks for picking me up. Where’s Ozzie?”

“Home. I came straight from the dojo. All I did was throw my clothes back on. Can’t you smell me?”

“I wasn’t going to say anything, but yes, I do. I thought it was the Jeep. That maybe you and Ozzie had been fucking in here.”

“Asshole!” Both cracked up laughing. Phone calls, e-mails, and text messages were not the same as being together in person as far as he was concerned. It was good to have one of his fellow Squad members back in town. “You’re such a douche. I see some things haven’t changed.”

“Nope. Except for Harley.”

“What about Motormouth? Have you seen him? What’s the change?”

“I see him all the time! He’s been riding down to Miami like one weekend a month. That man confuses me. He’ll talk a mile a minute but then he goes and does something and doesn’t tell anyone. He got another tattoo.”

“Really? What? Where?” Now more than ever he was jealous of Harley Wilkinson. This was the second stealth tattoo for the lanky skateboarderhe did not tell any of his friends in advance on either occasionand CJ was still an ink virgin. He knew what he wanted, but the timing was not right just yet. Getting engaged had moved the timetable up, but he would have to wait a bit longer still.

“Oh, man, it’s pretty cool. He got an American flag on the inside of his forearm. It hangs with a band of blue on the top and a circle of white stars in it. Red stripes run down the arm and the whole thing has a vintage look to it. Looks like it was brushed on and the borders make you think the paint’s ready to drip or the edges of the flag were torn. I saw it last Saturday when he came to visit. He had it done on Friday so it was pretty raw. I have a couple of pics on my phone.”

“I can’t believe the dick hasn’t said anything.” He maintained regular contact with Chipper and Harley and exchanged sporadic communications with Brad.

“That ain’t the biggest change. He’s said nothing about it but a couple of comments make me think he’s in love.”

“WHAT? Harley?” The surprised exclamation made Chipper chuckle.

“And it’s not with a car or a motorcycle! Like I said, he hasn’t said anything and I haven’t pushed. Honestly, I’m scared of talking about it. I’m afraid he’ll shut me out.”

“Bullshit! He’d never do that. So did he meet a girl in Orlando?”

“Nope. But he’s mentioned Kim Huang a couple of times. We can grill him this summer. He has a two week break at the end of June and plans on coming up here.”

CJ wanted Chipper to stay at the Prospect Street townhouse but his friend refused. He was in town to plan his summer, and since he wanted to stay with Matt Calhoun during June and July, he felt it was right to do so during spring break also. During the day, while school was in session, Chipper pounded the proverbial pavement looking for a summer job. In the evenings, the Squad gathered in different places. The night before he flew back to Miami, they congregated in the Prospect Street townhouse basement.

“Dude, I’m so happy you’re part of our group.” Chipper was hugging Tank a fraction of a second after the blonde bodybuilder walked into the game room.

“Prove it, Chipper. Give him a BJ to thank him.” CJ’s quip earned him a slap to the head from Owen. “Ouch! Leave me alone, Ozzie.”

“Then stop making nasty remarks!”

“BJs aren’t nasty! They’re awesome.” Ritchie covered his mouth with both hands as soon as he uttered the words. All the other guys stared at him in silence.

“Well, well, well…” Ethan draped an arm around Ritchie’s shoulders. “Seems the youngest one here has some recent experiences. Just remember, Ritchie, the irony of a blow job’s that although they may be down on their knees in front of you, they still have you by the balls.”

“ETHAN! What the fuck?” CJ stared at his brother and shook his head. “You and I are having a chat tomorrow, bro.” He was glad he had asked Dr. Harding to discuss safer sex with his brother but now he realized he had to bring the dads into the conversation. He assumed they had talked to Ritchie about sex after the exchange with Pres earlier in the year, but needed to be sure. Who knew what the little imp had been getting into.

“Leave Ritchie alone. If he’s getting blow jobs already, I say more power to him.” Chipper offered the boy his fist to bump. “And anyway, about Tank, what makes you think I haven’t thanked him already?”

“Slut!”

CJ had been spending time with Carson Sawyerthe student from Delaware he helped move into the dorms the previous Augustand invited him to join the group this evening. Carson sat next to Ritchie and stared at the boy with his mouth hanging open. “Are they always like this?”

“Yeah, they try to top each other with the stupid and sexual comments. You’ll get used to it. I have. Papa Brett told me not to be too quiet around them. They may start picking on me if I do. Cap keeps telling me the best defense’s a good offense.”

Chipper lined up gigs at a couple of different jazz clubs for the summer. Two weeknights at each place. The pay was barely above minimum wage, but the jobs carried the potential for a lot more with tips. Both establishments advertised live music seven nights a week and Chipper would be performing on days better known acts were not.

“Are you gonna blow Danno too?” CJ earned himself another smack to the back of the head from Owen.

“Fuck no! He’s too old. And I don’t do the casting couch thing.” Tank was working as many hours as he wanted at Rogo’s and it was he who suggested a Sunday Jazz Brunch to Danno. It was an effort to attract increased tourist traffic during the summer vacation season when many locals left town. They were going to try it for eight weeks and Chipper was hired to perform during the test run.

CJ’s acceptance to Georgetown University led César and Brett to make a generous contribution to the school and purchase four season tickets to the Hoyas men’s basketball program. Their son could attend games as a student, but they wanted the ability to join him. The four seats would be for them, Ritchie, and Owen with either one of the fathers reserving the option to use them for entertaining business contacts.

A week after Georgetown fired the team’s coach, the school’s athletic director called César. The university had identified a potential replacement and the school was looking for a venue to hold a small reception for the incoming coach and a handful of well-heeled supporters. They wanted to introduce the new-hire a day before making a public announcement. It was the invited individuals the school would turn to for the funds needed to pay the coach’s salary.

The Prospect Street home was close to campus without an overt connection with Georgetown. They were looking to keep the news from leaking to the press ahead of the formal announcement―something hard to accomplish in Washington, D.C.

Tank and Ethan agreed to serve as bartenders and wait staff; César and Brett assured university officials they could be trusted not to talk for twenty-four hours. The school would announce the hiring of Patrick Ewing as the new men’s basketball coach the morning after the reception.

Ewing was a standout player at Georgetown in the early eighties, helping lead the Hoyas to multiple appearances in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s annual tournament. He was the first pick of the New York Knicks in the National Basketball Association’s players draft and was a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. His most recent position was as an assistant coach with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.

At his father’s request, CJ wore a white, oxford, button-down shirt and his blue blazer, but refused to put on a necktiehe claimed he had enough of those during the political campaign the previous year. He also refused to change out of his faded-blue Levi’s or red PF Flyer Hi-tops. As usual, Ritchie emulated his brother in how he dressed. The two stood at the front door greeting guests.

“Damn! You look gorgeous, Nadine.” CJ leaned in and kissed Thiago’s girlfriend on the cheek.

“Hey, hey, hey! What ju doing flirting with my girl? Where’s Ozzie when I need him to distract you?”

Ritchie’s voice cracked while he chuckled and tried to respond. “Next door. He’ll be here in a minute. And you do look great, Nadine.”

“Okay, this gotta stop. Bad enough the gay brother flirts with her. But the straight one worries me even more.”

“Shut it, Thiago. I like the attention. Just remember the reason you’re here is because it’s your birthday. And we’re using that as an excuse for me to be invited too.” Nadine eliminated whatever sting her words may have had by taking Thiago’s hand. “I’ll say one thing for you: you have interesting friends. One day CJ’s rubbing elbows with the President of the United States and the next he’s hosting a party for the head basketball coach at a major university. Lifestyles of the rich and famous.”

“Okay, that'll be enough. Get inside already.” CJ touched knuckles with Thiago as he motioned them inside. “Tank and Ethan are already here. They’re setting up in the kitchen. It’s all finger food but it looks real good. The coach and the athletic director are in the basement talking to the dads. We’re standing here waiting for a couple of players to show up.”

Owen slipped in the back door and walked behind CJ, wrapping him in a hug. “Hi.”

“Hey, babe. Why don’t you take Thiago and Nadine over to get a drink? Ritchie and I have to wait for a couple of players to arrive. They’re expecting them downstairs.”

“You want anything?”

“Yeah, a bottle of water, please. I think I’ll skip the booze for now. What with some members of the Board of Trustees being here and all. Wouldn’t look good for them to meet a freshman while I’m holding a beer.”

A moment later, he was greeting two of the school’s basketball players. “Hey, I’m CJ. My parents own the house. Coach and the AD are downstairs waiting for you.”

“Thanks, man. I’m Trey

“Dude, I know who you are. Trey Mourning. I’m a freshman at GU.” He took a step back when the other player shook his head and laughed at his teammate for having another fan. He headed towards the stairs when CJ pointed in that direction. “So, yeah, I know who you are and that you went to Ransom Everglades. I did my first year of high school at Columbus. Before I moved to DC.”

“No shit? We’re both from Miami? That’s cool. Let me go downstairs before I get in trouble. I wanna talk to you some more, though. Okay?”

CJ and Ritchie manned the front door until the two dozen or so guests all arrived. One of them, a female member of the school’s Board of Directors, was someone CJ had met the previous yeara DC Clinton delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. She was delighted to find out he was now a student at GU and on the spot removed the gold Georgetown University lapel pin she wore and placed it on his blazer.

The evening was a typical cocktail party; the type of event CJ became accustomed to the previous year. The one significant difference was the small talk revolved around basketball instead of politics. He decided he liked this better.

The athletic director, Coach Ewing, and Trey Mourning remained behind after the other guests departed. The seven-foot former player had spoken about what an honor it was to be entrusted with revitalizing the famed program at his alma mater and about his plans to recruit the best players available. He towered over CJ and Ritchie when he stood next to them in the downstairs game room.

“I have a present for you boys and your fathers. And I have a request for you, CJ.”

“What can I do for you, sir?”

“You can start by calling me Coach, not sir. I saw the chair at the game table with the Georgetown seal on it. I’m assuming the other two schools are your parents.”

“Yeah, one went to Florida and the other to Cal.”

“I don’t think you have enough Georgetown memorabilia down here.” The coach extended a hand towards the Athletic Director who handed him a plastic bag he had placed atop the pool table earlier in the day. “If you find me a Sharpie I’ll autograph this for you and maybe you’ll hang it somewhere down here.” The coach opened the bag and retrieved a Hoyas basketball jersey bearing his last name and the number 33 on it.

“YEAH!” Ritchie’s shout and fist pumping earned him a chuckle from Ewing.

“Thanks, Coach. I’ll definitely have it framed and hang it down here.” CJ glanced at his dads and received approving nods from them before turning his attention to Trey. “Now we need to get one from your dad.”

Trey’s father, Alonzo Mourning, was a star at GU a decade after Ewing. The Charlotte Hornets drafted him out of school and later traded him to the Miami HEAT. There he was part of the team winning the 2006 NBA championship. He was also a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “I can arrange that,” the young Mourning said. “But only if you promise to invite me to hang out here with you every now and then.”

CJ extended his hand to shake and seal the deal. “Done!”

“Great, one of my players just bribed someone with a team shirt. I sure as heck hope that doesn’t violate any NCAA rules.” Ewing’s booming laughter echoed in the confined space. “And speaking of NCAA rules, I need to brush up on the recruiting ones. Once I’m certain it won’t violate any of them, I’d like your help attracting blue-chip players to the school, CJ. One of our Board of Directors members told me she met you last year during the presidential campaign. She said you were an outstanding public speaker and we should have you as a spokesman for the team. Would you consider taking one of the part-time jobs we reserve for students at the athletic department?”

CJ was surprised at the offer. He glanced at his fathers for direction but received no help. One shrugged his shoulders and the other one rolled his eyes. “Ummm, I’m not sure I want to do that, Coach. I’d hate to take a job away from someone who might deserve it. I’d be happy to do whatever you want me to without payment. I’d rather the money go to a student who needs it to make ends meet.”

Ewing clasped CJ’s shoulder and gave it a gentle shake. “She was right about you. You are ‘good people’ like she put it. I’ll be in touch. And if you ever need anything from uslike extra tickets to a game or anything like thatyou call me. I’m adding your name and your dads to my list of special supporters.”

“Welcome back, Mister Abelló. We don’t see you often enough.”

“How many times do I have to tell you, Nelson? I’m CJ. Leave the honorifics for my dads.” He stared into the man’s brown eyes while shaking his hand. “You remember my brother, Ritchie and my fiancé, Owen?”

“Of course I do. Master Peterson, Mister Liston, welcome back to Forbes Grille. If you’ll follow me, I’ll take you to the private room. Some of your guests are here already.”

César’s fortieth birthday fell on a Thursday; Brett and CJ decided to celebrate it on the actual day instead of waiting for the weekend. They reserved the large, secluded dining room at the private club both César and CJ belonged to and arranged a special meal for twenty. The entire Elite, the Squad members in town, and Rod and Taisha were invited. Rodney Abelló―César’s nephewwas the same age as Owen and spent time with both groups, but did not consider himself a member of either. He told CJ he liked straddling the younger and older troupes.

“Matt! Dash!” Dr. Matthew Calhoun and his partner Dasan Turner were the first people he saw when he walked into the room. When the two men separated and turned towards him, CJ realized they were talking to Thiago and Nadine. “Thanks for coming, guys.”

“Right, like we’d be any other place tonight.” Dash clamped a hand on Matt’s shoulder. “I think Doc’s as excited as if this was his fortieth. I have to keep reminding him it’s not for another two years.”

“Hi, Nadine. You look beautiful… As usual.” Ritchie ignored the men surrounding her and instead approached Thiago’s girlfriend and kissed her on the cheek.

“Okay, that’s enough. You’re flirting with my girl again. Step away from her, Ritchie. Don’t make me hurt you.” Thiago was acting all possessive, wrapping an arm around the woman’s waist.

“Dude, don’t threaten my brother. I’ll defend him, you know? You wanna throw down right here?”

“Bring it on! I’ll have you on your ass so fast

Nadine’s loud handclap stopped the posturing and made the guys turn in her directiontheir friendly bluster brought to a screeching halt. “You two better dial back the testosterone level or I’ll have Tank sit on you both when he gets here. Where the heck’s Taisha? I need female reinforcements.”

“I’m here, I’m here. We had to stop in Georgetown to pick up Carson.” Mrs. Taisha Abelló strolled into the room on her husband’s arm with the curly mop atop Carson’s head peeking above and behind her.

Carson Sawyera freshman at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policywas being folded into the group of friends since CJ helped him move into his dorm at school. “Don’t blame me. I can’t help it if I have a late-in-the-day class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But I sure as hell wasn’t going to skip tonight. Not after I missed Coach Ewing’s party last month by going home to Delaware for the weekend.”

“Dude, don’t worry about it. Get used to the fact the women are always going to stick together. And they’re always going to blame the men for whatever’s wrong.” Rod recoiled laughing, when his wife slapped his arm and left him alone while walking towards Nadine. “And no need to worry about missing the cocktail party either. Knowing my little cousin, he’ll have you hooked up with someone else just as famous in a day or two.”

“Asshole!” The arm slap this time came from CJ.

Tom, JP, and Patrick were next to arrive, followed soon after by Tank and Ethan. When Danno, Trip, and Dragon showed up a few minutes later, the only ones missing were César and Brett. The retired marine and his sons agreed to use “A Pirate Looks at Forty” as the theme for the party. The Jimmy Buffett song about a man looking back on his life did not parallel César’s, but the atmosphere it created had a South Florida vibe they agreed was right. Working with Nelson, they settled on Mojitos and conch fritters as appetizers, stone crab claws as the first dish andin a nod to César’s Cuban heritage and South Florida, roast pork with white rice and black beans.

“Chipper needs to learn this song. I bet he could do a nice jazzy arrangement to it.” Thiago left his girlfriend and Taisha alone when told the women were trying to figure out when they could all get together for dinner. “Did you burn a CD for them or something? I don’t think this place would play Jimmy Buffett as background music.”

CJ glanced at his brother who was still trying to convince the server to get him a Mojito even after being told there was not a chance of him getting anything alcoholic. “Two. I did this one but Papa also handed him one when we met before. I’m not sure what that one has on it. He wouldn’t tell me.”

“I know what’s on it.” Rod’s comment made the others stare at him. “Don’t look at me like that. I’m sworn to secrecy and so’s my wife. It’s the Karaoke version of a song.”

“Oh, no! Please tell me Papa’s not serenading Dad. He can’t sing worth shit. He’s worse than I am.”

Thiago spoke up in support of Brett. “Actually, CJ, he doesn’t sound horrible. He’s been practicing for a while.”

“And how the hell do you know that? Am I the only one in the dark here?”

“The captain asked me for help. I went over to his office a couple of times. I think you’ll like it. It’s the perfect song for him to sing to your dad.”

“So are you gonna tell me about it?”

“Nope. I’ve been sworn to secrecy too. Hey, that reminds me. Brett mentioned you had a meeting with the city’s mayor. What was that about?”

“You saw her at the Coach’s party. She cornered me at one point, asked me to come to her office, and I was able to do it earlier this week. She offered me a summer job in her office.”

“You’re going to be working for the mayor of Washington this summer?” Carson sounded both surprised and jealous. From what CJ had seen so far, if politics coursed through his blood, government administration did the same through Carson’s.

“Nope, turned it down. I’m going to Israel for two weeks in July and that trip would be in the middle of the job.”

“Are you serious?” Carson shook his head in apparent disbelief. “You turned down the opportunity to work in local government? Man, I’d kill for a job like that.”

CJ tapped his friend’s chest with a finger. “Then you better not fuck up the interview. I turned her down but I gave her your name and contact information. Her Chief-of-Staff’s gonna call you to arrange a meeting.”

“Oh, oh, sounds like Carson’s gonna owe CJ a blow job.” Rod bumped fists with Thiago as both cracked up laughing.

“Oh, my God!” Carson’s mouth hung open for a moment in apparent shock. “Are you serious? I have to call my parents and tell them I’ll be staying in DC for the break. I can’t believe you got me a job at City Hall. Shit, I have to find a place to live this summer.” He hugged CJ so hard he would have crushed him had the man not been so muscular. “I love you, dude!”

“Yeah, well, you can love him all you want but get your bloody hands off him. He’s taken.” Owen’s attempt at sternness was a dismal failure; he could not stop laughing. “And there will be no BJs, okay?”

“Hey, you ain’t got the job!” CJ untangled himself from the hug, looked at Owen, and winked. “But, ifand that’s a big ifyou do get the job, I’ll talk to the dads. I’m sure they’ll be okay with you spending the summer in one of our guest rooms in the basement.”

“WHOSE BUTT DO I HAVE TO KISS TO GET A COCKTAIL AROUND HERE?” Brett’s shout made everyone turn towards the room’s entrance.

CJ chuckled, turned around, and patted his behind. “Pucker up, Papa.” The words were barely out of his mouth when César and Brett were surrounded by their friends. CJ noticed the change in the background music. Buffett was once again praising Mother Ocean and singing about pirates and smuggling. Nelson Wheatly timed it just right by restarting the evening’s soundtrack to coincide with the guest of honor’s entrance.

Once seated, the group attacked the stone crabs as if starving. CJ, seated at one end of the long table opposite his father, kept glancing at César and grinning. As the waitstaff removed empty plates and refilled wine glasses, he rapped against the table with his knuckles and once he had everyone’s attention, stood. “Thank you all for coming tonight. I’d like to offer the first toast of the evening. To my father, the best dad anyone could hope to have. The man who’s held me when I’ve cried and cheered me in my accomplishments. The man I know loves me and has my best interests at heart. Even when he grounds me for getting a speeding ticket!”

“Hear, hear!” The reaction by Brett elicited chuckles and in unison, everyone raised their glasses. Each guest took a chance to speak between courses. Some told funny or embarrassing stories, others offered a simple happy birthday. After the meal, but before dessert was served, Brett mimicked his son’s previous action and attracted everyone’s attention by banging the table with his open palm.

“My turn. When we were trying to figure out what to do for my hubby’s fortieth, the kids suggested Buffet’s “A Pirate Looks at Forty” as a theme. It harks back to their South Florida roots and growing up near the ocean.” Brett’s face was alive with mischief as he glanced around the room. “I grew up next to the ocean too. Even if it was the Pacific instead of the Atlantic. And I have my own soundtrack from days surfing and running around Southern Cal. Most of you know I’m a Beach Boys fan and have been known to sing along now and then. Even if my voice’s not the best.”

“You can say that again!”

“Shut the fuck up, CJ.” The words were almost drowned by the hearty laughter. “Just for that I’m going to stop talking and I’m going to sing.” He glanced at the door and nodded at the maître d’ who stood supervising the service, before fixing his sight on César. “This is for you, babe.”

The retired marine gave a serviceable rendition of a song released fifty years before. His voice wavered at times while singing “God Only Knows, but he persevered and was able to finish with a couple of dabs at his eyes. His were not the only ones shedding a tear; the fresh linen napkins placed in front of them while the table was cleared came in handy.

CJ suggested Key Lime Pie for dessert but was surprised when two servers rolled a cart in the room. Twenty single-serve pies were arranged on a pastry tower, each holding two candles. He filed away in his mind what he thought was a great concept.

Conversation was spirited while the guests ate until César stood and everyone went silent. “Thank you all for being here tonight. For helping me mark this occasion and for the contributions you all made to the Human Rights Campaign in my honor. I’m going to take a wild guess and assume CJ had something to do with that.”

His son shrugged his shoulders and tried to look innocent but the nodding from most of the crowd confirmed César’s assumption. “As for tonight’s theme, I’m still not sure about it. I mean, I’ve been called a booty pirate before but I don’t know about the smuggling thing. Too Miami Vice if you ask me.” César paused until the loud laughter diminished.

“Forty years may seem like a long time but it’s gone by in the blink of an eye. And I’ve been luckier than most. Supportive parents and a brother as my best friend helped me get through some difficult times when I was a teen. At twenty-two, I discovered a two-year-old dark-haired toddler who would become the most important person in my life. Having a kid at that age can derail many a life but I found it to be a blessing.

“CJ was it until the night Tom and I went out and met JP and Brett. You all know the result of that chance encounter. The four of us forged a friendship which saw us married in a double ceremony and is stronger with each passing day. One drawback to that evening was CJ was no longer the center of my universe. He had to share the distinction with Brett from then on.

“When CJ moved to Washington, I thought things could not get better. I had the two men who meant most to me together on a permanent basis. I could have lived the rest of my life like that and I would have been happy.

“I must have done something right at some point. The Universe was not done blessing me. I had a husband I adore and a son I treasure but I was about to be fortunate again. Twice. Ritchie and Ozzie have helped our family grow and I could not be more thrilled. I could die happy today but I will not. I have too much to look forward to.

“A wedding to plan a year from now. Several graduations to celebrate for my three sons and several of their friends. Welcoming grandchildren to spoil rotten at some point in the future. And having you, all of you, around me forty years from now when I celebrate eighty. Thanks again for tonight. I love you guys more than you can imagine.”

Thank you, Mann Ramblings, Kitt, and Reader 1810 for your hard work.

This story would not be possible without your assistance.

C A Hazday
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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.
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Chapter Comments



1 hour ago, mikedup said:

Great chapter. It was very emotional but brilliant. Thanks.

 

I hope the reaction was positive. I dislike writing sad events and prefer happy content when dealing with emotions.

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16 minutes ago, avidreadr said:

You just keep topping yourself.  A great chapter and what a super 40th birthday party!  This story always makes me start Friday with a smile.  

 

I look forward to Fridays just as much. Reading the initial reactions from readers while having my morning coffee is a great way to start the day. THANK YOU!

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40 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

 

Step away from the TV. Those damn shows are rotting your brain. Does this look like a character in Dallas? LOL

 

patrick-ewing.jpg

 

 

 

I know who that Patrick Ewing is...I was just being a smartass ;)

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Another great Chapter. It had the right amount of fun seriousness, setimentality and emotions. I hope Ritchie is playing safe. At least we know to expect the wedding in 2019 - probably 3 or 4 books before the wedding 🎩 

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3 hours ago, dughlas said:

Well hot dayum that was a great chapter. Thank you

No, no, no... Thank YOU! Glad you liked it, buddy. He moves to Jacksonville and starts work at Starbucks next chapter. :P

 

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@tabaqui

 

I try to alternate sharing reactions from the dads. This time it seemed right to have Brett be the emotional one. Cesar tends to be a bit more analytical and calm. But trust me, he'll get his moment in the limelight again!

 

Cake? Wedding cake? Do I need to start thinking about that? :o

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@Potterslashfan

 

Moi? Sappy? Damn! Gotta fix that problem.

 

While I'm trying to give ALL the Elite and Squad members a little airtime, this book concentrates on CJ and Owen the way the last one focused on CJ and politics. Harley will be back and as of right now I know he's the featured guest star in at least two future chapters. The possibility of Harley remaining asexual crossed my mind but I veered away considering how much I've already diversified the two groups.

 

I don't think Brett was so much opposed to the marriage as to the guys up and moving. Him losing his parents while he was a teenager may have something to do with it. Compensating? He didn't have a lot of time with his parents so he wants as much as possible to be there for his son.

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1 hour ago, chris191070 said:

Another great Chapter. It had the right amount of fun seriousness, setimentality and emotions. I hope Ritchie is playing safe. At least we know to expect the wedding in 2019 - probably 3 or 4 books before the wedding 🎩 

 

Remedial math for you, Chris!

 

The proposal took place Valentine's Day 2017, since they say the wedding will take place in a year, that means 2018. We better get our tuxes ready, the wedding's around the corner.

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1 hour ago, Wesley8890 said:

I freaking loved this chapter! Brett's reaction to the engagement was the best!

 

Don't you love it when a big, tough Marine gets all sentimental? :2thumbs:

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