And A Child is Born - 6. What's In A Name?
The four men walked into their honeymoon cottage and found a bottle of champagne and a platter of hors-d'oeuvres waiting for them. There was also a message from Pate and Timmy that food was in the refrigerator for supper. It was a cold summer supper. Todd and Tayloe knew about cold summer suppers because that is what they ate at the Deltaville river house each night. Their mother would cook food early in the morning, and then the stove would not be turned on for the rest of the day. Eron and Erick had never heard of such a thing.
Todd was hungry, so he pulled things out of the refrigerator and put them on the counter. There were sliced melons, a cucumber tomato and onion salad, spinach tarte, and a variety of meats. A basket filled with local tomatoes was on the counter. Both southern boys knew you never put tomatoes in the refrigerator. But that is where you kept the Duke’s mayonnaise to make the tomato sandwiches. The sandwiches were simple to make: white bread, mayonnaise, sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper. When the juice from the tomatoes and mayonnaise dripped down your chin, the sandwich was considered perfect.
Tayloe and Erick grabbed the luggage from the vehicles and chose bedrooms. Eron was also in charge of the music and chose some old school R&B. When they finished with supper, Todd brought out the lemon chess pie for dessert. He made a pot of coffee and then put the pie on plates. They went to the ocean side porch and ate while they watched the waves.
“This is heaven. Absolute heaven.”
“Yes, it is, little brother. Here we are with our husbands enjoying our honeymoon together. I would never have guessed our lives would turn out this way.”
“We are the two luckiest men in the world.”
“Nope, we are the two luckiest men.”
Tayloe stood and looked at his partner as if to challenge him. They got chest to chest, staring into each other’s eyes. Tayloe relented.
“We are the four luckiest men in the world.”
There was unanimous agreement.
After putting the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, Erick suggested they take a walk down the beach. They went down the steps and then crossed over the sand dune to the wide swatch of sand.
“North or south?”
“Doesn’t matter, just walk.”
And that is what they did. Their bare feet and legs were splashed with water as they walked south toward the fishing pier. A few people gave them disapproving stares, but they didn’t care. They actually couldn’t tell if they were disapproving looks or confusion seeing twins. It didn’t matter.
They headed back to the house and sat on the porch.
“Ouch. Fuck. Ouch. Oh my God, who let the mosquitoes out?”
There was much scurrying as all four men ran into the living room, slamming the screen door behind them.
Erick took Todd’s hand and led him to their bedroom. It was on the oceanfront on the south side of the house. Eron and Tayloe had the oceanfront bedroom on the north side. The distance between the bedrooms was a blessing as there were terrible, wonderful sounds coming from the bedrooms that night. Both couples would have been embarrassed if they were heard each other.
The next morning set the pattern for their honeymoon. All four gathered in their skivvies and ate breakfast, sitting on a picnic table on the ocean side porch. Todd cooked soft boiled eggs, baked biscuits served with homemade fig preserves, accompanied by fresh melon and tomatoes. He also had a bowl of fresh sliced peaches. A jug of orange juice quickly was depleted. Erick said they would make out a grocery list so that he and Eron could go shopping that morning.
During breakfast, Tayloe pulled out the Sunday newspapers, which he had brought down from Williamsburg. They had not looked at them the day before. He typically read the Sunday editions of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, and the New York Times each week. Sometimes, it would take him most of the week to get through all three papers. All four men had their noses deep in the papers when Tayloe let out a yelp.
“What did you find, husband?”
Tayloe placed the Richmond paper on the table, and they were looking at the society section.
“Well, look at you, Nancy Drew!”
There was a picture of the four men, in formal wear, with an article about the party at Cameron Farms. The article mentioned that it was part of their week of celebrating their commitment ceremonies in Washington and Williamsburg.
“Well, well, well. If there were any thoughts of us being in the closet, those are now gone. It is not on the wedding page but as close as that conservative old rag could get. Look in the Washington Post, to see if there is an announcement.”
There was an article about the party at Cameron Farms in the Post that alluded to the fact that it was part of a week of celebrations. Again, it was in the social section but not on the wedding page.
“Okay, if we are in the NY Times, we are officially important.”
All four men laughed as they turned to the society section of the Times.
“It is official. We are important men! One day we will have equal coverage on the wedding pages, but I guess this is as close as we could get.”
The four men were merry and said they needed to order additional copies of the papers. There was no need to call their parents because they knew they had arranged for the articles. At least, they were in another state, and no one would recognize them.
When Erick and Eron returned from the grocery store, all of the men unpacked the car and brought the groceries into the kitchen. Things were quickly put away.
“Okay, it is time for the beach. Let’s put on our swimwear.”
Todd shrieked when he saw Erick in his Speedo.
“You are not wearing that on the beach today.”
“Well, you have a visible penis line, it is too small, and I will want to fuck you all over the beach towel. I will be hard the entire time, and I will be embarrassed.”
Erick gave a huge sigh, “Somehow, it is always about you.” He smirked to let Todd know he was joking.
Erick laughed as he grabbed a beach towel. Todd was fuming and stayed in the bedroom, changing his clothes. They were waiting for Todd when he exited the bedroom. Erick let out a whoop and said he looked perfect as Todd was wearing a chevron striped Speedo.
Tayloe was blushing while looking at his brother.
“We have two more Speedos if you old guys want to try them on.”
Tayloe swallowed twice and then looked at Eron. Eron had an evil grin on his face.
“Let’s do it. Nags Head will never be the same.”
When they walked onto the beach with their umbrella, cooler, radio, and towels, heads turned at the young Gods who were setting up their little kingdom on the sand.
“People are staring at us.”
“Well, let’s give them something to stare at. Eron, come here so I can cover you with suntan lotion.”
By the time Tayloe had finished, Eron was sporting a huge erection. So was Tayloe. They turned to look at their brothers, and they were rubbing each other with suntan lotion. They were equally excited.
“Into the water we go.”
The four men raced into the ocean and started dunking each other. They were slicked down with lotion, and none could grab and hold on to his partner or brother. A few times, the Speedos were slipping from hips before being pulled back into place. They laughed and thought everything was hilarious. When they finally decided to take a break, they trudged through the sand and laid down under the umbrella. They noticed a lot of foot traffic between themselves and the ocean. Erick said it was time for him to teach them some yoga moves.
Erick grabbed his towel and put it down in front of them. He then started with the yoga moves that he had learned during his recovery from his ankle injury. The others mimicked his moves or at least tried to. Erick was very hands-on as he corrected posture and movement. He said they would do yoga each day on the beach. By the third day, a couple of guys came up and asked if there was a charge for the yoga class. Erick laughed and told them it really wasn’t a class, but he was teaching his husband and brother…. Erick coughed and said the relationships were too complicated, and yes, they could join them. The next day a couple of more people joined them in yoga. By the end of the first week, there was an encampment set up each morning before they reached the beach. They had a following. Someone put up a volleyball net, a couple of guys had surfboards, and there was a lot of roughhousing in the waves. They met some guys from Richmond who wanted to stay in touch after they went home. They had a new set of friends on the Outer Banks.
Then the inevitable rainy day came. Eron was glad because he was physically exhausted from trying to keep up with everyone. He wouldn’t tell Tayloe how tired he was because he knew Tayloe would start policing his activity level. He just needed some rest.
After breakfast in the dining area, Tayloe suggested they play cards. Eron begged off and said he wanted to nap. Tayloe said they needed four people and that Eron couldn’t possibly be that tired. Erick looked at his brother and saw the underlying fatigue, and said he was tired, also. Erick said the two of them would nap together. Tayloe knew he couldn’t go up against both of them because Todd would take Erick’s side in a disagreement.
“Okay, well, I am going shopping. Todd, do you want to go, or do you need to nap also?”
“I am so glad I choose not to hear the sarcasm in your voice. I will go if you dial it back a couple of notches.”
Tayloe realized he had been acting like a spoiled brat, kissed Eron, and told him to rest well and that they would return later for a game of cards when he would whip all of their butts. Eron laughed and said it was a good plan; he liked his butt whipped by a hot daddy. Everyone laughed except Tayloe. Was he really a daddy? He wasn’t old enough to be a daddy. As soon as Todd and Tayloe walked out of the door, all of Eron’s energy quickly diminished. He could be totally himself with his brother. They were twins, and Erick would understand.
Erick led Eron to the bedroom and pulled back the bed covers. Since they were children, they had made their beds each morning, and that habit had not died out as they got older. Eron crawled in first, and then Erick slid in behind him. Erick could feel his brother’s shoulders hunching while he cried.
“Tell me. Tell me everything. I need to know.”
Eron turned, and they were looking into each other’s eyes.
“I can’t keep up. Ever since I had that brain problem, I am fatigued, and I need a lot more time to do things. Tayloe doesn’t notice because he goes 90 miles per hour, and I let him do everything. If he slowed down for one minute, he would understand that I can’t keep up.”
“Have you spoken to your doctor about this?”
“Yes, and he keeps telling me to give it time; that I will get better during the next year. But, Erick, I am afraid that I will never fully recover. I may always be an invalid.”
Eron was crying and Erick pulled him into a hug. Erick innately understood his brother’s pain, and he cried with him. They were wrapped around each other and fell into a deep sleep and didn’t notice when Tayloe walked into the bedroom. Tayloe quietly backed out and got Todd to come to look at the twins sleeping.
The two brothers walked onto the porch and sat in rocking chairs. Todd waited for his brother to speak.
“He is not well. I don’t know if you see it, but he suffers a great deal.”
“Have the two of you talked about it?”
“No, how do I talk with him about it? Maybe he doesn’t see it, and I don’t want to suggest to him that he is not as strong and vibrant as he could be. I want to talk with his doctor, and now that we are partners, I will try. I don’t know if the doctor will tell me anything. I sometimes go off by myself to cry. I can’t let him see me crying or being weak. One of us has to be strong. I love him so much, and I don’t want him suffering.”
Todd realized that Tayloe was crying as they talked. Todd grabbed Tayloe’s hand and pulled him to the hammock that was stretched between porch posts. Todd wrapped his brother in his arms and kissed his hair. He was taking on the role of the older brother. How many times had Tayloe kissed him to let him know that he loved and cared for him? Turnabout was fair play. They both fell asleep wrapped in each other’s arms. They didn’t awaken when Erick came out of the door and saw Todd comforting his brother. He quietly closed the door, went to the bedroom to get Eron, and brought him back to look at their partners. Eron held onto Erick’s shoulder and kissed his cheek. The twins went back to their bedroom to lie down and rest. The house was quiet for the first time in a week.
They all awoke mid-afternoon and ended up in the kitchen, where they decided to make sandwiches as a snack to tide them over until dinner. They had not gone out to eat since arriving at the beach and decided that night would be their night out on the town. Erick called A Restaurant by George and made reservations for 8 pm. When they arrived, they looked toward the bar and saw Pate and Timmy. They went over and found out they had a reservation, also. Erick went to the hostess and asked if they could be seated together. A six-top had just come available, and all of the men went into one of the dining rooms. The waiter was one of the men who had joined their yoga group each day. He was pleased to see them and asked how they knew the old beach bums who had joined them. There was a lot of joking and jollity. It was an entirely pleasant meal that equaled the kudos they had heard about the restaurant. They finished the evening by having B&Bs in the bar area. When they got back to the cottage, they decided a walk down the beach was in order. They started walking as partners, then switched to pairs of brothers.
“You need to talk with Eron. Ask him how he is feeling. Ask him if you are pushing him too much. Tell him you love him and want to make sure he is okay. Be the kind, caring person I know you are.”
Tayloe looked at Todd. Todd could see the fear in his brother’s eyes.
Eron and Erick had walked ahead of them and turned to find out where their partners were.
“Talk with him, Eron. Let him know that you are still recovering and are getting stronger, but you are still not back to full strength. Ask him to support you while you regain your physical and mental strength.”
“I don’t know, brother. He might not want to be with an invalid.”
“You are hardly an invalid.”
“I am scared. Will you be there with me when I talk with Tayloe?”
Erick thought he should leave his brother to the conversation, but it was obvious he could not do this on his own. He nodded his head in agreement.
Todd and Tayloe came walking up, and Tayloe asked what they were talking about.
Erick and Eron looked at each other. Eron had a pleading look in his eyes.
“Tayloe, Eron needs to talk to you, and he has asked me to be there when he tells you something very important.”
Tayloe looked like someone had kicked him in the stomach. Todd grabbed his brother to support him.
“Let’s sit on the sand, and the four of us can talk.”
Erick sat between Eron and Todd, and he held their hands. Tayloe was holding onto Eron. They were waiting for someone to start. Todd intuited what was to be discussed.
“Tayloe, why don’t you tell Eron how much you love him and how afraid you are.”
Tayloe snapped his head around and glared at his brother. When he turned back, he could see Eron crying.
“Eron, I love you more than life itself. I am scared because I know you are struggling with your recovery. I do my normal stupid stuff, and I probably push you too hard. I am only trying to help you recover. Please know that I am scared shitless. I am scared for you, not me. I know what a strong person you are and want to see that again. I will be there regardless, but I know you worry about it. I need you to know that I love you.”
There was silence as Tayloe’s words hung in the air. Finally, Erick nudged his brother.
“I love you, Tayloe.” Those were all of the words that Eron could say before he broke down in sobs. He was immediately held by the three strong men who showered him with love.
“Let me start over. Can I move and sit between your legs? I think I will be able to say this better that way.”
Eron moved, as did Erick. The twins sat between their partner’s legs.
“I love you, Tayloe. I am so afraid that I will disappoint you, that you will find me wanting, or that I don’t measure up. I am so scared. I try to hide it, but then I am even more exhausted. I don’t know how to say to you that I need help. I don’t want to be an invalid. You are so strong and vibrant. You are my hero. But I just need to be able to say I need rest without you going into your Florence Nightingale mode.”
Todd and Erick chuckled.
“I am not fucking Florence Nightingale.”
“Yes, you are Flo. You are so Flo.”
By that time, Erick and Todd were laughing and calling out the name Flo. Tayloe felt like killing both of them, but he knew it was said in love; he also knew there was truth in the statement. He was a caregiver and always would be.
They sat in silence, listening to the sounds of the waves lapping the shore. Finally, Tayloe helped Eron stand, and Erick pulled Todd into an upright position. They started walking back toward the cottage. At the same time, both Todd and Erick started calling out Flo, Flo, Flo. They ran away from Tayloe and Eron and kept calling the name. They raced each other to the house, playing tag the entire time. They tackled each other, then stripped and ran into the ocean before they knelt in the surf to kiss. They would have made love, but the brother’s considered that act as sacred and private. Little did they know that their lovemaking was exactly the same. The Emmanuelson men were twins, and the Reynold’s men could have been as they made love to their partners.
The next week was spent much like the first, though Eron took more naps, and when he didn’t think he needed one, Tayloe would suggest it. Erick and Todd would start saying Flo, Flo, Flo as they would run out the door. It had grown into an affectionate name for Tayloe. He realized it would be a moniker he would wear with pride for the rest of his life.
On Saturday morning, they cleaned the house, filled a cooler with the food they hadn’t eaten and were going to drop at Pate and Timmy’s house as they prepared to leave the honeymoon cottage. Tayloe and Eron were driving to the apartment in Richmond. Todd and Erick were going to Williamsburg, where Todd would pack suitcases to leave the next day for Atlanta. He had rented a room on the Emory University campus and would survive with just clothes. He didn’t want to set up a domicile. He wanted to feel that he was staying temporarily in Atlanta. His home was in Williamsburg with Erick.
He was flying down at the last minute and would start classes on Monday morning. Erick would drive the car down the next weekend, so he would have transportation while in Atlanta. Erick had made the suggestion after Todd had said several times he didn’t know if he wanted to go through with the scheme of living apart for a year. The flight down would ensure that Todd arrived and would be able to start classes and would not turn the car around and drive back home. It reminded Erick of the day when he left for Yale and Eron left for Harvard. It was their first separation, and neither thought he would live through the pain. Both boys did, and so would Todd.
The next day, there was a family confab at Byrd Field. Marjorie had packed a picnic lunch, and they ate at the Air Museum before they headed to the departure gates. Todd was fretful and couldn’t eat. He kept holding onto Erick.
“I can’t believe I am doing this. Tell me that I am doing the right thing.”
“You are doing the right thing. I will be down in a few days, and you can show me the Emory campus. I will bring down things that you want and need. We will both get through this.”
When they got to security, Todd turned and kissed Erick one last time. When he got to Tayloe, Todd called him Flo and said he would miss him. After Todd had gotten through security and headed to his gate, Marjorie asked Tayloe what Todd had called him.
“It’s a long story, mom. Eron and I will tell you at dinner. Erick, you know we are eating with the parents tonight.”
“I don’t know if I am up for it.”
“Yes, you are. Eron and I are here to support you through this time.”
“Okay, Flo. Let’s go.”
You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on. We get it, because we feel it too. Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now