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    Mac Rountree
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Discovering Home - 14. Do You Accept This Man?

 

“One more sip of coffee, and then I need to go. Some of us have work to do.”

“It is Saturday. What do you have to do?”

“I need to make sure that everything in the church is ready for tomorrow. You’re going to be there, right? You promised to sit with Clay.”

“I’m going to be there, little brother. Quit worrying. Everything will be okay. You are already in your work mode – slow down; your life is only going to get harder.”

“I must admit that I am very nervous. It is my first official Sunday at St. Anselm’s, and I don’t know if I am up to the task. The bishop will ask the congregation if they accept me as their priest. Suppose they say no?”

“They love you. No one is going to give such a silly answer. You’re more than up for the task. You have Clay and me standing with you, and Papa Thomas and Daddy Joe send good wishes. You need to relax and enjoy it. Well, except for the few surprises I have arranged.”

Sean smirked, which upset Sidney even more. Their month together had been more wonderful than anything Sidney could have ever imagined. He had been raised as an only child, and to now have a brother and a son was emotionally fulfilling but still a new notion. He had always felt so alone in his interior world, and he was cracking the shell to let himself out into the larger universe and to let others get to know him. It was challenging for such an introvert.

All of the furniture had been moved into the rectory by the time Sidney and Clay had arrived in Philadelphia on the first of July. Sidney had picked out things he thought would look good from the warehouse and didn’t know that Sean had curated his selection and replaced things. Sidney only knew that everything looked perfect for the imposing structure. There was nothing for Sidney to do but relax and spend afternoons modeling for Sean. Sean had declared the studio a clothing-free zone, which was beneficial because the space had no air conditioning. Industrial size fans blew hot air across the studio. It would finally cool down at night, but Sean said he needed the daylight to paint. Sean had created a playland for Clay in the studio. Clay was enthralled with all of the toys and books that Sean had bought for him. He even had a bed built out of bullrushes. Sean had conceived of the idea and called his Daddy Joe about how to build it. Sean started calling Clay his little Moses.

It hadn’t taken much arm-twisting for Sidney to shave his chest. After dripping sweat for two days while he was modeling, Sean told Sidney he would be cooler without the fur. Sidney relented and watched as Sean brushed the shaving cream across his chest. Sean was meticulous in shaving his brother.

“Not the pubes. I do not want to look like a child.”

“I promise that I will not shave your pubes. After I finish with you, then you have to shave me.”

“Okay, but you don’t have much body hair.”

They finished the task and then headed for the shower. Cool water sprayed them and Clay joined the two men as they played in the water. After they finished, Sidney said he needed a nap. He and Clay climbed into the big poster bed while Sean cleaned his brushes. Sidney woke and knew that someone was looking at him. Sean had a sketch pad and was drawing him and Clay. Clay was cuddled in Sidney’s arm and was suckling his teat.

“Don’t move. Please don’t move.”

There was a quiet intensity to Sean’s request.

Sidney did as was asked. Next, photos were taken with Sean’s Polaroid camera.

“Don’t move; I am not finished. A large-format camera was rolled into place and Sean continued to document this intimate moment between father and child. Finally, Sean told Sidney he was finished. When Sidney wanted to see the sketches and pictures, Sean said no.

“Trust me. You will be blown away when the paintings are finished. You will be a star.”

“I am a priest. I am not a star and don’t want to get fired for posing for porno pictures.”

It was as if all of the world stopped. Sean stared at Sidney without saying a word. Sidney knew that he had seriously misspoken. Sean wouldn’t look at him. After a few minutes of silence, Sean said they were done for the day. He told Sidney that he was staying in the studio and suggested that Sidney and Clay spend the night in the rectory. Sidney was gutted that he had upset his brother, but he didn’t know what else to say. He wasn’t going to apologize for being honest about his feelings. He was a priest. He couldn’t afford to be portrayed in some unseemly work that included his image. Why had he shaved his chest? Had he led Sean on? Damn, damn, damn.

The next morning, Sean called and suggested they meet at the café for breakfast. Sean looked like hell. Sidney guessed his brother hadn’t slept all night. He coughed more than usual as he ate his breakfast. Neither man was very talkative. Their waiter assumed the lovers had a spat. Clay tried to make up for the lack of conversation between his daddy and uncle by talking with everyone else. The waiter knew the trio very well and took Clay under his wing. He let Clay take menus to other patrons who were absolutely enchanted with the little boy.

“I need for you to come by the studio. There is something I need for you to see.”

“Okay. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“I would be lying if I said it didn’t get to me. You spoke into my greatest fear about this series. I spent all night researching and am now more convinced than ever that what I am doing is good. I should thank you for challenging me. That very idea was going to come up and now I am prepared to answer it. Sometimes, I can get too intellectual in my paintings, but for the first time in years, I am painting for the joy of the art. I am painting for myself and no one else. Well, except for you and Clay.”

Sean shyly smiled at Sidney and apologized for going all funky on him the prior afternoon.

Sidney leaned across the table and kissed his brother. With their heads together, both men said, “I love you.”

“I said it first.” Sean laughed and kissed Sidney again. “Let’s go. I have things for you to see. Come on, Clayman. We have work to do.”

They each drove to the warehouse. Sean opened the doors to the studio. He had given Sidney keys to everything he owned except the studio. The studio was Sean’s private space and he wasn’t willing to share his artwork with anyone until he knew it was ready for public viewing. When they walked into the studio, Sean started undressing. Clay was a natural nudist and already had his clothes in his hands. He had taken them off in the elevator. Sidney was the most reticent of the three. Sidney walked into the space and tried to make sense of what he saw. Art books and reproduction paintings were lined up against the walls.

“We start here. I want you to see my inspirations. All of the pictures on display were of sacred paintings. Hebrew patriarchs and prophets, apostles, the followers of Jesus, Mary and the baby Jesus, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension. The artists represented in Sean’s selection ranged from the Middle Ages period to contemporary painters and sculptors. Sean explained each painting and why it was important in the canon of religious art. Sidney knew a few of the pieces, but many were new to him. Sean took his time explaining, and by the time they finished, it was late afternoon. Clay was asleep in his bed.

“Do I get to see the paintings you are working on?”

Sean barked a laugh.

“No. You don’t see the paintings until they are finished and hanging in the gallery. Do you trust me?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Yes, actually, you do. You can put your clothes on and leave me to my misery of painting, or you can continue to model for me. One thing is undeniable and not open for choice or discussion; you are my brother and I love you. We will always be brothers.”

Sean took Sidney’s hand and led him to the bed.

“Please hold me, Sidney. I am exhausted and need to feel safe in your arms. Please make the world safe for me. Sometimes I get so scared.”

Sidney did as his brother asked, and it felt absolutely right that they were cuddled together. Romulus and Remus. Castor and Pollux. Nut and Geb. Serge and Bacchus. Jesus and John the Beloved. Sidney’s brain could spit out a long list of men who loved each other.

Their disagreement had scorched them, and they were changed forever. Sidney trusted Sean with his life and stopped asking to see the paintings. Sean knew that his brother’s career and life were in his hands. There was a sacred bond between the two.

Sidney spent time at the rectory in July, trying not to go to the church administration building. He had asked for the month to transition to his new home, and he was going to honor this sabbatical time. Sidney knew that in a few weeks, he would be forcing himself to make time for his son each day. He spent time with Clay, Sean, and the gym. He had always been a gym aficionado because he was small in stature and wanted to make sure he could defend himself against bullies. It had been useful in high school when he was on the swim team. Some of the football players bullied him; his Tae Quan Do training had served him well. The principal was going to expel him from school one day until other students spoke up and said that Sidney was only defending himself. After an incident when two football players were dispatched quickly, no one messed with Sidney again. One football player ended up in the emergency room that day. Sidney took pride in his physique but was shy and didn’t show it off. Sean tried to get him to wear muscle-tees to the café but Sidney refused. He was a priest and thought he must maintain a certain level of dignity.

On the second Saturday morning in July, Clay was “helping” Johnny, the waiter, serve other customers when a handsome man, Eli, approached Sean and Sidney and told them he was interested in joining them in some daddy/son sex. He was startled when the two men burst out laughing. Eli turned every shade of red. They apologized for their reaction and told the guy that he was very handsome, but they were brothers. Sean started sizing up the man and asked him if he had ever modeled. When they left the café that morning, Eli followed them on his motorcycle.

Eli was surprised when Clay started removing his clothes in the warehouse elevator. Clay did his happy naked dance, which was his routine when going to the art studio. It was like he was celebrating his connection to the universe without the inhibition of clothes. When they entered the studio, Sean and Sidney stripped and asked Eli to do the same. The man did and immediately hardened. Sean chuckled and said it was a problem they all had until they started working. Sean positioned Sidney and Eli on a platform in front of some large industrial windows. Shafts of light were pouring through the panes of glass and were bifurcated by shadows from the mullions. Eli was standing behind Sidney with his arms around the smaller man. One hand was placed over Sidney’s cock. Sidney arched his back and pushed back against Eli’s pelvis. He pushed his chest forward, and Sidney tucked his head into Eli’s neck. Sean had them hold the pose while he grabbed his Polaroid camera and started taking pictures. He adjusted their bodies and then took more pictures. He then got out the large format camera and took more pictures. Finally, he grabbed sketch pads. Sidney could feel the tubular object pressed against his rear. He could not help his response. He could hear Eli chuckling as he felt him up.

When Sean finished his preliminary work, he had them take a break before putting them in another pose. The studio was heating up from the sun, and all three men were sweating profusely. Clay had laid down on his bed and was napping. It was more of the routine of photographs on the Polaroid camera, large format camera pictures, and then sketches. When they finished, Eli said he was exhausted. Sean laughed and said it was all in a day’s work. Sidney was doing stretching exercises. Eli looked at Sidney as the smaller man was bent over, touching his toes. His ass was on display and Eli had a significant physical reaction. Sean chuckled when he saw the sight and asked Eli to come over to his office area, where Sean asked him if he would sign a model release. Then Sean handed Eli money for modeling. Sidney saw that and called out that he didn’t get paid for showing his ass every day.

“Yeah, but you’re my brother. It is your duty.”

They all laughed. Eli walked over to Sidney and handed him the money.

“What’s this for?”

“Your ass.”

Sidney blushed and stammered. Eli burst out laughing. Sean smirked and suggested they needed to take a nap, and afterward, they could go out to dinner. Eli was the first one on the bed, followed by Sean and Sidney, who were on either side of the handsome man. It was too warm in the studio for touching, and they each fell asleep while trying to stay cool. When Sidney awoke, he was wrapped in Eli’s strong arms. Instinctively, he moved back against Eli and started moaning. Eli reached down and started stroking Sidney. Sidney’s eyes flew open and he realized where they were.

Sidney jumped from the bed and ran to the shower. He heard Sean chuckling while Eli lay confused on the bed. Sean grabbed Eli’s hand and said it was time for a shower. By that time, Clay had awoken and ran to the shower. They all felt better after showering, they then dressed, and Sean invited Eli to join them for dinner. They rolled Eli’s motorcycle in the warehouse and got in Sidney’s car. The dinner was enjoyable; however, Sidney jumped every time he felt Eli’s hand on his thigh.

“So, Eli, what do you do for work?”

“I am a cabinet maker?”

Sidney practically choked on his dinner.

“Do you ride your motorcycle to work sites? Where do you put your tools?”

“I have a workshop where I build the cabinets and furniture, and I have a panel truck to transport them for installation. I live in an apartment near the café. What do you do?”

Sean smirked as Sidney squirmed.

“I am a priest,” Sidney whispered his response.

“Sorry, I didn’t hear you.”

Sidney sat up straight in his chair and looked Eli directly in the eyes.

“I am an Episcopal priest. My son and I have just moved here.”

“Which church?”

“I am the new rector at St. Anselm’s.”

Eli had a strange look on his face. He turned from Sidney and started eating his food. He was flushed.

“Eli, is there a problem?”

“No, Father. It is just that I am under contract for repairs at your church. Apparently, there was a guy who did the work for many years and retired to North Carolina. I heard something about him being the partner of the priest. When I started, I couldn’t believe what great shape the buildings were in. There was no deferred maintenance. Usually, with these old churches, the punch list of things to fix is pages long. There was nothing that needed repair. They had a minor problem with a HVAC system, and the owner of that company is a friend of mine. He recommended that they put me under retainer. I receive very few calls. Whoever that guy was knew exactly what he was doing. He didn’t skimp and cut corners.”

Sidney and Sean sat staring at each other.

“Did I say something wrong?”

Sean teared up.

“The man you referred to is my father. Joe McKendry. He and my papa, Father Thomas, are husbands. I grew up in the rectory of the church.”

Eli stopped eating and looked at the two men.

“And you say you are brothers?”

“Well, we are a made family. We met last Christmas and knew we were to be brothers. Clay is Sidney’s adopted son. We spent Christmas at Joe and Thomas’ house in North Carolina.

“Damn, well, it is a small world.”

Clay was practically falling asleep in his chair.

“It is time for me to head home with Clay. It is past his bedtime.”

They drove back to the warehouse. Sean had a conversation with Eli about doing more modeling for him. Sidney told Eli it was nice to meet him and bade him goodnight. Sean and Sidney kissed and promised to talk the next day.

It was a restless night for Sidney. He didn’t believe in coincidences. He got on his knees and rested his torso on the mattress of the bed to say his prayers. He hadn’t done that since he was a boy. Sidney decided he had made a mistake and should have stayed in North Carolina. In Mooresville, there wasn’t a gay café where he would meet men, there wasn’t an artist who was painting portraits that put him in comprising positions, and there was no handsome man who put his hands all over him. There were too many temptations in Philadelphia. He would have to be on guard.

The next morning, Sean called and asked where he was. Sidney lied and said he had overslept and wouldn’t be available that day. Sean chuckled and knew that his brother was in a muddle. When Eli showed up at the studio that day to model, he was disappointed that the young priest was not there. Sean told Eli to back off a little, but suggested a plan. Eli smiled and said he liked the way that Sean thought.

It was the Sunday morning of Sidney’s installation at St. Anselm’s. The days had flown by, and now it was time for Sidney to start work. Sean arrived early for breakfast at the rectory. He helped Clay dress for church. Sidney was a nervous wreck and was of no help to anyone. Sidney excused himself and told Sean that he was required in the parish hall where the procession was forming. He hugged his brother and told him that this was all his doing. They both laughed.

For it to be late summer, there was a grand procession into the church. It looked odd having so many people in masks. Sidney was thankful they could even have his installation service. He was processing up the aisle when he saw Clay waving at him. Standing beside Clay was Sean. When Sidney looked closer, he saw Eli was standing on the other side of his son. His stomach flipped. The man was so incredibly handsome in his suit. Eli was wearing a rainbow mask. There were many gay men in the congregation wearing rainbow masks that day. He recognized them from his forays at the café.

The service was especially meaningful to the congregation. Members of the church already felt connected to Sidney through Sean. It was like a family tradition that had been established at the church. The Bishop said he hoped that Sidney would be there for the next thirty years to match the last rector. Sidney received all of the accoutrements of his position as rector. One of Sidney’s seminary professors had agreed to preach the service. Dr. Milton had the congregation in stitches as he told stories of his young seminarian. Dr. Milton then became serious and said that Sidney was valedictorian of the class and then enumerated his various academic achievements. Sidney blushed. He noticed that Eli was paying attention to everything that Dr. Milton said. He smiled and then looked at Sidney. When Sidney caught his eye, Eli winked at him. Sidney could not stop the smile that swept across his face.

The reception was a joyous occasion. Eli was walking around, holding Clay’s hand. Clay wanted to talk to all of the men he knew from the café.

“Hey, Clayman. You didn’t tell us your daddy was a preacher.”

Clay grinned and grabbed Sean’s hand. When Johnny, the waiter, appeared and asked Clay if he could help, Clay grabbed some programs left from the service and started handing them to people. The members of the congregation were completely charmed by their rector’s son. Everyone took a program and thanked Clay. When the reception was winding down, Clay was exhausted. Eli picked him up and told Sidney he was taking Clay home and would put him to bed.

“I need to get my keys so you can get into the rectory.”

Eli gave him a grin.

“Things have changed. I was given keys to all of the doors at the church, parish hall, and rectory.”

Sidney could only nod his head, knowing that this man could have let himself into their house at any time, but he chose not to do so. It was disconcerting but also reassuring that the handsome man could help him if needed. Sidney stayed at the reception until the last person had left. He and Sean then walked across the Church Close to the rectory. When they went in, the house was quiet. They found Clay in his bed wrapped in Eli’s arms. They were both sleeping. A book had fallen out of Eli’s hand and was lying on the floor. Sean looked at Sidney and smiled. He mimicked that Sidney should kiss him. They were both giggling when Eli woke and stared at them. He was smiling. He extricated himself from the bed without waking Clay and followed the men downstairs.

Sean announced that he needed to go home because it was going to be a busy week of painting. He told them that his agent had come to visit and was very excited about the painting series.

“She is arranging for a New York show which will open in November. The two of you are going to be famous.”

Sidney frowned.

“I don’t want to be famous. I have a nice church job and want to stay here.”

Sean laughed.

“You are so boring, little brother. You could be the next hot New York model but you choose to follow your heart. You are too plebian.”

Sean was grinning as he made little kissing noises at Sidney.

“Yes, you better be a kiss ass. You will be supporting Clay and me when I am fired from my job. Please don’t invite the Bishop to the opening.”

Sean smirked and told them he was leaving. Eli stayed, hoping that Sidney would invite him to stay for dinner. They moved to the library, where Sidney collapsed on the sofa.

“Wow, I didn’t expect to be this tired. That service and reception took it out of me.”

“Hold on, let me give you a massage. That will help you to relax.”

The next thing Sidney was conscious of was being in his bed. He was naked. He was alone. When he got up to pee, he checked on Clay and then went downstairs to lock up the rectory. There was a note on the kitchen table from Eli congratulating him on being selected as the new rector. Sidney drank a glass of water and then went back to bed. Alone.

Copyright © 2020 Mac Rountree; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

44 minutes ago, pvtguy said:

Thomas and Joe redux?  Great chapter!!

Pvtguy,

Fighting the urge, fighting the urge.  LOL.  Lots of writing has already hit the trashbin because of that very trap.

Thanks for reading.

Mac

 

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5 minutes ago, Mac Rountree said:

Pvtguy,

Fighting the urge, fighting the urge.  LOL.  Lots of writing has already hit the trashbin because of that very trap.

Thanks for reading.

Mac

 

A mirroring is not a bad idea as these two individuals can develop a unique relationship.  I'm eager to see where you take them.

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I too am eager to see where this goes.  ANOTHER Great chapter!

Edited by KayDeeMac
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