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    Parker Owens
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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.

Predator Prey - 21. Watching

No warnings needed for this chapter.

Keeping an eye on Michael and his friends wasn't such a difficult thing. Not really.

The hardest part of the morning had been his breakfast conversation with Javier and Oscar. He and the older men rose hours earlier than Michael, who exercised the prerogatives of being a teenager by sleeping late. When Oscar excused himself toward the end of the meal, Javier took the opportunity to interrogate him about the previous night.

"Oscar said Michael was in your room last night."

He met Javier's intense dark stare from coal black eyes. He'd met with some tough hard-faced suppliers, but Javier's glare made him feel far more nervous. Still, he knew to hold his ground.

"That's right."

"You remember what I told you about house rules?"

He remembered. Javier had been deadly serious. Do. Not. Hit. On. Michael. And he hadn't, not at all. "Yeah, I got that."

"So what was my son doing in your room at one thirty in the morning?"

"We were talking."

"Talking." Javier's one-word reply expressed a world of skepticism.

No backing down. He met Javier's eyes. "That's right. Talking."

"About what?"

"You'll have to ask Michael. It wasn't anything bad, but he wasn't sure he wanted to talk about it with you or Oscar."

"Were you talking about sex?"

"Like I said, you need to ask Michael. I think he'll be honest with you, and it isn't anything terrifying, but he came to me. He said it was something he felt kind of weird talking with the two of you about."

Unexpectedly, Javier looked away.

He decided to follow up with a question of his own. "Look, I get that you want to be a good parent, but Michael seems like a great kid. What's with you and Oscar being so protective, anyway?"

Javier took a moment to reply. "We just don't want Michael getting hurt again."

Hurt again? "What's that mean?"

Javier sighed. "Michael's not mine or Oscar's. We adopted him."

He nodded and waited for more.

"Michael was born in Cuba. We don't know much, but we figured out his mother tried to make ends meet selling her body to rich tourists. Don't know if his bio-father was ever there. When Michael was seven, his mother took him with her on a boat trying to escape to something better. She died on the way."

"Oh.".

"Once the boat made it to the States, Michael got shipped around by Immigration and Child Welfare to about a half dozen relatives who'd made it already. For almost a year, he bounced from place to place. None of them wanted him. A couple were into drugs and shit, the others had huge families of their own and couldn't take another kid. Michael wound up with Paul, Oscar's ex, who was some kind of second or third cousin, I don't know. "

Javier paused for a moment.

"Paul and Oscar weren't married, but they'd been together for a couple of years. One day, Immigration called up Paul, the next they dropped Michael off at the door and waved goodbye."

More silence.

"You know what that kind of experience does to a kid? The doubts? The insecurity?"

He shook his head. He could guess, but he didn't really know. But he felt bad for the boy who had been little Michael.

Javier hadn't waited for a reply. He went on. "Paul hated Michael. He didn't actually hate him, but he sure didn't want a kid, that was for sure. Paul likes to party, to go out and about, have a good time. Michael put a massive crimp in his lifestyle, you know?"

He nodded again.

Javier smiled grimly. "It wasn't hard for Michael to understand that, either. He was a scared, angry and hurt little boy. But lucky for Michael, Oscar fell hard for him. He'd never thought about being a dad, but he and Michael were great together. They still are."

That was true. He could see that in the way they lived together, and in the way Michael spoke affectionately about his dad. About both his parents. "Michael loves you, too," he observed.

"Thanks," Javier replied, his smile softening, "I know. Anyway, Paul and Oscar started having disagreements over Michael, over how much time they spent on school and activities, and on being parents. By the end of the year, the fights were getting nasty. The relationship was over, and Paul just moved out one day while Oscar and Michael were out of the house. Gone, just like that, no good-bye, nothing. They didn't hear from Paul for months."

"So what happened after that?"

Javier shifted in his chair. "Michael just kind of took it all in on himself. Kids can be like that. Thought he was responsible for all the fighting, for not being wanted. That it was all his fault."

God, what a thing to do to a kid. What a thing to make him feel. He almost felt a tear come to his eye. Shit. Poor Michael.

"Oscar sure as hell wasn't going to let Michael go. He got Michael into counseling, cut back on his office hours, took some time off work. That's when I met them; they were vacationing near here – you know, just doing tourist stuff together. I'd just gotten back from a cruise and had some free days." Javier smiled more deeply, remembering.

"Who chased who?" he couldn't help asking.

"You kidding? I chased Oscar. We were at the same beach, and there was this incredibly beautiful guy, and I wanted to meet him. The only problem was Oscar had Michael with him – I thought he was straight. But I couldn't help chatting him up, even just to be with him for an afternoon."

He smiled at the thought of silent Javier trying to make conversation.

"But you know Oscar, he's open and friendly, and by the time the sun was going down, he'd told me pretty much his life story. And I knew I'd found someone I wanted to be with."

"Aww, that's sweet," chuckled Oscar, walking in on their conversation, "what Javier didn't tell you was that I told him that night at dinner that I thought he was the hottest man in Florida." He wrapped his arms around his husband and kissed him gently. "And he was great with Michael."

He smiled back at them, even as envy flared in his chest. They'd been lucky to find each other. "Michael seems pretty normal to me; I'd never have known about all that if you hadn't said anything."

Javier's face creased again. "But you get it, right? Nobody's gonna hurt Michael again, not if we can help it," he said fiercely.

"I get it. Don't worry. Just talk to Michael later."

Oscar look quizzically at his husband, then changed the subject. "Look, I hate to break up this party, but we've got to be in Tampa in an hour."

"Oh, shit," Javier said, jumping up, "I'll be ready in a minute." He dashed down the hall.

Oscar stood looking thoughtfully into space. "You sure this is okay, Wally?" he asked, finally. "I mean, it's a lot of responsibility…"

"It's fine, Oscar. I'm flattered you trust me enough to leave Michael with me," he said, reassuring the big man. But from somewhere inside himself, he felt a twinge of anxiety. Was he really worthy of that kind of trust? It was too late now.

Just a few moments later, Javier reemerged from the bedroom, and the pair were out the door and off to their appointments in the city. He was alone in the house with the sleeping boy. Michael, whose history he now knew.

The first order of business was to clear up the breakfast dishes. He performed this chore as quietly as he could, trying to let Michael sleep as long as he wanted. Afterwards, he took a shower, changed into one of many extra pairs of board shorts in the bathroom drawer, and spent some time in the pool. He remembered sunscreen after he hauled himself out and dried off.

But although he stretched out in the sun comfortably, he couldn't manage to doze off. Was he anxious? Uneasy? When Michael emerged sleepily through the kitchen sliding door, he was still perfectly awake.

"Hey," the teen yawned, "morning."

"Did you get anything to eat?"

"Nah, I'll get something when the other guys get here. What time did you get up?"

"Don't really remember. About the same time as Oscar and Javier." That last was a small lie; he'd gotten up at six thirty, more or less, before he heard stirring from the master suite.

"Wally…" Michael seemed a little hesitant, "thanks for talking last night."

"No problem. Glad to." And he meant that.

"It's just kind of hard to talk with the dads sometimes."

"Yeah, but you really have to, Michael. Oscar and Javier know we were up late talking."

The boy's face fell. "I know, I know. And believe me, we've talked about sex and boys and all that. A lot. It's just that…I don't know, I just don't want to feel like I'm under a microscope if I ever have a boyfriend."

"Yeah, well, all I'm saying is that you want to start the conversation and manage it on your terms. Can't do that if your first step is to hide."

He wondered for a moment how things might have turned out if he'd followed his own advice with his parents. What would have happened if he had tried to talk about being gay with them before he'd acted on his crush? Before he'd been outed? Before they'd been surprised? He sighed to himself. Probably nothing would have turned out much differently, except that his parents might have taken longer to freeze him out. Maybe they'd have forced him to see a shrink or something.

"I'm going to go shower," Michael said, breaking in on his thoughts, "If anyone shows up, just tell them I'll be out in a minute." He went back in the house.

As it happened, Michael's friends didn't appear until well after the boy had returned, scrubbed clean and fresh, and dressed in green shorts and a bright orange tee emblazoned with the single word 'Miami.' Aspirations? He wondered if Javier and Oscar had any opinions about that.

Just before noon, teens started to appear in ones and twos, until maybe eight or ten had arrived. Several brought chips or soda or some other kind of snack, and he was a little surprised that none had come to the house with beer or something else. He'd forgotten about that kind of innocence. It still existed, despite his own experience.

He felt incredibly awkward. He wasn't much of a babysitter. In the end, he just tried to hang in the background, observing discreetly while staying out of the way.

At first, the boys hung out in Michael's room, playing games on his console, but as the group swelled, they'd naturally moved outside to the pool. He gradually learned most of their names. He managed to learn the red-haired Magnus, freckled Corey, and a compact, dark haired boy named David. A great big kid named Carlos and his younger brother Ernesto were easy to identify, but he wasn't going to keep track of them all. For the next four hours, they'd hung out, listened to music, and played in the pool. He'd even let himself get roped into a hotly contested game of 'pool ball,' an odd variation on water polo with only a vague set of rules to go by.

The first time he'd been dunked by an opponent, he'd come glaring at the grinning blond haired kid who'd pushed him under. "Dude, what the fuck?" he'd spluttered. It was Trey, another of Michael's guests. The impulsive one Javier had mentioned.

"What?" blue eyes twinkled back, "old man can't take a little water?"

He'd answered by diving under and grabbing the other boy by his feet, dragging him along below the surface for few moments before letting him come back up. Who cared what was happening in the rest of the game? The two of them came up smiling, and his blond assailant moved on to other targets.

A few minutes later, Trey hauled down on Carlos's swimsuit as the beefy boy tried to hurl the ball into the goal. Trey was a decent swimmer and managed to avoid being immediately drowned in the deep end by the older boy who roared in response. But Carlos made sure to return the favor a few minutes later, and Trey only grinned.

Eventually, the game played itself out, turning into a desultory game of tag, and then into just lounging and goofing off by the pool in the sun as warmth and exhaustion took hold.

Everyone seemed to get along and have a good time. He observed from his lounge chair that Michael had a lot to do with that. He spent time with everyone and made sure everyone seemed comfortable, especially an almost painfully shy, bespectacled, brunette who had tagged along with the crowd. The poor kid must have felt terribly uncomfortable; he never took his shirt off, or went swimming or joined in any of the games. But Michael made a point of sitting and talking with the kid, and trying to include him in the general conversation just the same.

Late in the afternoon, Michael's friends began to drift off one by one, much as they had arrived. His time as surrogate parent was nearing its end. Fairly soon, only Trey and Michael were left, lazing in the pool, occasionally splashing each other.

His bladder spoke to him, urging him inside for relief. He slid open the kitchen door, and entered the cool house, leaving Michael and Trey to their swimming. He didn’t spend long in the bathroom, but when he entered the kitchen and looked out the glass doors to the pool, the scene had changed.

Michael had Trey backed up against the pool wall. The two boys were kissing. Michael must have decided the time was right, and by the look of things, Trey had agreed completely. He watched for a few moments, maybe a minute, as the boys made out, wrapped up in each other, hands slowly exploring each other's bodies, completely oblivious to the possibility he might be watching. Or maybe they didn't care. He knew Michael would be feeling the electric thrill of Trey's warm, slick body pressed into his; he knew Trey's first taste of exploring Michael's mouth would be unforgettable. Neither would have room in their minds for anything else.

He finally looked away, feeling a little strange. It wasn't that he'd never seen guys kiss before. No, he'd seen that in plenty. But he'd never experienced what Michael and Trey had – a first love, a first real romantic kiss, none of that. He'd missed that, and chosen his own bitter path instead, walking towards power and dominance. The path that had led to everything going horribly wrong.

Michael and Trey's kiss just made him feel oddly empty.

The sound of a horn in the driveway startled both him and the boys. He watched them separate, grinning at each other. Moments later, Javier and Oscar entered the house, carrying shopping bags full of groceries and other prizes from their trip to Tampa.

Trey and Michael climbed out of the pool and hastened into the kitchen. "Hey, dads, hey Wally, we're going to go shower and change," Michael spoke quickly. The boys practically scampered down the hall.

"Hey, Michael…" Oscar barely got out before the boys were gone.

"Let me help put things away," he said lamely. What was he going to tell the parents?

He put the decision off for a few moments, as he took bags over to the freezer to store their contents away.

"So how did your trip go?" he asked.

"Great," Oscar enthused, "we got some great ideas for what we want to do…"

"…and the design should be pretty easy," Javier finished for him, extracting carryout containers from a grocery bag."I liked the samples he showed us, I can work with those."

"Let me show you what he thinks we…" Oscar started sketching on a piece of paper.

And then the tantalizing scent of barbeque nearly obliterated any other considerations.

"Whoa, what did you guys get?"

Oscar stopped sketching and grinned. "Best barbeque in creation. Ollie's Char-Pit."

"Here, look," Javier joined in, opening a container, "Ollie's original, mango chipotle ribs, traditional hot ribs…"

No further descriptions were necessary, as he just took a moment to inhale. "Wow. Amazing." He breathed. "So what do you need me to do?"

"Nothing, Wally," Oscar reassured him. "We got sides and everything. All we need is Michael and whoever is staying to help eat. Where is everyone?"

He was brought swiftly back to his afternoon. "Um, most of the guys left just before you came home. Trey's the only one here." And the only boy who had Michael's lips locked up, too, for that matter. Where were they, anyhow? They were taking a long time changing.

He wondered for a moment if he should go and get them, interrupting whatever they were up to, when Michael and Trey emerged from the hallway. Conversation stopped. Javier's eyes narrowed, and Oscar slowly beamed. Shyly, almost tentatively, the pair walked into the kitchen. Michael's eyes shone, but Trey looked more than a bit scared.

They were holding hands.

I offer my deep thanks to Craftingmom, who edited this chapter, and to beta readers tim, Spike and Carlos for their help and encouragement.

Please consider leaving a review. I appreciate all comments.

Copyright © 2017 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.
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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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I love the two very different reactions to Michael and Trey holding hands: “Javier’s eyes narrowed, and Oscar slowly beamed.”

 

While catching up to all those other stories I’ve been reading and reviewing, you were kind enough to hold off on posting new chapters of Wally’s Continuing Adventures. LitLover and Timothy M would probably join me in thanking you.

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Aww how sweet.....i'm on a sugar high now....Great job and I'm looking forward to more

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It is interesting to see Wally's reaction to adolescent exploration and early romance. Little Wally is starting to grow up

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On 02/02/2017 08:44 PM, droughtquake said:

I love the two very different reactions to Michael and Trey holding hands: “Javier’s eyes narrowed, and Oscar slowly beamed.”

 

While catching up to all those other stories I’ve been reading and reviewing, you were kind enough to hold off on posting new chapters of Wally’s Continuing Adventures. LitLover and Timothy M would probably join me in thanking you.

Both Michael's dads will be happy for him; but Javier seems to be much more protective. He's not sure about Trey. How to put that in just a few words? Wally's continuing adventures...has a nice ring to it! Thanks for your comments and for responding so quickly!

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On 02/02/2017 09:43 PM, JayT said:

Aww how sweet.....i'm on a sugar high now....Great job and I'm looking forward to more

A sugar high...that's great. Wally has been nothing but bitter for a long time, that seems plain. Can a person change his flavor? Interesting idea! Many thanks for your thoughts and for reading!

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On 02/02/2017 10:50 PM, Rndmrunner said:

It is interesting to see Wally's reaction to adolescent exploration and early romance. Little Wally is starting to grow up

Wally must be terribly mixed at Michael and Trey...jealous? Bittersweet? Ironic? Nostalgic? What seems most true is that he must be experiencing a sweet sort of pain, knowing he never knew what the boys have. Yes, Wally is changing and maturing. Thanks for reading and responding!

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I was perfectly prepared for some sort of disaster. But no, you confound my expectations with your usual skill - by showing us something so sunlit and normal. Like Wally, I was taken by surprise.

 

So, where now? I still can't help feeling this is the calm before some sort of storm.

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On 02/03/2017 01:21 AM, northie said:

I was perfectly prepared for some sort of disaster. But no, you confound my expectations with your usual skill - by showing us something so sunlit and normal. Like Wally, I was taken by surprise.

 

So, where now? I still can't help feeling this is the calm before some sort of storm.

I love the word you used...sunlit...for that is exactly what Michael and Trey were. I am glad it was a bit of a surprise. I think Javi and Oscar were surprised, too. For Wally, the surprise must be mixed with a sort of envy and sadness at what he knows he never experienced - and all his own doing, too. I am very grateful for your thoughts and that you continue to read the story.

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What an awesome chapter, Parker! :)

 

I really think Wally is starting to feel empathy for others. That was apparent when he felt badly for everything that had happened when Michael was younger. He's definitely turning a corner. He feels sadness and emptiness when he sees Michael and Trey because they represent young love, which he had never experienced. He feels envy when he sees Javier and Oscar because he never had any kind of relationship with anyone. His "relationships" were all business.

 

The ending was adorable! Oscar's so happy, and Javi is being an overprotective dad. It's so cute! M&T were cute being all shy and everything. :)

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On 02/04/2017 01:51 AM, Mikiesboy said:

First love ... sweet but not overly. Enjoyed it, Parker!

Thank you, tim! Wonder how long Michael was silently hoping that Wally would disappear for a few minutes? As always, thank you for reading!

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On 02/03/2017 03:09 PM, Lisa said:

What an awesome chapter, Parker! :)

 

I really think Wally is starting to feel empathy for others. That was apparent when he felt badly for everything that had happened when Michael was younger. He's definitely turning a corner. He feels sadness and emptiness when he sees Michael and Trey because they represent young love, which he had never experienced. He feels envy when he sees Javier and Oscar because he never had any kind of relationship with anyone. His "relationships" were all business.

 

The ending was adorable! Oscar's so happy, and Javi is being an overprotective dad. It's so cute! M&T were cute being all shy and everything. :)

Wally is now feeling for others, that's true. He is also far less numb himself. That is a mixed blessing, it appears. Business relationships needed no emotion; he must feel something now. I a glad you liked the close of the chapter. Wonder what sort of talk Oscar and Javi will have with Michael when Trey goes home?

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A master class in human values. This is what Wally is experiencing. Love, concern and pride from the parents... something rather new to him, as his reflection showed. Micheal, kindness personified as he went around his friends making each one feel comfortable. And of course, sweet and innocent and brave first love. But we can't forget trust... the trust the family members have in each other, and the trust they all place in Wally. He should be feeling a mess of emotions right now... he is a part of these people's lives... I think he's beginning to feel honored, and comfortable, ready to pitch in where needed. Here, is something to shoot for. A loving family. Well done, my friend... I loved this... cheers... Gary....

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On 02/04/2017 06:49 AM, Headstall said:

A master class in human values. This is what Wally is experiencing. Love, concern and pride from the parents... something rather new to him, as his reflection showed. Micheal, kindness personified as he went around his friends making each one feel comfortable. And of course, sweet and innocent and brave first love. But we can't forget trust... the trust the family members have in each other, and the trust they all place in Wally. He should be feeling a mess of emotions right now... he is a part of these people's lives... I think he's beginning to feel honored, and comfortable, ready to pitch in where needed. Here, is something to shoot for. A loving family. Well done, my friend... I loved this... cheers... Gary....

Wally is an observant guy, but is he an apt student in what you characterize as a master class? (love that idea, by the way) Michael must have learned from Oscar or Javier how to make people feel welcome. Now Michael appears to be learning additional lessons from Trey. Which leaves Wally trying to cope with emotions for which he is not really prepared. You are right that even though Wally is unprepared, he has a clear target to aim for. But who would want a onetime predator like himself? I thank you for your response and insights. I am glad you like this week's chapter.

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A guy I know often bemoaned the loss of gay men to AIDS. He's young enough not to have suffered the loss of countless friends like my generation did but the effects of the pandemic rippled through his life. He felt the younger guys missed out on the experience of those lost. The advice and guidance they may have provided.
Wally's concern for Michael show what my friend was talking about. A young gay kid having an older gay man he can approach for counseling or ideas. I think Wally has what it takes to make a wonderful mentor.
Now, about that big kid named Carlos... You failed to mention how handsome, built, and hung he is! :D

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On 02/05/2017 06:08 AM, Carlos Hazday said:

A guy I know often bemoaned the loss of gay men to AIDS. He's young enough not to have suffered the loss of countless friends like my generation did but the effects of the pandemic rippled through his life. He felt the younger guys missed out on the experience of those lost. The advice and guidance they may have provided.

Wally's concern for Michael show what my friend was talking about. A young gay kid having an older gay man he can approach for counseling or ideas. I think Wally has what it takes to make a wonderful mentor.

Now, about that big kid named Carlos... You failed to mention how handsome, built, and hung he is! :D

Wally has the eye popping experience to help a younger man connect some of the dots in life. But Wally is still so much in a transition: will he become someone new, or will he be chased back into something like his old life? But I like to think of Wally as the better of these options. Now, as to Carlos, I thought that description was unneeded, as be all know how hot the big man is....

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It's nice to see Wally getting an education in normalcy. Not only is he learning some family values, but he is seeing how gay couples can function lovingly and happily. I think he has some mixed feelings about both Javier and Oscar, and Michael and Trey - not the least of which is a bit of jealousy at what the first pair already has and what the second couple is moving towards.
There is some small education going on for Javier, too. Oscar seems well-adjusted to the role of dad; but Javier is not sure enough with it to always allow Michael the freedom he needs to learn a few necessary things. Neither dad is letting him run wild; but Oscar, at least, seems willing to trust his son's judgment - and Trey's motives - more easily.
I have to admit now that I cannot wait to see how this tale ultimately ends. As a reader I expect some reward for my efforts, just as you receive pleasure from writing. My goal is for Wally to find love and happiness. I believe in happy endings. Do you? :)

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So Wally survived the party... lol and so did the teenagers ;)  I had a feeling it'd be Trey that Michael had a crush on.  I can't say I blame him for being nervous when they revealed their relationship.  I love the differing reactions of the two dads. Wally's empty feeling has me nervous, though.  Things are going too well.  Something's gotta give. ;) 

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On February 10, 2017 at 5:40 PM, Geron Kees said:

It's nice to see Wally getting an education in normalcy. Not only is he learning some family values, but he is seeing how gay couples can function lovingly and happily. I think he has some mixed feelings about both Javier and Oscar, and Michael and Trey - not the least of which is a bit of jealousy at what the first pair already has and what the second couple is moving towards.
There is some small education going on for Javier, too. Oscar seems well-adjusted to the role of dad; but Javier is not sure enough with it to always allow Michael the freedom he needs to learn a few necessary things. Neither dad is letting him run wild; but Oscar, at least, seems willing to trust his son's judgment - and Trey's motives - more easily.
I have to admit now that I cannot wait to see how this tale ultimately ends. As a reader I expect some reward for my efforts, just as you receive pleasure from writing. My goal is for Wally to find love and happiness. I believe in happy endings. Do you? :)

 

Unquestionably, Wally is probably envious and trying to absorb his experience in Javier and Oscar's household. It is alien to anything he envisioned before he fled the dorms, yet this life clearly pulls at something deep in his heart. And you are right that Wally must ache knowing he missed out on what Michael and Trey are experiencing. You ask about happy endings: I cannot comment, except to say that I am not a fan of tragedy.  Thanks for reading, and for your patience!

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2 hours ago, Valkyrie said:

So Wally survived the party... lol and so did the teenagers ;)  I had a feeling it'd be Trey that Michael had a crush on.  I can't say I blame him for being nervous when they revealed their relationship.  I love the differing reactions of the two dads. Wally's empty feeling has me nervous, though.  Things are going too well.  Something's gotta give. ;) 

 

Everyone survived the pool party, but one wonders if Trey will survive the scrutiny Javier is likely to subject the boy to, and if Michael will die of embarrassment in the process. But in the end, we can have confidence the dads will be good to their son and his boyfriend. Thanks for reading, and for your comments.

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Was he really worthy of that kind of trust? -- We become trustworthy by demonstrating trustworthiness, being trustworthy, especially in difficult circumstances.

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11 minutes ago, BlueWindBoy said:

Was he really worthy of that kind of trust? -- We become trustworthy by demonstrating trustworthiness, being trustworthy, especially in difficult circumstances.

If demonstrating trustworthiness is a gauge, Wally passed the test this time. It may be that he needs more such trials until he earns that trust fully. He felt the ache of what he missed by seeing Michael and Trey. Thanks for reading and commenting. 

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