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Chapter 27 – Thursday Night


As we headed toward the house, I asked what was quickly becoming my daily question.


“Did you guys have a good day and do you have any homework?”


“Ours was great,” Joey started, “since Mr. Thomas was back.”


“Yeah, thanks for helping him, dad,” said Alex.  “Oh, and no homework for us.”


“I have to review my spelling words for our test tomorrow.  Will you go over them with me, dad?” T.J. asked.


“I’ll be happy to, T.J.  What about you, Mike?”


“No, I’m good,” he mumbled in response.


“Something wrong, munchkin?”


“Not really.  Nothin’ you can fix,” he said as I pulled into the garage.


When we got inside the house, I said, “Mike, why don’t you come tell me what’s going on while the other three hang out in their rooms for a minute?”  I nodded my head towards the twins’ room and saw Joey, Alex and T.J. duck in while Mike and I headed to the living room to sit by the fireplace.  I took my favorite chair and had Mike climb up in my lap.  When we were both seated and comfortable, I started with, “Okay, Mike, I can tell something’s bugging you.  If you won’t tell me what it is, I can’t do anything to help.”


“It’s just these other boys in my class.  They keep picking on me.  They been doin’ it since I started coming to school here.”


“Ah, yes.  Mrs. Young said something about that during our meeting Tuesday and with everything else that happened, apparently nothing has been done to correct their behavior.  What’re their names and I’ll see if I can do something about it?” 


“Andy, Mark, and Billy.  I try to stay away from them so they won’t bug me, but it doesn’t matter what I do or where I hide, they find me.”


“Now that I know who’s causing the problem, maybe I can help fix it, okay?”


“Okay, dad, thanks.  The teacher tried.  She even moved them to the other side of the room, but they still find me.”


“Okay, run along, get comfy and tell your brothers it’s time for a snack.  I’ll make a call about the problem while you eat your cookies.”  He hopped off my lap and headed down the hall to tell the others it was time for snacks.  When the four came charging back into the kitchen, I already had their milk and cookies laid out and ready for them.  Once they were seated, I said, “Eat your snack while I get comfy and make a phone call.  T.J., find your spelling word list and we’ll work on them when I get done.”


“Okay,” he called to my back as I headed down the hall.


I called the school and perky and cheerful answered the phone, “New Berlin Schools, may I help you?”


“Good afternoon, it’s Max Sanders, is Mr. Furman still around?”


“Oh, hi again, Mr. Sanders.  He was just about to leave, hang on.”


I was put on hold for a brief moment before Steve answered, “Afternoon, Max, what’s up?  You make a decision on the workshop already?”


“No, Tom’s not home yet.  Sorry to bother you this late, but I have another small issue I’d like to discuss if you have a couple minutes.  With everything else that’s happened, I’d forgotten all about it.”


“I’ve got all the time the for world for you, my friend.”


“One of the things that was briefly discussed with Valerie and my sons’ teachers Tuesday was a few boys in Mike’s class have decided he’s a good target for getting picked on.  Anita said she’s tried to stop the problem and has moved the boys in question to the other side of the classroom, but Mike reminded me tonight they’re still causing a problem.  Valerie had said she would deal with the issue Tuesday after lunch, but she ended up with bigger fish to fry.  I was hoping you might be able to help ease the problem.”


“That’s the least I can do for you, after what you did for us.  Do you have the names of the boys involved?”


“Mike tells me it’s three boys named Andy, Mark and Billy, no last names.”


“Are they doing this because they think Mike’s gay?”


“No, I don’t think it has anything to do with that.  I’m pretty sure it’s just because he’s the new kid in class and smaller than they are, so he won’t fight back.”


“I shouldn’t need last names, Anita will know who they are.  I’ll deal with this first thing in the morning, Max.  Thank you for bringing it to my attention.”


“Please let me know if there’s anything I can do.  Thanks, and have a great evening, Steve.”


“You, too, Max.  I hope to hear your decision on the workshop tomorrow.”


I hung up and when I returned to the kitchen, found the snack plates and glasses rinsed, stacked and waiting in the sink.  I got them in the dishwasher and headed off to find T.J. to review his word list.  I found him in his room, hugging a crying Mike.


“Mike, what’s wrong?” I asked as I pulled him into my lap after sitting on the bed.


“I just get tired of those jerks.  I don’t know why they won’t leave me alone.  They been on me almost every day since I got here.”


“Well, hopefully, it will stop soon.  I just got off the phone with Mr. Furman and he said he would talk to them first thing in the morning and he’d let me know what happens.”


“I hope he makes them quit.  I can’t take much more of it.”


“Don’t worry, son, we’ll take care of it.  Why don’t you go play with the twins for a few minutes so I can work with T.J. on his spelling words, okay?”


“Sure, dad.”  He shuffled out of the room looking for the other two.


“C’mon, young man, let’s get this done with.”  I sat on the edge of the bed with T.J. sitting right next to me and I started giving him words to spell.  When we reached the end of the list, he had missed only two out of 20 words on the list.  I asked him to write each word ten times for practice and we’d check them again after supper.  I was headed to the kitchen to start preparations for supper when I heard the drive sensor go off.  I stopped at the front door just in time to see the Shelby pulling in the drive towards the garage.  Tom was home in one piece again tonight, thankfully, and I continued to the kitchen to start supper.


“Honey, I’m home!” echoed through the house as he came in from the garage.  Cheers followed his announcement and as I stuck my head out of the kitchen, I saw Tom getting mugged by four rowdy lads.  When they finally released him from their grasp, he headed to see me in the kitchen.  “I’ve always wanted to say that.  Hey, lover, how was your day?  And what’s for supper?”


“Right for the heart, as usual.  I had a great day and lasagna with garlic bread.  How was your day?”


“Sounds delish.  Another successful day as a cop.  Didn’t get shot and didn’t have to shoot nobody.”


“I’ll be glad when I don’t have to worry about you being out there every day.”


“You and me both.  The boys, too, I’m sure.  They ‘bout squeezed the stuffing out of me just now.”


“That’s just ‘cause you’re just a big damn softy.”  We kissed each other on the cheek.  “Why don’t you get comfy and come back.  We have something new to talk about this evening.”


“Oh, shit, here it comes,” he laughed as he turned towards our bedroom and I laughed along with him this time.  I got the lasagna in the oven and when he returned, I had him gather the boys so we could talk.  We settled around the fireplace for our discussion, four grumpy boys and one uncertain adult.


“This is good talk for once, so turn those frowns upside down, please.”  I got half-smiles before I continued.  “You all know I met with Mr. Furman this morning at the school.  He has proposed something I think we should be involved with, but I want to hear what you think.”


“After the way they treated Ken, I’m not too sure about that,” Tom commented.


That wasn’t the board’s doing, that was all Valerie.  Actually, he came up with the idea because of Valerie’s shenanigans.  He would like to hold a workshop with the school’s staff to enlighten them about the issues faced by gay youth and the problem of teen suicide due to coming to terms with that.  He’s asked me to be involved in the workshop, along with the boys and you, Tom, if you’re interested.”


“Dad, what’s suicide?” asked T.J.


“It’s when someone is so sad, they take their own life.”


“That’s horrible,” Alex said.


“Yes, it is.  That’s why Steve wants to do the workshop.”


“But why does he want us involved,” asked Tom.


“Obviously, so we can relate what it’s like to be gay in this country.  Consider us a positive role model of how things should be.  He thinks that since I’m gay and now raising gay sons, we can provide a first-person point-of-view the staff hasn’t had the opportunity to see and know.”


“But dad,” Joey started, “we haven’t told anybody we’re gay yet.”


“Yeah, and I don’t think we’re ready to,” Alex chimed.


“You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.  But I still want you to think about it.  Remember Steve and your teachers already know because of what’s happened the last couple days.  They’ve promised me they won’t say anything to anybody, but once I stand up and tell the rest of the staff about myself, you know they’re going to start wondering about you, too.  It’ll only be a matter of time before they figure things out for themselves.”


“I’ll do it,” T.J. stated flatly.  “I don’t care who knows.”


“Are you sure?  That’s a big step to take, especially in front of a crowd.”


“Yeah, I’m sure.  I want them to know kids can know at our age.  Most people don’t think we can.”


“It’s your choice, T.J.  If you want to be there, I’ll be glad to have you with me.  What about you, Mike?  What do you think?”


“Huh-uh, I don’t want to do it.”


“That’s fine, Mike.  This isn’t mandatory.”  I had noticed Tom had been very quiet so far so I looked to him and asked, “What about you, big guy?”


“I don’t know, Max.  When’s this supposed to happen.  I don’t want to do anything that could have any effect on my job.”


“Probably two weeks from now, after you’re done being a cop.  And I should warn you that Steve knows Dylan and said he was going to call and ask him to be involved.”


“You’re kidding me.  Why the hell would he do that.  Do you think he knows Dylan is gay?”


“That’s not the impression I got, but who knows.  He said Dylan’s been to the school several times to do a presentation on driver safety.  I think he wants to get a law enforcement perspective involved to provide some statistics along with what parents and teachers should be aware of to help prevent suicides.”


“I guess that makes sense.  I’m sure I’ll hear about it tomorrow when I see him.”


“No doubt about it.”  I looked back to the boys and said, “Okay T.J.’s in, Mike’s not, Tom’s a maybe.  What about you two?  Have you thought about it yet?” I asked looking to the twins.


They looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and looked back to me.


“We’re in.  This is more important than keeping who we are a secret,” Joey answered.


“Yeah, and like you said, it won’t stay hidden very long, will it?” Alex asked.


“Probably not.  If you both accept who you are, there’s no real reason to hide it.  I’m proud of you and I’ll be happy to have all the backup I can get.  Okay, I’ll call Steve in the morning and let him know our decision.  I’ll leave you as a maybe, Tom, until I hear from you.”


“Can we eat now?” Mike asked.


“Now, there’s a lad after my heart,” Tom piped in.  “I’m starved.”


“Okay, okay,” I caved.  “Boys, would you set the table and get the drinks, please?  You four can have soda, if you’d like, but I’d like a Corona, please,” I added as we all headed to the kitchen.


“Same for me, please,” Tom said.


“Tom, would you be so kind as to get a basket and put the bread in it?  I’ll pull the lasagna out of the oven and get it cut.”


“Lasagna??  I love that stuff,” Mike yelled as he grabbed the silverware.


“That’s good to hear, Mike.  Do you like parmesan cheese on it?”


“What’s that?”


“It’s a finely grated cheese a lot of people add to pasta and pizza.”


“Don’t think I’ve ever had it but I’ll try it.”


“Excellent.  I think you’ll like it.”


With everyone working together, we were ready to eat in very short order.  I sprinkled a little parmesan on a corner of Mike’s lasagna so he could try it before I covered the whole piece.  After one bite, he begged for more, so I covered the rest of plate with a light dusting.


“That’s yummy, dad.  Thanks.”


“Glad you like it.  Well, dig in people.”


By the time everyone was done stuffing their faces, the lasagna was all gone, along with the bread, ruining my plan of having leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  The boys got busy cleaning the table, then rinsing and stacking the dishes in the sink.  I took care of the lasagna pan and Tom cleaned up the rest.


During the process, I called out, “T.J., between.”


“Huh?” he answered with a confused look on his face.


“Your spelling word, between, spell it.”


“Oh, yeah, b-e-t-w-e-e-n.”


“Perfect, now around.”




“Right, again.  Good job.  I think you’re ready for your test tomorrow.”


“I hope so.”


“You’ll do just fine, young man.”  We sat back at the table and I started a new conversation with, “I called Carol earlier and she gave me some very important information she had neglected to pass on when she was here this past weekend.”


“What’s that, dad?” T.J. asked.


“I understand we have a birthday coming up soon.”


“Really, who and when?” Tom asked.


Joey and Alex raised their hands while grinning wildly.


“There ya’ go.  The big day is March 13th and they’ll be nine this year.  Anything special you’d like to do, guys.”


“Can we have a party?” Alex asked.


“Yeah, the Mueller’s never let us have a party,” Joey complained.


“I think a party is a grand idea.  Since the 13th is a Thursday this year, we’ll have the party on Saturday, though.  I know Carol wants to be here for it.  Are there any friends you’d like to have come over?”


“You bet.  How many can we have?”


“Give me a list of 10 to 12 kids, I’ll contact their parents and make sure they’re all invited.  Now, what kind of cake do you like?”


“Chocolate for me,” Alex said, “with chocolate icing.”


“White with white icing for me,” Joey added.


“Okay, we can do that.  And we now have another way to tell which of you is Alex and which is Joey.  We’ll have either two cakes or a half and half cake.  I’ll talk to a bakery and get that taken care of.  Now, what’s missing?” I asked.


“Decorations!” yelled Mike.


“Drinks!” was T.J.’s contribution.


“Presents!!” yelled Joey and Alex.


“Ear plugs and body armor,” Tom said as he added his two-cents worth with a grin.


“I’ll make sure to add those to the list, Tom,” I laughed.  “Now, do you think you’ll want to swim?  If so, I’ll need to make sure we have someone on hand who’s a certified lifeguard.  While Tom and I can handle the four of you with no problems, 16 screaming kids in the pool will require more attention than Tom and I have.”


“Well, duh, we’ll definitely want to swim, won’t we Alex?”


“You bet.  That’ll be a bunch a’ fun.”


“Okay, that’s another call I’ll have to make.  Anything else?  Keep in mind, there’ll still be snow on the ground and it’ll probably be cold, so we’ll be inside most of the day.”


“How about a movie?”


“That’s a good idea, Alex.  Anything in particular?”


“We’ll have to think about it and let you know,” Joey said.


“The sooner, the better, in case you pick something we don’t already have.  Okay, I think we have the basics set.  Get me your list of kids to invite and I’ll contact their parents and make arrangements.  Now, on to another subject, your rooms.”


“What about ‘em, dad?” T.J. asked.


“Well, they’re pretty plain.  I set them up that way when I had the house built so anyone who spent the night wouldn’t be assaulted by wild colors or anything.  I think it’s time to change that.”


“Really, we can do that?” Mike asked.


“Of course, you can.  They’re your rooms, now, and they should look the way you want them.  First, I want to ask if you want to keep sharing the same rooms the way you are now?  You two asked about having separate rooms the first time we met,” I said while pointing to the twins.


“Joey and I are fine just the way we are, dad.  It might be good to have a separate space so we can work on our homework alone or whatever.”


“But we still want to sleep in the same bed.  We love that bed and we love sleeping together.  But a separate space is a good idea.  Much as I love Alex, sometimes I just gotta’ get away from him,” Joey laughed.


“Hey!” Alex yelled as he punched his brother’s shoulder, “That wasn’t funny.”


“Here’s my idea for you two, then.  I know a good builder and I can have him make some changes to the bedroom Carol used to make it the way you want it.  When he’s done, we’ll move you in there.  Sound okay?”


“That’d be great.”


I turned to T.J. and Mike, “Okay, they’re taken care of, what about you two?  Do you want stay in the same room together or do you want separate rooms?”


They looked at each other for a moment, exchanged nods and then turned back to me.  “I think we want to stay together, dad, right Mike?”


“Yeah, I like the way you hold me close at night.  I feel safe when you do that.”


“Well, you’re my brother, you’ll always be safe with me.”  I could see tears forming in Mike’s eyes after that statement.


“Do you want a separate space from each other like Joey and Alex.”


“That’s probably be a good idea, dad.  Especially since our homework is different.  I’ll still help Mike when I can, but it’ll be good to have our own desks.”


“I like the way you think young man.  Here’s what we’ll do.  We’ll get Joey and Alex’s room done, get them moved into it, then redo their room for you two.  That’ll leave the spare room between you.  Does that sound okay?”


“Sounds great, dad.  When will it happen?” Joey asked.


“I’ll get in touch with John in the morning and we’ll see.  It’ll depend on if he’s busy with other projects.  With luck, we can have the twins moved into their room by their birthday.”


“Sweet, we can show our friends then,” Alex said.


“Okay, that’s settled.  Now, who’s ready for a swim?” I asked.  Six hands shot in the air.  “Grab your towels and we’ll meet back at the door to outside.”  Tom and I saw nothing but four bare backsides as the boys took off.  Tom and I ambled to our room to grab our towels and the shelter key, then returned to meet the boys.  They were bouncing up and down with impatience as we made our way across the living room.  Once we were all assembled, I led the way to the pool with Tom bringing up the rear.  Once the shelter door was unlocked, the boys squeezed past me, tossed their towels on the table and jumped in.


“In a hurry, aren’t they?” Tom asked.


“They always are,” I chuckled.  When we reached the pool and got in, we were immediately surrounded by four boys ready for battle.  Instead of their normal two-on-one attack, they decided to work together tonight and all four jumped Tom.  I lounged against the side of the pool and enjoyed the action.  It took almost five minutes, but they eventually managed to get Tom’s head shoved underwater.  Then, mission accomplished, they changed targets and turned their attack towards me.  I tried to get away, but they were just too quick and soon had me in their clutches.  I knew what was coming and had just managed to take a deep breath before they were on my back and pushing me under.  Tom finally came to my aid and pulled me back up, sputtering for air.


“About time you rescued me.”


“I didn’t see you rushing in to help me.  Turnabout’s fair play, bubba.”


“Hey, Mike,” I called, “how do you feel about teaching your brothers to swim?”


“I can do that, dad.”


“No, you can’t,” Alex whined.


“Yeah, you’re too small,” T.J. complained.


“I ain’t listenin’ to him,” Joey added.


“Mike, why don’t you show these doubters that you can help them?”  He promptly took off, swimming the width of the pool four times without stopping while the other three stared in awe.  He finally came to a rest at the side of the pool and looked at his three brothers while sticking out his tongue and blowing raspberries in their direction.  “Now, do you still think he can’t help you?” I asked.


“Maybe he can,” they all agreed.


“Good, from now on, whenever we go swimming, Mike will spend at least 30 minutes working with you, understood.”


“Yes, dad,” they mumbled.


“Mike, it’s your class.  Take charge.”  Tom and I headed for deeper water to relax and I felt a disturbance behind me.  Just as I turned around to see what it was, Mike jumped out of the water and wrapped his arms around my neck and his legs around my waist.  He whispered in my ear, “Thanks, dad,” then dropped back in the water and swam back to his brothers.


When Tom and I had settled in along the wall, he looked at me and asked, “Have I told you how good you are and how much I love you?”


“Several times, but I never get tired of hearing it.  I love you, too, you know.”


“I do.  So, you think Steve’s serious about this workshop?”


“Yeah.  After what Valerie almost cost the district with her bullshit, he’s serious.  He was not a happy camper.  He really wants you there, too.  I don’t think he was really ready to hear me use the term ‘boyfriend’, but he covered it pretty well,” I chuckled.


“That’s one of the things that really bugs me about straight folks.  They don’t have a problem with saying ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’, but heaven forbid, the world’s gonna’ end if we do the same.”


“Just more of the same old double standard, Tom.  At least we can legally get married, nowadays.”


“Holy crap, did you really just say that?”


“Uh, yeah, I guess I did.  That should give you a hint of where I think we’re headed.  You good with that?”


“You have no idea.  When I accepted being gay, not being able to get married and have kids was the only thing I hated about it.  That’s what made it so hard to tell mom and dad, the fact that they could forget any hope they ever had about me giving them grandchildren.  I mean, you know how every parent wants to become a grandparent someday.”


“Tell me about it.  That’s the biggest issue my mom had when I came out, she wasn’t gonna’ get to be a grandma.  You’d have thought the world was ending.  She didn’t give a shit about me, just how it affected her and her social standing to have a ‘faggot’ for a son.”


“Well, hopefully she’ll get over it.  Mine eventually did.  It didn’t happen overnight, mind you, but slowly.  Think glacial.  That reminds me, I need to call mom and dad and let them know about us, the boys, resigning and everything that’s happened this week.”


“You don’t think it might be a little early for that?”


“Nope.  My mind is running on the same wavelength with you.  Is it sudden? Damn right it is.  Was it expected?  Hell, no.  Does it feel right?  Abso-fuckin’-lutely.”


“I’m right there with you.”


“So, you really think we could end up being married with children?”


“As long as I’m not Al and you’re Peggy,” I laughed.


“Oh, god, really?  I hated that show,” Tom groaned.


“Well, I think it’s time to get out of here and get the boys on the way to bed.  I’m starting to get waterlogged and wrinkly.”


“That’s not the water, Max, it’s your advanced age,” Tom laughed as he pushed off the wall and swam away.


“I’ll get you for that, mister.”


“Promises, promises.  Catch me if you can, you old fart.”


“Boys,” I called, “shower time, then snacks.”  They jumped out of the pool, dried off quickly and ran to the house to take their showers.  Tom and I followed at a much more sedate pace, pausing for a long hug and kiss before returning to the house.  Tom took our towels to our bedroom while I turned into the kitchen to get the snacks ready.  I fixed plates with half a Halo orange and glass of milk, and had them set and ready for each boy as they came in and took a seat at the counter.  When Tom returned, he stopped and pulled a Corona from the fridge for each of us.


“Thanks, Tom.”  I turned to the boys and asked, “You all ready for school tomorrow?”  All four mumbled an unenthusiastic acceptance of their fate.  “Oh, cheer up, it’s Friday and then you have the whole weekend free.”


“Whatever,” groused Joey.  The other three nodded in agreement.


“Well, when you’re done with your snack, hit the john and climb in bed.  We’ll be there in a few to say goodnight.”


One by one, they tromped off to their bedrooms and Tom and I followed after finishing our drink.  We stopped at T.J. and Mike’s room first, only to find T.J. lying flat on his back, eyes closed, wide grin on his face, and a large lump under the covers.  One part of that boy-shaped lump was located about where T.J.’s waist would be and was slowly moving up and down.


“Oh, geesh, them too?” Tom moaned.


“Apparently.  No big surprise, really, is it?”


“I guess not. Do we interrupt them?”


“Might as well.  Who knows how long we’d have to wait, otherwise.”  We walked to the side of the bed and I cleared my throat to get their attention.  T.J. jumped in fear and opened his eyes.  Mike threw the covers off, exposing T.J.’s two-inch hard pecker pointing straight up towards the ceiling, glistening with saliva, shiny helmet head exposed due to his foreskin being retracted.  T.J. moved his hands to cover his hardness and almost smacked Mike in the face in the process. 


“Sorry, dad, we should have closed the door,” T.J. apologized.


“Yes, you should have, but don’t worry about it, boys.  This may be the first time you’ve been caught in the act, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.  And you don’t have to cover yourself.  Everybody here has seen everybody else with an erection before.  It’s not a big deal, remember.”


“Well, mine sure isn’t, not compared to that, anyway,” he said, uncovering himself and pointing to Tom’s crotch.  Tom blushed from head to toe in embarrassment.


“Oh, stop it, Tom.  You are the biggest of the six of us.  Be proud of it.”


“Will mine be that big when I grow up?”


“Only time will tell, Mike.  I need to know, though, that you want to do this and you’re not being forced in any way.”


“Oh, no, he’s never forced me.  I wanted to suck him.  I kinda’ owed him since he sucked me in the shower after our swim.”


“Okay, that’s fine.  Remember, you can always say no.  Now, come get your hugs and kisses goodnight.”  Both boys crawled across the mattress and got to their knees in front of us, hard penises poking us in the thighs as they gave us a hug.  We wrapped our arms around them and kissed their foreheads, then swapped places so each got their turn.  As we swapped places, I felt a small hand graze my hardness, but I didn’t see which boy did it.  Once each had their hug and kiss, I said, “Lights out in five minutes, boys, tomorrow’s still a school day.  Sleep well, we love you.”


“We love you too, dad, Uncle Tom, night.”


Tom and I headed to the twins’ room to take care of our goodnights there.  Surprisingly, when we reached the door, the lights were out and we heard no sounds emanating from within.  We quietly entered the room and turned on the dresser light so we could see.  We found Alex and Joey sleeping soundly, covers shoved to the end of the bed, twisted in a pretzel as usual.  The most eye-catching part of the formation in the middle of the king-sized bed was the two three inch penises, standing proudly at full attention.  Tom and I pulled the covers over the two, kissed each on the forehead and crept quietly from the room, turning off the light as we passed the dresser.


“That’s amazing,” Tom said as we left the hallway behind us.




“I just assumed it would be the twins we found in bliss, not T.J. and Mike.  I guess they’re all enjoying each other.  Do you think all four have gotten busy together?”


“I’d be surprised if they haven’t, but I’m not about to ask any of them.  It’s one thing to just find them pleasuring each other, it’s an entirely different thing to ask them about it.  If they ask the question first, I’ll answer it, but I’m not starting the conversation.”


“Don’t blame you for that, Max.”


“Now, didn’t you have a call you wanted to make?”


“Want would be the wrong word.  Need would be more accurate.”


“I’ll grab a book and stay out of the way.  Why don’t you use the phone in the study?”


“Oh, no you don’t, you big chicken.  I want you there with me.  If I’m going to tell them everything, I want backup and I ain’t calling Dylan.”


“Fine, let’s go.”  When we entered the study, I had Tom sit at the desk while I took a chair on the other side.  He put the phone on speaker and dialed the number.  While we waited for the call to connect, I asked, “Where do your parents live?  You’ve never said.”


“Just outside of St. Louis,” he answered as the phone rang.


“Hello?” asked an older lady in a cautious voice.


“Hi, mom, it’s Tom.  How’re you?”


“Fine, now that I know it’s you.  I recognize your voice, of course, but didn’t know the name and number on the caller ID.  Who the heck is Maxwill Sanders?”


“He’s why I’m calling, ma.  I need to tell you and dad something.  Is he there?”


“Sure, hang on a sec.”  We heard her call in the background, “Bill, pick up the phone, it’s Tom.” and heard him respond, “Hang on Estelle.”  His mom came back to us, “Wait a second, Tom.  I just remembered why that name, Maxwill Sanders, is familiar.  He’s an author, isn’t he?”


“He sure is.”


“Well, you must be moving up in the world.  Hobnobbing with famous authors.  Why are you calling from his home?  You at a party?”


“No, ma, but wait ‘til dad’s on the line, okay.”  At that moment, we heard the click of an extension being picked up.


“Tom, you there?  What’s up, son?”


“Hi, dad.  Look, I know you two weren’t very happy when I came out to you, but I think we’ve pretty well cleared that hurdle, haven’t we?”


“Yes, dear,” his mom said.


“Not easily,” his dad added, “but, yeah.”


“Good, because I have something important to tell you and I don’t want you freaking out.”


“Spit it out, boy,” his dad said.


“I’ve met someone and fallen in love with him.”  You could have heard a pin drop in the silence that ensued.  “There’s more.  Max is in the process of adopting four boys.  If this ends up where we both think it is, you’re going to be their grandparents.  One set, anyway.”


“Oh, my, Tom, that’s a lot to take in,” his mom said.


“I know it is.  A lot has happened in the last week.”


“A week.  You can’t fall in love in a damn week, Tom,” Bill claimed.


“Yeah, dad, you can.  You’ve told me, yourself, that within days of meeting mom, you knew the two of you would be together the rest of your lives.  The same thing’s happened to me.”


“That’s true, Bill, and you know it.  I suppose congratulations are in order, son,” his mom said.  “If you’re sure about this.  Is this Max a good man?”


“The best ma, and he’s sitting right here.  Say hi, Max.”


“Hello Mr. & Mrs. Wright.  It’s a pleasure to meet both of you.  I want you to know that you’ve raised a fine man and I’ve fallen deeply in love with him.”


“Oh, hello, Mr. Sanders.  We didn’t know you were there, too,” Estelle replied.


“Please, Mrs. Wright, call me Max.  Mr. Sanders is my dad.”


“O-o-kay, I guess I can do that,” she stammered.


“Dad, you still there?”


“I’m here, just a little stunned.”


“Sorry, but there wasn’t an easier way to tell you.”


“Oh, don’t worry about that, we’ll adjust to this, just like we adjusted to the news about you being gay.”


“The other thing you need to know is I’m resigning from the force.”


“Are they forcing you to because of, well, you know?” Bill asked.


“Not at all, dad.  My boss is real cool and me being gay has nothing to do with it.  This is entirely my decision.  Having met Max and his new sons, I want to be sure I can come home in one piece every night.  I can’t stay a cop and do that.”


“That makes sense, son,” said Estelle.  “I knew you never liked that part of being a cop.  I never liked it much either.  I was always worried about you.”


“What are you going to do now, Tom?” Bill asked.


“I’m going to open up my own private investigation service.  And I already have a client.”


“Who’s that?” they both asked.


“The agency handling Max’s adoption.  They had a guy who screwed up a background check several months ago, and he almost killed an adoption because of it.  They’re going to start using me for background and abuse investigations.”


“That should keep you busy,” Bill said.  “A lot safer than being a cop, too.”


“Oh, Tom, that’s such a wonderful thing for you to do.  I’m happy for you,” Estelle added, “for everything.”


“I’m glad to hear that, mom.  Really.”


“We hope you’ll be happy, son,” Bill said.


“I am and I will be.  I’d like it a lot of you could come up and meet everyone.”


“Are you sure?”


“Yeah, I am.  The twins’ birthday is coming up on the 13th next month and we’re having a party for them that Saturday.  It would be great if you could be here.  I’d really like them to meet their new grandparents.”


“We’ll have to talk about it and let you know.  Is that okay?”


“That’s fine, mom, and I’ll understand if you can’t make it.  Love you both and hope to see you the 15th.”


“Bye, son, we love you, too.”


Tom disconnected the call and looked at me.  “That went better than I thought it would.”


“I’m glad for you, Tom.  They sound like nice folks.”


“They are, just a little outdated in their thinking, but they’re getting there.”


“Way ahead of my parents.  Now, do you have any interest in going to bed?”


“Lead the way, lover.”


We headed to the bedroom and, after a quick shower to rinse off the chlorine from the pool, curled together for a good night’s sleep after a long day.


“I love you, Tom Wright,” I whispered in his hear.


“Love you more, Max Sanders,” he whispered back.


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