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|-- ERIK --|
The morning after his birthday, Ryan came down for breakfast alone. Tracer was in our bedroom getting ready for work and I was sitting at the breakfast table enjoying some coffee.
“Well, how did it go?” I asked.
“Wonderfully,” Ryan responded with a dreamy look in his eyes. “Will really surprised me – the food, the table setting, the house all to ourselves. We talked about a lot of things all through dinner.”
“That’s good,” I replied
“Will’s getting a shower and should be down shortly.”
“Tracer’s doing the same. Want some help with breakfast?”
“That would be great.”
A few moments later Tracer and Will walked into the kitchen carrying a number of boxes.
“Happy Birthday!” they cried out.
“Thanks! But it was yesterday,” Ryan said with a smirk.
“Well, you got a special birthday present yesterday and your Dad and I didn’t want to interrupt!” Tracer replied.
Both Ryan and Will blushed deep red.
After Ryan and I finished cooking breakfast, the four of us sat down to eat and watch Ryan open his gifts. He seemed very excited over each present. I seriously doubt they were quite as exciting as the present the night before.
As the days counted down to Will’s departure, it seemed as if the boys got more and more panicked. They began taking every work assignment together they possibly could. I didn’t say anything, but having Ryan doing landscaping tasks wasn’t the most efficient use of resources. It frequently meant a less experienced rider on staff was working with the rental groups on the trails.
Often the boys disappeared in Ryan’s truck as soon as dinner was done. If they didn’t head out to some destination, they retired to their room for an ‘early night’.
With only seven days left until Will’s departure, I spoke with Tracer regarding the boys. “They seem so panicked. I’m not really sure what to do. How do you tell two boys infatuated with each other that nine months apart won’t kill them?”
“Trust me, I’ve been trying and they don’t seem to believe me. I do have an idea,” Tracer responded. “Why don’t you give them Thursday and Friday off so they can be alone. Maybe two full days will let them get more of it out of their system and help them survive the separation.”
“They know they can take time off any time they want,” I replied.
“Knowing something and doing something are two different things. I’m thinking we give them the days off so they will actually do something with them.”
“More time to spend together before Will leaves. That’s not a bad idea I guess,” I relented.
“Cool. We can tell them at dinner tonight.”
Ryan and Will were both excited about two entire days to themselves. Thursday and Friday they were up and out the door at daybreak. Each night they returned well after dinner. Tracer and I respected their privacy and didn’t ask a thing about what they had done.
Saturday Will’s parents arrived mid-afternoon. Frank was friendly and cordial to me; Shirley spread hugs and kisses all around. Ryan and Will carried the one small suitcase and Shirley’s cosmetic bag to the guest room.
“Frank, would you like a tour of the farm?” I asked.
“That would be nice. I’ve heard a lot about it from Shirley and the boys.”
I took Frank through the barn and stables. I introduced him to the various staff members we ran across. He seemed fairly stiff as he greeted folks; I figured he wasn’t one hundred percent comfortable with the overall situation as yet.
Frank commented that the stables seemed particularly empty.
“We have a large group out on a trail ride right now. They have seventeen horses out. In addition to that it looks as if several of our boarders have their horses out at the moment,” I replied.
Tracer and his Mother had walked off towards the woods when I took Frank on the tour. As we came out the back of the stables, I led Frank towards them. Frank commented on the landscaping.
“Our goal has been to do enhancements to the natural setting. All the trees and shrubs we use are native species that would be found at a wood’s edge in this area,” I explained. “We want to do more plantings along the trails over the next few seasons.”
“Sounds smart. You have a beautiful place here and anything that enhances the natural beauty instead of making it look fake is a great idea,” Frank agreed.
“Thanks. If you want, we could all head out on horseback and show you the rest of the farm,” I offered.
“While Shirley may get up on a horse, I think I’ll pass.”
“How about using the ATV?” Tracer suggested.
“Naw, how about just walking?” Frank responded.
Ryan and Will caught up with us as we walked into the woods on the inner loop trail. Shirley and Frank commented on the variety of plants.
“I’m surprised the paths are so clean,” Frank pointed out.
“You mean no horse droppings?” I asked.
“Yes. I would think the path would be covered,” Frank responded.
“That’s one of my jobs – I go out each morning on pooper-scooper patrol with the ATV,” Will put in.
“We add all the waste to the compost pile, which then is used on the garden beds and plants,” Ryan added.
“Sounds like an efficient operation.” Frank sounded impressed.
“Thanks,” I responded.
Throughout all the interaction, I noticed slight grimaces on Frank’s face. A couple times, as we walked, I noticed Shirley squeezing Frank’s hand – I assumed for reassurance or possibly reminders to behave.
Saturday night after dinner I knocked quietly on Ryan’s door. Will and Ryan were sitting on the bed chatting as I entered.
“You two OK?” I asked.
“Yeah, we’ll be fine. We were talking about keeping up with each other,” Ryan replied.
“I can understand. What have you figured out?” I asked.
“Phone seems to be the only option. Will doesn’t have a computer at the house so e-mail’s not an option. We talked about weekends I could come down to visit since I have the truck.”
“Sounds like a plan. I’m sure it seems like the world will end with you two being apart. It won’t. If things aren’t meant to be, you’ll survive. Have a good night’s sleep and don’t make too much noise with Frank and Shirley in the next room.”
“We won’t,” they echoed each other.
After breakfast the next morning, I saw the looks of gloom on Will’s and Ryan’s faces. “Guys, come here a minute.” They followed me into the den. “Look, I know you’re both a bit depressed about the separation. But don’t give things away.”
I turned to Will. “Your Mom knows about your relationship and I am sure she’ll help you two connect as she can. You are well aware that both she and Tracer think your Dad can’t know at this point so put on a smile till you leave.”
“Understood,” Ryan replied. They both started to smile a bit.
“That’s better,” I responded.
They both went upstairs to start carrying Will’s bags down. The boys, Tracer and I met at the car; Tracer was carrying his parents’ bags.
“Mom and Dad will be down in a minute,” Tracer announced.
“What’s that?” Will asked. He was pointing at two boxes next to his parents’ car.
“That is my communications present to you. It also has a side-impact on Ryan,” Tracer responded.
“Huh?” Ryan grunted.
“Don’t grunt,” I chided him.
“It’s a computer and monitor for Will. It will help him with his studies. I also found a local ISP for you and set up an account with them for the next year, pre-paid. Just remember one thing; your e-mail from the ISP will be stored on your computer so use that normally. Set up a web-based e-mail account on Yahoo! or Hotmail and use that to talk with Ryan,” Tracer explained.
Will and Ryan both launched themselves at Tracer and smothered him with hugs. “Thank you, thank you,” they both said.
“Just be careful! And you’re welcome,” Tracer replied.
Frank and Shirley showed up and clucked about the expensive gift. Tracer told them both the cover story he’d told Will – a present to help him with his senior year of high school. Tracer let them know he expected a 4.0 GPA out of the boy.
Shirley and Will hugged everyone. Frank hugged Tracer and shook Ryan’s and my hands. I noticed a quick whispered conversation between Shirley and Tracer during their hug.
After his parents and Will were in the car, I looked at Tracer.
“I told her about the Internet service and my warning to Will to use Hotmail to communicate with Ryan. She’ll be an ally.”
As soon as the car pulled out of the driveway, tears came to Ryan’s eyes. I hugged him and told him it would get easier. Only a month till the first planned visit.
“I know, I know,” he responded. Ryan walked back into the house, his shoulders drooped, his head down. This was but the first despondent moment to come.
Ryan and Tracer started school and the farm moved into the fall schedule. Riding classes for youngsters were after school with only one morning class each week for adults. Group reservations fell back to a primarily weekend schedule. Periodically, we had a weekday rental – mostly from a business that was doing some type of team-building exercise.
I had honestly expected Ryan to bounce back to his normal self within a few days; however, the second week of school saw him more dreary and droopy than the first.
“Tracer, I’m getting concerned about Ryan.”
“I am too, but I’m not sure there is anything we can do. I figured things would improve after a few days. That is obviously not the case,” he responded.
“I wonder how bad things are in Tennessee. I think Will is less resilient than Ryan.”
“If that’s the case, that house must seem like a morgue,” Tracer replied. “I’ll call Mom and see how things are going.”
“Sounds good. I still don’t know what to do.”
We went upstairs to bed.
After we climbed into bed, Tracer leaned over and kissed me. This wasn’t a kiss goodnight; it was a deep, passionate kiss. He put his arms around my shoulders and rolled me over on top of him.
“Tracer, I’m awfully tired. It’s been a long day.”
“Too tired for sex?” He sounded puzzled. “You’ve never been too tired for sex.”
“Well, too tired for a full-out romp in the hay. Yeah. Busy day on the farm and all the stress with Ryan. I’m a bit worn out.”
Tracer rose up a bit and kissed me softly. I could feel his stiff dick beneath me.
“No worries; we can just sleep,” he whispered.
I rolled off him and slipped one arm under him, pulling him close to me. I leaned in and kissed him deeply.
“We can at least take care of this,” I said. I took his stiff dick in my hand.
“You don’t have too,” Tracer almost moaned.
“I think I do!” I grinned and kissed him again.
I was working his shaft with long, firm strokes.
“Let me do that,” Tracer said.
He’d put a little lube on his right hand and took over stroking. I worked my right hand down between his legs and teased his hole. I started nibbling on his neck.
Tracer started panting a bit; his whole body started tensing up. I worked my index finger up and down his hole more. Finally, I slipped it into his ass, fucking his hole slightly.
“Aw, fuck,” he moaned. His body tensed a little bit more. “Slip a second one in, Baby.”
I worked the first finger back out and lined up a second. The pair slipped in fairly easily. I started the fucking motion with my fingers.
“Damn!” he grunted. “That feels good!”
No immediate response, but from his body tensing I could tell his orgasm was fast approaching. I slipped the two fingers out and then pushed three fingers into his hole.
“FUCK!” he yelled. Cum shot out and arched up; sending a trail up to his chin.
As the cum shower stopped, I leaned over and kissed Tracer. He lay there a few minutes, coming down from his orgasm.
“Be right back,” Tracer stated. He hurried into the bathroom and I heard the water run.
By the time he came back, I was nearly asleep. He climbed under the covers and curled up next to me. Surprisingly, he was snoring long before I fell asleep.
The next evening, I knocked softly on Ryan’s closed bedroom door.
“Come in,” came the muffled response.
“Ryan, I know you miss Will; however, I think you’re letting it affect you more than you should.”
“Dad, how would you like to be separated from your Lover?” he responded with a bit of a huff.
“Your Lover?” my voice went up considerably.
“Well, the person I love?” Ryan’s retort came quickly. “Isn’t that a ‘Lover’?”
“Ryan, you’re seventeen years young. You’re a bit young to have a Lover don’t you think?”
“Dad, that’s not fair! Age isn’t the issue – I love him and he loves me!” He was screaming at this point.
“Ryan, there’s no reason to scream. We can discuss this like adults.”
“First you tell me I’m too young to have a lover, and then you say I can discuss things like an adult! Make up your mind, Dad! I spent most of the last three months sleeping in the arms of the one I love. You knew what was going on in here!”
“Having sex and being in love,” I started to say.
“Don’t go there! Don’t you FUCKING go there!” Ryan’s yell cut me off.
“Ryan, watch your language.”
“Well, fuck you, Dad!” Ryan yelled and shoved passed me and out his bedroom door.
I started after him as he ran full speed down the stairs. I figured he was headed for the stables or out into the woods. By the time I made it to the back door, his truck was speeding down the driveway. I turned around to see Tracer standing in the doorway between the kitchen and the den.
“That didn’t go well,” I commented sharply. I was still very upset.
“I heard!” Tracer’s reply seemed sharp as well.
“Well, what do you think I should have done?”
“Erik, calm down a minute. I’m not going to second-guess how you handled the conversation – but it was obvious it didn’t go well. Ryan and Will think they are in love. It’s probably best not to try to convince them otherwise. Let them figure it out for themselves.” Tracer’s response came quietly, taking the edge off things.
“But, Tracer, it’s silly. They are too young to commit themselves to a relationship!”
“Oh, and I wasn’t? Remember, Erik, I’m only three years older than they are. Hell, I was only a year older than either Ryan or Will when I met you. Add to that, they don’t have the age difference we do. That can complicate things!”
“You think our age difference complicates things?” I was concerned.
“It did at first, at least a little, Erik.” Tracer replied. “There were times when you treated me more like a son than an equal partner.”
“I’m sorry if I did that.”
“You haven’t done that in a long time. Now, back to Ryan,” Tracer continued. “How are you going to deal with things?”
“Honestly, I don’t know. Well, actually, I do know a few things – first, I’m going to apologize to him. You both are right; if they feel they are lovers, they are. Second, I’m going to focus on helping him get through the separation instead of trying to get him to ignore the pain.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Tracer replied. “I had mentioned calling Mom and seeing how things were going there. I’ll do it tomorrow.”
The hour got really late and Ryan had not returned home. I was getting worried. In the thirteen years, I had raised Ryan alone he had never cussed at me. Like any parent-child relationship, we had had a few disagreements. This was and felt much worse!
“Erik, time for bed. Ryan’s a big boy and will come home after he gets over his mad,” Tracer said.
He pulled my hand and led me to the stairs. We snuggled up in bed and Tracer quickly drifted off to sleep. I, on the other hand, lay in bed, eyes wide open.
About two a.m., I heard a vehicle coming up the long driveway. I slipped quietly out of bed, grabbed my boxer shorts, put them on and went downstairs. I had just walked into the kitchen when Ryan came in the back door.
“Umm. Hi,” Ryan muttered.
“Look, I apologize. Tracer knocked some sense into me. If Tracer and I can start a relationship when he’s eighteen, you and Will can start one when you’re both seventeen.”
A smile spread over Ryan’s face. “Thanks, Dad.” With that he came over and hugged me. “I thought a lot about everything. You were real supportive over the summer. I do appreciate that!”
“We still need to figure out how you are going to handle this better,” I said.
I looked at Ryan’s face as it tensed up a bit. “Now wait, I’m not going to tell you to ‘grow up’. I want to find a real solution to help ease the pain or at least distract you from it.”
“Thanks, Dad. I’m not sure how you’re going to do that, but I like the idea of easing the pain! I just miss Will too fucking much!” Tears started to flow from Ryan’s eyes.
“We’ll figure something out. For now, I think we both need to go to bed. Five a.m. isn’t far away.”
We walked slowly up the stairs. As we reached the top, Ryan turned and gave me a peck on the cheek goodnight.
“I love you, Ryan,” I said. “Sweet dreams!”
“Hmmm. Dreams of Will! I’d like that! Night, Dad.”
I went back into the bedroom and slipped into bed. In his sleep, Tracer rolled over and snuggled back up with me. Unfortunately, sleep eluded me.
The next day, we were both sitting in the office when Tracer called his Mom. He timed the call to ensure she would be home from work, but his Dad and Will would still be away.
I could hear only one side of the conversation, but the gist was obvious from what I heard.
“Hey Mom, I was calling to check up with the mood at your house,” Tracer stated. He listened to her response and continued, “Yeah. I had hoped things would improve as school got them busy, but it hasn’t improved things in the least. In fact, Ryan’s more depressed now than he was the first few days after you left.”
Tracer’s face took on a look of amusement and then he responded to Shirley’s comment. “Yeah, ‘Instant Messenger’ lets them type to each other live and communicate. It’s real-time as opposed to waiting for an e-mail message to arrive. I can believe Dad would be grumbling. To avoid the problem here, Erik put a second line in for Ryan, so he’s only tying up his own private number when he’s online.”
Shirley must have continued her side of the conversation and Tracer’s face took a somewhat depressed look. He responded, “Any ideas? I’m afraid that Ryan visiting in October is going to make things worse.”
As Tracer listened to Shirley’s response his face took on a horrified look. “Oh no, you aren’t thinking about telling him, are you? Are you going to talk to Will before you tell Dad?”
For moments, Tracer concentrated on the phone. His facial expressions told me that while his Mother’s words had calmed him some, they obviously were not relieving all his concerns. He responded, “If you think that’s best, Mom, I understand. I guess it can’t be worse than when Dad found out about me. I love you, Mom. Call me as things progress!”
Tracer hung up the phone. “You got the message?” He asked me.
“Loud and clear. Is she going to warn Will or not? Did she say when she was going to tell Frank?” I asked.
“She’s not going to tell Will. She thinks he would just worry too much. She’ll probably tell Dad this weekend. I’m guessing Friday night. She’s tired of keeping secrets from him and thinks it would make life better all around,” Tracer added.
That Saturday the phone rang about ten a.m. Caller ID showed Frank and Shirley’s number.
“Good morning,” Shirley’s sweet alto voice rang out.
“Morning, Shirley. How are you this morning?” I asked.
“I’m very good, thanks, Erik. How about you?”
“Doing well. I’m assuming you’re calling with big news?” I asked.
“That I am. Is Tracer able to pick up a line?” She asked.
“He’s out in the barn. Let me holler for him.”
I hustled over to the office door and got lucky; Tracer was moving from the barn to the stables.
“Your Mom’s on the phone!” I yelled.
Tracer moved at a dead run to the office. He picked up the second phone. “What’s up Mom?” There was panic in his voice.
“Calm down – he took it well. The years of dealing with you have made Will’s life a lot easier. I’m just sorry you took the brunt of it for so long,” Shirley responded.
“That’s water under the bridge, Mom,” Tracer answered.
“Good. Thanks. So, your Dad knows. Will’s a bit worried about telling Patrick. Those two have always been close,” she continued.
“I know, but Patrick will accept it easily. He did for me.”
“So now that Dad knows and Will’s not having to hide, any instant improvement?” Tracer asked.
“Not at all. In fact, your Dad said that Will’s mood was beginning to concern him. That’s the comment I used to start the ‘your son is gay’ conversation,” she added.
“Your Dad had one. Is Erik there?”
“I’m still on the line, Shirley,” I put in. “What’s up?”
“I have a proposal to solve both our problems. You’ll need to really think this one over, I’m sure, so don’t answer immediately.” She sounded very serious.
“Problem solving is a good thing. Especially where our boys are concerned. Go on,” I replied.
“Well, you’ve done a great job handling Will two summers in a row. Would you be willing to have Will for the rest of this school year? Or at least until the two of them get over this infatuation?”
“Shirley, I wouldn’t call it an infatuation. You realize that they are already trying to plan to go to the same college,” I put in.
“I know. I realize there’s a cost to this and we’d give you money each month for his needs.”
I stopped her. “Look, I can afford another mouth around here easily. Will could work at the farm after school if he wants. Hell, just having Ryan perk up would be enough pay. I’m all for this.”
“It’s early enough in the school year that I don’t think it will disrupt things too much,” Shirley added.
“True, but we need to do this quickly. When were you thinking of doing it.”
“I hadn’t expected an answer from you this quickly,” she replied. “I can get his records on Monday; I’ll have to be there during the week anyway to do all the enrollment paperwork and give you power-of-attorney to cover emergencies and such.”
“True. We do have the paperwork from the summer visits we could get reworked.”
“OK, I’ll deal with the paperwork here on Monday. Will and I will drive up on Tuesday.”
“Mom, I do have a serious question. You said this is Dad’s idea?” Tracer interrupted.
“Yes, Son. It was your Father’s idea. I think in his heart he’s trying to make up for all the wrong he did to you by supporting Will to the fullest. That doesn’t mean he isn’t going to continue to try to repair things with you. I also think that he’s truly concerned about Will. If his mood doesn’t improve soon, it could impact school. You know your brother – in the wrong mood, he could announce he’s gay at school and then all hell would break loose.”
“Too true, Mom. I’m glad Dad is being so supportive. I really appreciate all that he’s done to change his attitude and views. I love you both!” Tracer replied.
I chimed in, “Shirley, we’ll expect you sometime on Tuesday. I think Tracer and I will have one excited, lovesick boy on our hands till you get here.”
“Erik, that sounds great. I’m going to go tell Will. I expect you’ll hear the noise at your place.”
“Probably not. Tracer and I will go tell Ryan and I’m sure the celebration here will be just as loud. It might drown out Will a bit,” I laughed in reply.
“See y’all Tuesday. Bye for now.” And with that Shirley hung up.
I walked over to the door and seeing Randy near the barn I yelled out to him. “Hey Randy, if you see Ryan, tell him to come to the office.”
I closed the door and looked at Tracer. “I guess this is really going to become a ‘family’ business.”
“So it seems, Erik. Are you really OK with all of this?” Tracer asked, concern filling his voice.
“I wouldn’t have said ‘yes’ if I wasn’t. It will be a year-round visit instead of just for the summer.”
Ryan came through the office door.
“Sit down for a minute, Ryan. You’ve been awfully down for the last two weeks and I understand why.”
“Dad, I’ll get over it. It’s just been hard,” Ryan replied.
I cut him off sharply with, “Hush-up and let me finish.” I saw the stunned reaction on his face from my comment, but ignored it and continued, “It’s a problem that we agreed to work to resolve. From what I understand Will’s having the same types of problems.”
“Yes, Sir.” Ryan’s reply was curt.
“So, Shirley and I just had a long conversation about you two.” The look on Ryan’s face was deeply worried. “Shirley told Frank that Will is gay last night.”
“What? She told him about Will?” Ryan’s voice trembled with panic. “He didn’t say anything to me online last night!”
“He didn’t know she was discussing it with Frank. Tracer talked to her earlier in the week. She didn’t want you two worrying about it till it was over,” I responded. “Will’s been as gloomy as you have and Frank was getting concerned. Now, to the solution. Monday, Shirley is going to get all of Will’s school records. They will arrive here on Tuesday and on Wednesday she’s enrolling him in school with you.”
The stunned look of surprise on Ryan’s face was priceless. It was one of those moments I wished I had a camera.
“You’ve got to be kidding.” He looked from Tracer to me and back. “This isn’t a good joke to pull, Dad!”
“No joke, Son. Will’s going to live here for the rest of the school year and I assume all of next summer. That is, as long as you and he don’t mind.”
I had no sooner finished speaking when the phone rang. I picked up the line and heard Will’s voice.
“Can I speak to Ryan?”
I handed the phone to Ryan. He listened for a second. “Yeah, I know. I’m excited too!”
I nodded at Tracer and we both quietly went outside. Ryan came out a few minutes later and hugged first me, then Tracer.
“Thanks to both of you. I don’t know how Will and I can repay you both.”
“For what? We didn’t do anything. Shirley took the bull by the horns and made things work out for you both,” I answered.
“Actually, thanks for just being supportive,” Ryan replied. “It’s so much easier being gay when your Dad supports you.”
“Well, considering you have supported your gay Dad for years, it is only fair. One word of warning,” I took a serious tone. “You two have to be very careful at school.”
“I know Dad, I know. We’ll be careful.”