|The Lernier Family|
|© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved
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|Chapter 28: Todd|
Despite the exhaustion I felt from the long trip home, I managed to get up and cook a big breakfast for our family. Growing up on the farm, my mother insisted that breakfast was the most important part of our day and always had a good hearty breakfast ready for us when we got up in the morning. As I got older, I often cooked breakfast for the family after my morning run. Since meeting Rick, I have continued that tradition. Of course, we have to keep up with our exercise routine so we don't start putting on weight! I want to make sure I stay fit and trim for my guy!
I was just setting the table when Rick walked into the kitchen. He wrapped his arms around my waist and gave me his signature kiss that always left me completely breathless; totally wanting him to strip my clothes off and make love to me right then and there.
He pulled back and laughed, as always, at my state of arousal! He grinned and squeezed my package and said, "Hold that thought for me, Babe."
I put my hands behind his head and pulled him to me for another kiss as he put his hands up my t-shirt and caressed my bare skin. I released him as I heard the children's feet on the stairs. "I love you, Mr. Lernier."
"I love you, too," he responded as his large hands squeezed my buttocks before he let me go. He took a seat at the table as the three older children joined us for breakfast. My eyes lingered on Rick's handsome face. He met my gaze and smiled, "Can't get enough me this morning, can you?"
Holding his gaze, I replied, "I can never get enough of you, Babe."
Kyle cleared his throat, "Can't you guys get a room?"
We both looked over at Kyle, who was grinning widely. "I think we need to teach the young man a lesson," I said as I moved towards Kyle. "I think he needs to learn to respect his elders."
Kyle darted away from me as I reached to grab him; however, he hadn't counted on Rick standing behind him! Rick enfolded the young man in a warm embrace. Kyle struggled at first and then relaxed and hugged his Dad. Rick released him and said, "Good morning, son."
Kyle smiled and replied, "Good morning, Dad. I'm sorry I was being so obnoxious this morning."
"Apology accepted," Rick said. "We plan to attend your game tonight. It promises to be very cold so we'll be hauling in some heavy blankets and some of those hand warmer packets to keep us from freezing. Do you need us to bring you anything?"
Kyle responded, "No, I don't need anything. I've got all of my football gear packed and ready to go with me this morning." He sat down at the table next to his sister. He was wearing his football jersey with his name on the back along with his number, 61. He wore jeans that showed off his slender build and his usual shoes with the laces untied.
Kyle saw me glance down at his shoes and he asked, "What?"
I just shook my head and said nothing. I knew better than to argue with Kyle about tying his shoes! We had already been down that road before! Instead I turned to the other two children and said, "Good morning, Ashley and David."
They chorused, "Good morning, Dad and Daddy."
Rick asked, "David, will you say grace this morning?"
David nodded his head and proceeded to obey his father's request. When he had finished, he said, "I've finished all of my homework."
"Good. Thank you for working through all of those extra math problems," I said.
David smiled, "Thanks, Daddy for helping me with my algebra."
"I'm good at algebra but I'm horrible at any other kind of math like geometry and calculus," I said.
"That's okay, Daddy, because Dad is really good with advanced math," David said.
Ashley finished eating her breakfast and then asked, "Daddy, will you be a model for me? I need to paint a portrait of someone for my art class."
"I would be honored to sit for you, Ashley," I replied with a smile. "You know that the twins would love to have you draw them?"
"I know but they won't sit still long enough for me to sketch them," Ashley replied.
"You're right about that," Rick said. "However, you could make your sketch of them from a photograph. We have lots of them around the house."
A thoughtful look crossed her face as she considered Rick's suggestion. "I think I'll give that a try. JJ has been begging me to draw a portrait of him for a couple of weeks now."
Rick smiled and said, "I know it would make him very happy." He paused to look at this watch and said, "It's time for us to go."
Everyone cleared their dishes and then each one gave me a kiss and a hug. I asked them, "Do you remember what Grandma's favorite saying is?"
Kyle rolled his eyes but responded, "Just be kind."
"Good. Just remember that and things will go well for you today," I said.
"Does that mean I have to be nice to Jeff's daughters?" Kyle asked. He had related to us what had happened on the way to the airport last week.
I said, "Yes, you have to be kind to everyone. Notice I didn't say you had to be friends with everyone; but you do have to be kind to them."
Kyle shrugged his shoulders and made his way outside. Rick came last and gave me a kiss and hug. "That's to last you until I get home," he said with a lecherous look.
I looked over my man. He was dressed in a charcoal grey Armani double breasted suit, white shirt and tie. He looked like a million bucks. "You look wonderful, Babe."
Rick said, "Thank you, sweetheart. I'll see you at the game tonight. Don't forget to dress the twins warmly."
"I won't forget," I responded giving him one last kiss before letting him go. I checked on the boys who were still fast asleep and then climbed back into bed myself.
Kyle climbed into the front seat of the Land Rover next to his Dad. Kyle buckled his seatbelt and then looked over at Rick. "Dad, I don't know if I can even be civil to those two girls if I see them today."
Rick started the engine to let it warm up. He turned to Kyle and said, "I understand how you feel; however, you won't accomplish anything by making them your enemy. Try to be kind to them for Jeff's sake."
"They have treated him horribly, Dad. I have overheard him talking to you and Daddy about them. They are just spoiled rotten brats if you ask me," Kyle said.
"That may be so; but that doesn't justify treating them poorly," Rick said. He could see from Kyle's mulish expression that he didn't like what Rick was telling him; but at least he hadn't rejected his counsel entirely. He figured he would make one more attempt to convince his son to treat the girls with dignity and respect even if they didn't deserve it. "Try to put yourself in their shoes, Kyle. They have been subjected to all kinds of nasty treatment by their mother. Jeff's divorce was a nasty one and the children were caught in the middle. You have to give them a chance to prove that they can rise above what happened to them as a result of the divorce."
"Okay, I'll give them one chance to explain themselves but that's it," Kyle said stubbornly.
Rick shook his head and said, "Just be kind, Kyle."
Kyle glared at his Dad but didn't say anything. Between his two Dads and his Grandma, they had been constantly telling him to be kind to others. He was tired of hearing it; especially when they specifically told him to treat Jeff's girls with kindness. He thought to himself that he would give them one chance to apologize to him; and if they didn't, that would be the end of it as far as he was concerned.
Rick noted the closed expression on Kyle's face and decided to change the subject. "Are you ready for tonight's game?"
Kyle didn't answer at first but then responded, "Yeah, I think I am." His tone of voice let Rick know he was still not happy.
Rick had to suppress a smile. He had been just as stubborn as Kyle when he was that age. As he thought about it some more, he realized he was still that way. He decided to leave Kyle alone with his thoughts. He glanced in the rearview mirror and asked, "David, did you finish your assignment for the robotics team?"
David nodded his head, "Yes, I did. I think I have a design for launching a basketball and making a basket. I'm just not sure if we have all of the right parts to build the launcher."
"I'm sure we can come up with something. We will be getting the kits soon and we need to be thinking of our design," Rick said.
David grinned, "I can't wait until we get to see what the robotics competition will be this year."
"We will be participating in two regionals this year – one at Virginia Commonwealth University and the other at the Washington, DC, Convention Centre. Mr. Merrill thinks we can win both of them," Rick said.
"I think we can as well," David said. "We have a lot of smart kids on the robotics team. May I stay after school to work on the computer program with Stephen?"
"Do you have permission from the teacher?" Rick asked.
"No, but we will talk to him today and I'll call you," David said.
"You need to call Daddy as well since he will be picking you up from the school," Rick said.
Ashley asked, "Do I have to ride the bus home alone?"
"You can stay if you want to or you can take the bus home," Rick said. "If you stay after school, make sure David let's Daddy know so he doesn't wait at the bus stop for you."
"Okay," Ashley said. "I think I'll wait with David. I hate riding on the bus by myself. I can work on my drawings while I wait."
Rick nodded his head, "I'll let Daddy know what you are planning; but don't forget to call him to confirm what you're doing."
Rick pulled into the student drop off lane for Hayfield Secondary School and pulled up to the curb. "Have a great day!"
Ashley leaned over the seat and kissed Rick on the cheek, "Thanks for the ride, Dad."
David and Ashley got out of the car and waved as Rick pulled away from the curb. Rick glanced at Kyle to see if the thunderclouds had cleared away, yet. Kyle's expression had changed. He appeared to be deep in thought. Rick asked, "What are you thinking about?"
"I'm trying to decide how to confront the girls about their rude behavior. I usually see them at lunch but I don't want to cause a scene in the lunchroom," Kyle said.
"Maybe you could meet them after school," Rick suggested.
Kyle shook his head, "I don't want to give them the wrong impression. I'm not really interested in either one of them. I just want them to understand that it is unacceptable to put down gays just because you don't agree with them."
Rick said, "Well, whatever you decide to do, always be courteous and kind. You are representing us and we need you to show them how to treat people with dignity and respect; despite your differences of opinion."
Rick pulled into the student drop off lane for Edison High School. Kyle leaned over and kissed his Dad's cheek and said, "Thanks for the ride, Dad. See you tonight."
Rick watched as his handsome young man closed the car door and made his way inside the school. He considered himself very fortunate to have such a wonderful son. Despite his sullenness this morning, he knew that Kyle would do the right thing. Kyle was doing all of the right things. He was getting good grades, didn't do drugs, ran with a good group of kids and generally maintained a positive attitude. He hoped the rest of his children would follow Kyle's example.
Kyle walked to his first class of the day. He let his backpack hit the floor with a loud thud. He had a locker, but it was at the opposite end of the school from his classes. He had decided to haul all of his books in his backpack instead of running to his locker in between classes. He slid into his seat next to one of his buddies from the football team.
He looked over at Tyler and asked, "What's up?"
Tyler was a tight end and often worked in tandem with Kyle on plays. Tyler was a burly kid with thick blond hair and a ruddy complexion. He looked like he was perpetually embarrassed. His hazel eyes met Kyle's and he smiled, showing his crooked front teeth. "Nothing's happening, Kyle. We missed you at practice this week. Coach said your uncle died."
"Yeah, we went to Canada for the funeral," Kyle said. "We got home really late last night."
"I'm glad you're back. Coach had me running your plays just in case you didn't make it back. He kept yelling at me because I'm not as fast as you," Tyler said.
"That's why you're a tight end on the team and I'm a wide receiver," Kyle said, patting his friend on the back.
The teacher walked into the room and further conversation with Tyler wasn't possible for the rest of the class period. They walked down the hall together towards their next class when Kyle suddenly remembered he hadn't turned in his homework assignments. He turned to Tyler and said, "I'll catch you at lunch. I forgot to turn in my homework."
He practically ran back down the hall to his first class. He entered the room and pulled out his homework and handed it to Mrs. Diamond. She accepted it from him and said, "I'm sorry to hear about your uncle, Kyle."
"Thank you, Mrs. Diamond. It was pretty sad," Kyle said. He turned to leave the classroom and bumped into someone standing behind him. He automatically said, "I'm sorry. Please excuse me." Then he realized who it was.
His eyes met Caroline's. She said, "I'm the one who needs to apologize, Kyle. I'm sorry for what I said about your Dads. What you said about me and my sisters was absolutely true and you had every right to tell me off."
Kyle looked at her in surprise. He hadn't expected her to apologize as soon as she laid eyes on him. He didn't quite know how to respond. He finally said, "It's alright. I hope you've made things right with your Dad." The second bell rang as Caroline started to reply. Kyle said, "See you. I need to get to class."
Mrs. Diamond said, "Let me right write you a pass for being late, Kyle." She quickly wrote the note and handed it to him.
Kyle said, "Thanks, Mrs. Diamond," and bolted from the classroom and practically ran to his next class. He walked into class and handed Mrs. Worrell his note. She frowned as she read it then looked up at Kyle. "Okay, I'll accept the note from Mrs. Diamond. Do you have your homework from the days you were absent from my class?" Kyle pulled them out of his backpack and handed them to her. She glanced through them and then smiled, "Thank you, Kyle. I'm glad to see that you put your time to good use while you were travelling."
Kyle didn't respond to her; but nodded his head in acknowledgment and found his seat. He had completed his writing assignments for class as well as an essay on the book Mrs. Worrell had assigned him to read.
After his class was over, it was time for lunch. Kyle had first lunch today; a fact he was glad of since his stomach was already starting to rumble. He got up from his seat and followed his classmates out into the hallway, where he met up with Tyler.
Tyler said, "Robert said he'd meet us here."
Kyle replied, "I hope he hurries because I'm hungry."
They were soon joined by Robert, and the three of them walked down to the school cafeteria. They were soon joined by the rest of the football team. They stood in line to pick up their lunches then headed to their usual table.
The tables in the cafeteria were set up in long rows with an aisle down the center to allow for easier access to the middle section. The football team always sat on the outside row nearest the windows which meant that everyone had to pass them to get into the lunch line.
Robert looked down the line of students waiting in line for their lunch. He spotted Caroline and Marie and nudged Kyle. "Aren't those the two girls who have been stalking you?"
Kyle looked up from his lunch and looked where Robert indicated they were. He replied, "Yes, those are the two girls." Kyle hoped that Robert would just let it drop, but it wasn't to be.
Robert asked, "Are you going to ask one of them out?"
Kyle shrugged, "Maybe. I know their Dad. He's my Dads' security chief."
"Really? I thought you didn't know them," Robert said.
"I didn't until their Dad dropped me off at the airport last Saturday. They were in the car with him and he introduced them to me as his daughters," Kyle responded. He noted Robert's puzzled look and added, "Uncle Jeff is divorced and he hasn't brought them over when they spend the weekend with him. I knew their names, but I'd never met them until last week."
Robert's face reflected his comprehension of the situation, "I can relate to that. My Dad was married to someone else before he married my Mom. My half-brothers don't come around very often."
As the lunch line moved forward, Kyle saw the girls looking at him. He nodded his head in acknowledgement. Robert saw the gesture and said, "I think they want you to sit with them."
"I think you want me to sit with them because you're interested in Caroline," Kyle said, laughing.
Robert nodded his head, "Yes, I would like to get to know Caroline better."
"Okay, we can move to their table after they get their lunch but I won't be responsible for the teasing we'll get from the rest of the guys," Kyle responded.
The girls got their lunches then went to sit at a table a couple of rows over from the windows. Robert and Kyle got up and walked over to where the girls were seated. Kyle asked, "May we sit with you?"
Caroline smiled, "Sure, Kyle."
Kyle said, "Thank you. This is my friend, Robert."
"Nice to meet you Robert. I'm Caroline and this is my sister, Marie," she said.
The guys sat down to finish eating their lunch. Marie said, "I'm sorry we offended you, Kyle. We were wrong to say anything about your Dads."
Robert looked at Kyle and asked, "Dads?"
"Yes, I have two Dads," Kyle said.
"That is really cool! My brother is gay and married his boyfriend last year," Robert said.
Both Caroline and Marie looked at Robert in surprise. Caroline asked, "Your parents were okay with that?"
Robert replied, "Sure. Why wouldn't they be okay with my brother marrying the person he loves?"
Caroline responded, "It's just that some people don't think it's okay."
"In our family, we love each other unconditionally; no matter what. Even if someone didn't like it, they would never say anything to anyone about it," Robert said.
Marie asked, "How did things go in Canada?"
"The funeral was really sad, but I'm glad we went," Kyle said. "I'm going to miss Uncle Justin a lot."
"How many uncles do you have?" Marie asked.
"I have five on my Daddy's side plus about 20 adopted uncles," Kyle said.
"Wow! That's a lot of uncles!" Marie exclaimed.
"They are my Dads' close friends, and they are like family to us; so we call them uncles," Kyle explained.
Caroline said, "Is that why you call my Dad ‘Uncle Jeff'?"
"Yes it is," Kyle said. "Your Dad is really nice. We like him a lot."
Caroline looked down at her food for a few minutes before she raised her eyes to meet Kyle's gaze, "You said some pretty mean things about us and how we treated our Dad. I was so mad at you at first, but then Marie pointed out that what you said was true."
Marie said, "I convinced Caroline that we needed to talk to Dad about our poor behavior and try to fix things with him."
"What did he say?" Kyle asked.
"Dad said he was grateful we had finally realized how mean and vicious we have been to him since our parents got divorced," Marie said. "We apologized to him and we promised to try to be better."
Kyle smiled, "That's great! Now, Uncle Jeff won't be so sad when he comes to our house."
Robert said, "It's time for us to head to our next class."
They quickly finished their lunch and left the cafeteria.
Todd walked into Rick and Glenn's house with Cameron and Skye. He turned to them and said, "Go into the family room and get set up for your morning classes."
He was surprised that no one was in the kitchen. Todd knew that Glenn's routine never varied. Todd smiled at the thought. Glenn was such a creature of habit that you could almost tell time by what he was doing at any given moment. For example, Glenn was always up before the sun, taking his morning run; and then fixing breakfast for Rick and the three older children. Normally, Todd and the twins arrived just in time to eat breakfast with JJ and Josh at 8 AM. After cleaning up the kitchen, they would begin teaching the boys their lessons.
Todd was a little concerned that maybe something was wrong. He took the stairs two at a time. He opened the door to the boys' room and found them still asleep. He turned and walked down the hall to Rick and Glenn's room. He turned the knob and found Glenn sound asleep. Todd silently closed the door. He completely understood Glenn's exhaustion. Todd and Zach had gotten home late on Tuesday night. Everyone had slept in the next day. They had spent a lazy morning together before dropping Zach off at the airport. Zach's team was playing another out of town game. Todd returned home and resumed the boys' lessons. Later that evening they watched Zach's game on the television. The Capitals won handily which delighted Cameron and Skye. Both boys idolized their father and were his most loyal fans! Todd loved the boys very much but missed his husband. He hated being alone at night after the boys went to bed. When Todd agreed with Zach's choice of career as a professional hockey player, he hadn't realized how much he would hate the many nights Zach would be away on travel with his team. It was the worst part of being married to a man on a professional sports team. Fortunately, Zach was due back home later this afternoon.
After spending the night alone, Todd was anxious for some adult company. He loved his boys very much but talking to them wasn't the same as talking to another adult. He checked his impatience, and decided to let Glenn and the boys sleep until they woke up naturally. He went downstairs and joined Cameron and Skye. About an hour later the twins came downstairs.
JJ asked, "Uncle Todd, may we have breakfast? I'm hungry."
Todd replied, "Sure. Let's go into the kitchen and I'll find you something to eat."
JJ and Josh followed him into the kitchen and climbed up onto their chairs. He got down their favorite cold cereal and retrieved the milk from the fridge. He poured the cereal and the milk for them.
Josh said, "Thank you, Uncle Todd."
He watched the two boys eat, noting how much like their Dads they were. When they were finished, he cleared the table and then said, "Let's get you ready for the day."
After they had their bath and were dressed in clean clothes, he led them downstairs to join Cameron and Skye at their studies. He looked at the clock and saw how late it was. He turned to the boys and said, "I'm going upstairs to surprise Uncle Glenn. When you finish your math exercises, you can come upstairs and give Uncle Glenn a surprise, too."
Cameron nodded his head, "Okay. We like giving Uncle Glenn surprise hugs and kisses!"
JJ asked, "May we give Daddy surprise hugs and kisses, too?"
Todd smiled at JJ and replied, "Of course, JJ. Both you and Josh should come upstairs after you finish helping Cammy and Skye with their math."
Todd left the boys and mounted the stairs two at a time as this was his usual method of climbing the stairs. He went directly to Rick and Glenn's room. Todd smiled to himself as he thought of the surprise Glenn would get when he awakened with Todd in his bed. Todd knew Glenn loved him very much and there was definitely a physical attraction between them. As things currently stood, neither of them would ever cheat on their chosen partner; however, they did push the boundaries sometimes. Of late, it seemed those times were becoming more and more frequent. Todd was thinking how wonderful it would be if he could convince the other three guys to have an open relationship between the two couples. He had discussed it with Glenn once before and had been told in no uncertain terms that Glenn was committed to Rick, and only Rick.
Todd knew what he was about to do might ruin his friendship with Glenn but he was willing to take the risk. He quietly slipped out of his clothes and gently climbed into bed with Glenn. At first, he thought Glenn would awaken. He breathed a sigh of relief when Glenn rolled over and laid his head on Todd's chest as he murmured Rick's name. Todd realized Glenn thought he was Rick. He wrapped his arms protectively around Glenn and closed his eyes, wanting to be Glenn's lover and protector.
He had never been jealous of Rick, since it was so obvious that Rick made Glenn so happy. Zach made Todd very happy and Todd loved his husband very much; however, he also loved Glenn. He had loved Glenn since their college days. He had hidden his love for him during that time. Todd had fought so long and hard for Zach that he didn't dare ruin his relationship with Zach by declaring his love for Glenn. The other factor that had weighed heavily in his decision not to disclose his feelings for Glenn was the fact that Glenn was so in love with Rick that he had eyes for no one else. Part of what attracted him to Glenn in the first place was the love that radiated from Glenn's face when he was with Rick. Todd wanted Glenn's face to look like that when he came in the door; but that was not to be.
Here they were, years later, living next door to each other. Glenn had welcomed him into his home and his heart. Todd knew he was being selfish to want more than mere friendship; but he would always wonder if things would've been different if he didn't at least try to convince Glenn to move beyond friendship.
I was dreaming of being in Rick's arms and feeling so warm and comfortable. I gradually woke and opened my eyes. I was wrapped in someone's arms. I knew it wasn't Rick because the skin of the chest and abs in front of my eyes was completely devoid of hair. I lifted my head and looked into Todd's eyes. He grinned and said, "Good morning, sleepy head."
"Good morning, Todd. How long have I been asleep?" I asked.
"Let's see," he said, looking at his watch. "It's almost 11 AM."
"Why didn't you wake me up sooner?" I asked
"Because you needed your beauty rest," Todd said. He tightened his embrace and kissed me on the lips. "I missed you, Glenn."
"I missed you, too," I replied automatically. I looked at Todd with a puzzled look on my face, "Why are we in bed together with no clothes on? I was dreaming that Rick was holding me tight then I woke up and found it was you and not Rick."
"I wanted to surprise you, Glenn," Todd said. "I've long dreamed of you waking up in my arms and I wanted to know what it would be like."
I put my hand up and cupped his cheek, "Sweetheart, I thought we had agreed that we would be hurting too many people if we followed through with our desires for each other. I know you love Zach very much and you know that I feel the same for Rick."
"Does this mean I will always take second place to Rick?" Todd asked, looking completely disheartened.
"Yes and I will always be second to Zach in your life. Todd, please don't make this any harder than it has to be. I love you very much and you know it. I will always love you; but I need you more as a good friend right now than a lover," I said gazing deep into his eyes.
Todd searched my eyes for any hint that I might give in to his desires. He responded, "Glenn, I want more than just friendship."
"Todd, we have argued about this so many times. Please don't be so stubborn," Glenn said, running his fingers along Todd's jawline. "Next to Rick, you are the most important person in my life. I need you, Todd. Please let us remain the closest of friends. Don't force the issue of becoming lovers because it won't work. I won't do it, now or ever. Rick is my husband and I will always be faithful to him," I said earnestly; hoping we could bring this issue to close, once and for all.
Todd looked away from me. I put my hand under his chin and turned his head towards me, forcing him to meet my gaze. "I love you, Todd. Please tell me that you love me, despite my refusal to have sex with you."
Todd gave a huge sigh and replied, "Yes, I still love you, Glenn. I will always love you. However, I can't promise to not keep trying to convince you and Rick to have an open relationship with me and Zach."
"At least promise me that you will honor my request not to attempt to seduce me," I said. "You already know how close we've come to giving in to our physical attraction to each other over the last few months. Please be content to know that I love you and let's leave it at that."
Todd still held my gaze and slowly nodded. There was a deep sadness in his eyes; but he quickly recovered. Todd grinned and said, "You're no fun!"
"That's not true. I'm full of all kinds of fun. Just not the kind you want from me," I said, grinning back at him. I fingered the gold chain that hung around Todd's neck.
Todd looked down at the gold chain and smiled. "I remember when you convinced Zach to buy me this. We were at the mall and Zach was in a hurry to get back to the house; but you convinced him to stop in the jewelry store near the mall entrance." He reached up and gently lifted the matching gold chain that I wore, "I also remember that Zach bought one for you as well." He looked into my eyes and said, "You know that Zach loves you as much as I do."
I nodded my head, "I know. That's why telling you both "no" is so hard for me. I want to say yes to you, because I love you both; but I just can't, Todd. For me, I made a commitment to Rick to take him as my husband and to be with him and no other. I intend to honor that commitment."
Todd said, "Your fierce loyalty to Rick is part of your charm, Glenn." He ran his fingers through my hair and then said, "I love you."
"I love you, too," I replied. I decided we needed to talk about something else so I asked, "Where are the boys?"
"When I saw you were asleep, I got JJ and Josh bathed and fed them breakfast. We have studied spelling and math this morning already. Cameron and Skye are helping the twins with their math exercises. I told them to come get us when they finish. I slipped into bed with you about 15 minutes ago; so I expect them to show up at any moment," Todd said.
Just as Todd finished speaking, we heard a knock on the door. Todd yelled, "Come in!"
The door opened and the four boys came in, scampering across the floor and climbed up on the bed with us. Todd released me and gathered his boys in his arms. Cameron looked at Skye and said, "See, I told you Daddy was going to surprise Uncle Glenn by climbing in bed with him."
Todd looked at his son and asked, "How did you know I was going to surprise Uncle Glenn that way?"
"I heard you telling Dad you were going to climb into bed with Uncle Glenn to surprise him with a "good morning" kiss," Cameron said grinning.
I looked at Todd in surprise. I wasn't aware that Zach was in on this morning's events. Todd just grinned and shrugged.
Skye asked, "Uncle Glenn, did Daddy give you a "good morning" kiss?"
"Yes, he did," I replied. "It was really nice of him to surprise me that way."
JJ and Josh climbed on top of me and kissed me. "We like to surprise you, too," JJ said with a smile.
I hugged both of them and said, "I love surprises like hugs and kisses. Have you two been helping Cammy and Skye with their math?"
JJ replied, "Yes. We are still learning to count." He demonstrated by showing me his hands. "I can count to one hundred by tens using my fingers." He pointed to each finger and said, "Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety and one hundred. I'm helping Josh learn to count the same way."
Josh said, "I don't like math."
I laughed, "I don't like math either, Josh; but I still had to learn it. Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do." I looked at Todd who caught the not so hidden meaning in my words.
Josh pouted and I pulled him into a bear hug. "It's okay, Josh."
"Are we going to Kyle's football game tonight?" Skye asked.
"Yes, we're going," Todd said. "But we have to dress warmly tonight because it's going to be really cold."
"May we take hot chocolate with us?" Cameron asked.
"I think that's a great idea," I said. "I'll make us some hot chocolate to take to the game."
JJ clapped his hands, "Yeah, I love hot chocolate."
Todd smiled at JJ's enthusiasm and said, "Boys we need to let Uncle Glenn get dressed for the day. Let's to back downstairs and get lunch ready."
Josh asked, "May we have grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup?"
"That sounds good to me," I said.
Todd laughed and said, "Okay, let's go boys."
The four boys climbed down off of the bed and raced out of the room. We could hear them on the stairs as they descended to the kitchen. Todd leaned over and kissed me. "Don't keep us waiting, Babe."
He climbed out of bed and pulled on his clothes. Todd grinned when he caught me admiring his beautiful body. "I'm glad to see that you still like my body."
"I never said I didn't love the sight of such a good looking stud in my room," I responded with a laugh.
Todd struck a muscleman pose which set us both to laughing. I got out of bed and pulled on my clothes as well, while Todd watched me. I could tell he was aroused by the sight of my naked body by the bulge in his pants. I finished dressing and then walked over to him. I kissed him on the lips and then put my arm around his waist as we left the room together.
Later that evening, we piled into the mini-van and drove to Edison High School to watch Kyle's game. Zach and Todd followed us in their car. We paid our entry fee and carried our blankets and other comfort items into the stands. As we climbed the stairs to the first row of seats, I spotted Jeff standing up in the middle section waving at us.
I pointed him out to Rick. "It looks like Jeff saved us seats next to him," I said.
Rick nodded and replied, "It looks that way. It appears that he brought his daughters with him, too."
I looked up and said, "Something drastic must have happened because I thought they were still trying to avoid him at all costs."
Zach said, "I think something drastic did happen to them. It's called Kyle Lernier. Kyle told them exactly what he thought of them and left no doubt about where they stood."
We climbed the stairs to the bench Jeff had saved for us. Jeff greeted us, "Hey! Guys I'd like you to meet my daughters, Caroline and Marie. Girls, these are Kyle's Dads and these are their children, David, Ashley, JJ and Josh; and these are their good friends, Zach, Todd, Cameron and Skye."
I said, "It's nice to meet you."
Caroline replied with a smile, "It's nice to meet you, too. I'm glad Dad agreed to let us sit with him."
We quickly took our seats and started the process of getting everyone situated with their blankets and hot chocolate. I leaned over to Jeff and asked, "Would you and the girls like some hot chocolate?"
Jeff smiled and said, "Sure."
I poured three more cups of hot chocolate and passed them down to Jeff and the girls. Caroline leaned forward and said, "Thank you for the hot chocolate, Mr. Lernier. I want to apologize to you for what I said to Kyle when Dad dropped him off at the airport last week."
I smiled at her and said, "Apology accepted. I know Kyle can get pretty upset about things sometimes."
Caroline nodded her head, "Yes, we found that out. He was pretty blunt about how poorly we have been treating our Dad. We have had some pretty serious discussions with Dad about our behavior. We've agreed that we need to treat others the way we want to be treated."
Jeff looked at me and I could see the unshed tears in his eyes as he said, "Kyle accomplished a miracle that day. Remind me to thank him for helping us get a dialog started that should have taken place long ago."
Marie said, "Caroline apologized to Kyle this morning."
Caroline acknowledged her sister's statement, "Yes, I did. Kyle and his friend, Robert, ate lunch with us today."
This piece of intelligence surprised me. I turned to Rick, who had been listening to our conversation, and said, "What do you think about that?"
Rick grinned and responded, "I think we should wait and see what happens." He pointed out on the field, "There's Kyle."
I looked where Rick had directed my attention and saw Kyle taking his place on the line of scrimmage. As the first plays of the game were executed, I turned to Rick and said, "I think Kyle is playing better than usual."
Rick nodded, "He does seem to be more focused on what he needs to do." We cheered as Edison scored its first touchdown of the evening.
JJ and Josh came over to us and climbed onto our laps. JJ looked up at me and said, "It's warmer on your lap, Daddy."
I wrapped him tightly inside the blanket I was using to keep warm. His little body snuggled against me as he grinned up at me. He turned to watch the game as Kyle ran down the field and turned around to catch a pass.
JJ yelled, "Way to go Kyle!"
I looked over and saw that Josh was just as comfortable on Rick's lap. Josh saw me looking at him and grinned. I asked, "Are you warm, Josh?"
He nodded his head and said, "Dad is keeping me very warm, Daddy."
I turned my attention back to the game. Cameron and Skye imitated JJ and Josh and climbed up on Zach and Todd's laps. They wrapped their boys in their blankets and Cameron looked up at Zach and said, "Thanks, Dad."
Zach kissed the top of his boy's head and replied, "You're welcome, Cammy."
I overheard Caroline ask Jeff, "Dad, are Zach and Todd married, too?"
Jeff replied, "Yes, they are married and Cameron and Skye are their sons."
Caroline said, "The boys seem very happy. I can tell they love their Dads."
"I wish we could be as happy as they are," Marie said. "We were like them when we were little. Now Mom tells us all kinds of lies about you. She turned us against you from the very beginning. Until Kyle showed us how wrong we were, we bought into everything Mom was telling us. It's too late for us to return to being the happy family we used to be when we were little."
Marie's statement hit Jeff hard. He realized that maybe he and his ex-wife hadn't worked hard enough to keep things together. He said, "I'm sorry, Marie. I wish that your Mom and I could make things work between us."
Caroline looked at Jeff and said, "Dad, Mom doesn't want anything to do with you. She hates you and has said it many times to us. I don't think you could have done anything to change how she feels about you."
A cheer went up from the crowd that interrupted the conversation between Jeff and his daughters. They stood up and cheered with the rest of us as Edison made another touchdown. Edison scored several more touchdowns. By the end of the game the score stood at 35 to 7. We cheered as the team left the field for the locker room.
We trooped back to the mini-van and warmed up the van as we waited for Kyle to leave the locker room. Zach and Todd pulled alongside and rolled down a window.
Rick rolled down his window and Todd said, "We will meet you back home. We'll have hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls ready for you when you get there."
Rick said, "That's sounds great!"
We watched them pull out of the parking lot. I turned to Rick and said, "Todd surprised me today."
Rick grinned, "I know."
"How do you know?" I asked in genuine astonishment.
"Zach called me to tell me what Todd planned to do," Rick said.
"You knew and didn't call to warn me?" I said.
"I sent you a text message but you were asleep," Rick said defensively.
I pulled out my phone and checked. Sure enough, there was the text message from Rick. "It's here just as you said. I'm sorry. You did try to warn me."
Rick smiled, "I wasn't worried because I knew what you would tell him."
"How do you know what I said? I haven't told you and I'm sure Todd hasn't been able to tell you either," I replied, indignantly.
Rick's smile grew even wider. "Let me tell you what you said. "I'm married to Rick and I won't break the commitment I made to him" or something like that; and then you told him you loved him but didn't want to have sex with him. Am I right?"
I sat there with my mouth open. Rick laughed and said, "You can close your mouth now."
I snapped my mouth shut and then I asked, "How is it possible that you knew I would say those things?"
"Glenn, I have heard you tell Todd those things before, and I'm sure you repeated them to him, again, today. I have watched you twist the poor fellow around your finger so that he loves you all the more, despite your rejection of his advances. Zach loves you as much as Todd does but he hasn't been so bold as to approach you about having an open relationship between us and them. He has asked me and I have given him the same answer you have given Todd. Zach was concerned that you might give in to Todd's desires this morning; but I told Zach not to worry because you have always been ever faithful to me. That doesn't mean you haven't been tempted to cheat on me; but you have always remained true to me," Rick said. "I know I can count on you." He reached over and took my hand in his, raising it to his lips. Then he said, "I love you, Glenn."
"I love you, too," I said. I nodded towards the school and said, "Here he comes. It looks like Robert needs a ride home as well."
The two boys ran to the van and quickly climbed inside. Kyle said, "It is so cold out there."
Robert said, "Thanks for giving me a ride home."
Rick said, "You're welcome."
Robert said, "I'm glad that game is over. My toes are still frozen."
"So are mine," Kyle said.
"Uncle Todd and Uncle Zach have gone ahead of us and will have hot chocolate and cinnamon buns waiting for us when we get home," I said.
Robert said, "I wish my parents would have hot chocolate and pastries waiting for me! You are so spoiled, Kyle!"
Ashley said, "Yeah, Kyle! You're spoiled!"
Kyle turned to Ashley, "You're just as spoiled!"
Ashley grinned, "That's right because I'm the only girl in the family!"
"We are all treated very well," David said. "Our Dads make sure we have everything we need and have provided us a very positive environment at home."
Robert looked at Kyle and asked, "Does David always use those big words?"
Kyle laughed, "Yes, but he's still pretty cool despite his being a geek."
"I'm not a geek. I'm just more intelligent than most of my peers," David said seriously. He wasn't being arrogant about it. He was stating fact.
Robert grinned and said, "Okay, I get it!" We pulled up in front of Robert's home and he said, "Thank you for the ride."
"You're welcome," Rick said.
We drove home and pulled into the garage. Kyle unbuckled the sleeping boys and handed them out to me and Rick. We carried them inside and took them upstairs to their beds. We undressed them and put their pajamas on them. I tucked in JJ and Rick tucked in Josh. The two boys had hardly stirred throughout the entire operation. I turned on the baby monitor before turning out the light. We stood in the doorway for a moment as we watched our two sleeping boys.
We closed their bedroom door and I said, "I'll grab the baby monitor from our bedroom."
Rick waited for me and we walked down the stairs together. He took my coat from me and hung it in the hall closet along with his. We walked into the kitchen and found everyone gathered around the table with cups of hot chocolate in their hands and a couple of plates of cinnamon rolls within easy reach.
Rick said, "Hmmm….smells good."
We took our seats across from Zach and Todd. Kyle got up and brought us our mugs of hot chocolate. "Thanks, Kyle," I said.
"You're welcome, Daddy," he responded as he returned to his seat.
Rick bit into one of the cinnamons rolls and savored it. "These are pretty good. Did you make them, Todd?"
Todd smiled, "Thank you, Rick. No, I didn't make them. I picked them up at the Safeway bakery."
Ashley said, "Dad, I have a Girl Scout awards ceremony tomorrow night at the library. Will you be home in time to go?"
"What time is the ceremony?" Rick asked.
"It's at 7 PM," Ashley said.
"I should be home in plenty of time to be there," Rick said.
"Good," Ashley said. "I'm part of the color guard that will perform the flag ceremony."
Rick looked at Ashley and smiled. He asked, "Does this mean you might consider a career in the military?"
Ashley shook her head, "No, it does not. I like being in the Girl Scouts but I don't think I'd like being in the military, Dad."
Kyle asked, "When are you going to start selling Girl Scout cookies?"
"Not until next month," Ashley said.
"I want to put in my order now. I want six boxes of thin mints, two boxes of samoas, and two boxes of trefoils," Kyle said.
"Well, you will have to wait until I get the cookie order forms because I'm not going to remember what you want," Ashley said.
Girl Scout cookies were a new thing for me. I didn't even know they existed until I moved to Atlanta. One day a little girl and her mother knocked on our door. She handed me a brochure with pictures of the different types of cookies she was selling. Her mother explained that the cookie sales were how the Girl Scouts raised money to fund the troop's activities. Not knowing which ones to order, I ordered two boxes of each type of cookie.
Now that Ashley is actively selling cookies, I have become her Girl Scout troop's cookie Dad. That job means all of the cookies sold by the troop are delivered to our house and our garage becomes the cookie warehouse for several weeks during January until the cookies can be delivered to the people who bought them. Of course, we order plenty of cookies for ourselves; thin mints for me and Rick and an assortment of the others types of cookies for the children.
Kyle has started ordering his own cookies since he doesn't like to share his stash with anyone else! Being a growing boy, it's not a surprise that he can eat several boxes of cookies all by himself!
Todd looked across the table at the twins and said, "It's time for bed."
Cammy said, "Okay. Are we staying here tonight?"
Todd looked at me and I responded, "Yes, you are. You know where your beds are."
Cammy and Skye took their dishes to the sink and left the kitchen followed by their Dads. Rick and I cleaned up the kitchen and retired to the family room. We had just gotten comfortable when Zach and Todd joined us. Zach sat on the loveseat with Todd snuggled next to him.
Zach said, "Kyle did a fantastic job tonight. Do you think he will continue with football?"
Rick said, "I'm sure he'll keep at it as long as he has an interest in playing. He has talked about dropping it next year if he can't get all of his classes lined up right."
"What's the problem with his class schedule?" Todd asked.
"In order to qualify for the full International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma, Kyle has to take a certain number of IB courses. That means he will have to take a couple of night course to get caught up to where he needs to be. I think the class he is looking into is an on-line physics course taught by the physics teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School."
"Can't he still play football and take the on-line course at the same time?" Zach asked.
"Kyle isn't sure he can handle the homework from a full IB schedule plus football. The IB classes are a lot like Advanced Placement (AP) courses only they require much more writing than the AP classes at other high schools," I responded.
"Will he get more college credit from taking IB course than regular AP ones?" Zach asked.
"No. From what we've heard from other parents is that he won't get as much college credit as kids from other schools who take AP courses. They suggested that we pay for Kyle to take the AP tests and get credit for both," Rick said.
"So what's the advantage of the IB program over AP?" Todd asked.
"Supposedly IB courses have a better acceptance rate at overseas universities than AP courses," Rick replied. "I'm not so sure I believe that."
"The reason we agreed to let Kyle attend Edison and participate in the IB program is because Kyle wants to study overseas. He has already checked out several universities in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Spain, France and Switzerland," I said.
Zach said, "Kyle speaks French and Spanish pretty fluently. Does he have a preference?"
"No, he just wants to go overseas to study. I've tried to convince him to study in Canada. The University of Toronto is a great school and we have lots of family and friends there," I said.
Rick nodded his head, "We have also talked to him about attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for a year before going overseas. That way he can get used to being on his own before he makes the jump to living in a foreign country."
"I hope he chooses to go to Minneapolis. We sure enjoyed our time there," Todd said.
Zach agreed, "I think the University of Minnesota would be a good place for him to start his college education. We plan to send the twins there as well."
"Don't you want them to go to the University of Toronto?" I asked. "Both sets of grandparents live there as do your brothers. It seems to make more sense to send them there."
Todd nodded his head, "That is what I want to do; but Zach thinks that the University of Minnesota would be better."
"It all depends on what they want to do with their lives," Zach said. "I guess we will have to wait and see how they turn out."
"It would be a natural thing for your children to attend college in Canada since you already own a home in St. Catharines," Todd said.
"That's what I think," I said. "I want to move there permanently at some point in the future."
Rick's embrace tightened around me and he nibbled on my ear. He said, "We're already living there during the summer."
"I'm glad you've come around to liking my idea of living in St. Catharines," I said.
Rick looked across at Zach and asked, "What are your plans, Zach?"
"I think we will go wherever my career takes us. My contract is up at the end of this season. The club management hasn't said anything to me about renewing my contract so I'm not sure where we will end up," Zach said.
"I want Zach to retire from hockey and go into sports medicine or maybe get a coaching job," Todd said. "I make enough income from my computer business to sustain us so Zach can explore his career options without worrying about our finances."
Zach laughed, "What Todd really means is that he wants me to stay home and satisfy his need for sex instead of travelling so much."
Todd grinned, "You've got that right! I have a pretty heavy libido and it needs constant care and feeding!" We all laughed. Todd continued with a wicked grin, "I even tried to get Glenn to give in to me this morning and was soundly rebuffed."
Zach looked over at Rick who said, "Yes, we know, Todd."
Todd looked surprised for a moment and then turned to look at Zach. Zach said, "Yes, I told him."
Todd shrugged and said, "Okay, so there are no secrets between us then." He looked across at us and said, "I'm sorry I pushed you, Glenn. I also owe an apology to Rick and Zach."
Rick said, "Zach and I have seen this coming for some time now, Todd. Rather than put a stop to it, we decided to let things run their course. I trust Glenn totally and completely. I convinced Zach he had nothing to fear from Glenn. We also know that Glenn loves you very much and would know the best way to tell you "no" while at the same time letting you know he still loves you."
Todd met my gaze and I said, "I'm as much at fault as you Todd. I should've put a stop to your advances much sooner."
Todd blushed and looked away, "No, I'm the one who should've stopped."
"Todd, look at me, please," I said. "There is enough blame to go around. As you have heard from Zach and Rick, they knew what was going on and they chose to let us work it out between us."
Todd looked back at me and said, "I did promise not to try to seduce you but I still want us to talk about having an open relationship between the two couples."
Rick smiled, "Zach and I already talked about that as well."
Todd looked at his husband and asked, "Why didn't you tell me you had already discussed it with Rick?"
Zach said defensively, "We talked about it this morning after you called me and we haven't had time to talk until now."
Todd asked, "What was your decision?"
"We didn't reach a decision since it impacts all four of us and we need to make sure everyone is comfortable with what is going on," Zach said.
Rick took up the discussion at that point, "The first and most important consideration is that each couple has a solid commitment and bond with each other. Entering into a four-way relationship brings with it the risk that the spousal relationship will perish or become secondary to the shared intimacy with the other couple. We are very close friends and we don't want to ruin that friendship by making it a physical one as well."
"Does that mean you are against it?" Todd asked.
"No, not entirely; however, I do have very strong feelings against it," Rick. "I believe that you also heard Glenn's feelings on the subject earlier today."
Todd nodded his head, "Yes, Glenn let me know that he loves you very much and will remain faithful to you."
"And I told you that I loved you, Todd, just not in the same way that I love Rick," I reminded him.
Zach attempted to lighten the mood when he said, "Hey! What about me? Don't you love me, too?"
I laughed and responded, "Yes, I love you, too, Zach."
Todd had a hang dog look about him; but before anything else could be said, Kyle walked into the family room with his math textbook in his hand. "Dad, can you help me with this problem?"
I looked at Zach and Todd and said, "That's my signal to go to bed. I'll see you guys in the morning." I got up and started towards the door.
Rick caught my hand as I passed him. He looked up at me and said, "You forgot something."
I smiled and said, "I'm sorry." I leaned down and kissed him and said, "Don't be too long. I need my man tonight."
Kyle snorted and said, "Daddy, you need him every night."
"That's right!" I confirmed. "So don't keep him down here helping you with math all night."
Kyle laughed, "I'll make sure Dad gets upstairs before it gets too late."
Zach and Todd followed me upstairs. Zach said, "Good night, Glenn."
I took Todd in my arms and looked him in the eyes, "Todd, snap out of it. No one has been hurt and you are still very much loved and wanted."
Todd held my gaze and said, "Are you sure?"
"Yes, I am. I told you this morning that I need you, Todd. You don't get a choice, Todd. You're part of our family and we take care of family. Zach still loves you and we still love you. Nothing has changed on our part. You need to get your head around the fact that we can still be very close but not have sex with each other to maintain that closeness. You have a loving husband and two wonderful boys who need you to keep a good perspective about this situation. It's not the end of the world nor is it the end of our relationship."
Todd's eyes filled with tears, "I wanted so much for us to be more than just friends."
"I know, Todd," I said.
Zach wrapped his arms around both of us, "It's okay, Todd. Both of us have fantasized about having a four-way relationship with Rick and Glenn. It's taken us a while to broach the subject with them. Now that we have, we need to honor their wishes. I share your disappointment in that one of our fantasies will not become reality. However, the fact that we have managed to preserve their love and friendship completely intact is the most important thing that has come out of this situation."
I released Todd who turned to his husband and buried his face in his chest. Zach wrapped his arms around Todd and held him tight. Zach looked over Todd's head at me and said, "I will handle things from here, Glenn. Thank you for your kindness and understanding."
"Okay, I will see you in the morning," I responded as Zach led Todd into their bedroom. I went into our room and stripped down. I walked into the en suite and turned on the shower. I let the water warm up to the right temperature and then stepped under the soothing cascade of water.
I was standing with my eyes closed, luxuriating in the hot water spraying over my body when Rick's arms pulled me back against him with his fully erect manhood moving into its usual place. I moaned in anticipation. Rick whispered in my ear, "I love you, Mr. Lernier," as he proceeded to show me how much he loved me!
Zach helped Todd undress and then undress himself. They climbed into their bed. Zach raised his hand to Todd's face and wiped away the tears that still lingered there. "Babe, it's okay. We still have each other."
Todd tried to smile, "I know. It's just that I've had a dream of being closer to Rick and Glenn than mere friends."
Zach replied, "We already are, Todd. We are part of their family. Think about it for a minute, Babe. Who would let us continue to stay in their home after what happened today?"
Todd swallowed hard and admitted, "Only someone who truly loved me."
"Not only that, we have become such an integral part of Rick and Glenn's lives that we share everything except our spouses," Zach continued. "They have entrusted their children to our care many, many times. We have done the same by trusting them with our twins. Who do we turn to when we need comforting or need someone to talk to about our problems?"
"Rick and Glenn," Todd responded. "I never really thought about it much but you're right. We already have what I had dreamed of having since I met Rick and Glenn."
Zach said, "Yes, we do. They have even shared some of their most intimate moments with us. Remember that time we made love while they did the same next to us on their king-sized bed?"
Todd grinned, "I was so turned on that time. The memory has me super horny."
Zach smiled, "No, it's not the memory of them fucking that makes you horny. You are always horny no matter what else is running through your mind!"
"You are so right! It's a good thing I married a horn-dog like you because I'd wear anyone else out," Todd said. He leaned over and kissed Zach.
When Todd pulled back, Zach grinned widely, "Now that's the husband I'm used to having in my bed!"
Todd responded, "Come on tiger. I need some major loving from you tonight."
After Rick and I finished our shower together, we dried each other off and then climbed into our bed. I snuggled close to Rick and he wrapped his arms around me. "Thank you for trusting me, Rick."
"You're welcome, Glenn," Rick answered. "You are the light of my life, sweetheart. I've learned I can trust you to always be there for me."
"The feeling is mutual, Babe," I said gazing into his eyes. "I hope Zach can help Todd see that we haven't rejected him or that we think any less of him. I love Todd and I hate seeing him like he was tonight."
Rick said, "You have always been very tender-hearted, Glenn. I'm sure Todd will be fine. He has a wonderful husband in Zach who knows exactly what he needs. Trust me, Glenn. Zach will have Todd back to his usual self by tomorrow morning."
"I hope you're right, sweetheart," I said as I laid my head on his chest and fell asleep to the steady rhythm of Rick's heart.
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