The Lernier Family
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved




Chapter 37: Rick’s Mom

We both woke up early.   I felt Rick’s arms tighten around me as he nuzzled my hair.   He murmured into my hair, “Are you awake, sweetheart?”

I ran my fingers lightly over his abs, which he flexed for me, and answered, “Yes, I’m awake.   I love waking up to you in the morning.”

Rick put his hand under my chin and lifted my head up.   He captured my lips in a loving kiss.   We rubbed noses and he pulled back, still holding me in his arms. 

I gazed into Rick’s face, and noted the big dark circles around his eyes.   “You didn’t sleep last night.”

Rick met my gaze, and admitted, “No, I didn’t.   I couldn’t get my mind to shut down.”

“Julie’s call upset you,” I said, knowing my husband as I do.

“Yes, it did.   I really don’t want any contact with my mother.   I don’t think she has changed her mind about two men being married to each other,” Rick said.

“Babe, I don’t either.   I very much doubt she has really changed at all.   Most people get old and bitter, not older and nicer.   You’re welcome to re-establish contact with her, if you think it’s wise.   However, I do not want anything to do with her, even if she kisses my feet and begs for my forgiveness.”   I was surprised at the venom in my voice.   I hadn’t realized until that moment that I harbored so much hatred for the woman who had hurt my husband so much.

Rick gazed into my eyes, and asked, “Why do you feel that way?”

“Do you really have to ask?” I said, incredulously.   “She hurt you, Rick.   I know about the deep wounds she inflicted on your heart, the ones that are still there.   I’m afraid those wounds will be reopened by contacting her,” I said.   I reached up and cupped his cheek with my hand.   My voice had a hard edge to it, as I continued, “She caused you intense pain and suffering, Babe.   Nobody messes with my husband and gets away with it.”

Rick smiled, and took my hand in his.   He gently kissed me and said, “Thank you for trying to protect me, sweetheart.   I know that you love me and will do your best to keep me from harm.   However, I’m sure I’ll be okay to speak to her.   If she starts getting out of line, I can always hang up.”

I gave him a worried look.   “But the damage will have already been done, Babe.   You know how sensitive you are.   On the exterior you may be a big, tough ex-marine; but on the inside you’re marshmallow soft, especially when it comes to family.”

Rick said, “I know, but that’s why I married you; so you can protect me from my big, bad momma.”   He laughed, and ruffled my hair.

I swatted him lightly on the chest.  “Now you’re being patronizing.   Seriously, Rick, I’m worried about what the outcome may be, as a result of coming into contact with her.   You know you get upset every time you talk to Julie.   What’s it going to be like talking to your mother?   Unless she has evolved to a point where she can accept us as a married couple with a family, I don’t see this as a good thing.”

Rick said, “I hear you, and I am in agreement with your assessment of the situation.   But let’s play it by ear, and see what she has to say.   Okay?”

“Okay,” I said, hesitantly.   I didn’t like it one bit, and Rick knew it.   Instead of dwelling on it, I leaned forward and kissed him.   “We need to get the children up and moving.   We don’t want to miss our flight.”

Rick sighed and said, “You’re right.   I guess I can sleep on the plane.”

I got up and pulled him to his feet.   I wrapped my arms around his waist, and held him close to me.   I kissed him, and said, “Mr. Lernier, you have a family that loves you.   We will support you and stand by you.   Never forget that!”

Rick’s eyes were bright with unshed tears.   His husband always knew what he needed to hear.   He said, simply, “I love you.”

“I love you, too.   Now take me to our shower,” I said, giving him a lecherous grin.   “I need some loving attention from my favorite husband.”

Rick laughed. “I’m your only husband.”

“Yes, and that makes you my favorite one,” I said, kissing him as I stroked his male member.

Our shower was wonderful!   In my opinion, every married couple needs to have showers like ours.   When we’re done, there is never any doubt that we love each other very much!   In fact, I’m beginning to believe that showers were invented for couples like us!

Mark woke up to the ring tone of his cell phone.   He picked up his phone, and saw that David had sent him a text message.   He touched the screen and opened up the message.   “Good morning, Mark.   We’re going 2 Toronto 2-day.   Will txt you later.”

Mark hit the reply button and typed, “Have fun on the plane.”

A few seconds later, a reply came, “Miss you & wish you were here.”

He texted back, “Same here.”

He figured that David must be leaving for the airport since, it was 6 AM.   He shook his head in disbelief.   Only crazy people got up before dawn, during winter break!   He pulled the blankets up over his head, and went back to sleep.

David sat on his bed with his cell phone in his hand.   Purev walked into the room with a towel wrapped around his waist.   “The shower’s all yours.”   Purev noticed that David had his phone out, and said, “Are you texting with Mark?”

“I was.   I think I woke him up,” David said.   “I really miss him.”

Purev said, “I know how you feel.”   Purev flopped on the bed opposite David’s.  “When Idree told me he couldn’t see me anymore, I thought I was going to die.   I’m not even allowed to send him text messages, because his parents took away his cell phone.”

David said, “It’s pretty bad when parents get involved in our personal lives.   Don’t they understand that we aren’t their slaves?”

Purev looked over at David in surprise.   “What are you talking about?   Your parents aren’t forcing you to stop seeing Mark.”

“But they insist we abide by their rules,” David said.  

Purev was shocked at what he was hearing.   “David, are you serious?   I thought you could present your case for changing the rules, and they would at least consider it.   They told me that I could do the same; since I disagreed with the family rules on having sex before age 18.”

David said, “That’s true.   I guess I’m just feeling frustrated because I want to be with Mark right now.”

Purev shook his head.   David was being so illogical; it didn’t add up.  He said, “Your Dad offered to let you go home to be with Mark, instead of going to St. Catharines with the rest of us.   How can you say you’re frustrated when you’re the one who decided not to go home?”

David answered, “I felt like they wanted me to stay with them; so I decided not to go home.”

“But that’s not what they said,” Purev countered.   “You deduced that on your own.   If you really want to go home, I know they’ll let you.   I know that much, even though I’ve only known them for such a short time.” 

David looked away from Purev, and didn’t answer.   The silence in the room was only broken by the sound of the ocean coming in through the open window.   “Purev, you have to promise me you won’t tell anyone, if I share something with you.”

Purev raised his eyebrows, and said, in a long drawn out way, “Okaaay.   What’s this all about?”

David demanded, “Promise me first!”

Purev was surprised by the intensity of David’s voice, but he said, “I promise I won’t tell a single soul.”

David said, “Mark and I are having sex with each other.”  Purev’s mouth fell open, and he stared in utter disbelief at David.   David laughed, and said, “You can close your mouth now!” 

Purev snapped his mouth shut.   “I don’t believe you.   Why would you have sex with Mark and not with me?   When did you do it?”

David said, “I’m not sharing all the details with you; but Mark said he wanted to marry me when we get older.”

Purev looked hurt.   “You didn’t answer my question.   Why did you choose Mark and not me?”

David realized he shouldn’t have told Purev anything about him and Mark, but it was too late now.   “I’m sorry, Purev.   I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“How can you say that you didn’t mean to hurt me?   You know that I still like you, and that I’ve wanted to have sex with you since we first met.   Why didn’t you ask me first?”   Purev was very upset, and tears were flowing down his cheeks.   His feelings for David had never changed, despite his pursuit of Idree.

“You were still dating Idree, Purev.   I didn’t think you wanted me, because you already had a boyfriend,” David said.

Purev fought to control his emotions; and, eventually, calmed himself down.   “I’m sorry, David.   You’re right.   I did have a boyfriend, when you met Mark.”   He wiped the tears off his cheeks with the corner of his bath towel.   He stood up and dropped his towel to the floor, as he pulled out his clothes.  

He began to get dressed, as David said, “Remember, you promised not to tell anyone.”

Purev turned around, giving David a huge grin.  “I did promise; however, there is a price to keep my silence.”

David looked at Purev, and knew exactly what that price was!

Later, they emerged from their room with their luggage.   Both boys looked like Cheshire cats with huge grins on their faces.   Not only did I notice the huge smiles, but I noted that things seemed to be different between the two boys.   I glanced at Rick, and said, “I think that Purev and David seem to be in a really good mood this morning.”

“I agree.   I’m wondering what’s up with that,” Rick said, looking at the boys, speculatively.   “They were both pretty moody yesterday.   I was beginning to think I needed to hold one-on-one interviews with them to get things out into the open about what’s happening between them.”

“I think you should still have that talk with them,” I said.   “I’m not sure what’s up, but I have my suspicions.”

Rick narrowed his eyes and asked, “What do you think is going on?”

“I’ll share my ideas with you later,” I said, as the rest of the children joined us in the hallway with their luggage.

Rick said, “Don’t forget to tell me what you’re thinking, Babe.   I want your insights, before I talk to them.”   He turned to our three teenage boys and said, “Kyle, Purev and David, please help me load the suitcases into the back of the minivan.”

They disappeared outside with the luggage, while Ashley helped me get the twins ready to go.   I asked, “Ashley, do you know what’s going on between David and Purev?”

“No, I don’t; but whatever it is, I’m glad David seems to be happy,” Ashley said.   “I think they were fighting about something yesterday.   I don’t know what it was, but they weren’t speaking to each other, when they went to bed last night.”

Grandma and Grandpa came into the hallway.   Grandma put out her arms, and said, “I need hugs and kisses from my grandsons.”

The boys ran into her arms and obediently gave her hugs and kisses, as requested.  JJ said, “I love you, Grandma.”

Grandpa asked, “Do I get the same treatment?”

Josh answered, “Yes, you do, Grandpa.”

Grandma turned to Ashley.   “Goodbye, sweetheart.   I look forward to seeing more of your artwork.”

Ashley said, “I’ll send copies of it, when we get home.   Thank you for helping me with crocheting.”

“You’re welcome,” Grandma said.   “I’d like to teach you how to do cross-stitch and embroidery.”

“I’d like that,” Ashley said.

The rest of the family joined us, to say their farewells.   We were the only ones leaving for the airport, since the rest of them drove their cars to Daytona Beach.   Keith said, “We’ll be driving down from Minneapolis to see you in March.”

I said, “We’ll look forward to seeing you, then.   Do you know the exact dates?”

“No, but we’ll e-mail you our plans, when we know more,” Kerry said.

Rick and the older boys came back inside from loading the car.   We gave everyone a hug and a kiss, before we went outside to get in the mini-van for the short trip to the airport.

The flight was uneventful from Daytona Beach to Atlanta.   We had an hour layover there.   We found our gate, and Rick stepped away to call his sister, while I waited with the children.   The twins stood at the big glass windows, and were occupied with watching the airplanes taking off.   The teenagers were engaged with their video games.   I kept my eyes on the twins, knowing their propensity to wander off, at any given moment.   It never ceased to amaze me how quickly they could move.

Rick stepped into one of the small business lounges.  He dialed Julie’s number, and waited for her to answer the call; which she did on the third ring.   “Hello, Rick.   Thank you for calling me back.”

“What’s up with our mother?” he asked, nervously.

He heard Julie take a deep breath on the other end of the line.  “Mom wants to meet with you and your family.”

“Why?” he asked.   “Has she changed her mind about how she feels about gays?”

“No, she hasn’t changed her mind about gay marriage, but she wants to meet your…,” here there was a pause, as if she couldn’t bring herself to say the word HUSBAND.   She started again.   “She wants to meet your family.”

“The answer is no, Julie.   I can’t trust her or her family.   I love my husband and children too much to allow her to come in contact with them,” Rick said.

“Mom doesn’t mean to do you harm,” Julie protested.   “She just wants to see you.”

“That’s not true, Julie, and you know it.   Have you forgotten how Mother sent Dad, Uncle George and Peyton to take me out of this world?    Dad said it was his God-given duty to kill me and my husband; because we’re sinners, an abomination before God.   They trashed our apartment and left death threats.   Since that time, we have always looked over our shoulders, wondering if and when the next religious fanatic is going to try to murder us.   I don’t want anything to do with her or her family,” Rick said.

“But that happened years ago,” Julie said.

“That is true, but it hasn’t changed how Mother and her family feel about us, nor has it changed who we are,” Rick said.   “Unless you’re telling me she has changed her beliefs?”

“She hasn’t changed her religion, Rick.   I doubt that she ever will; however, she does want to have contact with you and your family,” Julie said.

“I don’t think that will be possible, Julie,” Rick said.   “I’m sorry.   I can’t sacrifice the security of my family to satisfy the desires of a bitter old woman who wants nothing better than to see me dead.”

Julie said, “Yes, she’s very bitter about what happened.   Because of you, Dad went to jail.”

“Dad did what our Mother wanted him to do.   She has no one to blame but herself for that.   You know as well as I do that she has always ruled over Dad.   He never did anything on his own, without checking with her first,” Rick said.

Julie said, “I guess I hadn’t really thought about it that way.   I’m sorry, Rick.   I’ve always blamed you for what happened, but I see now that it was Mother all along.”

Rick asked, “Now, do you understand why I don’t want anything to do with her or her family?”

“I do; but can’t you at least call her?   I think that maybe talking to her will help her understand that she is the cause of her own misery.   Rick, she calls me every day, complaining about how lonely she is,” Julie said.   “She wants to come live with me, but I don’t think I can handle having her here.   She is so bitter about the past.   I don’t need that kind of negativity in my home.”

“Neither do I,” Rick agreed.   “I’m afraid that Mother has pushed away the very people she should have helped.   Instead of threatening to kill me and my husband, she should have opened her home to us and welcomed us.   But that is not what she chose to do.   I will call her, but I won’t promise it will result in anything.”

Julie gave Rick the number, and said, “Please give her a chance, Rick.   I know that she doesn’t deserve it, but at least hear her out.”

Rick said, “I won’t promise anything.   If she starts berating me for things she has done, I will hang up on her, and that will be the last time we will ever speak to each other.”

The coldness in his voice made it very clear that he meant what he said.   Julie said, “I understand.   Let me call her, first; and let her know that you will be calling.”

Rick said, “You’re going to warn her to be on her best behavior.”

“Yes, I am.   Mother, sometimes, will listen to me,” Julie said.   She sighed, and said, “I’m hoping that you two can be reconciled to each other.   I know that Dad felt guilty for driving you off and never making an effort to reach out to you.   He made me promise to try and get Mother to back down on her determination to rid the world of her son and his lover.”

“And have you been successful in that endeavor?” Rick asked.

“Somewhat.   I admit that she’s pretty determined to rid the world of all sin, but she’s coming around to the fact that she can’t do it all herself.   I’ve also pointed out that her Jesus ministered to the sinners and saved them from themselves,” Julie said.

Rick asked, in surprise, “Don’t you go to church?”

“Not since Mom and Dad tried to kill you.   I knew that any church that advocated murder was not for me.   I left that church, and I’ve stayed away from all other Christian churches.   They seem to preach the same kind of hatred toward people who don’t fit their version of who is worthy of their company.   I’ve found them to be full of hypocrisy.   They preach one thing, then do another.   I guess you could say we are religious, but we aren’t members of any religious organization.”

Kyle walked into the business lounge, and tapped Rick on the shoulder.   “It’s time to board the plane.”

Rick said, “I’ve got to catch a flight.   I’ll let you know when I’ve called Mother.”

“Thank you for calling me back,” Julie said.

Rick ended the call, and turned to Kyle, “Thanks for coming to get me.”

“Not a problem, Dad,” Kyle said, as they walked back to the boarding area and rejoined the rest of the family.

We were able to board before everyone else, since we had little ones.   I herded them down the jet way and onto the plane.   We had two rows near the front of the plane.   Each twin sat in a window seat.   Kyle sat in the middle seat next to JJ with Ashley on the aisle; and David sat behind Kyle, next to Josh, and Purev in the aisle seat.   We sat across the aisle from Ashley.  I took the middle seat, so Rick could have the aisle.   With his long legs, he needs the extra room.

After takeoff, I asked, “Tell me what Julie had to say.”

Rick related to me the entire conversation.   “Julie more or less admitted that she blamed me for sending Dad to jail.”

“I can’t believe that,” I said.   “It’s so illogical.”

“She didn’t want to admit that our parents were in the wrong,” Rick said.

“It’s kind of twisted, if you ask me,” I said.

Rick took my hand in his and said, “It is, but it’s the kind of thinking that comes with religious fanaticism.   Most religious people are rational and reasonable; however, there are a good number of them who are irrational and unreasonable.”

“You mean those who belong to the professional Christian crowd.   You know, the ones who do it for the money and power,” I said.

“Yes, that’s who I meant.   However, there are those who are not paid preachers that are just as fanatical.   They are whipped into a frenzy by their preachers and pastors; then go out and commit murder, lie, cheat and steal all in the name of their God,” Rick said.

“Rick, you are beginning to sound like me,” I said.  

Rick laughed, “You are starting to rub off on me.   I’ll have to watch myself, or I’ll turn into a carbon copy of you.”

I punched his shoulder, “Watch it!”

Rick leaned over, and whispered in my ear, “I love you, Babe.”

I turned my head, and met his lips for a quick kiss.   The steward stopped at our row, and said, “Thank you for being open about your relationship.   It makes it easier for the rest of us to be out and proud when we see how happy you are.”

Rick grinned, “You’re welcome.”

I had to admire the slim, dark haired steward.   He had jet black eyes under heavy black eyebrows.   His honey colored skin was set off by the white shirt he wore.   He wore diamond studs in his ears and had a killer smile!    He caught my gaze, and I laughed, “You look good.”

He grinned, and said, “Thank you.   I hope I find someone as handsome as you two are.”

He continued down the aisle, leaving us to ourselves.   Kyle leaned forward and looked over at us.  “Do you guys need a room?”

Rick grinned at our son, and said, “Don’t think so, at least not right now.”

The rest of the flight was uneventful, which is the way I like it!   We landed in Toronto on time, and made our way to baggage claim.   We picked up a rental car, and drove the short distance to St. Catharines.   I gave a sigh of relief as we pulled into our driveway.   Rick glanced at me and said, “Welcome home, Glenn.”

I smiled at my husband and took his hand in mine.   “Thank you for bringing me home.”

We quickly unloaded the car, and took our gear inside the house.   The children went their separate ways, leaving me and Rick in the front room.   Rick asked, “Where did everyone go?”

I said, “The twins are playing with their trains in the family room.   David and Purev are helping them construct a major railroad.   Kyle and Ashley are in Kyle’s room, watching a DVD.”

“It sounds like it’s just you and me,” Rick said, putting his arm around my shoulder.

I smiled up at my lover, and said, “I think we should take advantage of our few minutes alone.”   I knew that the phone call to his sister had upset him quite a bit.  I’ve found that the best way to help Rick is to have sex and lots of it!   He knows it, too; so I’m sure he won’t resist my suggestion.

Rick nodded his head in agreement.   “Let’s check in with the teenagers, so they can keep an eye on the twins for a little while.”

We walked into the family room, and David looked up at us.   “Will you keep an eye on the twins for a bit?” Rick asked.

David nodded his head.   “Sure Dad.”

Purev grinned broadly at us.   He knew what we had in mind.   “I’ll tell Kyle not to interrupt you.”

I laughed, and said, “You don’t have to do that.   We’ll poke our heads into Kyle’s room on our way to ours.”

Purev nodded his head, and turned back to help JJ with his portion of the railroad track they were assembling.   We climbed the stairs to our room.  I poked my head into Kyle’s room, and said, “We’re going to be occupied for a bit.   David and Purev are watching the twins.”

Kyle smiled, and said, “Gotcha!”   He gave us the thumbs up sign.

Ashley smiled, and said, “We’ll listen for any problems with the boys.”

“I’m sure they will be fine, but thanks for keeping an ear out,” I said.

I rejoined my husband in our room.   I closed and locked the door, as he approached me.   He took me into his arms and kissed me deeply.   “I love you,” he said.

“I love you, too.   Now show me how much you love me,” I said, pulling him toward our bed.

He growled like the big cat that he becomes when he needs some real loving.   I didn’t have to wait long for him to pounce!

We lay in each other arms, having satisfied our need for each other.   I ran my hands over his chest and down over his well-defined abs.  I felt him shiver under my touch, and I asked, “Are you cold, Babe?”

“No, I’m just enjoying the feel of your touch on my skin,” he replied, guiding my hand lower.

He threw his head back and moaned with pleasure, as I continued to caress him.   He pulled me on top of him and said, “Please fuck me.”

His request struck at my heart strings, as his tone of voice almost begged me to make him mine.   He looked so vulnerable.   I knew he was still hurting inside and wanted me to make him feel loved.   I repositioned myself and kissed him as I complied with his request.   I did and said everything I knew how to communicate my deep and abiding love for him.   After we both came, we rubbed noses and I whispered in his ear, “I love you, Mr. Lernier.” 

His eyes sparkled with unshed tears and he wrapped his arms and legs around me, holding me tight against his body.   He left me no doubts that he wanted and needed me!   I looked deeply into his eyes and said, “You will always be my sweetheart.”

Rick smiled and he said, “Thank you, Babe.   You always know what to say and do to make me happy.”

“That’s my job,” I said, smiling back at him.   “Do you think you’re up to talking to your mother?”

“Yes, I think so.  As long as you’re on the line with me, I think I’ll be okay,” Rick said.   “I don’t want to talk to her by myself.  I want to know that you’re there, and can back me up when she starts to get nasty.”

“I think she is going to be on her best behavior; because your sister will have told her to watch what she says to you,” I said.

Rick stared into my eyes for a long moment, before he said, “Maybe you’re right.   There’s only one way to find out.”

“Let’s get a quick shower before we go downstairs and make that phone call,” I said.

I rolled off of Rick and stood up.   I grabbed his hand, and helped him to his feet.   I led him to our en suite and turned on the shower, adjusting the temperature.   I pulled him into the shower with me, and held him close as the warm water cascaded over us.   He kissed me deeply.   We came up for air, and I said, “Keep that up and we won’t get out of the shower for a long time.”

He grinned at me, and asked, “So?   Don’t you love being fucked in the shower?”

I smiled, and shook my head in disbelief.  “You have a one track mind today.”

His grin broadened.   “And is there a problem with that?”

For an answer, I moaned with pleasure, as his roaming hands caressed my bare skin.   My eyes practically rolled back in my head; the sensations in my body were so intense.   Rick pressed his advantage and captured my lips in a passionate kiss.   He knew he had me right where he wanted me!  

We dried each other off and dressed in khaki pants, white long sleeved t-shirts, with dark blue wool sweaters.   We added cordovan penny loafers to complete our outfits.   I kissed Rick, and said, “Let’s get this over with, so we can move on and enjoy the rest of our holiday.”

We went downstairs to the living room, and sat on the couch side by side.   Rick took out his cell phone and dialed his mother’s number.   It rang twice before she answered.   Rick put the phone on speaker, so we could both hear what she said.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hello, Mother,” Rick said.   He sounded stiff and formal.   There wasn’t any warmth in his voice.

“Hello, Rick.   You sound kind of distant,” she said.

“That is because I have you on speaker phone.   My husband, Glenn, is here with me,” Rick answered.

“Oh,” she said, as if she hadn’t expected Rick to have me on the line with him.

“Julie said you wanted to talk to us,” Rick said, bringing the conversation to a head.

“Yes, I wanted to hear your voice,” she said.

“Well, you’ve now heard my voice,” Rick said, not being very conversational.  I squeezed his hand to let him know I supported him, no matter what he said to his mother.   Rick glanced at me, and smiled.   I saw a wicked gleam in his eye, and wondered what he was going to say.

“Glenn and I are married, and we have five beautiful children,” Rick said.

There was a long silence on the other end of the line.   I started to speak, but Rick put his finger to my lips, and shook his head.   She finally asked, “Are they all yours, or are they adopted?”

“The three oldest are adopted.   The twins are my natural born sons,” Rick replied.

She sighed, and said, “So the Lernier line continues.”

“Yes, it does,” Rick said, with great pride in his voice.

“Your father would’ve been proud to know you have twin boys,” she said.   “Where do you live?”

“Our home is in Ontario, Canada,” he replied, intentionally leaving out the city where they lived.   “We are Canadian citizens.”

“Oh,” she said.   “I thought you lived near Julie.”

“We have a house near her, but this is our home,” Rick said.

Hearing Rick tell his mother that this is home made my day.   I smiled up at him, and whispered, “I love you.”

He gave me a quick kiss, then asked, “How are you doing?”

“I’m doing alright.   I fell and broke my hip last month, so I’ve been laid up a bit.   I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I’ve done with my life; and I decided I needed to try to mend our relationship, before it’s too late,” she said.   “After your Dad passed, I realized that life is too short to hold grudges.   I’ve lived with the hate in my soul for a long time now.   Julie tells me I’m a bitter, nasty old woman.   She made me mad the first time she said it; but it set me to thinking, and I recognized the bitterness inside of me was of my own making.”

 She paused and coughed.   It sounded like she was going to cough up a lung.   After the coughing fit passed, she continued, “Rick and Glenn, I apologize for my behavior.   I treated you poorly, and I took my religious fervor too far.   I know it’s too late to make up for everything that has happened; but I hope we can at least talk on the phone.   I don’t expect you to visit me.   I can only imagine how you feel about this old woman, and the trouble I’ve caused.”

“Julie said you still won’t accept the fact that I’m married to Glenn,” Rick said.

“Well, I can’t change facts, Rick.   You’re legally married, and I can’t dispute that.   I don’t agree with it, and I still hold to the belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.   However, I can’t force my religious beliefs on other people.   That is where I made my mistake,” she admitted.   It was obvious from her tone of voice that it pained her to admit that she had been in error.   “It’s taken me a long time to figure out that I was only injuring myself, with all the hatred and intolerance I felt toward you and Glenn.”

“So far I’ve heard how your hatred and intolerance affected you.   Have you given any thought to how it impacted us?” I said, trying to keep the loathing I felt toward this woman out of my voice.   “Do you have any clue how deep the wounds are that you and your family inflicted on my husband?   Do you have any clue what it’s like to see the person you love the most in the entire world suffering because his family has rejected him?   Let me tell you, I deal with the results of your rejection of Rick every day of my life; because those injuries still haven’t healed despite the passage of time.   You come to us now, telling us how you’ve finally discovered how much your words and actions damaged YOU, without even a simple acknowledgement of the pain and suffering you caused us.”

Rick put his arm around my shoulder, and leaned over to whisper in my ear, “It’s okay, Glenn.   Let it go.”

Before she could answer, Josh and JJ ran into the room followed by David and Purev.   It was obvious the twins were super excited.   JJ took my hand and said, “Daddy, come and see our train track!   You’ll love what we did with the train station.”

Not to be outdone by his twin, Josh took Rick’s hand, and said, “Dad, we built lots of bridges, and David helped us create a special railroad town inside a mountain.”

Rick smiled and said, “Slow down a bit, boys.   We’re talking to Grandma on the phone.   Please say ‘hello’ to Grandma.”

The twins chorused, “Hi Grandma.”

She said, “Hello, boys.”

I said, “Tell her who you are.”

The twins each introduced themselves.   My mother-in-law asked, “How old are you?”

JJ said, “We’re going to be 5 years old in a couple of weeks.   Daddy says we will be old enough to be on a soccer team.”

Josh piped up, “Yeah, we’re going to be on the best soccer team ever!”

Rick said, “My adopted son, David, is here with us, along with a good friend, Purev.”

David said, “Hi Grandma, this is David.”

“I’m Purev.   It’s nice to talk to you Ma’am.”

We didn’t hear anything on the other end of the line; so I said, “JJ and Josh, go with David and Purev into the kitchen.   You can have milk and cookies, while you wait for me and Dad to finish talking with Grandma.”   I wanted to make sure she knew we weren’t going to have an extended conversation.

JJ clapped his hands, and said, “Yeah, let’s go, Josh.”

The twins raced each other out of the room.   David and Purev followed at a more sedate pace.   We heard them getting the cookies out of the cookie jar, and the fridge opening and closing.   We also heard the sounds of crying coming from the speaker phone.

Rick asked, “Mom, are you okay?”

She answered, with a choked up voice, “Yes, I’m fine.   I was just overcome with emotion, listening to your boys.   I wish I could be a part of their lives.”

I looked at Rick, waiting for his response.   He met my gaze, and said, “I have no objections to renewing contact with you; however, I don’t think we’re anywhere near ready to trust you not to attempt to harm us, or our children.   Past history indicates that we should be very cautious about opening any correspondence with you, or your family.”

She said, “I understand.   I know if I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t have called.   I have to thank you for taking the time to talk to me.   I think this call has been a good first step.”

Rick ignored her comment about this call being a first step.   He had no intentions of moving forward with a full normalization of relations with her; not after all she had done.   “We will have to let you know if and when we might be ready to do more than a phone call,” Rick said.

She replied, “I am happy you called.   I hope you will call me again.”

Rick said, “Goodbye, Mother.”   He ended the call, and put his cell phone back into his pocket.  

“I’m proud of you, Rick,” I said.   “You handled that very well.”

Rick pulled me into his embrace and kissed me.   “I had you by my side, and that is the only reason I made it through that call.”

“Do you think she is really sincere?” I asked.

Rick replied, “I’m not sure.   Knowing my mother, and her religious views, I would say, no, she’s not being sincere.   I think there must be an ulterior motive that is pushing her to contact us.   Otherwise, why would she contact us?”

“I’m glad to hear you express those thoughts, because I was thinking the same thing,” I said.   “I didn’t want to offend you by insinuating that your mother was being less than straight forward with us.”

Rick rubbed noses with me, and said, “I wouldn’t have been offended, even if you had told me you thought she was outright lying to us.”   He paused to think for a moment, before continuing, “Now that I think about it, I think she was lying to us.   Julie never mentioned that my mother had been laid up.”

“Didn’t your cousin, Peyton, mention his family was stirring things up again?” I asked.

“Yes, he did,” Rick said.   Peyton married his boyfriend, Jonathan, a few years ago, and they moved to Boston.   “Peyton said his family doesn’t know that he’s married to Jonathan, or his father would have sent a posse to Boston to murder them, just like they attempted to do to us.”

“Given that piece of information, I suggest you leave things as they are between us and your mother.   I found it strange that she made a point of letting us know that she knew we lived near your sister,” I said.

“I think we had better call Jeff, and let him know to increase the security around our house in Virginia,” Rick said.   Rick gazed into my eyes, and asked, “Are we being too paranoid?   I know it’s hard for us to forgive mother and her family for what happened; but shouldn’t we give her a second chance?”

“No, I don’t think we’re being too paranoid about our safety.   If Peyton hadn’t mentioned that his family was still having issues about gay marriage and homosexual activity among the family, I would’ve said that we needed to stand down, and allow her to have contact with us,” I said.

Satisfied with my answer, Rick released me, and said, “Let’s get some cookies and milk.”   He took me by the hand, and led me into the kitchen where we found the boys had demolished all of the cookies.   “Where are my cookies?” Rick asked, in mock horror.

JJ laughed, and Josh giggled.   “We ate them all,” David said, grinning at his Dad.

“Well, I think that all of you can help bake some chocolate cookies to refill the cookie jar,” I said.

JJ said, “I get to mix the dough.”

Josh said, “I get to crack the eggs.”

David said, “I’ll read the recipe, and help measure out the ingredients.”

I looked over at Purev, and asked, “And what are you going to do?”

Purev grinned, “I’m going to supervise the whole operation.”

Rick laughed, and said, “You will have your hands full, Purev.”

Purev said, “I’m used to it.”

Rick said, “We’ll leave you men to your baking.”

We left them in the kitchen, and moved into the family room.   Rick took a seat on the couch.   He spread his legs wide, and indicated I should sit between them.   I joined him, and leaned back against his chest.   He wrapped his arms around my waist, as he nibbled on my earlobe.

“You taste good,” Rick said, as he kissed the base of my neck, sending a shiver of pleasure down my spine.

I replied, “I like it when you do that.”

Rick murmured into my ear, “I like doing it.”

It felt good to have Rick’s arms around me.   He seemed happy and unaffected by the phone call to his mother.   I had been very worried about it; because every other contact with his family had only resulted in more pain and suffering for him.   Rick wanted to have a relationship with his family so much that it hurt when they didn’t meet his expectations.   Maybe the contact with his mother would convince him that leaving things the way they are would be much better than the alternative.   Most of all, I wanted Rick to be happy.   I wasn’t sure I could put aside my anger and forgive her for what she and her family had done to the most important person in my life; but I was willing to try, if it meant making Rick happy.  I pushed aside my worries and I relaxed in my husband’s arms.

Prev To be continued . . .