The Lernier Family
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved




Chapter 53: Ashley’s Visit to the White House

Ashley ran down the stairs and into the kitchen.  Seeing me, she said, “Daddy, I’m ready to go.  How do I look?”  She twirled around, her full skirt billowing around her.  Earlier, she had asked me to help her braid her long dark hair and tie it up in a tight knot on top of her head.

I smiled, as I looked her over, noting she chose to wear the dress Rick and I had given her for her birthday.  She looked so grown up with a touch of eyeliner making her large, expressive hazel eyes pop.  I felt a jolt hit my heart, realizing our little girl was growing up and would be leaving us in a few short years.  Pushing those thoughts aside, I said, “You look great!  I think you’ll outshine everyone else on the field trip.”

Ashley was one of the science students from Hayfield Secondary School chosen to attend Astronomy Night at the White House.  The top two science students from each of the science classes at the school and their teachers were meeting at the school for the trip to Washington, DC, in less than an hour.  Rick walked into the kitchen and smiled at his daughter, who was practically bouncing up and down with excitement.  She ran over to her father, wrapping her arms around his waist.  Looking up at him, she said, “I’m going to meet the President of the United States!”

Rick nodded his head in agreement.  “Yes, you are.  I’m very proud of you, Ashley.  You’re an excellent science student and I’m happy you’re going to the White House.”

Kyle, David and Purev joined us.  Kyle gave his sister a high five.  “Way to go, Sis!  Not everyone has a Brainiac for a sister!”

Ashley blushed and grinned at him.  “Thanks, Kyle.”

David hugged her and said, “I’m glad you’re going.  I wish I could go with you, but my science grades aren’t as good as yours.”

Ashley walked over to Purev and hugged him.  “Thanks for helping me with my science homework, Purev.  You’re so smart and I’m so glad you’re my brother.”

Purev blushed and looked down at his shoes.  “It was nothing, Ashley.  You’re just as smart as I am and even smarter when it comes to science and math.”

She reached out and placed her hand under his chin, raising it until his eyes met hers.  “Don’t put yourself down, Purev.  Don’t ever doubt for a moment you’re nothing but brilliant!”  Purev nodded his head and smiled.  He hugged her and released her.

I glanced at the clock on the microwave and said, “Ashley, we need to go, or you’ll miss the bus.”

Ashley took my hand and practically dragged me to the door.  As I opened it, the twins ran into the foyer.

“Wait!  We didn’t’ get a hug!” JJ shouted, throwing himself into Ashley’s arms.

She kissed the top of his head.  “I love you, JJ.  I’m only going to be gone for a couple of hours.”

Josh pushed his twin out of the way to hug his sister.  “But you won’t be back in time to read stories to us.”

“True, but I’ll be here when you wake up in the morning,” Ashley said, giving him a kiss on the forehead.

Josh smiled up at her and said, “Okay, but you have to help us get ready for school.”

“Okay, I’ll see you in the morning,” she said.

She released him and took my hand, leading me outside to our mini-van.  We climbed in and I started the engine.  I pulled up to the gate and waited for Tamid to open it.  He left the guard shack and walked over to the van.  I rolled down the window and said, “I’m headed to the school.”

He smiled and said, “The twins told me Ashley is going to the White House tonight.  Congratulations!”

Ashely beamed at him.  “Thank you, Tamid.”

“Have fun and don’t forget to take pictures,” Tamid said.

“I won’t forget,” she responded, waving her cell phone at him. 

Thirty minutes later, I pulled into the parking lot of the school.  We climbed out of the vehicle and made our way inside the school.  We found Ms. Clawson, Ashley’s science teacher.

Ms. Clawson said, “I’m glad you’re here, Ashley.”  She turned to me and extended her hand, which I shook.  “Thanks for giving your permission for Ashley to go on this field trip.”

I released her hand, and smiled.  “We’re very proud of Ashley and her achievements in the science program here at Hayfield.”

Ms. Clawson’s smile lit up her face.  “Ashley is a joy to have as a student.  She has the capacity and intellect to do anything she wants.”

I agreed, “Yes, she’s brilliant, but she already knows that.”  I turned to Ashley and said, “I’ll see you back here around 10 PM.”  I hugged her, then returned to the mini-van.

Later that same night, Ms. Clawson and Ashley stood next to the refreshment table, waiting for the rest of the students to join them.  They had been on a tour of the White House, before being shepherded into a room filled with tables covered with all kinds of cookies, cakes, etc. 

Ashley picked up a small plate and a napkin, placing a chocolate chip cookie on her plate.  As she moved to pick up a second one, a deep voice said, “Those are pretty good, but I think you’ll like these better.”

She turned and looked up.  Seeing who had spoken, she said, “You’re the President.”

“Yes, I am,” he said, smiling down at her.

“The chocolate chip ones are the best,” she said.

“Yes, they’re good, but I think you’ll like the ones with white chocolate and macadamia nuts in them.  They’re my favorite,” he said, picking up a cookie and taking a bite out of it.  He closed his eyes and said, “Hmmm….that’s good.”

Ashley said, “I’ll try it and let you know what I think.”  She reached over and picked up a cookie and took a big bite, chewing slowly.  He watched her, waiting for her to announce her verdict.  Swallowing, she said, “It’s good, Mr. President, but chocolate chip is still better.”

He laughed and said, “I always like someone who knows what she likes.  I’m glad you came to visit me tonight, Ashley.  I’m excited to see the stars tonight.  My daughters are about the same age as you are and they’ll be joining us in a few minutes.”

She looked up at him in amazement.  “How do you know my name?”

He smiled widely and answered, “It’s on your name tag.”

Ashley laughed.  “I forgot about that.  You’re pretty cool for a grown up.”

“I hope so.  I wouldn’t want to be boring, or my daughters wouldn’t want to be around me,” he said.  He turned to Ms. Clawson, extending his hand to her.  “You must be Ashley’s teacher.”

“Yes, I am,” Ms. Clawson said, smiling.

“Thank you for all you do to educate our students.  It’s important to us, as a country, to encourage our young people to seek out opportunities to improve themselves,” he said.

Ms. Clawson smiled.  “I love what I do, Mr. President, and wouldn’t trade it for any other job in the world.”

“Good!” he responded and moved on to greet more of the students filing into the room with their teachers.

I picked up Ashley from the school, following her field trip to the White House. She climbed inside the mini-van and buckled her seatbelt.  “Daddy, I met the President.  He was so cool!”

“What did he say to you?” I asked, smiling at the excitement rolling off her.

She narrated her conversation with the President and asked, “Isn’t that awesome?”

“Yes, it is,” I responded.  “Not everyone gets to talk to the President of the United States in person and at the White House.  What else did you do?”

“We went on a tour of the White House before we had cookies and punch.  Then we went outside to look at the stars through all kinds of telescopes.  They told us how each one worked and why it was better for seeing different things.  It was so cool!”

“Was your group the only one there?” I asked.

“No, there were several other groups of kids from other schools.  I saw some of Kyle’s friends from Edison High School,” she said.

“It sounds like you had a wonderful time,” I said.

She nodded her head.  “I can’t wait to tell the boys.”

“You’ll have to wait until tomorrow morning to do that, since they’ve already gone to bed,” I said.  “But, Dad is still up, so you can tell him all about your adventures at the White House.”

Which she did, running to him and jumping into his arms, when we finally arrived at home.  Rick caught her easily and held her tight.  “Welcome home, cuddle-bug.  Tell me all about your field trip.”  He carried her into the family room, sitting down on the couch to listen to her narrate the events of the evening.  I pulled out my cell phone and snapped a few photos of her and Rick to put in Ashley’s scrapbook along with the program from her visit to the White House.

I’ve appointed myself the official family historian.  I’ve put together scrapbooks for each of the children, chronicling the important events in their lives.  Rick teases me about my obsession with keeping things he considers junk to be thrown away!  To me, a ticket stub and program from a school play bring back memories of a special night along with photos of the event.

After Ashley had gone to bed, I pulled out her scrapbook to add the White House tour program.  Rick came up behind me, leaning over to wrap his arms around my chest and nuzzling my hair.

“You’re so anal about maintaining the kids’ scrapbooks,” he said, attempting to distract me by gently biting my earlobe.

I laughed and said, “Yes, I am, and you always try to distract me when I’m working on them.”  I turned my head to meet his lips.  The kiss started out gentle and sweet, but quickly became heated and passionate, driving all thoughts of scrapbooks out of my mind.

Rick pulled back, noting my dazed expression.  He grinned broadly.  “It’s good to know I can still put that look on your face.”

Managing to re-engage my brain, I stuck my tongue out at him.  “You’re incorrigible!”

He kissed me again, causing things to move down below!  He reached down to caress my growing erection through the cloth of my jeans.  “I think it’s time to take this to our bedroom.”

Having lost the power of speech, I nodded my head and allowed Rick to pull me to my feet and lead me up the stairs to our bedroom, locking the door behind us before stripping me out of my clothes!  He lost his clothing just as quickly, pushing me down onto the bed, lifting my legs over his shoulders as he joined his body to mine, reminding me why I love my guy!

A few weeks later, Rick and I sat on the beach, enjoying the breeze blowing off of the ocean as we watched our children building sand castles.  David, Purev and Mark had dug a moat around the twins’ sand castle; but had moved on to fly their kites.

I looked over to see what the rest of our teens were doing and noticed Kyle was holding Rebecca’s hand.  He stood up, pulling Rebecca to her feet.  As he turned toward me, his state of arousal was very much apparent in his tented swimming trunks.  My eyes widened in surprise, as I tapped on Rick’s shoulder, and nodded toward our son.  “I think Kyle’s just a little bit turned on.”

Rick looked and laughed.  “Well, I think that answers any questions we had about his sexuality.”

“Yes, it does,” I said, grinning up at Kyle, as the two teens passed us on their way to the water’s edge.  It was obvious they were in their own little world.  Kyle was totally focused on his girlfriend, laughing at something she said, as she caressed his bicep.  If she noticed his raging hard-on, she gave no indication of it.  I looked over at Rick, shaking my head in disbelief.  “How can he walk around like that without trying to hide his erection?  I would be totally embarrassed.”

Rick patted my arm and said, “It’s okay, Babe.  You can stop hyperventilating.”

“You need to talk to him about being a little more discreet,” I said, blushing for him.

Rick leaned over and kissed me lightly on the lips.  “I’ll speak to him, if it will make you happy.”

“Yes, it will make me happy.  I don’t mind seeing how aroused guys get when we’re out clubbing or dancing; but here on a public beach isn’t the time or place,” I said.  “Besides, I don’t want anyone to see how well-endowed our son is or have them get the wrong ideas.  He’s very handsome and attracts the attention of both guys and girls, which is good and bad.  The fact he’s unaware of the effect he has on others only adds to his charm.” 

Rick agreed.  “Yes, his innocence could make him an unsuspecting target.  I’ll talk to him tomorrow when I take him to his orchestra rehearsal.”  He glanced down the beach at the two teens, and continued, “You have to admit Kyle has good taste in women.  Rebecca is a real knock-out.”

I nodded my head.  “That she is, if that’s what trips your trigger.”  I gave my husband a lecherous grin and continued, “However, you’re the only one who gets my motor running.”

He leaned over and kissed me on the lips.  “I’d better be the only one who turns your crank.”

Seeing Rick kiss me, Clay grinned and exclaimed, “Hey, guys, get a room!”

Collin, defending us, said, “Leave them alone, Clay.”  He leaned over and kissed Clay on the lips.  Clay deepened the kiss, then pulled back, gasping for air.  Collin met Clay’s eyes.  “Now, you can’t say anything to them, because you’ve been thoroughly kissed.” 

Clay said, “Well, let’s try that again, then.”  When they pulled apart, Clay noted the dazed look in Collin’s eyes.   He laughed and said, “I’m glad my kisses still cause your ability to think to short circuit!”

When coherent thought returned to his brain, Collin grinned and said, “You always do that to me.”

Any further conversation was interrupted when Johnny, my half-brother, ran up to us and grabbed my hand, his sapphire eyes sparkling with happiness and excitement.  “Glenn, come and see the sand castle we built.”

“Help me up,” I said, smiling up him.  Seeing his happy face made me glad his mother, Renata, had agreed to let him spend the summer with us.  After helping me to my feet, Johnny pulled me along toward the surf.

As we approached, the twins jumped up and surrounded me, chattering excitedly.  “Daddy, look at our sand castle,” Josh exclaimed.  “Cammy and Skye helped us build it.”

JJ said, “David, Purev and Mark dug the moat for us.  See?”

I walked around the sand castle.  “It looks great, boys.”

Johnny pulled me further down the beach to another construction project.  “Cammy and Skye are building an even bigger sand castle.”

Cammy looked up from where he had turned his bucket upside down, dumping the damp sand onto the growing sand pile in the center of the moat their six-year old cousins, Brian, Justin and Robin, had constructed around their nascent sand castle.  “We’re building a real castle,” he said.  “Dad bought us these special buckets that make turrets and walls.”

Skye asked, “See how this one makes towers?”

“It looks like a professional made it,” I said.

Skye grinned broadly.  “That’s because I’m a professional.”

Brian said, “We’re professionals, too.”

Justin added, “We build moats.”

Robin grinned and said, “We’re the Anderson-Ingram brothers and we’re the best at what we do!”

“I’m sure you are,” I agreed.

Looking at his cousin, Cammy said, “We’re Anderson-Ingrams, too.”

“Yes, but you and Skye are twins, not triplets like us,” Robin said, giving Cammy a superior look.

Hearing Robin’s raised voice, Robbie and Adam joined me.  Robbie gave his son a stern look.  “What’s going on, Robin?”

Looking up at his father, Robin said, “I was just telling Cammy he’s a twin, not a triplet.”

“That’s a true statement; however, does it change the fact he’s your cousin?” Robbie asked.

Robin shook his head.  “But, Cammy and Skye are not the same as me, Brian and Justin.”

Adam said, “That’s a good thing, son.  We wouldn’t want everyone to be the same as you three, because you’re special; just like Cammy and Skye are special because they’re twins and not triplets.”

Brian said, “Robin, Cammy and Skye are good builders, too.  We dig the moats and they build the sand castles.”

“But I want to build the sand castles,” Robin said, pouting.

“Then ask Cammy and Skye to teach you how,” Adam said, smiling at his son.

Robin turned to Cammy.  “Will you teach me how to build sand castles?”

Cammy smiled and said, “Yes, and I’ll teach Brian and Justin, too.  Then we all can build sand castles.  We’re going to build great sand castles like our dads!”

Justin said, “We’re almost done digging the moat, so we can help build the sand castle.”

Robbie said, “I’m glad you boys have worked things out.”  He ruffled Robin’s hair.

Johnny took my hand and pulled me toward another sand castle.  “This is the best sand castle ever!”

I looked over the beautifully constructed sand creation.  Robbie and Adam joined us, admiring Zach and Todd’s work.  Zach looked up from where he was smoothing the sides of a castle turret.  “You and Todd have outdone yourselves this time,” I said.

Zach gave me a smug grin.  “We have a reputation to maintain.”  Zach and Todd are consummate sand castle builders!  Over the years, they’ve created some pretty fantastic sand castles.

Todd stood up and ruffled Johnny’s blond hair.  “We’ve had some extra help this time.  Johnny built the walls.”

Hearing Todd’s praise, Johnny’s smile couldn’t have gotten any bigger.  “Uncle Todd taught me how.”

“You’re a good student,” Todd said, smiling at the young boy.

Zach said, “Yes, Johnny has been a big help.  He’s hauled buckets of sand from the water’s edge for us.”

David and Mark walked up, each carrying a bucket.  David said, “We have the seashells you wanted.”

Mark added, “We found some really cool looking ones.”

Zach said, “Let’s see what you’ve got.”

The boys dumped out their treasure trove of shells on the sand near Zach’s feet.  They began sorting them into piles.  When they were done, Zach said, “Take these purple ones and press them into the walls around the outside.”

The two teens proceeded to follow his instructions.  Turning to Johnny, Zach pointed to a pile of white and brown shells.  “Johnny, will you press these shells into the walls of the turrets?”

Johnny released my hand and ran over to Zach.  “Sure, Uncle Zach.”

“Thanks for letting Johnny help you,” I said.

Todd said, “You’re most welcome.  He’s a joy to have around.”

Watching Johnny press shells into the sand, I smiled and said, “I’m glad you were able to join us for our usual beach vacation.  I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to make it with the move and all.”

Todd stood and hugged me.  “You know we wouldn’t miss this for anything in the world.  Just because we moved back to Ontario doesn’t mean we won’t be here for vacations and special events.  We love you guys.”

“I know you do, but there’s so much distance between us, now you’ve moved north,” I said.  I tightened my arms around my friend.  “I miss you.”

Todd leaned back to look me in the eyes.  “I miss you, too, but it’s for the best.  The boys need to be near their grandparents.”

“How’s it going, now Zach is home full time?” I asked.

Zach, hearing the question, answered for his spouse, “It’s going just fine!  Retiring was the best decision I’ve ever made except for marrying Todd.”

Todd nodded his head in agreement.  “It’s wonderful having him home, instead of flying all over the USA and Canada for games.”  Todd released me and sat down next to his husband on the sand.

Adam said, “We love having them close.”

Robbie agreed, “I missed them a lot when they moved to the States, after living next door to them in Toronto.”

“It’s been good for the boys to get re-acquainted with their cousins,” Adam said. “That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a little bit of resentment going on with the triplets.”

I looked at Adam in surprise.  “Why is that?”

Robbie said, “The triplets were used to being the center of attention, especially where their grandparents were concerned.  Now Zach and Todd live close to us, they have to share their grandparents’ attention with the twins.”

I nodded my head in understanding.  “Now, I get it.  I wondered why Robin was acting out a few minutes ago.”

Adam gave me a rueful look.  “We and our parents have been working hard to reassure them it’s okay to share us with their twin cousins; and we still love them just the same as before.”

Robbie said, “They get along most of the time, now.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” I said.

Zach said, “We’ve had similar discussions with the twins.”

Todd shook his head.  “I don’t know why the boys had such a hard time adjusting to being around family again.”

“I think their acting out was caused by all the changes in their lives,” I said.  “We’ve seen a little of that from JJ and Josh since you moved away.  The older children miss you guys a lot, but have expressed their feelings to us in words, while the twins have expressed theirs by acting out.”

Zach sighed.  “It’s good to know our boys weren’t the only ones acting out.”

“I think being together for our beach vacation will go a long way to settling any fears they have about losing their best friends,” I said.

Todd nodded his agreement.  “I’m glad Robbie and Adam could join us this year, as well.”

Robbie grinned.  “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

Adam punched his husband in the shoulder.  “Yeah, all Robbie can talk about is having a swimsuit competition like we did in Cancun and in Spain.”

I laughed and said, “I think we can arrange a competition tonight at the house.”

Adam grinned.  “It’s a good thing we have pool with a privacy fence.  We don’t want the neighbors calling the cops for indecent exposure!”

“Robbie, do we need to amend the competition rules to keep the swimsuits family friendly?” I asked, arching an eyebrow.

Robbie gave me an innocent look, then laughed.  “I promise to keep it tame.”

“I look forward to our competition, then,” I said. 

David asked, “Do we get to be part of the competition?”

I turned to David and Mark and said, “Sure.  Everyone is welcome to participate.  I was thinking the girls could be the judges.”

Mark said, “I know Michaela will like that.”

“As will Caroline, Marie, Ashley and Rebecca,” David said.  “I’m sure Purev will want to be part of the competition.”

I glanced around noting Purev wasn’t helping with the sand castles.  “What happened to Purev?”

David answered my question, “Winston finally made it.”

“Purev went to meet him,” Mark added.

“Winston’s parents couldn’t make it, but his older brother, Thomas, drove down with him,” David said.  “Thomas is home for the summer.  He’s going to school at the College of William and Mary.”

“I’m glad they finally made it,” I said.  “I was beginning to think Winston’s parents had changed their minds.”

“Purev was worried about that, too,” David said.  He stood up and waved.  “Over here!” he shouted.

I turned to see Purev and Winston walking toward us with a tall, good looking guy beside them.  Purev and Winston were holding hands and smiling broadly.  They joined us and Purev said, “Thomas, this is my family.”  He pointed to each of us, introducing us.

Thomas acknowledged the introductions and said, “Nice to meet you.”

Thomas gave me the once over and grinned, when I met his gaze.  “Sorry, I hope I didn’t embarrass you.”

I laughed and said, “I’m glad you find me attractive.  It does my ego good to know young guys still like what they see.  Of course, Rick keeps me in good shape.”

Todd gave me a lecherous look and said, “If you think Glenn looks good in board shorts, you should see him in his speedos.”

Thomas laughed and said, “I’d love to see all of you guys in speedos.”

Zach said, “Then join us at the pool tonight and we’ll give you a show.”

Todd grinned.  “We love showing off!”

I laughed and nodded my head in agreement.  “That we do.”  I nodded toward the beach umbrellas where Rick, Clay and Collin were sitting.  “Let’s introduce you to my husband and our friends, Clay and Collin.”

Thomas followed me over and I introduced him.  “Guys, this is Thomas, Winston’s brother.  Thomas, this is my husband, Rick, and these two are Clay, Mark’s dad, and his husband, Collin.”

Rick stood and shook his hand.  “Nice to meet you, Thomas.  Would you care to join us old folks?  There’s an extra chair here, if you do.”

Thomas smiled and said, “Thanks.  It gets to be a little much watching my brother and Purev go all googly-eyes over each other.”

We sat down and I said, “I know what you mean.  When I was attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, I had to watch Zach and Todd loving on each other, while Rick was overseas in the military.  I hated it!”

Rick leaned over and kissed me.  “But the wait was worth it, Babe.”

I grinned and said, “Yes, it was worth it, but I still hated the fact everyone else had their sweetheart with them and I was all alone.”

Thomas asked, “How did you two meet?”  Between Rick and I, we narrated our story.  When we were finished, he said, “That’s so cool.  I wish my brother would introduce me to some hot guy who would fall in love with me.”

“Well, maybe we could help you out in that department,” I said.  I waved over Tamid, who was scanning the area for potential threats to our safety.  He was dressed in tight white shorts and tank top that showed off his bronzed skin to perfection.

Tamid joined us.  “Yes, boss?”

“I’d like you to meet Thomas, Winston’s brother,” I said.

Thomas stood to shake Tamid’s hand.  “Nice to meet you.”

Tamid’s bright smile lit up his face.  “Same here.”  He didn’t release Thomas’ hand, pulling him with him as he returned to continue his surveillance.  “Winston told me you are going to school at William and Mary.”

Thomas nodded his head, shyly, pulling his hand out of Tamid’s grasp.  “Yes, I’m majoring in criminal justice.”

Tamid smiled and said, “I started out studying criminal justice, but I’ve had to drop out of school for a while to earn money for school.”

“Where are you from?” Thomas asked.

I’m from Alexandria, Virginia,” he responded.

Thomas looked puzzled.  “But Tamid isn’t a very common name.”

Tamid smiled.  “No, it’s not.  It’s Arabic in origin.  My parents told me it means ‘to rely on.’  I don’t know Arabic, so I can’t say for sure.  And before you ask, my parents moved to Virginia from Bangladesh before I was born.  I grew up in Alexandria and I’ve never lived anywhere else,” he said.  He paused, considering whether or not to ask Thomas out on a date.  “Hey, would you like to go out for a bite to eat after I get off work?”

Thomas grinned.  “Sure, but you know I’m gay, right?”

“Yes, I do.  Figured that out when you let me hold your hand a few minutes ago,” Tamid said, flashing Thomas a brilliant smile.

Thomas blushed and said, “Have you ever been told you have a sexy smile?”

Their conversation was interrupted when Caroline, Marie, Ashley and Michaela walked up to them.  Ashley asked, “Who is your friend?”

Tamid answered, “This is Winston’s brother, Thomas.”

Ashley smiled at Thomas.  “It’s nice to meet you.  I’m Ashley, Purev’s sister, and these are my friends, Caroline, Marie, and Michaela.”

Thomas said, “It’s nice to meet all of you.”

Tamid said, “Caroline and Marie’s dads are over there.”  He pointed down the beach to where Jeff and Cole were standing.  “They are part of our security team, as well.”

As Thomas turned to look at them, Jeff leaned over to kiss his husband.  Thomas looked at Tamid and asked, “Is every gay guy here married?”

Before Tamid could answer his question, Marie spoke up, “All of the adults are married, except Tamid.”  She smiled up at him.  “I just wish he weren’t gay.”

Caroline echoed her sentiment.  “It seems all the good looking guys are gay.”

Tamid laughed.  “So, you think I’m good looking?”

“Yes, we do,” Caroline said, batting her eyelashes.  “Are you sure you aren’t straight?”

Tamid grinned at her.  “If I were and you were a couple of years older, I’d take you out on a date.”

Marie said, “Hey!  What about me?”

Tamid said, “Well, we would have to make it a double date and take Thomas with us.”

Marie grinned at Thomas and said, “I’d be okay with that.  You’re good looking, too, Thomas.”

Thomas said, “Thank you, Marie.  I’m glad to know I passed muster; however, I’m gay, too.”  He paused, before continuing, “Ashley, Purev talks about you all the time.”

Ashley blushed.  “I hope it’s all good.”

“It is.  He says you’re the smartest person he knows,” he said.

Michaela said, “Purev’s right about that.  Ashley is very good at math and science.”

“And English and history,” Ashley added, smiling up at Thomas.”

Michaela agreed, “That’s right.  The best thing is she helps me to understand what we’re learning in class.”

Thomas smiled and said, “I’m glad to hear you like to help your friends.”

Ashley blushed, but responded, “I like helping my friends.”

Caroline smiled and said, “Ashley and her family are awesome.”

Ashley turned to her friends and said, “Let’s go help the boys with their sand castles.”

The girls left them and joined the group of boys working on several new sand castles.

Later that evening, Kyle sat on his bed looking up at this brothers.  He gave them an incredulous look.  “You want me to wear a Speedo for the swimsuit competition?”

Purev laughed.  “You know you would look great in it.”

Kyle shook his head.  “I don’t want to scare Rebecca off.”

David grinned and said, “She won’t be scared off, Kyle.  You know she’ll love seeing the real you.”  David grabbed his crotch.  “You’re so much bigger than the rest of us.”

Kyle blushed.  “I don’t want her to see how big I am.”

Purev got a wicked gleam in his eye.  “It’s not like you weren’t sporting a hard-on all day at the beach.  I’m sure she already noticed what you’re packing down there.”

Kyle pretended to be offended.  “Why were you looking down there?”

Purev laughed.  “I was enjoying the scenery.  There’s a reason I go to the beach and that’s to admire all of the eye candy.”

David agreed.  “Yes, Kyle, and you didn’t disappoint us.”

“David!” Kyle shouted.  “You’re not supposed to be perving on your brother!”

David responded, “Calm down, big brother.  I wasn’t perving on you, especially when you weren’t exactly hiding your erection.  Your big dick stuck out like a mile.  It was like a roadside billboard calling attention to the next breakfast shop.”

Kyle flopped back onto the pillows, blushing even more.  “Was I really that bad?”

“Yes, Kyle, you were,” Purev said.  “It was obvious you were extremely aroused.”

Kyle frowned.  “Why didn’t anyone say anything to me?”

David looked at his brother in surprise.  “What were we supposed to say?  Excuse me, Rebecca, just ignore Kyle’s giant-sized erection?  Can you imagine how embarrassed she would’ve been?”

Kyle thought for a moment, then acknowledged the truth of David’s statement.  “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”  He paused, before changing the subject, “Okay, I’ll wear a Speedo.”  He sighed in resignation.

Purev grinned broadly.  “We have four different colors – red, yellow, blue and white.  Which one do you want?”  Purev held them up, as Kyle looked them over.

“I’ll take the white one,” Kyle said, reaching for the skimpy piece of fabric.

David said, “You’ll look great in them, because the white fabric will highlight your tan.”

Kyle looked up to meet David’s gaze and said, “I just hope I don’t pop a boner.  I won’t be able to hide it in these.”

Purev said, seriously, “Then don’t hold Rebecca’s hand or kiss her while you’re wearing them.”

David gave a wicked laugh.  “That’s just it.  Kyle can’t keep his hands off of his girlfriend.”  He looked over to Purev.  “I think we can expect quite the show.”

Kyle jumped up to grab David in a head lock.  He rubbed the top of David’s head with a closed fist, giving him a noogie.  “At least I don’t get hard looking at guys in skimpy swimsuits like someone I know.”  He released David, who punched him in the shoulder.

“At least I didn’t walk around all day with a giant hard on, threatening to knock people over,” David said, jumping back to prevent Kyle from putting him in a head lock again.

Kyle lunged at him, causing David to run from the room, with Kyle on his heels.  Kyle chased him down the stairs and outside onto the beach.  Kyle put on a spurt of speed, catching his brother around the waist and lifting him over his shoulder.  He turned around, carrying David back to the house.  

David shouted, “Put me down!”

Kyle said, “Only if you promise to stop teasing me.”

David said, “I promise.”

Kyle put him on his feet.  David turned and took off in a dead run, yelling over his shoulder, “Just kidding!”

Kyle flipped him off, but let him go.  He made his way inside the house, where he found the twins and the rest of his younger cousins playing video games.  Purev entered the room, throwing the white Speedos to Kyle.

“Don’t forget you promised to wear these for the swimsuit competition,” Purev said, laughing at the look on Kyle’s face.

JJ looked up at Kyle.  “We want to be in the competition, too.”

Cammy said, “Yeah, you guys have to let us be in it, too.”

Kyle said, “I suppose you may, but you need to go ask Daddy if it’s okay.”

JJ turned and said, “Let’s go ask.”

Rick and I were relaxing in our room when the door opened and a pack of boys, led by our twins, entered the room.  JJ and Josh ran over to our bed and jumped up, climbing in between us.

JJ looked up at me and asked, “Can we be in the swimsuit competition?  Kyle said we had to ask you.”

“Well, do you have a swimsuit you want to wear?” I asked, looking over at the rest of the boys standing by our bed.

Josh said, “Yes, we all do.”

Robin spoke up, “We all have Speedos.  My dads made sure we brought lots of swimsuits.”

Brian and Justin nodded their heads in agreement.  Brian said, “Daddy says we always have to be prepared.”

Rick laughed.  “I’m sure he did.”

I asked, “Do you want to be part of the big guys’ competition or do you want your own special one?”

Cammy said, “We want to be part of the big guys’ competition.”

The six-year old triplets nodded their heads in agreement, their green eyes sparkling with excitement.  Brian said, “Yes, we’re just as good looking as our dads.”

I laughed.  “Okay, all of you can be part of the big guys’ competition; but I think we’ll have special awards for the younger set.  Make sure you’re ready on time, because we’ll start without you if you’re late.”

JJ and Josh scrambled down from the bed.  “Let’s go tell our uncles,” JJ said, leading the rest of the boys from the room.

A few minutes later, Robbie poked his head in the room.  “Hey!  I heard the little guys are joining in the fun, tonight.”

Rick said, “That’s true.”

Robbie entered the room, walking over to sit next to me.  “They’re very excited and have made sure everyone knows they’re participating in the swimsuit competition after dinner.”

“I’m glad they’re excited.  I think we’ll have a special competition for them, so they can earn their own set of awards.  That way everyone has a chance to win,” I said, grinning up at Robbie.  “I wouldn’t want the old guys to feel bad when the little guys win all the prizes!”

Robbie laughed.  “It would be a big blow to my pride if my triplets won the swimsuit competition; but I’d survive.”

Rick said, “Your pride wouldn’t be hurt if they won, because you’d be the proud papa.”

Robbie agreed.  “That’s true.  Not only that, all three of them look just like me; so, if they win, so do I.”

I looked over at Rick and asked, “Do you think Keith and Egan would want to participate in the competition?”

Rick said, “I’m sure he would.  Why don’t you call them?”

I pulled out my cell phone and tapped on the screen, hitting the speed dial for Keith’s phone.  Keith picked up on the second ring.  “Hey!  You’re on speaker.”

“Hey, yourself,” I said.  “How close are you guys?”

“We’re about 10 minutes away.  Why?”

“We’re having a swimsuit competition after dinner.  Do you and Egan want to participate?”

“Sure,” Keith said.

“Yeah, I’d love that,” Egan said.

“Diane and I get to be judges,” Kerry said.

“Great!  I’m sure the girls will welcome you to their judges’ panel.  We’ll see you in a few minutes then,” I said, breaking the connection.

After dinner, we gathered around the swimming pool.  “Let’s start the swimsuit competition,” I said, smiling at the assembled group of hot guys.  I explained the rules, and asked, “Does everyone understand how this works?”

They all nodded their understanding.  I turned to our panel of judges – Kerry, Diane, Caroline, Marie, Michaela and Ashley.  “Are you girls okay?

Ashley grinned broadly.  “Yes, Daddy, we understand the rules and we’ve got our scoring system figured out.”

The rest of the girls nodded their heads, excitement showing on their faces.

Kerry laughed and said, “The girls and I have got this covered.”

I turned to the little guys, and said, “We’ll go youngest to oldest.”

Our little ones strutted their stuff, posing for the girls, flexing their muscles and making faces.  By the time they were finished, they were clowning around and having a great time showing off.

“Okay, girls, do we have the results?” I asked.

After consulting with each other, Ashley said, “Yes, Daddy, we have a winner.  It’s Egan with Cammy and Skye tied for second place.”

Egan and the twins whooped and jumped up and down, pumping the air with their fists.

I motioned them over to me.  “I present you with these gold medals as winners of the young guys’ swimsuit competition.”  I placed the medals around their necks and they posed for photos, grinning from ear to ear.  I had ordered the medals over a month ago for just such an occasion, thanking my lucky stars I had thought to order extras, just in case I needed them since I hadn’t planned on two separate categories (old and young guys that is!).

“Okay, it’s time for the rest of us to strut our stuff,” I said.  The guys lined up and we began.  Robbie and Adam started our lineup.  They did several muscle poses before doing a surface dive into the pool, racing to the opposite side, climbing out and returning to pose for the judges one last time.

Todd and Zach wolf whistled as Robbie and Adam finished and took their seats next to me and Rick to enjoy the rest of the competition.

Zach fist bumped Robbie.  “Way to go, little brother.”

Robbie grinned.  “You know I’m going to win, right?”

Zach said, “No, you aren’t, because I’m going to win this one.”

Todd stood and reached for his husband.  “Let’s go, stud.  It’s our turn.”

After all the guys had completed their time in front of the judges, we waited while they tabulated the results.  Kerry stood and said, “We’ve decided who the winners are.”

I said, “Great!”

She grinned and said, “1st place goes to Kyle.”

Kyle jumped to his feet, pumping his arms in the air, and shouted, “Yes!”

“Second place goes to Tamid and third place to Zach,” Kerry said.

Todd leaned over to kiss his husband.  “Congratulations!”

Zach grinned and said, “Just shows I still got it.”

Robbie was quick to point out, “But you didn’t beat out the young guys.”

Laughing, Zach ruffled his brother’s wet hair.  “Yeah, but you didn’t even place, little brother.”

Tamid and Zach joined Kyle and I presented them with their medals.  “Congratulations, guys!”

As Tamid returned to his seat, Thomas said, “I agree with the girls.  You are the best looking guy here.”

Tamid met his eyes and smiled.  “I think you’re pretty good looking yourself.”  He sat down, then said, “Thanks for going to dinner with me tonight.  Would you like to catch a late movie?”

Thomas said, “Yes.”

“Great!  I have to work tomorrow night, so I want to take advantage of my night off,” Tamid said.

Thomas asked, “How many security guys are there here?”

“There are four of us - Jeff, Cole, Collin and I,” he replied.  “We work two to a shift around the clock.  I’ve got the night shift tomorrow.”

“Why do these guys have so much security?” Thomas asked.

Tamid shrugged his shoulders.  “I don’t really know.  I’m just one of the hired help.  Jeff has mentioned Rick and Glenn have had some bad experiences with gay haters, but that’s all I know.”

Overhearing their conversation as I walked past them, I stopped and said, “I’ll tell you why.  When Rick and I first became a couple, Rick’s family took it into their own hands to mete out God’s justice by attempting to murder us.  If we had been home at the time, they would have succeeded.  They completely destroyed our apartment and left threatening messages written on the walls, promising they would kill us the next time.”

Thomas asked, a look of horror on his face, “Are people really that crazy?”

I nodded my head.  “Yes, they are, especially when they are in thrall to their own religious fanaticism, as Rick’s family was and still is.  They told us they were only fulfilling God’s law to do away with abominations like us.  After the attempt on our lives, my grandfather insisted we had to have security guards to ensure our safety, so we’ve had a security team since that time.”

Tamid nodded his head.  “That fits with what Jeff has told me about the security plans we have for you and your family.”

I looked at Thomas and said, “Family includes our friends.”

Thomas smiled.  “Thank you for including me.”

I patted his shoulder.  “You’re part of our family, now, son-in-law.”

Thomas looked up at me in surprise.  “Winston and Purev aren’t married, yet.”

“Well, it doesn’t matter if they’re married or not; Winston is still part of this family and you’re his brother.  That makes you an honorary son-in-law,” I said, smiling at the younger man.

Thomas asked, “Do you always adopt the families of your son’s partners?”

I nodded my head.  “Yes, family is very important to us; so, when someone joins our family by dating one of our children, they automatically become part of our family, and that extends to their own immediately family – parents and siblings.”

 Tamid said, “That is really awesome!”

Thomas turned to Tamid and laughed.  “It’s really great, but we don’t say awesome anymore, dude!”

Tamid looked offended.  “Why not?”

“It’s so last year,” Thomas said, grinning at his new friend.

I left the two to continue their discussion and wandered over to sit next to my husband.  Rick leaned over to kiss me.  “I see you were talking with Thomas.”

“Yeah.  I let him know he’s part of our family, since Purev and Winston are dating,” I said, smiling at my husband.

He met my gaze and asked, “Would you do the same if it were Rebecca’s family, instead of Winston’s?”

I winced.  “No, I wouldn’t.”

“Aren’t you being a little prejudiced?” he asked, seriously.

“Yes, I am and I’m not ashamed to admit it,” I said, grimly.  “You know as well as I do how much damage religious zealots have done to our family between the attempts on our lives and their threats to take our children from us.  Do you blame me?”  I couldn’t keep the bitterness out of my voice.

Rick shook his head.  “I don’t blame you for feeling the way you do; but, I think you need to be more accepting of Rebecca and her family for Kyle’s sake.  The difference between how you treat Winston and his brother and how you treat Rebecca will cause us problems, sweetheart.”

“I’m civil to her.  I’ve gone out of my way to welcome her to our home, despite the fact her family is about as homophobic as they come,” I protested.  “You can’t tell me you would welcome her family with open arms, either!”

“That’s true, I wouldn’t, babe; but the point is Kyle thinks you don’t like Rebecca,” Rick said.

“He’s right, I don’t,” I said, sighing regretfully.  “I’ve tried to hide my feelings from the two of them.  I guess I haven’t been successful in that.  I really don’t want Kyle to date her.  We have to deal with enough anti-gay people without bringing them into our home.”  I put up my hand to stop his next comment.  “Before you give me a lecture about not judging people, I know Rebecca isn’t homophobic, but she is the first to admit her family is very much that way.”

Rick said, “You need to try harder, babe.  Rebecca is a sweet young lady and you need to acknowledge that.  Besides, you’re super friendly with Winston, even flirting with him.  It really shows how differently you treat Rebecca.”

I grinned.  “I can’t help flirting with good looking guys.”

Rick laughed.  “Don’t I know it!”

“But you love me, anyway,” I said, leaning over to kiss him lightly on the lips.

“That’s true,” he said.  “Please…”

I cut him off before he could say anything more, “I promise to make more of an effort to make her feel welcome.”

Rick smiled and patted my arm.  “I know no one will ever be good enough for our son, but you can’t scare off every girl he brings home.”

“I’m not trying to scare her off,” I said, indignantly.

“Well, what ARE you doing then?” he asked, grinning at me.

“Just doing what you’re doing,” I said, trying to keep a straight face.

He cocked an eyebrow.  “And what is that?”

“Standing at the door with a shotgun and asking, ‘What are your intentions with my son?’”

Rick guffawed and asked, “Is that what I’m doing?”

“Yes,” I said, seriously.

He shook his head and said, “I’m afraid it’s you doing that my sweet, over-protective husband.”

 I met his gaze, then looked over to watch our teens enjoying themselves in the pool.  “Okay, I am the one doing that, but one of us has to do the job.”

The twins ran over to us and JJ climbed up on my lap, while Josh went to Rick. JJ looked up into my face and asked, “May we go inside to play games?”

Josh wrapped his arms around his father’s neck and hugged him. “Please, Dad, may we play video games?”

Rick kissed Josh’s cheek and replied, “Sure.  Let’s get you into your pajamas, then you can play games with your cousins.”

JJ clapped his hands in excitement.  “Yeah!  I’m going to beat my cousins.”

The twins jumped down and took each of us by the hand, leading us inside the house.  I looked over my shoulder to see the triplets and Cameron and Skye following us inside, their fathers in tow.  I grinned my friends and said, “I’m glad to see the little guys getting along so well.”

Robbie agreed, “Me, too.  It helps there are three separate game console to keep them from fighting over which games to play and whose turn it is.”

As soon as boys had their baths and were in their pajamas, they settled in front of the game consoles, leaving the adults to rejoin the party on the main floor of the beach house.

Keith and Kerry were seated on the sofa, cuddling.  Seeing us, Keith waved us over to join them.  Rick sat on the end of the sofa with his back to the wall and spread his legs, indicating I should sit between them.  I leaned back against his well-muscled chest and he slipped his arms around my waist, pulling me hard against his groin.  I ground against him, feeling him growing against me. 

I turned my head to kiss him and was rewarded with a deep, passionate kiss.  Keith said, “Hey, guys, get a room!”

I turned to him and said, “Certainly!”  I moved to get up, but Rick wouldn’t release me.  I looked at him over my shoulder.

Rick smiled and said, “I want to stay and visit with Keith and Kerry.”

“Okay, babe,” I said, kissing him before turning back to my cousin and his wife.  “So, what’s up with you guys?”

Keith said, “I’m thinking about changing jobs again.”

I raised an eyebrow and asked, “Why?”

“I’m not happy with my job,” he responded.

Kerry said, “Keith’s been hard to live with lately, so I suggested he change jobs.”

Keith nodded his head. “I’ve been so unhappy at work, it started to overflow into my home life.  So, I applied for a job with the United States Postal Service.”

Rick laughed.  “Are you serious?”

Keith said, “Deadly serious.  In fact, I got the job and start training next week.  I’ll be working out of the Sugar Hill Post Office.  It’s about two miles from the house, so my commute will be only the few minutes it takes to drive.  But, I think I’ll ride my bike to work.”

Kerry said, “Keith will substitute for other letter carriers on their days off for the first little while.”

Keith nodded and said, “I’m looking forward to the change.”

“Won’t you take a huge cut pay?” I asked.

“Yes, but I’ll have less stress and regular hours,” Keith said.

Kerry said, “Our home is paid for and we don’t have any other debt, so money isn’t an issue for us.”

“And Kerry has a good job working for a biotech company in Alpharetta with excellent benefits including health and dental insurance, so we’re in good shape,” Keith said.

Rick said, “It seems you have thought things through.”

Kerry nodded her head.  “We have, Rick.  We’ve built a nice nest egg for emergencies, and I’m still working.  I’m just happy to have my husband back.  Keith has been travelling so much with his company I was lucky to see him once or twice a month.”

Rick nodded his head in understanding.  “I know what that’s like.”  He threaded his fingers through mine and squeezed my hand.

Keith looked at me and asked, “Are you still working for Todd’s company?”

“No, I’ve jumped to a local software development company.  I’m on a contract that allows me to work from home most of the time.  I go into the office once a week for meetings with the client.  I’m very happy with my new job,” I said.

“Wasn’t Todd upset when you left?” Kerry asked.

I nodded my head.  “He was, at first.  I liked working with Todd and his company; however, all of his projects are located in other areas, requiring a lot of travel.  Todd agreed with us that I needed a job where I could work close to home.”

“We won’t be homeschooling the boys next year, like we’ve done in the past.  We registered them into the local elementary school,” Rick said.

“Won’t they be bored at school?” Kerry asked.

“We’ve looked into the gifted and talented programs at the school.  The staff at the school will evaluate all of the kindergarten students and recommend enrichment activities and special classes for advanced students,” I said.  “We’re going to give the school some time to figure things out before we push for advanced classes for the twins.”

Rick shook his head in disagreement.  “I don’t think we should wait at all.  We need to make sure they know what our expectations are.”

“Babe, we already did that when we met with them last week,” I said.

Rick frowned.  “I don’t want them to forget.  I know how school administrators do things and it’s never what the parents or students want.”

Keith said, “I have to agree with Rick because that’s what we saw at our high school.  Remember the petition we circulated to get lights installed on the football field?”

“Yes, I do and I remember the principal’s reaction – the school district didn’t have the money to pay the electric bill even if the community donated the money to get the stadium lights installed,” Rick said.

Keith said, “All of our games had to be played in the afternoon before the sun went down because we didn’t have any lights in the football stadium.  They finally installed lights in the stadium last year.  Mom and Dad sent me a photo of the football field all lit up.”

“I wonder what changed their minds,” Rick said.

“Who knows,” Keith said.

Kerry said, “We don’t have to worry about it since we don’t live there.”

Keith turned to kiss his wife.  “Thankfully.  Just the thought of living in such a small town again gives me the creeps.”

Kerry said, “That’s why we live where we do.”  She paused, chewing her lip, not wanting to upset Glenn, before venturing to ask, “How’s your mother doing, Rick?”

Rick said, “She’s doing better.  She went home last week.  We plan to stop to see her on our way home from here.”

“That’s great news!  Isn’t this the third time she’s fallen?” Kerry asked.

“It is.  This time she only twisted her ankle, but they still put her in a nursing home to recover because she couldn’t get herself out of bed,” Rick said.

“She’s called us every day to complain about the staff,” I said, laughing.  “Rick teases her about wanting to have room service and a vacation when she gets too whiney.”

Rick nodded his head in agreement.  “I do my best to cheer her up when she calls.  She doesn’t have many people come to see her, so she calls us often.  She told me Julie gets grumpy with her when she calls her; so, I told her she could call me anytime.”

Keith asked, “Doesn’t that bother you, Glenn?”

I shook my head.  “It used to, but not anymore.  She’s lonely and needs someone to talk to…as long as it isn’t me, I’m good.”  I turned my head to meet Rick’s gaze.  “I’ve become Saint Glenn, where my mother-in-law is concerned.”

Rick’s eyebrows shot up into his hairline.  “Saint?!”

“Yes, a SAINT,” I said, grinning at my husband.  Before he could say anything more, I ground my ass against Rick’s semi-hard cock and stroked his inner thighs, eliciting a low growl from my husband. 

He nipped the back of my neck and whispered into my ear, “You’re playing with fire, babe.”

I gave him a quick kiss, loving the taste of his lips.  Turning back to face Keith and Kerry, I continued, “As I was saying, Rick’s very patient with her and listens to her complaints.  I’m the designated researcher.  Whenever there’s a question about her medication or a need to find a better doctor, I’m the man.  I find the information and give it to Rick to pass on to her.”

Rick’s ground his steel pole against my ass, as he said, “Glenn is going with us to visit her this time.”

Keith shook his head in disbelief.  “I’m not sure I know who you are, Glenn, especially knowing how you feel…I mean felt about her.”

I bowed from the waist up and said, “May I present the new me – a softer, gentler me!”

Keith guffawed, “Oh, please!”

“No, seriously, I’ve turned over a new leaf.  I trying to improve my relationship with my mother-in-law.  I can’t deny her the opportunity to get to know her grandsons, Keith.  I may still be suspicious of her motives, but I know how I would feel, if someone tried to keep my grandchildren from me,” I said, sighing.  “So, I’ve decided to let go of my grudge against her and her family.  It doesn’t mean I haven’t forgotten what was done, but I need to move past it for my boys’ sake.”

Rick said, “Glenn’s made a lot of progress where my mother is concerned, but…”

I cut him off, “No buts!”

Rick wrapped his arms around me, taking my hands in his, before he said, “But he’s not so nice when it comes to a certain potential daughter-in-law.”

I frowned and said, “I think Keith and Kerry wouldn’t be very welcoming of someone who would turn their grandchildren against them by teaching them they are sinners and abominations.”

“She wouldn’t do that,” Rick said, in a soothing tone.

“She might not, but her parents sure would.  You can’t tell me Rebecca would disown her family, so I have to assume her homophobic parents will have plenty of opportunity to turn Kyle and any future grandchildren against us,” I said, heatedly.  Seeing the confused look on Kerry’s face, I elaborated, “Her family belongs to one of the most anti-gay churches in the world.”  I named it and watched Kerry shudder.

“No wonder you’re worried,” Kerry said.

Keith looked at me in surprise.  “Has Kyle proposed to her?  I thought they were just dating.”

“They are just dating and, no, he hasn’t proposed marriage to her.  I want to make sure that never happens,” I said, determinedly.

Rick said, “Keith and Kerry, I’ve been trying to get Glenn to stop worrying about something that may never happen.  I’m afraid Glenn will push Kyle too hard about dating Rebecca.  I think it’s better to back off and let things work out on their own, without interference from us.”

Kerry gave me a troubled look and said, “I like her, Glenn.  She seems level-headed and knows what she wants out of life.”

“She’s also expressed her disagreement with her parents over their homophobic beliefs,” Rick said.

“But she hasn’t disavowed her church’s anti-gay teachings,” I pointed out, defensively.

“No, she hasn’t; but, we still need to back off, Glenn,” Rick insisted.

Keith patted my knee.  “Listen to you husband, Glenn.  I think he’s right about this one.”

I glared at my cousin.  “You’re supposed to be on my side.”

“I am, cousin,” Keith said, grinning.  “Let go of your worries and enjoy your time with your family.”

Rick said, “Please, babe.”

I huffed and said, reluctantly, “I’ll try.”

Keith said, “I think you worry too much, Glenn.  They’re still kids and a lot can change between now and the time they graduate from high school.”

“That’s true,” I admitted.

Rick kissed the back of my neck, then said, “Much as I would love to continue this conversation, I need to get this guy to bed.”

Kerry laughed.  “Yes, please take him to bed, before things become X-rated.”

I blushed.  “I can’t help it if I’m married to the sexiest man alive.”

Keith said, “Rick, take your husband to bed.  We’ll get the little guys to bed, when they decide they’re done playing video games.”

I stood and turned to pull Rick to his feet.  He wrapped his arm around my waist and escorted me down the hall to our room.

As soon as the door was closed, he proceeded to show me just what a sexy man he is!

Later, Rick and I lay with our limbs intertwined, enjoying our post-sex euphoria, when there was a knock on our door.  Rick pulled the sheet up to cover us, and shouted, “Come in!”

The door opened and Johnnie came into the room.  I looked up at the young boy and asked, “What’s going on, Johnnie.”

“I’m scared,” Johnnie said, running across the room and climbing into bed with us.

I wrapped my arms around my half-brother and held him tight.  “What scared you?”

“Egan was telling ghost stories,” Johnnie said, shivering.

“It’s okay, Johnnie,” I said, smoothing his hair.

“May I sleep with you and Rick?” he asked, his big blue eyes staring into mine.

I nodded and said, “But only until you fall asleep.  Then, I’ll take you back to your own bed.  Is that okay?”

He nodded his head.  “Okay.”

Rick pulled me close to him, as I held Johnnie in my arms.  It wasn’t long before Johnnie’s breathing slowed and he drifted off to sleep.  I went to get up, and found Rick had also fallen asleep.  Finding myself trapped, I relaxed and let sleep take me.

Kyle lay awake in the room he shared with his brothers and their boyfriends.  He had watched his daddy flirting with Winston’s brother and overheard him welcome him to their family.  He had noticed how different things were with Rebecca.  Yes, he knew her family was homophobic, but it still hurt, seeing his daddy welcoming his brother’s boyfriend and family so warmly, when he barely spoke to Rebecca.  He’d tried to ignore it, because he knew his daddy’s feelings about Rebecca’s church, but he found he couldn’t ignore his daddy’s reaction to Winston and his brother today.

He was so upset by it, he decided he needed to confront him about it.  He got up and silently left his room, padding down the hallway to his dads’ room.  He quietly opened the door and went inside.  He found his dads sound asleep with Johnnie snuggled in his daddy’s arms.  He leaned over and gently shook his daddy’s shoulder.

I came awake and blinked, wondering why I was awake.  Kyle whispered, “Daddy, can we talk?”

I squinted up at him, finally recognizing the voice.  “Sure, if you’ll carry Johnnie back to his bed.”  I pulled back the blanket and Kyle lifted the sleeping boy into his arms, carrying him from the room.  I got up and pulled a pair of boxer shorts and my sleep pants, leaving the room and closing the door silently behind me.  I met Kyle in the hallway.  “Let’s go into the kitchen.  I need some hot chocolate.  Do you want some?”

Kyle said, “Yes, I would.”

We entered the kitchen.  Kyle took a seat at the table, while I made the hot chocolate.  I carried the cups of hot chocolate to the table, handing one to Kyle.  “So, what’s going on?”

Kyle took a sip of his hot chocolate, then asked, “Why do you hate Rebecca?  You’ve taught us to treat everyone with respect and dignity, even if we don’t agree with them.  I don’t understand why you treat Rebecca the way you do.”

I met Kyle’s troubled gaze.  I sighed, then said, “I don’t hate her, Kyle, and I’m sorry if I’ve offended you and Rebecca.”

“You haven’t offended Rebecca; but, you’ve hurt me,” Kyle said, tears shimmered in his eyes.  “I trusted you to do what you tell us to do.”

I stood up and pulled Kyle into my arms.  “I’m so sorry, Kyle.  I never intended to hurt you.  I’m not trying to excuse my behavior, because it’s not right; but I want you to understand why.  I’m worried about what might happen if the two of you decide to get married.”

Kyle pulled away from me, shock and surprise written on his face.  He started to protest, “But…”

I raised my hand and said, “Please hear me out.  I know you’re just dating right now, and many things can change between now and graduation.  But try to see things from my perspective.  Let’s just say you two continue to date and at some point decide to get married.  Then, you have children.  Rebecca will make someone a wonderful wife and she’ll be a great mother to her children.  BUT, I worry about her parents trying to turn you and your children away from us because of their hatred of gays.  What would prevent them from telling your children their dad’s family is an abomination and their grandfathers should be put to death.”

Kyle said, defensively, “Rebecca wouldn’t allow them to do that.”

“How would that work, Kyle?  Would you forbid her parents from seeing the children?  Somehow, I don’t think they would be very happy,” I said.  “Also, Rebecca hasn’t disavowed her belief in her church, so despite what she tells us, she still supports her church and its leaders.” 

Watching Kyle’s face twist in anger, I said, “Before you blow up at me, think about what you’re about to say.  It doesn’t matter who the girl is you date, if they are a member of a religious denomination that preaches and teaches hatred for gays, I’m not going to be very comfortable with them or their family.  Your Dad and I have had too many bad experiences with religious people trying to hurt our loved ones or one of us to welcome them into our family.”

“But Rebecca’s not like those people,” Kyle said.

“You’re right, Kyle she’s not.  However, her family IS that way and you can’t be sure she won’t change her mind when it comes to her own children,” I said.  “If she feels her children will be perverted by us, you can bet she’ll cut off contact with us and force you to choose between her and your family.  Let’s face facts, Kyle, Rebecca is a deeply religious person and she will never leave her church or its teachings.”

Kyle said, “Are you telling me not to date Rebecca?”

“No, I’m not telling you who to date; but I am asking you to think about the potential consequences of falling in love and marrying someone with Rebecca’s background and family ties.  I don’t want you to get hurt.”

I paused, before continuing, “I didn’t think about the consequences when I fell in love with your Dad.  It caused him a great deal of pain to have his relationship with his dad and his mother’s family destroyed because he was in a relationship with a man.”

“Would you change what you did, knowing what you know now?” Kyle asked.

“No, but I think we would have been a little more circumspect about showing our love for each other.  I don’t think it would’ve changed their reaction to seeing us as a couple.  They’re so deeply brainwashed by their religion, nothing I could’ve done would’ve changed anything,” I said.  “I’m still not sure about my mother-in-law’s intentions.  She seems friendly enough, but deeply held religious convictions don’t just disappear overnight.”

“But you’ve still let her see the twins,” Kyle said.

“I have, but it doesn’t mean I like it,” I said.

“So why are you doing it?” Kyle asked.

“Sometimes, you have to compromise with your spouse, Kyle.  This is one of those times.  I know it’s important to your Dad to have a relationship with his mother and part of that is letting her see her grandsons,” I said.  “I’ve agreed to let her see them, but I’ve insisted our security people are always close by and your Dad has promised me she will never be alone with them.” 

I sighed and took Kyle’s hand in mine.  “I don’t want the same thing to happen to you with your children, where your spouse insists you never leave your children alone with us, because we’re gay.” 

I looked him in the eyes and continued, “I’m sorry I haven’t been as open and friendly to Rebecca as I have been to Winston and Thomas.  Your Dad called me out on it today, and rightly so.  I promise to do my best to do better by her.”

Kyle nodded his head.  “It hurt me deeply when you flirted with Thomas and told him he was part of our family, but you never have told Rebecca that.”

I nodded my head.  “I never intended to hurt you, Kyle.  I love you very much and I admit I was being more than a little selfish.  I want you to be happy, and if that means you and Rebecca stay together, then I’ll deal.”  I pulled Kyle into my arms and hugged him tightly.  “Are we good?”

Kyle nodded his head against my chest.  He pulled back and looked into my eyes.  “Thanks for talking to me, Daddy.  I was so upset about how differently you treat Rebecca and Winston, I couldn’t sleep.”

“I’m sorry I hurt you,” I said.  “Can you forgive me?”

Kyle smiled and said, “Yes, as long as you treat the girls I date the same as the guys my brothers date.”

I laughed and said, “Well, I can’t quite promise to do that, since I’m GAY, you know.  Somehow, I don’t think you’d appreciate me flirting with Rebecca.”

Kyle laughed.  “No, I wouldn’t; but I can’t see you flirting with a girl, ever.  Okay then, at least try to be as friendly to my dates as you are with the guys.”

“I’ll do my best,” I said.  I kissed his cheek and hugged him again.  “I’m afraid our hot chocolate isn’t even warm.”

Kyle said, “That’s okay.  I needed to talk, more than I needed the hot chocolate.”

I nodded my head in agreement.  “I’m glad you felt you could talk to me about it.  I’m very proud of you and how you handled this situation.”

Kyle blushed, but grinned at me.  “That’s because I’m totally awesome.”

I laughed and said, “I think it’s time we got to bed.”

I released Kyle.   We picked up our half full cups and emptied them in the sink and padded off to our separate beds.  As I lay beside Rick, I thought to myself, “I hope I did the right thing by telling Kyle how I feel.  I don’t want to drive him away from us, but he needs to know his choice of a mate does affect the rest of the family.”  I sighed and snuggled against my husband, taking comfort from his warmth and finally sleep found me.

Prev The End

A Note from Russ:

Music for this chapter:

Eli Lieb and Brandon Skeie – Pulse -

X Ambassadors – Unsteady – Official Dance Video Honoring those lost in Orlando 6-12-2016  -

Hate is a Public Health Emergency -

Reik – Ya Me Entere -

Reik – Voy a Olivardarte -

Matt Fishel = Finally -

Kris Allen -

A helpful website for those wishing to marry:

Wedding Advice for Men Marry Men -

Some interesting articles -

Why Anti-Gay Bullying is a Theological Issue -

Do Christians Owe LGBTQ people Reparations? -

Support for Incarcerated LGBT Parents -

Who Pays the Cost?  The True Cost of Incarceration on Families -

The Counted – Police Killing Citizens in the USA -