The Man from Swift Current
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved




Chapter 110: Third Time’s a Charm

Joey and Tyler lay in each other’s arms, enjoying the intimacy following a lovemaking session so intense it joined them as one.   They had tried something new for them.   They had shaved off all of their body hair.   Tyler had suggested it as a way to heighten their sexual experience.   They helped each other shave and had enjoyed the foreplay!   They were so amped up from the experience they rushed through their shower and made their way to their bed.

Tyler asked, “Do you like how your skin feels without all of the body hair?”

Joey grinned and said, “Yes, I love how your skin feels, as well.”   He ran his hands over Tyler’s chest.   It felt so sexy.   Tyler hadn’t been very hairy to start with; but the smoothness of his skin was a complete turn on for Joey.

“Aren’t you glad I suggested it,” Tyler asked, grinning from ear to ear.

Joey leaned closer and kissed Tyler, “Yes, I’m very happy we tried it.   I think we will have to continue to shave.”

Tyler agreed.   “I think you’re right.   I wanted tonight to be a very special one; since we’ll be apart for a couple of months.”

“I will think of you here in my arms every night; just like you are now,” Joey promised.

“If the girls’ passports arrive sooner, rather than later, you can take them down to the Spanish Embassy and collect the visas.   That will save time,” Tyler said.

“I promise to do my best to have everything ready for us to depart as soon as I have our visas in hand,” Joey said, gazing deeply into his fiancé’s eyes.

Tyler put his hand up to Joey’s face and brushed back his hair from his eyes.   He gently cupped his cheek and gave him a tender kiss.   “I can’t wait for us to be married, sweetheart.”

The next morning, they were up early.   They had showered and dressed before anyone else was awake in the house.   Joey cooked breakfast for Tyler and they spent the time talking over all the things Joey needed to do before he left for Spain.   He had made a list and the two of them went through it adding things Joey had overlooked.   By the time they had finished breakfast, they both felt they had a pretty comprehensive list of things that needed doing.

Joey said, “We need to wake the girls so you can say goodbye to them.”

Tyler smiled.   “I promised Rachel I wouldn’t leave her without saying goodbye.  I wouldn’t want her to be angry with me.”

Joey laughed.   “No, I guess not.”

They stood up and cleared the breakfast dishes from the table.   Tyler came up behind Joey and slipped his hands under his shirt, running them across Joey’s chest and pulling him close to him.   Joey arched his back in pure pleasure as Tyler kissed the base of his neck and gently bit him.

Joey said, “I’m going to miss you!”

“I’m missing you already!   That’s why I couldn’t resist giving you at least one last kiss,” Tyler said.

Joey turned around in Tyler’s embrace.   He unbuttoned Tyler’s shirt and slipped his arms around his bare waist.   Joey leaned down to suck on Tyler’s nipples.  He could feel Tyler growing hard.   Tyler gasped in pleasure as Joey bit his nipple.   He had never known his nipples were so sensitive until Joey had discovered they seemed to be directly connected to his dick!

Tyler said, “We need to move this to our bedroom.   I don’t want to embarrass my parents if they walked in on us.”

Joey released his lover.   He took him by the hand and led him back to their bedroom.

They were just getting dressed, when Rachel pushed the door open and walked into the room.

Joey smiled at his daughter and said, “Dad is getting ready to go to the airport.”

Rachel ran over and wrapped her arms around Tyler’s legs.   “Dad, no go away.”

Tyler reached down and picked her up.   “I won’t be gone for very long; because you are coming to live with me in Spain.   Do you want to go on an airplane ride?”

Rachel said, “No, I want you to stay with Daddy.”

Tyler said, “I want to stay with Daddy, too, but I have to go back to school.   You and Sarah will fly on an airplane to come live with me.   Then we won’t be separated anymore.”

Rachel put her arms around his neck and kissed him on the cheek.   “I love you, Dad.”

Tyler said, “I love you, too, Rachel.   Will you take good care of your Daddy for me?”

“Yes, I will take care of Daddy and Sarah,” Rachel said.

“Let’s go get Sarah out of her bed,” Tyler said.   “I want to say goodbye to her, too.”  Joey followed them into the girls’ bedroom.   Sarah was standing up in her crib, holding onto the railing.   When Tyler leaned over to pick her up, she wrapped her arms around his neck.   “Good morning, Sarah.”

She made a noise that kind of sounded like “good morning,” but Tyler wasn’t sure.   He still hadn’t quite got the knack of translating Sarah’s language into English.  Joey seemed to be able to do it; so he knew he could as well, given enough time.

“Dad is going bye-bye, Sarah.   I will see you in a few weeks,” Tyler said and kissed her on the cheek.

Sarah hugged him and kissed his cheek in return.   Then, she stretched out her arms to Joey.  Joey took her from Tyler and asked, “How’s my little girl.”

Again, she made some unintelligible sounds.   Joey translated, “You’re hungry.   Okay, let’s go get you something to eat.”

Joey carried her out of her room and downstairs to the kitchen.   Louise was standing next to the stove.   She turned and said, “Good morning.   I have Sarah and Rachel’s breakfast ready.”  Tyler joined them with Rachel still in his arms.   He put her into her booster seat, while Joey put Sarah into hers.   Louise served the girls their breakfast.   Louise said, “I see you two have already eaten.”

“Yes, we did, Mom.   I’ll help clean up after I drop Tyler at the airport,” Joey said.

Louise smiled and said, “Don’t worry about it, Joey.   The important thing is you two got to spend some time alone.”

Tyler grinned at Joey.   “We did this morning.”

Louise saw the look the two boys exchanged and didn’t ask any questions, not wanting too much information.   Instead, she said, “Harry will be down momentarily.   We have about 30 minutes before we have to leave for the airport.”

Tyler nodded his head.   “I’m ready to go.   I’ve already said my goodbyes to the girls and my bags are packed.”

Louise said, “We will start shipping things to you in a couple of days.   We plan to sell off most of our stuff; but there are a few items we want to keep and we will pay to have them shipped.”

Tyler heard the excitement in her voice.   He smiled and said, “This is quite a change for you and Dad.”

Louise nodded her head.   “Yes, it is; but it’s a good change.   We need to be challenged and active, so we can stay young.   I’m looking forward to spending time travelling around Europe.”

Tyler smiled.   His mother had always dreamed of living overseas.   She had often spoken of going to Paris and Rome.   “Maybe Dad can look up some of his relatives in Poland,” he said.

Louise said, “That would be a good idea.   It would be interesting to find out what happened to the family members who stayed behind in the old country.”

Harry joined them in the kitchen.   “Good morning everyone!”   He looked at Tyler and asked, “Are you ready to go?”

“Yes, I have my bags packed and I printed my boarding pass,” Tyler replied.

“Good.   We should be moving toward the car.   With the grandbabies, it takes a little longer than normal to get on our way.   We are going to have to adjust our departure times for appointments to give ourselves sufficient time to make sure the girls are safely buckled in their seats,” Harry said.

Joey said, “I’m so used to it, I automatically give myself extra time to go places with the girls.”

Harry smiled, “That’s good for you, since you’re their father; but it’s quite an adjustment for me and your mother.”

Joey looked at Rachel and asked, “Are you finished with your breakfast?”

“Yes, Daddy,” Rachel replied.  

Joey helped her out of her seat and lifted her up to the sink.   He helped her wash her hands, then dried them off with the dish towel hanging from the cabinet door.  Louise lifted Sarah out of her high chair and did the same thing for her.

Louise said, “Let’s get your coat on, Sarah.   Your Dad needs to get to the airport so he won’t miss his flight.”

They walked out of the kitchen and into the foyer.   Louise retrieved the girls’ coats from the coat closet and handed Rachel’s to Joey.   They soon had the girls ready to go.   Tyler went upstairs and returned carrying his luggage.   They trooped out to the cars.   Tyler loaded his luggage into the trunk of Joey’s car, while Louise and Joey helped the girls into their seats.   Louise joined Harry in their car, while Joey and Tyler climbed into Joey’s car.

As they drove toward the airport, Joey said, “I wish you didn’t have to go.”

“Me, too,” Tyler said.   “We were just getting to know each other much better.”

“Now, we will have to do it over the phone,” Joey said.

“Or using the web cam on your laptop,” Tyler said.   “You could do your strip tease routine for me on the web cam.”

Joey laughed.   “I could; but I’d have to make sure there wasn’t anyone around.”

Tyler grinned and said, “It would be like my own private show!”

Joey kept up a steady stream of conversation to prevent himself from losing control of his emotions.   He knew he would be reunited with his lover in a few weeks; but the thought of facing an empty bed every morning and every night was weighing heavily on his mind.   He had never felt this way about Kathy.   In fact, he was glad when she spent time away from him.   He loved Tyler so much more than he had ever loved Kathy.   Not only were they lovers, they were soul mates.

When Joey all of sudden fell silent, Tyler looked over at him.   He could see that Joey was struggling to keep his composure.   “Do you want me to drive?”

Joey shook his head and wiped the tears from his eyes.   “No, we are almost to the airport anyway.”

A few minutes later, Joey entered the parking lot and found a spot to park.   Tyler’s parents parked next to them.   Harry and Louise helped get the girls out of their car seats, while Joey helped Tyler with his luggage.   Tyler pulled Joey into a tight embrace and kissed him.   He looked into his eyes and said, “Always remember I love you, Joey Malone.”

Joey said, “I love you more than you know.”

Tyler grinned.   “I think I can guess.”   He squeezed Joey’s package.   Joey’s manhood sprang to life under his hand.   “Hold that thought.”

Joey kissed Tyler and said, “I will always have thoughts of you.”

Tyler hugged him tight.   Rachel pulled on his pant leg and said, “Dad.”

Tyler leaned down and scooped her up.   She hugged him and said, “I love you, Dad.”

“I love you, too,” Tyler said.   “Let’s go inside the terminal.”

Louise carried Sarah, while Harry and Joey followed with Tyler’s suitcases.   Once inside, Tyler joined the queue at the check-in counter.   After checking in, Tyler rejoined his family.   He hugged everyone and gave each of the girls a kiss on the cheek.   Lastly, Tyler pulled Joey into his arms and they held each other for a long time.   Tears were streaming down their faces.   Tyler pulled back and took Joey’s face in his hands.   He wiped the tears away with his thumbs.  

“Don’t cry, Babe,” Tyler said.   He gave Joey a tender kiss.   “I love you.”

Joey clung to Tyler for a moment longer.   “I love you.”  Joey released his hold on his lover and said, “Call me as soon as you land.”

Tyler smiled, “You can count on it.”

Tyler joined the queue to pass through security.   Once he got through, he turned and waved to his family.   Joey picked up Rachel and pointed to Tyler.  “Wave bye-bye to Dad.”

Rachel waved her hand at Tyler.   Tyler blew her a kiss.   She laughed and pretended to catch it in her hand and put it to her lips.   Tyler had taught her how to catch kisses yesterday.   She had been so pleased with herself.   They had played for over an hour, blowing kisses to each other and everyone else in the house.   He would miss the girls almost as much as he would miss their father.   Tyler grinned and he waved farewell, again.   He turned and disappeared down the concourse.

Rick opened the door to our condo and we hauled our luggage to our room.   Rick turned to me and said, “I’m so glad to be home.”

“So am I,” I said.   “I’m just glad not to be dealing with all the emotional stress that we had over the New Year.”

Rick agreed.   “It was a pretty stressful vacation.”

“It wasn’t a vacation, Rick.   Helping Mom move into a new place and dealing with Gary and Eric and their emotional constipation was not a vacation,” I said.

“At least we got to see our uncles get married,” Rick said, trying to put a positive spin on their whole “family” experience.

“That’s true.   It was a nice wedding,” I said.   “I’m very happy for them.   But I’m thinking I don’t want anything to do with my family for the next little while, or at least until my parents figure themselves out.”

Rick said, “I think Mom is going to need our support now, more than ever before.”

“I know she needs us; but the best we can do, at the moment, is keep in touch via the phone,” I said.

“I suggest we call her every night.   You know she’s alone and she will need to know we are thinking about her,” Rick said.

“Okay, we’ll call every night; but we both have to talk to her.   This isn’t a Glenn only thing,” I said.

I sat down on our bed and kicked off my shoes, then lay down.   Rick moved around to the other side of the bed and did the same.   He pulled me into his arms and I snuggled close to him.   Rick looked deeply into my eyes and said, “It feels good to be in our own bed with you in my arms, Babe.”

I gave Rick a lecherous grin and said, “Yes, it does feel good.”  I began massaging Rick’s generous package.   He was immediately hard.   I put my other hand behind his head and pulled him into me for a passionate kiss.

Later that afternoon, I sat down at the computer to check my e-mail.   I was shocked to find an e-mail from Dr. Bigelow.   I clicked on it and read the contents:

“Glenn and Rick, my partner and I would like to invite you over for dinner and a game night this week.”

I called out to Rick, “Babe, come here a minute!”

Rick walked into the kitchen where I was using the computer.   “What’s up?”

“Take a look at this,” I said, pointing to the screen.  He leaned over to read what was on the computer screen.

“I don’t think we should go, Glenn.   Dr. Bigelow gives me the creeps,” Rick said.  

“What if we get Duane and Mason to go with us?” I asked.   “At least there would be four of us against two.”

“I still don’t think we should go.   Didn’t Duane and Mason tell us they had heard Dr. Bigelow was into sexual bondage and other such things?   Neither of us is into that, and I don’t want to be exposed to it,” Rick said.   “Think about it, Glenn.   You don’t need more emotional stress placed on you as a result of bondage sex play.   The whole concept disgusts me, as it should you.   Our relationship is based on mutual respect and love for each other.   Bondage sex play has nothing to do with respect and love.   It’s all about the denigration and submission of your partner.”

I said, “I agree with you, Rick.   I don’t like those kinds of practices either.   Fortunately, none of our friends are into BDSM.”   I turned back to the computer screen and clicked on reply.   I wrote, “Thank you for your kind offer; but we are pretty busy at the moment.”   I hit the send button.

“Does Dr. Bigelow know you’re switching majors?” Rick asked.

“No, not yet.   I need to do it this afternoon.   Do you want to go with me?” I asked.

Rick grinned, “Of course.”

I stood up from the kitchen table.   Rick pulled me into his arms and I melted against him.   He nuzzled my hair, then, he put his hand under my chin and raised it until he could look into my eyes.  He kissed me and said, “I love you, Babe.”

“I love you, too,” I replied.

Rick released me and took my hand to lead me out of our condo.   We drove over to campus and parked.   We walked into the counseling office and the receptionist looked up and asked, “How can I help you?”

Rick replied, “We would like to see Mr. Brown.”

“Just a moment,” she answered.   She rang Mr. Brown, “There are two students to see you, Mr. Brown.”   She listened for a moment, then hung up the phone.   “He will see you now.”   She pointed the way down the hall.

Rick said, “Thank you.”   We walked down the hallway and stopped in front of Mr. Brown’s office.  

The door opened and Mr. Brown smiled at us.   “Please come in and sit down.”  We took our seats in front of his desk.   “What can I do for you two?”

“I want to switch my major,” I said.

Mr. Brown looked surprised.   “Didn’t you switch majors last semester?”

I nodded my head.   “I did; but I decided I couldn’t make a career in music.”

“Not only that, I don’t like Glenn working with Dr. Bigelow,” Rick said.

Mr. Brown’s eyebrows shot up and he said, “Please tell me he hasn’t invited you to his house.”

“He sent us an invitation via e-mail.   Glenn turned it down,” Rick said.

Mr. Brown relaxed and said, “Don’t ever accompany him home.   My partner and I made that mistake and ended up in their dungeon.   They drugged us and when we woke up, we were bound and gagged.   They and their BDSM friends did all kinds of unspeakable things to us.”

“Why didn’t you tell the police?” Rick asked.

“They wouldn’t have believed us.   Not only that, the police would have cheered them on.   The police are very anti-gay.   If the administration found out I’m gay, I would lose my job.   Dr. Bigelow knows that and took advantage of me and my partner,” Mr. Brown said.

“Wouldn’t the same thing happen to Dr. Bigelow?” I asked.

“Yes.   Dr. Bigelow recorded everything they did to us and threatened to release the video to the press if I ever said anything about what had happened,” Mr. Brown said.

I looked at Rick and said, “I’m glad we decided not to accept their invitation.”

Rick said, “It’s just one more reason for you to switch your major.   I don’t want you anywhere near the creep.”

Mr. Brown asked, “What major are you thinking of pursuing?”

“Business Administration with a minor in Spanish,” I replied.

Mr. Brown nodded his head.   “I think we can get you into the school of Business; but, you will need to meet with their advisors to get your classes.   Let me call them and get you an appointment to meet with them.”

Mr. Brown called and made the arrangements.  He ended the call.   “You will meet with Ms. Vegara.”   He gave me her phone number and a map of the campus showing me where her office was located.

We stood up and Mr. Brown said, “I’m glad you decided to get out of the music department.   If you have any problems with the business folks, please give me a call and I’ll see what I can do to help.”

We shook hands and I said, “Thanks, Mr. Brown.”

“Not a problem,” he responded.

We left his office and walked across campus to the business building.   We walked into the building and found Ms. Vegara’s office.   We knocked on the door.   We heard her call out, “Please come in.”   We opened the door and walked into her office.   She stood and said, “Please sit down.”

We took the seats in front of her desk.   She reached across and shook our hands.   “I’m Ms. Vegara.”

“Nice to meet you,” I said.   “I’m Glenn Nielsen and this is Rick Lernier.”

She smiled and said, “Nice to meet you both.”   She sat down and looked at her computer screen.   “I understand from Mr. Brown you wish to switch your major to Business Administration with a minor in Spanish.”

I nodded my head.   “Yes, that’s true.”

“It shows here you started out in the engineering department, then, last semester, you changed to the music department.   Are you certain you want a degree in business administration?”

I replied, “No, I’m not.   I know I like Spanish and I’m pretty fluent.   I don’t want to teach Spanish; so I’m not interested in majoring in Spanish.   I think business administration would give me the necessary skills to run my own business.”

“Your records show you’re from Canada.   Do you speak French?” she asked.

“Yes, I do,” I answered.

“Since you’re multi-lingual, would you consider the International Plan?” she asked.

“Yes, I would.   I read about it on-line,” I said.

“Good.   I think we can get you into the International Plan; but, you need to make a commitment to our program.   I won’t put you into the program if you intend to switch out next semester,” she said, looking me in the eye.

“I think the International Plan will work; since I intend to move back to Canada after college,” I said.

Rick looked at me in surprise.   We hadn’t talked about our post-graduation plans; but, there was no way I was staying in the United States with its anti-gay government!

Ms. Vegara spent some time keying things into the computer, then she printed out my schedule.   She handed it to me and said, “There you go.   I look forward to working with you.   Please call me if you have any problems with any of your classes.”

I took the paper from her hand and I stood up.   “Thank you very much.”

We left her office and Rick grabbed my hand.   He led me to a bench and we sat down.   He looked at me and asked, “When did you decide you were moving back to Canada after graduation?”

“A few minutes ago,” I said.   “I don’t want to live where I’m a second class citizen, Rick.   I know you want to stay in the United States because you’re in the military; but, it doesn’t mean I do.”  Rick looked like I had kicked him in the gut.   “Rick, most of your states have constitutional amendments that prohibit gay marriage.   Most of them also have laws preventing gays from adopting children.   Many have other obnoxious laws intended to discriminate against gays.   Employers can fire a gay person for just being gay.   There are no protections for gays in most states.  I do NOT want to live here, Rick.”

Rick’s crestfallen look pulled at my heart strings.   “Glenn, I know you feel pretty strongly about gay rights; but I can’t leave the United States until I’ve completed my contract with the military.”

“I know, Rick.   You’ve made it exceptionally clear you value your military career very much.   I’m not stopping you from pursuing your dream of a military career.   I’m just letting you know I’m determined to move home where I can marry the man I love, and where I can adopt children and have a family,” I said.   Rick looked very upset.   I put a finger to his lips to stop him from speaking.   “I didn’t say when I was going home, Babe.   I said I would wait for you to finish your commitment to the Marine Corps; but not a moment longer.”

Rick’s expression cleared as what I said registered.   “I thought you were planning to leave me.”

“No, I’m not leaving you.   I intend to take you with me and move home,” I said.  “Maybe not necessarily to Swift Current; because I hated living on the farm.   I mean somewhere like Vancouver, or Toronto.   Of course, we could move close to my family in St. Catharines.”

“What kind of work will I do if we move to Canada?” Rick asked.

“You’re the one studying to be an engineer, Rick.   I’m certain there are plenty of jobs for engineers in Canada,” I said.   “There is a healthy auto industry there; as well as plenty of building and construction projects.   There are plenty of mining jobs as well as electrical power generation projects.”

“We could live in Minneapolis,” Rick said.

“We could; but Minnesota prohibits gay marriage.   I liked Minneapolis, Rick; but I don’t want to live there.   I want to have a family with you.   I want children and I want to be able to raise them in an environment free of hatred toward gay men.   I want them to learn to treat everyone with respect and dignity; and, most of all I want them to know discrimination is evil.”

Rick sighed and said, “I guess we will have to worry about where we live when the time comes.”

“I agree.   Let’s not argue about it now.   You still have a little over three years to go, before you can leave the military,” I said.   “It’s hard to believe we’re half way through our junior year of college.”

Rick smiled and said, “That doesn’t give you much time to get your business classes done in time to graduate.”

I said, “You’re right.   Look at this schedule.”   I handed him my schedule.   Ms. Vegara had printed out my schedules for the next four semesters.   “She didn’t tell me I would have to go to summer school.”

Rick looked over my class schedule and handed it back to me.   “It looks like you won’t have much time to mess around.   That schedule looks pretty aggressive to me.”

“I’ll have to see how things go.   If it gets to be too much, I can always cut back on the number of classes.   I wouldn’t graduate in four years; but maybe five years would better,” I said.   “Let’s stop by the bookstore, so I can pick up my textbooks.”

We stood up and walked to the campus bookstore.   We both picked up our textbooks for the semester.   I looked at the receipt and whistled.   “That’s a lot of money for books.”

“It sure is,” Rick agreed.   He had spent more than I did on his books.

As we were walking toward the parking garage, we ran into Cordell and Jeb.   Jeb smiled and said, “How were your holidays?”

“They were pretty good, Jeb,” Rick replied.   “I’m sure Cordell filled you in on the details.”

Jeb laughed.   “Yes, he did, or at least he tried.   I had to tell him to stop when he started to get into graphic detail.”

Cordell grinned and said, “You asked and I told you.”

“I did ask; but I didn’t need to know how much sex you guys had,” Jeb said.   “We are getting our books for class.   I can see you’ve already got yours.”

“Yes, we did.   They cost us a small fortune,” I said.   “Why don’t you guys come over after you get your books?”

Jeb looked at Cordell, then he said, “Sure.   Should we plan to stay for dinner?”

“Yes.   I thought we could order out pizza, or something,” I said.

“Sounds like a plan,” Cordell said.   “We’ll see you guys later, then.”

They two of them left us and we continued on our way to our car.   We got back to our car.   We threw our books in the backseat and Rick drove us back home.   As we passed the Publix grocery store, I said, “I think I’d like to cook, tonight.   What do you want for dinner?”

Rick smiled and said, “I want stuffed shells and a green salad.   For dessert, I want your Mom’s famous orange-carrot cookies.”

Rick turned into the Publix parking lot and found a parking spot.   We grabbed a trolley (a.k.a. shopping cart) and wandered around the store, picking up the needed ingredients for dinner.   We stopped in the pasta aisle.   “How many shells should we make?” I asked.

Rick grinned and said, “You had better make several pans of it; because you’ve got two football players coming to dinner, not including me.”

“Okay, let’s make four pans of stuffed shells, and we’ll invite Duane, Mason and Michael,” I said.

“What about Gerald?” Rick asked.

“We could invite him; and we should include Keith and Kerry,” I said.   “I guess we’ll need at least four pans of shells.   If we don’t use them, we can freeze the leftovers.   I found a new recipe for a coleslaw salad.   We’ll need a couple of cans of mandarin oranges and a bottle of poppy seed salad dressing.”

Rick grabbed four boxes of giant shells off the shelf and put them into our shopping cart.   He pointed at the shelves and asked, “Which kind of spaghetti sauce?”  

“The best flavor is the tomato-basil one,” I said.

Rick read the labels until he found the tomato-basil.   “How many?”

“At least four since you picked up four boxes of pasta.   Now, we need ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.   Do we have any eggs?”

Rick thought for moment.   “No, I don’t think so.   We need milk, too.”

By the time we left the supermarket, I felt like we had purchased enough food to feed an army.   As we put the groceries into the back of the Land Rover, I asked, “Do you think we got enough food?”

Rick laughed and answered, “Yes, I think we have enough to last us a while.”

I ran the trolley back to the front of the store, while Rick started the car and met me by the front of the store.   I climbed inside and he drove us home.   We managed to carry everything up to our condo in one trip, just barely!

We put away the groceries and I pulled out my cell phone.   I called our friends and issued dinner invitations.   They all accepted.  

Kerry asked, “What can I do to help?”

“Will you make some orange-carrot cookies?” I asked.

She said, “Sure.   Do you have the recipe?”

“No, but Grandma does.   I know both Mom and Aunt Sharon got the recipe from her,” I said.   “I’ll bring down the oranges and the canned carrots.”

“Okay,” Kerry said.

I took the carrots and oranges downstairs to Kerry and returned to our condo.   When I entered the kitchen, I looked at Rick, who was sitting at the kitchen table.  He asked, “What do you want me to do to help with dinner?”

“First off, let’s get the water on to boil for the shells.   Then, you can help me make the filling for them,” I said.   I love it when Rick helps me cook.   Not only does the food seem to taste better; but I get to see his fantastic body in action!  

Rick filled a pot with water and set it on the stove.   His jeans showed off his bubble butt.   Just watching him was making me horny.   I came up behind him and wrapped my arms around his waist.   “You are so sexy,” I said.   I laid my head on his back, loving the feel of Rick’s muscles against my cheek.

Rick loosened my grip on his waist and pulled me around to face him.    He smiled and held me in his arms.   He kissed me and said, “You are the light of my life, Mr. Nielsen.”  He released me and asked, “What next?”

“Look on the back of the box of shells.   There should be a recipe for the filling,” I said.

Rick turned over the box of shells and said, “Yep, it’s right here.”

We followed the directions and soon had the filling ready.   The water had begun to boil and Rick walked over and dumped the box of pasta into the pot.   About 12 minutes later, we drained the water off of the pasta.  

I ran some cold water over the pasta to cool it down enough for us to handle.   I handed a tablespoon to Rick and said, “Fill them so they’re full; but don’t overfill them.”  

I poured some spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dishes, then grabbed a tablespoon to help Rick fill the shells.   We put the stuffed shells in rows in each of the pans until they were full.   Rick asked, “Do we put sauce over the top of them?”

“Sure,” I said.   “It will make them taste good.”

Rick spooned sauce over the shells; then I covered them with aluminum foil and put them into the fridge.   Next, we made a green salad and I threw together the coleslaw.   Rick asked, “What about dessert?”

I laughed and said, “Is that all you can think about is dessert?”

Rick grinned and replied, “No, I do think of other things, like protein shakes.”   He squeezed my package and continued, “Like the ones provided here.”

I kissed him and said, “I think we might just have enough time to satisfy your need for protein.”   I took him by the hand and led him to our bedroom.

A while later, Rick listened to Glenn’s even breathing and knew he was asleep.   He contemplated his future with Glenn.   He knew Glenn wanted to be married in the worst way; but it wasn’t possible, given the current situation.   He had to keep reminding Glenn to be patient, and the time for them to be married would come soon enough.  

Rick thought about his military service.   It really was too bad that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” hadn’t been repealed.   Otherwise, he and Glenn wouldn’t have to always be watching their backs, for fear one of his Marine buddies might see them together and turn them in.  

Next weekend he had to report for drill.   He enjoyed the weekend drills with his fellow marines.   The only bad part was leaving Glenn.   Glenn tried to be positive about it; but Rick knew how much he hated the burden placed on them by Rick’s military obligation.   Glenn refused to pretend he was straight; but at least he refrained from most public displays of affection.

Rick worried about Glenn.   Glenn tried not to show how upset he was about his parents’ break up.   Despite what he said about not getting along with his Dad, Rick knew Glenn loved him.   Glenn and his mother were very close and it was that very closeness that worried Rick.   He had pushed Glenn to talk to his mother on the phone; because he had thought it the right thing to do.   However, at the same time, he thought it might encourage her dependency on her son.   Rick hoped Glenn’s parents would work things out between them, soon!  

When Rick had expressed his concerns about Glenn’s priorities, Glenn had made it very clear Rick would always come first in his life.   Rick rolled over and looked into his lover’s sleeping face.   A smile played around the corners of Glenn’s mouth.   Rick leaned over and kissed his lips.                                                                                                               

I felt Rick’s lips on mine and I opened my eyes.   I deepened the kiss and pulled him closer to me.   I love the feel of my lover’s bare skin next to mine!   There is nothing like waking up to a fantastic kiss!

Rick pulled back and said, “We need to get up and put dinner on.”

I glanced over at the clock.   “You’re right.   Thank you for helping me with dinner.”

Rick smiled.   “I got what I wanted.”

“Yes, you did,” I said, grinning at him.

“Are you going to call the Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra?   I know how much you love music; and you said you wanted to keep your hand in it.” Rick said.

“Yes, I’ll call them as soon as we have dinner in the oven.   I’m not sure when they have auditions,” I said.

Rick stood up and turned to pull me out of bed.   I melted into his embrace.   “I love being in your arms,” I said, smiling up at him.

Rick grinned.   “Let’s get a quick shower, then.”   He led me to our en suite and we quickly helped each other clean up.   We stepped out of the shower and dried each other off.   We dressed and returned to the kitchen, where I put the shells in the oven to bake.

I sat down at the table and opened my laptop.   I found the number and called.   A man answered the phone, “This is Dr. Kristoff.”

“This is Glenn Nielsen.   I am calling about auditions for your orchestra,” I said.

“We are holding auditions this coming Tuesday at 7 PM,” Dr. Kristoff said.   “What instrument do you play?”

“I play the violin and the piano,” I responded.   “I’ve been studying music at Georgia Tech.”

“I believe I saw you perform last summer,” Dr. Kristoff said.   “We would be honored to have you play with us.  However, we don’t need violinists right now.   If I remember correctly, you are a soloist.”

“Yes, on both the violin and the piano,” I confirmed.

“Our soloist for our March concert has had to cancel his appearance with us.   Would you be able to take his place?” Dr. Kristoff asked.

“Sure.   What was he going to play?” I asked.

Dr. Kristoff answered “Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2.   Would you be able to play it in his stead?   Or would you prefer some other concerto?”

“I learned the Rachmaninoff concerto a few years ago.   It shouldn’t take much to get it ready for performance,” I said.

“Excellent!   I’m so glad you called.   If you’ll send me a brief biographical sketch, I will add it to our website and to the program notes,” Dr. Kristoff said.   He gave me his e-mail address and the date of the concert.

I hung up and turned to Rick.   “I’m playing a concert in March.”

Rick smiled and said, “So I gathered, from listening to your conversation.   I’m glad you made the phone call.”

“So am I.   Mom will be thrilled!   Mom loves the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #2.   She made me learn it when I was a junior in high school,” I said.

There was a knock on the door and Rick left the kitchen to answer it.   He returned with Keith and Kerry.   Keith carried in a large plate of cookies and set them on the table.   “Orange-carrot cookies just like Grandma makes them.   Kerry called Grandma to get her recipe.”

Rick walked over and lifted the plastic wrap off of the plate.   He picked one up and slipped it into his mouth.   “Hmmm….Good!”

Kerry smiled.   “I’m glad they meet with your approval, Rick.”

“That they do.   Thank you for making them for us,” Rick said.

Kerry said, “I need to feed Egan, so I will be in the family room.”   She left the kitchen with Egan and a baby blanket.

“How much longer does Kerry plan to nurse Egan?” I asked.

“I don’t know.   I thought she would’ve stopped by now,” Keith said.   “She wants to nurse him for as long as she can.”

Rick said, “You have to admit that Kerry’s even better looking, now that’s she nursing, than before the baby was born.”

Keith grinned.   “Yes, she is.   I really like the fact that she has filled out on top!”

“That’s what I meant,” Rick said, laughing.

I wasn’t really interested in the size of Kerry’s breasts; but the guys were right, she did look much better.   “You’ll have to keep her pregnant, Keith.”

Keith shook his head.   “No, I don’t think so.   We aren’t planning to have another child for a while.   Kerry wants some time to recover.”

There was another knock on the door.   This time, I went to the door and opened it.   Duane, Mason, Cordell, Michael and Jeb were standing there.   “Come inside, guys,” I said.

Duane asked, “How was your trip home?”

“It kind of sucked,” I said.

“That’s too bad.   What happened?” he asked.

“Come into the kitchen and I’ll tell you,” I said.   They followed me into the kitchen and took seats around the table.  

“Okay, tell us what happened,” Duane said.

I related our adventures with my mother and moving her into a new apartment.   I told them about the twins’ wedding, as well.

“So, it wasn’t a total loss,” Duane said.

“It certainly wasn’t as much fun as our trip to Cancun,” I said.

“Well, that’s something entirely different,” Duane said, grinning.   “There aren’t many vacations that can beat that one.”

Mason said, “It was pretty special.”

Keith said, “You guys never did tell me about your Cancun trip.”

I looked over at Rick.   He grinned and said, “We had a very nice time, Keith.   However, we won’t be telling you any of the details.”

Keith looked around the room at the gay guys.   “Let me guess.   You had lots and lots of sex on the beach.”

Duane laughed and said, “Pretty much!”

Keith looked over at Jeb.   “Did they tell you anything?”

“No, Keith.   Cordell and Michael have been pretty tight lipped about their trip,” Jeb replied.

Michael said, “You had to be there.”

I asked, “Michael, how did your parents react to Cordell when you took him home to meet them?”

“They loved him,” Michael said.   “My sister thinks he’s Mr. Wonderful.”

Cordell laughed and said, “Well, I am wonderful.”

Jeb punched him in the shoulder.   “I can’t believe you.   You get yourself a boyfriend and you become insufferable.”

Cordell grinned.   “It’s because Michael is the best boyfriend I’ve ever had.”

“You mean he’s the ‘only’ boyfriend you’ve ever had,” Jeb said.

Rick asked, “How are you doing, Jeb?   I mean, with your parents and all.

“Nothing has changed,” Jeb said.   “I’m still not on speaking terms with them.”

There was another knock on our door and I went to answer it.   I opened it to find Gerald and his daughter.   “Hey Gerald!  Come inside and join the crowd!”

“Glenn, this is my daughter, LaTisha.   LaTisha say, ‘hello,’ to Glenn.”

LaTisha hid behind her Dad.   I said, “Hello, LaTisha.”

She didn’t answer but grabbed her Dad’s legs from behind.   Gerald took her by the hand and led her inside.   “Everyone is in the kitchen,” I said.

Gerald entered the kitchen with LaTisha.   “Everyone, this is my daughter, LaTisha.   She’s two years old.”

The guys chorused, “Hello, LaTisha.”

I asked, “Gerald, is it okay if I give LaTisha a cookie?   I know it’s before dinner, but it might help put her at ease.”

Gerald nodded his head.   “Sure, as long as it’s only one.”  I handed a cookie to LaTisha.   She took it and began nibbling on it.   “It’s okay to eat it,” Gerald said.

Jeb asked, “Gerald, did you find a new place to live?”

“Yes, I did.   We moved in over the holidays.   LaTisha’s grandmother is living with me as well as her sister.   They are out shopping today,” Gerald said.   “It’s so much better being here with my daughter.   I hated every minute I had to spend away from her.”

The timer went off, letting me know the shells were done.   I walked over to the oven and turned it off.   I got the oven mitts and pulled out the shells.   I set them on top of the stove to cool a bit before serving them.   “Keith, will you let Kerry know dinner is ready.”

Rick retrieved the salads from the refrigerator and placed them on the table.   I sliced the garlic bread and put it in a basket on the table.   Next, I moved two pans of stuffed shells to the table, putting one at each end.   Everyone took their seats and Rick said, “I’ll say grace.”   We reached out and took the hand of the person on either side of us.   After grace, we dug in.   I said, “There are two more pans of stuffed shells; so don’t be shy about eating as much as you want.”

Gerald helped LaTisha cut up her pasta into smaller pieces so she could eat it.   Then, Gerald began eating his own dinner.   “This is pretty good, Glenn.”

“Thank you, Gerald.   Rick did a pretty good job of filling the shells,” I said.   “I transferred out of the music department this morning.”

Gerald was so surprised he stopped with his fork half way to his mouth.   He sat his fork down on his plate.   “Why did you do that?”

“I decided I needed to change my major to something I could make a living doing.   I love music; but I don’t want to live that lifestyle.   I hate being away from Rick.   It’s bad enough now, when he goes for his weekend drills with the Marines.   If I were to run the concert circuit, I’d be travelling all the time.   I don’t want that,” I said.

“That makes sense to me,” Gerald said.   “Maybe I should look at switching my major, too.   I hadn’t given it much thought, to be honest.   I chose music as a major because I love it so much.   Now that I think about, I have LaTisha to look after, and I couldn’t be on the road all the time unless I found someone to watch her for me.”

Duane said, “You could switch to computer science, like me and Mason.”   Duane looked over at me and asked, “Are you still interested in doing an internship with our company?”

“Sure, when will they have an opening?” I asked.

“They will have several openings in April; but you need to apply now, or you won’t get a chance to intern with us,” Duane said.

Mason said, “It would be really awesome if you worked in our office.   We just hired another gay couple.   Both of them are really good with computers.”

“Does your company only hire gays?” Cordell asked.  

“No, but it does have an anti-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation,” Duane said.   “Our boss is a woman who likes to work with gay guys.  That’s why we think Glenn has a good chance of getting a job with us.”

“But I don’t have any computer skills,” I protested.

“You have good analytical skills and that’s all you need,” Duane said.   “The jobs we’re looking to fill are business analyst positions.”

I looked doubtfully at Duane.   “I’ve never done any kind of business analysis.”

“I beg to differ,” Duane said.   “Haven’t you helped several of your friends get started in business ventures?”

I looked at Rick, then back to Duane.   “Yes, but I didn’t do any analysis.”

“How did you decide to help your friends?” Duane asked.

“We knew they were hard workers, and we could trust them,” I said.

“How did you know you could trust them?” Duane asked.

“We watched how they treated people.   We knew they were honest because they never lied to us, or tried take advantage of us,” I said.

Rick added, “Plus, we had Grandpa to advise us.   He did a lot of the legal legwork and he made sure documented each and every agreement; so, there aren’t any questions about what is expected.”

“What I’m trying to point out to you, Glenn, is both you and Rick already have the analytical skills you need.   You’ve been using them all along.   All you will need from us is some additional training on the type of analysis we do at our company,” Duane said.

Kerry said, “Duane is right about you guys.   You seem to be able to surround yourselves with good people.   Look around the table at us.   Each of us has found our way into your circle of friends, because you’ve been able to see the good in us.”

Keith said, “Of course, we like hanging out with you guys because you’re so goofy!”

Cordell laughed and said, “Yes, there is that.   Glenn, you have to admit you get pretty goofy sometimes.”

Rick grinned and put his arm around my shoulders.   “Don’t get upset, Glenn.   You’re in good company.”

I looked at Rick and said, “Yes, I’m definitely in good company.   I’ve got plenty of competition for who is the goofiest one here!”

Cordell said, “It really showed on our trip to Cancun with all of the different things you had us do.”

“But you guys did them, even if some of them were pretty silly,” I said.   “So what does that say about you guys?”

Michael said, “I think it proves we deserve to be your friends.”

We continued to enjoy our company, as we finished eating our meal.   Everyone pitched in to help clear the table and wash up the dishes.   We migrated to the family room, where we relaxed with our friends.   A few hours later, they returned to their homes and we turned in for the night.

Rick pulled me close and I put my head on his chest.   He ran his fingers through my hair.   “Are you ready to start school tomorrow, Babe?”

“Yes and no,” I said.   “I’m a little nervous to be starting a new major.”

“I hope you like business administration better than you did engineering,” Rick said.

“I hope so, too,” I said.   I lifted my head from his chest and looked into his eyes.   “Rick, am I being too flighty?   I mean, this is my third declared major in as many years.”

“No, but you do need to settle down and finish this one,” Rick said.

“That’s what has me worried,” I said.   “I’ve tried engineering and music.   With engineering, all of the math classes scared me to death.  I love music; but I don’t want the lifestyle that comes with it.   The business administration sounds like something I can do; but I’m not sure about it, either.   Why can’t I seem to make up my mind?”

“Maybe it’s because you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up,” Rick said.

I punched his shoulder and said, “Stop being a wise guy!”

Rick said, “I was being serious.   It’s hard to know what to do if you don’t know where you’re headed in life.”

“Can’t I just decide to be your husband and not worry about all the rest of this stuff?” I asked.

“Do you mean you want to be a well-kept husband?” Rick asked, laughing.

“Yes, that is what I mean,” I replied, grinning at him.

“Well, I intend to keep you very well, Glenn; however, I think you would become very bored with just staying home, doing nothing,” Rick said.

“You’re right about that.   I guess I’ll have to give business administration a try,” I said, sighing in resignation.

“I think it will be a good thing.   I’ll help you as much as I can,” Rick said.

“Okay, but you have to promise me you’ll tell me if I’ve made a bad decision,” I said.  

Rick kissed me and said, “I promise.  I love you.”

“I love you, too,” I said.

Prev To be continued . . .

A Note from Russ:

Some gay dating advice -

For those wishing to move to Canada, Canadian Immigration Assistance -

Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra -

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #2 -