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




Chapter 111: Perry

I walked into my first class in economics and took a seat in the back.   I was a little nervous, since I wasn’t sure about my new major.   Rick had tried to reassure me everything would go okay.   Despite his efforts, I still felt anxious about my class schedule this semester.   This was only the first day of class and we would probably go over the syllabus.   I pulled out my paper and prepared to take notes.   I began doodling on my paper, as I thought of Rick and the quick kiss he had given me just moments earlier, before running off to his class.   I smiled as I remembered, watching his great looking bubble butt as he loped down the hallway so he wouldn’t be late to class.

I was brought back to the present by a smooth baritone voice.   “Hey, my name is Perry.   What’s yours?”

I looked over and noticed an outstretched hand.   I raised my eyes and met the intense gaze of the most gorgeous man I had ever seen (next to Rick, of course!).   His hazel eyes held mine and he smiled.   “Are you going to shake my hand or not?”   His thick arms showed he worked out on the weights.   His muscle shirt was so tight on him I could make out all of the muscles on his chest and abs.   His legs were like tree trunks.   He was deeply tanned.   He wasn’t muscle- bound; but, I could tell he was very serious about keeping his body in top shape.

“Sorry,” I said and took his hand.   His grip was firm and he held my hand for a little longer than necessary.   “I’m Glenn Nielsen.”

“Glad to meet you, Glenn.   Who is the lucky guy?” Perry asked.   He had released my hand; but my hand tingled where our skin had touched.

I blushed as I realized Perry must have seen us kissing in the hallway.   “That’s my boyfriend, Rick.”

“I gathered he’s your boyfriend,” Perry said.   “I wouldn’t have pegged him as being gay if I hadn’t seen him kissing you in the hall, just now.    My gaydar must be malfunctioning these days.   You, on the other hand, I have no doubts you’re gay.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?” I asked.

“No, but I’m looking at a very handsome guy who I would like to get to know,” Perry said.

I laughed.   “You need to work on your pick up lines!”

Perry grinned.   “At least I got you to laugh.   Seriously, I would like to get to know you better.”   After a slight pause, he added, “And your boyfriend, of course.”

I smiled and said, “Why don’t we form our own study group?   You can come over to our place and study with us.”

Perry’s smile widened and his eyes seemed to shine.   “I would love to become your study partner.   I’m sure we can manage to find time to study economics among other things.”   I got the hidden meaning behind his words and blushed.   I had never felt so out of control of a situation.   My heart was beating faster than it should and I licked my lips.   I tried to look away from the naked passion in his eyes; but couldn’t tear my eyes from his.   Perry reached over and rubbed his hand along my inner thigh.   “I think we are going to be great friends, Glenn.”

The spell was broken when the professor entered the room and introduced himself.   He began his lecture.   I studiously took notes as I tried not to remember how Perry’s touch had seemed to burn my skin as he ran his hand up my thigh up under my cargo shorts, reaching nearly to my crotch.   I had never met anyone so openly brazen!   Well, almost no one.   I remembered how forward Brandon had been when I first met him.   I knew if I could handle Brandon’s advances, I could handle Perry’s, as well; at least, so I thought to myself, as the professor droned on through his lecture.

After class, Perry asked, “What is your next class?”

I moaned and said, “Another economics class.”

“You must have the same one as I do,” he said.   “Let me see your schedule.”  I pulled it out and we compared our classes.   It turned out we had three classes together – both of our economics classes and the statistics class.   “Looks your idea of forming a study group would be the best thing for us to do.   I’ll follow you home after our statistics class.”

We stood up together.   I found myself staring directly into his eyes.   We stood at exactly the same height.  He leaned forward and briefly brushed his lips against mine.   He grinned and said, “I couldn’t resist.  It seemed like you needed to be kissed.”

I put my fingers to my lips and didn’t respond.   I looked into his, mesmerized by them.  Perry laughed.   “I’ve been told I’m a good kisser; but I’ve never left anyone speechless before.  Breathless maybe, but not speechless.”

He took my hand and said, “Let’s go to class, or we’ll be late.”   He led me out of the classroom, and we walked to our next class together.   The longer I was in Perry’s presence, the more I liked him.   He must have known he was having an effect on me; because he stated, “I hope you don’t mind my advances.   I’ve been accused of being too forward sometimes, especially if I find someone very attractive.”

I gave a nervous laugh and said, “I don’t mind.   I find you extremely attractive as well.”

Perry gave me a lecherous grin.   “I hope your boyfriend isn’t the jealous type; because I intend to have my way with you, if you’ll let me.”

I laughed and said, “You’re crazy!”

“I’ve been told I’m crazy before; but not by you,” Perry said.   “I’m going to be completely upfront with you, Glenn.   I want you to be mine.   I’m prepared to do what it takes to win your heart.   I know you said Rick is your boyfriend, for now.”   He raised his hand to stop me, before I could interrupt him.   “I know what you’re going to say; but hear me out.   I have never felt such a connection to anyone else as I do with you.   It’s almost like we’ve known each other for forever.   I know you feel the same way, too.   I’ve seen it in your eyes.   Please let us explore our connection to each other.   If things don’t work out between us, we will both know it wasn’t meant to be.”

I was stunned by what he said.   Not because it was so out of the ordinary; but, because it was like he had been reading my mind!   It was so uncanny!   I finally gained control of myself and replied.   “Okay, I’m willing to see where this leads us.”  How little did I know I would live to regret the decision I made, while walking between classes with Perry by my side.

At first, we met at our condo to study every day after class.   Perry managed to restrain himself when Rick was around.   He was the perfect guest in our home.   He was a man’s man around Rick.  They had similar interests and really hit it off.   We joked around and had a good time hanging out together.   Then, a few weeks later, Perry suggested we start studying in the library on campus.   He said he was having a hard time concentrating on his studies when he was at our place.   I talked it over with Rick and he agreed maybe it would be better for us to study for a few hours on campus.   Rick was having trouble keeping up in his classes, as well.  He seemed to welcome the extra time to concentrate on his studies.

Perry reserved a conference room at the library for us every day for three hours.   The first time we used the room Perry closed the door behind him and asked, “What do you think?”

I looked around the room.   There were no windows.   There were white boards on three walls with a small conference table in the middle of the room surrounded by six chairs.   “It’s a little claustrophobic; but it will do.”

“I chose this room because I wanted to do a little more than study economics,” he said.   He approached me and took my backpack from my shoulder, putting it on the ground.   He pulled me into his arms and began kissing me.   At first I tried to resist; but soon, I was kissing him back with equal, if not greater, passion.

When we came up for air, I said, “Perry, please…”

Perry put his finger to my lips, and said, “You said you would let things move forward to see where they end up.   This is the next step in my plan to win your heart.”

I grinned at him and said, “Perry, I thought you had given up when you saw how much Rick and I love each other.”

“Yes, I’ve seen how things appears to be; however, I’ve also seen Rick undisguised interest in the women who pass us on campus.   He’s not completely gay.   In fact, I’m willing to bet you he’s not even bi-sexual,” Perry said.

I began to protest.   “What…”

Perry cut me off, “Rick is straight, Glenn.   I would guess he fantasizes about fucking women when he’s fucking you.   Glenn, you need to wake up and realize Rick is looking for a way to end your relationship.   I’ve listened to the way he talks about women, about his military career and his desires for the future.   None of his plans seem to include you.”

I pulled away from him and sat down at the conference table.   “Perry, I don’t want to talk about this.”  

Perry sat next to me and put his arms around me.   “Glenn, please don’t hate me for stating the obvious.   Yes, I have a vested interest in seeing you split up.   I want you to be mine in the worst way; but you know what I’m saying is true.   You have chosen to ignore what is going on, right in front of your face.   You love him so much, Glenn, you aren’t willing to acknowledge Rick might not love you as much in return.   If you really want him, you will give him the option of leaving you without turning it into a nightmare for him.   Rick loves you and doesn’t want to hurt you.   However, you know as well as I do that I’m right about Rick.   He doesn’t have a gay bone in his body.   He’s straight and you know it.”

I put my face in my hands to hide the tears streaming down my face.  Perry’s every word hit home and it hurt so much.   He was only pointing out what I already knew in my heart and tried to ignore, hoping Rick would change.

Perry put his arm around my shoulders and said, “I will always be here for you, Glenn.”

We stayed that way for some time.   When my tears stopped and I was more in control of my feelings, I looked up at Perry.   “Perry, I know you’re right; but I don’t know what to do.”

“You know what to do, Glenn.   You need to give Rick his freedom.   If he truly loves you and wants to spend his life with you, he will stay and will work out his sexuality issues.   If he’s not as committed to you as you think he is, he will leave; and you will be free to find someone who loves you and will be by your side for the rest of your life.   I’m offering myself up as that person.   I’ve fallen in love with you, Glenn.   However, you are the one who must decide whether you stay with Rick, or you let him go.”

I nodded my head.   “I know you’re right.”  

Perry pulled out his books and he handed me my back pack.   “We need to study.   We have a mid-term exam tomorrow.”

We studied for three hours, then Perry kissed me and said, “I will see you tomorrow in class.”   He left me sitting alone in the conference room.   I sat there staring at the walls, wondering how I was going to begin my conversation with Rick.

A week later, I looked up from my notes and glanced at the professor at the front of my economics class.   He had just explained another one of the central tenets of the science of economics.   My head was spinning and I knew I needed some help.   He finished his lecture and left the room.   I heaved a sigh of relieve, as did the rest of my classmates.

Why did I ever think I could make it through a major that required so much math?  I had two economics classes, a statistics course and an accounting class.   The accounting class was tedious; but at least I understood the concepts.   The statistics class was killing me!  It didn’t help that the professor spoke broken English!

I walked out of the class and stood in the hallway waiting for my friend, Perry. Since the first of the semester, when we first met, we had spent a lot of time together studying for our shared classes – both economics classes, and the statistics class.  

Perry came up behind me and put his arm around my waist.   “Hey, babe.”   He planted a kiss on my lips as his thick arm pulled me close.   Perry grinned at me and his hazel eyes danced merrily.   I loved the feel of his toned body next to mine.  

I ruffled his short dark brown hair and said, “You know Rick doesn’t like you to do that,” I said.

“Well, the big man isn’t here to see it,” Perry said, laughing.   He released me and took my hand.   “Let’s move to the next class.”

I resisted him and said, “Perry, why are you teasing me?”

“Who said I was teasing?   I want you, badly.   I’ll do whatever it takes to win you over.   I know you’re attracted to me physically, and you know we are perfect for each other,” Perry said.

“Perry Robinson will you stop,” I said.   “I love you; but I’m committed to Rick.”

Perry reacted with harsh words, “Yes, so you’ve said.   But is he really committed to you?   Is he really ready to acknowledge he’s truly a gay man?   Is he as committed to you as you are to him?   Do you honestly think he will ever marry you?   Why do you continue to be blind to the fierce struggles going on inside Rick?   Why can’t you see Rick is not gay?   He may be bi-sexual but NOT gay.   Why do you choose to ignore how he looks at women?   I know you’ve seen him salivating over the hot chicks walking around campus.   Has it ever crossed your mind he’s going to revert to his natural state?   He was a womanizer before he met you; and he’ll quickly revert to back, given half a chance.”

“Perry, I do see the longing in Rick’s eyes when he looks at good looking women.   It worries me; but I can’t let my worrying ruin my relationship with Rick.   I don’t want to be the jealous boyfriend who drives his man away by nagging him all the time about his desires to be with a woman,” I said.

Perry said, “He’s not going to stay with you, Glenn.   You need to face facts.   You have been an experiment in gay sex for him.   It’s not his true nature.   He’s not like you, or me.   We’re both gay and we know it.   Why can’t you see that?”

“Perry, I don’t want to have this conversation,” I said, pulling his arm away from my waist.   I turned and walked off down the hall to our next class.

Perry caught up to me and grabbed my arm.   He turned me around to face him.   “Glenn, you don’t get to just walk away from me.”

I glared at Perry and said, “Perry, let go of my arm.”   The tone of my voice must have shocked him; because he released my arm like it was a hot potato.   “I already told you.   My relationship with Rick is none of your business.”


I cut him off, “Perry, the answer is no.   We will not have any further discussion about my relationship with Rick.   I’ve already told you I love him and I intend to stay with him.”

Perry’s crestfallen expression touched my heart.   “I’m sorry, Perry.   I never intended for you to fall in love with me.   I love you as a very dear friend; but nothing more.   My heart belongs to Rick.”

Perry said, with heavy resignation, “I guess there isn’t anything more to say.”

“Please don’t be this way, Perry,” I said, trying to ignore my heart’s impulse to reach out and comfort him.

“Then tell me how I can win your heart,” Perry said, with a ferocity and passion that hit me hard.

I looked into his eyes and said, with my voice barely above a whisper, “You already have.”

Perry’s eyes bored into mine so intensely he started to scare me.  “Did you just say you’re in love with me?”

I swallowed hard and nodded my head.   “But I’m still in love with Rick at the same time.”   I put a finger to his lips as he was about to speak.   “Wait.   Let me finish.   I can’t explain it, Perry.   I love both of you.   I don’t want to hurt either one of you.   I’ve been in a relationship with Rick now for over 2 ½ years.   I know he loves me and I love him.   When I met you, I was instantly attracted to you.   We seemed to connect on a level I’ve never experienced with Rick.   Over the last couple of months, I’ve fallen hard for you, Perry.   Now, I find myself in a very difficult position.   I still love Rick and I don’t want to ruin my relationship with him; but, at the same time, I love you and want to be with you.   I’ve tried to deny the fact I love you.   That is why I’ve kept pushing you away, hoping you would move on and find someone else; but you keep coming back.   Now, you’ve pushed the whole situation out into the open.   I don’t know how to move forward from here without there being a lot of collateral damage on all sides.”

I paused and took a deep breath.   “If I leave Rick and go with you, I will feel like I’ve abandoned him.   If I stay with Rick, I will never know if you are Mr. Right and I passed up the opportunity for my dreams to come true.”

“I thought you said that Rick was your Mr. Right?” Perry said.

“He is, or at least, I thought so, until I met you,” I said.   What I didn’t tell him was Rick and I had argued last night.   “I’m going to class.”   I walked away from Perry, leaving him standing in the middle of the hallway.

I took my usual seat at the back of the class.   A few minutes later, Perry slipped into the seat next to me.   I studiously ignored him, as I tried to concentrate on what the professor was doing at the front of the classroom.

My mind kept going back to last night:

Rick and I were snuggling on the couch in our family room, when I decided to bring up the subject of our relationship.   “Rick, we need to talk about our future together.”

Rick pulled away from me and turned around on the couch so he was facing me.  “Does this have to do with Perry?”

“Yes and no.   I have to be totally honest with you, Rick.   I have fallen in love with Perry.   I tried to resist his charms and the attraction I feel toward him.   However, I love you, too.   You are still my first love and I’ve told Perry you come first in my heart.   He knows no matter what he says or does; he won’t be able to change my mind.”  I stopped as I watched a range of emotions cross Rick’s face.   First, I saw anger, then relief; followed by a look of anxiety.   I continued, “I wanted to clear the air about my feelings for Perry and where I stand with you.   You are still my life partner and I’m committed to staying with you.   However, I need to know where your head is.   I know you have been chafing at what you perceive as the limitations I put on you.   I want you to know I’ve noticed how much you long to be with a woman.   I’ve tried to ignore how excited you get when cute girls pay attention to you.   You’ve tried to hide it; but it’s been pretty obvious.   My only question is this.   Do you fantasize about fucking a woman when you’re with me?

The question hung in the air between us like a thick black cloud, shutting out the sunlight.   He didn’t answer and the minutes seemed to stretch into hours before he cleared his throat and attempted to answer.   “Honestly, I’ve been pretending I’m fucking a girl.   I thought I could make things work out with you, if I just worked hard enough.   I really do love you, Glenn.   I don’t want you to think just because I have sexual desires to be with a woman that I haven’t grown to love you very much.”

I had already guessed what his answer was going to be and thought I was prepared to hear it.   However, the reality still hurt, and I tried to school my features to keep from betraying myself.   This was one time I wanted to remain completely in control of my emotions.   “I thought as much.”  I was surprised how flat my voice sounded.   “I need to know you are really committed to me; not just as a roommate, or a friend with benefits.”

Rick looked me in the eyes and said, “You’ve never been just a friend with benefits.”   Anger flashed in his eyes.   “I’m a little insulted you would even think that.   I entered into this relationship knowing I was still attracted to girls.   I wanted to be with you and to make it work for both of us.”

“It still can, Rick.   However, I think we are at a crossroads where we both need to reassess where we stand with each other, and with ourselves.   I know how much the military means to you.   Being with me is a threat to your military career; and we’re at risk of being discovered every moment we’re together.   Your military’s policy of not allowing gays to serve in the armed services will not allow us to be together.   I don’t want to be the reason you lose a military career.   I want to offer you the opportunity to walk away from our relationship without any ill feelings on my part.”

Rick started to speak and I cut him off.   “Rick, I’m not saying I don’t love you; because I do.   But, I know if I don’t offer you your freedom, to let you pursue your dreams; I will regret it the rest of my life, and you will never forgive me for destroying your dreams.”

Rick’s face was completely red with rage.   “Did Perry put you up to this?”

“Yes and no.   Yes, he encouraged me to be honest with myself and to be honest with you.   And no, because I already knew you’re unhappy with me and my insistence you leave the military as soon as possible.   I already observed your desires to be with a woman.   Perry didn’t cause any of those things.”

Rick started to talk.   At first, his voice was calm; but as he went on, it grew in volume and intensity.   “This is all Perry’s fault.   If he hadn’t been pushing you to leave me, you wouldn’t be sitting here asking me these questions!”

“You’re right, Rick.   If Perry hadn’t made me realize you were so unhappy with our situation, we wouldn’t be sitting here with you screaming at me at the top of your lungs.”

Rick responded, “I’m not screaming!   I’m shouting!”

“At least you acknowledge you’re shouting.   Please sit down.   I want to continue our conversation, and we can’t do it if you’re pacing around the room like a caged lion.”

He finally sat down and said, “Okay, what more do you want to talk about?”

We talked about our plans for spring break and moved on to other subjects.   Unfortunately, there was a wall between us now, and things only got worse as the evening went on.   I finally stood up and said, “I will sleep in the spare bedroom tonight.   You are obviously too upset to think straight.   Good night, Rick.”

I left him steaming on the couch.   His arms were folded across his chest and his face was set in lines of anger.

Tyler walked around his new home in Las Rozas de Madrid.   Las Rozas is a nice community approximately 18 km. northwest of the city of Madrid.   The rooms were empty of furniture; but he went from room to room, snapping photographs of the rooms with his cell phone and sending them to Joey.   The home had six bedrooms and an outdoor swimming pool.  

His parents had lent him the money to buy the home; since he and Joey didn’t have the necessary resources to purchase it on their own.   The home was conveniently located near the railway station he used to get into town to attend his classes.   He had picked up a used Vespa scooter he used for driving to and from the train station.

Tyler was happy their residency papers had been approved.   He and Joey were now permanent residents of Spain.   The girls’ passports had arrived yesterday and they were still discussing the logistics of moving Joey and the girls to Spain.    He sat down on the stairs and smiled at the memory of Joey’s excited phone call.

Tyler’s cell phone rang as he put the finishing touches on the essay he was writing.   He saw it was Joey and quickly answered the call.


“We got the girls’ passports in the mail yesterday!” Joey shouted into the phone.   “I would have called you last night; but, it was too late by the time the mail arrived.”

“Great!   Now, we can get all of you moved across the pond,” Tyler said.   “Have you given some thought to us getting married in Canada before coming to Spain?”

“Yes, I have.   I talked it over with your parents and they think we should get married as soon as possible,” Joey said.

“And….?” Tyler asked, wanting his life mate to actually say the words.

“Yes, let’s get married in Canada,” Joey said.   “Mom suggests we get married the week before Easter.   That would give us the rest of your spring break to get us settled in Spain.”

“So where in Canada do you want to be married?” Tyler asked.

“Toronto would work.   There are a lot of flights to Toronto to choose from.   We could meet you there next week.   You would have to miss the last couple of days of classes,” Joey said.

“That sounds like a plan,” Tyler said.   “I’ve already spoken to my professors about what is going on in my life, and they’re willing to work with me.”

“Dad already booked the flights for us and made arrangements for the hotel,” Joey said.

Tyler asked, in surprise, “What?”

“Dad said he would take care of everything.   I called Greg and Cory and invited them to our wedding.   They suggested we use the same wedding chapel the Scarboroughs did for the twins’ wedding last January,” Joey said.

Tyler quickly recovered from his surprise.   He hadn’t expected his parents to take care of cost of their wedding.   “So, what is there left to do?”

“Just show up at the appointed time.   Mom and I called the wedding center this morning and everything is all set,” Joey said.  There was silence on the other end of the line.   “Tyler, are you okay?”

Tears were streaming down Tyler’s face.   He finally was able to respond, “I’m still here.   I’m just so happy.   It’s finally happening!   We’re getting married and you’re going to be here with me.”

He was brought back to the present by the insistent knocking on the door.   He stood up and walked across the foyer to open the door.   He smiled at the older couple who stood on the front porch.   “Sr. and Sra. Nájera, please come in.”

Sr. Nájera was his gardener and chauffer, while his wife was his housekeeper.   They had agreed to move with him to his new home.   Both spoke impeccable English as well as French and German, in addition to their native Spanish.

Sr. Nájera was 175 cm. (5’9”) tall.   He had a slender build, greying black hair, dark eyes and deeply tanned skin.   His wife was 152 cm. (5’) tall.   She had blond hair and blue eyes; but where her husband was slender, she was plump.   She always had a smile on her lips and a twinkle in her eyes.   She filled the room with happiness when she entered.  

She hugged Tyler and said, “Thank you for asking us to come with you to your new home.”

Sr. Nájera said, “We’ve grown rather fond of you, young man.   As you know, you remind us of our own son, Jaime.”

Jaime had been killed when a bomb went off in a Madrid train station a year earlier.   When Tyler had arrived at their door, looking for a place to live; Sra. Nájera had fainted.   Sr. Nájera had invited him inside, after carrying his wife over to a couch in their front room.   When she recovered, she smiled at him and explained Tyler looked so much like her deceased son it caught her off guard.   She pointed to her son’s photo.   Tyler had looked at the photograph and had to agree they did look very much alike.  From that day forward, they had adopted him as their own son.

“Let me take you on a tour of the place,” Tyler said.   He led them from room to room.   “You can choose whichever room you want.”

“Thank you, Tyler,” Sr. Nájera said.   “There are three master bedrooms.   May we have one of them?”

“Sure.   There is one for my parents, one for you and one for me and Joey.   The girls will each have their own room and we’ll have a spare bedroom for visitors,” Tyler said.

Sr. Nájera smiled and bowed to him.   “Thank you.”  

Tyler said, “It’s the least I can do for you.”

Sra. Nájera moved to the end of the hallway and said, “Let’s take this one with the view of the swimming pool.”

“Okay, dear,” Sr. Nájera said, smiling at his wife.   “We will move our furniture tomorrow.   I have a friend who has a truck we can borrow to move our things.   Our daughter and her family will move into our old home, now we’re moving here to live with you.   She will continue to rent rooms to students at the university and her husband will take care of the house and gardens.”

Sra. Nájera said, “This is a fine house.   We also own a home in Málaga.   Maybe your parents would be interested in buying a home in the same neighborhood.”

“I will ask them about it.   I know they were still talking about a summer home at the beach,” Tyler said.

“Málaga is a very nice city and there are plenty of beaches nearby,” Sr. Nájera said.   “Shall we return home?”

“Yes,” Sra. Nájera said.   “Will you be coming with us?”

“Yes, I think I will,” Tyler said. 

They locked up the house and climbed into Sr. Nájera’s Audi and he drove them to their house near the university.   When they arrived, Sr. Nájera helped his wife out of the car.   Seeing Sr. Nájera opening her door and helping her out of the car, reminded Tyler of his parents.   His Dad had always been a gentleman, helping his mother at every turn.   It was one of the things his father had said kept their marriage going.   He wondered what he and Joey would be like in 20 or 30 years from now.   They loved each other very much; but, they were still getting used to each other.

Sra. Nájera turned around and looked at Tyler.   “What is wrong, mi hijo?”   She used the Spanish term for “my son” as she had from the first day he had met her.   She had taken him into her heart and had called him “mi hijo.”   At first, it had bothered him for her to call him “my son,” knowing her own son had died only a few months before he came to live with them.   It really was uncanny how much he resembled her deceased son.

After a few months, he had grown accustomed to being called, “my son,” and he accepted the fact he now had a second set of parents.   Sr. Nájera had also started calling him, “mi hijo,” as well.   Their daughter, Rocío, had accepted him as a member of the family and teased him about being her brother by another mother!

When they entered the house, they were greeted by the Nájera grandchildren, Pedro, age 5, and Alejandro, age 4.   They were swept into their grandfather’s arms.   He hugged and kissed them, before putting them back on their feet.   They received the same treatment from their grandmother.   They turned to Tyler and he followed suit, as was expected.

Pedro said, “We missed you, Uncle Tyler.”

“I missed you, too, Pedro,” Tyler said, smiling at the little boy who had taken his hand and was leading him toward the kitchen.

“Mommy, made paella for us,” Pedro said.

“She did?” Tyler asked.  Pedro nodded his head.  “That’s a special treat!   Are we ready to eat?”

They entered the kitchen to find Rocío and her husband, Rubén, sitting at the breakfast table.   Rubén had blond hair, blue eyes, an aristocratic nose and a generous mouth.   He stood at 175 cm. (5’9”).  He had a slight, wiry frame.  Rubén smiled and asked, “How’s the new house?”

Sra. Nájera said, “It’s very beautiful, Rubén.   We are excited to be moving with Tyler.”

“Are you sure you won’t change your mind and stay?” Rubén asked.

“No, it is time for us to turn over the management of our little business to you and Rocío,” she said.   They owned several apartment buildings nearby and would be turning the management of those properties over to them, in addition to the little hostel they ran as part of their main home.

Rubén nodded his head.   “We’re ready; but I wanted to make sure you weren’t having second thoughts about moving away.”

“We’re not really moving away.   It’s a very short distance to Tyler’s new house,” she responded.

Rocío was an exact replica of her mother, only younger.   Rocío said, “Dinner is ready.”

She led the way into the dining room, where the table had been set.   They took their places, with Sr. Nájera at the head of the table.   “Let’s give thanks.”   Afterward, he said, “Let’s eat.”

They enjoyed their meal and Tyler retired to his room for the night.   He pulled out his cell phone and dialed Joey.   With the six hour time difference, it was 4 PM in Virginia.  

Joey picked up the call and said, “Hello, sweetheart.”

“How are things going?” Tyler asked.

“The movers came today and took everything away,” Joey said.   We are staying with the Stetsons, until we fly out to meet you.”

“Tell them ‘hello’ from me,” Tyler said.   “I’m glad they were willing to let you stay with them.”

“Me, too,” Joey said.   “Our parents have really hit it off with the Stetsons.   It’s almost like they have been friends for years.”

“I hope the same thing happens with the Nájera family.   Sr. and Sra. Nájera are the best,” Tyler said.

“I remember you telling your parents about them before you returned to Spain at the beginning of the year,” Joey said.   “I’m glad they will be living with us.   I was afraid I would be all alone during the day, trying to figure out how to speak Spanish.  I hope they will be willing to help me learn to speak their language.”

Tyler said, “I’m sure they will be very willing to do that.   They speak perfect English; so, you won’t have any trouble communicating with them.   Did you get the photos of the house?”

“Yes, I did.   I’ve downloaded them onto the laptop so I can see them better,” I replied.   “Mom has asked to help decorate it.”

Tyler said, “Only if she agrees you and I get the final say.”

“She already said she would abide by our decisions, if we don’t agree with her,” Joey said.

“Then, it’s okay with me,” Tyler said.   “Dad said he wanted to make our new house our wedding gift from them.”

Joey whistled!   “That’s a huge wedding gift.   I’m not sure we should let them do that, Tyler.   Won’t they need the money to buy a new home for themselves?”

“Dad said they were already planning to buy me a home when I graduated from college; but, were waiting to see where I finally settled down.   So, when I proposed to you and we decided to move to Spain, they decided it was time to buy us our first home,” Tyler said.

“I still think we should pay them back,” Joey said.

“I argued with Dad about it, too, Joey.   His answer was they expected us to care for them, when they become too old and disabled to care for themselves.   That is all they ask of us in return.   Both of them have said they don’t want to live in a nursing home, if their health declines to a point where they need 24/7 care,” Tyler said.

“I can relate to that.   I wouldn’t want to be in one of those places either,” Joey said.   “But if we don’t have the training to care for them; what then?”

“I guess one of us needs to learn more about the medical field; so, we won’t have to hire a nurse,” Tyler said.

Joey said, “Okay, I get the point!   Do you want me to go back to school and become a nurse?”

“No, but I think we both can take some courses to become certified as emergency technicians, or something along those lines,” Tyler said.

“We have plenty of time to do that.   Our parents are in good health and I don’t see them needing special medical care for quite some time,” Joey said.

“You’re right; but it would be good for us to think ahead; so we aren’t caught unprepared when something does happen,” Tyler said.   “Have you talked to Rick and Glenn?   Do they know we’re getting married in two weeks?”

“Yes, I called them this morning.   They are planning to be at our wedding.   What do you think about inviting the guys to spend spring break with us?” Joey asked.

“I’m okay with that; but I think I would rather have them visit us during the summer.   That way we can go to the beach as well as do some sightseeing.   Mom and Dad should have their beach house by then,” Tyler said.

“You’re right.   It would be more fun if it were warm enough to go to the beach,” Joey said.   “I’ll mention it to them, so they can plan their summer vacation.”

Tyler heard Rachel talking to Joey in the background.   Then, Rachel came on the phone.   “Dad, when are you coming home?”

“I will see you soon, sweetheart.   Daddy is going to take you on a big airplane and I’ll meet you in Canada,” Tyler said.

“Where’s Canada?” Rachel asked.

“A long way from where you are,” Tyler said.   “You can ask Daddy to show you on a map.”

“Okay.   I love you, Dad,” Rachel said.   “Bye.”

“Bye, Rachel.   Kiss Sarah for me,” Tyler said.

“Okay,” Rachel said.   She handed the phone back to Joey.

Joey said, “We miss you, Tyler.”

“I miss you, too,” Tyler said.

“Get a good night’s sleep and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.   I love you,” Joey said.

“I love you, too,” Tyler said, and broke the connection.

Prev To be continued . . .

A Note from Russ:

A tribute to those who died on the 11 March 2004 in Madrid =