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




Chapter 133: Peyton and Jonathan’s Wedding

Jonathan woke up from a dream, where he had stood on the edge of a precipice, looking across a deep chasm to where his fiancé, Peyton, stood, beckoning for him to join him, by jumping across it.   He remembered looking down apprehensively, not liking the look of the chasm at his feet; but, then, looking across the fissure, and meeting Peyton’s gaze.   Peyton’s warm smile and beckoning gestures reassured him; and he had moved to make the jump, just as he woke up.

The dream had left him feeling a little nervous, but excited and anxious about making such a huge commitment to another person.   He knew he was stepping into a new life with Peyton, one that held so much promise for both of them; yet, at the same time, it held just as much peril.   He knew he was taking a huge risk, marrying a man who was an ex-con.   He also knew Peyton was nowhere near being completely healed, mentally or emotionally, despite his outward appearance.   He was very good looking, and had regained much of his charming personality; but Jonathan knew of the deep wounds still festering beneath the calm exterior Peyton presented to the rest of the world.  

Peyton had insisted Jonathan be allowed to attend his last few therapy sessions.   Jonathan had witnessed, first hand, the extent of the psychological damage still plaguing Peyton.   After his last session, Peyton had clung to Jonathan, sobbing uncontrollably.   It had taken nearly 30 minutes for Peyton to calm down enough, to make the journey back to the farm.   Once back at the farm, Peyton threw himself into his work, trying to pretend nothing had happened during his therapy session.  

That same evening, Jonathan cornered Rick and Glenn about Peyton.   They had insisted on bringing Peyton into the conversation.   The four of them had brainstormed ways they could help Peyton.   Peyton had been a little uncomfortable at first, but had warmed to the idea of figuring out ways the four of them could work together for Peyton’s well-being.

During that discussion, Peyton had, for the first time, confessed his love for Jonathan.   He remembered Peyton’s surprise when he found out everyone, including Jonathan, had already figured it out.   The memory of that moment brought a smile to Jonathan’s lips.  

Jonathan could see Peyton was trying to get up the courage to express his feelings for him, but he waited, wanting Peyton to come forward on his own.   He was holding Peyton’s hand in his, when Peyton’s emotions overwhelmed him.   His three friends waited, patiently, for Peyton to regain his composure.   When he did, he looked around the room at Rick, Glenn, and Jonathan, and smiled.

“I have the best friends in the entire world,” he said.   Turning to Jonathan, he said, “You’re my best friend, Jonathan, and I’ve fallen in love with you.”

Jonathan said, “I know, Peyton; and I’ve fallen in love with you, too.”

Rick said, “Peyton, it’s about time you finally admitted you’ve fallen for this stud.”   Rick playfully punched Jonathan’s shoulder.

Peyton looked his cousin in the eyes, and asked, “You knew?”

Before Rick could answer his cousin’s question, Glenn laughed, and said, “Peyton, we have all known for some time you’ve fallen hard for Jonathan.   It’s not like you’ve hidden your feelings for him or anything like that.”

Peyton blushed.   “Have I been that bad?”

“Yes, you’ve been pretty open about your feelings for Jonathan,” Rick said.

“In fact, I’ve known for a while, now, how you’ve felt about me.   I’ve talked to Rick and Glenn, at length, about what I should do,” Jonathan said.

“What did they tell you to do?” Peyton asked, curious to know what advice Rick and Glenn had given Jonathan.

“They told me to stay calm, cool and collected.   They advised me to wait until you were ready to declare your love for me, before saying, or doing, anything that would push you in one direction or another,” Jonathan said.

“I told Jonathan if you two were meant to be together, things would work out,” I said.

Turing to Jonathan, Peyton said, “Thank you for your patience.”

Jonathan leaned over and gently kissed him.   “I love you, Peyton.”

Peyton beamed.   “I love you, too.”

Jonathan would cherish that moment in time for many years to come, because Peyton had declared his love for him from the deepest part of his being.   They had connected that day, on a level Jonathan had never dreamed of being possible.   It had added a new depth to their relationship that hadn’t been there before.

His ruminations were interrupted by a light tap on his bedroom door.   He said, “Come in.”

The door opened, and his mother came into his room.   She smiled, and said, “Did I wake you?”

“No, Mom, I was already awake,” he said.

She walked over to his desk and pulled out the chair, turning to face him and sat down.   “I wanted to talk to you, before you left for Atlanta.”

He sat up in bed, the blankets slipping down to show his bare chest.   “What did you want to talk about?” he asked, nervously.   He had been dreading talking to his mother since Peyton’s marriage proposal.   She had already gone to bed, when he arrived from the Scarborough’s place last night.

She met his gaze, and said, “I want you to know I love you, Jonathan.   I don’t have to tell you how I feel about your impending marriage to Peyton, so I won’t bother expressing my views about it.   However, I do want you to know you and Peyton are welcome in our home.   I may not agree with you marrying another man; but, I still love you, and want you to know you’re still part of our family.”

“Does this mean you won’t send your church’s missionaries to our door?” Jonathan said, smiling at his mother.

She laughed, and said, “I won’t promise you I won’t send them to your door.”

“Well, if it’s any comfort, I intend to keep up my bible study.   Peyton has agreed we need to have a strong spiritual base for our family.   We just haven’t found a church willing to accept us for who we are,” Jonathan said.

“Don’t your friends, Rick and Glenn, attend a Christian church in Atlanta?” she asked.   “Mrs. Scarborough mentioned it to me, yesterday, when I asked her about Rick and Glenn’s religious beliefs.”

Jonathan frowned, and said, “I’ve never asked the Scarboroughs about their religious beliefs.   I know how most church people feel about homosexuality, Mom, so I don’t ask.”

She nodded her head.   “You’re right about that part, Jonathan.   I asked Mrs. Scarborough how she could accept the fact her sons and grandsons are gay, since I knew she used to attend our church.   She said she believes God loves all of his children, and so should we.   She left our church because of the hatred being preached from the pulpit.   She disagrees with our pastor’s views regarding homosexuals, especially since she knows of his sexual escapades when he was in high school.   He slept with every girl in town, according to Mrs. Scarborough.   She said his ‘holier than thou’ attitude was more than she could handle.”

Jonathan nodded his head in agreement.   “It was kind of hard for me to keep going to your church services, when all he preached from the pulpit was how evil gays are.   I don’t consider myself to be evil, Mom.   Do you believe I’m evil?”

“No, I don’t,” she said.   “I think you may be a little misguided; but, no, I don’t think you’re evil.”   She looked at Jonathan and asked, “I promise I won’t bother you again about your marriage to Peyton; but I have to ask if you’re certain this is what you want?”   She hoped Jonathan might have doubts, so she could find a way to convince him not to marry Peyton.

Jonathan looked steadily into her eyes.   “Mom, I’ve never been so certain of anything in my life.”

She held his gaze, seeing he was determined to move forward with his marriage to his boyfriend.   She shook her head, and gave a sigh of resignation.   “I had to ask you, Jonathan.   As your mother, I will always worry about you.   It’s not I don’t think Peyton will treat you right, because I’ve seen how deeply he loves you.   I’m just concerned you’re getting yourself into a situation where you’ll be hurt.”   She shook her head, as if to free herself of the guilt she felt about trying to sabotage her son’s feelings for his fiancé, knowing she had done her best to plant doubts in her son’s mind.  Then she smiled, hoping he would come to his senses, before it was too late.   “I guess I’m ready to move on, and stop worrying about things I can’t change.   I’m happy you have found your soul mate, Jonathan.”   She tried to sound sincere, but she knew from Jonathan’s expression, she hadn’t convinced him.

She stood up and walked over to his bed.   She leaned down and kissed him on the cheek.   “I love you, son.”   She turned and left the room, quietly closing the door behind her.

She had already made her arguments to her husband about why they should oppose this marriage; however, Dan had made it clear he wasn’t going to do anything about it.   In fact, he had said he was going to help them in every way possible.   She thought about the question he had posed to her:

“Do you want your gay son to be miserable and unhappy, trying to live a life of your choosing; or would you choose to let him make his own choices and live a life full of happiness and love, even if it means he wouldn’t be living it according to the dictates of YOUR conscience?   Who is the person who will feel guilty for not living their life true to themselves?   Who is it that will be trying to live a lie to make someone else feel comfortable in their own skin?    Who is the person who will suffer most from marrying the person they love, you or your son?   It seems to me you’re the one with the problems here.   You’re the one being tortured by your conscience, not Jonathan.   You’re the one who has the serious issues.   I think you need to seek out some counseling to fix your psychological problems, so you can come to terms with your own thoughts and feelings toward our son and his future husband.”

She had thought about their conversation for a long time last night.   Her religious background screamed at her, what Jonathan was doing was wrong!   But, at the same time, she knew she couldn’t deny Jonathan was gay, and marrying Peyton would make him very happy.   She had already witnessed his happiness with her own eyes.

It was a conundrum that had left her wondering what to do.   On one hand, she felt she needed to raise a voice of warning about committing an abominable sin; but, on the other, she felt compelled to look at what was in Jonathan’s best interest.   At the moment, it appeared to her doing nothing was the best course of action.   She wouldn’t fight their marriage, and thereby creating a schism in the family; but she felt she couldn’t actively support it.  

She quietly walked down the hall to tell her husband she couldn’t attend the boys’ wedding.   She knew she might be causing a rift in the family by her decision, but she couldn’t put her stamp of approval on their wedding.

She walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table across from her husband.   He looked up and met her eyes.   He had a sense of foreboding when he saw the look on her face.   She said, “Dan, I’m not going to Jonathan’s wedding next month.   I can’t pretend to give them my approval, when I feel it’s wrong.”

Dan looked like he had been slapped in the face.   He returned her gaze and said, “Then, you’ll be here alone, because I’m not going to let my son get married without being there to support him, and I know MaryAnn feels the same way.”

She was surprised at the hard edge in his voice.   She knew how he felt, but she didn’t expect the coldness she saw in his face.   “Please don’t be angry with me, Dan.”

His expression became closed and his voice was flat.   “I’m not angry, but I am extremely disappointed.   Apparently, your devotion to your religious beliefs transcends familial ties.   Jonathan is your flesh and blood; yet, you would abandon him on the day of his marriage.   I’m sorry you’ve decided blood ties mean nothing to you.”

He stood up and walked over to the kitchen sink, where he deposited his coffee cup.   “I’ll be busy helping my son move his things out of my house.   I wouldn’t want him to leave anything behind that might remind you of him.”

She quickly stood up and tried to stop him from leaving the kitchen.   “Dan, I’m not disowning Jonathan.   I just don’t want to give any appearance of approving of his marriage.”

He gave her a hard-eyed look.   “Really?   Is that all you intend to do?”

She reached out her hand to touch his arm.   He visibly shrank from her touch.   “Maybe we can talk later, but I’m in no mood to pander to your religious convictions at the moment.”

He walked around her and left her standing alone in the middle of the kitchen.   She looked after his retreating back, wondering if she had pushed her husband over the line.   He wasn’t an overly religious man to begin with, and he had made it very clear he wouldn’t tolerate any religious nonsense in his home.   She had taken the children with her to church, but he had always refused to accompany her.   In the past, she had honored his wishes, and only spoke of religion when he wasn’t at home.   She had managed to teach her children from the Bible and did her best to teach them to pray and trust in God.   However, she felt she needed to take a stand this time.   She didn’t want to split her family apart, and thought she could avoid it.   However, she had a feeling her decision not to attend Jonathan’s wedding might not have been the wisest thing to do at this point in time.

Meanwhile, Peyton awoke feeling well rested.   He was sandwiched between Rick and Glenn.   He loved the feel of their bodies next to his.   Their physical closeness had been one of the things helping him to overcome his fear of being with another man, after his near-fatal experience in jail.   He remembered how Glenn and Rick had held him close his first night in the Scarborough home.   Then, as now, they held him skin to skin.   It was a warm, loving embrace demanding nothing of him.   He had been so mentally and emotionally depleted, he couldn’t have given anything to them, even if he had wanted to do so.   He had been starved of all human affection for so long, that when he felt it in their embrace, he greedily took in their love and wanted more.   Despite his vastly improved mental and emotional state, he still clung to them and flourished in the warmth of their love for him.

The same thing had happened with the three other gay couples in the Scarborough family; but, only with Glenn and Rick had he completely opened up, sharing every detail of his experiences, and, after a time, his deepest thoughts and desires.   There wasn’t anything about himself he hadn’t shared with them.   They, in turn, had entrusted him with their own secret thoughts and desires.   Never before had he felt so close to another human being as he did to these two men.

He gently traced the outline of Glenn’s abs with his fingertips.   He completely understood why his cousin had fallen in love with this beautiful man, because he had fallen in love with him, as well.   However, Glenn only had eyes for Rick, so, while Glenn showed he loved him, Peyton knew Glenn’s heart belonged to Rick.   Watching Rick and Glenn had given him hope he would find someone just as wonderful to be his life partner.   That is when he had finally opened his eyes to the possibility Jonathan or Paul might be that special someone.

Paul hadn’t been shy about his interest in Peyton.   However, when Peyton thought of spending the rest of his life with Paul, he hadn’t felt completely comfortable with the idea.   Something hadn’t clicked between them.

Then, there was Jonathan.   Jonathan had been so shy, at first.   Peyton was highly attracted to him.   That physical attraction was only heightened by the walls Jonathan had put up to protect himself from being hurt.   He had presented a challenge to Peyton, one he wasn’t able to resist.   As Jonathan’s barriers came down, Peyton found himself falling hard for him.   He hadn’t intended to fall in love, but it just felt right, and he knew Jonathan was his soul mate.  Fortunately for Peyton, Jonathan felt the same way!

His thoughts went to the immediate future.   Today, he was moving to Atlanta to live with Rick and Glenn.   He was very excited to be moving on to the next stage of his life.   Not that he hadn’t loved living on the Scarborough peach farm.   It wasn’t that.   He had been treated very well, and he had thrived here.  It was more about the fact his freedom had been restored, and he wanted to leave behind every memory of being in jail, or on parole.   He wanted to move away from the state that had taken his freedom away from him, and proceeded to reduce him to something less than human.   His dark thoughts were interrupted by Rick’s gentle kisses on the back of his neck.   He turned his head to meet Rick’s lips.  

He said, “Good morning, cousin.”

Rick grinned, rubbing noses with his cousin.   “Good morning to you, too.”

I opened my eyes and looked at the two beautiful men who shared my bed.  I met their gaze and smiled.   “Good morning, guys.”

Rick said, “I think we should help Glenn have a good morning, don’t you?”

Peyton grinned, nodding enthusiastically.   “Yes, I do.   I get to kiss him, while you fuck him.”

I rolled onto my back and pulled Peyton close to me.   He captured my lips in a passionate kiss.  I felt my boyfriend move between my legs, then lift them over his shoulders.   I moaned with pleasure, as he entered me.   Peyton deepened our kiss and began stroking me.   The attention I was receiving from my two men, had me on my way to sensory overload in short order!

A while later, we lay in each other’s arms, basking in the afterglow of our lovemaking.   Peyton said, “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me.”

Rick said, “You’re welcome, cousin.”

After a brief silence, Peyton said, “I told Jonathan I would help him load his truck this morning.   Do you guys want to come with me?”

Rick grinned and said, “Yes, as long as I get to drive your car.”

Peyton said, “Of course, you can drive the Ferrari.”

I asked, “Do I get to drive Jonathan’s?   He left it here last night.”

Peyton replied, “I don’t know.   You’ll have to ask him.”

Peyton’s cell phone rang.   I reached over and picked it up off of the nightstand.   I handed it to Peyton, who answered it.

“Good morning, Babe,” he said, smiling.

“Good morning, Peyton,” Jonathan said.   “What time are you guys coming over?”

“As soon as we get showered and dressed,” Peyton said.   “Glenn wants to know if he can drive your new car.”

“Sure,” Jonathan said.  “But I get to drive it to Atlanta, and Glenn can drive my truck.”

Peyton said, “I’m sure he’ll be agreeable to that.   We’ll see you shortly.   I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Jonathan said.

Peyton ended the call.   “Let’s go guys.”

Rick stood up, and turned to help Peyton up.   Peyton, in turn, grabbed my hand and pulled me into his arms.   He kissed me and said, “I love you, Glenn.”

I put my hand to his cheek.   “I love you, too, Peyton.”

He released me, and I put my arms around Rick’s neck.   I kissed him deeply, making sure he knew he was my man.   “Good morning, Babe,” I said, reaching down to stroke his very hard steel pole.   I knew I could always get him hard by kissing him, and wrapping my body around his!

He grinned and said, “Let’s get in the shower.”   He took my hand and led me to the en suite.   Peyton followed us, and joined us under the warm cascade of the shower.

After playing for a while in the shower, we dried off and dressed each other.   I chose a pair of tight-fitting jeans and a white t-shirt under a long-sleeve light blue dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up part way up my forearms.   I wore my diamond studs and the gold chain Rick had given me for my birthday.  

Rick wore the same type of jeans, but he wore a black muscle shirt.   Rick hugged me from behind, gently biting the back of my neck.  I turned around in his arms and kissed him.   He moved his hands down my back and cupped my bubble butt.  

“I’m glad you’re all mine,” he said, grinning.

“So am I,” I said, kissing him again.

Peyton interrupted us.   “Hey, you need to stop that, or we won’t be going anywhere today!”

Rick laughed and released me.   “Well, let’s get you moved down to Atlanta, so we can enjoy ourselves!”

Peyton shook his head in disbelief.   “I never imagined you were such a horny devil.”

Rick looked at his cousin, and said, “I’m not the only one.”

Peyton grinned and pointed at me.   “Yes, you’re right.   Glenn is just as horny as you are.”

I kissed my guy, and said, “Guilty as charged.”

Peyton said, “I’ll start hauling my gear out to the Land Rover.”   He walked over to his closet and pulled out his duffle bag and two large suitcases.   He lined them up by the door, and returned to the closet and pulled out two suit bags.   Grandma had insisted he needed at least two new suits.   Rick had helped him choose the suits, since they have very similar body types.   In fact, Rick picked up a couple of suits at the same time.   The two cousins were quite a sight.   The seamstress who altered their suits couldn’t keep her eyes off of them!   It was probably a good thing she didn’t know they were both gay!  I overheard her talking to another seamstress about how she wanted to bed them both!

Rick released me from his embrace and turned to help his cousin take his luggage out to the Land Rover.   I grabbed the suit bags and carried them outside.   I hung them up in the back of the Land Rover, while the guys loaded the suitcases and duffle.   We returned to Peyton’s room to retrieve our overnight bag.   Rick and I usually travel light when we come to Grandpa and Grandma’s house.  

After loading the car, we returned to the kitchen where we found my grandparents eating breakfast.   Grandma smiled at us, and said, “Please sit down, and eat breakfast with us.”

Grandpa said, “Good morning, boys.”

We chorused, “Good morning.”   We took our seats and began loading our plates with sausages, eggs, waffles and Grandma’s special fried potatoes.

As we ate, Grandpa said, “Peyton, have you packed all of your things?”

“Yes, Grandpa, I’ve got everything packed and in the car,” Peyton replied.

“You have your important papers?” he asked.

“Yes,” Peyton said.   “I’ve left copies of everything here, just in case I lose them, or you need them.”

Peyton’s mind went back to his meeting with Grandpa last night.   Grandpa had invited Jonathan to join them.   He had gone over Peyton’s finances with them, explaining everything that had been set up for him.   Then, Grandpa had asked Jonathan about his finances.   He counseled with them, and made recommendations for them to consider.   He was grateful for Grandpa’s thoroughness and patience with him and Jonathan.   When they had finished, they both knew what needed to be done to ensure they would be financially secure.

What was even more amazing were the provisions Grandpa had made for their education and their future employment by MST, Inc., the family corporation Grandpa had formed with Uncle Stan and Joe Mitchell to provide a corporate business structure to support their families’ financial and employment needs.  

However, Peyton still felt uncomfortable about being included in the family business; because the catalyst for forming the corporation had been the very event that landed him in jail.  He sometimes felt an overwhelming sense of guilt for what he had done to Rick and Glenn, despite their repeated reassurances they had forgiven him for what he had done. 

Looking across the desk at Grandpa, Peyton said, “I just don’t feel comfortable benefiting from something originating from my attack on Rick and Glenn.   It doesn’t feel right, Grandpa.   How can I work for MST, Inc., or accept money for my education from the family business, knowing why you set up the family corporation?  I don’t deserve to be part of this family, because of what I’ve done.”

Grandpa’s expression hardened and his eyes flashed with a white hot anger.   Peyton flinched, as if physically struck.  Jonathan reached over and took his hand, waiting for Grandpa’s response.   Jonathan had never seen Mr. Scarborough look so angry.  

When Grandpa finally spoke, his voice was deceptively calm and quiet; but it also carried a very hard edge leaving no doubt Peyton had crossed over the line with him.   “Peyton Jeremiah Campbell, if I EVER hear you make such a statement, again, about your position in our family or your worthiness to participate with the rest of the family in our activities, business or otherwise; you will have me to deal with and you do NOT want that.   Do I make myself clear?”   He pinned Peyton with a hard-eyed stare.

Peyton swallowed and managed to answer, “Yes, I understand.”

Grandpa relaxed and smiled.   “Jonathan, I expect you to keep you fiancé in line.   Peyton tends to think less of himself than he should.   After you’re married, it will be even more important for you to keep reminding him of his infinite worth to you, as your husband, and to us, as a member of our family.”

Jonathan nodded his head in agreement.   “I’ll do my best, Grandpa.”

Grandpa frowned, and said, “I want more than your best, Jonathan.   I want you to commit to doing everything humanly possible to ensure the success of your marriage, as well as the success of your husband.”

Jonathan met Grandpa’s gaze.   “I promise.”

Grandpa nodded his head in approval.   He looked at Peyton.   “I expect the same from you, Peyton.   You need to make the same commitment with regards to your marriage to Jonathan and his success as an individual, and as your husband.”

Peyton squeezed Jonathan’s hand, as he responded, “I promise I’ll do the same for Jonathan.”  He leaned over and kissed his fiancé.

 Grandpa said, “Good.   I’m glad we’re all in agreement.   Now, where were we?”

They continued to discuss the financial arrangements Grandpa had made for them.

Peyton was brought back to the present by Grandpa’s voice.   “Did you send your ACT and SAT scores to the University of Minnesota?”

Peyton thought for a moment.   His mind had drawn a blank, and then he remembered.   “Yes, I had the scores sent directly to them when I took the tests.   I haven’t heard back from the school, yet.”

“Don’t forget to follow up with them about your admission papers,” Grandpa said.

“I won’t,” Peyton said.   “I’ll remind Jonathan, as well.”

The boys finished their breakfast and cleared their plates.   They helped wash up the dishes, before giving Grandma a hug and a kiss.   She looked up at Rick and said, “Take good care of Peyton, Rick.”

Rick smiled, and said, “I’ll do that.   We’ll be back a few days before Christmas.”

She smiled and said, “Call us, when you get home.”

I said, “I’ll call, Grandma.”

We hugged Grandpa and said our good byes.   We headed out to the Land Rover.   Peyton handed me the keys to Jonathan’s new Ferrari.   “Follow me over to Jonathan’s house.”

I climbed into the new sports car and turned the key in the ignition.   The engine roared to life.    It reminded me of a tiger, ready to spring into action.   I waited for Peyton to leave the driveway, then followed him out of the gate.   Rick brought up the rear with the Land Rover.   A few minutes later, we pulled into the Smith’s driveway.

Jonathan had just returned to his room after getting his shower, when his father knocked on the door and walked in.   He stood in front of his dresser, holding a pair of clean underwear in his hands, as he glanced up and met his father’s eyes.   Luckily, he hadn’t dropped the towel from around his waist.   He didn’t mind being naked around Peyton or the rest of guys, but he still felt a little uncomfortable with his Dad.

“Do you want me to come back after you’re dressed?” he asked.

Jonathan shook his head.   “It’s not a problem Dad.   It’s not like you haven’t seen me naked before.”

Sheriff Smith smiled, and said, “That’s true enough, but, just the same, I’ll be back in a moment, to give you some privacy.   I’m sorry I didn’t wait until you gave me permission to come in.”  He turned and left the room, closing the door behind him.

Jonathan quickly pulled on his black mesh bikini underwear.   Peyton had given them to him a couple of weeks ago, but he hadn’t dared to wear them around his parents’ house.   However, today, he felt he could wear them, since he was moving to Atlanta to live with Rick and Glenn.   Looking in the mirror, he liked the look of them on his body.   He flexed his muscles and grinned at himself in the mirror.   He grabbed the jeans and t-shirt he had left out the night before, as he packed his clothes into his suitcases.   He had just finished putting on his trainers, when his Dad returned.

He stood up and said, “I’m ready to start loading the truck.”

His Dad said, “Great!   What do you want me to take out?”

“Start with those suitcases, and I’ll follow you down with the rest of my gear,” Jonathan said.   He had boxed up most of his stuff over the last several days.  He had labeled and numbered each box, making a list of the contents and stacking them in the corner of his room as he worked his way through his belongings.   Now, he grabbed a couple of boxes and left the room with them.

His Dad held the door for him, as he passed him on his way back to Jonathan’s room.   Jonathan stacked the boxes in the back of his pickup truck.   He turned to go back inside the house, when Peyton pulled into the driveway, followed by Rick and Glenn.   He loped over to the red Ferrari and opened the door.  He grabbed his fiancé by the hand and pulled him into his arms.   They kissed for what seemed an eternity.

When they finally parted, Peyton’s eyes glistened with unshed tears.   “Wow!   You really missed me!”

Jonathan looked deeply into Peyton’s eyes.   “Yes, I did.”   Jonathan held him tight against his body, before releasing him.   “Let’s get my stuff loaded.”   He took Peyton’s hand, and led him inside the house.

Sheriff Smith greeted the boys.   “Hey, guys!   Thanks for coming to help Jonathan.   He’s boxed up his stuff and it’s sitting in the corner of his room.”

Rick said, “We’re glad to be of assistance.”   We followed the happy couple into the house and Jonathan’s room.

Jonathan pointed to his boxes.   “Those all go out to the truck.   Peyton, help me strip the bed.   I don’t want to leave it for my mother to do.”

They quickly stripped down the bed.   Jonathan walked out into the hallway and retrieved clean linens for the bed.   The two men made the bed, then grabbed the remaining boxes, and headed outside.   They added their boxes to those already in the back of the truck.

Jonathan surveyed their work, and said, “I think that’s all of it.   What is left in the house, I don’t need.”

Sheriff Smith said, “Are you sure, son?”

Something in his father’s tone of voice alerted him to the fact something was going on.   He gave his father an appraising look, wondering if he dared ask what was up.   He decided against asking, and said, “I’m sure, Dad.   I have all of my important documents and my clothes.   Most of what’s left in my room are things Mom wanted to put into scrapbooks.   I’ve never been very interested in that kind of thing.   I’ll leave it for Mom to take care of; and, if she decides to throw it out, it’s okay with me.”

His Dad nodded his head.   “I just wanted to make sure you have everything you need.”

Jonathan said, “I’m good, Dad.   Thanks for looking out for me.”   He hugged his Dad.  

“You need to say good bye to your mother and sister,” Sheriff Smith said.

Jonathan smiled.   “I hadn’t forgotten.”   He went back inside, looking for his mother.   He found her in the kitchen, her eyes red-rimmed from crying.   He walked over and hugged her, kissing her cheek.   “Are you okay, Mom?”

She gave him a watery smile.   “Yes, I’m fine.   Drive safely, and call us when you get settled in.”

“I will,” Jonathan promised.   He left her, and walked down the hall to his sister’s room.   He tapped on the door, and heard her call out, “Come in!”

He entered the room and walked over to Mary Anne.   “I’ll see you in a few weeks.”

She hugged him, and said, “You be careful in the big city.”

“I’ll be fine, Mary Anne,” he said, smiling down at her.

He released her and turned to leave her room.   She ran over to him, catching him in her doorway.   She hugged him and said, “I miss you already, Jonathan.”

“I promise I’ll keep in touch with you,” Jonathan said.  

Mary Anne said, “I’ll look for you online.”

Jonathan gave her a kiss on the top of her head, and said, “I’ll be there.”

He left her and walked out of the house, not knowing it would be the last time his entire immediate family would be together under one roof.

As he walked over to the guys, who were conversing with his father, he noticed his Dad still seemed upset about something.   He tapped his father on the shoulder and asked, “Dad, is something wrong?”

His father hesitated for a moment, then decided now wasn’t the time to share his wife’s decision not to attend the boys’ wedding.   He shook his head, and said, “It’s nothing that can’t wait.   I promise to call you later.”

Jonathan asked, “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.   Drive safely and we’ll talk after you’ve settled into your new place in Atlanta.   I’m glad Mr. Scarborough has decided to continue to pay you for being Peyton’s security guard.”

Jonathan smiled, and said, “I am, too.   I was worried about getting a new job in Atlanta.   This way I can be with Peyton, full time.”

Peyton grinned, and said, “I’ve always wanted my own personal bodyguard.”

Jonathan put his arm around his waist.   “Just remember, I’m in charge, Peyton Campbell.”

Peyton’s grin widened.   “I like that even better!”

Sheriff Smith shook his head, and smiled at the two men.   “Boys, that’s too much information for this old guy.”

They laughed, and Jonathan said, “Sorry, Dad.   We didn’t intend to embarrass you.”   He kissed Peyton and released him.

I handed Jonathan his keys, and asked, “Where are the keys to the truck?”

Jonathan pulled out his keys and handed them to me.   He said, “Help me get the tarp secured, so we don’t lose anything out of the back of the truck.”

We each took a corner of the tarp, stretching it tight over the back of the truck, and securing it.   Afterward, we climbed into our vehicles, and caravanned to Atlanta.   A few hours later, we pulled into the condo parking lot.   While the guys started to unload the truck, I walked over to the condo office to register the vehicles and to get parking stickers for them.   It didn’t take long, and I was finished in time to help take up the last couple of boxes.

Peyton and Rick entered the condo, and carried the boxes back to Jonathan’s room.   The guys had stacked them in the bottom of his closet, so they would be out of the way.

Jonathan was hanging up his clothes, while Peyton was stocking his dresser with clean underwear, socks, etc.   He held up a pair of lounge pants.   He grinned at Jonathan.   “Do you seriously wear pajamas?”

Jonathan blushed.   “I do at home.   My mother would be totally mortified, if she knew we ran around in our underwear.”

“What would she think if she knew we don’t wear clothes most of the time?” Rick asked.

Jonathan’s eyebrows shot up in surprise.   “You didn’t’ tell me you guys don’t wear clothes when you’re at home.”

Rick laughed, and said, “There are a lot of things you don’t know about us, Mr. Smith.   He pointed at us and said, “Lose the clothes, boys!   Just remember, before you answer the door, please make sure we’re all decent!”

We shed our clothes.   Rick and I put our clothes in our room, while Peyton did the same.   We returned to Jonathan’s room.   “What do you want us to do?” Rick asked.

Jonathan said, “I’m done unpacking.   Peyton took care of the rest of my clothes, and I don’t need what is in the boxes right now.”

We looked at Peyton.   “What about your stuff?”

We walked over to his room.   His room had doubled as our office and music room.   We moved the office stuff into our room and the electric piano into the family room.   Peyton said, “If you guys help me with my clothes, I don’t have anything else.”

We had his clothes unpacked in no time.   We walked into the kitchen and sat down.   I looked around the table and asked, “What do you want for lunch?”

“Sandwiches are fine,” Peyton said.   Rick and Jonathan nodded their heads in agreement.

“Okay, sandwiches it is,” I said.   I walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out the lunchmeat, sliced cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayonnaise, and mustard and carried it all over to the table.  Crossing over to the bread bin, I retrieved the multi-grain loaf I had purchased the day before, and placed it on the table, as well.

Rick grabbed plates and cups.   I washed the lettuce and tomato, before cutting them up.   Rick pulled a pitcher of cold water from the refrigerator.   We always keep a pitcher of water in the fridge.   I can’t stand warm water from the tap!   We have a water filter, to help make the water taste better.  

We sat down, and Rick said, “I’ll say grace.”  We reached out and took the hand of the man on either side of us.   Rick said, “We thank you, God, for this meal.   We are grateful for Peyton and Jonathan and ask you to bless them both as they prepare for their marriage.   Amen.”

We chorused, “Amen.”

Peyton asked, “What do you guys normally do during the week?”

Rick said, “First, we get up early and go out for a run around the neighborhood, before going to work.   Then, we go to work.   Afterward, we either go to the gym to work out on the weights, or we play racquetball with our friends.”

Jonathan said, “I’ve never been very good at sports.”

I said, “Same here, but I think you would be great at racquetball, since you’re left-handed.”

Rick nodded his head, and said, “You could be pretty wicked on the court, if you wanted to be.”

Jonathan looked doubtful.   “I’m not so sure.”

“Let’s give it a try,” Peyton said.   “I’m not very good at racquetball or tennis, but I’m willing to see if I can’t improve.”

Jonathan said, “Okay, I’ll do it as long as you’re with me.”

Peyton grinned.   “I’m afraid you’re stuck with me.”

Jonathan leaned over and kissed him.   “I’m glad you’re here, Babe.”

I said, “Rick needs to go over his whole regimen with you.”

Rick nodded his head.   “Let me show you.”   He got up and walked into the foyer.   He grabbed his gym bag from the coat closet and returned to the kitchen.   He pulled out his clipboard with our workout data.   He sat down and pointed to his own chart.   “This is what we do.”   He explained the entire plan and how it worked.   He stopped and looked at the guys, and asked, “Are you up to doing it with us?”

Jonathan said, “Sure, it looks like a good fitness program.”

Peyton said, “I’ll do it as long as I get the same result as you.”   He reached over and ran his hand over Rick’s washboard abs.

Rick grinned, and said, “I think it can be done, since you and I have the same body type.”   He turned to me.   “Glenn, here, doesn’t bulk up like I do, but he’s strong and wiry.”   He squeezed my bicep, which I naturally tightened up for him.

Peyton said, “Are all gay men as obsessive about physical fitness as you are?”

Rick said, “I don’t know.   For my part, I have to stay in shape, because I’m still in the Marine Corps.”

Jonathan asked, “Don’t you worry someone will turn you in?”

“Yes, but I have a little over a year to go before I can get out of the military,” Rick said.   “A couple of the guys suspect I might be gay, but I’ve been pretty successful at keeping them in the dark about my sexual orientation, so far.”

“I’ve heard some of your fellow Marines are pretty anti-gay,” Jonathan said.

“There’s a lot of truth to that.   A few years ago, a group of them found out a fellow Marine in our detachment was gay, and they murdered him in cold blood,” Rick said.   “They’re behind bars now, but nothing can bring my friend, Sam, back from the dead.”  

Seeing the sadness in Rick’s eyes, Peyton said, “I’m sorry, Rick.”

Rick said, “That was a very hard time for me.   I feared for my life, not because I was in enemy territory, but because my fellow Marines murdered one of our own for being gay.   I didn’t trust anyone, especially my fellow Marines.   My commanding officer has tried to restore my trust in the Corps, but I still do NOT trust any of them.   Many of them have become Christian fundamentalists, or evangelicals.   That normally wouldn’t be a bad thing, but their religious zeal, combined with their training to kill people, makes them very dangerous and unpredictable.”

“But doesn’t the military encourage their personnel to be religious?” Jonathan asked.   “At least, that is what my Dad told me.   The military thinks religion is a key factor in getting a stronger commitment to following orders, and reinforces sacrificing yourself for your fellow Marines.”

“Unfortunately, the fundamentalist viewpoint creates zealots who are intolerant of anyone who doesn’t agree with their religious views.   My commanding officer hasn’t tried to force his religious views on us, but I know of others who have more or less commanded their subordinates to attend their church.   They may not directly order it, but they make sure everyone understands their absence from the commanding officer’s church services would result in a serious beating, or other means of coercion.   They claim it promotes group cohesion and unity, if everyone belongs to the same church and espouses the same religious doctrines,” Rick said.   “In fact, there are four or five guys in my unit constantly talking about their church and how I should become a member of their evangelical congregation.   They leave their literature in the mess hall, and I’ve even found it stuffed into my duffle bag.   The last time I went on weekend drill, I was confronted by them and accused of not being Christian, because I have refused to attend their church with them.”

I looked at Rick in surprise.   “I didn’t know that.”

Rick grimaced.   “I’m sorry, I didn’t tell you, Glenn.  I didn’t want to worry you, Babe.”

“I think that constitutes harassment,” I said.

Rick nodded his head in agreement.   “It does, but I’ve decided not to pursue any charges, because I think I can make it through the rest of my commitment to the Marine Corps without causing any trouble for myself, or anyone else.”     

I said, “Okay, I’ll let it go – THIS time.”   I gave him a look, letting him know I wasn’t going to put up with it a second time.   I continued, “I’ve heard of religious harassment in the other branches of the military, like the Air Force.”

“That almost sounds like the creation of a state religion using the military to force people into their church,” Peyton said.   He shuddered.   “It also reminds me of my parents and their brand of Christianity.   I used to think the way they do.”   He looked at Rick.   “You know exactly what I’m talking about.”

Rick nodded his head.   “Yes, I do.   My mother raised us in her church.   I think my sister, Julie still attends that church.”

Jonathan asked, “Don’t you guys attend a Christian church, here in Atlanta?”

I said, “Yes, we do.   We’ve been going with Jeb and Larry to a church not too far from here.”   I named the church.   “However, we’re not happy with some of their doctrines; so, we’re looking for a new church.   Why do you ask?”

“My mother mentioned it to me.   She talked to Grandma about it.   She wanted to make sure I would keep going to church,” Jonathan said.

“Do you want to go to her church?” I asked.

Jonathan said, “No, I don’t want anything to do with that church.   They preach hate and intolerance there.   I was hoping you had found a church where gays are welcome.”

“There are several, but we haven’t found one we’re really happy with,” Rick said.   “We do have Bible study with Jeb and Larry once a week.   You’re welcome to join us.”

“I’d like that,” Jonathan said.   “It will be wonderful to be with other gay men who are men of faith.”

“I don’t know if I’d call us men of faith,” Rick said.   “We believe in God, but we don’t’ believe in organized religion.   Organized religion has brought a lot of pain and sorrow into the world.”

“You can still be men of faith and not be a member of an organized religion,” Jonathan said.   “You just need to have faith in God.”

I looked at Rick, and said, “I think we should leave this discussion for another time, Jonathan, because I have a very low tolerance for religious discussions.   However, we need to introduce you to Jeb.   Jeb has a strong religious background and is a big believer in religion.   You will find him to be more receptive to your thoughts on religion than we are.”

Jonathan looked at me apologetically.   “I’m sorry if I offended you.”

“We’re good,” I said.   “I just don’t want to discuss religion, right now.”

Rick said, “Glenn has been very tolerant of Jeb’s attempts to get him back to church.   We’ve gone with Jeb and Larry a few times, but I wouldn’t call us regular members of their church.   Glenn doesn’t like to discuss religion with people, because he often offends people by calling them out, when they make illogical statements, or misquote the Bible to support their positions.”

I looked at Jonathan, and said, “I’ve studied the Bible for a long time, and know it pretty well; as a result, I don’t have much patience for those who pretend to have God’s authority to reinterpret the Bible to suit their views.”

Rick, sensing Glenn was about to launch in to his usual dissertation on religious zealots, quickly interceded, “Let’s call Duane and Mason.”

I nodded my head, giving Rick a look, acknowledging his intentional diversionary tactic.   I smiled at him, and said, “Okay, I won’t start my usual tirade against ignorant religious leaders.”   I pulled out my cell phone and called Duane.   Duane answered on the first ring.   Before he could say anything, I said, “Hey, Duane!”

“Hey yourself,” he replied.

“Are you guys up to going to the gym?” I asked.

“Sure, when?” he asked.

“In an hour,” I said.

“Okay, we’ll meet you guys at the gym in an hour,” Duane said.

I ended the call and said, “We’re on in an hour.”

Rick smiled, “Let’s go.”

We retreated to our separate bedrooms to change into our workout clothes.   As I pulled on my jock strap, Rick came up behind me, pressing his steel pole against my back door.   I leaned back against him, turning my head to kiss him.

Rick said, “Do you think the guys would mind waiting, while I fuck your brains out?”

I said, “I’m sure they would understand.”

Later, we came out of our room to find Peyton and Jonathan cuddling on the couch in the family room.   Peyton grinned, and asked, “Did you enjoy yourselves?”

Rick put his arm around my shoulders, and replied, “Sure did!”

Peyton said, “It sounded like it.”   He met my gaze, grinning broadly.

I put my arm around my lover’s waist, and said, “Rick knows how to satisfy me.”

Rick laughed.   “That’s true.”

Jonathan said, “I’m happy to know you still enjoy each other.   My Dad warned me the excitement of being newlyweds wore off for him rather quickly.   After that, he and my mother kind of fell into a routine.   Dad said they’ve been living like roommates, instead of husband and wife, for years now.”

Peyton said, “That sounds terrible!   I can’t imagine living like that.”

Jonathan said, “But you have to remember my mother doesn’t believe in divorce.”

“What about your Dad?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” Jonathan said, shrugging his shoulders.

“Hey, let’s go,” Rick said.   “The guys will be waiting for us at the gym.”

We made our way out to the Land Rover.   Rick drove us over to the gym.   We checked in at the front desk, then went straight to the weight room.   We found Duane and Mason working out on the bench press.   We walked over, as Duane finished spotting for Mason.

Rick said, “Duane and Mason, this is my cousin, Peyton, and his fiancé, Jonathan.”

Duane said, “It’s nice to meet you guys.”

Mason said, “Yeah, it’s about time we met you guys.   We’ve heard all kinds of stories about you.”

Jonathan blushed.  “I hope they’re all good.”

Duane nodded his head, grinning broadly.   “They’ve all been good alright.”   He met Peyton’s eyes.   “We’ve heard how the guys have been taking very good care of you, Peyton.”

Peyton laughed, self-consciously, and said, “Yes, they have been.”

Mason said, “I wish I could sleep with two handsome guys every night.”

Duane laughed, and smacked him up the side of his head.   “Don’t be greedy.   You’re already sleeping with one handsome guy every night.   You don’t need two.”

Mason moved away from his husband, as he said, “I’d like to try it, just to see what it’s like.”

Duane said, “You’re not going to get that chance, Babe.   I don’t share my husband with anyone.”

Mason said, “I guess if you’re going to be that way…”

Duane interrupted, “I’m going to be that way.”   He turned to Peyton and Jonathan.   “Don’t pay him any attention.   Mason likes to fool around, but he knows who can satisfy him any time of the day or night.”

Peyton laughed.   “Mason sounds a lot like Glenn.”

I started to protest, “Hey!”

Rick put his finger to my lips.   “Glenn, you don’t even want to go there, because you know he’s right.”


“No ‘buts,’ because you know you like to flirt, just like Mason does; and you know no one else can fuck you like I do,” Rick said, grinning.

I knew he was right, so I shrugged my shoulders and said, “There’s nothing wrong with flirting with cute guys, is there, Mason?”

Mason laughed.   “As long as the guys don’t get any ideas about trying to get in bed with me.”

Peyton looked at Rick, and asked, “Are these two always like this?”

“Only on weekends,” Rick said.   “The rest of the week, they’re worse.”   He said it so seriously we couldn’t help but laugh.  Once the laughter died down, Rick pulled out his charts and said, “Men, we have a lot of work to do.”

We set to work, following Rick’s strict orders.   It felt good to work out the kinks in my muscles.   By the end of our session, all of us were sweating pretty heavily.  

Rick said, “Good work, boys!   We’ll make men out of you yet!”

Duane said, “You mean muscle men, don’t you Rick?”

Rick said, keeping a straight face, “Only the chosen few, the proud, will make it to that level.”

I playfully punched him the shoulder.   “What you mean to say is all of us will make it.”

Rick grinned, and said, “Yes, Dr. Rick will take care of everything.”

Duane said, “We’ll catch you guys later.   I’m taking Mason out to dinner and the movies tonight.”

Peyton asked, “Do you guys go on regular dates?”

“Yes, we go out on a date every Saturday night,” Duane answered.   “It’s our special night out.”

Peyton turned to us and asked, “Do you guys do the same kind of thing?”

“We used to, but we’ve been kind of busy helping someone,” I said, smiling at him.

Peyton said, “I’m sorry.   I didn’t realize I was causing you guys to miss your date night.”

I said, “Don’t apologize, Peyton.   We both agreed your well-being was more important to us than keeping our regular date night schedule.   We have managed to have some special time as a couple on Monday nights, instead.”

“That way we were able to spend weekends with you,” Rick said.

Duane said, “They have been pretty dedicated to you, Peyton.   You’re a lucky man.”

Peyton said, “I’m still learning just how fortunate I’ve been to have two such wonderful men as my guardian angels.”  He put his arm around Jonathan’s waist, pulling him close.   “Now, I have a third one.”

Jonathan smiled and gave Peyton a quick kiss.   “I love you, Babe.”

After seeing Duane and Mason off, we piled into the Land Rover.   Rick drove us back to the condo.   As we entered our condo, Peyton asked, “Do we get to have our usual shower competition?”

Rick smiled, “Yes, we do.   Follow me, boys!”

 We shed our clothes and jumped into the shower together.   Rick pulled me into his arms and kissed me deeply, our hands roaming over each other’s bodies.   When we surfaced for air, I glanced over to see Peyton and Jonathan enjoying each other.   All of us were hard as rocks!

Rick said, “I think we’re ready for our competition.”

Peyton grinned, “I agree.”

The competition was close, but Rick won again!   Peyton clapped his cousin on the back.   “Well, done, Rick; however, I’m going to win one of these days!”

Rick laughed.   “We shall see about that!”

Jonathan said, “Alright, you two, let’s get dressed and get something to eat.   I’m starving!”

We dried each other off and got dressed.   We opted to order pizza and settled in for an evening of cuddling on the couch.   We chatted about our activities for the next few weeks, then, we watched a movie.   It was nice to have my guy’s arms around me, as I relaxed against his chest.   Sometimes, the best thing is to have some quiet time with my guy!

I must have fallen asleep, because Rick was shaking my shoulder.   “Babe, let’s go to bed.”

I stretched and yawned widely.   I said, “I’m sorry, sweetheart.   I didn’t mean to fall asleep on you.”

Rick kissed the back of my neck, and laughed.   “You always fall asleep in the middle of a movie.”

“I don’t ALWAYS fall asleep,” I protested.

Rick said, “Yes, you do.”   He looked over at Jonathan and Peyton.   “The last time we went out to a movie theater, Glenn fell asleep 15 minutes into the movie.”

“That’s because it was a boring movie,” I said, defensively, naming the movie. 

Peyton said, “I’ve not seen that movie.”

“Well, you haven’t missed anything,” I said.  

Jonathan said, “If you want to see it, we can rent it.   Are there any other movies you want to see?”

Peyton shrugged his shoulders.   “I don’t know what I missed while I was in prison, and I’ve been kept pretty busy on the farm since I got out.   Grandpa made sure I had plenty to do every day.   The only down time I had was when you guys came to the farm, and I wasn’t exactly interested in watching movies.”

Rick said, “Yes, we know what you wanted!”

Peyton blushed, and glanced at Jonathan.   “I’ve got what I want, right here.”  He leaned over and kissed his fiancé.

Jonathan asked, “Are you going to sleep alone tonight?”

Peyton shook his head.   “I was hoping to convince you to join me.”   Before Jonathan could protest, he put his finger to Jonathan’s lips.   “Please hear me out.   If Rick and Glenn are okay with it, I’d like you to sleep with the three of us.   That way they can be our chaperones.”

Jonathan looked at us.   “Is that okay with you guys?”

“Sure,” Rick said.   “However, we have certain rules that come with that privilege.”   He outlined them and asked, “Do you agree to abide by our limits?”

Jonathan smiled, with relief.   “Yes, I’m willing to abide by your rules.”

Peyton said, “See, I was telling you the truth when I said I haven’t fucked anyone, or been fucked by anyone, since I got out of jail.”

Rick said, “Not only is it our rule, but we thought it would be the best thing for Peyton.   He needed to regain his trust in mankind, so he could eventually have a normal relationship with another man.”

Peyton nodded his head.   “I was pretty messed up then; but, now, I’m much better.”

Jonathan smiled and said, “We know how much progress you’ve made, and will continue to make.”

Peyton said, “It’s all because of you three I’m as good about being around people as I am.”

Rick said, “We’ve done our part, but you’re the one who has had to work the hardest to get to where you are now.”

Peyton agreed.   “Yes, that’s true.   Let’s go to bed.”   He stood up and took Jonathan’s hand, pulling him into his arms.   He kissed Jonathan.

I stood up and helped Rick to his feet.   Rick took my hand and led me to our bedroom.   The guys followed us.   We took turns using the en suite, before stripping off our clothes and climbing into our king-size bed.

Rick reached over and turned out the light.  Jonathan and I were sandwiched between Rick and Peyton.  Each of them spooned up next to us with one arm around our waist, holding us close to them.  

I leaned over and kissed Jonathan.   “Good night, Jonathan,” I said.

Jonathan said, “Good night, Glenn”   Jonathan turned his head to kiss Peyton.   “Good night, Babe.” 

Peyton smiled, and said, “Good night.”

Rick kissed the base of my neck, then, ran his tongue along my jaw line.   Finally, he kissed me.   “I love you, Babe.”

“I love you, too,” I replied.

After a few moments of silence, Jonathan asked, “What do you guys think we should do about school?”

Rick said, “I thought the admission offices said they only accept new freshmen for the fall semester.   Did they say they would make an exception for Peyton?”

Peyton said, “No, they haven’t.   I’m not sure I want to wait until the fall to start school, though.   I’ve thought about taking some classes on-line.”

 “When did they say you would find out if you have been accepted or not?” I asked.

“They said it would be January before they would send out their acceptance letters,” Peyton said.

“The question for us to decide is whether to stay here with you guys for the next nine months, or move to Minneapolis next month, after we get married,” Jonathan said.

“I think you should split your time between here and Minneapolis,” Rick said.   “Greg and Cory are anxious to have you move in with them.”

Peyton laughed.   “Yes, they are pretty excited to have us move to Minneapolis.”

Jonathan said, “But, wouldn’t we be better off moving there sooner, rather than later?”

I said, “Honestly, I think you should plan to move to Minneapolis right after your wedding.   It would mean less disruption for you guys, because you’ll be settling into the area where you plan to live for the next four years.   You can always come back and stay with us for as long as you want; but you would already be established in Minneapolis.”

Rick said, “There is wisdom in what Glenn says, especially for Peyton.”

Peyton said, “I’ve already called Dr. Hansen’s office to make sure she can see me, when we move to Minneapolis.”

I said, “Dr. Hansen is really good.   She has been a big help to both Justin and me.   Not only that, Justin will be a big support for you, Peyton.”

Peyton said, “Do you think I’ll be able to connect with Justin, like I’ve done with you?”

I reached over and caressed Peyton’s arm.   “Yes, Babe, I do.   Justin is a wonderful man.   I know both of you will find him to be a great friend.”

Jonathan said, “Peyton, what do you think we should do?”

Peyton replied, “I like the idea of getting settled in our new place as soon as possible.”

Jonathan agreed, “I think for your sake, we need to establish a stable environment where you can continue to heal from what happened to you in prison.”

Peyton said, “Then, it’s settled.   We’ll call Grandpa in the morning to let him know of our decision.”

We chatted for a while longer, before silence fell between us.   Rick’s arm pulled me closer to him.   I relaxed in his arms, and soon drifted off to sleep.  

Jonathan stood in front of the mirror, as he waited for Peyton to finish getting dressed.   He looked into his own eyes and saw the happiness there.   He knew he was doing the right thing, despite his mother’s refusal to attend his wedding.   She hadn’t spoken to him since he and Peyton had moved to Atlanta.   When they had returned to the Scarborough farm for the holidays, his father had joined them for their Christmas Eve celebration.  His thoughts returned to that evening.

The entire Scarborough clan had been there, singing Christmas carols, reenacting the Christmas story, complete with shepherds, sheep, angels and three wise men.    He smiled at the memory of the children’s excitement, as they acted out the parts.   He remembered the many Christmas Eve celebrations his mother had led in their home as he grew up.   He had many fond memories of those special moments.  

After the children had been put to bed and the adults were settling down for a quiet evening, his father had pulled him aside for a private conversation.   Together, they entered Grandpa’s study.

Sheriff Smith said, “Let’s sit here.”  He indicated the two chairs in front of Grandpa’s desk.

Jonathan looked at his father and asked, “What’s going on?”

His father cleared his throat, before answering his son.   “Jonathan, I have decided to leave your mother.    I have moved in with your grandparents for the time being.”

Jonathan looked at his father in shock.   “Does this have something to do with Peyton and me?”

Sheriff Smith said, “Yes, and No.   Yes, because your mother has decided not to attend your wedding.   She feels she would be perceived as condoning same-sex marriage, if her friends knew she attended your wedding.”

This news hurt Jonathan deeply.   He knew of his mother’s deeply held religious beliefs, but he had hoped she could see past them and come to accept him for the gay man he was.   She had lied to him when he had asked her if she was okay with his impending marriage to Peyton!

His father continued, “No, your marriage is not the cause of our problems, Jonathan.   Your mother has been pushing her religious beliefs on me since the day we married.   She has made it her mission to save me from sin, as she puts it.   I thought we had come to an arrangement where we agreed to disagree on the subject of religion.   However, her recent actions have shown me she values her religious beliefs more than she values our family.   She is willing to sacrifice our happiness on the altar of her faith.   Her actions have shown me she really has no love for me or for her children.   She should have become a nun and dedicated herself entirely to her religious studies.   Yes, I know our church doesn’t have nuns, but she could have saved all of us a lot of heartache, if she had chosen not to marry.”

Jonathan said, “But I thought you loved her.”

“I did, once.   She has managed to kill what love I had for her over the years,” he said, pausing to meet Jonathan’s gaze.   “My decision to leave your mother has been a long time coming, so I want you to understand you are not the cause of our separation.   Do I make myself clear?”

Jonathan nodded his head.   “Yes, I get it.”

“Good.   Your sister has joined me at your grandparents’ home.   We’ll be attending your wedding ceremony in a couple of weeks.   We are very happy for you and Peyton,” he said.

“What about Grandpa and Grandma?” Jonathan asked.   “What do they think about my engagement to Peyton?”

“They are fine with it,” his Dad said.   “They send their love, but they won’t be able to travel to Canada.”

Jonathan breathed a sigh of relief.   He had thought they might reject him, like his mother had.   “I was afraid they would be just like Mom.”

Sheriff Smith said, “You forget my Dad holds the Scarborough family in very high regard.   When he heard Mr. Scarborough supported your decision, he said whatever was good enough for Mr. Scarborough was good enough for him.   As you know, the Scarborough family has been more than generous to our family.”

Jonathan said, “I remember.   They are showing the same kindness and generosity to me and Peyton, as they showed to Grandpa and Grandma Smith.”

His Dad nodded his head.   “Yes, they are.   You should be very grateful for their support.   You have been richly blessed by the Scarborough family throughout your life, because of the help they gave my parents, in their time of need.”

Jonathan said, “I won’t forget that.   Grandpa Scarborough has often said he did what was necessary to help a fellow human being achieve their full potential.   He does not expect anything in return.   He told me seeing Grandpa’s success was thanks enough.”

Sheriff Smith said, “You’re marrying into a wonderful family, Jonathan.   Be sure you never take advantage of them.   I know they will provide everything they can to ensure your success in life, but never cease to be grateful for what you’ve been given.”

He was pulled back to the present, as he felt his fiancé’s arms slip around his waist.   He looked into the mirror and met Peyton’s gaze.   It gave Jonathan a thrill to see the happy glow on his future husband’s face.   He turned his head to meet Peyton’s lips.

“I’m ready to go,” Peyton said.

“So am I,” Jonathan said, smiling.

Holding hands, they left their hotel room and took the elevator down to the hotel lobby, where they met the rest of the family.

Rick and I were standing next to the concierge desk, when they exited the elevator.   I turned to Rick and said, “They’re finally here.”

Rick laughed.   “I see they’re very happy.   That’s a good sign, since it’s their wedding day.”

They walked over to us and we hugged them.   I greeted them enthusiastically, “You guys look great!”

Jonathan said, “I feel like a million bucks.”

Peyton said, “I do, too.”

“Good.  Our limousine is waiting for us.   The rest of the family will follow us to Pride Weddings,” Rick said.   “Grandpa has put me in charge of making sure you two get to the wedding chapel.”

Peyton grinned.   “I’m not sure that was a good idea.   That’s like the fox guarding the henhouse!”

Rick laughed.   “I’m not sure, either, but we’ll do our best.”

We walked outside and climbed into the waiting white stretch limousine.   The driver drove us the short distance from the hotel to the wedding chapel.   When we arrived at Pride Weddings, we were met by Mark Gillen and Tony Degarlais.   Tony, Pride Weddings’ official photographer, said, “Let me grab some photographs of the happy couple, before we move inside.   It was a bright, cold morning.   Peyton and Jonathan looked very handsome in their matching white tuxedos.

After they finished, they joined us in the wedding chapel.   Rick and I were dressed in black tuxedos, and stood next to the grooms at the back of the chapel.   Peyton asked Rick to be his best man, and Jonathan asked me to stand up with him.

Peyton looked at Rick, and asked, “Do you have the rings?”

Rick said, “Yes, I’ve got the rings.”   He pulled them out of his pocket and showed them to Peyton.   He handed one to me, which I pocketed with a grin.

Jonathan asked, “Are you ready, Babe?”

Peyton nodded his head.   “Yes, I’m ready.”   The music started to play, and Rick and I walked up the aisle to take our places on either side of the pulpit, where Mr. Gillen waited for us.

Next, Grandpa escorted Peyton to the front of the chapel, followed by Jonathan, who was escorted by his father, Sheriff Smith.   After Grandpa and Sheriff Smith found their places in the congregation, Mr. Gillen said, “Peyton and Jonathan, we are gathered here together to witness the love and respect you have for each other.  Peyton and Jonathan, are you entering into this marriage freely, voluntarily and without any conditions?”

Peyton turned to face Jonathan, and said, “Yes.”                                                               

Jonathan looked into Peyton’s eyes and said, “Yes.”

Mr. Gillen said, “Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.  A good marriage must be created.  The little things are the big things.  It is never being too old to hold hands.   It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day.  It is never going to sleep angry.  It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all of your years together.  It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.   It is standing together, facing the world.  It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.  It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.”

“It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.  It is not expecting one person to wear a halo, or the other to have the wings of an angel.   It is not looking for perfection in each other.  It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.   It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.  It is giving each other an atmosphere in 
which each can grow.  It is finding room for the things of the spirit.  It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.  It is establishing a relationship in which independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.   It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.” 

“Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry.  Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family.  Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.” 

“Peyton and Jonathan, please face each other and exchange your vows.”

Jonathan said, “Peyton, I come here today to join your life for years to come.  I pledge to be true to you, to respect you, and to grow with you through the years.   We are many things to each other; may only those best qualities continue to shine, and may our bond continue to grow stronger.  Time may pass, fortune may smile, and trials may come.  No matter what we may encounter together, I vow, here, today, that this love will be my only love.   I will make my home in your heart from this day forward.” 

Peyton said, “Jonathan, I come here today to join your life for years to come.  I pledge to be true to you, to respect you, and to grow with you through the years.  We are many things to each other; may only those best qualities continue to shine and may our bond continue to grow stronger.   Time may pass, fortune may smile, and trials may come.  No matter what we may encounter together, I vow, here, today, that this love will be my only love.   I will make my home in your heart from this day forward.”

Mr. Gillen said, “You may exchange rings now.”

Jonathan took Peyton’s left hand in his, and slipped the wedding band on to his ring finger.   He said, “Peyton, what I have to give you is the promise to take you as my only love from this day forward; to stand by your side, to listen when you speak, to comfort you when you cry, and to join your laughter with my own.  Take this ring, and be part of my life forever.”

Peyton took Jonathan’s left hand in his, and slipped the wedding band onto his ring finger.   He said, “Jonathan, what I have to give you is the promise to take you as my only love from this day forward; to stand by your side, to listen when you speak, to comfort you when you cry, and to join your laughter with my own.  Take this ring, and be part of my life forever.”

Mr. Gillen said, “Your gift to each other for your wedding today has been your wedding rings. The wedding ring is a symbol of the vows taken here today; a circle of wholeness, perfect in form. The unending circle of a ring is a sign of fidelity; the pledged faithfulness of a couple to each other. These rings mark the beginning of an unending journey together, filled with wonder and surprises, laughter and tears, celebration and joy.  May these rings glow in the warmth and happiness of you both today.”

“There may be times filled with happiness, sorrow, tears or laughter, whatever it may be; remember, love has given you wings, your journey begins today.  Peyton and Jonathan, if there is anything you remember of this marriage ceremony, remember the love that brought you here today.  It is only love which can make your marriage a glorious union, and it is by love that your marriage will endure.”

“Peyton and Jonathan, as you have consented together in lawful wedlock; and, thereto, have pledged your faith to each other, and have declared the same by joining hands and giving and receiving of rings and exchanged your first gifts as a married couple, and by the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you legally and lawfully wedded!  If you wish to seal this marriage with a kiss, you may now do so.”

Peyton took Jonathan in his arms and gave him a tender kiss.   He pulled back, and said, “I love you, Babe.”

Jonathan stared into his new husband’s eyes, and said, “I love you, sweetheart.”

They turned to face the congregation, as Mr. Gillen said, “I present to you Jonathan and Peyton Smith.   Please come forward to congratulate them.”

Rick hugged his cousin, Peyton, while I gave Jonathan a hug and kiss on the lips.   I said, “Congratulations!”

Rick said, “I’m so happy for you, Peyton.   I wish you all the best in the whole world.”

Peyton’s face shone with his happiness.   “Thank you, Rick.”

We switched places.   I kissed Peyton and said, “Don’t forget you’re my favorite cousin.”

Peyton grinned, “I won’t forget, I promise.”

Rick said, “You’ve got a great man for a husband, Jonathan.   Congratulations!”

Jonathan said, “Thank you.”

I said, “Peyton, you definitely married into royalty by marrying Jonathan.   He’s a prince among princes.”

Jonathan blushed.   Peyton put his arm around his husband.   “Yes, I certainly did.”

We moved aside to allow Grandpa and Grandma Scarborough and the Smiths to congratulate them.

After everyone had congratulated them, we followed Tony’s directions, as he photographed Peyton and Jonathan, then the rest of the family.   In the meantime, Mr. Gillen completed the paperwork and handed Peyton and Jonathan their marriage certificate.   “Congratulations,” he said, smiling.   “I wish you the best for your future lives together.”

We took our leave of Mr. Gillen and Tony.   Grandpa had arranged for a lunch at the Canoe Restaurant on the 54th floor of the Toronto Dominion Bank building.   As we entered the restaurant, we were met by one of the best looking men I’ve ever seen.   He was 188 cm. (6’4”) and solidly built.   His long, light blond hair framed his handsome, angular face.   His brilliant green eyes met mine and he flashed me a smile nearly knocking me over.

He said, “Welcome.   My name is Brad.   Please follow me.”   He turned to lead us to our private dining room.   His uniform hugged him in all of the right places.

Rick laughed, and said, “Earth to Glenn.   You can stop drooling now!”

Peyton smiled, “Rick, you had better be careful, or you’ll lose Glenn to that guy.”

I said, “Rick doesn’t have to worry, because he’s probably straight.”

Brad turned to Peyton and Jonathan.   “You must be the happy couple.   Congratulations on your marriage.”

Peyton said, “Thank you.”

Brad pointed to the table at the front of the room.   “You’re to sit at the head table with your wedding party.   The rest of your friends and family will be seated around you.”   He looked at me and Rick.   “You must be the best men.”

Rick smiled and said, “That is correct.”

“Do you wish to be seated together, or on either side of the newlyweds?” he asked.

“Together, please,” Rick replied.   He put his arm possessively around my waist.

Brad smiled, “I see you’re a couple.”   He met Rick’s gaze.  “You are a lucky man.   I had hoped your partner was unattached.   It seems like the all of the best looking men are already taken.”   He looked at me and said, “Should he ever dump you, please give me a call.   I would love to date you.”   He handed me his business card.   “Please be seated and enjoy the party.”

We took our seats next to Peyton and Jonathan, and were soon joined by Sheriff Smith and Mary Anne.   Grandpa and Grandma sat next to them.   The rest of my aunts, uncles, and cousins filtered into the room, taking seats at the tables around us.   My parents were seated at a table nearby, with my sister, Nancy.   Shawn and Randy were there, as well.   My other brothers, Eric and Gary, weren’t able to come.   I turned to Peyton, who sat on my left, and said, “Peyton, I hope you can see you’re an important part of our family.”

Peyton nodded his head, as he scanned the room.   “Yes, I can.   Bob, Jasper, Corey, Dylan, Greg and Cory are all here, plus you and Rick.   The men closest to me are here to help us celebrate our marriage.   Grandpa, Grandma and most of the rest of our extended family are here.   It’s a little overwhelming, seeing everyone here.”

Hearing Peyton say “our” extended family confirmed Peyton had finally accepted the fact he was part of our family.   I put my arm around his shoulders.  “Thank you for becoming part of our family.”   I kissed him.   “You know you’ll always be my favorite cousin.”

Peyton said, “I had better be!”

Jonathan said, “But, I’m your one and only husband.”

Peyton leaned over and kissed Jonathan, accompanied by cat calls and wolf whistles.   They deepened their kiss, causing a round of applause.   When they came up for air, Jonathan said, “If you keep kissing me like that, we’ll have to take it to our bedroom.”

Peyton gave his husband a lecherous grin.   “That’s the intent, sweetheart.”

The waiters brought out our beverages, followed by our meal.   We had a nice time eating and chatting with our family and friends.   As their best men, Rick and I each toasted the happy couple.  

As we prepared to leave the restaurant, Grandpa came up to Peyton and Jonathan.   “You need to be at the airport in about two hours,” he said.

Peyton asked, “Where are we going?”

Grandpa said, “Here are your tickets.   You already have your passports, and your luggage.   Did you pack swimsuits and other appropriate beach attire?”

Jonathan said, “Yes, we did.”

“Good,” he said.   “Go ahead and look at your tickets.”

Peyton opened the envelope and looked inside.   He showed it to Jonathan.   Jonathan said, “Wow!   We’re going to Hawaii!

Grandpa said, “I hope you’re not disappointed.”

Peyton exclaimed, “How could we be disappointed?   I’ve always dreamed of visiting Hawaii.”

“Me, too,” Jonathan said, excitedly.

“Well, we’d better get you back to the hotel, so you can get your things repacked and make your way to the airport,” Grandpa said, smiling.

The two men practically scampered out of the restaurant.   We followed them into the elevator.   I looked at Rick and grinned, “I think we need to settle these guys down.”

Rick nodded his head, and pulled Jonathan into his arms, kissing him deeply.   I did the same to Peyton.   We released them as the elevator doors opened.   Both guys had big grins on their faces.

Peyton laughed, “You guys are so crazy!”

I winked at him, and said, “That’s why we’re still together.   We’re just crazy enough to keep things interesting.”

We climbed into the waiting limousine.   We arrived at the hotel and made our way inside.   We parted with them at the doors of their room.   Rick opened the door to our hotel room.   Rick shed his tuxedo, and stood in front of me with nothing on but his black bow tie and his black mesh jock strap.   He crooked his finger, signaling me to come to him.   I obeyed him and he undressed me, then picked me up and carried me over to the bed.  

The look of lust in his eyes made me shiver in anticipation.   He prepped me, kissing me deeply.   All coherent thought left my mind, as the flames of our passion consumed us.

In the room next door, Peyton and Jonathan tenderly undressed each other.   Peyton kissed Jonathan everywhere.   Lastly, he took Jonathan’s cock in his mouth, causing his husband to gasp in pleasure.   Next he led Jonathan to their bed.  

He said, “Jonathan, now we’re married, I want you to make me yours.”

Jonathan caressed his husband’s smooth chest.   “You’ll have to teach me, because I’ve never had sex with anyone in my life.”

Peyton said, “I will guide you.   I want our first time together to be an experience neither one of us will ever forget.”

Jonathan followed his husband’s directions.   Before long, his natural instincts took over.   Soon, he lay exhausted, but very happy, on top of his lover.   They kissed and caressed each other’s bodies, trying to memorize every detail of their partner’s anatomy.   Peyton kissed him, and rolled him over on his back.

Jonathan looked up into his husband’s face, and said, “I’m all yours, Babe.”

Peyton kissed him deeply.   He gently claimed his husband’s virginity.   Soon, Jonathan was moaning with pleasure, begging Peyton to fuck him harder.   It wasn’t long before the newlyweds lay clutched together with their limbs intertwined, their desire for each other completely sated.

Peyton whispered, “I love you, Jonathan Smith.”

Jonathan replied, “I love you, too, Peyton Smith.”

They kissed and dozed off in each other’s arms.   They were awakened by the phone ringing.   Peyton reached over and answered the phone.   “Hello,” he said.

Grandpa said, “You have 30 minutes before you have to leave, Peyton.   Are you guys ready to go?”

“No, but we will be,” he replied.

“We’ll meet you in the lobby, then,” Grandpa said.

“Okay,” Peyton said, ending the call.

Jonathan asked, “How much time do we have?”

“30 minutes,” his husband replied.

“Let’s grab a quick shower.   It won’t take long to pack our things.   Glenn said to leave the tuxedos with them.   He and Rick will return them to the rental place for us,” Jonathan said.

The newlyweds quickly showered, packed their luggage, and made their way down to the hotel lobby, leaving the tuxedos with us.   We followed them down in the elevator.   The family was gathered to see them off on their honeymoon.  

Grandpa asked, “Do you have everything?”

Peyton said, “Yes, Grandpa, we have our tickets, luggage, cash and traveler’s checks, passports, and our itinerary for our two weeks in Hawai’i.”

Grandma hugged them and said, “We’ll see you in two weeks.”   She looked up into Jonathan’s eyes.   “Take good care of him.”

Jonathan smiled, and said, “I promise I’ll make him very happy.”

Grandma said, “You’ve already done that.   I’m referring to his fragile emotional state.”  

Jonathan said, “I’ll keep an eye on that, as well.”

Satisfied, she patted his arm.   “Good.   I expect to see two very happy boys at my home in a couple of weeks.”

Sheriff Smith shook their hands, and said, “Enjoy your honeymoon, boys.   Take lots of photographs.”   He hugged Peyton, then stepped back and put his hands on his shoulders.   “I’m very happy to have you as my son-in-law, Peyton.   I trust you’ll take good care of my son.”

Peyton met his father-in-law’s eyes, and said, “I promise never to do anything that will hurt him.”

Sheriff Smith smiled.   “I trust you, Peyton.”

His words hit Peyton hard.   This man truly trusted him.   Suddenly, tears were threatening to spill down his cheeks.   He blinked hard, clearing his throat.   He smiled, and said, “Thank you for trusting me, Dad.   I won’t let you down.”

Sheriff Smith turned to his son.   “Jonathan, I expect you to do the same for your husband.   I trust you to care for him, as he cares for you.”

Jonathan said, “I promise.”

Sherriff Smith hugged his son, and moved aside to let Greg and Cory say their farewells.

Greg said, “We’ll have everything ready for you guys, when you get back.   Rick and Glenn have already worked things out with us.   Grandpa told us you’re going to allow him to adopt you.”

Peyton nodded his head.   “Yes, Jonathan and I agreed it would be best for us.   I need a stable family environment to continue to improve, and Grandpa has offered to create that for me by adopting me, as he did you.”

Greg smiled.   “I’m glad you finally accepted Grandpa’s offer.   I promise you, you’ll never regret it.”

Cory said, “It’s been the best thing for Greg.”

“After Cory, that is,” Greg said, putting his arm around his husband’s waist.

Jonathan kissed Peyton.   “The same goes for us, but Peyton still needs a lot of support right now.”

Peyton smiled, “I’m glad Grandpa is willing to adopt me.   It’s taken me a while to let go of my pride and let him help me.”

Cory laughed, “Greg had to overcome some issues with pride, too; but, he wasn’t as stubborn as you’ve been.”

Peyton chuckled.   “I’m still stubborn, but I’ve got Jonathan to help me improve in that area.”

Greg and Cory moved aside to allow the rest of the family to bid them farewell.   Afterward, they climbed into the waiting limousine, which took them to the airport.   They checked their bags and made it through security.   As soon as they were seated on their flight, Peyton took Jonathan’s hand in his.   “Thank you for agreeing to marry me.”

Jonathan kissed him lightly on the lips.   “No, I should be thanking you.   I love you, Babe.”

Peyton said, “I love you, too.”

The steward came down the aisle, checking to make sure everyone had their seatbelts on and their chairs upright.   He stopped at their row, seeing they were holding hands.  “Congratulations on your marriage.   I hope you enjoy your honeymoon in Hawaii.”

Jonathan looked at him in surprise.   “How did you know we’re newlyweds?”

“Well, you’re booked through to Hawaii, and you’ve only got eyes for each other.   It’s kind of obvious you’re madly in love with each other.   You have that look only newlyweds have,” he said.

Peyton said, “Yes, we were married this morning.”

“My best wishes for a long and happy marriage,” he said.

The steward moved on to the next row, leaving them looking at each other.  Peyton said, “It’s really nice to have people recognize we’re a normal newlywed couple.”

Jonathan said, “Yes, it is.   However, he is an exception, as is our family.   You know as well as I do how most of the world hates gays.”

“That’s why it amazes me people are as gullible as to think being gay is a choice.   Why would someone choose to be persecuted and harassed for being gay?”

Jonathan said, “They believe what they want to believe, Peyton, never mind how illogical the claims might be.   We aren’t monsters hiding under people’s beds, waiting to grab their children.   The anti-gay propaganda spews a lot of nonsense and hatred, and the public laps it up like cream, never mind that it’s outright lies.”

Peyton said, “Enough of other people’s issues.   Let’s talk about us.”

They talked about their plans for the future and basked in the glow of their love for each other.

Prev To be continued . . .

A Note from Russ:

Chris Young – Who I Am With you -

Carlos Baute - En el buzón de tu corazón -

Admissions for the University of Minnesota Twin Cities -

Legally sanctioned religious discrimination in the works in many states -

Religious Fundamentalism in the US Military -

Military evangelism -

Christian Fundamentalist Invasion of the Military -

More Christian Fundamentalists proselytizing of the Military paid for by American Taxpayers -

Canoe Restaurant -