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




Chapter 136: The Smiths Go To Minneapolis

Rick and I helped load Peyton and Jonathan’s gear into the back of Jonathan’s truck.   I deeply hated the fact they were leaving.   They had provided a buffer between the two of us the last few months, and I was going to really miss them.

We finished loading the truck and secured everything to make sure nothing would fly off.   Walking over to his cousin and pulling him into a tight embrace, Rick said, “I’m so sad to see you guys go.”

Peyton said, “We’ll miss you guys, but this is what is best for all of us.”

Rick released him and turned to give his cousin’s husband a hug as well.  “Take good care of my cousin, Jonathan.”

Jonathan said, “You know I will, and thank you for everything you’ve done for us.”

I gave each of them a hug and a kiss.   Peyton put his hand up to my cheek and wiped away my tears.   “Please, Glenn, don’t make this harder than it already is.”

I tried to smile.   “I can’t help it, Peyton.   I love you so much.”

He pulled me into his arms, and held me tight.   When he released me, he looked me in the eyes, and said, “I want you to promise you’ll set things right between you and Rick.”

I nodded my head, but couldn’t speak.   So many emotions were running through my head.   Jonathan took Peyton’s hand.   “Let’s go.   Mom and Dad will be wondering if something happened to us.”   I was still adjusting to the fact my grandparents had adopted Peyton.   Unlike Greg, who chose to continue calling them Grandpa and Grandma even after he became their adopted son, Peyton had chosen to call them Mom and Dad.   It was weird to think of Peyton as my uncle!

Rick said, “Drive safely, guys.”

We watched them pull out of the parking lot, and drive away.   Rick took my hand, and led me back up to our condo.   He sat down on our couch and pulled me to him.

“Glenn, Peyton is right.   We need to set thing right between us,” he said.

I looked into his eyes, and said, “I know, but I’ll still miss them.”

Rick said, “I will, too.”

I said, “I think they left, because they felt they were interfering in our relationship.”

Rick said, “Jonathan did say they felt uncomfortable watching our relationship deteriorate.”

I nodded my head.   “Peyton told me straight out he didn’t like what was happening between us, and he didn’t want to stick around to see us break up.”

Rick asked, “What can I do to change things?”

I thought for a moment, before I answered.   “I think it’s not what you or I can do, it’s what can we do together to change things.   If we don’t work together, it won’t matter what each of us does individually.”

Rick said, “Agreed.”

“First, I think we’ve agreed to disagree over your military service.   You know how I feel, and I know how you feel,” I said.

“But, that isn’t good enough,” Rick said.   “I feel you’ve stopped investing yourself in our relationship, because of my military service.”

I took his hands in mine, searching his eyes.   “Rick, look at it from my perspective.   When you said you were contemplating signing up for six more years, it sent me a very clear message our relationship is a secondary consideration for you.   Your overriding priority is your military service.   It told me you’re first and foremost a Marine and my boyfriend second.   What am I supposed to think, Rick?   It made me feel like I’ve been a good fuck for you, but I’m not good enough to marry.”

“I never said that,” Rick protested.

“No, you didn’t have to, because you’ve said you want to remain in the military,” I said.

“That doesn’t mean I don’t want to be with you,” Rick said.

“I beg to differ,” I said.   “You know how much I want to be married to you, to be a PERMANENT fixture in your life.   Your military won’t allow you to be married to a man and remain in the military.   So, when you said you wanted to stay in the Marines, it told me marriage is not in the cards for us.   What else am I supposed to think?”

“You know we don’t need a piece of paper to show how much we love each other,” Rick said.

“That may be true, but I’m afraid it’s more than a piece of paper to me.   It means you’re truly committed to me, and making our relationship work.   Right now, I’m never sure when you might decide to dump me for a woman,” I said.

Rick frowned.    “I said I was sorry for messing up.”

“Yes, you did.   But, I’ll say it, again, try to put yourself in my shoes.   How secure would you feel if I were the one telling you I didn’t want to be married to you or I valued the being in the military more than anything I might have with you,” I said.

Rick said, defensively, “I never said I don’t value you.”

“No, but that’s how I feel, right now,” I said.   “That’s why I’ve decided to let the whole marriage thing go, and, yes, I’ve been looking to make a change, because our relationship doesn’t seem to be getting any better.”

Rick said, “Can’t you, at least, give us a chance?”

I put my hand to his face, and said, “I’m willing to put my best effort into saving our relationship, if you are.   I love you more than anything or anyone in the entire world.”

There were tears in Rick’s eyes.   “I’m willing to do the same.”

I leaned over and gave him a tender kiss.   “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” he responded.

 We spent the next few hours talking to each other.   We honestly tried to communicate with each other, this time.   It was like we had been isolated from each other for so long, we needed to take the time to get re-acquainted with each other.  

Rick stood up and stretched, then reached for my hand.   “Mr. Nielsen, I need you.”

I laughed.   “I can see that.”   I reached over and massaged his package.

He took my hand, and pulled me into his arms.   “Let’s go to our room, Babe.”

He led me to our bedroom, closing the door behind him.   He quickly stripped, then turned to help me out of my clothes.   He kissed me, deeply, causing things to move down below.   Coming up for air, he picked me up and carried me to our bed.   I looked up at him, and saw the fire of lust in his eyes.   I reached up, and pulled him to me, capturing his lips as he made me his!

During the drive to his adoptive parents’ home, Peyton had a lot of time to think about his life and all of the changes he had experienced during the last year.   One of the most significant changes was being adopted by Christian and Era Scarborough.   Jonathan had been very supportive of his decision to let the Scarboroughs adopt him as their son.   His new brothers and sisters were very excited about their parents’ decision to adopt him, especially Greg.   Greg was adopted, as well.   Peyton knew Greg and his husband, Cory, were very excited to have them move in with them in Minneapolis.   Peyton was eager to start the next stage of his life, and putting some distance between Georgia and himself was the first step in that process.  

Admittedly, some very positive things had happened to him after leaving prison, like meeting his husband, Jonathan.   His adopted father had made him a promise that when he finished paying his debt to society he would help him get reestablished in the community.   His Dad and his family had done more than that.   They had set him on a path to a future he had never even dreamed could be possible.   They had nurtured him back to health, both emotionally and physically.   He knew he wasn’t totally back to full emotional health, but he was a long way from where he had been.

Between the four gay couples in the Scarborough family, he had learned to accept himself for who he had become – a gay man with a bright future ahead of him.   More importantly, they had given him the love and support he needed to be able to look himself in the mirror and see someone who was worthy of being loved, someone of great worth.   They had given him back his self-esteem.  Not in an arrogant, self-righteous way, but in a humble, teachable way.   He could walk down the street with his head held high, and meet the gaze of anyone he met with confidence, unlike how he came out of prison after being brutally beaten and gang raped.

He thought back over the last few months, marveling at how far he had come.   He had watched, with great sadness, how Rick and Glenn’s relationship had started to deteriorate.   He and Jonathan had done what they could, but they had come to realize they needed to leave the two of them alone, in order for them to work out their differences.   He loved both of them very much, and hated the thought they would end up going their separate ways.

His thoughts turned to his future, one bright with hope.   He and Jonathan planned to attend school at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.   His Dad had met with the school on several occasions to make sure nothing went wrong with his application, because of his criminal record.   The school administrators had promised to work diligently to help him adjust to college life.   He knew even though he might graduate from college, he would never be able to hold a job, because of his record.   The prison counselors tried to make it sound like there were a lot of jobs for ex-convicts, but they lied.   Nobody wants to hire someone who has been in jail.   He had experienced the discrimination first hand, when he got out on parole the first time.   That is what had led him into trouble.   He couldn’t find work, and there wasn’t anyone there to help him, unlike this time.

 This time, Mr. Scarborough, his new Dad, had stepped in to help him.   He still couldn’t believe he was going to school and he would have a job after college with the family corporation.   Dad had outlined the terms of that job, and offered him an option to decline it.   Of course, Peyton accepted his Dad’s terms, knowing full well he wouldn’t be able to get gainful employment anywhere else.

He had decided to become an advocate for ex-convicts and for those who were still incarcerated.   His passion for it had been the reason he had chosen to study law at the university.   He knew he would never become an attorney, because of his record; but, he wanted to know the law better than his adversaries.   He wanted to be confident of his knowledge of criminal and civil law, so he could be an effective advocate for those who are incarcerated, or recently released from prison.   To say he had an active dislike of the justice system and its lack of humanity was an understatement.   He had his humanity stripped from him in prison.   He had become a fuck toy for the prison guards and their stooges inside the prison.   As a result, he had an even deeper antipathy for law enforcement officials, because they often think they are above the law, even a law unto themselves.  Fortunately, for him, his Dad engaged a team of very dedicated lawyers who managed to secure his release from prison, before he ended up dead at the hands of those very same prison guards, who were charged with his safety and well-being.

These and many other thoughts chased each other across the stage of his mind, as he made the trip from Atlanta to the Scarborough farm.   He was still getting used to the idea that their farm was now his home.   He knew, over time, he would become better adjusted to having a new family and a new home.

Peyton and Jonathan pulled into the driveway, and parked their vehicles next to Grandpa’s Ferrari.   They got out, and walked toward the door, which opened before they reached it.  

Grandma appeared on the doorstep, and held out her arms to them.   “Welcome home, sons!”

They each hugged her, and gave her a kiss on the cheek.   Peyton said, “I love you, Mom.”

Grandma looked him in the eyes, and said, “It makes me happy to hear you call me ‘Mom.’   I’m glad you’re officially ours, Peyton.  Your Dad and I have a surprise for you.   Come this way.”

She led them inside, and up the stairs.   She led them along the hallway, and stopped in front of the bedroom door next to Greg and Cory’s room.   Before they could open it, Grandpa opened the door from the inside.  

Seeing the boys, he said, “Welcome home, sons.”

They gave him a hug, as they had Grandma.   He said, “Welcome to your new room, boys.   We remodeled it along the same lines as Greg and Cory’s room next door.”

He stepped back into the room, to let them in.   Peyton looked around the room, in utter amazement!   The room was large, with a four-poster bed, with a canopy.  All of the furniture was made from cherry wood, which gave the room a rich, warm feeling.   The hardwood floors were covered with Persian rugs.   The walk-in closet was filled with new clothes for the two boys.

Grandma said, “Please try on everything.   If anything doesn’t fit, we’ll take it back to exchange it for something that does.”

Peyton walked into the closet, and stood dumbfounded, as he realized how much clothing had been purchased for him and Jonathan.   Grandma and Grandpa had outfitted the two boys for all seasons.   There were winter coats and boots, and other winter gear for their stay in Minneapolis.   There were sweaters for the in between seasons, as well as jackets, windbreakers, and lots of summer clothes.   All of it was name brand and well made.   It was obvious no expense had been spared to make sure they had what they needed to begin the next phase of their lives together.

“Jonathan, look at all this stuff,” Peyton said, wonder filling his voice.   No one had ever given him so much.   He turned to Grandpa and Grandma and hugged them both, tears streaming down his face.   “Thank you so much, for everything.”

Grandpa said, “You’re welcome, Peyton.”

“Are you sure you want us to have all of this?   There is so much,” Peyton said.

Grandpa smiled, and said, “You’re a Scarborough now, Peyton.   I expect you to dress the part.   You have to remember you are the face of the family to every one you meet.   As a Scarborough, you will always be a gentleman.”

He turned to Jonathan, and continued, “The same applies to you, as my son-in-law.”

Jonathan nodded his head.   He was blinking back tears, as he said, “Thank you.”

Grandma took him in her arms, and said, “We love you, Jonathan.   I know it’s hard for you, since your mother rejected you.   We will do our best to make up the difference.”

Jonathan nodded his head.   “I understand.   Dad always said the Scarborough family takes care of its own.”

Grandpa said, “Yes, we do.   I’ve been talking to your Dad, Jonathan.   He’s thinking of resigning his position as Sherriff.   I’ve offered him a job with the family corporation.”

Jonathan looked at Grandpa in surprise.   “What will he do?”

Grandpa said, “I’m not at liberty to speak about it, now; but if things work out, you’ll know soon enough.”   He turned and walked into the bedroom.   “We built your en suite to the same specifications as Greg and Cory’s next door.”

Peyton and Jonathan followed him into the luxurious bathroom.   Peyton smiled, and said, “I can’t wait to see Rick and Glenn’s reaction to this.”

Grandpa said, “I’m sure they will be just as excited as you are.”

Grandpa’s comment caught Peyton off guard.   His look of astonishment caused Grandpa to laugh.   “What?   Don’t you think I know what you guys like to do in the shower?”

Peyton blushed, and said, “I…”

Grandpa clapped him on the back, “Don’t worry, Peyton, I’m not trying embarrass you.   When we remodeled Greg and Cory’s room, we did a lot of research about what would make a good situation for a young gay newlywed couple.”

Jonathan’s expression showed his surprise.   “I can’t believe how much you know about gays.”

Grandpa said, “Jonathan, you shouldn’t be surprised.   I have four gay sons, Corey, Bob, Greg and Peyton, plus two gay grandsons, Randy and Glenn.”

Grandma said, “Not only that, Rick and Glenn’s friends have spent quite a bit of time with us.”

Jonathan said, “I guess I should have realized you know a lot about us.”

Grandma said, “That doesn’t mean we know a lot about gays, but we do know a lot about our family and their friends.”

Peyton said, “I’m so glad I decided to let you adopt me into your family.”

Grandpa put his arms around Peyton’s shoulders, and said, “We’re honored to have you as part of our family, Peyton.   You’re destined for greatness, and we want to help you achieve it.”

Peyton met Grandpa’s gaze, and said, “I won’t let you down, Dad.”

Grandpa smiled, “I’m sure you won’t.”   He turned to Grandma, and said, “Let’s leave these two to try on their new clothes.”

Grandma said, “When you’re finished, put all of the clothes that need to go back on the bed, and we’ll take a trip into town to exchange them.”

They left the two boys to themselves.   Jonathan grinned at Peyton.   “I feel like Santa Claus left us a big stack of presents to open.”

Peyton laughed.   “It does feel like Christmas.   Let’s get started.”   He took Jonathan’s hand and led him into the walk-in closet.   He leaned over and kissed his husband on the lips.   “Mr. Smith, I believe we should turn this into a fashion show.”

Jonathan laughed, and said, “Okay, how do you want to do it?”

“Why don’t we take turns modeling our new clothes,” Peyton said.   “Why don’t you start, and I’ll go out and sit on the bed.”

Jonathan said, “Okay.”   Peyton left him, and Jonathan turned to his side of the closet.   He looked over the clothing, and chose to start with the winter stuff.

As they modeled each outfit for each other, they were amazed at how well everything fit.   Peyton said, “I bet Glenn had something to do with this, because the styles of clothing seem to reflect his fashion sense.”

Jonathan said, “I agree with you, but you have to admit we look good in everything here.”

Peyton smiled, and said, “Yes, we do.”  Jonathan walked over to his dresser, and pulled open the top drawer.   He laughed.   Peyton asked, “What’s so funny?”

“I know for a fact Glenn had a hand in getting our clothes.   Look at these!”   Jonathan held up several pair of underwear.  

Peyton could see their brand names, and grinned.   “Let’s model those.   I want to see you in them.”

Jonathan threw them across the room to his husband.   “Pick one out for me.”

Peyton chose the sexiest pair and threw them back to Jonathan.   He stripped out of his clothes and put on the underwear his husband had chosen for him.   He posed for Peyton, who wolf whistled.  

“Wow!   You look good enough to eat in those,” Peyton said, standing up.  

He walked over and pulled Jonathan into his arms.   He kissed him deeply, putting his hands on his husband’s bubble butt.  When they surfaced for air, Jonathan said, “Now, it’s your turn.”

He walked over to Peyton’s dressed, opening the top drawer.  He grinned, and said, “Glenn knows what I like.”   He pulled out a sexy pair of underwear, tossing them to his husband.

Peyton gave his husband a lecherous grin.   “You know where this is heading, don’t you?”

Jonathan said, “Yes, exactly where I want it to, and I’m sure Glenn knew what would happen when we saw what he had gotten for us.”

Peyton laughed, and stripped off his clothes, pulling on the skimpy underwear his husband has chosen for him.

Peyton posed for Jonathan.   Jonathan pulled Peyton into his arms, and said, “You’re so sexy, Babe.”

Peyton said, “Not half as sexy as you are.”  Peyton led Jonathan to their bed, and lifted his husband onto the mattress.   He said, “The best part about your new underwear is I don’t have to pull them off of you in order to fuck you.”

Jonathan met his husband eyes, and grinned.   “I want you in me, right now.”

Peyton licked his lips, and said, “I’m only too happy to comply.”

Peyton held Jonathan in his arms, enjoying the feel of his husband’s skin against his.   After making love to each other, Jonathan had relaxed in his arms and drifted off to sleep.   Peyton marveled at the trust Jonathan had in him.   This beautiful man had completely opened himself up to Peyton, both mentally and emotionally, as well as physically.   Peyton had reciprocated by doing the same, letting Jonathan inside his world.   The level of trust between them had broken down all of the barriers Peyton had built to protect himself.   The last barrier had been breached on their wedding day, when he surrendered himself completely to Jonathan.   Jonathan had made it clear he knew how hard it was for Peyton to give up control, and allow him to make love to him.   He did it in such a way Peyton was reassured he could trust Jonathan.   He had relaxed, and that night had assumed a magical quality.

Peyton felt same magic was still present in their relationship.   He felt loved and very safe with Jonathan in his arms.   He closed his eyes, and soon drifted off.

Peyton and Jonathan were sitting in the family room, enjoying some cuddle time, when Bob and Jasper walked in, followed by Corey and Dylan.  The four men sat down on either side of them.  

Bob spoke first.   “We’re going to miss you guys.”

Jasper said, “But, we know you need to move on with the next stage of your lives.”

Corey said, “We decided to go in together to get you something to help you remember us.”

Dylan said, “I hope you like what we got for you.”   He handed a long, thin jewelry box to each of them.

Peyton looked at Jonathan, and said, “Let’s open them at the same time.”

They pulled off the lid and pushed aside the tissue paper.  They lifted out a gold chain with a golden pendant swinging from it.   The pendant had four intertwined dolphins in a circle, nose to tail.   In the center, were two more dolphins, intertwined like the others.   Peyton turned the pendant over and saw each dolphin had a name engraved on it; the four outer ones each carried one of the twins’ names or their spouses, and the inner ones were labeled Peyton and Jonathan.

“We wanted you to know we are always with you, even though you’re far away,” Jasper said.    “We had them made for you, since we couldn’t find anything we liked.”

Peyton’s eyes were full of tears.   He was so choked up, he couldn’t speak.   Jonathan, looking at his husband, knew he would have to speak for them.

“Thank you for everything,” Jonathan.   “I know I speak for Peyton, as well, when I say we wouldn’t be as happy as we are today, if you guys hadn’t taken Peyton under your wings, and helped him to begin the healing process after what happened while he was prison,” Jonathan said.

Peyton cleared his throat and managed to say, “You guys mean the world to me.   Thank you.”   He leaned over and kissed Bob and Jasper.   Then, got up and walked over to Corey and Dylan, giving them each a kiss on the lips.  Jonathan followed his husband’s example.

Jonathan said, “We will never forget what you’ve done for us.”

Grandpa entered the room, and said, “Boys, it’s time we talked about some business arrangements.”  All six of them looked at their father in surprise.   “Follow me,” he said.

They followed him into his study, and found he had placed six chairs in front of his desk.   They found a seat, and waited for him to continue.

He pulled out his cell phone, and dialed Greg and Cory’s number.   Greg answered, “Hello, Grandpa.”

“Hello, Greg.   Is Cory with you?”

“Yes, I’ll put the phone on speaker,” Greg said.

“Hello, Grandpa,” Cory said.

“Hello, Cory,” Grandpa replied.   “Now, that you’re all listening, let’s begin.   As you know, I’m not getting any younger.”  He paused, and took in a deep breath.   “We need to decide how we’re going to move forward with the farm.   I need to know what each one of you thinks we should do with it, before we can make a collective decision about it.”

The guys looked at each other, then back at Grandpa.   Bob asked, “What are our options?”

“We could sell the farm to a big corporation for a big profit,” Grandpa said.   He paused, and waited for their reaction.   When none was forthcoming, he continued, “Or we could subdivide it and turn it into a private golfing community.”

Bob said, “We could do either one of those things; but, what do you want to do with the farm.”

He looked at Bob, and said, “I think you already know my wishes, but I won’t force anyone to stay on the farm, especially when your heart isn’t in it.”

Bob nodded his head.   “I understand.”

Greg said, “We’re all gay, Grandpa, and none of us wants to live where we have to always be looking over our shoulder, wondering when the next crazy person to see us will take it into his own hands to take us out of this world.”

Cory said, “That’s one of the biggest reasons we don’t want to live in the South.   There are too many religious zealots.”

Dylan said, “I wouldn’t mind staying on the farm, but I’m not sure about Corey.”

Corey looked at his husband, and said, “I’ll stay with you, wherever you go.”

Jasper spoke up, “Dad, the problem isn’t staying on the farm.   I’m afraid, once you pass on, the whole county will turn on us.   We would end up losing the farm, because we wouldn’t be able to sell the peaches to anyone.   They don’t boycott you, but they would us.”

Grandpa said, “I’ve already dealt with that problem.   I sued the local Baptist preacher for slander and defamation of character.   He tried to say he was expressing his religious views and exercising his religious freedom, but my lawyers nailed him since one of his parishioners recorded him slandering me in a local bar.   It was clearly not a religious sermon.”

Dylan said, “I thought preachers didn’t drink.”

“Well, this one does, and paid the price for it,” Grandpa said.   “However, I get your point, Jasper.”

Jonathan asked, “Could you put the farm in a trust and hire someone to manage it for the trust?”

Grandpa smiled.   “You’re on the right track, son.”

Jonathan blushed at the praise.   He still felt a little intimidated by his father-in-law.

Peyton asked, “Couldn’t you sell the farm to the family corporation, and let the company run it?”

Grandpa said, “I like the way you think, Peyton.”

Peyton smiled, and said, “Wouldn’t it be the best way to keep the farm in the family.”

Jonathan reached over and took Peyton’s hand in his, giving it a reassuring squeeze.   Peyton leaned over and kissed him.

Jasper looked over at Peyton, and said, “I’m glad you’re part of the family, Peyton.   I never would have thought of selling the farm to the family corporation.”

Grandpa said, “I agree with you, Jasper, Peyton is a welcome addition to our family, just as you were when you married Bob.”

Dylan asked, “What about me?”

Grandpa laughed, and said, “Okay, and you, as well as Jonathan.”

Dylan beamed, and put his arm around Corey’s shoulders.   “Just making sure.”

Grandpa said, “I’m glad you arrived at the same conclusion I did.   I’ve had the paperwork drawn a few weeks ago, but wanted to pull you all together first, before moving ahead.   I’ve already spoken to your sisters, and they are in agreement with our proposal.”

Corey said, “Thank you for arranging it, Dad.   I was feeling like we were obligated to stay on the farm.   This way, Dylan and I can go ahead with our plans.”

Grandpa said, “Have you shared you plans with anyone?”

“No, not yet.   We wanted to wait until we knew what you planned to do with the farm,” Dylan said.

Corey said, “We might as well tell them.”

“We want to buy property near the beach and turn it into a luxury golfing community.   I love to golf and I love the beach.”

“Have you decided where?” Grandpa said.

“No, but we thought we could work with you to determine the best place to start,” Corey said.

Grandpa said, “I’ll make a few phone calls to see what we can turn up.”

The guys left Grandpa’s study, and returned to the family room, talking excitedly among themselves about Cory and Dylan’s plans.  

Peyton leaned back against Jonathan’s chest and listened to the guys.   Jonathan whispered in his hear, “Let’s go up to our new room.”

Peyton nodded his head, and stood up.   He turned to help Jonathan to his feet.   “Good night, everyone, we need to get to bed, since we have an early start tomorrow morning.”

Dylan snickered, and said, “Don’t try to snow us!   We know what you’re really going to do!”

Peyton grinned, broadly, at his brother-in-law, “Well, that may be true, but we’re still retiring to our bedroom.”

The guys chorused, “Good night.”

They left the front room and climbed the stairs.   They walked hand in hand down the hall to the door of their new bedroom.   Jonathan opened it, and said, “Welcome home, Peyton.”

Peyton said, “Welcome home, yourself, Babe.”   He closed the door and locked it, before turning back to Jonathan.   “I believe it’s time I seduced my husband.”

Jonathan said, “I think that’s a wonderful idea.”

They spent the rest of the evening enjoying each other’s company!

The next morning, they were up before the sun.   They showered and headed downstairs, where they found Grandma waiting for them with a pot of coffee, and a big breakfast.

“Please sit down and eat, boys,” she said.   “I wanted to make sure you had a good breakfast to send you on your way.”

They sat down to a hearty breakfast.   They were nearly done, when Grandpa came into the kitchen.   “Good morning, Peyton and Jonathan.”

They chorused, “Good morning, Dad.”

He smiled at them, and said, “I’m glad you decided to leave one of your cars here.   You can always drive the truck back here, and pick up the other car.   However, I think you’ll find the truck will come in handy.”

Jonathan said, “I think you’re right about that, Dad.   Peyton wouldn’t part with his Ferrari, so I’m leaving mine here.”

Grandma said, “We want you to check in with us every night.   We want to make sure you make it safely to Minneapolis.”

Peyton smiled, and said, “We promise to call you.”

They finished eating, and helped clean up the kitchen.   They gave Grandpa and Grandma a hug and a kiss, then made their way out to their vehicles.  They packed up many of their new clothes to take with them to Minneapolis.   They had already stowed them in the back of the truck.   They pulled out of the driveway, and made their way back to the Interstate.   They drove the 18 hours to Minneapolis over the course of two days, arriving late on the second day.   They parked on the street in front of their new home, and got out.   The walked up to the front door and knocked.

The door opened, and they found themselves in a tight embrace.   Greg said, “I’m glad you guys finally made it.”

Cory said, “Greg, let them come inside.   It’s cold out there.”

Greg released them, and said, “Come inside, and meet the guys.”

They followed him inside, and into the recreations room.   Greg said, “Guys, this is Peyton, my adopted brother and Rick’s cousin, and his husband, Jonathan.”   He pointed to each guy, as he named them, “This Robbie and his husband, Adam.  This is Justin and his husband, Brian.”

Peyton said, “We’re glad to finally meet all of you.”

Jonathan said, “We’ve heard a lot about you from Greg and Cory.”

“Not to mention Rick and Glenn,” Peyton said, grinning.

Greg said, “This is Jean-Michael.”

Peyton smiled, as he looked over Jean-Michael.   He was 6’1” (186 cm.), blond, with dark brown eyes, black eyebrows, a roman nose, a square chin, and a gorgeous smile.  He looked like he had stepped off of one those muscle building magazine covers, he was that good looking.

“Nice to meet you,” Peyton said, shaking his hand.   His grip was firm, which Peyton liked.

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

Jean-Michael said, in strongly accented English, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Peyton asked, “Where are you from?”

“I’m from Quebec,” he responded.

Peyton said, “From which city?”

“Shawinigan,” he replied.   “It’s near Trois Revieres.”

Peyton shook his head.   “I’m sorry to say I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to Canadian geography.   You’ll have to show me where it is on a map.”

Jean-Michael said, “Not a problem.”

Greg said, “Let’s get you stuff out your truck.”

All of the guys pitched in to help unload the truck.   In a short time, everything was stacked in their room, or under the stairs in the crawl space.   Greg looked around, and said, “It looks like we need to let you get some sleep.   You can start unpacking tomorrow.”

Peyton nodded his head.   He was pretty tired.   The guys left the room, all except Jean-Michael, who stood standing in the doorway, shifting his weight from one foot to another.

Peyton looked him over from head to toe, admiring this man’s fine physique.   Meeting his eyes, he asked, “What’s up?”

“I just wanted to say that Greg told me what happened to you, Peyton.   I wanted to tell you that if you ever need anything, please tell me.   I won’t let anyone every hurt you, Peyton.”

Peyton replied, “Thank you, Jean-Michael.”

Jean-Michael said, “My cousin, Jean-Francois, was beaten by the police for being gay.   He survived, but just barely.   His head suffered so much.   They broke his back and broke his head open.   The policemen who attached him are in jail now, but Jean-Francois will never be the same.   He came out to me, and I swore to protect him, but I failed him.”   There were tears running down his cheeks.   “I promise nothing will ever happen to you, or anyone in this house.”

Peyton stood up and walked the short distance to Jean-Michael.   He pulled him into his arms, and hugged him tight.   “Thank you, Jean-Michael.”

He said, “Please call me Michael.   My family and friends call me Michael.”

Jonathan put his arms around both men, and said, “Okay, we’ll call you Michael.”  He kissed Michael’s cheek, causing him to blush.

Peyton grinned, and said, “You’ll have to get used to us, Michael.   We’re very affectionate with our family.”

Michael said, “But I’m not your family.”

“You are now,” Peyton said, giving him another kiss, but this time on the lips.  Michael blushed an even deeper color of red.   “You’re gay, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am, but I’m single,” Michael said.   “I want to find someone special like you have.”

Jonathan said, “I’m sure you’ll meet Mr. Right soon enough.”

Michael nodded his head, and said, “Okay.   Hopefully, that will be soon.   Good night.”

Peyton said, “Good night, Michael.”   He closed the door behind him, and locked.

Jonathan took his man in his arms, and said, “Let’s get you to bed.”   He stripped off Peyton’s clothes, followed by his own.   They both collapsed into their bed, and were soon fast asleep in each other’s arms.

Prev To be continued . . .

A Note from Russ:

Previously published as Our Band of Brothers Chapter One – The Smiths Go To Minneapolis

Music for this chapter:

Steve Grand – Look Away -

Eli Lieb – Young Love -

Eli Lieb – Zepplin -

What a Week In Prison Taught Me -