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




Chapter 140: Orlando

I sat in the backseat of Duane’s truck, listening to Duane and Mason, as we drove down Interstate 75.  We had stopped in Valdosta for gas and were nearing the Georgia state line, when I heard my phone chime as a text message came in.  I pulled the phone from my pocket and saw Rick had sent me a text.  I wasn’t sure I was ready to let go of my anger.  I was afraid, if I let go of the anger, the hurt I felt would overwhelm me.  My mind went back to our argument, earlier in the week.

***** Flashback *****

We had just finished cleaning up the kitchen, after a quick meal of pasta and grilled chicken with a tossed green salad, when he turned to me and said, “I need to talk to you.”  He took my hand and led me out of the kitchen to the family room.  I wondered what this was about.  Peyton and Jonathan had been right.  We did need more time together; but, something about Rick’s tone of voice made me apprehensive.    

As soon as we were settled on the couch, with me facing him, I asked, “What’s all this about, Babe?”  I held his gaze, waiting for him to speak.

“Promise me you’ll hear me out, before you say anything,” Rick said, taking my hands in his.

“Okay.  Out with it!” I said, with a sinking feeling in my stomach.  I could tell I wasn’t going to like what Rick was going to say, just from the way he was acting.

Rick, noting Glenn’s worried expression, gathered his courage and said, “I need to make up my mind whether or not to re-enlist in the Marine Corps.”

“What do you mean?  I thought we discussed this, and decided you were going to get out of the Marine Corps, so we can get married.   We even talked about different career paths you could follow, remember?” I said in surprise, anger already building inside me.

Rick nodded his head.  “Yes, we talked about it, but I’ve decided to stay in the military.  I have to begin the paperwork this weekend to re-enlist,” he said.  “I just haven’t decided for how long.  I can sign a contract for three to five years.”

His words pierced my heart.  Rick seemed set on continuing his career in the military, despite my desire to be married to him.  It was like nothing we had agreed to do mattered to him – I didn’t matter to him.  It was obvious he was letting me know where I stood with him.  Trying to keep control of my emotions, I said, “So, you’ve decided we won’t be married, then.”

Rick said, “That’s not what I said.”

“No, but you’ve made up your mind to re-enlist.  It seems to me your military career is more important to you than I am,” I said, my heart breaking, as my fairy tale life crumbled around me.

“No, that’s not it at all,” Rick said, his voice growing in volume.  Rick had feared this would be the outcome of any discussion with Glenn.

“So, what ARE you saying?  You sit there, telling me you need to start the re-enlistment process, and you aren’t sure whether to sign up for three, more years.  What am I supposed to think?”

Rick said, “Glenn, I love you.”

I looked up into his eyes, and said, “I hear your words, Rick; but you’re sending me a pretty clear message about our relationship.   I’m a good fuck, but I’m not good enough to be your husband.” 

I snatched my hands out of his grip, not wanting him to touch me.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay angry with him, if I let him touch me.  I’ve never been able to resist Rick when he touches my body.  He knows the effect he has on me, and it made me even angrier, to think he tried to calm me down by touching me. 

I stood up and stalked out of the room.  I went to our bedroom, not sure what I was going to do.  Rick followed me into our bedroom, blocking the doorway.


I cut him off, “Rick, I need some space right now.”  I grabbed my car keys off of my dresser and pushed past him.

“Glenn, don’t go.  Let’s talk about this,” Rick said, following me to the front door of our condo. 

The pleading tone of his voice, made me hesitate for a moment.  I stopped with my hand on the doorknob, turning to glare at him. 

“What more is there to say, Rick?  You’ve decided what you want.  Now, I have to decide whether I want to continue being your sex toy, or whether I need to move on.  Don’t you get it, Rick?  I want to be married to a guy who will love me and spend the rest of his life with me.  Since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell hasn’t been repealed yet, I think you’re making it pretty clear where I stand with you.  You’re the one who keeps telling me we can’t be married, until you finish your military service.  I was okay with waiting for you, Rick, because you were already in the Marine Corps when we met; however, this time it’s different.  Now, you’re intentionally making it impossible for us to be married for another three to five years, depending on how long you sign up for on your new contract with the Marine Corps.  You’ve made it clear there is no US; there’s only you.”

I turned away from him, pulling the door open and stepping into the hallway.  I pulled the door closed behind me, as the tears began coursing down my cheeks.

***** End Flashback *****

Duane glanced in his rearview mirror, noticing the look on my face.  “What’s wrong, Glenn?”

“Rick has sent me another text message,” I responded, trying to keep my face a mask of indifference.

“So, what are you going to do?” Duane asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied, feeling emotionally drained, almost to the point of being numb.

Mason said, “You should at least tell him you’re going to Orlando.”

I touched the screen of my phone and Rick’s text message flashed up on the screen.  It read, “Glenn, please answer me.  I know you’re still angry with me; but, I need to know you’re okay.”

I tapped out a reply, “I’m fine.  I’m with Duane and Mason.”  I sent the text and put my phone back in my pocket.

Rick sat staring at the screen on his phone, hoping Glenn would respond.  He hadn’t spoken to Glenn in days, and was worried he would cut off all contact with him.  When Glenn’s reply chimed on his phone, Rick breathed a sigh of relief, as he read the message.  He could tell Glenn was still angry with him; but now he knew he was safe and with friends.  He hoped they would try to convince Glenn to come back to him; so, they could work things out between them.  He had a lot of confidence in Duane and Mason.  They were good friends.

Rick jumped when he heard the voice of his commanding officer, Lt. Col. Bachman.  “Rick, what’s going on with you?  You haven’t been quite yourself all weekend.  I haven’t seen you this way since we went overseas.”

Rick jumped to his feet, but Lt. Col. Bachman waved him back into his seat.  “Please sit down, Rick.  It’s just you and me.”

Rick said, as he sat back down, “You startled me.”

Lt. Col Bachman said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do that; but you look like the world has come to an end.”

Rick met his gaze, and said, “I’m afraid I screwed up big time.  I hurt the one I love, and I’m trying to figure out how to fix things between us.”

Lt. Col. Bachman pulled up a chair and sat down in front of Rick.  “Well, I’m sure you’ll find a way.  You’re a Marine.”  He saw the deep sorrow in Rick’s eyes.  He recognized the pain for what it was.  He had felt the same way when his ex-wife had served him with divorce papers, and announced she was having an affair with another man.  “I don’t mean to pry into your private life; but, is there something I can do.”  He watched the conflicting emotions cross the younger man’s face.

Rick wanted to open up to his commanding officer, but knew he had to choose his words carefully.  “I’m thinking of re-enlisting, but my sweetheart is completely against the idea.”

“Have you considered working for a military contractor instead?  There aren’t as many limitations as there are being enlisted.” Lt. Col. Bachman said.

Rick shook his head.  “No.  I don’t even know where to start looking for a contracting job with the military.”

“Well, I can help you out there.  I’m planning on retiring from the Marine Corps, in a couple of months,” he said. 

Rick gave him a surprised look.  Lt. Col. Bachman was the last person he thought would leave the military. 

“Don’t look so surprised, Rick.  I’m nearly old enough to be your father.”  He paused, meeting Rick’s gaze, before continuing.  “I need you to promise me you’ll keep what I’m about to tell you just between us for now.”

Rick nodded his head.  “You have my word.”

“Good.  I’m starting my own company with a couple of my buddies.  They’re putting up the cash and will handle the finances.  My job is to recruit talented people to work for us.”  Rick’s interest was apparent on his face.  Lt. Col. Bachman smiled.  These young guys were all alike; but, this one ran deep.  He would have to be very careful not to scare him off.  “Would you like to hear more?”

Rick nodded his head.  “Yes, I would.  I’ve been trying to figure out a way to stay involved with the Marine Corps, without actually being in the military.”

“Well, my buddies are bidding on a couple of contracts with the Marine Corps,” Lt. Col. Bachman said.  He went on to explain the work Rick would be doing, should he decide to work for him.

“Where would I be working?” Rick asked.

“There are three locations – Quantico, Camp Lejeune, and Camp Pendleton,” he said.  “There may be others, as we expand our business and win more contracts.”

Rick smiled, and said, “Thank you for thinking of me.  What do I need to do to work for you?”

“You need to send an e-mail to this e-mail address, indicating your interest in working for us, and we’ll take it from there,” he said, standing up.  “I won’t be talking to you about it, anymore, Rick, so please don’t mention it.”

Rick stood up, as well.  He shook hands with Lt. Col. Bachman.  “I’ll send that e-mail, as soon as I get home tonight.”

“Good,” Lt. Col. Bachman said, smiling.  He was quite pleased with himself.  He had just managed to get one of the brightest guys in his unit to commit to working for him, or so it seemed.  It had been much easier than he’d anticipated.  He whistled a jaunty tune, as he returned to his office.  He pulled his cell from his pocket and sent a quick text message to his business partners. 

I called Greg to let him know we were at the resort. He answered, “Hey!”

“We’re here,” I said.

“We’ll be right there,” Greg said.

Cory looked up at his husband.  “I take it the guys are here.”

“Yes, do you want to come with me to meet them?” he asked.

Cory stood up and took Greg’s hand in his.  “Yes, I would love to accompany you.”

The two left the condo, enjoying the cool night air as they walked down the sidewalk to the resort check-in.  

They entered the lobby, coming up behind me.  Greg wrapped his arms around my waist and said, “I’m glad you came, Glenn.”  He kissed the back of my neck, and I turned my head to meet his lips.

Cory embraced us both, kissing me on the lips.  “Hmmm…I like this,” I said.

Cory grinned.  “I do, too.”

They released me, as Duane and Mason walked over to us.  Duane said, “We’ve registered our vehicle, so we’re ready to go.”

“Good,” Greg said.  “We’ll show you where to park.”

We left the building and climbed into Duane’s truck.  Cory and Greg sandwiched me in between them in the back seat of the cab.  Duane looked into his rearview mirror and grinned, broadly.  “I think I need to trade places with you, Glenn!”

I blushed, but responded, “No way!  I’m staying right where I’m at.”

Greg grinned and said, “We’re going to take good care of you, tonight, Glenn.”

Cory started rubbing his hand up and down my inner thigh.  “Yes, we’re going to help you out.”

Things were moving down below, in fact, I was getting a little uncomfortable, since I wore a pair of my tightest jeans.

Cory laughed, leaning over to kiss me on the lips.  Not to be outdone, Greg leaned over to nibble on my earlobe.  I moaned with pleasure.

Hearing me, Mason looked over his shoulder and grinned.  “Greg and Cory know what you need.”

Cory said, “Park over there.”  He pointed to a couple of open parking spaces close to the entrance to their condo.

Duane parked and we jumped out, grabbing our luggage from the back of the truck.  Greg led us to the elevators.  He looked at Duane and Mason, and said, “You’ll be staying with us.  You two will have a bedroom and Glenn gets to sleep on the pullout.”

I frowned, and protested, “Hey!  That’s not fair!”

Greg put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close to him.  “You can sleep with Cory and me, if you want.”

I looked at Cory, who grinned.  “Yes, you can sleep with us.”

Cory used his keycard to open the door, and pointed to the bedroom near the door.  “That’s your room, guys.”

Duane and Mason stepped into their bedroom and opened the closet, throwing their suitcases inside.  Greg asked, “Do you guys need anything?”

“No, we’re good,” Duane said, smiling.  “Thanks for inviting us.”

Greg said, “Thank you for bringing Glenn with you.”

“Not a problem,” Duane said. 

We left them to get ready for bed.  Greg led me to their bedroom.  He took my backpack from my hands and hefted it.  “You didn’t bring much with you, did you?”

“No, I didn’t think I would need much.  I intend to do a lot of swimming and sunbathing,” I responded, with a grin.

Greg returned my grin.  “I think we’ll be right there with you.   I’ve missed the sun.”

Cory said, “Stop the chit-chat and strip, both of you.”

Greg laughed, and said, “Cory can’t wait to get you in our bed.”

Cory threw off his clothes and stood naked before us, with his hands on his hips, his dick pointing skyward.  “Strip, now!”

“Yes, sir!” we chorused, immediately obeying his command. 

Greg said, “Glenn, you get to sleep between us.”  I jumped into the middle of the bed, followed by my two friends – one on either side.

Greg kissed me, while Cory slid between my legs, taking me completely into his mouth.  Greg worked over my nipples with his teeth, sending shockwaves through my body.  I started to speak, but Greg covered my mouth with his.

Later, as I lay between Cory and Greg, I marveled at their uncanny ability to know exactly what I needed.  The make out session had reminded me I was loved and wanted by my family, no matter what happened between Rick and me.  The thought of Rick brought tears to my eyes, and I lost control.  It was like a dam had burst inside me, allowing all of my pent up emotions to come rushing out.  I started sobbing and clung to Greg.

Greg and Cory wrapped their arms around me, sandwiching me between their warm, hard bodies, as my world tumbled down around me.  I buried my face in Greg’s chest, watering his bare chest with my tears.

Greg pushed my hair out of my eyes, and said, “Everything will be okay, Glenn.”

Cory whispered in my ear, “Let it all out, Glenn.  We’re here with you.” 

After the emotional storm had subsided, I said, “Why doesn’t Rick understand how deeply he hurt me?  Why does he think staying in the Marine Corps is okay?”

Greg, in a deep voice, said, “Simply put, my dear nephew, you need to have patience with him.”  Greg’s imitation of an elderly uncle, counseling his young nephew, made me laugh.  Greg asked, “What’s so funny?  I AM your uncle, after all, and so is Cory.”

“I know you are; but, you’re younger than I am,” I said, grinning.

Greg looked into my eyes, and said, “I may be younger; but I’m much wiser.”

Cory snorted in my ear.  “Don’t let him fool you, Glenn.  He’s not any wiser than you, or I.”

Greg responded, “Hey!  You’re supposed to be on my side!”

“I am on your side.  I’m your husband, Babe,” Cory said.  “Now, let’s talk about what you’re going to do about Rick.”

“I don’t know what to do, Cory.  I thought he loved me and wanted to marry me,” I said, my voice cracking with emotion. 

Greg said, “I believe Rick does love you; but, I think he’s afraid to commit to a permanent relationship as a gay man.”

I looked at him, in surprise.  “What do you mean?  We’ve been together for years now.  Why would he be afraid to commit to our relationship?”

Cory said, “Getting married is a permanent bond, Glenn.  Up until now, you’ve been in a relationship, where either of you could leave, without any binding ties to prevent you from ending it.”

“That’s what causes me the most worry, Cory.  I’m afraid Rick has grown bored with me, and is looking for someone new.  Whether with a man, or a woman, I couldn’t say,” I said.

“Why do you say with a woman?” Greg asked, curiously.

“Because he’s been looking at every woman he sees with lustful eyes.  I also found a Playboy magazine in his work papers last week,” I said.

Cory said, “It sounds like you need to let him go, Glenn.  If he’s having second and third thoughts about your relationship, it’s better to end it now, rather than waiting.”

“That’s why I’ve avoided talking to him for the last few days.  I’m afraid he’ll tell me it’s over,” I said.  “Intellectually, I know that’s where we’re headed; but, emotionally, I’m not ready to hear those words from his lips.”

Cory said, “Are you absolutely sure you’re right?”

I shook my head.  “I’m so confused, Cory.  We have great sex.  In fact, the sex is getting better.  We’ve both commented on it.  Then, there are times, when Rick is so distant.  It’s like he’s on another planet.  During those times, I try not to do anything to upset him.”

“It sounds like you guys have the seven-year itch, only it’s early,” Greg said.

I looked at him like he had just grown two heads.  “How can we have anything of the sort?  We’re not even married!”

Cory said, “It doesn’t matter.  You two have been together for five or six years now, right?”

I nodded my head, “Yes.”

“And you’ve been in a monogamous relationship the entire time?” Cory asked.  Again, I nodded my head.  “Every relationship has its ups and down, Glenn.  As far as I know, you and Rick have had a pretty stable relationship.”

“That’s true,” I said.  “But, lately, it hasn’t seemed so stable.”

Greg said, “I think you need to give yourself and Rick some time to sort this all out.  I know you’re hurt; but I think you need to work things out with Rick.  I love him as much as I love you, Glenn.  I would hate to see you two break up.”

Cory said, “Let’s sleep on it.  Things won’t look so bad in the morning.”

Greg agreed, “That sounds like a great idea, Cory.  Good night.”

Long after Greg and Cory had fallen asleep, I lay awake pondering what I should do about Rick.  I love him very much; but, can I live with him, knowing he may decide to leave me at any time.  Our situation really hadn’t changed but my feelings about the situation are very different now than when we first met.

Peyton kissed Jonathan, as they lay in each other arms.   Peyton said, “I’m glad Glenn decided to join us.  I hope he and Rick can work out their differences.”

Jonathan said, “I think they will, Peyton.  Remember, we decided to move to Minneapolis early, because we felt they needed more time to be a couple.”

“I know; but, I thought they would have taken advantage of being alone together to work on their relationship.  It sounds like the opposite happened,” Peyton said.

Jonathan nodded his head in agreement.  “I thought we were causing the stress in their relationship.  That’s why I had suggested we move out ahead of our original schedule.”

Peyton frowned.  “I don’t know why you thought that.  I knew we weren’t the cause of their problems, just from the conversations I had with Rick.”

Jonathan shrugged his shoulders.  “It doesn’t matter now, Babe.  We’ve moved to Minneapolis and Rick and Glenn still have to figure out where they stand with each other.”

Peyton said, “I’m worried about Rick.  He doesn’t know what he wants.”

Jonathan said, “I saw the text message he sent you earlier today.  We need to be supportive of both of them.  Glenn is really hurting, right now.”

“So is Rick,” Peyton said.  “He didn’t expect Glenn to react the way he did.”

Jonathan shook his head in disbelief.  “I can’t fathom how Rick didn’t know Glenn would be angry when he asked him about extending his stay in the Marine Corps.”

Peyton thought for a moment.  “I guess you’re right.  Rick should’ve known better.”

Jonathan gave his husband a gentle kiss.  “I’m glad we don’t have to worry about whether to get married or not.”

Peyton smiled.  “Yes, I’m glad we’re married.  It’s very comforting to know you’re all mine.”

He kissed his husband, deepening the kiss as his passion grew and his hands roamed his lover’s body.

The next morning, Duane awoke to Mason’s hands caressing his body.  Duane grinned at his husband.  “I wonder what you have on your mind this morning?”

Mason replied, “I wonder?”  His hand drifted down Duane’s hard, flat stomach, stopping to trace the sunburst tattoo surrounding his belly button with his fingertips, then moving lower to find his husband’s thick erection.  He caressed the sensitive tip with his thumb, causing Duane to moan with pleasure.   “I think you have the same thing on your mind, Babe.”

Duane didn’t answer; but, pulled Mason closer to him.  He loved how Mason made him feel.  After their lovemaking, Duane held Mason in his arms, looking into his eyes.

“I’m glad I found you, Babe,” he said. 

Mason smiled, rubbing noses with his husband.  “I am, too.  I thought I would never find anyone.”

Duane laughed.  “Yes, you were in danger of becoming permanently single.”

Mason protested, “I was not!”

“Yes, you were.  You robbed the cradle when you met me,” Duane said.

“Not possible, Babe.  I’m only seven years old than you,” Mason said.

“But those years make you SO much older than me,” Duane responded, laughing.  He teasingly pinched his partner’s stomach.  “I can almost pinch an inch, Babe.”

Mason grabbed Duane’s hands in his, knowing Duane would tickle him mercilessly if he didn’t hold onto his hands.  “That’s not true.” 

“No, but you’re very ticklish,” Duane responded, pulling his hands from Mason’s grip to begin his assault.

Mason tried to recapture Duane’s hands, but failed.  Duane pressed his advantage, straddling his husband’s hips.  Mason begged, “Stop, please, Duane.”

Duane stopped, but captured Mason’s hands, pulling them over Mason’s head to pin them against the pillow.  “I’ve got you just where I want you.”  He could feel Mason growing beneath him.  He leaned down to kiss Mason, deeply.  Breaking the kiss, he whispered into his ear.  “I think you’re ready for round two.”

Mason turned his head to meet Duane’s lips, as Duane impaled himself on Mason’s throbbing member.  Mason moaned into Duane’s mouth.  The flames of their passion took them much higher this time, leaving them both exhausted.

Duane collapsed on top of Mason, attempting to catch his breath.  “Nothing compares to having sex with you, Babe!”

Mason’s eyes were still glazed over from the intensity of their coupling.  His limbs felt leaden and his muscles were completely relaxed.  He loved how he felt each time they made love.  Duane had released his hold on his hands, and he wrapped his arms around Duane, holding him close to him. 

Being married to Duane was a piece of heaven on earth.  His parents had always told him to look for the right person to marry.  Of course, they meant for him to find a woman.  Mason wondered if his parents would ever accept him and Duane.  They hadn’t disowned them; but, they had made it clear they didn’t want them in their home.  Their deeply religious beliefs overruled the love they should have had for their own flesh and blood.  Mason believed in God, but couldn’t accept his parents’ hatred of people who didn’t believe as they did.

On the other hand, Duane’s grandparents made it clear they didn’t want anything to do with them, ever.  Just like Mason’s parents, they quoted scriptures from their Bible as their justification for disowning their grandson and his partner.  Duane tried not to show how deeply hurt he was; but, at that moment, he decided NEVER to have anything to do with God or any religious institution claiming to represent God.  Mason hoped he could, someday, help Duane regain his belief in God.  Meanwhile, he would continue to love him and be there for him.

Duane stirred and lifted himself off of his lover, rolling onto his side.  He took Mason’s hand in his, raising it to his lips.  “You’re the best thing to ever happen to me, Babe.  Thank you for bringing so much happiness into my life.”

Mason smiled, meeting his husband’s gaze.  “You are so wonderful!”

Duane gave him a lecherous look, and said, “I can be even more wonderful in the shower.”

Mason laughed, and rolled out of bed, turning to pull Duane to his feet.  “Okay, wonder boy!  Let’s see just how wonderful you are!”

The two men made their way to the shower, Duane’s hands never leaving Mason’s body.

**** ***

The door to Joey and Tyler’s room cracked open, allowing the two little girls to see their dads still sleeping in each other’s arms.  Rachel whispered to her sister, “Let’s sneak into bed with Daddy and Dad.”

They pushed the door open wide enough to admit them, crossing the room on tiptoes.  They reached the side of the king-sized bed and tried to climb up on the bed.  Sarah slipped and fell to the floor, giggling.

Rachel looked over her shoulder, shaking her head.   She put her finger to her lips and said, “Shh!!”

Sarah stood back up and reached for Rachel’s hand, as she tried, again, to climb onto the bed.   She succeeded, and the two girls wriggled under the blankets, pressing close to their Daddy. 

Joey cracked his eyes open just enough to peak through his eyelashes.  He had awakened when he felt the bed shake, as the girls climbed onto the mattress.  He pretended to still be asleep as they slipped beneath the blankets and snuggled close to him.  He smiled and closed his eyes, knowing his little munchkins wouldn’t be able to lay still for long.

He lay on his side with Tyler spooned up against him, his arm holding him close.  He knew Tyler was awake, when he felt his lips brush the back of his neck.  He sighed contentedly and opened his eyes.

Rachel saw his eyes open, and said, “Good morning, Daddy.”

Joey smiled at her and replied, “Good morning, my little munchkins.”

Sarah giggled.  “I’m not a munchkin, Daddy.”

“Yes, you are, just like Rachel’s a munchkin,” he responded, ruffling her hair.  “You’re both very cute little munchkins.”

Tyler peaked over his husband’s shoulder, and asked, “Who are these two munchkins in our bed?  Where did they come from?  They weren’t there when we went to bed last night?”

Rachel said, “Dad, we’re your daughters.  We were sleeping in our beds until the sun woke us up.”

Sarah said, “We were lonely and wanted to wake you up.”

Tyler smiled at them.  “Well, that’s okay, then.  We were lonely, too.  Do you think your brothers are awake yet?”

Rachel shook her head.  “The babies are still sleeping.   We went into their room to see if they were hungry.”

Joey said, “I’m so glad you’re such a good helper.  I know Martin and Rafael love their big sisters.”

Sarah said, “They are good babies.  They don’t cry unless they’re hungry.”

“Are you girls hungry?” Joey asked.

Rachel and Sarah chorused, “Yes, Daddy!”

“Well, let’s go cook you some breakfast,” he responded.

The girls jumped out of the bed and scampered out of the room.  Joey turned his head to meet Tyler’s lips.  “Good morning, my love.”

“Good morning, Babe,” Tyler responded.  “I guess we best get up.”

Joey smiled, and said, “You’re right.”  Joey climbed out of bed and turned to help his husband to his feet, pulling him into his embrace.  Joey kissed him, then took his hand, leading him into the kitchen where the two little girls were sitting at the table.

Joey asked, “Would you like cereal and milk?”

Rachel said, “Yes, I want the chocolate cereal.”

Sarah said, “I do, too.   It turns the milk into chocolate.”

Joey pulled the cereal boxes from the cupboard, while Tyler retrieved the milk from the fridge.  Tyler set the table with bowls, cups and silverware.  After saying grace, Tyler poured cereal and milk for the two girls.

Joey asked, “Do you want oatmeal this morning?”

Tyler shook his head.  “No, thank you.  I’ll stick with cold cereal.”

Joey laughed.  “I know you don’t like oatmeal, but I had to ask.”

Joey measured out some oatmeal into a glass bowl and added water.  He placed it in the microwave and pushed the start button. 

Tyler said, “I don’t know how you can eat that stuff.”

Joey grinned and said, “It’s actually pretty good with brown sugar, cinnamon and some milk.”

When the microwave beeped, Joey pulled out the bowl of hot oatmeal and stirred it.  He added his special ingredients and sat down next to Tyler.

He put a spoonful of the hot cereal in his mouth and said, “Hmm…it’s good.”

Tyler laughed, and said, “You almost make it sound sexy to eat that stuff!”

“It would be sexy if you fed it to me,” Joey said, seductively.

Tyler rubbed his hand up and down the inside of Joey’s inner thigh.  “No, this is sexy.”  His hand moved higher, giving Joey’s package a gentle squeeze.

Joey put his hand over Tyler’s.  “I think you should hold that thought, until we get in the shower.”

They finished their breakfast and cleared the table.  Tyler said, “We just might have enough time to get a shower before the boys are up.”

Joey said, “Okay, girls.  I’ll turn on the cartoons for you.”  He turned on the television, then took Tyler’s hand.  “Let’s get our shower.”

Joey led Tyler into their en suite, grabbing the baby monitor as they passed through their bedroom.  Sitting the baby monitor on the counter, he turned to find Tyler already had the water running in the shower.  They shed their boxers, and stepped under the warm cascade.

Joey said, “I love you, Babe.”  He pulled Tyler into his arms, kissing him before soaping up his body, paying particular attention to his private parts!

They were drying each other off, when they heard the twins were awake.  Joey kissed Tyler and said, “We finished just in time to take care of the boys.”

Tyler grinned and said, “I’ve always been known for my perfect timing.”

Joey laughed.  “I have to agree with you on that one.”  Joey took Tyler’s hand and led him into the kitchen.  “I’ll warm the bottles, while you rescue the boys.”  Tyler disappeared into the boys’ bedroom.

Rachel walked over to her Daddy and asked, “Can I help?”

“Sure, sweetheart,” he said.  “You can help feed Rafael; but, you’ll have to wait until Dad brings him to you.”

Rachel clapped her hands and shouted, “Yeah, I get to feed Rafael!”  She ran to one of the rocking chairs, climbing into it. 

Tyler reappeared with Rafael in his arms.  “I heard someone wanted to help feed Rafael.”  He smiled as Rachel raised her hand to wave at him.   He carried the infant over to her and settled him in her arms.  “Make sure you hold his head up, like this.”

Rachel said, “I know, Dad.  I’ve helped feed the babies before.”

Joey brought over a bottle filled with baby formula, handing it to Rachel.  “Here you go, Rachel.” 

Tyler stood and retraced his steps to the boys’ room, returning with Martin.  He sat down in the rocking chair opposite Rachel.  Joey handed him another bottle, this one for Martin.  He looked over at Rachel, and asked, “Who do you think will finish first, Rafael or Martin?”

Rachel thought for a moment, then answered, “Rafael, because he started first.”

“Well, let’s see if you’re right,” Tyler said. 

After a while, Rachel announced, “Rafael’s all done.”

Tyler said, “So is Martin.  I think it’s a tie.”

They both burped the baby they held, then Tyler said, “I think it’s time to give the boys their bath.”

Sarah, who had been watching cartoons, turned her head, and asked, “May I help give them a bath.   I like watching them splash water everywhere.”

“Both of you can help bathe the boys,” Joey responded, smiling at their daughters.  He took Martin from Rachel’s arms and walked into the main bathroom.  He turned on the water, adjusting the temperature to make sure it was just right. 

Rachel brought him the baby bath soap and a wash cloth, while he undressed Rafael.   He placed the infant in the tub and began washing him.  Rachel helped him, using the washcloth. 

Tyler walked into the bathroom and asked, “Is there room in there for this big guy?”

Rachel laughed.  “Of course there is, Dad.”

Tyler undressed Martin and placed him in the warm water next to his brother.  Sarah brought a clean washcloth and knelt beside her Dad.  They began washing Martin’s tiny body, as he vigorously moved his arms and legs, obviously enjoying the water.  Rafael was doing the same. 

Sarah said, “The boys like playing in the water.”

“They are just like their sisters,” Joey said.  “They’re going to be expert swimmers, just like you girls.”

Rachel said, “I can’t wait for them to go swimming with us.”

“Well, we’ll have to give them time to get bigger,” Tyler said, smiling.

They finished bathing the two infants and lifted them out the tub onto the towels the girls had brought for them.  Wrapping them up, Tyler and Joey lifted them into their arms, carrying them into their room.

Tyler asked, “Rachel and Sarah, will you choose outfits for the boys to wear?”

The girls pulled out two matching outfits from the dresser.  Sarah said, “We like these.”

Tyler looked at them and smiled, “Those are perfect.  Thank you for being such great helpers this morning.”

The guys finished dressing the boys and made their way to the family room.  Before they had a chance to sit down, there was a knock on the door.  The girls ran to open the door.  Rachel pulled it open, and stared up at her uncles.

Greg asked, “May we come in?”

Rachel giggled, and said, “Sure, Uncle Greg.”

The girls ran back to their dads with the news their uncles were at the door.  Tyler looked up and said, “Come in and sit down, guys.”

Greg, Cory and I found seats on the couch.  Joey looked at me and said, “I’m glad you decided to join us, Glenn.”

I smiled at him.  “I am, too.  I needed to get away from Atlanta for a while.  It’s been a rough week for me.”

Joey said, “That’s what I heard.  I hope you two can work things out.”

I sighed, and looked at Greg and Cory.  “I hope so, too.  I’m just not sure Rick wants to be in a permanent relationship with me.”

“What makes you think he doesn’t want to be with you?” Tyler asked, raising an eyebrow.

I said, “He told me he was signing up to stay in the Marine Corps for three to five more years.”

Tyler said, “Has Rick told you he wants to leave you?”

“No, but he sure made it clear he doesn’t want to marry me,” I said, bitterness showing in my voice.

“Now, wait a minute,” Tyler said.  “Do you mean to tell me he said he doesn’t want to marry you?”

“No,” I said.

“Has he stepped out on you, or given any indication he doesn’t want you, anymore?” Tyler asked.

“No, he hasn’t.  We have a great sex life; but, he’s been looking at the girls a lot lately, like he wants to fuck them,” I said.

Joey said, “Hasn’t Rick done that since you first met him?  I remember you complained about that when I first met you.  Wasn’t he quite the womanizer before he met you?”

“Yes, that’s all true,” I said, starting to feel like I was being overly sensitive about everything Rick did.

Joey said, “Rick was always a lady’s man, even in high school.  That’s why he went after Angie, in the first place.”  He paused, before continuing, “Glenn, Rick has told us many times he’s not gay, except when it comes to you.”

“Then, why does he like to have fun with Greg and Cory, or Zach and Todd?” I objected.

“Rick is a very sexual guy and he enjoys being with his friends,” Joey said.

Greg said, “I think Rick is gay, despite what he might say.”

Cory said, “He’s a lot like you were, Greg.  You weren’t ready to admit you don’t have a straight bone in your body, until after your Dad attacked us.  So, maybe, Rick still isn’t quite comfortable in his skin yet.”

“That’s the feeling I’ve had for months, now,” I said.  “It’s almost like Rick blames me for making him gay.”

“Maybe he does,” Joey said, grinning.  “I blame Tyler all the time!  If he weren’t so cute, I’d be with a woman right now!”  Tyler gave him a friendly punch on the shoulder.  Joey leaned over to kiss his husband.  He turned to look at me, and said, “Seriously, though, it sounds like Rick is going through an identity crisis, trying to figure out who he really is.”

I frowned, and said, sarcastically, “So, what am I supposed to do, while he goes on this journey of self-discovery?  Sit back and hope for the best?  I don’t think so.”

Joey said, “No, Glenn, you should be actively supportive of him.  I mean, show him you understand and you’re there for him.  It will mean more to him than you know.  If you want to keep him, you’ll back off a little bit.”

Frowning, I said, “I’ll give it some thought.”

“Good,” Joey said.  He looked at Greg and Cory, “Now that’s done, when are we leaving for the amusement parks?”

“As soon as you guys are ready,” Greg said.  The rest of the guys are finishing their breakfast and should be ready to go.”

Tyler said, “We can be ready in about 15 minutes.”

Joey said, “You had better call Mom and Dad, to let them know we’re heading out.”

Tyler called his parents, then turned to the girls.  “Are you ready to have some fun?”

The girls chorused, “Yes, Dad!”

“Okay, let’s get our gear,” Tyler said.  He laughed, as the two girls ran to their bedroom to get their backpacks.  They reappeared with them, and sat them in the middle of the floor.  Joey and Tyler got the boys ready and packed all the baby supplies into their double stroller. 

Rachel grabbed Greg’s hand.  “Let’s go Uncle Greg.”

He grinned at Cory and said, “I’m ready.”

They left the condo, meeting up with the rest of the guys.  They spent the day going on rides, playing arcade games and eating lots of great food and snacks.

Late that night, they returned from the amusement park with two very exhausted little girls.  They helped Joey and Tyler get the girls into bed, then left them to tend to their two little bundles of joy.

As they entered their condo, Peyton grabbed me in a bear hug.  “It’s our turn to have you sleep with us.”

Jonathan smiled at his husband.  “Yes, it’s our turn.  Greg and Cory got you last night.”

Greg laughed, and said, “Okay, you guys get him tonight.”

Duane protested, “When do we get our turn?”

Mason put his arm around his husband.  “Glenn stayed with us most of the week.  Remember?”

Duane grinned, “Oh, yeah, I remember now.  He cried on my shoulder all night and soaked our bed.”

I punched Duane in the shoulder.  “I did NOT soak your bed.”

Duane gave me a wicked grin.  “Maybe not my bed, but you sure cried a lot.”

I nodded my head.  “I’ll own up to that.  I was in pretty bad shape.”

Mason nodded his head.  “Yes, you were.”

Jonathan gave me a wicked grin, said, “Well, I think we should do something to take your mind off of your problems.”

I laughed and said, “I used to think you were so sweet and innocent.”

Jonathan’s grin broadened.  “I was sweet and innocent, until Peyton corrupted me.”

Peyton kissed his husband.  “Guilty as charged!”  He took my hand, and led me toward their bedroom.

Jonathan followed us, turning to say, “Good night, guys.”  He entered the bedroom, closing the door behind him.  He looked at us and said, in a harsh voice, “Strip!”

Peyton looked at me, then back to his husband.  “I think he means it.”

I nodded my head, grinning, “You’re right.  Maybe we should humor him and do as he asks.”

We quickly stripped, with Jonathan doing the same.  “On the bed, boys!”  I was soon sandwiched between two very hot studs! 

Later, I lay between them, thinking about Rick.  I knew I needed to decide what I was going to do about our relationship.  I couldn’t continue to hide out at Duane and Mason’s home.  I sighed, knowing I was going to take Rick back.  I loved him too much to leave him, even when he made me angry.  Having finally acknowledged to myself I was going back to Rick, I cuddled closer to my friends and drifted off to sleep.

Prev To be continued . . .

A Note from Russ:

This chapter previously published as Our Band of Brothers Chapter Five

Music for this chapter

Jencarlos Canela – Irreparable -

Lyrics for Irreparable –

Amaia Montero – Palabras -

Axel – Tu Amor Por Siempre -

Nico Vega – I Believe -

Christine Perri – Be My Forever -

Colbie Caillat – Try -