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




Chapter 92: The Concert

I jumped when Rick put his hand on my shoulder.   I turned to look at him, and exclaimed, “You scared me!”

“I know.   You nearly jumped through the ceiling,” Rick said, laughing.   “You’ve been practicing the piano all day.   I know you’re nervous about your performance tomorrow, but you need to take a break, and get out of the condo for a while.”

I smiled at my beautiful lover boy.  “You’re right, Rick.   I feel so completely drained.”

Rick took my hand, pulling me up from the piano bench, and into his warm embrace.   I put my arms around his waist, and molded my body to his, burying my face in his shirt.   I love Rick’s masculine scent, mixed with his signature cologne.  The smell of it instantly brought back to my mind many memories of wildly wonderful, hot sex.   I knew that Rick was planning a special evening for us, and the thought of it had things moving down below, in anticipation.   I leaned back, and looked into Rick’s eyes, and asked, “What did you have in mind for this evening?”

Rick grinned, and replied, “I think we should go to McKinnon’s for dinner.”

I said, excitedly, “I love McKinnon’s.   They have the best food in Atlanta.”

“That they do.  I have called ahead for reservations,” Rick said.   “You need to get dressed up, though.”   I was wearing an old ripped up pair of shorts, and a ragged t-shirt.   Rick squeezed my butt with both hands.   “I like this pair of shorts, since it gives me easy access to your very fine bubble butt; but you can’t go out in public in them!”

I kissed Rick on the lips, and said, “Yes, dear!”

Rick laughed.  “Don’t ‘Yes, Dear!’ me!   Just go put on some slacks and a golf shirt.”

I stepped out of his embrace, and looked him over, appreciatively.  “I guess I can find a pair of khaki pants and a navy blue shirt to match yours.”

Rick smiled, mischievously.  “I already laid out your clothes for you, sweetheart.”

I grabbed his hand, and said, “Then, come help me get dressed.”

I led him into our bedroom, and he stripped me down, squeezing my package in the process.   He kept stealing kisses, and was being pretty frisky.   I laughed, “Someone is pretty hyper tonight.”   I picked the mesh underwear he had chosen for me, and pulled them on. 

Rick leered at me, and said, “I am NOT hyper – I’m HORNY as hell, and would jump your bones, right now, if we didn’t have dinner reservations.”   He massaged my cock through the mesh fabric.   He kissed me, as he slid his hands inside my underwear, squeezing a cheek in each hand.

I looked up at him and said, “We can always reschedule dinner.”

Rick said, “Not this time, Glenn.  I can wait.  Let me finish dressing you.”   He released me, and grabbed my shirt.   He helped pull it down over my head, and straightened it.   Next, he picked up my khaki pants, and helped me into them, making sure to caress my already leaking dick as he zipped up my pants.   I protested, “Rick, you’ve got me so horny, now, you can’t leave me like this!”

He gave a wicked laugh, and took my hand in his.   “I most certainly can, since I’m just as amped up as you are!”  

He led me downstairs to Keith and Kerry’s place, and knocked on their door.   Keith answered it, and let us in.   “It’s about time you two showed up,” Keith said.

Rick replied, “I had a difficult time prying Glenn’s fingers from the piano keyboard, but I managed it, somehow!”

Kerry joined us in the foyer.   I grinned at her, and said, “You look lovely tonight.”

Kerry blushed with pleasure.  “Thank you, Glenn, I needed to hear that.  I feel like I am SO huge.   Even my maternity clothes don’t fit me very well, anymore.”

“When are they going to induce labor,” Rick asked.

“Next Monday, if Kerry doesn’t have the baby before then,” Keith responded.

Kerry said, “We finally agreed on a name – Egan Michael Turner”

“We both like Egan, but we had a hard time agreeing on a middle name,” Keith said.

Rick said, “It’s a great name.   I like it.”  

I nodded my agreement.    Kerry asked, “Glenn, are you ready for the concert tomorrow?”

“Yes, I am, but I’m getting really anxious about it,” I said.

Kerry embraced me, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “You will be just fine.”   She turned to Keith and Rick.  “Let’s go.   I am absolutely starving.”

Rick opened the door, and led the way to our car.   Keith opened the door for Kerry, and helped her into the backseat.  Then, he went around to the other side, and joined her.   Rick grinned at me and winked.   He imitated Keith by opening the door for me, then jumped into the driver’s seat.   Rick leaned over and kissed me, before turning the key in the ignition.

Kerry said, “It is so wonderful to have you two back home.   We missed you terribly.”

Rick replied, “We missed you, as well, Kerry.”

Keith protested, “What about me?   Didn’t you miss me?”

“No, Keith, we didn’t miss you at all!   We only missed Kerry!” I responded.

Keith pouted for a moment, then laughed.  “I missed you guys something fierce.   I’m glad to see that you are just as much in love with each other as you were, before Rick went on active duty.   I was afraid that Rick would come back and tell us he had found a girlfriend, and that you guys were history.”

Rick glanced in the mirror, and saw that Keith was totally serious about his concern that he would have returned with a girlfriend.   Apparently, he hadn’t convinced Glenn’s family that he was truly in love with him.   Not only had Keith doubted him, but Glenn’s dad had also hinted that he thought Rick might find a girlfriend, while he was on active duty.   It made him wonder what he had done that caused them to doubt him.  He glanced over at Glenn, and said, “I told Glenn I would be faithful to him, and I kept my word.”

I said, “Yes, you did keep your word to me.”   I leaned over and kissed Rick on the lips.

“Okay, okay!   Enough kissing in the front seat!   I’m happy I was wrong about you, Rick.   I am very, very glad for Glenn,” Keith said.

Rick smiled, remembering how jealous Keith had been, when Glenn had agreed to be his boyfriend.   When they had confronted Keith about it, he had admitted that he had always wanted to have sex with Rick.   Glenn had agreed to let Rick fuck his cousin, and that had seemed to satisfy Keith’s need for Rick’s love and affection.   At least, it appeared to bring an end to Keith’s jealous behavior.   Shortly thereafter, Keith had married Kerry.   Since that time, Keith had seemed like the perfectly happy married man. 

Rick glanced at Keith again in the rearview mirror.   Keith had turned to Kerry, and was being very attentive to her needs.   He could see that Keith’s entire focus was on his very pregnant wife.   He gave a sigh of relief, and put the car in gear.   He drove us McKinnon’s, and parked in front of the restaurant.   Again, the guys opened the doors for us!  

I put my arm around Rick’s waist, and said, “Thank you.   It really makes me feel special.”  I kissed him lightly on the lips, as we walked toward the restaurant’s entrance.   Rick pulled the door open, and we entered the foyer.  

We were greeted by the owner, Aziz.  He smiled and said, “How are you this evening, Mr. Lernier?”

Rick replied, “I’m doing great!”

Aziz said, “Please, come this way.”

We followed him into the main dining room.   As we entered, we were greeted by a sudden shout of “Surprise!”

I looked around the room, and saw that my friends and family were all there!   Mom, Dad, Grandpa and Grandma Scarborough, Uncle Stan and Aunt Sharon, Roger, Ben, Janice, Greg, Cory, Jimmy, Donica, Dr. Nohr, Patty, Irene, Zach, Todd, Robbie, Adam, Justin, Brian, Mark and Brandon.   I turned to Rick, with a big grin, “Did you know about this?”

“Yes, I’m the one who organized it for you, with Grandpa’s help,” Rick said, smiling. 

Aziz smiled, and said, “Rick called me and arranged for this private party, tonight.   I am very happy to host it for you.”

“Thank you, Aziz,” Rick said.

Aziz showed us to our seats.   He turned to address all of us, “We have a very special appetizer prepared for all of you to enjoy.   Please have a seat, and we will make this a very special occasion for you.”

We settled into our seats, and the wait staff quickly served us our beverages and the appetizers.   Kerry sat next to me.  “Rick did a good job of keeping this a secret.”

“He sure did!” I responded.   I turned to Rick.  “How did you manage it?”

Rick laughed.  “It was very easy, because you have been practicing for your concert almost 24/7 the last few weeks.”

“I guess I have been pretty oblivious of everything except the concert, the last few days,” I said, squeezing Rick’s hand.

Kerry laughed.  “I think it is more like the last couple of weeks!”

Keith nodded his head.  “Yeah, it’s like you never returned from your trip to Canada, you have been so out of it.”

“I’m sorry you guys.   I didn’t realize I was shutting everyone out,” I said, apologetically.

Rick laughed.  “Well, it will be over tomorrow night, and we can begin to live like a normal couple, instead of a frazzled concert pianist and his housekeeper!”

“I feel so bad, Rick.   Why didn’t you say something, sooner?” I asked, feeling completely mortified.

Rick looked at me, and brought his hand to my face.  “It wouldn’t have changed anything, sweetheart.   I know how anxious you’ve been about this performance, and I knew the best thing for me to do was to let you work things out on your own.”

Rick’s love for me brought tears to my eyes.  Rick wiped a tear away that managed to escape, as I blinked hard to keep from crying.   “It’s okay, Babe.   I love you.”

I took his hand from my face, and kissed it.   “I don’t deserve to have such a wonderful life partner.”

Keith said, “Rick is only doing for you what you do for him, because you love each other very much.   Believe me, Kerry and I know.   We have watched you grow closer together, ever since you first met.”

Kerry tried some of the appetizers, and exclaimed, “Hmmm….these are good!   You should try some.”

The conversation turned to other things, as we enjoyed the food and the company.   As we finished, Aziz brought out a variety of desserts to go with our coffee and other beverages.   After taking our orders, he said, “Please feel free to mix and mingle, while we clear away the dishes.”

Rick and I made our way over to Patty and Irene, who were seated with Dr. Nohr.   Dr. Nohr greeted me, “Hello, Glenn.   Rick, thank you for inviting us to dinner, tonight.   It has been wonderful to meet Glenn’s family and friends.”

“You are most welcome, Dr. Nohr,” Rick replied.

Patty asked, “Are you ready for tomorrow?”

“I guess I am,” I said.

“Irene and I will be playing a double concerto tomorrow, as part of the same program,” Patty said.

“Which one will you be playing?” I asked.

“Bach’s Double Concerto in D minor for two violins,” Irene said.

“We’re really excited to be playing at the music festival with you,” Patty said.

Dr. Nohr said, “I’m glad all three of you were able to participate, as soloists.   Glenn, I have arranged for my dear friend, Dr. Maury Bigelow, to join us after the performance.   He is the Chair of the School of Music at Georgia Tech.   I thought it would be a good time to introduce you to him.”

“Thank you, Dr. Nohr.   I appreciate your help,” I said.

Rick smiled, and said, “What he really means to say, Dr. Nohr, is that he has been worried sick about how he was going to fit in with the music department at Georgia Tech.”

Dr. Nohr smiled at me, and said, “I know how much you wanted to stay with us, but I understand why Rick wants to return to Georgia Tech.”

Rick looked surprised.  “I didn’t know Glenn had shared our reasons for returning to Atlanta.”

Dr. Nohr replied, “Don’t worry, Rick.  Glenn didn’t give away any of your personal secrets.   I counseled with him regarding his academic endeavors, specifically regarding transferring to the School of Music at Georgia Tech.   I have spoken at length with Dr. Bigelow about Glenn.”

This time, I was the one who was surprised.   I looked at Dr. Nohr, and asked, “What does he think about gaining a new student?”

Dr. Nohr responded, “I think you will fit in nicely with Dr. Bigelow’s music program.   I have already laid the groundwork for a smooth transition for you, Glenn.”

Patty said, “I told you Dr. Nohr would take care of everything for you, Glenn.   You worry too much.”

I smiled at her. “You’re right, Patty.   I do worry too much.   Thank you, Dr. Nohr, for looking out for me.   I should have had more faith in you, when you told me that you would make sure I had a good introduction to the music program, here.”

Dr. Nohr smiled.  “That is quite alright, Glenn.  Don’t let us monopolize your time.   The rest of your friends are anxious to speak with you.”   Dr. Nohr nodded his head toward Robbie and Adam, who had come up behind me, and were waiting for an opportunity to talk to us.

We turned, and greeted them.   “How are you two?” I asked.

For an answer, Robbie gave me a bear hug, as did Adam.  Robbie said, “We’re doing well.   We will be seniors this year, but we want to be married as soon as we are both 18.”

Rick laughed, and said, “You can’t wait to get hitched, can you?”

“We plan to get married in January, just like Zach and Todd did.   We both will be 18 by then, and we can cross over the border to get married in Thunder Bay,” Adam said.   “We talked it over with our parents, and they are happy that we want to be married.”

Rick looked at me, and said, “It looks like we will be flying to Thunder Bay, right after New Year’s Day for another wedding.”

Greg and Cory came over to join our little group.   “What is this I hear about weddings?”

Rick made the introductions, “Greg and Cory, this is Robbie and Adam.   They are seniors in high school this year, but plan to get married in January.   They will both be 18, by then.”

Cory smiled, and said, “Congratulations!   We’re engaged to be married, as well.”

This time it was Rick, who said, “Congratulations!  When is the big day?”

Greg said, “We haven’t picked a date yet.   For that matter, we still haven’t decided where to go to school.”

Robbie asked, “Have you considered going to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities?   That is where my brother, Zach, and his husband are going to school.”

“You should consider it,” Adam said.   “You could live with us.  Since Glenn left, we have an open room.”

Robbie was practically bouncing with excitement.  “That would be really cool, if you guys could live with us.”

Greg looked at Robbie, and wondered to himself, “Is this guy for real?”   Out loud he said, “You hardly know us, Robbie.”

Robbie replied, with a grin, “I don’t need to know you, because you’re friends with Rick and Glenn.   I know that they have good friends, so I trust that you will be the best roommates, ever!”

Cory laughed.  “I think we should consider it, Greg.”

Robbie took Cory by the hand, and said, “Come meet all the guys.   They all live with us.   I promise you will love them.”   He led them over to the table where his brother and his husband were sitting.   The rest of us followed them.   Robbie’s enthusiasm for the idea was very evident, as he introduced Cory and Greg.   “Hey Guys!   I found us someone to replace Glenn and Rick, as roommates.  This is Cory and his fiancé, Greg.   They just graduated from high school, and are trying to decide where to go to college.   I think they should come to Minneapolis, and go to the University of Minnesota with you guys.”

Zach smiled at his brother, and said, “Robbie, slow down a bit.   I think Cory and Greg will want some time to figure out what they want to do.   They are very welcome to become our roommates, and I’m sure they will like going to school with us; but they have to decide for themselves what they want to do.”   He paused, and looked at Cory and Greg.  “You will have to forgive my brother.   Robbie tends to get very excited about things.”

“But they have already decided,” Robbie said.   “Haven’t you, Cory?”

Cory laughed, and said, “No, but I can see that we need to give it some serious thought.”

Greg said, “I’m game to give it try, Cory.   Maybe we should sit down with these guys, and work out the details.”

“Pull over a couple of chairs, guys,” Todd said.   Once they were seated, Todd introduced the rest of the guys, “Zach and I were married last January, as were Mark and Brandon.   We had a double wedding in Thunder Bay, Ontario.”   He pointed to them, then went on with the introductions, “Justin and Brian were married a few days before us.”

Greg eyes grew large as saucers.  “Do you mean to tell me that you guys are all married?”

“Yes,” Todd answered, with a smile.   “You would be sharing a house with three married couples, and with Robbie and Adam, who are also engaged to be married.”

Cory turned to Greg.  “Greg, I think we should move to Minneapolis.   Where else will we find a situation, where we’re welcome, and won’t have to worry about showing our affection for each other?”

Greg nodded, and said, “I agree.   It sounds almost too good to be true.”

Brandon spoke up, “How are you paying for school?”

At the mention of money, the guys’ faces fell.   Greg answered, “We don’t have any money, at all.   We will have to find jobs wherever we go, because we don’t have scholarships.”

Cory said, “But we will make things work, Greg.   I know we will.   My parents are willing to help us, but they don’t have the money to pay for school.”

Hearing this, I turned to Rick who put a finger to my lips.  “I know what you are thinking, and I agree.   Let’s go over and talk to Grandpa.”

We left the guys to talk things over, and walked over to the table where my grandparents were sitting with Mom and Dad.   I greeted all of them with a hug and kiss.   “I am so glad you came tonight,” I said.

Grandma smiled.  “We wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

“When Rick told us we were coming to McKinnon’s, I made sure we could be here.   This has been one of my favorite restaurants for years,” Grandpa said.   He stopped, and looked at us for a moment.   “What’s on your mind, Glenn?   I know that look.”

I looked at Grandpa in surprise.  “Am I really that easy to read?”

“Yes, you are, Glenn.   Please take my advice, and never play poker.   You would lose your shirt,” Grandpa said, laughing.

I nodded my head.  “I will remember that, Grandpa.   I do have something I wanted to ask you.”

Grandpa nodded his head.  “Go ahead.”

I pointed across the room, to where our friends were sitting, and said, “Our friends, Greg and Cory, are trying to find a place to go to college, but don’t have the means to pay for it.   They are willing to work to save money for it, but I was wondering if there is some way we could help them?”

Grandpa nodded his head.  “I am sure there is.   Bring them over, so we can meet them.”

I turned, and went over to the guys, and said, “I’m sorry for interrupting you guys, but I want you to meet my parents and grandparents.”

Greg and Cory stood up, and joined me, as I returned to where I left Rick standing.   I said, “Greg and Cory, this is my Grandpa and Grandma Scarborough, and this is my Mom and Dad.”

Grandpa said, “Nice to meet you two.   Please have a seat.   Glenn tells me that you two are planning to attend college.   I would like to know more about you.”

Cory looked at Greg, who nodded his agreement.   They sat down at the table, while Rick and I grabbed two extra chairs, so we could join them.   Greg asked, “Where do you want us to start?”

Rick interrupted, “Let me give Grandpa a brief history, then you can fill in the details.”

Cory smiled, and said, “Thank you, Rick.   I really don’t want to talk about what happened to bring us to this point.   It is still pretty painful to me, and I know that Greg feels the same way.”

Rick quickly related what had happened to the two of them, and why they were looking to move to a gay friendly place.   When he had finished, he looked over at Greg and Cory, and saw they had tears in their eyes.  

“Rick was there for us the entire time,” Greg said.

“But it was Glenn that had the biggest impact on them,” Rick said.

Greg smiled at the memories he had of Glenn.  “Yes, Glenn had a huge impact on us.   He wasn’t with us very long, but Glenn helped me to decide life was worth living.   I was in a pretty bad way, and was contemplating suicide, when Glenn came to stay with Rick over spring break.”

Mom said, “I’m glad that Glenn was able to help you, Greg.”

Cory said, “I’m glad Glenn came, as well.   He is a fine son, and you should be proud of him.”

Dad smiled, and said, “We’re very proud of him, Cory.   I can see that, as usual, Rick and Glenn have chosen good friends.”

Grandma said, “Yes, Rick and Glenn are very good at finding quality people.   Their friends are people you can rely on to be there, when they are needed.”

“Let’s talk about your plans for college, and how you plan to finance it,” Grandpa said.

Cory said, “My parents will help us, but they don’t have the funds to pay for our college education.”

“My Mom doesn’t have the money, either.   She has a part time job, right now, and is looking for better employment.   My parents’ divorce isn’t final yet, but Dad won’t be able to pay her much alimony, since he’s in jail,” Greg said.

Grandpa said, “Let me check into a few things, and I will get back with you two.   How long are you staying in Atlanta?”

Greg said, “That depends on how long Rick and Glenn can stand to have us around.   We planned to be here for little over a week; then we planned to drive north to Virginia, to see Cory’s parents.”

Grandpa looked at me and Rick.  “Why don’t you bring them up to the house for a few days, then you can all go to the beach afterward?”

“That sounds like a plan,” I said.

“Good!   We will be expecting to see you in a couple of days, then,” Grandpa said, with a smile.

Rick looked at Greg and Cory.  “Are you guys cool with that?”

Greg nodded his head, and smiled, “Yeah, we’re good.”

Just then, Greg’s cell phone rang.   He asked, “If you will excuse me?”

Grandpa said, “Of course.”

Greg pulled his cell out of his pocket, and answered it.   “Hello,” he said.

“Hey Greg, this is Michael.   I just got into town, and wanted to meet up with you guys,” Michael said.

“We’re at McKinnon’s, near Buckhead,” Greg responded.   Greg covered the phone, and turned to me and Rick, “Is it okay if I invite Michael over to your place?”

Rick smiled, and said, “Of course, it’s okay.   Let me talk to him for a minute.”

Greg handed Rick his cell phone.   Rick said, “Hello, Michael.   Where are you right now?”

“I’m at my parents’ house,” Michael said, and gave their address.

“Why don’t you stay overnight with us?” Rick asked.   “I know the guys would love to see you.”

“I would like that very much,” Michael said.

Rick gave Michael our address and driving directions.   He ended the call, and handed the cell phone back to Greg.   “Michael will meet us at our condo in about an hour, or so,” Rick said.

Greg grinned, “Thanks for inviting him over, Rick.   I felt funny inviting him over to your house, without asking you, first.”

“Not a problem,” Rick said.

Mom asked, “Have you been practicing, Glenn?”

Before I could answer, Rick said, “Yes, Mom, Glenn has been practicing so much he is driving me totally crazy!”

I laughed, and said, “Rick is correct.   I have been going over and over the concerto, until I think I will never be able to forget it.”

Mom smiled, “Good.   That means you will do just fine, tomorrow.”

Dad asked, “What do you plan to major in, since Georgia Tech doesn’t offer a bachelor’s degree in music?”

I looked at Rick, before answering.   We had argued about this very topic, for quite a while.   I finally responded, “I think I will major in Spanish, with a minor in music performance.”

Dad looked at me in shock.  “What exactly do you plan to do with a Spanish major?”

“I have thought of becoming an interpreter.   I certainly don’t want to teach Spanish in the public schools.   Teachers don’t make very much money, and I am not into babysitting a classroom full of students, who are taking Spanish just to fill a graduation requirement,” I said.

“Then, why are you majoring in Spanish?” Dad asked, earnestly.

I started to get defensive, as I replied, “I think it will be useful, because there are so many Spanish speakers, here,” I said.

Mom said, “Do you intend to stay here, Glenn?   We had hoped you would return home, after graduation.”

I looked at Rick, who didn’t offer me any help.   “Rick has four more years, before he can get out of the Marine Corps,” I said.

“Do you plan to move home, to Canada, after that?   If so, it would make more sense for you to major in French,” Dad said.

Rick, finally, came to my rescue, “Dad, we haven’t made any formal plans, yet.   We want to wait and see what opportunities present themselves.”

Dad looked Rick in the eye, and said, “Don’t play games with me, son.   If you don’t plan to move to Canada, please say so, now; so we don’t get our hopes up.   Your mother and I will be disappointed, but at least we will know what to expect.”

I was surprised at Dad’s attitude toward Rick.   It was almost like he viewed Rick as an adversary.   Rick looked at me, then back to my parents.  “Honestly, we don’t know where we will be in four years.”

Mom put her hand on Dad’s arm, and said, “It’s okay, Don.   Let the boys alone, for now.   When they are ready to tell us their plans, we will be here to listen to them.”

Grandpa said, “Whatever your plans are, we will be here to love and support you in your decisions.”

Not wanting to cause a fight between my Dad and my grandparents over whether or not we should move home, I quickly changed the subject, “Where are you staying?”

Mom said, “We are in the Marriott Marquis, as is the rest of the family.”

Grandma said, “It is a very nice hotel.”

Rick nodded his agreement.  “It is very nice.   Glenn, we need to be going, or we will miss Michael.   We will see everyone tomorrow night at the Woodruff Arts Center.”

Woodruff Arts Center

We made our way around to all the tables, to talk with everyone, before we paid our bill and left for home.   Kerry climbed into the backseat, and gave a sigh, “I’m so tired Glenn.”

“Are you going to be alright?” I asked, worriedly.

“I’ll be fine.   I’m just tired, that’s all,” Kerry replied, with a wan smile.

Keith got in beside her, and took her hand in his.  “Hang in there, sweetheart.   We will be home in a jiffy.”

Rick drove us home.   Greg and Cory followed us in their car.   We parked, and Keith helped Kerry out of the car.   Keith said, “I’ll put Kerry to bed, then I’ll come upstairs for a few minutes.”

They got off on their floor, and we continued to ours.   Rick opened the door, and said to Greg and Cory, “Welcome to our humble abode.”

Greg and Cory entered the foyer, and put down their things.   “Let me take you on a tour,” I said.   I showed them around our cozy place, and pointed out all of the major items of interest (e.g., Shawn’s oil paintings).

Rick, meanwhile, took their things, and put them in the spare bedroom.   We soon heard a knock on the door.   Rick opened it, to admit Keith.   He was just about to close it, when Michael got off the elevator.   Rick grinned, and said, “Michael, it is so good to see you.”   Rick hugged Michael, then took him by the hand, leading him inside.   They entered the family room, where we had congregated.   “Michael, this is Glenn’s cousin, Keith.”

Keith stood up, and shook Michael’s hand.   “It’s nice to meet you, Michael.”

Michael stared at Keith for a moment, before he replied, “You look so much like Glenn, you could be twins.”

Keith laughed, and said, “We do look a lot alike.   In fact, we like to play tricks on my wife.   She can’t tell us apart, if we wear sun glasses to hide the color of our eyes.”

Michael looked closely at us, and said, “Okay, I can see the difference, now.”

I laughed.  “Kerry does now, as well.   I have learned to mimic Keith’s voice almost exactly, so she has to get me to look at her, so she can see what color my eyes are, to see who I am.”

Rick laughed, and said, “I have never been fooled by them; because Glenn can’t help drooling all over himself, when he sees me.”

“I do NOT drool all over myself,” I protested.   “Well, most of the time I don’t.”

The guys laughed at me, and Rick said, “At least you admit you drool, sometimes.”   Rick put his arm around me.  He leaned over, and kissed me on the lips.

Greg said, “I am glad to see that Rick still loves you Glenn.”

“I am, too!” I exclaimed.

Cory laughed.  “I had forgotten how cute you are, Glenn.”

I blushed at Cory’s compliment.   I looked over at the younger guy, and smiled, “I’m glad you and Greg came to visit us.   It makes me very happy to see you two together.”

Greg said, “We couldn’t wait to come.   Cory flew down to Texas to be with me, right after high school graduation.”

“How did your Mom’s family handle seeing you with your boyfriend?” Rick asked.

“They practically came unglued,” Greg said.   “My grandparents remind me of my father.   All they could say was that they would warn all the neighbors to watch their children, so we wouldn’t molest them.   It made me so angry.”

“I thought you didn’t have anything to do with them?” I asked.

“I don’t but my Mom convinced me to at least try one more time to reach them,” Greg said.   “They are so brainwashed by their religion that they can’t see how hypocritical they are, when they profess to believe in the teachings of Jesus; but, at the same time, disown their family, and treat people so poorly.   How can that be ‘Christian’ behavior?”

I said, “You’re right, Greg.   Very few Christians actually practice what they preach.   They pick and choose which doctrines they will claim as their own, and they deny the fact that we are all brothers and sisters.   That would mean they would have to admit that they failed to obey a basic tenant of Christian belief – ‘Love One Another as I Have Loved You.’   They can’t fathom loving everyone, and treating everyone with dignity and respect, at a minimum, if not outright love.   Some churches even say it’s okay to be gay, as long as you don’t practice it; but they flag you as being gay in their records, so you won’t be allowed to get near their precious children, since they believe all gays are predators and child molesters.   They have even greater fears that we might recruit one their little darlings, and turn them gay.   You might as well wear a scarlet letter around your neck, and parade around for entire the congregation to see.   It’s like they are saying to themselves, ‘Don’t let them near us, or they might contaminate us.’   I have yet to meet an honest adherent of a Christian church, who has accepted me for who I am, and hasn’t tried to shy away from me, or warn others to be careful around me.”

Rick said, “But your parents haven’t disowned you, Glenn, and they are God-fearing people.”

“No, they disowned my brother, Randy, first.   I love them very much, Rick, but I haven’t been blind to their hope that, someday, Randy and I will outgrow our infatuation with men, and turn out to be ‘normal’ guys, who will get married to a woman, and have little grandchildren for them to spoil.   Dad tries really hard to hide his disappointment, Rick, but his religious beliefs haven’t changed,” I said.

Rick looked at me in shock.   It was like I had thrown a grenade in to the middle of the room.   He couldn’t believe what I had said about my parents.   Rick said, “Glenn, I think your parents have been very accepting of us, as well as Randy and Shawn.”

“They have accepted us, to a point.   You haven’t been present for Dad’s lectures about our responsibility to have children, and build up the next generation; or his comments that I haven’t fulfilled my duty as a male member of the family,” I said.

 Rick’s disbelief was reflected in his voice, as he said, “You have never told me about this.”

“No, I haven’t told you before now; because I didn’t want to upset you, while you were on active duty,” I said.   “That, in part, is why Dad wasn’t happy tonight to hear that I wasn’t moving home after graduation.   He still holds out hope that we will eventually break up, Rick.”

“But they have told me that they will love me, even if we break up.   Dad was very emphatic about it.” Rick said.

“Exactly!   That is their point, Rick.   They love you as one of their own, and they want what is best for you.   However, in their eyes, getting married to a woman, and having a family, is the best thing for both of us.   Dad has been very candid about how he feels.   Mom, on the other hand, wants us to be happy together, if that is what we determine makes us happy.   Most of all, Rick, you need to understand that their love for you won’t change, if we aren’t together,” I said, looking Rick in the eyes.   I could tell he was still reeling from the revelation that my father had tried to convince me to leave him.

Michael could see how much Rick was upset by what I had just told him.   He said, “I know how parents can be.   Mine still hold out hope that I will find a nice young lady, and settle down with her.”

Greg said, “I know my sister hates me, because I am gay.   She blames me for what my father did.   She has told me, in no uncertain terms, that she hates me.   She feels like I took her father away from her, and put him in jail.   She has been very hateful.   She won’t even speak to Mom, because Mom has taken my side and defended me.”

Rick asked, “What is Joey doing now?”

“He has moved in with Tyler.   They have a nice little apartment near George Mason University.   Tyler hasn’t come out to his parents, yet,” Greg said.

“I thought Joey was worried about losing custody of his children, if Kathy found out he was gay,” I said.

“He is; but, he decided to move in with Tyler, when Mom and I moved to Texas,” Greg said.

Cory said, “Joey came over to visit me, just before I left Quantico to join Greg in Texas.   He was pretty optimistic that he would get joint custody of the children.   His lawyers are doing a good job representing him.”

Rick asked, “Do you and your parents still go to that church in Fredericksburg?”

“No, we found that the congregation wasn’t as open to having gays be a part of their congregation.   They fired their pastor, and hired a new guy, who is very homophobic and teaches extreme doctrines,” Cory said.   “My parents have given up on finding a church they can attend.   Most of them we have visited have been so anti-gay, that we haven’t even made it through the first few minutes of an interview with their ministers; because Mom and Dad made it very clear that I was gay, and that they couldn’t attend a church that couldn’t welcome me into their congregation.”

Greg put his arm around Cory’s shoulders.  “At least your parents were there to support you.   Mom has tried to be supportive, but I don’t believe there is a single Christian church in the entire state of Texas that would welcome gays.   I know I may be exaggerating a bit; but, there didn’t seem to be any near us.   In fact, there were several ministers that were lobbying the legislature to pass anti-gay laws, such as executing gays, or forcing us to register as deviants, to be tracked, just like sex offenders.”

“That sounds like what the Nazis did during World War II,” I said.   “Didn’t they force all gays and Jews to wear special badges for a while, then, they finally rounded them up and shipped them to extermination camps?”

Rick nodded, “Yes that is what they did.   It is pretty scary to hear the same thing being proposed by supposedly righteous and pious people, who condemned Nazi practices as being wicked, and against God’s laws.   I guess that it’s okay to do evil and vile things to people, if you can justify it as being God’s will, or at least that is what these ministers are purporting to be God’s will.”

I said, “There is so much evil committed in the name of religion.   Religionists are attacking us as infringing on their religious freedoms, by demanding that we be treated with dignity and respect!   My question back to them is:  since when do their religious views get to take away my rights as a human being?   Where is it written, that because I am gay, they can deny me the right to be married, to have a family, to adopt children, to have the same benefits as straight people?   How can they claim to believe in a God who created all of us; and, yet they denigrate and demoralize those who don’t agree with their religious views?”

Rick put his arm around my waist, “It’s okay, Glenn.”

I looked at Rick for a moment.  “I’m sorry.   I get carried away, sometimes, when it comes to the injustices being imposed on gays, by those who pretend to be religious leaders.”

Michael said, “Maybe it is better not to be beholden to a particular religion.”

Greg nodded. “After my experience with my Dad and his church, I don’t want anything to do with any of the churches.   It is because of a ‘Christian’ pastor and congregation, that my father assaulted me.   Yes, my Dad is responsible for his own actions; but, I put the blame for demented behavior squarely on the shoulders of the crazed pastor, who kept preaching hatred and violence from his pulpit.”

Cory nodded his agreement, “I share Greg’s sentiments.”

We continued to talk with the guys until late.   When we finally went to bed, Rick pulled me close, and whispered, “Thank you for not listening to your father.   I would have been totally devastated if you had left me.”

I looked into his eyes and said, “I love you, Rick.   I will never abandon you.   You are an important part of my life, and I can’t let you go.”   I moved closer to him, and kissed him tenderly.   Of course, kissing Rick in bed, always leads to our favorite activity!

The next day went quickly for me.   When evening finally arrived, I was so hyped up, that Rick took me into our room, and stripped me down.   He picked me up and put me on the bed.   He put my legs over his shoulders, and positioned himself to make me his.   I moaned in pure pleasure, as his lips met mine.

Afterward, we lay with our limbs intertwined, as we enjoyed the afterglow of making love.   I looked at Rick, and said, “Thank you, Babe.   I needed that.”

Rick laughed.  “I know you did, sweetheart.   Now, we need to get a shower, and get ready for the concert.”

Rick stood up, then helped me up.   We quickly showered and dressed.   We left our room, and found Greg, Cory and Michael in the front room.   They grinned at us, as we entered.   Greg said, “I am glad to see that the lover boys have enjoyed themselves.”

I grinned, in response to his comment.  “We did, thank you very much.   Rick always knows what to do to calm me down.”

Rick pulled me close, and stole another kiss.   “I love you, Babe.”

Michael smiled at our show of affection.   “Are we ready?”

“Yes, we are ready,” Rick said.

We stopped on the floor below us, to pick up Keith and Kerry.   I said, “Kerry, you look wonderful!”

Kerry beamed at me.   “Thank you, Glenn.   I don’t feel it, but thank you.”

Keith put his hand on her belly.  “This little guy is trying to get out, and is causing Kerry some discomfort.”

Rick asked, “Are you going to be okay, Kerry?”

“Yes.   I will be fine,” Kerry replied.   “I am ready to go.”

We made our way to our cars, and drove to the Woodruff Arts Center.   Once inside the building, Rick kissed me, and I made my way back stage.   I had rehearsed with the orchestra earlier in the day, so I felt comfortable that things were going to be okay.   However, I still felt nervous.   The moment arrived, I accompanied Dr. Nohr onstage.   The audience applauded and we both took a bow.   We took our places, and I watched Dr. Nohr as we began the concerto.   Once the first note was struck, I relaxed, and let the music flow through me.   At the end, the audience gave us a standing ovation.   After the third curtain call, we played an encore for the audience.

I found my way into the audience, where Rick had saved me a seat for Patty and Irene’s performance.   Afterward, we joined our family and friends on the main floor.   Mom and Dad found us, first.  

Mom said, “It was wonderful.”   She hugged me, and gave me a kiss.

Dad smiled, and pulled me into an embrace, “You made me proud, son.”

Grandma and Grandpa came up behind us, and Grandpa hugged me, “A very fine performance, Glenn.   I love that concerto, and you played it, perfectly.”

That was high praise coming from my Grandpa!   Grandma congratulated me, as well.   “Well, done, Glenn.”

Dr. Nohr found us, and turned to introduce his friend, “Glenn, this is Dr. Bigelow.   He is the music chair at Georgia Tech.”

I took Dr. Bigelow’s hand, as I looked him over.   He was my same height with blue eyes, dark brown hair, and a goatee.   He wore wire-rimmed glasses that made his eyes seem ten times their normal size.   He was thin and wiry.   His hand felt very fragile in mine.

“It’s nice to meet you.   I hear you are planning to attend Georgia Tech,” Dr. Bigelow said.

“That is correct.   I attended Georgia Tech during my freshman year, then transferred to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities last year.   Now, I am returning to finish my degree, here,” I said.

“Good!   I am glad to see such a talented musician join our ranks.   I would love to sit down with you, to find out what your plans are for the future,” Dr. Bigelow said.   He pulled out his card, and handed it to me.   “Please call me, and we can set up an appointment to get together.”

“Thank you, Dr. Bigelow.   I will call you early next week,” I said.   Rick took my hand in his.   I looked at Rick, in surprise.   I had purposely not taken his hand, when we came out of the auditorium, even though I wanted to, very much.   I was having a difficult time remembering to be careful not to show Rick too much affection in public.   Rick eyes met mine, and he smiled, “It’s okay, Babe.”  

I watched as Dr. Bigelow’s eyes grew wide with surprise, then he smiled, “Who is your handsome escort for this evening?” he asked.

“This is my life partner, Rick Lernier,” I said.

Rick shook Dr. Bigelow’s hand.   “I am very happy to meet you.   Do you also attend Georgia Tech?”

Rick answered, “Yes, I am majoring in engineering.”

“I am glad to hear it.   We have a great engineering program, here,” he replied.  Next, Dr. Bigelow turned toward my parents.   “Am I to assume that these are your parents?”

“I’m sorry, I should have introduced you,” I said.   “Yes, this is my Mom and Dad, and these are my grandparents.”

Dr. Bigelow said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.   I think I know your grandfather, Glenn.”

Grandpa smiled, “Yes, we have met before.   I seem to remember that we met at a fundraising event for Georgia Tech’s music program, a few years ago.”

Dr. Bigelow nodded his head.  “Yes that must be where we met.   It is nice to see you again.   I am sorry to have to run, but I have to get home.   Please excuse me.”

We bid him good-bye, and Dr. Nohr smiled, and said, “Be sure to take advantage of his offer to discuss your future at Georgia Tech.”

“I will do just that, Dr. Nohr.   Thank you for introducing him to me,” I said.

“You are most welcome,” Dr. Nohr said.   “And, if you ever decide to come back to Minneapolis, you are always welcome at the university.”   He turned to my parents and grandparents, “You have a very wonderful boy.   You are to be congratulated on his accomplishments.”

Mom beamed at him, and my Dad looked so proud I thought he would pop his buttons.   Dad said, “Thank you, sir.   I have no doubt that you had a hand in helping him become the fine musician he is today.”

Dr. Nohr smiled.  “Only a small part.   Thank you for coming to support him.   I will be in touch.”

Dr. Nohr took his leave of us.   Keith and Kerry joined us.   Kerry looked like she was in severe pain.   Mom took one look at her, and asked, “How far apart are they dear?”

“About every 15 minutes,” Kerry gasped, as the pain subsided.   “They just started, as we started looking for you after the concert, Aunt Eva.”

Mom looked at Keith, and said, “Get her to the hospital, now.   Do you want me to come with you?”

“No, I think we will be able to manage,” Keith said, and he took Kerry’s hand, leading her toward the exit. 

Mom turned to Dad, “Honey, Keith may not want us to be there, but until her parents can arrive on the scene, I want to be there for Kerry.”

Dad nodded, “Okay, let’s go, so we can follow them over to the hospital.”

Rick said, “I hope they make it to the hospital, before she has the baby.”

Mom said, “They will, but they had better not dawdle, or they will have the baby in the car.”   Mom put her arm through Dad’s, and they followed Keith and Kerry toward the parking garage.

Meanwhile, we waited for our friends to gather.   Once we were all together, we decided that we would head over to the Mellow Mushroom for pizza.   We gave everyone directions, then we headed to the parking garage, to retrieve our car.

On the way over, I turned, and asked Rick, “Why did you decide to out yourself to Dr. Bigelow just now?”

Rick gave me a quick glance.  “I did it because he is gay, and I wanted to him to know you are already in a relationship.”

I was completely taken aback by Rick’s statement. “How do you know that?”

“Because he gave me the once over, just like you do, when you meet someone you are very interested in, and who really turns you on,” Rick responded.

“Oh,” I said.   “Am I that obvious about it?”

“Yes, you are, Babe.   Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had a clue that Dr. Bigelow was gay,” Rick said.

“I’m glad you let me introduce you as my life partner,” I said, smiling at him.   “If you weren’t driving, I would kiss you, because I love you so much.”

“You can give me my reward, when we get to the restaurant,” Rick said.   We pulled into the parking lot of the Mellow Mushroom, and Rick found a place to park.

We got out of the car, and I grabbed my normal clothes from the back of the car.   I didn’t want to wear my tuxedo in the restaurant.   I turned around, as Rick came around the back of the car.   He took me in his arms and kissed me.   Again, I was caught completely off guard.   This was a very public place, and here he was kissing me for all to see!   So much for being discreet about being gay!

As Rick released me, two guys shouted obscenities at us.   It was obvious they were what people in Atlanta call “rednecks.”   Rick ignored them, and took me by the hand, leading me into the restaurant.    I left him with the hostess, to be seated, and went into the restroom to change into some regular clothes.   When I came out, I found Rick and the rest of the guys, seated at several tables that had been pulled together to accommodate our large party.    I saw that Rick had ordered a soda for me.   I gave him the thumbs up sign, and smiled at him.   Rick tossed me the keys so I could put my tuxedo in the car.   I had just locked the car when I was punched in the face and in the stomach, doubling me over.  

Prev To be continued . . .

A Note from Russ:

McKinnon’s -

Bach’s Double Concerto for two violins -