Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Our Band of Brothers Chapter Nine - Mame's Visit

Our Band of Brothers Chapter Nine – Mame’s Visit

Brian looked at Mame, hoping he wouldn’t guess his roommates were gay, and said, “Let’s go out.  I know of a nice restaurant I think you’ll enjoy.”

Mame turned away from the mantel and the photographs he had been examining and said, “Okay.”

Justin appeared in the doorway and asked, “Are you going to introduce me, Brian?”

Brian met Justin’s gaze and flinched at the expression on his face.  He hadn’t decided what to do about telling his brother about Justin.  “Yes, Mame, this is Justin.  Justin this is Mame.”

Mame came forward to shake Justin’s outstretched hand.  “It’s nice to meet you, Justin.  I can see from the photos on the mantel you are good friends with Brian.”

Justin smiled, and said, “Yes, we’re best friends.”

Brian gathered his courage, deciding to tell Mame the truth, and turned to his brother.  “Mame, Justin is my husband.”

Mame smiled and said, "Thank you for being honest with me, Brian.  I knew you and Justin were more than just friends.”

Brian met his brother’s gaze and asked, “You’re not mad at me?”

“No, I’m not angry with you.  I’m also married to a man,” Mame said.  “When I saw the photo of you and Justin, I could see there was a special connection between you, like there is between me and Nasir.  We love each other very much.  I am happy you have found Justin.”

Justin smiled at Mame.  He walked over to put his arm around Brian’s waist, pulling him close.  “Thank you for accepting us as a couple.”

Mame said, “You’re welcome.  Brian, I want you to meet my husband, Nasir.  He is outside, waiting in the car.  I wanted to know how you would react to me being married, first.  I didn’t want to subject Nasir to anything ugly.  He is very special to me.”

Brian nodded his head as his brother’s words sunk in.  His brother was gay, too, and was married to a guy!   He said, “I understand completely.  I feel the same way about Justin.  Go and bring Nasir inside.  I want to meet the man who stole my brother’s heart!”

Mame, grinning broadly, quickly covered the distance to the door and stepped outside.  He waved to Nasir to come inside.  Nasir got out of the rental car and approached Mame.  He was a slender man with jet black hair and eyes with a hawk-like nose and a brilliant smile.  His honey colored skin was smooth and supple.  He barely reached Mame’s shoulder in height.  Mame took his hand and led him inside. 

Nasir looked up at his husband.  “Is everything okay?”

Mame said, “Yes.”  He squeezed Nasir’s hand, reassuringly.  “Everything will be alright.”  They entered the house and made their way to the front room, where Brian and Justin were waiting for them.  He said, “Nasir, this is my brother, Brian, and his husband, Justin.”

Nasir’s eyes widened in surprise, then he smiled and said, “It’s nice to meet you.”

Brian came forward and pulled Nasir into his arms.  “I’m glad Mame has found you.”

Nasir was overwhelmed with the joy he felt.  He never dreamed his husband’s family would ever accept him, let alone welcome him with open arms.  Tears began falling down his cheeks, as he returned Brian’s hug.

Brian released Nasir and held him at arm’s length.  “Mame has found quite a handsome young man.”

Nasir blushed and said, “Mame is the handsome one.”

Justin said, “Yes, he is, as is Brian; however, you’re just as handsome.”  He took Brian’s place and wrapped his arms around the smaller man.  “Welcome to our home, Nasir.”

Mame turned to his brother.  “Thank you for welcoming us to your home.  Nasir’s family has disowned him.  He suffers too much because of their rejection of him.”

Brian said, “Let’s go to the family room where we can relax and talk.”  The four men went down the hallway into the family room.  Once they were comfortable, Brian asked, “Does our family know you’re married?”

“No,” Mame said.  “Just as they don’t know you’re married to Justin.”

Brian said, “I’ve kept it a secret from everyone, until now.”

Mame said, “Your secret is safe with us, as ours is with you.  What are you going to do about Darya?  Mom said Dad is out of the hospital, but she is worried about him; so, they may decide you have to come home soon to marry her.”

Brian winced.  “I don’t know what to do about her.  I had hoped you could take my place; but, you’re obviously not going to be able to do that.  Maybe she can marry our brother, Rohit.  He’ll be 21 this year.”

“You don’t think our parents would try to kidnap one of us and force us to marry her?” Mame asked, a worried look on his face.

Brian thought for a moment.  “You know they would, Mame.  However, if they knew we were married to men, they would have us killed.  Then it would fall to Rohit to marry Darya.”

Mame nodded his head.  “That is true.”

Nasir asked, “Would they really do that?  I mean kill you?”

“Yes, they would,” Brian answered his brother-in-law.  “It would be a matter of family honor.”

“Our parents are fanatical when it comes to the family and its reputation,” Mame said.

Justin asked, “So, what are you two going to do?”

Brian said, “We won’t tell them and hope they don’t send anyone to force us to go home.”

Nasir said, “That’s not very comforting.”

“No, it’s not; but, we don’t have any other choice,” Mame said.  “At least, we aren’t dependent on them for money.”

Brian agreed.  “Yes, we are fortunate our parents set up accounts in our own names long ago.  As soon as I turned 21, I had their names removed from my bank accounts, etc., to ensure they couldn’t leave me penniless.”

“I did the same thing,” Mame said.  “I even switched banks and made sure my parents don’t know where I am.  I keep in touch with them via text messages, but nothing more than that.”

“Is that when you reached out to me?” Brian asked.

Mame nodded his head.  “Yes.  I thought you would be more accepting than our parents, and I was right.”  He smiled at his brother.

“How long can you stay with us?” Brian asked.

“Only a few days,” Mame said.  “I have to be back at work on Monday.”

Brian asked, “Where are you staying now?”

“We’re in a hotel not far from here,” Mame said.

“Then, check out and come stay with us, until you have to return to Chicago,” Brian said.

Justin echoed that invitation, “Please stay with us.  I’m sure the rest of the guys would agree to it.”

Mame’s eyes shone with unshed tears.  “Thank you, Justin.  I am so happy.”

Nasir said, “We should go get out things before we have to pay for another day at the hotel.”

Mame agreed, “Let’s go, so we can return very quickly.”

The two men practically ran out the door to return to their hotel.  After Mame and Nasir returned with their belongings from the hotel, they spent the rest of the day getting to know each other.

Later, Justin followed Brian into their bedroom, closing the door behind him.  Justin said, “I think we need to have a plan of action, should your family decide to force you to return home.”

Brian sat down on their bed.  He looked up at his husband.  “I agree.  After I finish my doctorate, I think we should move to Toronto.  It would throw my family off the scent and we would be close to our friends.”

“What about your brother?” Justin asked.  “I like him and Nasir, but I wouldn’t trust him not to throw you under the bus, if your parents put pressure on him.”

Brian nodded his head.  “Mame is like that.  He’s always been more interested in satisfying his own needs than looking out for others.  Nasir seems like a pretty stand-up guy, but he’s dominated by Mame.”

“Yes, he is.  I just hope Nasir doesn’t get hurt.  Nasir is clearly in love with Mame; but, I’d wager Mame isn’t in love with Nasir, given what we’ve seen today,” Justin said.

Brian grimaced.  “Mame has always been self-centered, that’s why I’m not sure why he sought me out.  I think he’s been sent here to find out what I’m doing and he’s probably reporting back to my parents.  He thinks they’ll let him alone if he gives them what they want – me.” 

Brian was troubled by Mame’s sudden appearance on his doorstep.  He couldn’t put his finger on it, but something wasn’t right.  Maybe over the coming days Mame would let slip what his true motives were for being here.

*** ***

Mame looked around the room he and Nasir would be using during their stay with his brother and his husband.  Nasir sat down next to him on the king-sized bed and asked, “What are we going to do?”

Mame said, “I don’t know.”

Nasir said, “You promised your parents you would report back on Brian’s activities.”

“I know,” Mame said.  “I think I’m going to tell them he’s working on his doctorate and leave it at that.”

“Why?  You’ve never had feelings of compassion for anyone else in your life, not even for me,” Nasir said.  “Don’t tell me you’re going soft on me!”

Mame said, “Don’t even go there with me, Nasir.  You know I don’t love you and never will.”

“So, why did you marry me?” Nasir asked, already knowing the answer.

“You’re great in bed.  I like fucking you,” Mame said, with a smirk.

“But you could have had that without marrying me,” Nasir said.

“Yes, but I didn’t want to share you with anyone else, so I married you to guarantee I was the only one who got to fuck that sweet ass of yours,” Mame said, leering at his husband.

Nasir leaned in to kiss his husband.  “I’m glad you married me because I love how you make love to me.”

Mame ran his hands over Nasir’s body as he thought about what he was going to report to his parents.  Reaching a decision, he said, “I’m not going to rat out Brian to my parents because I want to ensure I have some leverage against him, when the time comes.  I want the entire family fortune and I want total control of all the businesses my family owns; but I don’t want to marry Darya.  I have to keep Brian around to take care of that problem for me.  Otherwise, I’d let my parents know he’s married to a guy and they would put a contract out on his life.  They’ve done it before.  Dad hired a hit man to take out his older brother when they found him in bed with another guy.  Brian doesn’t know about that.  I overheard Dad talking to the hit man and saw the money Dad paid the guy when he came back to report the job was done.”

“What are you doing to do about your parents?” Nasir asked.

Mame said, “I’ll arrange a little accident to take them both out of the picture.  But, that will have to wait until the time is right.  I want to make sure there’s no way Brian can refuse to divorce his husband and return to India to marry Darya.  I want him to come voluntarily, instead of being kidnapped.  He’s just as stubborn as I am, so if he’s forced, he’ll find a way out of it.  However, if he does it on his own, then I won’t have to worry.”

“What about your little sisters?  Won’t you need to marry them off?” Nasir asked.

“Sure, but I’ll make sure they don’t have any claim on the family businesses, or the family fortune,” Mame said.

“It sounds like you have it all planned out,” Nasir said.

“Of course,” Mame said, smiling.  “I’ve even planned out how to make sure my family accepts you as my spouse, especially after my parents are out of the way.”

Nasir looked at Mame in surprise.  “How’s that going to happen?”

“I’ve been working on my grandmother.  She believes my father has ruined us by selling out to Darya’s father.  I think she’ll back me when the time comes, and I’ve made sure she knows I won’t allow her or anyone in the family dictate to me who I’ll have as my mate,” Mame said, as he pulled Nasir into his arms.

*** ***

I drove myself to work the next morning with trepidation, wondering if I was next on the chopping block.  My interview with my new boss, Rene, had been uneventful, especially compared to Duane and Mason’s!  I still wondered why I hadn’t been fired for being gay, as well.  According to Duane, she had been particularly offensive during his interview with her, making sure he knew of her hatred for gays. 

I left the Land Rover in the underground parking, taking Duane’s usual spot, and took the elevator to the ground floor.  I just had a bad feeling I was going to be the next one fired for being gay, so I expected to be zapped at the security station as I went through the turnstile, wondering if they had revoked my security clearance.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I cleared it.  I walked across the marble foyer and took the elevator to my floor.  As I walked past Rene’s office, she looked up from her desk and waved to me through the open door.  She seemed friendly enough.  Shrugging my shoulders, I made my way to my cubicle and sat down.  I turned on my laptop and stared at the screen as it booted up. 

I was startled out of my reverie by a deep voice behind me.  “Things are much better around here without those faggots.”  I whirled around to face Tom, ready to punch him in the face.  Seeing my angry expression and raised fists, he backed up.  “Whoa there buddy!  I didn’t mean to offend you.”

I reluctantly lowered my firsts and gave Tom a disgusted look.  Tom was a tall, balding man in his late forties.  He is about 6’2 (183 cm.), with a fat round face with light brown eyes set deep in his face, a porcine nose and a crooked smile.  He was a former sergeant in the army, but had let himself go, physically.  Duane had often commented he looked like a pregnant woman with his gut hang over his belt.  He wore jeans and a white golf shirt that fit too snuggly, emphasizing his big belly.

I caught a whiff of alcohol as he leaned closer to me to say, “I got those nasty faggots fired.”

I looked at him in surprise.  “How do you figure that?”

He grinned.  “I told Rene they were fucking homos and she did the rest.”

I said, with heat in my voice, “I’m gay, too.  Are you going to tell Rene so she’ll fire me, since you hate homos?”  He laughed, his belly bouncing up and down in front of my face.  The very sight of him made me sick!  His next words shocked me.  “No, I like you.  You don’t put on airs like they did.  I knew you were a homo from the first moment I laid eyes on you.”  He looked me over from head to toe.  I had to resist the urge to give the jerk a black eye for daring to look at me that way.  He grinned broadly, before continuing, “Duane and Mason pretended to be all macho and manly.  I thought they were my friends.  I thought they were straight, until I saw them kissing in the elevator a few weeks ago.  I can’t stand people who aren’t honest about who they are.  I hate being played for a fool.”

I stood up and stood toe to toe with the creep.  “What you did was wrong, Tom.  They didn’t deserve to be fired for being gay.  Everyone desires to be treated with respect and dignity.”  

He backed away from me, but said, defiantly, “I’m not sorry I got them fired.  They deceived me, Glenn.  They shouldn’t have done that.”

“They didn’t deceive you, Tom.  They just weren’t throwing their sexuality in your face.”  I gave Tom a searching look.  “So, what stopped you from doing the same to me?”

“I like you,” Tom responded.

His admission caught me completely off guard.  How could he be so hateful to Duane and Mason and then expect me to accept the fact he liked me.  I backed away from him.  “How can that be?  I thought you hated all faggots.”

“I do; but, I think you’re cute and funny.  Most of all, you’re honest with people.  You don’t pretend to be anything but who you are.  I’ve known you’re queer since your first day on the job,” Tom said.

I just shook my head.  This jerk was such a mass of contradictions.  How could he hate all gays; but, at the same time, find me cute and funny?  What a messed up guy!  I intentionally turned back to my computer, hoping he’d get the message and move on.

Tom didn’t leave.  Instead, he sat down in the chair next to my desk.  “Aren’t you going to ask me why I think you’re cute?”

I looked over at him and shrugged.  “No, but I’m sure you’re going to tell me, anyway.”  I really didn’t want to know.   This guy was not my type nor did I want anything to do with him because he had gotten my friends fired!

His eyes met mine.  “It’s the way you walk.  It’s so sexy.”

I smirked.  “I thought you hated homosexuals, yet you sit here and talk about how sexy you think I am.  Sounds pretty gay to me.”  As usual, the most homophobic guy in the office turns out to be a closet case – well maybe not so much now, since he is openly flirting with me. 

Instead of responding to my statement, Tom looked at his watch and said, “I’ve got to go.  I’ll catch up with you later.”

He stood up and left my cubicle.   I pulled out my cell and dialed Duane.  He answered, and I said, “You’re not going to believe what just happened.”

*** ***

Fortunately, I didn’t see Tom the rest of the day.  As I drove home, I debated whether I should quit my job or not.  I was still worrying about it when I walked through the door of our condo. 

Rick was in the kitchen and shouted, “I’m in here, babe.”

Seeing me, he pulled me into his arms and kissed me, passionately.  “How was your day?”

“It was a really weird day for me.  You won’t believe what happened,” I said.  I related the events of the day, then asked, “What do you think I should do?”

“I think it’s up to you, babe.  I’m okay if you stay, and I’m okay if you decide to quit and find a new job.  However, it’s always easier to find a new job when you already have one,” he said.

“Yeah, you’re right.  Duane and Mason had another interview today,” I said.  My phone chimed and I pulled it out to see I had a text message from Duane.  I tapped the screen to open it.  “We got the job!”

I pushed the reply button.  “Great!  When do you start?”

The reply came back, “Next week!”

I looked up at Rick and grinned.  “The guys are moving to Seattle.  They start their new jobs next week.”

Rick smiled.  “I’m happy for them.  Invite them over to dinner.  It will be ready by the time they get here.”

I sent the invitation and got the answer back, “We’ll be right there!”

Rick said, “Go change your clothes and get comfortable, while I put the finishing touches on dinner.”

I left the kitchen and did as Rick asked.  I returned to the kitchen to watch Rick put together a green salad.  I love watching my stud in the kitchen, especially when he’s cutting up vegetables.  His tight muscle shirt shows off his chest and abs to perfection as he wields the knife, making quick work of the celery, carrots, and radishes.  Next, he attacked the broccoli and bell peppers.  He looked up from his work and grinned at me. 

“Will you wash the lettuce?” he asked.

“Sure,” I said.  I walked over to the fridge and pulled out the romaine lettuce and the spring greens Rick favors.  I hate spring greens, but tolerate them because Rick loves them so much.  I wash the greens and the lettuce, putting them in the colander to drip dry. 

Rick looked at the greens and laughed.  “You’re not going to complain about the spring greens?”

I grinned up at him.  “Not this time, because you aren’t trying to get me to eat some of those weird types of lettuce you pick up sometimes.”

Rick looked thoughtful for a moment.  “Well, there might be some of that in the bottom of the fridge.”

I punched him in the shoulder and said, “Don’t even go there!  What I’ve put in the colander is good enough.” 

Rick laughed.  “You’re so predictable.”

I said, “But you love me anyway.”

Rick leaned over and kissed me, and said, “Yes, I do, babe.”

He dumped the lettuce and greens into the salad bowl and added the chopped vegetables.  Lastly, he diced a tomato and added it to the bowl.  He looked at me and asked, “Should I add bacon bits and dried cranberries?”

I shook my head.  “No, just put them in a bowl on the table along with some shredded cheese.  That way, we can add them if we want them.  I hate it when they get soggy and that’s what happens when you put them in the salad.”

He nodded his head in agreement.  “Okay.”  He pulled out three small bowls for the three items I had mentioned.  I took the salad and placed it on the table while Rick brought over the bacon bits, dried cranberries and the cheese.

I said, “You didn’t put any olives in the salad.”

Rick stood next to me and said, “I’m sorry.  I forgot.”

I said, “I’ll get them.”  I walked over to the pantry and pulled down a can of black olives from the shelf.  I love olives!  I opened the can and drained off the water.  Rick took the olives from me and added them to the salad.

I grinned at him and said, “Thanks, babe.  I know you’re not overly fond of olives.”

He said, “They’re big enough, I can pick them out.”

There was a knock on the door.  “That will be Duane and Mason.” I said, as I went to let them in.  I opened the door and said, “Come in, guys.”

They both hugged me, but Duane held me a little tighter.  He pulled back and said, “I’m going to miss you, Glenn.”

“I’m going to miss you, too,” I responded, trying not to get emotional.  “Rick has dinner almost ready.”  I turned to follow them into the kitchen.

Rick handed Mason a stack of plates.  “Here, set the table.”

Duane said, “I’ll get the silverware.”

“And I’ll get the glasses,” I said.

In no time, we had the table ready and were sitting down to eat.  Rick had baked some chicken and potatoes to go with the green salad and steamed asparagus.  It was a nice meal and the company was even better.  After dinner, everyone pitched into clean up. 

Later, we adjourned to the family room to talk.  Mason was snuggled up against Duane as I was with Rick.  Mason said, “We’re leaving the day after tomorrow.  The movers come tomorrow to pack everything up.  Would it be okay for us to stay with you tomorrow night?”

Rick said, “Certainly.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Duane smiled.  “We’ve really enjoyed our time here in Atlanta, especially after we met you guys and your friends.”

Mason said, “I’ve loved everything here, except the job.”

Duane said, “That’s not true, babe.  We loved our jobs at first; then we met Tom.  He’s been the bane of our existence for some time now.”

“He’s the reason we started looking for jobs when we did,” Mason said.

“And I’m glad we did!” Duane said.  “Or we would be in a world of hurt right now.”

Mason agreed, “You’re right.”

Rick asked, “So, what will you be doing in your new jobs?”

Mason said, “We’ll be working on security software.”

Duane said, “That’s all we’re allowed to say.”

Mason shrugged.  “Duane is always more cautious than I am; but, he’s right.”

“Do you need us to help you with your place?” I asked.

“No,” Duane said.  “We’ve got a realtor lined up to sell the place and we’ll be moved out the day after tomorrow.  We plan on driving straight through, though.”

Mason said, “We’ll take turns sleeping, the other one drives.”

I gave them a worried look.  “Shouldn’t you stop and get some proper rest?”

“Well, we could make a stop about half way,” Duane conceded.

“But we want to get there with enough time to find us a new place,” Mason said.

“We don’t want to pay to store our stuff, if we can help it,” Duane said.

Mason said, “Our realtor recommended we check out West Seattle.  He said he had gay friends who lived there and they really like it.  He gave us their phone number.”

“What time are the movers coming tomorrow?” I asked.

“They’ll be here at 8 AM,” Duane said.  “We’re paying a little extra, since we’re having to move so quickly.”

“I can’t believe you’re leaving so soon,” I said.

“Well, it couldn’t be helped since we were fired yesterday,” Duane said.

Mason said, “Juan called us today.  He managed to get a new job with a law firm in New York.”

“I didn’t know he was a lawyer,” I said in surprise. 

Duane said, “We didn’t either.  His partner, Richard is a lawyer, also.  Apparently, Richard’s family has connections with the law firm they’re joining.”

“It must be nice to have such good connections,” Rick said.

“Yes, it does,” Duane agreed. 

We spent the rest of the evening with our friends.  After they left us, Rick pulled me into our bedroom and said, “It’s time to put you to bed.”

I nodded my head.  “I’m so emotionally drained, Rick.”

Rick gave me a lecherous grin.  “I think I have the perfect solution to restoring you to perfect health.”

A thrill of anticipation went down my spine, as he slowly undressed me.  His kisses burned my skin and set my blood on fire!  By the time he lifted off my feet and carried me to our bed, I was more than ready for him to make me his.

*** ***

Author’s Note:

Music for this chapter:

The Tenors – Under One Sky -

The Tenors – A New Day’s Begun -

The Tenors – Lead With Your Heart -


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Our Band of Brothers Chapter Eight - Brian's Folly

Our Band of Brothers Chapter Eight – Brian’s Folly

After the guys left, Rick looked at me and asked, “Do you want to go out for breakfast?”

I nodded my head.  “Yeah, I love going to IHOP (International House of Pancakes)!”

Rick laughed.  “You know you’re going to get fat, if you keep eating all that fried food.”

I protested, “No, I won’t because you won’t let me!”

“Damn right, I won’t!” Rick said, grinning at me.  “There’s no way I’ll be saddled with some fat old man, with his gut hanging over his belt and man boobs!”

I punched him in the shoulder.  “Just remember that when you start to get a bit of a beer belly.  I’m the one who doesn’t drink, you know!”

Rick lifted his white muscle shirt to show off his flat stomach and six-pack abs.  “Do you see an ounce of fat on this body?”

I ran my hand down his washboard abs and leaned in to kiss him.  “No, I don’t feel any; but, maybe I can pinch an inch.” 

I attempted to do just that, when he grabbed my hands in his.  He laughed.  “Oh no you don’t!”

I gave him my “who me?” look.  “I wasn’t doing anything.”

Still holding my hands in his, he pushed me onto my back, raising my arms over my head, pinning them against the arm of the sofa and positioned himself between my legs.  I stared up into his face, seeing passion blazing in his eyes.  He lowered his head to capture my lips, pushing his tongue deep, claiming me.  I wrapped my legs around him, pulling him closer to me and locking my ankles behind his back.  He ground his solid steel pole against my crotch, sending bolts of electricity coursing throughout my body.  He released my hands and slipped them under my shirt to pinch my nipples, his lips never leaving mine.  I moaned with pleasure and arched into him.

When we came up for air, I grinned up at him.  “I wouldn’t have gotten dressed if I’d known I was going to spend the day on my back.”

Rick gave me a lecherous grin, as he pulled his shirt off.  He reached down to remove mine, taking time to gently bite my bare shoulder.  He whispered into my ear, “You won’t be on your back all day.”

I gave him a look of disbelief.  “Really?”

He laughed and said, “Have you forgotten how much I love fucking you in different positions?”

I shook my head.  “No, I haven’t forgotten.”

“Well, you won’t be on your back, unless you want it that way,” Rick said, taking off his shorts and bikini underwear.  He hooked thumbs inside my shorts and underwear, taking them off of me with one swift motion.  My cock popped free and slapped against my stomach.  “It looks like you need some attention, Babe.”

I grinned at him and said, “Are you offering to take care of me?”

Without another word, he knelt between my legs and took me into his hot mouth.  The sudden warmth of his tongue caressing me nearly sent me over the edge.  He stopped and held still for a moment, allowing me to calm down.  When my breathing returned to normal, he continued his mission to bring me extreme pleasure.  He brought me to the edge again, but this time he lifted my legs over his shoulders and entered me, sending shockwaves of pleasure rocketing through me. 

Covering me with his body, he kissed me and said, “I want you to know you’re all mine.”  He made sweet love to me, leaving me no doubts I belonged to him and only him!

*** ***

 Peyton walked hand in hand with his husband through the amusement park, enjoying his company.  They passed a swarm of high school students making their way deeper into the park, when a group of young guys surrounded them.  Peyton stopped and glanced around him, wondering what was about to go down.  Jonathan squeezed his hand to reassure him.

A tall, skinny youth with dark brown hair and eyes, a wide generous mouth and hawkish nose put his arm around the shorter blond-haired boy next to him, and said to Peyton and Jonathan, “Thank you for being out and proud.”

“You’re welcome,” Peyton said, smiling at them.

Jonathan asked, “Are all of you gay?”

“Yes, we are,” responded the blond.  “We need to see more adults, like you two, showing us it’s okay for us to be open about who we are.”

A third one spoke up, “Are you guys married?”

“Yes, we are,” Peyton replied, turning to meet the honey colored eyes of the lanky youth behind him.  He had smooth, dark brown skin and short, curly black hair.  He smiled, as the group erupted in cheers. 

When they had settled down, the blond guy said, “I’m Jason, and this is my boyfriend, Khareem.  We plan to get married, as soon as we graduate from high school.”

Khareem asked, “Where did you get married?”

“We were married in Canada,” Jonathan said.

“We want to be married in Boston,” Jason said.  “We’re both going to college there.”

“Congratulations!  We wish you the best,” Peyton said, smiling.

Khareem replied, “Thanks.  We’ll see you guys around.”

With that, they disappeared into the press of people surrounding them.  Jonathan looked at Peyton, and observed, “That was different.”

Peyton replied, “Yes, but it was also kind of cool to have those young guys tell us they liked seeing us hold hands.  Usually, it’s some bigot yelling obscenities at us, because they’re offended to see us show our love for each other.”

Jonathan said, “You’re right about that.”  He paused to consult a map of the park, then suggested, “Let’s head over to this big roller coaster.”  He pointed to it on the map.

Peyton grinned.  “Let’s get on every one of the big coasters.”

Jonathan laughed, and said, “Then let’s get moving.”  The two young men disappeared into the crowd, making their way to their chosen roller coaster.

Peyton was still thinking about their encounter with the group of teens, when the same group of guys joined them in line.

Khareem saw Peyton’s look and laughed.  “I promise we’re not stalking you guys.”

Jason added, “Our goal is to ride every one of the roller coasters in every amusement park around here.”

“How long are you guys here for?” Jonathan asked.

Jason replied, “We’re here for a week for spring break.”

Khareem said, “We’re from Long Island and it’s one hell of a long bus ride to get here.”

Peyton asked, “Who are the rest of your friends?”

Khareem smiled, and responded, “I’m sorry.  I should have introduced everyone last time we met.”  He pointed to each guy as he presented him to Peyton and Jonathan.  “This is Will.  He’s the one who asked if you were married.  Next to him is Sam.  He’s on our basketball team.”

Sam said, “Nice to meet you.”

Peyton nodded his head.  “Same here.  I’m Peyton and this is my husband, Jonathan.”

Khareem pointed to the next two guys.  “Tom and Jimmy are on the wrestling team.”

The two teens in question smiled and said, in unison, “Nice to know you.”

Khareem said, “They’re identical twins.”

Jonathan laughed, “I hadn’t noticed.”

Tom said, “We intentionally dress alike to keep people guessing which of us is Tom and who is Jimmy.”  They had blond hair, blue eyes, aristocratic noses and square chins.  When they smiled, they showed their perfectly white teeth and dimples in both cheeks.  Peyton could see the muscles rippling under their tight muscle shirts.  As he looked them over, Peyton’s mouth started to water.  The twins grinned at him, obviously enjoying his attention.  They both adjusted their equipment at the same time, causing Peyton’s eyes to focus on their cocks outlined against the fabric of their board shorts.  Peyton knew they weren’t wearing any underwear.

Peyton managed to pull his gaze away and said, “We have a couple of friends that look a lot alike, but they aren’t identical like you two.”

The guys chatted, while they waited to board the roller coaster.  Khareem asked, “Do you mind if we hang out with you guys?”

Jonathan looked at Peyton, who shrugged.  “No, we don’t mind.”

Peyton said, “It’s nice to have such good looking guys around.”  He smiled and winked at the twins.

Jimmy laughed.  “You two are just as good looking as we are.”

The group of guys headed for the next roller coaster.  Peyton and Jonathan enjoyed the company of the younger guys, listening to them talk trash among themselves.

*** ***

Sra. Nájera looked across the table at Joey and Tyler.  “Qué ocurrió entre Glenn y Rick?”  (What happened between Glenn and Rick?)

Tyler responded, also in Spanish, “They had a fight about Rick’s decision to stay in the military.”

She nodded her head.  “I remember now.  Glenn said he wanted to be married, but Rick would have to leave the military first.  No wonder Glenn wasn’t happy.”

Joey said, “I’m afraid they will break up over this, if Rick doesn’t do something to repair their relationship.”

Sr. Nájera said, “I think Rick will do the right thing.  He’s a good guy and he loves Glenn very much.”

Sra. Nájera patted his arm, and said, “Yes, but sometimes men can be very stubborn about things.”

He laughed and asked, “And women aren’t just as stubborn?”

Sra. Nájera smiled and replied, “No, but we’re always right, so being stubborn about things is okay.”

Louise said, “So true.”

Hank said, “I’m not touching that one.”  He looked across the table at his son and his husband.  “Have you heard from Rick?”

Joey said, “No, but I’ll send him a text message.”  He pulled out his phone and sent a quick message.  “How are you?  We hope to see you before we leave for Spain.”

He was surprised when Rick responded, “I’m next door with Glenn.  Why don’t you come over?”

Joey smiled and looked up from his phone.  “Rick’s next door with Glenn.”

Hank said, “Well, invite them over for lunch.”

Sra. Nájera added, “My signature paella is nearly ready to eat.”

Joey texted back, “Come over for Sra. Nájera’s paella for lunch.”

Soon there was a knock on the door, and Joey stood up to answer it.  He returned with me and Rick.  Sra. Nájera held out her arms, and said, “Mi hijo, I’m so glad you decided to come.”

Rick walked over to give Sra. Nájera a hug and a kiss on each cheek.  “I’m glad to be here.”

She looked over at me and said, “I know someone else is happy you’re here.”

I laughed, and said, “Yes, I’m very happy.”

Sr. Nájera said, “Glenn was very sad without you, Rick.”

Joey said, “It looks like you guys have patched things up between the two of you.”  He gave me a very meaningful look, causing me to blush.

“Yes, we did,” I said.

Rick laughed.  “I made sure Glenn knows I love him very much.”

Tyler said, “It’s readily apparent you’re well loved, Glenn.”  I brought my hand up to my neck where Rick had marked me.  “Don’t try to hide it, Glenn.  There’s not only the fact he marked you, but you both have that special glow about you.”

Rick put his arm around my shoulders, and said, “Yes, we’ve kissed and made up.”  I blushed a deeper red, as Rick leaned down and kissed me.

Joey laughed.  “You’re so cute when you blush.”

Louise scowled at her sons and said, “Boys, stop teasing Glenn.”

Joey looked over at his mother-in-law and gave her a mischievous grin.  “Why?  It’s so much fun.”

Hank said, “Don’t pay Joey any mind.  We’re all very happy you guys are back together.  We think a lot of each of you and hated to see you hurt each other.”  He paused and pointed at the chairs in the dining room.  “Pull in a couple of chairs from the dining room and join us.”  Rick turned, grabbed two chairs, as instructed, and placed them next to Hank.  We sat down, and Hank continued, “So, what are your plans for the rest of the day?”

 I looked at Rick and he said, “We planned to spend the day alone.  We need some time to talk thing out between us.”

Joey snorted.  “Talk things out!”

Rick laughed.  “Okay, we haven’t done much talking so far today, but we’ll get around to it this afternoon.”

“Rick wanted some paella, first,” I said, grinning at Sra. Nájera.

“Of course, everyone wants to eat my paella,” she said, smiling at us.  She stood up and made her way into the kitchen.  The delicious smell of the paella had my mouth watering for such a special treat!  She returned and said, “It’s ready.  Boys, please return the chairs to the dining room and we’ll eat.”

In no time at all, the table was set, and we were joined by our friends for a truly magnificent meal!  As we finished eating, Rachel said, “Uncle Glenn, you aren’t sad anymore.”

I looked into her eyes and smiled.  “Now Uncle Rick is here, I’m very happy.”  I reached over to take Rick’s hand in mine.

“Uncle Rick loves you just like my dad loves my daddy,” Rachel said.

Rick looked at Joey and Tyler and asked, “Why do you say that?”

Rachel said, with certainty, “Because you give Uncle Glenn kisses just like my dad gives them to daddy.”

Rick said, “Then, I guess I have to admit I love Uncle Glenn a lot.”

She giggled.  “Then why did you get put in time out?  Did you do something bad?”

Rick’s eyes widened in surprise.  “What do you mean, Rachel?  I wasn’t in time out.”

“Uncle Greg said you were when I asked him why you didn’t come with Uncle Glenn,” she said.  “You only get put in time out when you do something you shouldn’t.  That’s what happens to me and Sarah when we don’t listen or do something we shouldn’t.  You must not be in time out anymore since you’re here now.”

The look on Rick’s face was priceless!  I burst out laughing.  I put my arm around Rick’s shoulders.  “You’re right, Rachel.  Uncle Rick’s not in time out, anymore.”

Rick scowled at me.  “I wasn’t in time out.”

“No, but you were in the dog house,” I said.  I leaned over and kissed him lightly on the lips.  “But you’re not anymore.”

Rick said, “Well, I think I like time out better than being in the dog house.”  He turned to look at Rachel.  “I’m just glad to be here with Uncle Glenn.”

Rachel said, “I am, too.  Uncle Glenn was so sad.  I told daddy we should get him his own teddy bear to cheer him up.”

I said, “Thank you for thinking of me, Rachel.  I don’t need a teddy bear, now that Uncle Rick is here.”

Joey grinned and said, “I wonder why that is.”

Louise gave him a stern look and said, “That’s enough, boys.  There are children present.”

Joey looked contrite. “Sorry, Mom.”

We finished our meal and returned to our condo to continue our “discussions.”

Later that evening, we crowded into Tyler and Joey’s condo for the evening meal.  Louise and Sra. Nájera combined their talents to prepare a feast, the likes of which had never before been seen!

I sat on the couch with Rick’s arm around my shoulders.  Duane caught my eye and grinned.  “I’m glad you two patched things up.”

Mason added, “I am, too; but I’m going to miss our late night talks.”

Duane quickly interjected, “I won’t!  You two chatterboxes kept me awake nearly all night.”

Mason laughed.  “We did not!  You zonked out as soon as your head hit the pillow.”

Duane replied, “That only happened after I made sure you knew you belonged to me and no one else.”  He placed his hand on Mason’s thigh.  Mason blushed, putting his hand over Duane’s to prevent him from moving it higher.

Rick said, “I’m happy to know you two haven’t lost that newlywed glow.”

Mason laughed.  “We’ll never lose it because Duane has such a heavy libido.”

Duane readily agreed, “Yes, I admit I can’t keep my hands off of my husband.”

Louise said, “I’m happy to hear it.”  She looked around the room at her sons’ friends.  “I can also see the rest of you are managing to maintain loving relationships with your husbands.  I hope you’ll still have that kind of a relationship when you reach my age.”

Robbie looked at Adam and said, “I know we will.”

“As will we,” Greg said, with absolute certainty.  He leaned over and kissed his husband.

Justin looked at his husband and smiled.  “We’ve been married longer than any of you and we’re definitely madly in love with each other, just like when we were first married.”

Brian leaned over and kissed him.  “I love you, Justin.”

We all looked at Greg and Cory.  Greg looked back at us and asked, “What?”

“Aren’t you going to say something about how much in love you are with your husband?” Robbie asked.

Greg shrugged and said, “Why?  It’s obvious we love each other, so I don’t need to say anything.”

Cory grinned broadly at his husband.  “You’re so goofy!” he said, and punched him in the shoulder.

Greg turned to Cory and kissed him passionately, causing the rest of the guys to wolf whistle.

When they came up for air, Cory had a dazed look in his eyes.  Greg laughed and said, “See what I mean.”

Justin said, “Yes, we see how aroused Cory is.  You should take him next door to take care of him, like a good husband should.”

Greg said, “Thanks for suggesting it.”  He stood up and pulled Cory to his feet.  “We’ll catch you guys later.”

Greg led his husband out of the condo.  Justin laughed, and said, “Sra. Nájera, you don’t have to worry about us.  I’m sure all of us will still be happily married for many years to come.”

 Brian’s cell vibrated and chimed.  He pulled it out of his pocket to read the text message.  “Our father is in the hospital.  He had a heart attack.  Mom says he's going to recover, but we need to be ready to return home at a moment's notice.”

Justin saw the color drain from Brian’s face.  “What’s wrong?”

Brian met Justin’s gaze and replied, “My father is in the hospital.”

Justin looked at Brian in surprise.  “How did they find you?”

Brian winced.  He knew he should have told Justin about reaching out to his family.  He looked away from Justin and said, “I called my brother a couple of months ago to find out how my parents are doing.”

“Why did you do that?  You know how they feel about gays,” Justin said, incredulously.

Brian said, “I ran into a friend of the family about six months ago while we were working on that project in Chicago.  Mr. Kothari works for another company in the building where we were working.  He told me my father had been ill, so I called my brother.”

Justin frowned.  “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“At the time, you weren’t doing well, so I didn’t tell you.  I didn’t want to make you more upset than you already were.  When you were feeling better, I forgot to tell you.  I haven’t talked with Mame (Mah-MAY) since then.  He just sent me a text message that my father is in the hospital.”

Justin said, “I’m sorry your father isn’t doing well; but, I’m still not happy you didn’t tell me you had reached out to your family.”

Hank asked, “Why does it upset you, Justin?”

Justin looked at Hank and replied, “Brian’s family threatened to kill any of their boys who turned gay.  He overheard them plotting to murder his friend who wanted to marry his boyfriend.  He warned Vijay and saved his life.  Vijay and his boyfriend are married now and live in England; but, they live in constant fear of being assassinated by his family.   They are a very wealthy family and have hired assassins to do their dirty work in the past.”

Brian said, “We don’t need to worry, Justin, I haven’t told them where I am,”

Justin scowled at him.  “Brian, you know they can track you down.  Think about it!  We develop software applications for our clients to find people.  Don’t you think others have built computer programs to ferret out every piece of data there is about someone?”

Brian shrugged.  “I doubt they will come after us.”

Justin said, “You don’t know that for sure.  You are the oldest son and you’re the one they still consider to be engaged to Darya Nayar.”

“Yes, I do, because they don’t know I’m married to you,” Brian said.

Louise asked, “Do you ever plan to tell them the truth?”

Brian shook his head.  “No, I don’t.  They would murder both of us.  My parents view being gay as dishonorable and something not to be tolerated.”

“I’m sorry to hear your family won’t accept you for being gay,” Louise said.  “But I can’t imagine a parent putting out a murder contract against their own blood.”

An expression of deep sadness crossed Brian’s handsome face, before he could stop it.  He had promised himself he wouldn’t regret cutting all ties to his parents and family; but, he still felt a deep wound in his heart.  He met Louise’s gaze.

“In my country, marriages are arranged for us.  I was betrothed to Darya when I was six years old.  My parents negotiated for many years to obtain the promised marriage into the wealthiest family in Hyderabad.  The two families have since combined their resources and businesses into a powerful business empire.  My father heads the corporation and Darya’s father is the chairman of the board.  If I don’t return home to marry her, they will send someone to force me to return.  If they don’t succeed, then they will have me killed and my brother will take my place.  My family will not tolerate the dishonor I would bring to them by not marrying her; so, in their eyes, the only alternative is to have me killed.  That way, they would not be dishonored and could offer up, without shame, my younger brother as a husband for her.”

Hank said, “That’s sounds like something out of the dark ages where alliances were cemented by marriage.”

Brian said, “It is how things are.  Some of my friends have been able to choose their own wife; but my parents are very old fashioned and don’t believe in falling in love before you’re married.  I argued with them about it.”

“Did they listen to you?” Greg asked.

“No.  My father told me to grow up and be a real man, instead of disobedient child,” Brian said.  “He suggested I needed to go away to college to learn how to be a man, so I chose to come to the United States.  I’m glad I did, because otherwise, I wouldn’t have found Justin.”  He took Justin’s hand in his.

Justin still looked troubled.  “So how are we going to keep your family from stealing you away from me?”

Brian said, “They won’t find me.”

“How can you be so sure?” Justin replied.  “They know you’re studying for your doctorate at the University.”

Brian said, “That’s true, and as long as they think I’m working on my education, they won’t try to force me to come home.”

“Brian, this doesn’t make sense,” I said.  “You just said they won’t be able to find you; but they know you’re studying in Minneapolis.  You can’t have it both ways.  If they know where you are, then they’ll find you when they want you to come home.”

Justin looked at and nodded his head.  “That’s what I’ve been saying for some time now.”

Brian looked at the floor, his shoulders sagging in defeat.  “I don’t want you to worry, Justin.  I’ve tried to convince myself they won’t come for me, but my brother’s text message means they’ll send for me soon, if my father doesn’t start getting better.”

Justin’s face was flushed with anger.  “I thought we promised not to hide things from each other, Brian.  This situation affects both of us, NOT just you.  I think I need some fresh air.”  He stood and left the condo, slamming the door behind him.

He left a pregnant silence in his absence.  Finally, Brian looked up from studying the carpet, and asked, “What do I do now?”

Sr. Nájera answered, “I think you need to be completely truthful with your husband, Brian.  You’ve deeply wounded Justin and he feels betrayed by you.  You will need to rebuild the trust between you.  How you will do it is up to you.  None of us here know Justin as well as you do, especially where you’re concerned.”

Brian nodded his head and turned to look at Robbie and Adam.  “You guys are close to him.  What do you suggest?”

Robbie grimaced.  “I honestly don’t know, Brian.  But, this much I do know – we’ll be watching him like a hawk to make sure he doesn’t attempt suicide over this.”  There was an undercurrent of anger in his voice.

Brian winced, hearing Robbie’s response.  “I’m aware of Justin’s fragility.  That is one of the reason’s I didn’t tell him everything.”

Adam said, “But you’ve made it worse, now, than if you had told him everything from the beginning.”

Brian put his head in his hands.  He knew he had messed things up pretty badly with his husband.  Cory said, “I think you’d better go find Justin.  You’ve got a lot of talking to do.”

Brian lifted his head from his hands and ran his fingers through his thick, black hair.  He sighed and said, “I suppose you’re right.”  He stood up and followed in his husband’s footsteps.

After he left, Duane said, “I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes right now.”

Mason agreed, “Same here.”

Greg said, “All of us will need to be especially vigilant where Justin is concerned.  I would suggest we set up a schedule of around the clock surveillance.  I don’t want a repeat of Justin’s last suicide attempt.”

Cory agreed, “Nor do I.  I’ll draw up the schedule.  Should we include Jean-Michael?”

Greg nodded his head.  “Yes, I think we should.  I’ll call him to let him know what we’re doing.”  He pulled out his cell phone and dialed Jean-Michael.  Jean-Michael answered the phone and Greg quickly outlined what had happened and the measures they were putting in place to keep Justin safe.

Greg ended the call and gave Cory a thumbs up sign.  “He agreed to help us.”

Cory said, “Good.”

Greg said, “I think we need to get that schedule ready.”  He turned to Louise and Sra. Nájera and said, “Thank you for the wonderful meal.  I loved every bite.”

Sra. Nájera said, “You are most welcome.”

Louise said, “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

The two men left us.  The rest of us spent the evening visiting and catching up on our lives.

*** ***

The day after their return from Orlando, Peyton and Jonathan were cuddling on the couch in the family room, when there was a knock on the door.  Peyton untangled himself from Jonathan and went to answer it.

He opened it to find a tall, olive skinned man standing.  Peyton looked him over and liked what he saw - piercing black eyes, an aristocratic nose, and a bushy black mustache to match his jet black shoulder length hair.  His skin tight jeans showed off muscular legs and his white silk shirt clung to his sculptured chest.  He looked like he was in his early twenties. 

Peyton lifted his eyes to meet the stranger’s, and asked, “Who are you?”

The handsome young man answered, “I’m Mame Sandrithani.  I’m looking for my brother, Brian.  Does he live here?”

“Why are you looking for him?” Peyton asked, suspiciously.

“I just wanted to see him.  We’ve been communicating by phone for a while now and I wanted to see him,” he answered.

“You’re not here to drag him back home are you?” Peyton asked.

Mame looked surprised.  “No I’m not.  What made you think that?  Brian hasn’t finished his doctorate yet.  My parents would be mortified if Brian quit school and returned home without it.”

Peyton asked, “How did you find him?”

Mame grinned.  “Easy.  I used the tracking information his phone sends to the wireless network.  I downloaded the app onto my phone and punched in Brian’s cell phone number.  It showed me where his phone was and it led me here.  So, I know his phone is here, but I don’t know for sure he’s here.  That is why I asked if my brother was home.”

Peyton heard footsteps on the stairs and glanced behind him.  Brian, seeing Peyton at the door, asked, “Who is it?”

Peyton stepped back to allow Brian to see his brother standing on the doorstep.  Brian rushed forward and pulled his brother into his arms.  “Mame, I’m so glad to see you.”

After a few moments, Brian pulled back, releasing his brother.  “Come inside.”

Mame followed Brian into the living room.  Brian said, “Please sit down.  I’m on my way to work, but I’ll take the day off so I can spend some time with you.”

Mame glanced around the room, his eyes coming to rest on a photograph of Justin and Brian.  He pointed to the photo.  “Is that the friend you’ve told me so much about?”

“Yes, that is Justin,” Brian said.  He was glad it wasn’t a photo of them kissing, since he hadn’t told his family he was married to Justin.  He quickly left the room and climbed the stairs.  He entered his bedroom and closed the door behind him. 

Justin looked up in surprise.  “I thought you were headed to the office.”

“I was, but my brother is here,” Brian said.

Justin gasped in shock.  “What are we going to do?”

“I’m taking the day off and taking Mame out to lunch.  Once I find out why he’s here, I’ll send you a text message,” Brian said.

“Okay,” Justin said, still not fully recovered.  He had a sinking feeling things were going to go south very quickly.

Brian walked over to kiss Justin.  “Don’t worry, babe.  I’m sure nothing will go wrong.”  He turned and left Justin staring after him.  Brian returned to the living room to find his brother examining the photographs on the mantel over the fireplace. 

He turned to face Brian and asked, “Who are these other guys?”

Brian swallowed hard before he said, “They are my roommates.”

*** ***

We walked into the office the morning after we returned from Orlando to find Juan carrying a box out of his office.   He looked like he’d been kicked in the stomach. 

Duane asked, “What’s wrong, Juan?”

“I just got fired,” he responded.  “The bitch who took my job had the nerve to tell me all the faggots who work here will fired, as well.”

We looked at each other and then back to Juan.  Mason asked, “Who is this lady?”

Juan said, “She’s the new director.  Her name is Rene Southwick.  She’s as homophobic as they come.  I strongly recommend finding a new job and do it soon.”  He pushed past us with the last of his personal belongings.

We looked into his office to see a petite woman, with short blond hair, brown eyes, a button nose, and a tight-lipped expression on her face.  I said, “That must be the director.”  We continued down the hallway to our cubicles. 

Duane said, “It’s a good thing we already applied for jobs in Seattle.  Mason and I have interviews later this week.”

I grimaced.  “That means I’ll be left here all alone with her.”

Duane said, “Maybe you should just quit.  You can find a job elsewhere.”

I shrugged.  “We’ll see how things go.  I don’t want to jump to conclusions based on Juan’s experience with her.”

Later that day, Rene walked out onto the floor to hold a stand-up meeting to introduce herself.  She made it clear she was on the warpath.  She called each of us into office to outline our expectations and put us on notice.  She made it clear she was on mission to clean house in our department, starting with anyone who didn’t conform to the image the company wanted to project.

Duane came out of her office, and stood next to my desk, fuming.  “I’ll be damned if I’ll work for that bitch.” 

“What did she say to you?” I asked.

“She said the company didn’t want faggots on their payroll.  The company doesn’t want to give the impression it approves of homosexuality,” he responded, mimicking her high pitched voice.  “She gave me two weeks to find a new job.  I told her not to bother, because I quit.”

“Have you told Mason?” I asked.

“No, but he’s in her office now,” Duane said.

A few minutes later, Mason joined us.  Mason’s face was a mask of anger.  “I wish there was some way we could sue this company for discrimination.”

“The bitch was quick to point out Georgia does not protect homosexuals from being fired just for being who they are,” Duane said, angrily.

“How did she know you’re gay?” I asked.

“Apparently, Tom made sure she knew,” he responded.  Tom was one of our co-workers who had been harassing Duane and Mason about being gay.  He had never paid attention to me, but always went out of his way to make derogatory remarks to Duane and Mason.

Mason said, “Let’s go clean out our desks.  I don’t want to spend another minute in this place.”

The two of them left my cubicle.  I pulled out my cell phone and sent Rick a text message, “Duane and Mason just got fired for being gay, and so did our boss, Juan.”

He texted back, “Really?  What happened?”

I wrote back, “Tell you when I get home.”  I logged off the system and walked over to Duane’s desk.  He had his desk cleared off and his photos in his backpack.

“I’m ready to leave.  Let’s get Mason,” he said.  We met Mason at his desk, then made our way down to the security office to turn in their badges and computers.  About 20 minutes later, we left the building. 

The ride home was silent, each of us lost in our own thoughts.  I was still in shock.  Three of my friends had just been fired for being gay!  How could this be happening to two of the best guys in the entire world?

When they dropped me off, Duane reminded me, “We won’t be by in the morning to pick you up for work.”

I replied, “I know.  I’m not sure I’m going to work tomorrow, after what happened today.”

Duane said, “We’ll talk to you later, Glenn.”

I turned and made my way up to our condo.  I opened the door and walked inside to be immediately pulled into Rick’s arms.  “I’m sorry you’ve had such a rotten day.”

I hugged him tight and took in his masculine scent.  Rick always knows when I need him.  I melted into him, enjoying the feel of his body against mine.  After a few moments, I pulled back to look him in the eyes.  “Why do people have to be so prejudiced against gays?”

Rick answered, “I don’t know why; but, I know we can never let our guard down.  We have to expect the worst in people, so we’re not surprised when they do their best to hurt us.  It’s part of the reason I don’t socialize with just anyone I meet.”

“I know,” I said, kissing him.  “I don’t trust straight people, especially ones who profess to be religious.”

“So, tell me what happened at work today,” he said, taking my hand and leading me into our family room.  He sat down on the couch and pulled me down to sit between his legs with my back against his chest.  He wrapped his arms around my waist and nibbled on my earlobe, as I related the events of the day.  When I finished, he asked, “Is Rene religious?”

“I don’t know.  She interviewed me, but we didn’t discuss religion.  I don’t think she knows I’m gay, or I would’ve been fired, like Duane and Mason were,” I said.

“If you want to quit your job, I’m okay with that,” Rick said.  “We don’t need your money to make ends meet.”

“I know we don’t need my money, but I want to contribute to our household expenses,” I said.  I shook my head in disbelief.  “I still can’t imagine how such bigotry can appear in the workplace.  Isn’t there a law against discrimination?”

Rick responded, “There are laws against discrimination, just not against being fired for being gay.”

He started kissing the back of my neck, until he reached my shoulder, then marked me.  I gasped, as pleasure rippled throughout my body.  Rick laughed, and said, “I know just what you need to take your mind off of what happened today.”

I began massaging his thighs and said, “Does it have anything to do with removing our clothes and enjoying each other’s bodies?”

Rick didn’t answer, but pulled my shirt up and over my head.  I pushed off my shoes, then he unbuckled my belt and slipped my pants and underwear off of my body.  I turned to help him disrobe.  It wasn’t long before Rick proved he was right!  He did know exactly how make me forget the events of the day!

*** ***