Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Lernier Family Chapter Ten - Crazy Vincent

Chapter Ten – Crazy Vincent

Over the course of the next two weeks, we helped Cory and Nancy pack up all of their stuff in preparation for making the big move.   As we finished feeding the twins their lunch, we heard Nancy and Cory return from the airport.   We put the twins in their playpen and we went into the foyer to greet them.  

I did a double take when I saw Cory’s dad.   He looked like a carbon copy of Cory only older.   Cory said, “Dad, this is Rick and Glenn Lernier.”

Rick reached out his hand to shake his hand, “Nice to meet you, Mr. Gale.”

“Please call me Vincent.   I don’t like being so formal with family,” he said.

“Okay, Vincent,” Rick replied smiling as he released his hand.

Vincent shook my hand, “Nice to meet you, Glenn.”   I noted that he had a firm handshake just like Cory.

Cory said, “This is my little brother, Kelvin.”

Kelvin had the same wavy, blond hair as Cory but his eyes were a dark, emerald green with flecks of gold.   Kelvin looked to be about an inch or so taller than his Dad and brother with a leaner, wiry look to him.   Kelvin said as he shook our hands, “Nice to meet you both.”

“Please come in and have a seat,” Rick said turning to lead us into the family room where the boys were making little gurgling sounds as they played with the mobiles that hung from the sides of the playpen.

Vincent asked, “How old are your twins?”

“They will be three months old next week,” Rick replied.

“They seem to be very happy babies.   Kelvin was a very calm baby where as Cory had colic and nearly drove us crazy with his constant crying,” Vincent said smiling at his two boys.

Kelvin looked at me and asked, “Can I hold one of them?”

I said, “Sure.”   I picked up J.J. and walked over to where Kelvin was sitting.   “This is J.J.   He is our calm one.   Josh is the one that fusses a lot.”

Kelvin took the infant into his arms as I showed him how to hold J.J., “Hold his head up here and support his back like this.”

Kelvin nodded his head and smiled at J.J., “Hello, J.J.”

J.J. made his usual baby sounds and seemed quite content.   Kelvin asked, “How long have you and Rick been together?”

“This summer it will be eight years.   We were married a year and a half ago,” I replied.

Kelvin asked, “Where did you get married?”

“We were married in the same church as my parents in St. Catharines, Ontario,” I said.

Kelvin smiled, “So you and Rick are practically still newlyweds.”

“I guess you could say that,” I said laughing.   “What do you think, Rick?”

Rick responded, “Yes, I hope we are still newlyweds.   I would hate to think the excitement of being married to me had worn off already!   Can I get you anything to drink, Vincent?”

I turned towards Vincent and was stunned to see a look of complete disgust and hatred on his face.   Vincent didn’t respond so Rick repeated his question, “Can I get you anything, Vincent?”

Vincent’s expression didn’t change as he stood up, “No, thank you.   Cory, can you take us to our hotel, please.”

Cory looked like someone had stabbed him in the gut, “Dad…”  

Vincent cut him off before he could say anything more, “Cory, I will be waiting in the car.”   Vincent left the room and we heard the door close as he left the house.

I looked at Kelvin who stood up and handed me J.J., “I’m sorry, Glenn.”   Kelvin followed his father out of the room.

Nancy asked, “What’s going on with your father, Cory?  Didn’t you tell him that Rick and Glenn are gay?”

Cory looked down at his feet, “Dad is so homophobic I didn’t dare tell him.   I thought that if he met Rick and Glenn that he would realize that they are wonderful people and could look past his prejudices.”

Nancy’s face was a mask of righteous anger.   Nancy’s voice had a cold, hard quality to it as she spoke, “I think we have some serious talking to do, Cory.”

Cory’s head snapped up when he heard the tone of her voice.   Cory held Nancy’s gaze for a brief moment before saying, “I’m sorry, Nancy.”

Nancy’s expression didn’t soften as Cory had hoped when he apologized, “No, Cory, a quick apology isn’t going to fix this one.   I think you need to take your father and Kelvin to their hotel.”

Cory audibly gulped, “Yes, dear.”

Nancy’s voice grew even colder and her eyes flashed daggers, “Don’t patronize me, Cory Gale.”   She paused to let Cory respond.   When he remained silent, she said in a deceptively quiet voice, “I think you had better join your family before you say anything that will make things worse.”

Cory looked at me and Rick.   Seeing no support from us, he got up and silently left the room.   When I heard the door close behind him, I noted that Nancy’s face looked as if it had turned to stone.   I asked, “Nancy, what are you thinking?”

At the sound of my voice, Nancy burst into tears.   In between sobs she said, “I thought we had worked through this already.   I thought we had agreed that we weren’t going to hide the fact that I have two gay brothers.”

I put J.J. back in the playpen and sat down next to Nancy and took her into my arms.   She cried on my shoulder as I smoothed her hair, “It will be alright, Nancy.   We love you and I know Cory loves you, too.”

After a few minutes, Nancy gained control of her emotions.   She leaned back from my embrace and looked me in the face, “Thanks for being here for me, Glenn.   You are the best brother anyone could ask for in the whole world.”

Rick tried to lighten the mood by asking, “Hey, what about me?   Don’t I count?”

Nancy laughed, “Yes, Rick, you count, too.   Thank you for making me laugh.   You are the best.”  Nancy stood up and hugged Rick, “You know I am still in love with you, Rick.   You set the standard for what a good husband and father should be.”

“Hey, that’s my husband you are talking about!” I exclaimed, laughing and joining them in a group hug.

Nancy grinned, “Yes, he’s your husband but he’s my brother-in-law so I get special privileges.”

Rick laughed, “Okay, you two.   I love you both.   I think we need to go out for a walk.   Some fresh air would do us all some good.”

Nancy said, “I agree.   I will help you get the babies ready, Glenn.”

“Great!   I could use the help.   Rick will you get the stroller ready?” I asked.

“Sure, sweetheart,” Rick replied taking my hand and pulling me close to him.   He gently nibbled on my ear before whispering, “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” I replied.  

He released me from his embrace and turned to retrieve the stroller from its place.   Nancy and I picked up the twins and took them upstairs to get them ready to go out.  As we dressed the boys, Nancy looked at me, “Glenn, what am I going to do about Cory?”

“I think you need to talk things through with him.   He loves you, Nancy, and you love him, so you two should be able to work through this together,” I said.

“Do you really think we can get through this?” she asked uncertainly.

“Yes, I do.   Cory is a good man, Nancy.   Remember, he isn’t perfect so don’t expect that he will do everything right all the time.   You have been around Rick and I enough to know that we have our differences of opinion that sometimes cause a little friction in our relationship but we have learned to work things out between us,” I said.

Nancy nodded her head, “Like that time you made Rick mad when Jamie came over to the house a few weeks ago.”

I blanched at the memory of the argument Rick and I had about Jamie.   “I don’t think I have ever seen Rick get as angry as he did that night.”

“I know.   Rick handled his anger very well and let you at least talk to him,” she said.

“Yes, he did.   You need to do the same with Cory.   Let him talk to you and listen carefully to what he is saying so you can work out a solution to this situation,” I said.

We finished dressing the boys and went back downstairs when we heard a knock on the door.

*** ***

Cory got into the car with his father who said, “Why did you bring me here?   You know how I feel about faggots?”

Cory said, “I hoped that when you met them you would see that they are really nice people.”

“Anyone who has sex with members of the same sex is an abomination!   They are sinners of the worst kind!   How can you bring yourself to tolerate being around such sinners, Cory?   I know I taught you better!” Vincent shouted at his son.

Cory looked his father in the eye, “You are wrong, father.   You are the one who is a vile sinner teaching and preaching from the pulpit that we should keep God’s commandments and yet you don’t keep them yourself.   You don’t look after the poor or the needy.   You only look out for yourself to make sure you have more contributions to pad your wallet.   I have seen you take the parishioners’ money and buy things for yourself.   When you preach to the congregation about the golden rule, I wonder if they really knew who you truly are would they still attend your church,” Cory said.   “Those two guys in that house have more of the Christian spirit about them than you do.   They take care of the poor and the needy they come across and look for opportunities to help others.  They are kind to the people they meet and are honest in their dealings with others.   You call them sinners; I call them saints because they do more good works than you do as a so called religious leader.”

Vincent’s face was a thundercloud of anger, “How dare you speak to me this way?”

“I dare speak to you because you are wrong and you have always taught me to call the sinner to repentance so I am calling on you to repent of your sins and turn away from attacking innocent people who you do not even know,” Cory said.

Vincent lifted his hand to swing a fist at his son and was surprised when he couldn’t move his arm.   He looked to see that Kelvin had grabbed his arm.

“Kelvin, remove your hand from my arm,” Vincent said in a low growl.

“Only if you promise to refrain from physical violence,” Kelvin responded.  

Instead of answering, Vincent spat in Cory’s face.   Cory wiped the spit from his face and said in a tight, quiet voice, “Get out of the car, father.   I will call you a cab to take you to your hotel.”

Vincent opened the door and got out.   Cory pulled out his cell phone and called a cab to retrieve his dad.   He and Kelvin got out of the car.   Vincent ran at Cory with fists swinging.   This time both Kelvin and Cory restrained their father. 

Kelvin said, “Father, I am gay.   I have been in a relationship with a man for two years now.   Your hatred for gays is so unreasoning and so violent that I won’t be darkening your doorstep, again, especially now that I have seen how full of hatred you are.   I will not subject the one I love to your vile tongue and the poison it spreads in people’s minds.”

Vincent looked at Kelvin in horror, “You mean to tell me my son is an abomination, too?”

“If being with the person I love is being an abomination in your eyes, then yes, father, I am an abomination to you.   As I have just said, I will not subject my beloved partner to the terrible filth that runs from your mouth,” Kelvin said.

Rick and Glenn’s security guard walked up and asked, “Cory is there something I can do to help?”

Cory said, “Thank you, Gerald, for offering your assistance; however, I think my father can behave himself until his taxi arrives.   If you will open the gate so he can stand on the curb, I would appreciate it.”

Kelvin released his father and went around the car to retrieve his Dad’s luggage.   They escorted Vincent outside the gate just as the taxi cab showed up.   Vincent climbed inside and the cabby put his luggage in the trunk.

As the cab pulled away from the curb, Cory turned to Kelvin and put his arm around his shoulders, “Thank you for your help.   I’m sorry you had to come out to Dad that way.”

“It’s okay, Cory.   He needed to know sometime and now was as good a time as any other,” Kelvin said smiling.

Cory replied, “I love you, Bro.”   Cory gave Kelvin a hug.   “Let’s go back inside and see if I can salvage my relationship with Nancy.”

Kelvin laughed, “I wouldn’t trade you places right now for anything in the world!”

Cory laughed, “Thanks, Kelvin!   I really needed to hear that!”

“You have always been a smooth talker, Cory.   I am sure you can patch things up with your fiancée,” Kelvin said seriously.

They walked back to the front door and knocked.

*** ***

Rick opened the door to find Cory and Kelvin standing there.   Cory asked hesitantly, “Can we come in Rick?”

Rick asked, “Where is your father?”

Kelvin replied, “He took a cab to the hotel.   We apologize for his unseemly behavior.”

“Okay, you can come in,” Rick said backing out of the doorway to let them enter.

Nancy and I overheard the conversation at the door.   Cory stopped when he caught sight of his fiancée.  “Can we talk?” Cory asked, his eyes pleading for Nancy to say yes.

Nancy looked at him for a moment, gazing into his eyes, and finally said, “Yes, we can talk.”   Cory let out a breath of relief and followed Nancy into the family room.

Rick said, “Kelvin, would you care to join us for a walk around the neighborhood?”

“I would love to join you,” Kelvin said smiling at Rick.

 Rick turned and pulled the double stroller from its place near the door and Nancy and I secured the twins in their places and left for our walk.   As we passed the mansion on the corner of 20th Street and Arlington Ridge Road, my thoughts returned to the General’s response to our question about its former occupant.

*** ***

Rick pulled into the Campbell’s driveway and turned off the engine.   We both got out and I turned take J.J. out of the car while Rick went around to the back of the car to retrieve the twin’s playpen.

Rick said, “I will be right back.”   As he approached the front door it opened and Mrs. Campbell said, “Hello, Rick.   Come in.   Please put the playpen in the music room.”

Rick leaned over and gave Mrs. Campbell a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek, “It’s so good to see you Mrs. Campbell.   How is the General?”

“He is doing well.   He is so excited to see the twins,” Mrs. Campbell said.

Rick returned and picked up J.J. as I got Josh out of the car.   We carried the boys inside the house in their car seats.   Mrs. Campbell stood back to let us enter, “Oh, aren’t they so darling?” 

“Yes, they are,” I said smiling at her.   We went into the music room where we took them out of their car seats and unwrapped them from their blankets.   I handed J.J. to Mrs. Campbell.

She sat down and stared into the little guy’s face, “You are so much like your father.”   She looked over at Rick, “This one is a mini-Rick.”

Rick laughed, “Yes, J.J. looks a lot like me and Josh is the mirror image of Glenn.”

“I am so happy for you both,” Mrs. Campbell said smiling at us.

“There you are,” boomed the General as he entered the room in his wheelchair.   He wheeled over to where Mrs. Campbell was sitting and asked, “So where is my baby?”

Rick laughed, “He’s right here.”   Rick handed him Josh.

The General grinned from ear to ear, “It’s a good thing you have twins or Mrs. Campbell would never get to hold a baby.”

Mrs. Campbell laughed, “Yes, it is a good thing because the General would never let go of the baby for even a minute.”

The twins behaved very well for the Campbells.   Rick asked, “Can we shoot some of your guns today?”

The General grinned, “Yes, I would love to open the firing range today.   I was hoping you would ask since it’s so much better to have company on the range.   Mrs. Campbell is not very fond of guns so she doesn’t join me downstairs very often.”

I said, “Thank you, General.   We love being here.”

Mrs. Campbell said, “You boys go with the General and I will stay here with the twins.”

The General handed Josh to me so he could maneuver his chair out of the room and down the hall.   I placed Josh in the playpen and we followed the General.   We rode down the elevator with him.   He was so excited he rolled his wheelchair out of the elevator and wheeled down to the end of the hallway before we had even exited the elevator.

Rick laughed, “The General must be super excited today.   I haven’t seen him move his chair so fast in quite a while.”

I took Rick’s hand in mine and looked up into his eyes, “I think someone else is just as excited as the General!”

“Yes, I am.   It’s been a few weeks since we have been here.   The General is like another father to me,” Rick said.   “He listens to me without judging me and then offers sound advice.”

“I know, sweetheart.   I feel the same way about him despite the fact that he likes to embarrass me,” I said.

Rick asked, “Well, do you blame him?   You do look so cute when you get embarrassed!   Besides, he recognizes that you are the best looking guy in the whole world!”

“Do you think so?” I asked seriously.

“Yes, I do,” Rick responded as we approached the door to the firing range.   “He has told me many times that I made a wise choice when I married you.”

We entered the room and found that the General had already brought over several different guns from the vault for us to shoot.

“I thought you two might want to do some shooting so I selected a couple of different weapons for each of you to try out today.   You haven’t fired these particular ones before so please take your time to adjust to how they perform,” the General said handing us our ear plugs.

 Before we put them in, Rick asked, “General, can we ask you a question before we get started?”

“Yes, you can.   What is it?” the General said looking at us curiously.

“We found out some information from a neighbor that the big house on the corner was built by a general for his mistress.   Do you know who that general might be?” Rick asked.

The General didn’t reply for a moment which made me think maybe he didn’t hear Rick’s question.   Then he looked at us with an expression of pain, “Yes, I do know who the general in question is because I am that person and the lady who lived in that house was my mistress for many years.   We are no longer on speaking terms.   I had that house built for her and I had promised to divorce Mrs. Campbell and marry her.   However, after she got the house she wanted, she told me she never wanted to see me, again.   Let that be a lesson to you both – never cheat on your spouse.   I didn’t heed that same advice when it was given to me and I paid a heavy price for my infidelity to my wife both in terms of money and personal integrity.”

“Does Mrs. Campbell know about this woman?” Rick asked.

“Yes, she does because I told her,” the General replied.   “I felt compelled to be completely honest with her so we could begin over, again.   She forgave me long ago but I have never been able to forgive myself for my lack of judgment and discipline.   It never should have happened except for my lack of discipline and self-mastery.”

 Rick asked, “What happened to your ex-mistress?”

“She sold the house and moved in with a new guy.   Apparently, she had been two-timing me the entire time.   I was such a fool,” the General said.   He looked us both in the eyes, “Mrs. Campbell and I love you boys very much.   You are the sons we never had.   Promise me you will always be faithful to each other.”

I looked at Rick, “I promise, General.”

“I promise as well, General,” Rick said.   “I am sure neither of us wants to suffer through what you have as a result of your indiscretion.”

The General nodded, “Good.   Let’s get down to business.”   He put his earplugs in and wheeled to his usual station.

Rick and I did the same.   When we had finished shooting our rounds, we helped the General clean up the firing range and the guns.   We followed him into the gun vault and placed them in their proper places

*** ***

My thoughts returned to the present as Kelvin asked me, “Are you okay, Glenn?”

“Yes, I’m fine.   I was just remembering something about that house,” I said pointing at the house on the corner.

“What is that?” asked Kelvin.

“The house was built by a general for his mistress,” I said.

“Does she still live there?” Kelvin asked.

“No, she sold the place, dumped the general and took off with the money,” Rick replied.

“Wow!   I bet the general was pretty upset,” Kelvin said, laughing.

“I am sure he was,” I said thinking of the General.

We walked down the hill towards the park.   When we reached it, Kelvin’s cell phone rang, “Kelvin, you guys need to come back as soon as possible,” Cory said.

“Why?   What’s going on?” Kelvin asked.

“I can’t talk about it now but hurry,” Cory said.

“Okay, I will tell the guys,” Kelvin replied.   He broke the connection and turned to me and Rick.   “That was Cory.   He says we need to get back to house as soon as possible.”

Rick’s concern showed in his voice as he said, “Why?”

“He didn’t say.   He just said we needed to hurry back,” Kelvin said.

I looked at Rick who shrugged his shoulders and said, “Let’s go then.”

We climbed back up the hill on 20th Street to Arlington Ridge Road and turned the corner to see two police cars parked in our driveway.   Rick looked over at me and asked, “What do you think is going on?”

“I don’t know, Babe.   Whatever it is can’t be good,” I said.

The gate opened for us as we approached our driveway.   Gerald came out to greet us.   “I’m sorry, Rick.   I should have called you right away.   Cory said he would get in touch with you but I should have made the call to you anyway.”

Rick responded, “That’s okay, Gerald.   Cory did call us and we’re here now.   What do they want?”

“They wouldn’t tell me everything but I can tell you that they came with people from child protective services and a social worker from the county,” Gerald said.

I said, “Thank you, Gerald.”

“I bet it was my father who called them to report you as being a danger to the twins,” Kelvin said.

“I think so, too,” Rick said angrily.

We walked towards the house and were met by four policemen.   The tallest one who had a dark, black mustache, black eyes and jet black hair spoke to Rick, “Mr. Lernier, I am Officer Prentky.   These are Officers Schmidt, Ramirez and Wheeler.”

Rick nodded his head in acknowledgment.   “Officers,” he said in greeting, his voice cold and hard.

“Thank you for returning so promptly.   I am sorry to interrupt your walk, sir.    Mrs. Evans is inside with Child Protective Services.   Please join us inside,” Officer Prentky said politely but firmly.

We entered our house and removed the twins from their stroller and took their coats off.   We walked into the family room to see a thin, graying woman with her hair tied in tight bun on her head, wearing horned-rim glasses, and a prim tight lipped expression her long angular face.   She wore a business suit that looked like it had seen better times.   Next to her sat two beefy looking middle-aged men who looked like they had been body builders in their youth but now both of them had beer bellies sagging over their belts.

Across the room sat Nancy and Cory.   When we entered Nancy came over and took Josh from my arms.   She turned to the woman, “Mrs. Evans, does this look like an abused child?”

Mrs. Evans shook her head, “No, he does not look abused in the least nor does the other infant.”   She stood up and came over to Rick.   “May I hold your son, sir?”

Rick didn’t respond but handed J.J. to her.   She held him carefully as if he were a fine piece of china that she was afraid she would drop.   J.J. gurgled happily at her and reached for the necklace she was wearing.   “No, little one, you can’t have my necklace.”   She smiled.   “When did the twins last see a pediatrician?”

I answered, “At their three-month checkup.   They are scheduled to see her, again, next week for their four-month checkup.”

“Are their immunizations up to date?” she asked looking over at me.

“Yes, Ma’am, they are,” I answered.

She returned J.J. to Rick’s arms.   “You must be Mr. Lernier.”

“Yes, I am.   And you are…?” Rick asked pointedly.

“Please accept my apologies for being so ill mannered.   I am Mary Beth Evans.   I am a social worker with the Arlington County Human Services Department.   These men are Mr. Sunia and Mr. Burton from Child Protective Services (CPS).”  

Each man nodded his head as his name was called out.   Mrs. Evans turned to them and said, “Thank you for accompanying me today.   From what I have seen, your services won’t be needed.”   She turned to the four police officers.   “Officer Prentky, have you determined if you need to take any action here.”

“Yes, Ma’am, I have.   I believe that you need to make a note in your records as I have in my report that the individual who reported severe neglect and abuse of two infant boys at this address is the perpetrator of harassment of innocent people with the intent to do harm and to defame their reputation,” Officer Prentky said sternly.   “In fact, I would say it borders on a hate crime given the nature of the claim and the intent of the person who made the claim.”

Mrs. Evans said, “How do you know the identity of the person who called us?”

“He sent a text message to his son stating that fact,” Officer Prentky pointing across the room at Cory.

“Oh my,” Mrs. Evans said in surprise.   “Is there something more that I should know, Officer?”

“Not at this time, Ma’am.   We will let you know if anything changes.   Mr. Lernier has a good security set up here with both alarm systems and full time surveillance by off-duty police officers on the premises.   I am asking for increased patrols in this neighborhood until we are sure Mr. Gale has left the area,” Office Prentky said.

Officer Prentky turned to Rick, “Mr. Lernier, I would recommend that you and your family be accompanied by a security detail at all times given the current situation.”

“Thank you, Officer Prentky,” Rick said.   Rick handed J.J. to Nancy and extended his hand to Officer Prentky who shook Rick’s hand.

He turned to his fellow officers and said, “Let’s go.   We have plenty of work to do.”

They followed him out the door.   The two CPS agents got up and took their leave as well.   Mrs. Evans said, “I am deeply saddened that we have ruined a perfectly fine day for you.”   She sounded very sincere.   “It is always hard to know if a claim of child abuse and neglect is true or not so we have to treat each one as if it were true and prepare accordingly.”

Cory said, “My father hates Rick and Glenn so much he will do anything to bring them down.”

I turned to Cory in surprise, “How can he hate us with such intensity when he barely spent 10 minutes in our home?   He doesn’t know us or our family and friends.   It doesn’t make sense.”

“Mrs. Evans, my father is the preacher at a Christian fundamentalist church in Los Angeles.   He is very extreme in his views and more than a little zealous.   He also happens to be a crook.   He has embezzled thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars from his congregation,” Cory said.

“What does that have to do with this family?” Mrs. Evans asked.

“He feels that the twins must be saved from their evil parents and has threatened physical violence if necessary to rescue them from the sinners who are raising them,” Cory said sadly.

“It sounds like he is crazy,” Mrs. Evans said.

“He is quite sane most of the time but when it comes to homosexuality and gay marriage, he is quite irrational,” Cory said.

Mrs. Evans looked surprised.   She didn’t say anything for a few moments as she studied us, “Mr. Lernier, you are the father of these children are you not?”

“Yes, I am,” Rick answered.

She turned to Nancy, “You are their mother, correct?”

Nancy answered, “Yes, I am.   To answer your question, Mrs. Evans, I was the surrogate mother for my brother, Glenn, and his husband, Rick.   They were married in St. Catharines, Ontario.   The twins were born in New York City and were adopted by my brother as his own children.   This is my fiancé, Cory, and his brother, Kelvin.   Cory’s father came here today to help me load my belongings into a moving truck so Cory and I can move to Los Angeles.   When he found out that my brother is gay and that he and his partner are the parents of twin boys, he stormed out of here and made quite a scene.   We didn’t expect him to begin harassing my family because of his religious beliefs.”

Hearing Nancy’s explanation, understanding showed on Mrs. Evans face.   “I understand now why Mr. Gale didn’t make sense when he called the first time.   He called back a couple of times before he was able to speak coherently about what he wanted to report.   I’m truly sorry that I didn’t ignore his call.  I wondered at the time if his information was credible but he had called so many times I had to come and check out his claim.   Knowing the situation now, I can document the fraudulent claims and annotate my case file to make sure we are aware of his violent tendencies.”

Nancy said, “Thank you for your understanding of our situation.   It is very ugly and no one should have to be subjected to such harassment.”

“I agree with you.   I need to return to my office.   Again, please accept my apologies for invading your home and disturbing you today,” Mrs. Evans said as she made her way to the front door.

Nancy followed her and showed her out.   Rick and I put the twins in their playpen and we all took a seat.   Nancy returned and joined Cory on the loveseat.   At first, we didn’t’ say anything as we looked at each other.  

Nancy broke the silence, “Cory and I have decided to delay our wedding until June as we originally planned.”

Cory looked at his feet, his expression inscrutable, while Kelvin looked surprised.   Kelvin said, “Where are you going to be married?”

“We will be married in St. Catharines in the same church where my parents were married.   Rick and Glenn were married there as well,” Nancy said.   She turned to Cory, “Are you still okay with our decision?”

Cory looked up and tried to smile, “Honestly, sweetheart, no I am not but I do understand why you want to delay the wedding until we know what that crazy, violent religious fanatic who is my father is going to do.   He needs to be locked up before he does someone real bodily harm.   In the meantime, we need to find a way to stop him from trying to harm your family by spewing his venomous lies into the ears of anyone who will listen.”

Kelvin looked at Nancy and said, “Nancy, I feel the same as you do about my father.   I don’t know if he will try to do me in because I’m gay.   We know that he has committed many crimes in the past so I wouldn’t be surprised at anything he does.”

We heard a knock on the door.   I got up and answered it.   Keith and Kerry and the children were standing there.   Keith asked, “What happened?   We saw the police leave and thought we had better come see what was going on.”

“Come inside.   We are all in the family room,” I said.  

Egan grabbed my hand, “I want to know all about the policemen.   I want to be a policeman when I grow up.   Gerald let’s me watch him work sometimes.   It is really neat to watch all of the different monitors to make sure no one is trying to get inside the house or climb the fences.”

“We will tell you everything if you will come with me,” I said smiling down at the eager little boy holding my hand.

Diane walked over to me and took my other hand and looked up at me, “Glenn, may I have a cookie?”

“Yes, you may.   Follow me to the kitchen,” I said smiling at the eager expression on her face.

We entered the kitchen and the children let go of my hands and took their chairs at the table.   I retrieved the chocolate chip cookies I kept on hand for just such visits from my two favorite children.   I placed the cookie jar on the table and said, “You may have two cookies each.”

I got cups out of the cupboard and the milk from the fridge.   I poured them each some milk and returned the milk jug to the fridge.   “You can have two more cookies since the first two disappeared so quickly,” I said laughing at their eagerness to reach for another cookie.   After they had their cookies, I placed the cookie jar back on the countertop and said, “When you are finished, put your dishes in the sink and come into the family room.”

I left the two children eating their cookies and drinking their milk as they talked about how exciting it was to have the police come to my house.

I entered the family room to find that Keith and Kerry had already been brought up to date on what had happened.   Keith turned to me and said, “You should call Grandpa and ask if he could check out Cory’s Dad.   I am sure there is more there to be found.   I think we need to know everything we can about this guy.”

“I agree with Keith.   Are you okay with that Rick?” I asked as I sat down next to my lover boy.

“Yes, go ahead and call Grandpa.   It’s better to let him know what is going on instead of letting him find out when the security guys make their report later today,” Rick said.

I took out my cell and hit the speed dial for Grandpa.   When he answered, I explained everything that had happened.   Grandpa agreed that we needed to check out Mr. Gale.   I handed the phone to Cory so he could tell Grandpa everything he knows about his Dad and the operations at his church.

Cory handed me back the phone.   “Glenn, be very careful until we know for sure that Mr. Gale won’t take any further actions against you,” Grandpa said.

“Okay,” I said.

“I will call back when we have something,” Grandpa said.

“Good-bye,” I said and ended the call.

Nancy said, “I am glad you called Grandpa.   He always knows what to do.   Cory is not happy with me but I think the best thing I can do is stay here until June instead of moving to California.”  Cory face told us she was right.   “I’m sorry, Cory,” she said putting her arms around her fiancé.

Cory looked at Nancy and asked, “Is there anything I can say that will change your mind?”

“No, Cory.   Until I know that your father is not a danger to any of us, I don’t want to be out in California all alone while you are at work every day,” Nancy said.

Kelvin said, “You two could live with us.   Marty works from home most days so you wouldn’t be alone during the day.”

Nancy smiled at him, “Thank you, Kelvin.   You are very sweet to offer your home to us.    We will think on it and let you know.”   She leaned over and kissed Cory.   “It is not the end of the world, honey.   Please don’t be angry with me.”

“I’m not angry with you.   I am very upset with my father.   He is the cause of all of this mess,” Cory said dejectedly.

“Let’s look on the bright side, Cory.   Your Dad provided me with an excuse to still have the June wedding I have always dreamed of since I was a little girl,” Nancy said with a smile.

Cory’s face brightened with a nice smile, “I guess I can wait a couple of more months to marry you but I will miss you terribly.”

Nancy said, “I have some news to share with all of you.   I am expecting our first child.”

The look on Cory’s face was priceless!   “Do you mean I am going to be a father?”

“Yes, dear, you are going to be a father,” Nancy said kissing Cory on the lips.

Kelvin stood up and came over and slapped his brother on the back, “Congratulations, Bro.!   I am very happy for you.”

Rick and I smiled at each other.   Rick said, “Congratulations!   Cory, you are about to see your whole life change right before your eyes!”

Cory couldn’t stop smiling, “I’m going to be a father.   I can’t believe it!”

“You had better believe it since you have been my one and only sex partner,” Nancy said smiling at her very excited sweetheart.

Keith said, “You had better enjoy your peace and quiet now because once the baby gets here that will all end.”

“That is correct,” Kerry said.   “I am sure that Rick and Glenn can vouch for that as well.”

“Yes, it’s true.   Things are certainly different around here since the twins arrived,” Rick said.

Egan and Diane entered the family room.   Egan walked over and climbed up on Rick’s lap, “Can we read stories?”

   “Sure, Egan, we can read stories.   Diane, please pick out the stories you want me to read to you,” Rick replied.

Diane walked over to the bookshelf and chose her two favorite books:   “Dr. Suess’ Horton Hears a Who” and “Three Little Cajun Pigs” by Mark Artell.   She sat down next to Rick and handed him the two books.   Rick began reading to the children.   He always does a fantastic job reading stories to the children!

When he got to the “Three Little Cajun Pigs,” we all laughed with the children as he read the story.   Diane said, “That is my most favorite story because it is so funny.”

Kerry agreed smiling at her daughter, “You are right, Diane.   That is one of my most favorite stories as well especially when Rick reads it out loud for us.”

Rick said, “Egan, it’s your turn to choose two books but this time you need to read them out loud to Diane while we listen.”

Egan looked up at Rick, “I will try to be as good a reader as you, Rick.   You will have to help me if I don’t know the words though.”

Rick said, “I am sure you will know all the words, Egan.”   Rick handed Diane’s two books to Egan, “Please return these to the bookshelf before you pick out the two books you want to read.”

“Okay,” Egan said as he got down and walked over to the bookshelf.   He chose two more Dr. Suess books – “The Cat in the Hat” and “Hop on Pop.”   He returned and sat next to Diane and opened the first book and started to read.

The rest of us walked into the kitchen leaving Rick with the children in the family room.   I asked, “Kelvin, would you like to do some touring downtown?”

“Sure.   I have never been to Washington, DC.   I would love to do some sightseeing.”

“I think we should go over tonight after dinner,” Keith said.   “We love seeing the monuments at night.”

Kerry said, “That sounds like a plan.   Are you okay with that?”

Kelvin responded, “Yes.   I am actually getting hungry.   Let me treat everyone to pizza.”

I said, “You have got a deal!”

Kerry said, “Let’s get Jerry’s Pizza.   Their pizza is my favorite.”

“We will have to call in our order and then go pick it up,” Keith said.

“That’s okay, sweetheart.   I like their pizza and it’s worth the extra effort to go get it,” Kerry said.

We called in our order and sent Keith and Kelvin to get it while Kerry and I set the table.   Soon, the guys were back with the pizza.   We called Rick and the children to join us.   We ate our pizza and then fed the twins.   Before going out, Rick and I gave our little ones their baths and put them in their pajamas for the car ride.   Nothing puts the twins to sleep better than a nice long trip in the car!   There have been a couple of nights when the twins were cranky and wouldn’t sleep that we have taken them out in the car until they both fell asleep.   We enjoyed driving around the monuments and pointed out various other buildings as we drove along.

We returned home and said good night to Keith and Kerry.   I showed Kelvin to his room and we put the twins to bed.   Once everyone was settled, we went to our room and quickly stripped down.  

Rick took me in his arms, “Glenn, I love you.”   He kissed me and led me into our en suite where we filled the Jacuzzi bathtub and spent a nice long time pleasuring each other.   I have the perfect husband!   He knows exactly what I need to relax and let go of the stress I felt.

Later, we got into our bed and held each other.   Rick looked into my eyes, “Glenn, everything will work out for the best.”

I kissed him lightly on the lips, “I know they will because you are here with me.”

Rick smiled, “Yes, I am here with you and I will keep you safe.”   He pulled me closer and I put my head on his chest.  

“I don’t understand why Vincent felt he had to call Child Protective Services.   What kind of person tries to break up a family by doing such things?   Rick, I hope we never see them, again, Vincent or Mrs. Evans.”

“Why do you feel that way about Mrs. Evans?” Rick asked.

“Because of whom she represents, Rick.   How can your government give someone the power to rip apart families based on hearsay?” I asked

“They don’t just act on hearsay, Glenn.   They take the time to investigate before they take children away from their parents.   They say they are always trying to keep families together,” Rick said.

“I don’t believe it, Rick.   She came here fully prepared to take our twins away.   She expected us to be violent so she brought four policemen with her as well as two guys from Child Protective Services.   That tells me she had no intentions of leaving the babies with us.   I think she believed every word Cory’s father said about the neglect and abuse two gay guys were inflicting upon two innocent male babies,” I said heatedly.   “I think she even hoped to have us arrested and thrown in jail.   Why would she bring the police with her if that wasn’t her intent?”

“Calm down, Glenn.   You need to give people the benefit of a doubt.   You can be so pessimistic sometimes,” Rick said trying to sooth me.

“I have to think everyone is out to get me because I have found it to be true especially when it comes to some straight people I have met.   They fear us, Rick.   They really do!   They believe everything they are told by the religious zealots who are lobbying your government to pass laws against us.   Some of the things we are accused of doing are so preposterous that only a half-wit would believe it but I have heard such ignorant statements come from the mouths of some of the supposedly intelligent people who are running for office,” I said.

Rick interrupted me, “Glenn, can we get back to talking about what happened today?”

“Yes, but I need to ask you one more question, did you know there are more religious lobbyists in Washington, DC, than there are for any other group or activist cause?   Why do you think so many of your politicians sign pledges to keep gays from marrying each other?   Those very same lobbyists are contributing heavily to the election campaigns of those very same politicians.   Money talks, Rick!   There is no freedom of religion here even though your country was founded on that principle because so many religious organizations spend their adherents’ donations on buying votes instead of caring for the poor and needy while at the same time they preach hatred and violence against gays from the pulpit,” I said.

Rick said, “I am not arguing with you about it, Glenn.   We have had this discussion before.   Not all religious organizations waste their money on political activities.”

“Now, look who is defending religious groups,” I said.

Rick said sternly, “Stop, Glenn!   I don’t want to argue about religion with you tonight.”   He paused and looked me in the eyes, “Why do you think Mrs. Evans is anti-gay?”

“Like I said before, I think she believed every word Vincent told her because we are gay.   In any other situation, she would have discounted everything he said instead of calling out the cavalry to come save the poor innocent babies from the clutches of the vile and heartless monsters we are supposed to be according to this country’s beloved and trusted religious leaders,” I said.

“So if that is true why didn’t she follow through with her original intent?” Rick asked pointedly.  

“I think that Officer Prentky’s investigation into Vincent’s call to Cory is the only thing that stopped her from taking them from us,” I said.

“I don’t think that is the case, sweetheart.   She didn’t know they knew the identity of the informant that called social services until after she had already told the CPS guys she didn’t need them,” Rick said.   “But it doesn’t matter, Babe.   The twins are here with us and we shouldn’t be hearing from Mrs. Evans anytime soon.”

“I hope you are right.   I just have this bad feeling about her,” I said.

Rick gave me that “look” and I responded to it, “I am sorry.   I can’t help it.”

Instead of answering me, Rick pulled me close and whispered, “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” I responded.   I fell silent still thinking that we hadn’t seen the last of the Gestapo as I had come to think of Mrs. Evans and her retinue of foot soldiers.   I finally started to relax and put my head on Rick’s chest.   It wasn’t long before I drifted off listening to his steady heartbeat.

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