Chapter Thirty One – Danny Boy
After the Lerniers left, Purev sat down in the armchair next to Mr. Eccles and said, “I want to transfer to Edison High School. Do you think I can get my parents to agree to sign the papers?”
Mr. Eccles asked, “Does David attend Edison?”
“No, he goes to Hayfield Secondary School,” Purev responded.
“Then why do you want to attend Edison?” Mr. Eccles asked, with a puzzled expression on his face.
“Kyle goes there and I met several of his friends. They suggested that I look at the International Baccalaureate or IB program at Edison. Kyle is working on an IB diploma because he wants to study overseas. Hayfield offers the same Advanced Placement courses as Lake Braddock. In fact, Hayfield Secondary School is a lot like Lake Braddock Secondary School. David thinks it would be the same for me at Hayfield as it is at Lake Braddock. There is a Gay-Straight Alliance at both Edison and Hayfield but David hasn’t come out to anyone except his family,” Purev said. “If I went to Hayfield, I would have to pretend David and I weren’t boyfriends. I’d rather go to Edison where I don’t have to worry about accidentally outing David.”
“I’m not sure we will get any cooperation out of your parents but we can always try,” Mr. Eccles said. “Given the situation, the county may allow you to transfer without their permission.”
“Can we work on it tomorrow?” Purev asked, hopefully.
“Sure. We might be able to enlist the aid of Mr. Dickerson,” Mr. Eccles replied.
“May I ask you a personal question, Mr. Eccles,” Purev asked.
“Yes,” Mr. Eccles said, looking curiously at the young man sitting across from him.
“When did you first know you were gay?” Purev asked.
Mr. Eccles continued to peer shrewdly at Purev and said, “I first started to pay attention to other guys when I was in 7th grade during our physical education classes. I think it was about half way through that year that I decided I liked boys more than girls. Why do you ask?”
“David is in the 8th grade and he isn’t sure he’s gay. He asked me to be his boyfriend; but he doesn’t want to have sex until he’s 18,” Purev said.
Mr. Eccles gave Purev a closer look. “Does that bother you?”
“It did at first. I always thought that being boyfriends meant that you were having sex,” Purev said.
“I applaud David’s determination to wait to have sex. I think it is better to wait. I was about your age when I had sex with a guy for the first time. After that, I had sex as often as I could with anyone who was willing. I look back on that time now and realize how stupid I was, having unprotected sex with so many different partners,” Mr. Eccles said.
“If you had practiced safe sex, would you still have had sex with so many guys?” Purev asked.
“Maybe I would have; but I don’t think so knowing what I know now. It’s better to wait. I went through so many changes from age 15 to 20; mentally, emotionally and physically. Who knows where I would have ended up if I had been a little more circumspect in my behavior,” Mr. Eccles said.
He sighed and stared across the room at the photograph of himself with his life partner. Jerry had passed away barely nine months earlier. In the photo, he and Jerry were in their mid-thirties.
Purev saw Mr. Eccles’ gaze focused on the photo. He asked, “How did you meet Mr. Wallace?”
Mr. Eccles turned to look at Purev. “We met on a dude ranch in Wyoming.”
“In Wyoming? That’s a long way from here,” Purev said.
Mr. Eccles chuckled. “Yes, Purev, it is a long way from Virginia. I’m originally from a small town in Idaho near the Wyoming border. I was out of a job and heard that they were hiring men to take tourists on camping trips on horseback. I drove my pickup truck over to Jackson Hole and made the rounds of the different ranches until one of the ranch owners hired me. Jerry was hired the same day as I was. We both had been out of work and were desperate for cash. I was living in my pickup truck at the time. Jerry suggested that we share a place. When we tried to rent an apartment, we found the only thing we could afford was a one bedroom place. We rented it and Jerry took the bedroom and I slept on the couch. We weren’t home much as we were kept pretty busy all summer with fishing trips and other recreational activities.”
Mr. Eccles paused and looked over at Purev. He asked, “Are you sure you want to hear our story? I can get pretty long winded.”
Purev smiled and responded, “Yes, I want to know what it was like when you first met and when did you first know you loved Jerry.”
Mr. Eccles smiled as he returned to his narrative. Purev watched Mr. Eccles’ face soften as he remembered his partner and how they had first met. “Purev, I had never really been interested in women and had lived a very lonely life up until that point. I had drifted from one job to another over the years. My family had lots of money but I wanted none of it. I wanted to make my own way in life. My parents were very controlling and their money came with so many strings attached. I wanted none of their interference in my life. My siblings were ruled by them and they all went on to make much of themselves such as doctors, lawyers, and bankers. I, on the other hand, never amounted to much; at least, not until I met Jerry.”
“When Jerry shook my hand when we were first introduced, it seemed like an electric shock to my system. I gazed into his bright green eyes and I was totally swept off my feet. He had rugged good looks and a deep tan but it was his eyes that captivated me. He grinned at me and asked, “Cat got your tongue?” I had been mesmerized by his lopsided grin and the dimple in his left cheek. I finally told him that I was glad to meet him. I let go of his hand but I will never forget that moment. When he offered to get a place with me, I was overjoyed. It wasn’t until winter set in, though, that things started to heat up between us,” Mr. Eccles said pausing to see if Purev was still listening. Seeing his young charge was waiting to hear him go on, Mr. Eccles continued, “One night in December our heater broke down. Jerry tried to fix it but to no avail. We had a couple of blankets each but it wasn’t enough to keep me warm. I was practically freezing to death on the couch when Jerry came into the room and told me to get into bed with him.” Mr. Eccles mind went back to that night so long ago.
Daniel had lain on the couch trying to keep warm but not succeeding when Jerry had come into the room and said, “Danny, get your skinny rump in here and get into bed with me. I can hear your teeth chattering so much it’s keeping me awake.”
Daniel stood up and dragged his blankets with him. “I’ll add my blankets to yours.”
“Good idea. Now, get into bed before our balls freeze off!”
Daniel did as Jerry commanded and climbed in beside Jerry. Daniel avoided physical contact with Jerry as he pulled the blankets over himself. Jerry said, “Danny, sharing a bed means sharing your warmth. You can’t do that by being so shy. Get over here so I can get warm.”
Daniel had moved closer when Jerry reached out and pulled him into his arms. Jerry gazed into his eyes and said, “I’ve wanted you in my bed for some time now, Danny. I’m glad the furnace gave me an excuse to get you here.”
Jerry kissed Daniel with a fiery passion that surprised Daniel. When they had come up for air, Daniel said, “Wow! I’ve only dreamed of being kissed like that!”
“I’m happy to make your dreams come true,” Jerry said. “I intend make all of your dreams come true from now on.”
The memory of that first night tonight brought a flush to Mr. Eccles cheeks and a stirring in his loins that he hadn’t felt for some time. If nothing else, Jerry was a wonderful lover!
Purev’s voice brought him back to the present. “Mr. Eccles, are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine, Purev. I was just remembering the first night Jerry and I spent together. Jerry told me he intended to make all of my dreams come true. Purev, Jerry did that and more over the 46 years we lived together. We gradually moved on to other jobs and our financial circumstances improved. We lived in San Francisco for a many years until Jerry decided that we needed a change of scenery. That is when we moved here.”
“Did you ever get married?” Purev asked.
“Yes, we went to Canada to be married a few years ago. We had hoped to celebrate our 50th anniversary by being married here in the United States but that was not meant to be,” Mr. Eccles said, his voice thick with tears. He reached up with a feeble hand and wiped away the tears that had escaped and were running down his cheeks.
“I’m sorry I’ve made you sad,” Purev said.
“It’s okay, Purev. It’s just that I really miss Jerry. You don’t know how hard it is to be alone after 46 years. Jerry was and still is my soul mate,” Mr. Eccles said, looking to see if Purev understood what he was saying. “Do you know what I mean by soul mate?”
“Not really,” Purev admitted. “I’ve never really had a boyfriend.”
Mr. Eccles explained, “Well, Jerry and I were like two parts of one heart. We could read each other’s minds. People were amazed that we would finish each other’s sentences. Over the years we had rubbed away all of the rough spots between us; leaving us perfectly matched. Sometimes we would sit together on that couch barely touching but still very much aware of the love we shared.”
“Did your parents ever know about you and Jerry?” Purev asked.
Mr. Eccles shook his head. “No, they never did find out about us. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them. They never would have understood how much I loved Jerry. I don’t believe my siblings know. They are just as puritanical about things as my parents. In every house we bought, we would have separate bedrooms with a connecting door between them. That way when people came to visit us, we could go to our separate rooms and then use the connecting door between our rooms so we could sleep together. I always had to make sure to rumple up my bed to give the appearance that it had been slept in.”
“Are your siblings still living?” Purev asked. “They must be old.”
Mr. Eccles laughed. “My dear boy, everyone must seem old to you. Yes, they are in their 80’s just like me. Most of them are in nursing homes. Their children have put them away where they don’t have to worry about them.”
Purev asked, “What will happen to you if you have to go into a nursing home?”
“I hope I never go to one of those places. I want to die in my own home and I want to go suddenly; no lingering on in a vegetative state for me. I don’t want them to revive me if I go. I’ve seen too many of my friends end up in a comatose state or close to one. Our scientific advances have gone too far in preserving our bodies. They can keep us alive forever but once the mind goes there’s no turning back,” Mr. Eccles said. “More importantly, I don’t want to give red a cent to those vultures that run such places. They are like vampires sucking you dry until there is nothing left but an empty husk. I’ve seen too many families ruined because of the financial burden placed on them by the “friendly” services of the nursing homes and care centers.”
Purev asked, “What about Jerry’s family? Where are they from?”
“Jerry’s family never knew about us. In fact, I only met them once. Jerry always went alone when he visited his parents. You have to remember that when we became lovers, being a homosexual was punishable by imprisonment. We had to be very careful. Neither one of us wanted to end up in jail. As a result, we were very much in the closet as they say these days,” Mr. Eccles said.
“I’m glad we don’t have those laws anymore,” Purev said.
“No, but there are many more such laws that discriminate against gays,” Mr. Eccles said.
“You mean laws like those that prohibit gays from getting married?” Purev asked.
“Yes, among others,” Mr. Eccles said, glancing at his watch. “We should go over to see your parents, Purev. We need to settle the issue of their responsibility for your welfare. I’ve invited Scott to join us and he should be here any moment.”
The doorbell rang and Purev went to answer the door. Purev returned with Scott and another gentleman. Scott approached Mr. Eccles. “Mr. Eccles, this is Alex Porter. He is a family law lawyer that has some experience with gay youth.”
Alex shook Mr. Eccles hand. “It’s nice to meet you, sir.”
Mr. Eccles looked Alex over noting the dark brown eyes, dark brown hair, aquiline nose and a wide, brilliant smile. He was Scott’s height and exuded a magnetic, masculine aura that seemed to fill the room. He nodded approvingly, “I’m glad to meet you.”
Alex said, “Scott already told me the basics of the situation. I’ve taken the liberty of drawing up some paperwork, just in case we need it. Would you mind taking some time to go over the legal particulars before we go any further?”
“Certainly,” Mr. Eccles said. “Purev, please bring in the card table from the hall closet for Mr. Porter.”
Purev did as he was asked and set up the portable table in front of Mr. Eccles and then pulled a couple of armchairs closer to it. He took a seat next to Mr. Eccles.
As soon as everyone was seated, Alex began, “I have drawn up a document that we can file with the family court terminating Purev’s parents’ rights and assigning them to you, Mr. Eccles. Am I to assume that you are willing to be Purev’s legal guardian?”
“Yes, I am,” Mr. Eccles said.
“You will be required to pass several evaluations as well as a home study to determine that you are fit to be Purev’s guardian,” Alex stated.
“I’m aware of that,” Mr. Eccles replied. “I’m sure everything will be found to be in order here.”
“If Purev’s parents choose not to terminate their rights, there are several other options available to us,” Alex said. He outlined what they were; then he concluded, “The best outcome for everyone is for Purev’s parents to recognize his rights as an individual and to accept him as being gay.”
“I think we are all in agreement with that. Are we ready?” Mr. Eccles asked.
“Yes, we’re ready,” Scott replied.
The gathered their coats from the coat closet in the foyer and left the house. They walked the block and a half down the street to Purev’s parents’ home. They rang the doorbell.
A petite dark-haired woman answered the door. She opened the storm door and asked, “Yes, what do you want?” Then she saw Purev. She held out her arms and said, “Purev!” Tears were streaming down her face as she embraced Purev. She released him and said, “Please come inside.”
Seeing him standing next to his mother, it was easy to see where Purev got his exotic good looks. His mother was a very beautiful woman. She said, “Please come inside and sit down.” We followed her inside and into the front room.
“Thank you for bringing Purev back to me,” she said. “My husband has returned to Mongolia to be with his family. Otherwise, Purev could not be here. His father has forbidden Purev from entering our house.”
Alex asked, “What will happen when your husband returns?”
“He will be very angry that I have let Purev into our home,” Mrs. Javklan replied.
“Can we help you?” Alex asked.
Mrs. Javklan looked at Alex and asked, “How can you help me?”
“There are several ways. Let me explain,” Alex said. He outlined the options he had explained earlier to Mr. Eccles and Purev. “It’s up to you which course of action to take with regards to Purev’s future.”
She looked at Purev and asked, “What should we do, son? I don’t know what will be the best way to help you. I want the best for you. Your father and I will work things out eventually; but for the immediate future you need a safe place to be where you can prosper. ”
Purev replied, “I think letting me stay with Mr. Eccles will be the best thing for now; but I want to attend Edison High School.”
Mr. Eccles looked uncertain. “Purev, I’m not sure I can get you to school every day. I don’t see well in the dark. In order to arrive on time, we will be leaving in the dark every morning.”
“What if he stays with us during the week?” Scott asked. “We can take him to school in the morning and pick him up after he’s finished with his activities. Then he could spend his weekends with you, Mr. Eccles.”
Purev looked at Scott, “Thank you for offering to let me stay with you; but could we ask the Lerniers if I could stay with them during the week? They are already taking Kyle to Edison every morning. I could still come back to stay with Mr. Eccles on the weekends.”
Scott laughed, “You mean you want to stay with your boyfriend.”
Mrs. Javklan looked at Purev in surprise. “Since when do you have a boyfriend?”
“Since this morning,” Purev answered. “Mom, he is the most wonderful person I know. I’m sure you will like him.”
Mrs. Javklan started to shake her head. Purev, seeing his mother’s negative reaction, said, “Mom, I promise we aren’t having sex. David’s parents are very strict about that.”
Mrs. Javklan’s expression of concern still did not change despite Purev’s reassurance that nothing untoward was going on between he and David. “What are his parents like?”
Scott said, “Mrs. Javklan, they are the most wonderful people in the world. They have a great family. They have four boys and one girl. As Purev has said, they run a pretty tight ship. That is to say, they have rules and expect their children to abide by them.”
Mrs. Javklan said, “I need to meet them before I will agree to permit Purev to stay with them. Mr. Eccles I have known for many years. He is very respectable and won’t lead Purev astray.” She noted Scott’s frown of disapproval and quickly added, “I’m sure your friends are good people. It’s just that I don’t know them.”
Mr. Eccles said, “They are returning to my home tonight to have dinner with us. Maybe you would like to join us as well. That way you can get to know them.”
Mrs. Javklan replied, “That would be good, Mr. Eccles. What time should we be at your home?”
“I told them to come at 6 PM,” he replied.
Mrs. Javklan looked at Alex, “I think we should let Purev live with Mr. Eccles for now. I will sign the appropriate documents authorizing Mr. Eccles to act on my behalf with regards to Purev’s welfare. If we decide Purev is to stay with someone else during the week, we can give them the appropriate documents.”
Alex nodded his head in agreement. “That sounds reasonable.” He pulled out several documents from his briefcase and handed them to her. “You will need to sign these in the presence of a notary and then give them to Mr. Eccles.”
Mrs. Javklan asked, “Where can I find a notary?”
Alex answered, “Most banks have a notary or the local UPS store. Sometimes there are individuals who are part of your neighborhood association who are notaries as well.”
Scott said, “My office assistant is a notary. You could come by the office on Monday and we could notarize your documents for you. You will need to bring a witness with you or I can get my husband to serve as a witness.” Mrs. Javklan looked at Scott with raised eyebrows. Scott smiled and said, “Yes, I’m married to my life partner.”
Mrs. Javklan smiled, “It seems I’m surrounded by gay men.”
Alex said, “Not quite. I’m straight. I have a wife and three children at home. However, I have the greatest respect for Scott and Alonzo. They are good people. The same goes for their friends. Purev would do well to emulate them. Scott is a lawyer and Alonzo is a registered nurse.”
Mrs. Javklan looked at Scott. “What about your friends? What do they do for a living?”
Scott responded, “Rick works as a defense contractor at the Pentagon. Glenn home schools their twins, teaches music lessons and does computer programming when our friend, Todd, needs an extra set of hands to complete a project.”
Purev interjected with excitement, “Mom, Todd’s married to Zachary Anderson-Ingram, the hockey player. You know the one who plays for the Washington Capitals.”
Mrs. Javklan looked at Purev in disbelief. “Are you sure?”
Scott answered her, “Yes, Zach plays for the Capitals. He’s married to Todd and they have twin boys.”
Mrs. Javklan’s amazement was still evident in her expression. “Your father will be absolutely stunned to find out his favorite hockey player is married to another man.”
Purev said, “You mean he will be very angry and won’t watch another Capitals game because he is so homophobic.”
“Unfortunately, that is correct,” she agreed.
Scott said, “Maybe he will change over time.”
Purev shook his head and said, “I don’t think so. Dad is pretty stubborn.”
“Purev, you need to give your Dad a chance. He isn’t as hard-headed as you think,” Mrs. Javklan said.
Mr. Eccles said, “We must be going. If I’m to have dinner ready at the appointed hour, I need to get home.”
Mrs. Javklan rose to her feet. She walked over to Mr. Eccles and helped him out of his armchair. She proceeded to hug him and then she said, “Thank you for looking after my son. I was so worried. When you left a message on our answering machine to let me know he was staying with you, I was so relieved. My husband wouldn’t let me respond to your call or I would have let you know it was okay for Purev to stay with you.”
Mr. Eccles smiled and said, “Purev has been wonderful company. This old man needs someone young like Purev to remind me of the joys of life. I am very happy to be of service to him. You should be proud of Purev. He has handled himself very well given the circumstances. I foresee a great future for him.”
They took their leave of the Javklans and walked back to Mr. Eccles’ home. When they reached his house, Alex said, “Scott, I will talk to you later about any additional documentation that is needed.”
Scott shook his hand. “Thank you so much for helping us out.”
“No problem, Scott. It’s the least I can do to help. I hope things work out for Purev,” Alex said.
They watched him get into his car and back out of the driveway. Mr. Eccles asked, “Where is your husband?”
Scott responded, “He’s at work. When you own your own business, you have to put in a lot of hours to keep things running smoothly.”
“Why don’t you go rescue him from his labors and join us for dinner?” Mr. Eccles asked.
“Thank you for the invitation. I will do as you suggest. I know Alonzo should be just about finished by now,” Scott said. “Good bye for now.”
Mr. Eccles watched as the handsome young man climbed into his car and drove off down the street. He slowly shuffled his way back into his home. Once inside, he went into the front room and stood in front of the large portrait of Jerry. He spoke to the portrait, “Jerry, you won’t believe what has happened today.” He recounted the day’s events. “So you see, Jerry, things are getting better for gays in this country.”
He stood as if listening to a reply. He turned and walked into the foyer. There he saw his image reflected in the large mirror that hung on the wall. He looked into his own eyes and asked, “Danny Boy, are we starting to lose it after all these years? I know you’re very lonely but talking to paintings on the wall is pushing it a bit too far.” He shook his head and shuffled into his kitchen. He was rightfully proud of his kitchen. Any professional chef would have been very comfortable cooking in his kitchen. He pulled out the ingredients he needed and began his preparations for dinner. He hadn’t been motivated to entertain anyone since Jerry died. He had been lucky to even eat a slice of bread. He missed Jerry so much. All he wanted was to be reunited with him. But then he thought of Purev and blessed him for giving him a reason to continue living. If he didn’t live to see Purev graduate from high school, at least he could make sure he was provided for and would have sufficient funds to put him through college. He could do that much for the young man.
Kyle lay on this bed looking up at the ceiling when David knocked on his door. Kyle yelled, “Come in!”
David opened the door and walked into Kyle’s room. “Kyle, I need your advice.”
Kyle sat up and looked at David with concern. “What’s going on?”
“I don’t know what to do about Purev,” he replied.
“What do you mean?” Kyle asked.
“I mean I’m happy that we’re boyfriends; but I don’t know what being “boyfriends” really means. I’ve never had a boyfriend before and I’m not sure what to do,” David said.
Kyle said, “I haven’t had a girlfriend or a boyfriend. I’m just as clueless as you are, David. Have you talked to our Dads?”
“I’ve talked to them about having a boyfriend but I haven’t talked to them about what to do now that I have one,” David admitted.
“Well, let’s go talk to them,” Kyle responded. The two boys made their way downstairs and into the family room where we were sitting.
“Dad, David has some questions about boyfriends,” Kyle said.
Rick looked up from reading the newspaper and said, “Have a seat on the couch. Let’s talk.” Rick folded his newspaper and put it in the basket next to his recliner.
They sat down next to me on the couch. I put my book down on the lamp table next to the couch and turned to look at the two of them. “What’s up, David?”
David responded, “I don’t know what to do now that I have a boyfriend.”
Rick said, “Let me ask you a couple of questions. What did you do with Purev before you decided to be boyfriends?”
David thought about it for a minute and then said, “We talked a lot.”
“Okay, do you think you should stop talking to Purev?” I asked.
“No, but what do we do?” David asked, again.
“Do you mean like going out on dates or something like that?” I asked.
David nodded. “How can we go on dates when neither of us can drive?”
“I think you should go on group dates like I do,” Kyle said. “It’s much more fun to be around a bunch of people.”
David cringed. “I hate being around a lot of people. They make me anxious.”
“I know,” Kyle said. “But you need to learn to tolerate being around groups of people. It’s just how things are.”
I met Rick’s gaze and smiled. Kyle was repeating to David the very same things Rick and I had discussed with David on several occasions. David seemed to be listening to his brother. I turned back to David. “I agree with Kyle. It would better for you if you went on group dates or at least did things together with other people.”
“What if we just want to be alone?” David asked.
Rick said, “I’m sure you will have plenty of opportunities to be alone with Purev. We let him sleep in your room last night didn’t we?”
David nodded his head. “I guess you’re right. Maybe I’m worrying too much.”
I nodded my head in agreement. “The best thing for you to do is to be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. If hanging out playing video games and just talking is your thing, that’s okay.”
David smiled and said, “I think Purev likes doing the same things I do.”
Kyle laughed. “Do you mean he likes to play video games and just talk?”
“Yes. But he likes to listen to the same music and reads the same books. He’s into science and exploring things,” David said.
I interrupted him, “Before you continue enumerating Purev’s many virtues, let me just say that I’m impressed with him and I think he will be good for you David.”
David looked at me in surprise. “Daddy, how can Purev be good for me?”
“He will help you to become more comfortable around people,” I said. I could see David processing that piece of information. He sat gazing at me until I asked, “Do you see how that will help you?”
David nodded his head. “Yes, I do.”
My cell phone rang and I pulled it out of my pocket. I answered it.
“Hey Scott! What’s up with you?”
Scott said, “I’ve got a question for you and Rick. Would you consider letting Purev live with you during the week? He wants to attend Edison but Mr. Eccles lives too far away to get him there on time. He would go back to Mr. Eccles place every weekend.”
I said, “Hang on for a moment.” I looked over at Rick and I asked, “What do you think about Purev living here with us during the week?”
Rick smiled at David. “I think that David would be ecstatic! I don’t have a problem with that as long as he agrees to abide by our family rules.”
I said, “Scott, Rick and I are okay with Purev living here with us during the week as long as he agrees to abide by our family’s rules.”
Scott said, “I hoped that would be your answer. Thanks. We will see you for dinner at Mr. Eccles’ house.”
“Bye,” I said and cut the connection.
David looked at me and asked, “Is Purev going to live with us?”
“I don’t know, David. All I know is that Scott asked if we would be willing to have Purev here with us,” I replied.
“If Purev does live with us, we will have to put bunk beds in your room, David,” Rick said.
David said, “I have a trundle bed already, Dad. Do we really need to have a bunk bed?”
“Yes, I don’t want you to have an excuse for you two to be sleeping together every night,” Rick said. Rick put up his hand to forestall David’s protest. “I know you have a trundle bed. However, I know that sometimes it’s a real pain to have to pull it out every night. It will be much more convenient if you have bunk beds.”
David sighed and said, “Okay.”
But I could tell he wasn’t happy about it. “What do you propose we do to help ensure you don’t slip up and end up having sex with Purev? You don’t seem happy with the bunk bed solution.”
David didn’t reply. He stared at me with his back rigid and straight. Rick looked at me and said, “We will convert our office into a bedroom for Purev.”
David said, “Dad, I want him to share a room with me.”
“No, David, that is not a prudent course of action given your feelings for him. In fact, the more I think about it. I think it would be better if we ask the General and Mrs. Campbell if they would let him stay with them. That way Purev may visit us and spend as much time as he likes with you, David; however, he will have a place to go home to every night. We will still have a bedroom for Purev for overnight stays but it will be better for him and for you if he does not live here.”
David face showed that he was even angrier about what Rick had just proposed. David said, “Don’t you trust me, Dad?”
Rick looked like he had been slapped. He looked over at me and I said, “He has a point.”
“What do you mean?” Rick asked.
“David has said that he will honor our family rules. We are making decisions about Purev based on the assumption that David will not abide by those rules. Therefore, we are sending David a message that we don’t trust him,” I explained.
David nodded his head and said, “I thought you trusted me.”
Rick said, “I do trust you, David. I also want to protect you. I feel like I am deliberately placing you in harm’s way if you and Purev share a room. The temptation to have sex will be very strong and as you become closer to him, the barriers that are in place today will fall and you will be faced with choosing between losing his friendship or giving into your desires to have sex with him.”
“Dad is right about that part, David. Relationships are never static. You are either growing closer together or you are drifting apart. The closer the relationship, the more work it takes to maintain it and keep it healthy,” I said.
David said, “I hear what you are saying but I want to experience it for myself. I don’t want you to shield me from potentially getting hurt. How will I learn to trust other people if I never have the opportunity to take the risk that they will hurt me.”
David’s statement struck at the heart of the real issue we had about Purev. I was astonished at his perception of the problem and that he had articulated it so well. I guess I should be used to David’s keen intellect and his powers of observation. I looked at Rick who was still trying to absorb what David had just said.
“David, it’s not that we don’t want you to have the experience of developing a close relationship with Purev; we do want that for you; however, we also want to be there to guide you should you need it. I think that if we can agree that our family rules will be observed without deviation by both you and Purev, there will be a healthy environment for you to develop a close friendship with him. Your room is large enough to accommodate two twin beds. I suggest that we pick up another bed like yours for Purev. He will need his own dresser and a desk.” David looked at me with a growing smile on his face as he realized I was proposing that Purev share his room. I put up my hand and said, “Before you get your hopes up, David. I have two conditions. First, if we see that things have gone too far, we reserve the right to separate you two. Second, if things get out of control between you and Purev, you must promise us that you will come to us about the situation. It will be much easier for all of us if you and Purev will self-monitor and come forward to discuss things before they become issues or concerns.”
David nodded his head. “I can agree to those terms. They make logical sense to me.”
I turned to look at my husband. “What do you think, Rick?”
Rick looked at David. “Since you have agreed to our terms, we had better order Purev’s bed. We had to special order yours and it took a little over two weeks to get it delivered.”
David let out a holler and started jumping up and down. I looked at Rick and said, “I think that’s set the record for the amount of emotion I’ve ever seen from David.”
Rick laughed and said, “I think you’re right.”
David exclaimed, “I’m so excited!”
I gave David an “I can’t believe it” look and asked, “Really? I couldn’t tell!”
David grinned from ear to ear. “Thanks Dad. Thanks Daddy.” He hugged us both. He even turned to his brother and gave him a hug. “Thanks, Kyle.”
Kyle smiled and said, “I didn’t do anything.”
“Yes, you did. You told me to talk our Dads,” David said. “I want to tell Purev.”
Rick said, “Put that thought on hold, young man. I think we need to wait until we know what the situation is with Purev’s parents.”
David’s expression grew sad. “I feel bad that his parents kicked him out of their house. Nobody should be treated that way.”
“We agree with you David; however, sometimes things happen for a reason and we don’t know why until a long time afterward,” I said. “It’s like how bad I felt when Ian dumped me without even so much as a ‘good bye’ or a ‘thank you for the good times.’ If he hadn’t done that, it’s highly probable that your Dad and I wouldn’t be together.”
David’s face brightened as a thought hit him. “If Purev’s parents hadn’t kicked him out, I wouldn’t have met him.”
“That’s true,” Kyle said.
Rick stood up and said, “We need to get that bed ordered.”
“Shouldn’t we wait until we know for sure that Purev is coming to stay with us,” I said.
Rick grinned. “You’re right. See David? I’m just as impatient as you are sometimes.”
David laughed. “I learned it from you Dad.”
Rick nodded head and admitted, “There is some truth to that statement. I’m guilty as charged. I do tend to get impatient when things need to be done and aren’t moving forward like they should.”
The twins came running into the room. Cameron and Skye were chasing them. Cameron caught JJ causing JJ to squeal with delight. “I caught you,” Cameron said as he picked JJ up in arms. JJ threw his arms around Cameron’s neck and hugged him.
Skye finally managed to corner Josh and grabbed him. Skye said, “You can’t escape from me, you pirate!”
Josh laughed and said, “I’m not a pirate! I’m Peter Pan!” He spread out his arms and legs. “See I can fly!”
Skye grinned. “Let’s fly! Can you see Tinker Bell?”
Josh said, “No, but I can see Daddy!” Skye “flew” Josh across the room to me and sat him on my lap. Josh looked up and me. “I’m Peter Pan.”
I kissed him on the top of his head and said, “Okay, Peter Pan. I think we should play a game of hide and seek.”
Cameron asked, “JJ, do you want to play hide and seek?”
JJ nodded his head. “Yes. Daddy has to be “it” first. We get to hide.”
“Okay, I’ll count to 20 and you get to hide,” I replied.
JJ looked up at David and Kyle, “You guys play hide and seek, too.”
Kyle laughed, “Okay, JJ. We’ll play, too. I’ll get Ashley to join us.”
I covered my eyes and started to count, “One, two, three, four…Twenty.” I could still hear someone walking up the stairs so I waited until I heard them going down the upstairs hallway before I shouted, “Ready or not, here I come!”
I took the stairs two at a time and then opened the door to the twins’ bedroom. I could hear them giggling as I walked into the room. I leaned down and peered under their beds. Sure enough, there they were! “I found you!”
As I reached for them, they wriggled their way out from under their beds and ran out of the room. JJ looked over his shoulder and said, “We’re going to beat you back to base.”
I gave them a head start before moving into the hallway. “I’m going to catch you!”
They squealed with excitement and ran down the hallway to the stairs. I followed them downstairs and into the front room. I entered the room just in time to see them collapse on the couch. Josh said, “You didn’t catch us, Daddy. We’re safe.”
I laughed and said, “You won’t make it back to base next time!”
I continued my search and eventually found everyone. I tagged Rick, making him “it.” I held him in my arms and kissed him. “You’re ‘it,’ Babe.”
Rick laughed, “I’d better be ‘it’ for you, sweetheart.”
Kyle came up behind me and said, “Can’t you guys get a room. There are minors around here if you hadn’t noticed.”
Rick cuffed Kyle up the side of the head. “Respect your elders, boy!”
Kyle laughed and said, “Never, that would spoil the fun.”
I released my hold on Rick as he turned to grab Kyle. Kyle saw the look on Rick’s face and skittered across the hall and out of reach. He laughed and grinned. “You’re getting too old, Dad. You just don’t have the moves anymore!”
Kyle scooted down the hall and slid down the bannister to the bottom of the stairs. Rick continued his pursuit and eventually cornered Kyle in the family room. Rick said, with a big grin on his face, “It’s tickle torture time.” Rick turned to the rest of the family and asked, “Who wants to help me tickle Kyle?”
While Rick’s back was turned, Kyle slipped past him and out of the family room; laughing as he went. The chase continued! Eventually, Rick cornered Kyle in his bedroom. Rick shouted down the stairs, “Guys! He’s up here!”
I entered Kyle’s room and saw Rick and Kyle on opposite sides of Kyle’s bed. Rick said, “Kyle, you’re trapped now.”
Kyle grinned and said, “That’s what you think!” He made an end run past Rick’s outstretched hands and right into my arms! I held him tight as he tried to break free.
I looked into his eyes and said, with a grin, “I caught you fair and square, Kyle. You have to surrender!”
Kyle laughed, “Okay, you win.” He hugged me and then slipped around me and out the door.
Rick came up beside me and said, accusingly, “You let him go!”
I smiled at my husband and responded, “Yes, I did. He admitted that I had him.”
“But I didn’t get to perform my tickle torture on him,” Rick protested, grinning broadly.
I put my arms around his waist and kissed him. “You’ll have plenty of opportunities on another day. You’ve had your fun for today. We need to be going if we’re going to dinner at Mr. Eccles’ home.”
Rick glanced at his watch and sighed, “I guess you’re right, Babe. I’m just disappointed I didn’t catch Kyle.”
“You have to admit he’s faster than you are,” I said.
Rick gave me an injured look. “That’s not true!”
“It was today, Babe. Maybe tomorrow you can try, again,” I said smiling up at my sweetheart. I rubbed his chest and said, “However, I think you are already booked for a private performance tomorrow.”
Rick gave me a lecherous grin and asked, “Is that so?”
I nodded my head as I lifted up his t-shirt and ran my hands over his washboard abs. “I’ve filled up your dance card, honey.”
Rick closed his eyes as I pushed his shirt up and ran my tongue over his nipples. He murmured, “I thought you said we had to be somewhere.”
“We do but there’s time for us to have some fun,” I said.
Rick moaned with pleasure. He opened his eyes and grinned, “Let’s go.”
He grabbed my hand and pulled me out of Kyle’s room and into our own. He locked the door and pinned me against it. He gazed deeply into my eyes and said, “We just got a room!”
“I’m sure Kyle appreciates that,” I said with wide grin.
A while later we came downstairs to find the entire family watching a DVD in the family room. Kyle looked up and grinned. “You guys got a room!”
“How can you tell?” I asked.
Kyle stood up and walked over to put his arm around my shoulders and said, “Dad always marks you right here.” He pointed to a spot on my neck.
Rick laughed and said, “The young man is very observant.”
I blushed. Kyle laughed, “Daddy, you don’t have to be embarrassed. Dad loves you and it’s obvious to us. Besides, you’re married to each other so it’s allowed.”
Rick said, “Time to turn off the DVD. We need to be going.”
We heard the usual complaints about having to turn it off. “You can watch it later, boys,” I said.
We herded the crowd of children out of the door and into our waiting cars. We stopped at the guard shack to let Jeff know where we were headed and what time we’d be back.
We caravanned to Mr. Eccles house. We arrived a few minutes early and parked our cars in the driveway. I saw Scott and Alonzo’s car already parked there.
I turned around in my seat and said to the assembled children, specifically to our twins, “Remember to be on your best behavior.”
JJ said, “We will.”
Josh raced to the front door and said, “I want to ring the doorbell.”
Rick said, “Go ahead, Josh.”
He pushed the button and we heard the chimes go off inside the house. Purev opened the door and said, “Please come inside.”
We followed him into the front room. “I want you to meet my mother. Mom, this is Rick and Glenn Lernier.”
I shook her hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Javklan.” Rick did the same.
Purev continued his introductions. “These are their children, Kyle, David, Ashley, JJ and Josh. And these are their neighbors’ children, Cameron and Skye. Their dad, Zach Anderson-Ingram, plays for the Washington Capitals.”
The children chorused, “Nice to meet you.”
Mrs. Javklan said, “Nice to meet you Cameron and Skye. We like to watch your dad playing hockey.”
Cameron said, “We do, too!” Skye nodded his agreement.
“I’m sure you do. Rick and Glenn, you have a beautiful family,” Mrs. Javklan said.
Rick said, “Thank you. You have a wonderful son in Purev. He stayed with us last night and seemed to have a good time with the children.”
Mr. Eccles came into the room and announced that dinner was ready. We followed him into the dining room. Once we were seated, Mr. Eccles called on Scott to say grace.
Afterward, Mr. Eccles said, “Please enjoy.”
The meal was absolutely superb! Even the children commented on how good the food tasted. We talked about many subjects over dinner as we got to know Mrs. Javklan and Mr. Eccles.
Mr. Eccles suggested that the children might enjoy watching a Disney DVD in his private theater. The children chose one of their favorites and we left them in the home theater.
The adults settled into the front room with David and Purev joining us. Mr. Eccles started the conversation. “Rick and Glenn, I believe that Scott has informed you about some of our thoughts concerning Purev’s situation.”
We nodded our heads in unison. Rick responded for us, “Yes, he has.”
Mr. Eccles outlined the rest of the facts and stated, “I believe that we’ve arrived at a decision that will provide the best of all possible outcomes. Of course, we need your permission for Purev to stay with you during the week. I’m willing to pay of his room and board so as not to place an additional financial burden on you.”
Rick said, “We have discussed it and have agreed that Purev may stay with us during the week. He will share a room with David if they agree to two conditions.” He outlined the two items. Purev readily agreed to abide by our terms.
Mrs. Javklan asked, “What are your family rules?”
I looked over at David and asked, “David, would you tell Mrs. Javklan what our rules are?”
David recited them for her and then explained how we arrived at this set of rules for our family.
When he finished, Mr. Eccles said, “I’m very impressed. I’m sure your children are very happy to know what their boundaries are.”
Rick agreed. “It helps all of us because there is no question about what is permissible and what is not.”
Mrs. Javklan said, “I’m glad to know that Purev will have rules to help him to stay out of trouble. I am very happy to know he will be staying with such a wonderful family. I only wish I could convince my husband to change his mind.” Her voice broke as the tears started streaming down her cheeks. “I love my husband very much; but this time he makes my heart hurt.” We waited while Mrs. Javklan regained control over her emotions. “Purev will stay with me until we have made all of the arrangements for him to transfer to Edison. Then he will stay with you during the week and with Mr. Eccles on weekends.”
Scott asked, “Do you want me to contact Alex, Mrs. Javlkan?”
“Yes, please,” she answered.
Scott made the call. “Alex will stop by tomorrow.”
“Thank you,” she said. She looked at Alonzo and asked, “Do you like being a nurse?”
Alonzo answered, “Yes, I do. I love helping people.”
Purev said, “I like helping people, too.”
“Have you thought about becoming a doctor or a nurse?” Alonzo asked.
“Yes; but I haven’t decided what I want to do for sure. There are so many choices,” Purev said.
“It’s good to have choices,” Alonzo said with a smile.
“Yes, it is,” Purev agreed. “David and I are going to watch the movie.”
Mrs. Javklan said, “Okay, son.”
The two young men quickly disappeared. Mr. Eccles looked at us and said, “Thank you for your generosity.”
Rick smiled, “We are happy to help.”
The rest of the evening we spent discussing the particulars of Purev’s situation and what we needed to do. At the end of the evening, we bid farewell to them and loaded our children into our vehicles. The twins, both sets, fell asleep on the way home. The teenagers helped us bring them inside and get them into their beds. After everyone was settled, Rick and I sat at the kitchen table with a cup of hot cocoa. David came into the kitchen and sat down.
“Thank you for letting Purev stay with us,” David said.
Rick said, “You’re welcome, David. As we said earlier, we expect you to abide by our rules.”
“Yes, Dad,” David said. “I just wanted you to know I love you.”
He stood up and walked over to Rick. He gave him a hug and then walked over to me. “I love you, Daddy.” We hugged and David said, “Good night.”
After he left, I said, “I hope we are doing the right thing.”
Rick nodded his head. “I think we are. I have a feeling that Purev won’t be with us long.”
“What makes you say that?” I asked.
“I don’t know. It’s just a feeling I get,” Rick said.
We finished our hot cocoa. Rick said, “It’s time for bed.”
He led me to our room and we collapsed into our bed. It had been a very eventful day for us. I still wondered at Rick’s statement but eventually I slipped into a deep sleep.
Mr. Eccles lay in his bed staring at the ceiling. He felt energized and on edge. The discussions this evening made him feel needed and wanted. He hadn’t felt so alive in months. The prospect of helping Purev had given him a new lease on life. As he thought about the evening, he was overcome with amazement at the two gay couples he had come to know over the last few days: one with a large family and the other just starting out their lives as a married couple. If only the world had been a little more tolerant towards gays when he had met Jerry, they could have had a family just like Rick and Glenn. He had noticed the little gestures and the quick glances between each of the couples and knew of the great love they shared. It reminded him so much of Jerry and the little everyday kindnesses Jerry did for him. The thoughtful notes he left around the house, the quick kiss as he went out the door to run errands or his soft touch that communicated so much love. Tears watered his pillow as the emptiness inside his heart seemed to expand and swallow him. How he missed Jerry!
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