Brian Goes To College

by Nick Brady

Chapter 10

Copyright © 2015-2016 by Nick Brady, all rights reserved.

They were all tired after the long ride back to Tulsa. Marco had sold all of his paintings and attracted a lot of positive attention at the big art show in Santa Fe. Marty had enjoyed the time away from the responsibilities at his office, and Ben, Sam and Brian had been helpful and had a lot of fun in the process. It was a great trip.

Brian decided that he should call Louisa to let her know they were home.

"Hi, Louisa?"

"Hi, is this Brian? Where are you?"

"We just got back from Santa Fe."

"I thought you were coming back on Wednesday. This is just Tuesday."

"I think we were all ready to come home. How was your week?"

"Oh it was OK. Mother is on a shopping frenzy to get ready for our trip to California next week. I've been tagging along with her. So what happened in Santa Fe?"

"It was great. Marco really did well with his paintings and we all ate too much. Umm, it's only seven o'clock, would it be OK if I came over? I have a little something for you."

"Yes, please do. I'm just sitting here doing nothing. I want to hear about your trip."

Louisa answered when he knocked on the front door.

"Hi Brian. Come on in and tell us about your big adventure," she gave him a quick hug and led him inside.

Cathy was sitting in the living room and smiled when he came inside. "Hello, Brian. Louisa tells us that you had quite a trip out to Santa Fe. You must tell us about it."

"Wait a minute until I get in there," Ethan called from his adjoining office, "I want to hear this."

Brian and Louisa sat in the wing chairs and looked at Cathy and Ethan perched on the sofa.

"It was a great trip," Brian told them, "We drove out on Wednesday and I helped Marco set up his booth. He took a big crate of eighteen watercolors. Then on Thursday Sam and Ben put on their powwow regalia to help attract attention, and Marco dressed in buckskins with a ribbon shirt. They looked very authentic."

"So how did it go?" Ethan asked.

"It went fantastic for Marco. He sold all of his paintings for more than he expected, and won some awards."

"Now, what sort of thing does he do?"

"Well sir, he paints in watercolor over ink drawing mostly and all these were of Native American powwow dancing. They were really nice, lots of color and movement. I haven't seen everything that Marco has done, but these were the best that I have seen. Several of them were quite large and very striking. He even left with orders from some buyers and thinks this was a big breakthrough for him."

"Oh, that's wonderful," Louisa smiled.

"That really is very interesting," Ethan agreed. "You know, I enjoyed talking with Marco and Marty after the graduation ceremonies last weekend. But I have to confess that I have never seen any of Marco's paintings. Did you say that he has some at The Gallery over in Brookside?"

"I know he shows some things there but I don't know what he has currently. Let me check with Marco and see if he still has anything there, OK?" Brian called Marco on his cell phone.

"Marco? This is Brian. I am speaking with the Carpenters, you know, Louisa's parents? They want to see some of your paintings and wondered if you still have some things over at The Gallery -- Not much there? -- Ok I'll tell them, thanks."

Brian clicked off the phone. "Marco doesn't think there is much at The Gallery right now, but he has some things at the house if you would like to see them, or I could bring them here for you to look at."

"Oh no, I wouldn't want you to have to do that," Ethan protested, "If you are sure it wouldn't be an imposition, perhaps we might drop by sometime."

"I'm sure that would be fine with us. Let me check with Marco and get back to you, by tomorrow," Brian promised. He glanced at his watch and saw that it was after eight o'clock, "It's getting late and I know you have to be in your office tomorrow morning. I should be going. It's nice to see all of you."

"Don't be in a rush, we are always pleased to see you," Cathy assured him. "Can we expect you for tennis on Sunday?"

"Sure, although I have missed the last two Sundays. You might have to start over with me."

"We will be looking forward to it," Ethan stood and told him, "and I will be looking forward to seeing Marco's work."

Louisa walked him out to the car. "I have a little something for you," Brian told her.

"Oh, a present? What is it?"

Brian took the silver pendant on a chain that Simon left for him and slipped it over Louisa's head. "Do you like it?"

Louisa took the medallion in her hand and looked closely. "Oh, it's a turtle, how cute. Is this real silver? I just love it, Brian. Thank you very much." This got Brian a bigger hug and another kiss on the cheek.

"I'm glad you like it," he said as he felt his cheeks get warm, "I guess I better be going."

"How was Louisa?" Marco asked when he came back to the house.

"She was fine. I told her family about our trip to Santa Fe, and her father was very interested in seeing some of your paintings. I told him what you said about coming to the house and I think he would like to do that. He is free this weekend, what can I tell him?"

Marco glanced at Marty, "We enjoyed meeting them at the Olive Garden. Do you suppose they might like to come over for dinner Saturday evening? I can show Ethan what I have here, then we would time to chat and I could answer any questions he might have. Would you be comfortable with that, Brian?"

"Sure, totally. That might be very nice."

"Why don't you ask if they would like to come over about six on Saturday evening and we will see what happens," Marty suggested.

Brian called Louisa in the morning with the invitation to dinner on Saturday. "Do you think they would like to come?" he asked.

"I'll have to check but I bet they would enjoy that," she told him, "After you left last night they were talking about Marco's art and were really interested. They had some nice things to say about you too."

"Oh, really?"

"Yes, about how charming and handsome you are. You know, the same old things."

Brian laughed, "I have them fooled I guess. So when do you leave for your trip?"

"We will fly out on Monday morning and I think we'll be out there about two weeks. With mother all plans are tentative."

"I won't be working this summer so I should have some spare time. Maybe we can do a movie or something when you get back."

"I'm counting on that," her smile shone through the telephone.

It was Friday morning and Brian sat on the sofa while Sam and Ben played a video game. Marty was at his office and Marco was at the studio that he shared with Mr. Vandergraff. Brian was not used to being home during the day. He normally was either at school or working at the bike shop. He watched the twins as they blasted aliens for a few minutes then realized that he was bored.

"Don't you get tired of playing that game?" He asked.

"No." Ben replied without looking away from his labor.

"It's different every time," Sam tried to explain.

Brian thought about a snack then realized he wasn't hungry. He watched the chaos on the video screen for a few minutes longer. "I think I might run down to Woodland Hills Mall to look around a little. Anybody want to go with me?"

Two heads looked up from the video game, "Sure, I'll go," Ben replied.

"Let me get my shoes on," Sam said. They were ready.

Ben lost the flip for the front seat and settled into the back to peer between the front buckets. "What were you and Louisa talking about?" Ben wondered.

"That really isn't any of your business you know," Brian replied.

"I know, I was just curious," Ben said in a hurt voice.

"Oh, that's OK, her father is interested in seeing some of Marco's paintings," Brian explained, "So Marco and Marty suggested that we ask then all over for dinner on Saturday so he can see the things that Marco has here at the house. That's what we were talking about."

"They were at the Olive Garden last Saturday, right?" Sam asked.

"Right, you met them then."

"They were nice," Sam recalled.

"So is Louisa," Ben grinned.

Brian smiled without comment.

They parked at the big mall and walked inside to look around. Ben darted ahead to look into some shop windows while Sam walked at Brian's side.

"Is Louisa like your girlfriend?" Sam asked quietly.

"Brian sighed, "I guess the answer to that is yes and no. We are good friends and we will probably do things together, but it's not like a big romance thing. We are just friends."

Sam walked along for a few more shops then asked very softly, "Is that because you're gay?"

Brian was startled by the question, "Why would you ask me that?"

"Well, I just wondered. I don't really care, Daddy and Papa are gay and that's cool. I just don't ever remember you going with a girl before, that's all."

Brian looked over at Sam whose face was that of concern, not criticism. "To be honest Sam, I don't really know. Maybe I'm trying to figure that out."

"Is Louisa helping you do that?"

Brian hesitated, "Yeah, maybe."

"Ben and me do stuff together sometimes," Sam said quietly.

"You and Ben do everything together, I know that."

"No, I mean we do stuff together sometimes, like sex stuff."

Brian looked back at Sam. His face had a worried look on it. "You guys are always together. It isn't surprising that you will experiment with sex too. That really doesn't make you gay."

Sam sighed, "I guess. We talk about it sometimes and wonder if we are gay too. I guess it's not that important, since everybody else in the house is gay."

"Would that trouble you Sam?"

"Not really, but it's hard to talk about. I mean not everybody is cool with that."

Brian smiled, "Look Sam, what you and your brother do is nobody's business but yours, as long as you don't hurt each other. I doubt that you are doing any more than most guys do at your age, it's just that your best friend is your twin. We all have to figure those things out for ourselves, but you know you can always talk to me about anything, anything at all, OK?"

They walked on a little farther then Sam bumped into Brian's arm and said softly, "Thanks."

Ben was back to show them some really cool basketball shoes in a shop window. "Man, I need those." The price tag was $140.00.

"Why are you telling me?" Brian laughed. "I'm broke. You will have to hit up somebody with money."

Walking the mall with empty pockets was limited in its appeal. They went back home empty handed.

The house was quiet. Sometimes Marco would be home before four o'clock, but probably he was working on some paintings with renewed enthusiasm after his success in Santa Fe. Marty didn't usually get home much before six. Now it was five. Brian looked into the refrigerator.

"I'm hungry but here is nothing in here," he observed.

"We left it empty so we wouldn't come back to rotten food, remember?" Sam reminded him.

"Well, we need to eat supper. I could fix something if we had anything to fix it with."

Sam rummaged through a cabinet, "Here is a package of spaghetti and a jar of Ragu. We could make some spaghetti."

"I could, and if we had a loaf of french bread and a head of lettuce I could make garlic toast and a salad. We have butter and garlic salt, and salad dressing."

"Yeah, that would be cool," Sam brightened right up.

"OK, I have about five bucks on me. Let me run to the Neighborhood Market and I'll be right back."

"Want me to start some water boiling?"

"Great Sam, we will knock this out in no time."

Brian walked through the living room where Ben was back to zapping aliens. "Where are you going?" Ben asked.

"To the Walmart for a loaf of bread and some lettuce."

"Can I go with you?"

"Sure, but I'm in a hurry."

Once in the car Ben asked, "What are you fixing for supper?"

"Sam found some pasta and spaghetti sauce. I reckon we are having spaghetti. I just need a loaf of bread and a head of lettuce."

When they entered the Market, Ben grabbed a basket, "I got this."

They tossed in the bread and lettuce. "Do you have any meat for this thing?" Ben asked. "That's better than just sauce."

"I didn't see any in the fridge," Brian replied.

"Well the bread and lettuce is pretty cheap, maybe there is enough for a little sausage."

Brian added up the cost of the bread and lettuce in his head, "It would have to be a small package."

"Go to the deli counter and just get a quarter pound, would that work?"

"Yeah, I think it would. Good idea Ben."

A quick stop at the deli counter and they were back at the car and on the way home.

As they entered the kitchen Sam had the water boiling. "Put some salt in the water and start the pasta Sam. I can brown this dab of sausage and get that going,"

"Don't you want to put some onions in with the meat?" Ben asked, "Daddy always puts some onion in the sauce."

"Do we have an onion?"

"I know where it is," Sam told Ben where to look.

"I can chop it up," Ben volunteered.

The chopped onion went into the sausage and Brian started to stir. "Chop up that lettuce can you Ben?"

Brian stirred the Ragu into the skillet while Sam watched the pasta and Ben chopped up the lettuce, then buttered and salted the bread and slid it into the toaster. It was all hands on deck for dinner.

Just as they had everything ready to go, Marco came in the front door. "Hey, it smells good in here, what's for dinner?"

"Spaghetti, garlic toast and a green salad, Ben called to him. We got your dinner ready for you."

"Do you now? Well it pays to have a bunch of Boy Scouts in the house. Anything I can do?"

"You can set the table," Sam told him. "Papa will be home in just a little bit and it will be ready when he gets here."

Marty came home just as Brian was wiping the pieces of onion and lettuce from the kitchen counter. "What's going on in here?"

"Dinner is happening," Brian laughed, "It's a team effort."

The table was set, the dinner was ready and they all sat down together.

"Did you fix this Marco?" Marty asked.

"No, all I did was set the table. Our team of chefs cooked this up. Dig in."

It was pretty darned good, they all agreed.

They let Marty load the dishwasher.

After dinner Brian's phone rang. "Hello? Oh hi Louisa -- They will? -- No it isn't any trouble. It was Marco and Marty's idea. -- About six o'clock? That will be great. Talk to you later, bye."

"The Carpenters have accepted our invitation for dinner Saturday night."

"I gathered that," Marco said, "I need to straighten up a little and lay in some grub."

"We need to give the house a going over anyway," Marty said, "We can get that done before they come. Sam and Ben need to straighten up their bedroom."

"Oh, they aren't going to see our bedrooms," Ben complained.

"It won't kill us," Sam admitted. "It won't take long if we do it together."

The twins trudged up to their room to put the dirty clothes that littered the floor into a laundry basket then made their beds and put things in their proper place. When they finished the room looked pretty good – better than before at least. They looked around and decided it would pass inspection, then stretched out on Ben's bed to relax.

"I guess this visit by Louisa and her family is kind of a big deal," Sam said.

"I think Brian really likes that girl. Maybe she is his girlfriend," Ben conjectured.

"I don't know, he says they are just friends."

"I wonder if they are doing stuff together."

Sam shrugged, "She's pretty nice, maybe they just like to hang out together."

"Would you be in the mood to do some stuff with me?" Ben asked his brother as he rubbed Sam on the thigh.

Sam grinned, "We jerked off already this morning."

"I know, but I'm horny again," Ben's hand moved over Sam's crotch to find something firm inside.

"You're always horny," Sam giggled, and unzipped his jeans to give Ben better access.

Ben pushed his jeans down to his knees, "Play with my pecker, OK? Your hand always feels better than mine."

It only took a few minutes for Sam and Ben to bring each other to orgasm then wipe their bellies with a soiled T-shirt.

"That was nice," Ben said. "I always like it when we help each other out."

Sam thought about his conversation with Brian in the mall. "Me too. I guess it's OK to do stuff, I mean we do everything else together, why not jerk off?"

Ben grinned, "Maybe that's one of the fun things about being a twin."

Saturday afternoon Marty put together a nice salad while Marco started grilling a couple of chickens and some polish sausages in the back yard. Brian snapped green beans and boiled them with little red potatoes then tossed them with seasoned butter. Sam and Ben were in charge of baking some frozen biscuits. An apple pie from the corner bakery was on the counter. It was a family effort.

"The Carpenters are very nice people and I'm sure you boys will be on your best behavior, right? Dr. Carpenter is coming over here mainly to look at some of my paintings and he will want to talk about them."

With a knock at the door, the Carpenters arrived right at six. "Hello, come in the house," Marty greeted them, "You are right on time."

"Not all doctors keep you waiting, we're hungry," Ethan joked.

"Please make yourself comfortable, Marco is putting the finishing touches on some chicken."

"We all helped make the dinner," Ben volunteered.

"Oh really, what did you do?" Ethan asked him.

"Well, Daddy grilled the meat, Papa made the salad, Brian did the veges, and me and Sam baked the biscuits."

"Oh really? Not everybody can make biscuits," Ethan looked surprised.

"Well, they are those frozen biscuits, but they're really good," Sam explained.

"I'm sure they are," Cathy laughed. "I see that dinner here is quite the family project."

Marco came in the back door with a tray of grilled chicken and sausages, "Here I come. I hope everybody is hungry. We don't mean to rush things, but it's better when it's hot," Marco told them, "Are we ready to eat?"

"I was ready before we got here," Ethan smiled.

The dining room table was set for eight and everyone sat down. Ben and Sam were safely tucked between Marco and Marty, Ethan was next to Marco and Cathy sat next to Marty. Brian and Louisa were between her parents.

"We are not much for alcoholic drinks," Marco explained, "I hope iced tea will be OK, or we have some soda."

"We all like tea, thank you," Cathy spoke for them all.

Food was placed on the table and Marty said their simple grace, "Thank you for this food, thank you for these friends, bless this food to our use and us to thy service. Amen."

"Rub a dub dub, bring on the grub," added Ben.

"Do I understand that you and Louisa are going to spend some time in California this summer?" Marco asked Cathy.

"Yes, that's right. My sister lives in San Francisco with her family. They are both musicians, he plays cello and she plays violin. They are in the Symphony there."

"That's pretty impressive. They must be very talented," Marty said, "and do you share the musical talent with your sister?"

"No," Cathy laughed, "She got it all. I took piano lessons as a child but soon found out I was not very good at it. But I could always beat her at tennis."

"She beats me half the time," Ethan admitted. "Brian is learning to play, aren't you Brian?"

"If you can call it that. I guess I'm learning though," Brian said modestly.

"You are doing better every time," Louisa came to his defense.

"There is more chicken," Marco offered.

"Really, I'm stuffed," Cathy said, "I must say, the biscuits were just delicious."

Sam and Ben grinned.

"I hope you saved room for a little dessert," Marty said. "We have a nice apple pie."

"Oh well, just a small piece," Ethan agreed.

"With a scoop of vanilla ice cream?" Marty asked.

Cut in eighths, there was enough pie and ice cream for all.

They moved to more comfortable seating in the living room. "You have a lovely home," Cathy looked around.

"Thank you, we found a bigger place when Brian came to live with us. We really like it."

"And you have a lovely family too. It was so nice of you to invite us for dinner."

"I believe our excuse for enjoying your nice cooking was that I was interested in seeing some of your paintings, Marco. Do you have anything to show us?" Ethan asked.

"Yes I do. Although I just sold quite a few in Santa Fe, I do have some things here. Just a moment."

Marco nodded at Brian who got up to help him bring in six paintings from the master bedroom, and stood them along the far wall.

"Oh, my! Those are just lovely," Cathy exclaimed. "Are those Sam and Ben in those costumes?"

"Yes ma'am, that is our regalia," Sam advised her. "We like to dance."

"Well I can see that you do. Oh, how unusual. What do you think about them, Ethan?"

Ethan was looking from one painting to the other with a quizzical smile on his face. "I think they are quite remarkable. There is so much movement there."

Two of the paintings were of Sam and Ben dancing with the roach headpieces on, their turkey bone breast plates swinging across their brown bodies as they spun around. Another was of Joshua and his hoops in a blur of color. The others were of the women's jingle dancers, and an overview of the grand entrance with a spiral of men and women of all ages.

Ethan had a lot of questions for Marco, about how he captured the moving images, how he applied the color washes over the ink drawing, where he got his training and how he decided to become a full time artist. His questions revealed that he knew a good deal about art and was very interested in what Marco had to say.

Marco enjoyed the incisive questions and tried to explain everything to Ethan's satisfaction. Brian, Sam and Ben were learning a lot as Marco did not normally talk much about his work, it was just what he did. They were impressed. Louisa listened carefully and asked a few questions of her own.

Ethan leaned back and looked at the row of paintings for several minutes without comment. Then he walked over to look at them closer, examining the interplay of lines and color.

"I think I like this one," he said, pointing to one of Sam and Ben. In this painting, the twins were both spinning in the same direction, almost as if their dancing was synchronized in some way, although their arms and legs were not in quite the same position.

Marco laughed, "I like that one too. I almost decided not to sell it. But I have those models under contract so I can do another."

"Yes, I suppose you can," Ethan laughed. "May I ask how it is priced?"

Now if Marco priced it the same as the ones he sold in Santa Fe, it would have been set at $3500. But he didn't want to ask that from the good doctor. "I need $750 for that," he said.

Marty and Brian knew what the other paintings had sold for but kept silent. This was Marco's transaction.

Ethan frowned, "Oh, that's too low. I have some idea of what things are worth and you have priced that much too low. I hope you didn't under price the work you sold at Santa Fe."

"Yeah Daddy, you got a lot more money for the others." Ben blurted out.

Ethan roared loudly, "Ben, you are an honest man. Now tell me please, what is the proper price for that?"

Marco laughed too, but did not change his mind. "I want $750 for that painting sir, not a penny less and not a penny more."

Ethan gave Marco a serious look. "I really wouldn't feel right about that. Are you sure?"

"That's my price. If you don't feel that's fair, you can invite us over for dinner sometime."

Ethan laughed again, "How can I refuse? Will you take a check?"

"Of course."

"How about some coffee?" Marty said and broke the spell.

They talked for a bit more then Marco wrapped the painting carefully and Brian walked with Louisa and her mother to carry it out to their car. Marco, Marty and the twins followed them.

"I hope you enjoy the painting. Do you know where you want to hang it?"

"I do, it will go in our bedroom I think. It will give me pleasure to look at your handsome boys and remember your hospitality. Thank you very much for a lovely evening."

"It was our pleasure," Marco told him. "We appreciate very much the encouragement you have given to Brian."

"Brian is a fine young man," Ethan remarked. "He will do well with or without my encouragement. We like Brian."

"So do we," Marco smiled.

They said goodnight.

After everyone was in bed, Brian lay thinking. Louisa was confusing to Brian. Here was this lovely girl who was obviously taken with him but Brian felt no sexual attraction towards her. He was very fond of her and pleased to be friends, but the desire to have sex just wasn't there. What if they talked through his feelings, then started with some kissing to see what happened? Brian was human, he would probably respond, but would that really change things for him? Human Sexuality is not a bi-polar switch, it is a skewed bell curve, with the fat end on the straight side. Not many are at either extreme end. The tension that Brian felt about his sexuality was almost universally experienced by young gay or bisexual men - even some straight guys.

Life could be confusing.

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