Marco, Marty and the Twins

by Nick Brady

Chapter 24

Copyright © 2016 – 2016 by Nick Brady, all rights reserved.

The morning sun raised the temperature inside the little tent and roused Brian and Noah from sleep. Their legs were entwined and their naked bodies were damp with sweat in the warm August air. The night before had been one of discovery. Now in the light of morning they stretched and began to sort themselves out. While neither had any regrets about what had transpired, the experience was still new and somewhat unexpected. They decided to shift to a more familiar topic.

"You hungry?" Noah asked.

"Yeah, actually I'm starved. How far is it back to that cafe?"

"Not far at all. How about we get dressed and ride over for some breakfast then come back for a little while. It's kind of early to ride home."

"Sounds like a plan to me. Our clothes should be dry by now." Brian stood and reached up on top of the tent to grab the bike clothes that had been tossed there the evening before and pulled them inside.

They lay on their backs, pulled their bike shorts on over their morning erections and hobbled to the side of the campsite to empty their straining bladders, then sat at the picnic table and put on jerseys, socks and shoes.

"Will our stuff be OK in the tent?" Brian asked.

"I think so. We're wearing everything valuable. It looks pretty quiet here."

They got on their bikes and rode back to the cafe. There were a few fishermen inside drinking coffee so they went out to a table on the dock to sit in the sun and breathe in the morning air. The waitress brought out coffee and menus. "Ready for some breakfast?" she asked.

"How about some pancakes?" Brian suggested.

"That sounds pretty good, maybe with bacon?" Noah agreed.

"Coming up." she smiled.

"Make mine with peanut butter," Brian said.

"Peanut butter?" Noah asked.

"Sure. Peanut butter is great on pancakes."

"I'll have the same."

"Life in the fast lane," Brian grinned.

They sat quietly and looked out at the water while they waited for their breakfast. The girl brought out two plates of pancakes and bacon, a bottle of syrup and a tub of peanut butter, then refilled their coffee. "Anything else?" she asked.

"Not right now, thanks," Noah told her.

They tucked into their pancakes and ate without conversation. The cakes were pretty good.

Noah leaned back and sipped his coffee. "You OK with last night?"

Brian nodded. "Yeah, I'm OK."

"Well, I hope I didn't push you into something you weren't ready for. You seemed to have some reservations."

"Actually, I was more than ready for that. Why, are you having some second thoughts?"

"No. No morning after regrets. I just wanted to be sure you were OK with it," Noah hesitated. "I mean we will still work together at the shop. I don't think this should change anything."

"No, of course not. I think I can keep this separate from work. Can you?"

Noah paused. "Last night you were wondering if this would mean anything, I mean were we just goofing around or did it mean anything?"

"Yes?"

"I guess it meant something to me."

"Yeah, me too if you want to know," Brian smiled.

"I wouldn't mind if we did some things together," Noah said quietly, "I mean, if we hung out together."

"You looking to be friends?"

Noah smiled. "Yeah, I think I would like that."

"I could use a friend. I've been a hermit for too long."

Noah nodded. "Me too. I think I'm ready for that."

"Let's see where this goes, OK?"

"OK."

The waitress came out for their plates and poured them some more coffee. It was a nice morning and they were in no particular hurry. They sat and talked about little things and enjoyed their own company. When it began to get hot they paid their bill and took their time riding back to the campsite. They rambled around through the park and over the dam. Halfway across the dam they stopped to look out over the lake, then on the other side to watch the water rush through the spillway.

"This is a big lake," Brian observed.

"It has over 300 miles of shoreline," Noah told him.

"Really? It doesn't look that big."

"Well, that counts all the little creeks and inlets formed when the water backed up into the hills. The Corps of Engineers dammed up the Arkansas River for flood control and power generation back in the 70's to form the lake."

"How do you know so much about Keystone?"

"Wikipedia," Noah grinned. "Plus, I like to ride over here. It's pretty close to Tulsa. There are a lot of bike trails. Want to check some of them out? Some of the trails are pretty smooth. There are a number of short trails but most of them interconnect."

"Sure. Can I do them on the Shimano? This isn't really a trail bike."

"Your Shimano is really a road bike," Noah told him. "We can probably borrow something with fatter wheels from the shop if you want to get a little more adventurous."

"Adventure is good," Brian agreed. "I'll follow you."

Noah took off and led Brian over several miles of bike trails. They stopped at one point on a bluff looking out over the lake for a nice view then spent several hours riding and admiring the woods and trails, ending back at their campsite.

They sat down on the picnic table and looked out over the lake. It was warm but there was a little breeze coming over the water.

"Did you say you wanted to do some fishing?" Brian asked.

"I said that, but I didn't bring any fishing tackle."

"I did. Want to try your luck?"

"Did you bring a fishing pole?"

"No, but a Scout is always prepared." Brian took a small paper package from his rucksack and

pulled out a spool of nylon line and a packet of hooks and sinkers. "Here is all we need."

"Really?"

"Sure. Go find us some grasshoppers while I rig this up and we'll be in business."

Noah shrugged, dug a paper cup out of the trash bin and walked out in the grass to snatch up some of the ever-present grasshoppers there. By the time he returned Brian had cut several willow switches and tied a length of line to the ends affixing a small hook and sinker to them. He emptied out his rucksack on the picnic table and slung it over his shoulder. He handed one of the switches to Noah, instructed him to hook up a grasshopper and they walked out into the water until they were about waist deep. He folded the top of the cup over and stuck it into the waist of his shorts.

Brian flipped his grasshopper out into the water and grinned at Noah. "Now fish."

They stood there for several minutes. Noah looked skeptical until something tugged at his line.

"Hey! I think I got something." He pulled in the line and found a small perch dangling from the hook. Brian calmly removed the fish, slipped it into his rucksack and handed the line and cup of grasshoppers back to Noah.

"Go get you another one," he instructed.

Noah laughed out loud. "Well I'll be damned."

By the time they ran out of grasshoppers they had half a dozen small perch flopping in Brian's rucksack and waded back to shore.

"Now what are you going to do with them?" Noah asked with a grin.

"Eat them for lunch of course."

Picking up some deadwood around the campsite Brian quickly built a small fire in the fire pit and left Noah to tend it while he pulled out his pocket knife then gutted and scaled the fish then arranged them on the grill over the fire. Flipping them over several times he broiled them to a crisp brown and set them on the picnic table.

"They would be better with a little salt, but they should be edible. Help yourself." Using his knife he deftly removed the meat from the bones and sat down at the table to eat.

"Not bad," Noah admitted and joined him. It wasn't a big meal, but Brian had made his point.

"I'm impressed. There is more to being a Boy Scout than I thought."

"Well, if I had been really prepared I would have packed a salt shaker. Maybe next time," Brian laughed. He scooped up the bones and tossed them into the trash can and rinsed his hands and pocket knife in the lake and sat back with a smile.

Noah looked at Brian thoughtfully. "There is more to you than I thought. I hope this is just the start of something nice."

"That would be good. I hope this weekend doesn't create a problem at work. I'm still working for you at the bike shop."

Noah shook his head. "I can keep that separate, can you?"

"I think so. But tell me, how did you know I'm gay? Do I give off some vibrations or something?"

Noah smiled. "Not at all. I took a big chance coming on to you like I did. I was afraid you would be offended. I guess I was hoping you were gay, but I wasn't sure at all."

"You must have had some idea. You were a little obvious," Brian pointed out.

"Right. Well I know that Wayne is gay and I got the idea that Marco and Marty are a couple so I figured you at least were not too homophobic if you are living with them."

"Are you under the impression that I might be doing stuff with them?"

"No of course not. That wouldn't fit at all with what I know about them."

Brian felt a little uncomfortable and somewhat protective of his family. "What do you know about them?"

Now Noah was feeling concerned that he had said too much. "Look, I'm a believer in minding my own business. But I've been working for Wayne for several years and have seen all of your family in the shop at one time or another. The twins came in with Marco when they bought your Shimano."

He took a deep breath and continued. "I know that your family goes to the same church as Wayne, I know that Sam and Ben are adopted and that your folks adore them. I guess I was kind of playing dumb about that because I wasn't sure how to talk about your family. From everything I have seen they are very nice people, all of them – you included. It never occurred to me that there was anything sexual going on between you and your folks, or with the boys. That just wouldn't fit. I apologize if I gave you that impression."

"Good, because Marco and Marty have been great to me. They are very open about their relationship but they made the boundaries quite clear when I moved in with them," Brian explained.

"Did they know you were gay before they took you in?"

"Yes, absolutely. I have been honest with them and they have been honest with me. I'm not sure that my orientation has ever been discussed with the twins, but it isn't an issue with any of them. Sam and Ben certainly understand about their fathers and are very accepting of it. They will set you straight really quick if anything is said about it."

Brian sighed. "Look, I need for you to understand something about me. I was rather badly abused when I was a kid and really didn't feel like I could trust anybody. Since I came to be with Marco and Marty, I have had nothing but acceptance and encouragement. It's like I got to start over. I'm not shouting out that I'm gay, but I'm not hiding either. If I have learned anything it's that I want to be honest about myself, at least to people I care about. The important people in my life know who I am, Marco and Marty, my scoutmaster, my priest, a few of my real friends, and now you. I just won't go back to being afraid and ashamed about who I am."

"Am I important to you, Brian?"

"I think you might be. It's still hard for me to trust people. Maybe I need to know you better. I guess I need to know if you take me seriously or if I am just somebody to get off with. I have been taken for granted and treated like crap for too much of my life and I'm not going to settle for that. I know that sounds harsh, but it's how I feel."

Noah looked down at the ground. "I'm sorry Brian. I realize now that I came on way too strong to you. I didn't know where you were coming from."

"In a way I'm glad you did. I guess it saved a lot of dancing around," Brian tried to smile. "Look, Noah, I like you a lot. I think we could be more than casual friends, but I want to start off right. If you don't take me seriously I would rather just work together and go for a few bike rides. Can you understand where I'm coming from? I know that's a lot to put on you right now, but this got serious a lot sooner than I expected."

Noah sighed. "No, I think I do understand. To be honest, I suppose I was looking for casual sex with an attractive guy more than anything. You have made me see myself in a different light. I have to respect that, but I don't know if I'm strong enough to live up to your expectations."

Brian touched Noah on the arm. "Just be honest with me, about who you are and how you feel about me. I really want to have somebody in my life, but I want to be very careful not to get over my head. Let's take it easy and see where this goes, OK?"

"Right," Noah shook his head, "One of us has to be the grownup, right?"

"It would be good if we both were," Brian smiled. "You about ready to head back home?"

--------------------------------

Sam and Ben were playing a video game in the living room when Marty nodded at Marco and motioned for them to go out into the back yard.

"What's up?" Marco asked. "You look like you have something on your mind."

They sat on the patio and Marty waited a moment before he spoke. "Actually, I have some interesting news. It didn't take as long as I expected for mother's estate to be settled."

"I thought those things tended to drag on for awhile."

"I did too, but Mom had her affairs in order. She was always very careful not to run up any debts, and I am the only heir to her estate. It was pretty simple."

"So how do things stand?" Marco wondered.

Marty shook his head. "Irene was very careful with her money. She had much more than I ever realized."

"What does that mean?" Marco asked.

"Well, the short story is that she had savings and investments of nearly a million dollars."

Marco sat quietly while that sank in. "Really?"

"I had no idea. Frankly, I'm stunned."

"Wow. And you are the sole heir?"

"Mom had a brother who never married. He passed several years ago, and it looks like I'm it. She had no debts to speak of and those were quickly settled by her attorney. I stand to inherit over nine hundred thousand dollars," Marty paused. "I don't know what to say. Once her house is sold it could well be just over a million."

Marco nodded. "Well, that certainly changes the financial picture. What are you thinking?"

"I've had most of the week to think about this. We're in pretty good shape financially. I'm making good money and your art is selling quite well. But we've been concerned about putting enough back for Sam and Ben's education. They are bright kids and it would be nice to be able to send them to a good school."

Marco nodded, "I think they would benefit from that. Not that there is anything wrong with the TCC, OSU route, but there are advantages to better schools."

"Yes there are, and knowing that they have that in their future will give them time to be better prepared for it. I'm thinking that we might want to set up a trust for them to be sure that the money will be there when they need it. God forbid that anything should happen to us, but you never know."

Marco nodded his head. "What about Brian?"

"I haven't forgotten about Brian. He has become like a third son to us. I would like to set something aside for him too."

"I like that idea. He is very capable and God knows, he has made the best of a bad situation. He could use a few breaks. If Irene's estate is what you think it will be, there should be enough to help him out too. Do we need to create some sort of legal relationship with him? At the moment he is just living here."

"Yes, that concerns me. From what little I know of his family, I would be concerned about what they might do if they thought he had some assets they would like to have a part of."

"Are you thinking that we need to legally adopt him? I don't know what he would think about that."

"I don't know that we would have to actually adopt him, but some sort of a guardianship might help protect him. I need to talk to the attorney and see where we are with that," Marty suggested. "Actually, he will be eighteen before too long. At that point it might not matter, I just don't know. This is all new information."

"Of course," Marco agreed, "we need to talk with him to see how he feels about it."

"Right. We need to think a lot of things through. This is a major change for us. I don't want to do anything right now until we have had some time to think and talk."

Marco hesitated. "Is this our decision or your decision? It is your money after all."

Marty frowned, "It is our decision Marco. We are in this together. You should know that."

Marco smiled. "Thanks for that. I just wanted to be sure, you know. Is there a down side to this?"

"I don't know. Financially it is a Godsend, but sometimes money complicates things."

"How do you mean?"

"When I was a kid there was an old TV show called 'The Millionaire'. I used to watch reruns of it. There was this guy, John Baresford Tipton who would randomly give a million dollars to somebody. The story was about how it affected them. Often it created huge problems. They would fight over the money, somebody would get greedy, begin to drink or gamble, you know, that kind of thing. It didn't necessarily bring them happiness."

"You think that could happen to us?"

"No, I don't think so, but it is something to consider. To tell you the truth, the first thing I thought about was maybe getting a bigger house."

"A bigger house?"

"Well, this has been a great home for us, but there are five of us now. We could trade up without much difficulty. I have been thinking about that anyway."

Marco nodded thoughtfully. "It's something to think about I guess."

"It would be nice to have a little more room, and it would really be nice to have a second bathroom."

Marco laughed, "I imagine we would all enjoy that."

"There are lots of things to think about. It's just an idea. We'll work this out, but the operative word is we," Marty told him. "Let's think about what we need to do before we talk to the boys. I want to be sure we're doing the right thing."

They stood, hugged each other and went back in the house.

Brian came back home later Sunday afternoon and the twins immediately pounced on him.

"Where did you go? What did you do?" they wanted to know.

"We rode our bikes out to Lake Keystone and found a place to pitch a tent. We ate at a cafe out there and rode our bikes around, that's all."

"That sounds like fun," Ben whined, "I wish we could have gone with you."

"There are a lot of bike trails out there. Maybe we can all go ride sometime."

"Could the Scout Troop do a bike hike sometime?" Sam wondered.

"Maybe. That might be fun actually," Brian agreed.

Marco caught Brian's eye. "How was your weekend with Noah?"

"It was good actually." Brian hesitated. "Maybe we could talk about that if you have time."

"Sure. I need to run to the Walmart for some groceries. Want to come along?"

Brian nodded and followed Marco out to his car and sat before driving away. "Is everything OK?"

"I think so," Brian said. "It wasn't exactly what I expected."

"How's that?"

"I can't believe I want to talk about this with you, but I want to be sure I'm on the right track."

Marco looked over at him and waited for him to say more.

"Well, actually Noah and I have more in common than I realized. It turns out that he is... well, he's gay."

Marco nodded, "and?"

"I don't know," Brian hesitated then looked at Marco, "I can trust you with anything, right?"

Marco nodded slowly. "Absolutely. You can tell me anything or you can tell me nothing. That's up to you."

"Right. I think I have to talk to somebody and I guess you're it, OK?"

Marco smiled, "OK."

"Well, Noah came on to me and I guess it felt right to me. We did some things."

"How did it go? Does it still feel right?"

"It was great actually. It has been a long time for me you know. I mean we didn't do everything, but we did enough. I guess my problem is deciding what happens next."

"OK?"

"You don't want to ask me about it?"

"I'm just listening, Brian. And you know I give a damn."

"Well, the thing is that I guess he was just looking for casual sex, to have a little fun, right? I'm not sure I'm interested in being casual. Somebody I respect told me that this sort of thing should mean something."

Marco smiled, "It's good if it does, but I am in no position to preach everlasting chastity. You are old enough to know what you are doing. That sort of thing is a judgment call."

"I appreciate that Marco, but I guess I want it to mean something. I don't want to just get off with somebody. I don't want to be used and taken for granted."

"Did you tell Noah you felt that way?"

Brian nodded slowly, "Yeah, I did. I told him just exactly that."

Marco smiled. "Good for you Brian. That could not have been easy."

"Actually it felt pretty good. It felt good to be totally honest."

"So how did he react to that?"

Brian sighed. "I think he was kind of surprised. He said he respected that, actually."

"So what happens now?"

"I don't know. I guess that's up to him," Brian turned to Marco. "I like him a lot, but I don't want casual sex with some guy. I would rather just keep on like I have been. I have a good life here with you guys. I'm not sure I need some casual sex partner to make it complete. Does that sound stupid?"

"Not at all. It sounds like a rather mature young man who is figuring out who he is and what he wants. That's not at all stupid. I could not be more proud of you Brian. You have my total respect if you want to know."

"Really?"

Marco nodded and smiled. "Really. I think you're doing fine."

"Thanks Marco. This kind of thing is hard, you know?"

"Yes it is Brian. You know, I think I just quit worrying about you. I think you are going to be OK. What else do you want to tell me?"

Brian shrugged, "I guess that's it. Thanks for listening."

Marco started the car and pulled out of the driveway. "Still want to go to the Walmart?"

As they drove back, Marco told him, "Marty and I have some things to think about. I think we are interested in your plans for education, college, that sort of thing. Have you thought about that?"

"I don't know, I would like to have more education, but you know.... I'm not sure what my options are."

"Well, think about it. You may have more options than you realize."

"Really?"

Marco turned his head and smiled, "Really."

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