Logan's Living

Chapter 13

By Wayne Telfer

Reed stood quietly at the window of his room watching the morning sky slowly brighten, the remnants of the evening moon hanging near the horizon. It was a glorious sight on this first day of his new business life. The moon hung a couple of finger widths from the horizon, a sliver of crescent shape. What made for the oddly encouraging omen was the fact that the crescent was at the bottom of the moon. So here he stood absorbing the sight, his own face a mirror of Mother Nature's happy approval as he simply smiled.

He watched this glorious Monday blossom before him until the crescent began to slowly dip below the horizon. Finally, he sighed and turned from his window, silently mouthing a thank you to Gaia for her approval.

What caught his eye immediately as he turned were the two empty portions of his room. He'd been so busy the last couple of weeks that he hadn't really given the situation any thought. But after spending the previous evening with Peter in his marvelous room, Reed was ever so conscious of the echoing sparseness of his personal space.

'Hmm, I need to go see Taylor about a new computer for my room,' he thought. As he set about his usual morning routine he gave the thought due consideration, and he quickly concluded that his new home computer would not be set up to design websites.

That decision led to a more complete scrutiny of his personal space. As he dressed, he came to the sudden realization that the room felt...wrong. This confused him for several minutes as he returned to his bathroom to add some finishing touches to his hair. But as he looked at himself in the mirror it finally dawned on him what the problem was. It was him. He wasn't the same boy he'd been the last three years.

The boy that stared back at him was different. The eyes he saw were not the haunted, frightened things they'd been. Looking back at him was a boy that was excited about life once again. There was a new fire looking back at him...an anticipation of a new day...even a bit of wonder at the prospects for his immediate future. The two of them smiled at one another before he slowly turned and went and stood at his bathroom door, giving his room a critical review.

This space was dark and depressing. Here was the cave of a boy that was bent on hiding from the world. There was no life here, no fire, no anticipation. It was a very sad space that had no place in his life any longer. That became painfully obvious as the morning light streamed in through the open curtains. The bright happiness clashed here.

And that was the moment of epiphany for him. That's what was wrong! This was the room of a sad, lonely boy. He was no longer that boy and he needed to recreate his personal space to reflect the person he was today. And he knew precisely how to make that happen.

He suddenly realized that this was one of the reasons he'd so enjoyed the previous evening with Peter. That was a room that positively screamed happiness, anticipation...and fun. This room could depress a Ringling Brothers clown. Nope, this would never do. This room needed to reflect his joy in each morning, his satisfaction in the accomplishments of the day as he retired.

He exited his room with a smile. His smile widened when the first thing he saw was Phillip standing just inside Peter's room. His older brother noticed him and beckoned him over as he pushed the door slightly more open.

"You have to see this," whispered Phillip when Reed got in range.

As he approached, the smile on his brother's face got slightly wider. But what surprised him was the hint of moisture he saw in Phillip's eyes. Okay, that bore looking into. He stepped in just enough to see the room's interior and its lone occupant.

"The door was open a crack," whispered Phillip.

"Yeah, Peter asked me to leave it slightly open when I put him to bed," answered Reed in an equally soft whisper.

What they looked at was a vision of innocent joy. There lay the little boy. Surely it was similar to any other little boy at this time of the morning. But what made this a scene that could promote an emotional response was that the quilt that had rested at the foot of the bed when Reed had left last night was now draped over the small body. Peter had a corner of that quilt grasped in his two hands, just under his chin and despite the fact that he was sound asleep...he was smiling.

The two of them slipped back out into the hall after a couple more moments, pulling the door back to being just slightly ajar and headed toward the staircase. Oscar looked up at their entrance into the living room and smiled at the looks on their faces.

"Had a peek at your little brother, did you?" They laughed together at this.

Phillip began preparing his morning coffee from the service that was always present for them this time of morning, while Reed poured himself his usual orange juice.

"Dad, I'd like to move into one of the guest rooms for a little while," said Reed without preamble. That got raised eyebrows from his dad and brother. That, in turn, got a laugh from him. "That depressing hovel of mine has to go. I'd like your permission to bring Lucius in and help me make it into something more fitting."

"Liked his results, did you?" chuckled Oscar as the boys took their usual places on the sofa.

"He may be God's own definition of a flaming faggot, but his decorating sense is beyond reproach. I'd like to see what ideas he could come up with for my room."

"Let's just hope he doesn't lean toward the boudoir look," laughed Phillip.

"Ewww. Let's not even suggest that in his direction," laughed Reed in return.

They were about halfway through their morning drinks when Patricia came slowly into the room looking a bit stunned. She paused when she saw their concerned looks and smiled. "That is one sweet little boy," she said with some awe and considerable affection as she caressed her cheek. "He'll be down shortly. Breakfast is nearly ready."

Five minutes later, Peter came bounding down the stairs and ran into the living room, making a b-line for Oscar. "Good morning, Dad!"

"Good morning, son. Did you sleep well?"

"It was the best!"

"There's juice over there on the table if you'd like a glass."

"Oh, neat!" His first task, though, was to step over and hug and kiss his brothers. Only then did he step over to the table and try to pick up the pitcher of orange juice. "Ooh, that's heavy."

Phillip got up. "Would you like some help there, little brother?"

"Yes please."

They'd been called into breakfast just as Reed's cell phone chimed. He smiled as he glanced at the ID.

"Morning, Hunk."

"Ooh," said Logan from the other end. "I like the sound of that. Morning, Reed. You working today?"

"You know I am. I can't wait to get it all started."

"Want me stop by for lunch?"

"You know I do. What'll we do for it?"

"I'll pick up Gyros today...for three. Arlene will be there, right?"

"Yes, she will. But what the hell is a year-oh?"

"Greek food, spelled G-Y-R-O. You'll love it, trust me."

"I'll take your word for it. Hey, let me say good morning to Mom."

There was a moment of silence. "Good morning, dear."

"Good morning, Mom. I was wondering if it'd be all right for Benny to spend the day with me at the store. I'd like him to look over the computer I bought for his use to make sure it has everything he'll need."

"Why are you asking me?"

"Because Mom might have had some plans today for her and Benny and I'm not going to be the one to spoil plans."

"That's very sweet dear. It's fine. I'll let you ask him."

"Thanks, Mom." He paused a moment. "I love you."

"Ah, Reed, I love you too. Goodbye, here's Benny."

There was the obvious transfer. "Hey, Reed! What's up?"

"Wanna come to work with me? I want your opinion on the computer and a chance to start bouncing ideas for Taylor's and the flower shop web sites."

The silence was testament to his shock. "Gees, Reed, you really meant it."

Reed chuckled to himself. "Yes, little brother, I meant it...every word. So how bout it? I can pick you up in an hour."

"Uh, what should I wear?"

"Casual, comfortable clothes. We're not opening for a week. Today starts all the preparation work."

"I'll be ready. Uh...thanks, Reed."

"Hey, we'll have fun. Now let me talk to Logan again."

"Cool, Reed," was Logan's greeting.

He laughed. "So, you better make it Gyros for four."

"Yeah, I got that. So, see you at noon. Breakfast is ready here."

"Here too. Bye, Lover."

"Bye, yourself," laughed Logan.

He entered the dining room to find everyone already seated. "Sorry. Logan wanted to verify lunch plans and I had to invite Benny to come to work."

"Could I come too?" asked Peter.

"I'm not sure I have anything for you to do, little brother."

"I bet no one cleaned up after the party."

"I'm sure someone did..." he paused as he saw the disappointment on that little face. "But maybe they didn't do it good enough." He looked at his father. "Dad?"

"If you want, but I'll have to pick up Peter about noon." He turned to his youngest. "A lawyer is coming by today at one, Peter. He just wants to verify some of the things you've already said on the video. He promised that this should be the last time."

"Will you be there, Dad?"

"Yes, sir. And so will Mark Prentice."

And so began a brand new chapter in their lives. It was eight-thirty by the time Reed left home and nearly nine when he and Peter arrived at the Justice house. There was much hugging and kissing before the three of them pulled back out.

"Where's Logan?" asked Reed, knowing full well that the shop didn't open until ten.

"He said something about wanting to get an early start this morning," answered Benjamin.

As for Logan, he was having the time of his life; one full hour to go through the coolers. He pulled half a dozen from the displays and set them at various stations. Two of them were toast, so he set an empty matching vase next to it. The rest simply needed some of the blooms replaced. So he pulled the necessary replacements and stuck them in a random vase with water next to the display piece. Once that was done, he went back out into the lobby and began watering as necessary and checking cooler temps.

Ralph walked through the door at quarter to ten. "Well, well, aren't you the ambitious one," he laughed.

"Morning, partner. Thought I'd get a jump on the coolers after the weekend away."

"Well, I'm glad one of us has the energy," laughed Ralph. Then he stopped dead as he got a look at the work stations. "My goodness. Aren't you the organized one."

Just then, Martha and Jake stepped through the back door...and paused, seeing the stations. Jake leaned over to Martha, "No question how we're beginning our week," he chuckled.

"Maybe he'll let us put our purses down first," laughed Martha.

"This, my dear, is a male tote, not a purse," Jake frowned. Then he looked pointedly at Martha's bag. "Well, maybe...it does seem that our luggage is the same size."

Martha got an evil little smirk on her face. "I bet if we compared the contents, we'd find a lot of similarity."

"Uh...let's not find out," chuckled Jake, "I don't think I want to know."


Reed noticed the black Hum-V following them and was quietly thankful for the continued concern of the security guys. He wasn't so worried for himself and Benny any longer, but the problems for his little brother weren't concluded yet and he welcomed the sight of protection.

The three of them arrived to find Arlene just opening the front door to let herself in. The four of them simply stood for several moments just inside the doors and admired the space once more. The street outside was still in morning shadows, so this was the first time they'd really been able to see the space lit artificially without sunlight streaming through the windows.

"Wow," said Benjamin, "This looks even better than it did on Saturday."

They all spun around as the door behind them opened unexpectedly. Brad entered, smiling.

"Sorry, folks, didn't mean to startle you," he chuckled. "But we've still got some issues." He glanced down at Peter then back at Reed and Benjamin. "Afraid the surveillance is going to continue for a while."

"You mean because of Mister Roper, Mister Brad?" asked Peter.

Brad put a gentle hand on the boy's shoulder. "Yes, Peter. He may be in jail, but we don't know for certain that there aren't some friends of his still lurking about. We're not going to let anything more happen to you."

"Good," said Peter as he stepped up and hugged the big man.

As it turned out, the store had not been cleaned completely, so Peter was excited to have something he could do for his brother. The only problem they had is that there didn't seem to be any cleaning supplies or equipment. So Arlene volunteered to take Peter out to buy the necessary tools. Brad accompanied them, leaving Benjamin and Reed to begin setting up their individual work spaces.

They'd only been at the task for half an hour when the chime sounded that indicated someone had just entered the store.

"Oops, we forgot to lock the door," said Benjamin. "I'll go send them off and lock it." He was only gone for a few moments. "Uh, Reed, could you come out here?" he called.

Reed entered the showroom and stopped dead in his tracks, fear taking immediate residence in his body. There stood the contractor that had given Reed such a bad time. But Reed took a deep breath and calmed himself with some effort, for with the man were two boys. The older one looked to be about Benjamin's age, while the younger looked to be approximately Peter's. It was obvious that they were his sons, both having his general look about them.

"Good morning, Mister Stewart," said the man pleasantly, but hesitantly. "I'm not here to be a problem."

Reed took another deep breath and slowly walked out from behind the counter.

"Would it be all right if my boys had a look around while I had a few words with you?"

"I suppose," he answered, still too confused to be more pleasant.

"I'll show them around," offered Benjamin. And off they went while Reed motioned the man toward the sitting area.

The man started as soon as they were seated across from each other, the table between them. "First off, my name is Randall Sanders, but I usually go by Randy. Second, and more importantly, I wanted a chance to apologize."

He then spent the next several minutes explaining that he'd been a new recruit of the organization that had been involved in all the Boy Scout stuff. His actions that day had been a test of his resolve.

"Well, as I was sitting in jail that day, I had some time to think. It didn't help their position that no one came to my rescue. I was left to fend for myself. I'm still trying to make amends with my family. And then all the news coverage began about your friends. I recognized Mister Justice from that day." He sighed. "Well, that got me to thinking even more...especially when I learned that my wife was sympathetic to the issues." He chuckled. "It seems that one of my brother-in-laws is gay and I never recognized the fact."

Randy looked over at the three boys who were admiring the wood and counter. "And then out of the blue Albert tells his mother and me that he's gay." He looked Reed right in the eye. "My oldest...and I never guessed."

Well that finally got Reed to relax. The look the man had given his sons was one of affection, not distain. "Not all gay boys are limp wristed or feminine, Mister Sanders."

"Please, call me Randy, and I'm beginning to learn that I don't know nearly as much as I thought I did about the subject. You see, Albert has always been very good at sports...the rougher, the better. He's a star defensive lineman on his football team. I mean, look at him, he's all of fourteen and he's built like a truck."

"Most people don't understand, Randy. And please, call me Reed." He sighed. "I accept your apology, Randy."

Relief blossomed on the man's face. "Thank you, Reed. Thank you very much." He then looked around the space. "Charles did a bang up job with your store."

"He and Lucius were amazing."

"Ah yes, Lucius. Now there's a man that no one would doubt is gay." The man laughed lightly. "But his decorating sense is unmatched, I have to admit." He then got a troubled look on his face, as if he desperately wanted to talk about something.

Reed simply smiled at the man, having an idea he knew what. "Yes, Randy, we're gay." Reed was surprised when the man looked up and there were unshed tears in his eyes. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to shock you."

"No, Reed, I'm not shocked," he said slowly. "I sort of assumed as much." He took a deep breath and then slowly released it. "Actually, I was hoping it was true." That got raised eyebrows from Reed as the man continued. "I'm worried for my boy, Reed. He admitted that he's gay, but he also said he really doesn't know what it's really all about. Obviously it's not something he's ever discussed with any of his friends."

"It's probably just as well if he's into the sports. Most of his teammates would probably react badly to the revelation."

"That was my thinking. But Reed, my son needs some reliable guidance and I'm no help to him. His uncle lives too far away to be able to do the boy any good either."

"So, you're hoping that I'd be willing to befriend him and help him get his bearings." Randy blushed at the phrasing, to which Reed chuckled. "Randy, I'm not offering to have sex with your son. I have a partner. But I'm more than willing to answer his questions." He glanced over and saw the younger boy manipulating one of the computers while Benjamin and Albert stood off to one side, smiling at one another. "Actually, it may be easier than you think."

Randy looked over and saw the boys. He blushed again, but smiled. "Uh...yeah, I see what you mean."

It turned out that Benjamin and Albert already knew one another from middle school. All the news stuff had given Albert the courage to admit his homosexuality to Ben and they'd immediately got to talking.

Just then, Albert looked up and saw his father looking at them. He stiffened and blushed. Reed watched Randy's reaction carefully. What he saw surprised and pleased him. Randy's smile got slightly bigger and he winked at his son as he waved for his son to come over. Reed indicated to Ben to come over as well when he started to hang back in uncertainty.

When the boys stepped into the seating area Randy patted the sofa beside him. Albert sat slowly on the very edge of the couch, his body tense.

"Relax, son," said Randy as he put his arm across his son's shoulders. He then looked up at Ben and smiled, holding out his hand in greeting. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mister Justice. It's nice to have the chance to congratulate you for what you and your brother accomplished in Texas."

The younger boy stepped over to the area, sensing that something was up. There was just as much trepidation in his eyes as in his brother's.

"Come here, Eddy," said Randy as he scooted against Albert to make room for the boy on his other side. Once the boy was in place he put his other arm over the boy's shoulder and then ignored the presence of Reed and Ben. "Okay, boys, I've tried to be subtle about it all, but it looks like I'm going to have to be more direct. It's really very simple...your ole man has been an ass, and the two of you have born the brunt of my stubbornness. I've been raising you the way your grandfather raised me. He believed that life had to be lived one way and only that way." He sighed. "Well, your grandfather was wrong and so was your father."

Randy removed his arms and then reached down and took one of each of their hands into his. He then looked into his youngest son's eyes. "Does it bother you that your big brother is gay?"

"No, sir." He hesitated a moment. "I've known for a long time. He told me a year ago."

Randy actually chuckled at this. "Well look at that. My little boy is a better man than his father." He then looked over at Albert. "Son, you're gay. I'm willing to accept that...now. My problem now is that I'm worried for you. There is a lot of resistance to the life you're choosing. A good father is supposed to be able to protect his children. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about what it means to be gay. If your uncle lived closer I'm sure he'd be willing to give you advice...but he doesn't. So what am I to do to ensure my boy has the resources to learn what he doesn't know?"

Randy looked over at Ben and Reed. "We came in here today because I was hoping that Reed would know where I could direct you. He agreed to answer your questions, son." He laughed lightly as he turned back to his eldest. "But if I'm not completely mistaken, you may have found a resource of your own in young Mister Justice here."

"His...his name is Ben, dad."

Randy smiled. "Actually, I believe his name is Benjamin, son. But young Mister Justice has certainly earned my respect for the stand he and his brother took. That took a tremendous amount of courage." He paused and stared into his son's eyes for several moments. "The same amount of courage it took you to admit your homosexuality to your mother and me. I know you still don't quite believe it, Albert, but I'm proud of you for that. You had to be expecting the worst when you made your declaration."

It was clear that Albert was choking up a bit. He simply nodded at that last.

"Well, there's not going to be a 'worst', Albert. You do what's necessary to learn what all this means. Me...I have a lot to learn too...about being a better father. I've asked you mother to help me. That's why I'm the one that's taking you shopping for school clothes. She said it would be an eye opening experience." He laughed. "But I think even she'll be surprised by how our morning has begun. Look, boys, it all boils down to one simple fact, and it's something I haven't spent nearly enough time telling you. So here it is. I...love...you...both. And I'm proud of you both." He released their hands and pulled Albert into a hug, and then did the same with Eddy. It was obvious that this was a gesture he hadn't engaged in much with his sons. It was a bit awkward...but he was certainly trying.


It seems that the little Nazi organization really was taken out of operation. There was never any more harassment against the boys.

Logan and Ralph began expanding their business the minute Logan had his diploma in hand. Within three years they had four additional stores scattered around the country. These were specifically located to take advantage of major hubs for conventions and shows. They spent a lot of their time traveling between the salons, designing floral displays for each function their shops took on. They hired only the best of the best to make their designs a reality.

Reed's web business was an immediate hit. But he didn't do much with it for the first year, not taking on more than he could comfortably handle on his own. But once he too had his diploma there was no holding him back. He hired Benny permanently after his early graduation and between them, they became the premier builders of unique and stunning websites for their customers. Within a year of their combined efforts, Ben, having worked his ass off to graduate early, allowed the two of them to go international with their advertising and were soon traveling all over the world to meet clients.

Ben and Albert had become boyfriends immediately after that day at the store. It had lasted two years, until Albert had met another jock like himself and they'd become close. Ben accepted the change easily. He'd begun to believe that Albert wasn't quite the person he wanted to set up housekeeping with. Ben had met a hairdresser a year later and they were still doing quite well together.

Logan and Reed performed for the organization for a full year after that first performance with the three of them. It garnered each of them a bit over half a million dollars which was the nest eggs they needed to expand their business operations.

Peter became a happy and permanent fixture at the residence. He continued in public school for several years, Oscar believing that the boy needed to maintain contact with kids his own age. By the time he turned thirteen, however, Peter asked if he could begin being home schooled. He was becoming increasingly bored with the public schools. With all the support and encouragement of his family, Peter had become a stellar student by that time and wanted more of a challenge.

Peter graduated at seventeen and immediately entered college. It was at his graduation party that he'd revealed his plans for his life. He'd gotten everyone's attention by the simple expedient of standing on the coffee table in the parlor where he was surrounded by fifty friends and family.

"I've come to a decision about the direction of my life," he announced loudly, which had brought the room to complete silence. "These past nine years have been the best of my life. I've had brothers that have always looked out for me and helped me understand about all this confusing living stuff. But most of all I've had a dad that listened to me. He didn't always agree with me, but he always listened. He always had time to talk. He's the best man I know. So, to honor this marvelous man, and because I've always had an interest, I'm going to enter college this fall and begin my pre-med studies with the goal of becoming the best pediatrician I can be...like my father before me."

It took some time for Peter to accept all the congratulations. But finally he was able to seek out Oscar and found him alone in his study, nursing a brandy in the sitting area. Oscar had simply patted the cushion beside him.

"I'm very proud of you, Peter. But are you sure this is what you want to do? We've never really discussed my work."

Peter had smiled. "There was never any need to discuss it, Dad. I could see what it meant to you when you had the occasional chance to return to your first profession. I also saw what it meant to the boys and girls you'd see. They'd go in as frightened, abused children and come out happy and encouraged. I want to do that, Dad."

"Well, we'll need to sit down and arrange for all the finances of your education."

"No, Dad, we won't. Uncle Arthur had to be in Europe this week, so I told him about my plans when he called last week. He's already taken care of everything connected with my continuing education. You know how he is about his nephews."

Oscar had chuckled. Yes, that was definitely like Arthur.

"I think he's making more of an effort for me though, like he has with Benny. Neither of us chose to go into the side business, so we haven't had the same money making opportunities of our older brothers."

Oscar nearly fainted. "Uh, what?"

Peter laughed and hugged his dad tight. "Oh, come on Dad. Did you really think Benny and I could live so closely to all of you and not notice something? Benny and I noticed years ago that you'd all disappear a couple times a month and be out of touch with everyone for several hours."

Oscar could only sit there stunned.

"Benny and I finally confronted our older brothers about it, because it had been driving us crazy. That was last year. I mean, it hadn't happened in quite a few years, but the two of us still thought about it. So, they told us the whole truth."


"And what? There's no 'and', Dad. Benny admitted that he wouldn't have been interested and I'm as heterosexual as you could ever want. We were just happy to finally understand all the secrecy after all these years." He hugged Oscar again. "We understand why we were never told. It's not exactly the sort of thing that's lobbed about in casual conversation." He laughed. "But now Uncle Arthur is determined to give Benny and me the same financial support that our brothers got because of their performing."

"You told him you know?"

"No, Logan and Reed told him that they'd told us. Their reasoning was that it'd make future family conversations easier if certain activities weren't a state secret any longer." He could still see concern in his dad's eyes. "Dad, relax. I'm not so naive as all that. I've been on the internet and seen some of what's there. There are men out there that like that sort of thing. At least this organization takes care to ensure their boys are well cared for." He laughed. "I was happy to finally understand all those teenage boys that showed up here from time to time."

"And here I thought we'd been so successful at keeping the secret," said Oscar with obvious chagrin.

Oscar lived to the ripe old age of seventy-nine and was able to see all the successes of his boys. Peter turned out to be a chip off the old block. All his boys had turned out better than he'd ever hoped and he died a very happy man.

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