Kaiser's Pack - Next Gen

by Bensiamin


Jerrod and Roger settled into their bulkhead seats, still amazed that they were flying First Class. The flight attendant had just served them a soft drink and some peanuts, and they were only minutes away from an on-time take off departing Philadelphia for Salt Lake City, and then connecting on to Portland.

"Pretty nice service, eh?"

"Yeah! I still can't get over that your dad paid for First Class, on top of everything else."

"He thinks we're first-class guys, don't you think?" Jerrod laughed and they both fell into giggles.

"They treated us that way. I mean giving us the sailing trip with airfare for our graduation gift, and then making us feel so welcome the whole time. I was a little worried, but it worked out great."

"Yeah, mom was really super, and made the first few days at home seem carefree, didn't she? And then the sailing trip! I'm still blown away that Dad rented that Pearson 385 so that we had a little cabin to ourselves, and that he hired a sailor, so we had a fully qualified crew. That was outrageous. It's a good thing too, 'cause his twenty-eight foot boat would have been too small to be comfortable for four people and for the ocean sailing we did."

"Paul was a good guy, and sure knew how to sail," Roger replied. "I mean you sailed with your dad before, but I'd never been on a boat, and I still feel like I learned a lot and did okay toward the end."

"You did fine! Paul said so, and so did dad. I was impressed they planned out the details so well, like having us start the anti-nausea medicine when we got here, and then sailing down in the intercoastal waterway with no real swell so we'd get used to it and you wouldn't get seasick. Me too, probably, since I hadn't sailed in over a year."

"Your dad seemed really happy the whole time, didn't he?"

"Yeah. We'd talked about a trip like this for a long time, but it never happened. So, like he told you that one night, it was doing one of the things on his bucket list that he'd kept putting off, and getting to do it, but do it with us."

"That was neat, and it was neat that he talked about 'us' from start to finish. He's changed a lot since a year ago, and I guess I'm still amazed."

"Me, too, selle . Me too. After a few years of not getting along, then the whole break-in thing, and coming out as gay and how he started out, I thought for a long time that I'd never be coming back here. Ever! You know, I told you, but then it changed that day after you had that seizure and blacked out and he came in and laid down with us on your bed. Remember? And he's just gotten better and better ever since. Now he's almost as cool as your dad!"

The flight attendant came by to pick up their glasses, checked that their seat belts were done and reminded them to bring their seats into the upright position. A couple of minutes later the plane pushed back from the gate and when they got to the end of the runway before the take-off run, Roger took Jerrod's hand.

"No worries. The flight will be smooth. Dad said the weather was good across the country, so that should also mean an ontime arrival in Salt Lake, and unless the connecting flight is late, on time into PDX."

The leaned their heads together. "As fun as the trip was, and the time at home, it'll be good to be back. I've been really missing Kaiser the last couple of days. It got worse as soon as we got off the boat."

"I could tell," Roger said softly. "Me, too, but we'll see him soon. It would have been a riot to have him on the sailboat. After the way he dug the beach at Gearhart last month, I bet he would have loved it."

They grew quiet as the 757 made its take-off run, lifted off, and rapidly gained altitude. When the plane had reached cruising altitude and the engines throttled back, which quieted the cabin enough to comfortably talk again, Roger asked, "How do you think Matt and Jessica have been getting along?"

Jerrod grinned at his boyfriend. "Well, David didn't say anything in a bad way, and he and Matt have met once while we've been gone. Jackson took Nate on the promised ride in the Challenger, and Nate didn't say anything either when we talked to him. If there was any kind of problem, you'd kind of think Nate would know first and we'd hear something. I'm betting they're sailing into summer, getting along fine."

"Sailing into summer?"

"Well, what else would I say since we've been sailing along, too. She's got that summer job in the PSU athletics department, so she should be totally happy. Probably the biggest question is how Matt's doing in his summer job. He's never worked construction before."

"Yeah, but it sure turned out amazing when he got offered that job when he and his mom went to Behlen Construction to get the scholarship. That came out of the blue."

"True. But, he's a big boy, and strong, so he should handle the construction work no problem. Plus, it pays really well, and he figures he can save enough money for a car. I bet David already has Dieter on the case, don't you?"

"Totally, and I bet Matt's already worked out that the riders, namely me and Eric and Jessica will be paying for the gas!"

"That's fair, don't you think?"

"Sure do. I just think it's kind of funny. Two months ago, he didn't have a scholarship and was desperate about not going to college. Then he ends up with two scholarships and a job that pays big bucks and he'll probably get a car and get his riders to pay the gas. What a turn around!"

The flight attendant came by and took their drink orders and informed them that they would be serving lunch in the next half hour. As she walked away Jerrod looked at Roger and said, "Why are they serving lunch so early?" We're still on east coast time, and it's not even ten o'clock?"

"Yeah, but it's almost noon in Salt Lake City, so maybe it's part of getting us used to the time change. Either way, I'm betting the food will be better than lunches on the boat."

Jerrod grinned. "Breakfast and lunch were pretty basic, but dad did a good job planning moorages each night at a marina where we could walk around, enjoy the town and have a good dinner."

"Which did you like the best?"

"The first night in Beaufort was cool, and then that place in Hampton, Virginia, was cool too. And that seafood place on the water in Buxton at Cape Hatteras was super. But the restaurant in Charleston was over the top and the city is so old and so beautiful."

"Yeah, the trees with the hanging Spanish Moss, the great architecture, all of it. It was my favorite restaurant, too, and it came after the first day of really sailing on the ocean after leaving the intercoastal waterway. That made the day special."

"It did, and so was the next day heading back north, but really I liked being in the waterway. Not just because we weren't fighting the swell all the time, but there was so much to see and so much happening. I mean the shoreline and the houses and the other boats and yachts, and the bridges opening and closing, just on and on."

Roger smiled. "The ocean sailing was thrilling, but it's pretty much all the same and does get a little boring after a while."

They sipped their drinks and kept talking about the sailing trip and twenty minutes later the flight attendant was back asking which entree they preferred for lunch.

She smiled at them. "You two look tanned and still a little red. You must have had a fun trip."

"We did, it was six days sailing down from Philly to Charleston and back with my dad," Jerrod said. "It was a great trip."

"That's wonderful. You're an attractive couple, and it's so good to hear your dad accepts you being together. I have a cousin in college who's gay and his parents are totally intolerant."

"That's sad," Roger replied, "but tell him there's hope. It wasn't a walk in the park for us at the beginning, but things got better. Now they're great!" He reached for Jerrod's hand again.

Jerrod looked wistful and Roger asked what he was thinking. "I just had a random thought, something I read a few months ago that Picabo Street said in an interview about being good enough for the US Ski Team. It was pretty impressive, 'To uncover your true potential you must first discover your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.' In a lot of ways, that's what we've done, don't you think?"

"We have, and we're not the only ones. Matt got most of his problems sorted, and even took Jessica to the prom at school, and they hung out with Eric and Kim and us and ignored all the football dudes and their dates. Nate and Michael moved past their limits, too."

"Oh yeah! What a deal Nate pulled off after we got back from Gearhart and he met Michael's mom and she was so friendly and sympathetic and invited him to come up to Pendleton for a long visit this summer. It'll be like he's going to summer camp or something!"

"But he'll be in good hands, and it'll be good for Michael, don't you think? And maybe Nate'll sort out if this is serious and if he's really bi during the summer. Because if he's not and this doesn't stick, it'll be a lot easier than trying it out when he starts school in the fall."

Their lunches were set before them and Jerrod responded, "You've got that right. I hope Michael's parents are as tolerant as they said when a boyfriend is actually part of the program… at home!"

"Don't forget that David went up to Pendleton the last weeks of school and did that talk to their GSA, so that certainly 'reprimed the pump' for Michael's mom."

Jerrod grinned at the thought. "You're right. I kind of forgot about that. "I bet his grandpa will be able to help them both in ways they don't even know about yet."

Roger murmured a muffled "Yes," as he took a first bite of his salad. They ate in relative silence, and when the trays were cleared, they reclined the seat backs and leaned together.

"I think you're right, what you said about Michael's grandpa. He's such a great person, and he understands some deep things about Michael… and Nate, too, that the parents don't. And he's so practical and caring. I bet they learn a lot, and both come out better after the summer."

"Like you did last summer, liebling ?"

"Yeah, exactly."

"Who'd have thought that at almost this time last year this good looking, but troubled, boy from Philly comes out to Portland to get his problems sorted out, and a year later he's graduated from high school near the top of his class, has a boyfriend, has all these great people in his life and all of those problems sorted out."

"Well, problems sorted out for now. And a lot of that is thanks to you, Mr. Cool, Calm and Collected. You did a lot to get me sorted out, apart from the love and the sex."

Roger grinned slyly as he said, "They can be separated? I always thought it was a package deal?"

"Hey, I'm not complaining about the package deal, don't get me wrong. I just don't want to minimize how important who and what you are as a person was to the outcome… why we're here today holding hands on this plane."

"I know, and I'm not." He thought for a moment. "It was a pretty wild graduation, wasn't it? Your parents coming out from Philly, we both had great grades. Eric and Kim did really well too. Matt gets recognized as a star football player, but sits with the gay kids instead of with his old team mates. That'll be hard to forget."

"Oh yeah. And then there's what Suzanne did!"

"Trust me, I'm not forgetting that! Or how sneaky she was. Talking to David and Jackson behind our backs, getting it all set up, and then playing that game with us about how dogs age and Kaiser probably only has four more high performance years ahead of him, and you need to start planning ahead. All of that. Remember? She had us feeling like we'd been negligent or something."

Jerrod took a deep breath, and his nose was against the side of Roger's blonde hair. As he inhaled, he smelled that wonderful aroma that was his boyfriend. He closed his eyes and the imagery of the color of Roger's longish, wavy hair flashed in his mind, as did the image of what Roger would look like to a viewer on the bulkhead wall looking back at them. He'd be leaning against his boyfriend's head, holding his hand, dreamily looking up with his innocent looking blue eyes sparkling in the bright morning light that was cascading through the window.

Jerrod was suddenly overwhelmed not just with the love he felt for Roger, but with the good fortune that had befallen him. That he had a boyfriend who was his soulmate. That he had such an amazing group of close and caring and totally trustworthy friends. That in his life were not just his and Roger's parents, but two other sets of adults that had traversed the journey of their own sexuality, had helped him do so, too, and cared and loved him so deeply.

Roger continued, "You remember how she sprung it on us?"

He opened his eyes. "How could I forget? The way she was at the graduation party, and kind of lured us onto the back deck of the house, and everyone else slowly followed because they knew something was up, and then she said, 'I have a special gift for you both,' and sprung the trap and that breeder friend of hers walked through the back gate carrying the puppy! I'll never forget that."

"Me either. We must have stood there for a while looking like we'd been hit by lightning or something," Roger said. "But, you know, she was right. Kaiser will slow down, and if we're going to keep doing this dog therapy work, we'll need another dog, and now Kaiser can be part of training the new dog."

"Training the new dog! That'll be a trip. Fun, but a trip. And don't forget that we pick the puppy up from the breeder in two days. Did you tell your parents you were going to be living with us most of this summer, 'cause we're in this together?"

"Yeah, I did. At first, they were resistant. I mean, David told them about the puppy, so they knew what was going on, but they somehow thought they could maintain the 'only on weekends' routine. But when they saw Kaiser and the puppy, that was it. The resistance just melted away. I figure they'll be over visiting us two or three nights a week."

Jerrod was starting to feel a nap coming on as he relaxed after the meal, enjoying the soft sensations of leaning against Roger, feeling his hair against his face, and softly talking about their life.

Before he fell asleep, he heard Roger quietly ask, "What are we going to name her?"

Kaiser's Pack - Next Gen, by Bensiamin

The picture by 4evercutes is reproduced from Tumblr and in the public domain and provided here under the doctrine of ' fair use ' which is believed to apply.

Many thanks to my editor, Michael, for the time and effort to proof and edit this story and make it a much better experience for you, the reader!

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