Always and Forever

by David Lee

Chapter 4

Prom and consequences

With prom weekend fast approaching, Courtney tried to be with Brad as much as possible. He was so cute that she could hardly wait to see him in a tux. Then too, she was eager to see him out of it, and she planned to do the honors. The plot had been set into motion a few months earlier.

Since her mom was against girls having pre-marital sex, asking for the pill had seemed out of the question. Then she read on the Internet that doctors prescribed it to help girls regulate their periods. Out of the blue, Courtney began to suffer from irregular menstrual cycles accompanied by unbearable cramps. Soon Cynthia Forbes was insisting that the doctor put her daughter on the pill to relieve her suffering.

Dr. Anderson had not been fooled but thought it best to give a teenage girl some protection against pregnancy, and he didn't share his suspicions with Cynthia. He did counsel Courtney, privately, that the pill didn't protect against diseases and he slipped her a few condoms. In her mind, Courtney was certain that no condoms were necessary. She dreamed of feeling Brad's hard flesh (unsheathed) buried deep inside of her. Besides, Courtney was sure that he was safe and that he was probably a virgin. She wanted to be the one to deflower him. He was a major stud-muffin!

Courtney's older cousin, Melissa, had offered her apartment for Courtney and her date to have a private tryst. Melissa would be out of town that weekend, so there would be nothing to interfere with the kids sleeping over in whatever way they chose. She was careful not to mention anything about her trip around Cynthia or Harley Forbes that might tip them off.

On Friday before prom, SAT results arrived. Alan and Brad had scored very high as had several of their friends from homeroom. Amy had done as well as they had, she but came out a few points short of her goal and, being a perfectionist, said she would try to raise the score by doing a retake in the fall.

"Now we're shoo-ins for Iowa State," cried Brad excitedly.

"You are, at least. I'll probably go to community college until I can scrape up a few dollars and get some scholarships. Mom's new job still isn't going to pay tuition," said Alan sadly.

"Bullshit! We're going to get you to the university with me. Tonight, we start on the 'net and search for every scholarship out there. There are probably some weird ones like for a guy whose initials are ATJ who is in love with a handsome guy named Brad."

"Shh, somebody will hear you, dude!"

"Yeah, you're right, I guess. Actually, sometimes I just can't stand hiding what I feel for you. Sorry."

"Hey, I feel the same way, but we have another whole year to survive in this burg. We'll have enough to do next year without having to watch our backs all the time."

At the curb in front of the high school, at the end of the school day, sat a charcoal colored late model Camry sedan. Not a muscle car, but a kind of serviceable vehicle for someone going on to college in another year. On the windshield was a large computer-made banner that read: "Congratulations Brad Jacobs."

Brad and Alan stopped dead in their tracks. A smiling Fran and Jonathan Jacobs came around the corner of the building with two sets of keys.

"It's all yours, son. The title is in your name - signed, sealed, and delivered. Go have some fun but be home for dinner."

Happy for his friend, but with a twinge of envy, Alan wished he could be so lucky. Brad, ever sensitive, hugged and thanked his parents and turned to Alan.

"Now we've got wheels!"

Alan noticed the use of the plural pronoun and smiled.

Alan walked into the house to find his mother smiling through a torrent of tears like the sun in Hawaii shining through a shower.

"What's wrong, Mom?"

"It's more like what's right."


"You started this when you went to church with Brad. I got to thinking about looking up my mother. I haven't seen or spoken to her in 17 years. She feels bad about what she did, and I'm trying to forgive her. It makes sense to get this grudge out of my heart, so I can move on. She lives just across the border in Illinois. We're going there tomorrow, unless you say 'no'."

"Why would I?"

"I guess you wouldn't since you don't know all the grief she put me through when I got pregnant. She pressured me to get an abortion. If I hadn't run away, you wouldn't even exist."

"Wow! She wanted me dead?"

"No, dear, she just wanted to make it all go away. That is how she was. She couldn't tolerate messes or scandals or ratty underwear."


"Never mind."

"So, when do we go, and what do I wear?"

"She invited us for lunch, so we should leave about 10:00, I suppose. Wear one of your new pairs of khaki pants and a sporty shirt. I want her to see what a handsome dude of a grandson she has."

Alan did most of the driving to his grandmother's house. He loved getting the road experience and Susan was almost too distracted to be safe behind the wheel. What if her mother made a scene? What if she berated Alan? What if...?

In Illinois, Judith (never Judy) Jenkins was also anxious. What would her daughter look like now? Would the grandson be a brat or a druggy? Would he be like his father? Could she and Susan repair a breach of 18 years - more than half her daughter's life? Would they like the food she had prepared?

Alan nearly flipped when he saw the older, graying version of his mother on the steps of the large, well-kept ranch-style home. He watched as his mother and her mother stood a little apart assessing each other while neither seemed to be able to make the first move. Then, like two magnets slightly spaced, they came together as if by an irresistible force, and with many tears. Neither of them seemed to remember for the moment that Alan existed. That was okay; he was busy listening to the two women expressing their apologies to each other. Finally, his grandmother turned to him.

"You are even better looking than your father was!"

These were her first words to him, and he wondered at them.

"I am so very sorry that I didn't get to see you grow up!" she continued.

With that, she pulled him into a hug and Alan was surprised to feel a little tear in his right eye and then another one in his left.

Lunch was excellent! Judith had outdone herself and she always was a fine cook and hostess. She was thoroughly charmed by her witty, polite grandson. Her heart ached for all the years she had lost not knowing him. But she was determined to make the most of the time that was left. After lunch, she took Alan out to the two-car garage.

"When your grandfather died last year, I never got around to selling his car. You might like to have it, if you don't have a better one of your own."

A better one of his own? This little beauty was a two-year-old red Mitsubishi convertible. Grandpa must have been trying to survive a midlife crisis when he bought this! he thought.

"I'd love it, but it's too much. You hardly know me."

"You're right on one score. I hardly know you, and for that I am heartily sorry. Just think of this car as all the Christmas and birthday presents I should have bought you through the years. I have a friend who's a notary and we can get the title signed today. I'll call my insurance agent to set up temporary coverage, so you can drive it home. Then, I'm going to give you a check for a couple of grand to help with the insurance. Boys pay a big premium even when they are as bright and polite as my grandson!

"I know you have a birthday coming up this summer. Do you want a new computer or stereo system? Let me know. Now that I have you, I plan to spoil you rotten!"

Alan was weak with excitement. In the past month he had gone from being at the poverty line to having a moderately comfortable existence. Now he felt rich. The past couple of months had evolved into a new life for him. All he could think of to say was: "Kewl!"

Grandma figured she must have said and done the right things. She would add the term: 'kewl' to her vocabulary. She was going to make the last part of her life the 'kewlest' she had ever known.

Prom day was a busy one for most of those who were attending. Hair and makeup had to be just so. Tuxedos had to be double checked, cars washed and waxed, photos taken, and dinners attended.

For that special evening, the gym had been transformed into a ballroom and everyone looked mature and proper, albeit a little stiff and formal. Music ranged from fast dances to slow, intimate ones. It ended about 11:30 with the grand march and then students left to change for the after-prom parties and other activities. Most would have agreed that it was an enjoyable evening, and some were looking for more sensual pleasures to come.

Courtney Forbes was among those who planned to cap the evening with a more memorable event. Tonight was the night she would get laid by the cutest guy at school. Oh, there were others who were close, but this guy was a fox and she was going to have him in bed until breakfast.

After the dance, the limo driver dropped Brad and Courtney at Melissa's apartment. Courtney fumbled with the key and then found the light switch which turned on a lamp with a soft, romantic glow. Next, she started the CD player and went to the kitchen to retrieve a bottle of champagne which Brad opened. They sipped a bit of the bubbly liquid and Courtney began to undo the studs on Brad's shirt. Brad stiffened at her touch.

"Um, when are the others coming?" He asked.

"There aren't any others, Babe, just us until morning. Let's get out of some of these restricting clothes and relax."

"Courtney, we can't be here like this. What if Melissa comes home early? What will your parents say?"

"Hey, what they don't know can't hurt them. Everything is cool with Melissa. She's out of town and we can do ANYTHING we want."

Having said that, she pressed her lips and her warm body against his. In his mind, Brad was wondering what it would to be like with a girl. Should he do what she so clearly wanted? As she slipped her hand down the front of his pants (where no girl had ever gone before), he began to feel himself yielding to her charms. She was soft and warm. This was an opportunity most guys would kill for. Why not go for it. Virginity was over-rated. Besides, he felt he had given that to Alan already. Alan would never find out, would he? But even if he didn't, Brad would know. Why this hesitation? Why was he thinking of Alan instead of concentrating on getting laid? They had said that they loved each other forever." His brain was feeling fuzzy from the wine. His tongue slipped into Courtney's mouth as he began to run his hands down her back. Then Alan's face appeared in his mind and he slumped down on the sofa.

Susan had smiled all the way home as she followed Alan in his new red car. This had been a momentous day in many ways. What in the world was going on? she wondered. Her mother had really changed - not only enough to accept Alan, but actually to dote on him! And Alan had done himself proud. He was more relaxed and less shy meeting new people than he had been in the fall. The move to Cosgrove had been sort of accidental, but what a happy accident it was turning out to be! A year ago, Susan could not have imagined being so content. And yet, there was an empty corner in her heart. She wanted to find love again. Well, Tony Rossi HAD asked her out to dinner next week and he WAS handsome!

About midnight, Alan was still awake, unable to sleep after the excitement of the day. He could hardly wait to show off his new car. Going out into the living room, he found that his mother couldn't settle down either and was watching a late movie.

"Mom, do you think I could go to the Dairy Queen? They're open until 1:00 a.m. because of prom. I won't stay long, and I could bring you a Dilly Bar."

Susan wanted to say that it was too late and that he could get into trouble with his fancy car, but she knew how much he wanted to be seen in it. So, with a few words of caution, she sent him on his way.

Alan was king of the hill. He had never dreamed of possessing anything as beautiful and powerful as this car. He stepped down on the accelerator and smiled at the G-forces that came into play. About a block from his destination, Alan saw a bedraggled, slumped figure dressed in a tux trudging toward him. He did a double-take and turned around.

Pulling up, he yelled out the window, "Hey, Brad, what are you doing? Where's your date?"

"Alan, is that you? Where did you get the wheels? You're not in trouble, are you?"

Brad got in and Alan drove them to the Dairy Queen. They stayed until nearly closing time while Alan told all about his day. Back in the car, Brad told Alan about Courtney's attempted seduction.

"In a way, I really wanted to see what it would be like with a girl, but I kept seeing your face. I knew that if I got laid, I would be cheating on you. You're the one I want to be with for the rest of my life."

Courtney had been experiencing a pleasant buzz from the champagne but was rapidly sobering up as her anger rose. How could Brad reject her? She was one of the hottest babes on campus - and a senior! Pouring another glass to calm herself, she decided on another plan. Tonight, she was going to get laid one way or another. That cute produce manager at her father's store had been hitting on her and had even given her his phone number. He was older and more experienced. He would know how to please a woman.

Josh Walker passed the pipe to his roommate, Dan, as he answered the phone on the third ring. He idly wondered who would be calling at 12:30 a.m. Maybe some friend was in need. Josh could always supply - at a cost, of course.

Dan watched Josh's slight frown turn into a huge grin. As Josh hung up the phone he turned to Dan.

"How'd you like to share some sweet young pussy tonight?"

Alone in his hospital room, Tom had a lot of time to think. The week had been one of many emotional ups and downs. He had talked to a policeman, a social worker, and a psychiatrist as well as Mr. Hanson and that minister lady, Liz. Tom was confused. On the one hand he wanted to be enveloped in the love that seemed to surround him. On the other, he resisted giving up the hate he had nursed for many years. He'd bet they wouldn't be nice to him if they knew what he'd planned to do. Yet, Liz had said that no one is perfect, and that God loves people who have done bad things, not just people who do good things. Even murderers could be forgiven. That had to be bullshit! That didn't make any sense.

What did make sense was that the social worker had given her word that Tom wouldn't have to go back to his home. His father was being charged with abuse and his mother was cited for child endangerment. Tom hated the old man and sometimes hated his mother as well. She wasn't a strong person and maybe it wasn't her fault. But couldn't she have done something? Wasn't there a women's shelter? Of course, that hadn't been around when Tom was growing up. Was he now grown up? He felt like a scared little boy inside. Where would he go? He had no home!

Don Hanson was another matter. Tom had overheard a nurse whispering to someone that it was Hanson's blood that had saved Tom's life. Tom had queer blood in his veins. How could he deal with that? Didn't his old man say that faggots were bound for Hell? Of course, what did his old man know? Tom had been the brunt of his father's rage for years. Hanson had always been nice to Tom. He seemed to care. He was the one adult in Tom's life that seemed to think he was worth something. And he had to go and be a queer. This was all too hard to deal with. Tom dropped off into a fitful sleep punctuated by dreams of death and Hell.

"Oops, I forgot the Dilly Bar," said Alan as he did a U-turn and headed back to DQ. The manager who was locking the door was none too happy to let Alan in, but a sale was a sale and things had been slow despite the optimistic prediction of lots of after-prom traffic.

Susan was shutting off the TV as the boys came in. She sat at the kitchen table and talked with them while she ate her treat. She readily agreed to have Brad stay the rest of the night. After all, he was her son's best buddy; really his only true friend. In her mind she wondered if they would both share the double bed, but she decided to let them work out the arrangements. By then, it was after 2:00 and she was too tired to play hostess.

Alan and Brad were also too tired to play much of anything. They stripped to their underwear and cuddled together in the center of the bed falling to sleep almost instantly. And that is how Susan found them when she went to wake them at 10:00. (Her knocking had caused the faulty door latch to give.) With a wistful smile, she realized that Alan was indeed very much like his father.

Both boys jumped apart sensing that Susan had seen them in a position that suggested more than platonic friendship. Their rapid breathing indicated fright.

"Mom! Uh, I guess it must have gotten cold in the night."

"It's okay, boys, I think I understand. Don't panic. Throw on some shorts and come eat breakfast; it's ready and it will be getting cold" she said on leaving.

"Oh God, Mom knows! I'm sure of it."

"Well, if she does, she seems to be taking it pretty cool. Wonder what my parents would do. I don't know where I would go if they kicked me out. Do you think she'll tell?"

"Mom is pretty fair. I think we can trust her."

Neither boy appeared to have much appetite as they sat in silence picking at their food. Susan finally stood up and spoke.

"I'm going to make some assumptions here. Correct me if I'm wrong and jump in to set me straight at any time. Let me start by saying that I love my son very much and I have come to have a lot of affection for his best friend. I assume that you're very close - more than just friends. I'm guessing you have some kind of relationship. If you're gay, I want you to know that, while I would not have chosen this difficult path for you, I firmly believe you did not choose it either. If I'm right and if you choose to keep it secret, I won't be the one to bring you out. But, I will support and love you both."

The boys had tears of relief in their eyes as they got up and gave her a hug. And amazingly, both seemed to have found their appetites after her declaration.

Susan decided to continue discussing the topic now that the guys had tacitly let her know that she was not wrong in her assumptions.

"I need to know a few things and we have to have some ground rules."

The boys paused in their eating wondering what was coming.

"First, do you truly care for each other?"

Alan and Brad grinned and nodded their assent.

"Okay. Am I to assume that you are boyfriends and that you're faithful to each other?"

Again, there were enthusiastic nods.

"If you are, or were, both virgins; then there's no fear of contracting any STDs. If you ever stray outside this relationship, you'd better be honest with each other. Your lives could depend on it!

"Now for the rules: First, I think you should be careful about public displays of your love. I cannot tell you that you must hide your mutual affection, but I do know the consequences of showing it in our society today.

"Second, I want you to know that you may show affection for each other in this house. However, when it comes to heavy making out, I would prefer that you do that in the bedroom."

Both boys blushed at her frankness.

"Third, I think your parents have a right to know about your relationship, Brad, but I won't pressure you to talk to them. You need to decide when it's time.

"Finally, if, God forbid, your family doesn't take this well and decides to throw you out, I want you to live here with us. It won't be the Ritz, but I will do the best I can to make a home for both of you. Having two sons would be really great!"

Then, Susan turned to clean up the kitchen.

"Mrs. Jenkins, you've taken a big load off my mind. I've been afraid to tell my parents because I would have no way to survive if they didn't understand."

"Brad, please call me Susan or Mom or Ma or whatever is comfortable for you. I am actually not Mrs. Jenkins. If I had married Alan's father, I would be Mrs. Naughton."

A funny look crossed Alan's face. Naughton was the name of that art sub - the one that looked a lot like him. He had to be a relative; maybe his uncle or cousin? Alan decided to ask his mom later because there was too much going on to bring it up now.

"You guys had better get showered and dressed. I'm sure Brad's folks would like him back sometime today. Maybe you could shower together and save on hot water," she grinned.

This set the boys into another round of blushing, but they decided to do it.

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