Always and Forever

by David Lee

Chapter 10

Love in many forms

Don's weekend with Travis was indescribable. From Friday night until late Sunday afternoon, neither man had worn a stitch of clothing. Since Don had a tall privacy fence around his patio, they sunned, grilled, ate, and made love under God's blue sky. Saturday night they even slept under the stars.

When Travis had come to Don's door on Friday night hot and sweaty from a hard day's work, he was met by his lover who was wearing only a smile. Don had pulled him into the foyer and rapidly stripped him of his clothes stopping only long enough to inhale the scent of his crotch.

Then, Don had led him into the two-person shower in the master bath and shampooed and soaped his handsome construction worker. While Travis was rinsing off, Don knelt in front of him and brought him to a rapid and forceful climax. Weak in the knees, Travis had to grab Don's shoulders to keep from falling.

Next, Don led him to the enclosed patio where he proceeded to lay out a delicious summer dinner consisting of a variety of salads and cold chicken. There was a good white wine to make it special.

After their dinner had settled, Travis mentioned that he had an internal itch that needed scratching. He was sure that Don had just the tool to do it. Surprise, surprise, Don had a little kit with lube and contraceptives ready just in case the need should arise. And arise, it did!

That night they happily slept in Don's queen-sized bed with nothing but a sheet to cover their nakedness. Each dreamed of the other. Both were glad they had let go of the past and were determined to enjoy each other for the rest of their lives and beyond, if possible.

Saturday was a lot like Friday night only extended. Travis got a chance to scratch Don's itch while wearing his construction boots. It was Don's idea and was a turn-on for both men.

That night they fell asleep on a big air mattress and sleeping bag on the patio. They were in the 69-position nursing each other's soft cocks when the sand man came. (Unfortunately, they didn't!)

Sunday was not as lust-filled. It was more cuddle and snuggle time. But both men did get off again in the classic position they had fallen asleep in the night before.

When Tom drove back in Don's sedan, he found both men dressed in nothing but shorts and big grins. He concluded that they had indeed fucked each other silly. He must insist that they have more weekends like this one.

Tom had enjoyed his weekend also. He had ogled the pretty girls at the pool and more than once had needed to turn on his stomach so as not to embarrass himself. He had also discovered Travis's no-so-well-hidden stash of porn videos. He had watched a couple of different ones each day. There was a good one of a three-way with two guys and a girl. Another with solo action featured several great looking young studs. Tom could empathize with what they were feeling and loved their lustful sounds as they came. The third had been hardcore action between male couples. Tom was fascinated by it. He could imagine what Don and Travis were doing. Although Tom got himself off on all three, he really liked the one with the girl in it the best. He had to admit that he might even be able to do it with the right guy, but girls were definitely his thing.

Then he thought of Amy. He wondered what she would think of what he'd done. He felt kind of cheap, but definitely relieved.

According to her wishes, Judith Jenkins was cremated after the visitation and her memorial service was held the following Tuesday. She had planned it out to the last detail. Tony and Brad had taken off work to be with their loves. Travis felt he needed to be there, and Don and Tom came with him. There was a fairly large crowd in the big downtown church. Judith was well known and respected in the community.

After the service, mourners greeted family members at the luncheon. It was done to style. Judith would have approved.

On the way home, Brad and Alan cuddled together in the back seat. Tony and Susan held hands in the front. It had been a sad, but peaceful day. Judith would have, and did, approve.

Alan and Brad ran a lot at the school track that summer in the evenings. Sometimes they invited Tom to run with them, and occasionally they got Travis and Don to go too. The boys were all showing improvement by shaving seconds off their running times and all were feeling good about their accomplishments.

Brad also had some summer football practices to attend, especially in August. Alan hated to be parted from him. Since Tom was out for football as well, Alan had to run alone. But then, Alan had band camp and marching practice. Luckily, some of that took place while the football squad had scrimmages.

On a Friday after work in early August, Brad and Alan went camping at Backbone in Brad's secret place. This time the boys didn't invite Tom. They had included him once earlier, but not to this place. This was their special spot. Brad had planned it carefully. He had all the equipment and food ready. He had borrowed his dad's SUV for the trip. He even had a surprise for Alan.

Upon arriving at the parking area, the boys paid for their permit and loaded the packs on their backs for the trek into the remote area. It took them a little more time than it had when Brad's father was with them because they were more heavily laden. But this time the load was a physical, rather than a psychological, one.

They had packed in drinking water, but not a tent. They would use water from the nearby spring for washing up and the cave for their shelter.

After gathering firewood, they shed most of their clothes and cooked their dinner. It was simple, it but tasted like a banquet out in the fresh air. When the fire was down to coals, they toasted marshmallows and made s'mores.

Later, the moon came out, nearly full and bright. Now they shed the rest of their clothes and caressed each other gently in the soft glow. Brad reached into his pack and pulled out two rings.

"Alan, I want to pledge myself to you forever. Will you have me, and will you pledge yourself to me?"

"Yes! I will be yours and only yours."

Now Alan knew why Brad had gotten him to try on rings one day at the mall. The rings were of a simple, but beautiful design in 18 carat gold. Inside Alan's was engraved: BJ + AJ Forever. Inside Brad's was: AJ + BJ Always. Having pledged themselves to each other, they slipped the rings on each other's right hand. Then they proceeded to show their love in the slow, intense actions that had become their trademark. As each filled his lover's mouth with his seed, their union was sealed once more.

When it was time to leave on Sunday afternoon, Brad pulled two gold chains out of his backpack.

"I think we should wear our rings on around our necks until we have a public commitment ceremony. It might call less attention at school. But if people guess our relationship, so be it!"

Courtney Forbes was feeling better; much better. She concluded that time may not heal all wounds, but it did dull the senses enough to make life livable. Planning for college and getting her things in order helped almost as much as the sessions with Lois. She would be in a different situation with new people and could have a fresh start. She would have to come back to testify in the trial in November, but by then, she'd be a college woman.

Her younger brother, Cory, came bouncing into her room as she was folding her new underwear.

"Whatcha doing, Creep?" Cory always did have a way with words.

"Folding the underwear Mom got for a surprise for you," she shot back.

"Very funny."

"Hey, Butch, what're you going to do without me next year?"

"Have a good time and not worry about getting ratted on," was Cory's quick reply.

Courtney looked affectionately at her 16-year-old brother. He was cute and destined to break a few hearts, she thought. She reminisced about how she had cried and asked her parents to take him back when they brought him home from the hospital. She did not, in fact, actually remember it; but had heard the story so many times the she felt she did. Now, despite their pet names for each other, they were closer than most sibling two years apart. She would miss him! Was she getting nostalgic? No, not Courtney. She could be snippy, and she could be bitchy, but never nostalgic. Must be those damned antidepressants I'm taking, she thought.

"Who's gonna ration out your sleeping pills when you leave?"

"No one. I don't think I'll need them. I haven't asked you for any in over a week. Besides, I couldn't kill myself. Then I couldn't bug you. What would you do without me?"

"First, I'd take your room and all your stuff."

"Then you COULD have these new panties," Courtney bantered as she threw a pair in her brother's face.

"Professor Gallagher, I really need help to prepare for the vocal contest next month. Would you be willing to do some private tutoring this summer? I know my father would make it worth your while." (Teachers always needed money, didn't they?)

Mercedes Montgomery was pretty, wealthy, spoiled, and used to getting what she wanted. What she wanted at the moment was Dennis Gallagher. She had batted her eyes and flirted, dropping all the hints she knew in an attempt to get this handsome man into her bed. He seemed immune to her entire arsenal. If she could get him alone after hours, at his place or hers, she was sure she could score. He would be a nice addition to her collection. Once she had him, she could pressure him to help her through school like she had some of the others. Talent was fine, but sex got you further. Why else would there be an expression like "casting couch?"

Dennis Gallagher listened politely and then gave her the name of a young female colleague who could use the extra money. He said that his schedule was far too full to take on anything else. This was true; he would be singing the lead in a production of "Phantom of the Opera" in a few weeks. However, the major reason he wanted nothing to do with her was that he considered her to be a little vixen with a voice like a coyote. The mental image of her baying at the moon tickled him to the point that he had to feign a cough to cover the snicker. Dennis didn't suffer fools gladly.

Mercedes had never suffered so much as a zit. Her doting father had come to her rescue at every turn in her life. She had once been slighted by a boutique owner and Daddy had instigated a boycott that forced the shopkeeper to move to another city. Daddy played hardball.

Now, what could Ms. Montgomery do to get even with this insensitive boor?

Liz enjoyed the drive with Mary Fischer. It seemed to take no time at all as the two happily chattered away about church affairs and town gossip. Of course, Liz was never one to dawdle behind the wheel.

The physical rehab facility was bright and pleasant. It was the kind of place that seemed to exude cheerfulness from every crack. Well, all except for nurse Schwartz. She was Hitler reincarnated and she took no prisoners.

However, she had underestimated the team of Fischer and Thornton. Liz was a strong young woman in her own right and could have handled Emma Schwartz alone. But, coupled with an old lady who feared neither man nor beast, the effect was even stronger.

Schwartz began by telling them that they could not visit without an appointment and went on to say that Derek would be in therapy at the moment and could not be disturbed. The two women had checked prior to coming and knew that this was just a roadblock thrown up by the disgruntled old bureaucrat. So, Mary sweetly announced that she was family and that Liz was her nephew's spiritual advisor and the two women simply proceeded to the room despite Schwartz's threats and protests.

Derek was thrilled to have visitors, especially a young, pretty one. How he wished he could stand to greet her. His therapist still held out hope that he would regain use of his legs, but the longer Derek waited for some sign of progress, the more his hope faded.

"We've come to spring you from this prison and take you for a ride and a decent meal. I've cleared it with the head nurse, so the old dictator out there can like it or shove it," chirped Aunt Mary with glee.

"Aunt Mary! Where did you learn to talk like that?"

"Oh, you know your late uncle was in the navy. I have a few more things I can tell that woman if she crosses me. They are treating you okay, aren't they, Son?"

"Yes. Emma is actually pretty kind to us inmates. She is protective like a German Shepherd."

"Well, at least she's a 'guardian' bitch!"

"Aunt Mary!"

Derek enjoyed the outing immensely. Though being pushed in a wheel chair hurt his manly pride, the food was great, and the company was awesome. How he wished he had met Liz under different circumstances. Maybe then she wouldn't think of him as a charity case. Not that she had implied that, but what else could she think?

Liz was thinking what a pleasant, good looking man he was. She wished he would ask her out. Maybe she would ask him out. Or would that make him feel less a man. "Men! They all suffered from testosterone poisoning!"

With summer vacation coming to an end and sports and band gearing up, Brad and Alan had less time to work and less time together. The city parks department was flexible since student workers were hired at a lower rate than regulars and since most were good workers.

Despite full schedules, Alan and Brad still carved out time to run and to play. They found that their desire to be together increased as the opportunities decreased. Yet, the time they spent together was not just for quickies, though there were a few of those. Often, they enjoyed simply being near each other, breathing the same air, seeing the same sights, and hearing the same sounds.

Some great sounds came from Alan's new silver trumpet which was a thing of beauty and a source of joy. His generous inheritance had paid for it. Now he could make beautiful music. He always thought of Judith when he did. He had squeezed in a few private lessons with a music major home from the university; and next week he was going to challenge for first chair. No one knew except the band director who had encouraged him. Alan wanted this to be a surprise for his mom and Brad.

On the field, Brad was practicing with the rest of the football squad. He was pleased to see that his summer running had made him faster on his feet. He was also gratified to find that his onetime foe, Tom Katz, was becoming his major protector. Tom was big and had now channeled his aggression into guarding. Tom was a formidable force. Brad was glad that Tom was on his side!

The weekend before the start of school, Pastor Liz had organized a group of young people from her church and some other Protestant churches in her area. They were going to an Episcopal convent located several hours drive away from their town. They would meet with a group from Fr. Jerry's parish. (It was a place about half way between their towns.) The event would bring together teens from several different Christian traditions so that they could discover that they weren't as different as they might have been led to believe.

There would be some spiritual classes and group discussions, but much of the retreat would be spent in silent contemplation. When they were not participating in classes, the kids were to keep the silence from Friday night after dinner through the celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday morning. Each person would have a room alone to avoid being distracted. The Sisters would provide the meals.

The big rental van held, among others, Amy, Alan, Brad, Dave, Jeri, Todd, and Tom. Tom had not been excited about going to a religious retreat. But two things had changed his mind. He wanted to give Don and Travis time to adjust to living together without his being there, and he knew that Amy would be going. He would do just about anything for her.

The ride was fun. Couples sat together and chattered. There was a stop at McDonald's for lunch and the teens stretched their legs and ate at the patio tables.

Brad and Alan sat together, occasionally touching briefly when no one was looking. The other couples were pretty good about not being overly affectionate in public. However, there was some hand-holding going on. The boys envied their straight friends who could be open about their fondness for each other.

The retreat kicked off with brief opening remarks by Fr. Jerry, followed by a mixer. The teens had either the name of a state, or the state capitol on a paper pinned to their backs. No one was allowed to tell them what it was, but they could ask other questions until they determined their match. Once you had found your partner, you had to tell that person something interesting about yourself. It got everyone participating and caused them to meet a number of people they didn't know.

After dinner, the time of silence began. At first it was frustrating for many - especially a couple of the girls. But the small library was filled with books that could interest teens and soon most kids had made a selection and retreated to their clean, Spartan quarters to read and reflect.

Tom had chosen "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," by C. S. Lewis. He figured that since it was fantasy, it would be easy reading. It looked like it wouldn't get into too much religion. Once he started, he found he couldn't put it down. He read into the night until he had finished. He sensed that it had a deeper meaning than just being a story about some kids stumbling into a parallel universe. The next morning, he returned to get another Lewis book: "The Great Divorce."

Saturday's sessions were great. The topics for discussion included many of the things teen worry about most - popularity, honesty, music, and even sex. After the kids were asked to pledge confidentiality about what was said, several kids opened up about what was troubling them. Some admitted to questioning their sexuality. Alan and Brad did not. They knew theirs and, despite the pledges, they were afraid of what information might find its way beyond those walls.

Alan and Brad had prearranged to meet in the chapel on Saturday afternoon. They didn't go there to talk or make out, but they found a pew toward the back where there was less light, and they held hands while they bowed their heads in prayer. They didn't hear Tom come in.

If Tom saw them, he didn't react. Instead, he knelt in a pew near the front of the chapel. He picked up the Bible from the rack. There was a marker in the middle and it opened up to Psalm 27. His eyes fell on verse 10: "If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up." As the afternoon light streamed through the stained-glass windows, Tom looked up toward the life-sized crucifix. He had identified with the lost ones in "The Great Divorce." Now he prayed as best he knew how asking God to forgive him and make him new. In that small, silent chapel, Tom met God.

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