by David Lee

Chapter 14

The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas break went rapidly too. There were the usual interruptions for holiday concerts and the like. No one was too interested in learning lots of new things before break, because they would have to relearn them before finals anyway.

Sam was enjoying his new look. His confidence seemed to increase daily. Instead of being the shy, quiet kid, he was now the life of the table at lunch. Ben whispered to Adam that he thought the kid had undergone a personality transplant.

Christmas was special for Zeke this year. He was experiencing a sense of family like he had never felt before. Having his father accounted for and having his uncle living in the apartment below gave him an entirely new outlook. He had always been content with life; now he loved it. His evolving relationship with Bryan contributed greatly, of course.

Christmas was special for Craig as well. Early in the year, he had been sure he had no living relatives left other than an ancient aunt in California. Now he had a nephew who felt like a son to him, and he had a girlfriend. Yes, he could call her that, in his mind at least. He was going to take Zeke's advice and get off his dead ass and do something about it! So, he went to the jewelry store to look at diamonds.

The array of rings available was overwhelming. After looking for over an hour, he selected a nice, high quality ¾ carat solitaire. It was simple but elegant; the kind of ring for a lovely, practical lady.

Christmas Eve was celebrated with the usual services. Zeke went with Grace Ann and Craig to the one that ended just after midnight, and quickly joined Bryan and his family when he spotted them in the next row. Todd was with Dave and Jeri and some other girl that Bryan said was Jeri's cousin, Lisa. It seems that she and Todd were hitting it off well and the two couples had become inseparable.

Pastor Liz looked out lovingly over her congregation. She marveled at the changes that a year had brought. Last year at this time, she had seen her man come down the aisle, haltingly, on the arm of his elderly aunt. Now she was his wife and was carrying his child. This year, she had more empathy with the Virgin Mary than ever before.

Christmas morning brought lots of surprises and presents in most homes in Cosgrove. The economy was looking up and people had spent a bit more than last year. At the Stillwell house, there were small gifts for everyone. The big family gift was a water buffalo. Of course they wouldn't see the actual animal; it was to be delivered to a family in a developing country through the Heifer Project. Bryan and Todd were as pleased as their parents. They knew they had more material goods than most people in the wide world. They also knew that whatever they needed was always provided. It felt good to give to someone else. They were learning the true spirit of Christmas.

One of the bigger surprises in Cosgrove on Christmas morning was in the large, carefully wrapped box under Grace Ann's tree. She had bought gifts for Craig as well as for Zeke, so she was not surprised to see that it was a package from Craig with her name on it. She kept wondering what it could be. It didn't look like the size of box she was secretly hoping for.

Grace Ann had spent more on Christmas than usual since she was better off financially than she'd been in years past. Craig insisted on paying rent as well as having spent money on materials for the apartment. He claimed it was a nicer place than he could get for that amount of money anywhere else in town. Being near his nephew was invaluable as well.

On top of that, he felt a responsibility to contribute towards Zeke's expenses. After all, Grace had never had any support from his side of the family. These arguments had broken down her initial resistance.

After breakfast, they opened their presents. Zeke received a card from his uncle. Inside, it read: Your present is in my apartment at the foot of the stairs. I couldn't get it wrapped in time.

"KEWL!" Zeke exclaimed from the basement a moment later.

"I think that means it's a good thing," Craig laughed.

"Gran, did you know what he was getting me?"

"Yes, Hon, that's why I wanted you to open it first. My presents go with it."

Zeke began carrying up the components of his stereo system. He had never had more than an old clock radio in his room. This was sleek and high tech. Gran's gift to him was a number of CDs that Bryan had picked out for him. She also gave him a set of high quality headphones. Those were more for her than for him!

Grace Ann had given Craig a set if cookware for his apartment. They were nice pieces that she would have loved to have had in her own kitchen. She had splurged all the way around this year.

Finally, Gran sat down to open her gifts. Zeke had given her a $50 gift certificate to a nicer women's store so she could pick out something NEW for herself. She was moved by his generosity because there were many things a boy his age could spend his hard-earned money on.

At last, she began to open the gift from Craig. When she removed the wrapping, there was a shoe box. Inside was a smaller package and inside of that, another. At the end was a small, velvet covered box which she opened with anticipation.

When she looked up, Craig was on his knees in front of her.

"Grace, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

"Oh, yes, Craig," she said without hesitation.

Zeke turned away to wipe his eyes because he didn't think guys were supposed to show as much emotion as he was feeling. It was like an answer to his prayers.

The biggest shock of all that Christmas was the call that Ben got around 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon. It was from Joey who was asking if Ben and Adam could come over for a visit. Ben was not sure he wanted to enter his childhood home, even with his lover by his side. Joey assured him that the invitation was genuine and not a pretext for some unpleasant encounter. Finally Ben agreed to see his family for an hour's visit, but only if they would come to the home he shared with Don and Travis (and of course, Adam).

The Aldrich family arrived around 4:00. Travis had made sure there were refreshments and Christmas goodies available to serve. Then, he and Don retreated to the basement family room to give Ben privacy, but to be available should things become ugly. Tom, their other foster son who was home from art school, was with his girlfriend Amy at the moment.

The meeting with Ben's estranged family began on a tense and awkward note. It would have remained that way had it not been for Joey. Once his coat was off, he grabbed Ben and hugged him tightly.

"I love you, bro," he sobbed.

Soon there were other tears falling, but no one seemed to know how to start the conversation. Joey then went to Adam and hugged him as well saying that he loved him like a brother too.

Ben's sister, Esther, had not wanted to come at all because she feared there would be conflict. She sat with her head down and her coat wrapped tightly as if it were a security blanket.

Ben's mother finally spoke.

"Ben, we don't expect you to ever feel like we're your parents again. We were blinded by that awful minister, but it's no excuse. We should have used our God-given minds, but we didn't. The whole family is going to counseling since the incident involving Parker and what he tried to do with Joey and Brendan. We hope you'll be able to forgive us someday so we can at least be friends."

Like Esther, Ben's biological father sat with his head down saying nothing.

"Is that how you feel too?" Ben asked him.

Ben's father shook his head as if to clear his mind before he spoke.

"I never thought I would have a son who was one of them."

"You mean a queer - sissy - fag?" Ben's voice was rising.

"I don't suppose I should use those words, but I can't bring myself to use the word, 'gay' about your lifestyle. 'Gay' is too good a word. It implies that I accept it; and I cannot!"

(In the midst of this exchange, Ben's sister bolted out the front door to sit in the car.)

"Well, accept or not, it is not a 'lifestyle'. It is how I was made; how I was born. What God allowed. And your genes played a part in it, whether you like it or not!"

He continued, "Mother, if you need my forgiveness, you have it. I will NEVER be able to forget how you both treated me. That hurt will not go away completely though it may lessen with time. You were right in assuming that I can't see you as my family anymore. I don't think we need to have any contact unless there are lots of attitude changes on your part – especially his. (He tilted his head toward his father as he said this.) The stress is more than I can handle. I do want to see Joey, unless you're afraid I'll turn him queer."

"No, I'm not worried about that," his mother sighed. "I think you two should see each other often. We won't stand in your way. You're welcome to see Esther too."

Ben went to the closet and retrieved the coats signaling that the visit was over. The Christmas treats remained untouched on the coffee table.

After his family left, Ben stood by the door shaking, with tears rolling down his cheeks. Adam came up behind him; caressing him and kissing the back of his neck. Then Adam led Ben down to the room they shared. There, he tenderly stripped Ben of all his clothes and helped him into their bed. After stripping himself, he joined Ben, cuddling and kissing him softly until they both fell asleep.

It was dark when the two awoke. Ben felt better after his rest. Sleep had taken the edge off of the hurt. Adam had an idea to make him feel better. He would give Ben the only thing he had held back.

"Ben, I want you to take me. Fuck me as hard as you want; get all the anger out. I don't even care if it hurts!"

"No, Adam, I don't want to do that. When we take that step, I want it to be gentle and loving. I don't want it to be rape. I love you too much for that."

Adam was relieved. He had offered his last vestige of virginity because he loved Ben enough to give him whatever would take his mind off of his pain. But he was happy to show his love in a different way. He knew how to please his lover.

Adam began by having Ben turn over so he could massage his back. Then he massaged Ben's arms and legs. Having him turn again, he straddled Ben's stomach while working his pecs. This hands-on process was making Ben's lust build almost to the bursting point. Adam could feel the steely hard flesh against his butt. He slid down slightly so it would nestle between his cheeks.

Then, Adam lay down on top of Ben so their bodies had full contact. Adam's body was about the same size as Ben's and its weight and heat were welcome. Soon his gentle rocking motions escalated to stronger thrusts. Their slippery, hard cocks trapped between them were being stimulated too with every movement. They opened their mouths to let their tongues dance together.

With a powerful upward lunge and an inarticulate cry of joy, Ben reached his bursting point. Feeling the explosion of hot seed between them, Adam let loose as well. Their bellies were inundated in a flood of mingled cum.

For another half hour, the young men spooned together savoring the bond of love that they had again renewed. Ben's matted pubes were beginning to stick to Adam's butt as the drying jizz turned to glue. They could have remained in that position for hours, but their growling stomachs thought otherwise, so they stripped the bed and took a quick shower before going up to forage for leftovers.

Late in the afternoon on Christmas day, Zeke went to Bryan's house to exchange gifts with him; leaving Craig and Grace Ann alone to plan their future together. Up to this time, neither had discussed such things, fearing that it might never happen.

"Grace, I'm the luckiest man in the world. I'm gonna have a whole family. I'll be getting a lovely wife and a great son all at once."

"Do you think you can love your 'son' completely as if he were you own?"

"I already do."

"Even if he turns out to be gay?"

"Of course! I wasn't born last night. I know what love between males looks like. I've seen that kind of connection between guys under my command. I knew, and looked the other way – don't ask; don't tell. Zeke and Bryan care for each other more than any other guys I've known. They are even closer than Zach and Ricky were."

"What?" Grace Ann questioned.

"Uh, I never told you the whole story about the rift between Zach and our father. Dad caught him in bed with Ricky, and they weren't taking a nap! Dad blew his stack and threw Zack out. Ricky was killed two days later when his speeding car hit a bridge abutment. Many of us thought it was suicide. Zach was devastated. Something inside of him died.

That is when he headed for Hollywood to try his luck. He 'modeled' for a while, but that was just a polite name for renting out his body to men who appreciated a good looking younger male. I think he must have liked women almost as well, but he certainly liked guys."

"Sometime, you need to find a way to tell Zeke about his father in a gentle way. We have to let him know we're not upset about his relationship with Bryan," Grace Ann said.

"Okay, but we can't dwell on the past. Let's talk about us for now. How soon can we tie the knot? I want to make some babies with you before I get too old to remember how it's done!"

As the newly engaged couple held each other, Grace was pretty sure that Craig's body had not forgotten.

At Bryan's house, everyone was ready for a snack shortly after Zeke got there. Turkey sandwiches along with turkey soup (which had been simmering all afternoon), chips, and cranberry relish made up the fare for most of them. Todd thought it tasted as good as it had earlier in the day.

As soon as they'd eaten, Todd went off to Jeri's to be with Dave and Lisa. (He was going to sleep over at Dave's after they left the girls.) Zeke and Bryan went up to Bryan's room for their private gift exchange.

It was almost magical. Each, without knowing what the other was giving, had purchased necklaces with medallions. Each had had his own initials engraved on the back so that the other guy would have them over his heart when he wore it.

"I can't believe we did this! Mom and Dad do things like that, but they've been married for over 21 years. We're just like an old married couple."

"I wish," said Zeke.

"Hey, Babe, things will work out for us someday. I've read a lot about coming out. I don't think we'll face getting thrown out like Ben did. We're as good as out to Todd and he's cool about it. Mom and Dad are pretty laid back about things like that. I know they have friends who're openly gay. And, I think Gran suspects that we're more than good friends."

Zeke blanched at the last statement.

"What makes you think she knows? She's never said anything to me that would make me think so."

"Well, once I thought I could read it in her eyes. It was when you were sleeping off the booze. She said something about us being closer than most guys and then she told me never to hurt you."

"Wow, I didn't think she'd be that calm about it after being brought up in that awful church."

"Zeke, think about how cool she is about it lately when we sleep together at your house. She even got you a new, bigger bed. She must at least know we sleep together in it. She certainly knows we aren't using sleeping bags."

Zeke pulled Bryan close in order to kiss him on the lips. Then he whispered in his ear.

"Whatever comes, I can face it with you."

"Why don't we get undressed and see WHO cums," Bryan quipped.

"Santa came last night!" Zeke replied.

"Yeah, but he only does that once a year! I wonder if he gets as horny as we do."

Soon the door was locked and the lights were out except for a small nightlight. Two amorous, but very tired boys fell asleep locked in each other's arms before they had a chance to complete their mission.

Douglas Newman got what he wanted for Christmas; his freedom. It had been about five months since Sheila had told him she'd missed her period. He had stalled about getting married although she nagged him about it nearly every day. Here it was more than halfway through a human gestation period and she wasn't showing much at all; though she seemed to have gained some weight. For a long time, she claimed she was carrying very high and that she probably wouldn't show until the 4th or 5th month. She was not a tiny woman, so it was possible she might not show early. But toward Christmas, Doug figured that things weren't adding up. Something was fishy. So, he told her he was tired of being lied to.

Sheila cried many tears and claimed she had been pregnant, but had miscarried. Since she knew the two of them were destined to be together, she had decided not to tell him. She was sure they were right for each other.

Douglas showed her how wrong she had been about destiny when he showed her the door!

Todd and Lisa were making out on the love seat while Dave and Jeri were doing the same thing on the sofa across the darkened family room of Jeri's house. The only illumination was from the fireplace and a couple of candles. About midnight, Jeri's mother walked noisily down from the master bedroom to tell the kids it was time to say good night. She purposely made enough racket to give them ample warning. The boys took the hint and soon departed after giving their dates chaste kisses at the door.

Todd and Dave drove back to Dave's house. On the way, Todd nearly drove up a curb when he felt Dave's hand moving up his right leg. Despite the heavy fabric of his jeans, he could feel every subtle movement of Dave's fingers. He moaned.

"You're gonna to have to quit that if you want to get to your house in one piece. These streets are beginning to get slick and I have to concentrate of driving at the moment."

Dave replied, "I certainly want you in one piece, or should I say that I certainly want one piece of you!"

Todd snickered as he carefully made his way the last few blocks.

Once in Dave's room, the two young men nearly ripped each other's clothes in the heat of their lust. They had been involved in some pretty heavy petting which had made them candidates for blue balls if they didn't get off soon.

Dave remembered to lock the door, but it was about the last rational thing he did that night. He wrapped his arms around his buddy nearly crushing him to his body. Kissing and nibbling were great, but these guys didn't spend long on the preliminaries. They'd been overheated all evening. This was no time for foreplay! Once on the bed, they dived for each other's dripping cock. For the next several minutes, there was no sound except for slurping and an occasional moan. The moans increased in volume and frequency as they sped toward their goal. With a lunge that nearly gave Dave a tonsillectomy, Todd began to fill his lover's throat with hot cum. Dave, who had been poised on the crest of desire, couldn't hold back another second. He too blew a torrent of hot seed into Todd's receptive mouth.

After they regained their senses enough to move, Dave and Todd shared the stickiness in several minutes of French kissing. Then, they caressed and kissed softly until sleep overtook them. The tenderness they had skipped in foreplay was made up for in the afterglow.

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