Birthday Dare

by Rick Masters

Chapter 23

"Hi, guys. You look like you survived the perils of a weekend alone okay," Dad greeted us.

"Hi, Dad. Yeah, I think we made it."

"Hi, Dick. It was hard, but we pulled through," Mike added to the banter.

"Good. Now do I need to inspect, or can I take your word for it?" Dad asked.

"You don't need to inspect, but you know Mum won't be happy unless you do. She'll expect you to report back in detail," I said.

"Mmm. Yes, I guess you're right on that one, so better make a quick sweep through."

"No need to sweep. We've already done that," Mike joked.

"Yes, ok. I shall have to be more careful with my choice of words. You two start packing the stuff into the car while I do the inspection," Dad responded.

Dad went off on his tour while we started to carry the bags and stuff out to the car. Dad's inspection took less than two minutes, and he even opened the doors and looked out on the decking and the beach front.

"Dad, what do you want us to do with the left over beers? We didn't finish them," I asked.

"Goodness. I wasn't expecting that. Pack them in the car, but don't unpack them at the house. I'll get them in at a better time," Dad said.

We finished packing and locked up the cabin. I walked down to the gate, while Mike and Dad got in the car and followed me down. Once I had locked the gate we were on our way home from one fantastic weekend of self-discovery. On the way to Mike's house Dad asked us a few questions about our weekend, but he didn't grill us or insinuate anything.

When we got to Mike's house all three of us got out of the car. I helped Mike get his kit out while our fathers greeted each other and chatted a bit. I was quite surprised, because they seemed to know each other better than I thought they did, but I didn't have time to dwell on that as I helped Mike heft his kit up to his room. In the privacy of his room we kissed, and Mike said, "I think I want to come out to my folks tonight. Is that alright with you?"

"Yeah, I would like to come out to mine tonight as well. Text me later to let me know how it went."

With that we kissed once more and went back down the stairs so that Dad and I could head home. As we stepped out of the door I thought I heard Mike's father ask something along the lines of, "Do you think it has gone the way we thought?" and Dad answered that he did. I didn't have time to think about that either, as Dad turned around then and ordered me into the car so we could get home. We didn't talk much on the short journey from Mike's home to ours. That left me time to think about what I thought I had overheard. In those few short minutes several scenarios played through my mind, but I always came back to wondering if they suspected anything about Mike and me, what they suspected, and how they would react to it.

When we arrived at the house Mum came out to greet us, and I thought it looked like I had been away for months instead of two days. Mum insisted that I unpack straight away and get all the dirty stuff into the laundry basket, and we could have our tea and relax afterwards. There wasn't that much to unpack, as we had eaten virtually all the food, and after I dumped what we had not consumed on the kitchen counter Mum shooed me off to get on with my unpacking while she put the leftovers away. I carried the beach towels and the bedding, which we basically had not used, but Mum needn't know that, straight into the laundry room, then took my personal kit bag upstairs and unpacked it in the room. I crumpled up some clean clothing to make it look like I had used it, dumping it in the laundry basket in the bathroom before returning to my room and putting away the things that I had taken that did not need to be washed. Then I re-joined my parents in the lounge. We didn't get any conversation in; Mum had tea ready, and we were ordered through to the dining room. The conversation over dinner was more on how well we had cleaned up the cabin and how Dad had not found a single thing to complain about. "They even remembered to turn off the outside shower water supply, Ruth," Dad said in conclusion. I sat there a little embarrassed to have the kind of praise Dad was pouring on me, but I was also rather proud, and the pleased look on Mum's face made it so worthwhile.

After dinner Mum sent us through to the lounge while she got the coffees ready and brought them in. Once they were served Mum asked me what all we had got up to at the cabin.

"For the most part we just chilled out and chatted, getting to know each other better," I started.

"Steve," Dad interrupted, "I think I could make it a bit easier, because I think there is something that you and Mike have discovered about yourselves that you want to tell us but are not quite sure how to get the subject raised. I have just raised it for you."

Wow, talk about getting down to the details in one smart move! "Well, actually there is, and I think you already know what it is but want me to confirm it, so here goes. This weekend was one of discovery for both of us. We learnt that we love each other in a way that is deeper and stronger than just friendship. And that discovery also made us admit our sexuality. Mum you mentioned this a little while ago and so I know that you and Dad have talked about it. Knowing that has made it easier for me to tell you that I believe I am gay and that I love Mike enough to give him my body."

"Steve, we have suspected this for some time, and that has given your mother and me the opportunity to talk it through. While we are sad that we will not see any grandchildren, we can't change the way we love you, and we will always be your mum and dad. We hope that this revelation will not make one iota of difference to our relationships with each other. We are pleased that it's Mike you have chosen to lay your head with. We have come to love him also as we have got to know him. Mike will always be welcome in our home, and if your relationship develops the way we believe it will, we will look on Mike as our son-in-law." As Dad had given this little speech he had stood up and walked across the room towards me. When he finished talking he was standing in front of me and put his hand out, which I reached up and took. He pulled on my arm and I stood up. Dad pulled me into a hug and held me for quite a few moments. While Dad was still holding me I felt a gentler squeeze as another arm encircled my shoulders and Mum joined our hug.

"It took a lot of courage to tell us, and I am proud of you. Your father is right that it will not change the love we have for you. We will be with you and support you in any way we can," Mum added. That brought tears to my eyes as I said a big thank you to them.

When our group hug had finished and we sat down again, all three of us dabbing at our eyes, I asked, "Did you really mean that about Mike being always welcome and that you look on him as a son-in-law?"

"Most definitely! Have no doubts about that. Mike is a great guy and we both do love him," Dad confirmed.

"Well, what if Mike's news to his parents is not as well received as mine was? Mike plans to come out to his parents tonight too, and he's not sure how his dad especially will take it. If it's bad, can Mike come here, for a bit at least?" I asked.

"The short answer is 'yes'. If Mike needed to live with us he could and we would support both of you," Dad answered. "But that won't happen tonight. Mike's father came to see me at work last week. He was worried about this weekend, because he suspected that Mike was gay and that he was going to try and have some experience with you, only Mike's dad didn't think you would like it. To cut a rather long story short, I first checked with Dan, uh, Mike's father, to find out his feelings about it. I was relieved when he assured me that he was okay with his son being gay but didn't want it to cause a rift between him and his best friend. When I confided to Dan that we had similar suspicions about our son he was visibly relieved and went as far as to say that it must be what was actually attracting the two of you to each other, even though you didn't yet realise it."

"Oh, I am so relieved. I had visions of a battered and beaten boyfriend arriving on our doorstep with nowhere else to go," I said rather sheepishly.

"Steve, there is one thing I need to say and it might sound a bit like a mother hen, but I have to know that you know. You talked about giving Mike your body and we all know what you mean by that, but I want to implore you to please be careful. It might not be in the media here as much as it is in the developing world, but it is still here, and that is AIDS. I would just hate it if you or Mike got it. So please be careful and use protection when you need to and keep to just Mike and make sure Mike keeps just to you," Mum said.

"Yes, mum. I am aware of AIDS, and very scared of it too. Mike is just as scared of it as I am."

My phone vibrated on the coffee table in front of me and played the little tune that indicates a text message. I glanced at the screen and read – All ok. Call me when you can.

Mum and Dad must have seen the relief on my face, because Dad said, "I told you it was going to be ok."

"And I am sure you want to get back to Mike. Unless there's something else you want to tell us, why don't you go off to your room and have a chat with Mike," Mum said.

"Thanks, Mum. I really do love you both. I am so happy you have been this kind to me and Mike," I said as I stood up and left the room. I went up to my room and punched Mike's speed dial number on my phone, lifting it to my ear as I pulled my thumb away from the screen.

I didn't even hear it ring before Mike answered. "Hallo, lover."

"Hi, lover too."

"Two? Aren't I number one?" Mike teased.

"Shut up, you oaf, and tell me what your parents said."

"Well I was kind of stuttering and starting and stopping ,and my dad came over to where I was standing and put his arm around me and told me to take a deep breath. Then he knocked the wind out of me by saying, 'Now tell us that you are gay and that you love Steve.' I nearly knocked my Adam's apple out of my throat with my jaw, it dropped so fast and low. I asked how they knew that was what I was wanting to tell them, and Mum said that they had known for a while and were worried that it would kill our friendship because they thought you were straight. You know my dad even went to see your dad at his work to discuss it with him?" Mike said all that in almost one breath.

"Yeah, I know. Dad told me tonight about your dad's visit. So your folks are cool with you being gay?" I interjected.

"Yeah. They were so nice to me about it and told me that I was still their son and still loved and that there was nothing I could do to change that," Mike told me.

"That is kind of the same as my folks told me, and they also told me that you are like a son-in-law to them and will always be welcome at our house," I told Mike.

"I think these parents of ours have talked more than they have let on, because that is almost the same as what my folks said about you." Mike laughed a bit as he said it.

"You might well be right on that one, my love, I thought that our dads were looking a lot more familiar with each other than I expected. I think I will have to go back downstairs and ask some questions." Our conversation continued for some time. Once we had hung up I went back down stairs to see two parents sitting looking rather smug.

"I think you and Mike's parents have had more than just a visit at work. It seems to me that you guys all agreed on the same answers to give us two," I said, smiling so that my statement wouldn't seem like an accusation.

"Well, when we didn't have a horse to feed on Saturday we decided that we should get to know our son's lover's parents better. We invited them to join us for a meal, and you will be happy to know that we got on very well with them. We are going to be having more meals together. Some of them might even include the two of you, but of course there will be some that you two will not be at so that we can gossip about you," Dad told me, also smiling.

"Yeah, I can easily believe that. But I'm glad you like Mike's parents as well. It will make the wedding planning so much easier."

"Wedding!?" Mum almost spat out the false teeth she doesn't yet have along with the mouthful of coffee she was drinking.

I had planned to string it along a bit more, but Mum's reaction caused me to burst out laughing and straight away they knew I was only playing.

"Steven Mostert, don't you ever do that to your mother again," Mum ordered in such a way I knew she meant it but also found it amusing. "You nearly gave me a heart attack."

Dad, meanwhile, was clearly struggling to be supportive of Mum and not burst out laughing at her reaction, but he was fighting a losing battle. "Son, I think you had better go and get a cloth from the kitchen to clean up this mess," Dad said pointing at the splatter across the coffee table. "And bring back some tissues for your mother as well," he called after me, as I was already heading for the kitchen to do as he had told me to. I knew it was not the time to stand and fight my corner on the grounds that I had not made the mess.

Once I had finished cleaning up and Mum had had a chance to dab her eyes and blow her nose I went over to her. Sitting on the arm of her chair I put my arm around her shoulders and said, "I'm sorry. I didn't expect quite that reaction when I thought about teasing you two with the idea that we were getting married. Of course we're too young yet, and we haven't got that deep into our relationship. But it might happen. You never know."

"It's ok, Stevie. You really did get me that time. I think you got your father too, but he recovered from it a bit faster than I did."

"I have to admit I was a bit shocked at first, but as soon as you started laughing I knew it was a joke, and a good one at that," Dad admitted.

"I am kind of tired. If it's ok with you two, I would like to go to bed," I told them.

"Yes, go before you come up with something else to set my heart racing," Mum said, but she was smiling so I knew she was just teasing.

"Goodnight, son," Dad said.

I went over to Dad and gave him a hug, "Goodnight, Dad, and thanks for everything, and especially being so understanding about all this." Then I went over to Mum and gave her a hug and kiss on the cheek. "Goodnight, Mum, and thank you too for all that good grub over the weekend, but also and especially for loving me and my boyfriend."

"Goodnight, Stevie, and tell Mike we say good night to him too," Mum said.

"Actually, I had not thought of calling him again, but I might just do that. If not, I will text your message to him," I said and left them to go back upstairs again.

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