Birthday Dare

by Rick Masters

Chapter 46

On the way home Dad said, "I really think you should take the opportunity to go back to the advice centre and chat with Simon. Not to find out what happened to him, but to learn what else you can do to support yourselves and any others you might come across who are struggling. Both of you have that caring nature, and I think it might help you to find a calling in life. Or to eliminate one option."

"Oh, yes, I agree entirely. If you guys need a ride to get there I'm sure we can work a plan between us to help you until one of you has got his licence and you can drive yourselves there," Dan agreed.

"Drive ourselves? You mean you would let us loose with one of your cars?" Mike asked.

Dad said, "Once we know you're competent to drive and legally licenced. We trust you to be responsible with our cars just as you have shown your responsibility in other ways these last couple of years."

"Wait a bit. What's with this 'we' stuff? Have you two already discussed this sort of thing with each other?" I asked.

Dan replied, "Steve, we haven't discussed letting you drive our cars without us, but it's amazing how much your father and I think alike. We can each tell what the other will agree to without having to ask, so we find we can use the plural form, especially when it comes to our two sons." Dad just sat with a grin on his face.

"Well, perhaps that explains why we know what the other is thinking without having to ask. We got it from our fathers!" Mike suggested.

"That you might have, son," Dan said.

"How is it then that we aren't able to know what you two are thinking most of the time?" I asked.

"Possibly because we have more life experience than you, so we think things through differently," Dad said.

"Yeah, okay, I'll buy that."

"Changing the subject, Dad, why did you tell me to be quiet when we were talking about recording the meeting? Surely you can help them out there, even if only to supply one recorder?" Mike asked.

"Mike, when he told us about not being able to tape it, I was already thinking along the same lines as you, but I can't make the decision myself. I need to talk to my partners first. I didn't want to get his hopes up and then find that my partners don't agree and we don't do anything. But believe me, I will do my best to get what I can for the centre."

"That is another of those things we can't explain," Dad interjected. "I decided when I heard of their problem to go and speak to my directors and see if they wouldn't make a donation towards acquiring some of this sort of equipment. I know one of my directors is gay, though most people don't know that, and he might be sympathetic. Dan, maybe if I can swing it we could help offset the cost to your company," Dad said.

"Or if my partners agree to it, we can supply it all and your company can make a financial donation to the centre to use for other needs," Dan suggested.

"Fine by me. I will get back to you as soon as I know how my directors are moving," Dad said.

"And I will let you know how the partners take to my idea."

We fell into a calm silence for the last part of our journey back to the pizza shop, where Dad and I parted company from Mike and Dan and got back into our own car. Once we were on our way again, Dad told me once more how proud he was of both me and Mike. He added that he really would let me use the car to visit the advice centre once I had got my licence, and he was sure he had no need to worry about how I would behave with the car. I took a while to reply to that as I let it sink in.

"What if I told you we were not quite as responsible as you might think we are?" I asked.

"Steve, I trust you, and even if you have been more irresponsible in the past in ways that I am not aware of, I trust you to recognise the responsibility you hold when sitting behind the wheel of a car and to act accordingly," Dad said.

"Thank you, Dad. I hope I never let you down."

"I don't think you have anything to worry about," Dad told me as he turned into our driveway.

Once we got inside we discovered that Mum wasn't yet home. It was actually earlier than we had thought, but I was whacked and asked Dad if he minded if I just headed off to bed. Of course Dad said it was okay and that all he was going to do was to turn on the telly so that he could doze in front of it until Mum got home.

I took a step toward my dad and flung my arms around him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Thank you for being the best dad any guy, gay or not, could want. Goodnight." The kiss surprised Dad, but he quickly returned the hug and also gave me a kiss on my cheek.

"Goodnight, son. I hope you sleep well tonight knowing you have done the right thing by Jay and by your parents and by Mike and his folks too. I love you." I had to turn away quickly because I got a tear in my eye and a bit choked up. I knew I was one of the luckiest gay kids in the world.

The following Friday was a teacher training day so we didn't have school. Mike and I decided to get together early and get our homework done so that we could catch a bus into town and drop in on Simon for a chat. Mum offered to drive us in, but I told her that we wanted to experience the bus trip to see how long it would take and how far we had to walk from the bus stop. Dad had asked me to join him in telling Mum about what had gone on with Jay and all that followed. He said it was not right that she should be kept in the dark now that some action was being taken. Mum was a bit upset that we had not included her from the start. Dad bravely said that it had been entirely his decision, that he had needed some time to work it through himself first. Then it had moved on to include Dan, but Michelle had also been left out of it initially and might even still be in the dark, but Dan was going to tell her too. Once Mum had calmed down a bit, she began to think about it logically. She came round to how happy she was that Mike and I had made a stand and refused to be a part of molesting a ten year old and had taken action with the help of our fathers. Mum was also quite pleased that we had decided to visit Simon. She felt we needed to have somewhere that we knew we could turn to in a time of crisis.

When we arrived at the centre we rang the intercom bell at the door and got the tinny voice. Recognising that it belonged to the person we wanted to see, Mike simply said, "Hi, Simon. Have you got a few minutes for a couple of guys to visit with you?"

"I think I recognise that voice. Even if I didn't have time I would make it. Come on in." The door buzzed and we pushed it open. Before it had clicked closed Simon was approaching us down the passage.

"Don't worry, we haven't bunked school to come and see you. We have a teacher training day," I advised Simon.

"I'm glad to hear that, but to be honest I couldn't care either way. I am so glad you came to see me," Simon answered.

"Well, our dads encouraged us to, but they didn't really need to. We wanted to come and learn a bit more of what the centre does and what it's all about," Mike told him.

"It doesn't matter to me; what matters is that you've come. That makes me happy," Simon said. "Now while the centre has been set up and is largely run by gay people, it isn't exclusively for gays. Anybody in a crisis can come to us and we'll help them in whatever way we can, but our main aim is to help younger people like yourselves so that they don't have to go through what I went through."

"What … no. It's ok, we don't need to know that. Your dad said it was pretty horrible, so it must be hard to talk about it too. Please forget I was about to ask," I said.

"Actually it helps me to talk about it now, but some of it is pretty gruesome and it might upset you. I would like to share some of it with you in case you find someone who is getting it rough, then maybe you can help them with what you learn from me. So if you want to hear it, I'll talk, but if you find it too hard to take then say so and I'll stop. Okay?"

"So long as it's helping you and not making it harder for you get through it. And we promise that we'll tell you if it gets too tough for us," I said.

"Great! First, something to make it easier to talk. Would you prefer tea, coffee, juice or two glasses of water?" Simon asked, smiling as he looked at me with the last option.

We all laughed and then opted for the water. Simon had led us by that time into a smallish room set up with easy chairs and a central coffee table. He invited us to sit and then went through a second door in the room. We heard the clink of glass and rush of water as he filled a jug from the tap and rattled some ice cubes into the jug. He poured us each a glass and sat down opposite us; we were sitting side by side on a small settee and holding hands. Simon smiled and asked us how long we had been dating. We told him how we had known each other for some years but that we had only been dating and out to our parents and a select few others for just a couple of months.

"You are the lucky ones. Your parents have accepted you're gay and are supportive. There are so many teens whose parents cannot or will not do that. On average two contact us every week needing help because their parents have either kicked them out of the house or are refusing to accept they are gay and are trying to force them to be otherwise," Simon told us.

"What do you do for those who have been kicked out of their homes?" I asked.

"We have a place where we can put them up for a few days while we try to contact and negotiate with their parents. If that fails we have to hand those that are minors over to the social services to try to get them into foster care, but there are so many kids in need of foster care or adoption that social just can't help all of them. Some end up in child-care institutions. But it's not all doom and gloom. Some are reconciled to their parents and both parents and kids come here for counselling, which helps them to come to terms with each other and rebuild their relationships," Simon concluded with a smile.

"What happened to those kids before the centre?" Mike asked.

"That's a sad story. Some kids tried to live on the streets. Many of them became prostitutes to earn a bit of money to live with. Too many ended up dead in some dark corner or doorway. A lot of them got STDs that were left untreated too long, so they didn't have a chance and died early deaths in a hospital somewhere. We don't have any proof, but we're reasonably sure that some of the kids got kidnapped and hauled off to some foreign land to be pimped out as sex slaves. But now we tend to get more of them than not. The police will often bring us a kid that has either been kicked out or has run away from home because of the way they have been treated. They give us a first shot at helping, because they know the social services are overwhelmed. It's either us or they get taken back to their parents, who just kick them out on the street again. And those that don't sometimes end up like I was." Simon reached for his glass of water.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead