I deposited the fortieth letter in a mail box and looked to the future. The next two weeks seemed to stretch out into forever. The previous thirty-nine months actually looked shorter than the two weeks ahead. And I didn't have much to do to fill my time. In my apartment I packed some of my things, but I wasn't ready to shut it down. It would have been totally inappropriate for me to arrive in Minneapolis pulling a U-Haul full of my stuff, ready to move in on Norman and Betsy. Moving it to storage made no sense. Tim and I were going to have to come down to Des Moines and pack it up and take it home-I was beginning to think of Minneapolis as home. So I had paid the February rent and told the landlord that I would be leaving before the first of March. If Tim was going to come to my apartment I wanted him to see it as it had been for me the past year and a half; I wanted him to share a little bit of who I had been since we were last together. Bottom line: there wasn't much for me to do in the apartment.
So I set myself to working harder than ever on my shooting. I had come close to my next goal, 1150, but never achieved it. I was determined to get past that barrier and move on toward 1200. Would you believe 1149? That was my record when I called it quits on January 23rd, and prepared to head to Minneapolis. I said goodbye to my friends and supporters at the archery club, assuring them that I would make it to Mexico City, and would wear the club insignia when (not if; I was beginning to think like Tim) I did. They weren't as certain as I was that I would make Mexico City, but they at least humored me, and did express appreciation for my support of the club. I am not sure that they really thought that I would remember them if I made it south of the border.
Sunday, January 24, 1965, finally did arrive. It was a cold, clear day, almost perfect winter weather. I turned down the heat in the apartment, shut the door, and locked it up. Carrying two suitcases of clothing, I walked to my car, put the suitcases in the trunk, and checked to see that Timmy (my bow) was still safely stowed in the back seat. All was well, and I set off for Minneapolis, about 200 miles north-4 to 5 hours if I didn't dilly dally too much. I was off by ten, so I did have time to poke along, and that seemed to match my mood. I was happy as a lark, but had the sense that I didn't need to hurry, that Tim would be there, and would always be there. We didn't need to rush, because we had the rest of our lives. I stopped at the Red Awning for lunch, remembering a pleasant conversation of not quite a year earlier. Time had flown.
By three I was in Tim's neighborhood. I parked about two miles from his house and just sat and daydreamed. About ten of four I drove over, parking in front at three minutes to four. I got out slowly and made my way across the yard and up the steps to the front door. At exactly four I rang the bell.
Tim opened the door slowly. I stepped in without saying anything. We stood and looked at each other, our eyes moving from head to foot, and then coming to rest looking straight at the opposite pair of eyes. He hadn't changed a lot. He had grown two inches-he was now five four. He was as hard and trim as he had ever been. He wasn't the tanned brownie that I had known at camp, but this was, after all, January in Minnesota. He still had a very boyish face, with little need to shave. Same sandy hair, cut just long enough to comb. He was wearing short shorts and a tee shirt-not exactly winter weather garb. I guessed he was showing off in my honor. I noted the legs sticking out of the shorts and admired them-as I had so many years before.
As if our minds worked as one, we fell into each other's arms and hugged tightly. Our minds still working as one we broke away and then came together again kissing, our tongues leaving nothing unexplored. He broke away and said, "I love you."
"I love you," was the obvious response.
This total exchange had taken almost ten minutes, but it was broken up by a shout from Tim, "You can all come in now; he's here, and we are still in love."
Betsy and Norman came out of the kitchen. Carl came downstairs followed by Carol, who had virtually become one of the family. It was obvious that they were simply waiting for their cue. Hugs, kisses, and handshakes were exchanged, and finally we all sat down in the living room, Tim and I together on the couch. Tim said, "We made it. Everybody doubted except Charlie and me. I never doubted in the least, and neither did he, did you Charlie?"
What could I say? but it was true. I had known that I would not falter, and I had been as sure of Tim as I could be of anyone. "It's really true, I never doubted that we'd get here. It feels wonderful."
Carl said, "Wait a minute. You aren't supposed to settle all this until his eighteenth birthday, and that is Tuesday. Maybe Tim should come over here and sit on this chair."
Before Tim could get to Carl and kill him, I said, "You're right Carl. And that birthday is still the magic date. But I think that we can be pretty certain that if we didn't falter while we were apart for more than three years, we won't falter in the next two days."
"But you weren't living with little superboy for those years. Now you have to actually live with him."
"You seemed to have fared well the past eighteen years, Carl."
"I have. And you know, he has been the greatest brother I could wish for. Charlie, you really have a prize. Take care of him."
Betsy entered the conversation, "It's wonderful to have you here, Charlie. You and Tim have a lot to plan and work out in the next few days and weeks. I know I speak for all of us, we are ready to help in any way we can. And if that means leaving you two alone when you need to be, we'll do that. If we don't take a hint, then just tell us to get out."
Norman added, "Here are the plans for the next few days, subject to your approval. Tim has already said that he thought you would like them, and he seems to think that he can read your mind. Tonight we are having Tina, Hal and Sue for dinner, with the six of us. Hal is the only member of the Gang around here, and we thought it would be appropriate for him to welcome you on behalf of all six of them. Tomorrow night it is just going to be we six. We need to learn to be a family of six, instead of four. It will take getting used to, and we need to start.
"Tuesday, the big day, we are going to have a big bash. Carl and Carol, Sue and Hal, and Tina, and all of their parents. We are also having Tim's three coaches, and Hal's running coach-you met him when you were last here, and their wives if they can come. Am I forgetting anyone?"
Tim said, "Yes, my principal, Dr. Olafsen, and his wife."
I was speechless, this was a far greater welcome that I ever expected, but I shouldn't have been surprised. It was pure Tim, and I was going to learn that he came by it honestly-Norman and Betsy, and Carl, were just the same. I was in love with the whole family. "While you are talking about guests, the last time Gabe and Nancy and Bill and Terri joined us. Carl, are you still friends with them?"
Carl said, "Yes, but they don't know Tim's gay, and I am not sure now is the time to tell them. How did you ever remember those names?"
"I wrote them down."
Then Carol said, "Welcome, Charlie. We are all going to get out now, and let you and Tim have some time alone. Dinner is at seven, and we all have to invade the house again in about an hour." With that they all left, for where I had no idea.
Tim looked at me and said, "I don't believe we finally made it. It is wonderful to have you here Charlie. Promise me you'll never leave."
"That's the easiest promise I ever made. I promise."
"Thank you, Charlie. And I make the same promise. I'll never leave you, ever."
We sat together in silence, holding hands. I squeezed his a few times and always got a return squeeze; sometimes he initiated the squeezing. I said, "How long have your parents been planning your party?"
"Three years. We have debated who to have on which night, trying to guess how much in advance of my birthday you would decide to come. We decided to leave that up to you, though calling and telling you was hotly debated between Carl and my dad."
"Who wanted to call me?"
"Oh, they went back and forth. It wasn't till I had written the last letter that they finally decided to let you tell us when you would arrive."
"What if I had come on Monday?"
"Then tonight's dinner would have been skipped, and we would have had the family dinner as planned. Dad thinks that's very important. But the big planning has been for the birthday. In essence they decided that they would invite everybody that had the slightest reason to want to meet you. I think that they all know, or will have no trouble figuring out, that we are a couple. If it is OK with you, I want to make a formal announcement at the birthday party, but ask them to keep it to themselves until you and I find an opportunity for a public announcement. Is all that OK, Charlie? Gee, I hope so. I was so sure that you would like those plans."
I could truthfully answer, "Tim they are perfect. I really mean that, I wouldn't change a thing. If you always do this well, I'll just let you plan the rest of my life. And a little bird is telling me that you already have. When are you going to lay it out for me?"
Tim chuckled and said, "Not till I am eighteen."
"I knew it. You aren't even denying it."
"Why should I? You know my mind has been active for the past three years. Of course I have plans. And, of course, they are subject to instant change when you hear them. But you'll like them Charlie; I know you will."
"What have I gotten myself into?"
"A love nest. Isn't it wonderful?" With that he literally threw himself at me, hugging and kissing, squeezing and relaxing. Finally he put his head in my lap and lay there contentedly. I was equally content.
That is the way the family found us around quarter to six. "OK, you two, we need help with dinner."
By seven Hal, Sue and Tina had arrived and we were ready to eat. Tina was drop dead beautiful, as much the perfect specimen of a girl as Tim was of a boy. She kissed me like a long lost friend, and won me over instantly. Sue was athletic, still beautiful, and a perfect fit with Hal. They were so obviously in love it was almost funny. Carol was as perfect for Carl as Sue was for Hal. They just looked like a pair. Both couples were equally in love. We really made a wonderful group. Life with this Gang simply couldn't get any better. How had I lucked out? I thought to myself, "I am the most extraordinarily lucky man in the world. I can't believe that this is happening to me."
Norman grilled steaks outside on the grill. Tim, still in shorts and a tee shirt, in 25 degree weather, helped him. I stood with them; I, at least, had long pants and sleeves on. Tim wasn't phased by the cold-at least he didn't seem to be.
Conversation at dinner started with, "I never thought you'd make it;" continued with, "Tell us about your last three years, Charlie;" moved on to "Are you really going to be an Olympic archer as Tim says you are?" and ended with, "What are your plans now? Where are you going to live?"
All the questions were easy to field (I decided that a "Yes" to the Olympic archer question was the only answer Tim would tolerate), until we got to future plans. We had to beg off, as planning was something that we hadn't gotten to yet. "Perhaps we'll have some announcements at the birthday party," Tim said.
I said, "No, the planning begins right after the party, when Tim and I are going to set off on a honeymoon."
Tim said, "I have no idea what the plans for that are, Charlie."
"Good. I get to plan something!"
Everybody laughed at that, Tim the hardest.
The party ended early, and Norman and Betsy refused to let any of the "kids" help clear up. "This is our treat. Tim and Charlie want to go upstairs, and the rest of you head off where you like-but leave Tim and Charlie alone."
We headed for Tim's room, which Tim now was calling "our room." It sounded good. "I wondered if I was going to be put in the guest room till you turned eighteen."
"You have got to be kidding." He could tell from my grin that I was. I knew that Norman and Betsy would have me in Tim's room. To my surprise his twin bed had been replaced by a double bed. He looked at me with a funny look on his face and said, "Don't ask whether that was bought for you or Tina."
I never asked, and I still don't know.
As we got undressed we stared quite openly at each other. I hadn't changed much in the past three years. Tim's genitalia had changed from that of a boy to that of a man. It was still small, to be expected on a small young man, but fully developed, and quite beautiful-at least to me. He said, "Don't bother to tell me. The line doesn't go away until my birthday, does it?"
"And if I were to come over and grab that wonderful thing, what would happen?"
"It would put me in a very awkward position. I could never be angry with you over it, as I would understand. It certainly wouldn't end our relationship. I wouldn't love you less. But I would be disappointed in a way that I hope never to be with you Tim. Besides, when we talk about these three years-forty months-in the years to come, and we will, and with many people we have not yet met, wouldn't it be nice to be able to say, honestly, that we were chaste until you were eighteen? Would you want to confess you couldn't hold out two more days?"
"Charlie, I just asked. It never occurred to me to cross your line. I will always honor what is important to you, and I know that you will do the same for me."
After the bathroom we headed for bed. We were instantly in our spoon position, and Tim was giving me more of his little wiggle than I could stand. My hand roamed his chest, down to his belly button-cute, as far as my finger could tell. I even pinched his butt once. We kissed, and fell into a contented sleep.
At eight the next morning Tim woke me with his little wiggle. "Tim, did we sleep the night in that same position?"
"No. I moved us back to it about two hours ago, when I woke up. I have been waiting for you to wake up and finally I couldn't stand it. Waking at six was sleeping late for me."
We got up, showered-separately-got dressed and headed for one of Betsy's wonderful breakfasts. "What are you two going to do today?" she asked.
Tim said, "We have to get out of the house. I thought we might drive downtown and check out the Skywalk system. I don't think Charlie has ever seen downtown Minneapolis. We might go over and look at the Capitol."
"Sounds good to me, as long as we are together."
We headed downtown. Tim drove-it was going to take a while for me to get used to the fact the fourteen year old that had been the basis of my memories for the past years, was now an adult. He was an excellent driver. We headed to a garage that connected to the Skywalks. It was extraordinary. Tim warned me that we wouldn't need coats, so we left them in the car. It was a little chilly in the garage, but soon we were in the Skywalk to a office building across the street. Most of the buildings downtown were connected with Skywalks one level above the ground. Besides connecting the whole downtown, and making it quite delightful in the middle of winter-or summer-it opened up a new level of retail space in all of the buildings-there were shops, places to eat, offices that needed a public front, all sorts of interesting things. We spent several hours wandering, eating light snacks here and there, and just enjoying being with each other. We held hands most of the time, and got a few stares, but nothing more.
By the time we were conscious of the time it was too late in the afternoon to drive over to St. Paul and look at the Capitol. Instead Tim drove me past some of the lovely lakes of the Minneapolis area, and then home. We were in time to help Mom-I was getting comfortable calling her that, and she clearly enjoyed it-finish getting ready for dinner. We went up and changed into nicer clothes, and joined the other four about 5:30. Mom, Dad, Carl and Carol all had wine before dinner. Tim went for fruit juice and I fed my Coke habit. By now Tim had figured out that there might be a lot of things different about the new Charlie, but elimination of the Coke addiction wasn't going to be one of them. My standard response was, "I think I could easily substitute an alcohol addiction for my Coke addiction; should I try?"
When we were all comfortable in the living room, I asked Dad, "I suspect you have an agenda for this evening; am I right?"
"Well, yes. But a large part of it is just having a chance to get used to our expanded family. We need to get used to treating us all as family."
Carl added, "In some places treating people as family would be pretty rough; but here it means you are treated especially nice."
Carol added, "You know, I think I come from a happy family that treats each other well, but this one is really special. I don't think I have ever heard them fight-teens always fight with their parents sometime."
Betsy said, "We try not to give them things to fight with us about."
Norman continued, "Most parent try, but somehow our kids were able to accept reasonable ideas even if they came from their parents."
At last Tim entered in and said, "Look, I am tired of hearing how wonderful this family is. I am quite aware that we are different, special, whatever. Lets just enjoy it, not talk about it."
Everyone agreed. I asked, "Dad, you did admit to having an agenda."
"We'll talk at dinner, Charlie, when Betsy doesn't have to be going back and forth to the kitchen to check on food. And yes, she knows others would be willing to help, but she only trusts herself with a good dinner. And for the record, that is not a habit you are going to break her of-sort of an addiction like you and Coke."
Before long we were at the dinner table, with everyone served. I again raised the question of Norman's agenda.
He responded, "A year ago Carol and Carl were talking wedding. They put it off a year, wisely I thought. It was partly because they wanted you at the wedding Charlie."
"For that I would have broken a rule."
"I thought so," Norman said, "but I didn't tell Carl or Carol. They were doing very nicely making their own decision to put off marriage, and I didn't want to confuse things."
Carl said, "You manipulate more that we realize, don't you?"
"Would you rather have kind manipulation or authoritarian instruction? Just a few minutes ago you seemed delighted to avoid that."
"Point for you," said Carl, "but it didn't always work."
"Do you have a case in point?" asked Dad.
"Sure, Charlie and Tim."
"Caught," said Norman. "Betsy and I have already confessed to Charlie that we had ulterior motives when we invited him to Minneapolis after camp. But we quickly fell in love with Charlie as much as Tim did. It was one of those manipulations that went wrong, and we have been forever grateful."
Tim asked, "When did you confess that to Charlie? I figured it out when you proposed the visit. But if you were going to invite Charlie to Minneapolis, who was I to tell you not to?"
"About two years ago they stopped in Rockford and we talked. They told you we visited. I don't think they told you that they apologized-quite unnecessarily-for inviting me to Minneapolis under false pretenses."
"We also told you we had fallen in love with you as much as Tim," said Betsy.
"Let's get back to Dad's agenda. You were talking about marriage."
"I had hoped that Carl and Carol were ready to talk about marriage. I can't believe that that subject hasn't come up in their conversations this year," said Norman.
Carol responded, "Of course it has. Living in the dorms this year has been the right thing to do. Charlie, I know you and Carl talked about marriage at the Red Awning. I think you were like Mom and Dad and refused to give advice. But all of you, in your quiet way-I don't think of it as manipulative-gently guided us to the right decision, while making it clear that you would support whatever decision we made. That was the most important thing, and we knew you meant it."
Carl said, "But we don't want to live apart next year. That means getting married this summer."
"I was pretty sure that was where you two were heading," Norman said. "Tim, Charlie, have you two thought about a commitment ceremony of some sort?"
"Not really," I replied.
"Let's think now," said Tim.
Betsy asked, "Wouldn't you want to do that in private?"
I jumped in with, "He's going to tell you everything anyway. Let's talk about the possibilities. What if we made some sort of public commitment at tomorrow night's birthday party. Everyone important is going to be there."
"No they aren't," said Tim. "The Gang won't be there, except Hal. But even more important, all my friends will be there and yours won't. No way."
Norman commented, "I know that, 'No way.' It means that his mind is made up and further discussion is pointless."
"I recognized the tone of voice," I said. "OK, when?"
"Soon. But we have to visit your family first. Then we have to think about when we are going to come out publicly-I have some ideas about that."
"So do I," I put in.
"I think the commitment service or ceremony, whatever we call it, should be private, but shortly before the public coming out. And that needs to be soon, because I will not spend my life with Charlie in the closet."
"That tone of voice again," noted Carl.
"That we have talked about in our letters, and we are in agreement."
Betsy asked, "Do you think the Gang will come?"
Tim said, "Every one, and they'd be here by tomorrow night it we called right now. But we need to give them fair notice. Charlie, what were you thinking about coming out?
"I have this image, a daydream really. But it is crystal clear. At one of your big diving meets, on your last dive, as you come up the ladder I am standing at the top and take your hand to help you up the last step. From there I take you in my arms and we have a very deep, very public kiss. Your coach will have arranged in advance with the home team coach, or maybe it's at Southwest, to have a microphone so you can make an announcement. You introduce me, Charlie, as your life partner. In the daydream this is met with cheers. In real life we could control everything up to the audience response. That is a big question mark."
Tim ran over to me, kissed me, and said, "I love it. We'll do it. Just like that. And we'll get support. I think that I would add one thing. I think we should come out to the team with a similar kiss in the locker room before the meet. I know they will be supportive. And we'll ask them to be at poolside at the end of the meet, and to lead the cheering. Nothing like a little stage management to make things work out the way you want them to."
Norman got out the school calendar and said, "The Southwest Invitational is six weeks off."
"Perfect," said Carl.
Tim and I agreed. And it was settled.
I said, "The commitment will be the Saturday before."
Tim looked at his calendar. "Big gymnastics meet the Saturday before. Let's do Sunday."
Norman said, "You life's going to be like that, Charlie. Are you ready for it?"
I looked at Tim, and then the others. Then back at Tim. "Yes," was all I needed to say. I truly meant it.
Tim said, "OK, we've talked about Charlie and me, how about you and Carol, Carl?"
Carol replied, "Let's get married about the middle of the summer, say the middle of July. That gives us the first half of the summer to get ready and the second half to get ready to return to school married-apartment to find and furnish, the whole banana."
"Where are you going to get married?" I asked.
"Carl and I have been talking about that. We have a real problem. I'd kind of like a church wedding, although my folks and I are only nominal members of the Presbyterian Church. But it is quite anti-gay, and I am reluctant to be associated with them."
"Only the Quakers are really with it when it comes to gays," I said.
Carl said, "I know, but they won't marry anyone who isn't a Quaker."
Norman said, "How about the Unitarians? They are pretty liberal, their ministers can marry you, some of the churches are quite nice-and traditional."
Carol said, "We might even find we liked being Unitarian."
Betsy said, "Back in the good old days, when we hadn't even bothered to consider what the church taught about homosexuality, I would have been shocked to think of my kids being Unitarian. The response would have been, 'But they aren't even Christian.' Now after I have seen my son subjected to the bigotry of 'good Christians,' I'd like to explore the Unitarians."
Carol continued, "I'll do a little homework. We may be onto something."
I said, "Regardless of where, you are thinking mid-July, right?"
Norman asked, "What do you see as your living arrangements over the summer?"
Carol replied, "Can I be honest?"
I said, "In this house you ask that question?"
Carol continued, "I was really asking permission to push Mom and Dad a little."
Betsy said, "We knew."
Carol continued again, "We want to live together over the summer, both before and after we are married. We won't get an apartment until September. Honestly, my parents are great, but we think living there would be a strain."
Carl continued, "And we know that here would be a delight."
Norman said, "And, of course, you are welcome. As yet we don't know Charlie and Tim's plans, so until then we can't offer you any space but your room Carl, but we can put a double bed in it like we did for Tim."
"Thanks," both of them said at once. "You're both wonderful," continued Carol.
Norman turned to me, "Well, what about your plans?"
"We are planning in days, not months or years yet. But here are the short term plans. Tim is hearing some of these for the first time. After the birthday party we spend the night here."
Betsy interjected, "I am surprised. Charlie, I thought you would want to take your best guy off into the world somewhere to celebrate your new life together."
"I thought about it. I thought a lot. The more I thought, the more I was convinced that the place I would really like to spend my first night with Tim was in his own home, his own room, and his own bed. And with an approving family in the house, from whom I have to hide nothing."
Tim said, "Charlie, that's wonderful. And I completely agree."
Tim's family all expressed equal support and enthusiasm.
"The next morning I want to sweep Tim off on a honeymoon, if we can call it that."
Carl said, "You can call it whatever you like. Who's going to stop you?"
I continued, "We will be gone Wednesday and Thursday nights, and come back after dinner on Friday. We intend to use that time to plan our near term future, where we'll live, school next year, a job for me, details of coming out, I am sure we will think of much more. When we get back Friday evening we won't be up to serious talking about our plans.
"Saturday morning we'd like to continue this family discussion. We'll have answers then, and we can make plans for the whole family."
Carol said, "I'll see what I can find out about the Unitarians between now and then."
Norman said, "Charlie, are you going to be comfortable having these conversations with all six of us? Would you rather start with just Betsy and me?"
"Certainly not. Carl and Carol are as involved as anyone, and we aren't going to start now excluding them from anything."
Carol said, "I'll second that. I think the two newcomers here need to insist that this be a family of six-all the time."
Norman said, "I agree. But I suspect Charlie's going to be asking some hard questions of Betsy and me, and we didn't want to force him to do it with extras present if that was going to be a hindrance."
"First of all, Dad, there are no hard questions with you. I'm going to treat you just like I do Tim. I'll tell it just as it is, expect you to do the same, and I'll accept your answers no matter what they are. I know you are fair, and will continue to be. And up till now you have not only been fair, but extraordinarily generous. What more could I ask for in a dad?"
Tim stood up, started to take off his shirt, and said, "I'm going to bed."
I said, "You go on, I'll be up in a little while. I'm not sleepy, and I think I'll read."
Tim looked a little puzzled, but went on up.
Norman looked equally puzzled, but didn't say anything. But I did. "He turns 18 at midnight. I have to be awake. If I go up now, I'll be sound asleep at midnight."
Betsy said, "I'll be awake. I'll slip in about ten of and wake you, not Tim. Now go to bed with him."
With grateful thanks I did.
We spooned, wiggled, rubbed, and ventured to that old belly button again. We were asleep quickly. Right on schedule, Betsy slipped in and tapped my shoulder, slipping back out again. Certainly she knew what was going to happen at midnight to her little boy. I wondered what she was thinking.
Just at midnight I let my hand roam below the belly button. First it encountered a flat, hard stomach, then a patch of hair. Below this was the most wonderful piece of human flesh that I could ever dream about. As I stroked it gently Tim awakened. He knew immediately what was going on. He gave his little wiggle, but this time followed it by turning toward me and taking my penis in his hand. I took hold of his.
"Forty months, Charlie. We made it. And it is just as wonderful as I dreamed. Can I grab your balls?"
"Lover, the whole business belongs to you. You don't have to ask permission. You don't have to give warning. You can assert your ownership rights whenever you please. And you will have to take the consequences if you decide to do it in public."
"And I belong to you, Charlie. Same rules. What are we going to do tonight?"
"Just this. I want to know what you feel like, and I want you to know about me. I want to experience your handling me, poking, and tickling. But let's wait to have our first orgasms together tomorrow night after your birthday party."
"It's going to be tough, Charlie. But yes, let's. You know, I haven't had an orgasm since Tina and I fucked on New Year's. It's been tough, but I decided that I would save myself for you."
"Sorry, kid, I can't say the same. But my last was in Des Moines."
"Good night, Charlie."
"Good night, Tim. Roll over, I want my dick to get your wiggles, and yours is going to enjoy my hand."
"Not too much, I'll pop quick."
"I'll be careful."
"I love you."
"I love you too, kid. Always will."
"Good night, Charlie. Kiss me."
I did, and we fell asleep.
Six a.m. Carl and Carol pounded on the door, and the whole family trooped in singing "Happy Birthday!" Carl pulled the sheet down to our waists, saying, "Just checking." Everyone laughed.
Tim said, "You certainly didn't expect anything else did you?"
Tim said, "Everyone out, Charlie and I have things to do. Could we have breakfast about 8:00 a.m.?"
"No," said Betsy. "It's ready now. Put on something and come on down, now."
We did stop in the bathroom, but we headed promptly for the kitchen. Balloons everywhere. Presents stacked up. A fabulous breakfast hot on the table. Two big chairs sat at the table for the two of us. And another round of "Happy Birthday!"
I sat down next to Tim, but we both were adamant: we wouldn't eat until everyone had pulled a chair up to the table and filled their plates.
We were treated as kings the whole day. We weren't allowed to do anything for the evening party. But there was a lot to do. The house needed to be completely rearranged, as it had been forty months before. I asked, "How often do you do this?"
Carl said, "This is the second time that I can remember in my lifetime. The only other time was the party for you forty months ago."
I could hardly contain my surprise. About 5:30 Norman came over to Tim and me with the news that this would be a coat and tie affair-quite understandable for the sixties.
Tim and I went upstairs and showered-together, and he washed all of me and I washed all of him, and then he washed some of me and I washed some of him, and then he rewashed some of me. Then I got out. He followed, and we repeated the same thing with our towels.
Back in our room (I was getting used to called it that) Tim suggested that we dress each other. I stood behind him and pulled up his undershorts, then his pants, then slipped his shirt on and buttoned it from behind. He did the same for me, except that I was a little big for him. He did manage, though. Then he sat me on the bed and put on my socks and shoes, and I did the same for him. He was defeated by my tie. We were so used to tying a tie in the mirror, that trying to do it on someone else was almost impossible. We both gave up. It was clear that life with Tim was going to be a new adventure every day-only Tim could make getting dressed a sexy adventure.
We went downstairs just as Hal and Sue, and all four of their parents arrived. It was good to see John and Hazel again. Sue introduced her parents Karen and Philip. They were meeting Tim for the first time, and clearly were in awe of the fact that their daughter was dating a boy who was on such close terms with Tim. I was going to have to get used to the fact that the kid I treated as my camper, lover, and friend, was a sports hero, especially in the Twin Cities. Carol had gone home to dress, and now she and her parents arrived. I was meeting Dana and Susan for the first time. I knew that they were soon to be formally part of the family, and was pleased to find them quite charming.
Tina was the next to arrive. She and Tim kissed without any hesitation or embarrassment. And it was serious kissing, not a little peck. Clearly Tina was testing the situation, and I was delighted. I walked over and kissed her right after Tim. On the other hand, her parents seemed embarrassed. Tim did the introductions, and I met JoAnn and Henri for the first time-the first of many I am glad to note.
We looked out on the sidewalk and saw what looked like a convention. It was the four coaches and their wives, and they all walked in together. Tim was so proud to introduce me, he just glowed. Coach Nelson, this is Charlie. Coach John, Coach Frank, this is Charlie. Hal stepped forward to introduce Coach Johnson and Phyllis, but then remembered that we had already met. Phyllis hugged me and said, "It is so nice to see you again, Charlie. Hal told us all about you and Tim a month or so ago, and we were just so pleased. You two were such a wonderful pair three years ago.
Coach Johnson came over and said, "Charlie, to the extent that you had anything to do with creating the Hal I know, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Coaching Hal these four years has been the thrill of a lifetime."
Nelson, John and Frank chimed in, "You haven't had Tim."
Coach Johnson said, "I wouldn't trade. Hal can outrun Tim."
Everyone laughed, and we were still chuckling when Dr. Olafsen and his wife arrived. I had to have a lot of respect for Dr. Olafsen. He ran a good school, and one that had been able to meet Tim's needs. If you weren't flexible, hadn't assembled a good staff, and weren't a smart administrator, you would screw up an opportunity like Tim. Olafsen hadn't. "So this is Charlie? You have to be a pretty special guy for Tim to think as highly of you as he does. I can hardly wait till the next swim meet when you show off by walking across the water."
"Did Tim tell you that?"
"Might as well have, there isn't anything you can't do; that's the gospel according to Tim. I understand that you are a world-class archer."
"Tim hopes I will become one. Perhaps."
"Tim doesn't believe in 'Perhaps'; I assume you know that."
"Oh, yes. There are a lot of things Tim doesn't believe in, but they are facts nevertheless."
Tim knocked on the table to get everyone's attention. "Listen, everyone. This party is two parties in one. I am eighteen today. That is supposed to make me a man, but it didn't add six inches to my height. But the real reason for the party is standing beside me. We have an announcement to make. It shouldn't be a surprise for the people in this room, but Charlie and I would like to make a formal announcement anyway. Charlie and I are in love. We are life partners, spouses, lovers, any other term you wish. We are off on a two day honeymoon tomorrow, and over the weekend we are going to make plans with our parents for the rest of this year, for college, for the rest of our lives. Hal and the rest of the Gang think that I have retirement plans worked out, but I'm not telling.
Tim got good laughs. But the main thing was all kinds of expression of love and support.
"Now I want you to hear from Charlie."
"What's to say? Tim said it all. I love Tim with all my heart, and I know he loves me. We will make wonderful lives together. But the most important thing for me to say is, 'Thank you.' All of you have supported Tim, one way or another, for the last three and a half years. He couldn't be where he is today without all of you. Yes, he thinks he could, but in the bottom of his heart he knows he has needed you all. Thank you,."
Tim said, "I have one thing to add. We are going to be coming out to the world before too long. We may be talking to some of you, asking for advice, and for help in doing it right. But, until it is public, we would appreciate it if our news could be private, just between us. Thanks."
Norman took over. "Betsy and I want to echo Charlie's thank you. He really meant it, and we do too. You all have been so very important in Tim's life, and through Tim in Charlie's life. Thank you from all of us. And last, before we eat, Betsy and I want everyone to know that we have welcomed Charlie into our family, completely, wholly, and without qualification. Gay lovers can have a tough row to hoe, and we know in advance that all of you will be helpful and supportive. Thank you."
By this point Tim and I both had moist eyes and we were holding each other tight. Carl broke the moment by yelling, "Kiss the bride."
We did, long and hard, to great cheers from everyone assembled.
Dinner was the most huge pile of meat, salad, and vegetables you can imagine. Betsy had beef, pork and lamb, all grilled by Norman on grills borrowed from who knows how many neighbors. They had soft drinks and Champagne, and soon Dr. Olafsen was proposing a toast, "To the most spectacular boy Southwest High has ever enrolled, and to his partner. May their love grow from day to day, and may their Olympic medals rust in their boxes while they move on to even greater realms of achievement."
Tim and I found time to speak with everybody. All wished us well, and all received our genuine thanks for their support and affection. Tim went out of his way to thank each off his three coaches, and tell them that I would be with him a lot in practice and at meets. I was assured that I would be welcome. Tim sought out Dr. Olafsen and told him that we wanted to visit him in his office the next week when he was back in school. He asked if I could join them. "Charlie will always be welcome," we were assured. Tim thanked Dr. Olafsen for allowing him to miss a week of school, and had the nerve to tell, not ask!, him that he and I would be gone another week in early February while he went to meet my folks. Dr. Olafsen wasn't phased. He looked at me and said, "Charlie, it may seem that Tim sort of runs the school; we let him think that. But we also know that there isn't a college in the country that wouldn't take him next year if he dropped out of Southwest High tomorrow. We either play his game or no game. But that has never been the issue. Tim's work standards are so high that he has probably already done more schoolwork this year that any of his classmates will accomplish by June. A second week off is fine. And if any other students complain, I'll just publish a rule that says that students with straight A's from freshman year forward are exempt from attendance requirements in their senior year, as long as they continue to get A's. By the way, is everything going to go as well with your folks as it has here?"
"We honestly don't know. I am still in the closet with my folks. I have always thought that they would handle it better if the object of my affection was on the scene to be loved and appreciated. Well, here he is. Next month we find out if I was right. I hope so."
Tim gathered the four coaches, along with Hal and me. He said, "Charlie is going to be the spokesperson for the three of us."
I said, "I am speaking for Tim and Hal, who have both talked about this with each other and with me. The three of us are going to the Mexico City Olympics. Tim will not entertain the thought that that won't work out, so just accept it as fact. The message I am to give from the two of them, well the three of us, is that we want you four to be their coaches of record at the Olympics. They both feel that what they have accomplished under your leadership is the basis for any chance they have at the Olympics, and you will share their spotlight. Some new coaches may be added to the list, but you will always have top billing. And as Tim says, that's non-negotiable."
The four looked at each other, then me, then Tim and Hal. Both the boys had very serious, determined looks on their faces. I don't think that the coaches really knew what to say. But Phyllis did. "Charlie, Hal, Tim, that is the most generous thing that has ever been said to any of these four men. That has never been their priority in working with the two of you, but believe me when I say that your gesture is appreciated-more than they are ever going to be able to tell you. And they are going to tell you that it isn't necessary, that you need to more on."
I interrupted. "Tim has a word for that, and I hope you don't mind my repeating it here in this company. His word is Bullshit. No way on earth are he and Hal going to abandon the men that have given them their opportunities, and given selflessly. But this is getting mushy. We just wanted this to be on the record."
Dr. Olafsen came over, having heard the interchange. "This doesn't surprise me. It is pure Tim. That is what makes him what he is. You gentlemen need not protest, just accept gratefully."
They all did. It was a wonderful moment to end the evening. Soon the guests were leaving, and Tim and I were contemplating what would soon follow upstairs. But first I said, "Tim and I have been excused from helping around here up till now, but it has to stop. We are not going to leave this mess for the rest of you, and we are not going to get up and face it in the morning."
Norman and Betsy both firmly declined our offer to help, which Tim had immediately affirmed. Carl stepped in, before we could respond, and said, "Tim's word is Bullshit. Not letting them help is Bullshit. I'll accept your offer even if Mom and Dad won't."
Tim said, "They will. This family pulls together, and from the look of the mess in this place we will need at least the six of us to straighten it out. Mom, Dad, no discussion on this. It is a done deal."
Betsy said, "We accept. Norman and I will do the dishes in the kitchen. You boys carry them out and put the furniture back where it belongs. Carol, you can start by making sure that all the glasses are picked up and that the water spots on the tables are wiped up. Then you can help in the kitchen.
It took us an hour and a little more, but soon the house was spotless. Carl walked over to Tim and me and said, "OK. Off to bed. I know you won't let me watch, but I am going to listen outside the door!"
Betsy said, "Carl hush. Don't be stupid. Besides, Norman and I have the space outside the door reserved. Have fun boys!"
We headed upstairs. We undressed each other and headed for the shower. As we left the room, completely naked, we decided that if anybody was out there they would just have to see us naked. Nobody was there. We showered long and hard, and left nothing to the imagination. Carl and Carol were in the hall, going to Carl's room as we came out, with towels wrapped around us. Carl grabbed for Tim's towel to pull it off, but Tim was too quick for him. Tim grinned, and as he went into his room he said, "Sorry, Carl, that is for a later day. Carol pinched my butt through my towel and pushed me into the room after Tim. We closed the door and looked at each other, dropping our towels.
I said, "I think there is some electricity there. Someday we are going to explore it. But tonight I just want to explore you."
Tim didn't speak, but his tongue pushing into my mouth spoke volumes. Nothing would bring me more pleasure than reliving that night, moment by moment. Reams of paper wouldn't suffice for my purposes. On the other hand, there is only so much that two boys can do in a room alone, and it has all been described in considerable detail many, many times . I'll spare you most of the details, and let your imagination fill them in.
We moved to the bed without letting go of each other. Our hands were all over each other, and soon our mouths as well. As Tim started to get serious with his mouth on my dick I said, "Tim, let's save that for tomorrow night in Duluth. Tonight, I would like to just experience what your hands can do."
"Is that where we are going tomorrow night? Did you mean to let that slip?"
"I'm not sure. But I don't mind your knowing, we'll be there before too long." He never responded verbally to the request about his hands, but he took the suggestion and proved that hands and fingers can be absolutely exquisite. He insisted that I was just as wonderful to him. After the first round we spooned together, and my hands roamed freely, as they had had the opportunity to do only one time before. He responded with generous portions of wiggle.
It wasn't long before we were both hard again, Tim had turned to face me, and was determined that he would get his hands on me before I got mine on him. He succeeded, and then so did I. Quickly we were back spooning, and drifting off to sleep. Every now and then during the night I would feel a little wiggle, and would respond with a little squeeze. The night passed quickly and contentedly.
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