My mother was in the kitchen when we walked in but my father had already left for the office. She looked at us and smiled.
"Did you boys sleep well?"
It was obvious she knew we had slept together. Maybe that was because Josh's door was open and she saw nobody slept in his bed.
"Yeah, really good," I said smiling at Josh. He was obviously self-conscious and started to blush but my mother just looked at him and smiled.
"Josh, don't be embarrassed. It is going to take some time to get used to Dan's sense of humor again. It's good to see it though," she smiled. "Dan's father and I know how you feel about each other. We trust you both to behave responsibly."
"We really did just sleep," I said.
"Did I say anything? Just remember you both have a lot going on."
"We're going slow Mom. We're trying to be friends first."
"I'm glad to hear it. That's smart. By the way, can you drop Scott off at school? I have an early staff meeting."
"Thank you. I'll make sure he's getting ready."
As soon as my mother left I wrapped my arms around Josh and pulled him against me. "I told you they wouldn't be mad," I said giving him a kiss. "You're getting better at this," I said smiling.
"You're giving me lots of practice," he said returning my kiss.
"Maybe we should stay home and practice some more."
"I don't think so," said my mother as she walked back into the kitchen. Josh jumped when he saw her.
"You're cute when you blush, but you need to relax," I said smiling at him.
"Scott is almost ready. I'll see you tonight. ...And Dan, if you're going to be doing much of that you might want to consider wearing other pants."
"Who is blushing now," she laughed as she gave me a hug good-bye. Then she hugged Josh.
Scott was his usual talkative self on the way to school. My parents said I used to be the same way. I couldn't imagine that. I feel so much more reserved now but I do hope he never loses it. He's really cute even for a Monday morning.
Josh didn't talk much, especially after we dropped Scott at school. I knew he was worried. Besides worrying about what was going to happen long term I'm sure he was thinking about what would happen when we got to school. This was the first day we'd be seeing Phil since Friday. He'd be standing guard at his usual spot when we got there. I reached for his hand and held it while I was driving.
"I'm here for you. You don't have to worry."
"I was just thinking."
I smiled. "I know. Hopefully good things but I doubt it. Today is going to be a long day."
"What do you mean?"
"We won't be able to do any of those less than boyfriend things until after school. It'll be frustrating. I promise I'll make it up to you tonight if you'll let me."
"Sounds good. How about we skip school and practice now? Your parents won't be home."
I smiled. "Sounds fun but I don't think they would appreciate that when they found out."
"I know. I was just joking. I wouldn't do that. I'm just not looking forward to seeing Phil."
"Don't worry about Phil. Pretty soon you'll be able to kick his ass."
"Yeah, right. I'll settle for not getting my ass kicked."
"You're going by the office to talk with your aunt, right? We're early enough. You should be able to catch her before class."
"Yeah, I hope she's there. I tried calling her again this morning but she still didn't answer. You're coming with me aren't you?"
"I will if you want. I thought you might want to talk with her alone."
"No, I want you there. It affects you too. Besides, she'll want to talk with you. Since she knows about Aaron she'll want to make sure you're okay with things."
I looked at him and smiled. "I couldn't be better."
Since it had stopped raining, Chris and Ryan were standing by their car when we pulled in. I always parked beside them. They waved when they saw me but also seemed surprised when Josh got out of the passenger door. They knew we had hung out Friday night but they didn't know anything about what happened over the weekend.
I smiled. "Morning guys. You have a good weekend?"
"Yeah, Chris spent the weekend. My parents went away for the weekend. We would have called you but you know how it is, we were busy." smiled Ryan.
I laughed. "Aaron and I used to be 'busy' a few weekends when my parents had gone away. We were usually very busy if they took Scott with them. There is something hot about being naked and fooling around with your boyfriend anywhere and any time you want all weekend. Aaron and I definitely took advantage of it. I think the only rooms we didn't do anything in were my parent's room and Scott's room. Neither of us could bring ourselves to do that. The couch in my father's study was a different story though."
"Sorry," I said to Josh after realizing what I said. I probably shouldn't have said that. It's one thing that he knew I had done stuff with someone else. It was something else sticking it in his face.
"It's okay," he said even though he looked a little hurt.
"It looks like you two are becoming friends," said Chris.
"We are. Josh spent a lot of time at my house this weekend too. We didn't do what you guys did though," I laughed. "We went hiking yesterday. My parents were around so we had to be good."
I smiled. "It's not like we would have done what I'm thinking you did anyway. We just hung out and got to know each other."
"It's just good to see you getting along. At least that drama is over with."
"We're doing good... I think. He met my father when he came over for a karate lesson. Now everyone knows what's been going on."
"You better watch out Josh. It sounds like he has lots of experience. He'll probably be able to teach you a thing or two."
I laughed. "He called me a slut the other night."
"I did not," said Josh frowning. "You twisted my words."
"You might enjoy 'my experience' one of these days. ...If you're good," I said looking into his eyes and smiling. We both knew that day was sooner rather than later.
"Maybe your parents will go away for the weekend," he said.
"Wow," said Chris. "Are you guys that close?"
I smiled. "No, but it's fun to see him blush."
"Let's go Dan. We have to find my aunt. Let's get by Phil and his friends and then go find her."
"Let's go," said Chris. "There's safety in numbers, especially when one of them could kick their asses by himself."
I smiled. "And enjoy every minute of it."
As we walked towards the school, Ryan stayed beside Chris and I was on the outside next to Josh. I whispered 'I love you' in his ear as Chris was talking. I'm sure Chris and Ryan didn't hear me but they probably did notice how close Josh and I were walking next to each other. We obviously didn't hold hands but it felt good 'feeling' him next to me. Josh didn't say anything but he did smile.
I know Phil was watching us. He glared when he saw us. I just made sure I was between him and everyone else in case he tried something. I didn't expect him to do anything but I was ready. Josh noticed that I became more focused as we approached the door. I could feel him watching me. Fortunately Phil didn't do anything. He didn't even say anything.
"Wow!!! That's the first time in a long time he hasn't said anything to us. Maybe you really did break his jaw and he can't talk."
"I still don't trust him. He's not the type to let things drop but he'll be sorry if he touches any of you," I said to everyone although obviously looking at Josh. I would have given him a kiss if we weren't standing in the main foyer. He just smiled when we made eye contact.
"Guys, we'll catch you later. Dan and I need to find my aunt."
"Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, she just wasn't around this weekend and I need to ask her something."
He obviously didn't want to go into his problems while standing there. I assumed he'd tell them later since they were two of his closest friends. They probably wondered why he wanted me to go but I just smiled when they looked at me questioningly.
We all laughed when we heard the ring tone on Josh's phone. It sounded like the phones on '24'. Josh just smiled and turned his back to answer it. It was good school hadn't started since we weren't supposed to use phones during the day.
"Hi Aunt Vera. Where have you been? I've been trying to reach you. I need to talk with you."
He walked towards the wall and lowered his voice so Chris and Ryan couldn't hear. Since I knew what he was saying I pulled them aside. We'll meet you in English."
"Is everything okay?"
"It's fine, just some things are going on. We'll explain later," I said looking back at Josh. He was standing near the wall talking to his aunt. Chris and Ryan looked as well but walked towards their lockers.
I walked towards Josh making sure nobody else could hear.
"Yeah, it's about Dad. He went crazy. He threw me out. ...Saturday ...Yes, I'm okay but he got arrested. ...It's a long story and I need to get to class but I'm okay. I'm wondering if I can stay with you a while. That's what all those messages are about on your phone. ...Oh, how is she? Is she going to be okay? ...Oh, that's too bad. How long will you be gone? ...Two weeks? ...I can't stay there alone. There are lawyers involved. You should have some messages from one. ...Can you call him? He'll explain everything. ...He works with Dan's father. Dan was there when my father... oh, sorry, Dan Johnson. ...Yeah, I spent the weekend at his house. His father is helping me. ...He's still in jail. He's being arraigned today. ...Yeah, Dan and I talked. It's weird but everything is okay. ...Okay, here he is."
Josh handed me his phone. "She wants to talk to you."
"Hi Ms. Washington. ...Yes, I'm fine. ...Really, everything is cool, Josh and I talked. He knows about everything. ...We're working on it. ...Of course. He's using our guest room. He can stay as long as he has to. Someone my father works with knew a social worker who pulled some strings. Josh can stay with us at least a week. ...Two weeks? No, that won't be a problem. My father said he'll take care of any legal stuff. I guess it helps he's a lawyer. ...Yeah, he's hoping he'll be able to stay with you for now. ...Oh, I'm sorry, I hope she'll be alright. ...That's too bad. Stay as long as you need to. Josh will be fine. ...You should call the guy who left you those messages. He can explain all that stuff. My father can explain stuff too. ...Okay, here he is."
I handed the phone back to Josh just as the first bell rang. "Aunt Vera, I have to go. It's time for class. ...Yes, Don't worry. I trust Mr. Johnson. ...Yeah, Dan too," he said smiling. "I'll talk to you later. ...Thank You, I feel better talking to you. You'll call that lawyer, right? ...Good. Thank you. I love you too. ...Bye."
"I'm sorry about your grandmother," I said when he hung up. "Two weeks though, I got excited."
"That was obvious. I'm not sure I want to know what you were thinking."
I smiled. "I'll tell you later. We need to get to class. She said you could stay with her, right?"
"Yes and no," he said. "She said yes but she's not sure what is going to happen with my grandmother. I knew she was sick but it sounds like she's getting worse. Aunt Vera is going to take two weeks off and stay in Colorado. She said it could be longer."
"I am sorry about what I said outside. I know you know about Aaron and me but I'm sure you don't want to hear about it like that."
"It's okay Dan. I know you loved him. I'm just waiting for a demonstration," he smiled.
"I don't know if it's a good thing we're going to English or not right now."
I turned and made sure nobody else could here. "Do you know how many times I've been hard looking at your ass when you lean forward in your chair. You just gave me another reason not to pay attention in class."
"I knew you watched me but I had no idea. It must be pretty small if I didn't notice," he laughed.
"Becky did," I smiled.
We made it to English just as the second bell rang. Technically we were late but Ms. Lang didn't say anything. She was busy at her desk. Chris and Ryan gave us questioning looks as we sat down.
"Later," said Josh although I did see him look at my crotch over his shoulder. He just smiled and shook his head. He also leaned forward in his chair.
Classes were pretty laid back all morning. That was probably because it was a Monday morning. I was a little worried about Phys. Ed. We were playing basketball again. Fortunately we had the same teams as Friday which meant Josh was on my team. The coach also made sure our team didn't play Phil's team. I nodded thank you when he announced the pairings. He just smiled.
I actually had a good time. Whenever I got the ball I'd pass to Josh if I could. He really had a good outside shot. Nobody guarded him at first since they didn't expect him to shoot. That changed after he sunk three in a row. After that he wasn't so lucky since someone guarded him closer. That had an advantage though since it opened up the inside allowing Tim to either score or dish off to someone else who would score. I was better at rebounding.
The three of us worked really well together, kind of anticipating each others moves. Everyone on our team played well. I don't think we would have beat anyone who really knew how to play but we weren't bad for a gym class. The coach noticed too. He complimented us at the end of class. He also reminded me about wrestling as I was walking to the locker room.
One thing that was noticeable was how quiet Phil was. He didn't have much opportunity during class but afterward he just stayed on the other side of the locker room talking to Ron. He looked over a few times but it didn't seem menacing. I didn't know if that was a good thing or not since I didn't trust him. I assumed he was waiting for the right opportunity, something I was going to do my best to make sure he didn't get.
There was something else noticeable as well. I caught Josh checking me out while I was drying off. I smiled to let him know I saw him and made sure he had a good view. I even turned and put one foot on the bench bending forward to 'dry' my leg. Hopefully it was only us who noticed our little game and neither of us popped a bone. When we walked out I told him I'd give him a private show before bed if he wanted. He could even help. I thought he would blush but he smiled and just asked "Promise?"
Chris and Ryan were waiting when we walked into the cafeteria. Everyone at our usual table gave us a funny look when they dragged us to an empty table by the back wall. It was a little awkward. We always sat at the same table. Randy was sitting there and looked really confused when he saw us. He was obviously surprised to see Josh sitting next to me.
"Okay, are you going to tell us what's going on? You're both acting really weird. Are you together?"
"Why would that be a bad thing?" I asked.
"Don't you think him looking like your old boyfriend would be a little strange?"
I smiled. "We've talked about that. It would be strange and we might have to deal with it at some point but no, we're not together, not like that," I said smiling at Josh. "We're friends."
"Then what is that smile? What aren't you telling us?"
Josh smiled. "Dan keeps stringing me along."
"What?? Me? What about you?"
"Alright, me too but these guys are our friends. We should tell them the truth. ...Can I tell them?"
"You can tell them anything you want," I smiled. "I just didn't know how much you wanted to say."
"Alright guys, what's up? Are you together or not?"
Josh smiled. "Technically no, we're not. We're certainly not together like you but we are more than friends. Dan keeps saying we're more than friends but less than boyfriends, whatever that means. He just uses it as an excuse so he can go around kissing me," he smiled
"Like you don't enjoy it," I laughed.
"Way to go Josh. You must be psyched!!" said Ryan.
"Hey, what about me? Can't I be psyched too?"
"So what's the problem? It sounds like you're pretty much there."
"He says I need to be sure. He doesn't want me to have any doubts especially when it comes to whether I think he sees me as me or Aaron."
"That makes sense. You have to admit, it is weird."
"I think he's just afraid he'll get confused when we're making out. He's afraid he'll call me Aaron. Believe me, he'd remember pretty quick as soon as I kneed him in the balls," he laughed.
"Hey," I said. "You know how I feel. I just said I wanted you to be sure."
"I am," he said.
"You are what?" asked Randy who had walked over to see what was going on. "What are you doing sitting with him?" he asked Josh but looked at me.
"Sit down Randy," said Josh. "Dan is my friend. In fact I think we just decided to be boyfriends. We had a long talk about what's been going on and we both realized everything was a big misunderstanding."
"What? He's gay and you're boyfriends? Just like that? When did all this happen? He's a jerk. You said so yourself."
"I did not. Well, maybe I did but I didn't mean it. At least not any more."
"Randy," I said. "I know Josh and I didn't get off to a good start but we've talked and things..."
"Fuck you Johnson. He may believe you but I don't. I don't trust you. Sooner or later you're going to hurt him and when you do you'd better watch out. You'll be sorry."
"Randy, Dan won't..."
"Save it Josh. You're my friend and I care about you but this is a mistake. I don't know what his problem is or why things changed but this isn't right. You can stay here if you want. I'm going back to our table. We'll talk later," he said turning around and walking away.
"Wow," said Josh. "I'm sorry Dan. Other than these two Randy has been the only other guy who stuck with me"
"It's okay. He cares about you, that's all. He doesn't want to see you get hurt. Don't worry, he doesn't have anything to worry about but we should talk. Did you really just drop the 'less than' part from before boyfriends?"
"I did if you want. Do you?" he looked at me expectantly.
"You know what that means, right?"
"Duh, we talked about that too. I think I understand the basics. I'm still not going to let you have your way with me though," he smiled.
"You're sure, I mean really sure?"
"I'm sure Dan. I was sure last night and I was more sure this morning."
"This isn't fair you know."
"Why? You want this don't you? You said you did," said Josh sounding nervous.
"Of course I do. It's just not fair because we're at school and I can't kiss you. Here," I said taking off my necklace. "I don't expect you to wear this because Aaron gave it to me but I want you to hang onto it until we can get something of our own."
"I can't do that. I'd be afraid I'd lose it."
"Alright, I guess it would be weird but I can't wear it either. I told Aaron I'd never take it off but I know he'd understand. There is a matching one you know."
"I figured as much and I'm pretty sure I know where it is. That you'd take it off means a lot."
"I'll put it away before we go to bed tonight."
"I guess we're together now," he said smiling at Chris and Ryan who had been taking everything in.
"Whoa ...back up. What do you mean before 'we' go to bed tonight?"
"That's something else I need to tell you. ...I'm living with Dan and his family."
"What?? When did this happen?"
Josh gave them the quick version of what happened over the weekend. How his father was in jail but how he should be out today. How he became physically abusive when I came to pick him up. How my father was helping him. How he'd be staying with us for at least two weeks and then he'd be living with his aunt. Chris and Ryan were just sat there with their mouths open.
"Let me get this straight," said Chris. "You two are boyfriends and you're living together? Your parents are going to be cool with that Dan?"
I smiled. "We talked to my father about that last night. He surprised me but yeah, he's fine with it."
"Ryan sweetie, why don't you come live with me?" Chris smiled.
"Dan's father has been helping me after what my father did. I would have had to go to some group home if he hadn't. He's a lawyer and was able to get temporary custody of me or something. I really don't know how he swung that but it's really cool. They're treating me as one of the family. Even Scott seems like a little brother."
I laughed. "Remember, he isn't always cute. I told you that."
"When will you father gets out of jail? Will you have to live with him or will you be able to stay with your aunt?"
"I don't know. I hope I won't have to go back. I know it sounds bad but I could care less if he rots in jail. Probably him waving a gun around at the social worker was the best thing that could happen for me. I guess he said a few things that showed what he thinks of me. Mr. Johnson said it puts his abuse on record."
"If you need anyone else to verify that then I'll be glad to tell people what he's like," said Chris.
"Thanks but hopefully that won't be necessary. Hopefully his waving a gun will get him in enough trouble."
"And you stayed at Dan's all weekend?"
"Yeah, it's pretty cool. Dan's father says to consider it my home for as long as I want. Scott and I played Nintendo. I do have to get used to Dan walking around naked though. Last night he even did his push-ups naked."
"Dickhead, I did not."
"Been there, seen that. ...I'm sure you can handle it," Chris laughed.
"He can handle it any time he wants," I smirked causing Josh to turn red.
"When did you see Dan walk around naked?" asked Ryan with a surprised look on his face.
"Busted," I laughed. "I guess you didn't tell him yet."
"Tell me what?"
"Sorry, I should have told you. It was nothing. The other day when I took him home Dan took a shower and then walked into his room naked. He thought I was downstairs but I had come up because he was taking so long. I wanted to make sure he was okay after what happened at the gym."
"Ryan, it was my fault. I really did think he was downstairs. It's not like you have anything to worry about, nothing happened. He wouldn't do anything to hurt you and neither would I."
"I know. I'm just jealous he got to see you naked and I didn't," he laughed.
I smiled. "If that's what you want why then don't you both come over after school, we can play strip Nintendo." I laughed. "....I'm joking," I said smiling at the looks on their faces.
"My boyfriend's a perve!!!" said Josh.
"This is so cool," said Chris. "We're really happy for you Josh, for both of you. I just have one question."
"Do you have your own room?" he asked smiling.
"My room is across the hall from Dan," said Josh.
"Yeah, okay ...we'll see how long that lasts," smiled Chris.
Fortunately lunch was over and Josh and I had to get to Pre-Calc. It wasn't that I cared they knew Josh and I slept together but I wasn't going to say anything before talking with Josh. It was like what happened Friday night in the park or yesterday at the waterfall. Some things should stay between us unless we're both comfortable talking about it.
"You happy?" I asked Josh on the way to Pre-Calc.
"Yeah, of course. Aren't you?"
"Of course I am. I'm just a little surprised. I thought you wanted to wait. How about we go out on a real date this weekend to celebrate?"
"I thought it was you who wanted to wait," he laughed. "What do you want to do this weekend? We can spend my twenty-seven dollars."
"I have an idea but I'm not telling. I want it to be a surprise. You know you don't have to worry about the money, especially this time."
"Dan, I don't want you always paying. I'll get a job. I need to contribute."
I wasn't going to argue since I knew how he felt. "That's one thing I argue with my parents about. They don't want me getting a job. They say I should concentrate on school and enjoying myself. I don't need to work. Don't be surprised if they tell you the same thing," I smiled.
"I just want to have my own money and be able to take you out. Not always the other way around."
"I know," I said. "You don't need to do it today though. There's no hurry."
For what might have been the first time I actually paid attention in class. It felt good. I did watch Josh and smiled when he caught me but I paid attention as well. It was too bad we couldn't sit together but I had picked seats away from him the first day and now I couldn't change. Mr. Williams was surprised when I actually answered a question. Normally it was obvious I didn't pay much attention. He seemed even more surprised when I answered a question unsolicited.
Overall it was a good day. There was no drama with Phil and while that was good it did worry me. I really didn't trust him and thought he'd try something sooner or later. I wasn't worried about what he'd do to me but I knew I couldn't be with Josh 24/7. Sooner or later Phil could find him alone. In the meantime I'd just enjoy the peace as best I can.
Josh surprised me when he got into the jeep. "Let's go to the gym. Can I go as your guest?"
"You serious? If you are we can sign you up, it'll be cheaper in the long run."
"You know I can't afford that."
"And you know it doesn't matter so stop worrying about it. I appreciate you not wanting me to pay for everything but it'll cost $10 for a guest pass and only $19.99 for the month. We can worry about next month later. Okay?"
"It's just you and your parents are already helping me so much. I don't want to be a burden."
I smiled. "You're not a burden. I'll help you because I love you. They're doing it because you need help and they can do it. So like I said, don't worry about it."
"Alright, this time. ...Can we go by your house first? I need to get some clean clothes. My shorts are okay but my shirt from Phys. Ed. smells pretty bad."
"No??? Why not? You won't want to be near me if I have to wear my clothes from today. I won't want to be near me."
"We can go by our house first or you can call it 'the house' if you want but don't call it my house. It's your house too. At least for a couple of weeks."
"Alright, the house. ...Happy?" he smiled.
"That's better. What do you want to do at the gym? I can show you some 'baby exercises' if you want," I smiled.
"That's a more advanced exercise. I don't think you're ready for something like that. I'm know I'm not but I'm sure we can find some things we can do," I smiled putting my hand on his thigh.
"That sounds good. Maybe we can skip the gym and try some of those things now."
I reached over and squeezed his crotch. "Down boy. I need to work out. There's always tonight."
He laughed. "Now who's being a tease?"
We had a problem when we got home. Josh didn't have any clean clothes. A lot of the clothes he brought with him were dirty and he hadn't had time to do laundry yet. We hadn't really thought about it.
"Wait here," I said running into my room, pulling a box from the closet. "There should be something in here that will fit you. Here, take a look."
"What are these? Your old clothes?"
"Nope. How about this one," I asked pulling out a t-shirt and holding it up. I smiled when I turned it around where it said 'If You Can Read This You're Within Roundhouse Range'.
"I don't think so. I don't look like a 'roundhouse' type of guy."
I laughed. "It's easy. I'll teach you. Just don't kick me in the balls."
"Do you have a real t-shirt?"
"How about this one?" I asked tossing him one that said 'I'm Not Gay But My Boyfriend Is'.
"No way!!!! Where did you get that?"
"I gave it to Aaron. It's new. He never had the balls to wear it either."
"I wonder why. Is all that stuff Aaron's?"
I smiled. "Here," tossing him a plain workout shirt. "It's not even pink."
"Don't take this the wrong way but I'm not sure I want to wear his stuff."
"It's a t-shirt. It's not like it's his jock although I do have one of those in here too if you want it."
"No thanks. That's gross. Maybe I'll buy a t-shirt that says 'My Boyfriend Is A Pervert'," he laughed.
"I'll only be perverted with you, I promise," I said giving him a quick kiss. "Can we go?"
He smiled. "I still can't believe all this is happening. I love you."
"I love you too but let's go so we can get back in time for supper."
The gym was fun. Working out with someone definitely made it better. Josh did pretty good for not working out much. He pretty much did the same workout as me although with less weight and maybe fewer reps. We warmed up for about fifteen minutes with some light cardio and then hit the weights. I'd been doing the workout plan Jack had made up for me. It was a combination of upper body and lower body exercises. It was fun watching as well as helping Josh. So what if my hands slipped a little.
We spent some time with the weight bags as well. I showed him some basic moves. At first he was tentative but after a while he was putting a fair amount of power behind his kicks. He learned quickly. If we kept working on it then I wouldn't worry as much about him being cornered by Phil. He might not be able to take him but I was sure he'd be able to have the element of surprise enough to get away.
Jack came in while I was working with Josh.
"You're a natural teacher Dan. You doing okay today? "
"Yeah, I'm fine. Last week is in the past."
"That's good. John mentioned it again. He said you went pretty psycho on the bag." "Yeah, well, at least it was only a bag ...By the way, this is Josh, he's a friend of mine. Josh, this is Jack. He's supposedly my trainer but he keeps making excuses," I laughed.
"Just for that I'll put some real exercises in your workout."
"Maybe you can make up a workout for Josh too. He just signed up. He gets a couple of training sessions, right?"
"Of course. How about we schedule a fitness assessment and then I'll help you put together a workout plan."
"He might flunk the assessment," I laughed playfully punching him.
"Dirtbag!! I'm not sure I'm going to like having a boyfriend who... "
I smiled when he looked at Jack. "It's okay Josh, but you might want to be more careful at school. I don't care who knows but if you don't want everyone to know then you probably should be careful."
"It's okay guys. I kind of thought that might be the case. Jill, my fiance, has better gaydar than most guys. She told me Dan is gay a couple weeks ago."
"Why can girls always tell?" I asked. "Am I that obvious?"
Jack just smiled before taking Josh to the trainer's office to set up an appointment. While they were busy I went into the locker room to get my wallet. They were just finishing when I met up with them.
"Hey Jack, want to see something freaky?"
"Remember I told you how my best friend back home got killed?"
"Of course. It looks like you took my advice."
"What to you mean?"
"I told you finding someone might help."
I smiled. "Want to see a picture of him?" I asked pulling out a picture of Aaron.
He looked at it and then looked at Josh. "I'm confused, this is a picture of Josh."
"Nope, it's Aaron. I told you it was freaky. It's cool though. We're in a good place," I said putting my arm on Josh's shoulders and pulling him against me. "It took us a while to get there but things couldn't be better. I just thought you should know so you won't think I'll go psycho again."
"And you're not related to him?" he asked Josh.
"No, I've never been to Chicago. I grew up here."
"My fiance would really get into this. She's a psych major."
I laughed. "She'd enjoy talking with my mother about it. She's a shrink."
"I'm glad you're doing better Dan. I hope things work out."
"Thanks, we're doing good. We should get going though. My parents will be expecting me home." I didn't think he needed to know Josh was coming too.
"I'm sorry," said Josh when as walked to the jeep.
"Sorry? For what?"
"I slipped and outted you in front of Jack. It worked out but I shouldn't have done that. I'll be more careful."
"Josh, I don't care. If Jack couldn't deal with it then too bad. You can tell whoever you want."
"I love you," he said giving me a kiss before we got into the jeep.
My mother was cooking dinner when we got home. It was amazing she always cooked a good meal despite working all day. She said she had learned some time saving tips at various times but I still felt it was a lot of work. She seemed surprised when I leaned over her shoulder and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"What was that for?"
I smiled. "For being you and to thank you for what you're doing for Josh."
"We love you Dan and Josh needs some help. Besides, he's important to you. Now why don't you go take a shower before supper? I love you but that doesn't mean I want to smell you. You too Josh."
"Yes, Mrs. Johnson and thank you."
"We need to find something else for you to call me. 'Mrs Johnson' is much to formal. My name is Diane."
"I'm not sure I can call you that, how about Mrs. J?"
She looked at him for a few seconds without saying anything. I could see her eyes starting to water.
"What?" asked Josh. "Did I say something wrong?"
"No, not at all ...Mrs. J. is fine."
Josh and I ran upstairs to get ready for supper.
"What did I say?" asked Josh.
"Aaron called her that. He'd either called her that or Mom."
"I can't call her that. I haven't called anyone that in eight years."
I gave him a hug. "It's okay. Call her what makes you comfortable. 'Mrs. J.' is fine. She'll like that."
It felt good when he hugged me back. "I hope so. By the way, have you called Jason yet?"
"Not yet, we need to do that. Maybe he'll be online tonight. We can use the cam. Right now you need to take a shower, you stink," I laughed. "I'd join you if you wanted but Scott is in his room. We should set a good example. You never know what he's going to say. I'm not sure we're ready for him to announce some things at the dinner table."
"It's probably best but I'm going to hold you to that."
"I hope so."
I went to say hello to Scott while Josh took a shower. He was on his bed looking at a book.
"Hi Munch, how was school?"
I knew something was wrong when he didn't answer right away.
"What's wrong buddy?" I asked sitting on the edge of the bed.
"Amy kissed me."
I smiled. "Is that someone in your class? She must think you're cute. It runs in the family you know."
"Girls are yucky."
"You won't always feel that way."
"You do, you said so."
I laughed. "I was just joking bud. Girls aren't yucky, it's just that I like boys better. That doesn't mean you will. In fact you probably won't."
"You won't be mad at me if I like girls?"
"Of course not. I love you and will do anything to help you, any time. Remember... you're only seven. If you don't want her to kiss you then you should tell her. That doesn't mean you can't be friends."
"Okay," he said. "I guess it wasn't that bad. It was different from when mommy kisses me."
I smiled. "That's good bud. You're growing up ...too fast. Don't be in too big of a hurry. I love you as my little munch," I said tickling him on the stomach.
I heard the shower stop as Scott started to squirm. "I've got to take a shower before supper. You feel better?"
"Yup. I love you Dan."
"I love you too Scott."
Josh was just rounding the corner into his bedroom when I went back into the hall. He only had a towel wrapped around him and he made a quick dash from the bathroom door to his bedroom. While his bedroom door was right next to the bathroom it was nice to see him getting more comfortable living with us. The last time he took a shower he was completely dressed before he came out of the bathroom. Seeing the way the towel clung to his ass as he turned the corner wasn't too bad either. 'Progress,' I thought.
Josh was sitting on the edge of my bed when I came back from my shower. "No fair," I said walking to my dresser to pull get some clean underwear. "You're completely dressed and you get to see me like this," I smiled letting the towel fall to the floor and putting on some bikini briefs. Alright, I usually wear boxer briefs but felt like being a tease. I smiled when I saw him blush but also noticed he never took his eyes off me either. I decided to be a tease and leaned down to kiss him wearing just the briefs.
He was also more comfortable at supper. At first he tried to pull the same shit about not taking much food. He only took a small piece of roast and tried to hand me the platter. I didn't say anything but did give him a disapproving look and pushed the platter back at him. He reluctantly took another piece. I could see my mother smiling over his shoulder. He didn't make the same mistake when it came to the potatoes.
I asked my father if he had talked with Josh's aunt. All he said was we all needed to talk after supper. Josh seemed worried because my father was making us wait to hear what he had learned. When I mentioned how Josh talked to her and that she was gone for at least two weeks he just nodded and said "after supper." I knew he had said he'd help Josh but his tone started to make me worry as well. Fortunately he saw this and told us not to worry, everything would be okay.
After supper we all sat in the living room. Josh and I sat next to each other on the couch. Scott sat on my left. Josh didn't even flinch when I held his hand.
"Okay," my father said. "I've got some good news and some bad news. I did talk to your aunt. She said how she had talked to both of you so you know she is out of town for the next couple of weeks. Evidently your grandmother is pretty sick and your aunt is taking care of her. The good news is that she has no problem taking you in. She isn't sure what is going to happen to your grandmother but she was certain things could be worked out."
"What about until she gets back?"
"That's up to you. I'm assuming you're willing to stay here. Hopefully that's not a problem. If it is we can work something out. Are you okay staying here?" he asked kind of smirking.
Josh just looked at him. "No, I mean yes. Of course I will stay here if it's okay."
"Good answer doofus," I laughed pulling him against me.
"We'll probably have a hearing with social services to extend temporary custody. It'll take a while for your aunt to get approval anyway. Jon is helping with the details. His friend wants to stop by this week to check your living conditions. It would probably be good if you made your bedroom look lived in," he said with a grin.
"You don't have to worry. You're welcome here as long as necessary. If that's two weeks then fine. If it's two months then that's also fine. The only rules are that you do your best in school, you help out around the house and you're respectful of our family. Assuming that is agreeable we want you to consider yourself part of the family and you'll be treated just like Dan and Scott."
"All this sounds like good news. You said you had good news and bad news. What's the bad news?"
"There have been some developments with your father. He voluntarily signed himself into the hospital to get a psychological evaluation. He'll be there a few days. There is something else though."
"What is it?" asked Josh with hesitation in his voice.
"He made it clear that he doesn't want to see you. You don't need all the details."
"I can imagine what he said. I don't care. I hope I'm done with him."
"Josh, I won't pretend to understand what your life has been like but he is your father. A lot has happened over the last few days. Maybe it would be good for you to talk to someone, a professional. You don't have to but it might help. I'm sure Dan's mother can recommend someone or perhaps the same counselor Dan talks to can help."
"I don't need to go any more," I said smiling at Josh. "I'm fine."
"I'm fine too," said Josh. "If I want to talk to someone I'll talk to Dan."
"Okay Josh. It's up to you but give it some thought. It could do some good. As for you Dan... you need to go to counseling until Dr. Medford says otherwise. A lot has changed in the last few days for you too."
I frowned but didn't say anything else. This was about Josh and I didn't want to start an argument. I knew I was okay though. I hadn't felt this good in a year. I was certainly going to talk to Dr. Medford to find out how long I needed to continue therapy.
"There's one more thing Josh. We need to get a copy of your birth certificate. It's just a formality but the court will want it. Do you know if there is a copy at your house? If not we can get one from the town or hospital where you were born."
"I'm not really sure. I've never needed it. There is a box my father keeps in the den that has papers in it. It might be in there."
"Do you know where you were born?"
"I was born in Derry. We moved here when I was a baby."
"I'm sure we can get it from the town offices. I'll tell Jon and he can look into it. Do you have any questions?"
"Who is paying for all this? Lawyers are expensive. I don't have any money."
"Don't worry about that. You're part of this family. Besides, it really hasn't cost that much since I work for the firm and Jon is doing things as a favor."
"I don't know what to say... Thank-you."
"If Josh is part of the family then is he my brother?" asked Scott.
My father smiled. "Technically no but that doesn't mean you can't treat each other like brothers if you want."
"Good, I like Josh."
I put my arms around both Scott and Josh and pulled them into a hug. It felt good when I felt Josh and Scott squeeze each other extra tight.
Josh went upstairs to do his homework after we finished talking with my parents. Since I did mine at school it was a good opportunity to order Josh's gift for our date Saturday night. I used my father's PC and would have to use express delivery since it was only five days away. Hopefully I could still get tickets. Unfortunately, the on-line box office didn't have any seats so I ended up going to one of the on-line ticket agencies. They had tickets and even though they were more than I wanted to spend I quickly ordered two using my Paypal account. I checked express delivery which guaranteed they'd arrive before Saturday night. Because the tickets kind of blew my budget I had to scale back my plans for dinner. I had planned on taking him to a fancy restaurant my parents had taken both Scott and me to a few weeks ago. Instead I'd opt for a more casual restaurant.
When I went upstairs Josh was just finishing his homework. He leaned back into me when I reached around from behind and put my chin on his shoulder.
"How are you doing? All finished?"
"Yeah, I just finished. What have you been doing?"
"I had to make plans for our date. We're going out Saturday night, right?"
"You're not going to tell me what we're doing?"
"Then it wouldn't be a surprise. Trust me, you'll like it. I want to make it special. We can do something Friday too if you want."
"Sounds good, maybe Chris and Ryan will want to do something."
"It's only 8:30, let's see if Jason is on-line."
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