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Boarding with Friends

by Jonathan Perkins

Chapter 10

It was mid January and there was a melancholy mood had swept over Pittsburg, partially due to the after Christmas let down, the colder weather and the persistent gray skies. Adding to it were quickly discarded New Year's resolutions, broken and cast aside not two weeks into the New Year. The depression amongst the high school freshman was particularly pronounced because of the unofficial break up of Lance and Billy. They still weren't talking to each other, sitting on opposite sides of classrooms and the lunchroom. Lance would bring a note from his mother to be excused from gym class to avoid any forced interaction. Rachel, Mike and the rest of the crew felt they were stuck between a rock and a hard place. They didn't want to choose sides. Lance had been their friend forever so they couldn't abandon him. Rachel told them about the kissing with Kate so they could understand Billy's side of things. Billy went back to keeping to himself like he did before he and Lance took up together. Lance would sit with his friends at lunch occasionally but the minute any one of them brought up Billy's name he would get up and go sit at another table.

It was just as bad at home. Despite the efforts of both parents to cheer them up or get them back together, nothing seemed to work. Lance was becoming more and more morose and withdrawn. He would go to his room after school and play video games until supper then back to his room and his games. Billy was focusing on studying and burying himself in any books he could get his hands on. He became a regular patron of the school library.

The mood in Lance's house was even worse with the first hearing coming up concerning his parent's divorce. Margo hadn't said much about it to Lance, although he wouldn't have paid attention anyway. She was trying to shield him from it so as not to upset him even more than he already was. Frank had filed for custody of Lance and a fifty-fifty split of the assets, with no alimony or child support. Margo's lawyer was prepared to fight the custody issue full on.

Several days before the divorce hearing was scheduled, Rachel stopped to visit Margo at noontime while Lance was in school.

"Hello Rachel, may I help you?" Margo met her at the door.

"I hope so. I wonder if I could talk to you about Lance and Billy. We're all so worried at school."

"We all are. And speaking of school, why aren't you there?"

"I had a dentist appointment this morning so my mother let me take the rest of the day off. It's so depressing being there these days. Lance and Billy haven't spoken to each other since my party and its making it difficult to deal with this. I know I share the blame for this, setting Billy up with Kate. When Lance saw them kissing, he flipped out. I tried to explain it to him, that Kate didn't know Billy and Lance were boyfriends but he wouldn't listen."

Margo didn't want to tell Rachel what had happen between her and Billy when the boys came home that night.

"He can be quite difficult at times but I'm trying to get him to come around. If you have any ideas that would help, I'd love to hear them," Margo asked.

"If I did, I would have tried already. If you think of anything I can do, just let me know."

Rachel left and Margo was more concerned than ever. She knew he was turning inside himself at home but she had no idea it was that bad at school.

The day of the hearing arrived and Margo kept Lance out of school so he could go with her. She felt he should be involved with this first hearing considering it concerned the custody issue. They entered the courthouse, met her lawyer and were escorted into the judges chambers. Frank and his lawyer were already there.

"Good morning everyone, I'm Judge Morton and I'll be deciding the outcome of these divorce proceedings between Frank Habershaw and Margo Habershaw. Is everyone ready to begin?"

Everyone shook their heads as the lawyers took out their files.

"Okay, let's begin. The first item to decide is custody of the minor child, Lance Habershaw. Then we can move on to the financial particulars."

Lance looked at his mother and whispered to her.

"I'm not going to live with him, I don't care what that guy says."

"Shhh, let's just see where this goes. Our lawyer had put in an objection to him having custody."

"Normally I would give preference to the mother in cases like this but I see you have had some issues with alcohol abuse, Mrs. Habershaw."

"That's right, your honor, she's a god damn drunk!" Frank yelled.

"Be quiet Mr. Habershaw! And watch your language in my chambers. Now, I see you have had several convictions of driving under the influence in the past year or so."

"That's because that asshole drove her to drink. She couldn't stand living under the same roof as him!" Lance shouted.

"You watch your language as well, young man. This divorce may be contentious but it will be civil. Does everyone understand?"

Again, all heads nodded yes.

"Fine then, back to the drinking problem. Have you sought out help of any kind?"

"No your honor. I quit drinking right after we separated. Him being out of the house made my life tolerable without the wine."

"Ask her about New Year's Eve, judge. She polished of a whole jug of cheap wine and was so drunk she couldn't even stand up when Lance got home."

Lance and his mother both wondered how the hell Frank knew that. Was it a lucky guess that she drank that night? If he knew that, did he know about Margo kissing Billy and would that come up next?

"The was the jug that bastard gave her as a Christmas present to tempt her when she had been doing so good!" Lance blurted out.

"Enough! Another outburst from either of you and I'll find you in contempt!" the judge said loudly and firmly. "Now, is this true Mrs. Habershaw, did you get drunk New Year's Eve?"

"Yes, your honor."

"Were you at home or did you go out anywhere?"

"I was at home alone."

"Well, I know a lot of people who have to much to drink that evening. She wasn't driving and she wasn't in the presence of her son, so I'll let that slide. However, it does follow a pattern. Lance might be better off with your husband until you've sought treatment and can assure the court that you alcohol addiction won't put Lance in any danger."

Lance stood up and banged the table.

"There is no way I'm going to live with that son of a bitch and his cheap whore. I'll run away first and live on my own!"

"You watch your mouth, punk! I slapped you once for talking that way about her and I'll do it again if I have to!" Frank screamed, spitting as he shouted. His lawyer immediately grabbed his arm to get him to shut up.

The judge used his gavel this time to call for order. He looked at Lance and his mother.

"Did he slap you, son?"

"Yes your honor, and my mother."

"Is this true, Mrs. Habershaw?"

"Yes sir. That was when I decided we had to separate to cool off for a while and hopefully salvage our marriage. Mostly for Lance's sake."

"Hmmm, I see. This make my decision a little more difficult." The judge said as he rubbed his chin.

"Nothing difficult at all, your honor, I'm not going to live with him and be separated from Billy, not now, not ever." Lance said as he looked defiantly at the judge with watery eyes.

"Who the hell is Billy?" Frank asked. Looking at Margo, he continued, "Have you jumped into someone else's bed before this is all final?" Then he looked back at the judge, "That's justification for me to have custody to keep him away from this kind of behavior.".

Frank's lawyer dropped his head and shook it. He couldn't believe what Frank had just said.

"You've got some nerve talking about my Mother. You've been living with that tramp since the separation and fucking her for months before that. And for your information, Billy is my boyfriend!" Lance growled between gritted teeth.

"Your boyfriend? What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Frank glared at Lance.

"My boyfriend, my partner, the love of my life, the boy I jump into bed with every chance I get. I'm gay, Dad, I fucking gay and proud of it."

Lance put his head down on the table and sobbed quietly while his mother rubbed his shoulders and tried to console him. She didn't know what made her the happier, Lance standing up to his father or admitting that he still loved Billy.

"You're a fucking homo? Forget custody, you can have the little faggot! I wouldn't let him in my house no matter how much he begged." Frank stated and then slumped in his chair.

Lance picked up his head and looked over at his father.

"Aw Dad, you wouldn't want me to come over and suck your cock when your tramp was on the rag? A little quality father and son sex?" Lance taunted his father

"Why you disgusting little pervert," Frank yelled as he stood to approach Lance with his arm raised and his hand balled up into a fist.

"That's enough!" the judge yelled. "I've had it with the two of you. Mr Habershaw, leave this room immediately or I'll have you arrested for contempt. Young man, you go sit by the window and don't say another word or I'll have you sent to juvenile hall for the rest of the day."

Frank's lawyer objected but the judge stood firm.

"The two lawyers and Mrs. Habershaw and I will conduct the rest of this hearing uninterrupted. Let's move on to the dispersal of assets and financial support for Mrs. Habershaw and her minor son."

Lance heard that and knew he was staying with his mother. He grinned and wiped the tears from his face.

"Now, I have the financial disclosure forms in front of me. I reviewed them and it seems that other than the house, there isn't a lot of assets to split." The judge said as he shuffled papers on his desk.

"Your honor, if I may?" Margo's lawyer spoke up. "We had a chance to examine Mr. Habershaw's financial disclosure form and it seemed to be lacking some considerable assets. I hired a forensic accountant to look into the matter and it seems Mr. Habershaw is hiding the bulk of his considerable wealth in shell corporations and in his girl friend's name. I would ask the court to look at the accountant's report before making any ruling."

"This is a serious accusation. Who is the accountant you engaged?"

"Mr Harding of Harding and Harding out of Dallas, your honor."

"Yes, I've heard of them. A very reputable firm."

The lawyer handed the papers to the judge who looked over them quickly.

"I'm going to need more time to examine this evidence before I rule. This hearing is continued for two weeks."

At that he slammed his gavel on the desk and every one filed out of the office. The two lawyers met outside and Margo's lawyer gave Frank's lawyer a copy of the report.

"This guy is a real piece of work. He even had me convinced he was all but broke so I'd cut him a deal on my fees. Guess what, my fees just doubled."

"Please bring him along for the next hearing. He was my best witness," Margo's lawyer laughed.

"I'd love to leave him out of it but the judge will surely want him there. It might be another contempt ruling or possibly a criminal charge for perjury. What ever he decides, I hope he nails his ass big time."

Margo hugged Lance just before they got into the car to go home.

"You're all mine now and no one can take you way from me," she told Lance as he was smiling ear to ear. "Unless it's Billy?" she gave him a sly look.

Lance immediately went from overjoyed back into depression. He had admitted he loved him but did he really or did he say that just to piss off his father?

On the way home, Margo tried to engage Lance to talk about Billy.

"You still do love him, don't you? The two of you love each other and belong together."

"That's probably what they said about you and dad when you got married."

Margo felt the sting of that remark and dropped the conversation, riding the rest of the way home in silence.

They got home and Lance headed right up stairs to his room. Margo made a cup of coffee and thought about what Lance had said on the way home. An idea popped into her head. She ran to the phone and called Billy's Mom, hoping she was still home seeing that it was mid-morning. The phone ran three times and was answered.


"Hi, this is Margo Murdock. Have you got a few minutes to talk?"

"I have all morning if you'd like to come over. I would love to talk to you about Billy and Lance and see if there is anyway we can get them back together."

"That's exactly why I'm calling. I have an idea that just might work. I'll be there in ten minutes"

She hung up and called up stairs to Lance.

"Lance, I'm going out for a while. Do you need anything?"

A mumbled 'no' was his response.

Margo arrived at Billy's house, nervous but determined.

"Hi Margo, please come in. Can I offer you a cup of coffee?" Billy's Mother greeted Lance's mother.

"No, I'm fine thanks. I so upset about the rift between Billy and Lance and I think I may have an idea how we can get them back together, but I need your help and Paul's."

"Of course, anything we can do. What do you have in mind?"

The two of them chatted and planned for over an hour. Margo reluctantly confessed kissing Billy that night.

"I'm so ashamed of what I did. I hope you don't hate me as much as I hate myself. Billy and Lance would still be together if I had controlled myself."

Margo broke down in tears. Billy's Mom took her hand and told her what happened was done. Now they needed to get the boys back together. Margo explained her idea in detail.

"Do you think Paul will be on board?" Margo asked.

"I'm sure he is. I hope this works. When do you want to do this?"

"The sooner, the better. As soon as I have everything set up, I'll let you know."

They said their good byes and Margo returned home. She contacted Rachel so she could help make some of the arrangements. Rachel was thrilled to be included.

Three days later Margo told Lance they were going out to eat.

"No thanks, I'll stay home and find something here," Lance declined the invitation.

"You're going. I need to get out of the house and have a change of scenery. Get dressed and let's go."

Reluctantly Lance went with his Mother. She had reservations at one of her favorite restaurants. They went in and were escorted to the small private function room in the back. They went in and closed the door. A long table was set up with Paul sitting at the head of the table and Billy on one side and his Mom on the other side.

"Please, come in and sit down. Lance you sit next to Mrs. Murdock, Mrs. Habershaw, would you please sit with Billy."

"What the fuck is this? I'm not having any part of this," Lance protested loudly.

"Sit down right now!" Paul said with authority.

Lance slowly walked over and sat next to Billy's Mom.

"Now, we are gathered here to night to make the divorce of Lance Habershaw and Billy Murdock official." He announced banging a gavel on the table.

"A what? This is stupid," Lance said.

"You will be quiet until you asked to speak. Mrs. Murdock will serve as your counsel and Mrs. Habershaw will be Billy's counsel for these proceedings. Now, Lance would you state your case why you no longer want to be Billy'' boyfriend?"

Lance looked around and all eyes were on him. He was fidgeting and starting to sweat.

"I'm out of here. This is bullshit," he exclaimed and stood up to leave.

"You sit your ass down in that chair and do as your told!" Billy's Mom shouted.

That outburst from her shocked both Lance and Billy. There weren't sure what this was all about but they knew the parents meant business.

"I thought Billy and I had a special relationship. I loved him and he said he loved me. But then I caught him kissing Rachel's friend Kate at the New Year's Eve party."

"A lot of people give each other a kiss at a party like that. Why did it upset you so much?" Paul asked.

"He was kissing her as much as she was kissing him. And he was . . ., never mind."

"He was what?"

"He was getting hard, if you know what I mean."

"Yes, he was getting aroused."

"If he was really gay like he claimed, he wouldn't do that. Rachel should have done something to stop it and not let it get that far."

"I see. So it's Rachel's fault as well as Billy's?

"Yeah, kind of I suppose."

"But she came in to the room to find them kissing the same time you did, am I correct?"

"Well, yes, I suppose."

"Either she did or she didn't? Which is it?"

"Yes, yes, she did. Happy now?"

"It's not a matter of me being happy, I just want to get the facts straight."

Paul waved his hand and Margo got up and went to the door. She opened the door and nodded. Rachel walked in and took a chair at the opposite end of the table as Paul.

"What the hell is she doing here?" Lance yelled.

"I told you to be quiet unless you were asked to talk," Paul reminded Lance.

"Thank you for coming, Rachel. We just want to hear what happened the night of the party."

"I had got up to go put away some of the left over food and Lance had gone to the bathroom. He came back downstairs before me and saw Billy and my cousin Kate making out on the couch. Lance went ballistic and stormed back up stairs. Billy followed him and I talked to Kate. She told me she was the one who initiated the kissing. I tried to explain it to Lance and I thought he understood. The following Monday at school the two of them were broke up and not talking," Rachel explained.

Paul looked at the boys,

"Is that what happened?"

They both nodded their heads in agreement.

"Yeah, but it wasn't my fault," Billy spoke up.

"Thank you, Billy. And thank you Rachel. You're excused. Would you show the next person in please?"

"The next person? How long is this circus going to last?" Lance asked.

Mike came in and sat in the chair Rachel was in.

"Mike has nothing to do with this. He has no right to be here." Lance objected.

"I asked him here and he was nice enough to come and help. Now Mike, you confided in me with a very personal story you had never shared with anyone before. If you would, could you tell your story now?"

Mike moved around in his chair and rubbed his hands together, clearing his throat several times.

"This happened about three years ago when I was visiting my cousin up in Oklahoma. He is a year older than me and wiser in the ways of the world. Their house was small so he and I shared his bed whenever I slept over. We had just got into bed when he started wrestling with me, you know, the way kids do. He ended up on top on me and pinned me to the bed. He brought his face to mine and kissed me, a big kiss using his tongue and everything.. I was shocked, I was repulsed, but I also felt my self getting aroused. There was no way I wanted this but it was giving me a reaction I couldn't explain."

"Have you ever kissed another boy or done anything like that since?"

"Hell no! Oh, excuse my cussing. I haven't and I don't want to. It was a one time thing that he did to me."

"Thank you for sharing that with us. I'm sure that story will never leave this room. Does everyone agree?"

Everyone in the room shook their heads in agreement. Billy and Lance were looking at Mike with a blank expression on their faces. Then they looked at each other and lowered their heads.

Paul knew about the kiss between Margo and Billy but he wasn't going to bring that up. Margo had already explained to Paul that she had made peace with Lance over it.

"Thank you, Mike. You can go."

Mike stood up and looked at Lance then Billy, giving them a little smile of support.

"Now that we have heard everyone's side of the story, I'm ready to announce my decision, unless the boys counsels object.. Both Lance and Billy seemed to be blameless in the events that took place on New Year's Eve. However, since a separation period of the intervening weeks has been unable to reunite these two, I hereby declare an official divorce and neither boy shall contact the other boy for any reason whatsoever. I would ask that the mothers abide by my decision and do their best to keep them apart. I will call the school tomorrow morning and have them assigned to different classes so there will be no interaction at school. Thank you all for coming."

Lance jumped up and knocked his chair over.

"Now just wait a fucking minute! Who the hell are you to tell Billy and me we can't see each other? That we can't be friends? Hell, that we can't be boyfriends and lovers if we want?"

Paul looked at Lance then Billy with a straight face.

"Do you want to be friends, boy friends and lovers again?"

Billy jumped up and shouted to his father,

"You god damn right we do!"

Both boys ran to each other and hugged, tears rolling down their cheeks.

"I'm so sorry, Billy, I've been such a asshole. Can you forgive me?"

"Only if you'll forgive me. I only like kissing you. Girls are yucky."

The whole room broke out in laughter.

"I guess my ruling had been over turned by true love," Paul said as he approached the boys and shook their hands. "Now who is hungry?"

As the boys were walking out of the room they stopped and thanked their parents. Lance figured this had to be his Mother's idea after her divorce hearings.

"Thanks, Mother, I know this was your idea. You put on quite a show."

"It was all worth it to see the smiles on your faces again."

Billy's parents also congratulated Margo on he plan. It worked just like she thought it would. The two boys were too stubborn to get over their differences so if they were told they couldn't see each other again, they would get back together. Stubborn and obstinate.

After a hearty meal they got up to leave.

"Would the two of you like to come with me and spend the night?" Margo asked them.

Them looked at each other and wondered if this was still part of the charade.

"Of course, but tomorrow is a school day," Lance said.

"Not for everyone. Tomorrow is a holiday for a select few. It's called 'Reunion Day', a day for make up sex for couples who are back together," Margo told them.

"MOTHER! For christ sake. Have some discretion, would you?" Lance snarled, his face and Billy's turning bright red.

Billy looked at his parents who smiled and nodded their heads. Rachel was close enough to hear the conversation.

"If you aren't in school tomorrow, I'll tell everyone you ran into each other at the skateboard park and had a huge fist fight, both of you ending up at the hospital. It will be the talk of the school," Rachel laughed.

"And I'll tell everyone you were fighting over Rachel again now that the two of you have broken up," Mike through in.

Paul spoke up,

"Like I said earlier, NONE of this leave this room! You all just go about your business tomorrow and keep your crazy stories to yourselves."

'Yes sir' was the unanimous reply.

Lance and Billy went home with Margo. Then Lance kissed her goodnight and headed for the stairs. Billy extended his hand for a handshake.

"What a handshake instead of a kiss?" Margo joked.

"Yes, a handshake and that's all you'll ever get from me," Billy joked back.

The boys got into bed and cuddled and kissed.

"Do you want to have sex? I've heard make up sex can be awesome." Lance asked.

"All of our sex is awesome. But we will have all day tomorrow for that so let's wait. We can just sleep together and wake up in the morning next to each other and then have some unhurried sex."

They cuddled and kissed some more and fell asleep in each other's arms, just like life had intended for them.

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