"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
It seemed like a short night. We arrived at my motel quite late. After Elgee and Rick discovered no one else cared if two guys danced together, they enjoyed dance after dance after dance, reveling in each other's company and closeness. Their close friends encouraged them, laughed with them, celebrating their joy and love for each other. Elgee and Rick were finding real friends didn't give a good rat's ass if they were gay or straight; they were just Elgee and Rick, their friends.
Elgee slept sound, as did I. Awaking before him, I showered and shaved, taking longer than I would ordinarily since I had much to ponder after last evenings revelation and my current temporary roommate. As I was dressing, Elgee woke, yawning and stretching before heading toward the shower. With no clean clothes available to him until we retrieved his clothing and other belongings from Tommy's, he was forced to wear the same ones he had on at the dance.
He merely shrugged, "Oh, well!" and put them on. Actually, they weren't too ripe considering the amount of activity he'd participated in the evening before.
The motel had a nice hot breakfast and we partook of it. Conversation with him at breakfast was the beginning of his gradual revelations to me of what his life was like at home before he was booted out. Evidently, his parents were more than just a "little conservative." He definitely needed a better cell phone since all he had was a Trac phone he paid for himself and the only computer he was allowed to use without supervision was the Chromebook the school provided during the school year. However, it had some serious blocking software programs on it, limiting access to many sites I'm certain he wished to visit. I also gathered most of his clothes were in need of replacement as well. A visual inspection, while he was dressing, confirmed what he was saying as he ate.
Breakfast complete, I extended my stay another night, figuring today could be busy and I'd not have time to drive the long distance home. Reservations completed, we drove to Rick's to pick him up to help move Elgee into Claire's house.
Rick's parents were so pleasant, embracing Rick's choice of a partner and their life style. As his dad said, as we visited, "you marry the one you love and Rick certainly loves Elgee. He'd do anything in the world for him."
In my short acquaintance with the young men, the reverse was equally as true. During breakfast, Elgee couldn't say enough wonderful things about Rick. Rick's parents, along with his two younger brothers, were at the wedding and reception but I failed to see them. Of course, even if I had, I wouldn't have known who they were. This was a welcome opportunity to visit with them and learn more concerning the family my nephew was going to marry into. I wanted to know all I could about Rick and Elgee. I was well on my way to being Elgee's benefactor and protector, as they were observing from my actions and what I was saying, and Elgee, in such a short time seemed to come to the conclusion as well and had no problem with it. He needed me as much as I needed him. I'd been alone for several years and felt as though my life was beginning to fill again in such a way as it did so many years before.
Oh, yes, I needed him! Not in a sexual way, although seeing him naked in all his youthful beauty emerging from the bathroom after showering earlier in the morning, was quite striking! Again, I was struck with the distinct comparative likeness of the two of us in terms of body structure, actions, and yes, even cock size, uncut and a touch above average. He wasn't one I wanted to enjoy physically or fantasize over, but one I wanted to love as family, a connection I needed after having it severed by my parents and siblings so many years before.
Mr. De La Fuente had an excellent job at one of the local factories in its laboratory and Mrs. De La Fuente was employed as an office manager in one of the local law firms. The De La Fuente's had five children, four sons and one daughter. Rick was the middle child.
Rick's younger brothers, ages fourteen and twelve, were his responsibility during the weeks of summer since both of his parents worked. He was quite happy with the arrangement, with all three helping out doing the laundry, taking care of the house, and fixing meals. His fourteen year old brother had a morning paper route and Rick had a Saturday morning shopper newspaper motor route. It was a long route and his twelve year old brother helped him with it. The morning of the wedding, both Elgee and the younger brother helped to speed the delivery. From what little I could ascertain, it paid exceptionally well.
The route was technically in Rick's Dad's name, but the family had it for many years. Rick's older brother, then his sister, and now Rick ran the route. Once Rick left home, the route would be taken by one of his cousins until Rick's next youngest brother was old enough to drive. The vehicle they used was a 4WD pickup truck with a topper. It was kept in top condition by one of Rick's uncles, his mother's brother, and served them well.
Rick's oldest brother was finishing his law degree at Iowa City and his older sister was employed in Davenport as a registered nurse. The De La Fuente's desired a college education for all of their children and encouraged scholarship as well as work. They seemed to be a well-adjusted family, yet still aware of the prejudices surrounding people of color including Latinos.
Elgee thought a great deal of them and, the way Rick's two younger brothers were teasing and laughing with him, they thought a great deal of him as well. They were a welcome change from what I knew he left.
They were proud of their family and well they should be! We were invited to dinner, but I declined since, with their permission, I would be taking Rick with me to do some shopping for Elgee before leaving town on the morrow. After we finished our shopping trip, I'd treat the teens to dinner somewhere in town.
Tommy was up and ready for us when we arrived and with his help, it didn't take long for us to load my car.
"Do you have everything?" I asked. "If there's anything left at your house, Elgee, it wouldn't be wise for either you or me go there and ask for it. It'd have to be Tommy."
There was nothing at his parent's house Elgee thought he needed. I think he'd come to the point he just wanted done with them and the Devil take all. Don't blame him! His belongings filled the trunk with the rest in the back seat.
Claire welcomed us with open arms, pointed us to the room Elgee would have, and we unloaded the car. She went over some simple house rules, the same she'd used for her own kids and grandchildren such as no smoking, no booze, no drugs, where you going and who with and what time you'll be home, gave Elgee, Rick, and me a hug and announced she was off to dinner with one of her kids.
"Your house key is on the kitchen table," she said as she left the house.
Shopping with two excited teen boys, wandering through the clothing section of the national chain store we visited, was akin to walking the midway at a large carnival; so much to see, so much to choose from, and so, so many choices to make. A group of children squealing with delight as the merry-go-round with its calliope music bleating and blaring above their excited clamor could not equal the joy I felt watching Elgee and Rick as they contemplated choices of clothing for Elgee. He hesitated when selecting three pair of jeans and I assured him I could easily afford anything and everything, within some limits of course, he needed.
A summer wardrobe was definitely in order; t-shirts, short-sleeved shirts, shorts, jeans, a couple of pairs of "nicer" pants, a couple of pair of tennis shoes, socks, belts, and underwear. Rick thought Elgee should buy some "sexy thongs" but Elgee declared, smiling and winking at his lover, "It's not a string from underwear I want sticking in my ass crack," and selected boxer-briefs.
Now it was Rick's turn to blush!
Pants had to be tried on before purchase and Rick insisted on entering the dressing room with Elgee to help him decide if the pants fit. It didn't take a genius to figure out why. They took their time, probably not just trying on clothes, I thought. It was confirmed when Elgee stepped out, blushed, and handed me the pants. Rick, on his part, merely adjusted the zipper on his pants and walked toward me.
"Everything fit?" I inquired of Rick.
"Yep!" Rick nodded looking at Elgee. .
A big box chain store and some time with one of the better sales clerks I'd met in many years, provided Elgee with a new I-phone and laptop computer with various apps for each. A quick phone call to my provider placed Elgee on my account with unlimited data and voice anywhere in the United States. He protested the cost and I again reminded him it was no problem.
"Besides, who else do I have to spend my money on?"
My credit card was taking a big hit, but with a $20,000 credit limit I had plenty of available credit left. I always paid the balance each month anyway, so no sweat.
The hug, the tearful eyes, smiling face, kiss on the cheek, and the "Thanks, Uncle Levi," was reward enough. Elgee needed to know he had a friend in his house, a friend who was his uncle and probably experienced many of the same hurts he had only at a different time.
We ate dinner, not at a posh supper club, although there are some very nice ones in my hometown, but at a pizza place. Well, that's not quite correct, it was a former pizza parlor in my high school years but now sported an excellent restaurant. The boys ordered pizza and it suited me as well. Waiting for our order to be prepared, Elgee finally asked, seriously, "Uncle Levi, why are you doing this for me? You didn't know I even existed before last evening."
I think I was anticipating the question all day. He had every right to ask it and receive an honest answer. In any other circumstance, a good looking teenage boy with a sexy smile, eyes that sparkled, and a smile resting easily on his face as one would rest on a baby's, with a slim, well developed body, and looking quite alluring naked to someone who might find him so, being feted with all sorts of gifts from an older gay man, even a relative, could only imagine the price he would have to pay for all of it would be his body for the man's sexual pleasure.
Rick and Elgee sat patiently, staring into my eyes, seeking a truthful answer, and prepared to bolt, leaving treasure behind, if there was the slightest doubt in my sincerity or if they suspected a more devious, dangerous motive. Betrayal of trust was something they would not tolerate, especially Elgee. He'd been through the loss of trust in others as I had and, no doubt could spot a phony in a second.
I'd contemplated the same question earlier in the day as I shaved. Perhaps, I thought, he was playing me for a sucker, perhaps not. He was correct, I hadn't known of his existence until he approached me at the dance, but, dammit, I saw myself almost reincarnated in him some sixty years before. There was more to it than just that; he was family and shouldn't have to pay for the sins of his fathers. I never would have made it in college if others hadn't placed their trust in me and saw something in me I couldn't see in myself. I owed this to Lyle Gilbert Moore.
I couldn't help but feel he was sincere. Hadn't I experienced the same treatment from his great-grandfather? Was my brother and his son chips off of the same block? If it hadn't been for Claire as I grew up, I wouldn't have had a friend in the world. The one time I succumbed to what I thought was true friendship and love, I was not only disappointed, but physically hurt. My cousin, Claire, was there to encourage me and help me find my way out of town, so to speak.
My doubts and fears were somewhat relieved as I watched Elgee interact with Rick's family and absorbed their sincere affections for him.
Well, there's no fool like an old fool!
I nodded my understanding of his question, responding, "Your concerns are valid, even though you've not expressed them aloud, but words of reassurance of my good intentions are cheap especially when used on a vulnerable young man, especially a gay young man. I've been where you've been, been had, and suffered for it! If it hadn't been for your Auntie Claire I don't know what I would have done. She was the only one who understood me and I could talk to her about anything."
"I was fortunate; she and I were not only cousins but friends for many years, growing up together. I suspect it wasn't until you met Rick and fell in love, you had anyone to confide in you could trust."
Elgee nodded his head slowly and sadly. It was true and Rick and his family was his salvation as well.
"Elgee, we are kindred spirits and you are my blood kin, of the same sexual orientation as me, suffered the same homophobic shunning as did I, and have fallen in love with a handsome and worthy young man, something I didn't experience until my college days. I'm certain you suffered physical and mental abuse at home in silence with no one to share your pain with or pour your heart out to. Days and nights can be mighty lonely when you have no one to talk to."
"Now, the why; if you haven't come to the conclusion why yet, let me add more to it. You deserve every opportunity I can provide because I expect you to pay it forward someday to someone else. I need you and Rick; I need you as family to share life with since I'm alone now as well. Life is sometimes not fair, but it happens and we have to make the best of it."
"If you should decide to reject my offer, you're free to walk with all I've provided today and no strings attached. If you decide to accept it, the only strings attached is very simply this, you're my nephew who will soon be married and my home is yours as well. I do have certain expectations which probably don't differ from yours; never give up, help your Auntie Claire, study hard, and the two of you plan on attending college. Don't worry, everything will work out."
On second thought, I added, "It's probably best your parents are kept unaware of my participation or the shit will really hit the fan."
Rick grinned and so did I when Elgee tossed in his lot with me!
It was close to six in the evening after we'd dropped Rick off at his house, when we returned to Claire's. Her day of visiting was complete and it was time for us to have a sit-down and plan ahead for the three of us. I gave him a check to open a checking account, a savings account, and a pre-paid debit card I could add to when needed. I instructed him to send me, by snail mail and not over the internet, the numbers of the accounts and PIN numbers so I could access them with cash infusions if necessary. He would be getting a monthly allowance from me and the easiest method of transfer was electronically from my bank to his.
Over Claire's objection, I informed her she would be receiving a monthly check to help with room, board, and other things for Elgee. I didn't expect her to take care of him for nothing, although she would have.
I rose to leave, gave Claire a hug, thanking her again, and received a long, loving hug from Elgee. "It's been a long day and I have a long drive home tomorrow so I'm heading to my motel and sleep."
"Hey," Elgee asked, almost in a panic. "Where do you live?"
"Minnesota's a big state, Uncle Levi."
"Spirit View farm on Big Spirit Lake. It's in Crow Wing County and the nearest large city is Brainerd. Ask Auntie Claire where it is; she's been there many times."
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