You look like hell son, didn't you sleep well?" Dan's father asked when Dan stumbled into the kitchen at 7:00 AM.
"Hardly at all. I'm just not used to my bed anymore."
"Don't worry, I'm sure you'll grow back into it in a night or two. I was just checking to make sure there was nothing bothering you."
"So," his father continued, "What have you got planned for today?"
"It's early, I've got time. Sit down and I'll make you pancakes."
"I had lots of time on the trip to think and I decided that I want to go to the university in the fall."
"I see." Dan's dad said over his shoulder. "Are you sure?"
"Yes. I want to be a teacher, I know I do."
Dan paused a moment, "I know I can do it, I want to do it, and I'll make enough money to live on."
"So I'm going to go pick up the papers I need for registration."
"Sounds like a plan."
"Yeah, but dad, about the money, I..."
"Don't worry about it. I'll make you a deal, as long as you stay in school and keep a part time job then you can live in this house for free and I'll pay for as much of your school as I can."
"Okay. Thanks dad."
"No worries. So what's next on the list of to-dos?"
"Go visit Beau in his new apartment. Tonya's parents gave them some furniture and they need help moving it."
"Want to borrow my truck?"
"Sure." Dan grinned.
"Just make sure that the tank is as full when I get it back as it is right now."
"Okay, no problem."
"So when is their house warming party?"
"I didn't hear anything about it."
"Oh they'll have one, girls love that sort of thing. Besides, I want to see this new apartment. I think your mother has some dinner plates downstairs that they can have...a whole box as a matter of fact. Dreadful looking things, I don't know what possessed her to buy them."
"So if they're so bad then why would you want to give them to Beau?"
"Because that's the whole point you see. At a house warming, especially for the first house, you have to give things like that because you know they have nothing better. Therefore, they have no choice but to actually use whatever you give them. It's kind of a cruel joke mixed in with relief that you don't have to suffer the guilt of throwing out something expensive that you never even used."
"I see." Dan said wondering what his responsibility was if his father was giving away dishes to Beau.
"Oh, and I have a bottle of red wine, you think Beau or Tonya drink wine?"
"Isn't that the bottle that Grandpa gave you even though he knows that neither you nor mom drink red wine?"
"Oh is that where it came from? Well I guess so then."
"Tell you what dad, give them whatever you want, I'll just buy him a case of beer...I know he'll drink that." Suddenly Dan had a vision of Beau and Tonya sitting on the floor in the living room and drinking wine from paper cups.
Dan's dad flipped the pancakes.
"Are you going to go visit Sam today?" He asked casually.
Sam's name made Dan's heart jump.
"Ummm, wasn't planning to." Dan said.
"Oh. I would have thought that after you spent a month with him you two would be rather close."
"Yeah, we're good friends but his Aunt and Uncle are de-briefing him."
"Oh well they're probably really glad to see him back. Well breakfast is served."
Tables, chairs, lamps, bed, couch, kitchen stuff, small TV, computer, boxes, and more boxes; all where loaded into Dan's dad's truck. It took three trips to move it all.
Finally around 2:00 everything was moved into the apartment and arranged according to Tonya's specifications.
"Are you sure? I really think it would look better there." Beau protested as Tonya instructed him to position the couch.
"Sometimes I wish you were gay like one of those designers on TV." Tonya sighed.
"What is it with girls and gay guys, honestly."
"They're more sensitive." Tonya joked.
"Am I not sensitive?" Beau asked. Dan sighed and walked into the kitchen for a glass of water while the new couple play fought in the living room for a while.
"Hey Beau, I have to take the truck back...wanna come with me?" Dan asked. Beau agreed and the two boys left Tonya to continue arranging. In hindsight Dan really didn't think it made a difference where the couch was.
Dan and Beau drove around for a while and next thing Dan knew he was walking through the grassy field on Nose Hill overlooking the city. Beau didn't protest going to the park instead of Dan's house, he knew there was something on Dan's mind and he wanted to hear what it was.
"So?" Beau quietly asked.
Dan rubbed his temples and sat down in the grass with a huff. Beau recognized the body language and he sat down next to Dan. "Serious huh?"
"Yeah." Dan sighed. "The trip... I changed... or maybe I didn't. I don't know." Dan muddled through what was in his head. "Some of it's hard."
"Is it about Sam?"
"Yeah. How'd you know?"
Beau smiled. "I've been thinking about you while you were gone. Pieces started fitting together in my mind." Beau neglected to mention Tonya's involvement in sliding those pieces together. "Then yesterday I watched you and Sam together. How you talk to each other, how you look at each other, how you touch."
Dan's jaw was trembling, he wanted to speak but he couldn't.
"At first I thought it was just from being alone together for a month but as the day wore on, when you were in my apartment, you were so close together always almost touching. Then at the very end of the day when we dropped off Sam at his house and you got into the car and you gave me that look, like you were about ready to cry..." Beau's voice trailed off, he wanted Dan to finish what he'd started saying but Dan looked like he was under too much stress. "You really love him don't you?" Beau whispered.
Dan nodded and squeaked a yes then tried to talk more but Beau silenced him.
"Dan, I'm not mad at you for not telling me. I don't feel like you've lied to me all these years and there's nothing that's going to change between you and me, we will always be friends. But I do want to tell you one thing, I am so very proud of you for finding him, and for finding yourself."
Dan smiled; this was the best of all outcomes. "Thank you Beau."
"Don't thank me, this is what I'm here for."
Dan was still shaking from the release of emotion.
"Are you going to tell your parents?" Beau asked.
"As soon as I can think of a way to do it."
"What do you think they'll say?"
"My mom will over react. My dad will file it away while he calms her down then he'll think about it for a while by himself then he'll calmly accept it."
"Yeah, that sounds like them. How do you think Sam's Aunt and Uncle will take it?"
"I'm not sure." Dan said and then proceeded to tell Beau about what he knew about Sam's Uncle and Aunt.
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