“Hey,” Tom called out from across the office, “go to the plotter!”
“Hey, Tom,” our boss called out with a laugh, “Stop screamin’ across the office!”
“But go to the plotter and you’ll start screamin’ too,” he called back.
The two of us wandered over as Tom and Skip paced like expectant fathers as a sheet of paper slowly inched its way out of the machine. What had begun to emerge, to the excitement of us all, was the first complete set of final construction drawings done wholly on computer. We were in awe of what we witnessed. Yet I felt the pangs of disappointment in the loss of the beauty that hand drawings possess compared to the cold pristine crispness of the computer drawn sheets. Life as I had imagined was changing before my eyes. Paul walked over from the back of the office. Tom had gotten him hired for the summer to reorganize and update the office library of catalogues and samples. He leaned over, adjusted his glasses and stared as the paper slowly spewed from the plotter.
“Oh my god, that’s incredible! It’s drawing…the computer is really drawing!”
“Thank You, Paul! Someone here besides me realizes what’s happening,” Tom said with indignant acknowledgement.
“Hey, I just pay you all and for it all. So this is what I was expecting…sooner or later,” our boss said with a laugh.
The sheets slowly appeared out of the machine for the next fourteen hours. It was midnight before Tom, Skip, Paul and I locked up the office and headed home. Paul didn’t have to stay but wanted to lend his support in this effort. The vellum reproducibles had to be ready to send out for blueprints in the morning. There had been a few swear words along the way to either coax a drawing out of the computer or to get the plotter to work right. With a wave, Skip disappeared down to wait for the N train to take him to Queens. I hailed a cab.
“Screw waitin’ on the Never and Rarely. We’ll drop you off at home, Paul.”
I looked up at his grateful smile. He had filled out during the past year. He was not such a gangly, geeky kid anymore. He had cut his hair and was evolving into a strikingly handsome man. I also realized how tall he was. He’d begun to stand up straighter now, accepting his height as he increased his self-esteem. He climbed in between the two of us and the cab sped off toward Washington Square.
He put one hand on my thigh and one on Tom’s, “Thanks, guys, I’m so glad to be included in doin’ something cool…especially with friends. I thought McDonald’s was going to be my summer lot in life.”
“Paul,” I said, “now I know organizing that disaster of a library is not a dream job but it’s got to be better than that grease pit. Besides, we enjoy having you around.”
He leaned over and kissed me. The cab pulled up in front of his house. He climbed out of the Checker, hoisted his pants toward his waist as he spun back around to us and said, “See ya in the mornin’.”
His eyebrows raised over the tops of his glasses as his lips curled up into a smile. He waved and ran up the steps into his building in sets of four. Tom and I shook our heads and laughed.
“He’s gonna make someone happy someday,” Tom said wistfully.
“He makes me happy just bein’ his friend,” I responded.
That summer was all about friends. Any time we weren’t working our jobs we were together in some form or fashion with our family of friends. Half of that time we were working on something together, whether it was Steve, Tom, my dad and I at the home site doing finishing work and completing projects outside of the base contract, or Tom, Paul and I digging and organizing the basis of the new Garden. We all enjoyed the camaraderie of accomplishment. That isn’t to say that we didn’t do things for fun’s sake. We made time for our adventures. Trips to the beach and non-camping trips to the mountains were a normal part of our lives. It also was a time of transition. Jeremy and Vroom bought a futon to put on our living room floor and slowly moved a few things and themselves in over the summer as Tom and I boxed things up for transfer to New Jersey or Rhode Island by fall. Tom and I also gave the Garden over to John. What had been one of the few quiet times we enjoyed together became a blur of action and reaction by the end of July. Tom and I never seemed to have the time to take a quiet afternoon to build on our interactive internal strength, but were both happy enjoying the incredible growth in ourselves and our world amongst our friends in the yellow sun of summer.
On the second Monday of August I got a call from Fitz. I got a shiver as I reached for the phone. I paused a second, smiled and then lifted the receiver.
“Hey, how’s the job search?” I queried with a laugh.
“OK, I’m pretty sure they’ll offer me that job I told you about on Friday…but...”
“Oh shit, Fitz, I don’t like that ‘but.’ What’s wrong?”
“Nothin’, but we need to talk. Come here for lunch… just you, please?”
“Oh crap…Fitz what’s up?”
“I can’t do this over the phone.”
“Make it brunch, I’m comin’ now. See you in fifteen. Love you, OK.”
I hung up and walked to Tom.
“Fitz needs to talk, something serious. I’m goin’ over there now. I’ll call you as soon as I can.”
“Need me to come?” he asked cautiously.
“No, she just wants me…if it was really serious she’d want you too…so I’m just confused.”
I shrugged my shoulders.
“I’ll tell the boss what’s up and I’ll catch your phone calls, OK?”
I kissed him and turned for the elevators. I couldn’t get to her fast enough.
When she opened the door Katie looked frazzled and at a loss of what to do. Stevie was tearing around the apartment like a mad man singing at the top of his lungs. He stopped when he saw me.
He ran over for a hug. Daniel soon followed.
“I need a favor of my two best little men. Can you both go watch TV or play quietly, please, for me? I need to talk to your Mom. Can you do that for me?”
“Thanks, quiet now, OK?”
They nodded again as Stevie grabbed Daniel’s hand and they walked off to their room.
“Thank you, I could not have accomplished that with anything less than a nuclear bomb today.”
“Ooooh, now I know something is really wrong. No hemmin’ or hawin’…Spill.”
She grabbed her hair and pulled it back over her forehead, twisted her lips from side to side and then blurted out, “I think I’m pregnant!”
She then sighed with complete defeat and desperation.
Understanding how devastating this was to her life plans I quietly said, “Think, or know?”
“No tests, but I’m sure…I do know my body by now.”
“I’ll be right back.”
I turned back to the door.
“Where are you going?”
“To get a test kit. We are going to find out for sure before we go on with this. I’ll be right back.”
“Katie, a half an hour and we will know for sure.”
As we waited for the results Fitz said, “Pete, I can’t do this. I can’t handle another child. I can’t do it.”
“Katie, you can, better than most. You just don’t want to, I understand and agree with you on that. Have you talked to Steve about this?”
She shook her head.
“I haven’t figured out how I’m gonna tell him that I want to have an abortion.”
“What? You are one of the most pro-choice people I’ve ever met, Pete!”
“Every woman deserves the RIGHT to choose. I’ve also told you that I could only see the option in extreme circumstances. This is not an extreme situation. It’s an unfortunate occurrence at a very inopportune point in your life.”
She looked at the test. She hung her head. She showed it to me. We sat silent for a minute. Then I reached out and lifted her chin.
“I’ll raise the child.”
“Pete, don’t be silly.”
“I’m not,” I said seriously, “We will be living next door to one another. I can put off or control the beginnings of my own practice. I’ll be working out of the house anyway. You’ll have a built-in nanny just a hundred feet away. You need to go back to work and do for others what you did for me. If I can make that happen, well…”
Katie looked at me with a blank stare for about ten seconds, and then a Mona Lisa smile appeared on her face.
“WOOHOO!!!! I’m gonna be a DAD!”
Katie shook her head and the smiled broadened, “Pete, you amaze me…and I think you’ve really gone off the deep end, but I know you’re serious. I also think it will work…except…you gotta tell Steve he’s sharin’ the Dad title…’cuz he’s been wantin’ another kid. But I was tellin’ him ten years from now.”
“No problem! Not a problem at’all!”
I got up from the table, lifted Katie up, hugged her, and then kissed her as passionately as I had ever kissed anyone.
“Wow, you keep improvin’ through the years…Teach that to Steve, would ya.”
I smiled and said, “Sure. I gotta go tell him. NOW!” I quick kissed her again, ran to the boys room and said, “Good-bye, be nice to your mother, she’s gotta surprise for you. She’ll tell you when your daddy gets home! Bye!”
I ran out the door. She shook her head and began to close the door then said, “I sure as hell wish you could do the whole deal here. I still am not gonna be happy with the morning sickness and the backaches and the…well, I’ll just call you at whatever hour of the day and tell you what’s goin’ on in graphic detail. How ‘bout that!”
“Sure,” I said laughing as the elevator door closed. I knew she was serious too.
I bought a box of “Swisher Sweet” Cigars, because the name made me laugh. I imagined they could be horrible but I didn’t care because I thought all cigars were horrible tasting. Walking right past Steve’s secretary and into his office, I swung his door closed. He was picking up an apple from the basket on his credenza. He smiled and stood when he saw me.
“Pete, what’s up? What a smile on you!”
I bent him over backwards and kissed him like I had just kissed his wife. He dropped the apple to the floor. I pulled him back up.
“WOW! That was great…you really do that well, but what the fuck is that for?”
I pulled a cigar from my pocket and shoved it in his mouth.
“We’re gonna be DADS!”
“But that can’t be…we…But she doesn’t…OH FUCK! She’s gonna be beside herself…”
“Sit down. This is gonna take som’ ‘splainin’, Lucy.”
“Pete, you crazy fuckin’ bastard, I love you. I can’t believe you want to do this. Do you know how much this means to Katie?”
I nodded my head.
“Do you know what this means to me?”
I nodded my head.
“What’s Tom think of this?”
“Doesn’t know yet, but he’ll be at school most of the time or else I would have asked him first…Will you help me tell him?”
I reached out and grabbed Steve’s hand.
“Least I can do, Pete. Come on. I’m done for the day here, whether they like it or not.”
He grabbed his suit coat, shoved the cigar back in his mouth and we headed out the door. He snapped his fingers at me and then pointed to the cigar.
“Oh.” I gave him another one.
“Sally, here. Enjoy!” He stuck the cigar in her mouth. “I’ll need another picture frame for my desk in about nine months. Can you find a matching one to the others? Thanks.” He smiled.
“Sure,” she laughed, “Congratulations, Steve.”
We took Tom into the boss’s office to tell him.
He jumped into my arms, “Pete, you crazy bastard, I love you!”
“Hey, what about the fuckin’ part?”
Steve and I just smiled at one another.
“So, Tom, excited about bein’ a Dad?”
He nodded his head and said, “Unbelievable.”
“Tom, I’m really sorry that I didn’t ask you first. I shouldn’t have done this without asking. I hope you understand.”
“Sometimes you just have to trust your partner, so don’t worry about it,” Tom stated and then smiled. “Anyway, you’ll be the one who’s gonna be left here to wipe butt, not me…not that I’m not willing mind you … and by that look on your face I will be doing it on the many occasions I come home from school.” Tom dissolved into laughter, “Oh, Pete, you are amazin’! That is all there is to it…no wonder everyone says you surprise them…No wonder I love you! I guess that’s what makes me so lucky!”
I smiled at Tom and then shook my head, “When will everybody realize I only do what absolutely feels right and natural…nothing surprising, nothing amazing…just normal.”
Tom and Steve both stared at me and then each other.
Steve then stuck the cigar into his mouth and grinned, “Like goin’ to the toy store.”
“BINGO! Give that man a cheroot! Whoops, already got one,” I slapped him on the back laughing.
“WHAT,” Tom asked, completely at a loss.
“Pete, let me explain.”
“Tom, all of our friends laughed at us when we had our adventures in the toy store. In fact I was a little ashamed of it too at the time. I only knew that the time I spent with Pete cruisin’ the aisles, talkin’ and playin’ with the toys made me feel….I don’t know…it made me FEEL, that’s all. I only came to realize much later that it wasn’t the fact that we were playing with toys, it was that we cared and nurtured each other to be a better person. We were doing what felt natural, nothing more, nothing less and yet it was so much more than what it looked like we were doing. Pete happens to do things like that as part of his normal course of life. I think that is what everybody finds surprising and amazing…which in fact it is, but it isn’t! Have I made any sense at all?”
I put my arms around both Steve and Tom and hugged them as tight as I could.
Tom whispered, “Perfect sense.”
“Let’s go see Mom. She needs us,” I whispered to them both.
I left a cryptic note for my boss to tell him why Tom and I had left and told him to call me at Steve’s or at home later that night. The next morning I found his return note on my desk saying that the fact that I had left and where I could be reached was all the info necessary because he trusted me on all the rest. I could only shake my head in humility.
Fitz was finger painting with the boys on the kitchen floor when we got there. She toe painted the carpet when she ran to hug Steve. All I could do was laugh. Katie and Steve were locked into an embrace slowly rocking back and forth, their eyes closed.
Fitz cracked an eye toward Tom and me and said, “I know, this is how it got started to get us into this mess.”
“It’s not a mess, Fitz, it’s fantastic.”
“Pete’s gonna need someone to dote on with me gone so much,” Tom said slyly.
I looked at Tom through the corners of my eyes, “Cheeky…remember that’s why we were gonna get a dog…I think I still will. I’ll call him Tommy.”
We all began to chuckle.
“Who’s bein’ cheeky now?” Tom said with a laugh, “But really, can we still get the dog?”
“Yes, Tom, I was still planning on it. I think we need to get it soon so that we’re well trained by the time the baby comes along.”
“Pete, dogs…and babies. I don’t know.”
“My sisters were brought home to a dog in the house and they seemed to have survived OK. Don’t get nervous on me now, Fitz, we’ve already set sail.”
She walked over and hugged me.
“I’m not one to let go of my kids too easily…not even the big ones like you. So I guess I’ll be able to do this.”
“Just think of all the people who need your loving terror, people like me who need to put their lives and bodies back together.”
“What kind of dog, Pete, Tom?” Katie asked.
“I don’t know, we hadn’t discussed it,” I responded.
Tom looked around and shrugged, “I wasn’t even allowed to pet the neighbor’s dog. Geez, Pete, you probably know exactly what type and have already chosen the name too…like Jester Jr.”
I burst out laughing, “That’s great! His name will be Jester…but not Junior.”
They all looked at me like I was crazy.
“My old dog’s name was Joker and no, I hadn’t decided what type. I thought a pound dog would be cool but I would like a beagle or maybe a Jack Russell if it worked out that way.”
“SEE, I told you,” Tom exclaimed.
“He is Mr. Planner Man,” Steve said quietly.
“I know…and it’s another reason I love him. But sometimes it’s a stretch to keep up with him.”
“Tell me about it,” Katie stated with conviction.
“Hey, you named the dog…I would have never thought of a great name like that! Hey, let’s all go pick out a dog this weekend. It’ll be all of ours since you’ll be livin’ next door.”
“Just like the kid too, huh,” Steve said with a smirk.
“Cheeky bastard,” Fitz said as she whacked Steve in the ass, hard. Daniel and Stevie burst into giggles from the kitchen floor.
“Daddy’s gettin’ spanked,” Daniel squealed and then all of us dissolved into raucous laughter.
The owner was a bit overwhelmed when our caravan of three cars carrying the “family” drove onto his farm in central New Jersey the next Saturday afternoon. Mr. Sweeton had suggested this breeder to go visit. This man not only had a variety of pure bred hunting dogs like beagles but also mixed breeds and Border Collies that were bred as farm “hands.” I was encouraged by the fact that this was a true working farm with fields of corn and soybeans, pastures of cows, sheep and a few horses instead of just being a place where dogs were bred. Katie and Stevie were immediately drawn to the horses. The rest of us poured into the barnyard where the dogs and puppies were corralled, somewhat. They definitely had their run of the place. All Daniel kept screaming was “Doggies!” every time he turned his head. He reminded me of Jason in the first minutes after arriving at home in New Jersey. I too was overwhelmed by the variety and seemingly endless choices. “Lefty,” the farmer, was a kind hearted, gravelly voiced, man in his fifties with a gray crewcut dressed in green bib overalls. You could tell he had spent his life outdoors.
“I got two litters that are for choosin’ from, English Beagles and the Border Collies. Yur lookin’ for a house dog, huh?”
“Yes, but he’ll have more than eight acres to run on with deer and rabbit to chase.”
“Good, then either would be a good choice. When you said you lived in the city I got a little worried. I don’t think any of these dogs would really be happy…I don’t like keepin’ dogs inside of four walls all day…don’t like it at’all.”
“Right now we do, but we’re buildin’ two houses next door to one another. One for me and Tom here, and one for the Thomases’, Steve, Katie…the one tryin’ to figure how to rustle one of your horses, and their two kids. John, Jeremy and David are our good friends, here for the adventure and moral support. Jeremy and David are Corky Sweeton’s sons.”
“Oh, right. Good,” Lefty said, thankful of the explanation for the entourage.
For the next half hour we all kept passing the eleven dogs of the two litters around between us. It was obvious that we were unable to make any decision to even narrow the choices. Lefty suggested we let the dogs choose. Tom looked at me and rolled his eyes.
“Tom, it makes sense,” I whispered back.
“No, I was rollin’ my eyes ‘cuz he sounds like you,” he smirked.
As we stood being licked by two little black and white collies that were in our arms we saw Daniel squat down on his haunches and say, “Pretty doggy,” as he pointed at our shins.
Tom and I looked down to see a cute Beagle sitting between us.
“Jester,” I called. The beagle looked up at us as his tail fanned a spot in the dirt yard clean.
“Bingo,” Tom said, “We have a winner!”
He smiled at me. I nodded in return. We put down the collies and picked up Jester.
“He’s the runt ya know…half price.”
“Pete normally does go for the runts,” David said with a wry wink at Tom.
“Cheeky bastard, I’ll get you for that,” Tom whispered back.
David bounced his eyebrows and smiled. Katie and Stevie wandered back from seeing the horses and cows. Stevie had his hand grasped to the back of a full-grown Border Collie.
“How are the boys doin’? Found a friend yet? Stevie’s found one, that’s for sure. There will definitely be some tears shed when we leave.”
“Katie, Stevie meet Jester,” I said.
The tongue of that little beagle wasted no time in covering the faces of those two and when he was done the old collie added her licks to Stevie’s face too.
“Polly’s a good dog. She’s for the takin’ too. She can’t be bred and she’s always been more of a house dog…a mother hen if you will. I’ve been lookin’ for a good home for her. She’s takin’ a shine to the little one there. If you’d like her she’s yours.”
“You mean that?” Katie asked.
“As long as you walk her till we move to the house next month…I’ll wipe a butt but I’m not pickin’ up dog shit off the sidewalk.”
“Chickenshit,” I whispered to him, “Oh, and it will be more like the middle of October for move in. I had to reject two shipments of stone for the flooring. I had to go pick out the slabs myself last week, some people think they can put shit over me.”
“Oh cool, Pete, another month’s rent,” Steve moaned.
“Quitcher bitchin’, we’re still four months ahead of what we originally planned when we budgeted this out. True?”
“Yes, sir. Glad Dan’s not around or I’d get my butt slapped.”
I raised my eyebrows, shook my head and sighed.
“Y’are like family, aren’t cha,” Lefty stated.
We all nodded except for Stevie and Daniel as they were both bent over nuzzling Polly’s neck. We bid Lefty goodbye and headed down I-80 and over the George Washington Bridge to Manhattan. Steve didn’t, he had to veer off and head down to the Lincoln Tunnel. It wasn’t a bridge day for Katie.
The rest of August was a complete blur between trips to the “spread”, learning to live with the rolling ball of fur as he trained us. Jeremy, John, David and Paul came and went in a syncopated rhythm and the Thomases’ made their crazy upbeats into Tom’s and my life. I don’t think Tom and I had a moment of peace that month. We certainly didn’t have much sex.
As Tom and I slowly ceded the apartment over to Jeremy, we both wished he could have waited until we had gone, yet it only made sense to accommodate him as he started with the Sweeton Corporation, although with him came Vroom and, usually, David too. We loved them all yet it was tough as Tom and I struggled with our impending separation. As the first weekend in September closed in, the tight bond that we had forged since Tim’s last visit began to fray. I could feel my heart tearing. I was afraid to let go. I even went as far as telling Tom that he could get his architectural license by apprenticeship under me instead of school. He stared at me like I had lost my mind. I thought I was going over the edge of reality. Tom was pulling away by not sharing his feelings and emotions. It wasn’t that he was keeping secrets. It was that he was scared of how he felt and that it would hurt me. It didn’t help that we began to run sixteen to twenty hour days toward the end of the month. The largest project our office had ever taken on was coming due on the last day of the month. That last week Tom, Paul, Jester and I were leaving the office between one and three in the morning. Tom had taught Paul how to draw on the computer to help us out. Jester just needed to be taken out and he also motivated us by licking our shins as we sat at our desks.
One night the four of us came stumbling through the door at two AM. Paul was going to spend the night on the floor so that we could all return to the office by eight. Tom clicked on the light as we banged through the front door. We were giggling from lack of sleep. I was reminded of all the times Steve and I used to come rolling home drunk from the F&M Patio.
“HEY! Cut the light,” Jeremy called out, “The dead are trying to sleep.”
We saw Jeremy and John on the Futon and David on the couch.
“Hey,” came a hoarse voice from the bedroom, “Been waitin’ for ya.”
It was Steve. He had fallen asleep on our bed with Daniel and Stevie. I had forgotten I told him we were going to be home early. Fitz was in need of a night alone. I thought that he would have taken the kids home by now.
“Oh shit, Steve. Sorry. I should have called…and you coulda called me too.”
Ten minutes later it was Steve, Tom, Daniel and me in the bed. Stevie was snuggled in with the J’s after some minor moans and Paul was in a too short sleeping bag on the floor at the foot of our bed.
After it got quiet I sat up and said, “Now, y’all got to go find your own homes this weekend. Please, because I need to moderate and be moderated!”
Tom whispered in my ear, “As long as I can do it asleep…all I want to do is sleep.”
“Love you too, darlin’,” I said with a bit of sarcasm.
I closed my eyes and Tom’s alarm went off.
It was three hours later yet only seemed like thirty seconds. Thirty real seconds later the phone rang. Tom answered. It was Dad Elliot. Tom handed the phone to Daniel since he seemed to be the only one who was coherent. I could hear Dad laugh when Daniel squealed “Poppy!” into the phone. Steve and I sat bolt upright as we came into reality. Tom pulled my pillow over his head as he rolled back into oblivion.
“Oh my God, I gotta nine o’clock meeting and I gotta get the kids home. Shit. Dan’l, say goodbye to Poppy and give the phone to Unka Pete ‘cuz we gotta scoot. Sorry, Dad. I’ll have Daniel call ya tonight.”
Daniel said goodbye to Dad and then to me as he handed the phone off and then was carried off to the bathroom.
I laughed as I said, “Hey, Dad, what’s up?”
“I just wanted to talk about us comin’ up to take Tom to school.”
“Oh, cool, but can we call you from work? We’re due there in the hour and have had less than three hours sleep.”
“OH! Deadline, huh?”
“Uh-huh, love you two. Call you in a few…around lunch OK?”
“Bye, oh and Tom would say bye if he was awake.”
I climbed out of bed and picked Tom up in my arms. I lightly kicked Paul’s foot as I went by.
“Hey, wake up, it’s time, Paul.” He rolled over to expose a huge hard-on sticking out of the top of his boxer shorts.
“Whoa,” I said to myself as I carried Tom into the bath.
Steve was just exiting with his two kids.
“Love ya,” he said as he kissed me, “Sorry we didn’t get to talk. We need to though. OK, Pete?”
“Sure, Steve. Bye, Daniel. Bye, Stevie.”
I shut the door to the bath and stood Tom up in the shower. He was finally coming to.
“Oh God! The sun’s shining,” he breathed and then reached down to crank on the taps.
I climbed in and pulled the clear plastic curtain closed. Tom put his head on my shoulder and peed down my thigh.
“You bastard,” I chuckled softly, “Look, this job is just practice for the all-nighters that you’ll pull in school. So just get used to it. And besides you won’t have me to pee on either.”
Tom raised his head and cracked his eyes open and then smiled a big toothy grin.
“You’re awake now.”
We spent the next ten minutes in a conversation of facial expressions and caresses until we heard a knock at the door.
“I really need to go,” Paul said.
“I really need to cum,” Tom whispered to me as we held each other’s erections.
We looked at one another and then hugged as Tom said, “Come on!”
“OH SHIT,” Tom called out as he caught sight of Paul’s cock.
Paul couldn’t keep it hidden behind his arm. Paul instantly turned red and began to head back out the door. I reached through the curtain and pulled him back around. He saw our hard-ons now.
“Sorry, I can’t help it. I got to pee bad.”
“I’m sorry,” Tom said, “I just…well…had…just seen in gym… and…well…didn’t think it was…Oh my GOD, Paul!”
Paul gave an impish grin and then a knowing wink as he stared at our cocks. He then pulled down his shorts and proudly displayed his before he folded himself over as he sat down so that he could finally relieve himself. Tom and I shook our heads and smiled at each other. Paul rose with a huge sigh and a grin, pulling up his shorts.
“Give us about five and you can have the shower. Oh, and wake one of those lazy-asses out there and tell ‘em to make coffee…and pull the door closed…Please. Thanks.”
Paul smiled as he looked over and down his shoulder at us. Less than thirty seconds later we had cum all over each other’s stomach, then both of us dissolved into evil laughs as we thought about what we had just seen.
Friday afternoon the package of drawings and specifications went off to the printer’s for a Monday morning delivery. Tom and I dragged ourselves home and slept till Saturday morning. As we snuggled in bed for an hour I thought about the week or so that Tom and I would spend together before he left for school.
“Come on,” I said to him, “Let’s go have our coffee out in the garden.”
He smiled as he tugged on my cock, “Sure, not many times left for us in this Garden…my Birth Garden.”
“Silly,” I whispered as I kissed him gently, “but you’re right. I am going to miss it. That’s another reason that you have to come home often to help nurture the Garden on the Hill.”
Except for a bunch of phone calls the “family” left the two of us alone until Labor Day weekend when we all invaded the Shore house at my parents’ insistence. The Elliots had come up for ten days to spend time with my folks and to help with getting their “son” off to college. I don’t think we stopped laughing for the whole three days, except when Paul got a tad sensitive at my dad’s ribbing about him and David’s going to MIT over Princeton. That’s when I stepped in and told both sets of parents about me taking charge for caring of the new grandchild. I couldn’t believe I had caught them off guard once again. Fitz and Paul couldn’t stop laughing at the expressions on their four faces; neither could I.
As that summer came to an end with my life in complete flux I was never more content and happy. Yes, I was going to miss Tom, but he had his dreams to fulfill too. I had a new home, my true home, and soon a child to care for. I was also about to strike out on my own as an architect. I hadn’t told anyone except Tom of the long conversation I had with my boss the previous week. I told him that I wanted to move on before the year’s end. He said he already knew in his heart that this would happen. He thought the worst part about it was that he was going to lose Tom too. Then he wrote the name and phone number of a man on a slip of paper and slid it to me.
“This is a client in New Jersey. Of everything in the portfolio he looked at he only liked your work. I was going to use you to seal it anyway. It’s an early bonus. I told him that you would most likely go off on your own by year’s end. So, he’s expecting this. Congratulations, Pete.”
I was completely speechless as my boss stood and extended his hand. It took me a half a minute to stand and then I walked around his desk and bear hugged him. I cried into his shoulder.
He whispered in my ear, “I’m just extending a favor that was granted to me,” which answered the question going round in my head.
Life was good.