The next morning we had a quick breakfast before we went to the airport. I had already called ahead, to make sure the ticket for Nick had been confirmed, and the boys finally caught on to where we were going after seeing the monitor that listed San Antonio as our destination. Brandon was all smiles, after realizing we were going to see his family, and the other boys immediately started pulling his leg.
“I guess Pop’s finally going to dump you back on your own folks,” Jay teased, as a way of getting back at Brandon for teasing him about his clumsiness on our first vacation together.
“Yeah, we hear your parents stenciled your name on the dog house in the backyard,” Kevin added, “so you’d have a place to sleep.”
“They even bought one of those wireless fences to keep him in the yard,” Trey added, laughing.
“And his dad got a new pooper-scooper, so he could clean up after him,” Pat threw in, leaving a vivid picture in everyone’s mind about how the crap got there in the first place.
Graham walked up to Brandon and started stroking his back. “Nice Brandon, good boy,” he told him, playing along with the gag and treating Brandon like a dog.
“You guys think you’re pretty funny, don’t you?” Brandon countered, with a feigned hurt look on his face. “Well, you’ll all go hungry as comedians, won’t they, Pop?”
I wasn’t expecting to be called into this discussion, so I had to wing it quickly. “Down, boy, good Brandon,” I responded, trying to keep a straight face. “Sit, boy.”
“Not you too,” he said, sarcastically. “What is this, ‘gang up on Brandon day’?”
“I like you, Brandon,” Jordan told him. “You can come home with me and be my pet.” When he started his comment, the other boys thought Jordan was feeling sorry for Brandon, so they all cracked up when they heard his final remark. Since none of them had been ready for Jordan to get involved in ribbing Brandon, it just made what he said seem even funnier.
By now we were all laughing so hard that I thought some of the boys might pee their pants. The other people in the terminal were eyeing us suspiciously, like we had all just lost our minds or escaped from a mental hospital. Who knows, maybe they were right. Anyway, none of us cared and didn’t let the humorless masses bother us.
“Okay, I give and you win,” Brandon said, surrendering. “I’ll wait until I get to my house, where my mommy and daddy can protect me,” he added in a little boy whine.
At that point I urged the boys forward, to our boarding gate, before we missed our flight. When we arrived there, they had already started to board. We produced our tickets and walked onto the plane, ready for another flight.
The trip to San Antonio went very smoothly and Brandon’s parents were at the terminal to meet us when we arrived. Brandon was happy to see his mother and father again and hugged and kissed both of them affectionately. I think his father was surprised by how much love Brandon was showing them.
“Heck, if I had known we’d get this kind of reaction from you after you’d been away for a while,” Mr. O’Hara quipped, “we’d have shipped you off to camp or with friends long ago.”
Brandon looked at him, startled, until he noticed the smirk on his father’s face and understood he was being teased again. “Dang, is everyone going to bust on me today? I thought I could at least count on my parents to protect me.”
“We’re glad to see you, son,” Mr. O’Hara told him. “It’s just that you’ve never been so bold at showing your affection to us in public before. We were just enjoying the change in you.”
“Well, I’ve missed you both and am happy to see you again.”
“And we’re thrilled to see you too, honey,” Mrs. O’Hara added. “Don’t let your father ruin this, dear. Let’s go and get your things, because we’ve got a lot planned for you boys while you’re here.”
“Thanks, Mom,” Brandon replied, smiling at his mother. “I really did miss both of you.”
“And we missed you too, darling, and now we’ll have some time to spend together, before you take off again. Your father even took a week’s vacation, so we could do things together… I mean the Curries, you, and us,” she added, not wanting us to feel left out.
“That sounds like fun,” Brandon answered. “I’m glad we’ll have some time to spend together, before we go back.”
I excused myself and took the little ones with me while I went to get our rental vehicle. I had reserved another van for the time we were going to be here, knowing nothing but that or a bus would be able to contain my growing flock. The other boys stayed with the O’Haras while I went to get the vehicle and the rental clerk had us processed and in our van in no time at all. Soon I was rejoining the O’Haras and my brood, and it didn’t take us long before the luggage and kids were loaded up and ready for our next adventure.
Brandon rode with his parents, taking Danny with him, and I followed them toward our first stop. The O’Haras and I had planned this out several weeks ago. Now we were ready to put our itinerary into motion.
First, we took the boys for a ride on the Lone Star Trolley, a turn-of-the-century mode of transportation similar to a train, since it ran on tracks, and the hour-long ride gave us all a chance to talk and get reacquainted. Mr. & Mrs. O’Hara were pleased by how Brandon looked and especially how he had reacted to them when we arrived, so they thanked me, once more, for letting him stay with us and taking him on this vacation. We were doing the usual parent thing, like discussing how quickly the boys were growing up and commenting about how quickly they were changing, while the boys were enjoying the ride, checking out the sights and engaging in some minor horse-play. Our time on the trolley passed by quickly and the boys immediately let us know it was time to eat, once our ride was over.
Mrs. O’Hara had previously made luncheon reservations for our group and the restaurant didn’t seem bothered by the fact that we were about a half hour early. Once we were seated, everyone ordered and then the boys ate quickly, once the food came. It was obvious they were anxious to see what our next stop was going to be.
Mr. and Mrs. O’Hara were enjoying watching the boys interact, and Brandon filled them in on the teasing he took at the airport, before we boarded the plane. Mr. O’Hara informed Brandon that they didn’t have a dog house, so he didn’t have to worry about that, but then he quickly added that the little shed out back would make a dandy room for him. My boys started laughing and Brandon chided his father.
“Dad, you don’t have to play along and encourage these guys,” he stated, disappointed that his father was making fun of him too. “They do enough of that for each other. I was hoping for your support and praying you would protect me from their abuse.”
“Sorry, Brandon, but the house is small and we didn’t know what else to do with you…” Mr. O’Hara continued, but was quickly cut off.
“Dad!” Brandon almost screamed, shooting his father a dirty look.
“Patrick,” Mrs. O’Hara scolded, as she slapped her husband’s upper arm. “Leave your son alone and quit teasing him so. If you can’t say anything nice to the boy, then just keep quiet.”
Mr. O’Hara feigned injury and embarrassment from her admonishment, and Brandon smiled in her direction. “Thanks, Mom. I’m glad that at least one of my parents will stick up for me.”
“Okay, Brandon, you win,” his father added, grudgingly. “I won’t tease you any more. Besides, if I do, your mother will have me sleeping in that shed tonight and for weeks to come.”
All of the boys giggled at the last comment and Mrs. O’Hara emphatically nodded her head, to indicate that is precisely what would happen. Once things quieted down, we requested our bill, paid it and left. We loaded back into the two vehicles, with Danny riding with Brandon and his parents again, and I followed Mr. O’Hara to our next stop, the Alamo.
Even my grandsons knew what this place was and recognized it almost immediately as we parked nearby. As soon as we paid to enter, I quickly informed the boys about the mission’s history. I explained how it had originally been the home for Spanish missionaries and how they used it as their base of operations as they attempted to convert the local Indians to Christianity. That was the mission’s main function for seventy years, until the Spanish military stationed a cavalry unit there. It was the soldiers who first called the mission the Alamo, the Spanish word for ‘cottonwood’, in honor of their hometown, Alamo de Parras, Coahuila.
The Spanish were still occupying the Alamo when the Texas Revolution began in 1835, but in December a group of Texian and Tejano volunteers forced the soldiers to surrender, after just five days of fighting. It stayed under their control until the end of February and beginning of March of 1836, when General Santa Anna’s army took them by surprise. The men inside held out for 13 days, led by William B. Travis, until the Mexican Army was finally victorious. Although the reports of what happened in those final days are unclear, many of the two hundred defenders of the Alamo were killed in the fighting or executed later, including Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett.
We roamed around for quite some time, as the boys spent time pretending they were defending the mission from the onslaught of tourists who kept parading in and out of the area. We let them enjoy themselves for a while longer, bought a few things from the gift shop, and then left for the next stop. This time we were heading to the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum.
Don’t misunderstand this. We weren’t taking the boys out bar-hopping. This is another tourist attraction, where the boys eventually saw some frontier card acts, trick roping, another gunfight, Old Tex (a stuffed longhorn steer with an 8’ 9” horn-span), a preserved 78-point whitetail deer and a mounted 1,056-pound black marlin.
Once we were done there, we toured the Hall of Texas Wax Museum and looked at the exhibits, which included likenesses of many important people in the history of Texas, including some of the primary defenders of the Alamo. After that, we let the boys go spend some time in the arcade, making sure which boys were responsible for the younger ones while they were together, and then Mr. & Mrs. O’Hara and I went and had sodas in the saloon.
Once we were alone, they thanked me again for everything I was doing for Brandon and then we went over the schedule for our stay with them. Actually we weren’t staying WITH them, as we’d be renting rooms at a hotel in the area, but we would be near them. Brandon would be staying with his parents, and he’d probably have Danny join him there, but I was happy to let them enjoy their evenings alone.
After another hour or so, we pried the boys out of the arcade and set out for the restaurant where we would eat our evening meal. We were all more than a little hungry by now and the boys were looking forward to refilling their nearly empty stomachs. We paraded into the restaurant, amid the stares of those already seated, and we must have looked like a U.N. committee as we strolled past the locals and other tourist groups. The staff had placed several tables together in the rear of the dining area for us and soon the boys were settling the debate over who would be sitting where and by whom.
I wanted the little ones near me, but that wasn’t about to happen. The older boys were already taking good care of their nephews and younger brothers, so I had nothing to do but take care of myself and chat with Brandon’s parents. The O’Haras commented about how delighted they were to see the older boys helping out with the younger boys, especially when they noticed Brandon was busy helping Jordan. I told the O’Haras that the boys were more protective of the little ones than I was, which caused Mrs. O’Hara to chuckle and make a comment.
“I’m surprised Brandon is showing the patience and desire to be ‘fatherly’ with them,” she told me and I think she was referring to his orientation. I believe she assumed that since he would never become a father, he would never show any of those traits.
“Brenda, Brandon is very good with my munchkins and they love him just like the others,” I informed her. I think both of Brandon’s parents were even more proud of him at that moment, although his mother was still a bit confused.
We placed our orders, and before long the soups, salads and breads were being delivered to the table. Of course, those items disappeared in the blink of an eye, during which time the boys also consumed half or more of their drinks, as well. That’s when Mr. O’Hara asked me how I could afford to feed this group. I responded that, although they consumed a great deal as a group, I was happy to see their healthy appetites, because the opposite was too painful to behold.
Seeing his confused expression concerning my reply, I filled him in about Cole and Graham’s condition when they first arrived to join us, before adding that I’d spend whatever it took to make sure that none of them ever had to go through anything like that while they were in my care. Even though I hadn’t intended for him to take it that way, Mr. O’Hara was now embarrassed by his earlier comment. I quickly told him that I had taken no offense and knew he had meant none. I just wanted him to understand why I never tried to stifle the boys’ robust eating habits, not that any of them were in any way fat. Carlos was a little stocky and Pat and Dustin displayed solid, thick torsos, but other than that, the boys were all on the slender side. They more than burned off everything they consumed, so I never worried about what they ate.
When the meal ended, Mr. & Mrs. O’Hara invited us over to their house, but I graciously declined, letting them know that they needed this time alone with Brandon. They could show him around and spend some quality time together and we would join them the following evening, if they still wanted. They thanked me for my foresight and understanding and told me that they wouldn’t take no for an answer tomorrow evening. I agreed that tomorrow would be fine and then informed the boys we would be heading over to our hotel now.
Brandon quickly asked if Danny could come with him and I quietly asked him if he didn’t think he needed to spend THIS evening with just his parents. Danny urged him to go ahead without him and said they would have a lot more time together, but tonight he needed to spend some time alone with his folks. Reluctantly, Brandon agreed, and then he and his parents were on their way to their new home. It was then that I discovered that Mr. O’Hara had somehow managed to pay our entire tab, without my even knowing it. The waitress said he had even included the tip, when I tried to slip her some money. I thanked her for a wonderful meal and fine service and then herded the boys out to the van.
By the time we got to the hotel, checked in and got our room keys, I noticed Danny and Brandon had been scheduled for the ‘sex room’ tonight. Worried, I asked Danny if he wanted to switch nights with the next group and he informed me it wouldn’t be necessary. He said that he and Brandon would be spending the next night together at Brandon’s house and he was fine with it. Then he thought for a minute and asked me if he could invite Nick to join him tonight, instead. I told him I wasn’t sure about how Nick would feel about the arrangement, even though I suspected I did, but I told him he could discreetly discuss it with Nick and possibly drop some hints to let him know what this would entail. Soon I saw Danny and Nick walking down the hall, with Danny’s arm over Nick’s shoulder, as Danny was feeling out our newest member. Before long, Nick came running back to me, all excited.
“Would you mind if I sleep in with Danny tonight?” he asked me breathlessly. I believe I knew the cause of his euphoria.
“No, I wouldn’t mind at all. Are you sure you understand what Danny was asking you?” I tried to clarify.
“Yes, and I think it’s great,” he replied. “I was so worried about you guys finding out I was gay, because I thought you wouldn’t want me with you, once you did. That’s why I didn’t tell you it was another reason why I ran away from home. My father is homophobic and hates queers.”
“Well, that won’t be a problem with us,” I assured him. “We are all very open and accepting, so you won’t find that a problem here. You go have fun with the other boys, but remember one thing. No one forces anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. If you don’t want to do something, just say ‘no’ and the other boys will do the same. Do you understand?”
“Yeah, and that’s not a problem either,” he agreed. “This is great. I never thought I’d ever be this lucky. Thanks for saving me from getting arrested and for taking me with you. Oh, God, I’m sooooooo lucky,” he reiterated, as he walked away, which caused me to chuckle. I had already given Danny the room key, so I watched as he, Nick, Cole and Graham went to their room.
Ricky and Jay quickly asked me if they could share a room with the four little ones and I agreed. I think the munchkins wanted this as much as the older pair. Trey and Dion quickly followed up with their request, asking me if they could spend the night with me, in my room. I had no problem with that, which left Dustin, Kevin, Pat and Carlos in the final room. I handed the others their room keys and we all headed down the corridor. The boys were all fairly tired, so I didn’t think many of them would be staying up too late.
When we got to our room, Trey and Dion informed me they really wanted to just spend time with me tonight. They said they didn’t care what we did, but felt we hadn’t been alone in a long time. I thought about it and realized they were right. Even though it wasn’t intentional on my part, we hadn’t been alone – just the three of us, except for that one night. I apologized to them for this oversight and assured them that I’d be happy to do whatever they wanted for the evening.
They quickly decided that after they showered we could just watch some TV together. I said that would be fine and they took off to clean up. When they had finished, they came out, nude of course, and sat on either side of me on the sofa. I handed Dion the remote and he found a movie on one of the movie channels. Now we settled in and both boys cuddled up against me, so I wrapped my arms around their shoulders and we spent the rest of the evening like that.
When we finally decided to go to sleep, the boys asked if they could sleep with me too. After questioning them briefly about it, I decided there was no ulterior motive, other than their wanting to be close to me for the night, so I soon found myself sandwiched between them on my bed. I slept very soundly that evening, as did they, although I had an unusual wake up notice around 6:00, when Dion began jabbing me with his morning erection, even though he didn’t realize it. Man, that kid is hung! I wonder how Trey puts up with that so well?