The next day, Wednesday, we took the boys to the San Antonio Zoo. Even though we had been to other zoos before, this was still a fairly impressive place. We started off by visiting the ‘African Water Hole’, where we saw ostriches, Grevy’s zebras, reticulated giraffes, African crowned cranes, white faced whistling ducks, Thompson’s gazelles and antelopes. Sammy and Andrew started cracking up when they noticed two of the gazelles getting a little frisky with each other and whispered something to Danny and Nick that the rest of us couldn’t hear.
“That looks like you and Nick last night,” Graham teased the older pair.
“Except the male doesn’t have nearly as big a dick as Danny does,” Cole added. This caused Danny to blush and Nick cracked up, but no one would tell the rest of us what had been said.
From there we went to the ‘Amazonia’ exhibit, where we saw a sloth, giant anteaters, toucans, capuchin monkeys, a cotton-topped tamarin (a squirrel-like monkey), armadillos, macaws and a pair of Andean condors. Nicky and Jordan asked a lot of questions about this group of animals, because they were really intrigued with the monkeys and birds, so we tried to answer all of their questions the best we could. We told them about the area where the animals lived, how man’s increasing population was giving them less and less space of their own and making it more difficult for them to exist in their normal environment. We also tried to explain how those animals lived and what they ate to survive.
After we finished up there, we took a lunch break, since we’d spent over an hour at each of those sites. The boys eagerly woofed down an assortment of hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, ice cream, cotton candy and sodas and I was hoping none of them got sick during the afternoon outing. It wasn’t the best lunch they could have had, but I do let them splurge on junk-food occasionally. Being a rarity for them, it made the boys relish this opportunity even more, as they greedily downed this taboo collection of foods. However, my stomach was soon feeling the effects of my grease-laden repast, so I went back for an extra helping of ice cream, in an attempt to use it to help neutralize the meal’s lingering effects.
After lunch, our next stop was the ‘Hixon Bird House’, which was located in a huge stone building. In this structure they had several exhibits meant to display the aviary inhabitants of various regions of the world. Representing the American southwest, we saw some roadrunners and burrowing owls. Next, we saw black-neck stilts and Inca terns, which came from the coastal beaches and after that we watched quetzals, tinamous, and sun bitterns from the South American rain forest. From the jungles of Asia, there were lesser green broadbills and fairy bluebirds and the final area, showing species from the African bush, was represented by Taveta golden weavers, Egyptian plovers and jacanas.
The little ones, in particular, were amazed by what they saw during this visit and couldn’t get over how much variation there was in the size, colors and flight speeds of the different varieties. That also included the mechanics of how they flew as well, since some of the birds were flappers, while others were gliders. I tired to explain some of reasons for this to them, describing how the habitat where the birds lived and the natural predators that also lived there helped to determine some of those characteristics, while others had more to do with attracting a mate or food gathering. I think the whole discussion was a little over their heads, so we soon moved on to other things.
From there, we made our way to our last stop at the zoo, an area simply referred to as ‘the pad’. This area contained the amphibians (frogs, toads, and salamanders) and the boys quickly grew bored there, as they could find and handle similar creatures at home.
As we were leaving that location, I looked at my watch and noticed it was still early, so I asked for suggestions about what they wanted to do next. After interrogating some zoo employees about what other activities were in the vicinity, we learned there was a miniature golf course not too far away, so we headed there to kill the remaining time until dinner. Mr. and Mrs. O’Hara and I elected to sit out this round, so we could enjoy a fresh cup of coffee as we watched the boys began deciding who would be paired with whom.
Danny and Brandon took Jordan and Nicky with them, so they could assist their nephews in this not yet acquired skill. You could easily tell the little ones were appreciative of the attention and tried to do everything that pair told them, but that didn’t always go as planned. There were times when Danny and Brandon became slightly frustrated with their students’ inability to do exactly as they were instructed. However, the older duo understood the boys were trying their hardest, so they were good with them and never completely lost their patience. I think all of them really did enjoy their time together.
Dustin and Kevin decided to challenged Trey and Dion, while Ricky and Andrew took on Sammy and Jay. That left Pat, Carlos and Nick to form the final group, so it wasn’t long before I was being asked to fill out the foursome. I excused myself from the O’Haras and went to putter around, or something like that. Nick quickly informed me I would be his partner and advised me that I was expected to try my hardest, so we could beat the other two. Obviously, he had a competitive side to him too.
I warned him that I might be a little rusty, which wasn’t what he wanted to hear. Even though I had miniature golfed with the boys in the past, it was just for fun. I had not actually golfed or worked on my putting skills for several years, about the same time I began taking the boys in to live with me. Once I did that, I ended up spending most of my free time chasing after them, so I gave up those other pursuits. However, it didn’t take long for me to discover I hadn’t completely lost my skill with a putter and was able to play a fairly decent round. We did end up beating Pat and Carlos by two strokes, but the other pair seemed unfazed by the score and was just out to have fun. I must admit I really enjoyed my time with this group.
We were the last foursome out, so we were also the last group to finish. When we made it back to the rejoin the rest of the group, the boys waiting for us quickly announced they were hungry and ready to leave for dinner. I told them before we did, we would first have to take time and return to our rooms, so we could clean up and change. They understood, so we hopped in our vehicles and headed back to the motel. While we were returning to our rooms, the O’Haras went home to get ready as well, and Brandon went with them, seeing he had his things there.
Once we got in the van, Nicky, Jordan, Sammy and Andrew started talking and continued the entire way back. They compared notes about how they had done and happily filled each other in about the good shots they’d made, as well as their mistakes, which included Nicky’s unexpected dip in one of the little ponds which dotted the course. He had been trying to line himself up to take his next shot and stepped back slightly, to give him a better angle. Unfortunately, that caused him to trip on the lip of the water hazard, and fall backward into it. Even though Danny and Brandon had tried to catch him, they didn’t get there in time and then they had to try to stifle their laughter at the sight of him sprawled out in the shallow pool. After he got over the shock and embarrassment about what had happened, Nick started joking about it, much to everyone else’s delight and relief. Luckily, he dried off quickly as we continued playing, since it was a hot day, so he was fairly dry by the time we were ready to leave. I think it was almost as much fun listening to the boys talking about all of this again, as it had been to actually see it happen in the first place.
As soon as we got to our rooms, Nick came up and gave me a hug and thanked me for the great day. He said he had done things like that with school groups, but his parents had never gone with him, nor had they ever taken him on their own. He thought it was pretty special to do that type of activity as a family and told me numerous times how much he had enjoyed the day. I kissed him on the forehead, told him he was welcome, and then sent him into the bathroom to take his shower.
When he came back out into the main room, I enjoyed just watching him go about his business. He was humming to himself, as he flitted about the room and selected what he was going to wear, obviously in a very upbeat mood. It’s always nice to see the boys so pleased about what we had done and this was one of those special times that meant so much to me. About a half-hour later, after I had cleaned up and changed as well, we were waiting all in the hallway outside of our rooms, ready to go to the restaurant. We were planning to meet up with Brandon and his parents there.
This time as we were led to our table, I grabbed the hostess and asked her to inform our server that I was to get the bill – no one else. She smiled and said she understood, and soon we were placing our orders. It was a lovely meal and the boys spent the dinner hour telling Mr. & Mrs. O’Hara about our time in Arizona, especially about our trip in and around the Grand Canyon. The boys were thrilled to share the stories of their adventures and the O’Haras were just as eager to listen to what they had to say. They seemed impressed by our earlier exploits and were totally engrossed when Brandon gave them his slant on our vacation, especially our time on the mules.
After we finished our desserts, I excused myself to go to the rest room, but found our server and gave her my credit card to pay the bill instead. I signed the receipt, wrote down the tip and then went to wash up in the men’s room. When I returned to the table, Mr. O’Hara admonished me for my sneakiness in paying the bill, until I reminded him about the similar stunt he had pulled the previous evening. We both laughed and he told me he would be happy to cover our expenses for the rest of our stay, to make up for what we were spending on Brandon. I told him it wasn’t necessary, but both he and his wife insisted, so I finally had to accept their generous offer.
Once we left the restaurant, I followed them to their new home. Brandon took us in small groups on a guided tour around the place, because it would have been very awkward for all of us to go at once. He was just as excited as his parents were to show off his new home and I think that meant a great deal to his mother and father. They allowed him the honor of guiding his other family around, while they entertained the rest of us. When the last group returned, we all went out to sit in their backyard and enjoy the beautiful evening.
Almost immediately, the boys went off to play games of tag and hide-and-go-seek with their younger brothers and nephews, so the O’Haras used this time to ask me some serious questions.
“Josh, do you think that Danny and Brandon consider themselves a couple?” Mrs. O’Hara asked, quite directly. I had a feeling where this might be going, so I tried to remain a step ahead of her in my mind.
“They’re young and very good friends right now,” I told her. “They’ve come to rely on each other and sometimes seem like Siamese twins who don’t happen to be physically connected.”
“But do you think they’re… gay boyfriends?” Mr. O’Hara followed-up, with a pained expression registering on his face.
“They may still be too young to understand what they are feeling for each other,” I answered, trying to soften the blow for them. “They may be, but I can’t say for sure. All I know is that they are definitely each other’s best friend.”
“Josh, we’re not deaf and we’ve heard the rumors,” Mrs. O’Hara continued. “Personally, I was hoping for grandchildren, seeing he’s our only child, but I’ll support him however he turns out.”
“I will too,” Brandon’s father offered, “although it might take some time for me to adapt my long-held beliefs enough to allow me to love him unconditionally and without unconsciously withdrawing from him at times. It’s just that the church and my peers have long considered this a choice and a lifestyle, but if Brandon is a homo, I know he didn’t choose to be that way. I’m beginning to think that sexual orientation is an inborn trait and we’ve got to accept others that are born different like that.”
“That’s very wise of you, Patrick, and I agree with your observations,” I told him. “I concluded long ago that homosexuality was more nature than nurture, and I’ve vowed to accept my boys and love them, no matter what their orientation.”
“Then we’re glad Brandon’s in love with Danny,” Mrs. O’Hara said, slightly choking up as she commented, “and that Brandon will have an understanding father-in-law to help him too. Thank you for everything you’ve done and are doing for him. We are all proud that you are our friend and you’re a wonderful second father to our son.”
I think each of us were almost in tears at this point, and quite frankly I was surprised, yet very happy, that they were so open and accepting of Brandon’s situation. I knew they were deeply religious and very devout Catholics, so I hadn’t been sure if they would strictly follow the church’s attitude concerning this or if they would adapt their views to fit the situation. That’s why I tried to soften my responses to their earlier questions, so as not to make matters worse, but now I had my answer. I would be sure to let Brandon and Danny know how lucky they were, although I think the O’Haras plan to do that for themselves, later this evening.
About that time, a group of boys came running toward us for protection, because they were being chased by another group of my monsters, for reasons unknown. It didn’t take long to discover the first group gave the other group some verbal barbs and the latter was chasing them in playful retaliation. They hung around us for a while longer, before I finally announced it was time for us to head back to the motel. We had another big day planned for tomorrow and the boys needed their sleep. Danny kissed and hugged me good night, before running to get some things out of the van, since he was staying with Brandon tonight. He had packed a few things to last him temporarily, so the rest of us said good-bye and left.
Tonight, Dustin, Kevin, Trey and Dion were sharing the ‘sex room’ and I figured the couples would be staying with their own ‘mate’ and enjoying a fun time with their lovers. Ricky and Jay wanted Nick to join them, so Cole and Graham asked if they could share a room with Sammy, Andrew, Jordan, and Nicky. After laying down the appropriate ground rules, I let them have the room next to mine. That left Pat and Carlos to spend the night with me. That would be fine, as I hadn’t been with that pair in quite some time, so I would be able to get reacquainted with them now.
The boys didn’t need to shower, as they had done so before dinner, but they quickly shed their clothing and joined me to watch an international soccer match on TV. Carlos came over and sat on my lap, even though he’s a pretty big boy, and thanked me for the wonderful time he was having. He also told me one of the best things he ever did was to come to our house and ask for help. He laid his head against my shoulder, so I kissed his hair, and soon he totally melted against me. Pat sat on the side of me and lifted my arm over his shoulder, so we would also be a little closer. This was a very special moment for me, since both boys had made those moves on their own volition.
We enjoyed about another hour together, before I suggested it was time to turn in. Although each of them was a little disappointed our time together was coming to an end, they didn’t give me any hassles. Instead, the let me know we were all going to sleep together, in one bed. We all slept well that evening, even though the bed was a bit crowded, but we felt secure in our love for each other.
In one of the other rooms, Nick was making his interest in Ricky known. “What would you say if I offered to let you do me?” Nick asked quite bluntly, looking Ricky directly in his eyes.
“We’re only allowed to have sex when we’re in the ‘sex room’,” Ricky informed him. “It’s one of the ground rules Dad set up before we left.”
“But no one else will know and I’ll let Jay do it to me too.”
“That’s not the point,” Ricky responded. “We told Dad we would follow his rules and I don’t plan on breaking my promise to him. He trusts us now and I don’t want to lose that. I remember how hard it was to earn it back the last time we screwed up and I don’t want to go through that again.”
“But he’ll never know,” Nick insisted. “Besides, it’s kind of a dumb rule. He doesn’t mind your having sex, he just wants it to only happen in one room.”
“It’s not a dumb rule,” Jay spat out at Nick. “He did it so Sammy, Andrew, Jordan and Nicky wouldn’t get caught in the middle of that or see something they shouldn’t. That’s why we all gave Pop our word.”
“But if you don’t tell him and I don’t tell him, how will he know?” Nick pressed.
“We’d know and we wouldn’t feel right knowing we lied to him,” Ricky responded. “We all messed up once and I hated how it made me feel, so I’m not about to do that again. I could call his room and ask him if he’d allow us to make an exception, but I won’t do it unless he says it’s okay.”
“You’re going to call your dad and ask him if he minds if we have sex? What, are you nuts or something?” Nick was totally astonished by Ricky’s comment. “No one asks their parents for permission to have sex.”
“I don’t care what other kids do, I keep my promises to Dad. You just don’t get it,” Ricky challenged. “He took all of us in and did things for us that no one had ever done before. He’s been very open and accepting of all our different situations and shown us more love than any of us ever knew existed. The only thing he has asked from us is that we’re honest and open with him. There’s no way I’m going to do anything to jeopardize what I’ve got now.”
“I think you’re being stupid about this, but I can see where you’re coming from,” Nick finally admitted. “You guys do have it pretty good and I’ve had more fun in the short time I’ve been with you than I can remember having in my whole life. I’d still like to have sex with you guys, so if you have to call him and ask for permission first, I hope you’ll do it.”
“I don’t think he’ll mind, as long as we keep the doors locked and the little ones are somewhere else,” Ricky offered. “Give me a second and I’ll ask.”
Ricky phoned my room and apologized for waking me up, since I must have sounded a little groggy. He explained the situation to me, and asked permission to bend the rules just this once. I considered all the factors and gave them permission for this one occasion. I also thanked Ricky for seeking permission, rather than doing it behind my back. Ricky felt good about sticking to his guns, Jay was pleased Ricky stood his ground and Nick was just happy they were going to have sex.
He told the two boys they could have intercourse with him, but Ricky and Jay quickly explained they would not do it in return. Nick told them it didn’t matter, but the boys wouldn’t do it unless they could do something for him, to make it even. Finally Ricky suggested they could each give Nick a blowjob before they screwed him, thus they’d each be doing something for the other. Everyone agreed, and the games began.
Ricky and Jay both enjoyed the opportunity to try this again and were eager to see if it would be different with Nick. They still couldn’t believe how enthusiastic Nick was about having this done to him, so it made them begin to wonder if maybe they weren’t being a little silly by maintaining their strong stances against trying it themselves. After all, Danny and Brandon seemed to enjoy it too. Neither of them would try it tonight, but they might have to rethink how they felt about this activity.
Putting those thoughts temporarily out of their minds, the boys took their turn, with Jay leading off. Before long, they all had the relief they needed and were all cuddled together in one bed, letting the good feelings carry them off to sleep.