Out Of The Past

Chapter 32

I walked out to the living room and sat down thinking about everything and just wondering how it had all happened like it had. It wasn't supposed to that was for sure.

Sammy came out and crawled into my lap, snuggling his head into my chest and I heard, "I told you everything would be okay, Dad," in a soft voice.

I rubbed his back gently and said, "You sure did son, you sure did. I don't know how it did, but you were right."

"Why did they do it to us, Dad?" he asked.

"I don't know baby, I just don't know." 

"Will they leave us alone now?" he asked me.

"I think so baby, but we'll have to see." I replied.

"They're bad people." he said solemnly and for him to say something like that was shocking, as he wasn't one to speak ill of others very often.

"Yes, I think you're right, honey." I said.

"I'm scared, dad." he said, softly.

"Of what, baby?" I asked, concerned now.

"I don't know, I just feel scared." he said, and I could sense the confusion in his voice.

"Well, you're safe now, baby, you're all safe now." I told him, sighing contentedly at the end of this nightmare.

How anyone can have the same nightmare occur twice in their lives was beyond me, and I just hoped that it was truly, finally, over with.

"I'm still scared." he said.

"Is it because of you having to take care of everyone else, and be strong for them when you're just as scared as they are, maybe?" I asked him gently

I felt him shrug his shoulders and knew he didn't have an answer for me. 

He had been taking the brunt of the responsibility onto his shoulders and it had to be telling on him, since he was only eleven.

It was more than any child should have to carry, yet he had done it without complaint.

Not only that, but he had been holding me together as well and that he never should have had to do, ever.

"I am so proud of you, and the way you have helped all of us, baby boy, so very proud." I said to him, as my hand continued to stroke his back.

"Thanks dad, but I just did what I had to, they're my brothers you know." he told me.

"I know but you have really been there for all of us lately, and I know I couldn't have made it without your love." I said. 

"Yeah you could dad, you just needed to be told that we love you is all. It's really hard though to always be brave for the others, maybe thats it." he told me softly.

"Probably baby, it's hard for anyone, but you're still just a kid, you know?" I said, smiling down at him.

"I don't feel like it sometimes." he said, causing a pain to shoot through my heart at hearing those words.

"Oh baby, don't let them take that away from you." I replied. 

"I won't dad, its just hard sometimes is all." I was told.

"I know, but you be a kid and never grow up completely." I told him firmly.

God, I didn't want him to lose being a kid, and now I was worried that he had, or might be, because of those assholes that were determined to hurt me.

"Don't worry dad, I'll be fine." he said, with a sigh.

He was doing it again.

"Sammy, you don't have to be strong all the time, sweetheart, let yourself be a normal kid, I'll make it somehow." I said, chuckling slightly, which earned a mumbled response from him of, "I don't know about that." 

"You don't eh?" I asked, giving him a tickle, which got a Sammy giggle out of him, before we went back to just cuddling quietly.

Eventually the others came out from the conference room and seeming to sense something was up, left us to be together, although all of them came over and said hi to Sammy and gave him hugs before going off to do something else.

We just sat there together not speaking, just holding one another for an interminable amount of time, before Samantha announced lunch was ready, and I got up, still holding him in my arms, to his giggles, and carried him into the kitchen where we sat down, together still, and ate.

When we were finished, he said, "I'm going to go play," to me. 

"Have fun, honey." I said, and he turned back to me and simply said, "Thanks dad," before scampering off somewhere or another.

God, how did I ever get so blessed as to have such a child in my life?

"He is troubled, is he not?" I heard, and turned away from the last place I saw Sammy, to find Yuri standing there with a pensive look on his face.

"Yes, he is, honey." I replied.

He looked at me consideringly, for a moment, before saying, "I think he takes too much upon himself, for the others and it weighs on him." 

"I think you're right." I told him.

"I have seen it before, with some of the kids in the home, where they were trying to always look out for brothers or sisters and even sometimes the younger ones." he said.

I bet he had, and furthermore I bet he had been one of them.

"Somehow, I think you know what he is going through." I said to him, causing him to blush and look down for a minute, before he raised his head and said, "I may have some understanding of it."

Which somehow I thought was a bit of an understatement.

"Some understanding?" I asked, smiling gently at him.

"Da, some." he replied with a shy grin as I held out my arms and he came into them to be hugged.

"I think you are much like our Sammy, Yuri, and I bet you did quite a lot." I told him, smiling down at him.

He didn't answer me for a moment, but finally said very softly, barely above a whisper, "Someone has to." 

"I know, baby, and it's kids like you who make life bearable for other kids who have no one." I told him, softly.

"Why do they treat us that way?" he asked, looking up at me with confusion written on his face.

"I'm afraid I don't have an answer for you, honey." I replied, sadly.

"Da, Stefan could not answer the question either." he said.

"Maybe because it's one of those questions that should never have to be answered." I told him, gently.

"Da. I am glad Stefan got me out of that place." he told me.

I just shook my head as I held him to me, thinking that the adults either didn't care or weren't allowed to, and the kids often caused others pain, to make themselves feel better about being in the same circumstances, although it didn't help.

After a while, he got up and left me sitting there, pondering all that had happened and what was to come.

We could go home, finally, it still didn't seem real to me, but I just kept telling myself that soon, I would be with Eric again, and in familiar surroundings, at that.

Somehow that thought brought an unexpected warmth to me, just thinking about him. 

I didn't know what it meant though, and with Samantha here, I was doubly confused as the same feelings were there around her.

All I could think about was that old saying, 'What a tangled web we weave' and wondered how I was going to sort through it.

I had never had those type of feelings before for another man, and yet I knew I loved Eric, loved him a lot. 

All these years I had skirted the issue of Eric and I and had the feeling that Eric had let it be as well, just as uncertain as I was or maybe he was trying to avoid it for me, knowing I was confused.

I didn't know..

Could I be gay? 

The thought didn't bother me in and of itself, but that I had never considered myself in that way before, really considered myself, that is. 

I had wondered over the years about the feelings I had with and about Eric, but since we had never allowed anything to actually occur between us, beyond a hug or kiss now and again, I had been able to conveniently not deal with it.

Now, however, as the warmth hit me that the thought of him brought, it made me consider things I had been avoiding once again.

I knew I loved him.

It was that simple, and yet that complicated at the same time.

Did my love encompass a romantic element, and more importantly, a sexual one?

I had thought that I had figured out what my sexual orientation was years ago, and it wasn't to men, no definitely not to men.

I had been with other boys when I was a kid myself, and later on a couple of women, and even one man, but that was it. 

The women that I had been with, I had certainly enjoyed but they hadn't as the old saying went, 'moved the earth' for me, although the last one came close. 

My sexual exploits were, for a thirty five year old man, actually not that many, at least since adulthood. 

The last woman had been Susan, I thought, thinking back to the winsome girl I had dated for some while, once upon a time. 

God, had it been that many years, since I had actually been with someone in the biblical sense? 

I just shook my head, thinking back to that time just before I had got out of the military.

Fort Bragg North Carolina was a beautiful place in a beautiful state and I had to say that the women there matched the state they lived in.

It had been about a year before I got out, that I actually met Susan, and something had struck me about her immediately, although I couldn't say what it was. 

Thinking back, maybe it was the way she had been with little Billy that had caught my attention so.

That first time, as I walked towards the market, only to have a small bundle come giggling out of the doors at full speed, with a twenty something woman with long dark hair following rapidly, screaming, "William Paul Kelly, you get back here this instant!!!" trying to be stern yet laughing as the little boy in question shrieked with glee as he looked behind him not watching where he was going.

He ran straight towards me and I barely had time to reach down and pick him up before he slammed into me full tilt. 

I bent over, grabbing his small body and I picked him up, swinging him around as I said, "Hey there little one; it looks like some one is looking for you," which startled the hell out of him, as mom came running up, saying, "Thank you so much," to me.

William Paul Kelly, was all of two, if that, and was looking at me with big brown eyes in an absolutely cherubic face and in complete shock at being captured.

Surprisingly, unlike most children, he didn't start screaming at being picked up by a complete stranger, but instead looked at me intently with his little head cocked to one side, as if trying to figure out just what had happened, and more importantly, why.

"Trying to get away from mommy?" I asked, laughingly to him, which just got a baby smile from him, as I settled him more in my arms where he seemed to be comfortable, before I turned back to his mother.

"Hi there." I said, stopping and taking a good look at said mother, finally.

"Hi, I'm sorry he bothered you." she said, still smiling.

Something about her was captivating, and I just stared for several seconds before saying "Oh, don't be, he was just being a kid, and if he hadn't, then I wouldn't have met you."

Don't ask me why shy old me blurted that out, but I did, and she blushed slightly, probably matching my own, before replying, "My name's Susan, and that monster in your arms, is my son Billy."

In perfect and unintelligible baby talk, Billy indignantly informed the world that he wasn't no monster, which got me laughing, as well as his mother. 

"No, you're certainly not, you're just a little boy is all." I said, placatingly to the bundle in my arms, who was glaring with two year old furor at his mother, as he said "uh huh," while bobbing his head up and down daring mommy to contradict it, which only got mommy laughing again.

"I'm Mike, Mike Reynolds." I told her, as we stood there for a moment.

"It's nice to meet you Mike Reynolds, and you're really good with kids; anyone ever tell you that?" she said to me.

"I love em, and it's nice to meet you too." I said, trying to keep the conversation going.

I don't know what it was, but something about her had got my attention, and I didn't want to go on into the store. 

She wasn't a model or anything, but something clicked when I heard her voice, and looked into her eyes, that and how she had been with her son. 

The love she felt was genuine and she showed it freely. which caught my attention I suppose. as it wasn't as common as you would think it would be. Too many times, when a parent was in public, you saw them try to distance themselves from their children when those children tried to show affection. 

It was nothing to see mom or dad push a kid away who was trying to give or get a kiss in public, as if the parent was embarrassed by such actions being seen by anyone. 

It was a shame, as the kids picked up on it right away of course, that there was something wrong with love, or at least showing it.

"Well, I guess I should go get my groceries." she said, hesitantly.

"Why don't I help you?" I said, smiling.

"Oh, you don't have to do that." she replied.

"I'd like to, besides, someone should keep a hold on this little guy, don't you think?" I asked teasingly. 

"I suppose." she said, in mock anger, glaring at Billy, who just laughed, as only babies can.

He knew she was talking about him.

"Okay," she finally said, as I followed her back into the store and she got her cart before I walked alongside her out to her car.

She didn't have all that much, and in short order, it was in the vehicle and we were left standing there; I think both of us trying to come up with something to say until finally she said,

"Well, I guess I had better get going, this one has a nap to take," which got the indignant reply of "NO NAP."

"Hey little one, if you don't take a nap, then you can't wake up and play later now can you?" I said seriously to him, as he just looked into my eyes, thinking about what I had said with great consideration, before pronouncing "Okay," and cuddling back into my arms.

Mom laughed at this scene, and said ,"You really are good with them aren't you?" 

I just shrugged my shoulders, finally getting up the courage to say, "I...I don't really know how to say this, and I'm not real good with this stuff....but I was kinda wondering....well I mean....ah...."

"Wait a sec," she interrupted me laughing, and ran around to the driver's side and got in for a moment before coming back out and saying "Here," as she handed me a piece of paper.

I looked down at it confused for a moment, before she said, "It's my phone number, give me a call sometime," as she took Billy from my arms and started walking away.

"Ah thanks, wait." I said, as she went and started putting Billy into his car seat.

I quickly pulled a pad out of my pocket, and wrote my number on it before handing it to her.

"Thanks." she said.

"Are you busy tonight?" I blurted out, which brought her to a stop.

She turned and looked at me for a moment before saying, "I can't get a babysitter this late I'm afraid." 

"Ah, I know it's not really what a date is supposed to be, but I wouldn't mind Billy coming along at all, we won't go to Che Marteen, but I'm sure we can find something above McDonalds." I told her, grinning.

"You sure you don't mind?" she asked.

"I don't if you don't, I love kids, so having one along won't bother me, if it doesn't you." I replied.

She cocked her head to the side, much the same way her son had done earlier, before smiling and saying, "I'd like that, seven?" 

"Seven?" I asked her confused.

"Yeah, pick us up at seven work for you?" she said, laughing again.

"Ah yeah, sure, I mean I'd love to." I stammered, which made her laugh some more, as she got into her car and said, "See you then." and pulled away.

I just stood there in the middle of the parking lot for several minutes, looking after her before I headed to my Town car, parked a short distance away.

It was as I was getting into the car that I realized I had forgotten something very important. 

I didn't get her address.


I ran things that people didn't even know happened outside of Tom Clancy novels, and here I had forgotten something so simple as the location of my primary objective, I thought as I just pounded my head on the steering wheel.

I'm getting too old for this shit.

I headed home, having completely forgotten that I needed something from the store, and walked in to find my answering machine blinking.

Damn, I hope it wasn't work calling, I thought, as I headed to it and pressed the button, only to be shocked by a laughing voice, saying, 

"I think you forgot something," and pausing for more laughter before saying, "I live at 2303 Belvedere, see ya later." and a click.

I just had to laugh myself, at the absurdity of it, but then spent the rest of the afternoon going crazy, trying to figure out just where in the hell I was going to take them tonight.

It had to be somewhere nice, yet be able to handle a two year old, and while it should be simple it wasn't. 

I had fewer problems planning a mission, than I had planning dinner. 

It was five when my doorbell rang, and as I answered it it was to find Josh standing there grinning.

"What's up?" he asked, as I stepped back, allowing him into the house.

Josh was a good friend, and 'worked' with me on more than one occasion, so I did what any good commander does, I begged him to save my bacon.

When he finally stopped laughing, he simply said, "Chuckee Cheese." 

"The thing with the rat?" I asked, disbelievingly.

"I think it's a mouse." he replied, laughing again.

"It's a damn rat, and it's not very romantic." I replied, as it wasn't exactly what I had in mind.

"Buddy boy, let me tell ya something here, ya'lls gonna have a two year old with ya for the night, so I wouldn't be thinking romance, if I was you." he said, laughing his ass off.

I didn't find it all that funny but he certainly seemed to.

Josh spoke like he was a local, but in actuality, was from Montana, of all places, although with his speech patterns, you'd never know it, not to mention that he had quite the education to go with it. 

Being a doctor, he had saved more than one soldier, over the course of time, but the way he spoke you'd never know it.

I loved the guy, but his teasing was annoying, which is why he probably did it.

"Calm down Mike, you're way to serious, ya know?" he said, still teasing.

"I don't do calm." I replied, testily.

"God, you'd think ya were getting married or something." he shot back, still laughing.

"It's not funny." I told him, as I said, "I'm going to go and get a shower." and left him there on the couch, laughing his ass off.

His final comment was, "Oh yes it is, especially if ya could see ya'lls face," as I slammed the bathroom door.

That proved to be a mistake, as by the time I got out of the bathroom, it felt like a steam bath in there.

I quickly opened the door, and began drying off only to have company come calling.

"Ya over your fit now?" he said, with a smile.

"Not really." I replied, as I turned to look at him.

"Nice ass." he said. 

"Thanks." I just muttered, as he took a good look at the front and not for the first time.

"Looks like someone's excited....about tonight." he added, smirking. I saw as I pulled the towel off my head.

"In your dreams." I shot back as I finished drying, but he didn't let it rest. 

"Ya better believe it" which caused me to choke a bit, before I shot him a dirty look.

"Alright, alright, I'll just wait in the living room." he said, backing out rapidly.

Josh swung both ways, and while we had never done anything, I knew he was interested, and surprisingly, I thought, as I looked downward I appeared to be, as well.

Just what I didn't need, that question arising once again.

It was something I thought I had settled years ago, although if I was honest with myself, I knew that I hadn't really settled anything, just accepted that I was what I was. 

I just didn't know what that was, exactly.

I went out and got dressed, coming back into the living room to find Josh there, looking up at me, smiling as usual.

"What?" I asked, looking over myself carefully, and checking to make sure my zipper was closed.

"Ya gonna bring him out to play a bit fore ya go?" he teased.

"No." I replied.

"Mike, seriously, chill out a bit; you're more nervous than a cat in a room full of rockin chairs" he said.

"I know, it's just I don't do this dating thing real well." I said, sinking down on the couch and letting out a loud breath.

"You'll be fine, ya just be yourself, and she'll love ya." he said.

"Thanks, Josh." I said, with feeling.

He was a good friend.

"I can be here when ya get back, if ya want a back up plan," he had to say.

"I'll pass." I said, smiling gently.

"Ya don't know what you're missing, bud." he kidded me.

"Hmmm," I replied, not going there.

We talked for a while and then the time came.

"Just relax, my friend, everything will be fine." he told me, clapping me on the shoulder, as I left the house.

Easy for him to say I thought, as I got in my car to pick up my dates for the evening.

Just as I was pulling the door closed, he announced to the neighborhood, "Hope ya'll remembered the condoms." 

I was going to kill him.

I arrived at ten til the hour, and no sooner gotten out of the car, than out came the little bundle of boy, screaming "MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIKE" at the top of his lungs, which, if you've ever been around a two year old, is quite impressive. 

I scooped him up in my arms, as he laughed himself to death, which could have had something to do with mom running screaming for him to get back in the house.

That or the fact that he was sans clothing, completely.

Of course, he found this highly amusing, to say the least.

"What am I going to do with that child?" she said, in exasperation, as she walked up, smiling at the object in question.

"Give him a kiss maybe," I said, smiling while he kept laughing.

"He seems to like you." she replied.

"I noticed, that's one down," I said, giving him a squeeze which brought a giggle from the child.

"Oh, I think it's safe to say it's two." she said, smiling at me.

"That works." I said, which got a laugh from her that I found myself wanting to hear more of, desperately. 

"Come on in." she said, as she led me up the walk to her home, and inside.

Entering her home, I found a warm and comfortable place that seemed so inviting and homey that I fell in love with it immediately.

We sat down on the sofa and after getting a diaper put on quickly, Billy never left my arms as we talked.

What she did, what I did, and much more.

She did work from home, on the computer for several doctor's offices in the area, and this allowed her to stay at home with Billy full time, which I thought was wonderful.

Her husband had died when she was pregnant with Billy, from being struck by a drunk driver, and she had been alone since, although she had kept going. 

It was hard, but she wouldn't trade it for the world she told me, and I believed her, as I saw the love she had for her child. 

She was surprised that he had taken to me the way he had, and told me he didn't usually like strangers much, and definitely not men, for some reason. 

All in all, I suddenly looked up and found it to be eight thirty, and dark outside to my shock. 

Billy was still in my arms, and sound asleep, surprisingly, he had spent the evening cuddled up with me, and hadn't really moved all night, except for a diaper change somewhere along the way, and then he was back with me.

"I guess we had better get going, if we're going to eat tonight," I said, 

"Oh my, it's late, you're right, we better," and with that, we got up and headed out to Chuckee Cheese, for our first date, after getting some clothes on a sleeping little boy.

If you haven't been there, it is quite an experience, and Billy loved it, not to mention that I did as well.

He was absolutely enthralled with the rat, or mouse, as well as all the games and stuff.

I felt guilty, as I ended up spending most of the evening with Billy, while Susan just tagged along, but I loved every minute of it.

With Billy having had a long nap that afternoon, and then falling asleep in my arms, and remaining that way until we got to the restaurant, he was certainly not tired that evening, and ran around full of energy which I began to envy before long. 

Eventually the place closed, and we had to leave, after spending a while trying to get the pizza off of a certain little boy.

I actually wondered if he was wearing more than he had managed to eat, and in case you didn't know it, little ones don't like getting cleaned up after they have worked so hard to become a mess.

So after much fussing and giggling at our expense, we finally headed back home and relaxed once there, or maybe I should say we adults relaxed, and watched a two year old bounce off the walls, with grins on our faces.

Once again though, Billy found his way into my arms, when he decided to settle down, and I found the feeling one that was indescribable, but filled something in me that I didn't know had been lacking.

I loved it.

"You really love children don't you?" she said, after a while of silence.

"Yeah." I breathed, as I inhaled the scent of the baby in my arms.

"He's really taken to you already; you know that don't you?" she asked, and I knew the conversation was getting serious now. 

"Yeah, I do, and the feeling is mutual." I replied, looking up at her.

She smiled and got up, coming over and taking the sleeping baby from my arms, and disappearing into the back of the house for several minutes, before returning and sitting down next to me.

We looked into one another's eyes and before I knew it, my lips were touching hers, in a delicate kiss which turned into much more. 

As we pulled back, breathing hard, she said, "I like you Mike, I like you a lot, but I don't want to be a quickee for you. I don't need that and Billy doesn't either."

I just looked at her and finally said, "I don't want that either, Susan, I really like you and Billy too, and with a kid involved it's too important to play games with."

She nodded her head, "I'm glad you feel that way, Mike, I really am." she told me.

"I want to get to know you better, and spend more time with you, a lot more" I said softly.

"I'd like that, a lot." she replied, as she brought her face back to mine and once again we found our lips meeting, and a fire growing.

I think it was when I felt her hand on me, that I came out of the intoxication that I was suffering, as I pulled back and said breathlessly, "No, not yet, Susan, not yet." 

She just looked at me and smiled gently, before telling me, "I suppose you're right, I'm sorry I really don't know what came over me."

"Don't be, I can say the same thing. but I do want to get to know you and spend a lot more time with you, before that step gets crossed." I said.

"Yeah, you're right." she replied, and brought her lips back to mine for the briefest of moments, before pulling back.

I told her good night, and went in and gave the fireball a kiss in his crib before leaving and heading home.

Another night I would end up with Rosie, but oh what a night it had been.

The next 5 months or so were some wonderful times for me, and I enjoyed them tremendously. I had never been happier than with Susie and Billy, and even though we didn't do anything for those months, beyond kissing, they were terrific.

Sex isn't, and shouldn't be, everything in a relationship and I wanted one of those before crossing that line.

The time we spent together, and the time I spent with Billy, made one thing certain in my mind, and that was that I wanted a family one day, and as the time went on, I began to think that I may have actually found it already. 

The day finally came though, and it was worth every minute we had waited for it to happen, and when it did, it wasn't planned or anything, but just happened which made it even more special.

Maybe all the things I had always thought about myself weren't true after all, because I certainly enjoyed it.

The only thing in all the time we were together that put a damper on things, was when I had to leave on missions. 

I couldn't tell her about what I did, but she wasn't stupid, and didn't approve of it overly much. 

That was the only thing, and I think she tried very hard to pretend I didn't do what she knew I did.

Missions meant that she couldn't pretend anymore, and having to confront it caused some disharmony in our relationship, but like her, I ignored it, thinking that everything else we had could overcome it.

I was wrong.

It was nine months into our relationship roughly, when the final straw happened, although I certainly didn't know it at the time. 

The last month or so, I thought she had been acting rather strangely, and we hadn't seen a great deal of one another, but it was on this particular night that our fate became sealed.

We had gone out to a movie with munchkin, and were walking back to our car when it happened.

Billy was excitedly jabbering away about the movie I think, while we just smiled indulgently at his antics, and once again he was in my arms where he usually was.

"Why don't you give us your money mister and no one gets hurt." was the voice I heard which froze us in our tracks.

I slowly turned around, handing the baby to Susie as I did, to find five people surrounding us in a semi-circle.

They appeared to be in their late teens or early twenties at best, but three of them had knives out facing our direction.

"Oh God," Susan said, with fear.

"Don't worry lady, you give us what we want, and you go home tonight." one said.

"Well, maybe your husband and kid go home, you maybe come party for a while." another snickered.

I meanwhile hadn't said anything, and was assessing the situation before me.

Then the first one to speak advanced slightly with his bowie knife, and said, "Now you give us the money, now."

"Look, no one needs to get hurt here; just go on your way, and this'll be the end of it." I told them evenly, which got laughter as big man replied, "If anyone is gonna get hurt here, it's gonna be you, so shut the fuck up and give us your money." 

"Don't do this." I said. 

"Shut up!!" he said in reply, taking another step forward.

That was all it took, as I moved forward, grabbing his knife hand, and ripping it from him before swinging the thing around and before it was done all five were down, and at least two weren't moving.

It had happened so fast that Susan hadn't even had time to finish the scream she had started before it was all over.

I looked at what was on the ground before me, and simply said, "Next time you might want to listen," then turned to Susan, "Take Billy to the car and wait."

She ran, and I pulled out my cell, calling our operations base first, to tell them what had happened, then dialing 911 to report the incident. 

Within minutes, half the police force was there, along with some people from base, who, when the locals tried to arrest me, stepped forward and explained a few things to them, that they didn't like hearing much, starting with the three left alive were extremely lucky to be so, and that my name and involvement was to be left out of it completely.

It took some calls which resulted in the Chief showing up and ordering it, to make it happen, but eventually I was allowed to leave, and took a very quiet Susan home.

She wouldn't talk to me all the way there, and I was afraid of her reaction to events. 

It was as we pulled into her driveway that she said, "It doesn't bother you, does it?"

"That I saved the lives of the people I loved tonight?" I asked, in return.

There was silence until she said, "No, that you took lives tonight."

"No, not really. I did what was needed to be done." I told her.

She turned to me and had tears running down her face, "You killed two people tonight, killed them!!!" she almost screamed.

"Yes," I replied calmly, maintaining strict control of my emotions.

"What are you?" she asked, in horror.

"Someone who kept you and your child alive and you from being raped." I said quietly.

She just shook her head and said, softly, "You butchered five people and it doesn't bother you in the slightest," before opening the door and getting her son out, stopping briefly to look at me.

"It's what I do." I said to her.

She shook her head and walked away, walked away from me, and from what might have been, what could have been, what I really wanted to be.

I kept that control until I got home, and it was there that I let it go.

Josh found me there, curled up against the wall, sometime later that night, and helped me to bed where he crawled in and just held me.

No matter what the circumstances, taking a life is never easy, and there is a reaction, if you're human. They might have been scum and criminals, but they were human and I had killed two of them, and severely injured three more and without a thought, other than maybe, I shouldn't take out all five. 

If I knew what those three would end up doing in the future, I might have not made that decision. 

Josh pulled me through again, and just stayed with me, even when it turned to crying over Susan.

I was lost, because I felt that it was over between us, and I hadn't realized just how much they had become a part of my life, until now that they were gone. 

I tried calling her the next day, and she told me to leave her alone for a few days, that she needed time to think, before hanging up the phone on me. 

I left her alone.

A few days later, she called me and told me that she didn't want to see me anymore, that it wouldn't work out. She couldn't live with what I was, and what I did. How I felt about things, and the way I thought. Then she put the knife in, telling me she thought that she wanted to have my children and a life together, but now, no. I asked about Billy, and was told to stay away from the both of them.

Then she hung up the phone on me for the last time, as I stood there just staring at the handset in disbelief.

Josh came out and found me once again sitting on the floor crying, and just held me.

That night a scramble came in, and I didn't return for three weeks.

When I did, I found her phone to be disconnected.

I went over to her house, and found it empty as well, and all the neighbors could tell me was that two weeks ago, she had packed up and left with no forwarding address.

I tried to find her, but was never successful until the time came when I finally gave up, the wife and son of my dreams were never to be.

Josh was there through it all, and he was like a rock that I could anchor to in the storm.

He basically had moved in from that first night, and slept with me each night and when the crash finally came, he was there to heal me.

One night I awoke in his arms as the tears fell again, only to lose control and once again be overcame by sobs racking my body, which woke him.

He just held me and murmured soft words of reassurance to me, as I cried it out planting gentle kisses along my face, as one would a small child. 

When the storm passed because of his love, I found myself returning the hugs and then the kisses, chastely at first, but soon crossing over to something more.

As my lips found his, and touched with need and passion, I felt the moan come from deep within me, at these new feelings that were exploding in me. 

Feelings I thought never to have for another man, yet were experiencing in full.

"Mike, Mike, this might not be such a good idea." Josh said, as he pulled back from me.

I just looked at him before pulling his face back to mine.

"Mike, maybe......" but all words stopped with the moan that came as my hand found his manhood and grasped it's hard surface firmly. 

I had only touched one adult male before long ago and the feel was so different than what I was used to that when his hand found mine I thought I would explode with the sensations pommeling my body.

There was no need for instruction as he knew where and how to touch me as I knew the same for him. It was nothing like a girl who had to be instructed in every little thing that happened almost.

The feelings that I was experiencing were indescribable as my hand caressed his back, shoulders and down to his butt, while I never let the other leave his organ. 

Then he was moving down and before I even knew what he was going to do, I was in his mouth and moments later exploding so strongly that I thought I might have injured myself.

He came back up and gently kissed me, but I was incoherent and it was several minutes before I could respond, and when I did, it was to kiss him for a moment before beginning my own journey south.

"Mike you don't have..." he started to say, when I simply placed a finger on his lips and said "Shhhh."

I found it, and looked at it's wonder, as I let my tongue slip out and taste him causing a shudder and moan to escape from his lips.

I had not done this, since I was sixteen, and only on one adult organ before, and all I could do was hope that I could make it 1/10th as good for him, as he had for me, I thought, as I parted my lips and took his love into my mouth this time.

I must have done something right, for his moans started immediately, and he didn't last long before he told me he was going to come.

I never stopped, and soon had a mouthful of Josh that I couldn't hold all of, but seeing, hearing and feeling his pleasure was worth it, as I swallowed rapidly and milked him for all I could, until he pushed me away, being oversensitive now. 

I tasted him, and thought it was a very different taste, than that of a young boy, much more salty and bitter, but one I could live with, as I went back up and snuggled into his loving body, as our lips found one another again.

We fell asleep that way, and woke still holding one another with him watching me almost warily, I thought.

"Good morning." he said, hesitantly.

I just smiled and moved my face closer, bringing our lips together once again, and this time there was no mistake about what was happening, as I let my hand travel down, and find his hard appendage. 

I had never liked sex in the morning for some reason, but I thought then that I might learn, as we brought each other to a high yet again, before snuggling back up and just laying together for a while.

Eventually we got up and had a nice shower together, before going out and making breakfast.

Nothing was said as we just spent time with one another, but I knew it would be and finally that night as we snuggled on the couch he asked me,

"Mike what is this?" 

I didn't say anything for a while, but finally decided that the truth was the only thing that had any hope of working, "I don't know." 

He didn't answer for a while, then asked, "Are you gay?" 

I laughed before saying "Well, before last night, I would have said no," which got a laugh out of him as well.

"You've known I'm bi for some time, but I always thought you were straight." he said softly.

"That's funny in a way," I sighed. 

"Josh, there's a lot I haven't told you, a lot I haven't told anyone." I said, and he remained silent, giving me time until I was ready to continue.

"When I was a kid, I became involved in sex with other boys." I felt him tense, and quickly said, "Oh, I wanted it, trust me. No one forced me into anything, or maybe I forced this older boy into something," I said, softly, chuckling at the memories. 

There was silence for a while, before I continued, "I loved everything I was doing Josh, and we did it all. I eventually found someone who I entered a relationship with, you could say, that was older. I loved that too. I didn't know gay from a hole in the ground, but I had heard the term faggot before, although no one knew what it meant. When I found out, years later, I thought I was one, and it caused me a lot of pain for a while, until I came to the conclusion that if I was then I was, and after that I didn't have any problem with it." 

I paused for a while thinking back to those years, and the fun as well as the misery they held for me before going on.

"Josh, with the exception of one person, I had never been with anyone other than other boys, until I was fifteen. I thought by then that I knew what I was, and had accepted it; then I met a girl, and surprise of all surprises, she made me get hard. Hell." I said laughing, "She made me a lot of things, but it threw my world upside down again, because I thought I had it settled as to what I was. I liked boys. Period. Then, I found out that I liked girls too. That special someone told me I was emotionally delayed, due to my childhood, and that I was probably just experiencing all the things a boy normally would, only later than normal. I didn't know, but I knew I still liked boys and now girls. I was very confused to say the least."

"Was this older person an adult?" Josh asked, carefully.

"Yes." I said.

"Oh my God, you were molested." he said, horrified. 

"NO! I most definitely wasn't." I said, sitting up angrily, and looking at him.

"That's why I don't tell people these things, because they wouldn't understand." I told him. 

"But if an..." he started to say.

"But nothing, he didn't molest me. He loved me, and I loved him, he was my father, Josh, my adoptive father," I said, softly, sinking back into his arms.

"Your father." he whispered.

"Yes, I had a really crappy childhood, Josh, and I mean really crappy. I learned about sex, in a boy's home, when I was seven years old. I didn't meet my dad until I was almost eleven, and we didn't do anything until I was almost twelve. He had to show me he loved me for me, not sex, and when I understood that, then he allowed me to do those things with him, I had been trying to do. You see, I started it Josh. He never tried anything with me, and for the longest time wouldn't let me do what I wanted to, but when I could finally tell the difference between love and sex, then he gave in and he showed me what love was, to love in that way."

Nothing was said for a while, but he finally said, "But he was your father." 

"Yes, and he taught me about love, Josh, he taught me so much, and sex was such a small part of it. I wish you could understand that. He was a pedophile, in the truest sense of the word. He loved children, not the sex with them, but them. He loved me, and would have without anything like that ever happening. You have to understand though, that when I came to him, all I had for an idea of what love was supposed to be, was having sex, because it made us feel good in the home and it was all we had for affection. That was what I thought love was, and I can't tell you how hurt I was that when I wanted to do it with him, he wouldn't. Over time though, he taught me the difference, and eventually I got to love him in the way that I wanted to, but it was so much more special now that I actually understood what love really was." 

"It's a lot to take in Mike and it goes against everything I have ever been taught." he said softly.

"I know, Josh, I know. The word for my father has been corrupted now, to the point that it is something sick and perverted, nothing like it's original meaning which was lover of children, in the same way as a lover of stamps, or books, that's what 'phile' means you know? It always meant that, while it could encompass sex it didn't require it. Now though..." I trailed off.

"Yeah" he said softly, as we held one another in the silence.

"So what happened?" he asked.

"Michelle, the girl, turned my life upside down, and I was at a loss as to what I was and what I wanted. I thought I might be bi, like you are, but I had no real attraction to men, or at least so I thought." I said chuckling, as I felt him laugh softly."I loved my father, and enjoyed the intimate encounters we still had on occasion, by the time I was sixteen, but I still liked boys too. I was confused."

Then the question I had been dreading arrived, even though I knew he would ask it

"When you say boys.......?" 

"Yes Josh, boys, not men." I told him.

"Have you...?" he started to ask, but stopped, not sure how to proceed, I guess.

"No, not since I was sixteen, and I never will." I replied, softly.

He didn't answer me, and I went on slowly, "Maybe dad was right, because I found that I did like women when I had the opportunity to try it. I don't know Josh, all I know is until last night, I never thought of a man that way, except for Dad of course, and I was very young then." 

Nothing was said for a while, but finally he said,"What about Susan?" 

"I thought....She was....I think I was finally happy with her and Billy, I really think I was." I said.

Silence reigned for an unknown amount of time, until he said, 

"However it turns out, I want us to always be friends, Mike, promise me that?" 

I turned and looked at him, and he just smiled, as I asked,"Even knowing....?" 

"Yeah, even with that, promise me?" he replied.

"I promise, Josh, and thank you." I told him, settling back down into his arms.

Josh and I stayed together for a while, but eventually we came to the realization that we were friends not soul mates. 

There was no acrimony or hard feelings, actually the opposite, as he had shown me things I had no idea were present in me, and I would be forever thankful for that, along with the love I sorely needed then. 

I had planned on leaving the service a few months later, and while some of that decision was based on Susan and settling down, the primary reason was the new administration which was anti-military. 

Nothing came to change my mind in the remaining months, and the time came when I mustered out for the last time, although I spent another month there with Josh, before heading west to join Marty and Kat, she was expecting my first nephew and I wanted to be there for it.

We had reached our decision several weeks before, but that last night was still special, as I went into his room and we shared our love for one another one last time, and it was as special as it was the first time for me, even if it was the last. 

By the time I pulled out the next day, I had more questions than answers about myself once again, questions that I didn't know how to answer, but I left content and looking forward to what Los Angeles might bring to me. An old friend was pestering me about joining the police out there, and I was seriously thinking of doing just that, but I guess time would only tell.

Of course, Josh had to get the last word out, as I backed out of the driveway

"Make sure you bring that gorilla butt a yours back here to visit, now ya hear." 

And of course, he had to do it loud enough for the world or at least most of those on the block to hear.

"Mike, Mike" I heard, and realized as I opened my eyes, that I must have dozed off in my memories, as I awoke to see Samantha sitting next to me and looking at me, one half of my current problem.

"Sorry bout that, is everything okay?" I asked her.

"Yeah, everything's fine. I'm just making dinner, and it's about ready, if you want to eat." she told me.

"Yeah okay." I replied, thinking that Josh was getting out, and coming home soon, and I would get to see him again.

"Nice dream?" she asked. 

"Parts of it." I said, thinking about it, and what it meant to remember all of that right now. 

There must have been something in my voice, because she put her hand out on my shoulder and I found myself looking into her eyes, as she said, "You want to talk about it?" 

I was at a loss for words, and just looked at her, before I found myself leaning forward and realized at the same time, that her movements matched mine until our lips met in the middle, and we were kissing.

The warmth I had felt a short time ago, thinking about Eric flooded my system then, and raggedly I pulled back, to see her looking up at me, as out of breath as I was.

"Mike," she whispered.

"Sam," I said, at the same time.

"Can ya all get a room please" a young voice I recognized as my first son said, accompanied by giggles, as we both turned, shocked to see Sammy, along with everyone else, standing there with huge grins on their faces, none more than Chris and Derek though.