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Max?s Freudian Slip 38</p> by craigpwriter888@tutanota it sucks and is unfair, but was inevitable.* Maybe it?s better he faces it now, to get it over with,? I suggested, before pivoting.* ?What did Tim say??</p> ?He said he?s talked to him and ? what were the words he used?* That Max is ?conducting himself with dignity and grace? and I should have ?pride in how maturely he?s navigating everything?.* Max also texted me to say he?s fine, but how can he be so calm?* Do you think I should go get him, anyway??</p> She was distraught.* ?No, I don?t.* Listen, I trust Mr. Tim.* If he told you Max is good, and Max said the same thing, believe them.* You swooping in to rescue him by forcing him home isn?t going to make things any better.* If anything, it magnifies what happened and might make him brood over it, or be embarrassed, and even cause resentment.* He doesn?t want to be thought of as a victim or source of pity.?</p> She took a deep breath.* ?I know, but? I?m his mother, I can?t help it.?</p> ?I totally get it.* You?re a great mom, and I know as a parent the first instinct is to rush in and protect.* Unfortunately, this is something Max is going to have to face.* Not just today, or this week, but probably the rest of his life.* Him being gay isn?t going away, so he has to learn how to handle prejudice and bigotry when it rears its head.* There will always be people who will try to rile him up,? I declared.* I don?t mean to lecture, but she needs a calm voice of reason.* ?Just wait until tonight and talk to him then.* And of course, he can always call me if he needs to vent.?</p> Stacy exhaled.* ?Yes, you?re probably right.* Thanks for listening and giving good advice, as usual.* I?ll try to be patient,? she responded, her tone lighter, as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.* ?Tim also said they caught whoever targeted Max, and they?ve been disciplined.* He couldn?t give specifics, but assured me they were given consequences and their parents are taking it seriously and are appalled.?*</p> ?That?s great.* It sounds like they?re handling things better than they did the night of the S.N.O.,? I replied.* ?I get the distinct feeling that Mr. Tim keeps an eye out for Max.* That should provide some solace.?</p> I wouldn?t say Tim pings my BL radar (if there even is such a thing), but I do sense he?s deeply devoted to his students ? and for whatever reason, cares about Max in particular.* I don?t have any suspicions he?s motivated by anything other than being a good guy, but considering my own inclinations, I certainly pick up on his abilities.* I?m pretty sure it?s platonic, but he most certainly has ?the gift? when it comes to relating to boys.</p> ?Yes, Mr. Tim is a blessing.* Max talks about him similarly to how he sings your praises,? she responded.* ?Speaking of, you?re still taking Max to practice on Thursday, right??</p> ?Of course,? I assured her.* I was glad for the reminder, as it had slipped my mind.</p> ?Thanks.* The single parent thing, and trying to navigate boy puberty, is no joke, so I?m grateful for your help.* Plus, I know he loves having guy nights with you, and how important that is for him.* You spend more quality time with him than his own father ever did,? she said with a hint of bitterness.* ?Anyway, I hope you know how much we both appreciate you and don?t ever feel taken advantage of.?</p> I stopped her.* ?Max is a great kid.* He?s fun to be around.* We?ve always connected so effortlessly, and I never had a son, so I?m glad for the time we get together.* I enjoy it as much as he does.?* Probably even more, but she doesn?t need to know that.*</p> ?It?s so nice to have someone else who feels the same way about him.* His father never seemed to realize he wasn?t three anymore, and never made an effort.* Rick treated him like an annoyance he had to endure,? Stacy explained with definite irritation.* ?Anyway, I don?t mean to get started on that, just to express my gratitude and why you?re so important to Max.* I better get back to my desk.?</p> Well, that was a nice day brightener.* Of course, it also made me feel like shit for ever letting things get so far in Mexico.* But, at least she views me positively and without suspicion.* She would be devastated if she ever found out the truth.* It might be a bigger betrayal than when she discovered her husband was abusing those girls.* Of course, Max was older and genuinely eager, and crossing lines was never my intent, but it still fills me with shame.*</p> As we hung up, I finally read what Noah sent me.* He actually took a picture of what was hanging on Max?s locker, but the ?F A G S? and ?disgusting perverts? were crossed through and ?out and proud? was written beneath.* That?s my boy.* I can see why Tim was so complimentary about how he handled the incident.*</p> Noah, to his credit, was incensed.* I sent him a quick response, telling him we could talk later, but my understanding was Max was fine and it was being addressed, so to let it go.*</p> ***</p> Stacy texted later that Max really did seem unfazed.* In fact, she reported he was almost annoyed by her concern.</p> I planned to message him myself, but upon hearing that, decided against it.* It could wait until Thursday to see if he brings it up.* If he doesn?t, I?ll still address it, but I don?t want to make a big deal out of something he?s over, either.*</p> ***</p> I picked Max up for practice on Thursday and he was his typical, happy self.* If there are lingering effects of the homophobic shit plastered onto his locker, he isn?t showing any.* He seems much more interested in he and Cam?s budding friendship with Liam (a.k.a OlyGuy).* Since revealing himself last week, they seem to have really hit it off, and I sense their connection is sincere.* You can hear the excitement in Max?s voice whenever he talks about him.* I wonder if Cam notices the same thing, and how that makes him feel.*</p> He hadn?t stopped gushing about Liam by the time I pulled into the gym parking lot, so I never had an opportunity to broach the drama at school.</p> After practice, we stopped for a quick bite to eat and were heading back to his house when I finally managed to bring up the incident.* I knew Stacy would be texting later to ask if I learned anything.* I think she surmises Max is more open with me.* Thankfully, she doesn?t seem to resent it or even pry.* A boy of a certain age just needs a man to talk to, in a way he can"t with his mother.*</p> ?Your mom told me about the pictures that were taped to your locker on Monday.* Everything okay??* I asked as nonchalantly as possible.**</p> ?Yeah, I figured.* Noah too,? he mumbled.* ?It?s all good.* It sucked to start the week like that, but my friends rallied around me and besides, whoever did it already got busted.* I?m so over it, Craig.?</p> I could tell he didn?t want to dwell.* He wasn?t exaggerating or minimizing, either.* So many other good things seem to be going on that I truly think it barely affected him, at least after the initial shock wore off.*</p> ?Good, just checking.* Any idea who it was??</p> ?Don?t know, don?t care,? he said adamantly.</p> I offered my fist.* I love his attitude, just like Tim said.* ?I?m glad you aren?t letting it bother you.* Big plans for the weekend??</p> ?I hope so.* Cam and I want to go see a movie and crash at his house.* We thought we might invite Liam.?</p> I grinned.* I knew what that meant.* I immediately pictured the three of them frolicking nude in the hot tub.* ?Cool.* What movie??</p> ?Cam and I really want to see Good Boys, but are afraid Liam?s parents will veto that.* I hear it?s pretty over-the-top raunchy, and it?s rated R.* So, we will probably end up seeing Spider-Man.?</p> ?You?re probably right about that.* Not exactly on the wholesome Mormon movie list.* You don?t want to give his parents the wrong impression right off the bat.* Besides, that?s one I wouldn?t mind seeing,? I replied.* After all, I?m a sucker for a movie about cute boys.* ?Maybe I can take you another time.?</p> ?Would you?* That would be awesome,? he replied.* ?I know Cam would love to see it, too.?</p> I wondered what the two of them had in mind for Liam.* Liam?s first anonymous message to Max was about a clandestine blowjob in the school restroom.* However, Cam and Max are so far beyond Sex 101 that I?m afraid they may be too aggressive and brash for a sheltered, religious boy like Liam.* Or, maybe I?m naive as to how much Liam already knows, or is willing to try.* Cam is pretty conservative himself, and that doesn?t impede his drive for sodomy.</p> I decided to wait and see if he was even coming before bothering to say anything.* Besides, we were almost to Max?s house.</p> ***</p> Bob called me over lunch on Friday with a couple of updates.* On the Chad front, his private ankara escort investigators had created two boyish profiles on Grindr and were trying to initiate contact with Chad in an effort to bait him.* So far, he hasn"t bit, but it is early.* He might just be busy.</p> The big surprise was Jeanine calling the night before, and they talked for almost an hour.* She wants to return home.* She assured Bob that, while she doesn?t approve of Cam?s ?lifestyle choices?, she wouldn?t express that to him or interfere with him seeing Max, and was ?trying to love the sinner? and ?be more Christ-like?.* I guess that?s progress, but some things you just can?t unlearn in a couple of weeks.**</p> ?Honestly Craig, I think she?s more anxious to get back to her society friends than she is to see her son or husband.?* That rang pretty true.* She still appears to care about Cam, but at this point, Bob seems like a convenience to her.</p> ?I see.* So, when is she coming back??</p> ?She wants to spend the weekend with her father, but said she will be back before I leave again on business.* I wonder if she?s doing that on purpose ? coming in just as I am leaving.* I worry about Cam and how he?ll handle it, but at least you are off the hook from watching him again.?</p> ?Awww,? I whined.* I?ve been looking forward to him staying with us again.* Bob asked on our drive home from the lake if we would watch him for a couple of days, next week.* He has a short trip on Thursday and Friday to Sioux Falls.* I jumped at the chance, and Kim was just as enthusiastic.**</p> ?I?ll still be around if he needs me.* You don?t think she, uh, plans to do anything crazy, right?* Like pack up and run back to Texas??* I hated to go there, but I?d kick myself if something happened and I didn?t say anything.*</p> ?No, I don?t think so.* Cam would run away before he allowed that to happen, and I don?t think her father would tolerate it, either.* I?ll remind him to call you if he needs anything.?</p> ?So, you haven?t told him yet??</p> ?No.* I?m going to let him enjoy the weekend, before I break potentially bad news that will probably stress him out,? Bob explained.* ?Is it wrong that I think of her returning as negative?* It?s been so peaceful, just the two of us.* Minus the drama at the lake, of course.?</p> ?I get it, but it?s probably for the best.* Hopefully, Cam and Jeanine can patch things up.* It will be better in the long run.?* While I did believe that, part of me was hoping she?d be gone longer, or possibly forever.* How?s that for a terrible thought I should keep to myself?</p> ***</p> I ditched work early that afternoon.* Noah was halfway down the block as I turned onto our street, having just gotten off the bus.* I pulled alongside and rolled down the window.* ?Need a lift, amigo??* I asked.**</p> He was three houses from home, but jumped in anyway.* ?Hey Craig!?* He said excitedly.* ?I?ve been hoping to run into you all week.?* After Noah texted me from school on Tuesday, I should have made a point to connect sooner.</p> ?Yeah?* Why didn?t you just come over, then?? I asked.* I felt bad; between his grounding and the trip to the lake, I haven?t given him the attention I should.* ?You know there?s an open-door policy for my favorite neighbor.?</p> Noah smiled but shrugged his shoulders.* ?I dunno.* I guess, after all of the drama lately, I don?t want to pile on.?</p> That hurt my heart.* ?You?re one of the best parts of my day, Noah.* We?ve been buds since you still had cartoon characters on your undies,? I teased, making a quick loop in the cul-de-sac before pulling back out.* ?Sounds like we need to make a slushie run.?</p> ?Craig,? he admonished me.* ?Should I be concerned you were paying attention to my underwear when I was little??* He asked with a shit-eating grin.* Cheeky bastard.</p> ?I was just relieved you were actually wearing some.* I remember when you?d run outside, completely naked, on trash day.* You were fascinated by the truck.?</p> ?Hey, I only did that once!?</p> I laughed.* ?No, it happened multiple times.* And you?d throw a huge fit when your parents tried to corral you inside, running around the yard and sidewalk like a toddler maniac.* It was greatly entertaining for all the neighbors.?</p> He blushed.* I decided to turn the screws slightly more.* ?You know, it was probably the first penis my daughters ever saw.?</p> ?It?s a lot bigger now, in case they want an update,? he said with a smirk.* I rolled my eyes and groaned.</p> ?So, should we just hit DQ?* Good variety to choose from,? I suggested.*</p> ?No, you don?t need the empty calories,? he responded, patting my gut from his seat.* Insolent brat!</p> ?That?s from excess beer, not the occasional dessert.* Besides, I?m preparing for winter,? I joked.</p> Noah smiled.* ?Seriously though, you don?t have to buy me a treat.* I like talking with you, I just don?t want to be annoying.* We could just sit on the porch or something.?*</p> ?True, but this is almost tradition.* Some of our best talks happen in the car.* It?s like you buckle in over there and bare your soul,? I stipulated, shifting my tone.* ?So, what?s up??</p> ?Not much really, I just wanted to hear about the fishing trip,? he said.* I?ve known Noah long enough to know that isn?t why he wants to talk.* ?Max wouldn?t tell me many details.* Did you guys catch any big ones?* He seemed freaking oblivious!?</p> ?Well, let"s just say neither Max nor Cam are much for fishing.* They got much bigger thrills out of swimming and hiking in the woods.?</p> ?And probably each other,? Noah quipped.**</p> ?Funny,? I responded.* ?But also accurate.* Next time, we?re definitely taking you, so do me a favor and stay out of trouble from now on, okay??* I reached over and ruffled his hair.* ?You can fish with Bob and I while the lovebirds sleep in.?</p> ?Deal.* Thanks.* I will.* I?d really love to go with you sometime.* Fishing is the best!?</p> I decided to shift the conversation away from small talk and probe a little about what?s really on his mind.* ?It?s the least I can do.* I can?t tell you how much I appreciate you having Max?s back.* And keeping me in the loop on school stuff.* I?m not sure Max would have ever told me about the pictures.?* That last part probably wasn?t accurate, but I want to drive home Noah?s importance.</p> ?Of course.* He?s my best friend.* And sure, he would have told you.* He said as much when I confessed to texting you about it.* He seemed irritated because everyone was making a big deal out of it, and I didn?t want him to be mad,? Noah explained.* ?I can?t believe he wasn?t more pissed about it.* He was like, totally over it by lunch.* I was ready to pound someone.* Still am.* If I ever find out who it was ??</p> ?You?ll let it go like he has,? I declared sternly, interrupting.* ?We were just talking about staying out of trouble.* Max needs to fight his own battles, and sometimes that means not giving any attention to nonsense.* Be supportive, but let him take the lead.?</p> ?I know, but it makes my blood boil when people give him shit.* It?s so stupid,? he said.* I love how loyal and protective he is.*</p> ?Any idea who it was??</p> ?Not at all.* None of the kids I pegged as suspects have been gone or in ISS, and there is no way they only got a detention or two for that.* There haven?t even been many rumors, which for eighth grade is pretty incredible.?</p> ?Hmmmm? a mystery.* Perhaps it?s better you never find out, though it would be nice if they actually learn from this and apologize.?</p> ?Yeah, but I doubt that happens.* Maybe we?ll never know.* At least then I won?t get suspended again for beating someone?s ass,? he replied.* ?I?m in good with Ashley?s dad now, and I don?t want to screw that up.?</p> ?There you go.* That?s responsible and mature; don?t violate the conditions of your parole or give your parents a stroke,? I urged.* We?re finally getting somewhere, with him opening up about Max and now his girlfriend.* I decided to press.* ?I hear your dinner with Ashley?s parents went well.* You two have plans this weekend??</p> ?Yep!?* He answered enthusiastically.* ?We?re going to the movies tomorrow night.* Even meeting Cam and Max.* It?s kind of like a double date, except I think this kid from school, Liam, is coming with them.* He?s been eating lunch at our table every day for the last week.* He isn?t new, I?ve just never really gotten to know him that well.?</p> ?I see,? I responded.</p> Noah continued.* ?I?ve had a bunch of classes with him.* We even did a group project together last year in social studies.* He?s always pretty quiet, so I guess I never got to know him well.* Not sure what?s changed all of a sudden that he?s hanging around, but he?s pretty chill, funny, and nice to everyone.?</p> The car came to a stop at a traffic escort ankara light.* I didn?t reply immediately.* I?m just not sure how to respond about Liam.* Obviously, Max hasn?t shared his identity with Noah.* I?m surprised Noah didn?t ask, but then again, I think his focus has been on Ashley.</p> ?Um, well, it?s always great to make new friends.* Max says the same thing about him always being kind,? I managed to spit out.</p> I noticed Noah gazing at me out of the corner of his eye.* I tried to look forward, willing the light to change.</p> ?Yes, it is.* But that?s a very odd response,? he stated, calling me out.* ?Spill it, old man.?</p> Damn.* I can?t lie to Noah, but also can?t violate Max?s trust or spread Liam?s business.* Where?s a cop to pull you over when you need it?</p> I gave him a look but didn?t say anything.</p> ?What??* Noah looked totally confused.</p> ??What??* I didn?t say anything.* I?m just glad you guys are making new friends,? I replied, desperately hoping to shift Noah?s focus.* ?Max says Seb, that kid Cam knows from Widmer, has been hanging out at your lunch table, too.?</p> ?Yeah, Seb is funny, especially for a sevvie.* I think Max is trying to look out for him with everything that happened at his old school.* He still hasn?t said anything about it, but he has to know we know, right??</p> ?Probably, but no one wants to harp on being bullied, abused, or outed.* That?s all very private stuff, and he?s trying to have a fresh start.* Just play along and keep his secret.* Act like you don?t know,? I suggested.* Whew.* He seemed to take the bait.</p> ?Right, sure, that makes sense.* His presence I understand.* Because of his weird schedule, he?s the only seventh grader in our lunch, so Max feels responsible for him.* Plus, he made friends with Jamie.* They?re all in the same math class, right before coming to the cafeteria.* But Liam came out? of? nowhere,? he said, stuttering that last part, as if recognition was suddenly washing over him.</p> Ugh.* Of course he had to make a ?coming out? reference.* I looked in his direction and could tell the wheels were turning.</p> ?You know what?s weird, Craig?* Last week, Max was obsessed with talking about OlyGuy, trying to figure out who it could be.* He hasn?t mentioned it since.* I was too distracted with my own shit to care, and just figured he lost interest with the long weekend at the lake or was stressing over the homophobic bullshit first thing Tuesday.* But he dropped it as soon as Liam started sitting at our table, and a week later he?s third wheeling a date??</p> ?That is weird,? I tried to feign.</p> ?And Max tells you everything.?</p> I just put my right index finger and thumb to my lips, making a zipper motion.</p> ?So, Liam is OlyGuy.* And you knew!* And no one told me?* Ugh!?</p> I said nothing.</p> ?Interesting.* I wouldn?t have suspected him.* No gay vibe at all, and he?s religious.* That?s probably why Max didn?t consider him, either.?</p> ?I?m not confirming or denying anything, but as general advice, don?t judge a book by its cover.* Stereotypes aren?t always accurate, and all types of people can be gay or bi or whatever.* Of everyone you know with same-sex attractions, how many ping your gaydar??</p> Noah looked up, apparently counting and considering each.* ?Probably only Seb.* He?s a little effeminate compared to most guys, but not over the top flaming or anything.* And we don?t know for sure he?s gay just because?* well, you know.?</p> ?Right, so don?t think your assumptions are always spot on, just like they weren?t with Max and Cam,? I warned.* ?And despite my lack of confirmation, IF your suspicions are true, it?s a very delicate and private matter that shouldn?t be gossiped about.* The consequences of being outed can be very serious, especially in religious families.* Got it??</p> ?Got it,? Noah agreed.* ?It?s not like I care.* If he?s a good guy, that?s all that matters to me.?</p> We pulled into the DQ parking lot and I scanned for a spot.* It?s happy hour, so they?re swamped.</p> ?And that?s a great thing about you.* But as you?ve seen with how Max has been treated, not everyone is so open minded or respectful,? I explained.* ?Now, imagine if Max or Cam didn?t have any supportive family members or accepting friends, and were taught their eternal soul is in jeopardy for something they can?t control, and you?ll get an idea of the pressure? OlyGuy is under.?</p> He nodded.* ?Understood.* I won?t share with anyone my, um, ?suspicion?,? he said, winking and using air quotes, before pausing.* ?What about Max?* Can I tell him I?ve pieced it together??</p> I thought for a second, pulling my key from the ignition.</p> ?That?s probably fine.* He already told you about OlyGuy, showed you his messages, and brainstormed with you who it could be.* You?ve just ? theoretically ? connected the dots,? I agreed.* ?Just keep my name out of your mouth.* You figured out whatever you think you have on your own.?</p> ***</p> Despite the short walk over the black top, the humidity and afternoon sun were stifling.* The blast of the A/C when we opened the door was refreshing.</p> ?What did you decide on??</p> ?Ice cream, I think,? Noah replied, skimming their menu before furrowing his brow.* ?It?s barely September, my balls are sweating, and their Blizzard of the Month is pumpkin spice??**</p> ?Agreed, it?s way too early, but there are plenty of other options to choose from.?</p> ?True.* What sounds good to you??</p> I jiggled my stomach.* ?Well, apparently I don?t need the calories, so maybe I?ll splurge and have a diet soda.?</p> Noah looked horrified.* ?Craig!* I was just joking, you know that.* Right??</p> I laughed.* ?Just messing with you.* Although, I am more parched than hungry, and will have beer at dinner, so I shouldn?t overdo it.* I don?t have the metabolism I did when I was 13.* Enjoy that while it lasts.?</p> ***</p> Noah selected a corner booth and we sat while his sugary crap was being prepared.</p> ?So, tell me more about Ashley,? I encouraged.*</p> ?She?s awesome and smoking hot,? he answered, before slightly blushing.* Ashley is attractive, but ?smoking hot? seems like a stretch.* She?s cute, but in a more understated way.* But hey, when you"re almost 14 and have your first girlfriend, I get how things can be distorted.* I wasn?t about to burst his bubble.* ?But it?s not just that,? he continued.* ?She?s just cool.* Like how she backed up Max and is nice to people and she can even talk sports and stuff.* She?s amazing.?</p> ?Well, I?m glad you appreciate her personality ? and not just her breasts.?</p> He grinned.* ?Thanks, but those are great, too.* When she gives me hugs, they press against me, and??* He stopped himself.* I could tell he was getting carried away.* ?Sorry.?</p> ?Oh, you poor boy,? I replied, sarcastically.* ?I guess I know what you?ve been wanking to this week,? I teased.</p> He turned red and groaned.* I could tell I struck a nerve.* ?Hey, jerking to your girlfriend is appropriate,? he grumbled defensively.</p> ?I was just teasing, Noah.* That seems totally normal.* Do I need to give you my be-respectful-to-girls speech, though??</p> ?No!* I?m not like that.?</p> ?I know you aren?t.* But sometimes hormones turn respectful kids, like you, into total lunatics.?</p> ?I would never pressure her.* Ashley already told me not to even think about trying anything and said making out is as far as she?ll go until she?s much older.?**</p> Most girls have the best of intentions, but I remember how ? sometimes ? those get pushed aside.* After all, they can be horny, too.* Still, I appreciate the desire to take it slow.* ?Good.* Safer that way.?</p> ?Yeah,? he murmured.* ?But I still can?t get some things off my mind.?</p> ?So, you?re saying a bottle of lube would be an ideal gift for your birthday??* Noah will turn 14 in another month.</p> ?I have that already.* Maybe you should save up and buy yourself an exercise bike, old man,? he answered, smacking my stomach from across the table.* I was glad to see that he was back to mocking me.* For a moment, I worried my joking went too far.</p> I was going to remind him that Cam and Max might provide some relief, but decided I pressed my luck far enough already.</p> ***</p> Kim and I spent much of Saturday afternoon and evening with our eldest daughter, Rachel, and her new boyfriend, Zachary.* They?ve been dating for about a month and she decided to introduce us, which is a sure sign she?s really into him.* We?ve only met one other prior boyfriend, and that was when she was in high school and didn?t have a choice.</p> We met downtown for an early dinner and walked around.* Kim and I are very impressed with Zachary.* I know it"s early, but there are times you just get the feeling two people are meant for ankara escort bayan each other, like Max and Cam.* I could tell by the looks Kim was giving me that she was recognizing the same chemistry.</p> ***</p> Bob called me from his car on Sunday, just after lunch.* He was out of sorts.* Jeanine decided to surprise them by returning days earlier than planned.* She left early to visit her aunt in Iowa, and finished the drive Sunday morning.* Apparently, she thought it would be a ?pleasant surprise.?</p> Bob was livid.* He hadn?t had a chance to inform Cam she was returning.* Add to the fact that Cam, Max, and Noah were all sitting at the table having breakfast in their underwear and it was a total cluster fuck.* He had to explain to Cam, right in front of his mother, that he planned to tell him she was coming back after Noah and Max left.* Cam?s disdain was obvious, and the whole situation was awkward.*</p> I wanted to ask why Noah was there.* Last I heard, he was going to the movie with Ashley.* Perhaps she canceled and it was just the boys?* Bob calling to vent wasn?t the time to ask.* I?ll get the scoop from Noah or Max, later.*</p> I immediately texted Cam and asked if he was okay.* Instead of messaging, he called.* He had gone for a walk to the small park in their neighborhood.* He was, unsurprisingly, seething.</p> ?Jesus effing Christ, Craig!* Can you believe this shit??* He clearly assumed I knew of the morning?s events.</p> ?I?m sorry, bud.* I?m sure it was a surprise to suddenly see her.?</p> ?You think?* Noah, Max, and I were having fun devouring donuts, and Mom struts in as if she hasn?t been gone for weeks ? like nothing ever happened!?</p> ?I see.* I guess it dampened the mood, huh??</p> ?You could say that.* Especially since we were lounging around in our underwear, because you know, it was just guys.?</p> ?Yikes.* That had to be embarrassing.?</p> ?Not for me.* Max didn?t seem to care, but I think Noah was about to shit a brick.* He bolted downstairs to find clothes.?</p> I decided to try to see if I could help Cam find some positives.* Bob already told me she didn?t seem upset by Max?s presence, and made zero comments about their relationship.</p> ?Did it seem to bother her that Max was there?* Did she say anything about you two ?living in sin? or anything like that??</p> ?Nah.* She didn?t say a thing.* She was actually pretty friendly to Max and was over-the-top affectionate with me.?</p> ?Maybe things are improving.* I hope she just needed time to come to terms with the fact you?re attracted to other boys.?</p> ?I guess,? he answered, not convinced.* ?I still can?t believe Daddy didn?t tell me she was coming back.?</p> ?He planned to, honest.?</p> ?So you knew too?!?* He asked, his voice raising in anger.</p> ?Yes.* Your father called me Friday.* I swear, he was going to tell you this afternoon ? well in advance of her planned return later in the week.* She kind of threw a wrench in the works by showing up early.?</p> ?If he knew in advance, he should have told me sooner!* I shouldn?t be a freaking after-thought and blindsided by my own parents.?</p> I sighed.* I didn?t want to escalate his frustration, or contradict his feelings, but I don?t think he?s being fair, either.* I was concerned something like this might happen when Bob explained why he was delaying informing him, but then, he had good reason and the best of intentions.* It isn?t his fault she decided to surprise them days early.</p> ?I agree; you had a right to know.* And your dad believes that, too.* Jeanine told him she was spending the weekend with her father and wouldn?t return until Tuesday or Wednesday.* He was probably just as surprised to see her as you were,? I explained calmly.* ?He wanted you to have a fun weekend and enjoy your time with friends, not stressing over whatever tension she might bring back into the house.?</p> Cam grumbled.* ?Yeah, he said something like that but I was mostly tuning him out.?</p> ?I hope you realize you?re never an ?after-thought? for your father.* You?re his first and final consideration.* Always.* The only reason he deferred telling you was so you weren?t distracted or stressed.* He was trying to time things for your maximum benefit,? I explained.* ?His heart was in the right place.* You know intent matters.?</p> ?Yeah?* I guess that?s true.?* Cam?s tone softened.*</p> ?Listen, I know it was a surprise, but you should give her a chance.* Maybe she?s turned the corner.* You should talk and see where she stands.* Wouldn?t you prefer to have a good relationship with BOTH of your parents??* I wasn?t sure that was the case, but she is making an effort, and that?s the first step.* If the last couple of decades have taught society anything, it?s that people can change when it comes to their attitudes toward homosexuality.*</p> ?Well yeah, but only if she?s not going to try to change me.?</p> ?Your father would never allow her to try, and for what it?s worth, neither will I.* You know I have you back, and always will.?</p> ?Thanks, Craig,? he answered.* I could hear his voice relaxing.* Sometimes, just knowing you have support can be huge.</p> It dawned on me I never found out ahead of time if Liam was able to join.* I planned to remind Max not to take things too far, too fast with him.* But if he didn?t spend the night, I doubt there?s anything to be concerned about.* Still, I was slightly annoyed with myself for the lack of follow-through.</p> ?So, how was the movie?* Did Liam get to come??</p> ?Yeah, he did, but just to the movie.* He couldn?t spend the night.* He?s really cool.* The movie was great.* Ashley and Noah even saw some of it,? he added, laughing.</p> ?Between sucking face, you mean?? *I asked, taking my thoughts back to Noah and his girl.</p> ?Right.* Actually, they didn?t make out that much, but enough we gave him serious shit later.?</p> ?As good friends should.* How did he end up back at your place, anyway?* I thought he was hanging with Ashley??</p> ?Jackson brought him over about 10.* Ashley was at his house until just before then, but she had to go home and Noah begged to come over.?</p> ??Begged??* That sounds kind of desperate.?</p> ?Well?* I said what I said,? Cam answered laughing.</p> ?I don?t even want to know,? I replied.* That?s a total lie, but I don?t want to be nosy.* Or come across as too pervy.</p> ?I?m positive you really DO want to know,? he teased.* He?s definitely more at ease.* ?But it?s not for me to tell.?</p> ?Always the proper one, you are,? I commented.* ?I?ll get it out of one of you? eventually.?</p> ?Maybe.* I?m sure Max will tell you, or even Noah himself,? Cam suggested, clearly hinting.* ?I should get home.* I probably owe daddy an apology for being so pissy.?</p> ?Agree.* Plus, you don?t want your mom thinking you?re avoiding her.* Try to get her pulse on things.* Keep me posted??</p> ?Okay, I will.* Thanks for always listening and helping calm me down.?</p> ***</p> After talking with Cam, I went out to the deck with a cold beer for some solitude.* I felt unsettled, but couldn?t quite put my finger on the exact cause.* I?m a natural worrier, and frankly, there is so much going on with these boys I love and care about, it?s hard to relax when they?re in so much upheaval.*</p> Cam is dealing with his mom?s return, and still adjusting to discovering his father?s true sexuality.* Though it is more in the past, Max still has his dad?s baggage.* They?re both navigating being out at school.* Noah has been in more trouble the last month than the rest of his life put together.* He also has his first girlfriend.* I wonder how she would react to finding out he?s getting occasional relief from his gay best friends?</p> Max is trying to befriend and guide Liam.* I can?t imagine being a gay Mormon boy!* I haven?t even met Liam, and I?m already worrying about him.* And then there?s the whole Chad dilemma and aiding Max through the ripples of that impulsive mistake.* Thankfully, we seem to be past the ramifications from my weakness in Mexico, despite the collateral damage it caused.</p> Puberty has always sucked, but I certainly don?t remember middle school being this complicated.* Either I was sheltered, or things have changed drastically.* I don?t recall anything like this with my own daughters, either, and they were their age not that long ago.**</p> They say there?s always so much girl drama in middle school, but despite not seeking out or causing it themselves, these boys sure have a lot going on.* Maybe society is right when they say youth their age shouldn?t be sexually active?* Has my laissez faire attitude (or even outright encouragement) toward them having sex inadvertently wrought carnage in their lives?*</p> Selfishly, I?m also worried about what Jeanine?s return would mean for the time Bob and I manage to spend together.</p> Yup, life was so much easier when it was only Noah I occasionally mentored.* But I don?t think I?d trade it for anything.</p> *** End of Chapter 38 ***</p> As always, we love hearing feedback ota)</p>
16 Ağustos 2022, at 23:23
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