I was frozen on the sidewalk outside the baseball field on campus. He still loved me? Thornton Marsh still loved me? The only thing I could do was pump my fist in the air and start walking in the direction of my house. I didn’t live anywhere near the stadium, but I was too worked up to sit in a cab, so I decided to burn off some energy.

Reminiscing with him about some of our exploits during the nearly two years we were together had been so incredible. Some of them were stupid fights over the state of the apartment on any given day because back then, Thornton was a neat freak and I definitely was not. Since I now had the responsibilities associated with raising a son, I’d gotten a lot better at taking care of my house, but back then, not so much. I remembered one altercation in particular.

I strolled into the kitchen with dirty dishes and some trash, having just received a first class, ass-chewing from Thornton because I tended to let shit set around when I was busy working on a project. I had an assignment due in my network design class, and I didn’t see what the fuck was the harm with a pizza box, a dirty plate, and a few empty glasses on the coffee table. I’d been camped out on the couch since the night before, putting in an all-nighter. His bitching was pissing me off.

I slammed the dishes in the sink and shoved the trash in the can. I looked up at Thornton with defiance in my eyes to see the man wasn’t exactly pleased with my gesture. “Check this out,” he stated. He opened the dishwasher and picked up the plate, placing it on the lower rack without taking his eyes off me. “Damn. See how easy that was?”

That’s really fuckin’ cute, Thornton. I love it when you turn into a nagging housewife. I’ve been up all fuckin’ night working on a project because it’s worth twenty-five percent of my grade and you know that!” I snapped.

Fuck you, Kennedy. Do you know how tired I get trying to keep this place from becoming a garbage dump? If it were left to you, we’d have to wade through trash from the front door to the fucking bedroom.

“I realize you were raised with servants, but it wouldn’t kill you to throw away your trash and put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Fuck, I do your laundry and clean the apartment. Is it too much to ask you to simply pick up your goddamn messes?” he yelled, hands gesticulating wildly.

He turned to the sink and finished loading the dishwasher, filling the lidded slot with detergent and starting the machine. He turned back to the sink with a sponge and some cleaner, scouring away as he always did when he was upset.

I knew I was in the wrong and I really needed to get better about doing my share (and admitting my faults), so I walked up behind him and wrapped my arms around his waist, settling my hands on his flat stomach and leaning in to kiss his neck. “Baby, I’m sorry. You’re right. You’re a lot better at this sort of thing than me, and I’ll try to get better about it. Please don’t be mad at me. Come with me, and I’ll show you something I’m very good at,” I tempted.

I felt him take a deep breath as I brushed my quickly hardening cock against his denim covered ass. I moved my hands down to his crotch, smiling when I felt him getting hard as well. I reached into the sink and took the sponge from his hand, tossing it aside. I grabbed a dish towel and gently dried his hands before marching him back to the bedroom and spinning him to kiss his perfect mouth.

He resisted, at first, until my tongue traced his lips, something I knew he loved me to do. I felt his resolve soften when he wrapped his arms around my waist and squeezed my ass as he opened his mouth to allow my tongue to explore.

I kissed him breathless, pulling away and whipping his t-shirt over his head so I could smother kisses and playful nips over his sexy chest. We worked out together, and his body had undergone some incredible changes since we’d first met. I was happy to benefit from all his hard work.

I sucked on his left nipple, feeling his hands in my hair to hold me there because he had overly sensitive nipples, and then I moved up a few inches and sucked the skin into my mouth hard, marking him. “God, Kennedy, don’t make me beg.”

I pulled away, seeing the mark beginning to bloom, and I was immediately overcome with smug satisfaction. “I do love to hear you beg, baby, but this time, it’s me who has to beg for forgiveness.” I lowered myself to the floor as I unbuttoned his jeans and whipped them and his boxers down, freeing his cock to bob in my face.

Thornton was actually uncircumcised, and it was a bit daunting the first time I went down on him, but he showed me what he liked, and while I wasn’t a pro because he gave me a lot more blowjobs than I gave him, I was getting better at it. I’d never been able to let him come in my mouth, but that was about to change.

I nipped at the sensitive foreskin and slid my tongue between it and the head of his cock, feeling his hands settle on my head for support. “Fuck, Kennedy,” he gasped as I worked the skin with my tongue and licked the pre-cum from the slit.

I went to work on him, moving my hand up to support the base as I worked his cock, trying to take him further. He could swallow me down his throat which was something that fascinated and debilitated me every time he did it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as skilled, so I worked him with my hand, taking some of the saliva dripping from my mouth and slicking up his shaft.

I continued to show his impressive cock my appreciation, and when I felt his fingers brush my cheek which was the signal he was going to come, I sunk down on him as far as I could, hollowing my cheeks and drawing hard. I felt his cock harden even more before he let go inside my mouth, and I swallowed down what he gave me, not dwelling on the consistency or the slightly bitter taste of it.

He finally pulled out of my mouth, and when I looked up at him, I saw his eyes were like silver dollars. I stood from my place kneeling on the floor and kissed him as I pulled down my shorts, having skipped the boxers the night before after my shower. I continued to kiss him as I moved him to the bed. Once we were settled with me kneeling between his spread legs, I pulled away and looked into his eyes.

I’m sorry I’m such a shitty boyfriend. I’ll do better, I promise,” I told him as I reached for the box of condoms and the lube in the bedside table.

You’re not a shitty boyfriend, love. You’re a shitty roommate, and you won’t do better about cleaning shit up, but I still love you and you know I love taking care of you,” he whispered before he moaned as I slipped a lubed finger inside him.

I kissed him again as I got him ready for me, and much quicker than usual, he was begging for my dick. He covered my stiff cock with a condom, and when I gently sunk into his eager hole, I felt so much love for him that I worried my heart might explode.

I made love to him with tender kisses and sweet words, and before I released inside his body, I reached between us and gently manipulated his foreskin, knowing he loved it. When he yelled my name as he came, the spasms from his body tipped me over the edge with him. It was a beautiful feeling.

The memory of that day brought a smile to my face and a hardon to my jeans, so I flagged a cab to get home faster to relieve the pressure. It wasn’t comfortable at all, so I promised the driver an extra twenty to get me there as soon as possible.

When he pulled up in front of my house, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to see Lark’s car in my driveway. I blocked all thoughts of my previous reverie so my cock would calm down, and after I paid the driver, I walked inside, noticing my son was nowhere in sight.

Lark was watching television, and I could tell something was bothering her so I steeled myself to get an ass chewing from her regarding the discussion Jude and I had the night before about me dating guys. She and I hadn’t talked much that morning when she showed up to get Jude, but she apparently had something to say now.

“Hey, how was the party?” I asked as I dropped my keys on the coffee table. She wouldn’t look me in the eye, which was a red flag, so I took the remote from her and turned off the television.

“What’s wrong? Is this about the discussion Jude and I had last night because, Lark, I need to start letting him get a glimpse of what my life might be like if I can figure out how to work things out with Thornton. He and I went to the ballgame today, and we had a great time. It was just like it used to be,” I gushed before I really gave it any thought.

She smiled, but it didn’t exactly reach her eyes. “I’m happy you two are talking. Kennedy. Above all else, I hope you and Thornton can get back what I took away from you. I know how you’ve struggled with your feelings for him, and I can’t ever apologize enough to you…” she trailed off before she began sobbing.

I sat down on the couch and pulled her into a hug, worried about what had happened to upset her so much. “Shh. It’s in the past, Lark. I want you to let that go. Hell, as sorry as I am it happened, I’d never want the alternative which means not having Jude in my life. I love him, and I can’t regret what happened between us too much because we have a great son,” I reminded her.

I reached toward the box of tissue on the end table, handing a couple to her before I continued trying to calm her down—though I was sure I was shit at the task. “I wish Thornton would have hung around and let me explain things to him because maybe he’d be doing this with me, but maybe if I’m a good boy and say my prayers, I might get a second chance,” I teased, trying to lighten the mood.

Unfortunately, she only sobbed harder. “Lark, tell me what’s wrong. We’ll fix it together, just as we have since I found out you were going to have my baby,” I whispered, feeling a ball of nerves begin to tighten in my stomach.

I had picked up on Lark’s mood swing since she’d seen my parents and then when Judah told me how my fucking father made her cry, I was worried. My biggest fear in life was that she’d take Jude away somewhere, and there wouldn’t be anything I could do about it because we had a verbal agreement but there was nothing in writing that named him as my son.

We should have hammered things out in court, but it felt as if I didn’t trust her to demand we have a legal document between us. She and Judah were part of my family, and I didn’t want the court stepping in to make things tense between us. We were doing just fine on our own, the three of us.

She pulled away and got up from the couch abruptly. “I’ll pick Jude up tomorrow afternoon. You guys have fun tonight, okay? He had two pieces of cake so he might be wired. Maybe get him out in the yard and kick the soccer ball?” she suggested as she dried her eyes.

“Um, yeah, sure. Do you wanna stay for dinner? I’m just going to make a meatloaf. You don’t seem like you should be alone tonight,” I observed, seeing her nervously shifting from one foot to the other.

“No, I’m fine. I’ve got a lot of things to do at home. I’m not angry about your discussion with Jude. He told me about it, and he seems to be satisfied with your explanation for now, so that’s good. I’ll see you guys tomorrow at four o’clock, okay?”

Without waiting for an answer, she hurried out the door. I went in search of Jude, seeing him playing his Xbox. “Hey, it’s a nice afternoon. You feel like going outside to kick the soccer ball around a little?” I asked him. He held up a finger, and when I heard a massive explosion, he moved to place the controller on the console and shut off the television.

“Practice starts soon. Will you be able to come?” Judah asked.

I ruffled his hair and rested my arm on his broadening shoulders, amazed at the way he was filling out. When I was his age, I was a scrawny little geek. Considering Lark was such a petite, delicate woman, it was incredible to me that Jude was already so tall and filling out at only eight. I would never be surprised if he actually surpassed me in height and build by the time he was sixteen.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I’ll figure it out with Aunt Aurora regarding work, and I’ll get Uncle Eli to pick you up at your mom’s so I can meet you at the field straight from the office. I’m excited to see how this goes. I didn’t play soccer. I played baseball, but I never got the hang of soccer. I’m glad you’ve found something you like. Go grab the ball from the garage, and I’ll grab waters,” I told him. I watched him hurry to the garage, and I could only laugh. He was all boy.


After we ate dinner, I could see our little workout in the backyard had taken my son out. He was helping me with the dishes, and I was reminded of my earlier musings about time I spent with Thornton. I had to shut that down because I definitely didn’t want an embarrassing scene in front of Jude.

After the third yawn, I laughed. “Bud, why don’t you catch a shower? We can watch a movie in your room until you go to sleep. You look like you’re about to pass out,” I teased.

“Sounds good, Dad,” he agreed as he dried his hands on a dish towel. I ruffled his hair as he walked away.

I heard my phone chime at the counter, so after I finished loading the dishwasher, I saw there was a message from Thornton which simultaneously excited and terrified me. Would he tell me he wanted nothing more to do with me? Would he tell me it had all been a game to get my hopes up and then abruptly walk out of my life again to show me how much it hurt to be betrayed?

K – I had a great time today. Can I treat you to dinner tomorrow night? T

My heart was about to pound out of my chest because I had a feeling it was the jumping off point for the two of us, and I was going to do it with both feet. I’d fucked it up once, and I wasn’t about to do it again. I honestly didn’t know what had brought him back to Spokane, but there was plenty of time to figure it out. If it was my chance to gain his forgiveness for my sins, I was going for it all the way.

T – I’d love to have dinner with you tomorrow night. Jude leaves at four. Tell me when and where, and I’m there without question. K

I released a held breath as I hit send on my phone, hearing the shower turn on down the hall. In my wildest dreams, I never knew my life would be taking the path I wanted—the path I’d given up on years ago. It was so fucking great to have a second chance at a future with him that I pinched myself just to be sure I wasn’t dreaming.

You seem to forget I’m a gentleman. If I might have your address, I’ll pick you up at 6:30. You still like sushi? – T

I had to hold in the shout of joy so I didn’t scare Jude. I couldn’t get my hopes up too high but for the first time in a long time, I had the inkling of the possibility I might be able to have a real relationship… again. Hell, I hadn’t even tried to have a relationship since Thornton but if I were being given a second chance, the one I’d begged God for, I was taking it.

Sorry for the oversight. I still like sushi, though I haven’t had it in a while. 6:30 is fine. I’m at 312 Cable Street. I look forward to seeing you very much. K

When I heard the shower turn off, I walked back to my room and changed into lounge pants and a strap t-shirt. I waited until Jude opened his bedroom door after getting into his pajamas, keeping myself occupied by thinking about the possibilities of the next night and getting so excited, I worried if I’d be able to sleep.

Jude was popping a movie into the old CD player we still had so he could continue to watch my old favorites as I sat on his bed, resting against the headboard on top of the covers. He grabbed the remote and climbed into bed next to me. “What’s the movie?” I asked him.

“L-O-T-R,” he responded with a look in my direction that signaled he thought I was an idiot. It brought a chuckle from me. It was his favorite movie, and the fascination for the Tolkien tales was something we shared. The first one, “LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring,” was my favorite movie, too.

Five minutes into it, I heard his soft snores. I turned off the movie player and the television. I kissed his forehead before climbing off the bed and turning out the light.

I went to my bedroom, closing the door almost all the way, and I grabbed my neglected guitar from its stand in the corner. It had been a long time since I’d played, but I was so fucking happy, I couldn’t help myself.

I remembered serenading Thorn with some indie songs during college as the two of us hung out in our old apartment. I quietly played the opening riff of a nineties song we both loved, taking me back to one night just before Christmas break that year before everything blew up.

Thorn had been studying for finals in our bedroom while I’d been in the small living room, quietly strumming as I’d run through facts in my head for one of my finals the next day. Playing my guitar had always helped to calm my nerves and focus. Thorn had always seemed to love it and that night…

He heard me slowly playing the song he liked, not at the quick pace as the original artists played it, slowing it down to more of a ballad. Thorn came into the living room and sat down on the floor leaning against my legs as I sat on the couch. I continued playing, and when I began singing, he closed his book and rested his head against the inside of my left knee, pulling my bare feet into his lap and massaging them. I had to adjust my guitar because the feeling of his hands on my feet had me immediately sprung.

When I got to the line about getting married, he squeezed my feet. It was something we could only dream about, but at that moment, I prayed a permanent relationship was in our future… that was, if I could ever get over my fears regarding telling my parents I was gay.

After I played, we went to bed and held each other. Well, we stripped off naked and kissed tenderly, but we both had early classes, so we settled for holding each other. I was utterly content as I drifted off to sleep with my arms wrapped around Thorn.

The next day after finals were over, we exchanged gifts before we went our separate ways for the holidays. I bought him a set of leather-bound journals because he loved to write every night before he went to bed. I also gave him a Mont Blanc pen with his initials engraved on it. He kissed me for the gifts.

He gave me a thin cuff with “One day, we’ll live as one” engraved on the underside and a bar of music from my favorite song, “Imagine,” by The Beatles was engraved on the top.

The cuff was in my dresser drawer in the wooden box Thorn had given to me. I had worn it until I determined he wasn’t coming back to me, and then I put it away. I pulled it out from time to time when his memory weighed heavily on my mind, but I didn’t wear it any longer.

I placed my guitar on the stand in the bedroom and went to the dresser, digging around to find the teak box that had been meant to hold sheet music—the music Thorn had decided I’d write when I became a successful musician. That didn’t happen, but I still loved the box. I pulled out the white gold cuff and slipped it on my wrist, feeling more optimistic than I ever had in my life. I had a feeling we’d find our way back to each other and the sensation of the cuff next to my skin helped to calm me. I climbed into bed and felt the peace I hadn’t felt in a long time, falling asleep with a smile on my face for the first time in years.

To be continued…

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