Short Stories

The Veterans

Pat sat at his usual table in the dinner having supper.  Mom's Restaurant was owned by a man named Tom, and he was the main evening chef.  The name had come with the restaurant when he had bought it years ago, and he had kept it to keep the customer's happy.  Actually, Tom was a highly experienced and retired chef who had started out in the military and after leaving moved into the commercial cooking field.  Many years later, he had enough of the high-pressure industry and bought the restaurant to occupy his time.

It was an older diner with seating for 40 people along the counter or at the booths.  There were a lot of families who ate there, as well as a few regulars like Pat who ate at least one meal per day at the diner.  Most of the few others who were called "the regulars" were seniors, widowed or single men and they all shared a loose friendship with two things in common.  It was the only daily social outing many of them had, and they were all veterans which made them a group with a common bond. Pat enjoyed listening to the stories of the older gentlemen, even if they did get repeated or in some cases, embellished each time they were told.  A couple of them were vets from the Second World War and the others were vets from the Korean or Vietnam War.  Pat, being a veteran himself from a more recent war really enjoyed listening to them. The stories they told each other as brothers in arms were the stories they never spoke of to their families and even after the passage of many years, the stories were still amazing yet heartbreaking.  It was also therapeutic for them to finally speak of them to each other. Pat could offer a couple of his own stories, but most of his missions were still classified and would be for many years beyond his lifespan.

Tom employed a few people in the diner.  A couple of older Filipino women washed the dishes and kept the kitchen clean. They also helped him prep the food and cooked when it got busy.  Tom enjoyed having the two older ladies around because they always kept themselves busy working or cleaning something, unlike the current snowflake generation. They chatted away to each other in Filipino as they worked their way through the kitchen like a cleaning tornado, or they suddenly appeared beside him to help out when things got busy. The two were sisters, and their husbands would come to help out cooking opposite to Tom's shift or when he wanted some time off.  Both of the ladies were retired and had wanted something to do with their time. Tom had chuckled when he found out they were both university graduates, one sister an electrical engineer and the other a civil engineer.  Their mother had raised them in a restaurant in the Philippines, and they had spent some of the happiest times of their lives together doing what they were doing now and constantly visiting. Their husbands would drop in, and help the ladies out if they were busy, all of them chatting away and laughing the entire time.  One of the husbands, Rick or Ricardo, had offered to reimburse Tom for any wages paid to the two women as long as they worked here.  He smiled as said, "If they are chatting and nattering at each other here, they aren't doing it home.  It gives us some peace and quiet.  None of us need the money, we enjoy you, the people and your restaurant."  They had even been getting Tom to use and expand the Filipino he had learned in the Army, and he joined in with many of their conversations.

Tom's daughter would help out when she was available, home from school, or not studying for an exam.  Out front, he had a couple of university students who took the orders and cleaned the tables after the customers had left.  The employees had all been with Tom for at least a couple of years and they both knew the regulars by name.  The regulars always sat on Bryce's side of the diner as he was always a lot more friendly and helpful with the group than Alicia was.  He appreciated them and enjoyed being around the older gentlemen while Alicia thought they just consumed space.  She also thought the diner didn't make enough money from them, so they should be asked to leave after a set time.  Tom had made it clear he would fire her before he ever did anything to hurt his group of regulars.  Finally, as far as she knew, the regulars never left tips.  What she didn't know was every one of the regulars was very generous to Bryce, and they never made it obvious when they gave it to him just because of her.

Bryce was attending university classes part-time in the mornings.  He spent the rest of his day looking after his ill mother and working at the diner.  He had no clue who his father was as Bryce was the end result of a quick one-night liaison his mother had one night after too many drinks at college.  His mother had always thought of him as a gift and raised him with lots of love and attention.  He had never met his mother's parents as they were both dead, and they had not thought her getting pregnant was ladylike.  With that opinion, they disowned her as soon as it was confirmed.  They reaffirmed it when she sent them Bryce's birth announcement by mail.  They had returned it with their names as the grandparents whited out.  Communication between them had been nonexistent from then to their deaths.

Bryce loved being around the older gentlemen at the diner; a couple of them even called him son.  He often imagined or daydreamed of them being his real grandfathers.  The group of regulars was not only generous in tips but they also morally supported him when he was depressed.  The group usually gave good advice when he needed it, just like a grandfather would do. Bryce was lonely, and the regulars knew it.

Bryce really liked one of the regulars named Pat and thought about how his life would have been if he had him as a dad, or even better as a lover.  Bryce is a light-brown haired young man with very sensual and soft blue eyes which peek out from under his thick eyebrows.  His long eyelashes really add to the beauty of his eyes.  Bryce stands 5'10", weighs 150 lbs and is 23 years old.  His body type is in a natural V shape with broad shoulders tapering down to a narrow waist.  His arms flexed a solid bicep each time he lifted a dish tub to take into the kitchen.  There was no uniform for them to wear at the restaurant, so Bryce always wore a clean T-shirt and tight faded blue jeans.  None of the clothing was brand name and even his size 12 running shoes were the cheapest he could find.  Bryce didn't waste any of the money he made as most of it went to his mother's treatments, their living costs, or school.  Something the regulars really appreciated was his positive outlook on life and his quick sense of humor that he kept in spite of his situation.

Pat was seated at his usual table as Tom brought out his evening meal, setting it in front of him.

Pat put the newspaper down.  "Where's Bryce tonight? It's unusual he isn't working the supper run."

"He should be here any time.  He took his mother to another Doctor's appointment and was running late today."

"I hope it's going all right for him.  He seems to be with her at the Doctor's more now than ever," observed Pat.

Tom looked around and then spoke in a low voice. "Has he ever confided in you anything about what's wrong with her?"

"Not at all.  He's so open and honest about anything in life except his family matters.  I've never pushed him either."

"It's the same with me.  He's been working here a couple of years and all I know about his actual home life is that he has a mother and that he takes her to the doctor a lot.  He talks about school and anything else openly, and it seems like he worships you, Pat. He's always concerned if you're late and worried if something happened to you."

Pat looked up as he was about to put a piece of meatloaf covered in gravy into his mouth and froze.  "I didn't know that.  I mean we talk all the time and when the restaurant is slow, we sometimes do the crossword together from the newspaper or I help him with his assignments from college if I can.  Other times we just sit and talk or actually, I just do a lot of listening, but I didn't know he was concerned about me like that.  I really do like Bryce; he is a very fine young man."

"He loves the entire gang of regulars, but I think he has more of a bond with you.  After all, you are forty years younger than the rest of the regulars and would be about the age of the average dad for a young man his age.  I don't think he really has had any male figures or even family in his life and you guys are the closest he has.  You all treat him well, give him praise and talk to him like you care about him."

"I've sensed he doesn't have a male presence either.  Just some of the talk we've had would be the type of talks you shared with your dad, older brother or uncle.  We all do care about him and I know the others look at him like a substitute grandson because they never get to see their real ones," replied Pat.  "I also know Bryce treats them with all with respect, and that's something they don't get from their own families even when they do show up for visits."

The front door to the restaurant flew open, Bryce rushed in and slammed it behind him.  He ran into the kitchen, and before the kitchen door closed they could hear him yelling, "Tom!"  The kitchen door opened, and Bryce came out.  He stood and started to look around the restaurant.

Tom called out, "We're here, Bryce."  The young man rushed over.

"I'm sorry about being late Tom; I'll make it up to you.  The Doctor's appointment took a long time today," Bryce said while looking at his feet.  Pat noted Bryce usually made eye contact with everyone he spoke with, and he wasn't doing that at the moment.

"Bryce, is everything ok?" asked Pat with concern.

Bryce raised his head to look at Pat and Tom.  His blue eyes which were usually full of life and mischief were red from crying.  Tom wrapped his big arms around Bryce and pulled him into a tight hug.

"What's happened, Bryce?" asked Tom gently.

Bryce began to sob.  "I'm sorry I was late Tom.  It's Mom… they can't stop the cancer. They've done everything they can, and now it's just a matter of waiting for her to…"

Tom pulled him in tighter and used one hand to rub his back.  "Don't worry about being late Bryce, it's no problem. Cry it out and then we'll talk."

It had been a quiet night and with only an hour left, Tom had sent everyone else home early.  Tom had only stayed to feed Pat, and to sit and chat with him while he had his supper. A couple of moments later, Bryce settled down and broke away from Tom.

"I'm sorry for the way I acted, and in front of Pat too," he said embarrassed.

"Sit down Bryce and talk with Pat while I get us both something to eat," directed Tom.  He left the dining room and into the kitchen.

"Bryce, what's going on?" asked Pat.

"Mom's been fighting cancer for a while now and today the doctor told us they have done everything they can.  She's going to die, and from what they said, it won't take long now," Bryce explained as he fought to not to cry.

"I hear what you're saying.  What can I do to help?" asked Pat.

"I don't want to bother you."

"Bryce, it's no problem and if I didn't care about you as a friend, I wouldn't have asked," said Pat carefully.

"I appreciate it and I've come to think of you as a friend too," replied Bryce shyly.  "I just don't know what to do.  Besides my mom, you, Tom, and the regulars… I don't have anyone else.  I don't know where to even start to deal with it.  I go to school part-time, with the rest of my time here at work or at home looking after her.  All my wage and tip money are being used pay what isn't covered by social services."

Just then the kitchen door opened up and Tom came out with two more plates of meatloaf.  He set them on the table; one in front of Bryce and one for himself.  After encouragement, the young man began to eat. The three of them ate in silence for a couple of moments.

The front door suddenly opened and two of the other members of the regulars came in and helped themselves to coffee before sitting near Pat and Tom.  They were making small talk when the final three of the group walked in and joined them after getting coffee as well.

Bryce was looking at them when Melvin answered the question he knew was on Bryce's mind.  "Bryce, we all got a text message from Tom telling us what was going on and we're here for you.  We've come to think of you as a friend and we look out for our friends."

George spoke next.  "I get to visit with you more than anyone from my family.  Damn right I'd be here to see how I could help you, Son."

Bryce's face was showing his shock at the group of men.  "I don't know what to say," Bryce said quietly.

Tom got up and went to the door to lock it and turn off the open sign. He pulled the drapes over the windows and turned off most of the lights as well before going into the kitchen. When he came out, he had a large brandy bottle and some shot glasses.  He sat it on the table with the men, and Vincent reached out and poured brandy into all the glasses.  He handed them out and then handed the last one to Bryce.

"You're one of us Son, so you drink with us.  We always have a toast when we get together to plan something, and we want you to join us," Vincent explained as he handed the glass to Bryce.

They all held their glasses as Padre Greg spoke up.

"God, we honor those who have gone before us and when our time is up, we will walk amongst them again.  Tonight, we pray and ask for your help for our friend Bryce.  This young man has come into our hearts as a friend and needs your help and ours as well.  He is a good young man Lord, and please protect him as he moves on through life."  The Padre lifted his glass and said, "Please hear our prayers."  The Padre stood before hold in glass up and saying, "To those who went before us." 

The group stood, repeated the words, and continued with, "We will remember them."  They all took the shot of brandy.

Bryce coughed, and his eyes started to water from the burning of the brandy as it went down his throat and into his stomach.  He could feel it moving through his body like an elevator going down from the top floor to the basement.  Almost immediately, Bryce began to feel warm as the effects of the alcohol spread rapidly throughout his body.  The men were all watching him, and he slowly turned his head to look at Padre Greg, Vincent, George, Melvin, and Arthur the quiet one with the big smile. He continued to look around the group to Tom, and then he locked eyes with Pat.  Pat patted the seat next to him and Bryce shifted over to the seat.  Bryce felt the huge man wrap his arm around his shoulder and pull him to his side.  For the first time, Bryce felt safe from the world as he was being held by Pat and surrounded by all the men he respected tremendously.

"I don't know what to say gentlemen" Bryce finally said.  "I came to work tonight lost in my thoughts, thinking I was alone but I now see I was wrong."

Arthur, who was usually the quiet one spoke up in a strong Irish accent. "Fucking right Bryce, and don't you fucking forget it."

Bryce was surprised Arthur had spoken in that manner to the group.  He was always polite to Bryce, but he was a man of few words.

The group laughed heartily.  Pat leaned down and spoke to Bryce.  "Arthur the Irishman doesn't say much, but when he does speak – he usually says it right."

Padre Greg spoke up. "And I don't let him lead prayers either.  He's fine at repeating but he can't lead."

Arthur had a big smile on his face as he said, "I never swear when I am speaking with God or having to keep the decorum.  The rest of the time, it's fucking fine."  The group laughed again.

Bryce finally spoke up.  "I appreciate this.  I'm lost and don't even know what to do.  I don't even know how to ask for help because I've never asked anyone to help me before."  Bryce was quiet for a moment before he continued, "I've never had anyone to ask for help before."

"You aren't asking Son," started George, "We're offering and not taking no for an answer because you're one of us now.  What we want you to do now is tell us about you, and the family life you skipped over or never discussed before."

Bryce looked at Tom who slowly nodded his head.  He then turned his head to look up at Pat and locked eyes with him. He nodded his head and squeezed him into the hug tightly.

For the first time ever, Bryce told the group the story from his birth, no family except his mom and everything he has been doing to keep them going.  His mother had done a fantastic job raising him on a teacher's salary, regardless of not being able to teach for the last year.  No one said a thing while Bryce spoke for twenty minutes straight.  It felt good to him as he shared his story with the gentlemen he thought of as friends.  He hesitated for a minute and then told the group how Tom had been so good to him with the job and how the group had made it possible for him to help his mom with their tips.  Bryce then told them about how he felt like he had a family when he was with them and wished they could be his grandfathers.  There wasn't a dry eye in the group.

Tom spoke quietly "Bryce, did you include the young one Pat into our group as a grandfather?"  Bryce jumped at his question.

Pat leaned down and said, "You don't have to answer that seeing I'm the youngest of the old farts club or you can whisper it in my ear."

Bryce smiled and whispered, "I always wished I had a dad like you." Pat smiled.

"I would have been proud to have a young man like you as my son," said Pat.  Bryce smiled at him, but then looked down at the table.

"What's wrong?" asked Pat.

Bryce was uncomfortable but spoke anyway.  "There's one more thing you need to know about me, and I'll understand if you change your minds."

The group was concerned at Bryce's announcement and leaned forward to listen.

Bryce started slowly "I'm… gay."

Arthur spoke first.  "Is that all?  Big fucking deal.  I thought it was something fucking important.  Are you daft there, little man?  George and Melvin are together and have been for years. Most of the rest of us are fucking straight but that's our problem."

Bryce was shocked.

Tom spoke up "Bryce, that doesn't mean anything to me either because I don't have straight tattooed across my forehead.  I was more concerned about looking out for you as a friend and as a good person. Thank you for telling us only because you thought it was important as part of you.  In our eyes, that and a lot of other differences just aren't important.  The inner person is what's important, not the outer."

It was Pat who spoke next.  "I'm gay as well Bryce; I lost my partner many years ago and chose to remain single with no relationships since that time."

Bryce was surprised at the comments, and especially Pat's admission. "You guys are the first people I have ever told besides my mom, but I felt I had to be absolutely honest with you."

"Your honesty is one of the reasons we're here for you today," said George.  "You have our respect and making us the first people you have told is an honor, my son."

Melvin spoke up, "Gentlemen, and the little Irish lush in the corner..." started Melvin.  A "fuck you yank" was heard in the background as he continued.  "We have some planning to do."

After waiting for some comments, Melvin continued speaking, "Padre Greg, you need to be introduced to his mother and get all the information from her you can about her condition and what she needs."  The Padre nodded his head.

"Commander Arthur, although it sounds premature, let's begin some discussions with Bryce's mom.  Seeing as you were in the Judge Advocate General's office, could you go with Greg and help her with anything she needs from a lawyer's point of view?"

Arthur smiled. "Aye Aye, Sgt Major."

"When we get more information on her condition, we can set up a schedule to be with her while Bryce is at school and work.  Medic Sgt Vincent, can you look after that?"

"Yes, Sgt Major," Vincent replied.

"Sgt Major.  As of today, I could give Bryce some time off work if it helps," said Tom.

"That would be nice, Mess Sgt Tom, but right now it may help Bryce to keep working.  But let's make that decision after meeting with his mother," replied Melvin.  He continued, "Colonel Pat, would you be able to work with Bryce and help him with whatever he needs?"

Pat had a big smile on his face, "I can handle that Sgt Major, that is if it's ok with Bryce?"

Bryce smiled and for the first time he repositioned himself, so he could hug Pat.  "I would like that, sir."  Pat rubbed circles on the young man's back.  The rest of the men at the table smiled at the two of them.

They continued talking about Melvin, Greg, and Arthur meeting with his mother the next day, and they would plan on meeting as usual for supper, but dependent on how the day went.

Bryce went home that night full of energy.  His mother, Sally was up and waiting for him as usual and was shocked when Bryce explained what Pat, Tom, and the rest of the regulars had said earlier.  Bryce had talked of this group, and especially Pat often, but she was still surprised at how they were planning to help look after her and Bryce.  Bryce helped her to bed and went off to his own room.  Sally was lying in bed with new hopes about this group who seemed to be taking Bryce under their wings, and maybe he would be alright after she was gone. She knew her end was near, but specifically hadn't told Bryce how close it really was.  She had known how close she was to dying for a while and was holding out being absolutely truthful with Bryce.  She didn't want to leave him alone.

While Sally was in bed worrying, Bryce was laying naked on his bed.  One hand was pinching his nipples while the other was sliding up and down his erect cock.  He was imagining Pat making love to him. Pat was 42 years old, trimmed dark hair, trimmed goatee beard, brown eyes, 6'6" and 240lbs.  He was a huge man with shoulders like a football player.  Bryce had checked out Pat many times while he was at the diner and knew he was still in pretty good shape with a narrow waist.  The jeans Pat wore were not tight, but they fit properly and that accentuated his nice ass with a large package on the front.  Bryce always looked at the hair on Pat's chest which showed just above his tight polo shirts and he longed to reach out to play with it.  Bryce was getting close as he imagined what Pat would look like naked.  Even in his grief, Bryce had got hard when Pat had pulled him in for a hug. The smell of faint musk and aftershave made Bryce get hard every time he served a meal, but tonight he got to smell it up close.  He had loved the feel of the muscles and warmth radiating from Pat's body against his own.  The climax had arrived, and Bryce shot his load, the first spurt landing on his chest with the second one hitting on the chin.  The rest of Bryce's cum landed on his stomach as he let loose with his load. In post-orgasmic bliss, he fell asleep quickly and dreamed of falling asleep with Pat's arms around him.

Right on schedule, Melvin and Arthur showed up at the house in the morning, and Bryce introduced them to his mother before he left for school.  When he got back around noon, he found the three of them eating pickles, cheese cubes, and soda crackers.  They were laughing at the stories each one was telling.  Bryce couldn't figure out why his mother looked different from this morning except the worry lines around her eyes looked like they were gone.

The doorbell rang, and Bryce went to answer it.  Tom, Pat and the rest of the regulars were standing in the hallway waiting to be admitted.  They had brought more food as well as a cardboard box.  Bryce showed them all to where the rest were sitting.

Sally's voice was heard as Pat entered the doorway into the kitchen for the first time.  "Shit, Pat's as fucking big as you said he was, Arthur."

Bryce froze behind the rest of the men.  He had never heard his mother use any word worse than shit before.

Pat's voice was heard laughing "There goes another good person who's been corrupted by Arthur.  I can't believe he even corrupted a teacher."

Bryce heard his mother's voice again clearly, "Fuck you yank." The group lost it with laughter. Bryce worked his way into the kitchen and looked at his mom and smiled.  Pat had set the cardboard box on the counter and quietly came up behind Bryce, wrapping his big arms around each shoulder.  Pat gently pulled him tightly into his body.

"How was your morning, little man?" asked Pat.

"It was good, but it's better now with your hug.  What have you guys done to my mom?" asked Bryce.

Sally spoke up, "These guys have had me laughing so much I even forgot about the cancer for a bit. All this time you were talking about this group of men and I didn't believe what you were telling me.  They are every bit as friendly, sweet, and caring as you described them.  Padre, Arthur, and I fixed so many things this morning. I thank God for these men who came into our lives. I can't believe most them are in their 80's because they act like kids when they're not serious."

"I'm happy I met them too mom and I agree not one of them act their ages. By the way, Pat is half their ages," replied Bryce.

"I noticed that Bryce, believe me, I noticed it very quickly," she replied with a smile.

About 30 minutes later, the group had eaten all the lunch Pat had brought with him.  Even Sally had eaten more that morning than she had for the past week.  Bryce was amazed as Pat went to the box and brought the bottle of brandy out with enough glasses for everyone.  After filling them, he carefully passed them out.  The Padre stood.

"God, we honor those who have gone before us and when our time is up, we will walk amongst them again.  Today we thank you for allowing us to meet Sally, Bryce's mother as you would know.  She is the absolute perfect inspiration on how to live our lives in the manner you intended.  She's a good person, who has raised a good son into manhood; a young man who has come into our hearts as a friend.  We pray for Sally and Bryce, and to guide us to do your will as we help them." 

The Padre lifted his glass and said, "Please hear our prayers."  The Padre held his glass up high while saying "To those who went before us." 

The group stood and repeated the words and continuing with "We will remember them."  They all took the shot of brandy.

Both Sally and Bryce coughed a bit at the brandy.  They spent the rest of the afternoon telling jokes, exchanging stories and making fun of each other.  Bryce hadn't seen his mom enjoy herself so much in months.

Sally had been watching Pat interact with Bryce.  She could see the love and adoration in Bryce's eyes, but she couldn't read Pat's expression very well.  She observed he was very controlled in his emotions and expressions.  He was very good with Bryce, and they continually subtlety touched each other as if they were making sure the other was there.  She could see Pat was a professional man and used to his professional image.

Finally, it happened; Pat was sitting on the couch when Bryce walked by.  His big hands had quickly grabbed the young man and pulled Bryce onto his lap sideways.  The young man rested his head against Pat's chest which resulted in Pat reaching up to rub circles on Bryce's back. While Pat was rubbing the young man's back, she saw him look down at Bryce.

His eyes lost the emotional control, and she could see the love in them. His eyes had become full of warmth and adoration as he looked at Bryce.  It also looked like his entire face softened while looking at her son on his lap, and the smile on his face was matched by the smile of his eyes.  Sally also noticed Bryce had closed his eyes and had both a very peaceful and contented look on his face. She couldn't tell if it was the look as a future acting father for Bryce, or something more intimate.  Sally didn't care; she knew Pat would look after Bryce when she was gone.  They talked at great length during the afternoon and quite simply, she not only respected Pat but she had a bit of a crush on him too.  Bryce was an average sized adult, but she marveled how he looked like a child in the arms of the big man.  It was the first time in her life she had ever seen Bryce cuddle in a man's arms, and she realized how much he had missed by not having a father figure in his life.

Early in the evening, Sally had become tired and headed off to bed.  The gang of regulars had also departed leaving Pat and Bryce on the couch watching TV.

"So, what do you think of the guys helping your mom out?" asked Pat.

The young man was leaning up against Pat.  "It was incredible.  I haven't seen her like this for so long."

"She looked like she had a lot of fun today.  So little man, it's just us and it's time to be honest with each other."

Bryce sat upright and turned to look at Pat.  "What do you mean?"

"I need you to be honest with me.  I'm prepared to take you on for the rest of your life and act as a surrogate father to you.  Would that make you happy little man?"

Bryce's face was blank for a second and then a big smile broke out on it. "Yes Pat, that'd make me very happy."  He moved in and hugged Pat tightly.

"Now the honesty time, Bryce.  You want more from me than just being a surrogate father, don't you?"

Bryce tensed and then tried to get away.  Pat reached out and grabbed the back of Bryce's belt, pulling him back onto his lap.

Pat looked into Bryce's eyes and could see they were filling with tears.  "Little man, or now I guess I can call you son... rule #1 is we never run away from a conversation until it's done."

Bryce didn't say anything but turned his head, so Pat couldn't see the tears leaking from his eyes.  Pat gently brought his hand up and guided Bryce's head, so he could look directly at his angelic face.  Bryce tried to look away.

"Son, we need to be honest with each other about this or it might hurt what we have or will have together."

The tears were increasing from Bryce's eyes.

Pat gently leaned forward so he was nose to nose with Bryce.  The young man's eyes opened wide in fear.  Pat leaned closer and gently placed his lips on Bryce's, kissing him deeply.

Bryce was in shock.  He thought he was dreaming as he felt Pat's soft lips on his.  As soon as Pat's lips touched his, the contact sent an electrical charge throughout his body and he could feel his cock going hard almost immediately as he melted into Pat's arms.

Pat finished his kiss and moved his head backward enough to look into Bryce's eyes.  He gently placed an open palm along the side of Bryce's head and gently stroked his face.

"I take it you liked that?" asked Pat.

"Yes, yes I did.  I've dreamed about that kiss for so long."

"I've thought you were interested for a while but I didn't want to encourage it.  You're half my age and you should be with someone your own age, someone who treats you well and who is just as hot as you are."

"I've had a couple of short-term boyfriends, but I want something with a mature person, a stable and long-term relationship.  I've always liked looking at older guys because they are so much more attractive to me... Wait, did you say you think I'm hot?" asked Bryce with puzzlement on his beautiful face.

"You are the cutest young man I know, Bryce.  It's not just your outer looks, but it combines with the inner beauty you have, and it makes you a very attractive young man." Pat smirked as he added "You are sort of like a Christmas gift.  The outside looks so good and you know it's something good inside too.  You are a gift to all of us, and don't you ever forget it!"

"I've never had anyone say something like that to me before, thank you. I think you're an incredibly hot looking man and I don't care about the age difference."

"Well, why don't we go slowly and see how it goes.  I mean, for us to spend time together and get to know each other to see if a relationship is possible.  It looks like I have a surrogate son now, and we'll see how close we get but I will not jeopardize that for anything more.  Would you like that?"

Bryce had a big smile on his face.  "I would really like that, Pat."

Pat kissed him again and the touch of Bryce's warm lips on his was having an effect on him as he felt himself going flush and hard.  Bryce could feel his cock making his underwear wet as it leaked, and he was terrified to even move in case he squirted out the precum which was building up. They finished their kiss.

Bryce had his hand in the middle of Pat's chest and started to slowly make circles with it.  He could feel the solid muscles under the shirt Pat was wearing.  Pat smiled at the young man, and then pulled him tight to his body.

Bryce mumbled something.

Pat looked down at him and said, "What was that?"

Bryce spoke louder "I… can't… breathe…"

Pat released his grip.  "I'm sorry, Son."

Bryce was smiling and made a sudden movement to tickle Pat's ribs.  There was no reaction.

"Damn, I thought I had that planned out pretty good."

"I'm not ticklish, but I do like hugging you, Son."

"I like you hugging me too, daddy."

The two of them sat together on the couch and talked about Bryce's classes, and his career choice of being a psychiatric nurse.  Bryce was talking non-stop about the career he was moving towards and how he could be there to help so many people.  Pat mostly listened to Bryce, content to listen to his dreams. He did ask questions of Bryce when he needed clarification, but he just enjoyed listening to him talk.

Bryce was still sitting on Pat's lap but had reclined against the arm of the couch.  Both were quite comfortable in their positions.

Bryce asked Pat about his life.  He told Bryce he had grown up here in town, he was an only child and he had gone into the military.  His parents were older when they had him and both have passed on many years ago.  Pat explained he had been in the army until he retired.  He couldn't talk about a lot of what he actually did due to the type of missions he was leading.  He did tell him as much as he could about training, parachuting, and some of the war games he participated in.  He told Bryce about his life partner Jeb, and that he had died in combat.  Pat was quiet after saying that for a moment.

Bryce sat up and hugged the big man.

"Thank you, Bryce, I appreciate that hug."

"Anytime, I have lots of them, Dad."

"Bryce, it's getting really late and I better get home.  You better head off to bed as you have classes in the morning."

"But, won't you stay… I mean longer so we can talk more?"

"We have lots of time to talk and really learn about each other before anything else happens."

The young man looked disappointed for a moment, and then a big smile came across his face.  "I understand, and this is the mature relationship as opposed to a meet and sex."

Pat smiled back at the young man.  "Yes, Bryce.  In my world, sex means love and not just a physical act or piece of ass.  We have time, Son."

"I like how that sounded, Dad."

"I think I like the sound of you calling me dad too."

They got up and walked to the door, Pat's arm around Bryce.  They kissed one more time before Pat left for home.

Bryce was floating on cloud nine as he ran to his bedroom, closing the door behind him.  He ripped his pants off and got a look at how wet his underwear was.  He pulled it off and threw himself onto his bed.  Bryce began to milk his hard cock and then used the precum as a lubricant to slide his hand up and down.  The head of his cock was a large mushroom head, wider than the shaft.  It was also very sensitive from being erect for so long and each time his hand made contact with it, he felt electricity flow straight down the shaft and into his balls.  It didn't take long for Bryce to shoot his load.  He was jerking fast with one hand while the other played with his hairless balls when the waves of ecstasy hit him.  His load jetted out with enough force to land on his face.  When he was finished cumming, Bryce took his shirt off and wiped his face.  He crawled into bed and fell asleep quickly, contented and smiling.

The next morning, Bryce awoke for school.  After checking on his mother, he was concerned this morning as she didn't want to get up yet.  Just before leaving for school, Bryce let Vincent, Melvin, and Arthur into the apartment.

Arthur had been concerned with Sally's teaching benefits having been cut off and had been making some phone calls on her behalf.  When he heard a few things he knew weren't right, he contacted a friend who had been one of his articling students in the past.  After explaining the problem, and the short time Sally was expected to live, his friend took over the matter and launched into it with gusto.  Arthur had done up a will for Sally as well since it was something she had never done in the past.  He had typed it out last night on his typewriter as Arthur refused to get a computer.  He brought the document for signatures and some of the guys for witnesses.  As a Commissioner of Oaths, he could still sign it off for her.

Sally entered the kitchen with Vincent's help where Arthur was making some porridge and coffee.

"Top of the morning to you Sally," said Arthur as he stirred the pot.

"You too, Arthur," she replied.  "I'm thankful you guys are here this morning."

"We will be here every morning," stated Vincent.  He moved her towards a chair where she sat. Vincent put a small quantity of porridge in a bowl in front of Sally.

"I don't know if I can eat.  It's not one of my better mornings."

"Even a spoonful or two will help with the medications your taking," explained Vincent.

"I know guys and I'll try," she said with a smile.

"Thank you," replied Vincent.  "You have the most beautiful smile."

"Thank you.  It's so nice to hear things like that in the morning."

Vincent, Melvin, and Arthur joined her at the table with a bowl of porridge and a coffee each.

"Sally, I've been doing a wee bit of thinking about talking to Bryce about your time left," stated Arthur.  "I know you're at odds with what to tell him, but I think the sooner the better.  The young one should know."

"I've been doing a lot of thinking about it too," replied Sally.  After she swallowed the porridge she had been eating, she continued.  "Vincent, yesterday was so much fun, but was that the last of my energy?"

Vincent thought for a moment.  "Something like a burst of energy like that is not unusual in your position.  It's the recovery period afterward which will take longer.  I don't want to say it was your last good day and we can hope for more of them."

"The doctor gave me 2-4 weeks, without treatment or 10-12 with treatment.  He was being really generous with the time he estimated without treatment and it would be fast.  Both options had the same outcome.  So, I may have one or two more good days with a shitload of bad days seeing I declined the useless treatment."

Vincent took a deep breath. "May the good Lord be willing, you may have more good than bad, but it can't be predicted.  You know it's not that easy and I can't lie to you even for that beautiful smile."

Melvin spoke up.  "Sally, when the time comes to tell him, you will know it in your heart.  It will feel right."

The table was quiet for a couple of moment while everyone ate some more porridge and drank some coffee.

Arthur spoke up finally. "Sally me girl, did you tell him you've been having some problems with blood clots from the cancer?"

"No, I haven't Arthur.  I really didn't understand everything the Doctor said but what it boiled down to was something like blood clots being formed or released and potentially causing problems with my heart, lungs or something like a stroke.  I'm on so many pills; they can't treat it very well."

Vincent was nodding his understanding of what she was describing. "No worries.  I know what you're talking about." 

Arthur spoke up, "You know you need to be honest with Bryce, and the sooner the better."

"At least about the blood clot complications," added Melvin.

She shook her head no.  "Can we wait until Saturday to tell him everything?  That will let him finish his week of classes and a bit more of a chance to be with Pat before we talk about my… dying."

Vincent and Arthur both reached and took each of her hands into theirs.  "Of course, we can wait two days," said Arthur gently. "Sally ole girl, are you sure there's not a wee bit of the blarney in ye?"

Sally laughed.  "Arthur, you never cease to amaze me how you can jump between the professional lawyer and charming Irishman.  Rest assured Arthur, Ireland is one-half of what my parents gave to me."

"I fucking knew it, lass."

"The other half is Scottish Arthur.  So, laddie, I have a wee tendency to want to drink whiskey – but the other half wants to do it on someone else's dime or only when it's two for one."

Arthur's facial expression was blank for a moment, and then his entire face lit up with a smile. He then laughed a deep belly laugh which was so infectious, Vincent and Sally joined in.

Bryce got home at noon just as the Padre, George, and Melvin were arriving to replace Arthur and Vincent.  Sally was looking tired but happy to see the padre.  Bryce ran out to buy some groceries and after putting them away ran off to work.

It was a busy day at the diner and Bryce was kept running.  It had slowed down considerably by the time Pat came in for dinner.  As soon as Tom saw Pat, he brought three plates of food out to the table and sat down.

"Bryce, get your ass down in that seat and eat supper," said Tom sternly.


"It will be your butt if you don't sit and eat," replied Tom.

"Yes sir," replied Bryce with a smile.  He sat next to Pat.  "Hi, Dad."

"Hello to you too, Son," replied Pat as he hugged the young man from the side.  "Now eat the food young man, and your vegetables or no dessert."

"Yes sir," replied Bryce with a smile.  He liked being told to eat his meal by these two people who cared for him. It made him feel wanted by someone other than just his mom.

Tom watched the young man eat the food.  "So what were you up to today, Pat?" he asked.

"I was cleaning the garage.  I thought I should get it done before I get busy and it gave me a chance to throw out some of the crap I've been accumulating over the years.  Plus, I was out in the gardens pulling weeds. Tomorrow, I have to go do some shopping and pick up a few things for the house."

Tom smiled.  "I always had visions of you special forces types living in a cave, tent, or teepee."

"I never said I wasn't living in one of those.  I just called it a house," replied Pat smirking.

Bryce asked, "All this time, and I actually have no clue where you live."

"That's all part of the time we need to get to know each other, Son.  There's a lot about me you need to know.  But, I need you to never forget that I am so honored you picked me to be your dad.  I am very, very proud to be the daddy of someone like you and I just wish I had been there while you were growing up."

Bryce was stunned by Pat's comments and had moisture building in his eyes. He leaned over and hugged Pat tightly with the side of head tight against his body.

"Thanks.  I never realized until last night I had so many guardian angels around me like Tom and you."

"To answer one of your questions, I live not far from here.  Yes Tom, in a house," said Pat as he laughed. "I live on Victoria Close at the far end of the block."

Tom's eyes opened wide, knowing that part of town fairly well.  Pat shook his head sideways slightly and Tom acknowledged his signal back.

"Maybe we can discuss your mom coming up to the house for dinner with the rest of the regulars on Friday night.  We'll make it a night for her to remember, and just for her.  Maybe Tom could even arrange for the night off to be with us, and bring his wife too," said Pat.

Tom smiled "That would be nice.  You know, it's funny how well we all know each other, but we really don't."

"Do you know any good caterer's, Tom?  I mean ones who would do it for me and you would eat their food?"

Tom laughed.  "I would consider you an asshole asking about a caterer if I wasn't one of the guests.  But, I assume 10-12 people max within a reasonable budget?"

"I would have asked you first, but I really want you to be a guest and not working.  I'll supply the wine and coffee.  It should be salad, entree, and dessert with appetizers available beforehand too.  We can discuss a budget, but I'm not worried about the cost of this meal.  I want it to be an amazing and memorable dinner."

"I'll make a call to someone who I know would bend over backward to do it," replied Tom.

Bryce spoke up. "You guys plan things so fast.  I take it that my mom and I are coming for dinner to your place tomorrow night and the entire crew with their friends or spouses will be there."

"Yes.  That's correct, little man.  We'll make it a special night for your mom," replied Pat.

"What if mom isn't up to it?" asked Bryce.

"If anything, the going out for dinner will be something for her to look forward to doing.  Dinner will be casual dress," stated Pat.

The messages were sent out via text, and soon everyone had confirmed their attendance.  Even Sally had promised to try and attend if she was up to it.  Pat dropped Bryce off at the apartment, but not before they gave each other a long, tender kiss.  Bryce was smiling as he watched Pat drive away in an old car.  It was a nice old Ford Crown Victoria, clean but well used, at least 15 years old but well maintained.

On Friday night, Bryce and Sally were in Vincent's Windstar minivan on their way for dinner.  Sally had been using the wheelchair in the apartment all day as she was getting very tired walking.  She now had it in the back of the van for her to continue using through the evening.  Vincent pulled onto Victoria Close where the houses were old, huge, and obviously worth a lot of money.  About three-quarters of the way along the street, the houses stopped, and a big iron fence started on both sides of the road.  There was a beautifully cut lawn and a thick forest behind the imposing fence.  Sally was enjoying herself looking at the forest and sniffing the fresh air perfumed with the smell of spruce trees. Vincent came to an open gate and drove through along a driveway which led through flower gardens and up to a circular drive.  Behind the circular drive was a beautiful old English style mansion. Bryce was about to say something when he noticed Pat's Crown Victoria parked in front of the garage on one side of the house.

The mansion was huge.  The front was shale rock up to the second floor where cedar singles in light grey were used up to the roof.  There were numerous windows across the front, each in the colonial style of smaller pieces of glass held together by wood to form the window.  The front entrance sat upon a wide landing area at the top of a curved set of slate stairs.  On both sides of the stairs were trimmed shrubs and flowers.

The door opened, and Pat walked out, and down to the laneway.

"This is yours?" asked Sally.

"Welcome to my home" replied Pat.

Bryce was getting the wheelchair out of the van for his mom.  Pat reached down and picked Sally up in his arms to carry her to the top of the stairs.

"Pat, you picked me up like I was light," said Sally.

"You are very light Sally, and one of the nicest loads I have ever carried in my arms" replied Pat.  She smiled with adoration in her eyes.

"You are so sweet Pat, and with the tongue of sugar," she said.

Pat smiled back as he looked down at her.  "It's made of sugar when I have the truth to speak."  Pat looked around and then whispered, "You are the most beautiful woman I have ever met Sally, and I mean inside and out."

Sally's eyes moistened as she leaned up and kissed Pat on the cheek.

Bryce had the wheelchair set up and had just turned around as his mom gave Pat the kiss on his cheek which caused him to smile.  Pat gently set Sally into it when Bryce wrapped himself around Pat.

"This is really your house?" asked Bryce.

"Yes Bryce.  It was left to me by my parents, and they got it from my grandparents.  It has been in the family for four generations now and each generation has worked to modernize it.  Where's my big hug, Son?" asked Pat with a big smile.  Bryce responded immediately with a big hug for Pat and got a kiss on the top of his head in return from Pat.

Sally watched the chemistry building between her son and Pat.  It was encouraging they got along so well and they seemed to enjoy each other's company.  Sally then realized Pat and Bryce have had a friendship since he started working at the diner.  Although not an intimate relationship, they did have a strong friendship.

"This is incredible," exclaimed Sally.  "Who does all the gardens and bushes?"

"I do," replied Pat with a proud smile on his face.  "I also hire a couple of college kids to cut the lawn and to help out at times.  They've been working here since they were seniors in high school."

"You are obviously a man of many talents; I would have never guessed that of a retired Army man," said Sally.

"Stereotypes.  We all have our own talents which have been given to us, in spite of career choices. I remodeled the kitchen, family room, and pool area myself as well, with the paid slave labor of the two college kids.  They are both pretty good kids and work hard around here."

Bryce gave Pat a strange look at the mention of the two college kids.  Pat smiled back at him and wrapped him in a big hug.

"No worries, Bryce.  I only have one son and a couple of employees," Pat explained as he leaned into Bryce to give him a tender kiss which Bryce returned.  Sally smiled at the two of them.

They went inside through the huge wood-paneled entryway and onto the marble floor.  A wide circling staircase led up to the bedrooms.  Pat showed them into the drawing room, and through that into the living room.  As they traveled through another set of double doors, they entered what Pat described as the family room.  The kitchen was partially open to the family room and they could see out over a large flagstone deck.  Pat pointed beyond the deck and they could see an indoor pool which had been built in the 80's and attached to the house.  Pat had updated it of course and it now included a hot tub and sauna.

They went out onto the deck where everyone else was waiting.  Tom had brought his wife and his daughter.  They all exchanged greetings and introductions with Sally.

Tom approached Pat.  "When I was young, we used to always call this place the haunted mansion."

Pat laughed. "I lived in it and called it that too."

"With a kitchen like you have in this place, why are you eating at my diner?"

Pat smiled and replied, "Tom, you have the best meals and even take special requests for the next day.  I get to eat with other people and I enjoy myself at your diner.  The atmosphere of your diner is as close to eating with friends and family as it comes.  And the number one answer of the Top Ten of why I don't eat at home is… cooking for one at home really sucks shit."

Tom was laughing when they were interrupted by a man in tuxedo placing a variety of foods on the patio table.  The selection of appetizers was amazing to everyone, and delicious.  The waiter served everyone a drink and kept the glasses filled.  The caterer had even found a man with a British accent to make the butler appearance authentic and very suitable with the mansion backdrop.

Another man in a tuxedo came onto the porch and rang a small bell, announcing the dining room was available for seating.

"Pat, when I told my buddy where he was catering and why he took out all the stops to make it a special experience for Sally."

Bryce wheeled Sally through a set of open cut-glass French doors from the patio into a dining room.  A huge maple table stood in the center of the room with fine linen tablecloths, lit candelabras, fine bone china plates, polished silverware, fresh flowers, and crystal wine glasses.  There were two butlers who came to her and escorted Sally to her place at the head of the table.

Pat sat on her right and Bryce on her left.  The others were settled into their places with the Padre at the other end of the table.

After grace, the shrimp cocktail arrived along with the filling of the wine glasses.  Soon enough, it was cleared away to be replaced by a small serving of Caesar salad, which the chef made fresh at the tableside as a show.  Sally was enjoying herself and chatting freely with everyone at the table.  This type of house and a fine dinner like this had been one of her dreams throughout her life.  The butlers then brought in flaming swords of shish kabob and plates of lobster with crab for everyone to feast upon.  Sally was trying everything put on her plate but in smaller quantities.  The wine glasses had been refilled a couple of times, and everyone was chatting or telling stories.

"Sally," started Pat.  "Now that I am adopting your son, is he past diaper stage yet or do I have to change him still?"

Bryce turned a little red while Sally laughed.

"He's past that finally but be careful when he spends the night at unfamiliar places.  He still has the potential to flood the bed if he doesn't go peepee before he gets his jammies on."

"Mooooom!" whined Bryce.  "That's not true. I sleep naked now!"

"Bryce!" Sally exclaimed while the table guests were laughing.

"Well, I guess if I have to change his diapers at short notice, I can borrow one of Arthurs," stated Pat.

"Fuck you yank.  I may not have all my faculties anymore, but my output is still happening the way mother nature herself intended it," he replied with a smile.

Dessert came, and it was a large flaming Baked Alaskan.  When all was done, Pat had the entire crew come into the dining room where everyone applauded their meal and service.  The Chef replied to their accolades by saying he had always dreamed of serving a meal in a house such as this.  Sally thanked each one of them personally.  After they had left, the Padre brought out a tray with shot glasses of brandy on it.  Everyone, including Tom's wife and daughter, got one.  Tom briefly explained what was going to happen.

The Padre stood and spoke, "God, we honor those who have gone before us and when our time is up, we will walk amongst them again.  Today we thank you for allowing us to come together, share a meal, and to deepen our friendships.  We thank you for your blessing upon us to help our friend Sally and her son Bryce in their time of need.  We thank you for giving Sally and Bryce the strength and love they have for each other.  Father, please watch over Sally and Bryce in the days forward and give them the guidance and strength they need in their daily lives" 

The Padre lifted his glass and said, "Please hear our prayers.  To those who went before us." 

The group stood, and even Sally made it to her feet, repeating the words and continuing with, "We will remember them."  They all took the shot of brandy.

"Now that evening has arrived, I would request everyone take their wine or coffee onto the deck and have a seat.  There is a special show about to start," directed Pat.  "I need my assistant Bryce to help me."

Bryce looked puzzled as Pat led him into the backyard and around a raised flower garden.  Pat looked up and saw everyone settling on the deck.

He led Bryce by the hand to an area where several boxes were sitting on the ground, and numerous pipes were sticking out of the ground.

"Fireworks!" exclaimed Bryce as he grabbed Pat in a hug.  They held each other while they gently kissed; the taste of the dinner wine on each other's lips tasted wonderful.  Pat could feel the softness of Bryce's lips as he pressed harder.  Bryce opened his mouth during the kiss and he felt Pat's tongue slide along his lips.

"Mmmmm," mumbled Bryce.  They parted slowly, with both having a bulge showing in their crotches.

For the next 30 minutes, the two of them worked together to light off a variety of fireworks.  They both heard the "oohs" and "ahhs" from the patio.  While Bryce was lighting off the last group of fireworks, Pat was setting out the final batch.  It was amazing to watch as the different colors zigged across the sky while some exploded into fireballs behind them.  When it was done, the backyard was covered with a thick smoke, giving the scene an eerie feeling like a vampire would be coming out of the fog to feed on someone like in a Bella Lugosi film.

The two men returned to the patio and found themselves receiving applause and whistles from the crowd for their work.  The audience had grown by a number of firemen and two police officers who had responded to the fireworks being discharged.  Once they realized Pat had a permit, they stayed to watch the show.

Pat and Bryce both got hugs from Sally who had tears of appreciation rolling down her face.  Tom had explained the reason for the fireworks to the Firemen and Police Officers, and they had a discussion amongst themselves.

They had proposed that Sally would ride home in the fire truck, right in the middle between the driver and the Captain.  Sally was having so much fun; she had forgotten she was even getting tired.  Vincent and Melvin would follow her home and help her to bed, so Bryce could hang around the house with Pat.  The fire truck left with Sally obviously playing with the sirens and lights on its way down the laneway.  Soon enough, everyone else had left as well.  Bryce and Pat were alone, snuggled together on the couch.

"This was an incredible evening, and I know mom loved it," said Bryce.

"I enjoyed doing it for her, little man."

"Daddy, I like it when you call me little man.  It makes me feel special."

Pat pulled the young man onto his lap and held him tightly.  "I like it when you call me dad or daddy, Son. It's time for confessions Bryce, except this time it is my turn."

Bryce looked up at Pat with a puzzled look on his face.  "What do you mean, Dad?"

Pat smiled.  "I really like it when you call me that.  My confession is I have always enjoyed watching you at the diner and wishing I was 15 or 20 years younger.  You are such a smart, bubbly, and hot young man that I could only sit back and admire you.  Don't get me wrong, I was content having you as a friend and I enjoyed every time we talked, worked on a crossword together, or when I could help you on one of your history assignments.  I never dreamed I would be holding you in my arms on my couch."

Bryce's eyes were watering as he listened to Pat speak.  His heart was also pounding in his chest because Bryce suddenly realized the message Pat was telling him.  Bryce was really wanted by this huge hunk of a man.

"Pat, every time I was near you I became intoxicated by your aftershave and your scent. I've wanted to be with you since I started work there but you never gave me any indication of being interested."

Pat leaned down and kissed Bryce gently.  While they were kissing, Pat ran one hand up and down the young man's back while the other ran up and down Bryce's thigh.  Bryce opened his mouth and felt Pat's tongue enter it to play with his own tongue.  The kiss was becoming harder but passionate.  Bryce was responding with moans of contentment.  They broke their kiss but remained looking deep into each other's eyes.

"Is that a sign that I'm interested in my hot little man?"

"Yes, Daddy.  It's very clear to your son that he is wanted.  I love you."

Pat sat for a moment looking into Bryce's eyes.  "You are probably the easiest person I have ever met to love."

Bryce laid his head on Pat's chest and hugged the big man tight.  Pat continued to rub Bryce's back and thigh. The young man was squirming a bit on Pat's lap, mainly trying to reposition the big hard-on he had in his tight jeans.

Pat stood up with Bryce in his arms and carried him through a big set of French doors towards the end of the hallway.  The smell of chlorine hit Bryce immediately as he looked over a beautiful indoor pool which was encased with live tropical plants and palm trees.  He was amazed as the ceiling lights which were designed to look like the stars at night as they automatically came on as they entered.  The pool itself had a blue color from lights under the water level.

Pat carried Bryce to a nearby corner and set him down gently on a large patio table with towels piled on it.  Bryce sat on the edge of the table, with legs dangling.  His breath was short in anticipation of what Pat would do next.

Pat bent down and gently placed his hands on both sides of Bryce's head. He leaned in and tenderly kissed Bryce. Bryce closed his eyes and focused on the sensations of Pat's lips and tongue on his lips.

Pat finished the kiss and moved his head back, so he was nose to nose with Bryce.  "I love you, little man," he said.

Bryce's eyes were watering, and he replied, "I love you too, Daddy.  I have never loved anyone as much as I had always hoped to love you."

"Are you up to getting into the hot tub with me, Son?"

"I would love too but I don't have a suit."

"Neither do I little man, but I could find us a couple of them if it makes you feel better."

A little too quickly Bryce said, "No, it's ok."  He blushed after he said it.

"You stay right there, and I'll help you get undressed."  Bryce smiled in return.

Pat leaned in and kissed the young man with the beautiful sparkling blue eyes.  After kissing Bryce's lips, he moved over to his ear and kissed, licked and nibbled at it. Bryce closed his eyes to experience the sensations fully and groaned as Pat began to kiss and lick his neck.  Pat slid his hands under the sides of Bryce's T-shirt and began to rub the young man's back.  The shirt peeled up to expose Bryce's flat abdomen.  He had a well-defined treasure trail leading up from the top of his jeans, around his belly button, and tapering off as it went higher.  Pat stopped nibbling at Bryce's neck and ears to pull the T-shirt up and over the young man's head.  This exposed a nice-looking chest with sparse light brown hair in the middle, and around each areole.

"You are absolutely beautiful Bryce," stated Pat as he pulled the young man towards him for a hug.

"Thank you. No one besides mom has ever said that about me before."

Pat broke the hug and gently pushed the young man onto the towels piled on the table.  He grabbed Bryce's right foot and gently peeled the sock off.  Bryce giggled and squirmed a bit as he completed removing the socks from both feet.

"Is my son a little ticklish?" Pat asked with a smirk.

Bryce looked at him and replied with a smile, "Maybe."

Pat ran his finger along the sole of his foot and Bryce lost control with laughter.  "Ok, ok, ok.  I give, I'm definitely ticklish."

Pat let the foot go and leaned over Bryce.  "So, I don't have to spank my son for being bad, I just have to tickle him."

Bryce smiled and said, "Not at the same time Daddy, but they're both ok."  They both laughed.

They kissed passionately, and then Pat started to kiss Bryce's neck, and lick lightly to his chest.  Bryce moaned deeply as his nipple was toyed with by Pat's tongue.  He jumped a bit when Pat took the nipple between his teeth and stretched it up from his chest.  Bryce felt it snap back when Pat released and the sharpness of the sensation he experienced caused him to take a deep breath in.  He could feel Pat's tongue playing with his nipple, and circling around it.  He could also feel Pat's finger gently massaging his other nipple and intermittent with squeezing it gently.  No one had ever done this to him before and he was experiencing entirely new sensations from when he did it to himself.  He was startled when Pat began to alternately kiss and lick down his chest and stomach. Pat could feel Bryce arching his back and hear him mew as he nibbled at his skin. Bryce was riding the new sensations he was feeling from his body at the hands of this man he had wanted for so long. He could feel the dampness in his crotch building as his cock was oozing pre-cum into his underwear.

Pat was enjoying the taste of salt he was licking off Bryce's skin.  He gently reached up and brushed Bryce's hard cock confined within the jeans as he reached to undo the belt.  When he came in contact with the hard flesh under the jeans, Bryce went rigid while moaning loudly.  He undid the zipper slowly on the jeans, pushing it against the hard flesh underneath.  Bryce had closed his eyes again and was terrified he was going to shoot his load before Pat even got him naked.  Pat slid the jeans off the young man with some difficulty.  He stood over him and admired the beauty of his young man lying in front of him in only his very tented and damp boxer briefs.

Pat stood up straight and locked eyes with Bryce.  "I think I need some help getting out of my clothes.  Do you know anyone who would like to help?"

Bryce quickly got up off the table and moved towards Pat.  He immediately started to undo the buttons of Pat's shirt with nervous and shaking hands but was having difficulty. Bryce had wanted to do this for so long, to see Pat's chest and run his hands through the hair on it.  He was in his own thoughts when Bryce felt two hands gently clasp his between them.

"Bryce, your shaking."

Bryce looked up into Pat's face, his blue eyes sparkling with desire.  "I've wanted to touch your chest and feel the hair on it for so long.  It's finally happening, and I don't want to do anything wrong."

Pat leaned down and gave Bryce a long sensual kiss, their tongues dancing in the others mouth.  Bryce wrapped his arms around the big man.  Pat allowed his hands to travel down to lightly grasp the young man's firm buttocks, pulling him in tight.  Pat could feel the young man's engorged member trapped between them and he could hear the sounds of enjoyment as Bryce quietly mewed.  Pat was gently massaging the firm buttocks he held in his hands, enjoying the feel of the tight muscles he was toying with.

"I'll help you," said Pat as he started to undo his own shirt. After it fell to the floor, he guided Bryce's hands to his hairy chest and moved them around on it.  Bryce began to move his hands on his own now.  The young man stopped and placed the side of his head on Pat's chest.  He felt the hairs texture tickling the side of his face and took a deep breath of the smells of the man he loved.

"I want to wake up every morning with my head right here on your chest, listening to your heartbeat, Daddy."

Pat, the man who had become controlled in his emotions as he sent men into combat, led them against enemy forces, and had taken many lives himself by following orders, had tears in his eyes as he listened to what the young man he held tightly in his arms spoke.

"I can think of nothing to say to you other than I would like that too." 

The young man held him tighter.  Pat reached down and picked the young man up and moved towards the hot tub.  He put him back down on his feet. Pat stepped back and undid his pants, and pushed them down, pulling them off with his socks.  Bryce stood there and was watching with his eyes wide.  They both locked eyes.

Pat leaned down and hooked his thumbs into Bryce's underwear, and pulled them down.  Bryce had his eyes closed as Pat did this, holding his breath.  He had a 7" uncut cock which slapped his stomach as it sprung free of his underwear.  The copious amounts of fluids he had been oozing sprayed everywhere as it slapped his flat stomach.  The base of the young man's cock was surrounded by curly light brown hair which led up the pelvis to the treasure trail Pat had been nibbling on earlier. Pat looked at the bulbous head partially covered by skin and knew Bryce would be on a hair trigger right now, but he also knew the young man would recover soon enough after he shot this load.

The young man felt the cool air on his naked body.  He had closed his eyes from fear of rejection and knew he was now fully exposed to Pat.  Bryce was hoping Pat liked what he saw, and his eyes were still closed as he felt warmth engulf the head of his cock, and then slide down the shaft to the base.

He opened his eyes and looked down to see Pat sucking on his cock.  He was so close to blowing a load, but he didn't want to do it yet.

Pat sat back and reached up to massage Bryce's low hanging and hairless egg sized balls.  "Bryce, I've wanted to taste you for a long time.  Please, get into the tub and sit on the edge.  Don't worry about holding back this load; I want you to blow your load in my mouth Bryce."

Bryce quickly scampered into the tub and sat on the edge.  Pat quickly dropped his underwear and got into the tub as well and kneeled on the seat in front of Bryce's crotch.  He quickly took the young man's hard cock into his mouth again and started to slide up and down on it.  Bryce reached and grabbed both sides of Pat's head as he was moving up and down on his cock.  He felt the wave building deep within him and quickly heading towards the cock in Pat's mouth.

Bryce lifted his head up, closed his eyes and allowed the blackness of his sight to focus on the sensations he was feeling.  Bryce announced very loudly, "Ohhh Gawwwd I'mmm cumming!" 

Bryce felt the contractions and throbbing start as the liquid began to move in waves from deep within him and up to the top of his cock.  Pat felt the strong surges of liquid fill his mouth with a sweet-salty liquid.  He started to swallow it as fast as he could; savoring the intimate taste the young man was giving to him.  Pat continued to swallow and suck until he could feel nothing more coming from out of the shaft his young man.

Bryce had been riding the wave of ecstasy as he came.  He had beat off so many nights dreaming of sex with Pat and it was coming true.  He was higher than a kite on love, lust, and endorphins.  He then realized he had received everything, and had done nothing for Pat.  His face lost the look of pleasure, being replaced with a look of horror at his selfish act.

Pat was sitting in the tub relaxing, watching Bryce with satisfaction at making him feel so good.  He was watching Bryce's beautiful face when he saw it lose the look of contentment, and his eyes looking terrified.

"What's wrong, Bryce?"

"Oh my God, Pat, I'm so sorry."

Pat opened his arms for the young man and gestured him to come and sit on his lap.  "What do you mean Bryce?  Didn't you like it?"

"It was better than I dreamed Pat, but I did nothing for you in return.  I'm so sorry."  There were tears forming in his eyes.

"Bryce, just because I did something I liked, and you really enjoyed never puts you in debt to me for a return act.  I did it because I love you, and I wanted too - not because I expect you to keep score of who did what."

"But, you never got off."

"Bryce, this is part of the learning we need to talk about.  Younger or shallow guys always seem to keep score and have feelings of being owed or owing an act.  That's not what love is about Son.  You needed your release, and I needed to give it to you.  My enjoyment of giving you pleasure was enough for me at the moment.  Holding you right now is the sprinkles on a donut for me, and I need nothing else."

"I'm beginning to understand, and it tells me I'm with the right man finally.  I've found a man who is patient, loving, and honest with me.  I've never been in a relationship where my needs were equal to my man; I was always the one who had to satisfy him.  Don't get me wrong, I was never abused.  I just wasn't equal."

"We're equal on the emotional level Son, and I know it will take you some time to feel the difference of equality in a relationship.  That is the mature relationship."

"There is something you should know about me, Pat."

"What's that, Bryce?  Everything I've seen I like and there wasn't much you could hide with no clothes on."

Bryce laughed.  "I've only ever exchanged oral sex, hand jobs or stuff with my previous boyfriends.  I'm a virgin as far as being fucked."

"Number one, we will never fuck.  We will always make love together.  Number two, you will remain a virgin until the special time you wish to give it to someone you love."

"Pat, I want you to…"

"Bryce, not on a first date," replied Pat with laughter.  "When it happens, and if I am the one, it will be an entire evening of enjoyment."

"But Pat…"

"Son, does Dad need to smack that pretty little ass of yours?  I know that's what you want, but wait.  It will be better."  Pat was fondling Bryce under the water as he spoke.  "Don't you ever get soft?"

"Not when I'm naked sitting on a naked hunk."

Pat smirked.  "Can I kiss it better, Son?"

"I can feel Daddy has a problem and I want to kiss it better first."  Bryce stood up and put his hands on his hips.  "Dad, sit on the edge of the tub," he said with his sternest voice.

Pat looked at him, and the biggest smile he could make appeared on his face.  "Yes, Son.  Dad will do that for you."

The big man stood up and towered over Bryce.  Bryce had been looking at Pat's face as he stood, and his eyes slowly traveled down to the hard piece of meat standing out from Pat's body.

"Holy shit..." blurted Bryce.

Pat laughed and said, "Now that's a new one, Son.  I've heard a lot of things said when people see my cock for the first time, but holy shit was a new one."

Bryce was staring at it.  Pat was a big man, and although middle-aged, he still followed a workout routine which kept him in good shape.  He had a solid chest and flat stomach, covered in trimmed black hair.  It wasn't thick hair and now that Bryce got to see it, there was an appearance of keeping it trimmed to a medium length. Pat's pubic hair was trimmed as well.  Pat's cock was sticking straight out about 8.5" with a large set of large balls below it.  It was thick, complete with a large purple head on it. Bryce couldn't help but notice he was cut.

Bryce reached forward to touch it, his hand shaking as he grasped it gently.  He looked up at Pat with a big smile on his face as his hand jerked up and down the shaft a couple of times. Pat was enjoying Bryce touching him.  His hand was soft as he ran it up and down his hard cock. Bryce used both hands in jacking motions to Pat's big cock.  He couldn't believe he was naked and using his hands on Pat's cock.

Bryce leaned forward and used his tongue across the big head, causing Pat to shudder.  Bryce had never had anything this big in his hands and was now trying to suck on it.  He tried to go deep but began to choke.

Pat gently used his finger to lift Bryce's chin up, so they could look into each other's eyes. "Don't do anything you're not ready to do. We have all the time in the world, little man."

Bryce's look of embarrassment from choking turned to a smile. "I love you, Daddy."

The young man licked and sucked on the head of Pat's cock while jacking him. It didn't take long before Pat came, filling Bryce's mouth with sweet cum. Pat pulled the young man in tight to him, and after licking his own cum from his son's lips, kissed him.

Pat looked at the clock on the wall.  It was 3 in the morning now.  "Look at the time, Bryce.  Do you want a ride home tonight?"

Pat could see the disappointment on Bryce's face.  "I should go home to be there when Mom gets up. I've never stayed out overnight before with a boyfriend."

"You know 2 of the regulars are with her right now."

"You guys planned this?"

"No, what we planned was for us to spend some time together talking and getting to know each other.  The rest came about because of your beauty and our mutual consent."

"Was Mom in on this?"

"I don't think she was thinking about sex, but she thought it was a good idea we spent some time together."

Bryce looked up at Pat and kissed him.  "I want to sleep at least a few hours with you Pat, if you don't mind."

"Do you eat crackers in bed?"


"Because I wouldn't care if you did eat crackers in bed, I'd never kick you out."

Bryce laughed as they both stood up and got out of the tub.  Pat was now standing on the deck naked and Bryce got a chance to look him over.

They got dried off and Pat led Bryce by the hand to the bedroom.  After they took turns using the washroom, they crawled into bed together.  Bryce snuggled into Pat who was spooning him from behind.  He wiggled his ass around until he felt Pat's cock along his crack. The feel of Pat's big arms around him made him feel so secure, he fell asleep right away.  Pat was enjoying the feel of the young man in his arms and tight against his body, and he fell asleep as he listened to Bryce breathe rhythmically.

Pat was awoken from a wonderful dream in the morning.  He opened his eyes and noticed Bryce was not next to him, but he definitely knew a mouth was working on his hard cock.  Pat flipped the sheets back to find his little man looking back at him with his beautiful blue eyes, and his mouth going back down the shaft again.  Pat moaned in appreciation.  With Pat being awake now, Bryce used one hand to run his fingers through the hair on Pat's abdomen and lower chest while he continued to work on the cock he had dreamed about for so long.

Bryce had crawled up under the sheets from the base the base of the bed and was between Pat's outstretched legs.  Pat spread his legs a bit more and bent them at the knees.  The young man was learning fast to give enjoyment.  Pat and Bryce took each other's load while in a 69 before having a shower, and a quick breakfast before heading over to Bryce's apartment.  Opening the door, Sally was sitting at the breakfast table with Vincent.  They both looked up and smirked at the two men entering the apartment together.

Sally's eyes were sparkling which matched the smirk on her face as she said, "Bryce Robert Todd Swanson.  Where the hell have you been?  Never before have you ever spent a night out and left me worried about what happened to you!"

Bryce stopped his movement and his jaw was hanging open.  "B-b-b-but Mom…."

"Can it Bryce," she replied tersely, barely able to control herself and keep a straight face.  She turned her attention to Pat.  "And you Mister, keeping my son out to all hours.  What do you have to say for yourself?"

Pat stood up straight; his shoulders rolled forward presenting himself as a very intimidating sized figure. His face showed no emotion whatsoever as he walked over to Sally and looked down at her.

Pat burst out of his silence and quickly said, "It was his fault, he said it was ok if he stayed over, he led me astray Sally.  He's the bad one, he even made me drink wine and then he wanted sex," stated Pat as he pointed at Bryce.

Bryce stood there in shock as the adults were all looking at him.  He had no clue how to reply to anything which had been said.  The adults began to laugh loudly, and then it sank in.  He called them assholes which caused his mom, Pat, and Vincent to laugh even harder. Pat extended his arm and signaled Bryce to come over, who walked over slowly with an exaggerated pout on his face.  Pat pulled him in tight to his side.

"Lose the pout little man, or I'll give you something to pout about," said Pat with a smile.

Bryce perked up. "Is that a promise. Daddy?"  They both laughed.

Pat reached his hand up to the side of Bryce's face and gently stroked it before he leaned in and kissed him.

Sally watched as the two of them shared their kiss.  She had seen what she was looking for in their two sets of eyes as they looked at each other.  They were in love, and they each had the look of adoration.  Sally was happy now.

They finished their kiss and just looked at each other for a moment before Pat spoke.

"Ma'am, I would like your permission to date your son," asked Pat.

Sally gave them both a stern look before a big smile came across her face. "Of course, Pat.  I give you my blessing to be with my son. What do you think, Bryce?"

"Yes Mom, it's a dream come true for me... when he isn't being an asshole."

Pat quickly moved his hand down to Bryce's ass and pinched it.  Bryce jumped forward, but Pat caught him and pulled him back.

"No fears Sally, we're going slowly.  I set a condition on Bryce that the most important relationship will be me as a surrogate dad to him and nothing will interfere with that.  I will always be there for him as my new son, no matter what happens in the future. It was a good night, and we cleared the air on lots of things."

Bryce blushed at the mention of it being a good night.  His blush wasn't unnoticed by his mother who smiled.

Sally gave Pat a look like she knew what he been doing.  "No ma'am, your son's virginity is still intact."

Sally was shocked. "He's still a virgin?"

Bryce spoke quickly. "I can't believe you two are talking about my sex life in front of me.  This is humiliating."

Sally started to laugh.  "Humiliating would have been finding out I wasn't asleep as you masturbated and called out Pat's name each night."


Pat was laughing hard as he pulled Bryce into his body for a hug.  "They're baiting you Bryce, and you're falling for it."

Pat whispered into Bryce's ear explaining what they were doing to him, so he understood.  Bryce settled down and looked at Pat with understanding.

"I have never in my life done that, Mother," he said calmly. The four of them started laughing.

Bryce and Pat got coffee and sat down.  Sally thanked Pat for the wonderful night, but she would be spending time in bed to recover.  They talked about plans for the day and Bryce reminded them he had to go to work.  The Padre would be over at noon to watch over Sally until Bryce got home.  Sally made it clear to Pat he was more than welcome to stay the night in their apartment. Pat offered to go get groceries and whatever Sally needed while Bryce was at work.  The chatted for a while and set some plans.  Sally had also noticed Bryce had moved his chair close to Pat and leaned his head on the big man's shoulder.  She had also noticed Pat had put his big arm around Bryce with tenderness, holding him securely.  The group broke up and headed off to their various tasks including Bryce heading off to work.

Pat came into the restaurant for supper and sat at his usual booth when his cell phone rang.

"Pat, it's the Padre.  Sally appears to have had a stroke.  The ambulance is on the way here to take her to the hospital.  I assume you're near Bryce to grab him and bring him to meet her there?"

Pat was silent for a few seconds, trying to think of how to ask a question in proximity to other people without letting them know what he was really asking.

"Thanks, Greg, so how bad for repairs to the car will it be?"

The Padre caught on right away and replied simply, "I think she has been called and won't walk this earth much longer.  The ambulance just got here, I gotta go.  It's the same crew who brought her home on the fire truck, so I know she's in good hands."

"I'll deal with this end."  He looked up to see Bryce coming with his dinner wearing a big smile on his face.

Pat stood quickly.  "Bryce, we need to speak with Tom in the back for a moment.  Just leave the dinner here on the table."

They went into the kitchen, and Tom knew the look on Pat's face.  Tom approached quickly after having his daughter take over the grill.

Pat turned and faced Bryce.  Taking his hand, Pat said "Your mother just took ill and is being picked up by the ambulance.  We need to meet it when it gets to the hospital."

Bryce stood in shock and looked back and forth between Tom and Pat. Tears began to leak from his eyes. "I've known this call would come one day, and it still hurts.  Tom, may I…"

Tom cut him off, "Pat will take you down there right now.  Get going, both of you."

They rushed out the back door and over to Pat's car.  It took 20 minutes to get to the hospital emergency department and the regulars were all there waiting for them to arrive and greeted them.

Inside the emergency department, Pat introduced Bryce and himself as the stepdad to the staff.  He then introduced Arthur as her lawyer and Greg as her Padre.  The nurses were astounded at the delegation and didn't bother asking who the others were.  She directed them to the family waiting room and the doctor would be out as soon as he could.  Bryce sat and just leaned into Pat for comfort.  Pat put his arm around him and the Padre moved in on the other side.

It was about 10 minutes later when a young doctor came in to speak with them. He raised an eyebrow at Sally having her lawyer and Padre in the waiting room.

The doctor spoke to the group but focused on Bryce. "Your mother has had a stroke and the cat scan shows it to be an aneurysm.  In simple terms, one of the major arteries in her brain has ruptured and is leaking. She has had some blood clots moving around too.  It's a miracle she is still alive right now because where the tear occurred is normally fatal in a short time for many reasons.  Son, with her cancer, the blood clots, and the drugs she is taking, there isn't much we can do for her."

Bryce's eyes were dripping tears as he spoke.  "May I see her, Doctor?  Actually, the whole group needs to go in with me for her to see us together."

"She has been mumbling your name Bryce, which is another miracle and testament to her strength.  She may not be conscious or even aware you are there." The Doctor looked at the group of men who were mostly seniors and the young man.  He also observed the Padre putting on the purple Stole around his neck.

"We normally only allow a couple at a time in to visit but come with me."  He led them into the examination room and closed the door behind them.  Bryce immediately ran to the bed and took his mother's hand into his to kiss it.

"Mom, we're all here in the room. Can you hear me?"

Vincent was watching all the monitors attached to her.  He noticed a change on a couple of them as soon as Bryce spoke.  "Bryce, she's aware of you here.  I can tell on the readouts."

"Mom, I love you."  The monitors changed again, and the heart rate increased.  The Padre came forward and anointed her with oil and led the group in prayers.  He absolved and blessed her, and then leaned over to kiss Sally on the forehead as he said quietly into her ear, "Bryce is safe with us in our family, rest easy. Goodbye, my friend, it was an honor to know you, Sally."  He stepped back.

Vincent was watching the machines, noting the changes were now all over the board with no particular pattern.

Sally opened her eyes slowly and looked at Pat and Bryce.

"Mom!"  Bryce was gripping her hand tightly.  Sally slowly moved her other hand over and pointed a finger a Pat who stepped forward to grasp her hand.  She took his hand and placed it on Bryce's with great difficulty. Her hand was now on top.  All of the regulars were watching with tears rolling down their cheeks.

Incredibly, she spoke slowly and quietly.  "Thank you… helping me and Bryce… Pat, he's the most precious thing I have… You together."

Vincent watched as the blood pressure dropped suddenly with the CO2 readout increasing, and the respirations were beginning to alter into an irregular pattern he knew all too well.  The heart pattern was changing as well, and he knew it was moving into the fatal rhythm quickly. Vincent suspected whatever had been holding the tear back had just let go and the body was reacting quickly to inner-cranial pressure on the breathing control center.  He looked back at the group, gently shook his head and made a gesture of circling-the-drain.  Although crude, it was a universal gesture which was understood quickly for people to react accordingly.

Pat spoke immediately, "Sally, I pledge my life to look after Bryce because I love him."

Sally's eyes closed slowly, and then jerked them open to look at Bryce.  "Love you, Bryce."

Bryce was replying "I love you, Mom" as the heart monitor alarmed, and Sally took her last breath as her body relaxed.  The Doctor came in quickly and turned off the alarm.

Pat moved directly behind Bryce and wrapped his big arms around him. Bryce brought one arm up and grabbed Pat.

"Do you want us to try…"

Arthur spoke as he pulled out a paper from his jacket and handed it to the Doctor.  "I should have given this to you earlier, but it's a medical directive for a DNR."

The Doctor read it and thanked Arthur.  "I'll leave you guys here with her." Before he left, Arthur provided another document which was a contract for Funeral Director with a phone number to contact them.  When asked about releasing Sally, the Doctor replied as soon as he got the paperwork done as there would be no autopsy under this situation.  The entire group moved behind Bryce, and each placed a hand on him. No one said a word.

Bryce was still holding his mother's hand and staring at her face. She was free of pain finally and it showed as her facial muscles began to relax.  Even with cancer, she was still beautiful.  Bryce let go the hand and broke free from the group to pull the sheet up below her chin, like he was tucking her in at night.  He turned to the group.

"Thank you.  I don't know what else to say but thank you.  I owe you all so much…" and then he started to cry.  Pat pulled him into his big arms and held him tight. After a few minutes, they all left the hospital and headed directly to Pat's house.  Tom met them there with some food to pick at while they talked.

Arthur briefed them all on the arrangements Sally had made with him.  He then explained the school board had settled quickly with Sally when her lawyer showed up to bite them in the ass.  Including payout for coverage she should have had, life insurance policy, and extra for their bad decisions, Bryce would receive 1 million dollars.  Bryce didn't even react to the settlement.  He sat snuggled into Pat, holding him tight and remained very quiet. Bryce was fighting sleep and the group noted it.

"Guys, you're welcome here as long as you would like to stay, but I'm taking my little man upstairs to put him to bed.  I probably won't be back down tonight.  Accept my apologies for not showing you out but please lock up after you leave."

Tom spoke, "Don't worry about us Pat, everyone's main concern is clinging to you.  His life changed tonight, and it will take time to sort itself out.  But, before we all go our ways, could we have another nip of that fantastic brandy you have?"

"Please my friends, help yourself," said Pat as he moved to stand up.  Bryce opened his eyes and looked at him and Pat picked him up as easily as a child to carry upstairs.  Bryce didn't resist at all.

After they left the room, the Padre spoke up.  "They are good together and they really do need each other.  It was as if the Lord brought Pat into his life to build the bond and make this easier when Sally passed on." The group murmured their acknowledgments of the suggestion.

"Bryce will do ok, he's got all of us and big Pat to look out for him," stated Tom.

Vincent spoke up "I can't tell you details except we need to keep an eye on Pat throughout this.  His life partner died in combat... in Pat's arms as he carried him for miles from a helicopter crash site to the base.  He told me it took 4 medics and 3 MP's to get Pat to release the body from his arms, and they were scared doing it because Pat was even more muscular then.  Pat resisted them, although he didn't hurt them. He just stopped struggling all of a sudden, sat still and tears started rolling down his cheeks while he allowed them to take his dead lover from his arms. He went catatonic for two days, and then he just became Pat again."

"I would have been afraid of him too." said Arthur.  "The man is still the size of a mountain, but gentle.  He seemed to know when to protect but not hurt others."

The Padre spoke next. "I agree with Vincent.  Pat and I had some conversations as well and we just need to keep an eye on him too.  He loves the boy to death and I was not surprised when he pledged his life to protect him.  I know he would give his life in a second to do it too."

"Without hesitation," replied Tom.

Pat was in the master bath with Bryce, who was taking a leak.  Pat guided Bryce into the bedroom and helped him get undressed.  Pat undressed and then guided the young man into the bed, wrapping his big arms around him. Bryce was burnt out, tired and emotionally drained.

Just before he fell asleep, Bryce turned his head and spoke "Thank you. I love you, Daddy."

Pat kissed him gently.  "I love you too, Son."

Bryce wiggled a bit until he felt the big man's cock lay along the crack of his ass.  "This feels safe, and right," Bryce thought as he fell asleep.

Pat felt the young man relax in his arms as he fell asleep.  Pat was enjoying the feeling of the warm flesh of Bryce against his skin.  He felt so lucky to have known Bryce, let alone to be holding him tight.  Pat's heart was filled with love for the young man, something he never thought he would experience again.  Pat fell asleep thinking about how his life was better than it had been in a long time, and he had Bryce to thank for that.  He fell asleep thinking about their future together.

The next day was spent at the apartment where Bryce, Pat, Melvin, and Arthur started to pack items Bryce wanted to keep and those things they would donate to the local Salvation Army Thrift Store.  There were items Bryce didn't know what to do with and Pat made arrangements for them to be delivered to his estate and stored in the basement. Arthur had given notice to the landlord who was happy to allow the lease to be broken as they could rent the apartment quickly, for more money too.

Bryce had moved his clothing and personal items into the bedroom with Pat. Neither had a lot of personal items, but they had enough for what they did on a daily basis.  Pat knew Bryce would need a suit for the funeral, and he mentioned that Monday afternoon when he got back from school, they could go for the fitting.

Bryce was concerned about missing work, but Pat assured him Tom was fine until after the funeral.

Sunday morning, Pat took Bryce to the local Salvation Army Chapel where the Padre still helped out with services.  Pat bought the Padre dinner (some people call it lunch) at Tom's afterward.

Bryce had cleaned his plate of even the last drop of gravy when he asked Pat, "Can I have some pie with ice cream for dessert, Dad?"

Pat smiled. "Of course and I guess it would be three of them, Son."

Alicia was serving them and was barely able to hide her dislike for serving Bryce.  She considered him to be a person who was socially lower than her.  She looked surprised when Pat was called dad, and he called Bryce son.

Alicia sneered, "You're his dad?" as she gathered the dirty plates.

Pat locked eyes with her.  "Yes, I've taken him into my home as my surrogate son.  His mother was very happy about it too and she also named all the regulars as his grandparents."

"Whatever," she mumbled.  "When are you coming back to work, Bryce?"

"After the funeral for my mother Alicia, or didn't you know she had died?" he replied.

Alicia stopped wiping the table.  "I'm sorry, I didn't know that.  That would explain why everyone around here was missing for the past couple of days including Tom.  I'm sorry to hear that, Bryce," Alicia said with some real concern.

Pat broke into the conversation "After the funeral, Bryce and I need to have a discussion about his working at all and focusing more on his school.  My son doesn't need to work anymore."  Pat turned to Bryce "Do you have a driver's license?"

Bryce smiled and replied, "Yes, just nothing to drive."

"How about after we get you a suit tomorrow, we go look and see what out there for cars.  You need something."

"Dad, that's not necessary because the bus system is fantastic and gets me anywhere I want to go. Besides, I have enough to buy something if I need it."

Alicia was chuckling under her breath.  She had known Bryce a while and knew what his financial situation had been. Now she was feeling pangs of jealousy as he was going to getting things handed to him.  She left to get the pie and ice cream.

The Padre spoke up.  "She's a little self-absorbed, isn't she?"

Bryce smiled and replied, "She can rub you the wrong way, but she is ok to work with.  She pulls her weight here and does a good job."

Pat just listened to the two of them.  Alicia returned with the pie and placed it in front of each person before heading off to serve some new customers.

The viewing had been right before the service.  Bryce was surprised at how many people had come to pay their respects.  His mom had known so many people and even many of her former students at the high school she had taught at were there. Bryce was overwhelmed and stuck closely to Pat.

Bryce was handsome in his suit.  Pat had worn his military dress uniform with all his decorations to the ceremony.  Bryce was amazed at the mass of color bars and pins he was wearing.  At the end of the viewing, Pat led Bryce to his seat.

A booming voice came from the back, "Parade, attention."

The entire congregation turned to the back to see the coffin being guided by his friends the regulars, with the Sgt. Major leading them down the aisle. Every one of them was in their military dress uniforms with all their ribbons as well.  The site of all the elderly gentlemen in military dress was quite a site for the congregation and they stood out of respect not only for Sally, but the men guiding her.

The Sgt Major led the group to the front with his baton under his right armpit.  When they got to the front, quiet directions were given to the men and they marched off to sit with Pat and Bryce.

The Padre helped with the service and unknown to Bryce, the teachers had prepared a presentation on Sally's work at the school for everyone to see.  It was a beautiful service in the Chapel, and with quick but beautiful graveside prayers as well.  The entire group was back at the community hall attached to the Chapel for lunch.  They were all sitting together and chatting.

Many people were approaching Bryce with condolences.  During the service, the Padre had told the story to the congregation of why so many men were in full uniforms to honor the son they had adopted.  He had explained a brief background for each man and they were all from different branches and even a different country.  People were also coming forward to speak with the men in uniform as well.

The service and luncheon were over, and the group had collected at Pat's house.  Tom had brought the brandy with him and as they stood on the deck with their glasses, the Padre spoke.

"God, we honor those who have gone before us and when our time is up, we will walk amongst them again.  Today we thank you for taking Sally into your arms and allowing us to be with her son Bryce.  As you guided us, Lord, we have taken Bryce into our hearts and families as a son and grandson.  We promise to continue raising him as his mother would have done.  We ask you to watch over Pat and Bryce as they move forward together as father and son." 

The Padre lifted his glass and said, "Please hear our prayers."  The Padre then stood before holding his glass up and saying, "To those who went before us." 

The group were already standing and repeated the words and continuing with, "We will remember them."  They all took the shot of brandy.

Tom gave Bryce a big hug, followed by each person present.  Pat was last and could see Bryce was crying as he tenderly took him into his arms.

"What's wrong, Son?" asked Pat gently.

"I'm the luckiest person alive.  Although I lost my mother, who I miss, I have a dad and bunch of grandfathers now.  I have a home to live in, a family, a man who loves me and an angel watching over me. I don't need anything more," he replied.

Pat smiled and used his hand to gently lift Bryce's chin.  He leaned down and gave him a very gentle yet lingering kiss.

Arthur broke the moment by saying loudly, "When you two lovebirds get to the wedding stage, it would be nice to have a fucking free bar."

"You never know about a wedding, maybe it will happen," replied Pat looking at Bryce.

Bryce didn't miss a beat in his reply.  "We couldn't afford an open bar at our wedding, not with the fucking Irish lush in the corner there drinking."

Arthur coughed up the drink he was swallowing.  After coughing, he managed to get out a "fuck you yank" with a squeaky strained voice.  The group laughed heartily having witnessed someone finally outmaneuver Arthur verbally.

The End


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