A day for the record books

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Posted on 6:05 PM | By Biki Honko | In

I woke up with Ben cuddled up against me, kissing me lightly.  Umm, what a wonderful way to wake up!  But, all to soon it was time to get up and leave the warm bed, and my so sweet hubby. I was washing my hair when our conversation from last night came roaring back into my mind.  And the thought of having to tell my mom about our new living arrangement, made me sick to my stomach.  Would she ever speak to me again?  Will she hate Ben now?  This was so not going to be a good day…..

Ben kept giving me funny looks while he was shaving, and I was blow drying my hair.  While we were getting dressed he asked me, "Baby?  Are you ok?  You're awful pale this morning."

"I'm worried about what's going to happen tonight.  How are you so calm?"

"I think I'm frozen with fear if you want the truth.  Every time I would get close to dropping off to sleep last night, the fear of what I have to do tonight would jerk me back awake."

"Do you think it's going to go ok?  Will mom still love me after we tell her?"  I was standing next to the bed getting dressed.  Every thing I pulled out of the closet felt wrong and looked even worse.  Sigh, I might as well just wear anything, because nothing is going to be ok today.

Grabbing me around the waist Ben pulled me onto his lap saying, "You are still the same girl she has known her entire life.  It's me that has to tell her I''m not the guy she thought I was.  I think it will be a huge shock for her.  But she will still love you, on that I can promise."

"But…..I… I let you do this.  That's how she will see it any way."

"Look at me sweetie, ok?"  I tilted her head up so that she was looking at me and not the floor.  Tears were filling her eyes and as I watched they spilled over, I did this to her!  I'm causing her heart to break again!  What an monumental ass I am.  Hopefully I'll get this right whispering to her, "I won't let you take one little breath of blame for this ok?  She can be as mad at me as she wishes, but you?  I won't allow that, understand?"

Abby nodded at me, her lip was trembling and she wrapped her arms around me and held me so tightly, crying now in ernest.  I held her against me, rubbing her back.  Fuck!  Why didn't I just deal with it?  Why did I do this to Abby?  If it's the last thing I'll do, some how I will make this right.  I don't know how, but I will.  And at that an idea sprang into my mind, a plan of attack that might work.

Sniffling and rubbing her eyes she staggered up from my lap to go and blow her nose and wash her face.  Breakfast was a very subdued meal.  I toasted some waffles, and nuked some bacon.  Abby nibbled on things, but really didn't eat much.  She took her waffles in a bag with her.  How that girl can eat waffles without syrup is beyond me!  Strange little thing she can be at times.  As soon as I was in the car, I called the office telling them I needed a personal day, my boss wasn't to happy, but, he'll get over it.  Obligations met, I headed to Irene's.  Big breath in!

I felt kinda weird standing on the porch at 8 in the morning, in my work clothes at that, but this is something that has to be done.  Waiting on the porch for Irene to open the door to Abby's childhood home my stomach knotted up an acid flavor invaded my mouth.  Oh, gods don't let me vomit!  I heard steps in the hall, and then the door swung open, and there was Abby's mom.

"Ben!  What are you doing here?  Is Abby ok?"  Worry clouded her face, her eyes searched mine looking for the answer she was dreading.

"Abby's fine.  She's at work.  I need to talk to you.  May I please come in?"

"Sorry!  Where's my manners today?  Come in Ben."

Irene led me back to the sunroom, a pleasant room that Bob had added onto the house only a year or so before he died. Tile floors, white wicker furniture, and pots of flowers everywhere.

"Coffee?"  Irene offered.

My stomach was barely holding on as it was, the thought of swallowing anything was distasteful to say the least.  Shaking my head no.  Irene really looked at me for the first time, after the fear passed concerning Abby, her usual laser beam gaze returned.  I felt like her eyes were ferreting out all my secrets, there was no reason to even open my mouth she would know all just by looking at me.

Still with her gaze leveled on me she said, "Ok, what have you done?  That has to be the guiltiest look I've ever seen."

With my eyes glued firmly to my shoes, I drew a shaky and ragged breath and slowly started talking, "Did Abby ever tell you I'm bisexual?"  I waited for a response, and when none came, I sneaked a peek up at Irene, who was sitting stock still, almost frozen, with a sinking heart I continued, "See here's the thing, I umm wanted a divorce.  I didn't want to hurt Abby, so I was going to let her go find someone better.  A guy who would appreciate her, and treat her as she deserves.  I let her talk me into staying, and now I'm afraid that my cowardice is going to hurt her.  That you will think less of her, and that's something I just can't do.  She has to be the sweetest, kindest person I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  If you get mad, please only at me, and not Abby."

Irene cleared her throat, and in a rather icy voice said, "Continue your story boy."

At those words, I almost lost my hold over my stomach and fought for a moment before regaining some kind of composure.  In a much quieter voice I hurriedly started talking, "I've met someone, and we have fallen in love.  I still love Abby with all my heart and soul, but………"  How on earth can I sit here and tell my wife's mother that I need both sexes in my life?  My own parents won't have anything to do with me after they caught me in bed with my boyfriend when I was 18.  I see no way of making this right, but I was damned if I was going to make Abby the bad guy in this.  I have to make her see that Abby is the innocent victim in all of this.

Steeling my resolve I continued, "Look it's like this"  and at that I raised my head, and looked Irene right in the eye, "I love Abby, and the angel that she is wants me to be happy.  I now have a boyfriend, and he has moved into the house with us.  We consider ourselves a triplet now, not a couple.  And just to cut your question off before you can ask it, no Abby doesn't have sex with Derrick.  Sexually we are two couples, Abby and myself, and Derrick and myself.  Abby loves Derrick, only in a brotherly sort of way.  Derrick thinks the world of Abby, and has fallen in love with her as the sister he always wanted and never had."

"So, what you are telling me is that you are living with your boyfriend in my daughters house?  She has to lay there at night alone while you two are down the hallway doing things I don't even want to think about.  The very thought of it makes my stomach curdle."

"First of all, we all sleep together.  And yes, I do have sex in the house with Derrick, but we try to be desecrate, and usually only when Abby is gone, or asleep."

"Why are you stringing her along?  If you don't want her, leave!"

"Don't want her?  Of course I still want her.  Abby is……my heart, my soul!  If it's any business of yours Abby and I still enjoy having sex."

"If my daughter is your heart and soul, as you claim, then why do you need a 'boyfriend'?"  The venom in her tone when she said the word boyfriend was crystal clear.

"Do you even understand what the term bisexual means?"

"Yes, it means your afraid of admitting your a homosexual."

Sighing loudly and shaking my head no I said, "No, no it doesn't.  I'll admit some men hide behind the label of bisexual when they are gay.  Not me.  I love women and men equally, and to be happiest, I need both in my life.  The love I feel for your daughter allowed me to push those feelings aside for several years, but they never went completely away."

"I still say you are nothing more than a homosexual."

"So, what if I were a homosexual?  I would be a homosexual that loves your daughter more than I can put into words."

"I want you and your dirty little boyfriend out of my daughter's house today!"

"It happens to be my house too, you don't have any control over how we live our lives.  If Abby is happy with this arrangement, then you are just going to have to get used to it."  It was all I could do not to lash out and scream at her.  "Oh, and for your information, Derrick is not a dirty little anything!"

"We will see about that, won't we?"  Picking up the cordless phone Irene started punching the keys.  Oh my gods, she was going to bother Abby at work!  No!  I jumped up and jerked the phone from her hand, pushing the end button as I did.

"There is no way I'm going to let you upset Abby at work!  You leave her alone."  The menace in my voice must have been clear as Irene looked rather shocked.  "If you want to talk to her about this, you will do so when she's not at work."  I swung my arm to punctuate my words, and Irene flinched away from me.

"Go ahead and hit me!  You want to, I can see it in your eyes!"   Fuck! This was spinning out of control.  Hit Irene?  I've haven't hit anyone since 8th grade!  The idea of hitting a woman was totally repugnant to me.  I took a few steps away from Irene, and turned my back to her, trying to calm down, needing Irene to calm the hellz down too.  Taking a big breath in, trying to get my roiling emotions under some sort of control.  I turned around to see how Irene was doing, when she slapped me hard across the face.  And before I could actually even process that she had hit me, she did it again, and again. Finally coming to my senses as she pulled her hand back to strike me again, I caught her wrist and stopped her.

"You will not hit me again Irene, do you understand?  Abby went into this of her own free will.  I tried to leave her, but she didn't want that.  She said she would rather share me, than to not have me at all."

"How dare you!  You stand there telling me that Abby, my daughter would choose this sordid lifestyle?  I wasn't born yesterday, I know my daughter well enough to know she wouldn't live in this degraded manner if you hadn't of forced her into it.  You have some sort of hold on her, and you better believe that I will do everything in my power to break her loose from you."

"The only hold I have on Abby, is that I love her."

Irene looked at me with a sneer on her face, that twisted her pretty features into ugliness, "If you loved my daughter, there is no way you could treat her this way, and you know it to be the truth.  I want you to leave my house now.  And I don't ever want to see you in this house again.  Do you understand?"

"Yeah, I do understand, you are going to loose this battle.  If you keep this up, Abby will pull away from you.  Can you live with that?"

"If she does, it will be your fault.  Now get out of my house!"

Driving away from the house a stone laid heavy in my stomach, my actions are causing Abby to choose between her mother and me.  I had hoped that by going to see her alone, I could talk some sense into her, but had that proved to be a false hope.  Do I go to work, or just go home?  Home, home, home, I just want to go home.  Fuck!  I should call Abby!  Punching in her number, one ring, two rings, three….. voice mail.  Ohh shit!  She is either on the phone to her mom now, or busy at work and she has her phone off….. I'm going to her office and see if I can salvage anything after this morning left ashes and a burnt bridge of what had been a good relationship between Irene and myself.  I found a parking spot fairly close to Abby's office and had just finished feeding the meter, stepping up on the curb, when a woman's back caught my eye.  Something about her seemed familiar…..  As she slowed to stop and dig around in her purse she slightly turned giving me a clear view of her face, my world whirled around me, leaving me disoriented.  It was my brother's wife!  I hadn't seen her for how many years had it been now?  Seven?  No, oh gods it was almost nine years now…..  When had Alex and Nicki  moved here?  What a fucked up kind of day this was turning out to be.  What the hell, I don't think things could be made any worse than they already are, I'm going to say hi.

"Nicki?  It's Ben, Ben Parker."  The woman in front of me stopped digging in her purse at the sound of my voice and at first a look of confusion and then recognition bloomed across her face, followed by a giant smile.

"Ben?  Oh, my gods, it is you!  How have you been?"  She surprised me by grabbing me up into a huge hug, and planting a kiss on my cheek.  She pushed away from me slightly, and then pulled me to her again, for an even larger hug, and this time hung on like I was going to vanish if she let go.  "What are you doing here?  Do you live here too?"

"Yeah, I moved here when I went to college, and just never moved away from Centralis.  How long have you and Alex lived here?"

"You went to college?  Really?  I didn't know.  We moved here last year.  Can we go somewhere and catch up?"

"I would love to, only I need to stop and talk to my wife for a few minutes first.  There is a cafe on the corner, I'll meet you there in a few, ok?"

"Married?  You're married?  To a woman?  But I thought you were gay!"  Sigh what a day I'm having…..

"Yes, I'm married to a woman, and no, I'm not gay, I'm bi.  Look, I'm kinda in a hurry, do you want to meet at the cafe or not?"

"Sure, sure I'll go wait at the cafe.  Oh, it's so nice to see you again!"  Having said that she patted my shoulder before heading off towards the cafe.  As I sprinted to Abby's office building.  Waiting for the elevator, then the slow crawl up the building as we stopped at each and every damned floor, by the time I arrived at Abby's floor I was about to explode.  Praying that Abby was alone in her office as I maneuvered thru the cubicle farm in the middle of the large open area, seeing her door open, I gave one last spurt of hope she was in and not busy, I stuck my head around the doorway.  Sigh, and she was there, focused on the monitor, fingers furiously typing away.

"Abby?"  At the sound of my voice Abby's head shot up with a look of happiness at seeing me.

"Ben! What are you doing here?  It's ages till lunch."  She must have seen something in my face, because her face sobered quickly, "What's wrong?"

I stepped fully into her office and shut the door.  Falling into the chair in front of her desk, I cleared my to dry throat and said, "I went to talk to your mom this morning, and let's just say it didn't go well at all."

At first Abby looked sad, and then she made a funny sound, and got up and came around the desk.  She tilted my face upwards, and lightly ran her finger tips over the side of my face.  It must have hurt more than I realized because she hit one spot that caused me to flinch.  The look in her eyes went from sadness to one of anger.

"Did my mother slap you?"

"Um, yeah a few times actually before I stopped her."

"What in the hell was she thinking?  Wow, she must have been really mad to have hit you.  It didn't go well at all did it?"

"No, that would be an understatement.  She wants me and my dirty little boyfriend to move out of your house tonight."

"Wait, she called Derrick a dirty little boyfriend?  She called my Derrick dirty?  How dare she? That's it!  Mother and I are going to have a little talk tonight.  She will not be pleased at all how this is going to go.  Hitting my husband, saying horrible things about Derrick, calling it my house…..ohhh she is going to get it from me!  How I want to live my life is my decision.  I'm not her little girl any longer, she can't tell me what to do."

"On a different note, you'll never know who I bumped into on the sidewalk by your office?"

"Who?"

"Nicki, Alex's wife."

"Who is Alex?"

"My brother."

"Oh!  You're kidding me!  Whoa!  Don't just sit there give me all the info."

"I really don't know much except that they have lived here around a year.  She seemed very happy to see me."

"What are you going to do about………them?"

"…um I told her to meet me at the cafe.  I'm not allowing for anything more until I see how the wind blows."

"You go and see what's up with them, call me and let me know, ok?"

"Abby?  Are you mad at me for going and talking to your mom alone?"

"At you?  Not one bit.  At her?  Hellz yeah, she has a lot of explaining to do.  And you can better believe that I'll not be taking her calls today.  Now you get going and talk to NIcki, and you be sure to call me asap as soon as you find out anything, yeah?"

"Yeah, will do boss!  Did I tell you how much I love you?"

"Oh a time or two, but not in the last few hours.  So, time for you to catch up buddy!"

I stood up and wrapped my arms around her, and kissed her lightly and then whispered to her, "I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you."

"Shut up and kiss me.  Did any one ever tell you that you talk to much?"  But, of course I couldn't answer her, as I was to busy doing as I was told.  Just about the time things were taking an interesting turn Abby's office door swung open. Abby and I broke our kiss and turned to look at the smirking face of one of her co-workers.  "I think you had better go.  Remember where we left off, ok?"

"I'll be ready whenever you are."  Abby giggled at the look on the woman in the doorway, and lightly pushed me away from her.  "See ya later honey."  I quickly kissed her cheek and winked at her co-worker as I passed by her and out the door.

Whew!  Abby wasn't mad at me, and was angry at her mom. I wonder if Irene would ever change her mind about our "sordid" lifestyle?  I knew it would be a hard sell, but I honestly thought it would go better than that!  She seemingly liked her lesbian neighbors……. but then again, it wasn't HER daughter living that way either.  Well, maybe her attitude will change after Abby has her chance to battle her prejudices.  And now on to see if attitudes had changed in the Parker world.  I stood and looked around for a while before I found Nicki, she was sitting at the back of the restaurant, in a corner booth.  Heading her way, I heaved a breath hoping against hope that the views of my family had softened.  But then what?  Would I want them back into my life?  I mean, they did throw me away?  Didn't even come to my high school graduation.  Came home from the ceremony to a note on my bed telling me to move out by the end of the week as i wasn't welcome in their house any longer.  They weren't even there to see me be awarded a full ride scholarship……what a shitty kind of day this was turning out to be.  I hadn't thought of that in years.

"Hi.  I was wondering if you were going to blow me off."

I slid into the booth opposite of Nicki and gave her a shrug, "Sorry, I needed to talk to Abby about something important."  This was her game, and I am going to make her do most of the work.  I know that's not very fair, but ask me if I care.  They could have found me if they had looked, if they really wanted to, and since our meeting was accidental, they hadn't been looking that much was clear.

"I want to say this right off, to clear the air, ok?  What your parents did to you was terrible, they didn't even attend your graduation! Alex hated how they treated you, but he hates himself even more.  The fact that he didn't fight them, didn't try to help you at all, burns him with guilt.  And then his guilt got the better of him, and that prevented him from looking for you.  You are in his thoughts more than you would ever believe."

"Ok. I'll take your word for it.  Before we go any further, does my brother hate me for being gay?"

"But, I thought you said you were bi?"

"I am, I did.  But he said some harsh things to me, and I want to know if his view has changed regarding gays."

"Yes, yes he came to his senses a few years ago.  Why?"

This time I'm not going to crawl there is nothing for me to loose.  I haven't had a Parker in my life for almost nine years now, and if after this meeting I don't have any in my life, nothing has changed.  Status quo is maintained.

"I married Abby almost five years ago, and recently fell in love with a man, who is now living with us.  I consider myself to have both a wife and a husband."

The look on her face was certainly interesting.  I don't think I've ever seen a look that qualified to be called "nonplused" but this one sure did.  I just sat and let her work it out on her own.  The waitress came up and I ordered a bowl of chicken noodle soup and a glass of apple juice, while Nicki was working thru what I had told her.  Finally after sitting there more or less alone as she gave this a lot of thought, she shook her head and gave me a strange look.

"Ok. So let me get this straight.  You are bi, you live with your wife and with a man that you think of as your husband?"

"Yup.  You got it in one."

"And your wife is ok with all of this?"

"Of course."

"You're awful closed mouth, why?"

"Oh, I don't know. Maybe it could be the fact that my brother called me some really horrible names.  It could be that he never attempted to find me.  It could be the fact that I don't feel the need to explain my life and how I live it to someone that for all intents and purpose is a stranger to me."

"You're right, I'm sorry.  How upset would you be if I told you that Alex is on his way?"

"Upset?  Pfft!  If he wants to be seen in public with a what did he call me again….oh I remember now, a perversion who was going to burn in hell for all of eternity, then it's fine with me."

"Ben?  Oh my god it is you!"  Before I had a chance to decide how I was feeling, he pulled me from the booth and my brother folded me into a bone crushing hug.  "Can you ever forgive me?  I was an ass the way I treated you.  I'll never be able to apologize enough for you to understand just how sorry I truly am."

"Unless you want the other diners here to think you are gay as well, you had better let go."

"I don't care, let them think what they will.  Oh, I have missed you!"  Alex must have finally noticed that I wasn't hugging him back.  He pulled away with a funny look on his face.  "Ben, aren't you glad to see me?"

"Nah, not really."

The look of pain that flowed from his face to lodge in his eyes was intense.  And that pain, I admit did cause me a twinge of guilt, but after the day I've had, ask me if I truly care.

Alex let go, and I sat back down on my side of the booth keeping my face as neutral as possible.  He slowly sank on the seat of the booth, and silence fell over the booth.  The waitress brought my soup and juice.  Thanking her I reminded her that my order was separate from whatever they ordered.  After shooing away the waitress, Alex just sat and looked at me while I calmly, outwardly at least, ate my soup and sipped my juice.

"I'm sorry, I was a stupid ignorant asshole for treating you that way.  And I let my guilt get in the way of finding out where you were.  Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?"

"You're forgiven, feel better now? Your faggot brother just absolved you of your guilt.  And now you can go on with a light and free heart.  Need anything else from me before I go?"  My soup was almost finished, and while I ate the determination that if he wanted a relationship with me again, he was going to have to work at it.  Alex threw me away, not the other way around.

"Wait, you really meant it when you said you weren't glad to see me."

"Yes, I did mean it.  Even a faggot like me means what he says."

"Would you stop calling yourself that!"

"Oh, so it's ok for you to call me a faggot, but I can't refer to myself that way?  Whoa! Even after all these years you are telling me what to do."

"I'm sorry.  I know I don't deserve it, but could you at least sit here and talk to me, please?"

"Ok. I can spare a few minutes."

"Thank you."

"Ok, what do you want me to talk about, since you seem to be in charge of things.  Let's see….oh I was telling Nicki about my wife and husband.  We could talk about that."

'Your wife and husband?"

"Yes, if you would have allowed me to explain myself to you years ago, you would know that I'm bi, not gay, bi.  And so, in keeping with that, I have both a wife, and a husband."  Wouldn't you know it, just then my phone started warbling "Sweet Dreams"!  Perfect!  "Excuse me please, it's my husband."

"Hey honey!"

"Um, it's Rich.  Derrick is on his way to the hospital."

"What happened?"

"A piece of metal exploded and he got hit with tons of shrapnel.  He's ok, but he asked me to call you."

"Which hospital?"

"St. Mary's it's the nearest."

"Thanks."

I hurriedly hit end, and then quickly called Abby.

"Abby!  Derrick is on his way to the hospital.  Rich called, he is supposed to be ok, but I'm going over.  Sure, I'll pick you up on the way.  See ya in a few minutes."

I looked at my brother and his wife, "Hey I gotta go.  See ya around."  I got up and just walked away from them.  If I was truly important to him he would find me.

Heaven on a Plate

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Posted on 2:40 PM | By Biki Honko | In

Zzzt….zzzt…zzzt…zzzt……z slap!  I groggily felt Derrick roll over and snuggle up to me.  Umm, that was such a nice way to wake up.  I felt lips on the back of my neck kissing me, as he wrapped his arm around me, pulling me in closer.

"Isn't it Monday?"

"Yeah.  Today is moving day for me, remember?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Someone is sleepy this morning."

"Kinda."

"Go back to sleep."

"Nah, I'll get up with you."

"You are already up.'

"Like I'm the only one?"

Thrusting softly against my butt and kissing the back of my neck he whispered, "Ya wanna?"

Pushing back against him I said, "…. ohh yeah…."

"Let's move this to the other room, ok?"

"Yeah."

We slipped quietly out of the bed, Abby still had hours before she needed to be up for work, and we moved into the guest room.  I think we need a better name for this room, cause it hasn't ever had any guests in it, but it's sure seeing a lot of sex lately!  Falling into the bed and into each others arms, this could become a very wonderful habit!  As Derrick headed to the shower I crawled back into bed with Abby, and slipped back into sleep before he got out of the shower.

 When Abby's alarm went off I was muddled headed and confused.  I hate it when i fall back to sleep after being up for a while, it totally trashes my head.  I drug myself into the shower, hoping the hot water would clear some of the cob webs away.  I was standing in the shower, leaning against the wall just letting the hot water pour over me, when Abby came into the shower and scared the shit outta me.

"Sorry!  What's with you this morning?"

"I got up with Derrick, and now my head is all mucked up."

"A gallon of coffee coming up, stat!"  Abby merrily laughed at me

"Shush, please Abby, not so loud."

"Oh, you do have the big head this morning, don't you?  Poor baby!"

"Oh, hell yes, I think it's going to fall off it hurts so bad."

"Let me get you some aspirins, ok?"

"If you do? I will love you forever."

"Boy, are you easy!"

"Yeah."

Abby hopped out of the shower and was back with aspirins, which I gratefully gulped down.

"I will wait until you are finished to shower this morning.  I'll get the coffee started."  Abby grabbed her robe, and headed out of the bathroom, leaving me blissfully alone.  I slowly washed my hair, putting off leaning over as long as possible, but either the hot water, or the aspirins had started to kick in because my headache started to ease up a bit.  I was still in the shower when Abby my little angel brought in a steaming mug of coffee.

"Wow, that was fast!"

"Derrick must have re-loaded the machine after he ate this morning, because it was ready and waiting for us.  You know there is no way, he was going anywhere with out coffee in the morning."

"Yeah, he does love his coffee."

"Do you think you can eat this morning?"

"Maybe some scramble eggs and a piece of toast."

"I'll be quick with my shower, just go and sit down ok?  You look pale."

"Ok."

"Are you sure about going in to work?"

"Yeah, my headache seems to be easing off some already."

"I'll be right out.  And don't you even think of starting breakfast!"

"Yes, I promise."  Slowly getting dressed, trying not to jostle my head, ugh unless my head improves work today is going to be a trial. Sinking gratefully into the soft cushions of the sofa, I must have drifted off, because the next thing I knew was Abby's cool hand on my forehead.

"I am going to pull rank on you this morning.  You are staying home, and going back to bed.  Here," Abby handed me the phone, "call in and tell them while I make you something to eat."

"But.."

"Don't you even think of trying to talk me into letting you go to work today.  Now make that call."

I knew better than to try to change Abby's mind, once her mind was made up there was little hope of changing it.  While I was dialing the phone, I couldn't remember the last time I had called in sick.  Oh well, that's what sick days are for, right?  Of course he wasn't in yet, so I left a message on his voice mail.

"Here you go honey, I know you love a bowl of oatmeal when you don't feel well."

The oatmeal smelled heavenly!  Oh, and she remembered to put a sliced banana in it.  Smiling up at her, I gratefully ate my breakfast.  No sooner had my spoon scooped up the last little bite, than was the bowl popped out of my hand, and then the spoon plucked from my hand.

"Alright mister, off to bed with your right now!  No arguments!"

"Ok."

And before I knew it, I was back in bed, and drifting off again.  The last thing I remember was a soft kiss from Abby, and then thankfully sleep pulled me under.

On the way to work I worried about Ben, he rarely suffered from a headache, but when he did have one, they were always real lulus. The work day was one of those uneven days, first slammed silly with calls and emails that needed to be quickly sent, and then periods of relative calmness.  During one of those periods of calmness, mom called….. and was angling for a dinner invite tonight, I could put her off due to Ben's headache.  But I think we are going to have to come clean with mom soon.  I would rather have things planed out that to have her drop by unexpectedly.  Sigh….. I wonder what mom is going to make of this?  She loves Ben, but what will she think of him after this?  Oh, and Derrick, what is she going to think of him?  Suppressing a giggle the thought of having my mom sit at the table and watching him make garlic bread, how can you not find it sweet how he kneels by the broiler?  And then the day swept me away from my thoughts as things speeded up again.

As I drove away from the house, my first stop was at the I-Haul truck rental shop, I needed a lift to help get the washer and dryer and dresser alone.  Well, I guess I could wait, but I just want to get this move over with, it feels like my life is on hold until I get moved out of here and move…. home.  Wow! It just struck me how that is the first place that has felt like home in a really long time.  Sighing, I wondered for the millionth time if mom missed me.  Should I try calling her?  Maybe "he" won't be home this time.  Still trying to decide what to do, I walked into my apartment, and was struck by how sad it was.  Sterile, flavorless, nothing here that is about me, no wonder Ben looked shocked when he first came in.  How did I ever manage to live in such a sad place?  It was like a waiting room, not a home at all.  Is this all I thought I deserved?  Anger boiled up in my chest.  Anger over how my mom let "him" treat me the way he did, anger over Tim with his infidelities.  I deserved better, and at long last I think I have found it!  I know how much Ben loves me, and Abby loves me too, I think.

Quickly packing thru the apartment, the question of what to do with the stuff from my kitchen.  I won't be needing it, and it's just cheap stuff, the toaster, microwave and coffee maker can go to work in the break room.  The rice cooker will come home with me, I can't imagine life without it, and we don't have one at home.  As the word home rolled around in my head, my heart swelled again.  A home, at long last, a place for me, where people care for me, and want me.  I was leaning over the washer disconnecting the water hoses, when I heard the door bell ring.

Opening the door I was surprised as hell to see Rich.  He was the only one from work that I hung around with at all.  We played video games, and went to a sports bar a few times to watch a football game.  Rich was 23, with brown eyes and dirty blonde hair he kept buzzed very short.  He was cute as hell, and had starred in a few late night fantasies.  "Hey Rich!  What's up?"

"Nothing man, just came by to play some video games with ya, and I see your in the middle of moving.  What the hell man?  Why didn't you ask me for help?"

"I just didn't think of asking, that's all, ok?"  Shit! I hope this goes well…..

"Why ya movin'?  Oh, don't tell me you finally found you a little cutie to move in with?"

"Uh, yeah I found someone to move in with."

"Man, I didn't even know you were dating.  What's she like?  She can't be to smart if she's going out with a looser like you!"  Laughing madly at his own joke, I punched him on the arm.

My mind was whirling thoughts around and around, trying to decide what to tell Rich.  Fuck it!  I'm just going to tell him the truth.  "I'm moving in with a guy, not a girl."

"What! Ha ha ha ha!  Good one!"  Rich must have seen the serious look on my face, because in the middle of his laughter, he came to an abrupt halt.  "You're not shittin' me are you?  So…..you're gay?"

"Yeah."

"Really?"

"Yeah, really."

"Whoa dude!  Talk about a surprise!"

"We ok?"

"Fuck yeah!  Like I care who you sleep with."

Breathing out a breath I didn't even know I was holding, "I'm really glad to hear that Rich.  But, could you not tell the others at work?"

"For fucks sake no!  Most are complete asshats, they would make your work life a living hell."

"Thanks."

"You want some help?"

"Hellz yeah!"

As I was taking the computer desk apart Rich cleared his throat, I looked up to find him looking at me with a rather quizzical look on his face.

"What's up Rich?"

"Umm so I guess it's serious if you're moving in with him?"

"Yeah, really serious.  Why?"

"Well, it's just that you were unattached last week, and now you are moving in with him, ya know?"

"I know it's rather fast, but something just really clicked between us.  I can't really even describe it, but we are just right together, ya know?"

"Really? You know that fast?  How can that be?  How many dates have ya all had anyway?"

"Umm, mostly been together the entire week.  And ahh, he's……married."  At the shocked look on Rich's face I hurriedly continued, "No, no she knows about it, and she's cool with it, really."

"Now how could that be?"

"Umm, she would rather share him than loose him.  Look the thing is, they really do love each other, and this was the only way they could think of saving their marriage."

So, he is……?"

"His name is Ben, and he's bi."

"Oh….ok."

"If you will come in and meet them tonight, you will see how things work, yeah?"

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah I'm sure.  It's my home too.  Hey, stay for supper, we could grill up some steaks.  Sound good?"

"Ok, if you're sure you want me to…."

"Sure I'm sure.  Let me call Abby to make sure she doesn't have anything planned for supper."

"No, no don't go to any trouble."

"Trouble?  It's not any trouble.  But speaking of food…. I'm hungry. How about you?  Want to grab some lunch?"

"Yeah, sounds good."

"Cool, you drive, and I'll call Abby."

"Ok.  Burgers sound good to you?"

"Yup!"

On the way out the door, I ran thru my address book looking for Abby's number.  Ah, there it is!

"Hey Abby, I was wondering if you had anything planned for dinner?  A friend from work stopped by and I roped him into helping me."

"No, it's fine with me, but you should check with Ben first.  He stayed home with a headache today."

"Really?  He was fine this morning.  What happened?"

"He fell back to sleep and that usually just gives him a sluggish head for a few hours, but today it gave him a lulu of a headache.  I made him stay home from work."

"Ok, I'll swing by and check up on him after we eat lunch."

"Sounds good.  I've been worried about him but afraid to call and wake him up.  Hang on a sec."

I could hear the sounds of several voices talking and then Abby came back on the line, "I gotta go put this fire out.  Love ya!"

"Love ya too!"  And with that, she was gone.  Turning to Rich I said, "Hey would you mind stopping after lunch at my house?  Ben stayed home with a really bad headache, and I want to check up on him."

"Sure, no worries."

We grabbed lunch from a drive thru, and headed home so I could check up on Ben.  We decided to eat at home, and the smell of lunch was causing my stomach to make loud rumbling sounds, and Rich took full advantage of teasing me about it.  As we pulled into the driveway I was fishing my keys out of my pocket, and had the door open almost as soon as the truck came to a complete stop.  Jumping down with our lunch in my hands I hustled up to the front door, waving for Rich to hurry up.  Opening the door, only silence met me, which really worried me.

I dumped the sack of burgers and fries on the table, and opened the fridge, "Drinks are in here, choose what you want.  I'll be right back."  And was out of the room like a shot.  Walking down the hallway, the silence continued, and the bedroom door was still tightly shut.  'Hmm, he must be still asleep.'  As quietly as possible I eased the door open to find Ben stretched out sleeping soundly, right in the middle of the bed.  Some how the sight of him sleeping alone, in "his" spot, really got to me.  I eased myself onto the side of the bed, not wanting to startle him awake.  Slowly I laid down and cuddled up to Ben.  I felt Ben drift awake, and he threw an arm over me, and snuggled up closer to me.

"Are you done moving already?  What time is it anyway?"

"No, I'm here to check up on you.  Well, and eat some lunch too.  It's almost one."

"Really?  Good grief!  I've slept the day away."

"Umm, I have a friend in the kitchen.  Ya wanna meet him?"

"Really?  Who?"

"Rich from work.  He stopped by today to see if I wanted to kill things on the XboX.  And I, um told him every thing."

"Everything?"

"Yeah."

"Wow!  Were you scared?"

"I was scared shitless!  But, it seemed to go ok.  So, do ya wanna meet him?"

"Of course!  I'll be right out."
 
"Ok.  You feeling ok?"

"Yup!  My headache seems to be gone."  At at time my stomach rumbled again, causing both of us to crack up laughing. "Go feed your monster.  I'll be right out."


Feeling much relieved after seeing that Ben was ok, I entered the kitchen and was digging in the fridge looking for something to drink, when I saw the cans of Dr. Pepper.  Now that sounded good!  Oh, and mayonnaise.  It sounds nasty, but I love to dip my fries in that and not ketchup.  Carrying the mayo and my can of pop, I smiled at Rich, which he seemed to find funny, and he started to laugh.

"What's so funny?'  I popped the top of the soda and took a long drink.  As I was pulling my burgers and fries from the sack, Rich was still laughing.  Again I asked him, "What?"

"Man, you do have it bad, don't you?"

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about the fact that you almost run into the house, dump me and lunch in the kitchen and sprinted down the hall.  And come back a few minutes later with a big dopy grin on your face."

"Hey, at least I came back!"

"You're right, you did.  Is he ok?"

"Yeah, he'll be out in a few."

Just then Ben came into the kitchen, looking mussed and oh so sexy in jeans and a tee-shirt and bare feet.  I must have had that dopy look on my face again, cause Rich started snickering again.

"Hey, I'm Ben.  Nice to meet you, Rich."

"Hi."  Ben and Rich shook hands, and Ben went to the fridge and started digging around looking for something.

"Ya know, we used to have left overs in here all the time.  But since you moved in they seem to be an extinct species."

"Ha ha ha, aren't you the funny guy?  Here I bought enough for both of us."

"Ok, let me grab a soda first."  Ben checked the table and not finding any ketchup, dived back into the fridge again, rooting around until he found it.  "How you can eat your fries without ketchup is beyond me.  Rich, would you like some ketchup?"

"Yeah.  What's up with this guy?  I mean really, mayo on fries?"

"I have no idea what so ever!  But aside from that little character quirk, he seems to be normal."

"Normal?  Huh, if you say so.  I guess you should know."

We teased and laughed our way thru lunch, and I felt that Ben and Rich with time could be friends.  They both ganged up on me on how many burgers I ate, I mean is 4 really that many?  Throwing away our lunch trash, I asked Ben, "Where do you want me to put my bedroom furniture?  In the garage for now?"

"Nah, let's move it in today, and get rid of the old furniture."

"Ok.  Let's get the room emptied out now so we can move the my stuff in."

"Sounds good."

With three of us working the room was quickly emptied and as Rich and I moved the dresser to the garage, Ben was vacuuming the carpet.  With that out of the way, we jumped into the truck now it was a tight squeeze, not that I minded being pressed up against Ben so tightly.  It's amazing how quickly we emptied the apartment.  Ben seemed to be on vacuum duty, because after we moved my bedroom suite into the truck, he had the vacuum running and had the bedroom and hallway clean.  As Rich and I wrestled the washer and dryer into the truck, Ben started cleaning the bathroom.  He finished about the same time as the last box was placed in the truck.

"Hey!"  Ben said to me as he was filling the mop bucket to swab the kitchen floor, "What do you say about going to get the manager and check out of here today?"

"Good idea.  I'll be right back."  I headed out to the managers office, hoping he was in.

"For only being together a week, you two seem really tight."

Ben stopped mopping and looked at Rich, trying to gauge what he was really saying.  Deciding that he wasn't being mean, Ben replied, "Yeah, it's kinda weird actually.  I've only meet one other person in my entire life that I felt an instant connection with, and I married her."

"Derrick mentioned that you were married.  She's really ok with…..this?"

"Yeah, she is.  We have had some rough days, but I think we are going to be ok."

"…..oh."

"What?"

"Well, it just seems like she would be jealous of Derrick."

"First of all, it was her idea for me to get a boyfriend.  And second of all, she has had some jealous moments.  I'm sure there are going to be more between the three of us.  But, I think we can make this work."

"Cool.  Now I know why he has been so happy this week."

"Really?  Like how?"

"Oh, he keeps drifting off in the middle of a conversation, with a really dopy look on his face."

"It sounds like me.  I've been having trouble concentrating this week too.  But, I don't know about the dopy face."

"Oh, believe me, you have it too!"

"Ha ha! ok then!"

I had finished cleaning the kitchen when Derrick returned with the manager.  After a quick walk thru, he pronounced it clean and in good shape, took the key and Derrick's new address, promising to send him his deposit within the next two weeks.

The truck was about half empty when Abby came home from work.  We would finish up tonight, but it had taken longer than we had thought it would.  Rich was helping me hook up the washer and dryer when Abby came into the garage.

Pulling my head and shoulders from behind the washer, I motioned to Rich to turn around.  "Rich Hobart, this is Abby Parker.  I work with Rich up at the mine."

"Glad to meet you!  Thanks so much for helping Derrick get moved in.  Are you staying for supper?"

"If it's ok with you, I would love to."

"Good!  I'll change and get supper started.  Oh, where's Ben?"

"He's in the guest room setting up the bed.  What do you want to do with your old bedroom suite?"

"Load it in the truck and drop it off at one of the charity shops."

"Um, Abby?"  Abby and I turned and looked at Rich, he had a really funny look on his face.

"Yeah?"

"My sister's apartment burned down a few weeks ago.  She's bunking in with me right now, and it's kinda tight.  I have a one bedroom apartment, there are 4 of them.  Gloria and the two older kids are sleeping with her, the baby is in a crib in the living room, and I'm sleeping on the sofa.  We are starting to snap at each other.  I mean I love my sister but honestly!  So, I was just thinking if you didn't mind, that bedroom suite would come in real handy."

"Well, I've got a few boxes of kitchen stuff I didn't know what to do with either.  You could have that too.  Oh, and my box of sheets and towels.  We don't need the extras do we Abby?"

"No of course not.  Does your sister work?"  Abby had an interesting look on her face.  I wish that I knew her better, because I really wanted to know what she was thinking right now.

"Yeah, she does, but money has been tight for her ever since the divorce.  I'm helping all I can, but I have bills of my own.  I have the money for a deposit on a new apartment, but she needs so much to get her moved into a place of her own."

"Let me go and get changed, and I'll start supper.  Derrick could you get the charcoal started?"

There was something afoot that's for sure, but not having any idea what it could be, I let i go saying, "Sure Abby, one fired up grill coming up."  Getting the grill going, I enjoyed standing on the patio, feeling the breeze listening the the sounds of the neighborhood. Today has gone very well I think, I came out to Rich, and we're still tight.  I wonder how well Rich would get along with Lisa?  Maybe we could invite them both over, that would be cool to have some people to hang out with.  I'll have to run it by Abby and Ben.  The coals seem have caught well, time to go back to work on getting the truck emptied.

Just as we finished putting the last box away, Abby came into the garage, saying dinner was finished.  I don't think I could have lasted much longer with the yummy smells coming from the kitchen, and blowing from the grill.  We all went and washed up, and Ben and I stole a quick kiss when Rich wasn't looking.  Stolen kisses can be so sweet.  Ben gave Abby a quick kiss on the lips, and I gave her a huge hug for making such a fantastic supper.  Grilled pork chops, mashed sweet potatoes, cole slaw, biscuits, and green beans, heaven on my plate!  And Abby the angel that she is, made huge amounts of food, so I had plenty to eat, even with Rich here.  I grabbed a few beers from the fridge for the guys, and Abby wanted lemonade.  Abby really warmed up to Rich, and dinner was very pleasant.  We sat around the table long after we were done eating, just enjoying the company of each other.  Finally both Rich and I started to yawn, tomorrow is going to come really early!  Ben pushed Abby back into her chair to chat with Rich, while we cleaned up the kitchen.

"Oh crap!  I just realized my truck is at the rental place."

"Ya want me to pick you up?"

"Nah, it's to far out of your way, but thanks anyway.  I'll just take the old blanket out of my trunk to sit on."

I walked Rich out to his truck to say thanks for all the help today.  And before I could get my mouth open Rich said, "Hey, I want to thank you for the bedroom set.  Do you mind storing it in the garage for a bit longer?"

"No worries, ok?"

"Derrick?  You were right, it does work between the three of you, I'm happy for you."

"Thanks.  So you are cool with me, with us?"

"Yes."

"Cool.  See ya tomorrow at work then."

"Bye."

Ben and Abby were sitting on the sofa chatting, when I came into the living room.  Abby had changed into her pj's, and was snuggled up against Ben, but when she saw me come into the room, she held her hand out to me.  When I took it she pulled me down next to her, smiling at me she said, "Well!  I really liked Rich.  He's good people.  Ben told me you told him everything?"

"Yeah.  He's the only friend I have, and didn't want to lie to him."

"Rich acted like he was ok with our….relationship.  Was he really?"

"He is.  Rich mentioned it before he left.  He's cool.  I need to go to bed, tomorrow is going to a shit kinda day.  We have a 12 hour turn around on changing out the teeth on the 994 loader."

Abby pouted cutely, "You can't stay up for a little bit?  For me?  Please?"  Laughing at her play pouting, I pulled her into a hug and kissed her cheek.

"Ok little lady, just for you."  I had tried my best at a John Wayne imitation causing all of us to laugh.  I can't channel the Duke at all.

"Um, my mom called today, and she is angling for an invite.  We normally have her over several times a month.  I….ah we need to explain how things are with us.  Honestly, I'm worried about how she will take to this."  Abby waved her hand between the three of us.

Ben was very quiet, and had a far away look in his eye.  I glanced at Abby, she had a little frown on her face as she was watching Ben.  Drawing a ragged breath in he said, "I think that it should be me that tells your mom.  All of this is my fault.  If I wasn't bi, this wouldn't have happened.  Let me take her to dinner, talk to her, and if things go well, bring her back here."

"No.  This isn't all your fault.  You tried to divorce me, and I wouldn't let you.  So this is as much my "fault" as it is yours.  We will tell her together, the three of us.  Derrick, what do you think?"

"Me? I don't know.  I don't have a clue."

The three of us sat quietly, each thinking our own thoughts, working on the knot of how to work this so it turns out the best way possible.  Abby finally broke the silence saying, "She's my mom, so I get to choose.  And I choose that we tell her together.  Done!"

"Baby, it doesn't work that way, and you know it.  Derrick you are thinking something, I can tell, what is it?"

Clearing my throat, to be honest I was a trifle nervous but decided to plunge in the deep end and just hope that every thing would turn out for the best, "I see where you both have good points here.  No, really.  She is Abby's mom, she should get a bigger say in this.  I can see where Ben would feel it's all his fault, and that he should be the one to take the blunt end of any negative emotion, shielding Abby from her mom's possible anger."  Pulling in a lung full of air feeling a quiver in the pit of my stomach I finished up saying, "But I think that Ben should be the one to tell her.  He was the one in pain, and he did try to do the honorable thing by letting you fly free."

Sighing a huge sigh Abby quietly said, "Ok, you tell her.  But not at some soulless restaurant, tell her here, I'll leave the room until you are ready for me.  Derrick and I will wait until you call us."

Ben looked at the two of us, "So, is tomorrow to soon?  Now that we have made our decision, I'd like to get it over as soon as possible."

Abby looked at me, I nodded yes, and we both looked at Ben, who said, "Ok then, tomorrow it is."