July 20, 2018 (Friday, 9:14 AM)
Jeremy's phone rang while he was between patients and he looked at the number. He smiled and answered.
"Hey, Patrick. You ready to camp this weekend?"
There was a muffled sob on the other end of the line. "I … I just wanted to call. I'm not gonna be able to go, Mr. Adams. Aunt Carrie isn't going to let me. She found my change of clothes I was going to bring, and I had to tell her that I always wear boys' clothes when I go camping."
Jeremy's heart sank. "Oh, no Patrick." He put his forehead on his hand, propped up on his desk. "What can I do?"
Patrick made a sobbing sound which tore into Jeremy's soul. Patrick breathed, and got himself under control. "Just to talk, and hear someone use my real name helps, Mr. Adams." He sniffed. "Thanks. Thanks for everything you've done for me. I don't think Aunt Carrie will let me call you anymore after this. So, can you tell Avery, Elias, and Sam goodbye for me?"
Jeremy closed his eyes and shook his head. He took a steadying breath. "Okay. I will. Look, Patrick, if you ever need to talk to me, even if you have to go against the wishes of your Aunt, then you CALL. I'm going to send you a prepaid track phone, okay? Keep it hidden, and use it when you need to."
There was more sobbing and then a loud sniff. "Okay." Patrick's voice was so small, and fragile, and wounded. "Thanks, Mr. Adams." There was a voice in the background, and Patrick inhaled. "I have to go. Goodbye."
Patrick hung up, and Jeremy stared down at the phone in his hand.
'I can't let it end this way for him.' Jeremy turned to his computer and pulled up his schedule. He had one cancellation, and that gave him a free ½ hour before lunch.
His face took on a determined expression. Jeremy plugged in a USB drive, and he hooked his phone up to the computer. He navigated to the pictures and videos on the device.
"Okay. Hang on Patrick. Hang on, buddy."
July 20, 2018 (Friday, 12:21 PM)
Jeremy pulled up in front of Carrie Denton's house, where Patrick also lived. He got out of his car, and he walked to the door.
"Just a minute," a voice said from inside, and Jeremy could hear footsteps as they approached.
Carrie opened the door. The short, sturdy woman's face dropped a little when she saw Jeremy. "Mr. Adams, I know Mary called to let you know she can't camp anymore. And I don't want to be rude, but I think you should go." She started to shut the door.
"Miss Denton. Please, I'm just going to take a few minutes of your time."
Carrie hesitated, her hand on the half-open door, and her blue eyes looked a little unsure as they searched Jeremy's face.
The redhead made a play, "Miss Denton, I value … Mary very much." He felt awful using that name for Patrick, but he had to play this game for the time being. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't."
Carrie sighed. "Well, Mary definitely looks up to you." The woman stood firm though. "But I don't think it'd be a good idea to have you come in." She nodded. "Say your piece, then go. I don't want Mary to hear your voice. She's already upset enough."
Jeremy licked his lips. "I have something I want you to see. Do you have a computer?"
The woman nodded.
"Good." He took out the USB drive. "Plug this in. And look through the pictures and the videos on there. They're of Patrick, the person your Mary becomes when HE is allowed to be who he feels he needs to be."
Carrie's eyes narrowed at the pronouns, but she took the USB drive. "I'll look through them, but what are you hoping I see, Mr. Adams?" She shook her head. "There's nothing you can say or do that can convince me that my niece is actually a boy named Patrick."
"All I ask is that you look at the pictures and the videos. And when you do, ask yourself a straightforward question - 'Is my Mary ever as happy as that boy, Patrick?'"
Her frown deepened. "You talk like they're different people."
Jeremy smiled sadly. "Look at them. And you'll see that they are." Jeremy stepped back away from the door. "I know you love Mary. But what I hope is that you find the space to love Patrick instead." Jeremy shook his head. "Because Mary is just an illusion now. A harmful one to that boy, who's just trying to be who he's meant to be."
With that, he turned and walked down the steps. He heard the house door shut behind him, and Jeremy got into his car. He sighed behind the wheel.
"I tried, Patrick. I hope it's enough."
Inside the house, Carrie looked down at the USB drive in her hand. She had made a promise, and she would honor it.
She went into her little home office and sat at her desktop computer. She plugged in the drive, and she picked it when it popped up on her screen.
There was a single folder labeled "Patrick's Refuge." And in it were dozens of pictures and four short videos.
Carrie sighed, and she opened the first picture. In it, Mary wore boys' clothes, and her chest was even flatter than usual. She held a water balloon in her hands, and her jeans had a big wet splotch on them. Her mouth was open in a full and joyful laugh. And her eyes glowed with the pure delight of life.
Carrie knew Mary would never even join in most games, much less a water balloon fight. Mary was so shy and timid. Carrie swallowed, and she went to the next picture.
A half-hour passed as Carrie slowly looked through all of the photos and as she watched the videos. Then after she finished with those, she saw another file labeled "Resources for Parents of Trans Kids."
Carrie bit her lip. She had promised to look at the pictures and the videos. She wasn't obligated to look at whatever else was in the folder.
Carrie's cursor hesitated over top of the file. And after a moment she double-clicked.
July 20, 2018 (Friday, 5:47 PM)
They arrived at Camp Refuge. And Samantha and Avery both asked about Patrick. As they pulled into the campground, Jeremy had to tell them about what happened earlier in the day.
"Patrick's aunt SUCKS!" Avery frowned. His face screwed up, and Jeremy thought he was about to cry.
"Avery, Miss Denton just doesn't understand." Jeremy parked at a tent site across the campground from their usual spot, as the place was nearly full. He opened the door to the car. "She doesn't 'suck.' She cares about Patrick."
"She cares about Mary," Samantha almost growled, "but she's killing Patrick."
That was a remarkably insightful statement from Samantha, and Jeremy couldn't correct any part of it. He sighed. "Yeah. I know."
Jeremy stood up beside the car. "Come on, guys. Let's try to have some fun, okay?"
The two Raven Kids got out. Elias had waited for them to arrive. He greeted them with a smile, and then it slipped as he registered their faces and that Patrick was missing.
Samantha and Avery looked at each other, and Sam started to explain.
Jeremy saw a car enter the loop, and it started the slow drive around the pavement. "Hold on." He knew that car. He saw it earlier in the day. Jeremy ran across the grass as it stopped at the regular spot the Raven Kids camped - though there were other campers there this time.
Carrie looked over as Jeremy stopped at her window. Right behind Jeremy were the three kids who had taken off with him. Jeremy's heart gave a happy leap when he saw Patrick in the passenger seat.
'Jeans, t-shirt … and a huge smile.'
"Mr. Adams," Carrie bit her lip, and she looked up at Jeremy as he stood by the car, "Mar … ah, Patrick and I would like to know if there's room for one more."
Jeremy grinned. "There is."
Patrick opened his door, and he ran around the car. He threw his arms around Jeremy, and he cried with his face against Jeremy's chest. The other three kids joined them, and they all stood there, a big pile of love that surrounded and held Patrick in the middle.
Patrick seemed to soak it in, and though he cried, they were happy tears.
Jeremy smiled, and he tried to disentangle himself. "Okay, kids. You all help Patrick with his stuff, and show him where you're camping."
They finally released one another. Carrie popped the trunk, and the kids all helped Patrick with his gear. They got everything in a single load spread among them all, and they chattered happily as they walked across the campground toward their new tent site.
Jeremy looked back at Carrie. The woman appeared as if she had been crying and she blew out a breath. Her fingers opened and closed on the steering wheel.
"Thank you," Jeremy said. "Thank you."
Carrie nodded once, short and crisp. She gave a strange smile and shook her head. "I'm not sure I know what's going on with her … ah … with him. But, I'm going to try to learn." Her face screwed up. "I had no idea me refusing to call … Patrick by his new name could hurt him so badly." Her eyes were wounded. "That information you gave me said a lot of kids even commit suicide because of it."
Jeremy nodded. "I know." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a business card. "Here. I'm not an expert on trans issues, by any means, but if you have questions that I can answer then, please call me. And if I don't know the answer, we'll find someone who does. Okay?"
Carrie took his card, and she wiped her face. She smiled and nodded. "Thanks." She looked across the campground at the kids as they started to help Patrick with his tent. "He's so happy here."
Jeremy slowly smiled. "I have a feeling he'll be a lot happier now at home too."
Carrie smiled. "I'm going to try." She watched a little longer then she put the car back into gear. "Take care of my nephew for me."
Jeremy felt his eyes water at that. He nodded. "We will."
Carrie nodded. She gave Jeremy a little wave, and she pulled away to continue driving along the loop. Jeremy watched as she drove around, then she stopped alongside where the kids were camping. Patrick ran up to the car, and he hugged his aunt through the open window. All of the other kids spoke to her, and Jeremy could see Carrie wipe at her face, and her smile was visible from where he stood.
Then the car continued, and she turned onto the highway.
Jeremy closed his eyes, and he took a deep breath and then let it flow out again.
'I still have to tell them about the funding.' He grinned, and he attracted a few looks from nearby campers when he burst out into an unrestrained, joyful laugh.
July 20, 2018 (Friday, 9:12 PM)
Joseph arrived late at the campground. He got off his shift at seven, but he had some chores to do in the city, and at his nearly unused apartment.
He parked at Orson's cabin, and he got out. He immediately noticed that the Raven Project kids were a couple of tent-sites away, and Elias waved to him as he looked over.
Joseph smiled and waved back. The kids all sat in camp chairs in a circle around their fire, and they continued with their laughter and conversation.
The tall, blonde man took his bag out of the trunk of his car, and he stepped up to the cabin door. He knocked. "Orson?"
The door opened after a few moments and Orson stood there. He grinned at Joseph. "Hello, Officer Wells."
Joseph chuckled. "Hello, Orson."
Joseph entered at Orson's inviting motion, and he put his bag on the futon. "Is Elias camping tonight? I thought I saw four tents out there."
"He sure is." Orson's eyes had a hungry spark, and he stepped close to Joseph. "We'll be all alone," Orson leaned in until Joseph could feel the heat from Orson's face against his skin, "all night."
"Well, in that case …" Joseph leaned down and kissed Orson, soft and sweet. That continued for a moment, then Orson's hand grabbed the back of Joseph's neck, and things shifted to needful and aggressive.
In minutes they both stood naked at the bedside, and Joseph took lungfuls of air as Orson kissed and nibbled at the tender skin of his neck. While, below the waist, Orson stroked Joseph slowly and with a firm grip.
The officer's skin tingled all over. Orson pushed Joseph gently down onto the bed, on his back. Orson stood by the bed, removed his prosthetic, then he straddled Joseph's hips.
Orson continued to kiss, touch, and taste Joseph. All the while his hips moved, and he rubbed his rear against Joseph's hard cock.
Joseph's hands were all over Orson's torso. Things got slippery between them as his excitement mounted, and as his body reacted with precome. Orson wasn't satisfied with only that, and he added a warm, lube-coated hand to the mix, and he stroked Joseph with it.
After a long, passionate kiss, Orson sat up. And he grinned as he positioned Joseph against himself. Both men wriggled a bit as they lined up, then Orson let himself settle, little by little.
Joseph felt the entry and Orson's head went back. He exhaled, and he went down a bit more on Joseph's member. Joseph continued to rub Orson's ribs, and chest, and he played with Orson's hard, leaking dick.
They hadn't spoken at all once they started, and they didn't need to. The communications through their bodies and expressions were perfect.
Orson groaned when he fully settled on Joseph's hips. Joseph waited only a moment, then he gripped Orson's slim waist, and he bucked up into his lover. Orson's mouth dropped open, and he let loose another groan. Orson's hand stroked his own cock, and he looked down at Joseph's face.
Everything was so amplified and intense with Orson. Joseph always considered himself a guy with some staying power in the sack. But something about Orson pushed him to finish quickly, and he stopped moving to try and make it last a little longer.
Orson stopped stroking, and he grinned down at Joseph as the officer panted. After a bit, Joseph resumed, and after only a minute, he was right back at the brink.
He stopped again. This time Orson laughed. The black-haired man's tongue appeared at the corner of his mouth, and he took on a mischievous look. Orson began to move his hips back and forth, and Joseph made a desperate sound.
Joseph's breath began to come in gasps, and Orson joined him as he stroked. Then Orson's body froze as his muscles locked up. Orson shot, and it landed in streaks in the blonde hair of Joseph's chest and then on his belly.
Joseph moaned, and he released inside Orson. His pelvis continued to move in time to the salvos from his dick. Then he went still - finished, and happily spent.
Orson sat on top and looked down at the blonde with a slight smile. After a few moments he lifted his hips, and they separated.
Orson leaned down, and the two men kissed. It was slow, unhurried, and filled with mutual emotion.
They got up. After a trip to the bathroom, somehow they both got into Orson's small shower, and they cleaned up.
Joseph helped Orson stand while they dried themselves off. Then they went to bed. Joseph lay behind Orson, his arm around the man's chest.
And within minutes, they both went into a deep and restful sleep.
July 20, 2018 (Friday, 9:33 PM)
"What are you thinking?" Greg's voice interrupted Clay's madly churning brain.
The men lay together in bed. Clay was flat on his back, his thick arm around Greg's shoulders. While Greg lay with his arm around Clay, and his head on Clay's chest. Clay's hand slowly rubbed up and down Greg's back. Somehow the man knew Clay was deep in thought, even though he wasn't looking at Clay's face.
Clay sighed. "There's just a lot to do, you know?" He continued to rub Greg, and he shifted to massaging Greg's paraspinal muscles with a finger and his thumb. Greg made a little appreciative sound as Clay's strong hand worked on him.
"I know. We get married in eight days. It's to be expected." Greg almost purred as Clay hit a sore spot on his lower back.
"There's that. But, I want to talk to you about something else." Greg must have heard the trepidation in Clay's voice, and he raised his head to look at Clay's face.
Clay glanced at Greg then Clay sighed. "I know you love this trailer. But … I wanted to ask what you thought about buying a house together."
Greg sat up on his elbow. "What? You don't want to live in the Airstream forever?" He smirked at Clay. Then his face softened. "I've already been scoping out the little place next door. I didn't want to say anything, to avoid getting your hopes up."
Clay smiled up at him. "Well, what'd you find out, sneaky man?"
"I found out it needs a LOT of work. And that's why it and the half-acre it sits on are only listed for $150,000. But it's all stuff we can handle."
Clay did some quick math in his head. "For a 15-year mortgage that's around $1,100, or $1,200 a month." Clay nodded. "That's doable on both of our retirements, so long as the campground is breaking even."
Greg grinned. "It's doing better than breaking even. I'm sure you noticed, but we're running at near capacity, Clay. It's crazy, but I was worried we wouldn't have room for the Raven Kids, and I had to hold a site for them, just in case."
Clay smiled. "I noticed that we're filling up. But it's still great to hear." He nodded. "Well … why don't we take a look at the place together tomorrow? That sound okay?"
"It sounds great." Greg lay back down in his spot on Clay's chest. The two were both quiet for a bit, then Greg made an impatient sound.
Clay frowned. "What was that?"
"I wasn't ready for you to stop rubbing my back."
Clay laughed. He pushed Greg off of himself. "Get on your belly."
Greg complied quickly. He wriggled his naked rear, and he smirked as Clay climbed on top and settled on Greg's rump. "I know where this leads."
"Hey, you wanted a back rub." Clay started to massage Greg's back. He wasn't gentle, but Greg liked a slightly rough rub, and Clay knew it.
Greg made an utterly happy noise, and chills broke out on his skin as Clay's strong hands began kneading the muscles of Greg's back. "You can do whatever you want to me, you know."
Clay's heavy member had already filled out, and it lay on the small of Greg's back. Clay was sure Greg could feel it. "Well, that's good." Clay made a little humping motion, so his penis slid up and down Greg's back a bit.
"AFTER my back rub." Greg grinned, then his eyes rolled back as Clay gripped his trapezoids and lifted Greg slightly off of the bed, then squeezed. Greg was like a rag-doll under Clay's hands - limp and pliant.
"Yes, after your back rub." Clay continued to roughly and thoroughly maul Greg.
Then a half-hour later Greg enthusiastically paid the price for the massage.
July 21, 2018 (Saturday, 7:13 AM)
Orson and Joseph were both having a lazy day. Yesterday Jeremy and Mason scheduled the Raven Project kids for a craft activity. And they were supposed to start on it this morning right after breakfast. That meant Orson was free to lay in bed.
And that's precisely where both he and Joseph were. Joseph's head was on Orson's chest, and he dozed in and out of wakefulness and sleep. Orson was propped up a little, and he played with his tablet while he enjoyed the warmth and comfort of Joseph's body.
Orson smiled to himself, and he nodded slightly.
"What are you doing?" Joseph's eyes were open. He looked at Orson and blinked sleepily.
Orson grinned at him. "Hey, good morning," Joseph mumbled it back to him, and Orson laughed at his sleepy man. "I'm looking at Masters of Social Work programs that I can do through distance learning. The University of Southern California has a great one. And they'll partner up with local organizations to do the field experience. I'd not have to leave, at all."
Joseph sat up. "Yeah?" Joseph rubbed his eyes, and he tried to make his brain work. "Is that what you want?"
Orson nodded. "It is. More and more, I've started to realize that this sort of thing is what I should do. If I get my MSW, I could go a lot of different directions with it. And I'm still young enough to start a career somewhere. Again, I could do that locally too. MSWs are needed all over the place, including in Crescent City."
Joseph thought it over then he nodded. "Well, I definitely like the sound of you sticking around." He smiled and gave Orson a little kiss. Then he frowned. "Will it cost a bunch?"
"Yeah, but with my retirement, disability money, and with some of the cash from … ah, from the art collector, I'll be able to swing it without loans." Orson sighed. "Elias wants to split his money with me. He said he wouldn't go to school unless I took half of it."
Joseph smiled and shook his head. "That kid loves you. It's so cool to see it," he said, then Joseph got a strange look on his face as if he debated something.
"What?" Orson looked at him, concerned. "What is it?"
Joseph sighed. "I shouldn't say anything." He glanced at Orson's eyes then he surrendered. "But, you know Danny? The guy who assaulted Elias?"
Orson would never forget that name, and he clenched his jaw. "Yeah? What about him?"
"Well, he was found dead yesterday. He got shanked multiple times, and he bled out in the shower." Joseph made a face. "Can't say I'm sorry about that."
Orson felt a grim satisfaction, and he tried to squash it. 'I shouldn't feel good about a man's death.' He tried, but a little touch of the feeling remained. "Well, it's too bad he won't see his day in court." He smiled at Joseph. "Thanks for letting me know."
Joseph nodded. "Well, keep it to yourself. I shouldn't have said anything at all."
"You got it."
The two men lazed around a bit longer. Orson tried to continue to look through the USC program for the Masters of Social Work, but Joseph's wandering hand found its way to his crotch.
"Ah. You are distracting me!" Joseph idly played with Orson's penis, and it woke under his touch.
Joseph ignored the dark-haired man's weak complaint and began to slowly stroke Orson. "I'm gonna call it 'Bartholomew.'"
Orson had put his tablet to the side by now, and he laughed. "So, Stanley and Bartholomew?" He licked his lips as Joseph continued the handjob. "They sound like a couple of respectable English chaps."
"Oh, there's nothing respectable about these chaps." Orson writhed under his touch, and Joseph's eyes lit up as Orson groaned.
Orson grunted, and he came, thanks to Joseph's ministrations. As the dark-haired man breathed heavily and unloaded on his own belly, Joseph grinned.
"Nope. Not respectable at all."
Author's Note About Patrick's Sections: This is SO important and impactful. Name and pronoun use matter for our trans significant others, friends, associates, patients, and family members. We should do our best to be respectful. We might literally save someone's life with what we consider a little tiny thing. See the link below for my source, and thanks for caring enough to read it.
Please let me know your thoughts on the chapter at the following email address link. Wayne Gray
And thank you for reading!
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