Timeline: Last days of summer
“Dad, you don’t understand.”
“Understand? For God’s sake, Blaine, what in the fuck were you thinking? Or were you even thinking? Damn it, son, if you needed the money all you had to do was . . . .”
Trent heaved a major sigh of relief when the raised voices of both his boyfriend and his boyfriend’s father faded to a muted roar. The two had obviously taken their fight back outside, leaving him exactly where he’d been hiding for the past 30 minutes or so, sitting on the floor in the hallway leading off the kitchen. The spot not only provided him with cover, but it also allowed him to hear every word of the heated argument.
He shook his head, hoping the vigorous motion would break him out of the shock-induced state he found himself in. “Damn it, Blaine, if I hadn’t seen the proof with my own eyes, I still wouldn’t believe it, not in a million years.”
Blaine had posed nude for money, money which he’d used, in part, to fly himself home to Louisiana so that he could be with his totally clueless boyfriend.
Trent mentally kicked himself in the ass for being so stupid. He remembered Blaine clearly saying he wouldn’t be able to attend the Senior Prom with him. The baseball game he’d been scheduled to pitch was in South Carolina, and nothing short of a miracle would get him home in time for the dance.
But make it home, his boyfriend did. Blaine had shown up unexpectedly, looking sexier than ever in his rented tux and, with one simple kiss, had stolen all coherent thought from Trent’s brain.
“Hell, the kissing, the fucking, the rimming, it’s a wonder I could think at all that night,” Trent muttered.
His gag reflex kicked in when he recalled the memory of how he’d curbed his complete and utter aversion to rimming in order to thank Blaine for getting home in time for his prom. Thank God he wouldn’t have to do that again.
Trent made himself swallow the bile that rose in the back of his throat. Man, he loved Blaine to the max and would do just about anything for him, but rimming wasn’t one of them. Hell, he’d get his dick pierced multiple times before touching his lips to Blaine’s hole again.
“There are some things a fella’s not supposed to do, whether he’s gay or straight, and that’s one of ‘em. Fuck-o-rama.”
Trent wiped his mouth and took a deep breath. Of course it went without saying that his measly sacrifice had been nothing compared to Blaine’s.
Blaine had posed nude, posed butt-naked nude for a damn centerfold.
Trent forcibly relaxed the hand that was clutching the infamous magazine. He carefully laid it on the floor and thumbed it open to the section featuring his boyfriend. The short write-up on Blaine was just that, short. There were a ton of facts the writer hadn’t even touched upon, but then again, why would he? Nobody in their right mind bought ‘Freshman’ for its articles.
“Speaking of articles, I wonder if this is the issue that has---”
“Ah, the notorious photos.”
Looking up, Trent realized his hiding place had been discovered. Daniel Alexander, Blaine’s honorary uncle and godfather, was taking a seat on the floor beside him. In his hand was another copy of the magazine.
“I enjoy the articles,” Dan explained with a somewhat embarrassed smile.
Trent snorted. “Yeah, you and me both.”
“Wanna tell me what’s going on?” Dan asked. “It’s not every day I find myself staring at naked pictures of my lover’s son.”
Trent shuddered at the image those words produced. Not only had Sean seen the pics, but Dan had also. What about Blaine’s mom and sisters? Had they also seen them? Another shudder took hold of him when he contemplated how many more would see the layout. Strangers of all ages would soon be drooling and lusting and jacking off---
Trent saw red.
“I’m gonna kill him,” he hotly declared. “I’m gonna string up his sorry ass and then beat the hell out of it.”
“I’m sure Sean would be more than happy to supply the rope,” Dan offered.
Trent looked over at the older man. “I don’t understand, Dan. Why would Blaine do something so fucking stupid? Is he that ashamed of asking for money? I mean, I would have loaned him the money. Of course, it would have meant me selling my truck or something like that but still, it would have been better than this.” He stared at the photograph of Blaine sprawled naked on a bench in the team dugout. “Why, Budman? Why?”
“I believe you’re wearing the answer on your hand.” Dan indicated the shiny gold band Trent wore on his left ring finger. “That’s new, isn’t it?”
Trent stared at the ring Blaine had given him not less than an hour ago. For almost a year his boyfriend had been promising to buy a commitment band to match the one Trent had given him last fall. As soon as he saved up enough money, Blaine had repeatedly sworn. Well, his boyfriend was a man of his word and had bought the ring using a portion of the money he’d received from the photo shoot.
“Ah, hell.” Trent scrunched his eyes shut when he remembered how he, himself, had gotten the money needed to buy Blaine’s ring. He’d hocked what was probably his most cherished possession, a locket he and his dad had given his mom shortly before she’d died of breast cancer.
“The things a fool will do for love,” he mumbled.
“Obviously Sean has forgotten that particular fact,” Dan interjected. With a friendly pat to Trent’s arm, he rose to his feet. “Seems he’s forgotten the time he sold his prized Lynyrd Skynryd collection so that the two of us could go whitewater rafting down the Colorado River.”
Trent stumbled to his feet after grabbing his copy of the magazine. “He did what?”
Dan gazed off into the distance and smiled. “The two of us had decided it was time to step out of the closet and declare our love to the world. We chose a rafting trip down the Colorado River for the main event. The whole thing was sponsored by GLADD, and what better company to be in when you finally announce to the world that you’re gay and in love with each other.”
“How old were you?” Trent asked. Having known Blaine’s dad for his entire life, he was still having a hard time picturing the man in a relationship with another man. It had always been Allanah and Sean. Now it was Allanah and Sean and Dan, the dynamics of which were still a mystery to him.
Dan chuckled. “Actually, to tell you the truth, we were the same age as you and Blaine are right now.” He shook his head. “God, has it been that long?”
Trent glanced in the direction of the back porch. The yelling was getting louder again, indicating the return of Blaine and his father. Looking over his shoulder at Dan, he asked, “Maybe you could jog Mr. Matthew’s memory? Point out the fact that Blaine was only following in his footsteps.”
Dan walked into the kitchen and laid his copy of the magazine on the counter next to the fridge. “Sean selling some dusty old records is nothing compared to Blaine selling the family jewels.” He collected a beer from the fridge and popped off its cap. Pointing the glass bottle at Trent, he added, “I doubt Sean will see the similarity.”
Trent took a seat on one of the stools placed alongside the Matthew’s cluttered breakfast bar. He shoved a neon pink Hannah Montana backpack to the side and leaned his elbows on the counter. “It’s not the same, I agree. And yeah, I’m still going to kick the shit out of Blaine the first chance I get, but . . . .” He looked down at the band on his left ring finger. “I still don’t understand why he would do such a thing. I know Blaine loves me, but to pose naked just so he could buy me a fucking ring?”
Swiping at the moisture collecting in his eyes, Trent hid his face by looking out the windows to his left. “Do you have any idea how that makes me feel?” He glanced back at Dan, hoping his mentor would understand what he was trying to put into words. “Blaine basically whored himself for me. Why? Am I really that special?”
Trent took comfort in the hug offered to him. “I’m just a guy,” he grumbled. “An ordinary kind of guy. No way in hell am I worth that sort of sacrifice.”
“You are to Blaine,” Dan whispered in his ear. Taking a step back, the bespectacled man collected his beer and took another swallow. “Whether you know it or not, you’ve been the only person Blaine has ever confessed to having feelings for. There’s never been anyone else to my knowledge. It’s always been you.”
He waved a hand at the framed photos scattered along the wall next to the backdoor. The collection included not only the usual school pictures of all the kids, but there were also vacation pictures and photos of family friends and relatives. Trent took a closer look and was amazed at how many of them included him.
Dan pointed to one in particular, a photo of the two boys showing off their tattoos. “Each Christmas Sean would send me photos of the fam, and without fail, every batch contained at least one or two pictures of you and Blaine. Not Blaine and some girl, not Blaine and some guy. It was always you and him.”
Dan turned his piercing gaze on Trent. “And let me say, it was obvious from the get-go that my godson was head-over-heels in love with you. Might have taken him a while to comprehend the exact nature of that love, but once he did, he embraced not only his homosexuality wholeheartedly, but also his feelings for you.”
Dan finished his beer off with a last swallow and tossed the empty in the recycle bin. “I realize that doesn’t excuse his recent behavior, but it does explain it somewhat.”
Trent drew in a startled breath. Without warning, Dan had turned and placed a hand over his heart. There was no doubt the man could feel its accelerated rhythm. “But am I so special that he would put his entire future in jeopardy?” he asked. “Man, what would have happened if that scout from LSU hadn’t signed him? His baseball career, college, all down the drain and for what? So that he could take me to my Senior Prom?”
“Blaine loves you,” Dan answered, “and in his eyes, you’re worth any sacrifice.”
Feeling suddenly overwhelmed, not to mention confused as hell, Trent hung his head. “How can I live up to that? I’m nobody. Just a guy who was okay at school and okay at sports. Nobody special.”
“I wouldn’t say that’s exactly true.” Dan reclaimed his copy of the magazine and flipped through it. “I’d say you have a natural way with words, and this is a prime example of that talent.” He slid the magazine across the counter so that Trent could see the article he was referring to. “Not sure I’m totally comfortable with the subject matter, but the writing is excellent.”
Trent stared open-mouthed at the page. “Oh shit.”
There, in black and white, were the words, ‘Do You See What I See?’ written by T. A. Michael.
T. A. Michael was a pseudonym he’d created for himself, a play on his real name, Trent Michael Anderson. And the article? It was a fictional piece based on the events of the afternoon he and Blaine had watched Sean and Dan getting down and dirty with each other.
Trent traced the outline of his name with a shaky hand. He’d always enjoyed writing and had, from day one, been secretly jotting down short snippets about him and Blaine. That day in the treehouse had really stirred his creative juices, and on a whim, he’d submitted the finished story to his favorite magazine in hopes it would one day be published.
Trent glanced up and saw a very frustrated-looking boyfriend heading his way.
“Ah, shit,” he growled. “Of all days . . . .”
End of chapter 21
Disclaimer: These characters belong to me, myself and I. Removing them from their peaceful Southern home without my permission will not be kindly looked upon.