AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks for the reviews! I'm so glad this story has touched as many people as it has had. This is the last chapter of "Brian" and I'm working on the last chapter of "Kevin". PLEASE DO NOT BE ALARMED! There are sequels in the works. These stories were meant to focus on getting Brian/Matt and Kevin/Jason together, but I plan for the sequels to take it to the next level. As you can see, Trent's story is far from over, and Ryan and Lee in "Kevin" need to have a focus as well. But Kevin/Jason and Brian/Matt aren't going to disappear. The rest of their stories will be told as well.
I know, most of you on the yahoo group griped when I introduced the idea of ending the stories. But we're on chapter 40, and we've got more! It's only logical to break it into books. I promise you that they will all be there in the sequels: Cody, Grant, Joey, Cindy, Marly, Randy, the return of Sherry and Chris … even that damned Tanya. LOL! Karma's coming for her. You don't want to miss that!
Again I'd like to mention that I'm dedicating this story to Robert and in memory of his love, Leroy. And a special note: Robert is a fellow fictionpress writer and is working on an autobiographical memoir about himself and Leroy. Please go to still-in-the-closet88's bio page (I can't get links to show up here, so use the search feature at the top of the page) and review his stories.
The balding gray haired man sat stiffly in the chair next to the couch where Trent lay. As he'd always done when Trent was growing up, he scowled deeply at his son. Mr. Gaithers looked like he'd prefer to anywhere but where he was now. And yet, here he was. When Trent last saw his father he was being ushered into the back of a police cruiser while Matt and Grant helped the injured boy into their car. That had been a week ago and Trent was now wondering why his father had shown up at all today.
He must be here because of mom, he thought sadly. Trent was under no delusions that his father actually felt remorse for striking him. And, in fact, he'd probably been waiting for Grant and Cody to leave the house as well. Matt and Brian were back in Boston helping Niko move their things into the new apartment. Grant had made no secret of the contempt he held for someone who would hurt his own son like that. And, though he feigned innocence, Trent knew Cody had slammed the door in someone's face a few days before. Cody had said that he was getting rid of some persistent Jehovah's Witnesses, but the boy wasn't so sure now.
In any event, Trent had answered the door when his father knocked this time. Joey was coming soon, so Trent hoped this lecture didn't last too long. After he'd told his best friend what had happened, he was livid. Mr. Gaithers would probably be a lot healthier if he avoided the redhead.
"Just get to the point," Trent finally sighed. "I know you're not here because you're sorry."
"I should be sorry?" the man scoffed. "What for? I'm only sorry I helped bring you into the world."
"Beautiful. If that's all you came here to say, you know the way out."
"I should have beaten more respect into you when you were still small."
"I don't recall you having any reservations about it last week," Trent retorted, suddenly finding the nerve within him that he'd been missing all of his life when it came to standing up to this man.
Gaithers' eyes narrowed as he digested the new attitude his son now sported. College seemed to have had a bad effect on this kid. Well, if Melanie wanted him home, he would have to change his ways. No way was he housing a fag!
"I'd hoped that the knock would have fixed what was loose before you came back," he grunted. "Your mother asked me to bring you home and that's what I'm trying to do."
"That's what you're trying to do?" Trent taunted softly. "Bring me back to my oh-so-loving home?"
Gaithers nodded sternly.
"Because mom wants me there," Trent clarified. "But you never did." He stared at his father icily. "Come on, dad. Admit it. You never wanted me there. I couldn't do anything right growing up. Didn't look the way you wanted me to, didn't have the friends you wanted me to have. Hell, you never even showed any encouragement when I brought home A after A and sports trophy after sports trophy."
"I wanted to raise a decent son!"
"What the fuck could I have done at five to make you hate me?" Trent shrieked. "Because I remember the beating you gave me then. You twisted my arm! And for the life of me I can't remember what caused that incident. Do you?"
Gaithers huffed as he recalled the memory of five-year-old Trent and his four-year-old sister picking out pumpkins for Halloween. Tanya had dropped the one she'd chosen to try to take Trent's and he'd held it high above her head so she couldn't reach it.
"Tanya wanted the pumpkin and you wouldn't give it to her," he replied tonelessly.
"Ah, that was it," Trent murmured. "And you, the big man that you are, twisted my arm until I gave it to her. I remember wearing an ace bandage for two weeks and not being able to move it."
"You were bullying your sister."
"I was FIVE!" the boy exclaimed. "And as I recall, she only wanted it after I chose it. I never touched her. I only wanted to keep my pumpkin away from her."
"She was smaller."
"By one year!"
"You had to learn to share."
"Yeah, but she never did, did she, daddy?"
Gaithers was liking this conversation less and less. Apparently he hadn't hit the boy hard enough last week. He never should have let Trent accept that scholarship to Harvard. He should have gone with his gut instinct and insisted on the junior college that he'd picked out for him. That boy was out of control and needed supervision. His mother had insisted though. She spoiled this one, all right.
"I came here to take you home," he said tightly. "We can leave now."
"Leave?" Trent looked perplexed. "Why would I do that?"
"To come home to your family," the older man hissed.
"With the usual strings attached, I gather," Trent snorted. "I leave Harvard to come back to a local two-year and join those church groups you've been touting so much."
"And the therapy," his father nodded. "I already have several good referrals we can check out."
"Good," Trent said softly. "That's good."
"So, we're agreed then."
"That you need therapy? Definitely," Trent smirked. "It's never too late to change, dad."
"Take Tanya, too," the boy went on crossing his arms. "Lord knows she needs it."
"Don't you talk about your sister that way, boy! She's a good girl!"
"Everything is about Tanya, isn't it, dad? Your perfect little princess!"
"Trent, I'm warning you!" Gaithers got up and stalked over to the couch, his face reddening with building anger.
"You do realize she's a slut, right?"
Gaithers pulled his fist back and prepared to deliver another blow to his son's head … but his fist wouldn't come forward. He jerked his gaze over his shoulder and came face to face with a very pissed redhead. Joey glared back at him challengingly.
"Thanks for leaving the door open for me, Trent," he said not breaking eye contact with the older man. "I heard your dad's voice and thought it would be nice to surprise him."
"The pleasure's all mine, Joe," Trent replied with an uneasy smile. "I know how long you've wanted to say 'I told you so,' so …"
"Nope," the redhead shrugged. "But I have wanted to talk to you," he nodded at the older man. "I wanted to tell you what I think of you."
"I don't care what you think," Gaithers pulled his arm out of Joey's grip and straightened out his suit jacket. "You've been another bad influence on my son and you're nothing to me, you fatherless bastard!"
"Fatherless, maybe," Joey countered. "But my parents were married before they had me, so you have the last part wrong."
"You needed a stronger hand, too."
"Like you?" the redhead laughed. "No thanks. I'd rather be fatherless."
"So would I," Trent added dully.
"Well, you're not," another voice spoke up from the doorway.
They all looked over to find a fuming Cody standing there with his hands on his hips. He looked ready to do battle and his gaze was zeroed in on Gaithers with undisguised hatred rolling off him in waves.
"I believe I told you the other day your presence is not welcome here, Mr. Gaithers."
"I came for my son!"
"You mean you came for MY son!" Cody shot back. "You told him he wasn't yours anymore."
"People say a lot of things in anger," the other man shrugged unconvincingly.
"Yeah, and that spade to the head wasn't meant to be taken personally either, I imagine?"
Gaithers was ready to slap the lot of them. How dare they interfere with his family? Trent had had a week to come to terms with his new future, and he should have been ready to come home by now.
"You want me to change to make you happy," Trent said quietly, drawing his father's icy gaze back to him. "But my happiness doesn't matter at all to you, does it?"
"The therapy works, son," he sighed. "You'll see. Then we'll all be happy."
"No matter what I do, you'll never be happy."
"This is for your own good."
"Leaving Harvard University is for his own good?" Cody choked. "Oh, you've either got to have the biggest balls known to man or you really are as stupid as you look."
Joey laughed at this as he positioned himself between Trent and his father.
"It's not me you give a damn about," Trent said sadly. "It's you and what people will think when they find out your son is gay."
"You're not gay! Just confused!"
"Oh, no. I'm done being confused. You can't make me into what you want me to be. And no matter how hard you try, you can't keep Tanya from being what she is."
"A lying bitch," Joey interjected.
"If she's lying, as you say," Gaithers taunted, "then you're saying you're not gay."
"I'm gay," Trent affirmed. "Niko's not my boyfriend, though. I'm not dating anyone. Haven't yet."
"So you might be straight."
"It doesn't work that way," Cody said.
"You shut up!"
"Don't you ever talk to him that way," Trent growled dangerously as he rose slowly to his feet, leaning all of weight on his good ankle.
"He's no one to you!"
"No, YOU'RE no one to me," Trent replied with a tear sliding down his cheek. "He's my dad."
Gaithers looked between the three of them in utter shock. "So, in one week, you found yourself a new father?"
"No," Cody corrected with a small grin. "In one day, two new fathers found him. Now I suggest you leave. My husband has a restraining order against you for Trent and this house. And that detective you assaulted would just love another crack at you."
"Fine," Gaithers sniffed, stalking past Cody to the door and yanking it open. "You all deserve each other!"
"That we do," Cody smiled as he shut the door behind him. "Now you," he stared pointedly at Trent, "shouldn't be up. Back down on the couch while I make you and Joseph some lunch."
Trent smiled gratefully as he sat back down.