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Subject: Lessons in Fatherhood – Ch. 3 Lessons in Fatherhood by RJ Meyers This fictional story is about the love between two fathers and their respective sons. If themes of incest and adult/youth pairings offend you, do not read. If you have any questions or comments about this piece, want to know about any of my other works, or just want to reach out, please don’t hesitate to email me. If you would like to be added to a mailing list for this story (or all stories) and receive emails about any updates, let me know. A list of my works, including links and descriptions, can be found here: https://bit.ly/2S5IYDI Please also consider donating to Nifty if you fty/donate.html. Any amount helps. ~ Chapter 3 (Ricky’s POV) ~ Kyle picked an excellent day to go hiking. It’s a breezy eighty-four degrees, so it’s perfect shorts and t-shirt weather without being unbearably hot. I carry our sandwiches and water bottles in a backpack, hanging back with Ethan as Ky and Niall bound off of rocks and playfully chase each other up and down the winding forest path. It’s a treat watching them play. I’ve never seen Kyle so full of vigor, and I’m grateful to his friend for bringing that boyish excitement out of him. It must be the company, because I’ve never known my son to be so talkative, either. Turns out he’s surprisingly knowledgeable about various types of trees and plants, and even teaches me, Ethan, and his buddy the difference between the songs of a blue jay and a warbler. He talks at-length about they compare and contrast. It doesn’t bother me, though. I’m smiling the whole time as his attentive listener, and even Ethan smirks when he sees me grinning like a fool. However, the best part of the hike is when we get to the overlook. The path veers off into a clearing where the entire valley is visible. Even both kids, who were talking animatedly, pause only to whisper “Whoa” as we take a moment to soak in the beauty nature exhibits. There’s nothing but lush green surrounding the river that veers off into some distant body of water. Frankly, it’s breathtaking. I feel small fingers lacing themselves between mine, and I practically melt on the spot when I look down to see my son smiling up at me. There’s a rare radiance to it that tells me he’s grateful, and happy, and completely enjoying himself. When I smile back at him, I can’t help but think, “Maybe we’re getting somewhere.” “Thanks for taking us,” Kyle says to me. “Happy to, kiddo,” I say, giving his little hand a squeeze. “You having fun?” “Tons,” he says brightly. God, that smile of his is disarming, the type to make me weak in the knees. “That’s what I like to hear,” I say before glancing down at his stomach. “What about that tummy, huh? He hungry?” His eyes light up at the prospect of food. “A little bit, yeah.” I chuckle, ruffling his hair with my free hand before I start to take my backpack off my shoulders. This is the perfect place to have our little picnic: on a flat-top boulder, right in front of the overlook. After I start unzipping the bag, though, I’m interrupted by Kyle tugging on my shirt. “What’s up?” I ask, pausing. “I gotta pee,” he whispers to me, pulling on the hem of his own shirt as if to cover his crotch. “Oh.” I glance around. “Well, just go behind one of those trees there,” I say, gesturing back towards the woods. He looks surprised by my suggestion. “Really?” “Yeah. We’re out in the woods, it’s okay.” “You can do that?” “Sure,” I say with a small laugh. “I do it all the time.” That seems to give him a little bit of comfort, knowing his dad does it, so he smiles a bit and then shifts his focus over to Niall. He whispers something in his friend’s ear, and then suddenly, both of them burst into a fit of private giggles before running off towards the woods — probably to piss together. I watch them disappear behind a few trees, smiling to myself. “God, it’d be nice to be that young again, wouldn’t it?” I ask Ethan before I squat down and start rummaging through our bag for the sandwiches. He doesn’t respond after a few moments, so I turn around, wondering if he heard me or not. At first, I’m surprised to find him at eye-level with me — but I quickly realize that he’s not squatting like I am. He’s on his knee, one knee, specifically the right one, while holding something small and golden in his fingers. I blink, completely frozen in place for a moment. “What the fuck are you doing?” I ask, bewildered. All I can feel is my heart and head spinning until I force myself to stand up. “Proposing,” he says, biting his lip as he looks up at me. “No you’re not,” I tell him, as if I’m trying to call is bluff. This isn’t happening… Is it? “Yes, I am,” he says insistently. He reaches forward to take my hand, which has gone momentarily limp. “Marry me, Richard.” “I–” I don’t know what to say, or do. I scratch my hairline, feeling more confused than anything else. Ethan wants to get married? Where is this coming from? Looking down, I watch his thumb graze across my knuckles and settle on my ring finger, the one currently occupied by the plastic ring Kyle gave me. He wants to replace that. “You want to marry me?” I ask. He must detect that (frankly, very obvious) denial in my voice, because his eyebrows practically meet in the middle. “Of course I do. I love you.” “But…” I shake my head, almost laughing. This is so sudden. Oddly enough, not once in the past six years of being together have we discussed marriage, other than Ethan describing it as “a total con” considering he was subjected to a terrible string of his mother’s marriages when he was little. I’ve never considered “holy matrimony” to be an end goal, nor a necessary plot-point in my life, so I think we both assumed we were comfortable with what our relationship was — “were” being the operative word there. “Ethan, we haven’t even had sex in… how long now?” Now he stands up, looking irritated. “What does that have to do with me loving you?” I scoff, staring at him in disbelief. “Really? It has a *lot* do with that, Ethan.” He wants to spend the rest of my life with me, right? There’s no way in hell I’d give up sex for him — and if he actually knows and loves me, he should know by now what physical intimacy means to me. I’ve made that irrefutably clear. “Just because I–” “Don’t give me anymore bullshit excuses,” I say, holding my hand up to stop him. I feel myself getting angry, a simmer drawing dangerously close to a boil. “I don’t want to hear it.” Now he scoffs. “Are you kidding me?” “You just constantly feed me excuse after fucking excuse!” I say. “‘I’m too tired, babe’ and ‘I’m just not in the mood tonight, babe’ and ‘I don’t feel like myself, babe’.” His face gets red from me tossing his words back at him, and even though I know it’s probably unfair of me to mock him, it’s not like he’s been open about whatever’s going on — if there even is something going on. “Well, what the fuck else do you want me to say?” he asks. “The truth!” I say, pushing my palms into his chest and making him stumble enough to drop the ring on the ground. This whole time, all I’ve been thinking is that he’s just not attracted to me anymore, or he’s cheating on me, or some other shitty bit of reasoning that would render these past months a total sham. But he’s given me nothing. “I want you to be fucking honest with me and just tell me how you really fucking feel.” After he picks up the engagement ring, he inhales to calm himself. “I love you, Rick,” he says, trying to soften his voice, “and I wanna be with you.” “But you don’t want to *be* with me?” I demand. Part of me hates that I’m harping on this one detail, but it’s a major one. “Do you not want to marry me?” he asks, his voice rising again as he crosses his arms over his chest. “Is that it?” “I don’t know what the fuck I want anymore, Ethan,” I say, feeling a bit spent. “It’s a simple yes or no.” Suddenly, we hear a twig snap nearby, signaling that the boys are drawing closer — but I don’t realize just how close they are until I turn around and see their worried faces. Shit. They must have overheard us. “Hey, boys,” I say, donning a smile and busying myself with the backpack. “Who’s hungry?” I try to be cheery, but it’s clear that the boys (specifically Kyle) are confused, worried, and wary. Our argument puts a damper on the rest of the hike. Lunch is quiet, the silence punctured only by forced conversation, and when we decide to head back, Ethan and I walk separately. Ky and Niall are keeping close as usual, but they’re not nearly as animated as before. They must feel like they’re walking on eggshells or something, because they keep looking back at us with hesitant expressions. Goddamn it, Ethan. Why now? The ride back to the house is just as awkward as the latter portion of the hike, if not more so due to the close quarters. The boys stay silent in the back, and Ethan just sighs repeatedly in the passenger seat as if goading me to respond to it. I don’t say anything until we get back home, and the only things I do say are “Okay” when he says he’s going to leave and “Goodbye” once I walk him to his car. This time, I don’t see him off. I let him pull out of my driveway with his engagement ring still in his pocket and nothing but the back of my head to wave farewell to. In all honesty, it’s somewhat of a relief to be back home without Ethan in the house. I close the front door and exhale heavily, closing my eyes for a moment. I can’t believe he fucking proposed to me, after all my complaints and total lack of answers. Did he think he could just smooth things over with an engagement? Was that his reasoning? “Are you okay, Mr. Fischer?” I look over at Niall, who’s poking his head above the couch and peering at me curiously. Kyle’s sitting right next to him, glancing over as well. “Yeah, I’m okay, Niall,” I say, giving him a half-smile. “Sorry you had to see that.” “It’s okay,” he says, looking far less cautious than my son does. “My mom and dad fight a lot too.” “Yeah, well… Still, I didn’t mean to ruin the day,” I say, scratching my head. I glance towards the kitchen. Well… I know a surefire way to bring up the mood before I have to bring Niall home. “Y’know what? I think I need an ice cream sundae pick-me-up,” I say playfully. “Don’t know about you fellas–” “Yeah!” they both cheer in unison, hopping off the couch and racing past me to get to the kitchen. I chuckle to myself, about to follow — but Kyle halts in his tracks. He seems to ponder something for a moment before he turns back around and, without even looking up at me, wraps his arms around my waist. God, my heart. “Thanks, buddy,” I murmur to him, stroking his hair before I squat down to hug him properly. He holds the embrace for half a minute, thirty full seconds of beautifully tender and unprompted affection, before kissing my cheek and then running off to join his friend in the kitchen, eager to gorge on ice-cream. “There he is!” Kieran, ever the cheerful man, smiles brightly at the sight of his son, and little Niall jumps into his dad’s arms for a quick, loving embrace. They peck each other on the lips before Kieran sets his boy back down with a grunt and turns towards me and Kyle. “Thanks for handling the rides,” Kieran says to me. “Not a problem,” I say. “I know you’re a busy guy.” He just shrugs. “Well, I’m not busy *now*, thank the heavens,” he says with a grin, clearly pleased to be off work. Then he turns to greet Kyle, who’s standing beside me. “Hey, big man!” Kyle smiles bashfully, blushing slightly as he bumps the fist Kieran’s holding out for him. “Hi, Mr. McCarthy,” he says politely. I put a hand on darıca escort his shoulder, chuckling. He just wanted to come along for the ride. The more time he spends with his best friend, the happier he is. “‘Mr. McCarthy’,” Kieran repeats, amused. “Sounds way too official, but I’ll allow it ’cause I like you,” he says, winking at my boy before addressing me. “Hey, you guys wanna come in for a bit?” “Nah, I kinda have to–” But Niall interrupts, leaping at the idea. “Yeah!” he says excitedly, and the boy grabs Ky’s hand and tugs him through the threshold. I just stare in surprise at how quickly my son disappears before I laugh. “Guess I got outvoted.” Kieran chuckles, patting my arm. “Welcome to fatherhood.” When Kieran asks if I want to come in, I hesitate but agree, stepping into his home and kicking my shoes off with a sigh. “You mind if I use your bathroom?” I ask. “Not at all, not at all,” Kieran says, placing a hand on my back. “You know where it is.” Kieran tends to the boys and gets them drinks while I slip into the hallway and temporarily lock myself in the bathroom. Truthfully, I just need a private moment to think. I wanted to go home after dropping Niall off so that I could take some time to process my feelings about Ethan, to reevaluate our relationship, and to truly consider what an engagement (and, by extension, a marriage) would mean for us. It seems silly, the more I think about it. Marriage isn’t going to fix our problems. The simple prospect of getting married wouldn’t be the right motivation, either, and it feels a bit unfair of him to time it this way: when he’s in the hotseat. Maybe he senses that my frustration (catalyzed by the total lack of sex) has reached an all time high, and this is a last-ditch effort to smooth things over. I roll my eyes before bending down towards the sink to splash cold water on my face. I shouldn’t speculate. That only makes me angrier at him. But if I don’t hear what I need to hear from the horse’s mouth soon… I step out of the bathroom after a few minutes of me pretending to feel refreshed. I make my way down the hallway and into the kitchen, and I barely have a chance to notice that both of our sons have migrated to the living room before Kieran appears in front of me, brandishing two shot glasses. “Thought you might need this,” he says, handing me one. There’s dark liquid sloshing around in it. I can’t help but grin a bit. “How’d you know?” I ask, taking the glass. “Well,” he says, glancing at the living room, “two little birdies by the names of Kyle and Niall told me there’s trouble in paradise.” I wince a bit. “They’re not upset, are they?” “Nah, they’re fine,” Kieran assures me. “They just said that there was some fighting… and that a little gold ring was involved. So… Drink up.” Kieran clinks his shot glass against mine and then throws back the alcohol with one swift motion. I do the same, lifting the rim to my lips and accepting the shot. It’s (unsurprisingly) whiskey. Because I had already been feeling a little nauseous, the whiskey heats up my stomach in an unsettling way, but I do my best not to grimace as I set the shot glass on the counter beside his. “Look,” Kieran says, clearing his throat. “I don’t mean to pry at all. Well… maybe I do,” he adds with a charming laugh, “but you can talk to me if you want and/or need to. I might be a lot, but I’m a good listener.” My developing friendship with Kieran has confirmed that. Sure, he can talk a man’s ear off, but he doesn’t dominate the conversation with his own personal anecdotes. He asks about me, too, engages me, and lets me know that I’m being heard. So, I find myself spilling it all onto him. I don’t know if I’ve just been desperate to talk to someone about all of this, but I find myself divulging all my relationship issues: how we haven’t had sex in months; how we differ in dramatic ways when it comes to political beliefs, spirituality, and what makes a relationship work; how I feel like we’re together just because we’re used to it and not because it means the world to us; how confused and, frankly, hurt I felt when Ethan proposed… When I trail off, Kieran responds to my tirade with a question. “So those are all the cons… but what about the pros?” he asks me. “Tell me about some of the good stuff.” I know Kieran means well, and I know his intention is to get me to shift perspectives (which would probably be helpful), but I don’t want to talk about the positives. Part of me doesn’t want to diminish the negatives by shedding light on what makes our relationship a good one. Maybe I’m just forming a bias already, but it’s a bias I’m, at this point, satisfied with. “The good stuff doesn’t matter,” I mutter. Kieran actually winces at my tone, and I apologize for coming off harsh. I admit to him that I just don’t know what I’m doing with Ethan anymore, and I even confess that that fear bleeds into my relationship with my son. “Everything okay there?” he asks, looking surprised when I mention Kyle. “I mean, yeah. I just…” I pause, taking a breather and trying to push Ethan out of my head, even though he’s relevant here. “Like, with Ethan, I’m just always worried that… that maybe it’s me, you know? Maybe I’m fucking up or something, and he doesn’t want to have sex with me because… I don’t know… because I’m not a good enough partner or whatever.” I frown a bit, meeting Kieran’s gaze. “Maybe I don’t know *how* to be a good partner. And with Kyle… I guess the same thing kind of applies. I mean, seriously, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. I just take things day by day and hope for the best, but I don’t know how to be a good dad.” Kieran actually laughs, leaning against the counter casually. “Here’s some clich�, fatherly advice for you: none of us do, man,” he says. “But you and Niall are so good together,” I tell him. He smiles patiently. I know he can tell that I’m jealous — it’s probably written all over my damn face. “Well, we’ve had far more time together than you and your boy have,” he reminds me. “I know, but still,” I say, for whatever reason grappling for excuses to maintain this negative mentality. I sigh heavily, lowering my voice as I look at Kieran. “You know I’ve never said ‘I love you’ to him?” Kieran blinks, leaning back slightly with an expression on his face that reads as troubled. “Seriously?” “Seriously,” I say, feeling ashamed. “And it’s not his fault. I barely say it to my own damn boyfriend. It’s me. It’s fucking me.” I’m getting frustrated and antsy, and Kieran can tell. “Hey, hey, relax,” Kieran says, stepping closer and putting his hands on my shoulders to center me. “Don’t derail on me, buddy.” “Sorry,” I mutter, shaking it off as best as I can. “It’s alright,” he says, smiling and stroking my shoulders and upper arms. “You should know that you’re by no means a bad father, Ricky. You might not realize it, but Kyle looks up to you.” My response comes out automatically: “You’re lying.” “Why would I lie about that?” he questions. “I’m dead serious. Those are Kyle’s words, not mine.” He smiles gently at me, giving my shoulders another squeeze. “There’s nothing wrong there.” “It doesn’t feel like nothing’s wrong,” I admit, sighing. Granted, it doesn’t feel *bad*. In fact, Kyle and I are better than ever. But our relationship still feels… off, somehow, or incomplete. That’s how it felt with my own father: there was always something missing. We had a cordial relationship, and we were respectful towards each other, but we never exchanged words of affirmation or told one that we loved the other. That sort of talk was for girls, my father always said. Maybe I’m just projecting onto my own kid, though. I mean, Kyle and I don’t fight, are on great terms, and we’re making steady progress. That should be enough for me to hope, right? Kieran frowns a bit before the kids come running in and interrupt our conversation. “Can the Fischers stay for longer, Daddy?” Niall asks, hugging his dad’s leg as if for leverage. His father just chuckles a bit, reaching down to pat the back of his boy’s head. “That’s up to them, buddy.” He turns to me. “But I think Mr. Fischer here could use a distraction.” “Are you sad?” Niall asks me point-blank. “Uh…” I laugh slightly. “I don’t know.” “Why not?” Kieran just chuckles, covering his boy’s mouth. “Let’s not pester the poor man,” he says before an idea sparks in his head. “Hey, why don’t we all hop in the pool? Decently hot today. You can cool off a bit, let loose.” “Swimming?” I ask skeptically, unsure if that’s really something I want to do right now. “Might be one of the last good days of the yeeear,” Kieran says. “But I’d have to go back home and get our suits and stuff–” “I have a suit you can borrow,” Kieran tells me. “And Niall can find something for your boy. Right, buddy?” he asks, looking down at his son. “Yeah!” Niall says excitedly before grabbing Ky’s hand. “C’mon! I’ll show you where my bathing suits are.” And then, in a flash, the boys are bolting up the stairs. I chuckle slightly, shaking my head. Outvoted again. “Guess we’re swimming, then?” Kieran just grins and pats my chest affectionately with his fist. “Guess we are.” Ten minutes later, all four of us are swimming about in Kieran’s in-ground pool, splashing each other and conducting races. Exerting all this energy swimming and playing games is, in a weird way, helping my brain to relax. I keep my mind focused on the infectious smiles, joyous laughs, and positive energy rather than on the relationship I’m questioning more and more by the day. It’s a pleasure just to unwind and horse around with the boys — until I’m totally out of breath, that is. After spending nearly fifteen straight minutes of play-wrestling with the boys as they swap between Kieran’s and my shoulders, I need a rest. “Alright, gents,” I say, nudging Niall off my shoulders and dunking the boy into the water with a grin. “I need a break.” I swim over to the corner of the pool and then lift myself up, sitting on the edge with just my feet in the water. “Are you done playing?” Kyle asks me, holding onto Kieran’s head as he stays perched on the man’s shoulders. “I just need a breather, buddy. I’m outta shape.” Kyle just giggles before Kieran pats the boy’s thighs, looking up at him. “Give him five minutes. Then we can kick his ass again.” “*We’re* gonna win this time,” Niall says confidently, swimming over to his father and friend with a determined smile on his face. “Oh yeah? Bring it on, little man,” Kieran challenges, grinning — then he starts laughing when Niall tries to pounce on him, effectively knocking Kyle off of his shoulders. I smile and watch them all splash and wrestle for a while, feeling a lightness in my chest. I wish Ethan were more like Kieran: open, sunny, unselfconscious, unashamed to be boyish with the kids… My boyfriend could learn a thing or two from my admirable friend. And the man’s personality isn’t the only thing to admire. His body is in tip-top shape, muscled and proportional, his reddish fur darkened by the water. As I gaze at him horsing around with the kids, I can’t help but find myself wallowing in that classic, gay-male dilemma that has haunted me since I started being interested in boys: am I attracted to Kieran, or do I just want to be him? Probably a mix of both. “Thanks for letting us borrow some trunks,” I say with a smile towards Kieran once the boys start calming down a bit. I’m feeling a lot better than I did earlier, and my friend is smart enough to be able to notice that. He gives me a knowing look, nodding and grinning. Then, Niall chimes in. “Usually, kocaeli eve gelen escort we swim naked.” Kyle giggles, and I blink in surprise, glancing at the little redheaded boy. “You do?” “When the wife’s not home,” Kieran clarifies. “She wouldn’t like that so much.” “And you two swim… together?” I ask slowly. “Sure,” Kieran says casually, floating on his back. “We’re both boys. Wait… You’re a boy, right, Niall?” His father’s fake concern makes Niall laugh. “Yeah, dummy.” “Aright, just making sure,” Kieran says, grinning at his son before looking at me. “Plus, I don’t see the harm in showing your son what he’s gonna look like.” That’s certainly an intriguing thought. Give Niall another decade, and he could look much like his father, in all his ginger glory. I smile to myself as I envision it, still amazed by how comfortable they are with each other. Kyle’s never seen me naked. There was one time where he nearly walked in on me attempting to piss with a morning hard-on, and I was stark naked, having stripped down in preparation for my shower. I felt embarrassed just from *almost* getting caught. Kieran, however, is so carefree that I can’t imagine him hiding himself whenever Niall found him in a state of undress. Eventually, Kieran swims over to me while the boys keep playing amongst themselves. “Doin’ okay, bud?” he asks, resting his forearms on the edge of the pool as he looks up at me. “You look all… pensive.” I laugh. “Yeah, sorry. Just thinking.” He nods gently, looking like he wants to say something. “Look. It’s not my place to tell you what to do,” he says, “but… you should tell him you love him.” “Ethan?” I ask, squinting. “No, no, not him. Kyle.” “Oh,” I say, my face softening as I glance over at our sons. “I think he’d appreciate that,” Kieran says, and when I look down at my friend, I get the feeling that he has talked to Kyle or something. Kieran just has this all-knowing aura about him. In response, I just nod, but will I tell Kyle I love him? I can count on my hands the number of times I’ve said those three words to Ethan. It has always seemed like such a taboo phrase no thanks to my father, and even though I know in my heart that I truly love my son, vocalizing that is… oddly terrifying. “Why don’t you stay for dinner?” Kieran asks suddenly. When he sees my hesitation, he smiles. “It’ll be just us boys, since Mary’s out doing who knows what. And I’m making yellow curry.” I snort. “Your son eats curry?” “Hell yeah, he eats curry,” Kieran says with a grin. “I didn’t raise my boy to puss out on ethnic food — and he loves it. It’s his favorite dish.” I feel a pang in my chest when I realize that I don’t know what Kyle’s favorite dish is — but I have to remind myself what Kieran said: the McCarthys have had far more time to solidify their bond. I just sigh, failing to come up with a valid excuse. “I suppose,” I say, smiling. Maybe it’ll be nice to spend a little more time here. “Excellent,” Kieran says, patting my knee before turning around. “Niall! Guess what?” The boys pause in their shenanigans, turning towards Kieran. “What?” Niall asks. “We’ve got company for dinner.” Those green eyes of his go wide with excitement before he cheers, hugging Kyle with one arm. “Yay! Are we still having curry?” “You bet, champ,” Kieran says, running his fingers through his wet hair. “But… I still gotta grab a few things from the store. Pretty sure we’re outta coconut milk.” He turns back to me, asking if I can “hold down the fort” until he gets back. “Yeah, of course,” I say, smiling. The store is a convenient three-minute drive from here, so I know he’ll be quick — but regardless, I’d take care of his kid whenever he needs me to. “I’ll keep an eye on ’em.” “Thanks, bud,” he says, pulling himself effortlessly out of the water. I eye the way his wet muscles shine in the sunlight before willing myself to look away. “Be back in a jiff!” Once Kieran is gone, the boys resume their game of Who Can Do a Handstand Underwater the Longest?, in which I’m the unofficial timer in case they want to break records. It’s amusing watching the way they so excitedly cheer when they get an extra second in, and it touches my heart to see the way they’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders. It’s like I’m watching a brotherly bond form before my very eyes. After a while, Niall makes a suggestion. “We should swim naked.” Kyle looks intrigued by that notion, but I try to put a stop to it. “Um, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I say. “Why not? My mom’s not home,” Niall says innocently. “Yeah, but… Your dad’s not here. And you have company.” “He won’t mind,” Niall says — and before I can stop him, he completely submerges himself underwater. Once he breaks the surface again, he’s wearing a big grin and no trunks, waving his board shorts around like a banner. “Niall,” I say, unsure if it’s even my place to chastise someone else’s kid. Ky gets a kick out of it though, giggling loudly as Niall tosses his bathing suit onto the patio. “Now you try it,” Niall says to my son. I say Kyle’s name with a hint of warning, ready to reprimand him if he does, but I stop myself when I see the way my boy looks at me. I just sigh and think to myself, “What would Kieran do?” He’d certainly let the boys splash around naked, I guarantee it. “Boys being boys” and all that. “It’s fun,” Niall says with a happy smile. Kyle glances back and forth between me and his friend, clearly unsure who to listen to. I decide to relieve him of having to make a choice, figuring there’s no harm in letting them have a little fun. “Go ahead,” I murmur. Now that he has my permission, Kyle is all smiles, quickly undoing his own bathing suit before pushing it off of his hips, detangling it from around ankles, and then lifting it out of the water to toss onto the patio alongside Niall’s. As soon as it hits the wood with a wet plop, Niall cheers, both boys grinning conspiratorially. Frankly, it’s a bit adorable. I stay on the sidelines for a while, watching the boys do their thing and make sure they’re playing safely. They continue to wrestle, do races, and time endless amounts of handstands before Niall turns to me, floating around in the deep end of the pool. “Do you wanna come in, Mr. Fischer?” I smile at him. “I’m good, buddy.” “But you can get naked with us,” he says. “It’ll be fun!” I snort a big. Jeez, this kid is something else. But I guess that’s what happens when you grow up in an open environment — unlike Kyle, or me, for that matter. “I don’t think you guys wanna see all of this,” I say playfully, gesturing towards my whole body. I notice Kyle blushing, but Niall just giggles. “C’mooon,” he says, and then, with a glance at his friend, he starts chanting my name, coaxing Kyle to join in. Soon, both of them are crying “Riiick-y! Riiick-y! Riiick-y!” I look away, laughing and shaking my head. These kids are really about to make me skinny dip with them, aren’t they? You know what? Fuck it. I need to let loose a little more and truly embody Kieran’s attitude towards parenting — and that includes doing something as silly as swimming in the nude. “Alright, boys,” I say, sliding away from the edge of the pool and standing up on the patio. “You asked for it.” I’m well aware that both sets of ten-year-old eyes are locked on me, but that’s the point. “No harm in showing your son what he’s going to look like” — that’s what Kieran said, right? I’m sure Niall knows exactly what his daddy looks like, so… I suppose I’ll just serve as another example of a male for him. I loosen the drawstring before tugging Kieran’s spare trunks off my hips and letting them fall to my ankles. It feels strangely freeing to bare everything to a couple of boys, especially my son. It’s the kind of moment where a part of me recognizes how strange it is that we wear clothes, how stigmatized the human body is, how we’re taught to hide and be shameful of what we have. Hell, maybe that’s the secret Kieran hasn’t let me in on yet: rid yourself of shame. “Watch out!” I say, grinning widely as I run towards the pool. I leap off the edge, and the boys squeal in excitement as I cannonball right nearby and make substantial waves. Barely do I break the surface when I feel two sets of arms clinging onto me, fighting to mount my shoulders. I laugh as I playfully fend the boys off, one of my techniques being the shot-put. Both of them get a kick out of me grabbing them by their sides, lifting them out of the pool, and tossing them into the water with as high of an arc as I can muster. This goes on for several minutes. Just as I’m getting drained of all energy, Kieran’s voice appears from the patio. “Damn, clearly I’m missin’ out on all the fun!” he says with a laugh, and the boys giggle as he points to the three pairs of drunks lying on the ground. The anxiety that I feel is irrationally instantaneous. Now that he’s home and can see what I did, that sense of shame returns, and I’m apologetic, fearful that I’ve severely overstepped somehow. “Sorry, Kieran, I was just–” “It’s all good, my man,” he says before chuckling, obviously unbothered. “I would have done the same thing. Anyway…” He gestures towards the house. “Let’s think about getting out soon, gentlemen. I’m about to make dinner.” “Can I help?” Kyle asks. Kieran looks surprised. “You wanna help?” “He likes to cook,” I comment, wading as the boys start to drift towards the ladder. “Well alright then!” Kieran says, smiling. “‘Course you can help, big man. Come on.” The three of us hoist ourselves out of the pool, dripping and nude. Just as I pull myself up the ladder, little Niall, who’s grinning mischievously, bolts into the house without getting dressed or drying off. “Niall!” Kieran calls out, before groaning and murmuring, “Little fucker’s gonna get water everywhere.” He sighs before he realizes the company, and he quickly apologizes for swearing in front of my son. I just smile and wave him off as I step out of the pool. “It’s alright,” I tell him, avoiding his gaze as I head next to Kyle to grab towels off the beach chairs and start drying off. “I’m gonna go tranquilize him real quick,” Kieran jokes, waving at the two of us before he steps into the house and leaves me alone with my son. We stand close, using Kieran’s towels to dry ourselves off in silence — and as we do, I find myself staring a bit. It’s the first time I’ve seen Kyle naked, and I’m amazed by how much he looks like a smooth, slimmed-down mini-me. Originally, I always thought Kyle still had some baby fat on him, but it turns out he’s got more than his fair share of muscle definition. I guess all those gymnastics classes are already doing him some good. My eyes trail down from his pecs to his firm-looking core, his Adonis belt looking incredibly promising. Already, I’m a proud father. My gaze can’t resist checking him out entirely whenever the towel exposes more flesh. Strong arms, check. Thick thighs, check. Impressive package, checkmate. I ogle his goods for a moment, not really understanding why I have this strange glow in my chest, or why I’m suddenly so beyond sure that my son will be hung when he’s older. What a fine young stud he is already. I don’t even realize that he’s sizing me up as well until my eyes flicker back up to his face. Kyle has seen most of my body already, since, over the summer, I typically live in shorts and nothing else. Now, his eyes are focused on the one thing he hasn’t seen: my cock. I feel a strange jolt course through me when I realize how intently he’s staring at it — and to appease both of us, I dry off every other part gebze escort bayan of my body, letting him practically memorize the thickness of the shaft when it’s soft, and the heavy, furry, low-hanging balls underneath, and the brown tufts of hair capping it all. I understand his curiosity. I was a boy once — and a gay one at that. When I start drying off my cock with the towel, Kyle averts his gaze, continuing to rub down his legs. I make a spur-of-the-moment decision to compliment him. “Lookin’ good, kiddo,” I say. He glances up at me, and when he sees me smiling, he grins modestly. He eyes me over before saying, “You too, Dad.” I laugh, messing with his hair. “Thanks,” I say before playfully. Right now, I have an inkling of an urge to hit Kyle with those three little words: I love you. I’m sure it’d make him flash those pearly whites of his, but something stops me. Nerves, I suppose — and I use the fact that we’re both naked as an excuse, pretending like it’ll just be easier when we’re clothed. “C’mon, little stud,” I say, playfully whipping him with my towel before wrapping it around my waist. “You’ve got dinner to make.” The rest of the night feels like a reprieve from the stresses of real life. After getting dressed, Kieran walks Kyle through every step of making his “famous” yellow curry while Niall and I occupy ourselves with a few rounds of Go Fish nearby. The meal itself is full of laughs, playful jokes, and exceptionally delicious food. Kieran wasn’t kidding around when he said he knew what he was doing. Once I’ve had my fill of curry, I sit back in my chair and sigh with relief, feeling sufficiently cheered up. Thanks, boys. Then, as we’re all helping clear the table, Niall pipes up with a request. “Can Kyle sleep over?” Kieran and I glance at each other with amused grins. Jesus, these boys can’t seem to get enough of each other. “You have school tomorrow,” Kieran says. “So?” Kieran sighs, glancing at me. I just shrug as a way of telling him I’m indifferent to the final decision. “Did you boys finish your homework for the weekend?” Kieran asks. Kyle nods, but Niall bites his lip. “Almost,” he says quietly. “Well, ‘almost’ isn’t ‘finished’,” Kieran tells him, crossing his arms. “If I promise to finish it, can he sleep over?” Niall asks. Kieran seems to think it over for a moment before I interject. “I can take them, if you want,” I say. It just makes more sense if we’re already here. Plus, the kids can give Lucky some much-needed attention. Kieran looks over at me. “Yeah? You don’t mind bringing Niall to school in the morning?” “Not at all,” I tell him. “It’s on my way to work.” Kieran looks back down at his son, who’s gazing up at him with puppy-dog eyes. Finally, Kieran sighs and smiles. “Fine.” “Yes!” Niall cheers, making Kyle grin. “I’ll go pack my stuff.” With classic Niall-speed, the boy bolts out of the living room to head upstairs. “I should give him some lunch money,” Kieran murmurs, pulling his wallet out of his back pocket before starting to head up to Niall’s room. In the meantime, Kyle and I wait by the front door, both of us taking a few moments to put our shoes on. We do it in silence, and since mine slip on pretty easily, I stand and watch my son lace up his sneakers, fingering my keys in my pocket. “Are you and Ethan gonna break up?” he asks suddenly. I blink. “What?” “You guys had a fight,” Kyle says, tying his shoelaces into a bow. I sigh. “Yeah, well… Sometimes couples fight. It happens.” He looks up at me. “So you’re not gonna break up?” “I don’t know what I’m gonna do yet, buddy,” I say patiently. “I don’t know if marriage is really in the cards for us.” Then I smile at him. “What do *you* think I should do?” He blushes when I ask his opinion, looking back down at his feet as he deals with his other sneaker. “I think… I think you shouldn’t get married if you don’t wanna.” I’m surprised by his response: simple but resonating. “You’re absolutely right,” I murmur. When he finishes lacing up both shoes, he stands up, tilting his head back to look up at me. “You’re okay, right, Dad?” I smile at him, stroking his hair. What a sweet fucking boy I have. I imagine he’s often directed that question at his mother, asking if *she* was okay when she was either high off glass or playing the part of a damaged fool. “I’m alright, bud,” I assure him, stroking his soft, rounded jaw with my knuckles. “But I don’t want you worrying about me, alright?” He smiles tenderly at me, nodding. “Alright, Daddy.” Christ. The fucking dog again. At least this puppy was trained before I got him, because he’s smart enough to scratch at a door (any door) when he needs to be let out. Unfortunately, his timing is inconsistent and tends to be at odd hours of the night. It’s a little past midnight, just after I finally started falling asleep, when I hear Lucky scratching my bedroom door and whining. I pull myself out of bed with a groan, and Lucky, who’s wagging his tail in my open doorway, perks up at the sight of my shirtless body emerging from the covers, ready to lead me to the backyard. “C’mon, little guy,” I murmur, stretching as we make our way downstairs and out to the back. Lucky barks appreciatively before bolting out into the yard, sniffing around for the perfect spot, and doing his business. When he comes back in, he goes straight for his water bowl in the kitchen, lapping away as if parched. I just scratch behind his ears, telling him to not bother me until morning before I head upstairs, eager to knock out, already dreading waking up. Hell, maybe I’ll just call in sick tomorrow and enjoy a spontaneous three-day weekend — though I’m willing to bet working will keep my mind off of Ethan. Something gives me pause when I pass Kyle’s room, though. Through the door, I swear I can hear voices — and as I lean in to listen, I realize that the boys are still awake. They should have been asleep at least an hour ago. Sighing, I reach down for the doorknob, ready to turn on my stern parent voice, but something stops me: a moan. Unsure if I discerned that noise correctly, I focus my hearing a bit. After a few moments, I hear Niall’s voice, a bit muffled by the closed door. “Feels good, right?” “Yeah,” Kyle says — and I notice how breathy he sounds. “Kinda funny though.” Someone giggles, but I’m not sure who. “Yeah, you get used to it,” Niall says before making a request. “Do me now.” I hear movement on the bed as sheets are shifted around, and my heart starts thudding. Suspicions high, I press my ear to the door, wondering what the hell they’re up to. After a few seconds, the shifting stops, and then there’s silence — until the quiet is broken by a wet noise followed by a soft mewl. They’re not doing what I think they’re doing… are they? However, the closer I listen, the clearer those wet noises are. They’re unmistakable, those soft sucking sounds: the sounds of a blowjob. I’ve sucked enough cock and seen enough porn to be familiar with the soundtrack. In between moans, Niall often giggles, and he even takes a moment to compliment my son by saying, “You’re really good.” I step away from the door, hearing nothing but my heart thudding against my eardrums. I suppose this wouldn’t be such a big deal under normal circumstances. Boys experimenting with each other’s bodies is hardly an uncommon occurrence. I’m sure people like Kieran would argue that it’s natural for boys to be curious, and healthy for them to figure things out on their own terms. But there’s one thing that’s making that shame build up in me all over again: the tent in my pajamas. Am I really getting hard listening to my son and his best friend fool around? The answer is a resounding yes considering how powerful my erection feels — and the fact that my hand is practically itching to grab that doorknob serves as a perverse endorsement. I feel this undeniable urge to peer inside, to see with my own eyes what’s going on. I actually step closer to the door and press my palm against the metal, but I stop myself. I shouldn’t. It’s a total invasion of privacy if I do. Do I want to reduce myself to a peeping Tom just to satisfy a curious itch? Oh, but curiosity is such a powerful, damning thing sometimes. Before I even realize it, my fingers are wrapping around the doorknob and slowly turning it clockwise — and I push the door open just enough for Kyle’s bed to come into view. I nearly gasp at what I see: both boys have completely shed their clothes and positioned themselves into a sixty-nine. My view of Niall’s face is obscured by my son’s thighs, but I can see Kyle perfectly, bobbing up and down on his best friend’s little hard-on with his eyes closed. In the handful of seconds that I stand here, I know I’ve seen too much. I step away from the door feeling short of breath and quickly head back to the refuge of my own room. As I climb back into bed and tug the blanket back over me, I realize that image is temporarily burned into my consciousness. Every time I close my eyes, all I can see is Kyle going to town on Kieran’s son, all smooth flesh and pure boy. How long has this been going on for? Where did these kids learn these tricks, if in fact they didn’t just discover it themselves? But that’s not my main concern. The real issue here isn’t the boys playing but the persistent erection that’s begging for attention. I reach down and give it a squeeze through my pajamas as if to appease it, but that doesn’t help matters. It just makes me want to jack off even more. This is so fucked-up. I shouldn’t be popping wood listening in on two little boys love up on each other. Hell, one of them is my fucking son, my own flesh and blood — and I just watched him swallow his best friend’s cock. Jesus. I’m feeling overheated, so I throw the sheets off my body. I even lower my pants to give my cock some air. Maybe it just needs to cool off. …What are they doing right now, I wonder? Are they still in that position, or have they moved on to focusing on each other one at a time? Do they kiss at all? Do they ever rest on top of each other and grind their hard peckers together while locking lips? What about tongue? Do they know how to French kiss like real men? Does it remain playful, or is it lust-driven? And what about their play as a whole? Is their pleasure cock-centric, or do they get stimulated by kissing other parts of their body? Are Kyle’s nipples wired to his cock like mine are? Have they graduated to anal play? Can either of them cum? Is that something they’ve tasted, or shared? As I’m asking myself all these questions, I don’t even realize I’m stroking my cock until I start imagining my son squirting a load. Part of me wants to stop because I’m fucking embarrassed, but the bigger part of me doesn’t want to deny myself an orgasm despite its source for inspiration. So, I let my hand work. I wish I had seen my son hard. I’m sure he’s big for his age, strong and proud and soon to be virile. God, the thought alone is making me feel like I’m coming down with a fever, but my cock feels so fucking good, spitting out copious amounts of precum and making my shaft slick with natural lube. My hand is working furiously, rapidly, as if I’m beating the shame out of my cock — this hot, alluring shame, this humiliating need to toss off after witnessing a fairly innocent bit of sexual play between two ten-year-old boys. Forgive me, Kieran. When I cum, it’s explosive, almost violent. Sleeping shirtless was a good idea because I feel spurts of my load splattering all across my torso indiscriminately. It feels hotter and thicker than usual, my cum, almost like it’s soaking my skin as my toes crack under the tension of an unquestionably powerful orgasm. Even after I’ve finished, my heart doesn’t stop racing. When my eyes finally open and I’ve released the choke-hold on my cock, I stare up at the ceiling, feeling physically relieved but mentally wired. Fuck. – End of Chapter 3 –

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