[It's time I wrested back control of my own chronicles. Time to write about a chance encounter with Martin at a gay night spot, an unexpected addition to our household, and yet another brush with incest.]
Matt was totally devastated to learn that Leo was in all probability his biological father. He was overwhelmed with guilt. He felt he had yet again broken one of society's greatest taboos - sex with one's own parent.
He also experienced a horrific sense of déjà vu. For many years in his youth, he had routinely been fucked by the man he called Pa - the man he believed to be his father.
Instead of resting before hitting a nightspot with our guests, Matt and I spent a good two hours discussing this new development in our life together. He and I are very much a team, a partnership. His troubles are my troubles. His unhappiness is my unhappiness too. I cannot bear to see him in distress.
Once his initial panic had dissipated, Matt calmed down a little and listened attentively as I did my best to alleviate his mental anguish.
'Matt, you were in no way to blame for what happened between you, Pa and your half-brothers. You were only twelve when it started. You were powerless to object and far too weak to fight them off.
You were brainwashed into accepting it. The sex was never truly consensual. You didn't deliberately set out to challenge a societal norm.'
Matthew nodded but he remained visibly distressed.
'Babe' I told him. 'I have my own set of values, my own sense of morality. They don't automatically stem from biblical teachings. Many of our laws and taboos do stem in part from the Bible but, over time, our beliefs grow less black and white.
We no longer see adultery as a heinous crime; divorce is acceptable; abortion has become legal; contraception is seen as common sense; homosexuality has been decriminalised; the list is endless.'
'But incest is still outlawed' said Matt in a miserable tone. 'Even consensual incest is a huge no-no.'
'It is. I agree. But Matt, the chief objection to incest is the notion that idiot offspring will inevitably result from close inbreeding. This obviously can't occur with same-sex interaction. The other societal objection is that parents should not take advantage of the children they are meant to nurture and protect.
So, if Pa had actually been your biological father, I would agree that he deserved to be punished even had he not forced himself on you. But he wasn't really your dad. He was just an evil man who made your life hell.'
'Do you think he knew he hadn't fathered me?' Matt asked.
'Yes, I do. And I think Nate and Abel probably knew it too. That's the most likely reason they despised you and treated you so badly.'
'Anyway' I continued, 'there is no way you are to blame for the way things were in Plainsville. And now - with Leo - there is no way that either of you can be blamed for the situation in which we find ourselves.
Both you and I found Leo and Brad attractive men with whom we'd like to party occasionally. They felt the same. No way would this have happened if we'd known he was your father from the outset.
You and I would have resisted his charms because it just wouldn't feel right. And I'm sure Leo would have been equally resistant. None of us are deliberately perverse creatures.'
'So where do we go from here?' Matt asked.
'You must act as you see fit, sweetheart. It's your life and it's your conscience that must guide you. And please believe I'm here to support you whatever you decide.'
Matt seemed overwhelmed by the questions and doubts racing through his mind.
'I can tell you how I feel about things' I offered, 'but I don't want to sway you in any particular direction. OK?'
'Please do' he asked. 'I always see things more clearly when you help me to interpret them.'
'OK' I continued. 'We recently made a decision that seems to fly in the face of our commitment to trust and fidelity. We agreed to keep a look out for a particular couple whom we could trust. Two guys who were attractive and held similar views on fidelity.
The four of us - Leo, Brad, you and me - have agreed to have sex together as an outlet for man's age-old yearning for variety. That way, we get the thrill of occasionally coupling with someone else without any furtive screwing around behind each other's back. Does that sound about right to you?'
'Yes' Matt muttered. 'But no one agreed to take on incest as part of the variety.'
'No, we didn't' I agreed. 'But we didn't know that Leo was your biological father. Indeed, unless we do DNA tests, we may never know for sure. If we put any possible blood connection to one side, it's undeniable that you find Leo attractive; that you enjoy having sex with him. Right?'
'Yes.' But it was a grudging and reluctant yes.
'And, since neither of you can bear an idiot child, my own morality doesn't scream foul at the prospect of you two continuing to have sex with each other. Think of him as the friend we first met and grew to like and not as the man you've just discovered might be your father. Do you think you can do that?'
'I think I want to do that' Matt admitted. 'In fact I know I want to do that. But Leo - if and when he joins the dots - may not feel the same way. He might be absolutely revolted by it.'
'How about I go down the hallway and invite him for a private chat?' I volunteered.
'You don't think I should be there too?' Matt asked.
'If you want to, then sure' I responded.
'No. I'd rather leave it to you' he said. 'I'd be too anxious, too nervous. I'd probably throw up or something.'
'You're stronger than you think' I assured him. And then, after kissing him gently, I went to wake Leo.
I knocked softly on the door of the guest bedroom. I then opened it noiselessly. Leo was awake and up on one elbow. Brad was asleep beside him.
I put a finger to my lips to signal the need for silence and beckoned for Leo to join me outside. He slipped carefully out of bed, grabbed a pair of boxers and left the room.
'What's up?' he said quietly, thrusting his legs into his shorts.
'Let's go out on the deck and I'll tell you.'
I grabbed us a beer each on the way and then we moved toward the chairs on one side of the pool. In my haste, I'd neglected to put any clothes on. It didn't seem right to be flaunting my wares during a serious discussion, so I grabbed an old pair of boardies from the cabana.
Leo listened without interruption until I reached the end of my tale.
Various expressions flitted across his face - sadness, shock, sympathy and consternation. I even told him about Matt's life before he met me. I thought it best he know what an enormous roller-coaster ride Matt's life had been.
I wanted him to understand how Matt's happiness was in danger of turning to despair again.
When he spoke, there was a note of wonder in Leo's voice.
'I knew there was something' he said. 'When you showed me that photo, I realised that I'd been seeing echoes of his mother each time I glanced at Matthew. It didn't occur to me that I might have made her pregnant; that Matt might be my son.'
'Would you like to pursue DNA testing?' I asked. 'There's an outfit in town that undertakes that kind of work.'
'I'm not sure' he replied. 'I'll think about it. What does Matt want to do?'
'Matt will go along with whatever you decide. He's all over the place right now; and he's fragile, Leo. Very fragile. He's spent the last three years in the glow of love and security and this has the potential to make him regress to the lonely, lost soul he was in the past.
He says what he'd really like is for all of us to continue as we are. He found you desirable before he knew about this. He finds you desirable now. I think he'd like to put this aside. It's not as though he grew up with you as a father figure; he only knows you as a friend.'
'I agree' said Leo after a few minutes thought. 'God knows I've flouted enough conventions over the years. I see no reason to suddenly adopt conservatism.
It might feel awkward initially, but I want things to continue as they are. Just one thing, though. I don't want Brad to know. Not yet. I hate keeping secrets from him, but I want to take my time over this. I'll tell him when the time seems right.'
'OK' I agreed.
'Oh' Leo added. 'There is another thing. May I go to your room and see Matt now? Just him and me? I want to spend a few moments alone with him.'
'Of course' I said. 'I think that's just what's needed. I'll stand guard in the living room in case Brad wakes up and goes in search of you.'
I found out later what transpired in our bedroom when Leo and Brad met for the first time as potential blood relatives. I gathered there was a long and tearful hug before either of them said anything. And then they somehow achieved a minor miracle.
They agreed to go on with life just as it was before. When they emerged to join me in the living room, they were the closest of friends and not father and son.
By the time Brad awakened from his siesta and joined us for a drink, any awkwardness had fled. He noticed no difference in our behaviour or attitudes. It was the first test of our determination to carry on as normal and we all passed with flying colours. If Brad - who knows Leo better than any of us - could detect no change in him, then the secret was safe.
We dined early that Saturday evening. Just a light meal; sufficient to line our stomachs for any drinking that lay ahead. I explained that the place we were visiting was a gay dance club but not an outrageous one.
'You might encounter the odd desperate queen propositioning you in the men's room' I informed Brad and Leo. 'And you may see the odd couple practically having it off on the dance floor, but it's really all about the music and the freedom to be openly gay.'
'What's the dress code?' asked Brad. 'I don't have any leather jacket or a pair of chaps.'
'It's not like everyone's channelling the Village People' Matt responded. 'The only dress code is that you're not allowed to run around naked.
So you'll see all types there. Bikies, dykes, trannies, bears, ageing twinks and even ordinary everyday guys like us. I'd say the best thing to wear is denim and a T-shirt or top.'
As we were dressing to leave, Matt asked me to wear something especially for him.
'What? I was going to wear these jeans.'
'I want you to wear jeans' he said, 'but not that pair.'
He rummaged around in my section of the walk-in-robe and emerged holding my trusty old faded Levis. The ones with the button fly. The ones where the denim has softened so much that they fit me like a second skin.
'No way' I protested. 'I look positively indecent in those. I don't want everyone gawping at my crotch.'
'It's a gay club, Andrew. Guys will be gawping at you anyway because you're so fit and handsome. Even the jeans you planned to wear are not exactly baggy.
You're well-hung but you're not on the prowl. You'll be with me. I want other guys to be green with envy. I want them to know how lucky I am in every respect.'
I wasn't convinced. Brad continued.
'This is silly, Andrew. Next you'll be wearing a burkha for fear people might only like you for your looks. Anyone would think you were John Merrick, the Elephant Man. You're a gorgeous guy - in every respect - so get over it. OK?'
I got over it. He was right. Why on earth would one visit a gay club and seek to hide? If a whole lot of guys are there to embrace and celebrate their sexuality, what point is there in hiding oneself?
So, when we gathered in the living room, all four of us were in various shades of denim. Matt and Brad were both in dark blue denim with white T-shirts.
Leo's jeans were black and he wore a white long-sleeved shirt with a cravat.
And there was I in faded light blue and a fitted white shirt with the first few buttons left undone to reveal a bit of tanned chest.
I guess each of us had a nice enough basket on display, but I was a bit self-conscious about my own. Brad had talked me into going commando.
I usually dress to the left and that's no great drama if I wear briefs. But now my dick could be seen resting against my left thigh and I'd placed my balls so that one rested either side of the centre seam.
That felt a bit uncomfortable. I knew I'd have a chafed scrotum before the night was through.
'We all look great' Brad cried. 'Maybe I'll be elected prom queen.'
'I agree' laughed Matt. 'We're going to lift the tone of this place just by walking in.'
'If I can still walk when we get there' I groaned. 'My nuts are not happy. And I swear you can see the vein in my cock through these old jeans.'
Matt started singing "You're So Vain". That cracked us all up.
The cab arrived right on time. We all piled in and set off on yet another adventure.
Connexionz is oddly located. It's almost in the heart of a light industrial area. Very few of the businesses there operate shifts, so it's like a deserted city after dark.
It's also an area where a lot of call girls and rent boys ply their trade. I guess - like Connexionz - they are tolerated by the police because it's a very contained area and there are no conservative neighbours to be offended.
When we alighted from the cab, our ears were immediately assaulted by the music coming from the dance club. The beat was like a series of sonic booms. I resigned myself to partial deafness for the next few days.
And I felt my body cry out to be allowed to move to the music. The pounding rhythm was hypnotic. I could see that Brad and Matt felt the same.
It was a most enjoyable evening. We all had a blast. I know that Matt and I danced our asses off. I love it when the lights flicker and strobe and you see the man you love in a series of snapshots. Matt looked impossibly beautiful. I was incredibly proud to be his guy.
I hoped we were making a lot of people envious. Not a nice sentiment, I know, but it's a subset of love - you feel you've won the greatest prize in the world and you want to scream it from the rooftops.
Brad and Leo had a wild time too. They had all the moves. Brad was more impressive perhaps - very light on his feet, well-coordinated and kind of loose - but Leo was good dancer too. He was no longer the impressive and dignified ex-businessman. He was transformed into handsome guy revelling in the music and the moment.
Occasionally, all four of us formed a small circle, each of us doing his own thing. Our eyes shone and our faces glowed with happiness.
Eventually, our faces began to shine with perspiration too. Leo's hair was slick with sweat. He plastered it backwards with his fingers. It looked darker and gave him the look of a latter-day Rudolf Valentino.
At around 1am - as the crowd began to thin - I noticed a new arrival. It was my old sparring partner - Martin Solomon.
He didn't immediately see me. I was able to check him out as he approached the bar for a drink. He looked suddenly old and tired. His posture was more characteristic of defeat than of victory.
Joseph - his old sidekick - was nowhere in sight so I assumed they must have split up.
Eventually, Martin spotted Brad and me dancing at the far end of the club. Leo and Matt had gone to the men's room. Martin made a beeline for me.
'Well, well' he said. 'If it isn't the great Andrew Tait.'
I held out my hand but it was ignored. Martin had turned his gaze on Brad. His eyes seemed to undress him and his voice was dripping in sarcasm when he spoke again.
'So this is your latest toy-boy, Andrew. I have to admit you have taste.'
I saw no point in attempting to introduce Brad in a civil manner. Martin was obviously in no mood for civility.
'I don't want any trouble, Martin' I said.
He returned his gaze to me. His eyes traversed my body. One eyebrow lifted as he inspected the bulge in my jeans. I'd shifted everything to the left for comfort's sake. It created a large poultice but I'd not given it a moment's thought till that moment. I'd been too caught up in the music and the moves.
'With your junk on display like that, Andy, you're practically begging for trouble.'
Of course, this conversation was not a simple matter of speech. One had to shout to be heard above the music.
Matt approached us unobserved. He grasped Martin's shoulder and wheeled him around.
'Fuck off, Martin' he yelled.
I moved between them. I didn't want a fight and I certainly didn't want us to be thrown out of the place. I steered Martin towards the men's room. We almost collided with Leo on his way out.
In the relative quiet of the bathroom, I grabbed Martin by the collar and told him I'd rearrange his face if he didn't back off and leave us be.
'Matt and I are with friends' I informed him. 'I know friendship is a foreign concept to you, but that's the way it is. We have no interest in a snake like you. So either piss off altogether or keep your distance.'
I let go of his shirt. He pretended to brush dust away from where my hand had been.
'Go back to your two pretty boys' he sneered. 'I've seen enough sickening sights for one night. I'm leaving anyway.
I'm headed somewhere that doesn't admit pretentious queens like you, Andrew; somewhere far more exclusive than this dive.'
I ignored this remark. I ignored the mock disdain on his face. If he was going to leave, then there was no point in prolonging the conversation. As he walked away, he called back over his shoulder.
'Happy fucking, Andy.'
And then he was gone. I took advantage of my location to have a piss at the urinals. An appallingly ugly drag queen on one side made no secret of his admiration for my dick.
I ignored this until I was almost finished; and then I flicked away the last drops of urine so they landed on his ghastly chiffon dress. He didn't seem to mind.
When I emerged, Leo was at the bar and Matt and Brad were huddled close by shouting in each other's ear. Whatever Matt said seemed to cheer Brad up a bit.
I gathered he'd been apologising for the obnoxious Martin Solomon. I also gathered they'd seen him slink out of the men's room and disappear into the night.
After Martin's interruption, we all gave a metaphorical shrug and continued to party as we had before. It was almost 4.30am when we finally hit the street and rang for a cab. We didn't have to wait long. We were home again some forty minutes later.
'Let's stay up to watch the dawn' cried Matt.
We all agreed. It's not easy to come down from a towering high. Our adrenaline was coursing wildly, still driven by the loud music that lingered in our thoughts. Our feet and hips were in shock at the sudden deprivation of rhythmic movement.
The weather was mild. It promised yet another sunny day.
I felt a sudden need to swim. I kicked off my shoes, peeled off my sweat-soaked shirt and shimmied out of my Levis. My junk welcomed the caress of the early morning breeze. And then I dived into the pool.
The others quickly followed. We horsed around for a while and then we just floated about, chilling out and only occasionally bothering to speak. We were in an oasis of peace and goodwill.
Once the sun finally broke through, Leo and I headed to the kitchen. We were going to fix breakfast and kick around plans for the rest of the day.
Even though I was a bit sleep-deprived, I was still thinking of hitting the gym for a workout before having a long siesta. Leo was interested but the other two claimed to be far too tired.
At one stage, I looked out the window and realised that a strange guy was standing by the pool and talking with Brad. He must have found our back gate unlocked and wandered up the steps for a look-see.
'We have an intruder' I told Leo.
'I'll finish cooking the eggs' he replied. 'You go out and send him on his way.'
I grabbed some shorts from the bedroom and went outside.
'Hey, Andrew' called Brad. 'We have a visitor.'
'His name's Ryan and he spent the night in the cabana' Matt said.
I drew closer. The guy seemed more like a young kid. Medium height, curly brown hair and as lean as most teenage boys are.
'You're trespassing' I told him. 'I'm sorry Ryan, but you can't just mosey onto our property and treat it like a flop-house.'
Matt clambered out of the pool and joined the conversation.
'Don't be so mean' he said. 'Ryan's homeless. He ran away from home a few days ago and he's tired and hungry.'
'Is that true?' I asked the boy, my voice softening.
'Yes' he muttered, head down and shoulders slumped.
'Tell you what' I said. 'I'm going to take you indoors. You're going to have a shower. And then we'll give you some breakfast and see if there's anything we can do to help out. OK?'
He nodded assent. I told Brad and Matt to dry off and get dressed for breakfast. And then I took Ryan inside to meet Leo and then clean himself up. After all, the boy smelled pretty bad.
Leo had already grabbed a bathrobe. He greeted Ryan civilly and told us breakfast would be ready in about ten minutes.
I led the boy to the bedroom I share with Matt.
'You got any spare clothes with you?' I asked. 'Maybe a backpack in the cabana?'
'OK. Well, the shower's through there' I said, pointing the way. 'There are fresh towels on the shelf. I'll find you some clean threads while you're washing.'
I quickly located a pair of briefs and some jeans for Ryan to wear. They were Matt's but I knew he wouldn't mind. I threw in one of my old sweatshirts and returned to the bathroom. The shower was at full-blast and the room was filled with steam. I turned on the extractor fan and called out.
'Clean clothes are on the vanity and breakfast is almost ready.'
'OK' he replied. 'I'll be out shortly.'
We were all seated around a table on the deck when Ryan emerged from the house. With damp curls framing his face and the flushed cheeks that result from a hot shower, he looked impossibly young to be alone in the world.
The clothes we'd lent him seemed much too large, especially my sweatshirt. He smiled shyly before taking a seat.
'Thanks for the shower' he said.
'You're welcome' I replied.
I formally introduced each one of us. There were no handshakes - just nods and smiles.
'Now eat up before Matt grabs your share' I urged him.
We chatted while we ate. We learned that Ryan had decided to leave home after a huge quarrel with his folks. He'd walked and hitchhiked for four days, sleeping rough and eating very little. He had no money but was confident he's soon find work.
'Your parents are probably worried sick' I said. 'How old are you, Ryan?'
'Almost nineteen' he said - but he didn't look it. 'And my father couldn't care less. He'll be glad I'm gone. And my stepmother hates me anyway.'
'I know how it feels to have trouble at home' Matt chimed in. 'I ran away lots of times but I always went back. And one day I ran away forever. But I needed help to achieve it. It's not easy when you're all by yourself.'
'Any relatives who might help you?' I asked. 'Maybe take you in for a while till you're on your feet.'
Ryan shook his head.
'If it's not too personal a question' Leo began. 'What was it that you quarrelled about at home?'
'They just don't like me. Dad disagrees with my lifestyle. Says I've got the devil in me. Says I have to change or I'll end up a deadbeat on skid row.'
'He might have a point' Brad suggested gently. 'You're not a deadbeat - and the cabana is not exactly skid row - but you are sleeping rough, Ryan. It's not ideal if you're hoping to make a fresh start.'
'You don't look like the spawn of the devil either' Matt added. 'What's your father so pissed about?'
'I'm gay' Ryan said. The tone of his voice was as if he had leprosy.
'We're all gay, too' Leo told him. 'It's not the worst thing in the world but I wonder how you can be so sure. Lots of boys go through phases where they worry about their sexuality. It doesn't mean they're gay.'
'I'm sure' said Ryan. And then - almost defiantly - 'I've had sex with plenty of guys. I gave head to the jocks at school. I had sex with one of the guys who gave me a ride. I've had sex in men's rooms. It's not a phase. I love ass. I love cock. And I love men. OK?'
'None of this stuff matters right now' Matt cried. 'Ryan's tired and homeless. I say let's give him a comfy bed to sleep in. Leave him be until he's well rested. Plenty of time to talk later.'
He was right. We'd lost all sense of priorities. Having showered and grabbed what clothes we needed for the day, Matt and I left Ryan to sleep the morning away in our bed.
I told Matt to keep an eye on the boy while Leo and I were at the gym. I warned him that Ryan might be a thief or an escapee from detention. He just smiled at me and shook his head.
Ryan was still fast asleep when Leo and I returned from our workout at the gym. Matt and Brad were also fast asleep - curled up together in the spare bedroom.
'Looks like I've been replaced' Leo chuckled.
'I doubt it' I replied. 'They get on really well but they'd never make a couple. There'd be endless fights about who would bottom. I know Matt likes things the way they are in our relationship and I'm positive that Brad's only man is you.'
'I know' Leo said. 'And I'm glad this time spent with you guys has worked out so well. It's added a whole new dimension to things. We've established a deep friendship with the occasional opportunity to vary our sex life.'
We popped a beer and went out on the deck to chat.
'What do you plan to do about Ryan?' Leo asked.
'I'm not sure. I need to discuss it with Matt, but I guess we can provide a roof over his head for a while and maybe help him to sort himself out.'
'That leaves you a bed short for tonight' Leo commented. 'Unless Brad and I leave a day early.'
'No way are you guys leaving early' I protested. 'Ryan can use a couch in the living room. That has to be more comfortable than the floor in the cabana. And, besides, aren't you guys going to spend the night with Matt and me?'
'You don't think that might be a bit confronting for young Ryan?' asked Leo.
'Well, we'll wake him up soon and give him some lunch' I replied. 'If we keep him busy all day, he'll sleep like a log tonight. Teenagers have an infinite capacity for sleep. And I guess the rest of us have a capacity to party discreetly.
Not too loud and we'll keep the door shut. No way am I missing out on your last night here.'
And that's pretty much what came to pass. Once Ryan had settled down for the night, Leo and Brad made their way to our bedroom.
As proof that their friendship still flourished, Leo's cock was buried in Matt's ass.
My own cock was in Brad's mouth, when the bedroom door opened.
Ryan was in the doorway, naked.
'Can I join in?' he asked.