Part One:

Having moved to the major city on the west coast from the biggest city on the east coast, I found myself in a spot of bother one Saturday. I had bought a new home a month earlier and moved in two weeks before. The power kept on tripping and I had to have it seen to. After asking around, I was told that the man to use was Paul and was given his number. I phoned Paul and a voice announcing himself as Paulo answered. Believing I might have the wrong number, Paulo explained that everyone referred to him as Paul, but his name was actually Paulo. He said he would pop by some time after twelve o’clock that day.

To digress, let me give you the following background information. I had recently completed a degree in finance and had accepted a job on the west coast. My dad wasn’t very happy but understood that I needed some space after twenty-one years of living with my folks. My dad owned two large businesses, which sold hardware and building supplies. I had a very privileged upbringing and was able to buy my first home from money that I had in a trust fund. I was also able to fully furnish my home without incurring any additional debt. Added to that, my parents gave me a vehicle as a twenty-first birthday gift.

My older brother Callum and sister Siobhan worked for my dad. Callum was seven years older than me and Siobhan five years older. My dad’s name was Liam and my mom’s name, Mary. Neither of my siblings had attended college as both were not academically inclined. I supposed that is why my dad really wanted me in his business. I promised my dad that I would review my away decision after two years. Being an extremely hard worker at school and college, my social life had been nonexistent. Having realized I was gay early on, my new existence was very important to me. I simply had to get away from my former life and discover myself.

At around noon, on Saturday, I made a salad with chicken pieces for lunch. As I was about to sit down to my meal the doorbell rang. Upon opening the door a magnificent creature asked me if I was Conor. After formally introducing himself, I invited Paulo in. Paulo had a dark Mediterranean complexion with the most beautiful brown eyes I had ever seen. His hair was jet-black and he stood six-feet-two tall. He had no facial hair, other than sideburns which reached to the bottom of his ears. His features were masculine and he had the sexiest smile I have ever seen on a man. He was sturdy rather than stocky and appeared to be fairly fit. Before long, my electrical problem was fixed.

I invited him to join me lunch thereafter, which he gladly accepted. He had a beer and I had a glass of white wine with the meal. We spoke effortlessly while enjoying our food. His grandparents on both sides of his family were Italian, but both his parents had been born locally. He had three siblings, two brothers, and a sister. His dad was in the building trade and his mom was a housewife. Paulo was twenty-eight-years-old and divorced. At the age of twenty-five, he had gotten married, but the marriage ended eighteen months later. According to him, it had been a mistake due to peer pressure. Fortunately, he had not sired any kids during this period so the breakup had been uncomplicated. All three his siblings were married and each had two children.

After lunch, we decided to have a swim in my very small plunge pool. He did not have a swimming costume and asked if he could do so naked. As my pool was very secluded it wasn’t a problem at all. When he took his clothes off my eyes almost popped out of their sockets. Paulo was definitely in the top one percent of well-endowed men. Goodness knows what his dark uncut appendage looked like when hard. Soft, it was at least eight inches long and extremely thick. I was caught betwixt and between but not wanting to appear prissy, I stripped and jumped into the pool with him. As we hung off the side of the pool we continued chatting for the next hour.

He lived fairly nearby and attended the gym around the corner, four times a week. During our chat, we arranged to meet there on specific evenings and to jog together three mornings a week. We were really hitting it off very well and I almost felt like he was taking me under his wing. When he left at around six p.m., I was both elated and somewhat deflated. Much as I had enjoyed his company, I had befriended a straight guy. How on earth was I going to get out of the closet with my new, straight best friend?

Over the next eight weeks, we saw a great deal of one another. We would often have dinner together after gym, and lunch on Saturday afternoons.

Paulo had a standing arrangement with his folks on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons. His entire family always got together at his parents’ home on these two days. I was invited to lunch one Sunday, early on in our friendship and met the clan. His dad Mario, mom Theresa, his sister Giovanna and brother’s Francis (Frankie) and Vincent were delightful people. The in-laws and kids were also splendid and they were a raucous bunch and fantastic company.

After my initial ten weeks of employment, I was asked to spend the week at one of our branches in a neighboring city, and I asked Paulo if he would keep an eye on my place while I was gone. He also insisted on dropping me at the airport on the Monday morning of my departure.

The week was hectic and I was elated to be returning home on Friday. Paulo picked me up from the airport as arranged. As we drove home there was an eerie silence, which was unusual for him. I wondered if he had a trying week, hoping like hell that picking me up from the busy airport hadn’t annoyed him. When we got to my place he had prearranged our dinner, which he swiftly warmed up before we sat down to eat. The silence continued for a while and I finally asked if everything was alright, feeling slightly uncomfortable.

The next bit of conversation totally flawed me. “Are you gay, Conor?” Paulo asked me outright.

After a short moment or two, I replied, “I don’t know. I think I may be, but I as I have never had sex with anyone, I’m not sure.”

I then embarked on a litany about how I respected that he was straight before he suddenly interrupted me.

“I’ve been turned on by you from the minute we met. When I shook your hand at the front door that first day, a spark tingled through my entire body. I don’t understand why and in addition, I kept getting a hard-on in the pool as we clung off the side. I believed that I may just have been very horny that day and put the incident behind me. Subsequently, however, this phenomenon has continued to occur every time that I’m in your company. I’ve also begun regularly dreaming of having sex with you.”

I was totally flabbergasted by his revelation and my mind was spinning. He then said that he wanted to go to bed with me, to satisfy this urge that was driving him crazy. I was totally reluctant and told him so. As flattered as I was and as attractive as I found him, I was not willing to fuck-up our friendship over some itch that needed to be scratched. Paulo left soon after, with both of us somewhat uncomfortable. Paulo was straight and this situation could only end up disastrously.

We did not see each other that Saturday, and the following week we were awkward in one other’s company at the gym. By Friday, things had started to normalize and he told me that he was looking forward to our usual Saturday lunch if still invited. I presumed that we had put the glitch of the previous Friday behind us.

When he arrived at twelve on Saturday we appeared to have resumed our former comfortable rapport. I had also hired a DVD and as we watched the movie later that afternoon, I dozed off. When I awoke Paulo had his arm around me, with his head leaning on mine. I was frozen stiff as he gently lifted my face and started kissing me. With the movie still playing, he lifted me off the couch and carried me to the bedroom. My five-foot-eight, one-hundred-and-forty-pound body presented no challenge to him. He placed me on the bed and leaning in, continued kissing me.

With a feeling of hopelessness, I begged him not to continue to which he replied, “I simply have no choice.” He did not penetrate me on that first evening. We fondled and rubbed up against one another, before finally ejaculating. After repeating this performance for the second time, we finally fell asleep. We had an early breakfast on Sunday before he left for his folks at around ten. At five o’clock he arrived back at my house. Oddly, we were more comfortable in each other’s company than I had feared we might be. Paulo informed me that he wanted to penetrate me. Next, I spent twenty minutes in the bathroom preparing myself. That evening, I was anally penetrated for the first time. It was very intense, but Paulo was exceptionally gentle. His penis was very large but he masterfully deployed it. Having sex with him was the most extraordinary experience of my life. We made love a further two times that night. At work the following day I was reminded of the previous evening constantly, as I shifted uncomfortably from cheek to cheek.

The following week was wonderful. Paulo was practically living in my home. With the introduction of sex into our relationship, we got on even better than before. Our relationship seemed to deepen over the following weeks, and Paulo was incredibly affectionate and masterful lover. I had booked plane tickets, to visit my folks out west. My boss had agreed to let me off work early on Friday, and as Tuesday was a public holiday, I had taken a day’s leave on Monday. Paulo again insisted on dropping me off at the airport. En route he asked me if I would be ‘coming out’ to my parents. We had spoken about this in the preceding weeks, and I had mentioned that I wanted to do so, sooner rather than later. I shrugged, and replied, that if the opportunity arose, I would do so. After a three hour flight, my mom met me at the airport.

A full weekend of activity had been planned, but that evening I would dine alone with my mom and dad. After one of my mom’s spectacular meals, the three of us moved through to the lounge. We chatted for a while, and I suddenly felt that the burden I had carried for so long had to be lifted, off my shoulders. When they asked about my new life, I spilled the beans. I told them that I had always suspected I might be gay, and now knew. My mom became tearful, and my dad became very silent. I told them I had met someone and was extremely happy. My mom asked if this person was Paulo, whom I had mentioned so often during our telephonic conversations. I simply nodded yes. We all retired to bed soon after. Although I was very troubled about the distress I had caused, I also felt enormously relieved.

The following day, my dad and I left for the golf course very early. He was an avid golfer and played twice a week. I was fairly proficient at the game and had played with dad often while living at home. After reaching the ninth, of our eighteen holes, he put his arm around me and told me that he loved me very much, no matter how I chose to live my life. This meant more to me than I could possibly explain. My mom joined us for lunch in the clubhouse and seemed far more cheery than she had been the previous evening. We had a very light meal, as we would be frequenting a favorite restaurant of mine that evening. On Sunday, it was a full family affair. My siblings and their entire brood arrived for lunch. My mom asked me before their arrival, to allow her and dad to break the news after my visit, to which I willingly agreed.

It was a fun, but exhausting day. On Monday, I spent the morning at dad’s business, after which I shopped with my mom in the afternoon. We had a late brunch on Tuesday, as I would be leaving at three that afternoon. After a hectic few days, Paulo collected me from the airport at six p.m. Our trip back from the airport was fairly quiet. He asked me if I had told my parents about him and me. I replied that I had and that they had taken the news rather well. The rest of the journey was traveled in silence. When we got home, he warmed our food, and we ate in silence. After a while, he told me that I was very lucky and that things were not so simple for him. He said that there was absolutely no way, he could ever tell his parents, that he was in a relationship with a man.

The next words that I spoke were the ones I had dreaded uttering, from the minute we started having a physical relationship. I told him that at some point, he would have to face the reality of the situation. Comfortable as it was, his dual existence would start to oppress him more and more, as time continued, causing him great distress in future. I said that he would have to make up his mind, and decide what he wanted from life. I feared to speak those words but knew they had to be said. On the plane earlier, I had rationalized this predicament in my mind. Paulo looked at me intently for a minute or two, then got up, and apologizing, told me that he had made a terrible mistake. He simply would not be able to shatter his parent’s lives.

He left soon after, and I felt like my entire world had been crushed. I wanted to fucking hit him, as he left. I sat stunned for about an hour, before getting into bed deflated, and more depressed than I had ever been. The following few days were a blur. I did not hear from him, during that time. On Friday that week, a miracle occurred, when I was asked to return to the neighboring city for two weeks, on a special assignment. The boss of that branch had been very impressed with me earlier and had asked for my participation in a very important project that had to be completed within two weeks. I would leave on Sunday afternoon and only return two weeks later. We would literally be working fourteen solid days. I welcomed this distraction with open arms. The project was hectic, and we worked our backsides off.

On Thursday of the following week, I got an SMS from Paulo, asking how I was doing. My reply was a simple, ‘Fine.’ The project was completed by the following Sunday, as planned, and I was able to return home late that afternoon. I had hoped that I may frequent a gay bar during my stay, but the work had been so intense, that I collapsed exhausted on my bed upon arrival at the hotel, each evening. Thankfully, I got the Monday off after my return and was able to attend to all my household chores. On that Monday I also received another SMS from Paulo asking where I was. I would later learn that he had twice visited my home while I was away. I simply replied, ‘Away on business.’

I returned to work on Tuesday and was informed that my pay would be adjusted substantially, at the end of that month. The company was very pleased with my performance. I also started going to gym early mornings, rather than late afternoon, to avoid Paulo. On Friday, I got a surprise call from Paulo. He asked me out on a date. I was about to refuse, but he frantically pleaded with me to join him for dinner. Apprehensively, I awaited his arrival at seven. When he arrived, he was very cheerful and rather upbeat. I was very calm and slightly aloof. The dinner simply made no sense to me at all. I could not get my head around being buddies with him, after the trauma that he had caused in my life. We left for Luigi’s at seven-thirty.

We ordered our food and drank white wine as we waited. Paulo told me that he had spent the previous evening alone with his mom at her request, as she wanted to have a serious talk with him. I remembered that his dad always visited pals on Thursdays, to play cards. He related their meeting as follows; His mom told him that he had always been her happiest child. Up until his marriage, Paulo was the madcap of the family, and joy always surrounded him. Shortly after marrying, however, he had become withdrawn and miserable.

His melancholy persisted up until a few months ago, when the old Paulo cheerful returned, around the time that he met me. According to her, it was like a light had been switched back on. He was his old happy self again. Strangely, as she informed him, in the last few weeks, the sad Paulo was back again.

She asked, “What is your relationship with Conor, and why it had ended.”

He said he could not answer her. He just sat dumbfounded and stared at his mother. After a while, she asked, “Were you lovers?”

Apparently, he started blubbering and then divulged our entire story. Gently, his mother told him that he needed to embrace happiness. Having finally found who he had been looking for, he needed to grab the opportunity with both hands, even if it meant that it was with another man. She added that she hoped his stupidity hadn’t screwed things up with me, for good. She told him to get on his knees and beg my forgiveness when he saw me again. She also said that he should not attend Sunday lunch, as she would deal with the family on that occasion.

She also advised him to take me out for dinner on Friday and fix this mess. As he left, Theresa apparently added, that she hoped I would give him another chance.

I was dumbstruck! As the waiter served our food I was in tears. Paulo mumbled something about sad family news that I had just received and as I started laughing. The poor waiter looked totally perplexed as we giggled like two school kids.

When we finished eating, Paulo paid the bill.

As we walked back to my home, I finally broke down and started crying. He hugged me and said that he was sorry, adding that he would never hurt me, ever again. We didn’t have sex that night. We just hugged and cuddled throughout the night. I had never been so relieved in my life.

The next morning he sent his mom an SMS simply stating that ‘Stupid has been given another chance.’ I had the best weekend of my life.

Paulo’s mom advised him to also give Wednesday dinner a miss that week, and Sunday would be his inauguration as a gay family member.

He was fairly nervous when he left my home that Sunday morning, and I really felt for him as he drove off.

Later that day, when he arrived home he looked like a person who had been found not guilty on a murder charge and was completely at ease. The day had gone very well and he was treated no different to the way he had always been treated in his parent’s home. In fact, his dad told him that they expected to see me in future on Wednesday and Sunday family gatherings. I was the one now shitting myself.

My first Wednesday went very well, despite my enormous apprehension. I was hugged and kissed by one and all. Coming from a Catholic upbringing was also a feather in my cap. I didn’t mention that my family practically never attended church and that I had become an atheist. Theresa was particularly attentive towards me. She couldn’t stop thanking me for giving her son another chance after his screw-up. They were a wonderful family. I really liked them.

Two months later Paulo finally got to meet my family. We took week’s leave to visit my part of the world. Paulo had never been there, and was quite nervous, despite my best assurances. My mom collected us from the airport. When we drove up to the Georgian mansion that I had grown up in, Paulo’s jaw hit the floor. I don’t think he fully realized what a privileged upbringing, I had had. I was amused to find that my old room had been totally renovated, and furnished with a king-sized bed. It was very strange for me, to make love to Paulo in the room I had grown up in, during that week.

My parents were smitten with Paulo. They got on famously from the get-go. Paulo was also told that he would definitely be introduced to the game of golf during his visit. We had a fantastic dinner that evening and Paulo settled in seamlessly. My mother thought that Paulo was totally gorgeous.

On Saturday my dad and I played golf, after which Paulo and my mom joined us in the clubhouse for lunch. That evening Paulo was taken to our favourite family restaurant for dinner. Being a top class Italian restaurant he was totally blown away. He confessed that he had never eaten food like that, in his entire life.

On Sunday our entire family got together for lunch. My brother and sister took to Paulo immediately. Paulo was a total hit with the clan, including all the kids. I had come to realize that Paulo absolutely loved children and they took to him, like moths to a flame.

On Monday, Paulo spent the morning with the golf pro at the club for lessons. When we collected him at lunchtime he had really enjoyed himself. The golf pro told us that he had never seen such a powerful swing in his life.

After lunch in the club we headed off to one of my dad’s businesses. Paulo’s jaw again hit the deck when he entered. Being the smaller of the two branches, I could only imagine what his reaction to the larger branch would be, the following day.

The next morning we visited the original larger branch and Paulo was in seventh heaven, as my brother Callum showed us around. After lunch at the clubhouse again that afternoon, Paulo received his second golf lesson.

That evening, we had dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant. The following day Paulo and I spent on our own. I showed him all the sights that I believed he would enjoy, before spending the afternoon relaxing at the beach.

The rest of the week went by in the wink of an eye. On our second Saturday, Paulo finally got to play a round of golf and did really well. As it would be our last evening, we had a full-on family gathering again and my mom pulled out all the stops.

We had a late brunch on Sunday and took-off from the airport at three. Paulo could not stop raving. He could not understand why I had left to live on the east coast. My answer shut him up when I told him, “It was so I could meet you!”

Four months later Paulo asked me to marry him. We had a simple ceremony and my folks flew east to join in the celebration. Our parents, Mario, Theresa, Liam and Mary, got along splendidly, and we had a lovely meal at Luigi’s. We also decided to put our honeymoon on hold for the time being.

A month earlier Paulo and I had bought a property where we wanted to build our new home. Plans for the house were drawn up by an architectural friend I had been to college with. The property had quite a pronounced slope and was therefore fairly tricky. Paulo had sold his home months earlier, and I still had a fair amount in my trust fund. Naturally, Mario would build our home.

The build took seven months and my dad was willing to assist financially until my house was sold. It was an enormous four bedroom home with three bathrooms, two huge lounges, three garages, etc. I was worried that it was too big, but Paulo was adamant. We would be saving a fortune, because of Mario and Liam.

The home was very modern, which Mario did not fully appreciate. I, however, let Paulo deal with his dad on that score. After very little stress, it was finally completed and we were over the moon with the results. Paulo decided that I would take charge of the garden and thankfully, after a two-week visit from my mother, that project was well taken care of.

My house was sold for a fantastic price and with the new house coming in on budget, I was able to repay my dad with no problem at all. Paulo and I used all our old furniture and had to buy very little extra for the home. Naturally, in time, we would upgrade and refurbish as required. Both Paulo and I had to deal with additional traveling every day because of our new location, but it was well worth it in the long run.

Our housewarming party was a great success and we were the envy of Paulo’s entire family.

Part Two

On a Sunday visit to Paulo’s parents, Theresa made a joke about Paulo and me adopting kids. She said that a beautiful home, like ours, needed the sound of children’s laughter. I thought no more of it, but it started to play on Paulo’s mind. Unbeknown to me, he made furtive inquiries at the adoption agency in the city. Soon after, he confessed his sins and asked me to meet Jean, the lady with whom he had been meeting at the adoption agency. Apprehensively, I finally met with her. She was a really lovely person, and rather straightforward. Apparently, there was a huge waiting list and although homosexuals could now legally adopt, there was still an unofficial preference to place children in heterosexual homes. This was music to my ears.

Paulo was thirty years old and I was twenty-two. Fatherhood was not a priority to me at this point and truthfully, I had never even contemplated this as an option. Jean said she would keep in touch. She asked if we were willing to undergo psychological evaluation, which was a prerequisite. Paulo of course agreed and not to be a spoilsport, I went along with the requirement.

Three very intensive sessions followed that were grueling and gut-wrenching. Still, I was hoping that nothing would come of this ordeal. Over the next several months Jean did contact us from time to time, but thankfully, never with any good news.

One Friday afternoon, we got a call from Jean, asking if she could pop in at six that evening. She told us that twin boys had been orphaned, after a horrific car accident, in which their parents and older sister had been killed. Fortunately, they were both unscathed. The boys had just turned two years old. The father of the boys had absolutely no family. The mother only had a sister abroad, who apparently could scarcely look after herself, let alone anyone else.

Apparently, most people hoping to adopt had a strong preference for newborn babies. Twins were difficult to place, as it was an absolute policy at the agency that kids from one family had to be placed together.

They had virtually exhausted the list of applications ahead of us, but there were still two couples ahead of us that had to decide whether they wanted the boys. The first couple, she was sure would not go ahead with the adoption, but the second couple seemed quite keen. They would be meeting the kids the following morning. Paulo could scarcely sleep that night.

The following morning we got a call from Jean at eleven. The first couple as she had expected, had let her know the previous evening that they were not interested, but the second couples meeting with the boys that morning had been a disaster. Apparently, they had both howled like crazy when introduced to the prospective couple. Afraid that the traumatic experience the boys had been through might have affected them too adversely, the couple had declined the adoption.

Jean then asked, “Do you want to meet the boys.”

Before I could even formulate a response, Paulo had me in the car and we were on our way. My mind was spinning as we drove to the agency. I had to constantly tell Paulo to slow down.

This surprise had thrown me a huge curveball. When we arrived Paulo was so excited, that Jean had to tell him to take a seat and just calm down for ten minutes.

Later, we were taken into a room with one-way glass to observe the boys. They were the two most beautiful boys you would ever see. They had angel faces with curly blond hair. Paulo started weeping uncontrollably and Jean and I had to comfort him. She told him that he had better go the cloakroom to wash his face and compose himself, because if the boys saw him in his present state, she was sure that she would have a second disaster that morning.

When Paulo left, I asked Jean what had happened earlier. She said that she was dumbfounded by the earlier incident, as the boys were usually very calm and pleasant. For some inexplicable reason, the one boy started howling, and wouldn’t let the couple near him. Once he got going, the other boy had joined in. The boy wearing the green shirt was Ramsay, and the boy with the blue shirt was Reece. Ramsay was normally the boisterous one and Reece the quiet boy. Strangely, Reece had caused the scene that morning. When Jean asked me how I felt about all of this I replied with a happy shrug. She also told us that our evaluations had been excellent and that it was felt that we would make excellent parents. She was particularly keen, that we should adopt these boys.

When Paulo returned he had made a miraculous recovery. He was calm and ready to meet the boys. As we entered the room, Jean introduced us to the boys. When Paulo knelt down Ramsay rushed towards him and threw his arms around Paulo. I could see his shoulders gently shake as he embraced the boy. I walked over to Reece and sat on the chair next to him. He observed me for a while, before a smile broke out on his face. He then got off his chair and embraced me. As I held Reece, I had to restrain myself with all my might, from bawling.

We sat and played with the boys for the next hour. When we left the room, Paulo and I were heartbroken that we couldn’t take them with us.

We could visit them the following day, but could only collect them on Monday after all the papers had been signed by the necessary authorities.

It was the longest weekend of our lives. We decided that we wanted the boys to retain their own surname, which was Wainwright. We then did some serious shopping on Sunday morning, prior to our hour long visit with the twins. Fortunately, we had two single beds in the room nearest ours, so we only had to buy appropriate linen for the room. We also decided to cancel our lunch with Paulo’s family that afternoon and only tell all the grandparents the good news on Monday, after everything was signed and sealed.

On Monday, I left for work early to meet with my boss and explain my new situation to him. Fortunately, I had quite a bit of leave due and could take that week off from work. I also asked my boss if he would consider allowing me to work from home in future, to which he happily agreed.

At noon Paulo and I arrived at the agency. After a tedious hour of paperwork, the boys were finally strapped into their car seats as we headed off for home. The kids were very excited and well behaved during our journey. Once home, they immediately started running around and taking over completely. Paulo was like a man who had just won the biggest lottery in history.

Sadly, he had to leave home to attend to two jobs that afternoon. We decided that we would break the news to our families that evening. After his return we contacted his mom, who was totally over the moon with the good news. She couldn’t wait to meet the boys that Wednesday. During that evening all of Paulo’s family phoned at various times to congratulate us and express their delight about the wonderful news.

We Skyped my parents at seven and they got to see their new grandchildren. My mom and dad were beyond excited as the boys sat on our laps and met grandma and grandpa. By the end of our conversation, my mother had already made plans for them to visit later that week.

Our first night with the boys went flawlessly. Once they were put to bed they were asleep within minutes. Paulo got up all through the night to check on the boys. He was in seventh heaven.

The kids were extremely well behaved the following day and happily played with the toys we had bought them.

Paulo reluctantly left the house during that week when he had work that had to be attended to. We also formulated a schedule that we would follow, from the following week onwards. Luckily, we had an excellent crèche very near our home that the boys could attend from the following Monday.

On Wednesday we headed off for our usual dinner with Paulo’s parents. You would have thought that the royal family was paying a visit from the reception we received. The boys were hugged, kissed, and cuddled by everyone. The new cousins were an enormous hit with all the other kids. Paulo strutted around like the cat that had just got all the cream. At around nine we headed home with the boys fast asleep.

On Friday afternoon my parents arrived for the weekend. My mom and dad were beside themselves with their new grandchildren, and getting the kids to bed by seven that evening proved to be a really difficult task. My parents left on Sunday and the following week we settled into our new lives, in earnest.

It was quite strange that from our second meeting with the twins, Paulo and I could easily tell the boys apart. It took the other family members quite a while to do so. Ramsay was definitely the livelier of the two, but Reece seemed more confident despite his quiet demeanour. When we were together, Ramsay always gravitated towards Paulo and Reece towards me.

Meal times were a little messy but I was eternally grateful that both boys had been potty-trained. We had also put mattress protectors on the boys’ beds but they were superfluous, as we never had any mishaps.

Paulo and I had to get used to wearing pyjama shorts once the boys arrived. We felt this to be appropriate, especially when the morning invasion took place in our room. The mayhem that I had to endure with the three rebels in the morning had to be seen, to be believed.

Bath time was a monumental event late each afternoon, and thankfully Paulo was in charge of that duty. He had to perform this task wearing his swimming trunks and would always emerge totally drenched.

Early on I had to step in as the disciplinarian; because Paulo let the twins get away with murder. It was, however, far more fun than I had ever believed possible and the boys settled in brilliantly.

The daily routine proved to be easier that I had anticipated. The twins were collected by Paulo in the afternoons and he always made sure that he arranged his work in accordance with that requirement. Most afternoons when I arrived home, the water babies were in full cry in the bathroom, which allowed me to get supper underway.

By seven each evening, Ramsay and Reece were in bed and Paulo and I were able to relax and spend quality time together. Our love life also did not suffer as a result of this new dynamic.

During the following year, my dad and I discussed opening a third branch of his hardware and supplies business at a location near to where Paulo and I lived. After a suitable property was found, construction shortly got underway. Naturally, Mario was contracted to build the establishment for us. I would finally take charge of the financial side of all three branches and Paulo would manage the local business.

We decided to call the business ‘Wainwright’s Hardware & Supply.’ It was an arduous undertaking, but ten months later was up and running.

The twins would soon be four years old, but as I could work from home I did most of the fetching and carrying.

Fortunately, we had a fantastic business model to follow that had been tried and tested over decades. The business took off wonderfully and was soon holding its own with the other two branches. Paulo proved to be a fantastic manager, and the customers and staff loved him. He was an incredible people’s person and thrived in his new environment.

A great spin-off of this our business was that Mario’s business also got a real boost. The job he had done was very impressive and he acquired a lot of new projects as a result.

The twins loved spending Saturday mornings with Paulo at the business. This gave me time to catch up on housework and do general bits and pieces around the house.

For the twins fourth birthday, we had a party at our home and the entire family arrived en masse. It was a wonderful afternoon. Reece, unfortunately, overindulged somewhat and when all the people left he was feeling under the weather. I was quite concerned, and sat on his bed stroking his back as he moaned and groaned.

When he fell asleep, restlessly, a while later, Ramsay had a concerned look on his face as he observed us. Once Reece was asleep, Ramsay got off his bed and hugged me. He then surprised me by asking me if I loved Reece more than him. I assured that that was not the case and that both Paulo and I loved them equally.

Next, I placed Ramsay back on his bed and kissed him, assuring him that his brother was going to be fine.

I had quite a restless night and was very relieved when Reece appeared to be back to normal the following morning. I told Paulo about the incident the previous evening and we agreed that we should be more careful with our distribution of affection in future.

***

Six months later, my perfect world took a blow to the stomach. I arrived at the business on a Wednesday somewhat unexpectedly and walked into Paulo’s office. As I did so he and a young gay employee named Sean were standing very close together. There was a look of shock on Sean’s face and one of bewilderment on Paulo’s. I observed them for a few seconds as Sean awkwardly moved backward. I turned and left immediately. Within a minute my mobile phone rang and I simply switched it off. I had never been angrier in my entire life as I drove home that day.

That evening when Paulo arrived home, I remained as calm as I could prior to the boys going to bed. Paulo tried his best to assure me that nothing happened and that Sean was a little flirtatious at times. I completely ignored Paulo and when he got into bed, I warned him not to even think of touching me. That night I made a decision to join my brother on his upcoming business trip to Hong Kong on Sunday.

He was attending one of two trade shows that he visited annually. I told Paulo of my decision the following morning and when he asked, “What about the boys,” I facetiously told him that he could arrange for Sean to look after them. Paulo finally got to see a part of my character he had never seen before.

Before he left for work, I told him that when I got back from my trip Sean had better be history.

I arranged to fly to Hong Kong that Sunday, where I would join my brother from Monday till Wednesday.

After that, I was going to fly to Phuket for a few days of relaxation before returning the following Sunday.

I knew that Paulo would arrange something with his mom during my absence and that the kids would be safe.

From Thursday till Sunday I barely spoke to Paulo at all. I left midday on Sunday having arranged transport, to and from the airport. I kissed and hugged both boys before leaving, and as the transport vehicle reversed out of our driveway, I observed Paulo standing on our patio with a forlorn look on his face.

I had done quite a bit of preparation prior to my trip so that I would not be totally useless while meeting suppliers on the trip with Callum. He was extremely comfortable with the buying routine, having done so over many years. I played a backseat role during our visit, but was able to make a few suggestions due to my thorough preparation.

I departed from Hong Kong to Phuket early afternoon on Wednesday, and arrived in Phuket on Wednesday evening. Dead tired, I was in bed and asleep before long. Upon phoning home each evening during that week, I spoke to both boys prior to switching off, before the phone was handed back to Paulo. Each time he phoned other than that, I simply ignored the call.

I had a relaxing breakfast the following morning, before embarking on a long sightseeing walk. I enjoyed a very light lunch before making my way to the beach. After an hour of swimming and relaxing, I observed a rather tall and lanky man approaching my direction. He was moderately hairy, with a short hairstyle and neatly cropped beard. I gauged him to be around thirty years old. He wasn’t devastatingly good looking, but fairly sexy. As he approached, he engaged me in conversation. He had a thick southern English accent and had been on holiday in the far-east for a week and a half prior to our meeting. His e was Justin and was spending that week in Phuket, before leaving back home on Saturday. Before long, he placed his towel next to mine, as we continued to chat.

We exchanged life stories over the next few hours. He was a carpenter, gay, but not involved. He was as I had guessed, thirty years old. He was staying at a hotel a block away from mine.

As we walked back to our hotels later, he asked me out to dinner. I agreed and we met in my reception at around eight that evening. I was rather taken aback when we met in the lobby, because it smelt like he had doused himself in cologne. I had grown up in a family where the men simply did not use cologne and had always enjoyed a natural masculine odour.

Paulo’s family was exactly the same as mine, and I loved the funky smell that Paulo exuded at day's end. In fact, I was very turned-on by it.

After dinner, Justin asked me to his room for a nightcap. When he invited me to stay the night I declined. I did, however, invite him to join me for dinner the following evening. Upon leaving I asked him please not to wear the cologne the following evening, giving him a quick philosophy of my feelings on the subject. Justin smiled and then laughed, before telling me that he never wore cologne but had bought a bottle upon his return to the hotel that afternoon to hopefully impress me.

We both burst out laughing. He then said that at least he now had a present for his younger brother upon his return to England.

The following afternoon we once again met at the beach and he assured me he had scrubbed himself thoroughly the previous evening.

That evening we had supper together and later ended up in my hotel room. I had thought about having sex with him during the day and took the plunge that night.

Why? Who knows? Possibly it was my anger with Paulo, or the regret that I had never had sex with any person other than Paulo. Justin brought protection and for the first time in my life, I got to penetrate another man as we flip-flopped through the night. He was quite well endowed but not in Paulo’s league. He was, however, a great lover and we had a very good time.

We had breakfast together the following day and spent Saturday together, before his departure that evening. We also had to buy additional condoms.

I had finally made up for my years of abstinence and it was almost cathartic. As he was leaving Justin asked what would happen when I returned home.

“Make-up and move on,” I replied, shrugging.

I spent Sunday morning at the beach and as I relaxed, I felt an enormous weight lift off my shoulders. I knew that Paulo was the one for me and that we would spend our lives together. My tryst with Justin had been no more than a momentary distraction, born of a silly need to scratch an itch.

I arrived home late on Sunday, long after the boys had been put to bed.

As I walked in I could see a look of total apprehension on Paulo face. I dropped my bags and rushed into his arms. I could physically feel the tension drain from his body. We wept, laughed, and made love that entire night.

The following morning our room was invaded by our blond barbarians. Their gifts were frantically unwrapped and instantly played with. Paulo also loved the very expensive watch that I had purchased for him. Life was back to normal.

Five years after building the first branch my dad talked us into opening a second branch. We pulled out all the stops with this business and it became our most successful branch of all four. A very dynamic cousin of Paulo’s was appointed as the manager and did an unbelievable job. Paulo preferred to remain at the initial branch because it was closer to our home.

My dad had several offers to buy the entire business over the years, but declined as we all loved the purpose that it gave us to lead meaningful and busy lives.

The boys did very well at school. Ramsay was a good student but Reece was well above average. They grew into the most wonderful teenagers and ultimately, men.

Jean often visited us and was continually elated by the incredible family dynamic that Paulo and I had created. She always told us that we were the shining lights of all the placements that she had ever had the privilege of initiating.

In truth, she became another family member and we all loved her.

Both Mario and Liam retired in time and Callum did a wonderful job with the two west coast branches. Mario’s second eldest son, Vincent, took over from his dad and their business went from strength to strength. My relationship with Paulo also grew stronger year by year. We had no more mishaps along the way.

With every passing year, he just seemed to become more and more gorgeous. I often thought back to our first meeting and marvelled at the fantastic life that I had with him. Some people were just meant to be together, and he was definitely the one for me.

I did meet Justin one more time. Nothing happened, but I spent a wonderful afternoon in his company. Remembering what I had told him about my life, he looked me up upon visiting my part of the world. He had finally found a suitable partner and they were extremely happy together. His business was also doing very well and he appeared to be extremely content with his existence.

Goodness knows what happened to Sean. I didn’t much care in any case.

 

Caliban

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