As I continued on toward the house, I relived all the moments that we had had together. And though I wished all of it was a bad dream, a cruel joke that fate had played, I knew better than that. Trent was married. And even though I knew that what we had seemed so real, either one of two possibilities had occurred.
I didn't relish in the thought that my brother was a liar...that this marriage was some cover up to hide the truth that Trent was gay. On the other hand, I knew that Trent had had his fair share of pussy growing up. He was a ladies man, after all...one of the many qualities that I found most attractive. On the other hand, perhaps I had been wrong the whole time. Perhaps Trent didn't feel the same way and was looking to experiment. And once it was all said and done, maybe he didn't really like it...maybe it wasn't that he wasn't gay...maybe he just didn't want me in the same way that I had longed for Trent all those years.
Nevertheless, there was one simple, undeniable fact...Trent was now married. And it pissed me off more than anything...to approach me last night in the shop and push himself onto me the way he did. I would have given anything to have wrapped my warm mouth around his cock, to rim his perfect ass, to explore every muscle like a new found love affair, to watch as my aching cock penetrated him to the depths that I had before. Yes, I wanted him. But, no, I was not going down that road. I was better than that. I had decency. I had class...all traits that Trent didn't have after all, I suppose.
I looked up at the deck as I walked by and saw him staring blankly into his hand like a child with a new dollar bill. It was adorable and sickening at the same time. And just as I passed under the deck where he sat, I heard him speak.
"Patrick, get your ass up here now!" His voice was steady and commanding. And the sheer tone of his voice caused a stirring in my crotch that was unquestionable. I stopped in my tracks, waiting for him to speak again...reeling and grasping at words to say in return.
"Why?" I hissed back at him.
"Because...because I'm your brother. I need to talk to you!" His voice was husky in the cold air.
"It sounds to me like you need to talk to your wife, brother...not me." I took another step as I heard him shuffling overhead, his heavy steps seeming to leap and bound upon the wood above me and then hurdling down the stairs into the yard. I froze again as I heard his heavy gait upon the crunching snow behind me.
"Patrick, I have something to tell you...it's really important and we need to talk about it right now. Can we go somewhere? Just us? Please, I'm not asking for much." His voice had modulated into something less powerful, something vulnerable. But in my mind, it wasn't the imploring of a lost soul...no, it was the hungry lust of a liar.
"There's nothing to say, Trent. Your words are as hollow as a tomb...promising as a sift." With my back still turned to him, I could feel the blood rising to my face, the veins in my neck distending out into the cold air, boiling to the breaking point. I felt his hand rest on my shoulder. It infuriated me...my mind screamed with all of its might.
"Patrick...I love you...let me explain," he said softly.
"There's nothing to explain, brother. Not one goddamned thing." I shrugged his hand from its resting place and took a step forward. "You've made your bed...now lie in it like the lying dog you are." I felt his hand on my shoulder again and with a force that only he could have as he whipped me around to face him. I saw the tears on his face, the begging soul in his eyes...and it was all lost on me.
"Please, Pat...you don't understand." His words were choked and strained as he held back the sobs. "I can explain it all...just give me a chance. If you loved me the way you said you did, then you owe it me to hear me out."
"I owe it to you? I OWE it to you?" I was irate. I took a step forward shoved the Goliath man before me, again and again. "I owe you nothing! You know why? Because you took everything I had! You fucking prick! How dare you say that to me!" I stood toe to toe with him, not backing down, unafraid of his strength, his cunning, his rugged handsomeness, his manhood...I feared nothing. "I owe it to you? NO! You don't even deserve to call me 'brother' anymore."
As I turned to walk inside, his voice resonated again. "You know that picture Dad bought Mom when they first got together? The one that hangs in the hallway before you get to their room?" Trent's words lingered causing me to stop in my tracks again.
"What about it?" I asked.
"It's from Corinthians...Love is patient, love is kind..." he began to recite.
"I know what it is, Trent. What about it?" I asked sharply.
"I'm not going anywhere...I'm going to get through to you, Pat. What I have for you is patient, kind. It's not jealous or boastful or proud. It isn't rude or self-seeking...it doesn't submit to anger. It forgets all wrongs and forsakes the evil the world offers and rejoices in its truth. It will always defend, trust, hope and endure. It will never fail...it will never fail, Pat." I could hear him breathing hard as the snow fell silently over the rolling hills and towering trees.
"It did fail, Trent." I whispered.
"Love is all that matters, Pat...it's the only thing that will ever last!" he urged.
"And, sometimes...it's not enough." I opened the door and walked inside leaving Trent in the bitter cold...alone.
I remained in my room the rest of the evening, well into the early hours of morning before I was persuaded out by Mom's cooking. It was Christmas Eve, and the entire home smelled of wonderful confections and country living. It was around 5am when I decided to head downstairs to offer to help her. As I approached the landing, I could hear his voice.
"He hates me, Mom." Trent's voice echoed through the kitchen, dining room and great room.
"Oh no, dear...he doesn't hate you. Patrick couldn't hate a soul on this earth if he wanted to. It's just not in his nature. He's hurt is all. You have to realize, Trent. When it was just the two of us...before you and Dad came into our lives, Patrick had become very...jaded. He had to grow up very early. Not like you. He became the man of the house. And, he watched his own father treat me in the worst of ways.
For a long time after he left us, Patrick was the man of the house. And I think at first, the thought of you and Rick unsettled him. But not because he was protective of his place in the world. No, I could tell that he was more than willing to give up that role. But, he was unsure of whether or not he could trust again. And, in time, he did. And then he fell in love with you.
Oh, it was written all over him. The way he hung on your every word and supported you in all that you did and said. He was your own personal PR agent, I swear. And Dad tells me that he says you leaving him like you did...it just destroyed him. I'll be honest; he hasn't been the same since. Can you blame him?" She scolded in her mothering way.
"No, Mom. I can't. But, if he'd just hear me out and listen to what I have to say then..." he trailed off.
"Then what? He'd be over it? He could have closure? Son, matters of the heart aren't always so cut and dry. You must realize that. It's not as simple as saying, 'Oh, and this explains it all' and you get to go about your business. You have a wife. That's not just going away for him." I crept further down the stairs to see him sitting at the bar opposite of the granite island where she stirred a pot that filled the room with the scent of cinnamon.
"My dear, all I know to tell you is to give it time. He'll forgive you when he's ready. In the meantime, the best I can suggest is man up and be ready to withstand his anger and remember that this anger is the result of pain...not malice." He stood up from the bar and walked over to her, kissing her on the head and giving her an enormous hug. "Now, go on back to bed...it'll all be better in the morning."
As he began to traipse back toward the stair, I snuck back up to my room, closing my door behind me. I heard his footsteps coming down the hall and noticed that they stopped in front of my door. My mind took me back to that night as I watched his shadow dance with the light. I watched his shadow shift at my door step, as if trying to decide whether to knock on my door or not. Instead, he slipped something underneath it and walked on down the hall.
I stared at the piece of paper for hours it seemed before making my way across the room to retrieve it. On a scrap of paper, perhaps from the grocery list Mom always kept down stairs, he had simply written, "I love you...from here to the moon and back."
As the house bustled about in preparation for our Christmas Eve dinner and family and friends began to pour into our home, I decided to venture out to the store for a couple of necessities at Mom's request. And on a whim, I bought a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. I rarely smoked, but something told me that until I returned to school or Trent left for Japan-whichever was to happen first-I was going to need something to take the edge off.
I returned the items home and excused myself as I went out back for a smoke. The night was clear, the air was cold and crisp...darkness had fallen, casting shadow over much of the property because of the big house, the trees, and the mountain. I quietly packed my cigarettes and unraveled the foil, lit one up and propped up against the house.
I was lost in thought when I heard the flick of his Zippo and was startled to near death. "Geezus! What the hell are you doing?" I asked him.
"Same as you, I guess...looking for a quiet place to think...and smoke. When did you start?" he asked.
"You know, this would be a perfectly good conversation to have if I could stand being around you...if we had common interests and goals...if you hadn't fucked me over and messed me all up in the head. Then, then we'd be able to have small talk." I took a drag off of my cigarette and exhaled slowly. "Just leave me alone, Trent."
"You get my note?" he asked.
"Yes, I did." I answered.
"And?" he prodded.
"I'm not doing this right now." I threw down my smoke and began to walk off when I was knocked to the ground and began rolling down the hill towards the shop. I lay at the foot of the hill in a daze when Trent snapped me out of it, pouncing on top of me. "What the fuck!" I yelled.
"You won't give me a chance any other way...so, I'm taking matters into my own hands. Now, you're gonna listen to me, Pat. You are going to hear me out." He held me at my wrists, and struggling as I was, he was too much for me to fight back. I relaxed knowing he was in control. "That night, the night we had sex was the best night of my life. I haven't even had sex since. I can't...I've tried but can't even get off. And do you wanna know why?"
I smiled, "Equipment trouble?"
"You're such a goddamned, smart-mouth bitch, Pat! Because I love you. I have always loved you. And try as I might to act like I don't, like I'm a regular guy, like this didn't happen, like I'm tough and straight and all that I thought the world expected out of me...I can't fight the fact that I'm not complete unless I'm in your arms...like my world stops when you aren't around...like my heart doesn't beat without you in it. Patrick...I love you. I always will. And, even though I fucked it all up, I'm trying to get it back if you'd have me." He panted, out of breath from spilling his guts.
"You...ARE...MARRIED!!!" I shouted.
"Yes, I am...to a woman that did me the kindness of covering up my shame. Life was hell in the Marines at first. The guys knew I was different. And they were making life hell on me. That was the price for leaving you like I did. That was my punishment. Kelsey knew the story from the beginning...she knows, Pat! She married me so that the guys would ease up...so I wouldn't have to live with any of them anymore. She did me a favor...that is all. I swear to God on my very own life, it's the truth."
"You aren't lying are you?" I said, unable to catch my breath.
His voice softened. "No, Pat. Kelsey was the one that has encouraged me to try and get you back. Mom and Dad know how I feel. Everyone knows how I feel. Except for you. And, now that you know...what do you feel...about me?" He got up and shuffled to my side, leaving me heaving in snow. "C'mon, Pat. Please just tell me. If you don't feel the same way, I understand...but, I can't take this silence. My God, it's bad enough to know how bad I've messed all this up...please don't make me suffer anymore."
I sat up, stunned and bewildered, and looked at him blankly. "Say something, Pat. For God's sake..." he pleaded. But, I had no words. Nothing I could say would match with everything going through my head. He fiercely punched the ice-laden ground and stood up. "I guess the silence says it all." He turned and ran towards the house, and when he was just out of ear shot, I began to cry.
The evening continued, uneventful. I retired to my room after the horrendous exchange outside, as did he, I suppose. There were so many at the house, we wouldn't have been missed. I got a hot shower, chilled to the bone, and sat down in the alcove that overlooked the woods from my room. I covered up with a blanket and watched the snow fall as I tried to comprehend what had happened. There was a gentle knock on the door.
I answered and was stunned when I saw Kelsey there waiting with a sincere smile. "Hey, Patrick. I hate to bother you, but I really think we should talk." In her arms, she carried what looked like an enormous CD binder that was more than four inches thick. I moved out of her way and gestured her in.
"Look, I know Trent talked to you...and, being his friend for so long, I know he has a way of going about things backwards. He does love you...and, even though I know you are hurting right now, you should know that he's hurting too..." I cut her off.
"Kelsey, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but this really isn't any of your concern. I get it...he needed a cover up. Fine. Great. Wonderful! That means two things to me: he's gay and he's ashamed of it. It still doesn't fix the fact that he left me that day...he broke a promise." I reached over and grabbed the photo of us from graduation night in the frame that he had pain-stakingly fashioned years ago. "Do you see this?"
"Yes, he has one just like it. An Unbreakable Bond...I get it. Pat, you think I don't know what you're going through, but I do. I've been there with him through all of it. I've seen him cry over you...and pray to God for forgiveness for leaving you. I've seen him drink himself to death, mourning over you. And...I've seen him love you...even when you were not there." She sat down at my desk and unzipped the binder. "This is Trent's. It's a CD case he started the day he left the hotel that morning. In it, in each little pocket, he placed a letter. Sometimes he'd write two or three a day. Each and everyone he wrote to you. Just look, Pat. There are more than four hundred pieces of paper telling you that he loves you, and misses you, and that he's sorry. More than four hundred times this man has said that he wasn't good enough. That he messed it all up. That you deserve better than he could ever be. He'd kill me if he knew I was showing this to you."
I thumbed through the plastic pages, scanning over the neatly folded letters, some dirty from the grime of deployment while others crisp and clean. "He wrote all of these for me?"
"Yes, he did. I want you to read them. About an hour ago, he put one more in here before he went to bed...and, Pat, there's so much that these letters say that he can't. If you ever loved him, open up your heart and hear what he's saying in these letters." She stood up and wrapped her arms around me. "You guys once said that you had an 'unbreakable' bond...I think its time you both prove it." And with that, she left the room.
As Christmas Eve dawned into Christmas morn, I sat at the window and began to read. With each and every word, I was left breathless. The tone of his letters, the sincerity of them all, these were the things that I was missing. The pieces of the broken puzzle. He would talk about his day, his horrible treatment and hazing from his Marine brothers, the nights he would cry himself to sleep.
He would talk about the things he had seen, the places he had been, the successes and the failures. He would write about his plan to get married and how he hoped that I would forgive him. He would say how much he missed me, how he wished he could be with me, how fucked up he was for leaving that day. I stopped counting the times he told me he loved me...and all the reasons he did.
He would ask for forgiveness, for my grace for all that he'd done wrong, and beg that one day I'd give him another chance. He relived our moments together growing up, the times we'd laugh and cry together...and that sweet night that he gave himself to me...how he never felt more complete than the moment that our bodies had become one.
He would drone on and on about how he worried that I would move on, how that he hoped I would find happiness, and how he would love me until he drew his final breath. His words poured off the pages, and I drank it all in. And then in the last letter, the crumpled up paper stuck out of the pocket unlike the others. It was thicker than the rest. I hastily pulled it from the pocket, and as I did, something fell to the floor into the darkness.
Knowing I would look for it later, I anxiously read his last letter:
My love, I've done all that I can do to show you that I am the man you fell for all those years ago. I'll love you until the end of time, from here to the moon and back. I'd do anything to be yours...for you to love me again. I'd give anything for the chance to stand in front of allthe world and give you this gift...this token of my love. But, I guess that's not going to be in the cards. It's my own fault...the price for my leaving you. Patrick, if only you'd take this symbol of my love for you, I'd spend every beat of my heart showing you what true love is.
I turned on the light looking for what had dropped out of the letter. There, in the center of the room, was a shiny ring that looked oddly familiar. As I knelt to pick it up, I realized that it was like the ring Trent wore...but this wasn't scratched or nicked. No, this one had never been worn. On the inside, an inscription was barely visible. I moved closer to the light to read it...before falling to my knees weeping.
The sun shined brightly across my face as I woke up on the floor, clutching the letter and ring in my hand. It was Christmas morning, and a new day. The smell of bacon filled the house as I went to the bathroom to get ready.
It had been a long standing tradition to have a wonderful breakfast Christmas morning and open presents in front of the fire place. And as I got ready, I realized that the man that I had loved the majority of my life would finally be within grasp. For so long, my hatred and anger had kept him at bay. But at last, the time had arrived when Trent and I were coming full circle in the grander scheme of things.
I put the ring in my back pocket and began my slow descent down stairs. Mom and Dad were setting the table as Kelsey continued cooking. Trent was no where to be found. As I stood on the landing, scanning the room, I saw him sitting there in front of the fireplace, aimlessly staring into the roaring blaze. I smiled at Kelsey and couldn't help but notice her give me a wink. Mom and Dad stood at the table, frozen where they were as Dad reached over to hold her hand.
I walked up behind Trent and noticed him fiddling with his wedding ring. He sat there, his broad shoulders filling out a grey cotton long sleeve shirt, dark denim Levi's and a nice pair of boots. Here he was, the man of my dreams...absolutely gorgeous in every way.
"Merry Christmas, Trent." I offered. He turned his head slowly with that devilish crooked grin spreading into a wide smile. His brown eyes glistened in the firelight.
"Merry Christmas, Pat." His face seemed to glow as he stood to face me. "I...um...I'm glad you came down to join us. I was thinking you were just gonna stay up there all day."
"No...just...overslept." I stood there looking into his beautiful eyes noticing everything...the smell of his cologne, the neatly trimmed hairstyle the Marines had given him over his shaggy hair so long ago...the perfect dimples that graced his face as he smiled. I turned to Mom, "Mom, how much longer until breakfast is ready?"
"Oh, about another half hour." She smiled as she set the table.
"Trent, can we talk?" I whispered.
"I thought you'd never ask..." he grinned as he reached for his coat across the love seat. "We're heading out for a bit...we'll be back in a few, Mom."
As we donned our coats to head out into the bitter cold, Kelsey approached us both, giving us both a big hug and whispered in our ears, "I recently read that nothing was impossible...until you quit. Now, go...I love you both." Trent leaned down and kissed her on the cheek.
Trent opened the door and guided me through with his massive hand on the small of my back...his touch sent electricity through my body. And once outside in the bitter cold he said, "Dad's shop?" I nodded in agreement...and into the snow we began the trek to the shop...headed into a moment that would change our lives forever.
"Let's get some heat on in here," Trent said as I took off my coat and laid it on the recliner. I scanned the room and looked at the wall mounts of deer and big mouth bass that Dad had collected over the years. The room smelled of saw dust and diesel fuel...a smell that I'd grown accustomed to and found comforting after all these years.
"So...did you sleep well?" I began, trying to find my bearings in the conversation.
"No, not really...you?" Trent replied.
"Well, no...had a bit of a late night. Trent, I really don't know where to begin. There's so much I need to say...that I want to say. For the first time ever, I'm having a hard time finding the right words." I looked down at my shoes and kicked off the snow that was encrusted on them.
"Maybe this can help," Trent said as he moved over to me and wrapped his arms around me, nuzzling his face in my neck. As I gripped his body with my aching arms, his hot breath bathed over my flesh. After so long, my body felt complete as it contacted his. He lifted me up, holding me so tight, and I felt his lips caress my neck as he gently kissed me. "I love you, Pat." He sat me down slowly, and as our eyes met, the words I would say came rushing in.
"And I love you, Trent. Kelsey came to me last night and gave me something...a binder of letters that you'd written me. I stayed up all night, reading every last word. I don't know what to say, Trent. It was the most precious moment of my life...after all this time, my love for you hasn't changed. It's almost like I was waiting for you in the dark...hoping you'd come back to me."
I took a step back and turned away as the tears began to flow. "And then, the last letter, the letter that you wrote last night as I shut you out....you poured your soul out to me and I said nothing. I hope you know that it's not that I didn't love you...I just didn't know what to say." I reached in my pocket and grasped the ring.
"And then there was this," I said holding out my hand. The brilliant metal glistened under the shop lights, and I watched as Trent held up his hand displaying his matching ring.
"The night before we went to the justice of the piece, Kelsey gave me these two rings. One was for me to wear, the other was for you. She said that if I were to be married, I should do it right...that my soul mate should have a ring too." His shaking hand reached out and picked up the ring, gazing at it. "I've carried this with me every day since the night she gave it to me...waiting for the moment that I could give it to you."
He reached for my hand and looked into my eyes, "Patrick...all my life I've wanted to feel complete...I've wanted to feel special...I've wanted to make a difference. I waited all my life for a moment when I could look into your eyes and simply say that I love you...you complete me...you make me feel special...and with you, I know I can make all the difference in the world.
I know that our lives didn't turn out the way we planned. And, I know I've made mistakes. But, I hope you know how sorry I am...how much I love you. I hope you know that if you'll accept this ring, I'll spend the rest of my life's breath loving you, caring for you, hoping and dreaming for you. Patrick Shane Johnson, my brother, my love, my friend...you mean the world to me. I've always said that you and I had an unbreakable bond...one that could never fail. If you'll take this ring, I'll go to my death loving you with all that's in me. Will you take my ring?"
With tears in my eyes, I simply nodded. His hand, now steady, glided the ring onto my hand...it fit perfectly. And as we held hands, gazing into each other's eyes, I felt whole for the first time since that night in the hotel. Trent leaned down to kiss me, and as our lips met, the electricity between us ignited the heated passion that burned there before.
Trent began pulling at my shirt, ushering me to expose my flesh to him. Once it was over my head and cast to the floor, like the animal I once remembered, he began to feast on my flesh, tonguing my chest and neck. I looked and watching him hungrily suck on my nipple...one after the other. "I love you, Trent," I whispered.
He picked me up and moved us over to the recliner where he sat down with me straddling his lap. I shifted my weight off of him and began pulling at his shirt tails to expose the mammoth man that he was. And as I kissed his neck and shoulders, his warm, enormous hands dug through my jeans at the flesh of my ass. I clamped down upon his sinewy shoulder and heard the familiar growl rise up within him. His hands clawed at my back, begging for more of the same. I grabbed his jaw and kissed him fiercely, exploring his warm mouth with my own.
As I continued to probe him with my tongue, I began to frantically unzip his fly and press my hand into his manhood sheathed under his perfectly white boxer briefs. As I needed his cock in my hands, I felt the wetness of his essence that was soaking through his underwear. I mouthed my way down his perfect body, I made it to his massive meat that was straining through his underwear. I began working my mouth over the fabric, feeling his member pulse at each and every advance.
Trent reached down and pulled out his cock and it slapped hard against chiseled stomach. I took my tongue and glided it along the shaft of his cock, savoring every vein, the taste of him, the slick head marinated in his own pre-cum. As my love growled and moaned, I plunged myself on his cock, burying my face into him, sending his cock into my throat, closing off my own breathing so that I could feel the fullness of this majestic man.
I quickly began to piston my head on my growling animal as he held my head and pivoted his hips into my waiting my again and again. His spit-soaked balls hung low, full his man cum...the thing I wanted the most...I wanted it inside me...I wanted to feel him stretch me with his rod and load me with his cum.
As I came up gasping for air, I shifted my own pants down, exposing my unused hole and working it with my own fingers in preparation of this might man that loved so much. I climbed on top of him, and looked into those smoldering brown eyes that I adored as I crouched poised above his inflamed rod. Trent leaned forward, gently kissing me, as I held his cock in my hands and glided it over my hole again and again preparing for what was to come.
I began to ease my weight onto him, his cock head pressed perfectly against my virgin rosebud that began to open and accept him. The pain, as unbearable as I knew it was, was nothing compared to the ache I'd had without him. I felt his cock head penetrate me and looked into his fiery eyes as he winced and growled again and again at my advances. His cock stretched my hole, filling my void to the brim, as I felt my body settle and rest onto his full nuts.
I took a deep breath and held it as I relaxed my screaming body upon him, fully impaled by his manhood. His hands roamed over my body and pulled on my reddened cock that drooled its jizz onto his stomach. I slowed began to lift up and feel him sliding out of my hole and the gentle swallow him up again. His body, racked with desire, tensed and surged with every pump of my hole on his cock. "Oh God, Pat...yeah, baby..."
My pace quickened as he held me at my right hip and pumped my cock with his other hand. The pain and dissolved into sheer pleasure as I continued riding my man, slamming my body upon his meat over and over. I leaned forward and bit him again, releasing the animal inside as he growled and gripped my body hard with his massive arms. He began raising his hips at a feverish speed, pounding and drilling my hole without abandon. My body was his and his thrusts were sending me over the edge quickly.
"I'm gonna come, Trent...Oh FUCK!" I screamed as I neared my own orgasm.
"Feed it to me," he whispered as I stood, my hole releasing his cock and shoved my own down his waiting throat and pumped my cum into him. He hungrily accepted every drop as he continued to work his own cock. Once he was satisfied that my load was spent, he pulled my arm hard, forcing me down, with a hand on the back on my neck as he shoved his cock into my throat. "Take it, baby. TAKE IT....FUCK!!!"
His behemoth released surge after surge of his spunk down my waiting throat. Like a hungry beggar, I moaned as I accepted him, taking everything he had to give me. His growling continued as waves continued to pump from his tool into my waiting mouth. And finally, his growling subsided and morphed into somewhat of a whimper as I continued to lick at his reddened cock and milk every last drop from him.
Breathless, we lay together...completely satiated...unbelievably satisfied. "Trent, it's unbelievable how happy you make me." I nuzzled my face into is chest as I listened to the beast that was mine breathe...his heart beat. "You are right...what we have could never be broken."
"No, my love...it can't...and never will." Trent said.
We stood at the airport just a few short days later, the entire family saying their goodbyes as Trent and Kelsey returned to Japan from leave. My heart broke to see him go. The last couple of days had been a perfect dream as we caught up, laughed, cried and connected on levels that never knew existed. Every square inch of his body was recorded to my memory just knowing that I might never see him again.
As the attendant announced the boarding of their flight, we all cried, kissed, hugged and reaffirmed our love. The family took a few steps back to allow Trent and I some privacy...a chance at one last intimate moment. "I'm going to miss you, Pat," he said softly.
"I'm never far away," I replied as I laid my hand on his chest. He was so dashing in his travel utilities. "I'm not going anywhere, Trent. You have me...always and forever."
He leaned in to kiss me, as Mom and Kelsey frantically took pictures of the two of us in that moment, and then he looked at me with those wonderful, brown eyes and said, "I'm coming home to you...I promise." He took my left hand and intertwined it with his own. "This bond...is most definitely...unbreakable."