“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
“So let’s talk….”
My uncles surround me. Barry, my oldest uncle was only just three years older than me. The two younger ones Luther and Claus were silently standing by. Their eyes intertwined locking. I knew this was a man talk. A talk I had to have away from the house. Still, it’s necessary and I know we need to have it.
“Fine,” I state, my voice deep and masculine.
I want to let them know I’m not a little boy. I’m a man now. I’m older than even Clause who I know looks up to me. Luther and I were the closest though. So many times we’d hung together, made memories together. I can tell he’s the most hurt by this.
“You’re not gay,” he states.
He doesn’t ask. It’s a statement. A clear definitive statement as though he knows something that I don’t.
“Luther you can’t say things like that,” Claus responds.
Claus is trying not to hurt my feelings. I think at least. Hard to tell from his raised eyebrow which looked more like confusion than anything. When he speaks, Luthor shuts up and surveys the floor as though this was an attempt to give me the opportunity to talk.
We hadn’t had a conversation about my relationship as of yet. They’d heard it through the vines.
I don’t want to have to explain myself but at this point, I don’t have a choice. My family wanted answers and I had to give it to them.
“I met him and there was some sort of spark.”
“You wanted to fuck him?” Luther asks, cutting me off again, ‘Sure. Sure I get that. Right guys? We all get the idea of fucking another guy?”
No one responds to Luther. They all seem rather confused.
I think it’s even Claus who whispers and asks, “What are you even talking about?”
Luther, realizing this isn’t as common probably as he thought, gets quiet again and stares at the ground again.
“It’s not just about sex,” I assure Luther, “If it was, I wouldn’t consider myself gay. See being gay doesn’t mean you have sex with men. Being gay is when you want to live your life as a gay man. I want to be with this man.”
I survey their eyes. For so long I cared so much about what these guys thought. They had been my ears to the streets. I’d heard how they’d spoken about people. They’d carried bones back and forth a million times. I’d never thought the bone would be about me. I try not to look hurt when I pull my face down and smile.
Try to look happy, Malone. It’s not like they are here trying to hurt you. They just don’t get it. They just don’t understand.
After a few seconds, Luther, still confused asks, “Why not just fuck him? That’ll be normal. Just a hole. Put your dick in it, call it a day. Malone, you have to think about the family.”
“The children,” Barry adds, “How the FUCK do you let your son see you with another man?”
I’m angry when he says it. The words boil up in my ears before they hit my brain. At that point, the other two are nodding as though this was some sort of intervention. And perhaps it was. That awkward moment where the men in your family pull you aside because they feel as though somehow they failed you. As though because my father was no longer in my life I’d turn gay in some sort of act of rebellion.
“You think I would just let my son around anyone?” I ask, “Jr. knows him. Jr. loves Troy.”
“Is that what you plan on doing, raising a family with him?” Barry asks, “I cheated on my baby’s mother. I lost her. I lost my child. You think this is going to be so easy. Troy will never be their parent. To them, Troy will always be the one who destroyed their family.”
I shiver at the thought.
Claus nods, “I have to agree. You need to break up with him. You need to leave. For your son.”
And finally Luther.
“Maybe have a talk with him. What you do in the privacy of your own home… but bringing him here and parading him in all of our faces. How do you think that makes us feel?”
At this point, my mind shuts down. I get quiet. I want to tear up but that would be something else they’d use against me. They’d think I was weak. They’d think I wasn’t thinking clearly. And that wasn’t anything I was OK with.
“I don’t care…”
They all look at me. All three brothers. All at the same time.
“What?” Barry asks.
“Troy is a good guy. I love him. More than I’ve loved anyone else in my life,” I explain, “And no one is going to make me feel bad about it. I love him. I’m in love with him. And he’s going to be around because I’m never giving up on him. And he’s not giving up on me. So you have two options…”
“Ultimatum?” Barry asks.
“Yes. You get to know him. You respect him. Or he stops coming around…but so do I…”
Silence. An awkward silence that seems to drag. The younger uncles don’t say anything. I don’t think they expected an ultimatum. I don’t think they thought some little gay boy was that serious to me. Like Luther thought: just fuck him. No. This was more than that. I wouldn’t let them belittle my relationship.
Barry walks up to me. He walks up so close that I think he’s going to hit me. I put my hands in a ball. I wouldn’t be surprised. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of them took shots at me out here. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to beat the man in me.
But they don’t.
“If this is some fling…or some phase…” Barry explains, “I had a little experimenting. I did…things with men that I am not proud of…”
The DL situation It’s the reason that they all have a bit of apprehension, even if they don’t realize it. It had spread through our country like a curse. It destroyed everything we all held dear. The families that were able to remain together were barely clinging, all desperately clinging to the idea of a traditional family due to fear of the alternative.
“It’s not a experiment .”
“Then we accept it—–” Barry states.
Luther almost panics, “Barry I don’t accept—-”
“WE accept it,” Barry shuts Luther up, “As your family. We accept it. We don’t support it. Don’t think we support it. But we’ll get to know him. Maybe one day, we’ll get to like him. But if this is a mistake you’re making…and you fall flat your face…”
“I’m a man,” I state.
Barry nods, “You’re a man.”
That’s all he says. He gets quiet again and takes a step back. I sigh, realizing he wasn’t going to attack me. I can’t say the same about Luther who is quietly steaming at the end of the table.
Claus, seemingly following Barry’s lead smiles, “Well more girls for us! Right, Luther? Malone can still bring the girls over but he just can’t get with them. More for us.”
I look over at Luther desperate for some sort of warmth. Some sort of sign that we were still the same and that my sexuality hadn’t destroyed any relationship I had with my cousin.
I don’t get that. Not at that moment.
“We should return,” Barry offers.
Barry and Claus leave, walking up to the house. I stay alone with Luther. There is a sense of awkwardness between us but I know that he might need to hear from me himself.
“Is he worth it?” he asks, “Really worth it?”
I think about.
“Yeah. He is,” I state.
“Must be really hard for him then,” Luther explains, “Loving someone who has children with someone else. Dealing with his family like this. Must be hard. Can you do me a favor, man?”
“Make sure it’s worth it for him too.”
I’m not sure what he’s talking about.
“He is happy…”
“How can you say that if you’re having another child…”
I’m confused. Confused as all fuck.
“I heard Deja on facetime with that lady. Talking about the baby you’re having,” he continues.
I’m beyond confused.
He points. That’s when I see her walking from the backyard into the living room. She is cool, dark and calculating. She is wearing a form fitting indigo blue dress with a Balenciaga purse and Chanel glasses. She looks casual but I know she’s not here for anything casual. She was here for something else.
I get to the house and see her standing there. She’s having small talk with Bobby who is clearly hitting on her in front of everyone. He’s not the only one who finds her attractive. Most of the guys probably do. A pretty young woman here silently waiting by herself, I’m sure guys would all flock to her. They had no idea what she was.
But Troy did.
I see him sitting at the dinner table by himself, seeming out of place. Something was wrong. I see it written all over his face.
“What’s wrong with him?” I ask Deja.
Deja is in the kitchen. A few of her friends are there as well. I can tell she knows who I’m talking about because she looks almost right through the wall towards the dining room where my boyfriend was sitting.
“That’s your boyfriend isn’t it?” she asks me, “Isn’t that who you left our family for? You should know what’s wrong with him, not me.”
“Stop fucking with me Deja, what did you do?”
Deja has this look on her face. A deer stuck in headlights. She was always so sure of herself before. She was always so confident. This wasn’t that. This was a woman who was being controlled.
And before I can get her to admit what she’s done, I see a figure at the doorway.
“Thanks for inviting me Deja,” she states.
Deja nods to Patience like a trained monkey. I look at her not understanding a single thing happening but angrier than I’ve ever been in my life.
“If you did anything to hurt him…” I state.
“Do you even know what’s good for him?” she asks and before I could answer she states, “I didn’t think so…”
I’m pissed. So pissed I want to go off on her. I want to make a scene. This is what she wants. There was a reason she was here. Here with all my family here. There was a reason that she did it today.
Deja, like a sheep whispers to Patience, “The food will be ready in a moment.”
“Good. Looks like Troy has a good seat for the announcement.”
With that Patience turns and leaves us alone. I turn to Deja beyond pissed.
“Announcement, what’s happening?”
“You’ll find out in a moment.”
“No. Now. Troy is out there…”
“I know the circumstances we find ourselves in,” Deja states, “I’m asking you please Malone. Give me a moment.”
“DEJA you’re fucking with my life!” I rage, “I just got my uncles to open up about my relationship and you’re pulling something. Why did you invite her here? What is happening? Why would you invite her to my son’s party.”
“She paid for the party.”
“She has us all on strings, Malone,” my ex explains to me in a slow almost defeated tone, “Don’t you feel them. I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t have a choice. Once she has you, she tells you when to talk. When to eat…”
She picks up her plates and looks at me. Defeated. Deja was useless right now.
I walk into the living room. By now my uncles have gathered around Troy. Usually, I would be sitting around letting them have this conversation and hoping it went well. But as I walk in I’m just not in that mood at all.
“Tell us about you,” Luther states.
Luther of all people has managed to smile at Troy. Troy smiles back. As I walk over though, I don’t give this interaction a chance. I grab Troy by his wrist.
Everyone seems confused. Barry and Luther are trying to get me to come back to the table. But fuck that. I walk Troy right past Patience Crane who has this sinister smile spread across her face just for a second. Just long enough for me to notice.
Fuck this party and whatever setup she had coming.
“Wait,” Troy states.
“We’re leaving…” I state.
“No, we aren’t…”
I stop. I turn to him. He didn’t understand.
“Baby whatever’s about to happen is going to be devastating….”
He nods quietly, “I know. And I’d rather stay.”
Patience knew if she’d gotten to him first that he’d want to stay. But looking at his face I see more confusion than anything. He knew something. I’m not sure what it was. But it was something.
I pull him into the bathroom and immediately push him up against the sink. I stare in his eyes. I don’t think Troy realized the kind of issues we were having with Patience.
So slowly, I state, “Baby. She paid for this party.”
He nods, “She is providing for Deja.”
I didn’t get why “I provide for Deja.”
“You don’t have that kind of money,” He assures me, “Patience does. I’m not sure what else she has but I’m not leaving this party until I find out.”
“We’ll get through this together,” he assures me.
He holds my hand comforting me, but in all honesty, I’m freaking out. This is the scariest moment perhaps of my life. I knew that Patience Crane had something set up for me and there was no way for me to stop it.
That’s when he leans in and kisses me. The kisses are soft, like pillows up against my face. It isn’t until I begin to feel my dick harden that he enters his tongue into my mouth. I breathe him in taking in his aura and lips. The smacking and sucking get both of us so turned on that we are grinding up against Deja’s sink.
“I just can’t lose you…” is what I say.
Patience clearly wanted us apart. Clearly.
“She has to know I’m going nowhere,” he states, “No matter what.”
It’s at that moment he wins a battle against Patience. It was a battle in a fight that I was beginning to think was useless. The fact that she had something and he was still willing to work through whatever it was made me feel amazing.
He tore at my pants, showing me how much he wanted me. My belt was gone in a moment. He picked me up and threw me down on the toilet seat, almost causing me to fall in. I began to stare at his body as he gets undressed.
“What if someone walks in…”
A few weeks ago Jr. had broken the lock on the door. Troy seems not to care though and I don’t blame him. We needed reassurance in our relationship and we needed it quickly.
He laughed again and responded, “They’ll know how much I love you.”
He kisses me again and I can’t help it. I pull his head from mine and pulls his head to my crotch. I felt his mouth on my dick, his chin hairs on my thigh, his hands surveying my body. He rolled over desperate and hungry for me.
That’s when I fuck him, my waist pumping as I push him into the wall. I felt each pump as my fingers found it’s way to his throbbing dick rubbing up against the smooth, cold wall of the bathroom. He exploded all over the wall covering up some graffiti Jr. made with a crayon with his own. I laughed but it wasn’t long after I creamed too. My breaths and pumps getting harder and faster.
I sat, crumpled on the toilet, my dick limp and drained.
Then I look at him, love in my eyes.
It shocks him, I think because he stops putting on his clothes long enough to look back and snicker, “You’re not serious.”
“I am. Marry me.”
“When we’ve been through the worse ask me again,” he asks.
“We’ve been through the worse.”
He had a point. We still didn’t’ know why Patience was messing with our lives. We still didn’t know what she wanted.
That’s when the door opens and almost immediately I just think it’s Deja. It’s not though. It’s her brother.
Jermaine stands at the door, clearly realizing what just happened, “You’re sick, you know that?”
“I don’t need your shit now Jermaine.”
“Look at what you’re doing to us!”
Jermaine being as loud as he was when he opens the door seems to turn Troy off. I didn’t care if people got loud with me. You get loud with my man through and we have a problem. Maybe that’s why I get in his face. He doesn’t move. We face off at that moment.
The truth was this was all my relationship ever was. One big face off against the world to prove to everyone that we too wanted to be in love and be happy.
“It was up to me, I’d kick you both out,” Jermaine states.
“Well, it’s not up to you. Move.”
I give Jermaine a look. I had hoped that we would be able to fix our problems as well but clearly, that wasn’t the case. By the look on Jermaine’s face, he would never accept that I was truly and fully leaving his sister to be with Troy.
Jermaine seemed not willing to fight it out just steps aside, “Fine.”
I give him a look and reach for Troy’s hand ,”Come on.”
Surprisingly Troy doesn’t take it. Instead, he looks at Jermaine.
“What does Patience have on your sister?” he ask.
Jermaine gets quiet.
Real Quiet. That’s when I look at Troy. I nod at him. He had a point. Deja wasn’t going to admit it but she shared everything with her older brother.
“It’s OK Jermaine”.
Reluctantly he nods.
“Deja took some videos of herself. She tried to regain her confidence after you left,” he explains and then shakes his head as though upset about it, “Let’s just say Patience got a hand on those videos and she was willing to use them if necessary.”
I shake my head. Damn Deja. I wondered what the video was of. I’d seen videos of Deja by herself. That wasn’t what she would be ashamed of. It had to be her in a rather compromising sexual act, I guess.
“Guess it wasn’t necessary.”
Jermaine shakes his head, “No. She thinks you’re going to fight her custody of the kids if those videos came out.”
“He’s not,” Troy states.
“I might,” I interrupt.
I look at Jermaine. I know Troy is disappointed in me in saying this but fuck that. Fuck all of these people.
Now that I knew Troy had my back no matter what, I was done folding….
We get to the living room. It’s awkward for everyone as I come in with my boyfriend. I’m holding his hand and people are noticing. The house is still crowded. All these family and friends were gathered here thinking they’d celebrate my son, but that wasn’t the case. When I look over at Patience against the wall I know this is all a plot for something else.
But I’m unmoved.
I bring my boyfriend in the room and announce, “Everyone this is the love of my life.”
Simple straight forward. I don’t pay attention to the reactions. No need to.
Troy smiles at everyone, trying to seem nice. I’m not surprised when the only one that smiles back at him is Patience. Everyone else just seems confused at what is happening.
“Should we be here?” Barry asks, not just for himself but for everyone.
“Yes,” Deja responds, “I need to make an announcement.”
She stands up.
I roll my eyes.
“Sit down Deja.”
She wasn’t the one who needed to make the announcement and we all knew that. Troy and I turn to Patience Crane who has been comfortably waiting this entire time.
When Deja sits down, Patience stands up.
She holds a glass of wine in her hands.
“I have a toast,” she states.
“Cheers to that ass,” I hear Luther whisper to Claus and sporadic laughter ensues.
Patience, unmoved looks over at me, “This is a congratulations to Malone for his upcoming child….”
Everyone looks over at me.
My mouth drops. Is this her news? Is this what she had?
That’s when Jermaine walks in, “Guess everyone sees the asshole Malone is now.”
I’d stayed with Deja for way longer than I should have because of the kids. At this point I expect them to think I’d always just be in a relationship for my children and never for myself. I wasn’t going to let everyone get away with that. Not this time.
“I never fucked Deja after we broke up,” I assure everyone, especially Troy who is sitting right next to me, “She’s lying.”
I look over at Patience.
Caught in a fucking lie. If she wanted me away from Troy, she’d failed miserably.
Surprisingly though Deja speaks, “I’m not pregnant.”
We all look at Deja. I’m even more confused. The only person I had sex with was Deja before my boyfriend.
“You lose the baby?” I ask, “I know we were having trouble getting pregnant. We were talking about in-vitro fertilization.”
And that’s when everyone in the room gets quiet.
As though everyone is picking up on something that I’m not.
“Baby…” Troy states.
I’m confused, “What? What is it?”
“I think Deja did something and I don’t want you to be too upset,” he tells me.
I look over at Deja. Sure enough, everyone was picking up on something but me. Deja had a guilty look on her face. Real guilty. And out of nowhere, she starts crying. Not regular crying either. She is wailing.
Then all of a sudden she says, “I didn’t want to do it. I had no choice.”
I’m even more confused.
“What did you do?”
Deja looks over at me.
“I went to the doctor. I got the samples that you gave for the in-vitro…”
That’s when I notice Troy looking at Patience, “Look at her stomach baby…”
And that’s when I see Patience Crane put the glass of wine down, “Sorry I can’t drink. Malone and Troy would like us all to take a moment to announce that I am going to be their surrogate.”