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R. Eric

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About R. Eric

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    Manic Poster

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    Charleston, South Carolina
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    I write...A lot.

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  1. Chapter 7

    Yes, I remember a few nights of edible delights with passion. I am so glad they are starting to enjoy making love, not just having sex. That connection with another soul is so much more important.
  2. Chapter 8

    Yes, he does exist. He is very real and though I used him in this story, I tried to stay true to the man I know. He really is a man I look up to and he is a hero to a lot of people. He has an amazing life. I really did try to sing his songs and I really did have a hard time singing that one song. Using in fiction, but very, very real.
  3. Chapter 8

    Of course, I had Etta. She sure as Hell predates Cher, Madonna or Bette! If you don't know her, hand in your gay card. You're out of the club. If you applied for one, you won't get it until you listen to her! Etta James! We don't give those little pink cards to just anyone. The song is perfect for this chapter! (I'm just kidding. Or am I?)
  4. Chapter 8

    And you'll never know. However, i did plan to have Ray Boltz as the best man. Great minds think alike.
  5. Chapter 8

    After hanging up with Hap and Barry were confirmed were coming I felt Mike take my hand and he pulled me to my feet. “Now, we need to talk to Chet.” Mike said seriously. I was not sure why. “He just doesn’t understand about what we’re doing?” I suggested. Mike nodded. “Yes, I agree, but we need to get him to understand why this is important to us.” We went up to Chet’s bedroom. After knocking on his door, Mike opened it slowly. Chet was doing homework at his desk! No one told him he had to, but he did it on his own. What child does that!? He was so thirsty for knowledge he did it on his own. That was a bit odd to me. Then again, no one pressured me to practice piano or learn music. I was odd, too. Chet looked up and the look on his face was curious, but he smiled. “Hi, Dad. Hi, PopE.” Mike came in leading me in with him. “Hi, Champ.” Mike greeted with a smile. “You seemed to have inherited my love of knowledge. That’s great!” He chuckled and came toward Chet, ruffling his son’s orange red hair. “There is nothing like understanding.” He and I sat on the side of his bed so we could speak more directly to Chet. “We’d like to talk to you.” Chet nodded. “Okay.” His eyes narrowed a little. Again, this boy did inherit some other things from his father. The ability to perceive things was one. “Why?” “Your reaction to hearing that Eric and I are marrying sooner told me you didn’t understand.” Mike explained. Chet turned to look at us better. “Okay. What don’t I understand?” “What is your understanding about what a marriage is?” Mike asked. Chet thought a minute and then shrugged. “I’m not sure. I know that a lot of people do it. There’s a great party and all that.” Mike chuckled and nodded. “Yes, there is a party, but it’s so much more.” He thought also how to explain things so Chet could get it. “What is meant when two people marry?” Chet’s eyes widened. “I don’t know.” Mike nodded. “I thought so.” He smiled and sighed. “Why Chase?” Chet looked surprised. “Why Chase what?” “Is there any other at your school you like to be with as much as Chase?” Mike asked. “No.” Chet said wondering where this was going. “He’s my best friend. I like him better.” Mike nodded. “Okay.” He put his hand on mine. “Understand this. Eric is my best friend, but…so much stronger than being just a friend. I more than like Eric. I love Eric.” He smiled at me. “Adults seek a friendship that is so much more than simple friendship. We find someone we love so much, we want to join with that person. We want to be a part of that person so much, it’s like we are becoming one person.” He leaned forward to Chet whose eyes grew. “That person becomes the most important human being to the other than anyone else on this planet. I told you…you are important to me because you’re my son. You are made from me and your mother. You are one person created by your Mom and me. Eric is important for another reason. He is as important to me as you are, but for that other reason. I would give my very life for you…and I would do it for Eric. No question asked. He will be my husband…my partner…a part of my very soul. What we are doing on Saturday is part of that, telling everyone how important we are to each other.” He smiled at Chet’s widening eyes. “I see you’re understanding more. One day you will meet someone that you will want to do this with. They will become so important you will forget to eat. You’ll lose sleep until that person joins with you and becomes a part of your life. That is what’s happening on Saturday.” Chet sat back as what he was told he was slowly getting to understand. “Oh.” Mike nodded. “This is exciting to Eric and me. We want this more than anything and we are happy doing it. Do you understand now?” Chet nodded and was almost speechless. “I think so.” “Good.” Mike got up and hugged his son. “I’m glad your trying. It will take a while before you fully understand, but you’re trying.” Now, telling Mark was a challenge, too. I called him the next morning and told him to stop by when he had a chance. Mike and I did go downtown to get the license needed. They entered our names and the date of the upcoming wedding. I knew what I hoped, but wasn’t counting on it. I waited for a descent time and…I was shaking as I hit the call button. “Hello, Eric.” Ray Boltz answered. “Hi, Ray.” I began hesitantly. I was talking to a man I considered my hero and I hoped he’d agree. “What I’m going to tell you, it is at the last minute, but…Mike and I are getting married on Saturday.” “That’s wonderful!” Ray said sincerely. “Thanks.” I said. “Again, it was because of you.” “Me?” “When you came out when you did. Marriage for gay men wasn’t legal.” I explained. “That’s right.” Ray said. “But you lived with Frank until it was legal.” I said. “That’s right.” “There is nothing stopping Mike and I from marrying. Because of that, we decided to make it legal and before God.” I said. I could almost hear Ray smile. “There are many reasons to do it. You know what the reason is. You love him.” “I do.” I agreed. “I am asking and…if you can’t, I’ll understand, but…I’d like if you and Frank were here.” I heard a chuckle. “You haven’t even met us yet.” “But I think I do know you.” I said. “Your whole life is in your music. I’ve known you most of my life for the same reason. I think I know what sort of person you are.” “So, is your life.” Ray said. “You want us there.” “I would love it, but if you can’t…” Ray laughed. “Frank and I are retired now. We will love to be there.” I was feeling a thrill hearing that. “We can fly you here on Friday.” “I can arrange the flight.” Ray said. “Absolutely not, Ray.” I smiled even though he couldn’t see it. “You’re coming for me? Making arrangements will be my pleasure. I’ll let you know the time and flight number. I should have it in a few minutes.” “Okay.” Ray agreed. “I’m looking forward to it.” I hung up loving the idea of having him here. I quickly got online and booked the flight and paid for them. First class! They deserved so much more. I emailed the information with the boarding passes to Ray. I even arranged transportation in the form of limousines to and from the airports in both cities. To me, he and Frank should have nothing less. Mark came by just before lunch. “You wanted to talk to me.” He said worried. “Is something wrong? You wouldn’t tell me on the phone.” I waved him in and motioned for him to come in and sit down. “I couldn’t tell you just over the phone, Mark. You deserve to hear from me.” Mark did know me and his face got a new look of concern. “No trouble with you and Mike again?” Sitting on the sofa, I shook my head. “No. No trouble. In fact, it’s good what I’m going to tell you.” I smiled at Mark. “Mike and I are getting married on Saturday.” Mark nodded slowly. “Oh.” He said a little sad. “I see.” “You knew this was going to happen.” I urged him to see that. “I did.” Mark nodded. “This is just a little fast.” I shook my head. “No, it was very slow.” I chuckled. “It has taken a decade.” Mark nodded. “Yep, you’re right.” He smiled. “It did. I will tell you though, I am so jealous.” I nodded. “I know. I’m sorry, but…” Mark shook his head. “No, don’t be sorry. It was my fault.” “Not totally your fault and you feel what you feel.” I put my hand on his shoulder. “You are a big part of my life, Mark. I will never forget what you have done. You are a friend and even part of my family. Believe that.” Mark again nodded. “You don’t lie.” He smiled. “I believe you. So, no big wedding? The fans are expecting one.” “We’ll still have one.” I grinned. “It will just be after the real one.” When Della came in that afternoon, I told her. “That answers the question.” She smiled with a sigh. “You are gay and will always be.” She sighed and hugged me. “I’m happy for you and Mike.” She looked at Mark. “You and I need to plan.” “Plan what?” I asked her. “You are marrying the one person that means everything to you.” Della said simply. “I understand this needs to be kept quiet for now, but you can’t marry the man you love and just have nothing else. You need more. A cake, decorations and yes…more than hotdogs for a reception. Mark and I will handle that.” “We will?” Mark asked. “We will.” She grabbed Mark by the arm. “Let’s go handsome.” The next few days is a mystery to explain. In many ways, time just crawled, but that Friday came quickly, too and I was making sure our guest room was ready. Clean sheets and fresh towels in their bathroom. Chet even started to get more excited as the house was being decorated. Flowers. I never gave them a real consideration, but Della did. I spoke with Amy Diaz and told her and invited her and her wife. Amy had done so much for me, Mike and Chet; I couldn’t not invite them. It was that evening when I heard the doorbell. I all but raced to the door. I was excited! Opening it was…it was a dream to me. There was Ray Boltz and his husband Franco Sperduti standing hand in hand. Both men were older now, Ray was in his mid-sixties. Frank was nearly seventy, but they were still very handsome men. They carried their years well. Ray grinned at me. “Hello, Eric.” “I have to do this.” I explained to Ray and rushed at him hugging the man. “I’d have been disappointed if you didn’t.” Ray chuckled and hugged me back. He separated from me a little and put his hand on his husband. “This is my husband Frank.” I hugged him, too. “I know who you are.” Frank laughed. “And I know you. All those concerts and videos…how can I not?” I looked back at Mike and held my hand out to him. “This is Mike. Who tomorrow, will be my husband.” Ray chuckled holding his hand out. “Yes, I know. That proposal was very romantic.” They shook hands, but Ray pulled Mike in for a hug. I knew I liked Ray. He was as big a fan of hugs as I was. Hap and Barry came over shortly afterwards to tell how things were going to happen. “Since this is a sort of short notice thing.” Barry said as he explained. “Are there special witnesses? Best man or something?” I looked at Mark and turned to Ray. “There are many I’d like to stand for me.” I said. “Mark, I know this is difficult, but I’d love it if you would and Ray, I’d love it if you would.” I looked at Barry. “Can I have two best men?” “Well, this is a nontraditional marriage, but what do you two think?” Barry asked them. Mark bowed his head slightly, but nodded. “I’d be very willing to.” I turned to Ray. “You heard me before, I think of you as my inspiration. You’re like a father. I’d love it if you would be that tomorrow.” Ray smiled. “It will be an honor. Of course, I will.” Mike turned to Chet. “Well, I can think of one.” He looked at Chet. “Will you give me to Eric? Be my best man?” Chet’s eyes grew. “Can I?” He asked. “That would be awesome!” Barry chuckled. “Okay, that’s solved. How about the rings?” I looked at my left hand. “I just want Cesar and Maria Vega’s ring.” I smiled touching the ring. “But,” I got up and told them to wait. Upstairs I got the ring out of a drawer where I placed it before and came down again. “I got this.” I held open a ring box. “It doesn’t have the history the one you gave me has, but…” I presented the gold band. “It’s from me to you. I got it shortly after you proposed.” Mike smiled at took the ring. Looking at it, he smiled. There was a ring of flames all around the wide black band. The flames were shiny yellow and white gold. He squinted and read the inside of the ring. “Bound together in love for eternity. Eric and Mike.” He read and I saw a tear start in his eye. “I will wear it proudly.” He stood and hugged me. I really enjoyed having my hero there. Frank looked over to Mike. “They can’t help it.” Frank smiled at us. “They are artists and good at what they do. Like kindred spirits. We should leave them alone.” Ray was my hero in many ways. He showed the world that he could be what he was and still be gay. We talked a while when Mike came and touched me gently. “It’s getting late and we’ve got a pretty big day tomorrow. How about we get some sleep?” He grinned at me. The next morning started out with a slow boil. Decorations came in. The world would probably know we had gotten married because of the traditional candelabras brought in and more flowers. Not a lot, but enough to spread around and those little flowers for our lapels. The great room had been rearranged to allow people to stand as we exchanged vows in front of the fireplace. I had done none of the preparations really. Mike and I saw that Chet was dressed in his suit. Everyone arrived dressed. There suits on the men and dresses for the ladies. Even Hap wore a suit, but it was a western suit. Very nice, but very Texan. When the time came we gathered in front of the fireplace. Barry, wearing his ceremonial robe smiled at Mike and me. Ray Boltz and Mark to my side and Chet to Mike’s side. “My dear friends. I am so honored and thrilled to be asked to join these two souls in marriage.” Barry began smiling. “I have known Eric a while and I just met Mike, but I’ve known both of them for years through Eric’s songs. Never have I felt so strongly about two people joining this way.” He looked at Hap. “Except for you and me, Darlin’.” Hap nodded and blew him a kiss and then waved to him to go on. “Entering marriage is so important. Not to be entered in lightly. We stand before chosen friends and before God as we join them together today.” Barry said. “Take each others’ hands.” He instructed. “I ask you, who gives Eric Richards to Michael Calhoun?” Ray nodded. “I do.” Mark smiled. “And I do.” Barry nodded. “And who gives Michael Calhoun to Eric Richards?” “I do!” Chet said loud and proud. Barry nodded. “We had to fight to get the right to legally marry who we chose, it is so much more important that this happens. I will ask. Are there words you wish to share?” He asked me. “Yes.” I nodded and turned to Mike, he looked very happy and I starting to feel the awesomeness of what we were doing. “I think I fell in love with you that night you came to the church and I had that performance. I sang for the others to hear my songs, but I was really singing to an audience of one; you. We were in a situation that just got complicated, but…it’s being straightened out now. I have never felt anything like I do with you. I love you, Mike. I want to spend our lives together. There will be no one else.” Mike nodded and swallowed audibly. “I felt the same when we met. I had never met anyone like you and I never will again. We had an instant connection I felt so…deeply…there were complications. I want you in my life. Without you, I would have no life. There is no one else. I love you, Eric. I want to spend our life together.” Barry nodded his smile growing. “Well, we’ll begin. Do you, Eric Richards, promise to love and vow before God, friends and family and to honor and cherish Michael Calhoun, for better and for worse, in sickness and health…forsaking all others until death parts you?” “I do.” I said smiling at Mike. Now, the emotions were becoming so much more. My vision was blurring as I now knew the heaviness of the words being spoken. “Do you, Michael Calhoun, promise to love and vow before God, friends and family and to honor and cherish Eric Richards for better and for worse, in sickness and health…forsaking all others until death parts you?” Mike had to clear his throat, but nodded. “I do.” Barry reached toward Ray who handed him my ring and Chet who handed him Mike’s ring. “The rings: these rings are symbols of what’s happening today. Never ending, no beginning and no end. Love eternal.” He handed Mike the ring he gave me. “Give this to Eric and slide it on his finger and say…with this ring, I take you Eric Richards as my husband.” Mike took the ring and did just that. Sliding on my finger, he smiled as the tears were coming down his face. “With this ring, I take you, Eric Richards as my husband.” “Now, you do the same.” Barry instructed handing me Mike’s ring. I slide it on Mike’s finger. “With this ring, I take you, Michael Calhoun as my husband.” “By the power vested in me by God and by the state of Texas, I pronounce these two souls as married.” He grinned as us. “Kiss your husbands.” Mike wrapped his arms around me as my arms did him and kissed with love and the promise of a passion to come. “I present these men are married!” Barry said loud. I saw Della raise something and press a button on a remote. We all heard the musical beginning and everyone knew the song. I grinned as Mike and I hugged and Etta James’ sultry voice begin. “At last, my love has come along. My lonely days are over and life is like a song, oh yeah.” I kissed Mike again as we began to dance. “You are mine.” Mike said almost in whisper. “At last.”
  6. Chapter 7

    I am writing as fast as I can! The nice path I take you down, I look for those nasty potholes! I hate them. Misspellings, grammar errors. Potholes I tell you.
  7. Chapter 7

    Whose to say I won't?
  8. Chapter 7

    The latest crisis of the Atkins’ latest attempt to cause problems had been dealt with. Mike nor I thought this was over, though. Manfred Atkins was willing to commit a crime to get Chet back. He was willing to kill Mike. We both knew he’d do it again. Mike and I had taken steps to make it even more difficult. After our nightly rituals to get ready for bed, Mike sat on the bed setting the alarm clock. He looked over at me and with a slight look of uncertainty he said. “Can I go with you to California?” I looked up surprised. “I’d love for you to, but you have Chet, who is in school and school for yourself. How can you do that?” Mike grinned rolling over toward me. “Well, I asked.” He shrugged. “I can keep up with my studies online. Many of the students at Dilworth are taken from school for weeks or even months. If I keep him up with the curriculum, he’ll be fine. Giving him the tests and whatever assignments he’s given. There will be no problem.” I couldn’t help but smile at that. “I was worried about the prolonged separation! That would be great!” Mike propped over me. “We spent a lot of time apart, I don’t want to do that again, if we can help it.” My fingers went in his hair as I brought him in for the kiss that was gentle, but conveying…not quite the love I felt for him. I don’t think true expression of that was possible. “We’ll do what we have to.” I smiled. “This will be different for me; doing this movie.” Then I shook my finger at him. “Now, you promise me…whatever you feel…whether you think it’s silly or not, irrational or not…you tell me! I mean talk to me. Understand?” Mike nodded holding up his fingers in a scout’s promise and then crossed his heart. “I swear I will. Cross my heart.” I nodded. “Were you ever a boy scout?” His eyebrows waggled up and down. He wasn’t answering that. The next few days were pretty good. I was busy even though I had the days off. Off as in I didn’t have a concert or anything like that, but I worked! I went over the different themes of my shows. I loved them. The themes and the shows. Like the biker gang. It was kind of a 1950’s and 60’s sort of theme with the leather jackets and hair combed back and the songs were more geared to that era. With my unique twist. The cowboy theme was what Hap and his husband Barry loved. They actually inspired it, to be honest. I just didn’t really care for some country music. I could perform it. I wore the chaps, boots, spurs and…I did also add my unique twist. Who wouldn’t love the lonely cowboy out the range and pining for the man of his dreams? Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Robin Hood had a thing for Little John, forget Maid Marion. Again, music for that era and my twist added. I liked music with energy. My music had that. I worked on songs to add. Using other people’s music was tricky. You had copyrights to deal with, so most the music was mine. I was trying to come up with other themes I could do and then come up with songs that can go with those themes. Permissions were given by some and I did share credit and the portion of the profits when I used the song and made money off of their music. I would expect the same if they used mine. I was startled when my phone rang and it was Mark. “Hey, Mark.” I greeted him. “Sorry to call at this time…” Mark said quickly. “I know you’re preparing for upcoming shows about this time of day, but I’ve been in negotiation for using the songs of others and well…I have someone that will give permission, but he wants to talk to you first.” I sat up puzzled. “Okay. Do I need to come there or…” “No, I have him on the line now.” Mark said simply. “Say hello and I’ll just butt out of the call.” “Okay.” I replied. “This Eric Richards, to whom am I speaking with?” “This is Ray Boltz.” A man said and as many times as I listened to his songs and tried to sing them myself…the interviews I saw and heard, it was him with the voice I knew immediately. He was an inspiration to me. My heart literally seemed to freeze. “Mr. Boltz! I can’t believe it. I’m really speaking to you!?” I said and didn’t hide the awe in my voice. There was a chuckle. “Yes, am I really speaking to you? Your agent and my agent were talking about using some of my songs…one in particular and I sort of used it as a means to speak with you.” I knew he had retired with his husband and now lived in Florida. I had done concerts in Miami and at Disneyworld. I wished he’d seen them, but dreaded if he did. Would he approve? “Wow. I will say, you were a major part of any singing I have done.” I shook my head. “I tried some of your songs…that one I couldn’t get through. Watch the Lamb? I always break down in tears when I try to sing that one.” His voice took on a new tone. One of compassion and sincerity. “I had trouble with it myself. I have no problem with you singing Don’t Tell Me Who To Love. I don’t have to tell you about why and all that.” “No.” I said. “I followed all that. You have a message to send out. That was a very good one.” “Not everyone thought so.” Ray said not bitter, but a little sad. “I will honor your song, Mr. Boltz.” I promised him. “I won’t change a thing. It’s powerful enough on its own. Did Mark tell you about the upcoming movie?” “He did.” Ray replied. “People need to understand…just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I can’t be a Christian.” “I know.” I said honestly. “It took a while for me to get that.” Ray laughed. “But you did, and got to it an earlier age than I did. So, you are a Christian.” “I am.” I said. “The morals that I was raised in were hard to adjust to this life, but I believe. I ask Him all the time if I’m doing the right thing. I even tell Him I don’t know or understand Him.” “Yes, it is hard, but you’re seeking Him.” Ray admitted. “I divorced my wife of a few decades for the man I love. We weren’t allowed to marry then, but we are now. I have seen you on stage.” I was a little panicked hearing that. “Were you pleased or upset?” Ray chuckled. “Why would I not be pleased?” He asked. “You are a performer. You sing and dance. And do those things very well. That’s a gift. I will admit seeing your butt in some of the shows, I don’t think I could do that.” “You had the beat with the bop of the head in many performances I saw, the dance moves were begging to be let out. Seeing your butt would have been…inappropriate for the audience then. We all have them…you don’t think I should?” I asked a little worried. “I’m not judging you, Mr. Richards.” Then he sighed and laughed lightly. “Can I call you Eric? I’ll be Ray.” I smiled as the feeling I got from him. “I’d like that, Ray.” My voice started shaking. “I don’t know how to say this, but…in many ways…and I’m not saying anything, but…your approval means a lot to me.” I heard him laugh a little more. “You have that, Eric.” Then he said seriously. “You’re getting people to understand us. They will listen to you. It’s a powerful responsibility. You seem to be taking that responsibility responsibly. If my music helps. Do it.” I felt a tear coming out of my eye. “I know you have family. I lost my parents when I was just starting out. They didn’t know about me, but…you’re approval makes it so much better. Sort of, like my father’s approval.” “I appreciate that.” Ray was moved, you heard it in his voice. “You’re doing a good thing, son. The songs I heard are about one person mostly. I saw the Vegas proposal. That’s the one you sang about, isn’t it?” “Yes.” I said. “That’s my Mike.” “And how can that be wrong?” Ray asked logically. “Are you happy now?” “Oh, yes.” I nodded. “Aren’t you?” “I am.” Ray answered. “I feel free like I never did with Carol. It wasn’t her fault; it was mine, but…she really was a trooper when I came out. She is still a friend.” “I understand.” I said honestly. “I’d love to stay in touch with you.” Ray chuckled. “I’d love that! I’ll give you my email address and number. You can text me or call any time.” “I’ll gladly give you mine.” I said shakily getting a piece of paper and pen. “This means a lot to me.” “I’m not your father, but…you have my approval, Eric. That you feel like I am. I’m honored.” Now, I was crying. “Thank you, Ray.” “In fact, if you come to Florida. We’d love to have you and Mike over.” Ray said. “We’d love to do that!!” I said happily. “And if you’re in Fort Worth or if you want to come to a concert; tell me. You’ll have front row seats!” I hurried on. “I am often giving concerts, but if you come to Texas, Mike and I would love to have you and your husband here. We have a guest room.” He chuckled. “Frank and I will do that!” Giving him my number and email address, he gave me his which I wrote down and confirmed it before I hung up. I even programmed it in immediately and sent a test message that said. “Pinch me. I’m dreaming. Eric.” It was only a few minutes later when I read. “I’m pinching. It’s not a dream. Ray.” When I got that I stood up and let out a yelp! He was a friend now!! I was so excited, forget the prepping for upcoming concerts. I went down and made dinner. I can cook. When Mike came in with a sigh from his day he looked at me and sniffed. “That smells good.” Mike said greeting me with a kiss. “Tex-Mex.” I said smiling. “You loved my chicken enchiladas.” “I do.” He nodded and then he moved back a few inches grinning. “Okay, what happened? You’re very happy.” I nodded. “I am!” I pulled my phone out and showed him my list of contacts and clicked on the name. “I spoke with him today and I have his address and email. He and I are becoming friends! Friends!!!” I tapped him lightly on the chest. Mike looked at the phone and then grinned at me. “Ray Boltz called you?” I nodded. “Through Mark, but yes. I even emailed him and he replied!” Mike nodded smiling more. “I see.” “He’s like a father figure.” I explained excitedly. “He gave me his approval. He even invited us to him and Frank’s home!” Mike chuckled. “Should I worry about this?” He wasn’t worried about it, it was more kidding me. I hugged him. “Absolutely not.” I assured. “He’s happily married. I will be soon.” Then I grinned. “If I’d met him before I knew you…perhaps. He’s a good looking man, but Franco Sperduti was his talent agent and I don’t need to ask about any sparks between them before Ray came out. By the time I was of age, he was with Franco already.” Mike chuckled kissing me. “Ray is it now?” He hugged me. “I’m happy for you. Really.” “And…” I was going with a thought I’d been having since I talked to Ray. “Can we get married sooner?” Mike looked startled. “Sooner? When?” “Now.” I hurried on to explain. “Ray had to live with his partner before because it wasn’t legal to marry. It is now. I’ll feel better if we do it soon. Legally.” “The guys expect a wedding.” Mike said. I nodded. “And we’ll give them one off the charts…it will just be after we’re married.” “Okay.” Mike smiled at me. “You don’t like living in sin.” He chuckled. “Do you?” I asked. “We can be married tomorrow! Paperwork and all that will take a little longer, but we can get married right here. I know Della will witness and even Mark. We will have to invite Hap and Barry. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but…what do you think?” Mike hugged me tightly. “I’d love to be your husband. We have to tell Chet.” “We’ll tell him tonight.” I was feeling a lot of things coming to completion in our lives. “I’ll make arrangements tomorrow morning.” When Chet came home from Dilworth, his reaction coming in the house was like his father’s. He sniffed and put his book bag down and looked at the two of us. “Something smells good.” Chet commented casually, but was looking at us suspiciously. Sheltered? Oh, yes, but he was very perceptive. “Something is up.” Chet frowned putting his book bag down. Mike chuckled. “We were going to tell you at dinner.” “Which won’t be for an hour.” I added and looked at Mike. “Why wait?” Mike shrugged. “You know Eric and I are getting married.” Chet nodded. “Yea.” He said, but his tone was waiting for the next part. “We’re keeping it secret for now, but…we want to do it real soon.” Mike said and looked at me. “We can do it Saturday.” “If we get the license and people in place, sure.” I shrugged. “If I get the license tomorrow, we could. The wait time is three days here.” “Why three days?” Mike asked. “You could get it annulled!” I said quickly. “Right.” Mike chuckled. “Or you could.” I tapped his chest. “That means you and I need to go and get one tomorrow!” “We need something else.” Mike pointed out. “A minister or justice of the peace.” “Barry Windam.” I said simply. “Hap Lawson’s big husband? That’s a major reason I said we should invite them.” “He’s a justice of the peace?” Mike asked. “No, he’s an ordained minister.” I chuckled seeing Mike’s confused face. “He’s a bi-vocational minister of an independent church for gay men. He’s done weddings before. It will be legal.” Mike grinned. “That big cowboy/lawyer is a minister?” He shrugged. “Okay, but will he do it Saturday?” “I’ll find out. I’ll call them tonight.” I chuckled and looked at Chet. “What do you think?” Chet shrugged. “Okay.” He reached down and got his book bag. “Call me when supper’s ready.” “You can’t tell anyone.” Mike said. “Uncle Mark will know. Della and maybe two or three others. You can’t tell Chase unless he promises not to tell anyone.” “Okay.” Chet said simply and walked up the stairs. “Well, he’s not excited.” Mike jutted his head after his son and grinned at me bringing me in for a kiss. “But I am.” “Chet may not fully understand what it means yet.” I offered. “We do.” Mike said kissing my neck. I loved how he felt in my arms. I was not letting him go. Mike was sitting beside me when I called Hap and Barry. It didn’t take too long before Hap answered. “Eric!” Hap said happily having seen my name on his caller ID. “To what do we owe this pleasure?” “I’m calling to ask what you and Barry have planned this coming Saturday.” “Nothing much.” Hap said and then added. “Why?” “I was wondering if you and your husband can come to a wedding.” I asked. “I wondered if Barry would do it.” “Who’s wedding?” Hap asked a little excited and I heard the almost whisper of Barry asking who’s wedding, I didn’t have to see Hap wave his husband down, but the way he asked the why, he suspected and wanted to be sure. “Mike’s and my wedding.” I said. I swear, he let this “ye haw!”, but did it with his mouth away from the phone, but I knew Mike heard it plainly as his eyes rolled. I heard him shout to his husband. “Get your parson’s robe cleaned, Eric and Mike are gettin’ hitched!” I heard the distant yelp as Barry did the same thing. “We’ll be there!” Hap swore. “Where’s there?” “My house.” I said laughing. “Now, this is just to cover us legally. We don’t want this out.” “You’re getting married!?” Barry said suddenly as he must have grabbed an extension. I said the same thing to him. “We’ll be having another wedding for everyone else at a later date.” I explained to them. “We just want to marry sooner.” “Man,” Barry said happily, “this will be hard to keep quiet, but no one will know from us.” “This is such good news, Eric!” Hap added. “If this doesn’t inspire a song in you, nothing will.” Barry swore and then he got serious. “I’m so happy for you two.” “It’s about time.” Hap added. “I couldn’t agree more.” I looked at Mike. “Mine at last.” I said kissing Mike tenderly.
  9. Chapter 23

    Yes, well...I hate errors. I envision I am guiding someone down this beautiful, forest laden path...all is serene. You're enjoying the cool air and relaxing and then "wham!" you hit a pothole. I hate them! Hate them. Until the right side of my brain listens to my left side...they aren't really talking...the errors happen. Sorry.
  10. Chapter 23

    Who needs proof readers or editors? You tell me!! Thanks everybody!
  11. Chapter 23

    Okay! I missed another one! I'm correct it! (Don't forget. Wiseass, that's me.) I'm changing it. Love ya!
  12. Chapter 23

    All I know Is I couldn't access GA! My cry to fix it was to no one and everyone! The internet fairy, GA fairy...and with the gay authors, there are fairies out there. Nothing I could do, but curl up in a fetal position, put my thumb in my mouth to comfort myself and wait until I got it BACK!!! It was horrible!!
  13. Chapter 23

    It happened again!!! There's a problem somewhere, but it's not here! I may not survive if I lose GA! I need it like air! Fix it!!! Please!
  14. Chapter 23

    Oh, my GOD!!! I was in a panic! I lost you guys!!! I even rebooted! It was horrible!! What I wanted to say was this...And here we go. More words of wisdom from our fountain of infinite knowledge. It was a tradition I really have. Really, I do. It's a good one. I do love Rudolph and I do make my Christmas Hot Chocolate. A writer can only write about what he knows. I love Christmas. Droughtquake, you know I give you a hard time, just like you do me. Don't stop. I won't. You know I love you!!!
  15. Chapter 23

    What!? I do not! What crazy things do I say? My fingers get tongue tied, that's all. My sanity has never been questioned. I know I'm crazy. That's no question. On to Fort Worth and Mike!

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