As Mark was heading to school, he was disappointed that he never received a phone call. By the way Preacher Dan talked, he was sure Aaron would call him, but his phone never rang. He was about to pull the school's door open when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned and it was Aaron. "I waited all day yesterday for you to call me, your dad said you would," Mark spoke gruffly.
"I'm sorry," Aaron was quiet, "I wanted to, but Dad said that you said, I need to come up to you and ask, so I didn't think a call would work."
"Oh, I guess I did kind of say that," Mark calmed down. "But… I didn't mean you literally had to come up to me, a phone call would have worked."
"I should have called," Aaron agreed, "if for no other reason than to see if we could meet so I could ask you."
"I guess we are both at fault," Mark acknowledged. "I'm sorry if my wording left you confused."
"And I am sorry I didn't call," Aaron began smiling, "so, do you have any plans on Friday?"
Mark teased, "I don't know, I am hoping this really cute guy asks me out."
"But," Aaron looked hurt, "I wanted to ask you out. Who's the really cute guy?"
"You, silly," Mark laughed.
"Oh… OH!" Aaron caught on, "Mark Robinson, may I take you out on a date on Friday? I am thinking Giovani Amanti, do you like Italian?"
"I love Italian food, I can't think of anyone who wouldn't? But, Aaron Bolt, isn't that place expensive?" Mark used Aaron's last name since Aaron used his.
"Maybe a little, but I asked you out, so I am paying, or rather, Dad said he would give me the money to pay."
"Well, if your dad is paying, maybe I should date him," Mark teased.
Aaron laughed, "I don't think Mom would like that, besides, I am a younger better model."
"You are cuter than your dad," Mark smiled.
"Too bad we are on school grounds," Aaron lamented, "I want to kiss you so bad."
Mark grinned, "I know the feeling… it would be worth getting detention for, but I need to pee, so if you want to keep talking to me, you need to follow me."
Aaron followed Mark into the boy's bathroom. No one was in there, so Mark locked the door. Then he grabbed Aaron and pressed their lips together. Once they separated, Aaron agreed, "That would definitely be worth getting detention over."
Mark unlocked the door, then stepped up to a urinal. Aaron smiled and washed his hands. As they stepped out of the bathroom, Mark asked, "Want to come to my house after school?"
"I was hoping you would ask," Aaron replied. "Dad and Mom told me that you might, and it was alright with them. Dad said that he will pick me up around six if I don't come home."
"Sit with me at lunch?" Mark asked.
Aaron smiled, "See you then, but we need to get to our homerooms."
Mark and Aaron went to their homerooms, unfortunately they were on opposite sides of the school. They didn't have any classes together, and Mark felt like the day was dragging. He swore that instead of three and a half hours until lunch, it seemed like seven.
Mark looked for Aaron when he got to the cafeteria. When he didn't see him, he got in line. He had just taken the first step as the line moved forward when someone whispered, "I brought my lunch, and Mom made it big enough for two. Just get us each a carton of milk, and I will share."
Mark turned around to see Aaron, "That works for me, what are we having?"
"Ham and Swiss," Aaron replied. "Do you know why preachers' families love Swiss cheese?"
"Because it's holey," Aaron chuckled. Mark shook his head, groaned and then smiled at Aaron.
They sat at a table and Aaron gave Mark half his sandwich plus a bag of chips. Mark asked, "So… are we dressing up on Friday?"
"I was thinking a nice pair of jeans or slacks and maybe a polo shirt; nothing too fancy, but not really casual, either. I think they call it 'business casual.'"
After lunch, the boys parted again for another "seven hours" of classes that were really four forty-five minutes of classes with ten minutes in between.
After the last class let out, Mark went to his locker, put away the books he didn't need and grabbed the ones he did. He placed them into his backpack and headed to find Aaron.
Aaron was waiting at the bike rack. He didn't ride his bike but figured correctly that Mark did. Since Aaron would be on foot, Mark walked his bike. When they got home, Mark took Aaron to the kitchen, "Mom, Dad, you know Aaron. His Dad said he could come home with me, and he'd come pick him up before we eat supper."
"Nonsense, I'm calling his folks right now, Aaron can eat with us and then you and your dad can take him home." Mom grabbed the phone while she was talking.
"Aaron and I go to the same school, can I spend the night at his house?"
"Do you have any homework for tomorrow?" Dad asked.
Mark frowned, "Yes, sir."
"Will you two be doing homework together?"
"No, sir, we don't have any classes together," Mark replied honestly.
"Aaron, do you have any homework for tomorrow?"
Aaron told Dad, "I finished mine in school."
"Mark, I think you and Aaron should have fun before supper, then we take Aaron home and you can do your homework when you get home."
"Or I could do my homework…" Mark saw the look his dad was giving him, "when we get home, like you said."
Mom got off the phone, "Preacher Dan went to the jail to talk with Ethan. Ethan removed himself from the church because Dan told him there was nothing wrong with Nathan being gay. Now he, that is Dan not Ethan, is at the hospital, praying for Nathan's recovery. He is also checking with Children's Services about taking the boy in once he recovers. Ethan threatened to beat the boy straight."
"People like Ethan give Christians a bad name," Tom declared. "If for some reason, Dan can't take him, would you consider fostering or adopting Nathan?"
"I would, but we can discuss it with Preacher Dan first. I don't want him to think we are trying to take the boy away from him."
Mark and Aaron went to Mark's room. Mark took off his school shirt and put on an athletic shirt. He began sliding his jeans down and Aaron asked, "Not going commando by any chance, are you?"
"For a preacher's kid, you have a dirty mind," Mark joked.
Aaron laughed, "Haven't you heard? Preacher's kids usually have the worst."
"Well, I have boxer briefs on and will have a pair of shorts, so get your mind out of the gutter."
Aaron smiled, "You probably wonder what I look like under my clothes, too. I mean, we are fourteen-year-old boys."
Mark couldn't help but laugh, "Yeah, I wouldn't mind seeing you naked, but we should get to know each other better."
"Do you masturbate?" asked Aaron.
"What?" Mark couldn't believe Aaron just asked him that.
Aaron began repeating himself, "Do you mas…"
"I heard you," Mark interrupted, "I was just surprised you asked. And to answer your question, I am going to repeat what you said, I am a fourteen-year-old boy."
"Do you think of anyone when you do?"
Mark began turning red, "Yeah, you. I wish I knew you were gay because I have wanted to kiss you for over two years."
"Was it worth the wait?" Aaron was enjoying this line of questioning and seeing Mark blush.
"So much worth the wait, but I'm not waiting another two years." Mark wrapped his arms around Aaron and kissed him hard. Then he asked, "What about you?"
"What about me?"
"Do you masturbate?"
Aaron laughed, "Three or four times a day, and before you ask, yes. You have always been the person I think about when I do. And now, I can think about you in your boxer briefs and an athletic shirt the next time I do."
Tom and Betty had Aaron sit across the table from Mark. As they ate, Aaron kept blowing kisses and licking his lips. Finally, Betty said, "Enough of the googly faces; we are trying to eat."
"I'm sorry, Ma'am, it's just that I've wanted to date Mark for so long, I am happy. We are going on our first date on Friday, and I was wondering... it's not a school night and you go to our church. Can Mark spend the night Friday and Saturday?"
"Well, you are the preacher's son, and you will be at his house," Tom replied; Aaron had a devilish grin. "I suppose Mark can spend a couple of nights over, IF he has his homework done before your date. I can't believe I am letting my fourteen-year-old son go on a date."
Once they finished eating, Tom and Mark took Aaron to his house. Mark walked Aaron to his door. "Do you think your dad will mind if I kiss you before I go inside?"
"Who cares what he thinks, I'll be upset if you don't," Mark asserted.
When Mark got back in the car, Tom commented, "That kiss…"
"You and Aaron have wanted to date each other for at least a year, but neither one of you knew the other was gay. I can tell by that kiss, you two really love each other, but remember to take your time. Build a strong foundation for your relationship and it will last forever."
"Like you and Mom?"
"I love your mother more each day, and I never forget to let her know that. She also makes sure I know how much she loves me."
"And you both show me how much you love me. I can never tell you enough how that makes me feel and how much I love you," Mark had to wipe his eyes.
"You know, you made me proud when you told Preacher Dan that you would rather be honest and take any punishment you are given than to lie and try getting out of a punishment," Tom stated. "You were correct, if you lied about it, the punishment would be more severe once we found out the truth, but you also said something else without realizing it."
"What's that, Dad?"
"At least to me, it felt like you were saying that you trust your mother and me enough to be honest."
"I guess, I actually do. I feel like you and Mom have always had my back, and when you do punish me, it always felt like the appropriate punishment for my actions."
Tom asked his son, "How long have you known you were gay?"
Mark swallowed hard; he never expected this question. "Two years ago, when Reverend Bolt became Preacher Dan, and I met Aaron, I started questioning whether I was or not. I struggled with it because I always thought being gay was a sin and I didn't want to sin. Then finally when we were talking about homosexuality in class and the teacher said that being gay isn't a choice, I came to terms with it. I thought about telling you all weekend, and I knew I should, but then hearing you and Mom talk, it was like God kicking me in the seat of my pants, telling me to talk with the two of you."
"I wish you would have told me about your struggling, but I am happy that you were honest and did finally tell us shortly after you knew. Always remember, I love you no matter what."
"What if I accidentally kill Mom? I mean, I hope it never happens, but suppose she is teaching me how to drive, I wreck the car and she doesn't make it?"
"That will never happen because I will teach you how to drive, but if it did, we would grieve together and get past it, and I will still love you."
"So…" Mark snickered, "when will you start teaching me?"
"Ha," Tom chuckled, "you can't even get your learner's permit until you are fifteen and a half. That is more than a year away."
"But will you start teaching me once I do?"
"Yeah, Mark. Once you have your learner's permit, I will take time each day to teach you, plus you will need to take a Driver's Education course."
About this time, they arrived home and Mark went to his room to tackle his homework.