Title: Day's End: Past What You See
Brixton? Who names a kid Brixton? Jess thought to himself. As Ken and Ms. Lindy talked, he glanced at the teen taking in the polished look that the wealthy often have. The boy had expensive jeans and the latest tennis shoes that Jess thought were the ugliest things with their neon colors. What could be the emergency? Did the boy not have the latest game machine?
"Thank you, Ms. Lindy," Ken said. "We'll get Brixton settled for the night and talk to you tomorrow."
Jess watched as Ms. Lindy shook Ken's hand and then he offered his on when she turned to him. He saw the gratefulness in her eyes.
"Thank you. Thank you both. Brixton, this should only be for tonight. Ken and Jess will take care of you." And with that, Ms. Lindy left.
Jess didn't know what to think. Why would she bring this teen here? Yeah, they had gone through all the foster parenting classes, but that was for Kevin. And Kevin had never lived here with them, just for weekend visits and stuff.
"You hungry? Did you get dinner?" Ken asked the teen. "We just had sandwiches, nothing fancy. You want one?"
Brixton glanced at Jess and then answered Ken. "No, thank you. I've already eaten."
Even the teen's voice signaled that this kid had had a more privileged upbringing than Kevin. More than Jess and Ken.
"Ok. We'll get the spare room fixed up, some sheets on the bed, and then talk," Ken said with a smile to the boy.
Jess felt awkward as he followed the two down the hallway to the spare room. Their house was small but had three bedrooms. The master bedroom was at the end of the hallway and the two smaller bedrooms right across from each other. Jess met Ken's eyes, when Ken motioned Brixton into one room and then he quickly shut the door to the opposite room. That was their playroom, and although they didn't have whips and chains, neither man wanted to have to explain any toys that they'd happened to leave out.
"There's a set of sheets in the closet, Jess. Hand them over, and Brixton and I will make up the bed."
Jess opened the closet door and pulled down the neatly folded sheets. He felt better having something to do so after he handed them over to Ken he said, "I'll go make up some coffee, um, hot chocolate?"
"I drink coffee," Brixton informed him.
"OK, um. Coffee then." Jess hurried out of the bedroom and to the kitchen. What the hell has just happened? He thought to himself as he made the coffee. He listened to Ken's deep rumble as he talked to the kid. Maybe he should have stayed in the bedroom. No, Ken had said they'd talk once the bed was made up. Jess opened a cabinet and pulled down some coffee cups. None of them matched, they were mostly free cups advertising different lumber companies. He wondered if the kid took sugar and milk, but before he could get them out, Ken and Brixton came in.
"Um, Do you take milk? Sugar?"
"No, black is fine."
"Um. Ok." Jess felt like an idiot as he stuttered. Before this kid showed up, Jess had felt uncomfortable with the conversation he and Ken had been having, but he'd gladly go back to it. It might have led to a night of games for them, but now that option was completely off the table. Good thing they'd had a chance to fuck before their surprise visitor.
"Come on, let's go out to the living room and get comfortable," Ken said. He poured everyone a cup of coffee and then said, "grab your cups."
Jess followed the two into the living room and sat down. He didn't know what to say to the kid. He did know that anything he said would probably be wrong, so he just sat quietly.
"Ms. Lindy said she thought you'd be here a day or two," Ken said.
"Yes. My dad won't let it be for long. Got to keep up appearances, you know?"
"Appearances?" Ken queried.
"He's a big shot lawyer and Deacon in the church."
Jess felt like he was watching a tennis match as he turned his head back and forth. When he saw Ken nod at the kid, he turned back to see if Brixton would obey the silent encouragement. Jess knew few had the power to resist Ken.
"I, um, came out," Brixton stuttered for the first time, but then composed himself. "Bad for his image, you know. Can't have a gay son."
"He kicked you out."
"Obviously you're a genius to have figured that out so quickly," Brixton said sarcastically. "I wouldn't be here except the neighbors are pretty strict with the noise ordinance and they called the police. They conveniently showed up just as dear old dad kicked me out."
Jess's gaped at the teen in disbelief. The kid was either stupid or brave to talk to Ken in that kind of tone. Especially since they were giving him a place to sleep. Yet the kid continued to dig himself a deeper hole.
"I assume you are gay," Brixton looked at Jess, then back to Ken. "And that's why the social worker placed me here?"
"Ms. Lindy placed you here because its late and she'd rather see kids put in a home rather than a group home," Ken stated not unkindly.
Jess wondered if Brixton heard the slight censure in Ken's voice. Probably not, teenage boys were so full of testosterone that it plugged their ears, not giving them a chance to listen to reason.
"And since its so late, and its a school night, we should all probably hit the sack," Ken said.
Jess couldn't agree more, so he quickly said, "I'll take the cups to the kitchen."
"Thank you, Jess. Come on, Brix, we have a spare toothbrush."
"Its Brixton," Brixton stated flatly.
"Its brat if you ask me," Jess mumbled quietly. But not quietly enough.
"No one asked you, Jess," Ken said and gave him a look.
Jess felt the censure deep inside him. With the conversation they'd been having before the kid showed up, he was pretty sure it was leading into a scene. Now that kind of play would have to be put on hold.
By the time Jess rinsed out the cups, preset the coffee maker to perk in the morning, and then quietly walked back to their bedroom, Brixton's door was shut. With no light coming from beneath the door, he decided not to call out good night.
"Well this was a turn of events, huh?" Ken said when Jess closed their bedroom door. "I didn't even ask you if you were ok with it."
Jess waved his hand in dismissal. "You couldn't have turned him away. You like the hard cases, and you've been working with teens forever."
"If I thought it would hurt us, I would," Ken assured him.
"I know that." Jess stripped off his clothes, trying to phrase his next sentence. "The kids you usually work with, kids like Kevin, aren't from the same neighborhood as Brixton."
Ken settled into bed before looking at Jess and replying, "yeah, I know. But some times we have to look past what we see, ya know?"
Jess slipped on some boxers before sliding into bed with Ken. He yelped when his leg touched a furry body. "Shit! Tippy! What the hell are you doing?"
"Your ferocious guard dog ran off and hid in our bed when Ms. Lindy showed up," Ken said as he patted the bed.
The small dog bounded up and started to lick Ken's face. "Get down, you filthy mutt."
"You think he'll be here long?" Jess asked as he petted Tippy, calming the dog.
"Ms. Lindy and Brixton don't seem to think so," Ken answered.
"Well one good thing came out of this," Jess said.
"Yeah? What's that?"
"Now you've someone else's attitude to worry about!"
Tippy enjoyed the romp on the bed as Ken reached out and grabbed Jess.
"Oh, believe me, boy. I've not forgotten about you!"
Laughing and out of breath, Jess cuddled in next to his lover. At day's end, Jess knew Ken wouldn't forget about him. As sleep claimed him, Jess felt secure in their relationship.
Part 3: Facades