Only Skin Deep 6

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We finally get to the funeral. I hope you like this part.

Disclaimer: This is a s/f fantasy story with male to male sex and love relationships. If you are under the age of 18 years, you should not be here! You have been warned!

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The Black Cadillac, that Kern has nick-named the Bat-mobile, pulls into the church parking lot, and Vince sees half of it filled with cars.

Kern says, "It's only 2:15. We're early. What's up with all the cars?"

Vince says, "I guess they could be here for a wedding."

Greg tells them, "I read the sign as we entered the parking lot. It only had one announcement on it. Memorial service for Brian Matthew Grace."

Vince says, "Wow. This is a lot of people. And early."

Carl looks at Vince and says, "You're not alone. You're gonna be fine."

Vince looks at Carl and relaxes as he smiles and says, "Thanks. It was starting to feel like Olafs funeral. At least Uncle Brian was there. Now it's for Uncle Brian." Vince finds himself. He can do this for Uncle Brian.

Greg opens the door and Carl tells Vince, "You better put the necklace on before you get out of the car."

Vince says, "Oh yeah!" as he pulls the glamour necklace out of his pocket and puts it around his neck. His image ripples and appears to be much smaller. He looks at Carl and says, "Well?"

Carl smiles and says, "The suit shrunk too."

Carl and Vince get out and join Greg and Kern. Vince leads them to the side entrance to the chapel and as luck would have it, Vinces mother is there waiting for him.

Jess reaches out her arms and hugs Vince as she says, "Oh Vincent, I'm so glad you got here early! I don't know why, but I didn't expect so many people." She pulls away from Vincent before he can say a word and stares right at the glamour necklace. She has a stern look on her face for a moment as she tells him, "And Dear, before you introduce me to your friends, would you please take that thing off. It's very distracting. " She looked at Vince and then at Carl.

Vince takes the necklace off as he asks her, "Mom, you know what this is?" His image ripples and he is once again just as big as Carl.

Jess doesn't flinch or stare at the transformation of her son. She just smiles as she has to look up higher to see her sons face and shakes her head a little. She says, "I thought you'd get as big as Brian. Yes Vincent I know what it is. I knew about a number of things my brother used to help people. But you haven't introduced me to your friends, though I know one of you three. " She looks at Carl, holds out her hand and says, "Carl Handy, though you're larger than I remember."

Vince is a little confused as Carl shakes her hand and says, "Jessica Anderson. Eight years ago, when I just started my own tattoo parlor." He turns to his left to look at Vince and puts his left hand on the left side of Vinces neck and pulls Vince a little closer as he asks Jess, "So this is the Vincent of Robert/Sara/Vincent in the tattoo I gave you?"

Vince just looks at her and says, "Tattoo?"

Jess tells him, "My divorce was final and I wanted something that would make me feel like my family was still together even if my marriage had fallen apart." She tries to look around them at Kern and Greg and asks, "Well?"

Vince clues in and says, "Oh I'm sorry guys." Vince and Carl part to pull Kern and then Greg forward as Vince says, "Mom this is Kern Preston and Greg Bailey. Kern, Greg. This is my mother, Jessica Anderson." Kern, Greg and Jess all murmur pleased to meet yous.

Jess steps in and says, "But my friends call me Jess, so please do." She looks back and forth between Kern and Greg and asks, "Are you two together?"

Greg gets a big smile and glances at Kern before telling her, "Three years next week!" He pulls Kern into a half embrace still facing Jess.

Jess smiles and tells them, "Congratulations. " She looks at Vince and glances at Carl before she looks into Vinces eyes and asks, "Should I be congratulating someone else?"

Vince walks around back of Greg and Kern and comes up in back of Carl and puts his chin on Carls left shoulder, his right arm under Carls right arm and left arm over Carls left arm and hugs him from behind so they both face Jess. Vince starts to nod yes with the happiest look on his face, and Carl sees this, smiles and nods yes with him.

Jess says, "Oh darling I'm so happy!" She rushes over and hugs them both as she tells Carl, "Welcome to the family, Carl, "They return the hug.

When they part Jess asks softly, "Did LEO witness the ceremony?"

Vince is shocked again. He asks, "Mom. You know about him to?"

Jess looked a bit sheepish as she explained, "I was so young when Brian became responsible for LEO. You see, I had made a habit of hiding behind Brian whenever I wanted to learn about any of the adult things I wasn't supposed to hear the family talk about. Apparently it got to be such a habit for Brian to block me out that LEO couldn't tell I was there one day. And for a while Brian didn't know I had found out. I never did open LEO. We Talked a bit when I was worried about Brian and Olaf. He sort of talked thru the end of his pages."

Kern grins and says, "He did that for me."

Jess smiles wistfully as she says, "His voice gets that cloak and dagger tone to it."

Kern nods and Vince gets a little frown. He tells his mother, "After the service, we have to talk about what he was doing with LEO. In fact, what is happening after the service? Are we going to be having people over to your house or what?"

Jess says, "No. We're telling close friends and family to meet at Brians home after the service. Of course your sisters catering service is providing the food so we don't even have to worry about cleaning up. And we have to have the reading of the will tonight."

Vince says, "Wow, I forgot about that." He looks down and his face clouds up. He takes two deep breaths and reaches over and hugs his mom. When he can talk again, he says, "I'd rather have him back."

They separate a bit and she holds his face with both hands. She's teared up a bit. She smiles a little and says, "You both were so alike at times. More interested in people than things. That's the reason I can get through this without falling apart. There's a lot of Brian in you."

They hug again and she says, "Father Vaugn will want you to say a few words."

Father Vaugn had heard his name in the other room and comes over to them as he says, "Don't worry Vincent. Whatever you feel like talking about will be fine."

Vince gives Father Vaugn a hug as he says, "Father Vaugn! Long time no see."

Father Vaugn says, "Wow. You've grown. I never heard of a growth spurt at twenty-eight." Vince just shrugs and Father Vaugn just smiles and says, "Still a lapsed Catholic I suppose."

Vince gets a sheepish look on his face and nods. Father Vaugn tells him, "That's Ok. The important parts are in your heart."

Carl says, "A devoted Catholic priest saying such things? What will the archdiocese think? Or more importantly, what will Father Michaelson say?" Father Vaugn is facing Carl as Carl says, "Hello Father Terry."

Father Vaugn is a little surprised as he says, "Hello Father Carl. It's been two years..."

Carl gives him a big bear hug as he says, "It's been too long!"

Vince is frowning a little as he asks, "Father Carl?!"

Father Vaugn helps out with, "That's just a little joke we had in seminary school. Up to about ten years ago, Carl here was going to become a priest."

Vince, Greg, and Kern each have a look of disbelief. Carl reacts to this with, "I could have been a priest."

Father Vaugn supported him with, "He was on his way to being a good one too. But he had a problem with celibacy."

Carl says, "And I had romantic feelings towards a fellow seminary student, who didn't feel the same towards me." Carl smiles a Father Vaugn. He tells them, "So I thought I should get a tattoo of a crucifix on my arm. I was always drawing something, so I drew what I wanted for a tattoo, and took it Olafs tattoo parlor. I was hoping a little suffering for my faith would help resolve the problem."

Father Vaugn cut in with, "And while Olaf worked on his tattoo, Brian sat with them and worked on his dilemma.

Carl says, "He looked at my books full of drawings of people and animals and landscapes . He said there are many ways to minister to the people, that not all who are called to service are called to walk the same path that Jesus walked. He thought I connected to people through my art, that I could help them that way. And he reminded me that one sided Love should be looked on as a crush. Forgive your heart, but move on."

Father Vaugn says, "So a week later he asked to be released from his vows and he becomes the apprentice to a tattoo artist who was retiring. And from that day to now, He and his boys have been helping and healing people."

Carl is a little bashful as he says, "They're just tattoos."

Kern cuts in and says, "Boss. Take a compliment when you're given one."

Carl frowns at Kerns smiling face and then grins and give Father Vaugn a hug as he tells him, "Thanks Terry."

Father Vaugn says, "You're welcome."

A seventeen year old girl walks in and says, "Grandma Jess" before she hugs her.

Jess asks, "Clare, are you by yourself?"

Clare steps back and says, "No I'm leading the parade today. Who is everyone?" Before anyone can introduce themselves she realizes who he is as she hugs him saying, "Uncle Vincent!" they part and she says, "You've been working out. Nice suit."

Suddenly a large group bunch up after getting into the room from the parking lot. Brad is the next to hug Jess and Vince, with a mild comment about Vinces change of size.

Before It got out of hand Vince tells everyone, "I'll do the introductions If everyone stands still."

Just then a cute little eight year old girl tugs on Vinces jacket and when he looks down, all she does is hold her arms out as if he should know what's more important.

Vince says, "OK Lilbit. " and then he picks her up for a hug and a hold. Vince starts over with, "OK you guys have met my mom, then this young lady is Clare my brothers daughter, then Lora Anderson her mother, Bert Anderson her son, Bob anderson My brother, Mark Fredricks my brother-in-law, Brad Fredricks his son, Sandy Fredricks his sister and Mary Anderson my brothers younger daughter (but she likes Lilbit better than Mary )." Vince shifts to the side as he says, "And these are my friends Kern Preston and Greg Bailey, Tattoo artists who work for tattoo artist and owner of Skin Gallery, Carl Handy."

Before anyone can say anything Lilbit asks Vince, "Uncle Vincent, is Carl with you like Olaf was with grand uncle Brian?

Vince looks at her as she asks this and he glances at his old family before nodding and smiling and telling her, "Yes he is. " He looks up at Carl who smiles back.

Mary twists in Vinces grasp and hold her arms out to Carl and says to no one in particular, "Then he's family, too. " Half of the old family chuckle

Carl moves over and takes Mary from Vinces arms and gives her a hug and asks, "Better?"

Mary says, "Much, "and then Carl sets her on her feet again. She gets a hug from Jess and the group mills around a bit.

Vince notices the missing member and asks his mom, "Where is Sara?

Jess tells him, "She got here very early and she's in front with the service handouts and the signature book."

Father Vaugn says, "It looks like people got here early, so we'll be starting on time." He looks at Vince and says, "Why don't you and Carl go to the entrance and give Sara a break. Tell her we'll probably be starting in about fifteen minutes. I'll have Lilbit come and get you when we're about to start."

Vince says, "Sounds like a plan." They walk along the outside aisle to get to the entrance and find Sara there next to a book with a large pen and a stack of service handouts.

Vince gets a hand out and Sara says, "Please sign the ... Vince?" His size has confused her.

Vince tells her, "It's me Sara" He hugs her and tells her, "And this is Carl Handy. The love of my life."

This confuses her much less. She visibly relaxes and moves into a hug with Carl as she says, "Oh Vince, congratulations you two. Welcome to the family Carl."

Carl is getting to like this family as he says, "Thanks Sara."

Vince tells her, "Father Vaugn told us to take over for you. And you're instructed to relax and take a break. He's aiming for starting the service on time. I guess that means head for the front pews just before three O'clock ."

Sara looks at Vince and then Carl and says, "I think hearing how you two met would be relaxing." She doesn't expect this to work, but had to try anyway.

Vince smiles and shakes his head no. He tells her, "Good try - No Points. We'll take the time at Uncle Brians place after the funeral and before the reading of the will. Sound like a plan?"

Sara nods and says, "Ok; but I'm going to hold you to it. And this time I have a very handsome witness to back me up."

Vince says, "Don't worry. I'll fill you in on all the details. Now go find some place to put your feet up for fifteen minutes. Love you sis."

Sara says, "Love you, little Bro; though little certainly doesn't fit any more." She gives Vince and Carl a quick hug both and heads to where they just came from.

They didn't have any time to talk about anything due to an influx of about thirty people just after Sara left. They just got that group their service handouts and had them sign the book and another clump of about twenty people came through the door. This happened again with about fifteen more people. But before they could finish handing out the service programs; Carl felt a tug on his jacket.

Mary is at his side pulling on Carls jacket. she gestures for him to bend down . When he bends over enough Mary tells him, "Father Vaugn says come to the front pews, we're about to start."

Carl tells her, "Well Lilbit; Vince and I will be there in two shakes of a lambs tail. Sound good?"

Mary nods yes a few times, starts to go, remembers Carl's family and then darts back and gives him a quick hug and then goes to the front pews.

Vince hands out a service program to the last person in the last clump of people and turns to Carl and says, "Well; let's get up front and see how this thing is gonna go."

Carl just pulls him into an embrace and then they walk to the front pews. They get within three rows and Vince stops with a shocked look on his face. Vince mutters, "I didn't think he'd show up."

A man in his sixties who slightly resembles Vince stands and turns to Vince and Carl. David recognizes them both and says, "Hi son, Hi Carl." David looks nervous, like a dog thats been hit too many times. Vince only heard Hi son but still remained silent. This is the first time his father was the one to start talking, and Vince didn't quite know how to react.

Carl ends the silence with, "Hi David. So this is the Vincent in the 'Robert/Sara/Vincent' tattoo I gave you two years ago." Carl holds out his hand but David moves and gives him a hug instead.

Vince is a bit confused but says, "My soul mate has tattooed both my parents and I only find out about it now. And My father has started hugging people, after a gap of eight years. Maybe this day won't be so bad after all."

A young man about Vinces age says, "David's been hugging people for two years now. Ever since he moved in with me and James. I only rented the room because Brian said it would work out. At first I didn't believe it, but Brian was right . David's turned into a good room mate after a little attitude adjustment."

David says, "Thanks. That must have been when I stopped flinching when you two started french kissing in the front room." He looks at Vince and gives a little grin before he says, "Vince, let me introduce my roommates; Nathan Santini and James Fontaine. Nathan, James this is my son; Vince."

After brief hellos and pleased to meet yous there was a strained silence until Davids face started to crumple. He puts his hand on Vinces shoulder and says, "Vincent, I am so sorry for the way I've been treating you. It was never your fault. You have always been a good son. You didn't deserve me putting my fears on your head." David tips his head down; he looks so sad. He still has his hand on Vinces shoulder.

He tells Vince, "I don't know if you can ever forgive me; But I need you to know I never stopped loving you." He looks up at the end and he's near tears.

Vince has never stopped looking at him through his fathers apology, and Vince looks ready to cry too. Vince tells his father, "I forgive you dad." Vince pulls him into a big bear hug and they are both crying. Vince tips his face into Davids neck and tells him, "I never stopped loving you either." David holds his son tighter as his sobbing shakes his body. Carl moves closer and puts a hand on Vinces back. After a few moments David and Vince settle down and look at each other at arms length.

Vince tells his father, "We have to get this thing started, but I am glad you came."

David says, "Me too! I guess Brian knew I'd feel so ashamed of my self, I'd put off talking to you. I think that's why he made me promise to speak at his funeral. But you're right, I think we're holding things up. " He hugs Vince and then Carl before he sits down.

Vince and Carl walk to the front row of pews and find Greg and Kern sitting in the second row just behind where Jess is sitting with Sara on her left. On her right are two spaces for Vince and Carl who sit and look to Father Vaugn to begin the eulogy.

Father Vaugn walks up to the podium and begins the Eulogy with, "Beloved Mourners. We are here today to mourn the passing of our dear Friend and family member; Brian Matthew Grace. Born on a cold Oklahoma morning on June thirtieth nineteen twenty."

Father Vaugn talked of his care free childhood even into the Depression. He talked of how his parents came to California for work when he was nine. How he excelled at drawing and painting in school. And how he met his true love in 1938 when he had gone back to Oklahoma to visit with family there.

Father Vaugn tells them, "For Brian and Olaf their love was a kind that overcame any and all prejudices. At that time and in the south, their open and obvious Love for each other would have gotten anyone else killed. And yet their love had a power and generosity that made anyone that saw them together just smile and feel like they were part of it."

Father Vaugn says, "Brian was able to convince his parents in California to let him stay in Oklahoma with his aunt and study at a local art college. The calm before the storm. In 1942 they were separated during the entire war. In 1945 the were re-united over the grave of their good friend Maerk Brown who returned home injured and succumbed to his injuries within a month."

Father Vaugn tells them, "The war and it's aftermath, crystalized their resolve to reach out and help people when ever they could. And they surely did. Just sitting with them could ease your soul. So many years of Love and healing from two of the gentlest Giants in the world. But when Olaf died it seemed like the world had fallen apart."

Father Vaugn continues with, "I know the Love his family and friends had for him, pulled him out of the pit of despair he had fallen into." Father Vaugn looks down for a moment in reverie.

Father Vaugn smiles a little as he says, "I remember the first time I heard his voice. Somehow I knew I could trust my very soul to the man with that voice. I have a friend who was counseled by Brian during a crisis of faith. We were both on the road to becoming priests and my friend had found doubt within his heart. Brian counseled him correctly and while he is still my friend he is not a priest. Brians words helped him my friend to find his own unique powerful way of ministering to the people. He is a good healer."

Father Vaugn tells them, "So with that in mind, a year later, I discovered my hidden doubts, and went to Brian for guidance. His voice lead me through the problems till the problems were no more. His guidance helped me find the strength to reaffirm my vows to the church and to God. When A parishioner comes to me in need of guidance and I am at a loss as to how to advise them, I close my eyes and remember Brians voice. His voice doesn't use specific words, It just leads me through to the right words I need to use to help. His voice is still with me. This morning I had no idea how to share my Love for and gratitude to Brian. And upon closing my eyes and remembering his voice, I heard his voice singing. No words, just singing. Simple, pure, powerful, loving and kind. His voice will be in my heart and head till the day I die."

Father Vaugn steps back from the Podium and gestures for Vince to come up.

Vince gets up and goes to the podium . and just holds it a second as he looks out on so many faces. He says, "Thank you for coming and helping us all through this difficult time. It's a little like eight years ago when My uncles lover Olaf Carpenter passed away. In fact i remember seeing a lot of these faces back then. I hope you'll forgive me if I don't remember names. And I hope you'll bear with me like last time, because once again I don't have anything written down or planned out. I remember last time feeling so alone before I'd stepped up to the podium. But one look in the eyes of so many people who felt the same loss as I did, gave me the strength to look back on the life of our dearly departed." He reaches for a glass of water placed there by Father Vaugn, and drinks to help him begin his eulogy for Uncle Brian.

Vince clears his throat and begins with, "My Uncle Brian was more than a Landscape artist." In the middle of the congregation of mourners about twenty hands and hats went up and one soft voice said 'Boss Brian' and a few people chuckled. Vince continued with, "He was more than a manager and flash designer for Olafs Tattoo Parlor." Arms and elbows of every possible color and design went up into the air and a few low voices said ' Olaf' and a few people chuckled again. Vince said, "Uncle Brian was more than a part time bodybuilding coach" and this time nearly thirty arms went into the air. But this time each and everyone of them came back down to flex very big biceps, and held the flex for a good twenty seconds before they all came down together. Vince adds, "And Posing coach" Then the thirty that had flexed all murmured ' Brian". This caught peoples feelings in between laughter and sorrow and so no one chuckled. Vince felt this too and went on with, "My Uncle Brian was more than a counselor, more than a shoulder you could lean on." More than two thirds of the congregation started to nod their heads and both Father Vaugn and Father Michaelson were nodding too. Vince tells them, "My Uncle Brian was more than an Uncle, more than a Brother, " He looks at his mom, who nods and tries not to start crying hard. Vince finishes the thought, "And to all of us, More than a friend. " Now a few people do start crying. Many faces are down and while all of them needed to go through this, Vince knew they had to be reminded that they were not alone in this feeling of loss and grief. Vince takes another drink and clears his throat again. Vince calms himself and mutters, "Sorry Dad" as he looks at his dad who shrugs and shakes his head as if to say ' It's alright '. Vince tells them, "My Uncle was more than a father at times too. I was five years old and I had convinced my parents to let me go to a three week camp during the summer."

Jess cut him off with, "Your Uncle Brian was the one that convinced us" the congregation chuckles.

Vince says, "Oh. I stand corrected. I had wanted my father to be there for the second day of camp, but he had a week long convention he was required to attend, so I thought I was on my own. The second day at the camp had a required swimming class, cause you couldn't use the boats or even take a class on how to use them unless you could swim." He takes another drink and says, "Unfortunately about eight months before this my brother and I had gone to a local pool and when the lifeguard had taken a break, My brother and some of his younger friends started a splashing fight and I joined in. Water was splashing every where and no one noticed when I slipped into deeper water and started to drown. My brother was the one who told them all to stop and started to scream Where's my little brother. I couldn't hear a thing but I remember him grabbing me by my hair and then pulling me out and slapping me on the back when I started to cough up water. In later years he claimed I cried for hours."

Bob cuts in with, "You stopped crying right away."

Vince smiled and says, "Anyway, I remember him holding me with this real worried expression and then drying me off and telling his friends we were going home. After that I didn't go into the water, or near it. I couldn't say if I was only afraid of it, or making my brother so upset. But I knew I had to get back into it someday and hearing Uncle Brian Talk about all the great times he had at camp I figured camp was a good place to get back into the water. Well, the second day of camp came and I walk into the dinning room of the camp to find Uncle Brian with a camp counselor shirt on serving scrambled eggs and pancakes. After breakfast, the kids that had to take the class changed and went over to the side of the lake that was tailored for beginners. Before the class got started My uncle pulled me aside and crouched down and told me, 'Vincent, I think you're real brave to get back into the water after nearly drowning. I'd be afraid too. But I see you're going to be a big man some day and you can conquer your fear. But as of today you are My Big Man. I will always think of you like that. My Big Man. I know you will do your best out there, but if something goes wrong don't you forget this. Evan the Biggest men need help. I have Olaf If I need help and he has me if he needs help and now I've got you to help me in an emergency. So you remember, If you need help I'll be right there on the shore if you need me. Ok.' " Vince took another sip of water and said, "He gave me a big hug and then class started. I paid attention and remembered everything they said and showed, and when it was my turn I swam out to the floats and back. I was determined to show Uncle Brian was right. I was going to be a big man and make him proud of me. The next day the counselors had all the kids from class prove they were safe in the water by having a relay race and my group won. I felt so proud when they gave us the silly little medals... cause Uncle Brian was the one who put them on us. I felt so proud, it was the first time I felt so confident about something. I had done what I had to and Uncle Brian didn't have to come out and rescue me. But I knew all that hope and confidence in me was standing there on the shore, ready to jump in if I needed help.

Vince pauses and says, "It's official now, I'm a certified Psychologist. I'm going to be counseling with a group from college. I have been working at the county mental institution, and at times it took a lot to deal with some of the violent cases. One idea above all others has been Uncle Brian on the shore. That Image calms my fears, makes me more confident in the way I deal with patients, and the patients seem to pick up on it, and respond more calmly. I've gotten a reputation as the one to go to to get the mean ones to calm down. I never take that praise as my own, It's my Uncles doing. He's always on the shore. And Now for us all He is on another shore watching out for us all, making sure we don't get lost, and somehow I'm sure, he is still ready to jump in at a moments notice if we need help. I love you Uncle Brian." Father Vaugn had gotten up and was by his side at the end and hugs Vince when he turns from the podium. Carl gets up and helps Vince to his seat.

Others stood up and walked to the podium and talked of the ways Brian had touched their lives and how they were the better for it. Father Vaugn stepped up to the podium when it seemed like there was no one else who wished to speak and Told them, "Well it seems like we have only one more person who wishes to speak. David?" Father Vaugn steps back from the podium and briefly embraces David then sits down as David goes to the podium.

David begins with" All these stories of Brian giving good advice and how you were able to follow it, and it seems I'm the only fool here today, who was given good advice, But I didn't follow it. Now I can see the events in my child hood involving a much older boy and the things we did together, as something I should have talked about with someone older. But I didn't. and all the confusion and embarrassment and guilt and excitement, remained unspoken. I felt something was wrong but I didn't ask for help. and as I got older I ignored that feeling of wrongness. So after eight beautiful years of marriage, I got the idea I could fool around with my secretary and there would be nothing wrong with that. As if My loving wife couldn't tell. I fooled myself with the idea that if she didn't say anything then, she didn't know or didn't mind. I never once thought her love for me would counsel her heart to be patient. When Vince went off to college, her patience came to an end. I agreed to the divorce because she had never done anything wrong in our marriage and she didn't deserve to be treated this way."

David continues with, "Brian had tried to tell me I was throwing away my marriage and each time I thought it didn't really apply to me. Then the second year Vince was in college, he came home for the holidays and acted like a man. He had the courage to be able to trust his family to understand when he told us he was gay. And while Jess and Bob and Sara could understand and accept the truth and still see the same Good loving Vincent; All I could do was remember the feelings of shame and guilt and confusion from my child hood. Instead of realizing what happened in my life was just two young kids experimenting with their bodies. Instead of getting some counseling for the feeling of guilt or shame I still felt; I took all my fear and anger and shame and poured it out on the head of my good and honest son. The things I said to him. And he did not deserve any of the shame I tried to push at him. The state of being gay never deserved the guilt and shame I was trying to put on it."

David says after a short pause, "Thank God Vince had Jess and Bob and Sara and Brian and Olaf to help him see that everything I had said was just wrong. Bob and Sara stopped calling and even then I wouldn't see it as my fault. I lost my wife and then my son and on the heels of that my other son and daughter; and still I didn't see the reason why was me. Then Two and a half years ago I thought I could get one of the secretaries to fool around after work and I nearly got sued for sexual harassment. I only kept my job because I agreed to transfer to a different office, and enroll in sensitivity classes. I finally had to admit that I was the only constant in the troubles I had. So I went to Brian, and asked him what he thought I should do to be able to apologize to Vince and Bob and Sara and ask them for forgiveness. Brian asked me if I had finally remembered the value of family or was it just part of the sensitivity classes? I told him that the classes helped me realize that I had thrown away the best parts of my life. I told him that If I could come to him for advice and didn't have any problem with Olaf and He being a gay couple, and Me seeing that Vincent was the same young man I was proud of as my son a year before, as he was now; then the problem was in me. I asked Brian to help me. Help me clean out the bullshit in my head, so I can look my son in the eye and tell him none of the things I said were true, so I can tell him I'm still proud of him, That I never stopped loving him."

David tips his head down and takes a deep breath. He looks out on the congregation and says, "for a moment I thought Brian would just pick me up and throw me out the door, but once again that was my own fear talking. Then when he didn't say anything I thought he was being the good man he always was and was having a hard time finding a good reason why i deserved any kind of help at all. When I thought that, I just hung my head down and muttered' That is if you think I'm even worth helping.' I got a shock when he did pick me up, but before I could struggle or plead with him to not throw me away; He starts to hug me and rub my back and murmur Poor puppy. Then he set me on my feet and with his hands on my shoulders and looking me straight in the eye, he asks me ' Do you still love your son? ' I nodded yes. Then he asks me ' And you are still proud to call Vincent your son? And I told him yes. and then he asked me ' You do know the one thing you took from Vincent, only you can return? ' And I couldn't lie. I told him 'His fathers love' and then I started crying into his chest cause a son like Vincent always deserves a fathers love. Brian let me calm down before he told me ' If this is all true, then you are on your way. I can give you a little help, but only if you promise that you will be strong and no matter how much you want to, you will live where I tell you to live with the roommates I tell you to live with, for at least one year. If you can do this then I will be your counselor free of charge one hour sessions once a week for one year and we will get your head right. Will you do that for me, for that will be part of your therapy and part of your penance . ' I agreed, and Brian helped me move in with Nathan and James, a devoted Gay couple who were very patient with me. That was Two years ago and they still haven't asked me to move out. A year ago Brian said he thought we had cleared up as much as we could with counseling. He made me promise to tell all of this at his funeral, whether or not I got up enough nerve to talk to Vince before then."

David concludes with, "Brian always hoped for the best with us, even when one or two of us were too pigheaded to listen to what was for our own good. Well Brian, I'm listening now, and using your good advice. Thank you Brian, Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you Brian."

Father Vaugn can think of nothing more to say but, "Go in peace."

Read next part

I hope you like this part. The next one will be at Brian's house and include the reading of the will, and just what Brian and Olaf were really doing all these years. Thanks for reading this and don't forget to send comments.