Only Skin Deep 12

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Dear readers; I apologize for the delay with this story. I'll try to keep up. I know where I'm going with it. I just have to remember to take the steps to get there. Your feed back is what pulls me through every time. Thanks.

Disclaimer: This is a Fantasy story with Male to Male Sex and Love Relationships. If you are under eighteen years of age, you should not be here. You have been warned!

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Vince hugged his mom and a weird, sad look flashed across her face.

Vince said, "What's the matter mom? Why the sad face?"

Jess said, "Don't pay attention to me. I'm just going to have to get used to your new size is all. For a moment there it was like I was hugging my brother."

Carl was closer and said, "Come here mom." Then he hugged her close.

She was smiling at the end of the hug and said, "Well Vincent you found a keeper with this one."

Vince just nodded his head yes as he looked into Carl's eyes.

Kern started to nudge Carl as he said, "Hey, Don't the chauffeur and the bodyguard get a hug too?"

Jess hugged Kern but wouldn't let him go before he answered, "Do you two really feel like that?" Then she kissed him on his cheek.

Kern got bashful and said, "No."

Jess said, "Good. Cause my boys should feel like they're more than just what they do for a living." Kern gave her a kiss on the cheek before he let Greg get his hug and a kiss.

Greg said, "Thanks, Mom."

Jess said, "Welcome."

Then she said, "OK you four wash up, and I'll have the lasagna ready in ten minutes."

Vince said, "Oh Boy!. Lasagna!. You guys are in for a treat. Mom makes the best lasagna."

Luckily the guest bathroom had two sinks, but Kern and Greg didn't want to wait. They started to help each other wash their hands and it got a little steamy.

Vince said, "Just your hands boys. You have more than enough time for that later on tonight."

Greg and Kern freeze and look at Vince with their eyes, then look down at their hands. They rinse their hands, look at each other and say in unison, "Later!".

Carl follows Vince out of the bathroom smiling and shaking his head.

The dinner was outstanding and all four men said so in their own way.

Without any encouragement Vince started to clear the dishes. Carl, Kern, and Greg got up and helped. In ten minutes they had all the dishes and pans clean and dry and put away.

Jess was in the door way and she was nearly crying.

Vince Turned around and saw the tears in her eyes and said, "Aww. What did we do wrong? This was supposed to make you happy." By then he was hugging her.

Jess rubbed her face into Vince's chest and said, "I am happy. It's just you've really grown up. Your not my baby anymore."

Vince kissed the top of her head and said, "Oh. I'm supposed to be telling you that. And you're supposed to say I'll always be your baby."

Jess sniffled and said, "And your uncle always called you his Big Man. You know he always thought of you that way."

Vince said, "He always made me feel like that. Even though he always towered over me."

Greg and Kern found a pecan pie in the fridge while putting things away and asked if they can have some.

Jess smiled and said, "It's not really dinner without dessert."

They sit down around the coffee table in the living room as Kern served up the pie, and Vince served coffee.

Carl smiled up at Vince and said, "Hey tell your mom about Mrs Eagleson."

Vince sat down on the couch next to Carl and added cream and sugar to his coffee. He looked up at Jess and said, "Remember two and a half years ago when I felt like giving up and this lady's sister came into the ward.?"

Jess nodded and said, "I remember. She mistook your reaction to her sister like she was going to die. And you were just feeling like you couldn't help the sister. Then you did your job and helped the lady. Mrs Eagleson, huh? Good name."

Vince said, "Yaa. Well it turns out she lives three blocks away from Carl's place and he would walk around the block when ordering Pizza and visit with Mrs Eagleson.."

Carl said, "She told me about this great doctor she wanted me to meet, but I never did get her to set up a date. She was so happy we found each other anyway. Then she said she expected an invite to the wedding."

Carl's face just beamed, he was so happy.

Vince said, "We know the date, too. Saturday October thirteenth. Selah and Abe said a double wedding at Uncle Brian's backyard would be great."

Jess almost squealed when she said, "Oh, I'm so happy for you two. Your going to have to set up a date for me to meet Carl's parents, and I think you should call your father, too; now that your talking to each other again. He does love you so much Vince, and that would really help things along."

Vince said, "Oh shit I forgot Dad. Oh sorry Mom."

Jess giggled and said, "You're old enough now to know when those words are appropriate and useful."

Vince said, "Thanks, Mom."

Carl said, "Jess, I'll give my folks a call tonight and let them know. How about a week form this coming friday?"

Jess said, "So September fourteenth. Sounds fine with me. I know I won't forget the day. What time and where?"

Vince said, "Let me call Marta and see if we can have a sit down dinner over at the big house?"

Jess smiled and said, "Vincent, it is your house now."

Carl hugged Vince from the side and Vince held onto his arms. Vince smiled and said, "I know in my head it's not Uncle Brian's anymore. It's just taking my heart a little longer to get the word 'my house' in my heart. Anyway, now it's going to be Our house." He twisted in Carl's embrace and kissed him for only a moment.

Kern said, "Hey, I like the sound of that. The Big House. Sounds like something from a western.

Greg mumbled, "Or a prison movie."

Kern elbowed him in the ribs and said, "Greg!"

Greg smiled sheepishly and said, "Sorry."

Carl said, "Jess, this pie is excellent. My Grandma used to make pecan pie like this. I haven't had any good Pecan pie for about ten years now. My Mom had to stop baking sweets when we found out Dad had mature onset diabetes. And the store bought ones just never taste the same."

Jess said, "Thank you Carl. I learned the recipe from my mother-in law, of all people. We could get along in the kitchen, but forget about trying to talk about art or politics. We learned soon enough and I helped in her kitchen when we visited."

Kern said, "Jess, could I get the recipe, please?"

Greg smiled and said, "Yes, please. Kern is practically a professional Chef. We never go hungry with Kern around."

Jess smiled when Kern bumped his forehead gently into Greg's. They both had big smiles on their faces. She said, "Well as luck would have it, I left my computer on. I'll pull up my recipes and print out a copy for Anderson Family Pecan Pie. Back in a second."

Kern said, "Thank you."

Jess called back from her office, "No problem, dear." The sound of a fast printer could be heard.

When Jess came back in, Vince was cutting a very thin slice of pie for Carl and another for Greg.

Jess chuckled and said, "You do know that pie is going home with you guys."

Vince said, "Aw thanks Mom."

Jess said ' You're welcome, dear. Mentioning my mother-in-law leads to what Vince should already know about the Anderson Clan. A habit I picked up from your father's side of the family."

Vince said, "Ooohhh. Left overs!"

Greg burped and said, "Excuse me. I"m a little confused. We all had seconds, and the casserole dish was empty when we left the table. In fact we washed it up and put it away. What left overs?"

Vince said, "It just goes to show what respectful guys you and Kern really are. While you saw the pie through the saran wrap when you put away the left over vegetables; you didn't think to lift up the aluminum foil on the other casserole dish in the fridge. Grandma Anderson always made twice as much as what people would eat and then made sure everybody had a plate of food to take home."

Jess said, "Yeah, she had no style when it came to artwork or decorating, but she made sure everybody who came into her house was well fed."

Kern and Greg looked curious and Carl said, "Decorating?"

Vince frowned and said, "Think 'Rococo' everywhere."

Carl looked like he was torn between laughing and gaging. Jess chimed in and said, "Plus painted porcelain figurines."

Kern said, "She must have loved to dust things."

Vince said, "As a child I remember a discussion between Mom and Grandma Anderson. I think Grandma was picking on Mom about her housecleaning skills. I was playing on the floor and Grandma had just mentioned Dust bunnies. I could see this clump of fuzzy dust hidden in back of an overstuffed couch that hadn't been moved in years. I knew what I was doing when I pulled out enough of the stuff to form into the shape of a rabbit."

Carl said, "You didn't."

Jess said, "That little piece of art work was the reason I occasionally called Vincent, 'My Big Man'."

Vince looked down with a grin on his face. He said, "Yep. I went up to Grandma Anderson and handed her a genuine dust bunny and said ' Grandma the place in back of the couch is infested with these critters.' I'd never seen Grandma's face turn red before. Mom kept her cool and didn't laugh right away."

Jess said, "Neither did Vince. I said ' Vince lets get your hands washed up. It's almost time for lunch' ."

Vince said, "Mom and I were giggling all through lunch, because Grandma kept on looking at the couch she could barely see in the living room, and the pantry door in the kitchen where she kept the vacuum. I think it ate her up knowing that much dust was back there, not able to admit it in front of Mom, and not be able to get rid of it until we left."

They all chuckled and then Vince said, "Hey we didn't get any left overs to take home that time."

Jess smirked and said, "A lesson for us all. If you want left overs, don't go looking for dust bunnies."

Greg got up to use the bathroom and the guys looked at each other before Vince said, "Well Mom, it looks like were going to head home. Oh wait a minute. I haven't been to my place for five days. Can we swing by my place to get the mail and a few things?"

Carl said, "Sure babe. No problem."

Jess was already in the kitchen getting things arranged. She said, "I'm just going to send the whole casserole dish with you guys and pick it up friday."

Vince hugged her and said, "Thanks Mom. See you friday. Love you."

Jess said, "Love you too. Good night Carl."

Carl said, "Good night Je.. Good night Mom."

Jess smile got bigger and said, "Much better. Good night Kern, Greg ."

Greg and Kern came up and hugged her at the same time and said in unison, "Thanks Mom. Good night Mom."

Jess said as she chuckled, "Drive safe."

Vince was the last out with Greg taking the lasagna, Kern unlocking the Bat Mobile, and Carl draping an arm over Vince's shoulder. Vince was facing backwards and blew a kiss at Jess. Vince then said, "We will."

They headed over to Vince's apartment and found his mail box packed tight. Vince mumbled as he picked up the fallen pieces of mail up off the ground, "Shit! It's only been five days. And one of them was a Sunday."

The door to the apartment next to the mail boxes opened and a forty year old hippy type stood in the doorway. He said, "Hey Vince. You been staying with your Mom since the fu..funeral?!" Vince had straightened up to his new full height.

Louis the landlord frowned and scratched his head. Vince waited for a loud exclamation that didn't come. Louis said, "Hey Vince, How tall are you?" as he tipped his head to the side.

Vince looked over to Carl for moral support. Louis glanced over to Carl and did a double take. Then he looked back to Vince with almost a smile on his face as he waited for Vince to answer his question.

Vince liked his landlord and since he was going to be moving out before the end of the month, he decided to tell the truth. Vince smiled, put his hand flat on top of his own head and said, "A little over six foot six inches."

Louis said, "Humh. Looks good on you. Where ya been man. We all missed your smiling face. Particularly on Thursday, when you heard about you Uncle Brian."

Vince frowned and looked down. He thought, 'Damn it still hurts as bad.'

Suddenly Louis was hugging Vince as he said, "Oh man, I'm sorry."

Carl stepped closer and helped hold Vince. Louis looked up at Carl and said, "Wow, your big too." Then he looked up as Vince started to cry and said, "Hey big guy, you let it out. Just let it all out. He wouldn't want you holding onto sorrow." Louis stopped looking up and just talked to Vince's chest as he said, "I never met your Uncle, but I remember every time you came back from visiting with him, how big your smile was. You gotta shake out all that sorrow." Louis followed his own advice and shook Vince back and forth a little.

Carl had his hand on Vince's back and was rubbing a circle real slow. His other hand was on Vince's neck. It wasn't long before Vince hugged Louis and Carl back to let them know he was OK.

Vince took a deep breath and said, "Thanks Louis. I needed that. Thanks Carl. Carl you haven't met my soon to be ex landlord, Louis Mann. Louis, this is my soul mate Carl Handy."

Louis and Carl held out hands to shake and pulled each other into a hug. The words, "Pleased to meet you," were traded at that time.

Louis said, "Soul Mate, huh? Cool, man. You finally found him. And he's as big as you." Louis stuck up a finger and looked serious as he told Carl, "Now you take care of Vince, or else there'll be a lot of people gunning for you, as big as you are." Louis smiled at the end to let Carl know he was sort of joking. Then he realized what Vince had said. Louis turned to Vince and said, "Ex landlord?" Louis looked sad and said, "Are you gonna be moving out on us Vince?"

Vince held the back of his own head but nodded and said, "Sorry Louis. My uncle left me a house and I've been staying with Carl these past five days. And I kinda like it."

Louis shook his head and said, "Well ya can't beat that." He looked at Vince and then turned to Carl and with a serious face said, "Carl, You take care of our Vince, OK?"

Carl got a tender smile on his face and said, "I promise Louis."

Before Louis could finish saying, "OK, "Carl gave him another big hug.

Vince said, "I'll knock on your door before we leave tonight."

Louis said, "Thanks, man." He went back into his apartment as Vince, Carl, Kern and Greg walked upstairs to Vince's place.

Vince unlocked the door and stepped through with the guys following. Vince dumped the mail on the kitchen table and realized how rude he had been.

Vince had a pained look on his face as he said, "Kern, Greg. I'm sorry. I didn't even introduce you to Louis."

Greg said, "That's alright Vince. You were missing someone. It wasn't a big thing right then."

Kern said, "Yeah, Vince. We know you love us."

Greg pulled Kern over and nuggied his head gently. Then he said, "Yeah, what Kern said." Kern just hugged Greg a little tighter and smiled.

Vince almost couldn't take it but said, "Carl, we're real lucky, huh?"

Carl held him as a few tears fell and smiled at Greg and Kern as he said, "Yes, Vince. I know we are."

Greg and Kern stepped over and held Vince and Carl for a moment. They separated and Vince said, "Thanks guys. It feels strange. I'm supposed to be the leader, but sometimes these emotions just hit me so hard. You all being here really helps."

Kern said, "Hey, you point the way, and we'll carry you along. We're a.. a.. Oh! A Coven is a fancy word for a family. You're not supposed do it all by yourself. You are not supposed to carry the weight all by yourself. You hurt us, if you don't let us carry part of the weight. So now you know you won't do that. Because you love us, now you will always make us part of what you're doing. Agreed?" Pause, "You know, magic wise."

Vince said, "Agreed! Because I love you guys." All four bumped their foreheads together amid a low chuckle that came from them all.

Greg said, "OK, so what do you want to take back home tonight?"

Vince said, "Well, my clothes don't fit, so that's out. I don't have that many knick-knacks.The photo albums are in that bookcase over there. Only five of them and the wooden box beside them is full of photos in envelopes."

Carl went over and grabbed the albums as Kern grabbed the box.

Vince said, "Let me go through the mail and I guess we can leave. I'd like to clear out the place over the weekend. That would help Louis get the place ready for a new tenant. He has been a really great landlord. And friend, too."

Carl said, "We have the date. Let's tell him now that he's going to get an invite to our wedding."

Vince smiled big again and said, "Mr. Handy, you think quick on your feet."

Carl smiled and said, "Mr. Anderson, It is only because of your fine example."

Carl and Vince kissed for a moment and when they were done, Vince picked up three pieces of mail and left the rest on the table. Vince said, "Well, I'm ready. Let's go home."

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Well not as long as I like my chapters, but it had a good feel for ending there. I hope you liked it. Let me know. I have to get the next chapter out before the middle of August. Emails reminding me that I said this are always welcome.