How the hell do you tell your dad that you're gay - that you, James Straight-as-an-Arrow Ellison, army guy, police officer, are a homosexual. Crooked as Sandburg's sense of humor. I couldn't help but worry about the answer to that question as my father stood in the kitchen helping clear away our dinner dishes. Blair had gone out of his way to make this Easter dinner special.
It was kind of funny, but since that murder case involving our past, my Dad and I have been closer than we'd ever been - mostly due to Blair's prodding. He really thinks that family is important - especially fathers. Probably because he doesn't have one himself. If he did, then he'd realize what truly pains in the butt they can be.
Anyway, every Easter since then, Dad has shown up at the house on Easter Sunday, with a bottle of expensive wine and a box of imported Chinese tea. The wine would go with dinner, and the tea would be handed over to Sandburg with a gruff 'I hope this is the kind you like.' It was all so domestic.
"So, Jim. I understand that you're up for the Officer of the Year award again."
I groaned. My father sat on a committee with the major and was privy to many things that I would probably just not want to know.
"I think that was supposed to be a surprise, Dad."
He grinned at having let the cat out of the bag, but he looked so damn proud that I couldn't help grin back conspiratorially. But the grin faded as I realized that I still had the same problem. I was tired of hiding the fact that Blair and I were partners - in everything, in every possible way. I was just too damn old to be carting Blair's stuff down to his old bedroom for one day of the year and too lazy to be finding all the tubes of lube that were carefully stashed throughout the loft. Screw an Easter Egg hunt - I had The "Find the AstroGel" Hunt. Mind you it was always fun putting the lube back in all the places again, as Blair insisted on testing out each place to make sure they were properly placed for easy access. God, I love that man and his mind.
So. Back to the question. How do you tell a parent you're gay. I could easily picture Blair telling Naomi that he loved men - loved me in particular. She'd smile, burn some sage, and organize a commitment ceremony even while telling me that if I hurt one hair on her little baby's head she'd make me wish I had kept my dick in my pants.
Ahhh. The joys of *not* being repressed. And I speak from experience here. Trust me, when you're a thirty-something year-old cop who only realized three years ago that women were missing an integral piece of equipment to get your own going - well, let's just say that I'm more than familiar with repression.
Getting involved with Blair made a lot of things clear. Like why I wore out my right hand in the army. Like why I couldn't make my marriage with Carolyn really work. Mind you, now she has a great reason to blame it all on me. But I digress.
Repression. My Father. Conservative. If there were three words that ever fit together, those would be the three. Almost as well as Jim, Blair and Lovers. I smiled inwardly at the thought, as I stacked a plate in the drying rack. I pulled the plug and watched as the water swirled down the drain with a loud sucking sound. How symbolic.
"Dad, I'm gay."
Oh my god. I didn't just say that. Yes, I did. Oh, no you didn't. But yes, you did. It was like I had Blair talking to me in my head -- very scary.
"Pass me that last glass would you, Jimmy?" Dad pointed at the wine glass draining upside down in the rack by the sink. I handed it wordlessly over and watched as he carefully polished it and stood it in its place next to the others on the shelf.
I wasn't sure if I should say it again. Did he hear me? What was he thinking?
"Did you know that your Aunt Eileen's brother was gay?" I stopped my mopping of the counter. My Dad's brother had married Eileen and they were very happy with their two kids, and one gerbil. They were also strongly Baptiste.
"Yes, he died of AIDS two years ago."
I was stunned. It floored me that I had never known, first of all, that Eileen had a brother, and second, that he was gay and had died of AIDS. Why the hell didn't I know this? Repression, thy name is "Ellison" - as in my entire family.
Anything else that my father had to say went unsaid as Blair breezed into the kitchen.
"Mr. Ellison, Sally just called to say that she was going to be gone tomorrow but that she had put some dinner in the fridge for you to heat up."
"Thank you, Blair. I really ought to be getting home anyway. It's getting dark and the roads are going to be bad, what with all this rain. Dinner was lovely."
That's what he always said. 'Dinner was lovely.' Does this mean that he doesn't hate me? Does it mean he thinks it's okay? I don't know why I was upset, but bizarrely enough I wanted to have some reaction out of him. Anything. Even if he was going to just reject me out of hand. The lack of response was just unnerving, like a complete dismissal, leaving me uncertain as to where I stood.
"You two take care of yourselves."
"We will, Dad."
"No worries there, Mr. Ellison."
There was a pause, as my father was buttoning his jacket. His hands faltered on the textured knob he was sliding through the hole.
"Blair, why don't you just call me...er...'Dad.'"
Blair and I were so shocked that Dad managed to get in two hugs and shut the door behind him as he left before we stopped staring slack jawed at each other.
I felt as though someone had just filled my heart with joy. I know that sounds sappy, but there isn't any other way to describe it. Of all the reactions my dad could have had, that wasn't the top of my list. It was the preferred way, but not the way I pictured it happening at all.
"Jim? Did your father just become my in-law???" There was a note of incredulity in Blair's voice. I silenced any more words with a passionate kiss that threatened to suck all the air from my lover's lungs. Tasting Blair, I realized that I was hopelessly addicted to him. All of him. We broke apart, gasping for breath, chests heaving and both of us already aroused.
"Hey partner. How 'bout you and me go upstairs, get the lube and fuck like minks...." Blair's voice was low and throaty, his cheeks flushed.
"Last one in bed does the other."
There was no competition. We both won.
Now, laying there with a spent, sticky, sated, beautiful *man* in
my arms, I pondered the evening. My dad knew I was gay. He asked Blair to call
him *Dad* for crying out loud. Would miracles never cease?
Maybe there was something to this whole Easter thing after all.