Chapter 13: Climax

Lewis had little energy, so instead of running he simply jogged or walked, depending on his mood. He looked as if he was lost and had given up. He was also rather self-conscious of how bedraggled and unclean he looked. He felt even more insecure when a neighbour would see him and act concerned. He jogged some more.

Once he found the house he was looking for, he broke into a desperate run. He stopped right in front of the front door and began banging on it. "JACK! JACK LEMME IN! WHAT'S GOIN' ON? YA NEED TA TELL ME! PLEASE!"

"Pipe down! You're disturbin' tha peace!" Jack angrily retorted. This confused Lewis. The voice clearly originated outside but he couldn't see him. Then the bedraggled brunette saw the closed garden gate on the side of the house.

"Jack?" he asked, jogging towards it.

"Nope! Dante wai'in' for Virgil. Whaddya wan'?"

He could see the blonde through the gaps of the wooden gate, albeit not too well. He was slowly taking off soiled gardening gloves.

"Please, I jus' wan' some answers. Everybody keeps changin' an' Matthew called Leslie tellin' 'im ta take me somewhere." The figure through the gate came towards him. "I'm sicka not knowin' an' I was so scared I stayed in ma room for 5 days...I think." He noticed that Jack was now within arm's reach of the gate. "Is it true what Tyson said? You in on it?"

The gate opened. Lewis found himself frozen by the sharp leer of the taller man's blue eyes. His white-blonde hair had not been well groomed. But the suddenly-shy brunette noticed some other astounding things: Jack was wearing a clay tank top that clung to him and outlined his muscular torso perfectly. His bare arms bore tattoos. His camo-pants clung to his waist.

"Tell you what," began Jack easily, startling Lewis after such a long silence, "I'll tell you everythin' so long's you quit gawkin' at me." With that, he mechanically stood aside and cocked his head to invite the brunette in.

Walking through the small garden, Lewis could see where Jack had been working. It seemed he had been weeding. From the picturesque garden he followed Jack through the back door and into the kitchen. What struck the visitor was how cold and spartan the room was. The fridge-freezer, cupboards, drawers, cabinets, the cooker, the sink and most surfaces were metallic and silvery. The kitchen table was made of black wood. It was scrupulously tidy, aside from the fridge-freezer doors, which were decorated by various photos and children's drawings held up by flourescently coloured magnets. One piece of paper had a sentence written on it in capital letters, but obviously written by a child: 'The pants were dead'.

"Where d'ya think all the kids come from?" the blonde abruptly asked.

Lewis shrugged uncertainly. "Depends...either adoption or by a surrogate mother." His tone grew more confused since Jack just shook his head. The native started lowering his trousers, causing the brunette to blush. "Uh...what..?"

The blonde gave him a sharp look, holding his clothing items apart. The visitor was surprised by the long scar on the lower abdomen. "What d'you call this?"

"It's...not...a C-Section? Can't be."

Jack righted his clothes. "Believe it." He sat down on a chair; all the chairs in this room were plain and uniform. He gestured for Lewis to sit down as well. "I was the first. I was pregnant twice before the uterus had ta be removed."

Lewis seemed alarmed. "He don't kill women for their-"

Jack laughed riotously. "No! Matthew ain't a killer. He gets access to'n Uke's medical files ta find out 'is blood type. Don't ask how, I'm not sure. There are lotsa women on the donor's list an' Matthew can just put in a demand for a uterus o' some blood type an' 'e gets a call when one's available. All legit, simple as that. What ain't legal is the male pregnancy, it's banned if you didn't know."

"And you did it anyway?"

"One meetin' at the Semes Club-an' Matthew weren't president then-he comes along with this suggestion. Says the risks, why it's worth it, bla bla bla. Ivan comes home an' suggests it ta me." Jack looked more forlorn. "I'd come ta terms with Dad's death, but I still didn't wanna leave tha house. I got restless 'cos I had nothin' ta do."

"You had kids to have somethin' ta do?" pressed an outraged Lewis.

"Pretty much." The parent seemed emotional suddenly. "Pregnancy was tha best thing that happened ta me. Made me take proper care o' maself for the first time since Kosovo and..." He smiled. "Ta feel a life inside you."

"Didn't mean ya had ta look all...housewifey." The bedraggled brunette wrinkled his nose in disgust.

"You're right, an' I didn't." He smirked at the noise made by Lewis' stomach. "Hungry?"

"Didn't eat much," responded the embarrassed visitor quietly.

Jack stood up and went to a cupboard. "Soon after Joey gave birth to Serenity the Governor came ta visit." He took out an opened box with chocolate stains on one side. He continued talking while he closed the door and found a suitable knife. "I didn't look like how we all meant ta dress now but Joey an' I were definitely casual, wearin' whites an' baby blues. He's always been a casual dresser anyway. Yeah that's right, Joey's the second volunteer." Jack handed Lewis the knife before removing the card platter the cake was placed on out of the box.

"But 'e acts as weird-"

"He's convincin' cuz 'e was a professional actor." The blonde sat down again. "Don't worry 'bout tha mess, jus' cut a slice an' eat." Jack continued talking while Lewis cut a slice and he simply held it in his hand as he ate. "What impressed the Governor was that becomin' mommies...well we became mommies, that's exactly it. He liked it cuz it proved that gays were not jus' men who were immoral an' jus' wan'ed ta sleep around an' all that other shit. What made 'im decide that all gay couples should follow the formula-Uke become mommy that is-was that Alan came along and 'e scowled like crazy. Callin' me names an' sayin' I was traitor an' weirdo an' other crap. I don't think 'e meant it, I think 'e was jus' real mad that day." He frowned. "Actually he was mad most o' the time 'e was sobre. Anyway, Governor asked who that was an' I answered honestly: the town drunk. He knew said drunk's sexuality by Alan wearin' a Gay Pride T-shirt. So in the presence o' Matthew, Ivan, me an' baby Molly, he ordered Matthew ta make sure all Ukes become mommies and in return, 'e would make sure Matthew got fundin' for the project, which would be kept secret, an' the town of Stepmanford became homo heaven. We already got several lesbians here ta back that up. Within tha next 2 months every true homophobe in this town moved out."

"So what...changed everyone?"

"Simple, they're hypnotised. Ivan's a professional hypnotist, a fact the town hides from every new gay couple until they're completely 'settled in'."

Lewis chewed on his slice of cake, disgesting this. "How many..."

"I ain't bothered ta count. There are less hypnotised lesbians than homos, the lesbians got bribed and threatened ta conform to that stereotypical breadwinner an' housewife duo. Whoever got tha most money decided the breadwinner if both women'd been pregnant. V was the third volunteer." Jack smiled in glee at his guest's shocked reaction. "Hard ta believe but 'e's really like that. Oh an' Ed's still 'imself. Ivan came 'ome that day real happy. He didn't 'ave ta change someone. After 'is run-in with you an' Tyson at that parkin' lot, 'e came cryin' round 'ere 'bout actin' different in front of his friends. Sad really." Lewis couldn't tell if his host was being genuine or sarcastic.

"He must've practiced lots ta put on that act," muttered the photographer thoughtfully. He shoved the last morsel of cake into his mouth.

"I'm guessin' 'e did."

"I still don't get why the Ukes 'ere are dressed all..." Lewis could only gesture faintly.

"In every gay couple one just instantly plays the dominant guy. There's always some excuse: he's taller, he's older, more confident, the better dresser, the angry one or 'e was jus' one rank above the Uke when the couple met at work." Jack shrugged. "Always a reason. How the Ukes 'ave ta dress, they have ta look more feminine, boyish or both and definitely more innocent. Like a buncha dolls we are."

"Not you."

The blonde beamed a smirk. "I'll take that as a compliment. But I'm the messed-up blonde with issues who needs tall, dark an' 'andsome ta calm 'im down." He said this almost seductively.

Lewis shook his head. "Why does Ivan hypnotise Ukes if 'e don't wanna?"

"Cuz this state don't allow gay marriage. If Ivan says no, Matthew tells Security our marriage is a sham, Ivan loses his work permit 'n' then 'e's sent back to Yugoslavia. Neither of us wants that ta 'appen!" Jack looked rather vicious. "Jus' for him, I can only beg you. Please go along with it. Then you can be yourself at 'ome. And here, no pryin' eyes 'ere."

"No!" He stood up. "I don't wanna skip around like some introverted mommy-bimbo, not ever! Don't I get no other choice?"

"Sure. You can leave."

... "What?"

"Leave this town. You said Matthew wants you in. You jus' run home, don't pack, get in the car and keep drivin' 'til you're in a motel 50 miles away."

"What about Leslie?"

"He's already bribed."

"With what?"

"I dunno, it's different with every one. He woulda been blackmailed by somethin' he really cares about. If you wanna convince 'im ta leave, do it over the phone an' outta town. And you'd better go soon, looks like rain's about to pour."

Lewis looked dumbstruck. Slowly, he turned around to face the garden.

"Not that way." Jack dragged him to his front door. "Jus' run 'ome. Don't stop ta talk to anybody, every Seme an' Uke will've been ordered to bring y'in. The fact you came 'ere an' told me he wants you means I shoulda kept you here 'til they came ta pick you up." The panicking visitor whirled in alarm. "Calm down, I never called anyone." The host opened the door. "Go, hurry."

Lewis launched into a street dimmed by the grey sky.


The rain had already started once Lewis dragged himself huffing-and-puffing home. Some of the lights were on, so he could only guess how hard it was to see inside. He sauntered to the back of the house. The rope he had made had been pulled in and the window shut. He knelt next to the backdoor, watching Leslie sorting out clothes into piles (clean, dirty, tattered). The rain only got harder. The phone rang so Leslie quickly left the kitchen. Lewis opened the door and shut it quietly.

"Hey Matthew," greeted Leslie outside. He explained in detail how he'd been clearing up the mess in his bedroom since discovering Lewis' disappearance, while the mentioned person crept through the kitchen. Lewis was alarmed to find that any trace of Mojo's existence had vanished. "Hasn't anyone seen 'im? I don't like it, people don't just disappear. ... I knew somethin' would go wrong once 'e started diggin' up your trail." Leslie suddenly yelled and fell to the floor, gripping the back of his head.

"Leslie?" shouted Matthew's voice over the phone. "What happened?"

The blonde rolled over and gasped at the sight of a dripping wet madman pointing a gun at him.


"WHERE D'YOU GET THAT GUN!?" (Good question) screamed a frightened Leslie, still gripping where he had been hit.

"I AIN'T TELLIN' YOU!" snarled Lewis. "WHERE'S MOJO?" He quickly picked up the dropped phone and pressed it to his ear. He dropped it in disappointment. "Hung up." He ran towards the door, tore it open and ran out into the pouring rain.


Lewis stalked the street. The rain meant that everyone stayed indoors. He still had the gun, which made him seem like a killer on the loose. But his eyes weren't angry, just desperate. He shivered as he saw the familiar entrance to the mansion where Matthew ruled the Semes. He kept plodding, towards that sign. 'Proud Men's Major Association', declared the plaque proudly. Or menacingly, in the dim light. The wet gun-wielder just stood still at the open gates to the mansion. He stared ahead. No police car. The seemed that the same lights were switched on as the time Mojo ran in here accidentally.


No answer.

Lewis shivered again. He ran desperately along the drive. It didn't take him long to find the front door and go inside.

The door shut with a thunderous slam. All sound seemed to have drowned out. He could only hear his own breath. He was met with the sight of a grand open floor, large windows, long-stretching balconies and grand staircases. He could also make out shapes of leather sofas, positioned like in any reception lobby. Perhaps the scene would have been inviting if the lights were switched on, but it was so gloomy. Upstairs, there was a tiny source of light. A dog barked.


Lewis darted up the stairs. He ran along the upstairs balcony, chasing after the light. The source was still small. He could hear another bark. He could now see that the light was coming from a room, with its door left invitingly open. He moved towards the open door. He was sneaking along, sliding along the wall. A dog barked again. Right beside the door, he hesitated. His grip on the gun tightened. Lewis jumped into the open space, pointing his gun at the man sitting between two desk lamps, the only sources of light in the room. A dog barked from somewhere again. Marius picked up a remote and pressed a button to switch off the hi-fi system. (Whoops! Did I say Marius?)

"Welcome Lewis." He was not in the least perturbed by the sight of the trembling gun pointed at him.

"I know what you do," said the dripping wet intruder tightly. "I jus' can't figure out why."

Matthew didn't even twitch. "I kept a promise to Simon." He sat back against his chair. "I was good at science, wan'ed ta be a professional worker. The trouble is, as you know, we are discriminated against. So deciding to be a gynaecologist was a stroke of genius." He grinned. "Who would believe a charge of sexual assault by a woman against a gay man?" The blonde began to look forlorn. "Simon also thought that clever. He laughed even. After seein' each other for 3 years at least, he asked me if there was any way possible for men to be pregnant. He loved me so much 'e wan'ed ta carry ma child somehow. Soon after...months had flown by, we got viciously attacked. When I saw Simon again, he was just a body in the morgue."

... Lewis had stepped into the office a short way, somehow entranced by the story. Matthew took a breath before carrying on. "The thing is, Simon hit on something. He pointed out to me that we are feared simply because some people see us as strange, a completely different race even. If somehow we could have a characteristic...what do the most conservative and religious heterosexuals see as a natural conclusion of a romance? Children. So I promised Simon I would find a way to do it, he made me promise to do it even if it took me so long it would be too late for him. Health or age you know? Doing that research was what kept me going after 'is death. And look at the results. Jack was much happier after becoming a..." He chuckled. "Maternal parent, for lack of a better term. The overall results are, even though I had ta make ethically-challenging decisions, wonderful. We have a true haven here. Gays are accepted."

Lewis nodded. "Ethically challenged is right. Through one way or another every gay person here is forced ta do somethin'. Rather than lettin' people broaden their views, you've just reinforced a conservative POV."

Matthew tensed. "In order to make this all possible a compromise was necessary." He slowly stood up.

The gun was visibly cocked. "Jus' tell me where Mojo is so I can leave!"

The blonde patronisingly looked at the wet man. "You're not serious about using that, are you? You've left tha safety on and it's unloaded."


Lewis was still staring as if to say 'You've got to be kidding me'. He slowly slowly inspected the gun he was holding. Indeed it had no cartridge.

Viciously, he gripped it by the barrel and held it up. "I can still use it! Where's my dog?"

"Mojo's with Edward, he's quite safe."

Lewis dropped his arm in a huff. "Thanks." He turned around and-surprisingly-found Ivan standing in the doorway. The Slav was giving him a regretful look. He faced Matthew angrily, ready to go on a tirade.

"Be reasonable Lewis." Matthew slowly stepped around his desk, towards the wet brunette. "It would be easier if you simply go along with this. It is better for tha community ta have individuals and varied personalities. We like you how you are, really, we do. It would be better for Ivan, he really hates changing people against their will. And it is better for Leslie." Lewis faltered. Matthew was now standing directly in front of him. "Leslie loves you dearly," he crooned. "He would so hate it if he's forced ta make a choice between his love and his ideal life. He likes it here and he wants you in the picture. And think how much he's done for you the entire time you've known him, do you really want to throw all that away? ... Could you really live without him?"

The gun dropped. Lewis stood there, trembling and sobbing. He fell to his knees and cried. The situation was just so...hopeless. He found himself being embraced and cried against Matthew's offered shoulder.

"There, there," comforted the Seme leader. He tenderly stroked Lewis' damp hair. "It'll be alright. Any choices you make after this one will be your own."

"I'm scared," cried the brunette into Matthew's shoulder. "I can't change who I am-"

The blonde soothingly shushed him. "Don't worry about that for now, all you need ta do is relax. My assistants are here; let them show you your room, they will take good care of you, I promise."

Lewis sniffled before lifting his tear-streaked, puffy face. Ivan had disappeared. There were now 2 young women in proper nursing attire standing at the door. Both kept their long, straight hair hanging down loosely. One had blonde hair and blue eyes; she stood with an air of calm and professionalism. The other's hair was carrot-orange, her blue eyes were icier and she seemed rather eager to please.

"Hi," smiled the redhead in greeting. "I'm Emi an' this is Winry." Her accent gave away she was a local.

Chapter List
©Ruth Amy Louise Hüneke 2008