Chapter 9: Answers

(Short author's note: you probably noticed that as the story has been progressing, I've left out one group of people. The lesbians. This is simply because the plot twist affects them less than it does the gay men. But I will reveal later how the lesbian society ties in with the Semes Club. You probably also noticed a sign of bad writing, which would be making the characters do illogical things ie. leaving it 2 days before Tyson told Lewis Dean's former job. The fact that Lewis gave out the details of only 3 couples who left Stepmanford and not 5 was not an error, but simply characterisation-Tyson had no interest in that but rather than interrupting he waited until Lewis paused. Now, on with the story.)

Leslie and Lewis were watching a sitcom. ... Leslie kept taking sneak peeks at Lewis every so often. It was quite strange that they weren't laughing at any of the on-screen gags.


Leslie slowly wrapped his arm around Lewis. Lewis allowed him, but he seemed a bit worried about allowing Leslie to embrace him. When Leslie's arm had settled, Lewis was tense. Up 'til now, Lewis had kept his arms folded. They were still folded.


Leslie took a sneak peek again. ... Leslie was inspecting Lewis, his lovely Lewis. Leslie slowly reached for the top button on Lewis' flame-designed shirt. He reached it. Leslie started undoing the button of Lewis' shirt.

"You do that, I call 911 and tell 'em you tried to rape me," the brunette coolly warned.


The blonde withdrew both arms from his husband and sat back on the sofa.

Leslie and Lewis were watching a sitcom. Neither were laughing.


Tyson and Lewis were paying Dean a visit. They were lounging around in the front lawn and drinking a juice of some kind. Dean sat in a direction that gave him full view of the sandpit in which his children played.

"The library?" exclaimed Dean delightedly. "No wonder! You two are usually out-'n'-about an' it seemed ya disappeared for a couple o' days. Find anythin' interestin' to read?" He leaned forward conspiratorially. "Any good romance novels?"

Tyson shrugged. "We were lookin' up town history actually. We found out about the Ukes Club and you were the President."

Dean's posture swiftly shifted from laid back gossip to international diplomat. "The Proud Men's Minor Association. I always corrected the members about that title. What d'you wanna know?"

"Just the details on why it closed down," told Lewis. "Not everythin's put in newspapers."

"No, it isn't," agreed Dean formally. "So what do you know?"

"That it was caused by financial problems and it began when a sponsor stopped sponsorin' you."

"That's right." Dean was strangely calm. "The sponsor was a jeweller from outta town and owned a lotta shares in various companies, like Seth's. Carpenter's I mean. He was also and still is a sponsor for the Major Association and the reason he stopped sponsorin' us was because it was a venture that produced lil' results. Well that ain't surprisin'. The Major Association is the group that contributes to the community and even goes political if they feel the need to. We were just a social club, nothin' more. Now losin' a sponsor didn't mean doom, it's just that lotsa things happened afterwards so blame can't be put on one thing. Members left since kids took up all their time. That's fine. Other people left cuz they were movin' away. Alan... You've seen the reports on Alan haven't you?"

"Yeah." Tyson smiled a bit. "He really went wild at parties, spent a lotta time in prison too."

"It's not somethin' to be proud of, Tyson. He had a problem and didn't let anyone approach him about it." Dean sighed. "He was ruinin' our reputation so 'e had to leave. He understood and didn't make a fuss. After that, town newcomers wouldn't join and people left because we hardly did anything. Every meeting planned a fundraiser and other ways to get money. It just couldn't work."

"Why didn't the Major Association help?" asked Lewis.

"They did offer help. Matthew came to me personally. Whether the Minor Association continued or not, the clubhouse had to go. We both knew this. The problem was that any possible and workable solution pretty much rendered the Minor Association a shadow body of the Major Association. The plus would be less fees and usin' the meeting house. The minus would be we'd be invisible. Hardly dignified. The thing was, Lucien and I wanted a child and I was too stressed. I had it. So I sold the clubhouse and closed the Association down." He looked angrily over Lewis' shoulder. "Klaus! Play nice with your sister!" When Dean looked back at his guests he cheered up and was suddenly perky again. "I wouldn't cry over it. It was in the past and once everythin' got paid off there was a nice lil' pile o' dough left over. I put it in an account for Klaus ta use in college."

"You gave up your job too, didn't you?" asked Lewis soothingly. "But you were earnin' more than Lucien, why are you at home?"

"I get it!" exclaimed Tyson. "The stress affected your work life too!"

Their host laughed delightedly. "No no, I always kept my lives separate. I decided ta be the stay-at-home cuz can ya honestly imagine Lucien with the kids all the time?" He laughed again. "Nope, I was gonna give 'em the best life possible and a job's a job at the end of the day, not that important. What's it get you? Money but not happiness."


"You used ta own a bar," revealed Lewis. He and Tyson sat on one sofa in the living room while V sat opposite them.

V nodded. "I seemed ta encourage sin. I didn't mean to. Just wan'ed ta give the town someplace ta relax Monday nights and party Fridays. It was good enough that no one took drugs there an' no one underage was allowed in at night or allowed alcohol any other time. But Alan an' a couple other city-slickers, Joey one o' them, they'd come along at any night o' the week and a party would start. And there would be no control. Sometimes it started with Alan on his own. He never left sober. I started gettin' caution notes from the police. Spike knew I meant no harm. He poin'ed out somethin' else too. If I really wan'ed a child, I couldn't work nights. I felt relief when the bar got sold. In all honesty I didn't think anythin' bad could 'appen if I opened a bar. But I don't honestly know how ta do things properly, I know how ta count money an' get supplies an' keep an eye on everyone. But I never even had a doorman. Someone did suggest ta me that when a place like that opened it encouraged amoral an' anti-social behaviour whether it wants to or not. I was ignorant, that's all."

"Alan sure gets blamed a lot," commented Tyson.

V smiled sadly. "He got the nickname 'The Town Shame'. Especially with that nasty rumour goin' round."

"What rumour?"

For the first time ever, V looked very dark and serious. "You'll have ta ask him."

"What happened to the bar?" asked Lewis.

"I sold it to Daniel an' 'e turned it into a family restaurant. The key bartenders got moved to the Association House and are employed as private bartenders at nights durin' the week."


"I never got a job cuz I couldn't keep one," told Alan. He sighed. "I'd been havin' problems before we even came, Daniel wan'ed to come here for a fresh start, thinkin' a simpler life would 'elp me heal. It did eventually I guess. I think you know about my...famous moments."

The three of them were chatting at the doorway to Alan's living room. Benjamin, his little boy, sat in front of the TV with the small family dog watching a patronisingly stupid little kiddies show of some sort.

"Sorry to go into your dark past too far," spoke Lewis respectfully, "but V told us about a rumour about you. He gave us no details...said we should ask you."

Alan looked childishly anxious, he was even rubbing his bare arm. He turned around to make sure Benjamin had his attention on the TV. He let out a breath when he turned back around. "People started sayin'," he whispered, "that I slept with Matthew." He looked serious, as well as possibly fighting tears. "It didn't happen," he said louder and with conviction. "One really early mornin', after a really drunken night, he found me and brought me home. Maybe some people got the wrong idea cuz of the state I was in, but that's what happened. Daniel took the day off work to make sure I recovered. An' 'e got serious. I had to give up drinkin'."

"Why did you get a kid?" asked Tyson.

Alan smiled angelically and beamed. (The invisible sparkles also returned-huzzah!) "I felt ready for one. Bein' a parent changed my life."


Cloud was in his kitchen and pressing the rolling pin along dough. "I wen' into mechanics because it was somethin' I could do to earn a livin'. Not the best places to work in. Hard ta believe that auto-repair shops are parta civilisation. The motorbike tournaments?" He nodded. "They were fun."

"Why d'you stop?" asked Tyson.

"Racin' is dangerous. I couldn't carry on doin' it if I 'ad kids ta take care of. s'not nice not givin' your kids a guarantee you will come home unharmed. I have no clue how soldiers do it."

"Did you ever get injured?" asked Lewis.

"Yeah, twice."

"But just cuz you don't race don't mean ya have ta give up your bike," said Tyson in an annoyed tone.

Cloud stopped his rolling and gave the pair a chastising look. "Bein' a parent means settin' an example," he told them as if they were children. "s'not good for kids ta see their parents drivin' dangerous vehicles. If they wanna drive a motorbike when they grow up, I'm fine with it s'long's they know the dangers, but they ain't gettin' the idea from me."

"And you stopped workin' 'cos ya wan'ed kids?" checked Lewis.

"That an' I hated makin' Seth so worried about me."


Joey grinned. "Yeah, I acted in a buncha shows around here." He and his visitors were sitting in his garden.

"Why'd you stop?" asked Tyson.

"I wasn't good at it." A dog started sniffing around the table holding the cakes. "Hey, get away from dere, Mutt."

"Why'd you decide ta have kids?" asked Lewis.

"Good question. When we were still livin' in New York it never crossed my mind. We both worked." He shrugged. "Seth more dan me. Meant we argued a lot but," he smiled tenderly, "we always cherished our time together. I'm so picky about jobs I found it hard to get any here. But we both noticed. Here we're spendin' every day together and we have time to devote to other tings. A kid was possible." He scrunched up his face. The dog walked away from a pile. "Muttley!" he complained. "Dis is why we never let him in da house."

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©Ruth Amy Louise Hüneke 2008