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
"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
"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."
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
"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
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.
"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
"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."