But that’s not what he finds when he looks outside.
This chapter has a section with explicit content.
I dropped the boys off at school and drove to the Pleasant Hill office. I needed to do several things besides checking my messages. The first thing was to talk to Jared about Brian and Adam announcing that they are boyfriends. The second thing was to invite Jared to have dinner with us tonight. That way, we could talk to the boys. The third thing was to ask about the schedule for my court date to be assigned to have Non-Related Legal Guardianship for Adam. The fourth thing was to find out if there was any news about the search for June Rios from Sergeant Ashley Allisonn of the Paradise Police Department.
I went into my office first and checked my messages. I had hoped there would be something from the Paradise police department about the search, but there weren’t any messages. It was time to see Jared. He was in his office and was on the phone, so I knocked lightly on the doorjamb. He waved me in, pointing to a chair.
When he finished the call, I got up and closed the door.
“Something private?” he asked.
“Yes, and personal. This morning at breakfast, Adam and Brian told me that they decided that they are boyfriends.”
I wasn’t sure what Jared’s reaction would be, but I never expected what he told me.
“I wondered when they’d finally announce it,” he said.
“You knew?” I was surprised.
“I guessed. It was easy to see how they looked at each other and were grinning all the time when they were together.”
“Wow. I was surprised when they made the announcement this morning. I’m also surprised that you didn’t tell me what you suspected.”
“I didn’t tell you because someone who is gay shouldn’t be outed, especially to their parents. That includes foster parents. They should decide if and when they announce that they’re gay. The same is true when two gay boys become boyfriends, or two gay girls become girlfriends. They shouldn’t be outed by someone else, anytime. It’s personal, and it’s up to the two boys, or girls, to tell whoever they decide to tell.”
“Okay. I understand that point of view, and I agree with it. So now we both know, officially, that they are boyfriends. Right?” I grinned.
“What about Joyce? Did she suspect the same as you?”
“Yes. We’ve talked about it from time to time. So it won’t be a surprise when I call and tell her.”
“Is she still out of town?”
“Yes. She’s still in Fresno helping her sister while she’s recovering from the injuries she received from that auto accident. Her brother-in-law has been in Australia on business, and Joyce finally reached him. He’s arranging to fly home and will be back this weekend. Once he’s back, Joyce will be able to return home.”
“I’m sure you’ll be glad when she gets back.”
“Okay, second item. I’m inviting you and Brian to my house to have dinner with Adam and me tonight following the wrestling meet. I’m fixing lamb chops.”
“Thanks! I’ll be there. I assume you’ve already invited Brian. Did he accept your invitation?”
“Gee, I think he did. He said something about liking lamb chops.” I grinned.
“Brian’s problem is he likes food, and in large quantities.”
“I can tell.” I summarized how they’d had apple pie and ice cream for dessert the night before, and then this morning we discussed the sugar content of what they’d eaten.
“Don’t worry about it turning to fat. Those two seem to absorb sugar, and it doesn’t seem to stick to them. Unlike me, unfortunately.”
“And unlike me, as well,” I added, with a chuckle.
Okay, next thing on my list. I assume you’re going to the wrestling meet at Lincoln High tonight.”
“Yes, and I’ll bring Brian home after we have dinner at your place,” Jared said.
“Expect Brian to suggest that it would make more sense for him to spend the night with Adam, and then I’ll take both of them to school tomorrow morning.”
“I think it’s time for him to come home. I’ll use Joyce coming home as a reason.”
“Okay. I want to let you know that Brian is welcome at my house whenever it’s okay with you. He’s a nice kid and is no problem at all. What I like is that he and Adam get along so well. And they get their homework finished before we eat.
“The next thing on my list is the court date for me to be assigned to have Adam’s Non-related Legal Guardianship. Do you have any information about that?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. The hearing is scheduled for Monday at four p.m. at the courthouse in Martinez. If you pick up Adam at three-fifteen, you should have enough time to get to Martinez, find a place to park, and get to the court.”
“Good. I’ll let Adam know when we get home after the meet. He might have some questions for you about the hearing.”
“Okay. There’ll be enough time for him to ask questions tonight before dinner.”
“Next, have you heard anything about June Rios this morning?”
“No. I got a text that they’ll resume the search this morning. We probably won’t hear anything until later today.”
“Or if they find her body,” I said.“Unfortunately, that might end up as the result,” Jared pointed out.
Just before I left for the wrestling meet, I phoned Ashley Allisonn at the sheriff’s department.
“Good evening, Rick. I suppose you want an update on June Rios?” She seemed friendlier than the last time we spoke.
“If you have anything new, I’d like to know what it is. Otherwise, I’ll call tomorrow afternoon.”
“I do have an update. We haven’t found her, but we tracked her with the dogs for about three miles. I’m surprised that she’d traveled that far without water and food. Hers are the only recent footprints along that section of the trail. They had to stop tracking when it got dark. However, because of where she’s going, it’s easier for us to return to the trail because there are side trails leading to it from the nearest road.”
“What about shoes? Was she wearing hiking boots?”
“No, it appears that she’s wearing sneakers or walking shoes. Actually, they are fine for walking on that particular trail.”
“Have you had contact with Ted Loaming?” I asked.
“No. We issued a BOLO for him, and he’s still considered a person of interest. We contacted his employer, the Sports Channel store, in Fairfield. They said he took a week’s vacation and is supposed to return to work on Monday. His sister claims he returned to Walnut Creek. I contacted Brian Jackson, our contact at the Walnut Creek Police Department. They’ve issued a BOLO for him as well.”
“I took Adam to the Rios house today to retrieve a special scale that he needs to track his weight, BMI, muscle mass, and other measurements for wrestling. He’s on the Lincoln High wrestling team. Anyway, there’s no way Ted Loaming can get into the Rios house. With Adam Rios’ approval, we’d changed all of the locks and the alarm code, and hardened access through the garage door. There was no sign of any further attempt to break into the house. The Rios’ next-door neighbor is home most of the time, and she’s like the local Neighborhood Watch all by herself. If anyone shows up, she’d most likely see or hear them and will call the Walnut Creek police and my office as well.”
“The boy, Adam, is he in foster care?”
“Yes. I’m fostering him myself. I didn’t want to put him in a foster facility so he can stay in the same high school, and I’m using my emergency fostering license for him. He’s a nice kid. He said he’d be sad if his mother isn’t found or is deceased, but he’s not eager to live with her where she’d have responsibility for him. He commented that she’s ‘just an okay’ mother.”
“That’s sad. Some people shouldn’t have kids.”
“Well, that’s everything I have today. I assume that I’ll talk to you tomorrow, and I hope I’ll have something more substantial to report. Of course, if she’s found, I’ll contact you immediately. I have your cell number.”
“Thank you. I appreciate that, Ashley.”We ended the call, and I got ready to drive to Lincoln High to see Adam’s and Brian’s wrestling matches.
I stopped by Jared’s office to tell him I was leaving.
“It’s time?” he asked.
“Yes. You’ve been to the Lincoln High gym before, I assume.”
“Yes. I went to most of the home wrestling meets last year to support Brian.” He locked his desk and stood. “Time to get going!” We drove separately so I wouldn’t have to drive Jared and Brian home after they had dinner at my place.
When we got to Lincoln High, there were plenty of visitor parking spaces available in the lot near the gym. Had this been basketball or football, the parking lot would have been crowded. Secondary sports, including wrestling, didn’t draw much of a crowd at the local high schools.
We found two seats in the center of the second row of the bleachers. The JV wrestlers were close to finishing their matches. I could also see that the kids on the freshman team were learning and practicing their moves and pins at one end of the gym, and there were two or three kids who looked good. I thought it was interesting that Adam had made the varsity team as a freshman. It would be even more interesting to watch him and see how skilled he was compared to the kids on the Lincoln High freshman team.
After about fifteen minutes, quite a few kids and adults had arrived to watch the varsity wrestling matches, and the section of the bleachers where Jared and I sat was at least three-quarters filled. The bleachers on the other side, which I assumed were for Campo, had a much smaller group of kids and adults.
Adam’s first match was against a Campo High wrestler who was taller and a junior but in the same weight class as Adam. It lasted about ninety seconds, and Adam had the other boy pinned for two seconds (a fall). Adam won the match.
Brian’s first match was in the third group. He was wrestling a boy from Campo High who was very muscular, even more so than Brian. But Brian didn’t seem to have any problem, and he pinned his opponent (a fall) before the second two-minute period was over.
The matches continued, and Jared explained what was going on. He knew a lot more about wrestling than I did. The only thing I recognized was a pin — both shoulder blades were held onto the mat — the wrestler doing the pinning got two points. If there was a fall — a pin that lasted at least a full two seconds — the wrestler doing the pinning won the match and got six points. If the match lasted six minutes (three two-minute periods), the wrestler with the highest score in the match was declared the winner and got six additional points.
Two matches ended in ties, and a one-minute sudden victory period was added to each match. Jared explained the complex scoring.
In one match that ended in a tie, the Lincoln High wrestler was declared the winner because he made the first points in the sudden victory period.
There were no points made in the other match in the sudden victory period, so there were two thirty-second tiebreaker periods added, and points were scored as if each was a regular period. But at the end of the two tiebreaker periods, it was still a tie. So there was a thirty-second ‘ultimate’ tiebreaker, and the first wrestler to make points would have been the winner. But there were no points made in the ultimate tiebreaker, so by rule, the wrestler on offense at the beginning of the regulation match — which was the one from Lincoln High — was declared the winner.
Scoring was interesting, but a lot more complex than I was able to absorb. Not only was scoring for each match accumulated into the team scores, but there was also additional scoring for each team. The team with the highest score was declared the winner of the meet. To the delight of the attendees, it was Lincoln High.
High school wrestling wasn’t anything like the so-called professional wrestling I’d watched on TV when I was a kid. And now I knew why Adam had several books on wrestling in his bookshelf and, as he’d told me, some on his Kindle, too.
When the meet was over, both Adam and Brian had won all of their matches.
We congratulated both boys, and they left to shower and dress and have their team meeting. We waited in the gym with some other parents, and we discussed the matches, especially the ones whose sons were in the heavier weight classes. The next meet would be away, and neither Jared nor I were planning on traveling to Clayton. Since the boys were being transported to Clayton High by a chartered bus, they had to return to Lincoln the same way. That meant we couldn’t drive them home from Clayton High.
Adam and Brian came out of the locker room together, talking and laughing. When they got to where we were waiting, Jared asked, “What’s so funny?”
Adam explained. “When the guy I was wrestling went off the mat, I was really close to pinning him. I was pissed at myself for letting it happen. We had to assume the starting position, so I made sure we were positioned where he couldn’t reach the edge, and I was able to pin him for two seconds. It was a fall, so the match was over.”
“Adam, I think both you and Brian were great,” I said. “Congratulations!”
“Our team did great,” Brian said. “We only lost two matches, and those were in the 220 and 285 weight classes. The guy in the 220 class from Campo was great. He’s a senior, so he’s a lot more muscular than Bill Phillips, our guy, who’s a junior. You probably noticed how long that match lasted because there was a sudden victory period, two tie periods, and in the ultimate tiebreaker, the guy from Campo was lucky and made two points for a near-fall and won.
“Our guy in the 285 weight class was outweighed by about thirty-five pounds by the guy from Campo who won. That’s going to be a tough class for us to win. We need to recruit someone a lot bigger — maybe go after a couple of the linemen on our football team.”
When we got home, I got the lamb chops started, and Adam helped me prepare the vegetables. We ate dinner and had the leftover apple pie, which I warmed in the oven and served with vanilla ice cream. Brian ate as much as both Jared and I combined. Adam didn’t eat as much, but more than either me or Jared.
When we started on our dessert, Jared began discussing the boys’ announcement that they were now boyfriends, or as Adam called their relationship, BFB’s. I asked what that meant.
“Boyfriends with benefits,” Adam said, finishing with a giggle.
“And exactly what does ‘benefits’ mean?” Jared asked.
“That we’re having sex,” Brian answered. “But just kissing and touching and nothing advanced. And we’re not into that anal stuff at all, ever.”
“The whole idea of doing that is too gross!” Adam said. “A poop chute is for things coming out, definitely not for parts of a body going in.”
“Well, that puts it right on the table,” Jared said. “I’m glad to hear what you’re not doing. What about oral?”
“We haven’t done that yet, but there’s no reason we wouldn’t do it. It was discussed in sex ed at school.
“It’s important that we’re mogagamess or mononogagamous …or whatever it’s called. That way, we won’t catch any STDs.”
“It’s pronounced muh-nog-ah-mus,” Brian said, then he spelled it so Adam could figure out how it’s pronounced.
“Okay, monogamous,” Adam said. “That’s what we are. There’s isn’t anyone else I’ve ever wanted to have as a boyfriend. Brian’s my first and only.”
“The same for me with Adam,” Brian said.
“So you’re officially boyfriends,” Jared said. “Brian, you realize that your relationship might change when you go to college and Adam is still in high school. Then when Adam goes to college, it might not be at or near your college.”
“We’ve talked about that,” Brian said. “We know that could happen. So, for now, we’re going to enjoy being together, being boyfriends, and being BFBs.”
“Are you going to tell kids at school that you’re boyfriends?” I asked.
“We’ll tell our closest friends, and if others ask and we know them, we’ll tell them. We don’t want to lie about it,” Brian replied.
“I have another question. What about kids who ask you, and you don’t know them, or they aren’t your close friends?”
“I read something in a story where the kid answers that question,” Adam said. “I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it was sort of like this: ‘If you’re looking for a boyfriend, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Sorry.’ That leaves it, so it sounds like I’m saying I’m not gay and I don’t have a boyfriend, or I’m gay and already have a boyfriend. And suggests that the person who asked me is gay and is looking for a boyfriend.”
I asked Adam, “But what if they ask, ‘Are you and Brian Wong boyfriends?’ and you don’t know the person or they aren’t a close friend. How will you respond to that?”
Adam shrugged his shoulders. “I’d say, ‘Where did you hear that rumor?’ and shake my head and walk off, mumbling ‘Good grief,’ or something like that.”
“Another question,” Jared said. “What about the guys on the wrestling team? Are you going to tell them?”
“Well, they already know we’re gay, and they’ve seen us together a lot, so the ones that didn’t know probably figured it out themselves. Thing is, if we don’t tell them, they’ll be upset and think that we don’t trust them. So, we’ll tell them at the next team meeting,” Brian replied.
“We already told Coach Green,” Adam said. “We thought it would be important because he’s the kind of coach who doesn’t like surprises. He said that it was fine with him and that we should seriously consider telling the team. So that’s what we’re going to do.”
“I think you need to consider who else you’re going to tell and who you aren’t going to tell at school,” Jared said. “Once you let it out of the bag, there’s no putting it back. You can tell your team members and say it’s confidential, but then one of them tells someone and says it’s confidential, and then it’s going to spread around the whole school.”
“It would probably spread around the freshman and sophomores. The juniors and seniors aren’t going to care what the younger kids are doing,” Brian said.
“Maybe it’s best if you figure out how to tell your friends,” I suggested. “Think about what you’ve heard from straight friends. Now they have a boyfriend or girlfriend. How do they tell others about it?”
“Hmm,” Brian mumbled. “I don’t know. Guys who have a new girlfriend usually don’t say anything because everyone will see them walking together all the time. I suppose Adam and I could do that, but straight guys walk with guys who are their friends all the time, and nobody thinks they’re going together.”
“We could walk together and hold hands,” Adam suggested. Then he burst out laughing, so we could tell he was kidding.
“I think that’s against school rules about PDAs — Personal Displays of Affection,” Brian said.
“A suggestion,” I said. “I suppose it’s two suggestions. First, don’t overthink this boyfriend announcement thing. Second, search online for information about how to tell others you have a boyfriend. You guys use Google all the time. Use that to look up different ways to tell that you are and the advantages and disadvantages of each.”
“What if I tell someone that I’m gay first?” Brian asked.
“If you tell someone you have a boyfriend, it’s sort of automatic that you’re gay, and so is your boyfriend,” Adam replied. “If you tell someone you’re gay, then it’s like you’re asking them to be your boyfriend.”
“Yeah, I suppose that makes sense,” Brian responded.
Adam and Brian told us they had practice on Thursday, November ninth, during seventh period. Adam asked me to pick him up about fifteen minutes later than usual, so he’d have time to get his books out of his locker after showering. He said he also wanted to talk to Brian about going on a date to see a movie on Saturday. It was interesting how they’d changed things by adding the words ‘on a date’ when they used to say ‘going to see a movie’ instead.
When I got to the pickup area, Adam and Brian were there with lots of other kids. That was unusual. When I pulled up, Adam saw me, and he and Brian ran to the car together.
“Could you take Brian to his house?” Adam asked. “The bus had some sort of problem, and they won’t have a replacement for at least another half-hour.”
“Sure, no problem.”
“Thanks, Rick,” Brian said.
They got in the car, and we drove to Brian’s house. On the way, I asked Brian when his mom would get home from Fresno.
“She told Dad that she was staying with Aunt Nora through Saturday and will drive home on Sunday. Uncle Richard gets home from Australia sometime Saturday.”
We got to Brian’s house and dropped him off. He thanked me for the ride, and waved goodbye.
When we got home, we had lamb chops. I had fixed four extra the day before, so we’d have leftovers. I like leftovers; I was glad that Adam liked them, too.
After dinner, Adam concentrated on his homework. He grumbled about the number of geometry problems they had been assigned. Later in the evening, I saw him reading his Living Earth textbook and wondered if he’d finished his geometry problems.
“Adam, did you finish your geometry homework?”
“Uh-huh. All done. There were lots of them, but they aren’t due until Monday, and they were really easy. Now I’m reading the chapters for my Living Earth class. We’ll have a major test on Monday. I read a story for English 1, and I had to turn in a commentary about what I thought about it. I completed that, too. As soon as I finish reading the Living Earth chapters, I’ll read the current chapter for my World History and Geography class. We have a quiz tomorrow.”
“So, with your block schedule, what classes do you have tomorrow?”
“It’s Thursday, so first period is World History and Geography, second period is Spanish 2, and third period is English 1. Seventh period is PE, and we’ll have wrestling practice.”
“You’ll call me to let me know when to pick you up, right?”
“Right. It should be around four o’clock, I think. Depends on whether Coach Green is still happy with our win yesterday, or if he’s not so happy and decides that we need to have an intensive practice tomorrow. I hope he’s still happy.” Adam raised his eyebrows and grinned.
“I agree with you. When are your next few meets?”
“We go to Clayton High next Wednesday, then Riverview High at home the following week, and Los Osos High at home the week after that. I don’t remember the schools, but the next two meets are away, then we’re back at home for a meet with Eastgate High. They’re all league meets, so they all count.”
“I’ll be going to your home meets, but not the ones that are away. After your bus gets to Lincoln High from an away meet, give me a call and I’ll come and pick you up, and Brian, too, if he needs a ride.”
“Maybe you could switch off with Brian’s dad. You pick us up at school when we get back from an away meet, then Brian’s dad picks us up at school when we get back from the next away meet, and so on.”
“Why don’t you talk to Brian and see if you two can work it out. Get your schedule and mark up which away meets I’ll pick you up and which ones Jared will pick you up.”
“Okay, sounds like a plan. I’ll talk about it with Brian tomorrow. We don’t have any classes together except for PE, so I’ll ask him at lunch.”
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